Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garlic-Dijon Roasted Potatoes

There are somethings that will never click in my brain no matter how hard I try. My wife has given up trying to explain to me the difference between the living room and the family room. I simply call it the TV room or the non TV room. My brain is equally unable to process portion sizes when dealing with potatoes. Why is it that a total of 3 baked potatoes is the perfect amount for my family of three, yet when making mashed potatoes, I find myself peeling a mountain of spuds? The same holds true for calculating how many potatoes equal 2 pounds for this recipe. I just scrubbed and chopped until 8 little red potatoes stared back at me.

Garlic-Dijon Roasted Potatoes:
2 pounds of red potatoes (I used 8 potatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1-1/2 tsp Herbes De Provence
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, turning once.

Chop the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well.

Place potatoes on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, turning once. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gluten Free Pizza

I thought I would turn the reigns over to my wife for a guest post about a subject close to her heart, Gluten Free Pizza. Here she is:
I hope I don’t disappoint any loyal fans of my husband, but I have decided to do a post!! Yes, the resident Celiac, who usually just gets to enjoy all of the wonderful cooking and baking done by my hubby, decided to “guest blog.” This post has been long overdue. Back in June, I stopped by a local pizza restaurant down the street from our home. I had heard that Bellagios Pizza now served gluten free pizza with many wonderful options. I had the opportunity to speak with the manager of our local Bellagios who gave me a great “look” into how they do pizza gluten free. The manager was also kind enough to let me take home a sample pizza to enjoy with my family for dinner that night. It did not disappoint!

For $13.00, you can enjoy a 10-inch pizza with a number of mouth-watering options. Some of these options include: Very Veggie, Margherita, BBQ Chicken, Mother Earth, Garlic Chicken, Pepperoni Plus, and Pesto Chicken. For a complete list of all of their customer favorites and a list of ingredients, check out Bellagios website and click on the Gluten Free link. Another option is to buy their Cheese gluten free pizza for $10.00 and then add your own choice of toppings for extra. I always like to try the combinations they create and I found Bellagios has plenty to choose from!

For dinner that night, I decided to try half a Bellagio Combo (mozzarella cheese, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, and green peppers) and half Garlic Chicken (mozzarella, chicken breast, garlic, feta, red onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, on a creamy garlic base sauce)….. yum!! They were both delicious. While my husband and I found the 10 inch pizza to be a little small to feed our family of three, we decided with a salad and/or another small side dish (or even a second pizza!), it would have been the perfect amount of food.

Bellagios was also kind enough to send me home with a sample of their frozen, gluten free, pizza crusts and pizza sauce. You can purchase this “Dough to Go” for $3.50 for one crust or $6.00 for two crusts. The crusts come with a single serving of their pizza sauce that (almost) covers the pizza crust (we added a little bit of our own sauce since we like a little extra).

(our homemade pizza on a Bellagio crust)
Bellagios has really done a great job of catering to the gluten free world with their pizza. It tastes (as much as I can remember) as close to “real” pizza as any I have tried and it also has that gourmet look and taste to it that I love. The gluten free pizzas are made in a dedicated gluten free area of their kitchen with the ingredients and utensils kept separate from their glutenous counterparts. I was very impressed with the knowledge the manager of this branch showed about the gluten free world of eating. I would highly recommend a stop by one of the 14 Bellagio Pizza branches in the Portland, Oregon area (with one in Vancouver, WA). If you do not have the good fortune of having a Bellagios near you, put in a good word on their website and maybe one will pop up in your neighborhood soon!

Thanks for letting me post! And now, back to the REAL blogger…

For my two cents, I'll say that Bellagios not only has great gluten free pizza, they also have great customer service with a friendly atmosphere. The staff also appears well versed in avoiding cross contamination. It's nice to have a great place nearby to enjoy pizza again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Delicious Disaster

Before I get started, let's get one thing straightened out. I can make others things besides dessert. Really, I can. But dessert is so fun! Butter and sugar dance in my head as I drift off to sleep at night. Unfortunately, butter and sugar also want to jiggle around my midsection during the day. It's a love/hate thing; I know you understand. Anyway, Cathy, over at Noble Pig has been tempting me with one snickerdoodle based concoction after another. I think it started with snickerdoodle muffins, then snickerdoodle ice cream, and finally, banana snickerdoodle cookies. Enough!!!! I surrender!!!! I set off to find a relatively easy recipe to convert to gluten free. The one I used had a great flavor, but tasted a bit more like a sugar cookie with cinnamon than a true snickerdoodle. Oh well, I'll just have to try another snickerdoodle recipe. In the meantime, these cookies are nothing to complain about. I did have a bit of an issue getting the cookies off the cookie sheet since I ran out of parchment paper.
Snickerdoodles (kind of):
4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick-softened)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup gluten free flour mix
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cinnamon Sugar Mix:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-9 minutes
Makes about 12 cookies
Start by creaming together butter, sugars, and salt. Mix in the egg. In a separate bowl, sift together gf flour, cornstarch, and baking soda. Add 1/3 of the flour mix at a time until thoroughly mixed in.
In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Scoop about a tablespoon of dough into your hand, roll in to a ball and roll through the cinnamon-sugar mix. The dough is very soft.

Lightly press on to a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake.

Here's my disaster! I ran out of parchment paper so I liberally greased my non stick cookie sheet. Despite this, every single cookie stuck to the pan and had to be scraped off.

When life hands you crumbled, gluten free snickerdoodles, make a snickerdoodle blizzard. We just mixed broken cookie pieces into vanilla ice cream. Crisis averted. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let The Party Begin!

The "What can I eat that's gluten free" theme this week is cool treats. Even with all the hot Oregon weather lately, I haven't made any cool treats. Instead, I'll refer you to one of my first posts about "Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate." (pictured above) This is the coolest of the cool treats. Thanks again to Cathy at Noble Pig for sharing this recipe.

Now, on to the Party. Yesterday was my wife's birthday. She was able to relax a bit during the day before the two of us went to a nearby outdoor concert featuring a local pianist and his band. A few days ago, I asked my wife what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday. She said "chocolate with vanilla frosting." I let that sink in for a minute and then I dragged her over to the computer. "What about this?" I said excitedly. "Or this?" "Or even this?" I was wide eyed and practically drooling at all the choices flashing before me on the Internet. I looked back at my wife. "What do you think?" She just shrugged her shoulders and said; "Can't you just buy one of Laurel's cake mixes at the store and top it with Pillsbury vanilla frosting?" Ok, if that's what you really want. So, I made a trip to the store and they were all out of Laurel's cake mix. Oh well. Instead, I had to make a cake from scratch. Before I give out this recipe, you may want to send small children or the elderly in frail health out of the room. Is the coast clear? It's just us now, right? Pssstt, this cake is not healthy for you. There is a ton of sugar, butter, chocolate, and calories. But hey, it's a birthday cake. A birthday comes around but once a year and by eating this cake, you'll prove to everyone that you have the strength to live another year. Besides, if cake were supposed to be good for you, it would be called broccoli, right? Here's the recipe:

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Ganache Filling:
3 cups brown sugar (just close your eyes and throw it in the bowl)
1 cup butter (2 sticks-softened)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-2/3 cup GF flour mix
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cup sour cream
1-1/3 cup boiling water
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pillsbury Vanilla -per request

Begin by creaming together brown sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly before adding vanilla. After the vanilla is added, mix on medium high speed for about 2-3 minutes to a light airy consistency.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: GF flour mix, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Alternate adding sour cream and dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Finally, add the boiling water and mix slowly, just until combined. Divide batter between 3 prepared 9 inch cake pans. Prepare cake pans by buttering and dusting with gf flour mix. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes. Mine baked for about 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 20-30 minutes before inverting onto a parchment lined baking sheet or cutting board. Place layers of the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Prepare the ganache by bringing the heavy cream, butter, and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Place chocolate chips in a metal bowl, pour hot cream mixture over the chips and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir up the ganache. Cool to at least room temperature if not a little cooler. The ganache will firm up as it cools.

Remove the cake layers from the freezer. Spread an even layer of ganache between each layer of cake. Spread a very thin, "crumb layer" of vanilla frosting on. The crumb layer is meant to hold together all the dark chocolate crumbs so they don't show through in the final frosting. Stick the whole thing back in the freezer for another 15 minutes.

The impatient, wild lioness stalks her prey waiting for the right moment to attack when no one is looking. On to the frosting. Remove the cake from the freezer and apply the final coating of frosting.

Pipe on some left over ganche. I am not a professional decorator by any stretch, my hands shake terribly. "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday where's a knife, a fork, and my plate?"

Here's to another year. Happy Birthday Honey!!!