gluten-free

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I’ve tried a number of frozen pizzas – and crusts for making my own. So far I like Against The Grain’s Nut Free Pesto pizza the best. We like it just the way it is, but have also added our own toppings. The crust is thin and dense, but I really like the flavor and I’m able to get the bottom crisp. Check it out!

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The minestrone I make is the same that my mom makes which started with Marcella Hazan’s Minestrone from her book “The Essentials of Italian Cooking”. I highly recommend this book. If what I make from memory isn’t dead on with Marcella’s recipe, then it’s pretty darn close. First thing to know – although minestrone is essentially a vegetable soup, this is no vegetarian vegetable soup. I’m sure that an interested vegetarian could easily modify the recipe and switch the beef stock with vegetable stock. Probably the single most important ingredient is the hunk of reggiano parmigiano rind. I’ve had the soup made without it and well, let’s just say that making the soup without it really isn’t an option. My grocery store sells the rind in the specialty cheese section, they also have hunks of the parmigiano for sale that still have a rind side on them. I usually go for the hunk of cheese, cut the rind side off for the soup and save the rest for grating over the top at the end. This is a soup that the whole family loves. If you’re going to make it I sure hope you have some decent knives that are sharp and ready to be put to work!

Minestrone Soup

2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Unsalted Butter

1 medium white onion, diced

4-5 carrots, peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery, washed and diced

1 1/2 handfuls of fresh green beans, ends snipped and beans cut into bite sized sections

2-3 zucchini, washed well, ends cut off, quartered and sliced

3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and large diced

1 head of napa cabbage, washed and chopped

2 cans of diced tomatoes

6 cups of Beef Stock (GF peeps, make sure you use a GF stock – I often use Kitchen Basics)

Reggiano Parmigiano cheese and rind

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a heavy stock pot (I heart my Le Creuset Dutch Oven), melt butter and oil together over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes more, stirring. Then add the green beans and zucchini. Cook, stirring for another 3-5 minutes. Add the diced potatoes, cook and stir for 4 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and then the stock. Stir, turn the heat down as low as it can go for a simmer. Put the rind from the parmigiano into the soup, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Stir the soup occasionally, if you have anything sticking to the bottom of the pan then the heat is too high. Once you are ready to serve the soup, dish it into a bowl and grate some parmigiano on top.

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It’s probably worth mentioning that I’ll be posting a variety of recipe types – some will be quick & easy-peasy and others will be more of an afternoon endeavor kind of thing. Since we all need to eat food from a box every now and then, one of our boxed foods is pancakes. We have pancakes on a pretty regular basis for either breakfast or dinner. King Arthur Flour has come up with an absolutely fabulous Gluten-Free Pancake Mix. My husband and kids (who aren’t GF) love them and my friends and their kids love them too. We just went to Florida and shared a house with 4 other couples and their families who requested that we bring the King Arthur Pancakes for one of our breakfasts.

The mix requires 2 eggs, 4T. oil/6T. butter (I use vegetable oil) and 2C. water. The instructions on the box will have you mix the wet ingredients first then add the packet of dry ingredients. Then stir, stir, stir until the lumps are gone. I add just a little bit of mix at a time, stirring between additions to avoid too many lumps. I add the fruit once the mix is ready to go. We almost always mix some type of fruit into our pancakes, because that’s how we like ‘em. Typically we’ll make blueberry pancakes or banana pancakes. Summertime fruit has been great this year though so I made raspberry nectarine pancakes and they were INCREDIBLE! I imagine peach pancakes would also be delicious. Ooh and we’ve done banana nut pancakes with pecans or walnuts which were delicious. How much fruit you add is up to you. We usually put 1.5 – 2 bananas in or a small container of blueberries, etc.

I cook on a non-stick griddle over medium to medium-high heat. You’ll want your griddle to pre-heat before you put your first batch on. A ladle will do fine for pouring onto the griddle. I usually use my 1/3 cup measure to scoop and pour. Make sure you see little air pockets forming in the pancakes before you try to flip them over.

We have our pancakes with real maple syrup and occasionally we’ll have some Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage links or some Bacon on the side. Another awesome thing about pancakes? If you have any left over, put them in a freezer bag and store them for a quick breakfast or snack. I usually put two per bag and then grab a bag on my way to work and pop them in the toaster when I get there.

 

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