How was everyone’s Halloween? We got ZERO trick-or-treaters, which is so surprising. We have plenty of children in our complex, but maybe we are scary (or too far) by being a back-facing apartment down a set of stairs? Everyone I talked to this year mentioned that they had fewer as well. Is trick-or-treating no longer the “in” thing? Is everyone going to parties and trunk-or-treats? (Unless you live out in the country where there is too much distance between houses, I do not see the appeal of trunk-or-treats, by the way.) I was lucky enough to grow up on a cul-de-sac in a sprawling neighborhood that was flooded with children. Our street, at one point, had about 40 children amongst the seventeen or so houses. We walked blocks on Halloween night, all through the other neighborhoods. M grew up in a more rural, wooded area, but all of Main Street took on the responsibility of creating an amazing Halloween atmosphere, so the further houses would drive down to let their children trick-or-treat in town. So I just don’t get it. And now, I’m left with so much Halloween candy…oy.
Otherwise, November has been off to a pretty rocky start. M is on a full week of tech rehearsals and performances, meaning he starts work late enough that I don’t see him before I go to bed and he sleeps past when I leave in the morning. We are communicating through texts, post-it notes, and leftovers. On Tuesday, I also had my longest-lasting gall bladder attack, yet. Thankfully, it wasn’t the most severe, pain-wise, but certainly the longest time in constant pain, from 10pm until almost 5 in the morning. I did not get any sleep and I still feel like I am recovering from that. Ugh. I am counting down the weeks (6!) until my surgery and hopefully then this will all be over. (Though I am steadfastly not thinking about the surgery part. Eek!)
Anyways, as a proper lead up to Thanksgiving this year, I though I would update a few old posts with some badly-needed new photos and share a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes every Friday! We are starting things off with my #1 Thanksgiving necessity: stuffing. After I had to skip it on my very first GF Thanksgiving (just two months after cutting gluten) I spent the rest of that first year endlessly researching this stuffing. Growing up, my mom always used the Pepperidge Farms mix, with the tiny shriveled, dry cornbread pieces and the packet of seasoning. It is the taste of my childhood Thanksgivings, so I knew I wanted to make a gluten-free stuffing that emulated those flavors. This recipe uses a combo of home-made cornbread (baked in a jelly-roll pan, so is nice and thin) and store-bought GF bread. Just be sure to give the bread a few days to dry out (or at least some solid time in a low-temp oven the day before Thanksgiving). Drier = better, here.
I have successfully made this stuffing in a crockpot, in a separate dish in the oven, and stuffed into the turkey, so it should stand up to any of your preferences. These days, I also like to jazz things up with added cranberries, like in the photos*, or roasted chestnuts, or even some sage sausage (just cook the meet before adding it to the stuffing). Add up to 2 cups of these additional mix-ins after stirring in the melted butter and before adding the chicken broth to the bread mixture.
Click through for the recipe for Knock-off Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing!
*the dish in the photos is holding a 1/2 batch of this recipe in an 8×8 dish!
All of this sunshine, rain, fresh air and renewal had me on a roll. Spring performances had finished, and I was happily tidying up all of the neglected tasks in my life as we began to prepare for summer camps until food poisoning knocked me flat on Wednesday night. This was the first time I’ve had food poisoning, and I have to say, what really kept me entirely incapacitated was all of the joint pain. Yuck! It was terrible! Luckily, M is the best person to be taking care of anyone sick, and I managed to get to work on Friday (slowly and carefully, but in sympathetic company since my boss got the same bout of food poisoning) and today I almost feel normal. The majority of joint pain is gone, and, while I’m not yet up for heavy foods, I can eat again.
My saving grace was actually my well-used and well-loved Popover recipe. It is the quickest, easiest way to tasty bread– exactly what I needed on Friday night when I had some appetite, but couldn’t handle much more than soft, plain bread. Lately, I’ve been treating this Popover batter like Yorkshire Pudding, because, as far as I can tell, they are just about the same. Yorkshire Puddings are baked in pans greased with bacon grease or meat drippings, and popovers are baked in small buttered cups. Otherwise (especially when both are converted to gluten-free) I would venture to stay that these two eggy breads are one and the same. I’ve been meaning to try adding sweeter additions to the popover batter, but in the meantime, savory Yorkshire pudding is becoming my go-to for a quick, tasty dinner. Add gravy, meat, and veg and you have a delicious comfort meal in no time. I’ve even cooked the batter in a cast-iron skillet and topped it like pizza crust on days when I have not pre made dough, and can’t be bother with more than a 30-minute bake time.
I do not change anything to my original Popover recipe, except that I pour the entire batter in a baking pan (usually 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″) or my 12″ cast iron skillet. I cook according to my usual recipe, but I start checking about 5 minutes earlier. Sometimes, it can take 10-15 minutes longer for cook time. You are looking for a crispy , golden brown top. Pierce and peek inside (be careful of steam!) and the inside should be soft, but not gooey.
If you really want an easy dinner, fry up some sausages and place the fully-cooked sausage links in the uncooked batter. The batter will cook up around the sausages and make “Toad In The Hole”. I’ve also done this with sautéed mushrooms. While the batter bakes, make up a gravy in the pan where you cooked the sausages. Add a vegetable or two, and dinner is done! It is also fantastic for breakfast as leftovers, but also quick enough to whip up fresh for breakfast on a day off (with or without the gravy).
The versatility of this batter has really earned it a place in my heart and often on my table. Keep an eye out for some sweeter twists on this Popover batter in the future!
Servings: 6-8 | Prep Time: 5-10 minutes | Cook time: 25-45 minutes*
- – 1 c. milk
- -4 eggs
- -1/3 c. tapioca starch/flour
- -2/3 c. white rice flour
- Pinch xanthan gum
- -Dash salt
- Up to 1/2 tsp. dried herbs of choice (thyme, rosemary, garlic, etc), optional
- Bacon grease, pan drippings, or oil
- Optional: 6 cooked sausage links or 1 1/2 c. sautéed mushrooms for “Toad in the Hole”
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ pan or 12″ skillet in the oven to preheat. Keep the pan warm until you are ready to pour in the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended. Add tapioca starch/flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum, herbs (if using), and salt. Whisk until combined and smooth. Carefully remove hot pan from oven. Grease with drippings or oil. Pour batter into hot pan. If making Toad in the Hole, lay sausages or mushrooms into batter. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the temperature down to 375 degrees for the final 15+ minutes. It may be my old, finicky oven, or knowing my mother’s tried-and-true recipe also necessitates a temperature change, but this is the trick that works best for me.
*Start checking between 25-30 minutes, but if using a smaller pan (thicker batter) or adding sausages/mushrooms, the cooking time may be long–up to 45 minutes.
Well, I had hoped to get jumpstart on my newest project, My Grandmother’s Recipe Box, and bring you the first of the recipes. However, the day after I lasted posted, my oven did not heat up. I tried a few times of turning it off and on, but I did not want to fiddle too much since we have a gas oven and our gas lines (while the stovetop control is wonderful) pretty much have me existing in a mild state of terror. I grew up with electric coils, and while I know modern gas lines are very safe and secure, I still worry almost constantly. So, I waited for the boys to come home and shoved my rapidly-rising, unbaked bread dough into the fridge. They came home and fiddled some more with no luck, but were pretty sure that the oven wasn’t turning on at all (no sound or smell of gas), so I stopped hyperventilating about a gas leak. And, even more lucky, our stovetop was still working. But, that did mean we had to submit a request with our rental company and it took a week for the repair to come. Needless to say, there was no baking down this week, and it seems like all of my grandmothers’ recipes require some time in the oven. Instead, the crockpot came out twice, and I did a lot of sautéing (and lugged the over-risen bread dough to my mother’s to bake). Thankfully, all is working perfectly, just in time to make one of my more ambitious projects: the latest Snickers-bar-inspired dessert for M’s birthday tomorrow. That will, in some form, make it onto the blog quite soon, I am already suspicious that the recipe I tried did not turn out as I planned. I am hoping that the addition of caramel-peanut filling and salted caramel frosting will help to perk up a sub-par cake.
In the meantime, I am taking a quick break, as I wait for my butter to come to room temperature, to round up my recipes that might find a place on your Thanksgiving table. I am traveling up to visit family, so, aside from serving as a gluten-free consultant and helping wherever I can, I will be taking the easier role of ‘guest’ for this holiday. Several others seem to be starting their recipe round-ups as well, so , if you are beginning to plan out your feast, take a few minutes to look through some of my favorite recipes.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi have the familiar flavors of the holidays, but are a more unusual way to add that squash flavor.
This Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing is chock full of apples, squash, sausage and herbs, and a nice change from traditional bread stuffings.
My Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing is quite close to the real deal, and the combination of white bread and cornbread makes for a truly flavorful dish.
How about some French Bread? Perfect as a base to cube for traditional stuffing, or to slice as is for the table.
Popovers are always first in line on our table at any occasion.
I am all about my pies at Thanksgiving. My family rotates between some combination of Pumpkin, Apple, and Strawberry-Rhubarb. Use the Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust for a fool-proof pie.
Chocolate-Coffee Pots De Creme are surprisingly simple, but make for an elegant end to the evening.
These Pumpkin Scones makes the perfect breakfast on a busy Thanksgiving morning. Make ahead and freeze, then thaw for a delicious start to a hectic day!
Fall is my favorite season. By August, I’m done with sweltering heat, longing for cool breezes, jeans, boots, and sweaters. I will always choose a hot drink over something iced, which can be slightly difficult on summer mornings when the last thing I need is any more cause for rising temperatures. But I can’t help it. Hot coffee is so much better than iced. I am also utterly in love with fall flavors. Squash, apples, slow-simmered soups, tender braised meat, and the wonderful mix of spices that accompany the season. There’s another fact: I will always pick herbs and spices or fruity or sweet flavors. Non-mint candy canes are an abomination. Fruit-flavored gumdrops, a disappointment.
What was equally a disappointment was that we were halfway through October and I had yet to make anything with pumpkin in it. I know, it’s a craze, but it’s one in which I wholeheartedly take part. As of October 20th, the closest brush I’d had was a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte. (Yes, this post is a long time coming.) So, when I found myself with close to an entire day off, in addition to making a shawarma-inspired meal to last all week, I dug out my pumpkin and set to work adapting Karina’s pumpkin scones. Before I swore off gluten, especially in my junior year of college when a Starbucks opened on campus and ran 24 hours a day through weekends and finals weeks, Starbucks’ pumpkin scones were a veritable treasure. You had to be there when they were stocked for a chance to grab one.
After going gluten-free, these were a seasonal longing, filed away and forgotten all summer until I would spy the first batch laid out in the pastry case window. Te spicy, sweet support for the wonderful pumpkin flavor has been elusive, but now, after seeing several gluten-full copycat versions on Pinterest, I went in search of a gluten-free version to start from. I’ve had very little experience with scones. Luckily, Karina was there to rescue me. I love that her version starts with sorghum and millet flour, both hearty and whole-grained. I, obviously, have de-veganified her recipe and fiddled with some spices and flavorings, as well as mixing up my own version of glaze.
If you are looking for a vegan recipe, or to sub out a particular additional allergen (milk, eggs, etc) I would highly recommend jumping over to her recipe.
Gluten-Free (& Whole Grain) Pumpkin Scones (copycat recipe)
For the Scones
- 1 cup (sweet, white) sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 5 Tbsp dark brown sugar (packed)
- 7 Tbsp butter (cold)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (make sure you get plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 extra-large egg
- 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp buttermilk
For the base icing
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp whipping cream, half&half, or milk
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
For the spiced icing
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch each: nutmeg, ginger, cloves
- 2 tsp whipping cream, half&half, or milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ pie plate or a 9×9 pan and line with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients (flours, spices, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and sugar) in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add diced cubes of butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, two butter knives, or press and break cubes with your fingers until the mixture looks like cornmeal (I favor the hand method, since I do not have a pastry cutter). Add the wet ingredients (pumpkin, egg, buttermilk, and maple syrup). Beat the mixture until it begins to hold together in a mass. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. Spread the dough into prepared pan (I used a square pan to make mini scones). With a sharp knife, cut into four even squares, and cut each of those squares into four triangles. If using a pie pan, cut into 6 sections for large scones. Brush the tops with milk and, if desired, sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until the tops are beginning to brown. Halfway through, I ran my knife along the seams again, as the scones were rising and blending together. Allow to cool before removing from pan.
When scones have cooled, mix the two separate icings. The base icing should be liquid enough to be brushed or poured onto the scones. The spiced icing can be drizzled from a fork or place into a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off to be piped on. Allow icing to set. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
This was my snack today. 🙂
Look at those air pockets. And the thick, chewy crust.
And how perfectly it sits next to brie and grapes…
And I’m unashamedly, really, really proud of myself!
I have had a love-hate relationship with French bread and baguettes since becoming gluten-free. As in, I love French bread. And I hate that, on top of being made out of finicky dough, you need a special pan to bake it in. (The same thing goes for donuts. There are so many donut recipes out there and I cannot convince myself to invest in a donut pan. What else could you possibly use it for?) And so, I passed up recipe after recipe of French bread while I pined hopelessly for Against the Grain Gourmet’s baguettes. Their crisp, crunchy crust and soft, chewy, eggy interior is unbelievably delicious! I would highly recommend them for anyone…however those of you who are not on the post-graduate budget might have an easier time following that recommendation. While eating the bread might be happily done, their price tag is a little hard to swallow. But every once in a while, I couldn’t hold out any longer and I’d run down to MOM’s and buy a pack of two. And spend the next blissful day or two eating all sorts of sandwiches, bruschettas, or just gobbling down buttered slices.
Needless to say, my french-bread-pan-less state was a serious problem. Then, yesterday, when I was home (for Punc’s very first puppy class!), I was flipping through my cookbooks in hope of finding a quick new recipe to try when I stopped to read through Bette Hagman’s French Bread recipe. And, lo’ and behold, there was the only trick I needed! A tricky so simple, I was a little embarassed to have not thought of it myself. “If you do not have a french bread pan, simpled form the tube out of doubled, heavy duty aluminum foil.” Duh. Bette, you’ve earned my love twice-over, between this and your pie crust recipe!
And, bonus points, her bread flour mix was made up of 3 ingredients. 4 for whole grain. And, the french bread only needed a 15 minute rising before jumping straight into the oven. I was sold, easily. I combined the dry ingredients, then mixed in the wet batch, and set about constructed my make-shift bread pans during the 3 minute mixing time. My foil was wide and long enough that I folded once lengthwise and once width-wise before shaping my half-tube around a vinegar bottle. I made a second tube and set them together on a jelly-roll pan. I had enough space to wedge a regular 9×5″ bread pan in beside them to keep them sturdy. This, I fill with about 1 cup of water, just to keep the heat distributed easily.
By now my dough was mixed and ready to rise. In a snap, they were ready for the oven.
I was quite proud of myself when I pulled the steaming, fragrant loaves from the oven a little over an hour later, and happily explained my trick when my mother came downstairs. She looked from me to the foil molds, and then back and said: “You know we have french bread pans, right?” And then she pulled not one, but two double french bread pans from the depths of the cabinet. (On a side note, I didn’t even know that said cabinet went back as far as it did.) This is my life, folks. One, I’ll discover all of the cookery treasures that she has hoarded since my birth.
But anyways. Real bread pan or aluminum foil form, this french bread was incredible!
I’ve fiddled with the flours and the yeast a little from Bette’s original recipe. Here’s my spin for delicious bread:
Adapted from Bette Hagman’s recipe.
Makes 1 long (14-18 in) baguette, or two short (8-12 in) baguettes
- 1 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp White Rice Flour
- 1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp quick-rising yeast
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a french bread pan. If you do not have a french bread pan, just take a long sheet of aluminum foil, fold it in half lengthwise and again widthwise, then shape into a half-tubular-type shape. Crimp edges as needed until it fits on your baking sheet. You are trying to make a mold like a french bread pan. For reference, here is what my actual pan looks like:
Make each ‘half-tube’ out of a separate piece of foil, I made two, and set them on a jelly roll pan. I had just enough room left over, that if I wedged a 9×5″ bread pan beside them, they were supported enough to not slide around.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, starches, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast (dry ingredients) until thoroughly combined. Add warm water, egg whites, and vinegar, mix on low until thoroughly combined. Turn the mixer up to high speed* and beat the dough for 3 minutes. Scoop dough into french bread pan, leaving several inches from the edge on each side. Smooth top with a wet spatula, and, if desired, slice three diagonal, 1/4″ deep slash into the top. Cover dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
After rising, transfer pan to 400 degree F oven and bake for 1 hour. Then turn down the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 more minutes. This bread will not slice until its cool, but if you can’t resist the warm, steamy bread, feel free to tear off pieces.
Go make your own. I promise, its so easy! Because once you try it, you can have an excuse to eat this 6 times a day:
I have the house to myself for two days. And what else does one do when home alone, but cook massive amounts of food? Come on folks, I can’t be the only one who cooks outrageously and then has to figure out how to save the leftovers until the rest of my housemates return…right? Anybody?
Well then, I couldn’t help myself. I’d put together the christmas tree (yes we are on the fake tree bandwagon), finished all my christmas shopping, worked out, cleaned the kitchen…it was just begging to be dirtied up again. I had a few different bread recipes tucked away to try; and, with our region encased in heavy rains for 48 hours straight, I was craving soup. Pull out the stockpot and the yeast, here we go!
Quinoa-Sesame Sandwich Bread, Rosemary-Olive Oil Loaf, Italian Peasant Soup, & Whole Grain Quinoa Loaf
I’ve been looking for easy, reliable bread recipes. While I like the taste of some commercial brands, I can’t actually reason spending $5+ on a tealoaf. I’m hoping to find something consistent enough to become my own go-to for bread. After the great success with their Popovers and Easy Dinner Rolls, I went ahead and tried Living Without Magazine’s Quinoa Sesame “Wonder” Bread. I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this magazine (no, I am not under any incentive to say that) if you can find it in stores. The consistency of their recipe success has been better than any other Gluten Free cookbook or blog I’ve encountered thus far.
Additionally, because I was intrigued by the ability to bake without the loaf pan, I made a batch of Gluten Free Girl’s “Crusty Bread Even Those Who Eat Gluten Might Like” from Shauna’s Gluten Free Girl and The Chef cookbook, splitting the dough and making one plain, while adding olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and parsley to the other.
I was impressed with both recipes. The Quinoa loaf is especially delicious, but I may keep the sesame seeds and continue looking for a good bread recipe that uses more easily attainable flours.
During the rising and baking time, I decided to throw together Italian Peasant Soup, a surprisingly quick recipe that makes a ton of soup. Be prepared to serve a lot of people or to go ahead and freeze a few servings.
Italian Peasant Soup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb italian sausage, chopped
- 1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (14 oz cans)
- 2 cans cannellini beans (14 oz cans), drained and rinsed
- 2 boxes chicken broth (24 oz boxes – 48 oz/6 cups total)
- 1 Tbsp basil
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 bag of spinach (about 4 cups), torn into bite-sized pieces
- Salt & Pepper to taste
In large stock pot over medium heat, cook sausage in olive oil until browned and cooked through. Remove sausage to reserve bowl with slotted spoon. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent and fragrant. Add chicken, cook through, stirring often. Add tomatoes with their juice (undrained) and rinsed beans to pot, followed by chicken broth and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return sausage to pot, continue cooking 15-20 minutes more, until sausage and soup is hot. Add spinach and heat until wilted. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.
Dinner is served!
You add 1 too many egg whites and give bread dough too long of a rise time:
MONSTER BREAD! ATTACK!