2/26/15

Delicious Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

  
I shy away from posting someone else's recipe in this blog, but this one is worth an exception. I made these rolls last night and they are fabulous! Make them for yourself or make a batch for a GF family member or friend and treat them to the bread they've been missing! I think even non gluten-free eaters will love these rolls, as Rick did.

NOTES: I ordered the specified flour from Amazon, but the next time I'll try some other GF all-purpose flour, like Bob's Red Mill, for comparison. The original recipe, with many variations, is here, on the flour website, but I first saw it posted by another food blogger with her changes, and that's the version I followed (and posted below). Next time I make these, I'll reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons, since they tasted a bit sweet to me (some sugar is necessary, to feed the yeast). I used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar (which is only on my shelf for the hummingbirds). I might use honey next time, which always worked fine in my non GF bread recipes in place of white sugar. Also, I used unsalted butter. The recipe calls for xanthan gum, which might not be on your baking shelf if you are not GF yourself; it's a bit pricy but you use very little at a time. A substitute which perhaps you'd have more use for is psyllium powder, which you can buy at a drug store or online as Konisyl Original Psyllium Fiber. I don't have a cookie scoop, so I greased an ice cream scoop (complete with a penguin handle!) and globbed the dough into the pan, smoothing it with wet fingers. I made 8 rolls (and we each ate 2!), not 9, so mine were a little bigger. They browned really fast; I added the note about browning in the recipe below, in case your oven reacts the same as mine. Remove the rolls from the pan as soon as possible, as with all gluten-free baked goods. 
Bottom rolls have been smoothed with wet fingers.
     There are many other GF recipes on the flour maker's website so be sure to check it out - I plan to try others, maybe the pumpernickle bread next.


Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls {Gluten-free}
Author: Michelle @ MyGluten-freeKitchen.com
Recipe type: Yeast Breads/Rolls
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Serves: 9
NOTE: Ingredients in red type are detailed on the "Ingredients" page of this blog

INGREDIENTS
2-3/4 c Gluten Free Mama's Almond Blend Flour
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum or 1 T psyllium powder
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 c warm water (105-110°)
2 T butter, dairy-free margarine, or Spectrum shortening, melted
1 egg (preferably room temp)
1 tsp cider vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS
Right out of the oven, brushing the tops with melted butter
In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, mix together flour, xanthan gum, instant yeast, sugar, and salt. With mixer running on low speed, add in the water, melted butter (or substitute), egg, and cider vinegar. Mix on high speed 3 minutes.

Spray 8" or 9" round cake pan or pie plate with cooking spray. Using a 2" scoop or ⅓ cup measuring cup, scoop dough into 9 mounds in the pan. I place one mound in middle, then scoop 8 mounds of dough side by side all the way around the pan. Dip your fingertips into warm water and use to smooth out the tops of the rolls, continuing to wet fingers as needed.

Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the last few minutes that the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 400°. Bake in 400° oven for 26-28 minutes. [If they brown too fast, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top to prevent further browning; I had to do this after 15 minutes of baking.] Tops should be golden brown and if you measure temperature of dough, it should measure 200°. Brush rolls with additional 1/2-1 Tablespoon of melted butter.

Let me know how you like these!

2/15/15

Variations On A Breakfast Favorite, Muesli

In the late 19th century, a Swiss physician and pioneer nutritionist named Dr. Bircher-Benner ran a sanatorium in Zurich, using diet as a means of healing patients. He created "muesli," a blend of hearty grains, seeds and fruit - but a different combination from what today is known as muesli.
     To me, muesli is a hearty and delicious breakfast dish using uncooked rolled oats, which my friend Claudia from Swizterland introduced to me many years ago. Traditionally, the oats are mixed with yogurt, milk and other ingredients and refrigerated overnight, which allows the uncooked oats to absorb the liquids, soften and blend. I've tweaked my recipe over the years, substituting nonfat dairy products, eliminating sour cream since I rarely have it on hand (original called for 3/4 c yogurt  + 1/4 c sour cream), and using apple or pear sauce instead of grated apple. Below I've posted my version of Breakfast Muesli, and then several of my variations… invent your own!
     I was inspired to share this recipe after learning of some Overnight Oats/Chia Pudding recipes my friends Richard and Regina have been enjoying. The ingredients and process are similar to the recipe below, with an addition of chia seeds. The chia seeds add a great nutritional boost, so now they are a mainstay in my recipe.


JUDY'S BREAKFAST MUESLI
Author: Judy Lavoie
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Serves: 3-4
NOTE: Ingredients in red type are detailed on the "Ingredients" page of this blog

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking, and gluten-free if that is a concern)
  • 1 c Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 t fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c milk of choice (dairy, almond, cashew, rice, hemp, organic soy)
  • 1-1/2 t real maple syrup
  • 1/2 apple, grated OR 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce or pear sauce
  • 1/2 banana, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 1 t chia seeds
DIRECTIONS
In a container with a lid, stir together all the ingredients except the apple and banana. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, prepare the apple and banana and stir them into the oat mixture. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top of each serving. Eat and enjoy!


VARIATIONS:

Carob and Raspberry Muesli
Add 2 t carob powder to the recipe above, and stir in 1/2-1 cup of fresh raspberries just before serving. Garnish with a few whole raspberries.

Pumpkin Muesli with Currants
Delete the milk and add these ingredients to the original recipe (above) before refrigerating overnight:
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 t pumpkin pie spices
1 t molasses or sorghum syrup
When ready to serve, sprinkle dried currants over the top of each serving. (Or add them the night before, and they will absorb some liquid and soften a bit.)

Double Berry Muesli
Delete the apple and add these ingredients to the original recipe (above)  before refrigerating overnight:
1/3 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 c sliced fresh strawberries
OPTIONAL: 1 T buckwheat

1/26/15

Whipped Coconut Cream

Whipped Coconut Cream on top of my homemade Pumpkin Bread Pudding (a future recipe post)

My friend Diane asked that I post this recipe after I served it on pumpkin bread at a gathering of gardening friends last week. I first made this recipe last Thanksgiving, to go on top of a peanut-chocolate pie (recipe in a future post) I was bringing to our hosts. We had a 3-hour drive and I knew "real" whipped cream would not be a good option... I couldn't whip it fresh on-site at a house I'd never been to (filled with loads of people I'd never met!), and if I made it ahead it would have lost its volume in transit. So I decided to try a variation of a coconut whipped topping recipe I had copied off the internet. I got many compliments, no complaints, and didn't find any reason to reveal its unconventional ingredients. I dubbed it a winner!

I love this non-dairy alternative to traditional Whipped Cream for several reasons:
  • I always have the ingredients on hand
  • It's very fast and easy to make
  • Doesn't separate even if mixed days ahead
  • Travels well
  • Can be made with simple hand-mixing; a mixer is not essential
  • It's thick and rich, so you don't need to use much for each serving
  • Cholesterol-free
  • I can control what goes in it (ReadyWhip and other creams have ingredients I don't like)
  • All-natural ingredients (unlike other non-dairy whipped toppings)
  • Sweetening with stevia creates a sugar-free topping
  • This is delicious!
 Whipped Coconut Cream
(makes about 10-12 servings)
(items in red type are detailed on the Ingredients page) 

INGREDIENTS
1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
vanilla stevia* to taste

Optional Ingredients: Other flavored extracts (like almond or peppermint), cocoa or carob powder, citrus peel, cinnamon or other spices

DIRECTIONS
I keep one unopened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator all the time, UPSIDE-DOWN so it will be cold whenever I am ready to make this. Cooling helps make the thick creamy part separate from the watery liquid. Open the can at the top and scoop the thick white cream into a small bowl. To catch all the thick cream, you can scoop the last of it with a spatula, pouring the watery liquid through a strainer to catch any remaining thick cream. Save the watery liquid to use in smoothes or other recipes.

Use a hand whisk to mix in the vanilla stevia. If you don't want to use vanilla stevia, add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 T of honey or maple syrup or agave nectar. Alternately, you can beat the cream with a hand- or standup-mixer to make it more airy and light. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This mixes up so firm and thick that you can pipe it for a more decorative look, decorating a cake top with it in place of frosting. Or just plop it by the spoonful on top of a slice of pie, sweet bread, pudding, fresh fruit, or whatever suits your fancy. If left in the refrigerator, it might thicken, but just stir it up again when ready to use. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long at your house! Let me know how you use this recipe.

* I make my own vanilla stevia. I harvest organic stevia leaves and flowers from my summer garden and pack them in a jar, covered with vodka of the highest proof I can find affordably. After 4-6 weeks, I strain the plant materials out and discard them in my compost, and put the extract into a jar. I add several pieces of vanilla bean, (some I have already used to make vanilla extract!) and leave them in the jar with the stevia extract indefinitely. You can purchase vanilla stevia liquid extract also. Since there is no consistency to the sweetness of stevia extracts, taste as you add very small amounts - it is powerful.

1/13/15

Introducing the Recipe Guide

Now you can quickly find recipes on my blog. There's still a list of labels in the right column, but the food posts are sometimes hard to find among all the gardening info. Now I've made locating recipes even easier by linking to all my recipe posts in a special new Favorite Recipes index.

Once on the blog, just click on "Favorite Recipes" at the very top of the home page. My recipes are categorized to make it easy to browse. There are Appetizers, Breakfast Foods, Salads & Dressings, Entrees, Vegetable Dishes, Desserts, and seven other sections. Many recipes are naturally gluten-free, but those with specific gluten-free ingredients are listed also, in the last category.

Have fun!

1/7/15

Spinach Salad with Fruit

I adapted this salad and its dressing from one served by my friend LoLo:
  • 5 oz fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut in small pieces
  • 1 c fresh raspberries or sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • Judy's Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing
Layer in bowl: spinach, fruit, nuts & feta. When ready to serve, add desired amount of dressing, toss, and serve.

Winter Protection

Winter in Tennessee… yesterday was sunny, calm, and a comfortable high of 45 degrees. But the temperature has been dropping steadily since then, with a forecast of 1°F by midnight tonight, with possible flurries. BRRRRR.

In the fall, I dug up and potted some of my favorite and most tender perennials to ensure I'd have them for my garden when the weather warms again. In my south facing basement window are aloe vera, chocolate mint, lemon grass, bay leaf, and stevia. I have a small winter vegetable plot going at the front of my recently re-fortified vegetable garden, with patches of collards, spinach, leaf lettuce, onions, arugula, and some little seedlings of corn mache. The cold frame is planted with more spinach, and a bunch of swiss chard plants seeded next to the cold frame last year and have given me small harvests continuously.

All of these garden vegetables are described as "cold hardy," but single digit temperatures will be damaging or fatal even for these plants. To keep the low temperatures from ending my winter harvest, I went outdoors in yesterday afternoon's sunshine to protect the garden. First, I picked big bags of collards, spinach, and chard. I picked the tender young tips of pea pod plants which I know won't survive the cold - pea leaves are edible, delicate, and delicious. I rounded out my harvest of greens with big handfuls of wild chickweed, which seeds itself and grows profusely in winter, especially in the rich soil around my compost bin. Chickweed can be eaten in salads or cooked gently. It has a mild flavor which reminds me of corn on the cob. If you raise chickens, find some for them... I hear they love it.


Wild chickweed grows well all winter and it's delicious.
I wanted to insulate my veggies with layers, so I raked wheelbarrow loads of fallen leaves from the driveway drainage ditches (doubling the value of my labor) and packed them gently around the stems and over the tops of the plants. Our winter thus far has been mild and wet - proven by the 3 flowering daisies and 2" shoots of early spring daffodils which I spotted while raking. On top of the piles of leaves I spread big bedsheets (retired for garden use) and canvas tarps, anchored with rocks around all edges so the wind won't disturb the coverings. Not enough protection to keep Maggie Mae from disturbing it however; I had to go out and recover the patch of spinach today after she dragged the covering off and up the front stairs. Never a dull moment with an overgrown puppy! A fitted sheet was the perfect cover for the cold frame, which is buttoned down tightly.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner of sauteed greens with spaghetti, mixed with homemade basil pesto from the freezer, toasted sunflower seeds (my substitute for pinenuts, which I can't find a source for in the US) and parmesan. Tonight I'll be making collard leaves stuffed with mixed grains and veggies, topped with tomato sauce and cheddar. Hopefully, I'll uncover the garden after the cold snap to find happy greenery continuing to feed us fresh garden produce through spring.

12/22/14

Seminole Pumpkin - A Garden Favorite!

Seed catalogs are arriving now, so it's a good time to share one of my garden favorites with you, Seminole Pumpkin. I was enticed by the Baker Creek seed catalog description "The wild squash of the Everglades… sweet flesh … productive vines … resistant to insects and disease." Squash bugs are often attracted to my organic garden, and I'd lost hopes of growing my favorite butternut squash ever again. (Note: winter squash and pumpkins are in the same vegetable family). But Seminole Pumpkin gave me new hope, and I figured a plant native to the Everglades should find happiness in my hot, humid Tennessee garden. So I ordered a package of seeds in late 2012.


Big squash plants need lots of space for their vines to spread, so I ended up only growing one Seminole Pumpkin plant in the 2013 summer garden (two are recommended, for optimal pollination). But it proved true to its description, growing strong with no damage by insects, and giving me a good harvest of about 5 big fruit, shaped much like bird house gourds. It was a lovely plant too, with large distinctive variegated leaves and huge yellow flowers (edible by the way). I enjoyed the taste just as well as butternut squash, so more good points for the pumpkin.

This past season I left the vegetable garden unplanted, as I renourished the depleted soil. Low and behold, in early summer a couple of healthy plants began to grow out of my compost bin, and I recognized the leaf as that of the Seminole Pumpkin. Evidently, some of the seeds discarded in the compost bin when I cooked the vegetable the previous fall had survived. Never one to throw away a good healthy plant (which explains why I have too many flower gardens!), I carefully dug three seedlings and planted them in the big pile of rich composted mulch from a nearby mushroom factory, which had been left from tilling some into the garden a few months previous. Wow, did they grow! A few times I gently re-directed the vines, as they spread across one of our walking trails.


By early September, ten big squashes had matured from green to tan and the skins were thick, indicating ripeness. Amazingly, I still had one Seminole Pumpkin left from the previous year, stored in our basement which maintains a year-round temperature of about 60°F... so it stores very well. I picked the ripe ten squashes and  continued to harvest individual pumpkins for several weeks. When a heavy frost threatened in mid October, I read that I should pick any remaining squashes and let them ripen indoors; these would not be as good for longterm storage as those which had ripened on the vines. So I picked about 10 more which still had some green skin. Not wanting to line them up in the living room, where the room temperature would be closer to the recommended 80 degrees for ripening, I placed these on my open shelves in front of the south-facing basement window. It took many weeks, but eventually these fruit did ripen, and tasted just as good as the others.

I also recommend Seminole Pumpkin because it is very nutritious, easy to cut, and the seeds roast up as a delicious snack. My raw harvested squashes cut very well with my best bread knife. You can roast, boil, microwave, and cook squashes in a variety of ways; I find it quick and easy to cook large batches in my pressure cooker, unpeeled. Once cooked and cooled, the pulp easily scoops out of the shell. To use fresh pumpkin in baking (especially in recipes calling for canned pumpkin), it is best to drain off the excess liquid from the pulp. After I mash the pumpkin in the food processor to make a smooth consistency, I either
  • drain the puree in a colander lined with coffee filters and discard the liquid 
  • put the puree in a container and refrigerate overnight, then pour off the liquid which separates from the pulp
This pumpkin freezes well; I measured about 3 cups of puree from each harvested squash, and stored it in zip bags which stack flat in the freezer.

If you want to grow Seminole Pumpkin, just ask me for some seeds and I'll save some I don't eat!

Also, check out these recipes which use fresh pumpkin:
Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles
Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
and watch for my future posts (like the yummy pumpkin cake shown here) using this nutrituous delicious vegetable!