Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kielbasa Hash

I'm usually not a processed meat product fan. Well, except for maybe Hebrew National Hot Dogs. My husband loves processed meat products, kielbasa, bratwurst, hot dogs, bologna, if it's salty and no longer resembles the animal it came from, he likes it! (just kidding, dear!). Well, Kielbasa - in my gluten eating days, the only way I'd eat it is with a healthy dose of pan fried pierogies! If I ever figure out how to make gluten free brown rice pasta that I can stuff with potatoes, onions and cheese, I'll let you know. I'm DYING for a pierogi!!!

We have not had kielbasa since I went gluten free. It took some doing finding one that was Gluten Free, and still had some health benefits. I chose the Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa - contacted the company after purchasing and was assured it was, in fact, gluten free.

So...I was left pondering with just how I could serve it so that I wouldn't miss my beloved piergies. Below is how I did it. It was REALLY good. I don't usually go out of my way to have kielbasa, but after this, I'm actually looking forward to buying it again.

I'm posting as how I did it - at the end, I'll add my husband's suggestions for next time I do it.

Kielbasa Hash

1 16 oz Gluten Free Kielbasa ring, cut into half moon shapes
4 medium red potatoes
1 medium onion, sliced and cut in half moons
2 cloves garlic, freshly minced
Olive Oil

Poke potatoes with fork and cook on high in the microwave for 4 to 6 minutes (mine did in 6, but start checking at 4 b/c you don't want to over cook them. When potatoes are cooked, cut in half and cut into half moon shapes. They will be still a little bit uncooked - that's good...they'll finish in a pan. In a large flat skillet, place two tbls olive oil. Heat, and add potatoes in a single layer. Cook until crispy on both sides (about 6 minutes a side).

In a separate large skillet, add 2 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add kielbasa coins. Saute until onions finish carmelizing and kielbase cooks and gets a little cripy on the edges (don't over cook, you want the outside just a little crispy, but the inside warm.

Add potatoes to kielbasa mixture. Saute for a few minutes while the flavors blend well.

Serve Hot. I served with scrambled eggs and fruit (yes, it was Breakfast for Dinner night again!). It was truly delicious. I dipped mine in sour cream and pretended the potatoes were pierogies. It was just as good!

Hubby's suggestions for next time - dice in smaller pieces, add diced green pepper, serve with poached eggs on top. I think even I could get into Kielbasa that way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

O Give me a Home...

Where buffalo wings roam, and the skies are not cloudy all day!!!

Okay, so we're a little far south of Buffalo (about 6 hours to be precise), but wings are still a hit in this house. Even my seven year old likes a wing or two! Although, she prefers the "southwest" way of dipping in Ranch vs. Blue Cheese. Well, she did spend some of her formative years in Phoenix! Explains everything.

Well, this recipe is really easy. The hardest part is the oil...deciding on deep frying or not. Deep frying works best. You can pan fry in about 1/4" of oil, but they don't have the same crispy texture on the outside. Don't get me wrong...still delicious, but not over the top! :D

There's a place in Phoenix that has pretty good wings, our best guess is that they deepfry, sauce, bake, sauce that's the method we follow.

I serve with the traditional celery sticks, carrots sticks, and as if there's any other dipping method, Blue Cheese Dressing. I chose Kraft because of the companies reputation for reporting allergens.

Gluten Free Buffalo Wings

20 to 30 chicken winglet pieces, cleaned with skin left in tact
1/2 cup rice flour (prefer white rice)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
tiny dash baking powder

1/3 Cup melted Butter
1/2 Cup Franks Red Hot Sauce

Mix hot sauce and butter together well and set aside.

Set oven to 425 degrees.

In a gallon sized plastic bag, put in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and baking powder. Close up and shake for a few shakes to mix it all up. Add chicken pieces (divide into two batches if necessary). Close again and shake well to be sure to coat all the pieces.

In a deep fryer (or large dutch oven) heat 1 qt oil to 375 degrees. Add wings 10 at a time. Cook about 12 minutes - be sure to flip about halfway thru. Remove to drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all of the wings are done (allow oil to regain temperature between batches - I find a thermometer handy for this).

After all the chicken wings are fried, coat them in about 1/2 of the sauce. Mix around so well coated with the sauce.

Place wings in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes.

Coat with last half of sauce just before serving.

NOTE: you can skip the "frying" step and to a pan fry in 1/4" of oil instead of deep frying. Again, they will not have as crispy a texture.

ENJOY!!! (with LOTS AND LOTS of napkins!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Super Summer Smoothie

These are a FAVORITE in my house!

When the mercury rises, we pull out the blender and laugh at the thermometer! I hope you enjoy them!

Super Summer Smoothie

2 Cups Frozen Strawberries
1 Cup OJ
1 large, ripe, banana
1/2 Cup Stoneyfield Vanilla Yogurt (only one I've confirmed gluten free status on!)

Add strawberries, oj and banana to the blender. Start blending away. Remove the little center thingy (you know, the technical term!) from the lid, add the vanilla yogurt by spoonfuls while still blending. Once all the fruit is completely pulverized, you can stop the blender.

This makes about 3 8 oz servings.

Another thing to do is put the finished product in an ice cream freezer (like a Cuisinart Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker). Let it get even stiffer, freeze in a quart container for about 4 hours.'s kinda like gelato! VERY GOOD.

Mix it up, don't be afraid to experiment with different frozen fruits, juices and yogurt flavors (just make sure to confirm gluten free status!)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not Giada's Nutella Brownies

Okay, I'm going to confess big time here. I do watch Giada DeLaurentis. I certainly get annoyed with words like "spagitteeee" and other unreal pronounciations! BUT, she usually has some great recipes. And she always does something with Nutella. I love Nutella. I have recently confirmed with the company that it is, in fact, gluten free. For those of you who need to be nut-free and casein free, this recipe is not for you.

I also have the good fortune to live less than a 1/4 mile away from Bova Food Distributors, which is an Italian food supplier to restaurants and chains, etc. As a matter of fact, I found out in the store the other day that they are actually the 2nd largest supplier to Italian restaurants in the tri-state area! And not only are they so close, but they open the showroom to the public and you can go in there an buy a lot of italian specialties. I go there for my tomato paste (I know, strange to go there for one thing, but truth be known I love walking around the restaurant supply side and dream of one day owning my own Gluten free bakery or restaurant). Well, my eldest daughter loves to watch cooking shows with me, and to cook with me. She saw the Nutella on Giada's show the other day, when in Bova, we saw the jar...we decided to get it. Now...not being able to spread it on bread (well, okay Van's Waffles work nice as a transport too!), I decided to do something with it.

Well...they started out as cookies. I am learning though, when making gluten-free cookie recipes, bake a couple and decide if you need to alter before baking the rest. After baking my two test cookies, I decided this recipe would be better as brownies.

I looked at a ton of recipes that used Nutella to determine if it could replace fat. It can somewhat...but because it has add in ingredients, it needs something to help it along fat wise. I was kind of dissapointed that the recipe didn't work as cookies, well, that was until they came out of the oven. OH GOSH, I ate 4 brownies while taking pictures! :D

Below is my recipe for Nutella Brownies:

Nutella Brownies

1/2 Cup Nutella
1/4 Cup Butter, softened
1/4 Cup shortening, softened
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used a combo of Land O Lakes recommended blend and Bob's Red Mill - I didn't have enough of either to make a full cup - use your favorite blend - one that already includes the Xanthum Gum)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with paddle arm (but you could use electric hand mixer). Beat Nutella, butter and shortening together with sugar. Beat on medium speed for aobut 2 to three minutes until really really fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, continue beating.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Gradually add flour to wet ingredients.

Beat very well.

Pour into a greased 9 X 9 square pan (I actually used my 9" springform pan). Bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. (I would also recommend allowing it to sit in the oven as it's cooling - crack the door a little - this will keep it from falling like mine did. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Now...send it over the top with homemade ice cream, I DARE ya!

Thai Kitchen - Product Review

My SIL is an inspiration to me, often, and to my blog, especially. Anne (see Cooking with Anne in my Places to Visit) does the occasional product review and I thought that it would be a great idea to do the same. Navigating the processed foods available to Celiacs is daunting, confusing, and often frustrating because the products are tasteless and sometimes nutritionless.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents. My parents are a great support to my new gluten free plan, especially since it means I'm healthier and happier to be around. My dad, quite the chef himself, and usually a food inspiration to me, made me a noodle soup. I was skeptical at his suggestion and asked to see the package of noodles he was using. He handed me a package of Thai Kitchen Noodle Soup, Bangkok Curry flavor. Right on the back of the label it said "Gluten Free". I smiled and said, "Oh yes, I want to try it!". He proceede to make the soup, adding a few extra ingredients, Shrimp being one of them. It was the best bowl of soup I've had since going gluten free. So very yummy.

The noodles are very light and not gummy at all, like you would expect with rice noodles. The broth has a nice light spice to it. The addition of the shrimp put this soup WAY over the top.

After having the soup and coming home that night, I set out to find Thai Kitchen's website, thinking to myself "Wow, if they have one soup, maybe there are others!". Not only did I hit the jackpot, but they post all of their allergen info right on the website. You can find locations of where to buy their products, or if you live in parts unknown, you can order them direct from the site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Over the Top Peanut Butter Brownies

I'd like to say I have a picture of these. I was actually thinking there would be some left. I even thought I'd just take a picture of the empty pan as a joke! But I cannot!

Today was our homeschool co-op's field day (which was a monumental blast, by the way). I took these brownies, thinking, "ya know, everyone's bringing treats I can't have, I'm gonna bring myself something yummy." WELL, they were a hit. One person I've met a few times was recently diagnosed as well and was ecstatic to know there was a treat she could eat! I had several others ask about "gluten free", which was an encouragement to me. I always feel odd man out, and this makes me feel sometimes Iike I have a bullseye on my head. Well, today, I actually felt like the "in crowd". No one looked at me strange at all!

Even the kids liked them. And, when I went to get my pan, it was EMPTY. NO CRUMBS, NO NOTHING. Didn't even look like I had put anything in there.

So, I promised I'd post the recipe, and here it is. It is an adaptation of the gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe that floats around out there. This was recently posted on the Forum, of course, I tweaked it! :D

Over-the-top Peanut Butter Brownies

2 cups peanut butter (1 16 oz jar, I used natural pb)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional, makes them a little "gooey")

1 12 oz package milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, with mixer set on medium (or use a hand mixer, I would not try this one by hand) mix peanut butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. While beating add in the maple syrup. Beat very well.

Pour into a greased 13 X 9" pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes - oven's can vary, so I check after 30 minutes, then check every 5 minutes until "done" to your liking. Mine ended up taking a total of 45 minutes....but start watching after 30, just so they don't get over done.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER taking the pan out of the oven, sprinkle the chips on top. Cover lightly with foil or something to hold the heat in a little. After about 5 minutes, the chips should be melted enough that you can spread like frosting.

I do recommending allowing them to cool completely before trying to cut and serve. I store them in the refridgerator.

:) I hope you like it! When I make them again, I'll come back and add a photo! :D

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sara's Superior Sangria

I debated a LONG LONG time about posting this recipe. I don't want to paint us as lushes who spend every waking hour with a bottle in hand. That simply is not the case. I just wanted to share one of our summer favorites. I don't want to portray us as ones who regularly drink. We don't. This is an occasional indulgence for a specific reason. This recipe lends itself well to non-alchoholic substitutions. Feel free to use 100% grape juice instead of the wine OR buy a non-alchoholic wine (such as Fre by Sutter Home).

When we lived in Phoenix, we had friends who had an in-house tap system. Two of the taps were tied to differnt kinds of beers. But one tap was exclusively Sangria. And it was full for every party they had. I think their taps held 10 gallons of the stuff, kept it cold and very sparkly. Our friends shared the recipe with us, and this was it. Of course, I lost the recipe card so this is as best as I can remember it!

Sara's Superior Sangria

1 quart red wine (don't buy good stuff, cheap red wine!)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar (feel free to cut this down if you like)
1 cup lemon-lime soda - chilled

2 oranges
4 limes
2 lemons

Mix the wine, juices and sugar together very well (so that the sugar dissolves). Slice the oranges, lemons and 2 of the limes in big slices. Drop in with the wine mixture. Chill for a couple hours.

Just before serving, gently stir in the soda - trying to keep as much fizz as possible.

Serve with the extra limes, sliced up, OR pick some of your favorite fruits. Works well over berries too! :D

Please enjoy responsibly.

Monday, June 4, 2007

"Island of Blue Dolphins"

FIRST, sorry it's been so long everyone. Homeschooling has way occupied our time the last few weeks. Decided to take a little break this week. The first full week we've taken off since Christmas. If my eldest didn't love school so much, I'd take breaks more often! FINALLY posting something I started WEEKS ago!

Recently, my beautiful 7 year-old has her favorite thing of all - Book Club. We read "The Island of Blue Dophins" by Scott O'Dell. It is a historical fiction about a woman found on the Isle of San Nicholas in the 1800's. It's a beautiful story. Very touching and heartwarming. I thought that she would struggle with all of the tragedy in it, but she seemed to do well and understand a lot of it. It's a 5th grade reading level and she read it like a champ! She and I alternated, I read some to her, she read some to me. Granted, I had trouble a few chapters because I would start to cry. Poor kid. SO GLAD she didn't have to read the Velveteen Rabit, still can't get thru the part about becoming real by the Skin Horse without crying my eyes out! I'm a sap, what can I say.

Well, in our monthly adventure to the local 6-finger country flea market and junk swap a couple weekends ago proved fruitful. We stopped at the cookie cutter vendor who had well over 800 different designs available for sale. We got 3 cookie cutters for $2.50!!! We got a dolphin, a shell and a german shepard cut out. This guy litteraly had every cookie cutter shape you could imagine. I don't think I'd ever seen so many.

Well, how do you make cutout cookies gluten free? My "google" search turned up a ton, and I didn't have to do any thinking at all, our friends and Land O'Lakes have thought of EVERYTHING. I was REALLY impressed with how easy this recipe was to make, and how well they turned out. Cruncy/chewy sugary cut out cookies. The shells didn't work to well....and I did determine if you made them too thick, they spread out way way tooo much. So I suggest getting as close to 1/8" inch as you can. I put mine between two layers of wax paper and then flattened them. Seemed to work very well. It makes A LOT OF COOKIES.

Land O Lakes Gluten-free Cut-Out Cookies

When you're there, make sure to checkout the other gluten-free recipes that they have. They are well worth the look. I did use their flour blend, and it worked beautifully. I daresay, I'm going to make a big batch of their blend and keep on hand. It worked so well. I cannot wait to try the pound cake! :D

Less of a quandry was the frosting. I always use the same recipe for icing sugar. I like it because it adds a nice sweetness to the cookie and it dries so shiny and hard that you can stack the cookies on each other between layers of wax or parchment paper. Once the icing is hard, they travel really well.

Vanilla Glaze Icing

While at Diana's Kitchen, be sure to check out some of her other recipes. It's got a lot of stuff on the site.

I realize this post is quite a cheat, but I haven't been doing much cooking or baking lately. The heat wave we had here really squelched any urge I had to bake. Any urge I had to do anything, really!! THANK GOD for grilling out. :D