Eggplant and Potato Curry

Lots of September eggplants mean I am looking for great recipes to enjoy them to the fullest. This happens to be one of my favorite ways to do just that.  It is a vegetable curry, now don’t be put off by that; no long list of spices: only a couple and some fresh ginger in it and it isn’t too spicy or wild tasting. I have simplified it a bit and as a bonus I give you my best eggplant frying tip. Yeap, it is vegetarian but that can be a nice change of pace from all that meat. I serve it over brown rice and it is very satisfying. You can feel virtuous enjoying this savory entree and use all that fresh fall produce.

This recipe came from my favorite Indian cookbook Indian Cooking for Pleasure by Charmaine Solomon.  This 70’s bible for Indian cookery is out of print and very pricey to buy on line. I have used literally dozens of recipes from it. She knows her spices and chooses great recipes that always work.

You can use big fat eggplants as I did this time or smaller ones; you will just need more of them. These days there are many interesting smaller eggplant varieties; any will work here; just cube, no need to peel.

Eggplant and Potato Curry

1 medium eggplant

2 large potatoes

2 decent sized tomatoes or most of a can of chopped tomatoes

1 large onion diced

1 small red pepper and 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced.

1 bunch spinach or a big handful of roughly chopped kale

3-4 Tbsp. mild olive oil

1 ½ tsp. grated ginger, I freeze mine and just grate it frozen

½ tsp. cumin seeds, crushed in a pestle

½ tsp. ground turmeric; I did a rounded measurement; a tad more than level

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. brown sugar

Directions: Slice eggplants into ½ inch rounds and cut into cubes. Peel and dice the potatoes into a bit less than ½ inch rounds. Chop the tomatoes. Chop the onion. Seed and chop the peppers (you can use any level of spicy pepper you like; the original recipe said green chilies). Wash and chop the spinach or kale (I used kale this time; subs in great)

Heat 3 Tbsp. mild oil in a large frying pan. Fry the cubed potatoes until golden; you will need to turn them a few times. Remove from pan. Add the eggplant and fry until cooked; once the oil is soaked in I wait a half minute and add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan; let the water steam off and the eggplant should be done; if you have to do that again; go ahead. This trick saves adding a lot more oil to keep the eggplant from sticking/burning. When mostly done remove from pan.  It will cook more later so it is okay if edges and bits are not fully done.

Note: you could fry the eggplant at the same time in a separate pan to save a few minutes if you are in a hurry; might take a touch more oil that way; worked for me.

Then, add a touch more oil to the same (now empty) pan and pour in the chopped onion and fry until soft and turning golden. Add the cumin, turmeric and grated ginger. Fry for a minute, stirring. Add the chilies, tomatoes and salt, stir well and add back the eggplant and potatoes. Tip: when I make this in a wide 12 inch frying pan I don’t have a big enough lid; I use an upside down metal pizza pan and it makes a great lid.

Top with the spinach or kale. Stir after a minute, cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes until the spinach is soft, adding up to ½ cup water to keep it from sticking/burning. Add the brown sugar and cook the curry uncovered until it is thick; no more than 8-9 minutes. Serve with Indian bread or brown rice. As I haven’t really found time re-create my favorite Indian breads I served mine over brown rice.  eggplant curry on plante

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins With a Surprise Inside!

A few years ago I combined my chocolate chip muffins with my classic banana nut muffins to create a lovely sweet snack.  When I made a batch of them yesterday I decided to move the streusel from the top to the insides of each muffin because so often bits of the topping can come off especially after they have been frozen. I thought that this way it is safely trapped inside the muffin for a sweet surprise.

Success: they are perfect in texture, moisture and totally yummy with that bit of streusel filling that goes so well with the chocolate chips.  I left out my usual half cup of chopped walnuts; add some if you like…I was out of walnuts and wanted to keep it a bit simpler.

 

I don’t include a picture of the inside of a muffin as it really doesn’t photograph the filling very much; just bite into one and you will know it is there.

muffins, stuffed big pix

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 to 1 c packed ripe mashed banana

¼ cup mini chocolate chips and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (or any combo of chips that adds up to 1/2 cup total)

2 lg eggs beaten

½ c milk plus 2 tbsp extra if you use coconut sugar, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

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Filling

½ cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. hemp hearts or almond flour (I used hemp hearts this time; awesome!)

½ tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. butter

Mix filling dry ingredients, rub butter in with your fingertips.

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Muffin directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes about 14 or 15 muffins.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl.

Add bananas; stir to coat them with dry mix, then add the chocolate and stir briefly.

Combine milk and oil.  Add liquids and the two eggs to bowl. Stir on low until well blended.

Fill muffin pans 1/3 full.  Sprinkle with filling and top with another glop of batter to fill the pan about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  It doesn’t have to look perfect; the batter will rise and swallow up the streusel into the heart of the muffin.  I had a bit of filling left over so I sprinkled it on top of half the muffins. That looked great too!

Bake 20-22 min until golden brown. Do not overbake or they get dry.  Remove from oven and let cool 5-6 min before gently turning them out from the pans to cool on a rack. I use a butter knife to release them by running it around the edge once before tipping them out. They freeze well for up to 3 weeks.  They keep in my ceramic muffin/cookie jar for a few days.   muffins, stuffed, baked

Brown Rice Flour Mix   *same as King Arthur’s GF flour blend
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: This muffin recipe is my third generation version of the banana muffins from Annalise Roberts’s wonderful cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart….Crazy Good

 

Six years ago I made this dark chocolate tart and we ate it around a bonfire. Someone had the bright idea of putting toasted marshmallows on their slice.   This Friday I made the same tart but gluten free and we tried something different to top our slices with; amazing local made blackberry ice cream, delish vanilla ice cream and fresh organic homegrown raspberries.  My slice of tart was silky smooth, very dark and gone far too fast. We all had seconds, but I was able to save some for Joe and I to enjoy Saturday.  It was a big hit with all of the chocoholics there so here is the recipe.

Notes: I did run short on the 60% bittersweet Ghirardelli and used one ounce of semi-sweet to get the correct amount; it worked perfectly. Just take your time melting the mixture; I used the lowest heat possible and stirred it frequently. This is a keeper if you love dark chocolate. I am guessing it could be made with semi-sweet chocolate.  Drop me a note if you try that! I’m always interested to hear how a recipe works out.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

Crust

1 cup gf flour (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

5 tbsp. butter cut into 5 pieces

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. water

Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the butter pieces and blend until they are tiny crumbs.  Then add the vanilla and 1 to 2 tsp. water and blend.  It should be thick crumbs.

Spray a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking oil and then sprinkle with some gf flour; shake to coat.  Dump the crumbs of the crust evenly all over the tart pan bottom and press in with your fingers to make a fairly even crust, be sure to push some up the short sides of the pan so it is to the top of the metal and not too thick near the edges.

Bake at 350 for 11 or 12 minutes.  I did 12 minutes. Let cool while you make the filling.

Image

Filling Ingredients

¾ cup heavy cream

1/3 cup whole milk

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I like Ghirardelli.  Break into small squares/pieces.

1 large egg slightly beaten

Put the milk, heavy cream and chocolate in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat on low to heat; stir often until chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat, whisk well to fully blend and cool a few minutes.

Add the beaten egg, blend well.  Pour into the tart pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Yeap; 15 minutes; no more than 16 tops. It is a thin chocolate custard and you want it barely solid. It will continue to cook for a number of minutes so stop worrying it is underdone; trust me it isn’t!  Serve at room temperature topped with toasted marshmallows or ice cream. The contrast between the vanilla ice cream highlights the smooth dark delish of the tart. SO memorable.  I had some cold the next day; nice but honestly it is incredible when it is room temperature; the texture is perfection. Enjoy! slice choco tart with icecream

Brown Rice Flour Recipe (same as King Arthur Basic GF Flour)

Ingredients

–         1 c brown rice flour –

–         1/3 c potato starch (not potato flour)-

–          3 tbsp tapioca flour

Directions

Mix all the flours in a jar or bag

Image

This tart is best eaten warm with two or three toasted marshmallows pressed onto the top.  Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream is also yummy.  This picture was taken in total darkness with an i-phone and the owner of this slice of tart was ticked off that her marshmallows cooled while the shot was made so she toasted up two more marshmallows and had all four on her slice of tart.  This dessert is seriously delicious and really easy to make. If you love dark chocolate this is a must recipe for your repertoire.  It can easily be made by you wheat eaters; just use your favorite cookie tart crust recipe.  The filling will be the same.  Now, go get some good chocolate and make your own tart and don’t eat the whole thing yourself; share it with someone you love!

Originally posted in 2014. Silly of me not to repost sooner as it is AMAZING!

Fall Plum Tart

I love juicy ripe plums eaten out of hand but seldom bake with them.  This is one of the only recipes I bake using blue plums; these are those oval plums, sometimes called prune or Stanley plums that are only available for a few weeks in the early fall.  They are inexpensive, not too sweet and they get soft and purpley delish in this simple tart.  It is modeled after a German fruit tart I had enjoyed in my wheat loving past life.  I think my version replicates it quite well although mine is a tad more cakey….not a bad thing either!  I posted this last year but wanted to share it again. This time I found smaller Stanley plums and tried them instead of the big ones used last year. They were great so you can definitely go with either size of oval plum.  I think you could make it with round plums but I do think the oval ones have more flavor and are more suited to baking than round purple plums.

I use my favorite homemade cobbler mix which makes this really simple.  I will put the mix recipe down at the end of this post.  I keep it in my freezer and one cup makes great cobbler or works as this tart base.

A few instructions to assist you if you make this tart: I cut up the plums first and sprinkle them with sugar, let them stand while I mix the dry stuff up and then stir up the wet items in a small mixing bowl.  If you want it lower in sugar just leave off that sprinkle here; it will still taste great.

Be sure to use a 10 inch tart pan; if you made the tart in a 9 inch one it may well spill over and burn on the bottom of your oven which is never a good thing. You could also use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a baking dish.

plum tart 2017

We like it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. It is fine unadorned. Makes a great breakfast too with a cup of coffee or tea.

 

Fall Plum Tart

1 cup cobbler dry mix; recipe below

¼ c sugar – mix these together

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2 eggs

3 Tbsp. buttermilk

2 Tbsp. melted butter

1/2  tsp. vanilla

1/2  tsp. almond extract

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1 ½ lbs prune plums (enough to cover the entire tart pan) cut in halves or quarters. I used 9 large ones for this most recent tart.

Mix them with 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix two dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Spray a 10 in deep tart pan with cooking spray, could use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a substitute baking dish.

Beat eggs in medium bowl, add rest of wet ingredients, mix well, add to dry ingredients, stir the batter briefly to fully blend.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread it out with a flexible spatula.  It often just spread great if you tilt the pan a bit – the batter will spread all on its own. Top with plums, cut side up, push each in slightly into the batter and cover the entire surface of tart base. Sometimes I cut up a few plums and fit the chunks in around the halves but this time I didn’t; works either way.

Bake 25-30 min.  Top with mixture of 1 ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon

Bake 3-5 more minutes or until top looks done.

Cool somewhat before slicing/serving.

 

Dry Cobbler Mix

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

Re-posted from my blog, originally October 2014, minor changes to text and cooking time in recipe.

Blueberry Tartlets, Love Em!

Blueberries rule my universe right now; still fairly plentiful and still sweet.  The flavor can’t be beat. My guy loves them and I have to agree; they are the tastiest and healthiest fruit.  I am in love with these tartlets. The crust to fruit ratio is perfect and I made them with a minimum of sugar as these ripe berries are already quite sweet. I got my fruit at Aldi’s for a great price; every grocery store has blueberries by the pint. They are very good for your body; full of fiber, low in sugar, and full of other nutrients. They are especially you have blood sugar issues.  See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287710.php for more information.

Tips: Try not to bake in a hot kitchen; it makes it hard to roll out dough or even make the crumb mix. If it gets above 76 degrees you should turn on the air to keep your crust from acting weird.  I had to put mine in the freezer for a bit to help it hold the desired shape.

Don’t eat these tartlets fresh from the oven; they should be cooled to just warm or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They were perfect, just like a big pie only tiny each is one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream. We had them that way the other night and that was a treat indeed.

My apologies: these pictures were taken in a hurry; hot day and there was no spare time so they are looking rustic and crumbs dot the baking pan but frankly rustic tartlets are lovely. Be as tidy as fits your needs.

 

Angie’s GF Blueberry Crumb Tartlets: makes 6

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 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

You will need 6 flat bottom 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. My pans are 4 in an attached group. I baked 4 one day and 2 the next day

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 while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

2 1/3 cups fresh blueberries, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

6 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. quick tapioca

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Let stand while you prepare the crumb crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking. If you like things tart add a tsp or two of fresh lemon juice to the berries.

Tartlet construction: Break dough into a large ball and a small one. Roll out big ball in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in 4 set tartlet pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Cut into 4 pieces with a sharp knife. Mold the crust to fill each tartlet shape with no holes or thin spots. Do the same with the smaller ball and create 2 more tartlet crusts. If you only have one pan you can refrigerate the dough and make the two other tartlets later.  Fill each tartlet with fruit mixture to the top of the dough… after you have the crumb topping ready to go.

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. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs if you want that look.

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 each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-32 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least a half hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

blueberry tartlet 2017

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine. Originally posted summer of 2017. No changes made to recipe.

Mediterranean Pasta Saute

 

Summer produce is at flood stage right now. Quantities of ripe tomatoes are ridiculous and there are lots of other veggies fresh and cheap to be had.  It’s pretty darn hot; what to make that is quick and tasty and uses up some produce?  I like to make this sort of Mediterranean stir fry; you can vary the ingredients based on what is in your veggie bin or garden.  It is quick and it still tasted great the two times I enjoyed it again.

gorguta squash

Tromboni Italian squash aka gorgutza

Notes: Feel free to swap out a veggie for another if you want. Or change the basil to fresh oregano or any fresh herb you like. I love the tromboni squash as it is tender yet firm…not watery, but it can be hard to find; a substitute is summer squash of any kind. Use any melting cheese you like; I prefer either of the two I suggested. Chunks of fresh ripe tomato will work fine too. Any kind of mild pepper is a good choice.  Red onion will be great instead of regular onions.

Angie’s Mediterranean Sauté

Serves three

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. EVOL

1 med onion, cut in long strips and then cut across to shorten them in half or thirds.

1 frying pepper cut into narrow 1 to 1.5 inch long strips

2-3 cups tromboni Italian summer squash or use zucchini; cut into half moons or rounds about 1/3 inch thick max

2 garlic cloves minced

3-4 lengths of Italian sausage precooked and cut into ¼ inch wide rounds.

1 cup uncooked gf rotini pasta, cooked until one minute less than the package says to cook it

1/3 cup Mexican cheese crumbled or mozzarella cheese cut in ½ inch chunks

3-5 basil leaves chopped fine

A pint of cherry tomatoes; if they are big you could cut them in half

Directions:

Heat the olive oil until nearly smoking in a mini wok or sauté pan. Add the cut onion, the trombone squash and the pepper. If you use zucchini wait to add it for 2 or 3 minutes as it won’t take as long to cook as the tromboni squash. Stir for a minute, add the garlic, stir another minute. Add the cooked coins of sausage (I sauted them in a fry pan the day before; about 8-9 minutes), stir and cook a few minutes until the squash is nearly done. Add the cooked pasta and then the tomatoes, stir and add cheese, stir a minute until cheese is melting. Add the fresh basil leaves and maybe ½ tsp. sea salt. Toss well. Do not overcook; cheese should be just about melting and tomatoes warm and slightly soft but not burst open. Enjoy! saute on plate

 

 

Summer Tomato Soup

Summer is tomato time around here.  I had tomato salad last night and for lunch I had homemade tomato soup, had it yesterday too.  It is all gone but I am wishing I had another bowl in the fridge for tomorrow.  Last October I made a big batch and froze it in plastic containers, each two servings.  I felt like I was back in a sunny summer day whenever I had it for lunch last winter.  I add the cream before serving; not before freezing, FYI.

So make some, it is Ina Garten’s recipe simplified a tad.  If you don’t like it creamy leave out the cream or use half and half or whole milk for less calories.  If you are a vegetarian use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.  You can strain it but I prefer it unstrained and chunky. It has a fair amount of garlic which you can reduce as wished.  I cut back on the salt but you can cut it even further as you wish.

Your family will love this soup with a sandwich or salad. It is naturally gluten free.  GF croutons would bring a lovely crunch to it if you have any.  I make it a lot in late summer, commonly used recipe…I never think to take pictures of the process. Next batch!

tomato soup in bowl

This was made with just a touch of half and half, not cream; plenty creamy for me!

Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red or yellow onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5-6 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves

2-3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1-2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream/half and half or whole milk

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Or: use your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker to make it; saute as per recipe in the pot, add the rest of the ingredients and put the lid on and cook under pressure 20 minutes.  You might have to blend it a bit with an immersion blender. I sometimes leave off the cream but my next paragraph is how to add that….

The finish: Add the cream or milk to the soup and process it by blending with an immersion blender or run it through your food processor. I use my cute little boat motor blender and leave it chunky just as I love soup to be. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve plain or with julienned basil leaves and/or GF croutons. Enjoy!

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cream-of-fresh-tomato-soup-recipe.

Original post of this was way back in the summer of 2014.  Minor changes and additions.