Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters

 

Zucchini season is here.  The blossoms are plentiful and I am expecting many zucchini this season.  I now make my stuffed blossoms with gf beer batter. I have made them gf before; this is a repeat post with some new information.  I used seltzer thinking it could function like the beer;none of that in the house. So I whipped up a batch for lunch today.

I usually use Monterrey Jack cheese to fill them but in a pinch some sharp cheddar worked excellently.  Or whatever cheese floats your boat; can use almost anything that is not too hard or is really runny before cooking. I used sharp cheddar this time; perfect.

My go to in past has been GF Redbridge beer. I left it rest once beaten, for about one hour.  UPDATE: I used seltzer water this time very successfully. Use a tad less than you would of beer; seems thinner than beer makes the batter. Even flavored seltzer works; not sweetened though.

No need to deep fry in a quart of oil, I fried mine in a non stick pan with a good coating of light olive oil.  I like to turn them twice; resulting in a sort of three sided fritter. They are best consumed right away the same day they are made, eaten warm with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.  My twenty something daughter loves them. My grandson at two and a half enjoyed one!  They have a mild squash taste but I think the crisp batter coating is the predominate flavor. My GF version is pretty much identical to the old wheat version: they taste fantastic! The cheese is melted and creamy, the fritter exterior is crisp yet tender. I ate half of them and had to restrain myself from any more….I sprinkled some fresh dill on the plate. Perfect.

 

 

Stuffed squash Fritters

Ingredients

7-12 fresh squash blossoms, remove stamen

1 medium egg

2/3 cup white rice flour or any gf flour blend

Sprinkle sea salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper

1 ½ tsp light olive oil plus more for frying

3 ounces GF beer; I measure it midway between ½ and 2/3 cup or about 1/2 cup seltzer water

Approx 1 inch chunk of cheddar cheese cut into small rectangles

¼ a fresh lemon or lime

DIRECTIONS: Separate the egg and put the yolk in a medium bowl, ditto for the white.  Add the oil, salt, pepper and white rice flour to the yolk.  Then add the beer.  Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let stand an hour or two.  Even thirty minutes works. Beat that reserved egg white until fairly stiff. Add to the batter and stir gently but thoroughly. It will lose some loft but don’t over beat; should be thick and puffy in texture.

Slit open the side of each squash blossom and break off the pollen stamen.  Insert a 1 inch by ½ inch chunk of cheddar cheese.

Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet; add about 2 or 3 tbsp light olive oil.  Take 3 blossoms and gently roll in the batter to coat; making sure the cheese doesn’t fall out.  Lightly lay them in the hot olive oil and fry until golden, carefully turn twice with spatula and fingers; about 5 or 6 minutes total. Do a few more if you have room or fry in two batches.  Do not keep turning; maximum of two turns.  Lay on a couple paper towels to absorb any excess oil if they are oily. Mine were really not at all oily this time.  Plate, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

They are a lovely appetizer. I made 7 this time of them; that was how many blossoms I had; the batter should do at least 12 of them.  Even the bit of stem will taste good so don’t worry if you have ½ inch or so of stem.  The blossoms are best if you pick them yourself that day. Some fancy farmer’s markets sell squash blossoms so they are the first place I suggest you look for some if you don’t have access to a few squash plants.  I have used pumpkin or butternut squash blossoms in the past; they taste fine.

squash blossoms on plate

I squeezed lime juice on these and sprinkled with fresh dill; perfection!

Do try them; a real conversation starter, not that hard to make and really delicious.

Original post in summer of  2015 or thereabouts. Minor text changes and recipe variations.

 

Bratwurst in a Crepe!

This post came as a result of me buying some uncured German bratwurst at Aldi’s and I didn’t know what to make with it.  Then I saw a blog post; for a meal of bratwurst served in a “galette” which is basically a buckwheat crepe. Bratwurst is a quick cooking meat; about 10-11 minutes in fry pan. The crepes took far longer. I used dark buckwheat flour.  You will need some water, a bit of coconut oil or butter, salt and an egg. You beat it up and refrigerate it for an hour or more; up to overnight.  I made the whole recipe which should make 8 crepes; I got about 6-7.  I have made crepes before, long ago; they are a bit smaller; these were made in a 12 inch non stick frying pan.  They are harder to turn as they are so large. The crepe is thin, fairly flexible especially when it is just made. I reheated one tonight on a plate; for about 35-30 seconds.

I cooked the brats and then opened a can of sauerkraut and got out the mustard. It goes especially good with country style mustard; aka stone ground mustard.  One time I had it with a pickled okra added in and second time with some caramelized onions added.  Both tasty.

So here are my hints.  I made the batter in a 4 cup flexible measuring cup; measure the water and dump in flour and rest of ingredients. Mix it well.  Put in fridge while you do something else. When you measure batter to make a crepe, go for a touch less than a ladle full. I found that the first one was crap; just as the author said it would be.   Then I got out the cooking spray and changed from coconut oil to butter and sprayed the pan as well; Much less sticking. You have to rotate the pan around quickly to spread the batter into a thin big crepe. Be patient to turn and be careful not to flip it onto itself; sticks together and cannot be separated again; mutant crepe! Let it get some brown spots on the bottom. The edges might be all feathery; they look pretty when that happens.

I think you could use these to make wrap sandwiches; far better tasting and more flexible than any gf wrap bread I have found. They are fairly easy once you get the hang of making them. I love that there is no baking and in an hour of batter resting plus 15 or 20 minutes I can have 6 wraps to use with brats, hot dogs, lunch meat or whatever! Six is plenty for me; not sure they freeze so don’t want a ton of them. This is definitely a keeper recipe I will be able to use in many meal situations.

Here is the link to Margaret’s recipe: http://www.kitchenfrau.com/buckwheat-galettes/

Enjoy!!

Pan Fried Ravioli with Spring Veggies

Sometimes I want a quick light meal; homemade and gf of course. I used some fresh asparagus from my garden, a small carrot, a small shallot, some EVOL and a few frozen ravioli to create this simple meal. No sides, two pans and it is quick to throw together; like 15 minutes tops.  People always want to pour red sauce over their ravs but I think they shine in a simple preparation. I used spinach and cheese ravioli but you can use what ever ravioli or even perogies. Yeap; there are gf perogies.

This recipe is for one serving, use a bigger frying pan and you can easily double this recipe.

Notes: first time I made this I used the capers, no carrots, second time no capers as I was out. Both yummy. If you don’t have shallots use a small onion. Sugar snaps were great; could use snow peas or even frozen peas.

Angie’s Pan Fried Ravioli and Spring Veggies

One serving

Ingredients

4-5 frozen ravioli

1 Tbsp. EVOL

1 small shallot

1 small carrot diced

1 small garlic clove, minced

Handful of pea pods, cut off any hard ends

3-5 spears asparagus cut into 1 to 2 inch lengths

1 Tbsp. dry white wine or vermouth

2-3 Tbsp. chicken broth

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves off the stems

squeeze of lemon juice; maybe a couple tsp. and some zest if desired

1-2 tsp. capers if desired

2-3 tsp. butter if desired

Directions.

Heat a pot of salted water, cook ravioli according to package; mine said 6-8 minutes so I did 6 minutes. Drain. While that is cooking cut up the carrot and slice the shallot across into ¼ inch thick rounds. Heat the EVOL in a medium frying pan. Add the carrot, stir around, then add the shallot and the peas.  Cook 1-3 minutes; add the garlic, stir, add the vermouth. Cook one minute. Add the drained ravioli.  Cook a couple minutes on each side.  Add the asparagus when you turn the ravs.  They don’t need to brown but that would be yummy! You can add a touch of capers if you like. Add the thyme leaves and lemon juice at the end of the cooking.  Optional; add a Tbsp of butter and let that melt in. Can add a bit of lemon zest; maybe 1/2 to 1 tsp.  Add some of the cooking water instead of broth if you so desire. I did just that but added a tsp. of concentrated chicken broth. Enjoy!  rav with spring vegges plated

Squash, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

 

This colorful pasta dish is pretty healthy and very tasty. Not too tricky either. Have enjoyed it many times in the past 5-7 years. I actually thought it was on my blog; not so. Hence this post. I made it this week and it made 4 lovely servings.

It showcases roasted cubes of butternut squash and tender melt in your mouth swiss chard. My amounts are somewhat approximate. It will keep a few days in the fridge. I used gf fettuccine noodles. Don’t overcook them! You could buy pre-peeled and cubed squash to save time. I used some I grew last fall and honestly it didn’t take long to peel and cube it. I suggest you roast the cubes from a whole squash and use as much as you think works for you. Valley Farms has great fresh swiss chard; that’s where I get mine if I don’t grow it myself.  I have made this recipe with thick cut bacon, if that is what you have; go for it.  I got a package of chopped pancetta at Aldi’s pretty cheaply.

 

 

Butternut, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

Ingredients:

1 bunch swiss chard, I like the red stemmed variety, rinsed off

3-4 tbsp. EVOL

1 cup or so of diced red onion; one decent sized one

1 lg garlic clove minced

1 small- medium butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed; at least a pound

4 oz pancetta, diced

12 oz dried gf fettucine noodles.

Good quality Parmesan cheese to grate on plated entree

Directions:

Roast the squash; heat the oven to 400 degrees, spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray; spread the cubed squash, drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp of EVOL and ½ tsp. kosher or sea salt, bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes; turn cubes every 15 minutes with a metal spatula to help them cook evenly, a bit of crunch is nice! Start the rest of the recipe as they approach doneness or bake the squash a day before if that works for you. Have done it both ways. Crunchier if made right before serving

 

Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta while you make the chard.  Chop it into 1 inch lengths; set the chopped leaves aside separately from the lower stem bits. Heat the EVOL in a large frying pan or smallish wok. Add the stems and cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, stir, add the onion; cook 3-5 minutes until softening. Add rest of chard in 2-3 handfuls letting it cook down for a minute before stirring and adding the next third. Then push the veggies up the sides or to the edges and add the pancetta. Push the veggies gently back around and over the pancetta. Cook 2-3 minutes until the pancetta is hot and the chard is soft.  Meanwhile you have cooked the pasta to al dente. Add it to the pan with the chard, stir, add the roasted squash cubes. Stir. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top; none of that pre-grated crappy cheese please! Enjoy!

swiss chard pasta plated

 

 

Not sure where I found this recipe but it is a keeper; we often enjoy it in the fall as chard and squash are fall harvest vegetables.

Pizza….GF and Homemade…AND Yummy!

ImageSince my last pizza post; that the local pizza place has stopped carrying gf pizza…sad face.

The best tasting GF pizza for me is one I make myself.  It is out of my favorite GF cookbook, G-F Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. It has some millet flour in it which keeps it from shrinking as much and adds some flavor/texture.  I love that I can actually make it the night before, store it well wrapped overnight and then just top it and bake to melt the cheese and blend the toppings.  The recipe says you can make several and freeze them half baked.  Great idea!!

So give this easy recipe a whirl and see what you think.  It is relatively easy, just be sure to take the time to flatten the top of the dough when you spread it in the pizza pan.  If you get a hill in the center your sauce will slide down it! Not so good.

This is better than the stuff pizza parlors sell.  They tend to buy it completely made, sealed up and just pop it in their oven.  Not a fresh pizza.  Take the time to whip this up.  A stand mixer makes it happen fast and painlessly. Your family who eats GF with you will like its crunchy crust and fresh taste.  And you can personalize it with the toppings of your preference to replicate pizzas you always enjoyed before going wheat free.

GF Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour mix

½ cup millet flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp dry yeast granules

1 tsp olive oil

¾ cup warm water, maybe up to a tbsp more (110 degrees F)

Directions:

Spray pizza pan with cooking spray, lightly sprinkle cornmeal over entire pan.  (You could skip this if you are not a cornmeal fan.)

Mix all dry ingredients in your stand mixer bowl.  Pour wet ingredients in there, mix until just blended, scrape down bowl.  Beat at high speed for two minutes.

Spoon dough onto prepared pizza pan.  Use a metal cake spatula to move it around and make it smooth. Try not to get the center any thicker than the edges.  Push dough so it gets all the way to the  very edge of the pan.  Cover with a light cotton cloth and let rise in a warm place 30-40 minutes until doubled in height.  I warm my smaller oven to about 105 degrees and put it in there.

Sauce

I use an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and add olive oil, some minced garlic, dried basil and oregano and cook 5-8 minutes, covered. Let cool a bit before using.

Baking

Move oven rack to lower third of oven.  I have a pizza oven so I use that (great bottom heat for a super crisp crust!) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Bake it for 15-16 minutes.  Remove from oven.  [This is the moment when you can let it cool and freeze it or chill in fridge if using the very next day. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.] If using now, flip over and put tomato sauce, then toppings and cheese of choice.  I like both mott and Parmesan cheese on mine! Bake 8-10 more minutes more or less until it is bubbly and browning.  Be sure the bottom is browned.

Cool a minute and cut with your pizza cutter. Enjoy!

FYI: Don’t freeze the shell for more than three weeks.

PS: I have been told that Matey’s Pizza in Fountain Hill makes a gf pizza; will have to try it.

Originally posted on my blog in 2014.

 

Orange and Red Lentil Soup

This soup did not disappoint me with its unusual flavors and I enjoyed every naturally gluten free spoonful. I think you will too.

I did modify it somewhat from the original recipe, of course!  I changed the cilantro for parsley as I am not fond of cilantro and there is a reduced amount of garlic and of orange juice.  I love the bright flavors in this potage and as a bonus it is very healthy with the fresh orange juice, lentil beans, garlic and onions. If you love cilantro, sub it in for the parsley by all means.

Note, the red lentils, which you can get at the health food store, turn a soft maize color when cooked.  I think some brands are more orange in color but mine usually turns that soft yellow. red lentils

This recipe is a bit spicy but light as there isn’t any dairy or meat in this soup.  You will find this a great spring soup. If you use veggie broth it becomes vegetarian.

quiche 002

These are the sauted onions resting in a bowl before going back into the soup.

 

quiche 001

Broth in the soup, lentils are low in the pot!

quiche 005

Red Lentil and Orange Soup

Ingredients

  • ½ a bunch (1-inch-diameter bouquet at stems) fresh parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2large garlic cloves, fine chopped
  • One1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and fine chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
  • One 14-ounce can chicken or veggie broth
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

Instructions

Wash and dry the bunch of parsley. Cut off the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the stems and chop them fine. Set them aside. Coarse-chop half of the remaining parsley leaves, refrigerating the rest for another dish.

Generously film the bottom of a 3 quart saucepan with olive oil – like two or  three tablespoons and heat it over high heat. Stir in two-thirds of the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions just begin to brown. Blend in the parsley stems, half the parsley leaves which you chopped, garlic, ginger, ground coriander seed, and the orange zest. Sauté all of that for about 20 seconds over high heat, until the pan smells fragrant. Scrape out into a bowl and set aside.

Pour the broth, water, lentils, and remaining onions into the same saucepan. Bring to a gentle bubble, partially cover, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the lentils are nearly tender. Add the sautéed onions and seasonings and additional salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot tightly and simmer for another 15 minutes to blend the flavors.

Stir in the juice from half a lemon, the juice of the zested orange, and additional water, broth or orange juice to taste, starting with 2/3 cup. Then warm and sample the soup for salt, pepper, and lemon juice, adjust them as needed.

Scatter the remaining parsley tops over the soup, and ladle it into deep bowls.

The original recipe before modifications came from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.

Originally posted March 2015. No changes to recipe.

Buckwheat Gnocchi with Clams and Rabe

Anyone who eats at my house knows my deep love of authentic Italian food.  I love many different dishes from spaghetti with meatballs to risotto to homemade pasta and sauce.  This post is about gnocchi. Specifically gnocchi made with ricotta cheese rather than potato.  I love their delicate flavor, light texture and how much easier they are to make than the potato version. I make plain ones with rice flour and will share that recipe some other post. Just don’t ask me how to pronounce gnocchi!

These are buckwheat gnocchi and are served with clams and broccoli rabe.  Yeah buckwheat.  No wheat in it; buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb and it has a homey or earthy flavor that somehow matches perfectly with the clams and bitter greens.  I have been making this dish for more than ten years; gf the past five years.  It is a traditional spring dish at my house and much loved by my daughter. Not that tricky, I promise you can make it, no fancy pasta machine required. No long process.  Roll, cut, press with fork and briefly boil.

It is a spring dish as broccoli rabe is best right now, bright green, snappy flavor and so good for you.  I cook it a few minutes in boiling water before draining and sautéing briefly in olive oil and garlic. Yumm!

You could use fresh clams but I never bother; if you do – please get tiny ones and save a bit of the cooking water to add to the sauce.  If you want to make it not gf; just use all purpose flour for the white rice flour. Most grocery stores now carry buckwheat flour; store the bag in your freezer please so it keeps longer.

giant muffin and buckwheat gnocchi 010

Buckwheat Gnocchi with Clams and Rabe

For the gnocchi

1/3 cup buckwheat flour mixed with

½ cup white rice flour or any blend

1 15 ounce jar of ricotta (whole milk is best but I have used the part skim successfully)

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese; fine grater side

1 ½ tsp. sea salt

Sauce:

1 lb broccoli rabe

1 large can tiny whole clams or 2 small cans chopped/minced clams

¼ cup EVOL

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tbsp. butter

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions: Heat a big pot of salted water.  While it heats, rinse the broccoli rabe and remove any yellowed leaves.  Cut the very bottom of the stems off and discard.  Cut the stems into 1 inch lengths. Do the same for the rest of the rabe; I set aside the stems and cook them one minute extra.  Throw the rabe stems in the boiling water, cook one minute and add the rest.  Cook maybe 3 more minutes; you don’t want it overcooked but not firm either; you will cook it a bit more lat er.  Drain and set aside.

Mix all the gnocchi ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Turn out onto a rice floured bread board, knead briefly to form a dough. Do not add a lot of flour or your gnocchi will not be light and pillowy. Take a half cup or so at a time and roll it out on a rice flour dusted bread board; as thick as your middle finger (read ¾-1 inch).  I usually only roll out 5-6 inch lengths at a time.  They don’t have to be perfect looking, a bit irregular is just fine. Cut into 1 inch lengths (one knuckle long).  Using two forks press gently on the top and bottom to form small ridges.  This will somewhat flatten the gnocchi but the ridges are to hold sauce. If you slightly roll the gnocchi you can press it again and almost square it so each one isn’t as flat. Lay them on a cutting board that you dusted with rice flour. Don’t pile them on top of each other; one layer so they don’t stick together. Form all the dough while a big pot of salted (1 tsp) water heats.  I like a wide pan so I can easily fish out the gnocchi with my flat skimmer.  Put ¼ of the gnocchi in the bubbling water.  Let them slowly rise to the top; I leave them in about 2-3 minutes. I put them into a glass mixing bowl as I do the batches.

While they are cooking, heat the olive oil in a big sauce pan. I like to use my mini wok for this.  It is great for finishing a lot of pasta dishes.  Add the garlic and stir, cook 1 minute.  Add the drained greens, cook 1-2 minutes, adding the clams as it cooks, all the can juices too. Add the cooked gnocchi, the butter and if they seem dry; add a bit of the pot water; maybe ¼ cup. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Note: you can add extra clam juice if you use canned ones; sometimes I add half a bottle of the stuff as I like it brothy. I made some this week and I took to eating it in a low wide bowl using a soup spoon to be able to really sample that broth.

Dive in! broc and rab in pan

They warm up nicely for a meal the next day, keeps 1-2 days in the fridge.

The original recipe is from Italy Al Dente by Bibi Caggiano; adapted to be gf by me. I love this cookbook, use it often; my fav Italian cookbook.  SO many good recipes; she has many great risotto dishes in it as well as homemade pastas and sauces and recipes that use factory pasta.  I have found that every single one works quite well with gf pastas.

Originally posted in spring 2016.