Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A slice of Lasagna, a new discovery, a replacement for ricotta!

     I have been cooking gluten free for a while now, and there are still many times that I feel very much like a novice.  I realize there as so many things I still haven't tried.  So my discovery this week (which I am sure some of you will shake your heads at me, and say "Where have you been?") is cream of buckwheat.  I have had buckwheat pancakes and I really didn't care for them at all.  Probably a major contributor as to why I shunned buckwheat altogether.  But that has changed for me now.

      I had a friend share a new recipe with me that she had cooked for her family.  It was lasagna from The Spunky Coconut Cookbook by Kelly Brozyna.  (By the way the lasagna recipe is on page 110-111 of her cookbook).   She shared with me a slice of her lasagna and included the recipe. When I read the ingredients,  I was surprised that the ricotta like filling in the lasagna was cream of buckwheat!

     So today I tried my hand at making lasagna the way I normally do, with the exception of my new found ricotta wanna be filling.  Out of the ten of us, I had one person say my lasagna was so-so.  Good enough odds for me!

     Cooking the cream of buckwheat was simple.  I followed the directions on the package, but instead of cooking it in water, I choose my favorite milk substitute.  Then you can flavor the cream of buckwheat like Kelly Brozyna did with Italian seasoning or you can just as easily add a little salt and pepper and leave it plain.  Then Viola!  You use it between the layers in your lasagna.  

     As I was making the cream of buckwheat I thought how you could easily spice the buckwheat with pesto, or any of your favorite herb seasonings  to use in savory dishes, or punctuate it with cinnamon and sugar in sweeter dishes.  I am looking forward to trying it in my other recipes that call for ricotta.  And on another note, the box said that it could also be used in place of grits.  After tasting them, I could see where it could be a substitute.  So another thing to check out since we have one person in our family that is allergic to corn.  I have a recipe for a grits casserole and I always cook my grits in a broth for added flavor.   You could easily do the same with the cream of buckwheat for a savory dish.

     I am excited at the prospect of experimenting more with this new found ingredient.  Thanks Sarah for introducing me to cream of buckwheat!  What a good friend!
     And for those of you who already knew about cream of buckwheat,  I am on the train now.  I am catching on!

They said you can freeze your made cream of buckwheat into ice cube portions.  I am giving that a try.

Gluten Free Corn Dogs

Free of:  Gluten, Dairy, Soy

My kids went to the fair a couple of weeks ago, and typical fare of course includes wanting funnel cakes and corn dogs.    So this week as a treat,  I tried to find a corn dog recipe that met their approval.    I have tried once before, and they hated it.  So this my second attempt at a different recipe.  The vote is in.  Five liked and one disliked.    I really enjoyed it and would definitely cook it again.

The recipe came from All Recipes and I wrote in red my substitutes for gluten free and dairy free.

Submitted By: SUZZANNA
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In40 Minutes
Servings: 16

"Hot dogs are skewered on sticks, dipped in corn batter, and then fried to a golden brown."
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (Cybele's GF FLour Mix)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (omitted)
1/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg  (can also use 1 egg white)
1 cup milk (1- 3/4 cup coconut milk or other milk substitute)
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
2 (16 ounce) packages beef frankfurters
16 wooden skewers
1.In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Stir in egg and milk. Place batter in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
2.Preheat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Insert wooden skewers into frankfurters. Dry off hot dogs.  Roll lightly in the GF all purpose flour.  Roll frankfurters in batter until well coated.
3.Fry 2 or 3 corn dogs at a time until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gluten Free Cake Pops (still experimenting!)

I had my first taste of these at a church function.  They were beautiful.  Way prettier than mine look here, but still I wondered for ease of passing out cakes at a party, if I could make them gluten free.   A popular book that is dedicated to these festival pops is a book called Cake Pops by Bakerella.  You can take a look at her website and see what beautiful creations she makes.  I decided to try my hand at making them for my son's birthday.

     These were yummy and disappeared but admittedly, I still need to work on the recipe.  I am excited that with a little more experimentation these will be promising.   So with no promises, I have written down my first try of this recipe.
     The problem I had with this recipe was not with making the cake portion of this pop, but in the frosting.  The gluten/dairy version calls for melted candy melts or chocolate bark.  My frosting recipe, as written, is thin and drips like you see in the picture.  When I made the frosting thicker ( by adding powdered sugar), the frosting added too much weight and the cake would break off the stick.  So, it is back to the drawing board on the frosting.  However, I thought I would share my tasty disaster with you!

Cake Pop:
1 pkg of your favorite GF chocolate cake mix ( I used Cherrybrook Kitchen)
Tub of favorite GF frosting ( I made my own favorite frosting below.  Also some people like to use a fruit spread like Polaner's instead of frosting.  I haven't tried that one yet, but it sounds yummy!)

Bake the cake according to the package.  Let it cool.  Crumble the cake mix thoroughly with your hands.  (I have read that some people like to put it through a blender.  Up to you.)  Add the tub of frosting and mix thoroughly.  I incorporated my whole batch of homemade frosting into my cake crumble.

You are now ready to make golf size balls cake balls.   Take a spoonful of the cake mixture and roll it in your hands until you have a ball.  Once you have all your balls rolled, you are now ready to insert the lollipop sticks.

Make your dipping frosting.  Take one end of your lollipop stick and dip it into your warm frosting.  Insert the lollipop stick half way through the ball.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Take the pops out of the refrigerator and dip the pops in the warm frosting, twirling the pop so that they frosting evenly coats the pop and allows the excess to drip off.   If you are using candy decorations, sprinkle the decoration on the pop now.  I like to spin the pop and sprinkle the pop at the same time.  Place the pop in a styrofoam block so that they will be able to sit upright and dry.   Continue until all the pops are coated.  Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Serve.

Note:  I made mine the day ahead, and refrigerated overnight and they were still very good.  The cake did not get hard or crumbly.

My favorite frosting:
1 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup organic peanut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a microwave bowl and microwave in 30 sec intervals and stir.  Keep microwaving until it is all melted and smooth.

Frosting for dipping:
1 pkg of Enjoy Life Chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tablespoons oil

Heat in a double broiler, stirring until it the chocolate is completely melted.  Keep warm for dipping.  

Coconut dyed with all natural dye.
All natural, dye free sprinkles.
Regular sprinkle if your not concerned with dyes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quick Apple Cake

I make this cake when I have little time but need a quick dessert for the kids.

1 pkg Gluten Free Pantry Old Fashioned Cake and Cookie Mix
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 small apples cut into thin slices and chopped into about 1/2 inch chunks

Follow the directions on the package adding the cinnamon when you add the vanilla extract.  Fold in the apples last.  Bake according to the package.
*I like to bake mine in a rectangular dish.

To Make this Recipe Free of Eggs and Dairy:

  • replace vegetable shortening - with Earth Balance or Spectrum shortening
  • replace eggs - with Ener-G egg replacer
  • replace milk - with coconut milk or your favorite milk substitute