Archive | December, 2011

Perfect Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe

27 Dec

Bakers, start your ovens! Fall is what I consider to be the beginning of pie season. The temperatures start to drop, crisp apples and pears fill the produce shelves and a freshly baked pie seems to be the perfect way to cozy-up a chilly evening. And before you know it we launch into Thanksgiving and the beginning of Holiday Season. I ask you – what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?
For many years after converting to a gluten free diet I made crust-less pies and was perfectly happy. After all a crust-less pie you can safely eat is better than a pie with crust you can’t! But as time went by, I started to resent my crust-less life and started using nuts and gluten-free cookies as a base for my pies. Nothing wrong with that and in fact in some cases, such as my chocolate peanut butter pie, a nut crust is the ideal choice. But what was missing for me was the OTHER choice – a white, flaky, traditional pie crust just like Grandma used to make but without the gluten. So I embarked on a mission to make the perfect gluten free pie crust. The first thing I learned is you can’t let pie crusts intimidate you. It is not only possible to make a great gluten-free pie crust, it is completely do-able and many of those who have tried mine, say they prefer my gluten-free crust to regular wheat crusts they have had.

Here are my tips for making the perfect gluten free pie crust:

1. Cold, cold, cold! Get your ingredients cold before using them. Cut up your butter or shortening into small pieces and pop it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes before starting your pastry. Put ice cubes in your water for a good 10 minutes before using it to really chill it down.

2. Use a food processor. The speed with which the food processor can combine the ingredients and cut in your butter or shortening is so much faster than if you do it by hand and results in a flakier crust. Of course if you don’t have a food processor, just cut the shortening or butter in by hand but work quickly and don’t over do it. Bigger pieces of butter or shortening are not only OK, but preferred.

3. Be skimpy on the water. The biggest mistake most people make in preparing pie crusts (whether it be gluten-free or not) is adding too much water. Add just enough so that the ingredients hold together when squeezed in your hand. Too much water will result in a tough crust.

4. Give it a rest! Let your pie crust dough rest for at least an hour before rolling. Many people think this is to let the gluten rest, which would make no sense in a gluten-free recipe, but in truth what you are doing is letting the moisture distribute evenly. Never skip the resting period.

5. Extrude – don’t roll. Gluten free pie crust is more fragile than regular pie crust as it lacks the sticking power of the gluten. It is much easier to employ the “extrusion method”. Simply place your dough on a piece of wax paper that is dusted lightly with gluten-free flour, then sprinkle a little more flour on the dough and top with another piece of wax paper and roll it out. This will help keep your crust in one piece. Using the wax paper also helps in transferring the dough to the pie plate. If a piece falls off or breaks, just pinch it back together, don’t be afraid to show your pie crust who’s boss.

6. Use great ingredients. The sum of the parts will only be as good as what you put in it. Start with a good, pastry quality all purpose gluten-free flour blend that is not grainy or cardboard tasting. For a perfect-just-like-Grandma-used-to-make pie crust you need a flour blend that has a high starch content and some xanthan gum. You need the crust to be flaky but still stick together. If you don’t have a brand you like then make your own using either super fine or Asian flours, they are milled much more finely than most. Also use the best quality butter you can get buy and always use either kosher or fine sea salt. If you can not have dairy then substitute the butter with all vegetable solid shortening. In my opinion, the butter flavored shortenings do not produce as good a flavor as the regular, non-flavored. And actually I think that using Crisco results in the best tasting, dairy free pie crust but if you just can’t get on board with Crisco, I understand. I also use regular sugar in my pie crusts, it helps with browning and after all – it’s dessert!

This recipe is for sweet pies, if using for a savory dish such as quiche, cut the sugar down to 1 teaspoon. At the end of the recipe is a variation for a Chocolate Pie Crust which is a unique twist for pudding-type or berry pies.

Perfect Gluten-free Pie Crust

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter or solid, all vegetable non-dairy shortening
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water
*1¼ cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar

* you can make your own homemade version of a flour blend by combining 3/4 cup super fine white rice flour with 1/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour), 1/4 cup sweet rice flour and 1/4 cup tapioca starch (use Asian tapioca to avoid an “off” taste to the tapioca) and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Whisk until fully combined. This will give you enough for the recipe plus rolling.

Directions

Cut butter into ½ inch pieces and place it the freezer for 15 – 30 minutes.

Add some ice cubes to the water and let it get ice cold while preparing the dry ingredients.
Combine the flour blend, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 -6 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 6 -8 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size pieces of butter.

With processor running, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture just barely starts to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough together and it holds then you have enough water, if not add more a little at a time. You do not want to add any more water than is absolutely necessary.

Remove the dough from the machine and form into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or for as long as 2 -3 days. Since the dough is so crumbly and does not hold together at this point, I find it easier (and far less messy) to pour the mixture into a large food storage bag and form it into a disk using the bag to help. Then just close up the bag and put it in the fridge. Remove dough from fridge 5 minutes before rolling.

To roll the dough, lay a piece of waxed paper on a work surface and sprinkle with some flour blend. Lay the chilled disk on the floured paper, sprinkle with some more flour and lay on another piece of waxed paper. Roll the dough into a circle approximately 12 inches wide. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and carefully transfer into a 9 inch pie plate and remove the waxed paper. Push the dough very gently down so it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. If the dough splits or breaks apart just push it back together. Trim the edge of the pie crust to about ½ – ¾ inch over hang. Tuck the overhang under and pinch the dough into a decorative finish.

To Pre-bake (or Blind Bake) a pie crust:

Sometimes a recipe will call for a pre-baked or blind baked pie crust, here’s how to do that.

Freeze the pie crust in the pie plate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper (or foil) in the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust. Fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. (I prefer dried black beans as they help distribute the heat better and are much less expensive than pie weights. I use the same beans over and over.) Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and waxed paper, poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust using a fork and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Let pie crust cool completely before filling.

A gluten free recipe that makes 1 – 9 inch pie crust.

Variation – Chocolate Pie Crust:

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and proceed as above. The dough may require just a tad more water. Make sure to brush off all the excess flour blend after rolling to keep the dark color.

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cloud Cookie

15 Dec
It is December (how did that happen?) and while that can mean many things to many people, for me it means coming up with lots of gluten free cookie recipes! I like to give out cookies this time of year and I like to have them on hand for people who stop by during the Holidays.  And doesn’t it kind of go without saying that, “I like to eat cookies?”
For some reason I always associate the flavors of chocolate and cherries with Christmastime. Maybe it is because my Dad would always buy those chocolate covered cherries this time of year. So I came up with this recipe with Dad in mind – chocolate meringues with a sweet cherry inside. They are crisp on the outside, a bit marshmallowy inside and have a secret surprise hidden at the heart – a maraschino cherry. Along with being naturally gluten free they are also dairy free and, if you worry about such things, fat free!
The way to get the very best meringues is to use egg whites that are room temperature but it is much easier to separate cold eggs so I suggest you separate your eggs first and let them sit while you get out all the rest of your ingredients, prepare the pans and dry up your cherries.
You can serve these cookies two ways – the first (and best in my opinion) is to bake them, then turn off the oven and let them sit in there for a couple hours to really dry out, this will give you the traditional meringue. But as I discovered (due to a very impatient Father who couldn’t wait for his chocolate-cherry fix) you can take the cookies from the oven after they bake, let them cool and eat. They will be a lot less crispy and much more marshmallowy; softer and not very crisp. Which way is better, is in hot debate around here.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cloud Cookies

Ingredients
24 maraschino cherries
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
If the maraschino cherries have stems, remove them. Dry them well with paper towels and let sit until ready to use.
Combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start the mixer on low then increase the speed to high. When the egg whites are very foamy, add the sugar gradually while the machine is running. Continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks – about 5 minutes. Sift in the cocoa powder, fold gently to get them mixed in a little then mix on high speed with the mixer for a few more seconds until the cocoa powder is incorporated. You may have to scrape the side of the bowl a time or two.
Spoon 12 heaping tablespoons of the egg white mixture onto each prepared pan (a small #60 ice cream scoop works really well for this). Gently press a cherry into each mound of egg whites. Top with about a teaspoon of egg whites and using an offset spatula or your fingers seal the two meringue dollops together.
Bake for 30 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cookies sit in there for 2 hours. Peel the cookies off the parchment or silicon mats and serve. The cookies are best served within 24 hours, especially if you live in a humid climate. To store, put in an air proof container and keep at room temperature.
Alternately you can remove the cookies after 30 minutes of baking, let cool on a baking sheet and serve. They won’t really be crispy, but are still delicious.
Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Chipotle Turkey Bean Soup Recipe – Gluten Free

12 Dec
There are a couple things I do every year on Thanksgiving after the food has been eaten, the table cleared and that last crumb of pie licked off the plates – first is to convince the hubby to do the dishes and secondly, I put a pot of dried beans on to soak. It’s not that I have anything against gluten free turkey noodle soup but after all the traditional, American flavors of Thanksgiving I am ready to spice things up!  Chipotle Turkey Bean Soup is the answer.
I love this hearty gluten free soup recipe – it is filling and wholesome, packed with fiber and nutrients (as well as flavor) and it is a real budget saver. After all the turkey was already paid for, I use Hurst Family Harvest’s Black Bean Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup Mix which cost about the same as 2 cans of black beans (but feeds a whole lot more) and has a tasty gluten free flavor packet included and the rest of the ingredients are just some pantry staples. If you don’t happen to have any leftover turkey hanging around you can use some leftover chicken or shred up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Or just leave out the turkey, use dairy free sour cream and you have yourself a fabulous vegan main course soup.
I also love the fact that this soup takes very little actual work to prepare! After all, I have been cooking, cleaning and entertaining for days – it is time for a little “easy” in my life!

Gluten Free Chipotle Turkey Bean Soup

Ingredients
1 package Hurst Family Harvest Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup Mix
1 onion, diced
1 – 1 pound bag frozen corn kernels
1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 – 4 ounce can diced mild green chilies
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded (omit for vegan)
Chipotle Lime Sour Cream – recipe follows
Handful of cilantro leaves
Directions
Remove the flavor packet from the beans and save. Place the beans in a large soup pot and cover with water. Let sit, covered, overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain the water from the beans. Place back in the pot and add 8 cups of cold water along with the reserved flavor packet. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add the corn, tomatoes, chilies, green onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder and turkey and heat through, 5 – 10 minutes.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream and cilantro for garnish.
Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

Ingredients
1 cup sour cream or dairy free sour cream
*1 – 3 teaspoons pureed chipotle in adobo depending on heat level you like
juice and zest of 1 lime – zest finely grated
Directions
Stir together the ingredients and let sit covered in the refrigerator until time to serve.
*I take one can of chipotle in adobo sauce, puree it in the blender and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator, that way I can use as much or as little whenever I want. Or you can take one of the peppers from the can with some of the sauce and mince finely.
Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Gluten Free Teriyaki Mushroom Pate Recipe

8 Dec
Fashion experts tell us that we should dress, get all accessorized up and then remove one accesory before leaving the house, that less is more. For about a second and a half I decided to try that philosophy to my Thanksgiving dinner, to remove one thing from my normal menu.
What I had decided to remove was an appetizer – my thought was it’s at the beginning of a huge meal and that no one is going to miss it. And I decided that what I would leave off was my chicken liver pate – it was my oldest son’s favorite part of the meal but he has gone vegetarian so what’s the harm in leaving it off? After all, less is more, right?
Apparently, at least at my house, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner – less is less! The aforementioned son informed me that he had flown 3,000 miles and was basically paying a ton of money for one dinner and he didn’t want to be shortchanged.
So instead of taking off one thing, I am swapping it for something else – Teriyaki Mushroom Pate. This is a gluten free, dairy free, vegan recipe that is super easy and quick to prepare and packs a ton of flavor thanks to San-J’s gluten free teriyaki sauce. No one, not even the meat eaters are going to miss my chicken pate this year.
So go ahead, add instead of take away that one more accessory to your Thanksgiving feast this year – after all more is more to be thankful for.
Gluten Free Teriyaki Mushroom Pate
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil – use divided
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 – 8 ounce packages of mushrooms (any type) sliced
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons gluten free San-J Teriyaki Sauce – use divided
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 8 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of the San-J Teriyaki Sauce and the rice vinegar and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine.
Put the mixture into a food processor with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon San-J Teriyaki Sauce. Process until the mixture is fully combined and fairly smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with gluten free crackers and fresh vegetables.
Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Tuna Casserole Recipe – Gluten Free

5 Dec
I am going to just spit it out – I love tuna casserole! There I said it. I know it is not hip, not trendy and certainly not “foodie” (you can add that to my mounting list of why I will never be called a “foodie”) but it is just plain good! I thought about adding some flair to this casserole, tossing in some sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and portabella mushrooms, maybe some fresh basil and I am sure that would be delicious but what I really wanted was something very close to what I recall from when I was a kid – simple, comforting and homey. But I wanted it with less fat and calories and of course, it had to be gluten free.
I kind of think my mother made her tuna casserole with canned soup but when I started cooking I made mine with rich, thick, fattening-as-all-get-out white sauce laden with butter and cream. So I cut the fat and calories by using mostly gluten-free chicken broth for my sauce, low-fat milk in place of cream (rice milk can be used making this dish dairy free) and olive oil instead of butter. Then I added extra fiber by using Pastariso’s Brown Rice Gluten Free Vegetable Rotini – I love the way the spirals add extra texture to this casserole and the fact that this delicious gluten free pasta only takes 6 -8 minutes to cook.
Since there is high probability you just may have some turkey left over fairly soon, this works just as well with shredded turkey meat.
So go ahead, fess up – what food do you love that could threaten your reputation as a “foodie”?
Gluten Free Tuna Casserole

Ingredients
1 – 1 pound bag Pastariso Gluten Free Brown Rice Vegetable Rotini
3 tablespoons olive oil – use divided
1medium white or yellow onion
Kosher or fine sea salt
3 tablespoons gluten free flour blend or sweet rice flour
2 ½ cups gluten free chicken broth
1 ½ cups low fat milk (or rice milk)
2– 6 ounce cans solid light tuna in water, drain and flaked
1 cup frozen peas – thawed
1 cup gluten free panko style bread crumbs
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add the Pastariso Gluten Free Brown Rice Vegetable Rotini and cook for 6 – 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with hot water.
While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until they are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and milk, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the sauce thickens, 6 – 8 minutes. Stir in the tuna, peas and cooked pasta. Pour the mixture into a 9? by 13? baking dish.
Combine the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with the panko bread crumbs and top the tuna mixture. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the top is browned and the sauce bubbly. Let cool a few minutes before serving.
Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Autumn Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – Gluten Free

1 Dec
As diligently as I follow a gluten free diet (and I am diligent – I never, EVER knowingly and willingly cheat) sometimes it happens – I get glutenized!
Such was the case sometime Saturday. I woke up Sunday with my typical signs, a migraine headache and a mysterious, unrelenting itchiness.
Unfortunately, ingesting gluten does nothing to dampen my appetite. No matter how icky I feel, I still need to eat. And at that point I want “comfort food”.
For me, Shepherd’s Pie is pure comfort. My mother made it often when I was growing up, usually using leftovers. I loved it more that whatever the original dinner was.
So I scrounged around my kitchen to see what I could find to put together for a quick and effortless Shepherd’s Pie. I had half a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, a large sweet potato in my veggie bowl and a freezer stocked with a variety of Kettle Cuisine gluten free soups – they are all made with the highest quality ingredients and are made by actual people in an actual kitchen!  The ingredients are prepared the way I would prepare them at home if I were making soup – they are hand peeled, and cut and treated with care and that’s why I LOVE Kettle Cuisine’s soups.
I chose their Roasted Vegetable Soup, not just gluten-free but dairy-free also, and in about 25 minutes I made a dinner for two that was simple but didn’t taste like it, with its rich, complex flavors. This made 2 large, grown up servings, you can easily double or even triple this recipe if need be.
This is seriously one of the easiest gluten free recipes I have ever made. Perfect for a time when you feel like “cooked-all-day comfort food” but don’t have the time or energy to cook all day.
If you find yourself accidentally glutenized, you are not alone. Pop over to this blog post of Shirley’s and see how some of the top gluten free bloggers deal with the occasional gluten poisoning.
Gluten Free Autumn Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients
3 cups diced sweet potatoes (from 1 large or two medium, about 1 ½ pounds) – cut into 1 inch dice
1 package Kettle Cuisine Roasted Vegetable Soup
2 cups cooked chicken (about half a chicken) – shredded or diced
2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or other dairy free butter substitute)
¼ cup rice milk
1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes into a pan with heavily salted cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, microwave the soup for 3 – 4 minutes or until hot. Stir and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between 2 oven safe bowls or ramekins (my ramekins hold 18 ounces).
When the sweet potatoes are done, drain them and then return them to the hot pot. Put back on the fire and cook for another 30 seconds or so to evaporate any excess liquid. Turn off the heat, mash the potatoes with a potato masher then add the Earth Balance, rice milk, salt and pepper. Mash together until fairly smooth. Divide the potato mixture between the ramekins on top of the chicken mixture. Spread all the way to the edges of the ramekins. With the tines of a fork, rake the top of the potatoes to create little ridges. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If you want the top of the potatoes a little more browned, turn on the broiler and broil for a minute but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com