Category Archives: Side Dishes

Pie Crust and Quiche

Pie crust? Really? Gluten Free? Yep. I first made it back in the summer, following instructions from “The Art of Gluten free Baking”.  She has so many fabulous recipes over there so go have a look around. I am using her flour blend more and more and try to always keep it on hand.

It is:

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1 1/4 cups white rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1 cup sweet rice flour

scant 2 tsp xanthan gum

Anyway, I first made crostatas with fresh blackberries and peaches (and unfortunately didn’t get a picture because we ate them so fast!). They were fantastic. The crust was indeed, as Jeanne claims, flakey and delicate. I was very surprised.

I didn’t have anything prepared for dinner last night and dinner time was quickly approaching. A quick preview of the fridge led me to decide upon quiche with the new gluten free crust recipe. The beauty of the crust recipe is that it makes enough for 2 9inch pies/quiches so I now have an extra in the fridge just chillin’ waiting on me to figure out what I want to make next.

When I was in Peru this summer with my brother and sis in law (who is also celiac) I made several batches of this pie dough and froze it in discs for her to pull out when needed. It thaws great and you still get delicious results.

So, here is the crust recipes from Jeanne at Art of Gluten Free Baking: (my notes in italics)

2 1/3 C (350g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 TBL granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 C (8oz; 230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces (you can also use lard)
1 TBL vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
5-7 TBL cold water
extra tapioca flour for rolling out

Method:

Place flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Mix together with a spoon until combined.  Add butter pieces to the dry ingredients mixture. With fingers, start rubbing together the butter and the dry ingredients. This will take some time. Do this until the resulting mixture looks like wet sand mixed with pebbles.  I like to do this by hand to get a feel for the dough.  You may also do this initial mixing with a food processor if you’d like.

Add the vinegar and rub into the mixture.  Add water a TBL at a time, rubbing into the mixture. You want to add enough to create a dough that holds together well, but isn’t wet. I pretty consistently use about 6 TBSP of the water, but just go slowly and get the feel for your dough.

Prepare your rolling surface. I like to roll mine out on a large cutting board b/c it makes for an easy transfer to the pie plate later.   Sprinkle tapioca flour over your rolling surface. Also sprinkle flour over your rolling pin.  When the disks are chilled, remove the first disk of dough from the fridge and place on your prepared rolling surface and sprinkle top of dough with tapioca flour.  The key to successfully rolling out gluten-free pie dough is to go slow. When I say slow, I mean SLOW. And with a light touch. If your dough starts cracking, slow down and don’t press so hard with your rolling pin.  With your rolling pin, carefully and patiently roll out the dough into a 12″ circle (it should be at least 3″ larger than the top of your pie pan). If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, add more tapioca flour.

NOTE: the dough should be cool but not too cold. It should roll fairly easily and should not break while you’re rolling it. If it does break a bit, don’t worry–breaks are easily fixed by smoothing the dough over the breaks.  If it seems too cold and you’re really having to work hard to roll it and it’s breaking a lot, step back and let it warm up a little bit before you continue. Alternately, if the dough is floppy and seems to be “sweating,” it is too warm and should be refrigerated for awhile longer.

If you have rolled your dough onto a surface like a cutting board like me you can now easily get it into the pie plate. Turn your pie plate upside down onto the center of your now rolled out circle. carefully invert your cutting board and pie plate.  Remove the cutting board and gently ease the dough into the plate so that it is all along the bottom and up the sides.  Trim any excess off.

If that doesn’t make sense you can very easily follow Jeanne’s instructions on her site. She offers great step by step pictures.

Fill it however you’d like. You can go savory like a quiche or sweet is always good too. I have made apple pie, individual crostatas, and now quiche. All yummy! This time I made the whole dough recipe in my food processor which was super easy and I thought just as good.

For my quiche recipe I just used what I had on hand.

Ham and Spinach Quiche:

6 large eggs

1 cup shredded sharp cheese

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1 cup chopped ham

2 TSP spicy brown mustard

1 tsp hot sauce

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour into prepared pie crust.

Bake at 375 for approximately 40-50 minutes, until browned on top and a knife inserted comes out clean. If it starts to get too brown on top cover with foil until finished cooking.

Sugared Cranberries

I think these are so pretty. They just ooze holiday festivity to me.  And they are a nice change from all the super sweet treats that are abundant this time of year. They are slightly sweet, with a crisp exterior, and a pop with a bit of tartness when you bite into them. I love all those things combined in this great little snack.

Serve them a little snack, put them out on your table with the holiday spread, or package them up in jars or boxes lined with parchment paper as gifts.

Sugared Cranberries

3 cups white granulated sugar
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup superfine sugar

Bring white granulated sugar and 3 cups water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. It is important to let the sugar water come to the simmering point. If you don’t, it won’t become sticky enough and later in the process your sugar won’t stick. But do NOT bring it to a boil . If you go past simmer, when you pour your cranberries in, they will BURST (like they do for cranberry sauce). You don’t want that.  Trust me. 😉
Remove from heat and add cranberries. Stir to get all the cranberries coated. Cover.
Steep cranberries in sugar water in fridge overnight. (I only steeped mine for 6 hours and they were wonderful).
Strain cranberries well and gently toss in a shallow bowl with superfine sugar. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to dry at least one hour.  Mine got crunchier on the outside the longer they sat out.

Mmmmmm.

Summer Squash Croquettes (Gluten Free)

These croquettes were born out of my husband’s dislike for yellow summer squash. I usually saute it in the summer and he typically won’t eat it because he doesn’t like anything “mushy”.  Today, after receiving a PILE of squash from a local farmer, I decided I would come up with a way to make it that would appeal to him. And thus, this recipe. I am pretty pleased with the results.

The idea for them came from my Salmon Croquettes. I started wondering if some finely chopped and sauteed squash and onions could be formed into patties or croquettes and then given a crispy exterior by coating them in gluten free breadcrumbs. And YAY it worked. These can be very versatile, depending on what you have on hand. You could do these with zucchini and squash or even just zucchini. And these passed the ultimate test. . . my husband happily ate them!

I hope your family will enjoy them as a fun side dish this summer!

INGREDIENTS:

Approx 2 cups of diced yellow summer squash (or zucchini)

1/2 cup finely chopped vidalia onion

1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (divided)

1 egg

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or spinach) (optional but adds great green color and some nutritional value)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp salt (you may can leave this out since the parmesan cheese adds salt also)

1/4 tsp black pepper

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Place finely chopped squash and onions into a microwaveable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 3-4 min, until they are slightly soft. I like my squash to still have some texture to it. Let this cool for at least 5 min or you will scramble the egg when you add it.

Add the egg, 1/2 cup of the  breadcrumbs (reserve the other 1/2 cup), parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper.  Mix well with hands or a spoon until combined thoroughly.

Heat several TBSP of olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Form mixture into balls and flatten slightly. Roll or pat into the other 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs.  Place each patty/croquette into the hot oil and cook 3-4 min on medium heat until browned. Flip and cook other side until golden brown. Remove and repeat process with remaining croquettes. Serve and enjoy!

*You can do most of this in advance and chill the squash mixture until ready to form into croquettes and cook.

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes (Gluten Free)

So good.  So so good. I made these for my husband tonight and he loved ’em! I was a little skeptical, only because I’m not all that crazy about bleu cheese.  But, these were wonderful, with just the slightest hint of blue cheese.  I’m not even sure you would be able to guess what you were tasting if you tried it without knowing the ingredient list.  I can pretty much guarantee your family will like these.  I am not going to write much more about them, because you can find great pics and step by step instructions on Our Best Bites.  I only made a few changes to the original recipe.  And if you haven’t looked around their site yet, you should.  I made 3 different things from them tonight and all were good.  I love their pictures and creative ingredient lists.

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes

Recipe from Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
½ Cup sour cream
1 oz (1/4 cup) crumbled bleu cheese
¼ Cup milk or buttermilk
4 Tbs real butter, cut into chunks
¾ tsp salt
Dash pepper
½ t garlic powder
8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (helps crisp the skin) and place directly on oven rack, or a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour or until potatoes are done. I actually cooked mine potatoes in the microwave to save energy and not heat my kitchen up for so long.  I think I microwaved for about 10 minutes.  The skin wasn’t quite as crispy as it would have been if I had done them in the oven, but I was fine with that.  Besides, you finish them in the oven anyway.

2. Cut each potato in half to make 8 servings. You may want to hold them with a potholder as they will still be hot!

3. Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash, and add butter, sour cream, bleu cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place in a baking dish.

Put in hot oven (at 400) and bake for about 10-12 minutes.


4. Remove and sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato.  Bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

ENJOY!!!

Oh and my husband greatly enjoyed these dipped in a little spicy ranch dressing.  He just mixed some ranch with a tablespoon of Franks Hot Sauce.  YUMMY! 🙂

CJ’s Maple Dijon Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Gluten Free)

These are fabulous. And so easy. My cousin CJ gave me the recipe a while back and we loved them. I think she got the recipe from a cookbook or maybe foodnetwork.  Since hubby and my Dad have been working in the yard all day, I wanted to reward them with a tasty dinner.  We had sirlion steaks with mushroom burgundy sauce, these sweet potatoes, and a strawberry spinach salad.  It was a good night, indeed!

Maple Dijon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

serves 4-5 adults

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed into about 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 TBSP dijon mustard (I used a spicy dijon)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 425.

Whisk together the maple syrup and dijon mustard.  Pour it over the cubed sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Pour coated sweet potatoes onto a cookie sheet lined with foil (and greased) or parchment paper. Try to spread them out nicely.  If you pile them up on top of each other you won’t get nice browning on each one. I used two separate baking sheets and rotated them from top to bottom during the roasting.

Roast in the oven for 10 minutes and then toss them around. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes until they are slightly browned and fork tender. (Your cooking time could vary, depending on the size of your sweet potato cubes so keep good watch not to overcook them)

Serve and enjoy!

Herb Mashed Potatoes (Gluten Free)

The other day as I was putting together a meal for a friend, I decided to research some mashed potato recipes and try to come up with a good one.  I stumbled upon Tyler Florence’s recipe on Foodnetwork.  I liked his basic plan and just decided to tweak a few things, one being to make it a little healthier (he uses 2 CUPS of heavy cream!).  Homemade mashed potatoes are so easy and can be made pretty quickly.  I subbed red new potatoes,  2% milk for the cream, used 2 TBSP of butter, as opposed to 3, and added dried thyme.  Mmmmm good.  Joab and Daniel went crazy over them and were disappointed when I packed up most of them to give away.

Herb Mashed Potatoes (Gluten Free)

6-8 servings

4 pounds golden creamer potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (I used new potatoes)

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups milk (I used 2%)

2 TBSP unsalted butter

2 teaspoons dried thyme (you could use another seasoning if you prefer. . . rosemary would be great too!)

DIRECTIONS:

Cut up the potatoes into large chunks (I just quartered mine and I like to leave the skin on). Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 tablespoons salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain them well and remove the bay leaf.

Pour the potatoes into a large bowl.  Add the milk, butter, and thyme.  Use a hand mixer or potato masher to mash the potatoes and combine everything.  Mix to your desired consistency.  Some people like their mashed potatoes perfectly smooth.  That is fine but I like mine with chunks of potatoes here and there.  I leave mine kinda chunky.  Make it how you like it.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Thick, chewy granola bars (gluten free)

If you are like me, you sometimes struggle to find time for breakfast. I know I need a healthy dosage of protein in the mornings, as well as fiber and some whole grains. But, man is it hard to get all that and still get kids to school on time, straighten up, and manage to get a shower.

Sure, I make oatmeal and I scramble eggs.  But sometimes I just get tired of that.  I started searching a few weeks ago for a good granola bar recipe.  Yes, I could buy them at the grocery.  The supply of gluten free ones is limited, but even most of those are packed with ingredients I’m not that fond of, including high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and tons and tons of sugar.  All that to say, after my searching, I have found IT.   The original recipe is from SmittenKitchen ( http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/thick-chewy-granola-bars/).  I didn’t change much and they turned out great.

And it is versatile. You can play with them and make them with the flavors you and your family like. I used cranberries, almonds, and walnuts in mine.  But you could use any dried fruits, nuts, even coconut.

So, if you are in need of a quick breakfast or nutritional boost in your day, give these a try for something new.   Or maybe your husband leaves at the crack of dawn some days like mine and you want him to have something tasty to take with his coffee? 🙂  I bet he would love you for these!

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (original recipe by Smitten Kitchen, with just a few variations by me)

INGREDIENTS:

1 2/3 cups old fashioned  rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown  sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar) (I used 1/2 a cup and I thought it was PLENTY. I might actually decrease it a bit next time because I don’t want this to be like eating a dessert  🙂  )
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender) (I used 1/3 cup flax meal instead and loved it!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts  ( I used a cup of slivered almonds, a cup of chopped walnuts, and a cup of dried cranberries)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used natural crunchy peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter (I didn’t have butter, so I used 3 TBSP olive oil and 3 TBSP vegetable oil. . . worked GREAT)
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP  honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (I used Maple Syrup because I prefer its flavor)
1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

I let mine cool on the counter for about 30 min and then put them in the fridge for another 30-45 minutes. They were easy to cut and didn’t crumble at all!

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.  To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.