Friday, February 20, 2009

Family Meals for Feb 23-28

So I know this is really early compared to other posts, but someone just suggested a dinner on my GF recipe swap group that I must make next week and I didn't want to forget. So this is what I am planning -- subject to change, of course.

M - Salisbury Steak, buttered noodles & veggie (doesn't that sound yummy!)
T - White Chili & (hopefully) cornbread
W - Shepherd's Pie -- I have Activity Days and I can prepare this ahead of time, now just to do it.
T - Pigs in a Blanket -- Some friends and I swap our weekly menus and this was on a friends menu a few weeks back and it sounds so good now.
F - Fondue Night (I think) with cheese, broth/oil and chocolate courses -- we have a tentative Fondue night planned with two other families. We did this several weeks ago with one of the families and had such an enjoyable time we are doing it again and adding another family that loves fondue. I will make the cheese dish so it is GF and then we will remove some and place it in a soup thermos for my daughter to dip into. We will do this also for the chocolate dish. Then again, I might just invest in a Crockpot Little Dipper.
S - Leftovers

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mini 3-layer Carrot Cake

A few years back I bought The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. When I was looking through it at the store I found a recipe for a 3-layer Carrot Cake that looked divine. Basically, no raisins, and it had coconut, pineapple, & pecans with a buttermilk glaze & cream cheese frosting. Your mouth is watering already, I know. This has become a favorite dessert of ours, however, we generally only make it when company comes or when we have a party since it is so rich that we shouldn't eat the whole thing (even though we could & have). This is my husband's favorite treat after Banana Cream Pie and he wants it all the time so I thought I could make it for Valentine's. Well Friday turned out to be a bad pregnancy day so no cake. So I decided to make it for today and invite company over to share.

Before my daughter was diagnosed with Celiacs it was also one of her favorite desserts and I have kept saying (for the past 2 years) I am going to make a GF version. However, she doesn't need a 9" 3-layer cake and, frankly, I wasn't going to try it out and find out it didn't work on a cake that size. Added to this, my MIL gave us the beautiful small cake stand the cake is pictured with above that I have tried to figure out how to use outside of just putting a cupcake in it. So I have been looking for small cake pans that I could adapt the recipe and make a smaller version with not much luck. My sister recently suggested Ramekins and I thought that was brilliant, however, I haven't bought them yet so I baked the cake in an 11"x7" pan and then cut the "layers" out using one of those disposable baby bowls as a guide. Anyway, the cake turned out delicious and moist, and honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between the two. So here is the newly adapted Carrot Cake. This makes an approx 3-layer 4"-5" cake. I have a few notes, denoted with an asterisks with a few extra hints, including high-altitude directions I found I had to use when we moved to the mountains and a suggestion of what to do with the leftover pieces if you cut "layers" from an 11"x7" pan.

Carrot Cake Supreme
adapted from a recipe in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook This is 1/3 of the recipe so if you want a 9" cake you would 3x's the recipe.

2/3 C GF Flour blend (I used rice)
1/2 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/8 tsp salt
heaping 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
heaping 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 large egg
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C buttermilk*
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C grated carrot**
1/3 of an 8-oz can crushed pineapple, drained (approx 1/2 C in a drained can)
1/2 C flaked coconut
1/3 C chopped pecans
Buttermilk Glaze (recipe below)
Rich Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

1. Grease 3 ramekins or an 11x7 baking dish. Line with wax paper. Lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set aside.
2. Stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum* together. Beat eggs with sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk*, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
3. Bake at 350-degrees for 25 to 30 minutes for and 11x7 pan and for ramekins I would try 15-20 but keep an eye on them*** or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

4. While the cake is baking make the Buttermilk Glaze (recipe below). Once the cake is out of the oven, drizzle the warm glaze evenly over warm cake layers; cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, inverting layers. Peel off wax paper; invert again (a plate is useful for this) glaze side up. Some of the cake will most likely stick to whatever you use to invert the cake back right side up unless you grease it and even then a little might stick still. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. If using an 11x7 pan cut 3 circles from the cake using a small bowl or a piece of paper cut to the size you need to get 3 "layers". Refrigerate extra layers. ****

6. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. You will want to do a "crumb coat" if you are using cut circles as opposed to ramekins. Chill the crumb coat for about 30 minutes to an hour and frost the rest of the way.

Chill cake several hours before slicing (I usually make this the day before it will be served). Store in refrigerator or if it is winter and it is cold enough, in the garage.

*I use dry buttermilk, and use 1 Tbsp dry buttermilk added with dry ingredients then 1/4 C water
**I grate them finely and then the carrots just melt into the cake. A little hint: If you want to you can grate a lot of carrots and freeze them in the right amount for the cake. Then when you want to make the cake you just pull the bag out of the freezer, allow it to defrost (warm water from the sink over the bag works great) then make the cake. If you freeze them as a thin layer instead of a glob they will defrost faster.
***We are at a high altitude and when we moved here from the South the cake always fell. So after some experimentation I found if I simply raised the temperature to 375-degrees and then cooked the regular cake for 15-20 minutes minutes it cake out perfect. I used the same amount of time to cook the 11x7 pan and if I had ramekins I would try 10-15 and check it when it smells like cake. I have to admit this is my best way of telling when a cake or bread is done.
****I am thinking the extra would make a great Trifle. Just add Cheesecake pudding. YUM! I am buying some tomorrow!

Buttermilk Glaze
1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 T buttermilk*
2 1/2 T butter or margarine
1/3 T light corn syrup
1/3 tsp vanilla

Bring sugar, soda, buttermilk, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan (it bubbles a lot) over medium heat. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly until glaze is golden.

Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla (I often forget the vanilla). Cool slightly.

*If using dried buttermilk, mix the powder with the sugar before adding it to the other ingredients.

Rich Cream Cheese Frosting
5-oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz butter, softened
1 2/3 C powdered sugar, sifted (I never sift --too much work)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter together at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. If you really like nuts, you can add chopped pecans to the frosting.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frito Pie

Short story to go with this recipe. About 20 years ago my maternal Grandfather was very ill. He was eventually diagnosed with stomach cancer and given 1 month to live. The doctor didn't feel very comfortable with the decision since they couldn't find the cancer, but the symptoms all seemed to point in that direction. That night our extended family fasted and prayed for for my Grandfather and the doctor spent the night reading medical journals looking for a better answer. While searching he found an article on Celiac Disease and suggested testing my Grandfather for it. It came back positive and Grandpa was only the 300 and some odd person diagnosed in the country. As a result, all our family learned about being Gluten-Free, which at that time meant eating dry crumbly bread, cake, cookies, no pasta, and very few other choices. When the family all got together my Grandmother would make Frito Pie, a GF food that was something that we could all enjoy and quickly became a true family favorite. 20 years later my Grandfather is as relatively healthy as a person in their 80's could be and my daughter was diagnosed quickly because of our knowledge of the disease. As we were learning about what it meant to eat GF one thing I knew was we could have Frito Pie and our family loved it (they already loved it before so we weren't giving it up). So here is the recipe that is, to some extent, the beginning of my understanding of how to cook yummy GF food.

Frito Pie
1 T oil/butter (optional)
1 lb hamburger or 1 can black beans, drained*
1 C chopped onion*
1-2 cloves garlic, minced*
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 1/2 tomato sauce cans of water
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
Pepper, to taste
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2/3 cup uncooked rice
Frito Chips
Taco Toppings (cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, etc.)

In a large pot heat oil and brown hamburger, onion, & garlic*. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, covered, until rice is cooked, 35-45 minutes. Top with crushed Frito chips and taco toppings.

*If using just Black beans only cook onion & garlic in oil then add beans with the rest of the ingredients. Sometimes when I double the recipe I will do 1 lb hamburger & 1 can black beans.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Menu for Feb 9-14

So I'm in a better cooking mood but not much. I swear this pregnancy is going to kill me -- Or at least cripple me. Oh, yeah, already does that most days. :) Anyway, this is the plan.

M - Frito Pie
T - Taking my MIL out to eat
W - Crockpot pork roast or something else in the crockpot-- we have class party, parent-teacher conferences, and book club.
Th - Pasta and Rosemary Bread. I am hoping to get a GF version made as well. I will post the recipe if that happens
F - Valentine's Date - kids get leftovers
S - German Pancakes

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Menu for the week

So I am having a "Why do I have come up with something and then cook it every night" week. I am so NOT in the mood to cook. I know, whine, whine, whine. That said this is what we are having -- I think.

Mon -- Tacos
Tues -- Shepherd's Pie, I'm going to attempt in the crockpot. I am too tired to cook now, I know it will only be worse by tonight. Don't you love pregnancy!
Wed -- 4 Cheese Pasta Bake, I have some cottage cheese that froze in the back of the freezer so it has a weird texture. I am hoping baking it will solve the problem.
Thurs -- Going out, the kids will get leftovers or quesadillas
Fri -- Chicken Adobo based on a Filipino friend's recipe that I love, but I am going to do it in a crockpot. I think it should work. The Crockpot Lady has a Chicken Adobo on her site, but I am sticking with the one I already love!


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