Friday, December 2, 2011

Indulge in gluten free turkey burgers

The issue I've always had with turkey burgers are how dry they tend to be. Yuck. Then food network provided a very simple solution.. add fat! They recommended to sauté some diced onion in olive oil and add that to the ground turkey. Here's my take on turkey burgers!

1 lbs ground turkey
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced (or whatever kind you want... feel free to change the amount you use!)
2 garlic cloves, smashed then finely diced
1 stalk of very finely diced celery
About half a granny smith apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (I peel the apple, then cut four chunks off around the core. Eat what you don't use! Again, adjust the amount of apple you use to your liking)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
A splash of lemon juice
1 egg (room temp)
1/4 cup almond flour (I toasted my briefly in the toaster. You may want to do the same if the flour clumps together and feels too moist)
Sea salt and pepper to taste (Optional: Lemon pepper Mrs. Dash)
Lettuce, tomato, pickles, lots of mayo!

Heat a skillet over medium heat
When the skillet is nice and hot, add some olive oil.
Sauté the finely diced apple, celery, garlic, and onion until tender. Allow to cool.
In a large bowl, add the mustard, egg and lemon juice to the ground turkey. Combine
In a small bowl, mix the almond flour, salt and pepper. Mix in the Mrs. Dash too if using.
Add the cooled sautéed ingredient. Combine.
Add the seasoned mixture. Combine.
Form 4 equal sized balls, and flatten into patties.
Add more olive oil to the skillet if needed, and cook the patties over medium heat, about 6 minutes per side, or until done.
Slather on the mayo, add pickles and tomato, and wrap it up in some lettuce... Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Indulge in cheese and sundried tomato stuffed chicken breast

I know I miss juicy fried chicken. I loved that kind of fried chicken that had layers upon layers of crispiness. Well, since I can't have crispy, I have to indulge in another flavorful chicken dish. Enter the stuffed chicken. This makes a meal for two! Make sure your ingredients are gluten free!

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, about 6 oz each
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese
6 sun dried tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced (while they are still in the skins, use your knife to crush the garlic. It will come out of the skin easily, and the flavors will come through)
1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more for seasoning)
1/2 pepper (plus more for seasoning)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the two cheeses in a bowl with the diced garlic and sun dried tomatoes.
Season the cheese mixture with the sea salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast, a create a pocket inside. Careful not to punch through the chicken.
Stuff each breast with the cheese mixture. The cheese will seal the cut you made closed. Reserve the bowl with any leftover cheese mixture.
Preheat a skillet over medium high heat.
When the pan is hot, add a dash of olive oil.
Add the chicken breast to the skillet when the oil is hot.
Cook the chicken on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes per side or until fully cooked.
In the reserved bowl, add the chicken broth, mustard and lemon juice. Whisk thoroughly.
Add the mixture to the skillet, pouring over the chicken.
Season with sea salt and pepper as desired. I like to add some lemon pepper Mrs. Dash.
Cover and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve over rice (the sauce is fabulous on the rice) and with green beans.

Indulge in Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Be warned... these suckers are super sweet!

1 cup of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter (by Peanut Butter & Co)
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, at room temp
Sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
By hand, thoroughly blend the peanut butter and sugar.
Add the baking powder, and blend it in
Add the egg, and continue to blend.
Make sure everything is thoroughly combined, then roll the dough into balls.
You should be able to make between 12 to 15 balls.
Roll the balls into the sugar and place on the parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Ensure you leave plenty of space between the cookies. That baking powder will poof those cookies! :)
Flatten the cookies slightly. I used a fork to make the traditional checkerboard.
Bake for about 10 minutes.
Allow to cool for another 10 minutes before transferring onto a rack to cool.
Eat half and save the rest for whoever makes you happy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Indulge in Gluten Free Oreos!

I love love love Oreos. Loved, I guess, is more appropriate since Oreos are made of wheat flour. I haven't found any gluten free cookie in stores that taste good, which is fine. Just means I have to bake some myself. But where to start??? Thank you Shauna, the Gluten Free Girl! She had a delightful gluten free oreo recipe on her blog. I tried it, and LOVED it! My daughter loved it! My husband, who says he hates chocolate, also loved the gluten free oreos. I made them for a little get together at a friend's house, and everyone loved the cookies, and couldn't even tell they were gluten free! So here is the recipe, but don't thank me, thank Shauna, the Gluten Free Girl, for this awesome recipe.

Gluten Free Oreos


80 grams sweet rice flour (find it int he asian section of the store)
60 grams white rice flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
35 grams teff flour (I used Bob's Red Mill, it's a brown flour)
2 grams of xanthan gum
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of granulated sugar
140 grams of softened, unsalted butter
1 large egg

1 stick of softened, unsalted butter
2 cups, give or take, sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flours and whisk.
3. Add remaining dry ingredients and combine well.
4. Using a mixer, slowly add butter, by a couple of tablespoons at a time, until well incorporated.
5. Add the egg and keep mixing until the dough comes together.
6. Take small amounts of dough out and form balls. It sound be smaller than a ping pong ball. Remember, these are oreos!
7. Flatten the balls on the parchment paper. Don't forget to flatten cause they will not spread! Remember to leave a couple inches inbetween each cookie.
8. Bake on the center rack for 5 mins, then turn the sheet around and bake another 5 mins or until slightly crisp on the edges. Pay attention those last few minutes!
9. Allow to cool completely!
10. While the cookies cool, whip the butter until creamy, then slowly add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
11. Pipe or spread some filling onto a cookie, then press a second cookie on top. I like a lot of frosting so I I snipped the end of a bag and piped all over the cookie.

The number of peos really depends on how big you make your balls. I made about 20. Shauna's recipe suggests 25 to 30.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shattered dreams

I have a Japanese kanji on my arm. It means “hope”. But in October 2010, there was not a spark of hope left in my life. I look back today, and my heart still hurts because everything has changed. No, I’m not overreacting. Before you roll your eyes, listen to my story.
I have always loved every aspect of the culinary arts, but I truly enjoy making desserts. My dream was to open my own bakery. I had the name picked out, the uniform, and the theme… even the layout! On a daily basis, I would come up with different flavors for my seasonal cupcake line, or a fusion idea for a new cookie. Making desserts became my escape for the strange barrage of… issues I started having in early 2010.
In hindsight, I think these problems were always there, just not as bad. What kind of things? Well, for one, I had scarecrow hair. It was dry, frizzy and thin. Short pieces stuck up all over my head. I cut it, hoping the condition would improve, but no such luck. Then it started to fall out.
If the scarecrow texture and hair loss wasn’t bad enough, my skin began to change. I was turning into a crocodile. I was itchy and scaly and red. My face was the worst. Pimples upon pimples. My face was always red and peeling. Face wash, toner and lotion failed to help.  And it hurt! Clothes hurt my skin. The sun touching my face burned. And I constantly broke out in hives.
I figured the hair and skin problems were stress. And the hives? Well, after having my daughter I had a sudden surge of allergies, which I attributed to the difficult pregnancy and delivery. I had become allergic to pretty much all animals. My eyes would swell up just walking into a pet store. I also became allergic to a wool jacket, and strangely, to odors. If I smelled cigarette smoke or paint, yes, really random things, I would get hives and an itchy throat.
By summer of 2010, I noticed I was eating more. I was STARVING all the time. I could eat a box of crackers and still be hungry. Strangely, I wasn’t gaining weight. My stomach was hurting all the time, especially at night. I always felt like if I puked, I would feel better, but I never puked.
Then, the exhaustion set in. It was awful. I felt like I was underwater. It hurt to get out of bed. But it hurt to sleep. Everything was just painful. So I threw myself into baking.
It was fabulous to bake. And it was fabulous to eat too. I was baking daily, but I still felt like I was dying. My “escape” wasn’t working.
Then, the pain turned really excruciating. Whenever I ate, it felt like someone was dragging a rusty strip of razor wire through my body. There was blood, but I won’t go anymore into that. After a trip to remote Alaska, things were so bad, I cried when I was alone, and I cried myself to sleep. I just couldn’t pretend I was strong anymore.
I went to the doctor, and told her I thought maybe I had a stomach virus, and asked if she could prescribe something for my allergies. When I explained my symptoms, she immediately advised a blood test for Celiacs. Celiacs? Never even heard of it. But what you don’t know CAN hurt you. And badly. My doctor explained my body couldn’t handle the gluten in the foods I was eating. My body stopped absorbing nutrients from what I ate, which is why I was always hungry but didn’t gain weight. My hair and skin took a toll because of the nutrient deficiently, and I was tired because my body wasn’t getting anything it needed to operate. She explained these “allergies” were not real allergies, but a reaction a healthy body can handle without us noticing. She told me to cut gluten out of my diet to see how I felt. So for three weeks, I stopped eating anything I thought had gluten. I felt better pretty quickly. Because my health changed so drastically, I didn’t have the biopsy of my intestines taken (I guess that is a more accurate way than the blood test to check for Celiacs). I also found out I had become lactose intolerant so I had to cut out dairy.

I was devastated… I was heartbroken. How could I open a bakery if I couldn’t eat gluten or dairy??? So the diet didn’t last… it was so hard to give up all the dessert and baked goods! I decided to cut back on the baking to only a few times a month. But as any good cook knows, you HAVE to taste your cooking to determine what changes to make!
So I’ve been grazing… and I suffer the consequences. It’s a war, lasting months. I win some battles and feel almost normal, but other times, my body screams for a day that is pain free. And it really doesn’t help when you have a colleague telling you constantly to kill yourself because it sucks to live on a gluten free diet. Seriously, yes. No compassion when I obviously am having issues adapting.
Then, June 2011. The Three Baron’s Renaissance Fair. I hosted a booth for the first time. I baked cookies and made cake pops, all chock full of wonderful gluten. Luckily there were no leftovers, but the damage is done. The razor pain is back, my hair is thin, and my skin is awful!  Is it worth it???
My dreams shattered, and with no one to understand, I wondered why I ever got the stupid "hope" tattoo. There is no hope. Nothing will EVER make it possible for me to eat gluten. I hurt to tell myself that I was stuck eating gross gluten free rice cakey dry nasty food. But wait a damn minute!
I have taken a stand. I can’t graze on things, hoping just a little is ok. It’s not. I have to accept that gluten is bad for me. But I am a damn strong person, and I don’t give up. I can't give up. I have a permanent reminder on my arm that there is always hope, even if for a moment, we forget. I have a new goal. A NEW DREAM. I will create magical meals and decadent desserts, all gluten free. I will not suffer, I will indulge! And I will indulge, gluten free!