Monk Fish with Ratatouille…Early Fall on a Plate

My mom sometimes made fish for dinner and one of her favorites was monkfish, sometimes called poor man’s lobster. If you google monkfish it is one big ugly black fish. Luckily it tastes pretty good and is a change of pace from the fish I seem to be in a rut of choosing. I can’t remember how my mom made it but I saw this recipe on epicurious and decided to try it with some fresh veggies straight from the garden as a treat for her.  We both love ratatouille so what could be better?

I made a few small changes and cut the ingredient amounts in half for just two (my mom and I).  I was blown away by the rich flavors of the roasted ratatouille and the delicate but meaty monk fish fillet.  I think its nick name is due to the texture which does remind me of lobster, sort of.  It isn’t the most popular of fish (insert salmon her!) but this dish might change your mind and make the list of top ten fish recipes for your family. We ate every bite of the fish and those incredible veggies. I almost forgot to mention; this entree is ridiculously easy to make and is naturally gluten free.  Perfect!

The amounts are flexible; if you love eggplant it could be a bit more and if you have yellow squash instead of zuke that is perfect. I used that skinny Japanese eggplant but any regular eggplant cut in strips and then cubes would be perfect. The original recipe used canned marinara sauce but I chose to use some tomato paste from a tube and the fresh plum tomatoes. I was concerned about having a runny sauce but if you want more liquid add some sauce to thin things down.

I carefully transferred the dish to a glass oven pan and baked it just long enough to get the pan hot before putting on the lid and heading over to where my mom lives.  You don’t have to take that step but this is an easy meal to transport which makes my life a bit easier.

My starch was fire roasted russet potatoes but I am thinking this would be awesome with either gf noodles, gf pasta or rice pilaf.

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I just sprinkled dried basil on top of the veggies. Will stir and add fish before roasting some more. You can add more wine if necessary.

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Capers are on top, in my lidded glass oven dish.

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About to dig in…yes…that’s a paper plate. I am at my mom’s assisted living room……easy clean up. This is just a blog. Not the food network, lol.

Monkfish with Ratatouille

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (1.5 cups)

1 cup sliced zucchini

1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into thin segments from top to bottom

2 teaspoon olive oil, divided

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 to 4 tbsp. dry white wine (or red if you prefer)

1 large clove garlic chopped coarsely

2 tbsp. tomato paste.

3 big plum tomatoes cut into chunks

2 monkfish fillets (about 5-6 ounces each)

1 tsp dried basil or 1.5 tbsp. fresh

1 tablespoon drained capers

PREPARATION

Heat oven to 425°F.

Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and onion on the sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss a bit…I used a pancake turner to do that operation. Then spread the vegetables out over the pan so they are in a thin layer and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with white wine, garlic and tomatoes. Cover loosely with foil and roast 5-10 minutes more. Remove pan from oven. Stir in basil. Lay fish fillets in the middle of the veggies; push them aside first to make a cleared space; drizzle with remaining teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook about 10-12 minutes.  Sprinkle with capers and fresh basil if you have some.

I served this with grilled potatoes but if you are low carbing leave off the starch and you won’t be disappointed by the results.

Autumn Plum Tart: Plumalishous!

There is a huge abundance of fruit in September.  Still some peaches, plums, grapes and nectarines while apples and pears are pouring in.  What to bake?  Tough decision, I decided to go with something I rarely use: we love juicy ripe plums but I seldom bake with them.  This is one of the only recipes I can 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.  purple plumThey are inexpensive, not too sweet and they get soft and purply delish in this simple tart.  It is modeled closely after German plum tarts I had enjoyed in my wheat loving past life.  I think it replicates them quite well.  I posted this last year (2014) 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.

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Candied lemon peels before blending into lemon powder

I use my favorite cobbler mix which makes this really simple.  I will put the mix recipe down at the end of this post. It was created by Bette Hagman. I keep it in my freezer and one cup is the dry ingredients for a great cobbler or for this tart. 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.

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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.

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.

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This is the tart I made Sept. 2014 in a 9 inch tart pan; very very full!

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This tart was made in September 2015 with big fat Stanley plums: just before putting in the oven. Made in a a ten inch ceramic tart pan.

Angie’s Fall Plum Tart

1 cup cobbler dry mix; recipe below

¼ c sugar

—-

2 eggs

3 Tbps. buttermilk

2 Tbps. melted butter

1/2  tsp. vanilla

1/2  tsp. almond extract

1 ½ lbs prune plums (enough to cover the entire tart pan) pitted and cut in half.

Mix them with 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

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

Spray a 10 in deep tart pan or 9 in pie pan with cooking spray

Cut up plums; be sure to get all the pit; sometimes a small bit of it can be left up near the pointy end where the plum attached to the branch.  I like to cut them in half along the crease; get a  nice pair of plum halves that way. Sprinkle with the sugar and let them sit while you make the batter.

Beat eggs in 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 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 4- 10 more minutes or until top looks done.

Cool somewhat before slicing/serving.

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Plum tart September 2016

Dry Cobbler Mix –   (Bette Hegman recipe)

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 – originally posted in 2014 and again in September 2015,

Corn Chowder, Delightfully Fresh and Delish!

Corn on the cob continues to be tasty if you can source it locally.  I found some the last two weekends and have made some delightful corn chowders.  While both were excellent I chose to share this slightly more traditional version with you. Using just 2 big ears of corn I was able to make 4 servings of hearty soup.  I took a recipe off the epicurious website and made only a few changes – it was very easy to put together. This version met my three qualifications: gluten free, simple and yummy.

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Even if the corn you find isn’t the greatest this late in the season I am betting this chowder will be a hit with your family.  The mixture of veggies adds so much flavor especially since they are not masked by a lot of spices.

Notes: I put in the cobs (I cut each one in half to fit) as my soup broth simmers because they are crammed full of corny flavor that can perfect your chowder. Do not leave out or change the cream; it isn’t that much per serving and it won’t have the right consistence without the heavy cream.  Finally, be careful with the broth; a lot of commercial broth’s are not gluten free; for some weird reason there is gluten in many varieties.  Kitchen Basics is great or Kitchen Accomplice concentrate (used that this time) is very convenient; squeeze bottle in the fridge.

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Angie’s Corn Chowder

Serves four

Ingredients

1 slice of bacon, diced

1 large onion, diced (1 cup)

1 large carrot diced

1 small celery rib diced

1 medium potato peeled, either Russet or Gold Yukon

2 ½ cups chicken broth, low salt or homemade

1 sprig of fresh thyme

2 large ears of corn; cut off the cobs.

¾ cup heavy cream

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Sauté the diced bacon in a large heavy saucepan.  Remove the crisp bacon.  Add the onion, carrot and celery.  Sauté ten minutes, until the vegetables are fairly soft.

Add the potato, broth, thyme, and corn cobs; simmer 15-20 minutes until the potato chunks are soft.  Remove the thyme and corn cobs.  Add the corn, cream, salt and pepper.  Cook 3-5 more minutes.  If it seems too thick add up to another half cup of broth. Serve with the bacon sprinkled on top or stirred in.

Optional additions which I didn’t use; half a red bell pepper cooked with the carrot/onion/celery, half a sweet potato diced and added with the white potato and 1 diced tomato and some chives sprinkled on top of the soup.  I might try some or all of them next time, yes I plan on making this again soon before the corn gets too tired; it was delightfully fresh tasting.  You could leave off the bacon if you are meat free; substitute in some good quality olive oil; maybe 2 tbsp. of it and use a veggie broth instead of the chicken broth.

It was perfect just as I made it but I am betting any number of variations would work. Have fun with what you have available and what you like to eat.  Soup isn’t as technical as baking so mix it up! That is my philosophy of cooking with veggies.

Source recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-chowder.

Peach Melba Perfection

Peach season is nearly done.  I have enjoyed excellent cobbler, spectacular peach crumb pie, tasty peach muffins and lots of sliced peaches on cereal or just whole peaches Au natural: the peach fuzz is full of fiber!  One more good peach recipe for you: one with no cooking.  A recipe for a company dessert with next to no work, that sounds about perfect for my busy life.

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Your success depends on the quality of the three ingredients. Yes, just three so they better be the best you can find!  I like peaches direct from the orchard, the best quality raspberry jam you can afford (homemade jam is the bomb for this recipe!) and excellent vanilla ice cream; I prefer Turkey Hill handmade vanilla.

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This post is all about none other than Peach Melba, created by that world renown chef Escoffier in honor of an Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba back in the early 1890’s.  If you look it up on line you can find fancy versions in stemmed glassware using a whole peach.  It is old school but truthfully the classics never go out of style. The flavors are just perfect together with next to no effort on your part.

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My typical version of peach melba is very rustic; in a desert bowl, no stemmed glasses like above, no six dollar a pint ice cream but delightful.  A friend of mine wanted something special for company dessert, no baking, no gluten and fruit based.  I gave her this recipe and it was a huge hit.  Even a non-cook can put this beauty together in less then 10 minutes.

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Peach Melba

(quantity per person)

One perfect ripe peach

One-two scoops vanilla ice cream

1 Tbps. raspberry jam, stirred up until it is semi-liquid

Heat a pot of water deep enough to immerse your peaches, bring it to a boil.  Gently drop in the peaches, turn heat down to medium and simmer for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.  Cool enough to be able to peel.  Peel the fruit, cut in half and remove the pit.

Place the peach halves in a dessert cup.  Top with 1-2 scoops of high quality vanilla ice cream and then drizzle the raspberry jam over the peaches and ice cream.  That’s all there is to Peach Melba.  Takes like 5 minutes to put together.  I sprinkled some fresh raspberries, red and gold ones on my serving. You can guild the lily with slivers of almonds but I prefer it with no further additions.  The peaches and raspberries play off each other perfectly and the vanilla ice cream is the ideal base for them to be showcased with.  Enjoy this naturally gluten free treat before all the good peaches are gone.

Why This Blog….

Let me provide some minor clarifications for those who had questions about me and my blog.  Yes, I have celiac disease, diagnosed 2.5 years ago but probably sick for 3 years before; getting worse until the docs started seriously looking for a cause.  And yes, I had it as a kid; why I always had a tummy ache, couldn’t get to sleep, couldn’t gain any wait, thin as a rail and very anxious.  Bunch of other symptoms we won’t mention here for brevity’s sake. Illness disappeared by age 18 (no one could figure that one out back then) and did not return until serious stress about 5 years ago. This is not that uncommon with childhood celiac.

I do have one person in my family who has celiac, rest claim not.  I have my doubts. It does run in families.  I wish they would all get tested.

I never ever post recipes that I haven’t made myself.  Most recipes are versions of ones I have found in cookbooks or on line say at foodnetwork.com.  I seldom make a recipe exactly as it originally is.  I am a collector of cookbooks but I have gotten rid of a lot of baking ones.  They made me sad.  I have several new gf ones I am fond of.

I eat lots of vegetables and fruits: adore them but not fond of creamed corn, stewed tomatoes or succotash. Love potatoes, pasta and some beans. I do eat some sort of meat protein most days but completely enjoy a well crafted vegetarian entree.  I am not fond of raw proteins.  Nope. Nor organ meats or wild critters like rabbit or snake.  Not tried alligator yet.  Love elk, or deer and accept all donations of excess frozen venison. And yes, I love baking pies and muffins….made some apple muffins last night!

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Love cooking, love sharing food, love sharing recipes, that’s me.  Enjoy writing an awful lot; gives me a real rush to share my own posts.  I do this for that joyful moment when I push the publish button.  I hope I help educate those without celiac and give food/meal ideas to those who cook for someone with celiac.  Cooking should be fun as well as creative.  Substituting stuff for things you don’t have is okay! Being celiac is a challenge, not a death sentence.  I eat great and feel fantastic and I think that shows in many areas of my life.   My motto is Cook, Eat, Love and Write.  I cook so you have something great to eat!

Peach Oatmeal…It’s What’s For Breakfast at My House!

Healthy breakfasts are a way to start the day off great.  One of my go to breakfasts is oatmeal.  I love it the way it comes out in this recipe; not sticky or goopy, no way I would eat that kind of glop!  I use a lot of water and drain it before adding yummy stuff.  This substantial breakfast is minimal work and I let it cook while I made my lunch or feed the animals.  Less than ten minutes later I am eating a healthy tasty bowl.

A year ago I posted on making healthy breakfasts; there was an instant oatmeal I raved about as well as a bunch of other choices https://myworldwithoutwheat.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/gf-breakfast-is-doable-and-delish/.  Nice, but this whole oatmeal recipe is my fav and I wanted to share my recent fruit topping discovery.  It sounds so elementary but I just never seemed to try it…until now.    Here goes.

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This was a big juicy peach I cut up for this breakfast treat.

Angie’s Oatmeal with Fresh Peach (one serving)

½ cup old fashioned oatmeal, gluten free if you have celiac

Sprinkle of salt

1 tsp. butter

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 peach

Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Heat a quart pot 2/3 full of water, sprinkle in some sea salt.  When it comes to the boil add the oatmeal.  Turn heat to medium low.  Cook 8 to 9 minutes.  Drain into a strainer.  Pour into a bowl, add butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and a peach that you have diced into small bits.  Cinnamon on top if you like that sort of flavor too. It’s that simple and that peachy good! Great use of late season peaches…could use frozen ones once the fresh ones are gone.

I also make this with sliced bananas or blueberries.  So healthy and very filling. Sometimes I make it topped with dried cranberries, chunks of walnuts, a tiny bit of butter and some real maple syrup.  I sprinkle that version with cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Oatmeal is naturally gluten free but it is often processed on equipment that does wheat or is contaminated with wheat kernels from the farm; if you have celiac you really need to buy oatmeal that is labeled gluten free so your chances of cross contamination are nil.

I do eat instant or dry cereal but this oatmeal is so much more satisfying.  And so little effort too.  Enjoy!

Dilly Pickle Project: Delightful!

Something I have never made – dill pickles canned in jars.  They seemed too complicated and I didn’t know if what I created would taste as good as store pickles.  My mom made them when I was a kid.  I remember that if a jar got forgotten in the basement, say in the very back of a dark shelf, for like a year… the big pickles would get hollow in the middle and slimy and off flavored.  Kinda off putting.  I love to make jam, jelly, and marmalade but somehow I haven’t ever attempted the authentic dill pickle. I have made raw refrigerator pickles but that recipe does not require canning or much of a recipe; a brine you keep adding veggies to and munching them down. I re-ran that recipe recently but knew it was only  a warm up for this particular project. And it had to be gluten free for me; this is naturally gluten free. Yay!

Well, a good friend had some pickling cukes to spare from her garden and I decided to screw up my courage and make a run at replicating dill pickles. No one I knew had a recipe they could recommend.  So, I searched on the food network website for a fairly simple dill pickle, chose a basic recipe; made a few small changes and went for it. After waiting about 4-5 days while the flavor mysteriously ripened I opened a chilled jar and found the pickle slices to be fantastic in flavor and crunch.  Eureka!  I ate enough slices to almost give myself a sour stomach; note to self: stop after 6-7 slices.

I feel like a tricky topic has been made easy; the pickle has been conquered. I am ready for my next burger with the perfect pickle slices to heighten the flavor experience. You too can do the pickle successfully. I promise!

First get all the supplies: beg, borrow or buy some pint canning jars, an equal number of the rings that tighten the lids and brand new canning lids (they must be brand new to seal properly)  You will also need a deep pot to put the jars in. I have a jar lifter someone gave me and it is very helpful in removing hot jars of pickles or jam out of boiling water. A canning funnel is also pretty much needed; so you can easily pour in jam, top the pickles with brine or otherwise fill the jars with your food product. I use a pair of tongs for picking up boiling hot lids or rings and for getting a hot jar out of the water to fill with my latest canning experiment.

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The cukes: I got 4 big fat pickling cucumbers from a garden; you can buy ones in the store; look for ones labeled for pickling; they are kinda bumpy and rather cute.  No European burpless for this project; only old fashioned cukes, no waxed ones either!

The process: the empty clean jars have to be filled with hot water and heated to a boil, I let them boil for ten minutes generally. The lids and rings need to be heated briefly. Your big pot has to be deep enough to cover the jars with an inch of boiling water.  I process pickles for ten minutes.  Sounds difficult; nope; just let them boil in that pot of water for ten minutes, lift out and let them cool on a kitchen towel until the lids let out a ping that tells you the jar lid is safely vacuum sealed.  Done.  Yeap. That’s all there is to it!

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Spicy Dill Pickles
Yield: 7-8 pickles (can double)

Ingredients

7-8 small cukes or 4 big pickling cucumbers or Kirbies
Pickling Liquid:
1.5 cups water
1 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp. kosher or coarse salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
skimpy ½  teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 teaspoon turmeric
1 whole cloves
1 small bay leaf
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 carrot, peeled and sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes or 1 jalapeno pepper sliced (I did the flakes)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3-4 dill flowers (mine were very dried out but still flavorful)

1 small sprig thyme

Directions

Bring a large stockpot water to a boil. Add cucumbers, immediately remove from heat if they are the small ones or leave in there a minute if big fat cukes, and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water and reserve.

Combine the pickling liquid ingredients as well as salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Place whole cucumbers in a large container with remaining vegetables and herbs. Pour hot pickling liquid over cucumber mixture and let cool. Stir it up and tap down all the solids until liquid rises to top. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 day.

I then sliced the cucumbers into ¼ inch slices and heated them before canning in pint jars. I  believe it will work equally well if you cut them into spears. If they are not too big you could leave them whole; mine were huge so I had to cut them up. I covered the pickle slices and other veggies with the pickling liquid up to ¼ inch from the rim.  Do stick a knife or chop stick in to stir and break up any bubbles before sealing. Put on the lid, the rim and hand tighten, I often use a thin kitchen towel as the jar is hot and it is difficult to tighten the lid down otherwise. Process ten minutes in a hot water bath.  Or, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate 3 days before serving.

They are said to store indefinitely but I think they will taste best in the first 3-4 months while they are crisp.  I ate some of mine about 5 days after canning and they were perfect!

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dill-pickles-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback