Symon Says Chicken Goes Perfect with Olives and Orange

This recipe came out of a five ingredient cookbook by Michael Symon that I got out of the local library many months ago. The combination of olives, tomatoes and orange is very Mediterranean and a tummy warming bundle of yummy flavors. Don’t leave any of those three ingredients out; they are crucial to a great result. olivesYou gotta love how short the list of stuff to buy is. Well, this dish actually uses eight items but olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes are three staples I (and most cooks) keep in the house all the time. So it is five, sort of! I had everything on hand but the chicken so I was in business after a stop for some high quality chicken thighs.

Chicken is a regular protein choice for dinner at my house, inexpensive, easy to make and it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it with. The thighs are my favorite chicken part as they stay moist and have a bit more flavor than breasts. Canned chopped tomatoes have great tomato flavor and are so convenient as well as pretty inexpensive.

navel oranges

I used a bit less olive oil than the original recipe – seemed like half of the quarter cup was quite enough. I have made this about 3 times in the past year. I believe the original recipe was made with boneless chicken thighs but I prefer them bone in. If you like boneless; cook it five minutes less. I stuck a thigh with my instant read thermometer and knew the poultry was done. Totally takes the guess work out.

This recipe is a keeper: it meets my criteria of inexpensive, quick to put together, gluten free and great tasting. That’s the quartet of food greatness in my recipe world. And that is why I am sharing it with you today!

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Symon Says Chicken with Orange and Olives


2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 chicken thighs (if small; 5-6)
2 sliced garlic cloves
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
Grated zest and juice of one fresh navel orange
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped Kalamata olives (I opened a can of regular black ones and cut them up roughly – in half is fine)

In a dutch oven heat the oil, add the chicken, skin side down, cook 8 minutes, turn using a pair of tongs, cook 8 more minutes. Add olives and rosemary; cook one minute. Add a half cup of water to de-glaze the pan and then add the rest of the ingredients. I like to hold half the olives and add them at the end, especially if you use the canned black olives which are softer than kalamata olives. Cook 20 minutes, test for doneness and add 5 more minutes if needed.

I served my chicken over a baked red potato, cut open and sliced somewhat. With a simple green salad you have a super supper. There is very little active time spent making this; but you can’t leave it alone for more than 8 minutes while each side browns. Still, dishes can be done, kitchen tidied or other chores completed while the chicken thighs brown. The dish goes together in just a few minutes of chopping garlic and olives. In a rush I have been known to tip the olives into a measuring cup and just cut with a paring knife stuck in the cup to roughly chop the olives.

It is also nice with pasta; gluten free ziti comes to mind. Even rice would be great with this flavorful and naturally gluten free main dish.

Awesome Apple Crisp

Apples are the lynchpin of the fall harvest season. Some may think pumpkins wear the crown but I firmly believe the apple is king of autumn in America. Crisp, sweet, flavorful and so good for you. That old adage of an apple a day has some basis in fact. When you get tired of apples in the raw; try an apple crisp.  It is very simple because there is no crust to roll out or position over the apples.  Dump, sprinkle and bake: a 7 year old can make this if you cut up the apples for them.

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If you can, get the organic ones as the sprays they use on growing apples are not at all good for you. I made this today with some Jonagold apples from a farm stand and it was very tasty indeed. I especially suggest you get your apples at an actual apple orchard if you want the most appley taste. South of Hellertown is Bechdolt’s Orchard which grows many apple varieties. Go there if you want the freshest tastiest apples in this geographic area. Apples grow all over the globe so you shouldn’t have problems getting them just picked! The variety is up to you but I would not suggest any that are not meant for baking; don’t use red delicious as they are for eating only, same for honey crisp apples.

This recipe is out of Gluten-Free Baking Classics Cookbook by Annalise G. Roberts with a few minor changes. I am betting you can use any GF flour mix in this recipe, crisp is not like a cake or other baked goods that have very specific flour requirements.

I have made the topping several ways. You can cut un-melted butter into the dry ingredients; it makes for a firmer crumb than the melted version below. I have made it egg free but it really somehow needs that egg to pull it together to mimic a wheat flour based crisp. The oats can be left out if you don’t like them or can’t eat them. I personally love oats in my crisp. A quarter cup of chopped nuts can be added to the topping; really a nice touch too. I don’t like it too sweet so I use the lesser amount of sugar. This is entirely a personal choice. You can up the nutritional value by adding flaxmeal to the dry mix; 2-3 tbsp.

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For those who love ice cream, this recipe is absolutely perfect with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream next to it. I like it warm from the oven but it also is tasty cold the next day, if you have any left over that is!

Angie’s Apple Crisp

3/4 cup GF flour (mix below)
½ to ¾ cup sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
½ cup old fashioned gf oats
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle of nutmeg
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
6 cups thinly sliced apples
¼-1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions:   Heat oven to 350 degrees. If your oven seems slow make it 375 degrees. Put a rack in the center level of oven. Lightly butter a 9 inch square pan or spray with cooking spray.

Combine all the dry ingredients. Add egg and stir to mix well. Place apples in the baking pan, top with the dry mix and sprinkle with the melted butter. Bake 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before dishing out. Six servings.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s GF blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)
2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!
1/3 c tapioca flour

French Apple Tart: Ooh La La!

Fresh ripe apples are everywhere from supermarkets to the farmer’s markets and orchard stores. This French apple tart is an old favorite of mine, been making it for years. I have no idea where I got the original recipe from so I can’t give credit for it, I lost my copy and had to replicate it. Plus, I had to change it a bit to make it gluten free but it tastes just as good as before. The cinnamon and lemon topping are what makes it so tasty.

applesIt should be made with an apple that keeps its shape; Granny Smith is the best choice in that regard. But Golden Delicious also works fine. Don’t use one that goes all squishy like Empire or Macintosh. You only need 3 large apples or 4 small ones. It should give you about 6-8 slices of tart. Lesser amount of slices if your family is piggy, the full eight slices if they are not big dessert eaters.

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I use my favorite GF tart shell crust which is from Annalise Roberts’ book; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is very easy; hand pressed into your tart pan. I would say that this is a cookie crust; sweet, buttery and shortbread in texture, very yummy.

I rarely have any of this tart left over for more than 24 hours. It is very popular with everyone. I like it for how easy it is to make, how handsome it looks and that I can throw it together quickly with only 3 apples and a lemon.

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1 cup brown rice flour mix
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, in 5 chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, cut in the butter by mixing it at a med low speed until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix well. If it is really dry looking add a tbsp. of water. I don’t often do that; when you press it lightly in the pan it does stick together enough. Press (not too hard) into the bottom and up the sides of your tart shell as evenly as you can make it.  Too hard and it gets a bit concrete-like in hardness.

For this recipe I use an extra large 10 inch tart pan. Mine is ceramic so it doesn’t have a removable bottom. Bake it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. If you have a bottom heat oven like I do you can skip that step.

3 large Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced – not thick or too thin. If small use 4 and cut them each into eight slices
2-3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. GF flour

Lay the apple slices in concentric circles in the tart pan over the crust. Mix the sugar and flour and sprinkle over the apples. Cover loosely with foil and bake 25-35 minutes until the apples are soft if pricked with a fork. Do not bake until they collapse; should still hold their shape.

While the tart is just finishing its baking make the topping.

In a small heavy sauce pan place
2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. cornstarch and mix them.
Add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest (grate the zest and then juice the lemon)
½ cup water
½ tsp. cinnamon
Cook over medium heat, stirring it constantly with a small whisk or a spoon, until it boils and seems thickened and is no longer opaque. This should take less then five minutes. Remove from heat and pour the hot gloppy topping carefully over the hot apple tart taking your time so you cover pretty much the entire surface of the apples.

Let cool before serving.

This tart is perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Don’t put it on top or it will not look so nice because of the French cinnamon topping.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (for the crust) FYI: this is the same as King Arthur’s gf blend.
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)
2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!
1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally published in this blog in September 2014.  It is such a great recipe I knew I wanted to share it again this fall.

Roasted Swordfish with Red Peppers and Onions

Fall is red pepper season; green all summer…done ripening at last! They were on sale last week at the grocery store. They are a decent value right now because red peppers are ripe peppers and produce is always cheaper when plentiful. So I was thinking about making something with them. I wanted to create a special fish dish; as close as I could remember to something I enjoyed many years ago at a Hispanic restaurant in northern New Jersey. Big homey place, no one spoke English on the staff but the food was incredible and we had the best time there. I enjoyed a roasted swordfish with peppers that was so moist, a huge steak and really tasty. Been wanting to replicate it for a long time. Finally I tried and succeeded the first time!

I know, swordfish is pricey and some folks think it isn’t as good a health choice as say, wild salmon, but I like to vary my seafood. It isn’t like I eat swordfish that often; maybe once a year. I served this for a Sunday supper for my mom and she really enjoyed this meal. I loved the veggies and the flavor they gave to the fish. Delicate and moist; no dried out fillets for us! The lower oven temperature helps keep it from sizzling up. I allotted 4 ounces for each of us; not that pricey when you don’t serve over-sized portions. Bought it frozen and just defrosted it in cold water (vacuum sealed by the seller) – no marinating or other tricky stuff.

The lemon slices and potatoes are my additions to what I remember from that restaurant meal. I used my own homegrown fingerling potatoes: great flavor and they make the dish seem so elegant. Simple and delicious for a memorable dining experience for not that much money.

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Angie’s Swordfish with Peppers
Serves 2

1 swordfish steak; about 8 ounces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 big red pepper cut in half and then thin strips
1 large yellow onion cut in long strips
6-8 fingerling potatoes
½ a lemon sliced thinly

1-2 Tbsp. white wine


Sprinkle the swordfish steak with sea salt and pepper; about ¼ tsp salt and a good grind of pepper. Heat half of the olive oil in a fire proof pan that can go straight into the oven. Add the pepper and onion let them cook at a middle flame; stir occasionally. Cook until softened; 5-6 minutes. I like to add half the lemon slices and let them start to cook as well. Remove veggies from the pan to a covered plate, add the other Tbsp. EVOL to the same pan, let it heat until fairly hot but not smoking and add the swordfish, brown for 5 minutes on each side; until getting some decent color. Once the fish has been flipped add the fingerling potatoes to start cooking. If they are small potatoes, leave whole, cut larger ones down the length into two halves so they roast faster.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees while the peppers/onions/fish cook. Using a big spoon, heap some of the half cooked red peppers and onions on top of the fish and the rest around it in the pan. Sprinkle the lemon slices over the top of it all. Drizzle the wine over top.  Can use broth if you don’t like to cook with wine. Put the lid on tight. Bake for 25 minutes or so until the potatoes are done. Cut the fillet in half and serve on warmed plates. A green salad or some sliced cucumbers/tomatoes make an excellent side dish to this entrée. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Eggplant Turrets (Towers of Yumminess)

Spaghetti is an American classic.  I don’t make it enough, especially since going gluten free.  That may change since I started to read Mario Batali’s newest cookbook “America Farm to Table”.  I cooked up a storm this past weekend making his eggplant and angel hair turrets.  What’s a turret?  A tower of yumminess!farm to table cookbook

Having a surfeit of eggplants I was diving into all my eggplant recipes to determine the best way to utilize my crop of purple beauties. This one is a winner.

We devoured it by candlelight on my back porch the other Saturday night, bees wax candles to be exact.  I thought for a moment that my man was going to lick his dinner plate! It was rewarding to see him so enraptured by my cooking.

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I made a few changes so this is an adaptation of the recipe.  I advise reading it through twice so you don’t screw it up! I used less red pepper flakes than the original recipe; up it to a tsp. if you dare!  Yes, it uses instant potato flakes and they work fantastically to coat the eggplant.    I used my own tomato sauce I had made the night before from the last of my fresh tomatoes.  This recipe serves 4.

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Eggplant and Pasta Turrets

4 tbsp. EOL

2 large eggs

1 cup instant mashed potato flakes

1 large eggplant or 2 medium ones

½ cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 oil packed anchovy fillets plus 1 tbsp. of the packing oil

1 28 oz can of tomatoes, crushed by hand plus all the can juice or your own homemade tomato sauce, unseasoned

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

1  12 oz package gf spaghetti

½-2/3 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil leaves

Eggplant: Place the eggs in a wide shallow bowl, beat well.  Put the potato flakes into a second shallow bowl or a wax paper covered plate.  Slice the eggplant into 1/3 inch slices.  Dip into the eggs, let excess drip off and dredge in the potato flakes.

Heat a large Teflon pan, add 2 tbsp EVOL.  Let heat to medium hot, add the eggplant slices, cook 2-3 minutes a side.  Place cooked eggplants on a paper towel lined plate.  Do a second batch of slices.  I put my cooked slices on a small baking sheet and put them into a 350 oven which I then turned off.  They stayed hot and I felt a tad more sure that they were fully cooked.

Make the sauce: heat the remaining EVOL in a large pot, add the onion, sauté until slightly softened; 2 minutes, add the sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, mashed up anchovy fillets, oil of fillets and the tomatoes.  Cook, stirring often; 12-15 minutes.

Pasta: Cook the pasta in a big pot of boiling salted water. Drain it one minute before the package directions say it will be done. Save a cup of the pot water to thin the pasta.

Use the eggplant fry pan (wipe out the brown bits of crust) and ladle in 2-3 big scoops of the sauce and the pasta.  Cook one minute, turn off the stove and add the cheese, stir well.

Construction of the turrets:

Place a big spoonful of sauce on each plate.  Top with an eggplant slice (I used my biggest slices for the bottom layer) and then top with a big twirl of the pasta mixture.  Top with another eggplant slice and then another pasta twirl.  Do this again.  Top with a dab of the red sauce.  You can also top it with some hot pepper jelly which is a surprisingly good addition!  I did sprinkle our towers with a few torn basil leaves.

Dive in!  And check out this cookbook; chock a block full of great relatively healthy recipes. This was one of the more complex ones; most seem fairly straight forward and sound darn delicious.

Originally published in my blog October 2014.  I made this the other weekend and decided I just had to share it again.  Do use the red pepper jelly if you have any; it is amazing!

Almond Cloud Cookies…Delightful

Sometimes you feel like you gotta have a cookie and nothing store made will do.  This basic recipe from the King Arthur website will show you how easy it is to make scrumptious gluten free cookies; these are flour free; made with almond paste, sugar, egg whites, almond extract and some powdered sugar.  So simple even a 7 year old can make them.  No fancy molding, shaping or rolling out.  No tricky flours to mix, no meringue to whip.  Simple blending, measure it with your tablespoon; shape quickly by pressing with three finger tips and bake. The cookie dough spreads out as it bakes so don’t worry if it looks like an artless clump on your baking sheet.  It will flatten and round into an attractive cookie.

Almond cloud cookies have a delicate crunch to them, deeply almond in flavor.  They look very pretty with the powdered sugar on top.  I find them somewhat addictive; can’t eat just one cookie. Yes….an almond cloud is a very descriptive name for these delightful treats.

I used ¾ cup white sugar and they were quite sweet enough for me. I also sprinkled the baked cookies with sifted powdered sugar after they came out and cooled a minute or two right on the baking sheet. Don’t leave them there more than a couple more minutes or they will be hard to lift off the baking sheet. If you are more cautious in  your use of sugar leave that stop off. I cut the sugar down in the dough to 3/4 cup but did sift some powdered sugar on top; makes the cookies even more attractive.

Great recipe; definitely planning to make it again for company and maybe for Christmas. No flour needed; just lots of almond paste! I measured mine on a small kitchen scale to make sure I had the right amount of that pricey ingredient.  You can make your own you know: l did last holiday season – very easy and I loved the fresh flavor of my very own batch:

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Almond cloud cookies  makes about 21 cookies.


10 ounces almond paste

¾-1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract

1/8 teaspoon extra-strong bitter almond oil

Confectioners’ sugar for topping


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two rimmed baking sheets.

Blend the almond paste, sugar, and salt until the mixture becomes uniformly crumbly; this is best done in a stand mixer.

Add the egg whites gradually, while mixing, to make a smooth paste.

Stir in the flavorings. I left out the almond oil; didn’t have any; fine without it.

Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared pans. I did eight to a pan. Sprinkle the cookies heavily with confectioners’ sugar, then use three fingers to press an indentation into the center of each cookie.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool right on the pan for 4-5 minutes. I froze some and stored some in my cookie jar.  They stayed a bit soft making them easy to enjoy a couple days later…I was afraid that they would become tooth breakers upon sitting a while.  Nope…still perfect. Get your cookie with these charmers…you won’t regret it.seafood pasta and swordfish 027

Amazing Apple Galette: Elegant yet Easy

Oh, the scent of fresh apples baking in my oven.  We are in the thick of apple season.  So many tasty baking apples are available if you go to an orchard or farm stand.  I like my local orchard Bechdolt’s. The apples are grown right there.  Crazy fresh which is best plus it is wonderful to support your local apple farmer. I have gone to pick your own orchards and in the early fall the smell of the ripe apples on the trees is amazing.  I made this dessertwith the golden delicious variety. You need an apple that won’t mush up like an Empire apple but you don’t want it as firm as a Granny Smith. Golden Delish are just right and honestly you can get them everywhere so with three apples you can make this delightful and fancy looking fall treat.

gold apple

I saw this recipe in Bon Appétit magazine and thought I could make it, just a little simpler. Feel free to check it out on line.

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I liked how it looked: the shape of it and all those skinny slices.  What the heck is a galette?  I goggled it and the term can refer to a French free form cake or a free form tart that is sort of between a pie and a tart.  It should be less work than a pie or a fancy tart.  This one is a rectangular shape which I loved.  Not that tough to shape.  You can do it!

For more galette info; check this New York Times article with a great video:

Anyway, it was easy to make and gorgeous to look at and even tastier to eat! My crust was enhanced with a touch of cinnamon which I highly recommend. Impress your family – they will think it took hours to make.  Leaving the skin on the apples makes them easier to slice thin, they hold their shape better and you save time.  Plus you get the bonus of all the fiber and nutrition of the apple skin and the layer right below it.

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First, make the crust and chill it a bit while you slice the apples.

GF Tart 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

½ tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and 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

Baking pan: Spray 10 x 14 inch metal baking pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour or line with parchment paper or a silicon mat (unsprayed).


3 apples – a pound or a bit more

2-3 tbsp. salted butter

3 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tbsp. granulated sugar or coarse raw sugar

Wash and dry three large firm cooking apples.  I used golden delicious that I bought at an orchard store. So fresh when you get them from where they grew. I cut them in half and cut out the core with my knife.  I put the cut side down and cut the apple half into skinny1/8 inch slices.  Leave them all close together still shaped like an apple half. Cut them all like that. I ate the end pieces that were rounded or otherwise less than perfect!

Take 2 tbsp. salted butter and heat it in a sauce pan until it is browned, watch closely or it will burn.  Pour it into a small bowl to cool a bit.  It will brown a touch more even out of the pan so take it out at a medium brown.

Roll out the somewhat chilled crust between the two sheets of wax paper into a rectangle; about 9-10 by 12-14 inches, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! I use my pie bag as it works great even for weird shapes. Peel off one side of paper and place on a baking sheet pan that you sprayed lightly with cooking spray, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  I have also placed on a silicon baking sheet on top of the pan. Works great.

Place your skinny sliced apples skin side up on the crust, separating them slightly.  I made two long rows and put a few slices down the sides.  Leave a 1 ½ inch border of crust untouched all around the fruit.  Pour the brown butter all over the fruit.  Sprinkle with the dark brown sugar.  Fold up the border of dough to form rustic sides; connect at the corners, no need to make it perfect; it is a galette! You can fold up the dough first and then add the brown butter and sugar; done it both ways so do what you prefer. Beat the egg well with a small whisk and add one tsp. water.  Brush the entire tart shell and fruit with it.  Sprinkle with that spoonful of regular sugar.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

I served mine with the time honored tradition of vanilla ice cream, my favorite: Turkey Hill’s homemade variety of vanilla. For another meal I served it with plain organic yogurt; a great contrast and organic two percent yogurt is amazingly rich in flavor and no added sugar.  It was also delightful all by itself so you can savor the delicate flavors of the apples with the brown butter and brown sugar.  The original recipe had some fancy whipped cream flavored with a couple of table spoons of maple syrup; next time! And there sure will be another apple galette this fall. It was tasty – my mom said it was better than apple pie! I loved the extra crunch the crust had from the painting of egg wash and sugar.  My pie crust has never been put to better usage nor had better flavor.

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Original post: November 2014.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (or use King Arthur GF flour; same recipe)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour