Refreshing Gazpacho Soup: Ole Summer’s Ripe Tomatoes!

Made this again this past week; using golden tomatoes; really nice looking. A perfect hot summer dinner choice.

My World Without Wheat

Hot Hot HOT summer days mean I need a cool recipe. One with minimal cooking: that is easy and tasty.  Plus I want to use some of my garden produce.  This classic Spanish soup called gazpacho is perfect for all of that and my family loves it. It absolutely must be made with ripe summer tomatoes, never ever attempt it with any less than the best vine ripened fruit.  You can get great tomatoes at farm stands, farmer’s markets and even the grocery store; look for the grown local label for the best flavored tomatoes. Please do not use greenhouse tomatoes grown far away and shipped while not really ripe. Your soup will not be full of tomato flavor and it will taste disappointing.  These ripe locally grown tomatoes are vital to the flavor of gazpacho.

I make my gazpacho in the blender but I believe a food processor works…

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Perfect Peach Pie

Peach season is here so get some ripe juicy peaches and whip up a delicious gluten free peach pie.   This is an easy pie to create.  Slice and dump together the filling, crumb topping made in unwashed mixer bowl you used for creating the bottom crust. You can store any leftover crumb mixture in a sealed container in the fridge; it keeps a few weeks.  Sometimes I let the mix spin in the stand mixer for extra big crumbs for this pie; love that look. 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; can get peaches at orchards like Bechdolt’s near Springtown, at most farm stands and at farmer’s markets; one on Saturdays in Easton or Sunday’s in Hellertown.  This pie really showcases great tasting peaches. If you use lousy peaches your pie will be lack luster. But, here’s the issue I want you to think about: store peaches can become quite poor in flavor and texture due to improper chilling during transport or storage so I strongly suggest you get locally grown, nearly ripe peaches to make your pie.  I love when they have a pink blush; it makes the pie so pretty and perhaps even tastier!  You might have to let them ripen a bit so plan ahead and buy them a few days before you want to make that spectacular late summer peach pie.

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Some peaches I bought a week ago at Bechdolts’ Orchard

To peel peaches for a pie (and you really must peel them); heat 3 inches of plain water, drop the peaches gently in 4-5 at a time and cook them 2-3 minutes.  Use the lesser time for more ripe peaches. 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 late summer in a pie in just a few minutes of work.  Don’t eat it hot; it should be cooled to just warm if you like it so or room temperature or even a bit chilled.  You could certainly serve this with vanilla ice cream.  And this pie works perfectly with fresh nectarines, bonus: no peeling required!

 

GF Peach Crumb Pie

Crust:

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

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. I forget to do that most of the time so you can too!

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.  The warmer your kitchen the better chilled your crust dough should be or it will surely stick to the paper/plastic.

Filling:

6 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled and cut in thick slices, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup quick tapioca

 

Add and stir in

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. almond extract *(optional but it does add a lot of flavor)

Let stand while you prepare the crust.

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.

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. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs if you want that look and I did!

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

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.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-50 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 1 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

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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 style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.  This blog post was originally published in August 2014.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Freshly baked chocolate chocolate chip cookies for dessert and snacks.  What is not to like?  Especially if they are gluten free and thus safe for me to eat.  Doublely good if they are totally yummy.  Triple great if they are a simple mix you can stir together in a few minutes and drop onto cookie sheets in ball shapes that spread into perfect round tasty chocolate treats that look like you bought them at a bakery. And: they freeze well, important if you can’t eat them in a couple of days…. Did I say chocolate? And chocolate chips?  I did!

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This picture is actually of cookies I had frozen; I couldn’t find the shot I swore I had taken of them freshly baked; so I was reduced to this pile of cold, yet still yummy, cookies!

Where can you get these delights? Aldi’s of course, and for $4 for the box which made nearly 30 cookies. Good deal.  I bought them about 3 months ago and then made them up for a special birthday party I was going to the other weekend.  It was way too hot to spend hours concocting cookies from scratch.  But I wanted something totally delish for everyone who was there.  And they were.  Simply scrumpers! Some folks could hardly believe they were gluten free.  People seem to have gotten the idea that all gluten free baked goods are mediocre or worse.  I am here to tell you that such is not the case.  In fact, some of my scratch gf versions of classic cookies are actually better gluten free! Like Russian teacakes, aka Mexican wedding cookies.  They are incredible gf.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still a number of cookies I haven’t been able to figure out gf but I will be trying…..

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So if you need a chocolate cookie fix, by all means, bake up a batch of these dark flavorful treats.  No one will believe they are gf but you!

Bella’s Restaurant in Hellertown, PA

The other weekend we had supper at one of my favorite places to eat out at: Bella’s in Hellertown, PA. I have to admit that I was slightly nervous as I had felt a touch glutened after the last time I ate there. But I wanted to give them another chance as I have eaten there safely many times in the past.  So, I reached out to the owners about my sub par dining experience.  We had a little trouble connecting due to our schedules and summer vacations.  Getting smart, I made the reservation in my name instead of Joe’s and that was enough to get the owner at my service!  Before dining, Sue came over and chatted at length with me.  The issue that might have existed last May seems to be addressed and staff is more aware of the need for extra care for celiac patrons.  They use a separate pot for gf pasta and a dedicated strainer for draining gf pasta; both a must. And a bit more care is now taken to keep cooked gf pasta away from other pasta dishes as they are sauced and plated for service.  She was really accommodating and we had a second chat after supper; a wonderful host!

bellas

I couldn’t resist my favorite meal there; penne with pink vodka sauce and shrimp.  I have had it a few times and even though I am not generally a fan of pink vodka sauce, I eat it at Bella’s and adore it.  This time Vinnie put finely chopped fresh basil in the sauce and it was a wonderful addition, adding complexity and another layer of great flavor.  Most places, when they have gf choices on the menu, make them so plain and lacking in flavor complexity. I guess they are afraid to use seasoning for fear it will gluten customers who seek totally gf meals.  Fresh herbs and single spices are totally safe.  I particularly recommend McCormick single spices/herbs.  Season just like you do for non gluten free customers.  We celiacs love great flavor just as much as anyone!

pasta at bellas

My pasta looked a bit like this; take off the thick white melted cheese and add shrimp!

I can add that their parmesan house dressing is lovely and safe and the salad was very good; fresh and flavorful.

Joe had an entrée with eggplant and linguine that he seemed to enjoy.  I am longing for the day that Bella’s adds gf linguine to their menu.  Hint hint!

My last suggestion is that they make some gf dessert choices; flourless chocolate cake, homemade sorbet, sherbet or granita, and a good quality vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit come to mind! Just saying that there are some easy tasty meal enders that could be just as inviting to the rest of the client base as they might be to we gf diners.

Thanks for a memorably yummy meal out Bella’s!

Peach Tartlets, Peachy Keen

It is the peak of peach season so get some peaches and whip up a delicious gluten free peach pie. I wanted individual tarts so everyone would feel special; that I baked them their own mini pie; easy to do!  If you don’t have these deep dish pans you can use the flat bottomed tartlet pans; probably won’t hold quite as much filling. mass upload 8-22-16 563

Please make every effort to use local fruit; can get peaches at orchards like Bechdolt’s near Springtown, at most farm stands and at farmer’s markets; one on Saturdays in Easton or Sunday’s in Hellertown.  This pie really showcases great tasting peaches. If you use lousy peaches your result will lack great flavor. But, here’s the thing: store peaches can be poor in flavor and texture due to improper chilling so I strongly suggest you get locally grown, sweet, ripe peaches to make your pie.  I love when they have a pink blush; it makes the pie so pretty and perhaps even tastier.

To peel; heat 3 inches of plain water in a wide pot, drop the peaches gently in 4-5 at a time and blanch them 2-3 minutes, two if very ripe, 3 if less ripe.  Allow to cool somewhat before peeling.  I like to do that over a bowl to catch the juices as I slice each peach.

Don’t eat these tartlets hot; should be cooled to just warm if you like it so or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They were perfect, just like a big pie only tiny and making one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream.  And this recipe, like all peach desserts, works perfectly with fresh nectarines, bonus: no peeling required!

Sorry I have not been posting much lately; a little (2.5 day) vacation, a family crisis and a dear friend passing away.  Just been hard to focus on my blog but these tartlets were just too good to not blog about.

Angie’s GF Peach Crumb Tarlets: makes 7

Crust:

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

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

———————

You will need 7 deep dish 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. I actually froze my dough and made the second batch of 3 a day later. Adjust the filling to the number of tartlets you are baking.

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.

Filling:

6 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled and cut in thick slices, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

1/4 cup quick tapioca

Notes: I made it in two parts; used 7-8 smaller peaches for each batch. Adjust the sugar and tapioca accordingly.  Let the filling stand while you prepare the crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking.

Construction: Break dough into 7 small equal balls.  Roll out each tiny crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, 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.  Or not; I left mine kinda rough but it worked! Place the crust lined pans on a baking sheet with a rim to catch any spills. Fill each tartlet with fruit mixture after you have the crumb topping ready to go. Fill to a tad less than the top edge of the crust.  Do not overfill; they will bubble and spill if you take the filling right to the top edge.mass upload 8-22-16 560

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. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs for when you want that look, they work great!

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

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 style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.

 

Sweet Corn and Lobster Chowdah

Sweet corn is one of my favorite summer treats.  So is lobster. Why not combine them in a delightful light summer fish chowder? So I did.  This is as good a chowder as any I had when I was living in Massachusetts or visiting New England.

You can vary the fish/shell fish as you wish, ditto for the veggies. Or cut back on the veggies if you are a hater of produce! This is my basic recipe, change as needed to make it less rich, richer or even dairy free. Just don’t overcook it or boil the chowder once the half and half is added.  I used yellow straight squash; love the color but green zucchini will work just as well.

I promise you that chowder lovers will be crazy for this fish soup!

lobster chowder

Sweet Corn and Lobster Chowder  six servings

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion; one large

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fish broth or chicken if that is what you have

1 pound of Yukon gold or small red potatoes, diced

½ to 3/4 cup of summer squash diced

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1 carrot diced

One large ear of sweet corn (could add another ear if you adore corn)

1 lobster tail (thawed)

¼ lb bay scallops

1/3 lb cod, dice into large chunks

6-8 large shrimp, shelled

1 tbsp shredded fresh basil

1-2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp fresh oregano leaves

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ cup half and half (cream if you want it rich or milk for less rich)

1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat the oil in a two quart sauce pan, add onion, cook 3-4 minutes, stirring, don’t let brown.  Then add garlic and cook another minute.  Add the broth.  When it is hot again add the potatoes.  Meanwhile, while broth heats cut the sweet corn off the cob, put the cob in the broth as it will release a lot of flavor.  Set the kernels aside to add later. Add the lobster tail to the hot mixture; let it cook about 6-7 minutes, remove and let cool a few minutes, snip open the underside and remove the meat, dice and set aside: will add back when potatoes are done.  Add the summer squash, red pepper and carrot, cook until all the veggies are nearly done, no more than 15 minutes.  Remove the corn cob. Add the cod, the scallops and the shrimp.  Let cook about five minutes.  Add the half and half and return to medium heat.  Do not boil.  If the soup is too thick add more half and half or more broth. Add the sweet corn kernels, the cooked lobster meat, salt, pepper and the fresh herbs. You could sub in snipped up rosemary for the oregano if  you like.  As soon as it is hot; sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Great with fresh gf French bread or rolls and a green salad.

The inspiration for my recipe is the potato, corn and monkfish soup in Jane Brody’s Good Seafood Book. A number of changes have been made.  Great cookbook for seafood lovers.

 

Musikfest 2016 – Gluten Free Eating

Just a quick Musikfest gluten free update for my peeps.  I have enjoyed just a few food items there: not volunteering as much this year so not around the place to test more things.

I had the corn on the cob from Aww…Shucks.  It was great as always; I had them leave off the seasonings as they are not gluten free. corn on cob

The other choice I had as a meal was from Hogar Crea: their chicken and beans and rice.  It was pretty awesome.  My plate was piled high with everything including some big chunks of yams; great seasoning and very filling.  My pocketbook was happy: good deal for this pricy issue of eating at the Musikfest; only 8 tickets which is cheap if you look at how much other entrees cost there!

Hogar crea

Looks like some yummy shish kebab grilling here at Hogar Crea’s stand at Handworkplatz.

The only  drink I had there was the half and half lemonade and ice tea incredibly thirst quenching on a hot day as I sold beer mugs! ice tea and lemonade

 

Musikfest has only have one cider this year; Gumption: I saw it at Festplatz at the small specialty truck next to the beer tent.  It is a fairly sweet apple cider but better than nothing if you want an alcoholic treat but can’t drink wheat beer and don’t like to drink wine. hard cider

 

Not sure what else is celiac safe there; in past three summers I ate bbq pork over at Volksplatz at that big polish food stand.  Pulled pork poured over a big baked potato.  Amazing! GF delight. So there are a few options out there.  Let me know if you find something else safe for we celiacs.