Coconut Shrimp Stew

I was not been feeling so great last week. So, I was searching for a healthy soup or stew for supper one night. I took a cauliflower turmeric soup recipe from realfarmacy.com and changed it quite a bit to fit the ingredients I have. I love and it feels so healthy. It even has some seaweed in it, yeap I went there and it worked; just one sheet of nori seaweed chopped up with a scissors. Adds complexity and it is good for skin care which is what I need right now.  You can alter it as you like. I used shrimp as I had them. If you prefer chicken go right ahead and swap out for that. Or use cauliflower and make it more veggie driven. I think this is a flexible stew; thick and very flavorful. Great on a cold day especially if you feel ill or sluggish. It will perk you up!

Shrimp and Coconut Stew

Ingredients:

1 medium onion chopped

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 lg garlic cloves

1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup finely sliced Chinese cabbage

1/2 cup shredded snow peas

1 tsp. sea salt

1 sheet nori seaweed

Big handful of dry rice noodles; maybe a cup of them; I used large width.

3/4 lb large raw shrimp; peeled or not!

Directions: heat oil in large soup pot, add cumin seeds and stir for a few moments; add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes; add garlic; cook a minute and then add all the dried spices and chopped ginger. Stir and cook a minute; add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until they soften. Add the Chinese cabbage, coconut milk and broth. 

Meanwhile; heat 2 or 3 cups water to a boil in a separate dish and add the noodles; turn off heat and let stand 8 or 9 minutes. I heat the water in my microwave but you can do it on the stove of course.

Add the shrimp and snow peas to the soup once the mixture had come nearly to a boil. While it is heating you can add the seaweed. I folded my sheet up and cut it into narrow strips with a scissors and dumped it all in. Turn down heat so it doesn’t boil, and simmer 5-6 minutes. Don’t over cook those shrimp! Add the cooked rice noodles and salt at the end of this time, stir and add  water or more broth if it has gotten too thick. Make sure it is hot, and that you have tasted to see if there is enough salt to your tastes. Serve in a wide shallow bowl. Enjoy!

 

Notes: I generally break up the rice noodles into 2-4 inch lengths; they come in a packet of long strips; hard to measure. I just grab out a big chunk and break them up somewhat before dumping in the very hot water. You can use any width you prefer.  You can use any type noodle you prefer but rice noodles are most authentic.

If you don’t like shrimp use another seafood like scallops or a white fish like cod. If you don’t like seafood/fish you could add cooked chicken in slivers or go with no protein at all. To make it vegetarian use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. To “beef up” your vegetarian version try adding some small flowerets of cauliflower; maybe a cup or two when you add the tomatoes.

If you shiver at the very thought of the nori; just leave it out. It adds flavor and protein and does increase the authenticity of the flavors. Enjoy!

Fig and Cheese Galette

Yeap…another fig recipe. Sorry, but I still am harvesting the sweet beauties and this new recipe is my favorite dessert to bake right now. A delicate and not overly sweet treat. My figs are small so I used like 14-16 of them, at least! But use store ones if you don’t grow them and if they are big; cut the figs in thirds.  It goes together pretty quickly if you use your stand mixer to blend up the pastry crust. My old recipes used goat cheese but cream cheese is a less tangy choice and reminds me a bit of cheesecake. I softened my cream cheese in the microwave. Don’t worry if there are some tiny lumps in the filling after beating but do soften it close to room temp for best blending results.  One time I used an egg wash on it and one baking version I didn’t. More sugar sticks onto the crust if you use the egg wash. Just saying it helps but if you don’t want to you can get away with not doing that step.

Fig and Cheese Galette

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

½ tsp. cinnamon

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Line a 15 inch pizza pan with parchment paper.  Can use a thick cookie sheet; preferably with edges. Done it both ways.

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.  Then roll out and put on the parchment lined pan; put back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.  You can make this crust and refrigerate it for hours or a day; will need to warm up for a bit before rolling out. Get it out first and let it stand a bit. No microwaving though!

Filling:

12-16 small figs or 6-8 larger ones

8 oz light cream cheese, room temperature

1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

½ tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle nutmeg (optional)

Zest of a lemon

————————

1 medium or small egg; beat up to make an egg wash

1 Tbsp. coarse or turbinado sugar

Directions: Cut your figs into halves or if large, thirds or quarters.

Cream cheese filling: put softened cream cheese in medium bowl. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, optional nutmeg, lemon juice; blend with whisk, add egg and blend well. Zest the lemon with either a fine grater or better yet a loop zester that will give you longer strands. I like to do it onto a sheet of wax paper; add to well blended filling.  It is smart to zest your lemon before you want to juice it for the filling and crust.  If you have time chill the filling for 10-15 minutes before compiling the tart.

Get out the tart crust and pour the cream cheese filling in the center. Leave 1.5 inches of plain crust around the edge, put fig halves gently all over the cheese filling, cut side up, leaving no big gaps, not touching them but with a bit of filling between them. Fold up the edges of your crust and pinch together to create the galette shape. Try not to let it crack at the bottom; pinch and fix those cracks! Use a pastry brush to brush the crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over it all including the crust.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  The crust should be lightly browned and filling almost bubbling. Let your tart rest a bit; don’t serve hot but a warm slice will be awesome.  Slice and top with a big dollop of crème or yogurt if you like that sort of thing.  We ate it plain – which is actually my favorite way to appreciate the flavors of this awesome tart. I am wondering if coffee ice cream might go great here… Enjoy! fig tart slice

fig tart cutBrown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur All Purpose GF blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.

Grilled Cheese and Fig for Lunch

 

With company last weekend, I needed a quick but tasty lunch. Figs were plentiful in my garden so how to use them. I never make sandwiches, well hardly ever. Grilled cheese; honestly I just never think of it; so little sliced bread hanging out in my kitchen.  But, for some reason it was what I wanted. I made a simple grilled cheese using Aldi’s multigrain bread as the base. I sliced mild cheddar cheese, slathered one side with some brown mustard. The secret ingredient was a couple of ripe brown figs sliced thinly added before the grilling. The cheese got gooey and the figs softened even more. It was delicate and delicious. Use the cheese you prefer as long as it is good quality; no plastic cheese!  Ditto as to your bread. My choice bought at my local Aldi’s worked perfectly. Ditch the mustard if you wish. I used it in moderation; you don’t want it to be the prevalent flavor. This is a fig and cheese symphony!

grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese and Fig

 

2 slices gluten free sandwich bread

1 tsp brown mustard

2 tsp. butter

Enough cheddar cheese to make a solid layer on one slice of bread, like 5 chunks

2-3 ripe figs.

Directions: Super easy, super quick. I use a Teflon grill pan; melt 1-2 tsp. of salted butter; lay out the two slices; one plain and one with the mustard topped with cheese slices and topped with thinly fig.  When the bottom (you gotta peek!) is browned gently lift the solo slice and carefully place it on top. I like to put a domed lid over it and cook another minute on low heat to cement the two parts into one delish sandwich. Slice in half on the diagonal and enjoy!

 

 

GF Flour Choices and a Few Personal Words….

Wanna know what flour blends I favor? It took me a few months or maybe years to figure this out for my cooking style. First, I bought a zillion weird and a few typical gf flours. Tried to bake with each and every one of them. Found out a few kinda suck and stopped using them. Others are used infrequently but have real value for a few recipes that they match to. If you are new to gluten free or just trying to get into baking gf this post is for you.

My favorite blend is King Arthur’s Gluten Free All-Purpose blend; made of three flours; brown rice, potato starch and tapioca flour. It is versatile. It makes great pie crust that my family really loves. I use it in most of my muffin recipes. I use it for gf pasta making and for cookies that wow.  Get some and give it a try. I actually make my own blend (same exact blend as KA’s basic all-purpose flour) as it is cheaper but you can buy it at your local grocery store in a  box.

 

king arthur flour

Another blend I like very much is Better Batter, the copycat version you can find on glutenfreeonashoestring. I make a batch and keep it in the freezer so it stays fresh. Great for quick breads, desserts and pastries.

If you want a cup for cup replacement flour there are some good options; Cup 4 Cup or King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour.  They can be used in your favorite recipes for the most part.

king arthur flour

white rice flour

White rice flour or cornstarch work well for breading things and thickening. I always keep both on hand. Ditto for tapioca flour which I use in my blends and some other recipes. Gotta have it available. I also keep sweet rice flour to use in my main blend and in a few recipes. It adds flakiness in my pie crust. Potato starch is great in my basic blend and a few other blends/recipes. Another must have.

I use sorgum flour in a number of recipes including my delish buttermilk pancakes. It has a nice flavor compared to things like quinoa flour or bean flours. Uggh on them! I still have some in my freezer but I NEVER willingly use them. I do have some chickpea flour but rarely have a need for it.

Occasionally I use teff flour; in small amounts. It makes breads darken and seem like rye or pumpernickel breads.   But, it can give a muddy flavor if you use too much. Coconut flour is another flour I keep in the freezer but only use occasionally.  It can dry out a recipe if you use too much so  use sparingly.

I just got some cassava flour to use to make flour tortillas.  I hear it is fantastic.  I’ll let you know how that goes…

My suggestion is that you start with one or two blends and a couple single flours that can be used in combination. I rarely ever use just one flour except for breading or thickening. A great blend is critical.

Don’t let all the flour choices discourage you.  Try a few and find out what works for you. Some need to be frozen or refrigerated especially if you don’t use them up rapidly; check for that storage information so your flour blend that costs a lot doesn’t get rancid on you.  Have fun!

A personal note. I am sorry I haven’t blogged much lately. Been struggling somewhat. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and had a partial mastectomy in early August. On the first of October I started radiation therapy and it has sucked my energy and focus away from most of my enjoyable hobbies including this blog. I hope to feel better soon; 3.5 more weeks to go! At least I won’t lose my hair, LOL! I have done a bit of baking and cooking but due to my low energy I seldom can find it in me to write. This will change in November I hope.  Peace and happy gf cooking!

Pancetta and Parmesan Cheese Kettle Chips….Yes…I went there!

I bought something this week that I never buy, never. Potato chips…shocking  breach of my personal rules but these were something special; pancetta and Parmesan cheese kettle c hips from Aldi’s.  Damn. they are good! So crispy and I can definitely taste the cheese and the pancetta. Not overly strong; perfect balance of porkiness, cheesy and greasy (I find all chips kinda greasy) – a total flavor explosion of crunch and munch.

The usual (more or less) amount of carbs, not too much sodium per serving and no trans fats. One gram of saturated fat per serving.

Just have to say, these chips are freaking addictive. I could eat the whole bag but I am rationing them as chips are totally not on my diet.

kettle chips

They are so good I almost didn’t want to tell you about them. Keep every darn bag for myself! Decided that wasn’t possible so I bit the bullet and am telling you. Guessing they are limed edition as many treats at Aldi’s are so run out immediately and get a bag or two. Or three.

They also have some with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Gotta get a bag of that!

Chunky Mushroom Soup

 

Cream of mushroom soup.  Sounds kinda dull. Everyday.  Nothin special… but when you make it from scratch and you use wild mushrooms it becomes extraordinary and quite memorable. I have made this soup before but this time I had several kinds of wild shrooms to use which amped up the flavor quotient.  I posted a picture on a facebook mushroom id group and got a lot of likes and a request for the recipe so I thought it could be my next post; why type it up just for that one or two folks who asked it; better to share it on my blog for my peeps!

My amounts are somewhat flexible; can use less or more cream, can use store mushrooms. What ever you want. My local farmer’s market has a vendor who sells wild mushrooms; another good source for your ingredients.  Just be sure you know the variety of mushrooms and that every shroom is safe and edible! Use what ever dairy you like. I have used a range of choices in the past.  This time I went with half and half and whole milk.  If you want to chop the mushrooms finer; go for it; you can even puree it but I much prefer it a bit chunky.

We ate outside by candlelight last night and I didn’t bother with a picture of it in the soup bowl due to the light conditions; tonight I will update this post with one of those shots taken in the kitchen! PS: I found most of the shrooms we picked; I am good at it! Joe is much better at identifying; I am a beginner and he is pretty expert at it. It is fun to do together.

Chunky Wild Mushroom Soup

Makes almost 2 quarts.

Ingredients:

  • 15-16 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, chopped coarsely

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

4 Tbsp. butter, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 carrot chopped in small cubes

1 large shallot chopped small cubes (about 1/2 cup)

2 Tbsp. white rice flour

6-8 stems fresh thyme

1 cup dry white wine (I used a dry Riesling)

1.5 tsp. sea salt and ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper or white pepper

1 cup chicken broth

2 cups vegetable broth (or more chicken broth)

1 cup half and half or light cream

½ cup whole milk

1-2 Tbsp. chopped garlic or regular chives

Sprinkle of fresh parsley (I used dried as my parsley plant has bit the dust)

Directions; chop the ingredients so everything is ready. I like my mushrooms chunky but cut them how you like to eat them. Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan; mine is copper; about 4 quarts. Add the onion, sauté on medium for 4-5 minutes until softened, add the shallots and stir for a minute. Add the flour; stir and cook for a minute. Add the wine, stir and cook a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir for 5-7 minutes until they soften, then add fresh thyme, broths and a tsp of sea salt and some fresh ground pepper. Cook 15-20 minutes on medium.  You want all the veggies to be soft and fully cooked but not mushy. Add the cream and milk, stir well; heat; do Not boil.  While it heats add the finely chopped chives, I used garlic ones and add parsley. I have a five tined scissors for herbs; it chops them perfectly right into the soup. Taste and add more salt if needed.  mushrooms soup

Notes; if you are not gluten free use all purpose flour. If it is too thick add more milk.  It does thicken on standing. I used a blend of honey brown mushrooms, hen of the woods, chicken of the woods and just a speck of chanterelle in my soup this time. A mixture really is nice for a full flavor. Use whatever mushrooms you like. If you want it richer use heavy cream instead of half and half. You can add more butter if you like but I find it quite rich just like I make it.  I pluck out the stems of the thyme when it is cooked; the tiny leaves fall off into the stew; you can remove the leaves from the stems before cooking if you prefer to do that.  You can replace the shallot with leek if you prefer.

This is a rough adaptation from a recipe from Food Network, by Ina Garten – I simplified it quite a bit. And I cut back on the butter, flour and dairy.  I used different mushrooms and made it gluten free as that is my life these days! Enjoy!

 

 

Pear Cranberry Rustic Tart

A friend gifted me some homegrown pears. What delish dessert to make? How about a rustic tart? I was time limited so no time for a raft of cute little tartlets that had to have their crust rolled out one at a time and fitted into the 4 tartlet pan. Good plan. Then, I added some frozen cranberries to zing it up. Plus a touch of cinnamon and allspice. And a sprinkle of glittery sugar to fancy it up.  Just delish!

I used some small Moonglow pears, another good choice would be bosc pears, just make sure they are within that narrow  ripe pear window; not under ripe and not squishy.  The holy grail of pears; that moment of ripe before they go bad.  That. They need to be peeled, cored and then chopped, in that order. Especially bosc pears; their skin is not tasty but the are great for baking with.

pear cranberry tartPear Cranberry Rustic  Tart

First, make the crust and chill it a bit while you peel, core and slice the pears

GF 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, room temperature

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

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 flat fat disc with your hands. Put it in a pie bag, on a large piece of sturdy plastic or on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), put another piece of wax paper on top and chill it all in your fridge 15 minutes

Filling;

3 -4 cups peeled and chopped pears

2/3 cup frozen or fresh cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. granulated tapioca

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp. allspice

a sprinkle salt

Mix dry ingredients; add to the fruit in a bowl, stir and let sit while you roll out the crust.

Directions: Roll out the somewhat  chilled crust between the two sheets of wax paper into a disc; maybe 14 inches, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! I use my pie bag as it works great. Peel off one side of paper and place on pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper or plastic.

Using a big spoon place your filling carefully on the crust but leave a 1 ½ inch border of crust untouched all around the fruit. Fold that excess crust up to make walls around the fruit filling. Sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. chunky sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; golden brown crust and a bubbling, cooked looking filling.  Cool at least an hour before cutting. Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

pear tart slice

Took this by candlelight outside on my back porch just before taking a bite! MMMMM