Fruity Bruschetta

Most of us that have been gluten free for some length of time will find this familiar. In search of what we remember and love about traditional bread, we set off to find a GF equivalent. To start out we buy what’s ready-made. Either the cost or the disappointing texture steers us toward making our own religiously — weekly. Some experiments are more successful than others. The one or two that are decent get quickly worn out. Then comes a time where we just try to live without it altogether. But this phase too shall pass. A little more confidence and experience in the gluten free kitchen may propel us to try to replicate what is by now a distant, chewy, soul-satisfying memory.

Today was my eureka! moment. I saw a delicious photo of some fruity bruschetta on Pinterest and was disappointed to follow the link to a blog in a language I didn’t recognize in the least. So I rolled up my sleeves and created a treat that was exactly what I had hoped it would be.

I searched for a crusty bread recipe that delivered the goods. I followed it to a T including mixing up a big batch of all purpose GF flour that they list at the end of the recipe. This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread. That’s right, 4. Believe me, you’ll wish you’d have doubled it!

My trouble in the past was that I never got my dough to rise well enough. All of that ended today and after 2 hours of rising in the warm oven, I pulled out this light and fluffy piece of heaven. The recipe that follows is directly from epicurious.com submitted by GlutenFreeLove.

Crusty, Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Bread

6 c Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix (see recipe below)
1/2 c powdered milk
2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
2 T Xanthan Gum
2 2/3 cups warm water
4 large eggs, beaten til frothy
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
3 T honey

Preparation

Whisk together the flour, powdered milk, and xanthan gum in a large bowl. Combine the olive oil, honey, water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside.Pour the eggs into the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in about 1/3 of the oil mixture while stirring. Mix well, then add the 2nd 3rd. Mix well again. Add the salt, then add the last 3rd. Continue stirring until smooth.Cover loosely and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

At this point, the dough could be placed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You may remove some at a time to continue with the next step.

Remove about 1/4 of the dough very gently (1/4 of dough will result in about a 1 lb loaf). Cradle the bread lightly and place on a piece of parchment paper. Dough will be wet, sticky and full of air bubbles you are trying not to condense.

Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top of the wet loaf and us your fingers to lightly spread the olive oil and shape and smooth out the surface of the loaf.

Cover loosely and (only if from out of the refrigerator), let rest for 1 1/2 more hours. 

30 minutes before baking, place a large enameled pot with top or other dutch oven with lid on in the cold oven. Preheat the oven with the pot in it to 500 degrees. 

Just before baking, use a razor to cut three slits across the top of the loaf. 

Carefully remove the hot pot and remove lid. Very gently and carefully pick up the parchment paper so that the dough is cradled in it. Place the paper and loaf, together, into the center of the pot.

Replace lid on the pot. Return pot to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove lid, and turn oven down to 425. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing bread from pot.

Baked bread may be frozen for up to one month.

GLUTEN FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR MIX: 6c.(32oz)FINE brown rice flour + 2c.(10.75oz) potato starch + 1c.(4oz) tapioca flour/starch

To make the fruity bruschetta, I spread the slices with chèvre and chives and topped it with raspberries (some still frozen — oops), a drizzle of honey and a few sprigs of lemon thyme. The balance of contrasting flavors was a nice surprise. Not too sweet and not too salty. It really was just right.
I was barely able to snap this pic of Kid Foodie finishing off his piece. Of the 4 loaves I baked today, there are 1.75 loaves left. I am seriously thinking of hiding the last intact loaf somewhere so I can use it for school lunches this week. The boys have come to regard bread the same way that most other kids regard a piece of cake. If it shows up in their lunch, they wonder what the occasion is. Score! What recipes are you ready to give another go?
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Sticky Nut Crumble

As much as I try to cut down on sugar, I still have a major sweet tooth. Fortunately treats like these do satisfy and give a nice bit of energy as well. I found the original recipe for Sticky Nut Bars on this blog. The photography is gorgeous! So inspiring.

I decided to bake mine like the blog suggested for a less sticky treat. For the most part it held together, but I have a feeling I cut into it a bit too soon. They stayed together long enough for me to take this first shot. Then the more I messed with them, the more they started to crumble.

And that’s when I thought it might just make a great crumble for a morning granola-ish dish.

I personally like the chewy texture and could see topping this with some almond or coconut milk. Or you could layer it with some Greek yogurt and fruit topping.

Sticky Nut Crumble

10 dates chopped finely

2 Tbsp water

2/3 Cup almond butter

1 Cup mixed nuts/seeds (I used blanched almonds, pumpkin seeds coarsely chopped)

1/4 Cup shredded coconut

1/4 Cup sunflower seeds

1/2 Cup dried fruit (I didn’t have any on hand. But you could use raisins, dried cherries, craisins …)

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Coat a springform pan with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, stir together dates, water, almond butter over low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and chill in refrigerator for about 1/2 hour. Cut them into squares before serving. If you don’t like them sticky, you could bake them at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes.

Valentine’s Day Feast

I guess the title of this post is a little misleading. Yesterday I created more of a Valentine’s Day snack for the boys. It was the second year I’ve done it. Last year I surprised them with a chocolate fondue spread that they loved! They asked for it again this year, so I happily obliged. Not one to repeat anything, I thought I would fulfill Little Brother’s request for Nutella stuffed crepes and Kid Foodie’s desire for something containing raspberries.

So here was the spread I put together. In my little pump house studio I set up this table layered with vintage finds and things that represent each boy — like the painter’s palette for Little Brother who is a fantastic artist with a gallery showing already under his 8 year old belt. Accents of blue instead of traditional red or pink because they are, after all, elementary school aged boys! And mounds of elevated food as a nod to Kid Foodie’s passion.

Of course, I didn’t have all the ingredients to do what I originally had in mind. I wanted to make a raspberry galette but had to settle for cream puffs with a raspberry sauce. This was a great decision, in my opinion. You get a lot of bang for your buck, the ingredients list is short and the technique quite easy.

Now, I know I need to work on my food styling a bit here. In hindsight I wish I would’ve used something other than the blender container to pour the sauce onto the crepes, but I pretty much only had 2 opportunities, and this was the best one. Little Brother had heard about Nutella stuffed crepes from his teacher and wanted me to try it. So I found a recipe for homemade Nutella and whipped some up myself. And you know what? It worked!

All in all, the boys appreciated my effort (which was good since I spent an unusually long day in the kitchen preparing it all)! However . . . after a couple of bites and a bit of complaining about putting raspberries on the crepes (Little Bro doesn’t like anything that looks gloppy/jelly-like) their attention quickly turned back to the mounds of terrible processed candy that came home with their classroom Valentine’s cards. What’s a mom to do?

I’ll do separate recipes later on for the Nutella, GF crepes and GF cream puffs. They each deserve their own post, I think. I hope everyone got to enjoy some part of Valentine’s Day. Did anyone try something new for their special someone yesterday? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear your stories.

Chocolate Pudding (with a secret)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever stretched the truth about the contents of your child’s food in order to get them to eat.

Be honest.

Thought so. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s worked so well for me that I never reveal the secret ingredient. Other times, it’s totally backfired on me. Like the time I snuck beets into a decadent chocolate cake — only the beets turned out to be a little too old and bitter. Even I had to spit it out.

So today I tried something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Any guesses as to the secret ingredient in this pudding?

Any guesses?

Hear me out. Avocados are smooth and creamy by nature and have a very mild taste. And let’s face it, chocolate makes almost anything taste better. In this case, two great tastes that taste great together isn’t so far fetched.

I was inspired to try this today because, A. I have avocados I need to use and B. one of my favorite GF bloggers, Lisa Thiele from With Style and Grace, posted her own spin on it the other day. Here is my recipe with my adaptations:

Chocolate Almond Pudding

2 ripe medium avocados

5 Tbsp cocoa powder

3 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp coconut milk

1 tsp almond extract

almonds for garnish

Directions

In a food processor or blender, puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey, coconut milk and almond extract. Chill for a bit before serving.

That’s it! This recipe yields enough pudding for 2 – 4. I found it very rich, so in my family it would realistically stretch to feed 4 for dessert. So now the question becomes, do I reveal the secret ingredient to Kid Foodie and little brother???

To be honest, my avocados were just a bit too ripe. There is a hint of overripe avocado in the flavor BUT the almond extract does a nice job of masking that. If I were to rate this recipe, I’d probably give it a 5 but mostly I think it’s because of the age of the avocados. If I were to do this again using perfect avocados, this recipe would easily yield an 8. When you’re craving something sweet this would fit the bill. And it’s super quick and easy to make too. So it definitely gets points for that.

Has anyone tried this combo? Think you might give it a shot? Let me know!

Pear Crumble

It doesn’t happen often, but once in awhile I get sugared-out. We’re coming off weeks of fudge, caramel corn, Christmas cookies, peanut brittle, etc and I think I’ve had enough. I’m trying to dial back the sugar content in our cooking as a general rule, but it’s nearly inescapable during the holidays. So here we are, January 2, 2012 and my thoughts turn toward getting back on track with our family’s food consumption. So why the dessert post? Well, I can’t just go cold turkey now can I? This pear crumble is pretty light on the sugar (in my opinion). So it’s the perfect thing when your body starts craving something sweet late in the afternoon but you want to eventually curb the sugar spikes altogether. Plus I gotta use up my pears!

Pear Crumble

4 or 5 pears, peeled and thinly sliced

1/3 cup whole cane sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cornstarch

1/4 cup whole cane sugar

1/4 cup softened coconut oil or organic butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place thinly sliced pears, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, & nutmeg into a medium sized bowl and mix to combine everything. Set aside while preparing topping.

2. To make the topping, place all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix well until crumbly. Place the apple mixture into a 9 X 13-inch pan and sprinkle it evenly with topping.

3. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until bubbly.

If you want to add a little tartness to this, include one or two small apples. I find it’s a nice balance.

Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with delicious food and new experiences. It’s a big year for me as I will be turning 40 in July! I have a few ideas for celebrating. You KNOW they’ll include some scrumptious food and a few surprises as well.

Fancy Pants Baking

I’ve been seeing these French styled macarons all over the internet lately.

The nice thing about these cookies are that they contain no flour! They’re basically whipped egg whites, sugar and ground up almonds. It was after seeing these cute little ones by another daily blogger, EZ Pudewa at Creature Comforts, that I decided to take the plunge and see how hard they were to make.

Turns out . . . they’re so easy I’m going to make more today or tomorrow! Here’s the link to the recipe that EZ used. I will say this, though, READ IT CAREFULLY. Me being me, I didn’t divide the powdered sugar, so the cookies are a bit sweeter and crispier than they’re supposed to be. This is probably why I’m planning to give them another go.

I don’t know that I’ve ever tried a recipe that calls for whipping into stiff peaks but this was my interpretation:

 

It was fun dotting the cookie sheets with the light batter.

In no time they were baked, cooled, filled and waiting for the boys to come home and give their opinions. They could’ve eaten them all in one sitting. Which is probably the other reason I’ll make them again. They don’t last long.

These are lighter than I was anticipating. They’re like airy wisps of sweetness — not doughy at all. But they are chewy. And I must warn they are chock full of sugar — so if you’re trying to keep sugar to a minimum in your diet these would be great to give as little gifts. I’m pretty pleased with my first effort. Who’s ready to give these a try?

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  • About This Blog’s Authors

    Even before his diagnosis of Celiac Disease in 2010, Kid Foodie was passionate about food. Although the diagnosis brought some restrictions, his appreciation and appetite for good, healthy food has only skyrocketed.

    For me, his diagnosis of Celiac opened up a world of food possibilities and a new way of thinking about what we eat. It has absolutely been a joy to overhaul our family's food choices and we all continue to benefit from it. We write this blog to help our family and friends understand how to cook gluten free and to provide them recipes to try out themselves.

    Kid Foodie now has his own blog:
    heykidfoodie.com

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