Monday, December 31, 2012

Sour Cream Banana Bread


 My mom gave me a few bananas to use up, So i decided to try out a new recipe for banana bread. 
This recipe incorporates sour cream, for a really moist cake, and I decided to add an oat crumb topping as well to finish it off and really make it breakfasty.

 
2 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 c salted butter
¾ c brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Nuts (optional)
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan (9x3)
Cream butter, sugar and eggs together in a large bowl. Add in bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Mix in flour and baking soda.  (Fold in nuts if using)
Pour into prepared pan.
 
Crumb topping
¼ brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces.
¼  cup brown rice flour.
½ cup oats (make sure they are gluten free)
Mix together the butter, sugar and flour and oats. Topping should be crumbly.
 

Cover the banana bread with the crumb topping and bake for 45 -60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool 20 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a cooling rack. 
 
 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Great Granny's Gluten Free Butter Tart Slice

OK technically it cannot be a slice if we call it butter tart, but that’s just semantics. Butter Tarts are a Canadian staple around the holidays. Every single year we have had butter tarts since I can remember, and I didn’t want to miss out this year being gluten free!
Usually we make butter tarts out of premade pastry shells, which for some reason you cannot find here in the states, or make our own pastry, however we also sometimes make a bar version in my family, and I figured that might be the easiest way to adapt it to gluten free.  I will admit I cheated a little bit on this one, I used the Bob’s Red Mill shortbread mix, and it turned out great, next time I think I'll make my own shortbread base as the Bob’s mix makes quite a lot and was a little crumbly.   This is my great grandmother's recipe. 
For the Crust:
Bob’s Shortbread Mix
Prepare per the directions on the package and press into a 9x13 pan, lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes. 
For the filling:
1 ½ cup seedless raisins (soak the raisins in warm water to plump them up a bit)

3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cup light corn syrup

Mix together all the ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until set and browned. Let cool completely before slicing. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gluten Free Rosemary Babies Shortbread Cookies


Don’t ask me why its named that, I know it evokes images of the movie but its still a delicious cookie, and this gluten free version is fantastic! Definitely a great addition to our holiday baking for future years to come. 

 Adapted from Kir Jensen's recipe 

2 cups flour
(I did a mix of ¼ cup cornstarch, 1 & ¼ cup white rice flour & ½ cup sweet rice flour & ¼ tsp xantham gum)
¼ c finely ground cornmeal
1 ½ tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 heaping tbsp grated orange zest (I used tangelo zest)
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
½ c plus 1 heaping tbsp granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
¼ c superfine (caster) sugar
Whisk flours and cornmeal together in a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar together until combined but not fluffy. Add in egg yolks one at a time, and then add in zest and rosemary. Slowly add in dry ingredients.
Divide the dough into 2 small balls. On a lightly floured surface shape each ball into a long log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 and line a couple baking pans with parchment. Cut the logs into 1/3-1/2inch slices. Toss the cookies with the superfine sugar.  



place on parchment about ½ inch apart and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.




Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday recap...

The holidays are winding down... New Years will be here soon, which means packing up the tree an ornaments for another year and back to school in a couple weeks. Break went by so fast, I can't even believe it.

Our family had a great Christmas, we opened presents in the morning, had a delicious breakfast with gluten free pancakes (I have such a great family, they all ate gluten free pancakes with me, we didn't have to make me a separate batch) Painted christmas ornaments, went to see the Hobbit and finished off the day with a nice dinner.

Beautiful! 
I got some really awesome things for Christmas, but I think my very favorite thing was this owl   pocket-watch/ necklace my husband got for me. Its got a very vintage feel. Something I know I will love for years to come.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cheeeeeezy goodness

These are seriously the best cheese crackers ever. Before going GF It never occurred to me to make my own crackers, but now if I am going to make or eat crackers, these are it. There are plenty of GF crackers on the market, but not only are they pricey, they aren't that great. These crackers are awesome, even gluten eaters love them. 


  •  4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded          
     4 Tbs. Salted Butter, room temp
     3/4 c. Cornstarch
     1/4 tsp. Xantham Gum (I have made with and without, there isn't much difference if 
     you want to omit it)
     1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
     1/2 tsp Garlic powder
      2 Tbsp Milk, start out with this, I always add a little more depending
      on how the dough is coming together.

    Mix together the dry ingredients, cornstarch, baking powder and xanthan gum.
    Work in the butter using a pastry knife or a couple of forks, until the butter is in pea-sized lumps and smaller. Add in the shredded cheese. Slowly add in the milk until dough forms. You want it to just come together.
    Sprinkle cornstarch on your rolling surface, I like to put a piece of parchment paper down and roll out to1/4 - 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with cookie cutters. 
    Place on parchment and bake in a 400-degree oven for 8-12 minutes. You want the edges to be slightly browned, I have overcooked them and they are still delish, so it’s up to you how dark you want them to get. 

    I have made these crackers 5 or 6 times, I usually make a double batch because they go so quickly. Perfectly airy, crispy and cheesy bites of heaven!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gluten Free Christmas Popovers


Popovers are a Christmas tradition in my family, one that I really wanted continue this year. After searching for a few GF popover recipes I found this one. The popovers turned out perfect. We will definitely be making these for Christmas dinner.

Popovers (sometimes called Yorkshire Pudding)
 4 eggs at room temperature (a good trick to warm up eggs right from the fridge  is to let them sit in hot water for a few minutes)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey – if you are making savory ones you can omit this
1 cup popover mix flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
butter or bacon fat



Popover Flour Mix
2 cups white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup cornstarch

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  
Place your popover pan in the oven to get very hot.
I was using my mom’s cast iron popover pan.
(Never put a cold cast iron pan in a hot oven)
Blend together eggs, milk and honey if using.  Then add in the flour and blend until the flour is fully incorporated and the mix is bubbly.
Once the oven is ready and pan is hot, add th butter or bacon fat to the pan, brush the fat up the edges of each cup. Pour batter into cups until about 2/3 full. Place pan immediately in hot oven and cook for 25 minutes. I found that baking them a little longer 27 minutes worked a bit better for me. NO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY ARE COOKING. Pierce the tops of the finished popovers with a knife to release the steam. Eat hot out of the oven!


For Christmas I think I will add a bit of chopped chives to the batter! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Break To-Dos

Since finals are officially over (yay!) I am hoping to accomplish a few things during my break from school over the next few weeks.

1 - work on my French every day for at least 30 minutes (I am hoping to do a full month of speaking only French at home with my husband in the coming months, so I need to get ready!)

2 - go for a really good walk every day, even if its miserable and raining, and explore the neighborhood
3 - read a few good books (any suggestions?)

4 - practice yoga (I haven't been doing much yoga lately, I really like it and want to get back into practicing it more often)

5- spend times with family and friends! This one is a bit of a given because of the holidays, but when I am in school full time and working my full time M-F job trying to accommodate everyones schedules can be tricky

6 - work on a few new knitting projects - try and conquer cables specifically (since my holiday knitting is nearing completion ;)

Its hard to believe that 2012 is coming to an end, the year has flown by.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Movies

My friend Erika over at ATinyRocket inspired me to write this post. There are certain movies that are tradition and some that aren't very holiday themed but its a tradition to watch them.

So here goes:
White Christmas- definitely a family favorite, my mom turned me & my sis on to this when we were little, still one of my favorites!
Love Actually- love this! Such a great group of stories, some happy, some sad, all holiday!
Home Alone- my sister and I watched this as kids all the time, whether or not it was around the holidays. We loved to fast forward and rewind the parts where the burglars got hurt.

Every year my family goes to a movie on Christmas, more often then not the movie is not holiday themed, previous years have included Mission Impossible, Sherlock Holmes, The Golden Compass, this year I think it's a toss up between Django Unchained(I'm pushing for it) or The Hobbit.

What are your favorite holiday movies?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Delightful Dinner Fritatta

My sister gave me a dozen eggs from their chickens this past weekend and I wasn't sure what to do with them. I didn't want to hide these beautiful fresh eggs in baked goods so I decided to make a fritatta.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While I was preheating I put my cast iron pan in to heat up as well. (Never put a cold cast iron pan into a hot oven)

Ingredients:
7 medium eggs
1 tbsp butter
6 slices of ham, diced
3 green onions, diced
1 cup shredded dry cheese, I used gruyere and parmesan.
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

Crack the eggs and whisk until frothy, I used my blender.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients except the butter.


Once the pan an oven are nice and hot remove the pan and add the butter to the pan making sure it has coated the sides. Now add in the egg mixture. Place the pan back in the oven and cook until slightly browned and set.

Serve and enjoy.  I really like the little bit of rosemary in there, it just helps bring out the flavor of everything without overpowering it.


This fritatta would be delicious served at a breakfast or brunch, or with a mixed greens salad and a light vinaigrette.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pear Cardamom Butter



A few weeks ago we went out to Hood River/Hood Valley, and while we were there we picked up a bunch of pears from a local orchard. I decided to turn these delicious pears into a pear butter.
I love cardamom and I think it goes so well with pears so I wanted to add it to  the mix.

Ingredients:
2-4 lbs Pears
2-3 tbsp Cardamom pods
Cheese cloth
2/3 c Brown Sugar
1 lemon

Most recipes for pear butter want you to peel them, I chose not to, not only are the peals good for you with lots of fiber but I am also too lazy to spend time peeling 5 pounds of pears, and since I was using organic I wasn’t too worried about pesticides.

Core, stem and roughly chop your pears. Place in a Crockpot. Add your brown sugar, you can add a little more if you like it sweeter, and depending on how ripe your pears are, or you might want to decrease it if your pears are really ripe. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the Crockpot. Turn the Crockpot on high.

Take your cheesecloth and wrap up the pods in a little package, I failed to take a picture of this, but its relatively simple. See this picture from HGTV as an example. Then place the cardamom pods packet into the Crockpot and turn it to high. 
You can skip using the cheesecloth and just fish out the pods later, but I find it much easier to wrap them up so I don’t have to hunt around for them.
Cardamom bundle on the right side

Then let it cook, mine took about 6 hours, depending on how many pears you used. Once the butter is a nice rich brown puree it, I used my immersion blender, but you could use a regular blender and blend in batches, it is going to be hot!   

Let cool and store it in the refrigerator. I packaged some up in these cute Kerr jars for gift giving.

pear butter deliciousness


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gluten Free Cake Flour aka Sheer Awesomeness


This weekend browsing the blogosphere I came across a couple of really awesome blogs. Roost, Caitlin, her husband has Cronhs, so it's all gluten free, more on the Paleo side of things actually and Hummingbird up High, Michelle is a former Denver blogger who is currently making her home in Portland.

I really wanted to try Hummingbirds Buttermilk Whiskey Cake, which you can find here. I am totally jealous of that amazing pinwheel bundt pan, and this fancy one 

I made a few adjustments- I only had 15 year scotch on hand so that's what I used and I swapped out the cake flour for gluten free cake flour which in a word is transformative- because this cake flour was truly awesome and it will transform your gluten free cake baking. Here is the recipe.
Utterly Amazing Gluten Free Cake Flour

Makes 3 cups of flour
½ c white rice flour
½ c brown rice flour
½ c cornstarch
½ cup sorghum flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 tapioca starch
3 tsp xantham gum 

Sorry no photos :(

Friday, November 30, 2012

Shows I am currently loving.......

Just a short friday night post.....

The Walking Dead - I have blown through all the seasons and am up to date after only 1 week, and I managed to get all my homework done, how did that even happen? I started watching Season 1 last year but got bored because it was so slow paced...after multiple recommendations I went back to it and am hooked!

Scandal - never been much for the other Shonda Rhimes show, but this one she nails on the head, many surprises, likable characters and a little mystery!

The Mindy Project - I never knew how awesome Mindy Kaling was on the office, this show really highlights how comedically talented she is.

Tis the season for dare I say it, ABC family holiday movies,  they are my guilty pleasure, totally lame and predicable but I can't wait, they really get me in the holiday spirit.

What are you currently watching?


-Leah

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crockpot Caramelized onions


 Who doesn’t love caramelized onions? Even the most unabashed onion haters who might usually recoil can’t deny the pull of those delicious soft sweet onions.

The beauty of caramelized onions is that they can be used for a lot, and they don’t really take that much work, if you utilize your Crockpot.

Over at whitehouseblackshutters Ann Marie swears by using a cast iron pan. I am guessing onions are really great done that ways, especially since she adds bacon! And the beauty of cast iron is that it imparts extra iron into your food. More on my cast iron and cast iron enamel addiction another day. I didn’t have time to sit and babysit onions on the stove, so I decided to bust out my trusty friend Crockpot. Yes I use the Crockpot a lot, because it’s awesome.

Ingredients:
Onions – I used 5 large yellow onions
2-3 tbsp duck fat (or bacon grease, or olive oil, or butter)
Salt

Slice up your onions, I like to make them rings, but you could slice or dice them up in any way you prefer, you want the slices thin-medium thickness.
Put  ½  your fat into the bottom of the Crockpot and add onions. Top with the remaining fat. Sprinkle in some salt and cover.  Set it on high and let it cook for the next 10 -12 hours. Yup you read that right! For truly awesome onions you want to let them cook a long time.
I’ll walk by periodically and give them a stir, maybe once every 3 hrs, but this is not a necessary step. The onions will be done when they are a rich golden brown, deep and dark. Remove from Crockpot and cool.
not dark enough
You can bag them up and freeze them to have on hand or you might want to use them right away for a dip or to mix into mashed potatoes, add to sandwiches, top your pizza with them, add to pasta, etc. Or of course for French Onion soup.

*My advice when making caramelized onions, go for the usual white or yellow varieties, do not go for sweet, although I love Vidalia or Walla Walla sweets you really want to go with a stronger spicier onion – see this serious eats post regarding their experimentation with varieties of onions.
perfect, nice and dark brown!



Monday, November 26, 2012

I Spy Pecan Pie


This year I decided to make a gluten free pecan pie to go along with the rest of our Thanksgiving feast.
You may recall in August I made a number of pies for a wedding, except I used store bought crust, this time I wanted to make my own.

For the crust I used this recipe over at A Baking Life.  
From reading the comments/reviews and it being featured on a few other blogs I put my faith in this recipe, hoping I would be rewarded with a flaky buttery crust.
Oops the baking powder is missing!

For the pastry flour:
2 cups white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

For the crust:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1 cup gf pastry flour mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp baking powder
2.25 oz cream cheese, cold, cut into chunks
2 1/2 Tbsp ice water

Cut the butter into small cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, about 30 minutes.
Place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder in a ziplock gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for 30 minutes.

The original recipe says to put the flour into the food processor and then add the cream cheese, but since I don’t have a food processor I used a pastry blender. Cut in the cream cheese until it’s a coarse meal. Now add in the frozen butter and cut the butter in until there are about pea size.  Now its time for the water, I ended up using about 4 tbsp of water to get my dough to start to come together. Put the dough back into the ziplock and knead it from the outside of the bag until a dough starts to form and it sticks together. Form into a disc and put into the fridge. The original recipe says to let it rest 45 mins til overnight, mine sat for roughly 1 hour.

To roll out the dough use parchment paper, use a little rice flour if you are having an issue with sticking.  Roll out to your desired thickness. Place crust over pie pan and peel off parchment.  Fill and bake according to your recipe directions.

It rolled out just like regular pastry dough

At this point get that oven heating up – start it at 400 degrees. 

For the pecan filling:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, plus additional whole pecans for decorating.
1 tsp lemon zest (or orange zest) minced

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and then add in the melted butter. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the rice flour.
Add the milk, vanilla and fold in the chopped pecans.
Pour into the unbaked crust you just made. Cover the top with the remaining pecans.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done.

Ready to eat!
Note: The pie is done when the sides are set and the center is still slightly wiggly. The pie will continue to cook while its cooling. 

Update: The pie crust was a success! Everyone loved it and couldn't even tell it was gluten free :) Will 
definitely be using that recipe as my go to crust.