Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gluten-free Oatmeal Scones


These are the best gluten-free scones available anywhere.  Many of the ones I have purchased at bakeries and food co-ops are dense and leaden.  These are tender, light and deliciously oat-y.  Try them with butter and a bit of your favorite fruit preserves.  And, of course, a hot cup of tea.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Claritha's Fried Chicken


The virtues of this recipe lie in the incredible crispness of the coating and the juiciness of the meat.  Your kitchen also won't be all oil-splattered with this method which calls for frying in fairly low heat in a covered pot.  Salting the chicken overnight draws out excess moisture so that spattering is kept to a minimum and the chicken remains flavorful and tender.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chocolate Mousse


My friend Cherry tried a chocolate mousse recipe that called for special European chocolate that has to be imported from France.  Her mousse was very good, but having to import chocolate is too complicated for me.  I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe from Cooks Illustrated with excellent results.  The advantage of easily-sourced chocolate is that you can make chocolate mousse any time you want.  The disadvantage of easily-sourced chocolate is exactly the same.  C'est la vie!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Indian Rice Pudding


I have tried to make rice pudding over the years, but none of the recipes I tried was that impressive.  When my son found Alton Brown's recipe online and made it for us, I know this one was a keeper.  I love the cardamom and the coconut milk.  I'd say the rest of my family likes it just as well, because it never lasts long.  (I've taken to doubling the recipe.)  Although use of pistachios is probably more authentic, I don't use them and it tastes just fine.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Moroccan Lamb and Fruit Stew



This delicious stew is really a tagine made in a slow cooker.  You can use lamb or beef and in the version pictured above I substituted prunes for the dates.  Like most stews, you can make it ahead and keep it in the fridge for a few days before serving.  Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake



Apparently there was a restaurant named Three Cities of Spain that served this delectable cheesecake, which is how it got its name.  But never mind.  I think of this as Ruth Reichl's Cheesecake and that's all.

This is a thick, smooth, rich cheesecake with a sour cream topping that is very simple to make.  It is also very satisfying and is best made for an occasion because you'll want lots of people around to help you eat it.  Keep in mind that it needs to chill for six hours (or as long as overnight), so plan accordingly.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine


What makes this dish is the sauce.  Somehow I had never thought of combining mustard, tarragon and white wine, but I am glad Giada showed me the way.

Using boneless skinless chicken thighs makes this quick to cook for a weeknight dinner.  I like to serve the chicken and sauce over a bed of rice to absorb all that saucy goodness.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake



There are many recipes for Flourless Chocolate Cakes on the internet, but for my first try, I decided to go to the source.  This recipe from the Cook's Illustrated Test Kitchen produces a smooth, creamy rich very chocolatey cake with a hint of coffee flavor.  It's a good choice for entertaining because the cake can be made up to 4 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Caprese Salad


"You'd better take a picture of that for your blog," our friend, Paul, said when he was over for dinner last week.  I blinked.  Caprese salad?  Was that really a recipe?  But, I obligingly took the snap anyway.

This classic tomato and mozzarella salad hits new heights at the end of summer when basil is plentiful and fresh pesto is only a Cuisinart-button-push away.  A little dollop of pesto between the tomato and mozzarella layers is the secret ingredient here. And may be, just maybe, a reason to call it a recipe.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons



I've always liked the Manischewitz coconut macaroons that come out around Passover.  Recently I noticed that they were gluten-free.  What a great idea for a gluten-free cookie without compromises!  Turns out that they are easy to make and with a little chocolate dip, very festive too.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Almond Pancakes



If you like the flavor of almonds, you'll love these delicious pancakes.  If you are not sure who in your family is a fan of almond and who is not, serving these for breakfast will settle the matter quickly.  I made these one Sunday morning and my teenage daughter loved them, as did all her friends, but my seven-year old did not care for them at all.

I've made these gluten-free by using a gluten free pancake mix, but Giada's original recipe called for a conventional buttermilk pancake mix.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day


Baking bread is often thought of as a time-consuming exercise, best tackled after one is retired.  Not so with this technique.  You can mix together enough for 4 loaves of bread on the weekend, store the dough in your fridge and bake the loaves through the week.

The recipe suggests making a single round loaf with a grapefruit-sized piece of dough.  That is a small loaf, but cut into six wedges, is enough to serve our family of five as a side with dinner.  You could take a slightly larger piece of dough and form a short baquette shape, as pictured above.  The beauty of baking small loaves is that there are no leftovers.  Bake a new loaf tomorrow!

There are many other delightful possibilites for using this dough--pizza crust, flatbread, rolls, sweet breads, buns.  For more variations check out the posts at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Apricot Oat Bars


These apricot oat bars are great additions to camp or school lunches.  I love the oaty taste and texture paired with apricots.  If you don't like apricots, you could use another kind of jam and fruit, like cherry or plum. When I make these, I usually freeze half the batch for later in the week.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gluten-free Crepes



These gluten-free crepes are easy to make and taste so good that no one needs to know that they are g-free.  Try them for dinner filled with ham and cheese and a dijon mustard sauce.  Have them for breakfast with a slather of butter and cinnamon sugar.  Or spread one with nutella for a snack.  For a simple dessert, you could serve these with butter, confectioners sugar and a small squeeze of lemon.

I like to make the full recipe and store the extra stacked crepes on a plate in the fridge.  Alternatively, the extra batter will keep refrigerated in a tupperware for a couple of days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Asparagus Onion Quiche


The savory nut crust of this quiche is surprising tasty and easy to make.  I now prefer it to a wheat crust.  The asparagus and onion mixture is delicious, but if you lack asparagus you could substitute mushrooms or zucchini.

The lack of milk in the filling allows the quiche to bake more quickly than most making this a fairly speedy weeknight dinner.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gluten-free Brownies


Earlier this year I went on a gluten-free diet to see if it would relieve my IBS symptoms, and it did--within a few days.  Here are a few of the other things it helped that I was not expecting: migraines, muscle aches, fatigue, anemia, joint pain, and abdominal weight gain. After two weeks it was clear that this was the diet for me.

Curiously, after a few days without wheat and other gluten-containing foods my cravings for bread, crackers, pasta, cake, etc. were minimal, as if an addictive cycle has been broken.  Since I now believe that less gluten is better for everyone, I have decided that whatever I cook for my family will be g-free.  That motivated me to figure out gluten-free baking since I can't expect my kids to do without bread, crepes and cookies.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip

My daughter tasted her first artichoke dip at a friend's house and thought it was heavenly!  Artichoke dip, I thought, isn't that just fat masquerading as a vegetable dish?  I went looking for a healthy recipe and found one with tofu.  It failed to please.

I have to admit, the traditional preparation is quite a bit tastier.  It makes a fine supper (once in a while) with some toasted baguette slices or corn chips and a citrus salad.

Easy Hand Rolled Sushi


Making sushi has intimidated me for a long time.  I found these instructions on the back of a package of Nori (Japanese Seaweed) and decided that hand rolls might be just our speed.   Hissho Sushi brand of Nori is best for this recipe.  

You can really put anything you'd like in these hand rolls, but we like California rolls so we use crab meat, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, rice and cilantro.  (For a gluten-free version, use soy sauce marked gluten-free and avoid imitation crab meat, which often contains wheat.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup



I've always enjoyed Cream of Wild Rice Soup.  It's practically the state dish of Minnesota (along with a nice walleye fillet).  I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine so it's much lighter than the traditional version, which usually features heavy cream.  I like to use leftover rotisserie chicken to make it, but after Thanksgiving, turkey is also good.

This could be a weeknight dinner if you made it ahead of time on the weekend.  (The wild rice takes a loooong time to cook.)  It keeps well in the refrigerator.  Hint: don't leave out the Sherry--it imparts a wonderful flavor!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sugar-Seared Salmon with Cream Sauce


I clipped this super easy salmon recipe from the Star Tribune's Taste section some time ago.  It is certifiably delicious and when the price of fresh salmon is reasonable we eat this for dinner frequently.

The original recipe called for clam juice, and for some reason I happened to have that in my pantry when I first started to make this dish.  Well, now I don't so I substitute white wine and it tastes just as good.  Maybe better.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies


I bought a copy of the latest "The New Best Recipe" for my son for Christmas.  But now that it's in the house, I've been cooking from it too.  (I don't think he minds, do you?)

If you like chewy oatmeal cookies, these are truly the best.  Crisp on the outside, delightfully chewy on the inside--they are a dream.  The only quibble that I have with the good folks at America's Test Kitchen is that they eliminated cinnamon in favor of nutmeg.  I don't really like nutmeg and often substitute milder mace, but I absolutely love cinnamon and can't see the point of an oatmeal cookie without.  Sorry Cook's Illustrated!

For a gluten-free version use Cup4Cup in place of the flours. Sometimes I substitute 1/4 cup almond meal for part of the flour and that is pretty good, too!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Glaze


This is truly the best meatloaf recipe I've ever tried. Great meaty flavor, boosted by a tangy glaze and meltingly tender to boot.  Many thanks to those wonderful Cook's Illustrated test kitchen folks!   

Don't skip the brown sugar glaze or the bacon topping. (Tempting, I know.) This makes a great Sunday night meal with baked potatoes and glazed baby carrots on the side.  Yum!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Homemade Microwave Kettle Corn


Tired of buying bags of kettle corn at the store?  I switched over to using my hot air popper to make popcorn with a bit of popcorn oil and a few shakes of kettle corn seasoning and that was pretty good for a while.  Then I ran out of kettle corn seasoning, and couldn't find a place to buy it.  That brought me to the internet because I was sure that I could make my own.  It's just salt and sugar, right?

Instead what I found was this super easy method of making kettle corn in the microwave.  It's quick and there's no pot to clean at the end.  However it does take a bit of experimentation to figure out how long to  microwave it.  Listen carefully the first time you make it--when the popping slows so that there's 1-2 seconds between pops, hit the stop button and record the time.  Warning: addictive!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce


Good Bolognese sauce takes time, right?  Well, what if you used a slow cooker to cook down the sauce? That is the question I asked myself as I created this recipe.  I was tired of watery meat sauce, but I also didn't want to have to babysit a sauce for a couple of hours each time I made it.

This makes a nice, thick, flavorful sauce.  You could add 1/3 cup red wine to the mix to give it a stronger flavor.  Serve it warm over hot al dente pasta with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.  Add a salad and a side of crusty bread for a perfect weeknight supper.  This sauce can also be made ahead and keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Moroccan Beef and Prune Tagine


We took a family trip to Morocco and my son lugged this large unglazed clay tagine home in his backpack.  I had to give him credit for persuading us to buy it and then volunteering to hand carry it when I told him that there was no space in our luggage for such a thing. Now we can recreate a bit of Marrakesh in our kitchen whenever the desire strikes.

Our favorite Moroccan tagine was made with lamb and prunes, but we ended up making this recipe with beef, since it was far more economical. We used rib meat that was nicely marbled with fat and it was delicious!  You could make this in a large heavy pan like a dutch oven, if you don't have a tagine.  Click on the link to the original recipe, which has alternate directions for conventional pots.