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Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free) July 2, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking, photography, younger son.
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No one in our house likes rhubarb. It’s one of those things that all the German grandmas would bring to church potlucks, and my parents would say, “Isn’t this great!” Meanwhile, my face is about to implode from puckering.

My worst experience was in high school. I had a crush on someone, and when I went to visit him, his mom made rhubarb bars. I had to impress this boy’s mother, so I didn’t say how much I hated it. No, I suffered through the whole bar, eating every last bite. Later, he decided he didn’t want to date me, and I realized that if he couldn’t appreciate how much I’d suffered, he obviously wasn’t the one for me. No man is worth eating rhubarb for.

I was glad, therefore, when I met Mike, and in one of those deep, get-to-know you conversations, I found out he disliked rhubarb as well. He comes by it genetically: his dad hated it so much he would change oil over the rhubarb plants in their yard.

Therefore, when I opened our CSA box last week and saw three pounds of the stuff, I thought, “Oh, crud.” Actually, I thought something else, but I’m too polite to say it in a blog post. I tried to pawn it off on my parents, but no luck.

Anyway, I spent some time pondering and decided to at least try it. I won’t eat tons of it, but I concocted a recipe that uses a tolerable portion. And the rest of the muffin is so good that I don’t mind eating around it. I also discovered that the smaller the pieces that you chop it into, the less intense the flavor. (Now, if you really like rhubarb, cut it into big pieces and substitute a half cup of rhubarb for the blueberries.) I figured it must be okay since the younger son, who is the food critic of the house, really enjoyed them.

And since the Fourth of July is coming up, it seemed appropriate to give it a patriotic theme.

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffins

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffin

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffin

Makes 12 muffins

Dry ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (if you like to blend your own, I’d use 140 gms or 1 cup white rice flour, 46 gms or 1/3 cup potato starch and 26 gms or 1 tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (leave out if using a flour mix that includes this)

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (for dairy free, use coconut oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (for dairy free, use 1 cup full-fat coconut milk from the can (I like Thai Kitchen brand) + 2 tbsp lime juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place muffin papers in muffin tray or grease and flour muffin tray.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine thoroughly all dry ingredients except sugar and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter (or coconut oil) and sugar together. (If using coconut oil and it’s liquidy, I suggest sticking it in the fridge to let it solidify. Cool coconut oil works much better for this. If you’re still not having much luck, go to the next step, using cold eggs, but mix for much longer and it will cream.)
  5. Add eggs and mix for another 20-30 seconds.
  6. Add buttermilk (or coconut milk and lime juice), vanilla, and dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add rhubarb and blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. (Note: I prefer using fresh blueberries because frozen tend to ‘streak’ the muffins. If all you have is frozen, though, pull them out right before you’re going to add them and toss to coat them with some potato starch.)
  8. Distribute batter into muffin tray.
  9. Bake for approximately 28 minutes.
  10. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes and then move to cooling tray.

 

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Recipe Double Header: Maple-whipped sweet potatoes and gluten-free sweet potato pancakes January 1, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
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The other day, Mike and I were eating at one of our favorite local restaurants (i.e., one of maybe five that is celiac-friendly and hasn’t tried to kill me yet), I tried a new dish: maple-whipped sweet potatoes.  We both fell in love with it, and so I’ve made it a couple times at home.  It’s super easy.  Also…it might be paleo, depending on your feelings on maple syrup.

The best part of making these is that I usually make large enough quantities that there are leftovers.  Some people I know think, “Yay! Leftovers!”  I personally think, “Yay! Pancakes!”  Some people think that’s too much work.  However, given I cringe every time I watch my kids dump a half gallon of maple syrup on pancakes, these are sweet enough (in my opinion) to avoid syrup altogether…unless you’re younger son who still thinks they need syrup.  A pat of butter is nice, though.  So far, everyone in the house seems to like them.

Mom!  He's not sharing!

Mom! He’s not sharing!

Maple-whipped sweet potatoes

2 lbs. of sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3 tbsp. coconut oil

1/4 cup. maple syrup OR 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp water, 2 tsp maple extract

Toss the sweet potatoes in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut oil.  There’s two ways you can do this, depending on the time you have.  You can throw them in the crockpot (low for 5 hrs, high for 3 hrs) or bake in a covered dish at 350°F for one hour.  I prefer the crockpot method as they always seem more moist, but if you’re in a hurry, you’ve got options.  Once they’re done cooking, let cool for 5-10 minutes, then put them in a large mixing bowl with the maple syrup.  Use a hand mixer and blend until smooth and creamy.  (Whether you’re doing this with the brown sugar mixture or maple syrup, you may need to add water, a tablespoon at a time, to get it creamy.)

Serves 8.

Sweet potato pancakes

1 lb. maple whipped sweet potatoes

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 egg

Mix all ingredients together and cook on a non-stick pan or griddle on medium-low to medium heat until browned.  Flip, and brown on the other sides.  I’d suggest making smaller pancakes – about 3 inch diameter.  You have to watch these carefully.  Because of the high sugar content, they go from brown to blackened very quickly if the heat is too high.  Also, there’s no good way to see if they’re done on one side except for checking.  The high moisture content insulates the top side when the bottom side is being cooked.

Serves 4.

Mmmm!  Pancakes!

Mmmm! Pancakes!

Post Christmas food frenzy: buckwheat crepes December 28, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
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Our family has had a tradition of having a ‘nice’ breakfast or brunch on Sunday mornings. For a while, this consisted of getting together with extended family and calling it “waffle Sunday” because we almost always had waffles. (After my celiac diagnosis, the waffle maker was handed off to another home where it is hopefully happy.) Later, I spent the summer with a friend in Berkeley, and the topic of crepes came up.

I adore crepes.

My friend said his grandfather made the best crepes ever, and so he spent a morning teaching me how to make them. It was far simpler than I thought. You combine 1 cup of wheat flour, 1 egg, and enough milk to have a very sloshy liquid. It’s probably the same consistency as warm custard before it’s set, or maybe egg nog. Then you add about 1/2 tsp. of some sort of oil to a small frying pan, and once it’s hot, add enough batter that you can spread a thin layer over the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges start to get crispy, then flip. I moved from white flour to whole wheat flour (and my tummy hurts just saying that) because I liked the nuttier taste.

It’s not easy to make gluten free crepes. But another thing I adore is buckwheat because of it’s nuttier taste. The search was on, and I came across a wonderful site explaining the history of crepes and galletes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for as I wanted a buckwheat crepe that would be suitable for things like fruit fillings, and apparently galletes are not. I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for a way to improve the nutritional value of buckwheat and make a sort of pancake out of it. Still…too thick.

I decided instead to try my old recipe using the principles of soaking the buckwheat groats first. I took 2 1/2 cups of groats and soaked them in water for several hours. (You’ll want to check the recipe link to see why I do this.) I then rinsed the groats and blended them with a mixture of water and heavy cream (2:1 ratio, respectively). Once I had a thick enough batter, I added about 3 eggs. Then I continued to add water and cream until I had the same egg-nog consistency thickness I got with my wheat-based crepes. Everything else went the same as before, using between 1 tsp. to 1/2 tbsp. of coconut oil to cook the crepe. They will work for either savory or sweet fillings, if you like a nutty flavor. They are very filling, either way.

Gluten-free buckwheat crepes

(serves 2-3)

1 cup buckwheat raw buckwheat groats

1 egg

1 to 1 1/2 cups water and heavy cream mixed 2:1 (or milk of your choice)

coconut oil

Pour buckwheat into a bowl and add dechlorinated water to about 1 inch above buckwheat. Let soak for several hours. Strain and rinse with warm water to get rid of slimy texture. Add groats, egg, and water/cream mixture to blender and blend to smooth. Continue to add water/cream until batter is ‘soupy’.

Add coconut oil to non-stick frying pan over medium to medium high heat (somewhere between 1 tsp. and 1/2 tbsp per crepe). Add about 1/3 cup batter, pouring into oil, and tilting pan to coat the bottom. (You will have to figure out how much works for you depending on how large your pan is and how thick you like your crepes.) Cook until brown spots form on underside of crepe. Flip crepe and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Favorite toppings at our house are sliced bananas, berries, sometimes whipped cream. We’ve also used straight syrup (did your insulin level just go out the roof), philly cream cheese honey and nut spread, or a blend of cream cheese (4 oz), orange marmalade (1 tbsp), and maple syrup (1 tbsp). If you want to go the savory route, ham and cheese are always good choices.

Post Christmas food frenzy: knoephla soup December 27, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
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Note: I have another recipe, made from scratch, on my other blog.  If you can’t use this recipe, go ahead and check that one out.

If you grow up in western North Dakota (which is about any place west of Valley City), then you probably love knoephla soup.  It’s my favorite comfort food, and I’ve gotten into serious arguments about the best place to get it.  I really liked the stuff I got at Sunset Inn in New Salem, but Trapper’s Kettle in Belfield and the Freeway 147 truck stop outside of Mandan aren’t bad, either.

I’ll be honest, though.  The best knoephla soup I’ve ever had was at Nichole’s in downtown Fargo.

So what it is?  It’s a creamy dumpling soup made by the German-Russians who settled North Dakota (and surrounding areas).  The dumplings are typically made by mixing wheat flour (and now you see the problem) with water or milk or any number of things to make buttons of dough which you throw in the soup to cook.  Some people put potatoes in, some don’t.  The recipe that follows is fairly preliminary, and I have to admit that I cheated: I didn’t make my own knoephla and instead used gluten-free gnocchi.  (Any sane person who eats gnocchi has got to admit that it tastes remarkably like knoephla.)  At some point, I’m going to give that a try, but I admit that on this occasion, I was feeling pretty lazy.  If I ever do make my own knoephla, I’ll let you know about it…unless it goes badly.

Gluten free knoephla soup

(Or, if you prefer, I suppose you could call it gnocchi soup, too)

1 qt. poultry stock (I prefer homemade bone broth because it really improves the taste)

2 cups water

1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrots

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp cooking bacon grease or olive oil

2 tsp. salt

2 cups heavy cream

2 12 oz. bags of Conte’s gluten-free gnocchi OR 1 bag along with 2 potatoes, peeled and diced

The first step should be to pull the gnocchi out of the freezer.  You don’t want it frozen solid, so just set it out at room temp until you get to it.  You can set it out before chopping the veggies.  Next, put carrots, onion, and oil or grease into a small frying pan on medium heat.  While the carrots are cooking, put diced potato (if you’re using potatoes) into a large cooking pot (4 qt?) with the broth, water, and salt.  Bring broth to a boil whether or not using the potatoes.  While waiting for the broth to boil, you can take the gnocchi and cut each one in half.  Once the broth begins to boil and the onions in the carrot/onion mixture are translucent, add to the broth and boil for about 15 minutes.  Finally, add the gnocchi and boil for an additional 8 minutes.  Turn off the burner but don’t remove the pot.  Add the cream and stir for a minute or two.

Makes six servings and takes about 45 minutes.

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