Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gluten Free Beer Battered Fried Fish

Delicious Fish and Chips!

Last night Tim (my husband) made us an AMAZING Beer Battered Fish and Chips for dinner!  I asked him to write a guest post for the blog, I will warn you he has a VERY different cooking style than I do.  We joke that I'm a scientist and he is an artist, because I HAVE to measure everything and have a plan, he on the other hand, adds a dash of this and a pinch of that and it comes out perfect.  I cannot cook the way he does, and he can't comprehend cooking the way I do, and that's how we get fed around here.  So here it goes, I hope you enjoy Tim's cooking too!

Tim's Gluten Free Beer Battered Fish

I always get inspired to make things that are typically quite gluten filled, and then I adapt them for a gluten free meal.  The other night, I was really in the mood to deep fry, and we were having a couple over for dinner, who always give me lots of liberty to experiment. They suggested Fish and Chips.

For the Chips, I used a pretty well known and standard recipe. Cut the potatoes, wash off the starch, and then pat them VERY dry. Fry them at 375. Take them out, drain them on a rack, and then fry them again. Season liberally, before the oil dries. That's easy.

So, I decided to make a beer batter. After Googling regular beer batter recipes, and then gluten free recipes, I adapted, and made my own. I made a test strip, tweaked the batter, and made a second, which was pretty perfect, and highly praised by all who sampled.

Here’s what I did:

8 tilapia filets, sliced in half, lengthwise, separating the thinner ones and thicker ones in two separate piles, so when I fried them, they’d cook evenly. I did not want to mix and match the thicknesses, and end up overcooking the thinner ones.

The beer batter was:
1 cup of sweet rice flour, Paprika, Kosher Salt, Ground White Pepper, Ground Black Pepper, (I have a mill for the black pepper, but I like the store-bought ground white, because it’s a super fine ground.) I don’t really know how much I put in. I put in more than I thought I would. Then, after the first test strip, realized it needed quite a bit more. So I added more.

I mixed all the dry ingredients. Then, I took 1 egg, which I beat in another bowl, first. And then mixed in the egg, and whisked that.

Then I whisked, while slowly adding in the beer. I used a whole bottle of ice cold New Grist, right out of the fridge.

I covered the fish strip in tapioca starch, shook off the loose starch, and then immediately dropped it into the batter, swooshing it around to get full coverage, and put it into the fryer, into vegetable oil at 375 degrees, almost still dripping. The consistency of the batter was so thin, you could almost see the fish in there, under the batter. Andrea was concerned with the thin-ness of the batter (as was I, but I didn’t voice it), but it worked.

We have a Fry Daddy fryer, so it fit 3-4 strips comfortably in the basket, without touching each other. I fried until they were golden brown, took them out, and drained them on paper towels, flipping to drain both sides. That was it!

In between each batch, I re-whisked the batter to keep it from separating.

The four of us finished almost all but two of the thin strips, which means four people ate 3.5 pounds of fish. I’m making a note here: huge success!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

At some point in the last year I attempted to make Red Velvet Cupcakes, well Green Velvet anyway (I'll explain in a second), and did not like them.  Recently I was inspired to try them again, and looked up a new recipe, I am currently obsessed with them, and so is Ceci!  She can't get enough of them, when we had them she asked to eat one constantly, I had to bargain with her so she wouldn't try to eat all of them at once.  I was really pleased with the taste and tenderness of the cake, and who doesn't love cream cheese frosting to top off everything??

It turns out that there were a lot of problems with my first attempt at Velvet Cupcakes and subbing green food dye for the red was the least of the issues.  My husband thought for years that he was allergic to red dye, from some incident back in his college years, and until he saw the allergist this year we just avoided all forms of red dye.  The Dr told him that it was a made up allergy and he had never heard of it in all his years of practice.  So now I can use all the red dye I want in cupcakes.  The other major issue with the first batch of cupcakes was the recipe used oil instead of butter, so they came out greasy and unappealing, even the cream cheese frosting couldn't save them.

You can understand why I was hesitant after that disaster to try Red Velvet again.  Like I said previously I was inspired, I had purchased buttermilk to use for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and had left over so I thought hard about other recipes that use buttermilk and came up with Red Velvet Cupcakes.  After some research I found what looked like a good recipe and worked to convert it over to Gluten Free.

We took them to a 2nd Birthday/House Warming Party for some family friends, one of the other guests had brought lots of fancy mini cupcakes from the famous bakery in NYC, Crumbs.  He told me he preferred my cupcakes to the fancy store bought ones!!!  That makes my day!  Having people who can eat gluten tell me that my gluten free versions taste better than the regular ones, especially when they are saying it's better than expensive boutique cupcakes!

I hope you enjoy them as much as Ceci does!

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

1 1/4 Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1   Cup Tapioca Starch
1/4 Cup Soy Flour
1  tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2  tsp Salt
2  Tbs Coco Powder (Dutch Processed)
1/2  Cup Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2   Eggs
1  tsp Vanilla Extract
1  Cup Buttermilk
2  Tbs Red Food Coloring
1  tsp White Distilled Vinegar
1  tsp Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Line about 20-24 cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside

Mix flours, xanthan gum, salt, and coco powder in a mixing bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer, add eggs and vanilla, and beat well to combine, scrape down the sides of the mixer after ingredients are well combined.  Measure buttermilk, and wisk red food dye directly into buttermilk.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately pour the flour mix and the buttermilk mix into the mixer, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda, allow it to foam, and then quickly mix it into the cake batter.
Quickly portion the cake batter into the prepared pans and move to the preheated oven.  Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool for several hours before frosting them.  Use Cream Cheese Frosting to top them with.  You can cut the frosting recipe in 1/2 so you don't end up with a TON of frosting.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gluten Free Apple Turnovers

First Attempt:
I've had a box of Orgran gluten free puff pastry mix sitting in the cabinet for months now, waiting to be used.  While the weather was so hot, I didn't even want to think about playing with a temperamental dough that MUST be cold to function.  Just the last few days have been beautiful early fall days here in New York, which inspired me, I bought a small bag of apples at the store the other day and it all came together for me, apple turnovers.  We had a family dinner date tonight, and I almost always bring dessert, so it was perfect, Tim was home all day to take care of Ceci while I devoted my time to handling the puff pastry.  It took me about 4 hours total to make 8 turnovers, but they were worth it, and it was the first time I have ever made turnovers so I think there is a huge learning curve there.
Second Attempt:
The box comes with good instructions on it, I was able to follow them very easily, and come out with a beautiful dough.  I must admit that the first time I used the mix, I was pretty tired and used poor math to calculate the amount of butter needed for the mix.  Only half the butter made it into the dough and resulted in a rather tough end product.  The second time I made it I used the full correct amount of butter and they were much better tasting, crispy, crunchy on the outside and nice on the inside.  Both times I made them it looked like Frankenstein had tried to make the turnovers, but it didn't hurt the taste at all.  I would advise you eat them as soon as possible, as the dough does get tougher over time, but 30 seconds in the microwave and a little ice cream never hurt anything either right??

Again I will warn you they are A LOT of work, for only a few turnovers.  I did make mine pretty big, maybe next time I will chop my apples smaller so I can make smaller turnovers.

Box of mix, with instructions on the back
This is the box I purchased at the store.  The instructions on the back are good, but you should read them a few times to get a good understanding of what they are saying before you dive into the project.  It also offers a Vegan Option for making the dough on the box.

Gluten Free Apple Turnovers

1 Box of Orgran All Purpose Pastry Mix
2+1/4 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
8.2 oz Soda Water

2 Medium Apples diced small
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Cloves, ground
dash of salt

Mix Diced Apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a bowl and allow to rest while working the dough.

(Directions from back of Orgran Box)

1.  Cut 1 oz of butter into Pastry mix with pastry cutter

2.  Make a well and pour in the 8.2 oz of soda water

3.  Mix until well developed dough is formed.

4.  Cover dough and allow to rest for 10 min

5.  Roll out the dough to a rectangle shape so that it is 3 times as long as it is wide and approximately 1/4 inch thick.

6.  Thaw the 2 sticks of butter so it can be easily smeared over the dough, do not melt it, just soften it slightly.  (The instructions say to roll out the butter between two sheets of wax paper, I found this step really difficult and decided the second time around to soften the butter instead.)

7.  Smear the butter on 2/3 of the dough.

8.  Fold the remaining 1/3 of the dough over the butter and then fold again to completely cover the butter.  This is #1 half turn.

9.  Rotate the dough so the seam is on your right.  Repeat the folding process by rolling out the dough into a rectangle again.  This is now #2 half turn.

10.  Give the dough a total of 6 half turns.  cove and rest the pastry in the freezer for 15 minutes after every 2nd turn.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

After you have rolled out the dough for the last time, cut it into 8 equal squares (I still can't master this step, that's why mine are not pretty.)  Place a small amount of the apple mix in the middle of the square and fold one corner over to the opposite, on the diagonal.

Pinch the seam closed with fingers or a fork if you like, just make sure it is tightly sealed so the juices won't leak out.  Repeat until all 8 are made, placing them on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet after they are sealed.

Cut a few tiny slits in the top of each turn over to let steam out so they don't explode in the oven.  Place baking sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 20 min.

Allow to sit on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  You can eat them when they are still warm, just be careful not to burn your mouth.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

I got inspired by fall the other day and decided to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, it just seemed like the thing to do.   I found a small ziploc of pumpkin in the freezer (I have some stashed in there for making pumpkin scones) and figured I would mix it into the pancake mix somehow.  It wasn't to hard, just mixed the pumpkin into the liquids, and added some spices.    I couldn't have been happier with the result!  They were perfectly fall, with the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  The pumpkin gave them extra moisture, while making a delicious flavor.  With a bit of butter and syrup they made a fabulous treat on a fall morning.

I used Bob's Red Mill Pancake Mix that we had in the cabinet and followed the instructions on the package.  I just added the pumpkin and the spices, and cooked them up just like normal.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

1 Batch of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix (prepare according to instructions on package)
1/2 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
1     tsp Cinnamon (ground)
1/8  tsp Cloves (ground)
1/8  tsp Ginger (ground)

Mix up the pancakes according to the package and add in the pureed pumpkin and spices, and mix well.  You may need to add another tablespoon or two of milk to the batter to make the consistency nice and liquid-y.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter into a medium-hot non-stick pan and cook for about 3 minutes on one side, flip over and cook for another 2-3 min.  Cooking time may vary depending on your pan, and stove.  Cook until golden brown on the outside and cooked through the center.

Enjoy with butter and maple syrup, or any other delicious toppings you can think of!