Archive for the ‘Gluten Free’ Category

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

At school, I have a “work husband” named Mr. Williams.  We teach the same students, but different subjects.  He’s my partner in crime and has been an amazing mentor to me these last two years.  He’s patient with me, answers all my questions, and complements my strengths and weaknesses exactly perfectly.  He takes care of me.  So obviously, I take care of him.  But I’m not nearly as good at the whole knowing what to do in completely unpredictable situations thing.  I’m good at the cooking thing.

So I bake him muffins, cookies, brownies, whatever.  Because he deserves to be treated right.  Especially on his birthday, which was earlier this week.  And while Mr. Williams loves every kind of food (no really, I sometimes take him recipe fail rejects, and he eats them up happily), I wanted to make him something he would really enjoy.  I know that his favorite candy bar is Mr. Goodbar.  … so I set out to make a Mr. Goodbar inspired pie.

Creamy chocolate custard is layered on a crunchy peanut crust.  If you’ve never made a nut crust for a pie or cheesecake, you should really get on it.  It’s a great gluten free alternative to a graham cracker crust, and honestly, I think it’s substantially tastier.  Gluten-full folks just think you’re incredibly creative and don’t miss the gluten in the slightest.  You also don’t have to spend all that money on gluten free graham crackers.

And if you think that any recipe that requires you to separate eggs is high maintenance (I’ll admit it, I totes did until just a few years ago) and a recipe that calls for only the egg yolks OR the egg whites but not both is completely out of reach, I really want you to reconsider.  Really, it’s just an excuse to make key lime pie with the egg whites.  Who doesn’t love a good excuse to make key lime pie?  The egg whites can go into a ziploc bag and into the freezer until you’re ready.  Then you just thaw and use like you normally would.

Really and truly, this whole thing took me about half an hour to whip up, although it was in a couple different stages.  Don’t be afraid.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Teacher birthday parties tend to happen on tables littered with math homework and pencil boxes.  Don’t mind the background of the photo.

So let’s get to this recipe.  I made two 8-inch pies, but I think it would go great into a large spring form pan instead.  Bottom line is… it makes a lot.  Feel free to half the recipe according to your needs/desires.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

For the crust:

  • one 12oz. container of roasted, unsalted peanuts (or about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 T. unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor, pulse peanuts until finely chopped.  Add the sugar and pulse until combined.  Pour in the butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles wet sand.  Press into the bottom of two 8-inch greased pie pans and up the sides.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you put together the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or baking chocolate roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  While that’s slowly melting, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow.  Then mix in the sugar, vanilla, and 1 cup of the cream.  Set aside.

At this point, your chocolate is probably well on its way to getting all melty.  When it’s thoroughly melted, mix in the remaining 1 cup of cream.  Slowly pour some of the egg mixture into the chocolate cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Now pour the egg/chocolate mixture into the remainder of the egg mixture, again whisking constantly.

At this point, I like to pour the whole mixture through a fine sieve, just to ensure a thoroughly creamy texture with no chocolate chunks or eggy bits.  I suppose you could skip this step, if that’s not really a thing for you.

Pour into the prepared peanut crusts, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the middle of the pie is no longer wobbly.  If you choose to bake this in something other than 8-inch pie pans, cooking time will vary.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before topping.

For the topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. chopped Mr. Goodbar

Using a mixer (or a very dedicated arm), whip up the cream and powdered sugar until you reach stiff peaks.  Spread evenly over cooled pie.  Sprinkle Mr. Goodbar pieces over that.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

And then get ready… because people are gonna lurv you.

Seriously Lemon

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

This spring is amazing me in all sorts of ways.  I’m noticing the light in a way that I never have before, probably because this is the first spring I’ve spent in this house.

Spring Light

I’m also enjoying spring foods in a new way this year.  Our house is super close to the farmer’s market, and that really highlights seasonal foods.  I’m gardening this year.  Yay me!  And after a bajillion snow days this winter, I’m even enjoying the consistency of going to school every single day.  The spring colors have also really gotten to me.  The yellows, the greens, the bright blues.  I’m really digging them all.

Lemon seems like the most spring fruit to me.  The color fits right in with my spring wardrobe and is probably even cool enough to hang out with grass, the way its dressing this season.  After working hard on the garden (which I got complimented on by a random passer-by), lemonade is exactly what I want need.  Lemons are bright and spunky, and don’t need your permission for much of anything.

… so obviously, I made them into a doughnut.

Lemon Preparation

Sometimes, I do this thing where I want everything to be the exact same color.  It’s something I got from one of my students.  He always matches… socks, shoes, tshirt, jacket, and hat.  When I commented on this, he responded with, “Well, of course, I’m matching.  I can’t go to school looking like no rainbow!”  And while I love rainbows, some colors are just dying for you to go monochromatic.  …so maybe I did use a yellow bowl with a yellow spatula and a yellow cutting board.  I can’t be looking like no rainbow while I’m baking.

… And the theme continued into the doughnuts.  The dough was lemon zest, filled with lemon curd, and topped with lemon glaze.  And while the flavor was intense, intensity has never been a reason for me to run away from anything, but especially not doughnuts.

Lemon Whoa

While those guys were getting tan in the sunlight, these guys are chillin’ Martha Stewart style.

Martha Stewart Style

Seriously lemon doughnuts are brought to you by Baked Doughnuts for Everyone.  Words cannot express how great this cookbook is.  I don’t get paid to say that.  It’s just a seriously great cookbook.

Just like that…

Monday, March 31st, 2014

I woke up before my alarm on Thursday morning.  Thursday was our grade level planning day, and I always try to bring the team a little treat on these days.  I almost always end up baking my favorite double chocolate muffins.  I call them muffins so we don’t feel bad eating them for breakfast.  They’re basically cupcakes.  Cupcakes without frosting.  That makes them better, right?  While we all love these “muffins”, I was itching to make something new.

New recipe was a feeling I hadn’t had all week.  The thought of cooking dinner was just too much for me to handle last week.  So feeling inspired to make something was a pleasant surprise.  And boy howdy, America’s Test Kitchen really came through for me.  I made their simple cinnamon streusel coffee cake using “Better than cup4cup” flour from Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

The results were spectacular.  I had gluten-loving coworkers asking for the recipe.

Simple Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

… and just like that, I was back into it.  This weekend, I was back to my normal cooking habits.  The husband and I made an absolutely divine baked pasta with italian sausage, roasted tomatoes, spinach, and (of course) a generous amount mozzarella cheese.

Baked Pasta

Sunday morning, I was inspired by half a block of cream cheese sitting in my fridge and Marlow of Gluten Hates Me to make cream cheese stuffed french toast.  Since I didn’t have bananas or syrup, I created a mixed berry syrup.  the combo was… like… whoa.

Stuffed French Toast

And then there were the sloppy joe’s.  You remember them from before, I’m sure.  I combined the sandwiches with roasted potato wedges sprinkled generously with ranch seasoning.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

And then I finished them off with some gluten free peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (full explanation/recipe/whatever to come).

… but after all of that (and especially all of the eating out last week), I’m in need of a serious detox, or, at the very least, vegetables.  Hello green smoothies and salads!  And the weather is just right for them this week, too.

Meal Planning

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Before there are groceries, there are meals.  There’s a plan.  Built on the weather, what’s fresh at the farmer’s market, what’s cheap at the supermarket, and whatever my/my husband’s work schedule looks like this week.  I always try to plan the more complicated meals earlier in the week, because I know I’ll have more energy.  Warm meals should coincide with cold nights.  Grilling with warm nights.  And these days, North Carolina is getting both in the same week.  Plan a salad for Tuesday instead of Thursday, and you might seriously regret it.

Completely unrelated, but I fell asleep while watching Scandal last night, which means I was watching what I had missed this morning, and I just spent the last 5 minutes with my hand covering my mouth, gasping repeatedly as things became more and more intense.  Why did I think this could be a chill watch-as-you-write-a-blog-post show this morning?

And that’s how we ended up with shepherd’s pie planned for this last Monday.  Monday was supposed to be cold.  I had come across a picture of shepherd’s pie on pinterest, and very much wanted to eat it.  Joel has been requesting shepherd’s pie basically since we got married.  I didn’t grow up with it, and thought the whole concept was gross.  But oh, that picture.  I wish I could find it again, but well… you know the internet.

I didn’t even realize Monday was St. Patrick’s Day until I got to school that morning and saw my colleague’s shamrock tie.  But even then, I didn’t put together that shepherd’s pie was a good St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  And if I’m being really honest, Monday was a rough day for me.  I got home and made a huge mistake.  I sat down.  As soon as I sit down in the evenings, I don’t get up.  Knowing this, I sat down anyway.  I browsed instagram.  And whoa… St. Patrick’s Day was happening in a serious way.  It was all soda bread and Guinness.

The coincidence was irresistible.  To the point that I actually got off my hindquarters and made it.

Shepherd's Pie

In the end, it was a whole lot easier than I expected.  Here’s how it went down:

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Alton Brown

For the potato topping:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red skin potatoes, chopped with skin on
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 t. tomato paste
  • 1 t. gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas

Get the potatoes in boiling water.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large (preferably oven safe) skillet, cook the onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just barely translucent.  Add in the ground beef.  Cook until browned.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir the cornstarch into the chicken broth until mixed completely.  Set aside.  Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and chicken broth mixture to the ground beef mixture.  Continue to cook until just barely thickened.  Add corn and peas.  If your skillet is oven safe, you can use that.  If not, transfer to a casserole dish.

When potatoes are cooked through, drain.  Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper.  Mash.  Spread over the filling, beginning at the edge and working your way to the middle.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until potato topping is just starting to brown.

Browning Butter

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

People have been talking about this whole brown butter situation for awhile.  And to be honest, I was unconvinced.  Why on earth would I spend time at the stove carefully overseeing the browning of butter when I could, you know, not?

I gave Joy the Baker’s brown butter doughnuts a try.  Obviously, I had to make them gluten free, so I smushed together my two basic recipes.  I substituted brown butter for the oil from the buttermilk doughnuts in Baked Doughnuts for Everyone.  It definitely added a more complex flavor which I really dug.

Browned Butter

This is what brown butter looks like.  I didn’t know.  I also didn’t know that 2 tablespoons of butter, browned is different from 2 tablespoons of brown butter.  You live.  You learn.  I’m still not sure if this is going to be a regular activity for me, but I will acknowledge a difference in flavor.

Doughnuts Overhead

The real trick with baked doughnuts is letting them cool completely before you eat them all up.  It’s tough, but it must be done.  Scoop those babies out with the cutest little spatula you can find.  Then let them chill out for a bit.  In an ideal world, this would happen on a wire rack.  I don’t have one of those.  Whoops.  But I do have a platter that exactly fits 6 doughnuts.

Doughnuts Cooling

Joy’s chocolate glaze was basically divine.  They’re not nearly as heavy at the chocolate peanut butter doughnuts from last week, which makes two of these exactly the right amount.

Stacked Doughnuts

The husband and the little sister woke up to the smell of these Sunday morning.  I got more than a few bonus points.  Make these for yourself, and you’ll be a very happy camper.  Make them to share, and you’ll be loved forever.  That’s my strategy, at least.