Brown Rice Risotto (Wild Mushroom version)

Risotto is a favorite rice dish at my house. I generally use arborio rice, short fat white grains. It takes about 18-20 minutes to cook on the stovetop. Someone got me a bag of short grained brown rice. Saturday I tried it out for risotto. And, as it takes longer than white rice, I made it in my Instant Pot pressure cooker; easier, faster and less heat in my kitchen. It was pretty tasty. And super healthy as brown rice is a whole grain. This was a wild mushroom risotto made with chicken of the woods shrooms which I had harvested last fall and frozen partially precooked. Delicious! Baby bella or cremini mushrooms would work well; slice and sauté before adding to the recipe. Or sub in a cup of frozen peas or barely cooked chopped asparagus.

wild mushroom risotto

Yes, those mushrooms are pink! This is a dish of leftover risotto; not as creamy as first cooked was.

Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

 

Ingredients:

1 cup brown short grain rice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ c diced onion

1 garlic clove minced

1/3 c dry white wine

1 2/3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup cooked wild mushrooms; 1 ½ c sliced mushrooms cooked in 2 Tbsp butter 3-6 minutes

1/3-1/2 cup just grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Put IP on sauté feature, let heat then add olive oil. Add finely diced onion, cook 4-5 minutes, stir often. Add rice, stir and cook a minute, add wine, cook a minute, add garlic, stir and cook 30 seconds. Add broth and salt. Put on lid, lock and put on pressure for 35 minutes. While it cooks sauté the shrooms. At end of 35 minutes do a quick release, open, stir and add the mushrooms, stir and add cheese, grind on black pepper.  Stir and serve. Enjoy!

Note, if watery you can put on sauté for 3-5 minutes to dry it out some. Or, if dry add up to a quarter cup more broth.

risotto and firey salmon

Summer supper perfection: dilly cuke salad, corn on cob and firecracker salmon fillets with the risotto.

Steak Fajitas Done Easy!

Okay, so I’ve been wanting to make gluten free flat bread, aka flour tortillas for a long long time; just been a bit exhausted and too busy for the effort of trying new recipes. Well, I think I found a keeper; found on healthystartsinthekitchen.com. You make it in a lidded quart mason jar; dump ingredients in, shake up the batter really well and pour a quarter cup into a cast iron fry pan or griddle; tilt to spread it a bit, bake on both sides 1-2 minutes and then pop in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to finish the center. flat bread

Great as a wrap for my steak fajitas. I had some leftover flank steak cooked on the grill. It was a bit tough and kinda boring but sliced thin and briefly warmed on the hot griddle after the flat breads were done; just right. I laid a few slices across a flatbread, topped with finely shredded fresh cabbage, a few thin sliced rounds of cucumber and a bit of sliced ripe avocado. Topped it with a 50/50 mixture of mayo and unflavored yogurt. A great steak fajita is ready to gobble up with very little effort.

 

steak fajita 4The recipe is available on her site: 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, some water, onion and garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Says it makes four but I got 3 medium sized ones. Next time I will double it. They were tasty warm from oven. A very simple to construct (few ingredients and just easy) and extremely useful recipe. Give it a try next time you need a gf flour tortilla. You may be very pleased and it is a fraction the cost of those tough, dry and bland gf wraps you can buy…if you can even find any at your store.  I also like that it takes no weird flours or tricky processes to create these crispy treats. Enjoy!

Pear Spice Muffins…Another Snack Option

I had few portable baked snacks and a few bosc pears so I figured it was time for a new muffin recipe. This is a riff off a recipe out of Annalise Robert’s cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is  similar to my recipe for apple nut muffins that I created from her banana muffin recipe. If I had to have just one GF cookbook hers would be the one for me.

Do use a fairly firm pear; I used a bosc which is naturally great for baking but almost any firm pear will do. Notice I didn’t say “hard”. Nope to that; not gonna taste great.  Don’t chop them super fine or big; 1/3 inch dice is good.

I always enjoy eating a muffin still warm out of the oven. It is smart to freeze any you won’t eat in 2 days; ziplock freezer bag works great.  They make super snacks.  These  muffins are kinda delicate; if you want to take them on a hike or car ride put them in a plastic food box – the rigid sides will keep your muffins safe from crushing.

Pear Spice Muffins              

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar (can use coconut palm sugar: just increase milk by 2 Tbsp.)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

skimpy 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1  1/2  c chopped firm pear; peel and core! (about 2 pears)

½ c chopped walnuts

2 large eggs beaten

½ c milk, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

DIRECTIONS:  Heat oven to 375, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 14-16 muffins.

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

Add pear chunks and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix

Combine milk and oil,  Beat in eggs.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir until blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  I use a big serving spoon and fill it about half way to dump in each muffin space. Sprinkle the top with a bit of raw old fashioned oatmeal; 2-3 Tbsp. should do it or try  cinnamon sugar.

Bake 20-24 min until golden brown. I used my convection setting and did them for 17 minutes. Perfect. Do not over bake or they will taste dry.  Rest five minutes and then remove from the pans and cool on a rack.

Freezes well for up to 3 weeks.  Keeps in fridge (well wrapped) a few days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry

This is another old school entrée. But old school often means very tasty and not too fancy (read complicated!) This is in that category. Lots of veggies, amazing flavor and super easy. I can’t think why I haven’t made it yet this winter.  So we had it the other day for supper. As easy and as tasty as ever. I simplified my Betty Crocker recipe just a bit. Feel free to add more or less veggies and vary them; just need that pineapple and some pepper for sure! Be sure that your soy sauce is GF: La Choy is my favorite brand.

Notes; use all the pineapple if you like lots of it. You can add raw bean sprouts instead of the celery or try sliced water chestnuts. Add them with the pea pods. If you hate any of these veggies sub in something else; I used some sliced zucchini in my most recent version; about a cup of it, added with the pepper chunks. I love lots of veggies.  You can add a bit more sugar and vinegar if you like your sweet and sour more pronounced. The chili sauce makes it a bit spicier.   Serves 4.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients:

¾ lb pork cubes

¼ cup rice flour mixed with 1.5 tsp. ground ginger
2-3 Tbsp. mild olive oil

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. reduced salt gf soy sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. brown or white sugar

2 tsp. chili sauce (optional)

1 tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 large onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced in large chunks

2 celery ribs cut thin on bias

1 cup zucchini rounds

2 garlic cloves minced

1-1.5 cups pea pods ( I cut the blossom ends off before cooking)

¾ can drained pineapple chunks canned in juice; save juice for sauce

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, mix with half the pineapple juice

Hot cooked rice; I prefer brown rice but what ever floats your boat!

DIRECTIONS:

Roll pork cubes around to coat with flour blend. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil to wok, Heat and add pork. Stir fry (chow) on high using a big spatula or spoon to toss: brown all sides. I have a wonderful tool with a rounded front edge which is perfect in a wok; can’t stir fry without it! While the pork browns mix vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce and salt/pepper. Dump into medium sauce pan, add the pork once browned, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until tender. While it cooks make rice. When you got that going and have 10 minutes left on the pork, reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp. oil to wok, add onion, stir for 2 minutes, add celery, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper and zucchini , cook a minute, add garlic, cook another minute. Add pea pods, stir fry 3 minutes. Add back the chicken and sauce. Stir and add the cornstarch slurry and pineapple chunks. Cook a minute and then add most of the rest of the pineapple juice. Cook another minute; add more juice if too thick. Adjust seasoning. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy!  sweet and sour pork on plate

 

Aldi’s Brownie Mix vs Scratch GF Brownies

Box mixes are generally not my favorites for baking as they can be full of stuff I don’t want to ingest like excess salt, sugar and fats. So I rarely buy them. But recently I bought a gf brownie mix from Aldi’s for less than two bucks. It can be used for chocolate chocolate chip cookies but I made the classic brownies with my box. They came out very tasty. The flavor is that of very dark chocolate and the texture is extra fudgy. They were easy to make and even non celiacs enjoyed their fudgy goodness. brownie mix I tried something different and had my last brownie with flakes of pink Himalayan sea salt on top. The fat ones are the best for this. I do have a big jar of fine grind pink salt from Aldi’s which is great for most uses but not for this; go big and flaky.  I happen to like chocolate with sea salt so I reasoned this could work too and it did. Very nice contrast; try it sometime!

Still, I personally like the scratch brownies I usually make much more as they have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy. I use top end baking chocolate which gives a superior result. So they rein supreme as the best gluten free brownies I have tasted. Frankly they are even better than my old wheat flour brownies.  Here is the link to my brownie recipe made with the gf flour blend I prefer; King Arthur’s All Purpose GF flour blend: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/02/14/brownies-to-love/  If you want a great Valentine’s Day treat I suggest this recipe; super easy, super fast and super yummy. They also stay fresh longer than any gf cake I have made.  Tomorrow will be snowy here in eastern PA. Perfect day for baking a sweet treat! Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies and Range Decisions….

 

We baked cookies last Tuesday which was a snow day for both of us. That was fun; my grandson helped form the balls to make chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies.  Gluten free of course. They were very simple to create and very tasty. Look on pinterest and you should find them! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-oatmeal-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

They baked fine; yummy mildly peanut buttery…we ate a bunch and then I tried to bake a quiche a few hours later for our supper. Neither oven would turn on, there had been troubles of late; had to run the broiler the other day to get it hot and then oven came on.  No such luck today.  I ended up broiling it in the upper oven which has that capability. Scorched quiche; yummy in the less than black area of it…at least we were able to enjoy a supper before I set out to find a new range. I have gas heat and a gas stove. Love gas cooktop; loved my gas oven a bit less; my now defunct ovens always had a lot of difficulty maintaining a set heat. scorched quiche

I did a lot of research and settled on a Frigidaire one oven with 2 power burners, 5 total burners, grate top for sliding pots from burner to burner and it goes the full top so more room for a big pan. I also wanted self-cleaning and a convection oven. Got that and even a quick preheat cycle. The range got here in only 3 days and it was installed within 30 minutes of the truck arriving.

So far, I love it; nice even heat in oven; holds temp and is certainly not lower than correct temp I set it for. Range top burners heat well and the timer is easy to set. I haven’t tried the convection setting yet but I plan to!  I baked some tartlets; put the shelf down to the very lowest it goes; just above the metal bottom. My tartlet crusts baked perfectly; can be difficult to get a browned crust when baking gluten free pie dough in a regular oven. My old range had a smaller upper pizza oven which was awesome for pies and pizza because of the bottom heat which cooked/browned them perfectly. But double oven equals double the price. Just not doable or justifiable. I got as much range as I could afford and I am very satisfied so far.  My biggest hint for regular ovens: I strongly suggest you bake all pies at the lowest level of your oven for a nicely brown crust.

stove

I think it’s a beauty!!

Do your homework in researching ranges and be sure you are clear on what features you really want so you are satisfied with what you bought rather than wishing for something you might have selected…

Aiden and me

No more scorched quiches or under baked pies. My new range is wonderful and we are a pair of happy bakers!

Kiffles Are For Christmas!

Kiffles are a local favorite when it comes to cookies, particularly Christmas cookies.  The Kiffle Kitchen outside of Bath, PA has made their reputation on their outstanding kiffles, sold on line! I used to enjoy them but never took the time to make them until a few Christmases ago.  I had purchased “Gluten-Free Baking Classics The Heirloom Collection” by Annalise G. Roberts and page 170 had the answer to my search; Rugelach, Kifles, and Kolaki.

I made a batch of kiffles (the preferred local spelling) on Christmas Eve 2015.  I just did jam filled, apricot and raspberry. The cream cheese dough in formed into two discs and chilled before rolling out between wax paper sheets into an 8 inch square. I did find myself chilling it a bit to keep it from getting too soft.  After rolling, cut each big square into 16 two inch squares and put a tsp. of best quality jam on each; fold together so the filling peeps out both ends and chill some more on the baking sheet.  I brushed them with heavy cream and sprinkled a touch of granulated sugar on before they hit the hot oven. The cute packets of dough and jam bake up lightly browned and delicate. Success was felt when my mom ate a few that evening.  Her smile told me how yummy they were.

Next time I made them with the nut and cinnamon filling that is very traditional around the Lehigh Valley.  Yummers!  Stores sell special kiffle filling meant just for these cookies but I don’t think it is gluten free due to cross contamination issues and therefore not safe for me to enjoy.

So if you are gluten free and crave kiffles; this cookbook by Annalise Roberts is the place to find a workable recipe.  She has never failed me yet with her desserts and I thank my lucky stars her cookbooks are on my shelf to guide me through holiday, parties and everyday meals. I don’t mean to sound like a salesperson for her but I can’t say enough great things about this new cookbook and her prior best seller Baking Classics – my copy of that is well worn and I couldn’t exist without it.  This kiffle recipe is way too involved to type out for you and I think that if you are serious about baking gf you need to check it out and get your own copy, real soon! Here are the dough ingredients to help you in deciding whether  you want to make it:

1 cup gf flour, King Arthur Basic blend

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. softened butter

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

You can use apricot or raspberry jam or what ever you like; be careful as some kiffle fillings that are ready made have traces of wheat flour in them.

Note: when I was first looking for kiffles I did a search on line for a gluten free kiffle recipe and didn’t really find one; lots of other cookies but these are quite a specialty and not made by most home cooks except in areas where they are popular and what you can buy is not gluten free.  Let me know if you can provide any other recipes but I am very happy with the one I used and recommend to you for your own holiday baking. Enjoy!

Originally published December 2015.