Chocolate Pudding Delux

Chocolate pudding is such a comfort food.  You can buy it ready made in the yogurt case but I prefer to make my own as it tastes fresher.  But this is not really a scratch recipe. I take a store box of Jello cook and serve and make a few changes.  My version is a tad less sweet and gives you an extra serving. The cinnamon is optional but I think it heightens the chocolate flavor.  Do not use instant pudding; only the cook and serve stuff.

 chocolate pudding

This pudding takes just five minutes to cook it up and pudding is always a cozy treat, even in summer.  It is naturally gluten free.  My mom loves it because it has a nice texture and isn’t quite so sweet as store pudding normally is. Here is my simple recipe. 

Angie’s Chocolate Pudding

1 box Jello “cook and serve” pudding; 3.4 ounce box

2 ½ cups whole or 2 percent milk

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. cocoa powder (not drink mix!)

Good sprinkle of cinnamon.

 Place the milk in a thick bottomed medium saucepan.  Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl and pour into the milk in the saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium as you stir constantly with a whisk.  I keep stirring until the entire pan is at a full boil meaning many big bubbles all over the surface.  Turn off and ladle into 5 6 oz serving dishes.  Chill 2-4 hours and serve plain or with some lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream.  A few ripe raspberries would be lovely on top of this chocolaty treat.  I have even buried a ginger snap cookie in the middle of the pudding for a surprise to bite into!

chocolate pudding 8-14

 

This doesn’t work as well with one percent milk, and not at all with skim milk.  Best results are with whole milk.  If you don’t stir enough it will burn on the bottom.

Peachy Keen Peach Cobbler

Peaches; peachy keen, peaches and cream, peach ice cream and peach cobbler.  Well, this post will be on peach cobbler and it is is peachy keen!  Still, I often make it with blueberries.  I am guessing most any fruit might work; blackberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, nectarines and apricots come to mind.

peach raspberry cobbler

This recipe is modified from one in Bette Hagman’s book, “More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet” and is based on a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients for the topping.  One cup of dry mix plus the other ingredients will make an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I bet two cups will make a big 9×13 pan of peach cobbler.

I have made it over a camp fire a few times, delish and not that difficult either.  But that will be a separate post as there are some tricks to campfire baking.

I have tried a number of cobbler recipes but nothing has tasted better than this one so I will stick to what works great for me.  If you use nectarines there is no peeling involved which makes it extra easy to throw together. I need to make a cherry cobbler but cherry season has passed.  Oh well, there are frozen cherries at the grocery store……

Mix this up and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

I always get the fruit cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven.  I used fat ripe peaches I bought at the Saucon Valley Fruit Stand for the first peach cobbler of the season and then some very flavorful ones from Bechdolt’s Farm Stand which made outstanding peachy cobbler.

Dry Cobbler Mix (store in freezer, makes enough for 4 cobblers)

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

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil

1/3 cup milk/buttermilk (scant)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl. Mix very briefly, just until combined.  I suggest adding the last tablespoon of wet stuff only if it seems to need it; better to have it thick than thin in consistency.

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced ripe peeled peaches, nectarines, blueberries

½ tsp. almond extract

1/3-2/3 cup sugar depending on how sweet you want it

1 tbsp. minute tapioca

2 tbsp. GF flour

1./4 tsp cinnamon

peach cobbler in saucepan

Directions:

Mix the fruit and almond extract in a sauce pan. Stir together the tapioca, sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top, medium heat, for 3-5 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan, top with big blops of the cobbler topping.  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.

peach cobbler in pan

Let cool 7 or 8 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.  Cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Between you and me, I recently made this cobbler with 4 fat peaches and a handful of fancy frozen raspberries as I felt there wasn’t quite enough peach slices. It tasted amazing!  The zing of the raspberries and the ripe peachy flavor mingle with the tender cobbler crust in an incredible blend that must be tasted and enjoyed ASAP! It is great with just ripe August peaches, just made one of those today.

Why being a coeliac is the best thing ever

I don’t generally repost other people’s blog posts but this one was so well said I just have to share it with anyone who reads my blog. Says so much that I think about and about how it is for me to live gluten free. Well done!

Gluten Free Blogger

A bold title to a post, but hear me out.

Feeling healthy and happy Feeling healthy and happy

These past few weeks I’ve been struggling through injuries – a torn muscle in my shoulder and broken finger, ironically not even related at all! – and it’s given me time to really reflect on my time blogging. When I started this blog it was as a hobby, something to pass the spare hours at uni and something I never thought would take off quite as well as it did. I wanted to show that a gluten free life doesn’t have to be boring or isolating, that giving up gluten could open so many doors and bring your kitchens to life.

Through the recipes, restaurant reviews, product testing and general musing, not only has my blog grown, but so have I. I’ve discovered so many amazing products, grown confidence in the kitchen and in eating out…

View original post 715 more words

Blueberry Peach Crumb Pie…Delectable!

It is the peak of both peach and blueberry season so this was a perfect pairing for adaptation to a gluten free pie recipe.   The resulting pie was juicy and flavorful down to the last slice.

blueberry peach pie slice

This is an easy pie to create.  Slice and dump together the filling, crumb topping made in mixer bowl you used for bottom crust. You can store any leftover crumb mixture in a sealed container in the fridge; it keeps a few weeks.  This GF crumb topping is perfect for most any fruit pie.  If you prefer a solid crust just double the crust part and top your pie with it.  Be sure to cut some slits for steam escape! I think a lattice crust would be fantastic if a bit more time consuming to construct.

Please make every effort to use local fruit; you can get peaches at most farm stands like Bechdolt’s located below Hellertown on Rt 412, Saucon Valley Fruit Stand on Seidersville Road or at Lehigh Valley Produce on Main Street in Hellertown.  This pie really showcases the blueberries more than the peaches. But store peaches can be poor in quality due to chilled storage of fruit so I strongly suggest you get locally grown, sweet, ripe peaches to make your pie.

To peel; heat 3 inches of plain water, drop the peaches gently in and cook them 1-2 minutes.  Allow to cool somewhat before peeling.  I like to do that over a bowl to catch the juices as I slice each peach.

Bake and enjoy early summer in a pie in just a few minutes of work.  Don’t eat it piping hot; it should be cooled to room temperature or even chilled.  You could certainly serve this with vanilla ice cream.  And this pie works perfectly with fresh nectarines or apricots.  Bonus: no peeling required!

Angie’s GF Blueberry Peach Crumb Pie

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

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

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 while you prepare the filling.

crust

Filling:

2 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled and cut in thick slices

3 cups fresh blueberries – place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup quick tapioca

Add and stir in

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

blueberry peach pie filling

Let the filling stand while you prepare the crust, important for the tapioca so it does its job optimally.

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with fruit mixture.

blueberry peach pie unbaked

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Directions:

Sprinkle the top of the pie with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about a heaping cup of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

blueberry peach pie, done

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-50 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  I put a piece of aluminum foil on top for the last ten minutes.  Cool at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 10 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes.

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for ten minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Terrific and Easy Tomato Soup

Summer is tomato time around here.  I had tomato salad tonight and for lunch I had homemade tomato soup, had it yesterday too.  It is all gone but I am wishing I had another bowl in the fridge for tomorrow.  Last October I made a big batch and froze it in plastic containers, each two servings.  I felt like I was back in a sunny summer day whenever I had it for lunch last winter.  tomato soup

So make some, it is Ina Garten’s recipe simplified a tad.  If you don’t like it creamy leave out the cream or use half and half or whole milk for less calories.  If you are a vegetarian use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.  You can strain it but I prefer it unstrained and chunky. It has a fair amount of garlic which you can reduce as wished.  I cut back on the salt but you can cut it even further as you wish.

Your family will love this soup with a sandwich or salad. It is naturally gluten free.  GF croutons would bring a lovely crunch to it if you have any.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red or yellow onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5-6 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves

3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1-2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream/half and half or whole milk

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it by blending with an immersion blender or run it through your food processor. I use my cute little boat motor blender and leave it chunky just as I love soup to be. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve plain or with julienned basil leaves and/or GF croutons. Enjoy!

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cream-of-fresh-tomato-soup-recipe.

Strawberry Basil Yogurt, a Great Snack

Greek yogurt is the new power dairy snack, favored by teachers, moms, office workers and many others seeking a portable tasty yet healthy snack.  I eat it too.  But sometimes I want a more basic, yet above average, yogurt.  My secret for great yogurt is one brand; Stonyfield Organic.  I buy the large 32 ounce container.  I usually get the plain, one percent low fat yogurt.  Organic milk makes creamy flavorful yogurt, far superior to any made with non-organic milk.  Occasionally I treat myself to Stonyfield’s whole milk yogurt. This is thick, creamy and oh so delicious.  The top layer is like cream yogurt; crazy yummy!  I eat a dish of this yogurt with fresh jam, all that jam that I don’t eat on toast anymore.  I know, whole milk! But sometimes you have to enjoy the best that life can give you and frankly experts say that non-fat yogurt is less healthy than yogurt with some fat.  Go on, live wild and try this fabulous organic yogurt.

Update; 11/21/14: a new article about the dangers of highly sweetened and additive filled yogurts specifically says the best choices are organic whole milk yogurts: http://www.cornucopia.org/yogurt.  I was right on the money with my recommendation of Stonyfields yogurt and my use of homemade jams and granola to flavor it up.  Much better for you and your kids!  Tastier too actually.

strawberry and stonyfield yogurt

You can also enjoy this yogurt with honey drizzled on top.  Sprinkled with my homemade granola it is very healthy, filling, and delightful tasting.

Late this past June I made some strawberry basil jam.  The other day I got the excellent idea to put it on top of my organic yogurt.  It was amazing tasting, the creamy mild yogurt stirred together with that fragrant fruity jam. Oh my goodness, a whole world away from commercially flavored fruit yogurts.

yogurt and strawberry basil jam

So here is my strawberry basil freezer jam recipe.  My friend Josh had purchased some and raved about the flavor.  I decided to make my own.  Well, it is great on toast and extremely yummy on your yogurt! It is not too much basil flavor, the strawberry predominates but you do get a taste of it when ever you encounter a bit of basil leaf.  I actually only made half a jam recipe as that was all the strawberries I had available that day.  I used the liquid Surejell, half the package.

strawberry basil jam 1

Strawberry Basil Freezer Jam 

yield: 5 cups

INGREDIENTS:

about 1 pound of fresh ripe strawberries (2 cups crushed strawberries)

4 cups granulated sugar

one 1.75 ounce package of fruit pectin (I used liquid Sure Jell)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves, really fine!

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mash strawberries using a potato masher. Measure out two cups and return to bowl. If there are extras, you can eat those. But you want to pretty exact with this recipe.

To the 2 cups of mashed strawberries, stir in 4 cups of granulated sugar. Mix well to combine and moisten all the sugar and then let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine fruit pectin and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. When it boils, set a timer for one minute. Continue to stir constantly and then remove from heat when it has boiled for one minute.

Stir pectin and water mixture into the fruit and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is no longer grainy.

Pour mixture into freezer containers with tight fitting lids (jars work great). Let jam stand at room temperature for 8 hours before moving to the fridge or freezer. If you freeze it, thaw it in the fridge when you’re ready to use.

Summer Tomatoes Stuffed with Lemony Quinoa Salad

Tomatoes stuffed with salad, I know: very old school but I made a modern take on it the other week for company.  A gluten free version I might add! Everyone raved about the fresh flavor of the dish.  So I am posting it here so you can try it; one caveat; only use local tomatoes.  Do NOT make this with those pale imitation supermarket tomatoes. It is not possible to create something tasty if you start with bad ingredients and those plastic flavored “tomatoes” just will not work.

You can serve the filling as a side salad and I will give those directions after the tomato version. I served the salad style at a picnic last week and my sister Karen had seconds. She was not a big quinoa fan until she ate that salad!

Tomatoes Stuffed with Quinoa Salad

Makes four servings.

Ingredients:

½ cup raw quinoa, plain pale yellow type (not red or black)

1 cup water

½ a veggie  bullion cube

4 medium to large tomatoes

2/3-3/4 cup small dice burpless or European cucumber

½ cup small dice zucchini

1/3 cup small dice red onion

2 tbsp. fresh mint or parsley, diced finely

1 lemon

3 tbsp.  EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Directions

Put the quinoa in the water.  If it doesn’t say rinsed you should put it in a strainer and rinse it for a minute to get off any coating which can be bitter.  Add the half bullion cube, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature before continuing.

Using a sharp paring knife cut the top off of each tomato, reserve it for a lid.  Scoop out the tomato guts using a spoon. I like to use a serrated edged grapefruit spoon but almost any spoon will work.   You can use the insides for something else; in a soup, a salad or a stew?  I turn the hollowed out tomatoes upside down to drain briefly to be sure I got all the wet stuff out.

Place the cooled quinoa In a mixing bowl.  Top it with the finely chopped veggies.  You can use less veggies than I suggested; up to you. I like lots of veggies.  Make sure they are cut very small though.  Sprinkle the fresh herbs on top; even fresh chives chopped fine or basil will work great.   Use a zester or a very fine grater and get as much zest off the lemon (wash the lemon first); you can zest right into the quinoa mixing bowl.  In a small mixing bowl put the juice of that same lemon, the EVOL and red wine vinegar.  If you have more than 3 tbsp of lemon juice add a bit more EVOL and whisk to combine; add in up to ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly grated black pepper.  Pour ¾ of it over the quinoa and veggies and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning and add the rest of the dressing if it is needed.  Use a large spoon to fill the hollowed out tomatoes.  Top each one with the reserved lids.  I put mine finished tomatoes on a platter and refrigerated for a few minutes so I could make the rest of the meal; no more than 1 hour.  You can serve each on a bed of lettuce or just by itself.   stuffed tomato

This is a great side dish or, if you have a vegetarian visiting, it is a substantial main dish choice as quinoa has a lot of complete protein in it. I served it with some zucchini yeast bread and some gnudi dumplings as a delicious meal for my vegetarian god daughter.

The salad filling can be served all on its own as a salad; I added a bunch of cherry tomatoes halved to it and it was ready to go.  So simple but the combination of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, red wine vinegar and EVOL makes a great salad dressing.  If your filling seems wet; you added too much dressing.  Add more tomatoes and diced zuke and cuke.  Do not cook the zucchini – if it is fresh and tender it is fantastic raw in a salad.  If you can’t get one of those European cucumbers use a small regular one and peel the skin off it before dicing. If the seeds are large do not use the center with the seeds.  Your salad will not be as pretty if there are sloppy cucumber seeds in it.   I do cut the veggies larger for a salad; diced is fine.  But I suggest you keep the red onion bits very fine.  And start with a fresh red onion. Onion does not keep well; gets bitter so peel a new onion to make your salad if you want the best tasting results.

quinoa salad 8-14

Quinoa salad will keep a few days in the fridge, if it lasts that long! Try it with different fresh herbs. I would never make this in the dead of winter as it just won’t taste the same without the fresh summer veggies.  I try to eat seasonally and this is definitely a summer treat!