Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake 2.3 Version

I just have to share this recipe with you again.  It is just a classic and no one I know turns down homemade strawberry shortcake. We had it last Sunday.  I am not sure where I got the recipe…. my gf biscuit version is pretty tasty I have to say.

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This year’s biscuit was so flaky and tasty I could hardly believe it was gf and I am the one who made it!

 

But there is one thing, you gotta make it with the best freaking strawberries you can find.  None of those big firm ones with whitish cores that are shipped in from far away.  You need juicy ripe, scented red berries that can be chopped coarsely and mixed with sugar and served over shortbread.  Gluten free shortcake biscuit.  Yes, it can be made with other than local berries and it will taste great but local fruit make it fantastic!

My mom always made a gorgeous version of strawberry shortcake. When I was a kid she would serve it as the meal.  I have done that and it is kinda cool.  For that I made a huge oval biscuit that lay in my turkey platter with a smaller oval topping biscuit that I split off the big biscuit and buttered the split area before topping with berries and the smaller biscuit.  And more ripe berries.  Then a topping of softly whipped heavy cream.  Oh berry perfection.

Now I bake it in two separate pans but the construction of the final product is the same otherwise.  These pictures are from last June; my daughter snapped them as I put the shortcake together at a family gathering.  It is always a hit even with gf shortbread.  The shortbread I made this past Sunday was so good, I swear it could pass for my old shortbread… Feeds six or four piggie eaters.

Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake, GF2.3

Biscuit dough

1 cup white rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. xanthan gum

6 tbsp cold butter

1 medium egg

2/3 cup buttermilk

2-3 tsp. sugar (optional)

2 tsp. soft butter

Other ingredients:

2 quarts ripe strawberries

½ cup sugar

2-3 tbsp. Karo light syrup

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ tsp. real vanilla

2-4 tbs. powdered sugar (if you like your cream sweet)

Directions
Heat oven t0 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter until it is small pebbles.  Add the egg and most of the buttermilk.  Mix with a spoon; add rest of buttermilk if you need it.  It should be a bit sticky, don’t over mix; just until dry is blended in.  Spray the inside of an eight inch cake pan and a 6 inch cake pan with cooking spray.  If you don’t have a small pan just use two 8 inch ones.  Pat ¾ of the dough into the 8 inch; make it about ¾ to 1 inch thick and try to smooth the top and side edges a bit.  Put the rest of the dough in the smaller pan and do the same smoothing.  Make that one ½ to ¾ inch thick.  Optional: take 2-3 tsp. of granulated sugar and sprinkle it over top of them. I think it gives a great finish to the shortcake. Bake them about 20 to 25 min; the smaller one should be done in 20 minutes; a golden light brown. Set on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

While it bakes, get the berries ready.  Hull 2 quarts of fresh ripe berries.  Place them in a glass mixing bowl; chop through them a few strokes with a sharp knife.  Add ½ cup sugar and about 2-3 tbsp. Karo light corn syrup to the berries.  Stir well and refrigerate until the shortcake is baked.  You could do this berry preparation up to two hours in advance.  No more or they will start to disintegrate.

Place the fairly hot bigger layer on a large platter, one big enough to hold the shortbread and still have room for a generous overflow of strawberries. Butter lightly if you wish.  Top with several big spoonfuls of berries.  Don’t worry if there is juice in the berry bowl; there should be; melted down sugar and karo syrup with berry juice will give you a delish berry liquid.  Top with the second smaller biscuit and then more berries.   Cut into chunks.  Top with freshly whipped cream; beat a cup of heavy whipping cream until it is softly whipped.  Add ½ tsp. vanilla and ¼ cup sugar if you wish it sweet.  Be sure to pour the berry juice over your shortcake; it soaks in and adds to the strawberry experience.  My dad liked to pour unbeaten cream over his shortcake. My mom usually set out the whipped cream, a jug of cream and some whole milk so you could chose how to finish off your personal shortcake.  I might add that I grew up on a farm so this was raw milk from grass pastured cows; fantastic cream equaling a freaking perfect shortcake topper.  We also grew our own berries; no chemical sprayed on them ever.

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Forgive the paper plate: I was at my mom’s assisted living and I do paper to save on clean up time plus her sink is miniscule!

If there is any left over it makes a great breakfast the next morning…

Originally published in June 2014, again last June and now in late June.  I confess I could not find local berries on Sunday, I used organic ones and only used the ripest berries for this cake. So can you, just set aside any underripe ones as they are not great in a shortcake.

I am thinking blackberries might be good with this shortcake biscuit. Going to try them tonight!

Angie’s GF Traveler Tales

 

Recently I went down to Florida to visit family and friends. After landing I shopped at the local grocery store; leaving with food for cooking at my daughter’s place as well as some cinnamon chex for breakfast and Kind bars for snacking.   My hotel had a full breakfast but the only things I ate from there was milk, juice and yogurt. Hence the box of cinnamon chex….

I baked a birthday cake for my daughter using a box of Pillsbury GF Funfetti cake.  Not too pricy and it made two layers *some gf cake mixes only make one layer. No mixer so I used a floppy big old plastic spoon to beat the cake batter. No cooling racks; placed each layer on a plate. I frosted it with chocolate chocolate chip canned icing.  Turned out amazingly delicious and my humble gf offering was well received by a hungry-for-cake public!trip to kasey 003 Flying 1350 miles to sing happy birthday to my dear child: pricy.  The joyous look on Kasey’s face as we sung: priceless.

I cooked two suppers and two lunches for them in a very not gluten free kitchen (bread, bread crumbs, all purpose flour and cereal everywhere)  My efforts were complete with lots of pan washing and counter wiping and a host of praying for safe gluten free eating.  Prayers answered.  I did not get glutened at her apartment.  I did get a twinge on the plane back after passing a packet of pretzels to my return flight seatmate since I couldn’t eat them and he could.  Take away: don’t even touch those small snack packets; pretzel dust on the outside makes them a hazard!

I went on to The Villages for a couple of days.  My friends there have been known to bake cake but I was knocked out by two things Claire made for me; thin little cloud breads for my lunch sandwiches which I stuffed with Boar’s Head deli meat and cheese and she baked a from scratch gluten free pineapple spice cake with cream cheese icing!  The cloud bread has very few ingredients and is baked on a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. She made the recipe a few days before I got there: froze several of the pieces for my sandwich enjoyment and said she was surprised to find how tasty it was.

As to the cake, Claire bought a 9×14 throw away pan and washed all her cooking stuff carefully before hand.  The cake was excellent, a substantial fruity and nutty treat!  The cloud bread was just like mine if smaller.  She had no trouble in making either item.  I was so impressed that someone would go to this level of effort to make my visit wonderful. I didn’t ask nor would I expect anyone to bake like that for me but she did. What a friend!

They also took me out to The Outback where I enjoyed a lovely gluten free meal of grilled salmon, sautéed veggies and a baked yam. This was a real treat for sure for someone who rarely eats out. Outback is known for its great steaks but I was in the mood for salmon and I was well rewarded with my tasty entree.  They both had steaks and I was a tad envious but my entree choice was no sacrifice; it was delish indeed.

salmon at outbck

My salmon came without the salsa but was well seasoned with lemon pepper.

I then traveled north to another family member’s home up in Gainesville, she eats gluten free for wheat intolerance; no worries there for me and very good eating indeed.  I left with a sandwich supper for my long drive plus a blueberry muffin for a snack and a tummy full of safe food!

Moral of this little story: if you have celiac don’t just stay home this summer. Advise and educate others on how to feed and care for your celiac needs.  If your family and friends are educated they can make your visit safe and very yummy. Oh and a little bit of luck is necessary because gluten is just all over this country!

Rhubarb Frangipane Pie: GF of Course!

 

Another week, another rhubarb pie.  This time I went with almond; a frangipane layer under the rhubarb but it’s quick to make and blends in: you won’t see it  when you bite into this luscious pie.  This is easy to make even though it has several steps.  Keeper recipe!

The GF crust will work for any pie you wish and the sugared topping is a great look and a crunchy sweet treat.  This pie does has several steps but each one is easy.  This was my first try at a two crust pie and I have to say the top crust was very flaky and tasty. I am now wondering why it took me three plus years to attempt a double crust.  Apple pie coming our way this fall with two crusts for sure!

 

Angie’s GF Rhubarb Frangipane Pie

Crust:

2 ¼ c brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

¼ cup sweet rice flour

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

12 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

2 large eggs

4 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Spray 9 or 10 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 two equal balls with your hands. Put each on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust balls some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the rhubarb into ½ inch chunks.

Frangipane Filling:

2/3 cup almond meal

1/3 c sugar

6 tbsp. butter at room temp

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 tbsp. rice flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix the almond meal and sugar in your stand mixer on low, add the butter, cream well, use spatula to make sure the butter gets down and fully integrated into the mixture and then add egg and almond extract, mix and add the flour and cinnamon.

Rhubarb filling:

5 cups cut up fresh rhubarb

3 tbsp. tapioca flour

¼ tsp. salt

Zest of one orange (optional)

2 tbsp. sugar

1 or 2 tsp. of milk to brush on for a glaze

Raw sugar to sprinkle on top

——–

In large bowl: place rhubarb, add tapioca flour, salt, plain sugar and orange zest. Stir with spoon to coat.

Assembling the pie:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! I use a pie bag my sister gave me; works fantastically with gf crusts. Peel off one side of wax paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.

Spread frangipane filling on the bottom of the crust.  Fill with dry rhubarb mix.  Roll out other pie crust. Place gently on top of pie, crimp around edges. Cut a few vent slits in the top crust. Brush top crust with milk, sprinkle heavily with raw sugar.

Place on baking sheet to catch drips (I have a pie drip pan I love!)  Bake 20 mi, rotate it half way through so the back and front are the same level of golden. Lower heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30-40 min until crust is golden and you can see the filling bubbling.  Cool on rack for at least 1-2 hours before serving. rhubarb frangipane pie 001

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is a blending of one I found on splendidtable.org with my favorite crust recipe out of Annalise Roberts cookbooks with my own small changes to create a pie to my taste buds happiness.

Strawberry Cheerios…Cheers!

I happen to enjoy the new gluten free Cheerios….haven’t been made ill by them at all, despite all the complaints about them.  My favorite is the honey nut but I also enjoy the apple cinnamon as well.  The other week I tried something new, strawberry Cheerios! I heard they were out, could only find the huge family size so that’s what I came home with. Giant box…bigstrawberrycheeriosI tried them and was not that impressed, seemed a tad weirdly flavored.  But it is a big box and I am a frugal person so I kept eating them for my bedtime snack.  Strangely, I have grown very fond of them.  They are made with strawberry puree and no artificial color or flavor.   A serving has only like 8 grams of sugar which is fairly low in the cereal world these days.

strawberry cheerios

The flavor is subtle, not artificially strawberryish, just faintly fruity.  A nice change of pace from other breakfast cereals traditionally eaten with milk poured over.  I was betting I could enjoy them with yogurt and yes…quite delicious with some plain organic yogurt.

If you see them and enjoy Cheerios I recommend this flavor, did see it last week in a smaller box, LOL.  Well; I am steadily working my way through my family size.  It is now in a Tupperware cereal box to keep it fresh; a good idea with any cereal. Enjoy!

Kombucha Tea for Great Health

 

A few months ago I tried some kombucha tea.  I heard it was pretty good for your gut/tummy and thought that as a celiac, it might help…so why not give it a try. I bought a 16 ounce bottle of berry flavor.  It was pretty tasty, great zing to it. Tried another flavor, ginger…loving how my tummy felt after drinking half a bottle.  So I did some research on kombucha tea.  Sounds mysterious but it turns out to be an ancient Chinese beverage, around for thousands of years with many claims to promoting improved health. Made of sweetened black tea that is fermented to create this fizzy liquid probiotics elixir which many credit their good health to.  The yeast in the scoby which is like a vinegar mother feed off of the sugar in the tea.  When it is finished brewing the tea doesn’t taste like tea and the sugar is all gone.  Magical!

This is one of the sites I went to; lots of easy to understand information and pictures of this product and the process of making it. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-173858.  Here is a quote from that site about the benefits of kombucha tea: “Kombucha is indisputably full of probiotics and other happy things that our intestines love and that help boost our overall health.”  kombucha tea

A bottle of kombucha tea is about $3.50 to $4.  That can add up fast when you drink a half bottle pretty much every day. So I did some more research and decided to learn how to make my own. Finding that kombucha tea is simple was a relief but I had some trouble finding the kombucha scoby which is like a vinegar mother; it is a miraculous probiotics factory in the shape of a flat white/beige rubbery mushroom like object.  It is sort of weird looking.  It floats on the surface of the tea during fermentation.  It covers the entire surface of the tea in its bottle and many think it protects the tea from air and contaminants. It is made of cellulose plus many helpful yeasts and those probiotics we should to have in our tummies working overtime for a happy belly. Since I couldn’t find anyone selling it locally I did yet more research and discovered I could create my own scoby.  All it took was a bottle of original unflavored and unpasteurized raw kombucha tea, some sweetened black tea, a big glass jar, and some patience.

It is quite simple; put the store bought kombucha tea in the big, well-washed jar, add the room temperature sweetened home made black tea and cover the lid with a paper towel fastened on with a rubber band.  Put in a dark place where direct sun doesn’t hit it and wait.  Wait 2 weeks; wait up to another 2 weeks. Over that time, the scoby miraculously forms on the surface of the black tea/kombucha mixture. It starts as a bubble film that grows thicker and more opaque over time.  Bingo, you got a scoby. With it you can make your own kombucha tea week after week.  Here is a link to the site I got my information on; very comprehensive I think. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha-scoby-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202596

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My kombucha scoby resting on a plate while I wash out it’s big bottle, kinda creepy looking I know but think of it as a home probiotic factory!

I make a half gallon at a time, saving one cup for my next batch.  It takes about 7 to 10 days for the tea to complete the fermentation process. Once you have a scoby the process is very similar but shorter than growing a scoby. I put a cup of kombucha tea in my big gallon jar containing the scoby; add room temperature sweetened black tea.  Put it in your non-sunny location, about 70 degrees is the perfect temperature. Let it stand so the yeast in the scoby can digest all of that sugar in the black tea. Taste and see if it is to your liking and then decant and start a new batch. I put mine in clean pint jars and put them in the same semi-dark location for a day to get fizzy.  Then in the fridge they go to chill. I normally drink the entire bottled batch by the time a new batch is ready. No leftovers!

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Kombucha tea freshly bottled

I find it a refreshing light taste, a bit like cider vinegar but more flavorful and not as sour. I love the taste of it and how wonderful it makes my tummy feel. Great if you have celiac, leaky gut, Crohns, stomach ulcers, or any other digestive problem. Some folks claim it helps arthritis and depression, which may or may not be so. The best part of choosing kombucha tea is that the probiotics in this ancient brew stay in your system rather than flushing daily as the probiotics in yogurt or pills do.  It is a natural way to promote a healthy gut.  And who doesn’t want one of those!

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Here is my kombucha scoby doing it’s job; nearly ready to bottle.

I know the whole process seems weird – to use a scoby to make kombucha tea and if that throws you, I suggest you just buy the tea at the store and enjoy without the make it yourself experience.  But if you are like me and love DIY projects, this is an easy one to give a try.  Have some kombucha tea and have a happy tummy!

PS: You might want to strain the tea right before you drink it; can be some little blobbies which are baby scobies trying to form. Ick I know but that tells you that your kombucha is healthy. I strain it into my drinking glass.

FYI: I do sell the scobies on craigs list as mine gets thick and needs to be split so I sell extra scobies which makes my kombucha tea basically free.  Great deal.  Great tasting beverage. Great for your gut.

Easy Quick Lemon Cupcakes

Cupcakes, who doesn’t love a sweet little cake with some homemade icing?  I tried a mix for lemon cake made by Authentic Foods. Mail order and about four bucks for a packet that makes 12 cupcakes or one layer.  I bought it when I got that imitation rye flavoring for breads; no extra handling charge for one small additional item and lemon cake mix is not that common especially gluten free. Bonus was that the mix said no GMOs and no soy.  lemon cake mix

So I made them as a lunch dessert for company visiting this weekend.  The directions give option for butter or vegetable oil. I used butter. I used 1 percent milk; directions said to use milk or cream.

The recipe mixed up very thick, like loose whipped cream. I have to wonder if I should have thinned the batter a bit.  The directions do not say what consistency the batter should have.  I filled the cupcake liners and baked the recommended time.

They looked great when they were on the cooling rack.  I made some homemade cream cheese icing.  Iced six and froze six.

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Very nice but a bit denser than I like in my cakes. I think next time I will use the vegetable oil instead of butter. The icing was my basic vanilla cream cheese icing. Delicate and complemented the lemon cupcakes nicely. indian food 004 My friends enjoyed the dessert and each gladly took a spare one home with them.  Notable because neither of them normally eats gluten free.  I will count this mix as a win especially if you love lemon flavored cake.  Buy it on line at authenticfoods.com; I don’t know any stores that carry their cake mixes. They have other flavors for sure!