Wednesday, July 29, 2009

White Top Cupcakes

These were incredibly tender and moist inside. Like little bites of brownie heaven. Soft, not too dense, and full of chocolate with a creamy white topping.
This recipe has definitely been around; I found it here.

Makes 16 cupcakes
25 minutes prep + 30 minutes baking (or 60 min, depending on #cupcakes in your pan)
- electric hand mixture
- medium bowl for cream cheese
- large bowl
- muffin tin with liners

Cream cheese 'Filling'
8 oz. cream cheese*
1/2 c. fine grained white sugar
1 large egg
1 c. mini chocolate chips*
Chocolate Cupcakes
1. 5 c. flour ---> [1 c. brown rice flour + 1/2 c. Bobs Red Mill All Purpose Flour + 1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum]
1 c. sugar
1/4. c. cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1/3 c. corn oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla*

*Kraft cream cheese is GF; Toll House s.sweet morsels are GF; Hershey's cocoa powder is GF; McCormick vanilla extract is GF

0. Preheat 350 F. Fit a standard size muffin tin with paper liners.
Cream Cheese
1. Whip the cream cheese, sugar and egg with an electric hand beater for 1 minute, until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Place aside.
2. Combine the flour(s), xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
3. Push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl (making a 'well' in the center for the wet ingredients). Add the water while stirring. Pour in the water,
corn oil, apple vinegar, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir well to incorporate the oil-- it won't mix well at first. Keep stirring until the batter is smooth and silky. The gluten-free batter will be quite thick. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling half way.
5. If you want cream cheese inside the cupcakes, (as opposed to just the tops) you will need to sandwich it between the chocolate layers or pipe it in. Me, I just plopped the cream cheese on top of the chocolate batter. During baking, the cream cheese spread out and sat nicely on top of the cupcake, like baked-on icing!
6. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Check often near the end so that the cream cheese doesn't burn. You want it slightly tanned when removed from the oven. Cool slightly before removing them, they were quite impressionable when warm. I don't think these freeze very well, so enjoy then while fresh!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


My first time making ratatouille. I envisioned something hearty, a cross between vegetable stew and gumbo. This was really good; rich and tomato-y with large, distinct chunks of eggplant and zucchini. Wonderful as pasta sauce. Serve over polenta if you're lucky enough to find some certified gluten free.

Serves 3 to 4
45 to 50 minutes
- extra large saucepan
- pot to cook up polenta or pasta or quinoa

1.5 large eggplant
6 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion
10 fresh okra fruits
1 large red bell pepper
1.5 large zucchini (+ half of onion)
2 large tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a (6 oz.) container tomato paste*
1/3 c. red cooking wine*
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. herbs de providence (-or- fresh rosemary and thyme)

10 oz. cooked pasta, or corn polenta or quinoa

*Hunts and Muir Glen tomato paste is GF; Holland House cooking wine is GF.

0. Sweat the eggplant. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Stack the pieces inside a bowl, generously salting each layer. Let the eggplant slices sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Once soft, squeeze the eggplant slices with your hands to remove the bitter, brown juice (should act just like a sponge). The vegetable flesh will become rather bruised, but not tear too much.. this is good. Rinse the squeezed eggplant slices several times to remove the salt.
1. Wash, peel and dice the garlic. Peel and dice up half of the yellow onion. Group the diced garlic and onion together.
Wash and cut the ends off the okra. Slice the okra into 1/4 inch rounds. Wash and core the red bell pepper. Chop pepper up into 1 inch pieces and group with the sliced okra.
Cut the sweated eggplant slices into rather large cubes (1/2" chunks). Set cubes aside.
Wash and remove ends of the zucchini. Slice into 1/2" round, then quarter each disk. Coarsly chop up the remaining 1/2 of the yellow onion. Group zucchini quarters with the large yellow onion pieces.
Chop the tomato into 1/2" chunks; don't bother peeling them. Set tomato apart from the other chopped veggies.
2. Place the garlic and diced onion into the large saucepan with the 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the oil is sizzling and aromatic-- about 2 minutes.
3. Add in the red bell pepper and okra slices. Throw in a dash of herbs de providence and maybe a little water. Stir well. Let cook for 5 minutes
4. Add in the eggplant cubes and cook for another 5 minutes
5. Now add in the zucchini and (coarse) onion. Let everything cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Stir in the fresh tomatoes. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
7. When the tomatoes begin to break down, mix in the tomato paste, cooking wine, black pepper and remaining herbs de providence. Heat for an additional 5 minutes, or until the veggies are nice and mushy.
Serve over prepared pasta, polenta or quinoa.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roasted Artichoke

A painless, flavorful way to prepare this wonderful vegetable. Cut it, season it, then throw in the oven until tender and juicy. Quite satisfying.
Watch the great, original video for easy directions.

Serves 2
10 minutes prep + 1.5 hours roasting
- cookie sheet or baking pan
- Al foil

2 large artichokes
4 cloves garlic
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tsp. olive oil, split between two artichokes
salt and pepper

0. Preheat oven to 400 F.
1. Wash and cut the stems off of the artichoke (so that they sit comfortably upright on a flat surface). Slice off the very top of the bloom-- a fair amount, about an inch on upward. Also remove the prickly tips of the remaining further-down petals (but don't slice all the way through).
2. Set the lobotomized artichoke upright and spread the petals apart with you hands, opening up the vegetable.
3. Peel and cut the ends off of the garlic. Slice each clove into 3 or 4 long, skinny pieces. Slip the garlic inside the artichoke so that about 8 pieces rest between petals equally around the bulb.
4. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper
5. Wrap the artichokes securely with aluminum foil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for about an hour and a half. Remove** and eat promptly, either plain or dipped in mayo. **Careful of steam when opening up the hot Aluminum packets!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Penne with Zucchini and Black Eyed Peas

Another simple veggie dish. I used canned black-eyed peas to save time, but fresh soaked/boiled ones would be better. Using half of the onion with the garlic at the begining flavors the oil nicely.

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- large saucepan or pot
Quick and simple

6 oz. cooked GF penne pasta-- I used half of a bag of Tinkyada
5 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
2 medium zucchini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of black eyed peas
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
Dash of dried oregano, dried parsley leaves, salt, and black pepper

0. Cook up 6 oz. of pasta; actually, undercook it a bit, you don't want it mushy. Set pasta aside.
1. Wash and peel garlic and onion. Dice garlic and half of the yellow onion. Chop the remaining half of the onion into larger pieces. Cuts ends off of the zucchini and slice each into 3 large ~2" sections. Then half each section lengthwise and cut into 2" long 'strips' (not rounds).
2. Place diced garlic and diced onion into the saucepan. Saute with oil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Don't let the garlic singe.
3. Add in the zucchini and remaining (larger pieces) of onion. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the black-eyed peas. Add in a little bit of dried oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. When large zucchini slices are barely tender, stir in the drained black eyed peas and cooked penne pasta. Mix gently, try not to mush the peas up too much. Heat for 2 minutes. Can turn heat up to high (or add in a little more oil) if the pasta and veggies aren't browning enough on the bottom.
5. Remove from heat and stir in Mozzarella cheese. Eat warm.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Frito Chili Pie

Another quick almost-a-snack meal. Hooray for corn being gluten free!

Serves 2
25 minutes
- large saucepan
Quick and simple

3 large green onions
6 large fresh tomatoes
1/2 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 (14 oz.) can pinto beans*
A handful of corn chips*;enough for two people
Cheddar cheese to melt on top; sour cream (dairy or otherwise) would be a good decision

*Bush beans are GF, so are S&W and Eden Organics
*Fritos are gluten free

1. Wash the green onions and remove the end roots. Dice up the white parts; chop the green stems into larger pieces. Separate the green and white parts. Cut the stem off of the tomatoes. Cut them into rather large 1.5 inch pieces, don't bother peeling them. Save as much tomato juice as you can.
2. Rise off the ground beef and place into the large saucepan. Throw in the diced white green onion bits. Begin cooking over medium heat. Once the meat starts to brown and releases some fat, remove the oil by dabbing it out with a paper towel or carefully pouring it into another container to toss. At the five minute mark, the meat should be nice and browned. Add in 1 Tbsp chili powder; stir well.
3. Add in the green green onion parts and tomatoes (+ juice). Cook for another 5 minutes. You want the tomatoes to somewhat break down, not not dissolve completely.
4. When the beef looks totally done, add in the another 1 Tbsp. of chili powder. Drain the pinto beans, then carefully stir the beans into the tomato/bean mixture. Add in some more spice if you think the sauce needs it. Heat for another 2 minutes or so, perhaps turn the heat up to med-high to boil off any excess water. The chili shouldn't look like soup, but it should be moist enough to slop over a big helping of corn chips. Top with cheese and sour cream. Eat warm, while the chips are still crunchy.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Saucepan Bratwurst

For those of you who don't own grills but want crispy, juicy bratwurst: a bare-bone recipe for sausage with some caramelized veggies. Probably also a good recipe to try while traveling (Oscar Meyer franks are GF). If I'd planned ahead better I would have made fresh hotdog buns. Next time, maybe.

Serves 2
25 minutes
- medium saucepan
Quick and simple

4 bratwurst sausages-- Niman Ranch has really good sausage links that are GF
1 large yellow onion
1 large red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and peel the onion. Slice into thin rounds, as if making onion rings. Half each disk, getting semi-circles. Slice the bell pepper into long, thin pieces.
2. Rinse off the bratwurst and place in frying pan alongside the onion and bell pepper. Begin cooking over medium heat. You want the onions to slowly caramelize-- so make sure the burner isn't hot enough to singe the veggies straight out.
3. Slowly cook the bratwurst, onion and pepper, tossing and turning pieces as needed. Once meat heats up enough, poke holes in the bratwurst with a fork to let the juices out. Stir. If things look to be burning, turn stove down to medium-low. Tend often or things will stick and char. Heat until the sausage is browned and sizzling and the onions are dark and caramelized. Mine took about 15 minutes to get nice and 'grilled'.
Enjoy alone or with buns.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Blueberry-Strawberry Cobbler

Has a nice mixed-berry taste. Was shooting for red and blue-- came out more like purple-pink, but that's okay. The topping here is fluffy and spongy, reminiscent of muffin; definitely not a crisp.

I did just blueberry last week while on vacation using Bobs Red Mill pancake mix as pre-leavened, pre-xanthaned 'flour'. Fairly easy dessert to make while visiting a friend with a kitchen. All I needed, in addition to the pancake mix, was some extra white sugar, cream (use slightly less cream and less sugar in the batter), a lemon, an egg and a few berries. Didn't even require an electric mixer. Just as good!
Adapted from this recipe.

Make one 9" pie
65 minutes (15 min for fruit + 10 min for topping + 40 minutes baking)
- medium bowl
- 9" pie pan with deep sides; Al pan works fine

Fruit Filling:
18 oz. of blueberries (-or- ~10 oz. blueberries + ~8 oz. strawberries)
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. GF flour (don't add xanthan gum!)
1 tsp. almond extract (use 1 tsp. lemon juice if you don't have almond extract)
Bread Topping:
1 large egg
3/4 c. heavy cream (try coconut cream if you can't do dairy)
1 c. GF flour ---> [I used Bobs Red Mill all-purpose flour + 1 level tsp. xanthan gum]
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder

0. Preheat oven to 375 F
1. Wash blueberries. If you're adding strawberries, remove the green end bit and cut the large ones into quarters (leave the strawberries as fairly big chunks).
2. Place berries into a medium-sized bowl and add the 1/4 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour and almond extract [fresh lemon juice is good, too]. Stir gently with your hands to mix. Scoop berries into the waiting 9" pie pan and spread evenly along the bottom.
3. Crack the large egg into the rinsed bowl and mix with the heavy cream. [If using a pancake or cake mix, use less cream and sugar]. Whisk with a fork to break up the egg yolk. Pour in the flour, add xanthan gum, white sugar and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture to incorporate with the wet-- the dough should be thick, stretchy and soft.
4. With your hands, scoop the dough over the sweetened berries. You might need to stretch or squish the dough into thinner sections to evenly coat the top. Once the topping is uniform and covering, place into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. [I believe the pancake batter was slightly thinner and needed to be cooked for almost 45 minutes to brown.] The cobbler is done once the top is golden-brown and berries are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.