Smoked Bratwurst from Lidl. Gut!

At Aldi’s two weeks ago, I couldn’t find my favorite imported uncured brats from Germany. Major bummer. Love them fried brown; delicate authentic bratwurst flavor.

This past week we were at a different grocery store, Lidl. I have been there a couple times since they opened in Wilson Boro last summer and got some great deals in the past. Their chocolate is amazing, even better than Aldi’s. Love the dark bars; pistachio, salted dark. Mmmmmm.

What my favorite new find is their smoked bratwurst sausages. 6 in a package for less than $3. Juicy and flavorful; far tastier than what I can find in the big-name grocery stores for far more money. I pan fried some in a bit of olive oil t o brown them; they are already fully cooked. Gluten free of course. We had them with pan fried potato slices, roasted butternut squash and some raw cauliflower.


Definitely getting them again. They come in a few flavors including cheddar brats and one with jalapeno in it for a little spicy! Enjoy.

Spicy Chicken Meatball Stir-Fry

My fixation on tiny chicken meatballs continues. These ones are made of ground chicken thigh meat; far juicier than breast meat. I buy this freshly made at Valley Farm Markets. Great meats, poultry and produce. Plus decent prices.

Actually; these meatballs are sort of medium-small sized. They are simple to mix up in a mixing bowl, glop out with a big dinner spoon and bake on a big rimmed pan lined in parchment paper. Baking is so simple and time saving compared to frying while turning them constantly. Easy clean up if you do the parchment paper.

Meanwhile, I make a somewhat spicy sauce and then cut up veggies and saute for a mini stir fry. Blend it all together… Delish! You can alter it to make it spicier or even milder; add more or less hot sauce.

meatball stir fry 2

meatball stirfry 1

Chicken Meatball Stir fry

Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken; preferably thigh meat
1 egg; beaten a bit
1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1/3-2/3 cup gf breadcrumbs

Mix all in big bowl. Line rimed sheet with parchment paper. Glop on the meatballs with a dinner spoon; mine are about 1 1/3 inch in diameter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
What they bake make a sauce
Mix in a heavy bottomed saucepan
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mild olive oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar; packed
1 big garlic clove minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes; scant for me; 8 year old doesn’t like spicy
1/4 to 1 tsp. hot sauce; I used 1/4 tsp., decent heat level for a delicate tummy
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½-3/4 tsp. fresh ground ginger root (I keep mine in the freezer)

Cook 2-4 minutes on medium

Heat pot of water; make half a box of gf spaghetti.

Veggie Stir-fry

Ingredients
3 stalks celery sliced in ¼-1/3 slices
½ small red onion cut in inch long thin strips
1 large garlic clove minced
½ can of bamboo shoots
2-3 stalks kale torn off ribs
2 large or 4 smaller radishes, 6 if tiny; sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 Tbsp olive oil

Melt oil in mini wok or fry pan. Add celery; cook a minute, add onion, cook another 1-2 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add kale and radish slices, cook 1-2 minutes, stirring add bamboo shoots and then stir. You want a bit of crunch still in the radishes and celery. Add the sauce, stir well, add half- 2/3 of the meatballs, stir around well. Add cooked spaghetti and stir. Serve hot. Enjoy. Now that’s a spicy meataball!

PS: I used the rest of the meatballs to make Italian Wedding Soup; Manga!

Holiday Wrap Up

I’ve been busy celebrating the holidays including baking lots of cookies and cakes. A delightful cranberry crackle pie, a pumpkin pie, a lemon poke cake…. Great meals, lots of delish treats. Not finding time for writing posts. But tasty foods came out of my kitchen most mealtimes. Made muffins the other day; chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, more Russian teacakes to give to a friend and an amazing orange chiffon cake for my birthday that no one remembered to photograph. It was scratch, no mix used, and utterly divine….from my Annalise Roberts Heritage Baking Cookbook. Worth all the effort of grating orange zest and the beating of many eggs!
cranberry crackle pie

We have indulged in waffles a few times and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Chicken pot pie, Caesar salad, roasted chicken, shrimp scampi, and baby back ribs. Oh-my-goodness, the yummy gluten free foods that I produced over these past 2.5 weeks.

It is not difficult to cook gluten free especially if you eat foods naturally gluten free; potatoes, rice, beans, unprocessed proteins and lots of vegetables that are cooked from fresh without the need for falling back on expensive and not-that-tasty processed foods.

pie bag OXO

My wrist has improved somewhat and I got a great new pie rolling out device; pie bag from OXO; slithery smooth clear plastic, non-stick and hugely helpful: I was able to finally roll my crust thin enough to satisfy my own standards as to pie baking. It was the lid on the chicken pot pie and it was flaky, tender and so delish my guy was thieving bites of it an hour later when he walked by the pot pie pan! He is not gluten free either! Apparently, he just loves a delicious pie crust.

Simply-Nature-Brown-Rice-Crackers

Got some great crackers at Aldi’s the other week; brown rice flour ones; nice snappy flavor and only $2 a box so definitely a find.

I bought a bag of their gf tiny pretzels and dipped them in melted chocolate. Amazing flavor! Super cheap compared to the small bag of them at Giant for $4.50. I am a fan of their organic whole milk; I use it to make real yogurt in my Instant Pot. It is rich and creamy with a wonderful subtle flavor; tastes great even without jam! Lots of tasty chocolate that is marked gf and usually made in Germany. I especially love the dark chocolate with hazelnuts. I am waiting for them to bring back the gf hot pockets made with pepperoni and pizza sauce; so so miss that product.

I searched for my favorite brats; none to be found. Darn; they were so delightful. Maybe they will get some in soon. Happy shopping there if you are gf; best prices in my neck of the woods!

Thumbprint Cookies. 2.0 GF and Delish!

As children we each had our favorite cookies to make, this was traditionally my next older brothers’ to bake but once grown up I began to make them ‘cause they are addictively tasty.  I love it made with apricot jam, you can used chopped slivered almonds instead of walnuts for that version.  But, any flavor good quality jam will work, pick what you like.  I used two flavors this time; homemade peach jam and some store bought but excellently flavored raspberry jam. Like getting two cookies out of one batch of dough.

xmas cookies 003xmas cookies 002

A few  Christmases ago a dear friend gave me a new cookbook “Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies” by Ellen Brown.  I have tried several recipes and all were fantastic including this one, I swapped the candied red and green cherries for jam, but you can go old school and use those freaky candied cherries.

Jam and Walnut Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup white rice flour

1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

½ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

2 sticks unsalted butter cut into thin slices

1 lg egg

1 tbsp. whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

½ cup jam; raspberry, peach, strawberry

INSTRUCTIONS: Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl food processor, steel blade, blend briefly.  Add butter to work bowl and process off an on until it resembles coarse meal.

Combine egg, milk and vanilla in a small bowl; whisk. Drizzle into the work bowl, pulse about 10-12 times until it forms a stiff dough.  If it doesn’t come together, add more milk a tsp. at a time. I added a tsp. more of milk to get the dough to form up.

Chill the dough for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put racks in the middle of the oven. Place chopped walnuts in a wide shallow bowl and roll 1 1/2 inch balls of dough.  Roll them in the chopped walnuts, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Press an indent in with a finger and fill with about ½ tsp. jam.  Bake 14-15 minutes, until just firm but not browned.  They will be very delicate to the touch.  Let cool 2-3 minutes on sheet before carefully moving them to a cooling rack using a metal pancake turner. I bumped a couple and they just fell apart on the sheet; very fragile while hot.  They will solidify once they cool.  I store mine in cookie tins or Tupperware containers.  They won’t last as long as wheat cookies but they get snapped up fast so that shouldn’t be a problem.  I supposed you could freeze them for a week or two if necessary.

They are not too sweet and so delicate, great with a cup of tea or coffee.  As good, if not better, then when I made them with all purpose wheat flour years ago before I had to go gluten free.  Your family will be amazed that they are gf, no one you serve them to will ever guess.  Totally tasty and fun to make with your kids! Enjoy.

 

Christmas Baking: Moravian Spice Cookies

I love both my cookbooks by Annalise Roberts,  this recipe is from “The Heirloom Collection”…have made some really tasty baked goods from it like my apple custard tart.  I blogged that the other week. Today I bring you her Moravian Spice Cookies. I chose them for many reasons – the memories of spicy cookies being foremost.  I think you will love this cookie for its flavor and crisp texture. I live not far from Bethlehem which is the home base for the Moravian Church.  You can buy these cookies in the Moravian Book Shop but not gluten free.  So now those who can’t eat gluten can have them to enjoy this holiday season.  xmas cookies 007

You can cut them out in shapes but I found I liked to mostly make diamonds using a sharp knife. I did do some hearts and ornament shapes but it was tough going to get them off the wax paper and onto the baking sheet without distorting their original shape. You can take her advice and chill them further to facilitate the moving process.  I do love them any shape they are!

xmas cookies 005

 

 

Moravian Spice Cookies

1 1/4 cup GF flour:  suggest brown rice blend (recipe below)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter (room temp)
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses

Directions: First combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl; mix well.
Beat shortening, brown sugar and molasses in your big mixer bowl until smooth, add flour mixture and blend until well combined. Shape dough into two disks, chill about 30 minutes, lay between two sheets of wax paper, roll into a very thin (1/8 inch thick) sheet. Cut into 2 inch or less shapes, move with spatula onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If they are sticky and hard to lift up return the sheet to the freezer for a few minutes until they are stiff enough to move. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-11 minutes. Make sure they are fully baked or they won’t be crisp. Leave on the cookie sheet a minute before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight cookie jar or tin.

Spicy and crisp. Great with a cup of coffee or tea! Annalise says you can reduce the spices for less zing; 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, ¾ tsp. ginger and ½ or less of cloves.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur Basic GF flour)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour

First published on my blog in December 2016

Holiday Cookies: Nut Tassies…Terrific!

Nut tassies are a local favorite around here in eastern Pennsylvania. They look like a tiny pecan pie, the size of one big bite! Heavenly sweet and best made with pecans.  I have eaten them at many people’s homes. In all fairness I never made them when I could still eat regular gluten filled white flour. Perhaps it is that I was able to just snag them off a cookie plate at someone’s holiday party.  Once that is no longer a possibility I started looking for a recipe and found a great recipe on food.com, there it was; a classic tassie recipe complete with cream cheese dough for the pie crust and a filling almost identical to the traditional filling. And it was gluten free for folks like me…eureka!

The first time I made them: for a family Christmas gathering and I whipped up a batch of these tassies.  Even after chilling the dough my crust was very crumbly and with trepidation I rolled a ball a bit over an inch in diameter and it held together. Then I dropped it in my mini muffin tin and used my finger to spread it out and up the sides.  It worked and the tassies were simply delish!

As to the pecan filling, I didn’t chop my nuts really fine; left some in chunks to give a bigger texture which I prefer. The filing is so simple; chop the nuts, then dump the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl, add the softened butter and the vanilla and nuts; stir and it is ready to spoon into the little crust cups you just created.

 

 

Reposted from December 2016.

Christmas Cookies: Kiffles are a Classic

Kiffles are a local favorite when it comes to cookies, particularly Christmas cookies.  The Kiffle Kitchen outside of Bath, PA has made their reputation on their outstanding kiffles, sold on line! I used to enjoy them but never took the time to make them until a few Christmases ago.  I had purchased “Gluten-Free Baking Classics The Heirloom Collection” by Annalise G. Roberts and page 170 had the answer to my search; Rugelach, Kifles, and Kolaki.

I made a batch of kiffles (the preferred local spelling) on Christmas Eve 2015.  I just did jam filling: apricot and raspberry. The cream cheese dough in formed into two discs and chilled before rolling out between wax paper sheets into an 8 inch square. I did find myself chilling it a bit to keep it from getting too soft.  After rolling, cut each big square into 16 two inch squares and put a tsp. of best quality jam on each; fold together so the filling peeps out both ends and chill some more on the baking sheet.  I brushed them with heavy cream and sprinkled a touch of granulated sugar on before they hit the hot oven. The cute packets of dough and jam bake up lightly browned and delicate. Success was felt when my mom ate a few that evening and her smile told me how yummy they were.

Next time I made them with the nut and cinnamon filling that is very traditional around the Lehigh Valley.  Yummers!  Stores sell special kiffle filling meant just for these cookies but I don’t think it is gluten free due to cross contamination issues and therefore not safe for me to enjoy.

So if you are gluten free and crave kiffles; this cookbook by Annalise Roberts is the place to find a workable recipe.  She has never failed me yet with her desserts and I thank my lucky stars her cookbooks are on my shelf to guide me through holiday, parties and everyday meals. I don’t mean to sound like a salesperson for her but I can’t say enough great things about this new cookbook and her prior best seller Baking Classics – my copy of that is well worn and I couldn’t exist without it.  This kiffle recipe is way too involved to type out for you and I think that if you are serious about baking gf you need to check it out and get your own copy, real soon! Here are the dough ingredients to help you in deciding whether  you want to make it:

1 cup gf flour, King Arthur Basic blend

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. softened butter

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

You can use apricot or raspberry jam or what ever you like; be careful as some kiffle fillings that are ready made have traces of wheat flour in them.

Note: when I was first looking for kiffles I did a search on line for a gluten free kiffle recipe and didn’t really find one; lots of other cookies but these are quite a specialty and not made by most home cooks except in areas where they are popular and what you can buy is not gluten free.  Let me know if you can provide any other recipes but I am very happy with the one I used and recommend to you for your own holiday baking. Enjoy!

Originally published December 2015.