Gluten Free Empanadas

 

Empanadas

We took a trip to Puerto Rico this weekend in our kitchen with beef empanadas, beans and rice and a plantain puree.  The food was really delicious.  I was especially pleased with how well this gluten-free dough held together.  The dough is made with a little white wine, but don’t worry the alcohol cooks out before you make the dough.   I can see this dough recipe being used to make apple cinnamon empanadas in the future.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry white wine (e.g., Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not, nondairy substitute is fine)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, place the wine, water, butter and shortening and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is simmering (about 3 to 4 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and dump in the flour and xanthan gum. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together (it will happen quickly). Add the milk/cream by the tablespoonful, and knead into the dough until it is smooth.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead until fairly smooth. Do NOT flour the kneading surface.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for an hour. This is an important step.
  4. After the dough has rested, roll until it is about ⅛-inch thick (the width of a nickel), and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or smaller or larger, if you prefer) to cut into rounds.

Notes

Bean flour blends are not true all-purpose gluten-free flours. Pamela’s baking mix and Pamela’s bread mix are not all-purpose gluten-free flours, nor were they meant to be. They have all sorts of additional ingredients, like baking powder, baking soda and sugar, and then yeast and sugar, respectively. Yes, you really do need the wine for flavor. It’s worth opening a bottle.

Fill with your favorite filling.  Our beef filling recipe is below.

Empanada Filling
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Oil or shortening, for frying

Aioli Dip:
1/2 cup real mayonnaise, such as Kraft
1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce
Juice of 1/4 lime

For the empanada filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and garlic salt and cook until the beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and set the beef aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, seasoned salt, garlic, bell peppers and onions. Cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beef and let them love each other with fire over low heat for about 5 more minutes. The mixture should be moist but not dripping wet. Now you are ready to fill the empanadas.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

For the aioli dip: Mix together the mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lime juice. (The flavor will enhance if it sits in the refrigerator.)

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Bacon & Broccoli Rice Bowl

bacon

I made this simple asian style rice bowl a few weeks ago and now I’m addicted.  What’s better than rice, broccoli and bacon all combined into a delicious bowl topped with an fried egg over easy?  Not much in my book.  This dish is quick to put together and makes a great lunch or dinner option for those days when you need something easy.

Ingredients
2 cups white rice
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 head broccoli, florets cut into pieces, stems peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 large eggs
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos

 
Directions
Place the rice in a medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook 12 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots. Add 3/4 cup water and simmer until the broccoli is crisp-tender and only a few tablespoons of water remain, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Divide the rice and broccoli among bowls and drizzle with the pan juices.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, season with salt and fry as desired. Place an egg in each bowl and top with the bacon, cilantro, scallions and pickled jalapenos.  Serve with additional soy sauce as needed.

Orange Chicken

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Ready for some delicious gluten free take out?  I’ve got a great chinese recipe that I came across that is so yummy you’ll never miss the gluten.  You’ll get a little messy making this dish in the kitchen, but the flavor is well worth the mess.  Serve this with some steamed rice and you are all set.

Ingredients:

  •  2lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper
  • oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chill pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Orange Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used San-J Gluten Free Soy Sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • Mix ingredients for orange sauce in a small bowl and set aside.  Place chicken pieces in large bowl and stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil.  Mix well.  Stir cornstarch and flour together and add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.  Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or dutch oven to 375 degrees.  Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp.  Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside. Clean wok or dutch oven and heat 15 seconds over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil and then add ginger and garlic.  Stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds.  Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions. Add white wine vinegar and stir 3 seconds.  Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken then heat until sauce is thickened.  Stir in sesame oil and orange zest if desired.

Stinky Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Raclette

 

I made two versions of scalloped potatoes for Easter.  One was the normal cheddar cheese variety and the other was a fancier scalloped potatoes using a cheese I had never heard of that didn’t smell all that great.  We called it “stinky cheese.”  Adults and children agreed that the best potatoes were the “stinky cheese” variety so I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

Ingredients
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 clove garlic
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/3 cup shredded raclette cheese (I found it at Whole Foods)
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 fresh bay leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large skillet with butter, then rub with the garlic. Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the shredded cheese blend, and pepper to taste. Arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the cream over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves; simmer 3 minutes. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.

Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter; slide the potatoes into the dish; arrange with a fork, if desired. (If your skillet is ovenproof, you can skip this step and bake the potatoes in the skillet.)

Sprinkle the potatoes with the parmesan and the remaining shredded cheese blend. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Discard the bay leaves.

Japanese Cheesecake

 

Japanese cheesecake

If you are like me you may not have heard of Japanese cheesecake before.  I certainly had not discovered this little gem until recently.  I came across a recipe while scouring the internet looking for gluten-free desserts.  This cake is naturally gluten-free and is kind of like a cross between pound cake and cheesecake.  It’s a little effort to make, but it is totally worth it.  I made mine in a loaf pan, but you could also use a springform pan.  I had to convert all the measurements from the metric system , but it turned out very yummy.  This is best made one day ahead of time and then eaten on the second day.

Ingredients:

10.5 oz cream cheese

3.15 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1.5 Tablespoons of granulated sugar

2.5 tsp cornstarch

2/3 c milk

3 egg whites

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Cut some parchment paper slightly larger than the pan you are using and line your pan with it.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Put egg whites in the freezer so they just begin to freeze around the edges.  Sift the cornstarch.  If your cream cheese is not softened wrap in plastic wrap and microwave for 15 sec intervals until it is soft to the touch.  In a large bowl melt the butter over a double boiler and then add cream cheese.  Whisk well to combine.  In a second bowl combine egg yolks and 1.5 T sugar and then mix in the cornstarch.   Heat the milk so it comes to a boil and then slowly add to the egg yolk mixture until it thickens over the double boiler.  Add egg yolk mixture to cream cheese and combine well.

Add a small amount of remaining 4T of sugar to egg whites and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Gradually add remaining sugar to egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to your cream cheese mixture and combine.  Fold remaining meringue into cream cheese mixture and then fill pan.  Smooth the top of your cake mixture and put pan inside a roasting pan.  Add boiling water to roasting pan until it comes about a half inch up the loaf or springform pan you are using.  Bake for 15 minutes and then lower your oven temp to 320F and bake for 25 more minutes.  Turn off your oven and leave cake in oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour.  The top should be slightly browned.  Let cake cool in pan and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before removing from the pan.

I served mine with a blueberry sauce and some fresh whipped cream.

Berry Merry Christmas Cocktail

Berry Merry Xmas2

I’ve been trying out various holiday cocktail recipes and this one was the winner in our household.  It is slightly sweet, tart and the kind of drink where you don’t really notice there is liquor in it until you’ve had a few.  I garnished mine with a few frozen cranberries and pomegranate seeds in the martini glasses.  I think when I serve them for Christmas I will rim the glasses with something green so they look really festive.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ingredients:

1 oz pomegranate juice

1/2 oz vodka or vanilla vodka

1/2 oz triple sec

1/2 oz peach schnapps

1 oz cranberry juice

 

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and serve on the rocks or make a big pitcher.

 

 

Autumn Potato Gratin

Potato gratin

 

I continue to try out new side dishes recipes before Christmas and this one has definitely been added to the menu.  Autumn may be almost gone, but Rachel Ray’s potato dish is creamy, rich and mouthwatering.  I love using the baby potatoes and savory herbs to create this spud masterpiece.  We cleaned our plates in no time with this one…enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds mixed baby potatoes, such as Red Bliss, Peruvian Purples, and Fingerlings
  • 2 cups heavy cream, plus some to cover
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 sprigs each fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Halve the potatoes and toss them into a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, put the cream, butter, herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, to infuse the cream with flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the hot cream mixture through a strainer over the potatoes, (discard the herbs and garlic), if there is not enough cream to go 3/4 of the way up the potatoes then pour some additional cream on top to make up the difference. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and top begins to brown. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sauteed Carrots with Dill

 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We took a little trip to New York City so that our kids could experience the Macy’s Parade in person.  This was something I’ve had on my bucket list for a few years and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do it.  We did lots of touristy stuff while in the city, but I have to admit I did miss cooking all of the Thanksgiving goodies this year.  To make up for it I’ll be cooking up a storm for Christmas Day with ham, deep fried turkey and lots of side dishes and desserts.  I’m testing out some new side dish recipes before the big day and this one courtesy of  The Barefoot Contessa was easy and delicious so I thought I would share it with you.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 coin slices

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill (or you could use flat-leaf parsley also)

1/3 c water

In a large saute pan combine water, carrots, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over medium low heat for 7-8 minutes until carrots are tender.  Add the butter and saute for another minute until water has evaporated and butter has melted.  Toss in the dill and stir to combine.  Taste to see if any additional salt and pepper should be added.

 

Ham and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I’m a big fan of goat cheese.  It’s an acquired taste, but one that I happen to enjoy a lot.  I found a recipe online using country ham and goat cheese and then you stuffed that under crunchy chicken skin and I was sold.  You can use different herbs than what I used and if you don’t like goat cheese try a cream cheese or some other cheese and let me know how it turned out.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts with bone and skin

3 ounces of country ham, diced

1T chopped sage (you could also try thyme or rosemary)

2 T olive oil

4 oz softened goat cheese

1T lemon juice

salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.  Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add olive oil.  Saute diced ham for 4-5 minutes until brown.  Remove ham with a slotted spoon and drain.  Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and then brown in same olive oil on all sides.  Combine goat cheese and herbs in a small bowl and then add lemon juice.  Remove chicken from oil and drain.  Allow oil to cook for a few minutes and then add the oil and any brown bits in the pan to the goat cheese mixture.   Stir to combine and then add some pepper.  Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and stuff goat cheese mixture under the skin.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the temperature has reached 165F.

Beef Stroganoff


 

I really like beef stroganoff, but have yet to find any gluten-free egg noodles so I use gluten-free penne pasta for this dish.  This recipe has a little different sauce than what I’ve made in the past with the addition of tarragon and a little nutmeg.  I really liked the flavor and it’s one of those recipes that doesn’t take too long to throw everything together.  It helps to cut the thin strips of beef by freezing the meat for 20 minutes first.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 pound of top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry tarragon or 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup of sour cream at room temperature

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.

In the same pan, melt another 3 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.

Reduce the heat to low and add sour cream to the mushrooms.  You may want to add a tablespoon or two of beef broth or water to thin out your sauce slightly.  Mix the sour cream in thoroughly, but do not let it come to a simmer or a boil.  Stir in the beef and shallots.  Adjust salt and pepper to your taste and serve over pasta, potatoes or rice.