Rhubarb Cobbler – Tender and Tasty

My spring mission: to convince you rhubarb haters to try one of these recipes.  This one is delicate in flavor with a fluffy yet satisfying cobbler topping and no sour ickiness as some say rhubarb can be.  It takes a bit less fruit than a pie and goes together in just a few minutes.  And it is gluten free for all of you who must avoid gluten which means wheat, rye or barley flours are a no-no in baking.

This recipe is the same basic one I posted about for peach cobbler in the past; it is modified from a muffin dry mix in Bette Hagman’s book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet and uses a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients.  One cup will make an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I keep the rest of my dry mix in the freezer and a pan of cobbler can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes plus baking time.  What a time saver this mix is! I make all sorts of cobblers with it.

I always get the fruit part cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven.

My mom and I enjoyed this on this past Sunday. She really loved the rhubarb flavor and the cobbler topping.

rhubarb cobbler

Angie’s Rhubarb Cobbler

Dry Cobbler Mix – use one cup for this recipe and freeze the rest

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch (not potato flour!)

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

 

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced rhubarb

½ tsp. almond extract

½-2/3 cup sugar –add more or less depending on how sweet you want it

2 tbsp. GF flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Mix the fruit and almond extract in a sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top for 5-10 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan, top with big blobs of the cobbler topping.

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil (both work fine)

1/3 cup milk/buttermilk (I skimp a tbsp off to keep it from being runny)

½ tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl.   Mix briefly: do not over-mix for best texture.  Use a big spoon to plop it right away on the hot fruit.  Bake immediately as baking soda and powder can’t stand around waiting or they lose their umph!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  The top should be light brown and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes.

Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth right out of the oven!  Some people love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This tender rhubarb cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Reposted with minor changes from June 2015.

 

 

Instant Pot Advice for My Peeps

If you haven’t heard of an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, you will now! I got mine almost a year and a half ago.  Bought it on Black Friday for almost half price; great deal! Purchased a cookbook and a glass lid for slow cooking.  I was very excited and not a little bit scared of using the big black device.  Mine is a six quart 7 in one, lots of features, some I still haven’t used. One of my girlfriends had been bugging me to investigate and get one as she knows how much I love to cook. It was slightly daunting to use it at first. But I tried out recipes from the little cookbook it came with and my full sized one I got for ten bucks. Almost everything I have made has been a resounding success.  I have used it infrequently as a slow cooker – I think it runs a bit hotter than my old slow cooker which was only about 2-3 years older and now resides in the basement on a shelf.

instant pot 2

So, let me tell you some of the things I love to make in it. I use it a lot with bone-in chicken thighs; it cooks them in about 16 minutes once it comes to pressure.  That means that when I lock the lid down it takes a bit of time to fully heat up and get pressurized; that time is not counted in the recipe cooking time.  Some people put frozen meat in recipes and so it can add quite a bit of time to the process. Once you lock it and it starts the process you can walk away and do any chore or activity you like. I also often saute things before starting the pressure cooking process. Yes; it sautes! This is a favorite task the IP does for me. I regularly saute onions/celery and such for a bit then add meat to cook for a while before the next step of pressure cooking or I do that in reverse; brown meat; remove it while I cook veggies then I add the meat back in as well as water or broth. Which brings me to one other important fact; it must have a cup of water or broth for it to pressurize.  I generally cook enough for 4-6 meals so I have enough but if you cook small amounts there is a 3 quart model; a friend of mine recently acquired one of those and loves it for her smaller needs. The other day I made rice pilaf in it which it does very well, I forgot a portion of the water and the rice came out a bit crunchy; I added the missing water and pressured it for 5 more minutes and it was fine.  Lesson learned; make sure you put in the right measure of liquid.

sausages in soup

Sausages in a soup base

In the back of my cookbook are charts for how long to cook meats, grains, etc.  They are invaluable. I use them all the time. Now that the IP has been in my kitchen for a while I adapt non-pressure cooker recipes to it. The charts help me judge how long to cook.

gumbo

Sausage gumbo

 

Other things I make in the IP are ribs; I cook them on the trivet that came with it and then lay them on foil on a baking sheet, slather in BBQ sauce and pop them in the oven or broiler for 10-15 minutes, so tender and delish! I have done baby backs, spare ribs and beef short ribs which do not get the oven step.  I have made some yummy stews and soups in there: beef vegetable stew, chicken noodle or rice soup or other soups. It cooks the beef really quickly. I have used it to make bean soups as well. Beans cook pretty quickly under pressure.  You can make a rotisserie style chicken in it; love that one!

There are settings for stewing and rice as well as a few other things. I do love rice made in it; perfect and fluffy, never burnt, never runs out of water.

shrimp-risotto

I’ve made risotto in it a few times and it is great as no stirring needed. If you don’t have the patience for risotto on the stove top this is a super alternative cooking method.

The other food I like to make is yogurt. I started doing that fairly recently, as I realized it would actually save me money and my sister who got one for Christmas says it tastes wonderful. So, with a bit of advice from her I did just that and found out it was indeed creamy and delightful. I get organic milk from Aldi’s to make mine and it makes a big difference. Great flavor and texture and once you’ve done it a couple of times it is quite simple.  I add a spoonful of jam or marmalade and I have a healthy and delish yogurt for lunch or a snack. And I get to use my glass lid for a change, LOL!

I haven’t used it for sweets yet, although I plan to; just ordered a small cheesecake pan; 7 inch size to fit inside the inner pot as my other latch cheesecake pans are too large for it. I plan to use it for several other things that can be steam baked like this recipe for caramel custard I discovered in my new IP Indian cookbook!

Folks in my IP Community fb group say IP cheesecakes are fantastic. Plan to test that and see if it’s true.

So, if you are thinking of buying an electric pressure cooker, I do recommend it for a number of things. It is one more great way to cook. I love that I can set it and go out to the yard and it finishes and keeps warm until I am ready to eat. That is my favorite thing about my IP!

Hearty Shepherd’s Pie ‘Cause it Still be Like Winter!

Been cold for weeks: I think we all are craving warm comfort food.  I made this several weeks ago for Joe and probably will be making it again next weekend; belated birthday  special meal. The potato crust is satisfying and the gravy chock full of meat and veggies is richly flavored.  This is an Alton Brown recipe with a few minor changes.  I added red wine, more veggies and I sometimes leave the egg out when I make the potato crust.   The red wine makes the gravy taste perfect. Plus I used different meat and changed the flour to make it a gf choice.

I know the list of ingredients might seem a bit daunting but it does go together fast. Just chop all the veggies first and brown the ground meat while your potatoes cook.  I have used homegrown potatoes for the crust; oh so flavorful and homegrown peas and local corn in the filling.  Yumm!  The leftovers made a great lunch.  Sure warms the tummy on a chilly day.

In the past I have used a bit over a pound of meatloaf mix and some ground turkey meat.  Another time it was ground chuck with a touch of meatloaf mix.   This most recent version was a mixture of venison and ground pork.  It was delish. The traditional meat is ground lamb; also tasty.  You can use plain ground beef or even just ground turkey.  All work fine.  I also have a completely different recipe for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie full of veggies with amazing gravy!

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Delish Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

For the potatoes:
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk (optional)
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb, beef, venison or meatloaf mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice flour
2-3 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth

½ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Directions

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the meat and gravy mixture, stir for a few moments. If it seems very thick with really no gravy, add up to 1/2 cup water to thin it a bit (it will get thicker as it bakes) and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. I have a lovely oval ceramic casserole Joe gave me that is perfect for shepherd’s pie.  Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.  The sheet pan is to catch any drips from the bubbling casserole. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.  No sides needed unless you want a green salad? Enjoy!

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Messy photograph doesn’t do the rich flavor justice…..

I searched long for a good recipe that had corn in it as that was what my guy wanted, I was dubious but this is such a tasty mixture I am a convert to corn in my shepherd’s pie!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008, foodnetwork.com

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback

Originally posted in my blog in early 2016.

Cranberry Crackle Spring Pie

I had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer. There aren’t that many choices for a fresh fruit pie right now in this chilly weather.  But, I got the perfect recipe for an early spring pie. Easy to make, not too rich or too filling and very tasty. I found this recipe on line, several years ago, at splendidtable.com.  I loved the look and once I tasted it; definitely love at first bite.  Like a fruit tart and a pavlova had a baby: this is the delightful result.  Light and delicate in nature; making it perfect after a hearty Easter feast.  It is really guilt free if you eat it plain.  I devoured it in the past with vanilla ice cream, Greek yogurt or plain organic yogurt dolloped on top. Love it all those ways. Maybe next time I will be serving it like you do a Pavlova, with lightly sweetened real whipped cream on top. Yumm!

It is super easy to throw together.  If you are gf you can use the cookie crust recipe I provide, I adapted the splendid table recipe to make it gluten tree using Annalise Roberts’great cookie crust. At holidays,like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wegmans often has gf ready-made crusts. So does Frey’s Better Foods in Hellertown. If you are a wheat eater use whatever cookie tart crust you like.  I added the cinnamon to my crust and found it added to the complexity of the flavors.  The crust absolutely needs to be prebaked and cooled before you put the tart together.

I made it in a glass pie tin but often use a ten inch ceramic tart pan.  Both work great; so it is a tart or a pie depending on the vessel you bake it in!. This tart is fantastic tasting even if you aren’t a huge cranberry fan.

The recipe calls for a few  tablespoons of raspberry jam but you could probably use most any jam, strawberry comes to mind as a great second choice.  Just chose one full of real fruit in a flavor you like as you can definitely taste the jammy flavor mixed in with the crust and the meringue topping. I love it with homemade raspberry jam, bursting with incredible raspberry flavor.

Cranberry Crackle Pie

Sweet Cookie Crust

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. cinnamon

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well.

Pour the crumbs into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Or a glass pie pan which is how I made it this past weekend.  Spread it up the sides.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-19 minutes. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Do not let it get more than light brown. You could do this step the night before.

Filling

2-3 tablespoons chunky cherry, raspberry or strawberry jam

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberries (if they’re frozen, don’t thaw)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cranberry prep: I rinse them and remove any squishy ones.  There are usually a few of those mixed in and they aren’t great for anyone to eat.  Let them dry. Frozen; ready to go just as they are!

Gently spoon the jam on top of the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom, I used the back of my big spoon for this operation. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they are fluffy and fairly opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then keep beating on high until the whites are shiny and form definite peaks; they will look like marshmallow.  This is a meringue. Be sure to wait until the whites are opaque and starting to get full or the sugar will not blend in properly.

Pour the cranberries into the bowl of meringue and, using a flexible spatula or spoonula fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t mix too much– you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Spoon the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam might push up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.  Don’t fret if it looks like not enough filling, it will puff up in the oven to fill the pie pan.

Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it a bit longer or even put it under the broiler.)  I never go there!  Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  I did cut it while slightly warm and my slice was just perfection.  If you’d like, and I do, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Ice cream, whipped cream or even organic plain yogurt on the side are a great complement to the berry flavors.
cranberry-crackle-tart-cut

Storing: The tart is best the first two days after it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice the third day. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering with plastic wrap.  I doubt you will have any after the second day anyway. It is that tasty. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (Same as King Arthur’s basic GF Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in 2014 on this blog. Minor text changes.

 

Dark Chocolate Almonds Snack Pack

Always on the lookout for a shelf stable gluten free snack choice… Saw this small bag of dark chocolate almonds at Walmart. Not generally where I shop for groceries…but there I was and there it was. On a shelf on the edge of the produce department, right next to dried fruit items.  It was only like $1.29 for two ounces so I picked up one to try. It is just whole almonds dipped in dark chocolate. Made by Orchard Valley Harvest located in Illinois.  15 grams of sugar, 5 of dietary fiber, no sodium, 24 grams of fat.  I didn’t gobble the whole thing; ate like 4-5 almonds at a sitting so I got at least 3 or 4 servings.  I didn’t find it to raise my blood sugar much and I enjoyed the crunch of the almonds against the dark, almost bitter chocolate flavor. Delish and definitely worth getting again.  Only wish it came in a bigger bag.  Opps; while looking around for pictures I found that it does come in a 14 ounce size. Next time!   dark chocolate almonds

FYI: I have been blogging for just over five years, first on Patch and then on WordPress.  Recently I upgraded my blog to remove advertisements that WordPress puts up and to give me more storage space. Moving on up!

I still enjoy the process of writing my blog posts and plan to continue for the foreseeable future. I write about new recipes I have made, new products I have tried out, restaurants I have eaten at or my struggle to find gluten free foods that are healthy and yummy. Occasionally I have to whine and vent about my life but mostly I am just so thankful to be healthier and to have good food for my meals. I am not much for pre-made foods so you will find many posts with recipes and not so many product reviews for readi-made entrees.  I also try to cook and eat low sugar when it comes to dessert. I eat most produce seasonally and I eat a wide variety of veggies and fruits. Often my snack is a fruit; ;this afternoon I had a tiny tangerine and after work half a ripe pear. They are like my candy; sweet and juicy. I crave the fresh!!

Thank you for tuning in and reading my posts on my gluten free life style. I enjoy writing, enjoy cooking and sure do enjoy eating tasty food. Most of my recipes are pretty easy. Before I went gf I ate a lot of snack bars and junk food.  I have cut back severely on that stuff. My body feels better for eating healthy choices and that makes me feel better in general.  Everything I post I have either cooked myself or eaten something I bought. No one pays me to post stuff, I am totally independent and honest about anything I report on here. I love good food; just hate eating crappy tasting so if I give you a recipe it is gonna taste great.  Enjoy!

Snowy Day Pasta Fagioli Soup

 

The soup I love to serve in the dead of winter is pasta fagioli meaning pasta and bean soup, Neapolitan style.  It is full of veggies and a ton of fresh flavor.  Not to mention beans and pasta.  Yes, I make it now with gluten free pasta, use the same recipe as always.  I often use elbow pasta by Barilla; great flavor and held its shape well.  Try not to overcook it though as gf pasta goes from done to mush easily if you are not paying attention!  This rib sticking soup will be a big meal if you add a salad and a slice of gf bread.  I served it this week with a wonderful loaf of french bread; the recipe is on another blog post of mine.  Warm, flavorful, satisfying and sure fills the tummy.  I made it with dried navy beans I soaked overnight and cooked until pretty soft.  Any kind of white beans or even kidney beans work . You can even use a couple of cans of beans; I made it with with a can of cannelloni beans and a can of fava beans; very Italian…

My version has lots of veggies; if you don’t want them all; leave some out! I often use small cubes of turnip as they hold their shape well and add a subtle tasty flavor to the soup.  No one ever guesses they are in there; looks like cubes of potato.   Or add more veggies, what is in your fridge?  I have used green beans, summer squash cubes or peas.  Today’s version has yellow zucchini squash cubes, kale and fresh green beans. No turnips or celery. Just plain forgot the celery.  Oh well, next time…

Secret weapon: I always add a cheese rind or two saved from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. It really ups the flavor of the soup.  And if you get a bit of it in your soup bowl the oozy cheesy goodness will be your prize!

Notes for 3/7/18. I did a quick heat and soak of the navy beans in a sauce pot and then I cooked them for 11 minutes in my Instant Pot. Great way to get it going quickly. I used broken up fettuccine pasta for this version. I used cut up pancetta I got at Aldi’s instead of prosciutto.

 

Pasta Fagioli Soup

2 cups of dried cranberry, navy or kidney beans, soaked overnight in lots of filtered water.  Be sure to pick over them for foreign objects.

1 bay leaf

1 quarter inch thick slice of prosciutto (leave out for vegetarian version)

¼ cup EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped turnip or summer squash

3 minced garlic cloves

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 can plum tomatoes chopped (or 1 lb fresh ones chopped in the summer when they have decent tomatoes available)

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 to 1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 cup elbow macaroni, gf

Directions: Drain the soaked beans, rinse well, return to cleaned pot and cover with fresh filtered water, add bay leaf and cook 1-2 hours until soft. Add water if it gets low.  Turn off and let rest while you make soup.  Skip step if you use canned beans; do drain them and rinse. Just add them where you would add the beans you soaked and cooked yourself.

Heat EVOL in big sturdy soup pan, I like a thick bottom to keep the soup from burning easily. Add onion and cook 5-6 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add prosciutto which you have diced up into small squares and the parsley. Cook for a couple minutes, add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, hot pepper and stir well.  Add a tsp. of salt.  Cook uncovered about 12-14 minutes.  Add any bean water in the pan. I often end up adding 1-4 cups of water during this point if there is no bean liquid. Mush up half the beans in a food processor or with a potato masher. Add to soup. Reheat and cook 5 minutes, add rest of beans, reheat and then add the pasta.  Cook just the length of time the box says, stirring it every 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed and some fresh black pepper.  Turn off and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. True Italians often let it stand for hours and they serve it room temp.  I sometimes drizzle some best quality EVOL on the top of each bowl before digging in. A big bowl of that will warm you up for sure! pasta faglioli soup

Originally posted by me in January 2015.

 

Jersey Mike’s Subs are Awesome

Been five years plus since I ate a hoagie straight off the counter at a sub shop. Just didn’t find any place I could trust.  The other week I heard about this place called Jersey Mikes, a small chain originally from New Jersey.  This past weekend we went there for a quick supper. I normally eat meals full of produce and clean proteins.  But for once I wanted to indulge my cravings for an Italian hoagie full of good meats and cheese. Don’t forget the lettuce and tomato!

So when I asked for a gluten free roll they started cleaning; after finishing the last customer before mine they washed, cleaned and changed their gloves after washing their hands.  A big piece of sub wrapping waxed paper and they started to build my sandwich.  Full of three or four kinds of ham and the like. Three slices of provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and a good sprinkle of oil and wine vinegar later it was ready. Sliced in half and wrapped tight.  I splurged with a bag of chips: the full surrender to oinky food!

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Their photo; not a gluten free roll but you get the idea!

It was glorious! Meaty with ham, prosciutto, capicola, salami and pepperoni and that creamy provolone cheese. They topped it with lots of the green stuff: shredded lettuce and there was pretty good for February tomatoes sliced nicely. The Udi hoagie roll was okay; not great but not bad, a touch dry; I pulled off some of the surface as I just don’t enjoy eating a lot of bread. I like it balanced by the meat filling and the light dressing.  I couldn’t quite finish the entire sandwich so I wrapped up the remaining bites and had them the next day.  Still yummy.

The staff was very friendly and totally accommodating. The counter girl even asked me how I liked it after I had eaten about half of the hoagie. They made me feel comfortable in my request for safe gluten free food and that was huge.

So, I didn’t get glutened, I got fed. I conquered my fear of eating in a fast food sort of chain restaurant that serves gluten rolls in the same location as my gf meal was prepared. Perhaps that seems small to some of you but for me it was a big leap of faith and I did feel rewarded. Success: a safe meal that I didn’t have to make, it satisfied a real craving and I conquered a fear I had been struggling with for a long time. Success.

There are lots of other menu choices at this friendly little eatery: next time, a steak sandwich sounds perfect!