Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fresh From the Oven - Valentine's Day cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

I always try to make a special treat for my kids for Valentine's Day.  Often I make chocolates, but this year the Enjoy Life chocolate chips have gotten much more expensive so I didn't have enough on hand to make specialty chocolates.  I thought about sugar cookies, but didn't have enough time.  Finally, I settled on chocolate cupcakes with pink icing.  I've been working hard at avoiding food dyes in the foods I make, so had to come up with something I would have on hand that would make a delicious frosting.
For lunches that morning, I'd stumbled upon a bag of Jamaica flowers (hibiscus) that I kept forgetting about and decided to make the boys a beautifully red iced tea for their lunch.  (We purchase this tea in Mexican markets whenever we get the chance.  It's cheap and makes a delicious (and beautiful) iced tea.)  And, so, I had my coloring idea for the frosting.  While the cupcakes cooled, I made a very strong bit of Jamaica tea.

Then, when I made the frosting, I used the strained tea as the liquid.  The frosting turned out great, with just a hint of fruity tangy taste to it.  (One son thought it tasted a bit like strawberry icing.)

Chocolate "Buttermilk" Cake
adapted by Raechel Medina from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
1 2/3 c. GF flour mix (I've successfully used either Featherlight or Four Flour Bean)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
1 c. milk substitute with about 1 Tbsp lemon juice added (I've used hemp milk, cashew milk or just water)
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans or one 9x13-inch pan or a 12-hole muffin tin.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Spread into the pan(s) and bake about 20-25 minutes for the rounds, 35-45 minutes for the large or 23 minutes for cupcakes.  Test to see if a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's for dinner? Burgers, Potato Wedges and Coleslaw

We've been having a lot of coleslaw this winter, so I thought I should finally measure the ingredients as I toss them together so I can share my recipe.  And burgers with potato wedges have become one of my stand by, quick meals (as long as I have a batch of burger buns in the freezer).

1/4 medium head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 medium head purple cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded

3/4 c. mayonnaise (I use Spectrum Canola)
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
3 1/2 tsp. sugar

In a large bowl, mix veggies together and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce, adjusting spices to taste if needed.  Stir until smooth.
Drizzle sauce over veggies and mix well.  Chill in refrigerator before serving (however, the longer it sits, the more it will separate - it's best within about half an hour or so of making.)  Leftovers can be stored and eaten within a day or two (at least the kids and I still like it; my husband is a bit pickier about it.

Potato Wedges

8 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice washed potatoes lengthwise into eighths.  Toss potato wedges into a bowl with a tightly fitting lid or a plastic bag.  Drizzle oil over the potatoes, then add spices.  Shake well to mix the spices all over the potatoes, then pour out onto an oiled cookie sheet (I line mine with foil too to make cleanup easier).  Place into oven and bake, stirring once, for about 20-30 minutes piercing with a fork to test for doneness.

Hamburger Buns
 From The Gluten-free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman

INGREDIENTS                                               6 BUNS            12 BUNS
Featherlight Rice Flour Mix                               1 ½ cups            3 cups
Xanthan gum                                                     1 tsp                  2 tsp
Egg Replacer (optional)                                     1 tsp                  2 tsp
Unflavored gelatin                                             1 tsp                   2 tsp
Baking powder                                                 1 ½ tsp               1 Tbsp
Salt                                                                   ½ tsp                 1 tsp
Sugar, divided                                                   1 ½  Tbsp          3 Tbsp
Warm water                                                      1 cup                 2 cups
Dry yeast granules                                              2 ¼ tsp              2 ¼ tsp
Dough enhancer or vinegar                                 1 tsp                  1 ½ tsp
Eggs                                                                  1                        2
Vegetable oil                                                     2 Tbsp                4 Tbsp

Place 6 (12) muffin rings on 1 (2) cookie sheet(s) and grease with vegetable oil spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, Egg Replacer (if using), gelatin, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar to the warm water and sprinkle on the yeast.  Set aside to foam slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together at low speed of a hand mixer the remaining sugar, dough enhancer, egg(s), and vegetable oil.  Add the yeast mixture.  Beat in half of the dry ingredients.  With a mixing spoon, stir in the remaining flour and beat until smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared rings.  (*I like to add a sprinkling of sesame seeds to each bun at this point.)  Cover lightly and let rise in a warm place until double in size (20-25 minutes for rapid-rising yeast, 40-45 minutes for regular yeast).  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-22 minutes.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's for dinner? "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

I haven't made this for awhile, but had a hankering.  It's based off of a recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook but I just used it as a guide and made my own measurements (although I must use the term loosely).  My kids raved about it.  Even hubby tried a taste (he wasn't fond of the real version before either...no meat...but he said the taste was pretty close to the dairy-filled version, so I'll take that as a compliment.

"Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

(all measurements are a rough guide - I usually don't measure much when I make soups)

3 large carrots, diced
2 medium onions, diced
4 medium potatoes, diced
7 cups water or broth (or enough to cover cooking veggies)
3 cups cooked or canned white beans (northern or navy)
1 cup nutritional yeast
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt (probably around 2-3 tsp if using water, less if using broth)
3 cups steamed broccoli

In a large soup pot, sautee carrot and onion until onion becomes translucent & soft.  Add potatoes and water or broth, cover and let boil until veggies are very soft.  Add beans, spices, lemon juice and nutritional yeast.  Blend in batches (be careful to hold a towel tightly over the blender lid or it will pop off and burn you).  Add pureed soup back into pan and add broccoli.  Taste and adjust spices if necessary.