Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vegetable Beef Kabobs

Full of vegetables, I wanted a mild beef flavor that wouldn't overpower the combination. I settled for a slightly sweet honey-beer marinade and was fairly happy with the result. The really good part was (of course) the grilled, juicy vegetables dipped in olive oil and thyme.

Makes 6 long kabobs (15 inch skewers**)
2 hours + 30 minutes + grilling time
-small saucepan for meat
-6 long metal or bamboo skewers
-gallon size plastic baggie
-tongs for grilling

Beef and Marinade
1/2 of a bottle of light-colored GF beer (I used New Grist)
1-2 tbsp. honey-- to taste
dash of dried ginger

1/2 lb. thick-cut steak, any kind
1/2 of a medium red onion
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow zucchini squash
1/2 of a medium green bell pepper
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Beef and marinade
1. Into the saucepan, pour the beer and mix with the honey. Add a dash of ginger, then taste your marinade. If not sweet enough, add in more honey. Could also try some Cayenne pepper for a kick.
2. Wash the steak and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place meat into the marinade. Cover and let sit for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge.
** If using bamboo or wooden skewers, don't forget to soak them in water for a good hour or so before threading and placing on the grill.

3. Once the meat has soaked long enough, begin coarsely cutting up the vegetables. Thickly slice the red onion and cut into 1 inch 'squares'. Half the cherry tomatoes. Cut both the zucchini and yellow zucchini into 1/2 inch slices, then half each slice. Thickly slice both the green and red bell peppers and cut into 1 inch 'squares'.
4. Place cut veggies into a large gallon-sized freezer bag. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil; shake to coat veggies. Add thyme and oregano (plus salt and pepper) into the bag. Shake until spices are well distributed. Let sit.
5. At this point, either pre-cook (boil) the beef pieces in the beer marinade for 5-10 minutes. Discard the honey-beer, either way.
6. Skewer the vegetables and meat, alternating and varying along the kabob. There will be much more veggies than meat.
7. Cook kabobs on the grill over open flames until the veggies and meat are toasted and sizzling. My pre-cooked meat kabobs were done within 5-8 minutes over a hot wood-burning fire. Make sure the beef is fully cooked, if you did not pre-boil it. Serve hot, right off the grill, with beans or salad. EDIT: These are not so good re-heated, even in the oven; make sure you eat them hot off the grill.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cookie Dough Layer Brownies

Someday, I will learn how to make lactose-free caramel, so I can concoct a GF version of my mother's caramel brownies. For now I will settle for this treat, which features a layer of brown-sugary goodness sandwiched between rich dark chocolate brownies and a layer of melted chocolate. I don't feel at all deprived.
From Pillsbury's "Best of the Bake Off" Cookbook.

Makes a 9 x 12 pan of bar cookies/brownies
20 + 40 + 10 minutes (plus 2 hours chilling time)
-large mixing bowl
-9 x 12 inch pan
-electric mixer
-small pot for melting chocolate

Middle Cookie Layer:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. white rice flour (don't use bean flour; this part won't be baked and will retain its 'raw' flavor)
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
Bottom Brownies:
1 box favorite GF brownie mix-- I used the 16 oz. Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix (requires 2 eggs and 6 tbsp. corn oil)
Top Chocolate Glaze:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels-- I used Enjoy Life's lactose-free chips
1 tbsp. shortening (NOT butter or oil)

**I made the middle layer before the bottom layer so to use my same big mixing bowl without raw egg contamination
Middle Cookie Layer:
1. Bring butter to room temperature. While butter is sitting out inside your big mixing bowl, gather sugars and flours.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter till smooth. Add in brown and white sugars. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (no longer than 2 minutes). Pour in 1 tbsp. of water and vanilla extract. Beat more to combine ; mixture should be a little less crumbly.
3. Add in 1/4 cup potato starch flour and 1/4 cup white rice flour. Mix gently by hand to combine, then add in remaining 1/2 cup white rice flour and heaping tsp. of xanthan gum. Beat for another minute with the electric mixer to make sure everything is well combined.
4. Scoop 'cookie dough' out of bowl and place on a piece of Al foil (use this piece to cover the 9 x 13 pan later on). Set in fridge while you mix and bake the bottom layer.
Bottom Brownies:
5. In same large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix as directed on package.
6. Pour/scoop brownie mix into greased 9 x 12 pan-- I used disposable Aluminum pan. Bake as directed on package, but DON'T overbake. You don't want the edges burnt.
7. Remove brownies from the oven and let them cool. (10 or so minutes; want brownies to be 'firm'.. place in fridge to speed up). Turn off oven. While the brownies are cooling, take 'cookie dough' layer out of fridge to soften.
8. Press soft cookie dough layer onto the top of the cooled, cooked brownies with your fingers. Evenly spread 'dough' out over the entire pan.
9. Pour 1 cup chocolate chips into a small pot. Add in 1 tbsp. shortening. Begin heating over LOW heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula.
10. When chips are fully melted and creamy, remove from heat and let cool a minute or so. Spread chocolate glaze evenly over the cookie dough layer with the spatula.
11. Cover pan with Al foil piece and place into the fridge until top chocolate glaze has hardened. To cut into bars: remove from fridge and let them warm up slightly (5 minutes). Cut and serve when bars are still chilled, but glaze is no longer rock-hard. Store in the fridge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Super-Quick Chili Topping

Whipped this up the other day to top off a loaded baked potato. Perfect for when you need a chili 'spread' but don't want to go all out and make a full batch. Great wrapped inside tortillas or as a Mexican-style chip dip. Could also spice up a hot dog or use for chili french fries.
Trade the fresh onion for 1 tsp. onion powder if really in a hurry.

Serves 3-4 (as a thick spread)
20 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 medium white onion --OR-- 1 tsp. onion powder
1/3 to 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (14.5 oz) can finely diced tomatoes*
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans*
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

cheddar cheese, to melt on top
*DelMonte diced tomatoes are GF; Bush's pinto beans are GF

1. Finely dice up the white onion. Set onion beside the range.
2. Rise off the ground beef and place into the large saucepan. Begin cooking the meat over medium heat. When the beef is browned (no longer pink on the outside), add in the diced onion. Cook until the meat until done, but still moist, about 10 minutes total cooking time.
3. Open and drain both the tomatoes and pinto beans, then add to beef/onion mixture; stir well. Season with chili powder and cumin. Add in a dash of cayanne pepper if you want more of a kick. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with melted cheddar cheese over a baked potato, as a dip, in a tortilla wrap, or over a hot dog and french fries.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Honey Carrots (with Snow Peas)

Originally this came straight off of AllRecipes (to use up the rest of my snow peas). I changed it by adding in potato pieces and then decided this might be better without. If you do use red potato in this -- it's not bad at all -- be sure to cut the potato into french-fry like pieces instead of cubes. I'll try this again with just lots of baby carrots and snow peas.
Buttery and tasty with just a slight hint of sweetness. Easy veggie side-dish.

Serves 2
25 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quick and simple

6 large carrots, peeled and cut -or- 1 c. baby carrots
[1 medium red potato -- optional]
1 c. snow peas, ends removed
1/2 cup water
1-2 tbsp. butter*
1/2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper
*Earth Balance Buttery Sticks make this lactose-free

1. Peel and wash large carrots. Cut into 1.5 inch long pieces. Slice each piece in half lengthwise if carrot diameter is too thick. If using baby carrots, you don't have to peel or cut.
(2. Wash red potato, and cut into french-fry-like pieces, about 1.5 inches long, 1/2 inch thick.)
3. Wash snow peas and remove the ends. Leave the peas long-- don't snap them in half. Set aside beside range.
4. Place carrots (and potatoes) into saucepan. Pour 1/2 cup of water over veggies and begin heating over high heat. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, let the carrots and potatoes boil for 4 minutes, then pour in snow peas. Cook for an additional 1 minute (5 minutes total of rolling boil; total time on the stove should be around 10 minutes).
5. Pour out any unused water and turn down the heat to medium-low. Place 1 tbsp. of butter into the drained saucepan. Heat up veggies for another 3 minutes or so.
6. Stir in 1/2 tsp. of honey. When done, veggies should be hot, tender and thinly coated with a sweet buttery glaze. Serve warm, as a side dish.

Green Beans with Penne

Inspired by GF Mommy's "Vegetable Pesto Pasta", I wanted some of my own, however, I also needed to make the mild tomato pesto along with it. Unsure at first about potatoes with pasta, but this turned out just fine. Ground beef could be a welcome addition**; I just preferred vegetarian today. Here's my adaptation:

Serves 2
25 minutes
-medium pot to cook pasta
-wok or large saucepan

1 c. uncooked Tinkyada Penne brown rice pasta (about 1/4th to 1/3rd of the bag)

1 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
3-5 large cloves of garlic
3/4 c. fresh green beans, ends removed
1 medium red potato
1 small zucchini (or half of a large one)
1 medium white onion
1-2 tbsp. dried basil leaves (use fresh leaves if you have them)
1/2 tbsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 of a 14.5 oz can DelMonte finely diced tomatoes, drained

Parmesan cheese, for topping

1. Begin cooking up pasta according to directions on the bag. Once al dente, rinse pasta several times with cold water. Drain, then stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil and set pasta aside.
2. Once the pasta has begun heating, begin cutting up veggies: peel and mince the garlic. Set the garlic into your large saucepan or wok. Add 2 tbsp. or olive oil to the garlic. Let it sit.
3. Wash and remove ends from the green beans. Snap the longer ones in half, so they will be about the same length as the penne noodles. Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, don't bother peeling if you use red potatoes. Rinse the potatoes in cold water. Set prepared green beans and potatoes aside.
4. Cut the zucchini into thicker matchsticks, about 1.5 inches in length. Coarsely cut up the white onion. Set sliced zucchini and onions aside, apart from potatoes and green beans.
5. Once all veggies are prepared, begin cooking up the garlic/oil mixture in the wok over medium-low heat. Let the olive oil infuse with garlic... this only takes 3-5 minutes. Don't let the garlic pieces singe; heat them until they are a lovely light tan.
6. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the green beans and potatoes to your wok-- be careful, my potatoes were still wet and the oil spit alot. Fry the beans and potatoes for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, but not too often, so as the potatoes crisp a little.
-- by now your pasta should be done--
7. Add in the onion and zucchini slices. Season generously with basil and oregano leaves. Stir-fry the entire veggie-mixture for another 5 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
8. Turn heat back down to medium-low. Stir in cooked and drained penne noodles. Also drain the tomatoes and pour in ~ 1 cup of diced tomatoes. Mix well. Heat pasta and tomatoes through, but don't let the tomatoes start falling apart. Serve warm with garlic bread and a nice summer salad. Top with some Parmesan, if you wish.

** EDIT- I cooked up some ground beef and added it to my leftovers. It indeed tasted great!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mongolian Beef

I had a request to attempt something Asian, and this is the result. Tangy, sweet and spicy... wonderful over long grain white rice. I used fresh ginger and real sesame oil to really make this taste authentic. Serve this with Vegetable Fried Rice.

Serves 2
50 minutes
-large wok
-large saucepan with deep sides

2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. fresh minced ginger (actually easy to get a small ginger root)
3-5 large garlic cloves

1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. Swanson beef broth (about 1/2 of a can-- freeze the rest in a plastic container for another day)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Meat and Veggies:
1 medium red pepper
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
5 green onions

1 lb. steak, your choice of cut
cornstarch, to cover meat ~1/8 c.
2 tbsp. sesame oil

3/4 c. uncooked white long grain rice

1. Pour sesame oil into saucepan. Peel both the ginger and the garlic; remove ginger's outer 'paper-ish' covering with your knife. Mince the ginger and garlic and place pieces into the sesame oil.
2. Heat sesame oil over medium heat, letting the garlic and ginger flavors infuse into the oil. Remove the saucepan from heat just when the garlic starts turning tan-- about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Carefully pour in the soy sauce, it may spit a little. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves. Add in the beef broth; hold on to the remaining broth, since you may need to add more liquid later.
4. Place the saucepan back over the medium heat. Add in a dash of red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy). Continue cooking the sauce, while it boils, for another 10 minutes. At this time it won't be very thick. Set sauce aside while you focus on the meat/veggies.
--At this time, you might want to start cooking up the white rice--
Meat and Veggies:
5. Coarsely cut up the red bell pepper, into slices, then 1.5 inch pieces. Remove ends from the snow peas and set aside with the red bell pepper. Chop up the green onions, using both the green stems and the white bulb. Leave the green onion pieces large, too. Set all veggies aside.
6. Wash meat off and cut into 1 to 2 inch slices (bite-sized pieces). Place dry pieces of meat into the large wok (NOT the sauce, yet). Sprinkle meat with cornstarch and toss/stir to coat. Pour 2 tbsp. of oil over the coated beef. Mix again.
7. Cook beef over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until browned. Add in the red bell pepper pieces and the snow peas (NO green onions, yet). Stir-fry the beef and veggies for another 5 minutes (10 minutes total for the beef), adding more oil if needed.
8. Remove the beef and veggies and place into the large saucepan, with the sauce. Stir well. Heat up the entire dish (saucepan) over high heat. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring well, while the sauce boils and thickens. Add in the green onions at the last minute, heating through.
9. Spoon hot beef + sauce over cooked white rice. Serve hot, with another Asian side-dish.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

BBQ Beef Brisket

This oven-cooked recipe turned out wonderful-- incredibly juicy and tender. Cut into slices and serve with beans and a salad, or shred it and put on GF hamburger buns. Either way, slather with the following tangy BBQ sauce.. it really compliments the beef!

Serves 8 (10+ as sandwich meat)
Overnight prep
20 minutes + 5 hours
-large, DEEP DISH, 13 x 9 inch disposable Al pan
-empty tin cans to collect beef fat

4-5 lb beef brisket
2 tbsp. Colgin's liquid smoke (I used Mesquite flavor)
2 tbsp. garlic powder*
2 tbsp. onion powder*
3 cups BBQ Sauce: Beef BBQ Sauce (or favorite bottled BBQ sauce)
*Colgin's Liquid Smoke is GF; McCormick spices are GF
10 GF BBQ sandwich buns
Bakes beans

Day before:
1. Cut the raw meat out from it's package and place into the large, deep dish Aluminum pan with the fatty side down. Rinse beef with water, then drain (careful to keep hold of the meat when draining).
2. Splash meat evenly with 1 tbsp. liquid smoke, then cover with 1 tbsp each of garlic and onion powder. Rub powders and liquid smoke into meat with your hands. Flip the meat (fatty side should now be up) and evenly pour 1 more tbsp. liquid smoke, garlic and onion powders over the beef. Rub flavors into this side like you did previously. Leave meat fatty side up.
3. Cover meat tightly with Aluminum foil and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.
Day of:
1. Preheat over to 300 F. Take marinated brisket out of the fridge and cook for 5 hours at 300 F. Remove fat periodically from pan if you want.
**Cook up BBQ sauce when there is ~30 minutes remaining for the beef
2. Remove beef from the oven and uncover. Scrape excess fat gently off the top of the meat (it should peel right off.. gross). Careful not to scrape off too much of the meat since the meat is very tender. Spoon fat into waiting empty tin can(s). Discard fat.
3. Once all the excess fat is removed, cut brisket (perpendicular to the grain) into thick slices or shred meat for BBQ beef sandwiches. Smother with warm BBQ sauce and enjoy with baked beans (I used Bush's Best Original Baked Beans), chips and a summer salad.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Beef BBQ Sauce

Tangy and thick. Goes great with beef brisket. You can always use your favorite pre-bottled sauce, but this one is so damn fast, and it's so worth it.

Makes 1.5 cups
15 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quick and simple
1 c. ketchup*
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce*
1 tbsp. butter (or use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for a dairy-free version)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Colgin's liquid smoke (use same flavor as you used on the beef-- I liked
1 tsp. chili powder*
1 tsp. garlic powder*
1 tsp. onion powder*
1/2 tsp. celery flakes *
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper*
*Colgin's Liquid Smoke is GF; McCormick spices are GF; Heinz ketchup is GF; Hunt's tomato sauce is GF

**Make this up when about 30 minutes remain on brisket cooking time
1. In medium saucepan, mix ketchup, tomato sauce, and butter. Begin heating over medium-low heat, stirring to melt the butter.
2. Add in brown sugar and honey. Stir to dissolve the sugar and fully mix in the honey.
3. Add in all the spices, stirring well: liquid smoke, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery flakes and a dash of cayenne pepper.
4. Once the sauce is fully mixed and heated through (turn down heat if the sauce begins to bubble) taste it. Add in more honey if too hot. Add in more cayenne pepper if too sweet. Add in more liquid smoke if not tangy enough.
5. Keep moderately hot while meat finishes cooking. Serve generously over warm cooked beef brisket. Works great as a BBQ sandwich sauce. Freezes well.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae

Summer is here!!!
This makes a wonderful GF dessert or snack. The frosted flakes totally satisfy my 'ice cream cone' cravings.

Serves 3-4
20 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quck and simple

Ice cream of choice (I use plain vanilla-- dairy free So Delicious)
Homemade Strawberry Syrup: Fresh Strawberry Syrup
handful of GF frosted flakes (I use Envirokidz Amazon Frosted Flakes)

1. Make up your own Strawberry Syrup as printed in link above [strawberries, water, sugar]. Chill or pour it warm over the ice cream.. both are delicious.
2. Duh--Just follow the picture.
Go wild. Triple this to feed a party of good friends.

Fresh Strawberry Syrup

Scandalously easy and oh so good. Perfect for a painless GF dessert (no expensive, hard to get GF flour!!). I once made this for a bunch of friends, serving it over regular vanilla ice cream. They couldn't believe something so yummy could be so simple. Wonderful and fresh with only 3 ingredients.

Serves 3-4
15 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quick and simple

1 lb of fresh strawberries
1/4 c. water (approx.)
1/4 c. white sugar (or more, if desired)

1. Wash and coarsely cut up the strawberries. Any way you cut them up is fine, but thin slices of berry will totally fall apart when cooking . If you want strawberry pieces left over in your syrup, leave the slices at least 1/4th inch thick.
2. Place cut strawberries into a medium saucepan. Add in enough water so that the bottom of the pan is covered (it might be less than 1/4 cup, depends on your pan). This is important.. don't add too much water. Your berries should NOT be swimming in water.
3. Add in white sugar and being cooking berries over high heat. Stir to fully dissolve the sugar. Water will begin to collect rapidly in your pan. Once the water comes to a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium-high.
4. Continue cooking the strawberry syrup for 5 more minutes, watching the pan as the water foams and boils. Take a taste of the pink froth-- add in a bit more sugar if not yet sweet enough.
5. Once the water is reduced by half (might have to briefly remove the pan from the heat to see the water level) turn off the heat and let cool.
6. Serve over white cake, ice cream or pie. Store chilled.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Creamy Pasta with Veggies

Stir-fried vegetables tossed with brown rice spirals and coated with creamy Parmesan sauce. Easy vegetarian lunch or dinner. Even better reheated the next day. Don't have spirals on hand? Use cooked rice with Parmesan, but hold on the mayo.

Serves 2
30 minutes
-large saucepan or wok
-large pot to cook pasta


2 c. uncooked pasta spirals (little under half a Tinkyada 12 oz. bag))
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium-small zucchini
1 medium-small yellow zucchini squash
1/2 of a small green bell pepper
1 medium white onion
2 tbsp. peanut oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves
2 tsp. McCormick lemon pepper
salt and pepper to taste
4 heaping tsp. mayonnaise*
1/4 c. (or more) Parmesan cheese-- I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan grated Parmesan cheese for dairy-free option

*Hellman's and Kraft mayos are GF


1. Start the pasta cooking in a large pot according to directions.
2. Wash and cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Cut both the zucchini and yellow zucchini into 1/2 inch slices, then quarter each slice. Also coarsely cut green bell pepper and white onion into small-ish pieces (1/2 inch squares).
3. Place broccoli, zucchini, and yellow zucchini into a large wok or saucepan. Pour high-heat oil over the top (I used peanut) and begin cooking over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add in the green bell pepper and white onion, plus more oil (if needed). Stir veggies well to coat all with oil. Season generously with garlic powder, some dried rosemary leaves and a bunch of lemon pepper. Stir, then add a little salt and pepper to taste.
5. Stir-fry veggie for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how tender you want them. By now your brown rice pasta should be done. Remove veggies from heat and tend to pasta.
6. Drain the cooked pasta, rising well with cold water to get the rice film off. Don't bother totally drying the spirals, since a little accidentally reserved water will help the sauce out.
7. Place pasta back into big pot. Stir 4 tsp. (I used an actual dinner spoon) mayo in with the pasta, till well coated. Also add in Parmesan cheese, stirring gently. Taste pasta.. add in more mayo, cheese, or lemon pepper if too bland.
8. Gently toss hot, cooked veggies into the pasta till they, too, are lightly coated with sauce. The veggies should warm up the cool pasta, but reheat dish over low heat until warm enough to serve. Again, toasted bread crumbs would add a nice touch.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Asparagus with Red Potato

I love asparagus. I love red potatoes. This was so good. Hearty as well as colorful.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan with deep sides
Quick and simple

6-8 large asparagus stalks
2 medium sized red potatoes
1/4 c. water
2+1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red onion
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. dried sweet basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
mozzarella cheese, for topping

1. Wash and cut the asparagus stalks into 3 inch long pieces; don't slice in half, leave as a whole cylinder. Cube washed red potatoes (skin on) into 1 inch pieces-- larger ones than normal for a stir-fry.
2. Coarsely slice up red onion. Also dice up the red bell pepper half. Set onion and bell pepper aside.
3. Place asparagus and potato cubes only into a large saucepan. Pour in 1/4 c. water along with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Begin cooking veggies over high heat, rapidly boiling the water on the bottom of the saucepan. Cook until all the water is gone, around 5 minutes.
4. Turn heat down to medium. Add in red onion, bell pepper, parsley flakes and basil leaves. I didn't want this too pesto-y but add in more basil if you wish. Pour in another 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
5. Continue to cook veggies for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, but not too much. You want the veggies to sit for awhile on bottom to make them brown a little. Add in more olive oil if the potatoes soak up too much.
6. Dish is done when potatoes are toasted and veggies are soft. Serve warm. Sprinkle mozzarella on top right away, when still hot, if you crave cheese-- could also top with a layer of Italian bread crumbs.

Friday, May 04, 2007

3-Bean Salad

It's potluck season here at UIUC (okay, I really should be studying for finals). I wanted a cheap, easy salad I could take to a BBQ. This worked well; a standard dish. Refreshing and tart with no-hassle.

Serves 5
20 minutes + 3 hours
-large bowl (or disposable Al pan)
Quick and simple


3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup white sugar (or more, depending on taste)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 can light kidney beans
1 can wax beans
1 can green beans
1 medium red onion
1 medium green bell pepper

1. In a large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil and red wine vinegar till blended. Add in the white sugar, mixing until it fully dissolves.
2. Open up the can of beans and drain well. Let sit to get all the water out, then pour beans into the large bowl with the dressing. Stir gently to cover beans with oil-vinegar mixture.
3. Dice up the red onion and green bell pepper. Add to the beans and stir gently to mix. Sprinkle salad with garlic powder and let it sit, chilled, for at least 3 hours. Taste salad at some point-- if it needs more flavor, add a bit more red wine vinegar, but don't forget to balance out the addition with more sugar.
4. Serve cold with BBQ meat of choice.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lemon Squares

A classic: These are one of my favorite 'bar' cookies. Light shortbread base, with a moist lemon-custard topping dusted with powdered sugar. These use only 1 cup of GF flour for a 8 x 8 pan, so it's a pretty cost-effective GF dessert.
Mixture of my mother's recipe and Connie Sarros' take in Gluten-Free Dessert Cookbook.

My fellow labmates have been asking me to bring some of these in since March, when I first mentioned their sour-sweet goodness. None of them are Celiac and they didn't even notice these were made without wheat. It makes me so happy to bake for friends.

Makes 16 square bar cookies.
60 minutes
350 F
-8 x 8 square baking pan (glass, preferred)
-large mixing bowl
-small mixing bowl
-electric mixer
-zester (a very fine grater, used for fruit rinds)

Shortbread Crust
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened; I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks to make this lactose-free
-- 1 cup GF flour blend (next four ingredients), unleavened --
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. potato starch
1/2 c. white rice flour
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 c. powdered (confectioner's) sugar
Lemon 'Filling'
Zest of 1 big lemon
Juice of 1 big lemon (no less that 2 tbsp.)
2 eggs
1 c. white granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

Shortbread Crust
1. Take butter out of fridge and set into your large mixing bowl; let soften (DO NOT melt the butter in the microwave.. be patient). Use the butter wrapper and grease up the 8 x 8 baking pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In small mixing bowl, combine tapioca starch, potato starch and white rice flour with xanthan gum and powdered sugar. Mix carefully, but completely, with a spoon. Let sit.
3. Go back to the big bowl. Begin beating the softened butter with an electric mixer until it is smooth (around 1 minute). Carefully add in the flour mixture to the butter, 1/4 cup at a time. Stir a little with a spoon/spatula before mixing again with the electric beater (it will go everywhere, trust me). Beat the combined flour/butter mix until fully moistened-- this batter will look crumbly, but should keep shape when pinched between your fingers.
4. Press the 'crumbly' shortbread batter evenly into the greased 8 x 8 pan with your fingers. Once you have a smooth, uniform surface (press well to make it stick), slide the cookie crust into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes-- DON'T FORGET TO REMOVE ON TIME!
Lemon Filling
5. While the shortbread is baking, wash out your large mixing bowl and beater prongs with hot water. Also wash out your small mixing bowl.
6. Scrub the large lemon very well with hot water (Celiacs: cut off the fruit sticker). Remove the top yellow rind from the fruit with a zester. Don't zest too much and get any of the white pith. Place zest in small bowl-- you should have maybe ~1/2 tsp.
7. Cut the zested lemon in half and remove the seeds, if you can. Squeeze both lemon halves over the small bowl, accumulating no less than 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Be sure to catch and remove any errant seeds.
8. In large mixing bowl, crack open both eggs and add in white granulated sugar. Add in the baking powder and a little salt. Scrape the lemon juice/zest mix from the small to the large bowl. Beat the eggs/lemon until frothy (1-2 minutes) and sugar is mostly dissolved (mixture will be viscous).
9. Remove cooked shortbread base from the oven at the 20 minute mark. Pour/spoon the egg/lemon mixture over the cooked base and return cookies to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top forms a tan skin.
10. Remove from oven and chill overnight. Serve cold with a dusting of powdered sugar.