30 November 2010

Cooking with Udi's GF Breads

So, just to be absolutely clear, I love Udi's Gluten Free products and I buy the whole grain bread and the bagels all the time.  But I tried using the whole grain bread in my Thanksgiving turkey stuffing and it totally disintegrated, so I probably won't be using it in that recipe again (Bon Appetit's November 1982 French Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing).  I think the stuffing requires a firmer, more dense bread, as it has to stand up to soaking in hot chicken broth and then be added to a stovetop saute with all the other ingredients and then be baked either in the bird or in a pan in the oven.

French Toast with Udi's Whole Grain Bread

This morning I made a gluten-free, dairy-free french toast using Udi's Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread and it was pretty darn good. I used one egg and about a quarter cup or so of unsweetened almond milk for my batter.  I made the french toast using Earth Balance's Natural Buttery Spread (the Soy-free one) and topped it off with pure maple syrup.  Looks good, eh?  Oh yeah, I topped off the dish with sauteed banana slices.

I am curious to know what others have used Udi's breads for (besides just toast and sandwiches) and how it worked.

Karen, herself

22 November 2010

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey

Another cold day, another great soup, naturally gluten-free.  Snow is here in the Pacific Northwest and I am ready for it.  Saturday morning I made another delicious soup, this time with yellow split peas.  I like split peas in general because they do not need to be soaked, just rinsed.  Instead of ham, I put some gluten-free, nitrite-free smoked turkey in the soup.  It was a nice change of pace from ham.

Yellow Split Pea Soup
1 pkg. (16 oz.) dry yellow split peas, rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 potato, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
4 cups chicken stock plus two cups water
1 cup mushroom broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni
salt and white pepper to taste
8-10 oz. smoked turkey breast, cubed

Heat the oil and butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat, add onion, celery, garlic and potato. increase heat to medium.  Salt and pepper.  Saute until onions are soft and translucent.  Add wine and cook for a minute or two, then add broth, water and spices.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered for 20-40 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and bouquet garni.  Use an immersion blender to partially puree. Add the cubed smoked turkey (I used Diestel brand) and heat until meat is heated through. Serves 5-6.

Karen, herself

18 November 2010

Buckwheat Blinchiki (Naleśniki)

My Russian tutor mentioned blinchiki (filled blini, or crepes) the other day and I woke up yesterday thinking about them.  However, my early morning daydream centered on buckwheat blini and my mind wandered to a Polish version for the filling I had tasted many years ago in Detroit.  So here was yesterday’s breakfast:  blinchiki (or naleśhniki, in Polish) freshly made from scratch and filled with a sweetened cottage cheese, sour cream and egg mixture.

I first tasted these heavenly treats at a Polish festival in downtown Detroit the summer of 1971—and I went crazy for them.  Like all good Polish-Ukrainian girls, I wanted to make them myself, so after my aunt gave me a Polish cookbook (Polanie Club’s Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans, 1973), I tried them.  I wasn’t much of a cook back then and it was a miserable failure (I didn't know the Russian saying: Первый блин коман, which translates to: the first blini is always ruined, or I would have tried again!), but I kept the cookbook on my shelf and some thirty years later I tried them again.  This time they were heavenly and took me right back to that hot summer day in Detroit.

The big difference, of course, is that these blinchiki will not cause bloating and other nasty symptoms, because these babies are gluten-free.  My body doesn’t rebel when this mixture of buckwheat and all-purpose gluten-free flour hits my digestive system.  And the whole grain goodness of the buckwheat keeps my blood sugar from spiking and sending me into sugar shock. How did I do it, you ask? Here’s how:

Buckwheat Crepes 
1/3 cup each buckwheat and all-purpose gluten-free flour 
pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup each water and milk (recipe calls for dairy-free, I used 1% milk)
3T butter (recipe calls for dairy-free margarine, I used 2 T unsalted butter)

Cheese Filling 
(I used the one from The Russian Tea Room Cookbook then ad libbed)
1 lb large curd cottage cheese (strained) or farmer cheese or Tvorog 
(I used about 2/3 cup cottage cheese)
1 egg (I used half an egg)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup superfine sugar)
(I added 1/4 cup each nonfat plain Greek yogurt and nonfat sour cream because my filling was too watery given the lack of cottage cheese.  This makes it more like a Polish cream filling)

This is how I made them: whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add the wet, then add 2 T of melted butter.  Heat a pan with a little more butter and make thin crepes.  When one side is done, spoon a heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture into the center of the uncooked side of the crepe.  Let it cook briefly then fold over one side of the crepe, then the other, then after it starts to puff up, roll it over.  Let is puff up again and slide it out onto your plate.  Top with a bit of jam.

Don't blame me if you go back for seconds!

Karen, herself

17 November 2010

Lentil Soup with Ham

Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup with Ham

There is more than just a chill in the air today.  It is downright cold, rainy and blustery in the Seattle area.  It was the kind of day where you hated to go outside.  Perfect for a steaming bowl of spicy soup.  This soup is from The Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Cookbook, by Nicola Graimes.  I cubed a couple small gluten-free ham steaks and added them to the soup at the very end.  Even though it involves a good deal of chopping, I usually have it on the table in an hour.  You'll need only a cup of lentils, 5 cups of stock, an onion, six carrots (I used 3 huge organic ones) and one stick of celery and one potato (I used Yukon Gold), olive oil, bay leaf, chili powder, cumin, coriander and paprika, salt and pepper. The recipe calls for cilantro garnish, which I usually forget to buy (!)

I have made this soup entirely vegan and I have made it with ham, or with chicken or turkey sausage and chicken stock.  Today I used 4 cups chicken stock and one cup water. Check out the cookbook for the recipe. There are many good ones there.

Stay warm out there!

Karen, herself