Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

This is the best thing ever. Seriously.
The fruit in most cobblers turns out mushy and shapeless, here the fruit sits halfway into the batter, resulting in sweet, juicy fruit bites bursting with rich flavor. The spongy cake puffs up around the fruit and forms a butter-induced crispy layer on top. Incredibly good.

Recipe courtesy of my favorite college housemate, Reid. (adapted to be gluten-free, in a smaller pan)

Makes a 9 x 9" pan worth of cobbler
- 2 medium sized bowls
- 9 x 9" Al pan or glass pan lined with Al foil
Preheat to 365 F

2 large peaches, sliced into 8ths
~3/4ths of a pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1.5 c. sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1.5 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk or non-dairy milk substitute

0. Preheat oven to 365 F. Line a glass baking pan with aluminum foil.
1. Wash the peaches and cut into 8 wedges. Half each of the wedges if you want smaller peach pieces. Wash the blueberries. Place fruit into the medium bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Taste berries; add in another 1/4th cup of sugar if you desire sweeter fruit.
2. Before you mix up the batter, place the butter into the lined 9 x 9 pan. Pop pan into the preheating oven to melt the butter. Remove once butter had completely melted; swish around to get a uniform layer.
3. Mix dry ingredients together (1.5 c. sugar, rice and BRM flour, xanthan gum and baking powder) in another medium-sized bowl. Stirring, pour in the milk. You actually want a viscous, almost paste-like dough (too crumbly, add in another tsp. of milk until smooth). If the batter easily pours, it is way too liquid-y and will turn out soggy.
4. Before the butter solidifies again, spoon the batter over the liquid butter (still resting in the lined pan). DO NOT mix the butter/batter. You want the layers separate-- the oil might move aside as you drop batter spoonfuls in, that's okay. Try to get a semi-uniform layer of batter, though.
5. Press the sugar-coated fruit pieces gently down into the top of the batter layer; evenly space out the berries. Make sure you don't transfer too much sugar water along with the fruit.
6. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes in the oven. The cobbler is done when the fruit is tender and roasted and the cake part is nice and browned. The inside of the cobbler will be moist. This is best served fresh right out of the oven (it gets dense after refrigeration, but the taste is still fantastic!).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Light Pasta with Spinach

Fast and easy. A very light meal with fresh tomatoes, spinach and little Parmesan cheese.
I highly suggest making some quick garlic bread while this is simmering on your stove; simply use some of the garlic-butter from the first cooking step!

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- medium pot
- large saucepan
[-cookie sheet or baking pan for garlic bread]
Quick and simple

8 oz. cooked GF pasta
8 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. butter [3 Tbsp. butter if making garlic bread]
1 medium white onion
1 large bag/clump of spinach
2 large tomatoes
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese &/or mozzarella cheese*
[4 slices favorite GF bread, laid out on a cookie sheet]

*Kraft shredded moz. cheese is both gluten and lactose free!

0. Cook up the pasta (per instructions on the package) in a medium pot 'till al dente.
1. Cut the ends off, peel and dice up the garlic. Remove onion ends, peel and slice onion into thin rounds (as if making onion rings). Remove stem and chop tomato into 1" cubes (don't bother peeling tomato).
2. Melt the butter in the saucepan with the garlic. Cook the garlic over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes; don't let the garlic burn!
[2.5. If you are making garlic bread, brush some of the garlic-butter on the GF bread slices laid out on a baking pan; place slices in 400 F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown, but not burnt.]
3. Turn butter up to medium and add in the onion slices; saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add in the spinach. Mix to un-clump the wilted greens, then saute for another 3 minutes.
5. Add in the tomato. Stir to heat-- cook for only about 60 seconds or so.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Pour in an abundance of cheese. Stir to melt. Serve right away with the fresh garlic bread.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sweet and Tangy Green Beans

Wasn't sure for awhile whether to post this one or not. It was almost too sweet for green beans, but the flavor of the bacon was fantastic (especially if you enjoy balsamic vinegar)! The meat ends up coated with a nice smokey, tangy, slightly-sweet glaze. I would recommend playing around with the sugar/Balsamic/Worcestershire ratio to suite your tastes.

Serves 1
30 minutes
- large saucepan

2 large shallots
1/2 lb. green beans
1/2 lb. yellow wax beans
2 medium red potatoes
3-4 strips thick cut bacon
2 tsp, Worcestershire sauce*
1/8 c. brown sugar (3 Tbsp)
splash (~1 tsp?) of balsamic vinegar*
salt and pepper

*Lee and Perrins original Worcestershire sauce is GF; I use an old bottle of Albertson's brand balsamic vinegar that must be GF cause I haven't gotten sick from it

1. Peel and slice up shallots; don't chop too small. Cut ends off of green and wax beans. Cut potatoes into long pieces (think french fry)... aim to get them about as thick as the green beans.
2. Tear bacon into bite size pieces. Place bacon in the large saucepan with half of the chopped shallots. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, turning bacon frequently.
3. Add in potatoes, green and yellow beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. Be sure to stir things frequently to avoid burning.
4. Turn heat up to medium-high. Add in rest of shallots plus the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. The sugar will begin to caramelize-- caution, it gets very very hot.
5. Cook long enough over medium heat to nicely toast the meat and vegetables. Will take another 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Gently (will be hot!) taste a potato once the sugar/vinegar starts to thicken. Further season with a little salt and pepper. Dish is done when the potatoes are soft and the beans are crisp tender.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eggplant Stir-Fry

Eggplant with red onion, zucchini and fresh basil/garlic infused olive oil. I enjoyed this over GF pasta. Sweating the eggplant takes some extra prep time, but it's worth it for a bitter-free 'meaty' dish.

Serves 2
30 min eggplant sweating + 25 minutes cooking
- large saucepan or wok

6 to 8 oz. pasta*, precooked -or- 1/2 cup white rice, precooked

1 large eggplant
table salt
4 cloves garlic
1 large zucchini
1 medium red onion
1 medium red bell pepper
handful of fresh basil
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 mozzarella cheese

*Tinkyada rice pasta is GF and is very very good

0. Cook the pasta or rice according to instructions on package. Make sure the pasta/rice does not become mushy.
1. Wash and peel the eggplant. Cut into wide thin slices (2" wide, by 1" long, 1/2" thick). Sweat the eggplant for 30 minutes: lay eggplant out on a plate and generously coat slices with table salt. Once the slices become wilted and spongy, squeeze out the brown, bitter juices by hand (the eggplant will bruise alot, that is good). Wash sweated slices thoroughly to remove all of the excess salt. Lay eggplant aside.
2. Peel and dice up the garlic. Remove ends and cut zucchini diagonally into 1/2 inch thick rounds (ovals, actually). Peel and remove ends, then slice onion into thin disks (like onion rings).
Remove core and cut the bell pepper into long thin slices. Wash and dice up the fresh basil.
3. Place eggplant into saucepan with the oil, diced garlic and half of the fresh basil. Heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Make sure garlic doesn't burn.
4. Add in the zucchini. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, frequently flipping the eggplant and zucchini slices over, as to not burn..
5. Add in the onion rings and bell pepper slices. Also throw in the remaining basil. Cook until onion slices have separated and are wilted-- so another 2-3 minutes. Zucchini and bell pepper should be crisp tender.
6. Remove veggies from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. Spoon over rice or pasta.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Summer Vegetable Risotto

Recipe for a busy weekday evening. I like corn in my risotto. I'm also fond of scooping this into GF corn tortilla chips*.

Serves 1.5
35 minutes
- medium saucepan

8 medium okra fruits
1 medium red onion
1 large tomato
1 large ear of sweet corn
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. aborio rice
[1/4 c. white wine -- optional]
1 (14 oz.) can Swanson Natural Goodness chicken -OR- veggie broth -- about 2 cups
1/2 Parmesan cheese

*Tostitos crispy rounds, restaurant style and scoops corn chips are GF

1. Remove stems from the okra and slice into 1/2" pieces. Remove ends of the onion and chop into small pieces. Cut the tomato into 1 inch pieces (don't bother peeling) and remove the corn husk.
2. Place onion into the saucepan with the olive oil and rice. Stir. Cook over medium heat until the rice is mostly translucent (will have a dot of starch in the middle)-- about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add in a splash of white wine (if you desire) and 1/2 c. of chicken broth. Stir until rice starts to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the broth is almost all absorbed.
4. When broth is almost gone from the saucepan, add in another 1/2. c of chicken broth. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
5. Once again, when broth is nearly all absorbed, add in another 1/2 c. of broth AND the okra slices. Stir; let simmer gently. The okra will thicken the rice, watch to make sure things don't stick and burn.
6. Cook for another 5 minutes, add in the remaining 1/2 c. of broth. Throw in the tomato pieces and cut the fresh corn straight from the cob into the saucepan. Cook until rice is nice and creamy. The corn should also be crisp-tender and tomato nearly broken down. If the rice needs an additional 3-4 minutes after broth boils off, add in a splash of water.
7. When rice reaches desired creamy texture, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Suggestion: Eat with corn tortilla chips.