Figgy Salad

983D3402-BB56-4CBD-A5FE-8FBF39114F6EFigs in my salad? Yes, please! Just throw together a simple salad and add a few fresh figs cit in chunks. Delicious.

FiggySalad – for one

slice a dozen rounds of European burpless cucumber

1/2 cup fennel, thinly sliced

6 cherry or grape tomatoes

3-4 ripe brown turkey figs

a handful of fresh salad greens like arugula, frisse or butter gteens

Place the greens on salad plates. Top with cucumber slices, fennel slices, tomatoes and figs cut in halves or quarters depending on size.

Then sprinkle with your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing. Delightful!

 

 

 

 

 

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Fig, Goat Cheese, Pancetta and Carmelized Onion Pizza

I have been picking dozens of figs most days in recent weeks. Getting creative in my cooking in order to use up this bounty and so I’m enjoying them in lots of new dishes. Pinterest is my closest bud these joyous weeks of fig festival in my tiny kitchen. Last Friday I whipped up my favorite gf pizza dough baked it for ten minutes and flipped it. Then came the toppings. Never had figs on a pizza, but won’t be the last time! My fridge held some pancetta which is uncured Italian bacon that was purchased at Aldi’s for a rediculously low price, as was a container of tiny fresh mozzarella and a log of herbed goat cheese. Some onions which I carmelized and Bam! My oven produced an amazing treat for supper. I felt like I was in Italy at a small restaurant enjoying the local fare!

Note to all, my computer croaked the end of last week so I am typing one finger on my tablet, no access to Word either. So my apologies for any and all  mistakes in my last post or in this one. Normally I am constantly double checking names, products and prior posts as I create a new post. Not so much of that here in this laborious tablet production.

I promise this pizza is going to change your taste buds into fig pizza lovers. One more great fig recipe discovery. I took elements out of several recipes to create this delightful dish. It went together really quickly. Enjoy!

PS, it was still great warmed up the next day but with two or three hungry folks, there won’t be any leftovers.

 

Angie’s Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

one large gf pizza crust. See my previous pizza post or use your own recipe.

8-12 ripe fresh brown figs

4 oz. herbed goat cheese, Aldi’s has a great goat cheese at a super price

most of a pint container of fresh tiny mozzarella cheese balls

2 good sized onions

1 Tbsp. EVOL

2-3 ounces pancetta, Aldi’s has a small container, already chopped

a big handful of kale shredded finely

Directions

Slice the onions into rounds. Heat EVOL in a cast iron frying pan, add onion slices. Cook over medium low heat stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Cook 8 -15 minutes until carmelized. Set aside on a plate. Add pancetta to same frying pan and cook a few minutes to render out the fat. Do not overcook. Remove from pan to a small bowl. Add the kale to the frying pan and cook on low a few minutes until it wilts, stir often. Let cool.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice the goat cheese into thin rounds, cut the mozzarella balls in half. Slice the figs in half or quarter them if large.

Assemble: spread the carmelized onions evenly over the partially baked crust. I like to flip the crust before topping. Spread the goat cheese slices evenly over the surface,  Scatter the mozzarella cheese between the goat cheese and top with the cooked pancetta. Then scatter the fig pieces evenly over it.  Evenly is so every slice has a decent amount of both cheeses and the other components.

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Bake pizza 8-10 minutes. Scatter kale over the top. Let stand 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving. If you can stand that long of a wait to enjoy your masterpiece of a pizza!CFF4F2B8-6D22-4AE6-94C7-A13B6222B266

 

1774 Grille &Tap Fall Menu

Last week I enjoyed a fantastic meal right here in Hellertown at 1774 Grille & Tap Restaurant.  I had been there a few months ago when I enjoyed a wonderful meal of lamb chops. This time I was treated to a special tasting menu starting with some delightful sea scallops on a silky bed of puréed sweet potatoes. Perfectly pan seared and with some tasty risotto as well as a fried sage leaf and a dab of a cranberry puree. I enjoyed a glass of Washington Hills Riesling wine…. Gorgeous wine with gentle hints of fruit and perfectly balanced. 4EEE558E-17DE-48E4-B004-3F68F7DC7CA3

This was followed by a fillet of sea bass with delightfully crisp skin and flaky, perfectly cooked flesh. It was resting in a delicate mushroom broth and decorated with wilted fresh spinach and green pea sprouts. It normally comes with a rice and barley risotto but due to my gf requirements I had to skip that. I cut it open before taking a photo so you could see the interior of the fillet. My wonderful server gave me a little pitcher of mushroom broth to pou on as needed and I did just that.5F4A6B8D-3D42-4793-AE3F-D613DB72684E

I had a tasting portion of duck breast with more of the sweet potato puree. The duck had a yummy honey ginger sauce which did not overpower the duck. There were spears of crisp tender grilled asparagus to complete the dish. My duck was cooked medium, just right. 049F8F1D-60CF-45CD-97D0-2F7507C2B650

I finished this delightful meal with a couple scoops of homemade ice cream, maple and dark chocolate. The almost bitter chocolate was tamed and complemented by the sweet creamy maple custard. Dinner perfection!CCE4B847-4D6A-4064-99EA-F7BD1B546792

German Plum Tart, GF 2.0 Version

I love juicy ripe plums eaten out of hand but seldom bake with them.  This is one of the only recipes I make gluten free with blue plums; these are those oval plums, sometimes called prune or Stanley plums that are only available for a few weeks in the early fall.  They are inexpensive, not too sweet and they get soft and purply delish in this simple tart.  It is modeled after some German fruit tarts I had enjoyed in my wheat loving past life.  I think it replicates them quite well.  I posted this last year but wanted to share it again. This time I found really huge Stanley plums and tried them instead of the small ones I have always used in the past. They were great so you can definitely go with either size of oval plum.  I think you could make it with round plums but I do think the oval ones have more flavor and are more suited to baking than round eating plums.

I use my favorite homemade cobbler mix which makes this really simple.  I will put the mix recipe down at the end of this post.  I keep it in my freezer and one cup makes great cobbler or works as this tart base. To this particular batch I added a couple teaspoons of dried lemon peel powder.  This ingredient is made of lemon peels rolled in sugar and dried, leftover after make homemade lemoncello liquor.  They become powder after a few moments in my spice blender. The fine powder adds a subtle lemon flavor but its okay; you don’t absolutely need it to make this recipe work.  It is in the original recipe but I never bothered before to make some even though I had the dried lemon peels.  The addition is great and if you can add it you won’t be disappointed.

A few instructions to assist you if you make this tart: I cut up the plums first and sprinkle them with sugar, let them stand while I mix the dry stuff up and then stir up the wet items in a small mixing bowl.  If you want it lower in sugar just leave off that sprinkle here; it will still taste great.

Be sure to use a 10 inch tart pan; if you made the tart in a 9 inch one it may well spill over and burn on the bottom of your oven which is never a good thing. You could also use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a baking dish.

plum tart 2017

We like it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. It is fine all on its own.  Makes a great breakfast too with a cup of coffee or tea.

 

 

Fall Plum Tart

1 cup cobbler dry mix; recipe below

¼ c sugar – mix these together

—-

2 eggs

3 Tbsp. buttermilk

2 Tbsp. melted butter

1/2  tsp. vanilla

1/2  tsp. almond extract

————-

1 ½ lbs prune plums (enough to cover the entire tart pan) cut in halves or quarters. I used 9 large ones for this most recent tart.

Mix them with 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix two dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Spray a 10 in deep tart pan with cooking spray, could use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a substitute baking dish.

Beat eggs in medium bowl, add rest of wet ingredients, mix well, add to dry ingredients, stir the batter briefly to fully blend.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread it out with a flexible spatula.  It often just spread great if you tilt the pan a bit – the batter will spread all on its own. Top with plums, cut side up, push each in slightly into the batter and cover the entire surface of tart base. Sometimes I cut up a few plums and fit the chunks in around the halves but this time I didn’t; works either way.

 

Bake 30 min.  Top with mixture of 1 ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon

Bake 3-8 more minutes or until top looks done.

 

Cool somewhat before slicing/serving.

 

Dry Cobbler Mix

 

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

Reposted from my blog, originally October 2014, minor changes to text, recipe the same.

Fig and Goat Cheese Galette

Figs are delightful in the late summer and early fall. This year my fig trees are full of fruit with several dozen figs ripening over about two week’s time. Lately I pick 2-3 dozen every day or two. I made a super delicious fig and yogurt cake the other weekend. Next I put together a figgy dessert in the tart family.  This is my take on the wide variety of fig and custard/honey/cheese tart recipes. FYI: a galette is a free form flat round French tart. Now you know! One of my friends was all “wow you cook stuff I have never heard of and did your mom cook like that?” My response was “nope; Mom never baked a galette. But she was a great cook and I just love trying new things. ” I truly love galettes as they are so easy; just roll out the dough; lay on the filling; crimp up the edges and maybe a bit of egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar and into the oven it goes. Plus I like how they generally aren’t that sweet or tricked out with a ton of ingredients. Simple, tasty, and pretty to look at.  Dessert perfection…

I used my favorite gluten free crust recipe plus some cinnamon.  This crust never fails to impress; it is flaky and tender. Never tough or too buttery. Sweet juicy figs are the bomb! Finally, the herbed goat cheese added an intriguing slightly savory flavor to the overall taste. A big slice was just delicious with a glass of lemony iced tea. Enjoy!

 

 

Fig and Goat Cheese Galette

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

¼-½ tsp. cinnamon

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh lemon juice (use juice from zested lemon; below)

Line a 15 inch pizza pan with parchment paper.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Then roll out and put on the parchment lined pan; put back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Goat Cheese filling:

4 oz package herbed goat cheese, room tem

2 oz light or regular cream cheese, room temp.

2 tbsp. local honey (good stuff)

1 egg beaten well, mix in 1 tsp. water

2 tsp. rough brown crystal sugar for topping

Fruit part:

7-9 ounces of ripe figs: 8-10 large or maybe 14-16 small

Directions: Zest a small lemon. I do this onto wax paper for ease of picking up later. Use some of the juice for the crust.  You can leave the zest out if you are not a big fan.  You do need the juice in the crust; can use fresh squeezed OJ too.

Get out the tart crust and roll out to a large circle. Place on the parchment paper; I unpeeled one side of the rolling plastic and flopped the whole thing onto the parchment and then peeled off the other side of plastic leaving the crust on the parchment. Blend the goat cheese, cream cheese and honey using a whisk. Add half the beaten egg, beat some more until well blended Spread the mixture out on the crust.  Leave 1.5-2 inches of crust around the filling. Top with halved or quartered figs; mine were small; halved them, cut side up. Fold up the edges of your crust and pinch together to create the galette shape.  Use a pastry brush to brush the crust with the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle the sugar crystals over the crust and some on the figs. fig galette with sugar sprinkled onBake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Sprinkle the lemon zest on before you bake it or half way through the baking.  Let your tart rest a bit on a cooling rack; don’t serve hot but a slightly warm slice will taste amazing.  It was still great the next day although the crust wasn’t quite as crisp due to high humidity. Enjoy!

fig galette baked

 

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

fig galette slice

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Perfection

Searching for the holy grail of GF cooking: chocolate chip cookies.  Bet you thought I was going to say some sort of bread!  That’s another post entirely.  Anyway, when I went GF 4.5 years ago I made a batch of chocolate chippers that were gf. They were rather sweet and didn’t taste all that great.  I didn’t give up, I keep looking.  Recipes seemed to require that I buy weird vegetable shortening or use Crisco.  Or they used odd flours and just not worth it to me to add another flour mixture just for one cookie.  So I had not made them in 3 years.  Missed them….desperately.  Store ones are small, hard, drab in flavor and incredibly pricy.

So about a year ago I went to King Arthur’s website and looked in their cookie recipes.  There it was: cookies made with the same flour blend I use and made with butter, one of my few chosen shortenings.  Why the heck didn’t I look there a year ago?  Probably because I didn’t realize they had many gf recipes until that summer when I asked and was directed to their cache of gluten free baked treats. I went to the comments as they can be telling as to the truth of whether a recipe is worth actually making.  Glowing reviews and advice; make them and refrigerate a day or better yet, freeze them formed and ready to bake in a few minutes.  Words about how much they are like Tollhouse cookies, great texture and flavor.  Bingo, this seemed so hopeful.

Less than a week later I made up a batch; 2/3 with walnuts and 1/3 nut free for my nut hating friends.  Froze them all on trays and then into freezer bags except one tray to bake.  Made those and tested them on my friend Josh who came to supper.  Goal scored; perfect brown sugar nutty flavor and texture; not too hard or too soft.

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I put some in my cookie jar, closed it tightly and 4 days later those cookies (what remains) are still delicious. That is pretty long for a gluten free baked good. By the fifth afternoon my last cookie in there was getting soft so suggest not holding them for more than 4 days in a jar. I love that they can be frozen ready to bake in like 12 minutes.  If I have time I let them defrost on the cookie baking sheet before they go in the oven so they spread out nice and thin.

I have made a couple batches since then, always bakes up so scrumptious. Cookie perfection!

So, if you are still looking for a great gf chocolate chip cookie look no further: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe.  Enjoy!

Originally published on my blog one year ago, September 2016.  A few minor changes.

Eating GF Update September 2017

Eating gluten free can seem impossible when you first explore the possibility of giving up all sources of gluten. But then a few weeks or months you are able to make it work, you find gluten free flours, mixes, recipes for naturally gluten free meals and ones for gluten free breads, rolls, cakes, pies and cookies. After a while great food comes out of your kitchen that anyone is happy to enjoy.

composed shrimp and pasta salad

 composed shrimp salad with green goddess dressing

But, there are days that are difficult for someone with celiac.  Days where I crave a real wheat based New York bagel toasted and topped with cream cheese.  A slice of pizza from either of my favorite parlors of past years when I could eat pizza anywhere it was sold. Days where I would give anything to just walk into a hoagie shop and buy a big Italian sub with all the trimmings, not asking any questions, just forking over my money and diving into that big fatty treat with that crisp and tender roll made with wheat flour. Real puff pastry formed into crust for a dainty dessert.  Oh so many things I miss.

quiche slice

quiche with bacon and mushrooms

Still, I am so glad to be healthy. I don’t need any medicine to combat my celiac disease.  Just better food choices. And I find many things can be replicated out of gf flours and grains.  Folks are often surprised by how tasty my gf desserts are.  They are shocked by cookies that are even more delicate and flavorful made with my favorite gf flour blend. My pie crust is just wonderful, I honestly don’t miss the old one at all. And I make cobblers, crisps, waffles and pancakes.  So many tasty treats and entrees that I have swapped out all purpose flour for a gf flour choice. It can be done and it gets easier over time. I avoid eating too many processed gf foods; my preference is to cook from scratch and make the majority of my food in my own kitchen. Free of chemicals and weird things that are so unhealthy; like hydrogenated fats or excessive sugar or salt which is much better for all of my body.  So, I am doing great.

fig and greek yogurt cake

Fig and Greek yogurt cake

Please don’t feel sorry for me or anyone you know with celiac.  We are doing just fine and enjoying great food while being so much healthier.  I would much rather give up gluten than give up chocolate! Truth.

Be safe, eat well and be happy. Enjoy life.