Monday, September 12, 2011

Gluten Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I have quite a few friends that are gluten (wheat, barley, and rye) free so little by little I've been trying to experiment with different flours to get a go-to all purpose flour substitute. I've had great success with the following mixture, which can be subbed 1 to 1 for any all purpose flour. I make a big batch of this and just store it in my cupboard for whenever I've making something without gluten:

Gluten Free All Purpose Mix
2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cups potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
2 tbsp xanthan gum

The recipe I made today is to die for. Not literally of course but seriously these are amazing in texture and flavor. Totally indistinguishable as gluten-free! This is a big smack in the gob from fall. If you have no desire to make them gluten free, feel free to use AP flour instead.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
adapted from Dreamy Desserts

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15 oz pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Mix
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat together the sugars, oil, and pumpkin, adding the eggs one at a time and mixing well after. Add vanilla.

In another bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Add little by little to the wet ingredients just until combined.

Using a pastry bag or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off, pipe the mixture in concentric circles starting from the middle and moving outward until the discs are about 2 inches wide. I like to use parchment paper

Bake for 11 minutes and cool on a rack.

Cream Cheese filling
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick of butter, room temperature
16 oz powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Frost flat side of half the pies and top with another piece.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pancake Syrup

Like I said in my previous entry, we've got one bajillion pounds of fruit in this house. One thing I love to make and uhh eat, is pancakes. Family friendly, quick, healthy (potentially, unless you're my husband. In which they are laden with chocolate chips), etc. Here is my recipe for the above pictured syrups. You can make them separately or combine to make taste explosion.

Blueberry Pancake Syrup

8 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup water
4 cups orange juice
3 cups white sugar
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1 cup of water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.

In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and cinnamon. Thin sauce with water if it is too thick for your liking.

Peach Syrup

10 sliced fresh peaches
1/3 cup sugar
2 dashes cinnamon
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups water

Put everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until desired thickness is achieved.

The peach syrup will be slightly cloudy. That's totally normal.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peach Cobbler

summer, thy name is peaches

I could eat peach something-er-others all year round, and we do because each year from the farmer's market we get 4 pecks (approximately 20 lbs) of peaches which we can, dehydrate, and freeze to enjoy later. Many, many of them are eaten as-is, you know - juice running down your arms and neck.

I made this peach crisp last night and ahem. enjoyed it until midnight. I also have quite a few gluten free friends so instead of all purpose flour I use almond flour.

Peach Cobbler

5 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1" pieces
1–1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
Heaping 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup walnut bits
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp chilled butter, cut into bits
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine peaches, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients and toss until well blended. Then sprinkle over peach mixture.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy warm, with ice cream, or umm for breakfast if you're fancy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peanut butter chocolate chip pie

This recipe and photograph is taken directly from Baked Bree

There is kind of an unspoken rule amongst my friends that I am expected to bring a dessert to cookouts or potlucks. It just wouldn't be an afternoon at my house without sharing pie or cookies (or both, whatever) over a cup of tea. This is my favorite all-season pie recipe.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix together and press into a pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Let cool and start on the filling.

For the filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup peanut butter (I use smooth)
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Whip the heavy cream and set aside. Cream together the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add the vanilla. Fold the whip cream mixture into the peanut butter mixture. Add the chips. Pour into cooled crust. Chill before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Almond Chicken Salad

Once I went to a bridal shower for a friend and they served chicken salad sandwiches on luscious, buttery croissants and I may or may not have asked if I could take some home. And I may or may not have gone home with a half dozen in my purse.


Can I blame it on the fact that I was pregnant? Because I was and I am going to.

The point is that I love chicken salad. I've never had one I didn't like! There are endless things to love and endless ways to tailor the recipe to your personal tastes. My husband hates nuts of all kinds (well except peanuts but what kind of loon would want peanuts in their chicken salad?) My kids and I love them all so I made two batches of this to suit everyone. I added grapes but you could easily sub a Granny Smith apple or if you want to get REALLY wild, some dried cherries. BONKERS I KNOW but it's fab. Also, pecans instead of almonds would be delicious too.

Almond Chicken Salad

1 cup almonds, salted and roasted
2 whole boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup of seedless grapes, halved
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayo
Black pepper

If you want to make your own mayo (I admire you but yeah, I am not that person):
Blend eggs, yolk, salt, pepper, mustard, and lemon juice in a blender. Stream in the oils and blend on high until thickened. Extra mayo can be stored in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, grapes, celery, onions, and parsley, and just enough mayo to bind the chicken salad. Salt and pepper to taste. If serving, add the almonds. If making ahead of time, wait to add the almonds until just before assembling the sandwiches.

Makes 4 delicious sammiches

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Teriyaki Noodles with Asparagus and Snap Peas

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Just by adding a little extra liquid, you can turn virtually any stir-fry into an excellent sauce for tossing with noodles, rice, or other grains. Asparagus is particularly nice here because it browns beautifully, but you can use green beans or sliced broccoli as alternatives. (I peel thick asparagus, which isn’t strictly necessary, but it only takes a minute and makes it much less fibrous. Or skip the whole thing and use broccoli florets.) For a spicier sauce, add a couple dried red chiles to the skillet along with the garlic and ginger.

1 1⁄2 pounds asparagus, peeled if thick, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces of noodles such as rice, buckwheat (soba), or wheat noodles. I used these
1 -2 cups of fresh or frozen snap peas
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup mirin, or 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1. If the asparagus is thick, parboil it, then shock it in a bowl of ice water and drain. If the spears are thin, don’t bother.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put a large skillet over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oil, wait a few seconds, and add the asparagus and scallions. Cook, stirring, for a minute, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Cook until the asparagus is dry, hot, and beginning to brown and get tender, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the pan from the heat.

3. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Check them frequently: The time will vary from a minute or 2 for thin rice noodles, to 5 minutes for soba, or up to 12 minutes for wide brown rice noodles. Drain the noodles, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

4. Turn the heat under the asparagus to medium. Add the noodles, snap peas , soy sauce, mirin, and about 1⁄2 cup of the reserved water to the skillet; continue to cook, stirring, until the asparagus and snap peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls, spooning any extra broth in the pan over all. Serve hot.

You could easily add chicken or swap the vegetables for other types. The original recipe called for edamame instead of snap peas. Just use what you have on hand!

Adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breakfast Bars

This is an incredibly delicious, healthy, but most of all easy recipe that I use all the time. It is adaptable to an endless combination of flavors too! I throw in whatever I happen to have on hand. The main component is the honey-peanut butter to bind it together and a cereal as a base so don't stress if you don't have anything else lying around. I've had great success with puffed grains as a base but I've also used Life and Cheerio type cereals too.

Breakfast Bars

1/2 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter
1-2 cups cereal
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp wheat germ
Optional additions: nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips

In a small sauce pan melt together the honey and peanut butter until smooth. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and toss until well combined. Pour peanut butter mixture over and stir until everything is well coated. Press into an 8x11 inch pan and cool completely before cutting.