Savory Zucchini Cheese Tart

It is hot as heck today so what I chose to do was bake. Something simple though. And I actually used a pie crust mix I got for my birthday as a gift. I measured out half the package and used it for the base of my zucchini tart. Yeap I know; folks complain about too many zukes and too little flavor. Not this gorgeous tart. It is thin slices layered over a thin lemony cream and goat cheese filling and topped with very thin sliced onions. Baked until the crust was crunchy. Really perfect crust and it is so rich and creamy plus this is super easy to make. Nothing needs to be cooked or fried – all raw; layer it on the raw crust. Bake, Slice, Enjoy. Winner winner hot night’s dinner.

You can use store zuke: I did; had none of my own yet. I did use my own red onion. I bet you could try other veggies but this combo was just so sublime. Narrow slices would make amazing appetizers or maybe cut it into small squares.  If you don’t like goat cheese just use all cream cheese. This is a variation on a Ina Garten recipe; she is a master at this sort of recipe.  Enjoy!

zuke tart, unbaked

zuke tart bakedLemony Zucchini and Cheese Tart

 

Ingredients

One pie crust; I used Bob’s GF Pie crust mix; y ou need 10 Tbsp cold butter or combo of butter and some other buttery spread, 3 Tbsp ice water and that’s it! Follow the directions. Mine needed a good chilling in the fridge before rolling out.

2 medium small zucchinis

1 medium red onion (can use regular yellow onion) sliced very thin (1/2 cup)

4 oz goat cheese plain or herbs (I used herbed) at room temp

4 oz cream cheese at room temp

Zest of half a lemon and about 1-2 Tsp juice from it

½ an egg beaten well

¼ Tsp fresh rosemary, minced finely

½ Tsp. fresh thyme leaves, off stem

EVOL; about 1-2 Tbsp.

Fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Made the pie crust, let chill while you do the veggies.  Slice the zucchini about 1/8 thick; less than ¼ inch thick.  I used a sharp paring knife. I know, the mandolin slicer; I do have one but sometimes it is just seems like too much work to get it out and set it up. I didn’t want the slices super thin anyway. Plus I enjoy knife work. Suit yourself.  Slice the peeled onion across in very thin circles. Put zuke slices in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt; ½-1 Tsp.; try to get it on both sides. Let stand 30-40 minutes. Then wipe with a few paper towels or a lint free tea towel to get off most of the moisture.  In a small bowl mix the two cheeses until smooth; add egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs. Blend well.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pie crust into 11 inch circle; put on heavy pizza pan. Top with cheese mix; spread to ½ inch of the edge of your crust. Top with the thin slices of dried off zuke overlapping a bit in concentric circles. To fill the entire area with the cheese spread. Then sprinkle on top the red onion, which you have separated into rings. Top with a good drizzle of decent EVOL and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Until crust is well browned. If it is getting too brown turn oven down to 375; I did. Monitor closely; no burnt top please! Let cool before cutting. Enjoy.  zuke tart slice

Graham Crackers 2.0…. GF and BETTER

Graham crackers make great pie crust for unbaked pies. And for cheesecakes. But GF ones are kinda lacking in the texture and flavor department if you eat a whole one; so hard on the teeth and they are soo expensive for the few you get. So I finally decided to try and make my own. Read a few recipes and then modified to make them my own. These are made with Earth Balance spread as I had some I wanted to use, no eggs; practically vegan; just the honey is an issue.

Pretty easy to make in my stand mixer. Then you roll out between two sheets of parchment and use the pizza cutter to draw lines between them. Can prick with a fork to form perforations. They will be soft and take the impressions of what you draw on. They do puff up some in the oven; beware edges falling off: a bit fell off one edge of my sheet of crackers and burnt up. Stinky when burnt!

graham crackers unbaked

Not too excited before baking, rolled out between parchment paper, kinda sad looking.

graham crackers out of oven

Freshly baked. Still soft and un-separated from other crackers.

GF Graham Crackers

Ingredients:

1  1/2 cups King Arthur Basic GF blend

1/2 cup brown sugar

1  1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance spread; cold

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Tbsp. water

3 Tbsp. honey

Directions: Put dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl. Blend. Add butter cut in cubes; blend until crumbly. Add vanilla, honey, water. If needed add an extra tsp of water.

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on big baking board. Blop out batter on it. Top with another sheet of baking paper and roll thin to fill the space. Cut apart with a pizza cutter to make 15 cookies. Poke with a fork to add perforations as desired. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-20 minutes. At 17 minutes they will be soft cookies. 20 is needed for crunchy ones to break up for pie crust or to make s’mores with.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes then cool completely on drying rack. Store in plastic bag to keep moisture out.  They are delicious all by themselves. The homemade s’mores turn out well too!graham crackers on plate

 

Un-stuffed Cabbage n Beef Casserole

Stuffed cabbage rolls are definitely a Pennsylvania treat. But making this recipe can be time consuming and complex; you have to cook the whole cabbage leaves and separately cook the filling and roll up it inside the half cooked leaves, sauce it and bake it. This is just way, way easier and pretty much better in my opinion. Less work, less heat in my kitchen (I did it in my Instant Pot but you could use a slow cooker or bake in the oven.) It isn’t a pretty dish to photograph and I frankly forgot to take pictures of making it. I debated even sharing it due to this but the flavor is so delish I knew I was gonna make it again so I wanted you to have the option to give it a try.

cabbages

Here is my entire cabbage crop. These fat leaves will make a great batch of this casserole.

This recipe is very homey; great in these trying times. I used some outside cabbage leaves but any fresh cabbage will do.  I used ground chuck but lots of people swear by ground pork or even ground turkey. The amount of spices is variable and you can use any sort of tomato product you wish to get that wonderful tomato flavor in there. I added some smoked paprika and a few raisins to make it like my old recipe. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to zip it up a bit. Fiddle with the ingredients as you wish. It will still be a comfort meal your family will appreciate. Makes about 6 servings.

cabbage n rice casserolle

Told you my photo was lousy! Trust me it tastes better than it looks. And it looked better the first time we had it.

Angie’s Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

2 big garlic cloves, minced

1 med-large onion diced fine

About 4 cups of cabbage cut into 1-2 inch squares/chunks

1 can (13.5 oz) diced tomatoes

16 oz can plain tomato sauce

1.5 cups beef or chicken broth

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp. smoked paprika

A Tbsp brown sugar (optional…some folks love, some hate this)

2/3 cup white or parboiled brown rice, uncooked

  • sea salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

¼ cup raisins (optional)

 

Directions: In instant pot or big pan brown ground beef: I sprayed it with cooking spray before starting. Or use a tsp or two of mild olive oil. After the beef is half browned add the onions, stir a couple minutes; add the garlic too.  Add the spices and stir. Add the tomatoes, broth and cabbage, stir, then add the sugar, rice and salt/pepper. Stir well so nothing is stuck to the bottom. Cook in IP under pressure for 35 minutes. Let rest 10 min before depressurizing and adding optional raisins. Then serve. You can bake it in oven for 45 minutes. Slow cooker for maybe 6 hours? I don’t use that function often but I am sure it would work fine for this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

Strawberry season is here and rhubarb is plentiful right now so let’s make a pie with these spring fruits. This is a crowd favorite and you will certainly get a few compliments if you make it for your family.

This is an easy pie to construct and you can store any leftover crumb mixture in a sealed container in the fridge; it keeps a few weeks.  The GF crust will work for any pie and the GF crumb topping is perfect for any crumb pie.  If you prefer a solid crust just double the crust part and top your pie with it.  Be sure to cut some slits for steam escape!

Please make every effort to use local strawberries; can get at most farm stands.  This pie really showcases the strawberries more than the rhubarb which is a silent partner so that is why I suggest you get the best; locally grown sweet ripe strawberries to make your perfect pie. If you don’t get local, at least get organic berries. They are much healthier for you and probably more flavorful.

Bake and enjoy an early summer pie in just a few minutes of work.  Don’t eat it hot; it should be cooled to room temperature or even chilled. I eat it both ways and love it either way.  I am sure you could top this with vanilla ice cream for even more yumminess.

Angie’s GF Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg. egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembles coarse meal.  Add egg and citrus juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the rhubarb into ½ inch chunks and hull/slice the strawberries.

Filling:

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in thick slices

2-3 cups cut up fresh rhubarb – place in medium bowl

Mix with

½ to 2/3  cup sugar ( I used ½ cup but you might like it sweeter.)

1/3 c gluten free flour mix (see below recipe or Better Batter flour works great.)

I sometimes add a tsp. of orange zest to the filling; a great pairing with these fruits.

Crust: Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with dry strawberry – rhubarb mixture

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Continued directions: Sprinkle the top of the pie with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about ½ to 2/3 of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  I have a bottom heat oven so my crust gets nice and brown.  If that is an issue for you, bake the empty bottom crust ten minutes before filling so it gets a head start.

Cool at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This post was originally shared in July 2015.  Slight changes to the text were made but the recipe is pretty much the same.

Rhubarb Custard Crumb Pie For Dessert

Rhubarb is plentiful so it was a good choice for my first adapted gluten free pie recipe years ago. This is my favorite rhubarb pie and my go to recipe for a great spring dessert.

 

 

This is an easy pie even though it has several steps.  It is different from the usual rhubarb pie because the texture is a bit closer to a crumb cake, no wet, slimy texture and no ultra sour flavor.  I think this new version tastes as good as it did when I made it with wheat flour.  This GF crust will work for any pie you wish and the GF crumb topping is great for any crumb pie topper.  What I am giving you is my mixture of three recipes with some small modifications over time to create one of my favorite GF pie recipes.  I know it has several steps but each one is easy and you can use these crust and crumb recipes for other pies.

I like it because it has a great texture and the flavor is complex but subtly rhubarby.  It isn’t really soft or all that custardy but more cake-like in texture. It is a game changer of a rhubarb pie. I promise you that!

Angie’s GF Rhubarb Custard Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 1 tbsp brown rice flour mix (recipe for blend at bottom of pie recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

——————

Spray a 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. I must confess I forget this step a lot of the time and it doesn’t seem to matter much….

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice. Do not leave out the juice; it is critical to the crust texture and structure!  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape the sticky mess into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the rhubarb into ½ inch chunks.

rhubarb

My sister Karen bought me one of those pie crust plastic bag thingies; has a zipper around the edge.  By OXO: I love it; it works better than wax paper which can get soft and tear as you roll out the crust.  King Arthur Flour sells an inexpensive one on line. I highly recommend you get the OXO version for making scratch pie crust.  Or maybe improvise with a sheet of heavy duty plastic! Strong enough to work with the rolling pin and better than wax paper.pie crust bag

Filling:

4-5 cups cut up fresh rhubarb – place in medium bowl

Mix with dry mix made of

2/3 – 1 c sugar (depends on how sweet you like your pie) I go with 2/3 cup

¼ c brown rice flour mix (see below recipe)

½ tsp nutmeg

Sprinkle cinnamon

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with dry rhubarb mix.  Pour the following wet mix evenly over this mixture:

Wet mix: 3 eggs beaten lightly with 1/3 c milk (not skim), and ¼ tsp almond extract.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of the pie with the crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about 2/3 of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste… It sinks into the rhubarb and wet mixture to create an almost cake like texture and the crumb crust adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 55-60 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s Basic Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This post was originally published in the late spring of 2013.  I revised it somewhat since then.  I have made this pie many times in past years to rave reviews.  One of my friends had it for dessert at my house and said it was the best pie she had ever eaten, gluten free or not!  Spring is rhubarb season.  Go forth and make pie!