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.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

I hope everyone enjoyed their St. Patricks Day.  I made some really yummy dishes.  Two of them are certainly blog-worthy.  This is the dessert I served and if you love the flavor of coffee you can enjoy this cupcake year round.  The only thing I did differently was I added some homemade chocolate buttercream around the top of the cupcake and put the whipped cream topping in the middle.  I thought the chocolate addition would be a tasty added treat.

 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons good Irish Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder – use divided
½ cup white rice flour (preferably finely milled)
¼ cup sweet rice flour (preferably finely milled)
¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup ½ half and half, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar (add more to taste if needed)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder. Stir in the whiskey and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add half the flour mixture, then the half and half and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Blend until almost all the flour is mixed in. Add the vanilla and mix. With a large spatula, finish mixing the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then spoon coffee whiskey mixture over cupcakes.  Let cool completely for 30 minutes and then whip cream with 2 tsp of sugar to swirl on top.

 

**This is the chocolate buttercream recipe I used from Savory Sweet Life**

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

 

Butternut Squash Risotto

I have always wanted to make this version of a risotto, but was afraid that both my children and my husband would not like it.  I forged ahead anyway and was very pleased when all three of them pronounced that they enjoyed it.  Score one for vegetables!  I don’t think my son even realized there were veggies in this dish.  He thought it was just a cheesy rice dish and I’ll never tell 🙂

Ingredients

Bring 1 quart stock plus 1 cup water to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat to low.

Heat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat with olive oil. When oil ripples, add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and cook it out completely, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle in stock in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 18 minutes, total, from the first addition of liquid. Defrost the squash in your microwave in a dish to collect any liquids and stir in squash the last 3 minutes of cook time, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. In the last minute of cooking time, stir in butter in small pieces, sage leaves and cheese.

Cajun Meatloaf

This recipe was modifed from The Pioneer Woman and converted to gluten-free.  The result was a tangy meatloaf that will knock your socks off.  This is not your run of the mill, ordinary meatloaf.  This loaf is packed with cajun flavors that will have you thinking you have been transported down to New Orleans.  I served mine with a twice baked potato and green beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  whole Bell Peppers (red, green, yellow or orange will do)
  • 1 whole Medium Onions
  • 3 ribs of Celery
  • 4-5 cloves Of Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Optional: A Few Shakes Of Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup Ketchup, Divided
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • ½ – 1 cup GF breadcrumbs ( I used about 3 slices of Udi’s GF bread that was frozen and crumbled in a food processor)
  • 1 pounds Of Lean Ground Beef 
  • 1/2 pound Ground Pork
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoons Honey

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop all of the fresh vegetables (peppers, onions, celery) into a small dice and mince the garlic. Over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted, add the diced vegetables and garlic. Add about 1 teaspoon salt.

After these have cooked for a few minutes add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you like it hot, add a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Next add about ½ cup of ketchup. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

After allowing the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes, add about ½ cup of milk. Stir until combined. Next add at least 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Continue adding breadcrumbs and stirring until mixture is a nice, thick paste.

In a large mixing bowl place the ground beef and pork. Whisk 3 eggs and add to the meat. After allowing the pasty vegetable mixture to cool down a bit, begin incorporating it into the meat. Keep working all of the Cajun-Vegetable mix into the meat until all is blended well.

Spray a sheet pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Next, using your hands, form your meat mixture into a loaf on the sheet pan. Make the loaf around 6-8 inches wide and about 1 ½ inches thick.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together ¾ cup of ketchup with about 2 tablespoons honey. Slather this sauce over the whole meatloaf.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Easy Parsnip Fries

I’ll confess.  Sometimes I enjoy watching Martha Stewart.  I know she may not be that likeable, but the woman knows how to cook and decorate.  I find her magazine to be filled with beautiful recipes and projects, but some of them are a bit on the complex side.  Today I bring you a simple recipe from Martha Stewart for parsnip fries.  Okay, another confession.  I had never eaten a parsnip before making this recipe so I wasn’t sure what was in store.  I found the flavor to be a cross between a carrot and a turnip.  I happen to like both so I thought these were pretty yummy. 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds medium parsnips

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Trim tops and bottoms of parsnips, peel and slice crosswise in half to separate wide and narrow portions.  Cut into equal size pieces about 3-4 inches long.   Preheat oven to 450F.  Toss parsnips with olive oil on two baking sheets.  Season liberally with salt and pepper and spread out into one layer.  Roast for about 25 minutes tossing halfway through cooking time.

These are a healthier snack for a party or a different side dish to have with lunch or dinner.  Enjoy!

I’m in love with a spice…Cardamom Banana Muffins!

Cardamom!  Where have you been all my life?  Until about a year ago I had no experience with this amazing spice used frequently in Indian cooking.  One whiff of it’s powerful floral aroma and I was hooked!  If you have never tried this spice before I highly encourage you to do so…..you won’t be disappointed.  Be careful with cardamom though….a little goes a long way.  Here’s my recipe for gluten-free banana cardamom muffins to get you started:

1 3/4 c gluten free all purpose flour mix

1 c brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/3 c melted butter or margarine

1/2 c buttermilk

1 jar banana baby food (weird ingredient, I know…..but try it)

1 large egg

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

2 large bananas mashed

Preheat oven to 375F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.  In a medium bowl, whisk butter, buttermilk, baby food, mashed bananas, egg and vanilla.  Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until no streaks remain.  Using an ice cream scoop divide batter evenly into muffin cups filling about 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow muffins to cool before serving.

Trust me your house will be filled with a warm, delicious aroma every time!

What is your favorite spice?