Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are not casein-free, dairy-free, or vegan, but they are gluten-free.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Soften 16 ounces (two sticks, usually) of grass-fed butter. (I like Organic Valley, Natural by Nature, and Kerrygold). In an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1.5 cups of organic sucanat. Beat in two eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2.25 cups of organic amaranth flour (I LOVE Bob’s Red Mill), 1 teaspoon of baking soda (Bob’s again), and 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (again, Bob’s). Add these sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix it all together until it’s completely combined. Turn the mixer down to a very low speed and empty in a bag of SunSpire organic chocolate chips. (You can also do this last step by hand, with a large spoon.)

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet. (I like to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper, because aluminum is fairly food-reactive.) Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, but make sure they look done before you take them out of the oven. Remove them from the cookie sheet and let them cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

White Pizza

This is a nice dinner for a cold winter evening. It doesn’t take too long to make it, and you don’t have to have a lot of ingredients on hand. I used a pizza stone, but you can bake it on a circular pizza tray if you choose.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Start with Garvey’s organic Irish brown bread mix (or your own recipe for a soda bread). Mix half of the package (1/2 pound, roughly) with 3/4 cup of plain whole milk yogurt, knead it for a bit, then place it on your pizza stone and spread it out a bit so it is the size and shape that you want your pizza to be. Set it aside.

Take 1/2 pound of sliced bacon, cut each slice in half, and saute the bacon in a frying pan in just a tiny bit of olive oil (medium-high heat) until it is just done. While the bacon is cooking, slice two onions extremely thin; when the bacon is done, add the onions to the pan with a hearty shake of all-purpose seasoning. Cook it all together over medium heat, stirring periodically with a fork, until the onions get slightly soft; then turn off the heat and use a fork or a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and onions from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

With a fork, mix together one egg yolk, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (or soft farmer’s / Georgic cheese), and 1/4 cup of plain whole milk yogurt. Spread it on the pizza dough, then cover it with slices of cave-aged Gruyere, then cover that with fresh basil leaves, then top it all with the bacon and onion mixture. Put the whole thing into the oven for 25 minutes. Be extremely careful when you take it out, as it will be tremendously hot Slice it up with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

Happy Hanukkah!

It’s the second night of the festival of lights, and I wanted to share my latke recipe. It’s good for one meal plus leftovers for three people (at least, when one of the people is yours truly). It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free. (You can make it corn-free if you substitute tapioca powder for the cornstarch.)

Peel and shred three large or four medium potatoes. You can do the shredding with a food processor, but I like to use one of those fancy Swiss peelers. Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl of cold water, then drain them in a cheesecloth-lined colander. Heat sunflower oil in a deep frying pan according to the pan’s instructions. Mix together in a large bowl the shredded potatoes, three eggs, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 good shakes of black pepper, and 2 heaping tablespoons of dried minced onions. (A purist will use 1/2 cup of shredded onions instead of the dried minced onions, but I never plan ahead enough to buy the onions. I don’t know why.)

Form the mixture into patties and fry a few at a time in the basket of the deep fryer, about three minutes per side, but use your judgment. They should turn golden, but not get too brown. Set each batch on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and enjoy! I believe the traditional topping is applesauce, but some people like maple syrup instead.

Bacon!

Here’s a fun recipe to use up a head of cabbage you may have in your refrigerator. My five-year-old daughter will eat a few bites of my coleslaw, but she told me this dish was “super terrific,” so I’ll be making it again 🙂

Plan to be working in your kitchen for at least 90 minutes, and perhaps as long as two hours. This is a stew, so it’s a great dish for winter, but on any non-super-hot day, it works well.

Cut one pound of sliced bacon into 1.5-inch-long bits and fry it all in a skillet (with a bit of olive oil, if needed). Keep poking the bacon with a fork (or two) in order to cook it all thoroughly and evenly. Don’t let it get too crispy, but make sure it all gets cooked.

While the bacon is cooking, peel two pounds of potatoes and cut them into one-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a small pot, cover them with water, put the lid on, and heat the pot on high until it boils. Then cook the potatoes at a managed boil for five minutes. DO NOT DRAIN THE POTATOES.

Take a Dutch / French oven and sprinkle garlic salt (I love Himalasalt), pepper, and minced onions on the bottom. Wash a head of cabbage, peel off the grody outer leaves, core it, and cut the cabbage into small chunks. Place the cabbage chunks in the Dutch oven on top of the seasonings.

When the bacon and the potatoes are ready, put them (along with all of the potato water) into the Dutch oven, and add as much water (or homemade chicken broth–just boil the legs and wings in a soup pot for an hour the next time you roast a chicken) as you need to cover everything in the pot. Heat the pot over low (or, at most, medium-low) heat to a simmer, and keep it simmering for an hour, stirring periodically.

Serve with bread. (I like the Rye Sourdough recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, although I make it with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Every bit as good as the cake you grew up eating, but gluten-free for your gluten-free friends. This recipe is not dairy-free, but can be made dairy-free with a simple, one-to-one substitution of sesame oil for butter.

With an electric mixer, cream 1 cup of softened butter with 2 cups of sugar. Beat in 4 eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2 cups of buckwheat flour, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cloves, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. You may add 1/4 teaspoon of salt; I generally use salted butter, so I don’t add salt separately.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine with the mixer, then pour in 2 cups of shredded carrots and mix at a very low speed until combined. Pour into two greased (I like to use butter, but you can use olive oil spray if you eat dairy-free) 8×8-inch Pyrex dishes and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Verify done-ness with a toothpick and cool in the Pyrex on wire racks for 15 minutes; then carefully remove the cakes onto the wire racks to cool down to room temperature.

Frost with a simple cream cheese icing: 2 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese mixed with 3 cups of sugar. Frost between the two layers as well as on the top and sides of the whole cake. Enjoy!

 

Delightful Chocolate Icing

I mentioned earlier that I made a variation (using Living Intentions Original Sprouted Super Flour instead of wheat flour and grapefruit marmalade instead of strawberry puree) of Martha Stewart’s Sprinkles cupcakes for my mom’s birthday.

You might be curious to know what I used to ice the cupcakes. I didn’t make a fruit-flavored icing, in part because I thought these cupcakes demanded something a bit richer. The icing I made is simple, in the sense that it only has three ingredients, but a little bit tricky, because it involves frequent taste-testing to ensure that it has just the right level of chocolate flavor and sweetness.

Here it is: Soften 2 bars of cream cheese and whip them in a mixer while gradually adding cacao powder. Use a spoon to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure complete mixing of the cream cheese and the cacao powder. When the mixture is the same color as a milk chocolate bar (or when it tastes chocolatey enough for your liking), stop adding cacao. Now it’s time to sweeten the icing. While the mixer is still going, fluffing up that icing nicely, gradually add agave nectar until the icing is sweet enough for you. I don’t like my chocolate incredibly sweet, particularly when it’s going on top of a cupcake that’s already sweetened, but everybody’s taste is different, so just add the agave nectar slowly and keep tasting it. This may be the best-tasting chocolate icing you’ll ever eat. I dare you not to lick the bowl after you’ve iced your cupcakes.

Emile Henry: Not Just for Lasagna

I received an Emile Henry dish from my parents last year, and I just wanted to share two easy recipes that roast delightfully and look beautiful served in this oven-to-table dish.

The first is almost embarrassingly simple, but it’s a great way to serve a simple fruit in an elegant way for company: Peel and core 6 – 10 medium apples, then cut them into roughly five pieces per apple. Place the apple pieces in the dish and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Roast in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

The second recipe is a go-to recipe in my family for occasions that demand a dairy-free potato recipe. I vastly prefer butter to vegetable spread in my mashed potatoes, but roasted potatoes are just lovely with olive oil. Wash and peel 8 large potatoes, then cut them into roughly five pieces per potato. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 tablespoons rosemary and 1 teaspoon of Himalasalt. Put the potato pieces into the bowl and toss them well, ensuring that they’re completely coated with the olive oil mixture. Place the potatoes into the Emile Henry dish (or a Pyrex baking dish if you don’t have an Emile Henry dish) and pour any remaining olive oil mixture over them. Bake for 90 minutes at 350 degree, uncovered. Peek into the oven occasionally, and if you see the potatoes getting brown too quickly, cover them with foil.

Neither of these recipes is complicated, and I love the fact that the work is all done once you put the dish into the oven–plus, they look great when served in a fancy oven-to-table dish. Pick a meat entree (like my chicken salad), and you’re all set for a feast!

Allow Me to Sing the Praises of Super Flour

I clicked over to Jen Maan in Amman’s blog the other day and found an amazing cupcake recipe. I’m not going to steal it; I’ll let you click over there and read it yourself.

I will, however, add one note: I have a relative with celiac disease and a few young relatives with food allergies, so I like to work with recipes that can be modified to be suitable for family gatherings. Additionally, I prefer a gluten-free lifestyle, so I bake gluten-free 99.9% of the time.

I am happy to report that you can substitute Living Intentions Sprouted Super Flour (gluten-free and dairy-free) for the flour in this recipe, and it tastes amazing. This flour does contain almonds, so it’s not suitable for people with nut allergies, and I didn’t try making the recipe with dairy substitutes, but if celiac is your only dietary issue, you can totally make these cupcakes and LOVE them. (Yeah, I didn’t give up cupcakes for Lent.)

Pancake Dinner!

My daughter loves Fridays in Lent, because they usually involve at least one pancake meal. Any entree that she can top with syrup or honey makes her happy. She’s too young to be required to abstain from meat, but it’s easier for me to make the same meal for all three of us, unless I have a leftover cutlet I can reheat for her (and then it’s hard-boiled eggs and salad for the adults in the house).

Here is the simple pancake recipe I use–simple in part because it involves a gluten-free flour mix:

Combine 1 cup Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix, 1 egg, 1 generous tablespoon of honey, and 1/3 – 1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt in a large bowl. Mix by hand with a spoon until completely blended.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast-iron crepe pan (like this awesome one my in-laws gave me) over very low heat. Scoop 1/4 of the batter onto the pan and spread it out a bit with a wooden spoon. Cook over very low heat until bubbles rise to the surface, then flip with the wooden spoon. Yes, this takes a bit of finesse, but you can do it. If I can do it, you can definitely do it 🙂 Cook another 30-45 seconds on the second side, then slide the finished pancake onto a plate and top it however you like. (In my house, it’s either local honey or Coombs Organic Maple Syrup, with the occasional jelly topping for variety.) Repeat until you’ve made four wonderful, wonderful pancakes.

Where do I procure my awesome ingredients? When I post my recipes, I usually link to Amazon, since so many people shop there, and I do buy some grocery items there. However, I obtain the bulk of my food from three sources: Pure Sprouts, an organic local delivery service that shops at the farmers’ markets so customers don’t have to; Soap.com Grocery, which is actually an Amazon subsidiary now, but which has delivery times that can’t be beaten; and (basically just for Stonyfield milk and yogurt) Giant, which does carry a few organic dairy items reliably.

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

This is so easy, yet so tasty, you’ll make it every time you have company coming.

Melt one nine-ounce bag of Sunspire organic chocolate chips over very low heat. Using a mixer, blend the melted chips with two eight-ounce packages of Organic Valley cream cheese. Pour into an Arrowhead Mills graham cracker pie crust and chill until ready to serve, at least an hour. Top with sliced strawberries for extra visual appeal and sweet goodness.

If you prefer a gluten-free crust, prepare one about an hour before melting the chips: Put a dozen Mary’s Gone Crackers Ginger Snaps into a Ziploc bag and bashing them up. Then mix the cookie crumbs with 1/2 cup of melted butter and press into a Pyrex pie dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 and cool before pouring in the filling.

No one will know how quick this lovely dessert is to prepare. They won’t confuse it with a three-day cheesecake, but they will be impressed. (My mom makes a fabulous cheesecake that I think of as a three-day cheesecake, but it actually takes a day and a half. It is amazing… Maybe I will feature that recipe next week.)