Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Firehouse Boneless Pork Ribs

In addition to helping people throughout the day, a firefighter's second priority at work usually revolves around food. Meal times in the fire station are a bonding experience and a time to share stories. A firefighter I worked with a couple of years ago made the most incredible boneless pork ribs accompanied by a side of homemade macaroni and cheese that was out of this world. He didn't follow a recipe, just a dash of this and and a splash of that. I've tried to recreate his version at home. I know I'm close but it's not exactly the same. Aside from boneless ribs being an oxymoron, they are very flavorful, lean, and fairly inexpensive. Here is my version of the firehouse boneless pork ribs (also known as country-style ribs.)

Firehouse Boneless Pork Ribs
3-4 pounds lean boneless pork ribs
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is GF)
1/4 cup GF soy sauce
1/4 GF BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's which is GF)
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp red pepper flake (optional if you like a little heat)
Bake in a 275 degree F oven for 2-1/2 - 3 hoursCombine all the ingredients in a 9x13 baking dish, putting the meat in last. Turn the meat once so both sides have been covered in the liquid. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake at 275 degrees F. Check after 2-1/2 hours. The meat should be tender and fall apart easily.
Serve with any number of side dishes. I served mine with pureed cauliflower, seasoned with butter, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. We had plenty of meat leftover, so I shredded it and made tacos with it the next day. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shun Knife- Product Review

A few months ago I was given a chef’s knife from KAI USA to review. KAI USA is the company behind several knife brands including Kershaw Knives and Shun Cutlery. In my fire department, nearly everyone I know carries a Kershaw brand pocket knife. They are well known for their durability and sharpness. I was curious to see how this same durability and sharpness translated into a kitchen knife. I received a Shun Elite 8 inch chef’s knife back in June. It would have been easy to cut a tomato or an apple in half and then sit and write a review extolling the virtues of this new sharp knife. The truth is, I would expect the cheapest, flimsiest, knife to be sharp straight out of the package. I have to say, after using this knife for awhile now, the Shun Elite knife is in a class by itself. I own a mismatch of several knives including Wustof and Cutco brands. They are great knives, however, over last couple of months the Shun Chef’s knife has been my "go to" blade of choice. Is it sharp? Of course; but it’s more than that. The weight and balance of the knife make it very comfortable and easy to work with. I feel like I have total control when I have this knife in my hand.
Do you see this little notch between the blade and the handle? With your hand there, it gives the knife stability and control like no other knife I've ever used.
Shun takes a unique approach to knife making by layering high carbon steel resulting in a "super steel" which allows it to be sharpened at a sharper angle than most knives. The construction of the blade ensures not only sharpness, but durability, and blade strength as well. Shun knives tend to be priced a bit higher than your average knife. However, I can tell you from the moment I first used this knife, I knew it was no average kitchen knife. With proper care, a Shun knife can not only last a lifetime but it can surely be passed on to the next generation of aspiring kitchen chefs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chipotle Braised Chicken with Herbed Coriander Rice

Before starting this blog, I never realized how much I cycled through the same meals month after month. I tried new dishes now and then but for the most part I made the same few dishes over and over. In order to keep things fresh and new for my blog I am constantly looking at new recipes. I love trying new things and expanding my horizons. This week I found a recipe for Chipotle Braised Chicken with a side of Warm Herbed Coriander Rice Salad. Both recipes are unique with very flavorful ingredients. I have to say that as good as the chipotle chicken was, the herbed rice salad stole the show for me. The texture and mix of flavors was outstanding. Let's put this together for dinner tonight.
Chipotle Braised Chicken:
from gourmet.com
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 bay leaf
1-1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1-1/2 Tbs olive oil
3 pounds chicken breasts or parts
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 cup water
1 Tbs lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Start by cooking onion, garlic, salt, and bay leaf in butter and 1/2 Tbs oil over medium heat until onion begins to brown; about 10 minutes.
Next, remove onion mix from the pan and set it aside on a plate. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. I used a whole chicken, broken down, but chicken breasts would be great as well. Brown the chicken in 1 Tbs of oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Set browned chicken aside on a plate.
Discard all but 2 Tbs of fat from the pan. Return the onion mixture to the pan and add 1 tsp of chipotle powder. Stir together for 1 minute. Next, stir in 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Lay browned chicken pieces on top of the chipotle/onion mix. Cover with a lid or foil and cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes, turning the chicken once. Finally, remove the cooked chicken and onions from the pan with a slotted spoon. Skim off and discard fat from the sauce. Turn up the heat and boil the sauce until slightly thickened. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, then spoon sauce over the chicken before serving.
Warm Herbed Coriander Rice Salad:
from gourmet.com
1 cup long-grain brown basmati rice
1-3/4 cup water
3 Tbs vegetable oil -divided
1 tsp salt -divided
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs coriander seeds (slightly crushed)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (slightly crushed)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large or 2 medium zucchini (cubed in to 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup chopped herbs such as cilantro, parsley, and mint
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans (toasted and coarsely chopped)

Begin by toasting pecans on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree F oven for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant, set aside. Next, bring rice and water to a boil with 1 Tbs oil and 1/2 tsp salt in a 2 qt heavy saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat for about 50 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes, then transfer the rice to a shallow baking dish or bowl to cool slightly.
Prepare the zucchini and crush the coriander and cumin seeds while the rice is cooking. I placed the coriander and cumin in a zip lock bag and crushed them slightly with a rolling pin. Use powdered cumin and coriander if you don't have whole seeds. While the rice is standing off the heat for 10 minutes, cook coriander and cumin seeds in 2 Tbs of oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add garlic, zucchini, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender yet still crisp, about 5-7 minutes.Finally, toss zucchini mixture with rice, herbs, lemon juice, and pecans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now you're ready to dig in to a hearty and delicious meal. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gluten Free Eclairs

I've always thought of myself as a pretty laid back, easy going person. However, parenthood and gluten free baking have altered that sense of calm and patience in my life. Prior to my daughter being born, when my wife and I realized that we were having girl, I thought to myself, "No problem, I can play princess and girly games, no big deal." Three plus years later, my patience for playing with My Little Ponies lasts for a good solid two minutes before I am bored to death and seeking an escape. The same is true for baking. I scoff when a recipe tells me to cool completely before moving on to the next step. Isn't that the point of baking, to eat something that is HOT and fresh out of the oven? My laid back former self evaporates more and more the deeper I dive into gluten free cuisine. It's as if I'm being told that I can't do something and I'm out to disprove it. Every recipe for baked goods tells me; "You can't do it, it's not meant to be gluten free." I dig in and say; "Yes, I can." This leads me to today's little victory over gluten, Eclairs.
from the book: Ultimate Cake by Barbara Maher, modified to be gluten free
Creme Patissiere:
This is the custard-like filling (make at least 2 hours in advance)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (275 ml) milk (I used 1%)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp superfine sugar
1-1/2 tbsp gf flour mix
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp heavy cream
2/3 cup (90ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Choux Pastry:
This is the Eclair pastry
1 cup (125g) gf flour mix
pinch of salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups (312.5ml) water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, pierce bottom of each pastry and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4 ounces (125g) semisweet chocolate (melted)
Start by making the Creme Patissiere. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Sift the gf flour and cornstarch over the egg yolk mixture, beat together until smooth. In a small pan, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the boiling milk over the egg yolk mixture and mix carefully for about 30 seconds. Pour the milk, egg mix back into the sauce pan and return to a boil, stirring vigorously. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring, until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and 3 tbsp of heavy cream.

Pour into a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface. Let the custard cool for about ten minutes and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Prior to filling the Eclairs, whip the remaining cream (2/3 cup) and 2 tbsp of sugar together until the cream has soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the creme patissiere custard until smooth.

Now on to the Eclair dough, or Choux Pastry. In a small bowl, sift together the gf flour, salt, and sugar, set aside. In another bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs, set aside. Place the butter and water in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil, remove from the heat and add the flour mix. Return to the heat and beat rapidly into a smooth, glossy paste that rolls cleanly off the side of the pan (pictured above).

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and mix until fairly smooth. The dough may have a few small lumps.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a cooking sheet by spraying with nonstick cooking spray, then run the baking sheet under cold water. Drain off excess water but the pan should be slightly wet. Place the batter in a pastry bag with a plain round tip. Here is a great video about making a pastry bag with parchment paper. This is what I used. I just cut a large opening in my parchment pastry bag and didn't use a tip. Pipe batter on to the baking sheet in rounds or elongated Eclair shapes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, mine baked for 16 minutes. Next, pierce the bottom of each pastry with a toothpick and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes.

Finally, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or double boiler. Slice the pastry in half and pipe in the Creme Patissiere. Top with melted chocolate. Eat and toast another victory over gluten. And, in the wise words of my daughter taking her first bite, "Daddy, these are good for people....[long pause]......, but not for birds." Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

This week I decided to try a hamburger bun recipe from Linda at the Gluten Free Homemaker. Please follow the link for the recipe. The buns were pretty easy to make. There's nothing like a fresh, warm hamburger bun to really enhance the flavor of your burger.
There's a little gelatin in the recipe which give the buns a great soft, spongy feel.
All that's left to do is pile on your favorite ingredients. Don't forget the bacon. Thanks Linda for a great recipe. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Not Yet!

I know, I'm right there with you. It's tempting to flick off the lights and close the door on Summer. School is back in session, the sky is offering up more gray clouds than puffy white ones, and all the great seasonal fruit is withering away. It's nearly time to dust off the hearty soup and chowder recipes from their Summer sabbatical. Almost, but NOT YET! Work with me here, this is an interactive post. Get up from your computer right now. Go pull 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge to soften up. Don't argue, just go. Wait! Wait! Wait! While you're there, set out 5 eggs and dig way in the back for a package with about 6 ounces of cream cheese. Everything needs to be room temperature. OK go, I'll wait........... Are you back? Did you even get up? For those of you who got up, you're one step closer to an incredible gluten free masterpiece. For those that did not get up, well, maybe the gloominess of Fall has already taken you over.

Some recipes have the power to lift me up out of my chair and force me to run amble out to the kitchen to see if I have all the ingredients to make right away. This recipe was one of those and it did not disappoint. Here's one more chance to hold onto Summer's fresh fruit bounty. So what is this amazing recipe you ask?

Gluten Free Blueberry-Lime Bundt Cake
inspired by Jen at Use Real Butter but adapted to be gluten free
8 ounces butter (2 sticks softened)
2-1/3 cups GF flour mix
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp lime zest
6 ounces cream cheese (softened)
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
2-1/2 cups blueberries (room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

Let's throw this masterpiece together. Start by placing the granulated sugar and lime zest in a food processor and pulse for 10-20 seconds

Here's where some of you may be ahead of the game. Take all that room temperature butter and cream cheese and mix it together for about a minute. Next add the lime-sugar and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk to the butter/sugar mix one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the GF flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mix into the mixer. Finally, stir the blueberries into the batter.

Prepare a 12 cup Bundt cake pan by greasing with butter and flouring with GF flour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.

The glaze is easy, mix the lime juice into the powdered sugar. Here's where I struggle. You're supposed to let the cake cool completely before applying the glaze. Seriously, how can I possibly wait for this thing to cool completely? I don't have that much patience.

All that's left to do is dig in. By the way, if you happen to top your piece of cake with fresh whipped cream, you may just take it to a whole new level. Enjoy responsibly!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gluten Free Caramelized Onion Dip

The theme for "What can I eat that's gluten Free?" this week is appetizers. I don't typically make many appetizers. However, occasions always arise that warrant an easy pre-meal snack. I first made this dip around Thanksgiving and Christmas last year to enjoy while all the other food was being prepared. I love the simplicity of this caramelized onion dip and the flavor is incredible.
Caramelized Onion Dip:
1 medium to large onion
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage or 1 finely chopped fresh sage leaf
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Begin by slicing the onion thin and then quarter the slices. Heat butter or oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and sage. Cover the pan and cook for 20-30 minutes stirring about every 10 minutes. The idea is to slowly caramelize the onions, don't allow them really sizzle and saute.
The onions will begin turning a caramel brown and they will become translucent.

Allow the onions to cool. Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Add the onions and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The flavors really come together after resting for a couple hours. This can also be made the day before. Grab some chips, dip, and relax. Enjoy!!!