Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy

I was really hoping to get this post done sooner. However, a sick wife, a three year old, and a broken clothes dryer have kept me busy. I did manage to fix the clothes dryer by myself(applause!!). I know, you're all amazed that I can cook and do appliance repairs. I will say that I am much better at cooking. I spent about three hours tearing the entire clothes dryer apart, cutting my hand, and finally figuring out what was broken. I realized that if I had known what I was doing, it should have taken me all but 15 minutes to fix the problem. I better stick to cooking.

I don't have a big background in cooking chicken fried steak. However, I found a good recipe to turn inexpensive cube steak into a great meal.
Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy
Inspired by Alton Brown, modified to be GF
2 pounds of cube steak (about 1/2 an inch thick)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup GF flour mix
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 tsp thyme Whisk together the salt, pepper, and flour. Here's where you can get a little creative to suite your taste. Feel free to season the flour as you like. I actually added a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of smoked paprika to my flour mix. Set up a little work area like the picture above. Spread the flour mix on a plate. Next, have a plate with the beaten eggs on it. Finally, have a large plate to hold the steaks.Here is the three step process to prep the steaks: Take each steak and dredge it through the flour on both sides. Next, dredge it through the egg on both sides. Go back to the flour mix and dredge it again on both sides. Repeat for each steak.
I used an electric skillet to cook my steak. Heat the oil in the skillet to 350-360 degrees. Cook the steaks for about 4-5 minutes per side or until done. Remove the steaks from the skillet and place on an oven proof plate. Put the steaks in a 250 degree oven just to stay warm while you make the gravy. To make the gravy: use 3-4 Tbs of the leftover dredging flour. Whisk the flour into the juices in the skillet. Add the chicken broth and whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add the milk and thyme, whisking until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, about 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. Pour the gravy over the steak and some mashed potatoes and you're all set for an inexpensive hearty dinner. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Well, Fall is certainly in the air and on the Internet. Pumpkin recipes are swirling around throughout the blogosphere. It's really a shame that pumpkin is relegated to such a brief window of time. We race to eat pumpkin bars, muffins, and pies until we burst and then pumpkin is tossed aside for the rest of the year. There is just something soothing and comforting about pumpkin as it ushers in the holiday season.

This year at the pumpkin patch, my daughter was interviewed by the local news. She was so excited to tell them about the big pumpkins she was picking.

All right, lets get down to the business at hand. If you haven't made the gluten free graham crackers that I gave you the recipe for this Summer; shame on you it's not too late. Oh, before I forget, I must give proper credit here. My wife made this cheesecake and took most of the pictures. I did help a little to make it and I've helped a lot to eat it.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
2-1/2 cups GF graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbs butter (1 stick softened)
24 ounces cream cheese (3-8oz packages, softened)
1-3/4 cup pumpkin (1-15oz can Libby's Pure Pumpkin)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 Tbs cornstarch
1-1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups sour cream (16oz, room temp)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes. Add topping and bake 5 more minutes. Allow to cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. After reading the post, my wife wanted to make sure it was clear that you leave the ring on the spring form pan until the cheesecake has cooled completely. Here is where I really helped. I pulsed the graham crackers in the food processor to make crumbs. Phew!!! I'm exhausted, my wife took over from here.
Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter. Press the mixture firmly in the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. It is also helpful to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper first.Mix together the pumpkin puree and cream cheese. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and evaporated milk. Next, add the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg; combine thoroughly. Pour the filling in to the pan over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until the edges are set but the center moves slightly.While the cheesecake is baking, combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla for the topping. After the cheesecake has baked for 55-60 minutes, remove it from the oven and spread the topping on evenly. Return the cheesecake to the oven for 5 more minutes to set the topping. Remove and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight to help set the filling. Finally, slice a piece of rich, creamy pumpkin cheesecake. I can't help myself, I had to top it off with a little whipped cream. It's not a necessary step, but hey, how can you go wrong with whipped cream on pumpkin? Enjoy over and over and over again!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Product Review- Eat Smart Food Scale

Normally I'm not a huge kitchen gadget person. I appreciate practical tools that I will use frequently. If I have a rarely used tool, chances are I will forget that I even have it for the once a year time I need it. Prior to receiving an Eat Smart Precision Pro Kitchen Scale to review, I wasn't sure that I would use a scale that much. In reality, I've been using my new scale on a regular basis. Not long ago I ranted a bit about not knowing how many potatoes equalled 2 pounds for a recipe I was making. Now I can easily measure precisely how much I need.

So many recipes I find these days call for exact amounts of ingredients in grams or ounces. The Eat Smart Precision Pro scale makes precise measurements a breeze. There are only two buttons on the scale. The one on the left turns the scale on and off. The left button is also used to "Tare" or "zero" the scale. The button on the right selects the unit of measure. The Eat Smart scale has 4 choices of measurement; grams, kilograms, ounces, or pounds. To begin, turn the scale on and place a bowl or pan on the scale. Push the "Tare" button to zero the scale. Next, select you unit of measurement and begin adding ingredients to the pan or bowl.

The Eat Smart Precision Pro scale is so versatile. I've used it for measuring chocolate in ounces rather than just guessing how much I need. My wife and I buy large packages of hamburger and can use the scale to weigh out specific amounts to vacuum seal and freeze. The Precision Pro scale also comes with a calorie counting guide with 15 pages of common foods and how many calories are in a gram of that particular food so you can calculate your caloric intake. For example, raw pineapple has .50 calories per gram. Just weigh your pineapple chunks in grams and multiply the weight in grams by .50 to see how many calories you are eating. It's really pretty cool.
Here are some highlights about the scale:
The scale itself is very sleek and compact and weighs about half a pound.
The scale has a max weighing capacity of 11 pounds.
The scale comes with batteries and a 2 year warranty against defects.
Something I really like is how fast the scale works. There is no lag time when switching between units of measure or when weighing food.
The scale is reasonably priced; around $25 at .
I've used this scale quite a bit over the last month and I can honestly say that I haven't found any drawbacks to it. This is no useless gadget. I definitely think you should pick one up today if you do not already own a scale. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gluten Free Meatloaf

I think everyone has their own spin on meatloaf. I have tasted many meatloaf combinations over the years in the fire department. Some have been flavorless and dry while others have been overly spicy and dripping with grease. In my opinion, my wife's meatloaf recipe (yes, she cooks once every couple months) really has a great balance of flavor and moisture. The biggest hurdle in creating gluten free meatloaf is finding gluten free bread crumbs. If we have them on hand we use Kinnikinnick bread crumbs. Otherwise, we will take a couple pieces of Whole Foods GF Sandwich Bread, pulse them in the food processor, then lightly toast on a baking sheet.
Gluten Free Meatloaf:
1-1/2 pounds ground beef (we use 7% fat beef)
1/2 of a medium onion (coarsely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1/2 cup dry GF bread crumbs
1 egg
4 Tbs Ketchup divided (2 Tbs in the mixture, 2 Tbs on top)
3/4 cup of milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes - 1 hour
Start by pulsing the onion in a food processor to mince it. Next, simply add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. My wife like to use a 9 inch round baking dish for cooking the meatloaf. She makes a little hole in the middle to collect any grease that does come out of the meat. I guess it's more like a meat donut than a meat loaf. Maybe I should go back and change my title. Nah!!! Anyway, spread the remaining 2 Tbs of ketchup on top and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After removing the meatloaf from the oven, use a turkey baster or spoon to remove the grease from the hole in the center.

All that is left to do is slice it up and serve. Top with a little more ketchup if you like. Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Always in Season

It's getting much cooler here in the Portland area. Although we have had quite a few sunny days lately. The Autumn rustic and hearty meals are making their way to the table. And, as luck would have it, I've caught my first cold of the season. I think I'm on the road to recovery but I've been trying to take it easy over the last week. One thing that is in season year round in my house is chocolate.

I take my daughter to the library once in a while. While I'm there I cruise through some cookbooks looking for inspiration. A few weeks ago I checked out a book called; Ultimate Chocolate. I promptly went home, made an incredible dessert from the book, took a couple pictures, and about a week later sat down to write a post about it. Everything was going great until I realized that I had returned the book to the library without writing down the recipe. I had a chance to go back to the library a couple days ago and find the book again. So I present to you:

(the picture above is from the book)

Mocha Roulade:
from the book:Ultimate Chocolate
4 oz (125g) semisweet chocolate
2 oz (60g) bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbs water
2 Tbs brandy (I omitted this)
5 eggs (separated)
3/4 cup (180g) superfine sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbs boiling water
1-1/4 cup (300ml) heavy cream
1 tsp superfine sugar
Melt 2-3 oz of semisweet chocolate and pour on to parchment paper in a thin layer. Allow to cool and then cut into triangles.

Start by melting both chocolates, water, and brandy (if using) together in a double boiler. set aside to cool.
Next, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale. Fold in the melted chocolate. Add the pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until stiff. Fold the egg whites in to the chocolate/egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined jelly roll sheet pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with waxed paper and a damp cloth. Cool for several hours.

For the filling: Dissolve the espresso powder in 1 Tbs of boiling water. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Finally, fold in the espresso and sugar.

Turn the roulade cake out on to a powdered sugar dusted sheet of parchment paper. Set aside 3-4 Tbs of filling to pipe on top of the finished roulade. Spread the remainder of the filling over the roulade cake. Roll the roulade it a long roll. Top with remaining filling and chocolate triangles. Perfect for any season. Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vanilla Extract Update

I've received hundreds of emails and phone calls begging me to update everyone on the progress of my homemade gluten free vanilla extract. I just can't take it any more. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Drum roll please....................... Oh! Fine!!!! No one has inquired about the extract, not even my own wife. Sheesh!!! I won't let that stop me from this little update. Here is what I started with on July 31st.

Here we are today. Just over two months later the extract is really taking shape and turning a beautiful amber color. Have I mentioned that I'm horribly impatient? Three plus months to wait for this stuff seems like an eternity. I am proud of myself though. I no longer hover over the jar like a mother hen waiting for her chick to hatch. The first few days were rough on me. I think I checked on the extract every 15 minutes to see if it was ready. Now I can make it for a couple days without picking it up and wondering when I can sample my vanilla goodness. Enjoy!!!