Chicken Angelique

My family had this special dish that my mom found in a magazine. She always called it Chicken Angelique and I have never seen it in a cookbook. It was small bite sized cubes of chicken breast fried until browned and done inside. You make a lovely French sauce of celery, green onions, garlic, bacon, broth and milk. Serve it on top of fluffy white rice and have a side dish of steamed fresh asparagus and it was a meal for royalty. My mom made it only for company like my grandparents or aunts and uncles. She served it on her and my father’s twenty fifth wedding anniversary when I was a kid. When Mom turned 100 my sister Karen and I made it for her birthday supper and it was a good as I ever remembered it. A small labor of love for our lovely mother and she was thrilled to enjoy it on that momentous occasion. 

Notes: The raw chicken cuts into cubes better if it is partially frozen. I had frozen it for 5 days and I cut it up before it thawed fully.  Do use the entire scallion minus the roots of course! It adds a nice hint of scallion to the sauce. My sister put enough of the green leaves that her sauce was pale green; quite lovely actually. That one slice of bacon is very important; adds a special bit of flavor. Do not use anything less than 2 percent milk in the sauce. I prefer whole milk which is what my mom used. We had a milk cow, and she used a mechanical separator machine that gave a stream of milk and a lesser stream of thick cream. Use tender celery and real butter for the best flavor. I used rice flour, but you can use all-purpose flour if you don’t need to be gluten free.  Enjoy!

This is the only picture I took of it, the one of it in the pan was slightly out of focus; I was just too busy cooking and wasn’t thinking much about sharing pictures.
I did take a picture of the rice! Lovely fluffy basmati rice.

Mom’s Chicken Angelique,  serves 4-5

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

½ tsp. salt and 3 Tbsp. rice flour (pepper is optional)

1 Tbsp and 1 tsp. butter

1-2 Tbsp. mild olive oil or canola oil

Sauce:

1 slice cold bacon; mince it up

1 smaller rib celery chopped finely

4 green onions chopped finely

1 small clove garlic minced

1 Tbsp. mild olive oil

2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling hot water

1 small bay leaf

1/8 tsp. thyme, skimp it a bit

2 Tbsp rice flour or slightly less all purpose flour

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. whole milk

1 medium egg yolk (I used the smallest egg out of a dozen large ones) Stirred up a bit

8 oz fresh small mushrooms; slice them medium thin after cutting of the bottom of the stem

1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp. oil

Make the sauce first. Using a large sauce pan; heat it; add oil, bacon, celery, green onions; cook 2-3 minutes; add the garlic and cook another minute. Light brown; not dark brown. Add the hot bullion, the bay leaf and the thyme. Simmer it covered for 15 minutes. (while the sauce simmers, slice the raw mushrooms and cook them in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cooking oil. Turn off when they look done. Back to the sauce: you can then blend it in a blender until smooth but we never bother with that step. Mix a tablespoon of flour with half a cup of the milk and add to the sauce; heat on medium stirring constantly until it starts to thicken. Put the rest of the flour in with another half cup of milk; add to sauce and cook a few moments. Add a half cup of the sauce into the cup with the stirred-up egg yolk to warm it up and then dump it all back into the sauce pan. Stir well as you add the rest of the milk. It should be like slightly thick gravy. Add the sautéed mushrooms to it. Turn to the lowest setting to keep it warm while you make the chicken.

The chicken should be skinless; cut it up into 1-inch cubes. Roll in flour that you salted a bit. Heat a large saucepan, add the oil and butter. I did my chicken in 3 batches. There should be a bit of space between the cubes. Turn them 1-2 times to brown the sides. I used a dinner fork to do that. I put the done ones into a bowl, and you will probably need to add another tablespoon of oil for each batch.  When they are all browned you are ready to bring It together with the sauce. You should have made some white rice to serve with them. And a vegetable like asparagus, peas or whatever you enjoy. Pour the hot cooked cubes into the sauce and serve it on a bed of hot rice. Some people sprinkle some paprika or fresh parsley on top, but I don’t really bother with that. Enjoy!

Holiday Baking: GF Safety for You Non-Celiacs

This post is a brush up for folks who have gf relatives coming by over the holidays. Or if you have someone new in your social circle and you want to know how to cook a gf meal for them.  Let’s start with the basics. Did you know that once a person with celiac disease stops eating wheat it becomes even worse when they do accidentally consume a food containing gluten?  After I quit wheat I thought that I could cheat once in a while and not really suffer any consequences.  Not so. It is like your body becomes incredibly sensitive to all gluten substances and even a tiny bit is too much. So your caution is so important for the health of your guest.

A few examples of how to get glutened if you are a celiac: if I splash beer on my hands while serving it at a friend’s house it is so easy to forget and touch your face/lips. Glutened! And I hate to be in anyone’s kitchen as they bake with regular flour; super easy to get sick from that exposure.  There are multiple ways to be contaminated by homemade food that should be safe: salad dressing may not be gluten free due to trace amounts of flour in it. If the cook sprinkles seasoned salt or spice mixes on my rice or potatoes, it is likely uneatable for a celiac.  The reason is that manufacturers often put all purpose flour in seasoning mixes to facilitate flow and to create a smooth mixture of spices.  This is why many things that appear safe are not; “seasoning mixes” are the culprit that makes rice pilafs and many other boxed mixes often uneatable by celiacs. 

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Christmas is in a few days.  Beware, many turkeys have brine that contains some gluten; I got sick that way  my second gf holiday season. Butterball turkeys fresh or frozen are gluten free.  Plus, a turkey stuffed with regular bread stuffing is unsafe for someone with celiac to eat even if they don’t touch the stuffing.  Really. You need to buy or make a gluten free stuffing; either based in rice, gf cornbread or just buy a bag of gluten free bread to make your stuffing. Aldi’s has gluten free stuffing for both chickens and turkeys. And ham; often it has been brined in a solution that has some wheat in it; read the label carefully!

Even GF pasta can be contaminated if it is drained in a colander that is used for wheat pasta.  The gluten in pasta is extra sticky and it is nearly impossible to get all of it off a colander.  So, many times pasta that should be safe gets contaminated when the cook drains it in a colander that has tiny particles of wheat gluten sticking around the strainer holes. Restaurants that advertise GF menus need to have dedicated equipment like strainers, colanders, pots and utensils. I often ask about the pasta pot and colander when I attempt to safely eat pasta at a restaurant. So cooking pasta for your gf guest can be quite problematic.

A few people seem to feel celiacs are exaggerating or being over cautious.  When in reality all that caution is necessary to eat safely and avoid gluten.  It only takes a tiny amount of gluten to contaminate food or drink.

So if you are cooking for someone with gluten intolerance, be sure to take extra caution and your meal will be a success for everyone enjoying it! When shopping for the meal  ingredients you have to read the label even if it says gf, regardless just to be sure as occasionally food is labeled GF and the ingredients say wheat in the list. Do read the labels, it is best to cook from scratch, and remember that all wheat varieties including spelt are unsafe as are all purpose flour, barley and rye flour/berries. Don’t use your old wooden cutting board or wooden spoons with ruts and gashes that may harbor gluten and any pans you use must be super clean. In fact, if you bake a cake I urge you to use either new pans or buy throwaway ones as tiny bits of the last cake are likely clinging to that lovely pan of yours. Gravy can made using white rice flour, cornstarch, brown rice flour or even sweet rice flour. If you add broth to the turkey or ham pan be sure it says gf on the package. You can get gf stuffing in a box at Aldi’s. there are redi-made gf crusts and gf graham cracker crumb crusts available to make lovely desserts. Or box/packaged crust mixes you can use for your gf pie. Even a teaspoon of regular flour is way too much; get the gf flour out. The tiniest amount is enough to make your celiac friend feel so ill their meal enjoyment will be spoiled. 

If you want an easy stuffing; try this one!
Bob’s Red Mill makes many gf flours of high quality that you can use for gravies.
A yummy gf crust to make your special dessert with.

And if you eat out in a restaurant over the holidays don’t roll your eyes when the person at  your or the next table starts to ask pointed questions on ingredients and method of preparation with respect to gluten.  They are just trying to eat a safe meal out.  Sometimes this experience is kinda a roll of the dice for us celiacs so be patient and polite if you come into contact with this situation when you are dining out.

In summary; now you can see how important it is to have products that are labeled gluten free and why your friend with celiac has a zillion questions when you invite them for a holiday get together! Be understanding and extra careful. They just want to enjoy a meal with you without feeling terribly sick afterwards.

Marshmallow Project

I have always wanted to make my own marshmallows. Just too busy every Christmas. I think my mom made them once when we were kids. Faint memory of soft pillows of yumminess. With covid restrictions and my grands living 1,350 miles away I finally have time. I got this recipe from my sister Karen who makes them every year. It is fairly close to many I have researched. It is not a difficult process but there are a few truths I have gleaned. Do not let the fluff get cool much less cold before you try to pour it into the prepared pan. The pan must be glass or ceramic, 9-x13. Know that as it cools it gets sticky. So, pour it quickly while warm, smooth with damp hands, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and let it stand a good long time to reduce the stickiness. You will find clean up easy with lots of hot water.

You can buy a box of unflavored jello; inside the box are 5 packets of dry unflavored gelatin. I think each packet is one tablespoon.

People like to flavor them with extracts like peppermint, almond or other fruity flavors. You can dip them sticky into melted chocolate and then dip/roll in crushed peppermint or coconut. Try sprinkles or other fun toppings. I did dark chocolate and toasted coconut; I loved it best with both toppings! It is a keeper and yet I am not that big of a fan of typical marshmallows; just so much better!

Karen’s Homemade Marshmallows

2 ½ Tbsp. unflavored gelatin

1 ½ cups white sugar

1 cup white corn syrup

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tsp vanilla

Confectioners sugar (maybe ½ a cup total)

Directions

Combine gelatin with ½ cup cold water in mixer bowl; let stand 30 min. At the 20 minute point start the wet sugar pan: combine sugar, corn syrup salt and ½ cup cold water in a small heavy saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar. Wash down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Put on candy thermometer. Heat on high, stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees. Immediately turn off.

Turn on your stand mixer, on low and add hot sugar mix slowly and carefully to gelatin mix until blended. Then turn up to high and beat 10-15 minutes until white and tripled in volume.   If you are using a KitchenAid you will probably have it done by 10 or 11 minutes. Stop before it cools. 

While it beats, put a decent amount of powdered sugar in 9×13 glass pan; very thick, thick sprinkle to well coat the entire inside of the pan is best. Maybe a ¼ inch thick. Pour hot sticky mixture into it. Smooth top with wet hands. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar. Let stand 8-12 hours. Longer is better.

Dump out onto powdered cutting board (this is where lots of powdered sugar put in before helps it free from pan) and cut with dry pizza wheel into rows and cubes. If tool gets sticky wash in hot water and dry before cutting more. Dip some into melted chocolate. Then dip in plain or toasted coconut. Roll them in toasted coconut. Or powdered sugar. For kids try colored sprinkles.   

You can use different flavorings instead of the vanilla. Next batch!  I stored each variety in a different container so the flavors stay distinct and it is easy to pick what I want.

These make excellent gifts wrapped in cellophane or put in baggies. Enjoy!

You could give these as a hot chocolate DIY gift; especially nice if you give homemade cocoa mix.  My ratio mixture per serving is 1 heaping Tbsp each of sugar and plain unsweetened cocoa. So put equal amounts in a jar and dip out 2 heaping tablespoons per serving. So… I heat ½ cup water with the dry stuff (Double for the two servings) and then add 1 ½ cup milk to it; heat stirring often until hot but not boiling. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like and of course some small homemade marshmallows.  This simple recipe makes 2 mugs of hot chocolate.

Chocolate Cloud Pie…Oh My!

I have a fantastic cookbook, all pies, nothing else. By Farm Journal, published in 1981 but it has the vibe of the 1950’s. Lots of interesting combo fruit pies and chiffon pies like you never heard of. If you are tired of the same old pie for Thanksgiving try this recipe: a chocolate cloud pie. The pre-made cookie crust would sub in for a traditional pie crust which the original recipe called for. I had all the ingredients except the crust ….but I thought it sounded tasty and worth a trip to the grocery store for the crust cookies, gluten free of course! And it works well with a premade graham cracker crust. My guy actually liked it better that way. I especially loved the version I made once with a mixture of chocolate cookies and ginger snaps. Do any crust you like.

chocolate pudding

It is not hard to make either. I throw it together in three easy steps. It was one of those recipes where the sum of the ingredients is far tastier than the components would lead one to believe. The first time I made it everyone devoured their slice. some took slices home. My mom was eager to keep a second slice….for tomorrow. This enthusiastic audience caused me to mention it on facebook. I got all these likes and a few hungry comments. The buzz of happy responses led me to decide to share my version of chocolate rum pie. I have renamed it Chocolate Cloud Pie. That was six years ago….

The name came from the fact that it is as light as a fluffy cloud and from my love for my older sister who died over seven years ago. Margie’s love of pie was renown in our family and I am absolutely sure she would have adored this pie. Whip some up this week and woo your family with chocolaty goodness that should please everyone. choco cloud pie slice (2)

Notes: I used french brandy instead of rum as I was out of dark rum. I think cognac would be nice too. I have used bourbon too; works fine! I used 3/4 cup almonds as that’s all I had; worked great; I put 2 Tbsp. aside for topping and rest went on top of the baked cookie crust. You can just buy a crust.

I originally osted this back in the spring of 2014 and hadn’t made it for a while; a matter of just forgetting how amazing it tastes.  Like eating a chocolate cloud….with puffs of cream and the crunch of toasted almonds. I used a hybrid crust when I made it a couple of years ago; I was tired of my gf oreos; so I scraped out and discarded the filling and crunched up the cookies, I thought I was a bit short on cookies so I added 7-8 gingersnaps I still had from my last cookie crust. Crunched up and mixed with butter, baked into what became a flavor delight of a cookie crust! One of the best pies I have ever made. And I make a lot of pies….

Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie

Ingredients
1 pre-made chocolate cookie crumb crust, GF
1 pkg chocolate pudding, the kind you have to cook
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp dark rum
1 cup slivered almonds, divided
1 1/3 cup heavy cream, divided

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Pour the almonds into a frying pan, no oil and toast them, stirring constantly. Alternately you could do this in the oven at a low temperature but I prefer the frying pan. Stop when they are medium brown, try not to let them get black on the sides.

Cook the filling; put 2 cups whole milk into a medium sized and heavy sauce pan, Then add the dry pudding mix, the corn starch and the cocoa. Stir with a whisk as it heats. Once the mixture is bubbling all over the surface turn off the heat and add the rum. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until cooled. Take ½ cup heavy cream and whip. Add this to the pudding and whisk until blended. Take 4 tbsp of almonds and set aside for garnishing the pie later. Sprinkle the rest of the toasted almonds over the chocolate pie crust Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell on top of the toasted almonds. Chill at least 2 hours until set and cold. Whip the rest of the heavy cream in a chilled bowl, adding the sugar near the end of the whipping. Gently put dollops of it all over the pie top. Sprinkle the reserved almonds on top. Enjoy!

choc cloud pie

Originally posted March 2014. No changes to recipe.

Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

We love fresh pasta especially stuffed pasta. The usual choice is ravioli although I sometimes make cannelloni; those long tube-shaped ones that I stuff with this same filling and bake with tomato sauce and mott cheese.  This time I made puffy ravioli well stuffed with a simple ricotta and parmesan cheese filling. The sauce was my homemade wild mushroom and cream sauce. Links of country sausage was added as a protein as well as a hearty side of steamed homegrown Romano green beans. It was a great meal. We enjoyed an excellent Riesling from Boundary Breaks Vineyard in the Finger Lakes of New York State with this meal; used some in the sauce too.

I have decided to share with you today both the pasta recipe, it’s filling and the sauce I served. This pasta dough can be formed into wide ribbons like fettuccini if you prefer.  The pasta dough is based on one from my favorite cookbook; Annalise Robert’s Classic GF cookbook: “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”. In the back she has a few items that are not so much baking but are essential recipes including this one. I upped it by half.

The sauce is a simple cream sauce. You could use baby Bella mushrooms or even plain white mushrooms. Do not use canned ones; this is definitely a recipe where the shrooms shine and canned is just unacceptable.  I used whole cream but I suppose you could use something lighter like half and half or whole milk. Nope on the skim milk folks!

Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Pasta:

1 ½ cups King Arthur basic flour blend

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

3 eggs

Put flour and gum in stand mixer bowl; blend. Add eggs. Blend 1-2 minutes until a fully formed and smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic if you aren’t using it immediately.  Roll out in thirds, keeping rest wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. I had to hand roll this batch as my pasta machine is just acting up. I made a long thin band about 4 inches wide. Due to my machine I lost nearly a quarter of the dough; you should get 4 long bands. I ended up with 15 ravioli; if you use all the dough  you should get 20.

Cheese Filling:

5/.6 of the container of whole milk ricotta

1 large egg

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  – Mix  the ingredients in a bowl.

I put out a bowl of water to dip my finger in. I dollop about a Tbsp. of filling every 4 inches. My favorite tool for ravioli making is a wheel that cuts zigzag points. It seals the edges perfectly. So I cut between the filing bloops and fold over the dough for each after wetting the edges with my fingertips making sure to press out from the filling to get the air out of the ravioli . Press and then recut all around except the fold using your knife or ravioli roller. You could cut the fourth edge if you like. Be sure  to have a sheet pan sprinkled liberally with flour ready to receive the ravs. Put them about an inch or two apart on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. 

Mushroom Sauce:

Ingredients

½-1 lb. wild or baby Bella mushrooms sliced medium wide. Not thick or thin

½ a large onion or a whole smaller one, diced small

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup dry white wine; Riesling works well

½ cup veggie or chicken broth

1 big sprig or 2 smaller ones of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water

2/3 cup heavy cream

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat butter in big frying pan, add mushrooms and let them cook a few minutes; once they have shrunk a bit in size add the onion.  Cook a few more minutes until mushrooms and onion are softened. Add garlic; cook another minute. Add wine, cook 2-3 minute, add broth, cream and thyme. Simmer 5-6 minutes, do not boil or the cream may curdle. Should get thicker by half. Add cornstarch slurry and mix well. Let cook 1-2 minutes to thicken sauce.  Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta and enjoy!