Friday, February 26, 2010

Gluten Free Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwich

I was just looking back through my blog the other day when I realized that I have been at this for a year now. February 24th is when I started my little venture into blogging. At the time I didn't know what to expect. I thought it would be cool if one or two people stumbled across my site. The first comment I received was from Kim at Gluten Free Green Mommy. The next few comments came from Lori at Living Chronically, Cathy at Noble Pig, and Linda at The Gluten Free Homemaker. I really want to thank you four. Your positive comments and feedback gave me the motivation to keep posting with the realization that, yes people really are reading my blog.
Now let's get to this sandwich. I am a very visual person. When I look at recipes I love to see pictures of what it is that I'm trying to make. I've passed by many cookbooks that are all words and no photos. I'm sure they may have some great recipes, but I need to see what I'm making. This sandwich was featured smack-dab on the front cover of last months Bon Appetit magazine. Gooey melty cheese, crisp toasty bread, and perfectly browned short ribs. There it was just staring at me. Of course it wasn't meant to be gluten free, but that has never really stopped me. I have always wanted to try short ribs and this seemed like a perfect excuse to do so.
Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches:
from Bon Appetit, modified to be GF
Serves 8 with the full recipe. I made half but I'll give you the full recipe here.
Short Ribs:
5 pounds beef short ribs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup low-salt beef broth
1/3 cup medium-dry Sherry
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 large fresh thyme sprig
Pickled Caramelized Onions:
1 tablespoon butter
2 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Butter, room temperature
16 slices gf sandwich bread (We use Whole Foods brand)
8 slices Monterey Jack cheese (I used Colby Jack cheese)
2 cups baby arugula (I used Romaine lettuce)
For the ribs, sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Working in two batches, brown the ribs on all sides then transfer to a plate. Next, saute the celery, onion, and carrot until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, broth, Sherry, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, scraping up all the browned bits. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Return the ribs to the pot, propping them up on their side in a single layer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, turn the ribs over. Cover and continue cooking for 1-1/2 hours. After the ribs are done cooking, remove them from the pot. Trip off excess fat and remove them from the bone. Cut the meat into 3/4-1 inch pieces.
While the ribs are cooking, prepare the caramelized pickled onions. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and saute until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes-stir frequently. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook until most of the vinegar is absorbed, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
To make your sandwich, butter two sides of bread. Add the cheese, meat, onions, and arugula. (I used Romaine lettuce) Top with the other slice of bread and grill until crisp and the cheese is melted.
Crispy, gooey, and hearty. Everything a sandwich ought to be. Enjoy!!!
I almost forgot. This beautiful blue Dutch oven that I cooked my ribs in came from Margo at Off The Wheaten Path. She had a contest a few months back and I won. This was my first time using it. Thanks again Margo, I love it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gluten Free Smoky Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I really can't believe I haven't shared this recipe with you yet. Yes, it's hard to believe that I eat salads on occasion, not just desserts. When I am craving salad, I love fresh salad dressing from scratch. Most salad dressings are easier to whip up than you may realize. The freshness and flavor of homemade dressing is unbeatable by the bottled stuff. I found this recipe last year on one of my favorite blogs; Noble Pig. The key addition to this smooth, creamy, buttermilk ranch is a little smoked paprika. The smoked paprika adds such a unique touch to this amazing salad dressing.
Smoky Buttermilk Ranch:
from Noble Pig
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons fresh chives
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of Salt
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the buttermilk. Whisk in the buttermilk, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Prepare your favorite greens and top with your homemade smoky buttermilk ranch. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Pudding

When was the last time you made chocolate pudding that didn't involve a box of brown powder? I have tried a few scratch pudding recipes over the years and they all seem overly complicated. So, I often default to the boxed mixes also. There's no shame in it. Convenience is often king. I have to tell you though. I found a simple homemade recipe for you to try out. The pudding is smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of chocolate.
Chocolate Pudding:
from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk (I used 1% milk)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a double boiler (a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water)mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Next, whisk in the milk.
Stir frequently for 10-15 minutes. The milk mixture will thicken up and begin to coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate.
Continue stirring for 3-4 minutes until the chocolate is completely melted and mixed into the milk. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour the pudding into small ramekins or serving dishes. To prevent a skin from forming on top, cover with plastic wrap by pressing the wrap down on top of the pudding. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Top with a little whipped cream and enjoy your victory over powdered pudding mix.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Prana / Boomi Bar- Product Review

Several weeks ago I received a free sample Prana Bar and a Boomi Bar from Divine Food Products to review. I opened the package, pulled out the two sample bars, looked them over, and set them down. I nearly forgot about them. I think subconsciously I was apprehensive about trying them. Sure, I like to try new things and I like to spread the word about quality products to the GF community. I have tried several "power bars" in the past, both gf and non gf. What always bothers me is that I feel that they try to pack too much into one thing. Too many vitamins, too much protein, too much whatever. Or they try to be all things to all people. Usually this comes at the price of sacrificing flavor or texture. When I saw the packaging for the Prana Bar, I had some similar feelings. The Prana Bar is: Soy Free, has No Sugar Added, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Vegan. In my mind this all added up to a little tasteless rectangle of chewy cardboard. Before I even got around to trying these bars, I had already decided that I would not like them and this would be a difficult review. For crying out loud, I still don't even know what Acai is or why I would want to eat it.
Well, I did finally get around to trying the Boomi Bar. I took my first bite. I must say, all my apprehension and skeptisim faded away instantly. The Apricot Cashew Boomi Bar turned out to be really good. The apricot flavor was wonderful and the cashews and crisped rice added a nice crunch. The Boomi Bar contains one full serving of fruit and only has about 190 calories. I could easily see myself picking up a few of these to have on hand for a quick snack or to pack with me when I take my daughter to the Zoo for the day. After trying the Boomi Bar, I was much more open to trying the Prana Bar. Again, I was surprised. The flavors were well balanced and the texture was great. I love coconut and I was happy that a nice straight forward coconut flavor came through without being offset by the other ingredients. Despite my initial, unfounded apprehensions, I really enjoyed both of these energy bars. I have no problem recommending that you seek these out for yourself. You might be just as surprised as I was. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gluten Free Breakfast Casserole

This week's theme for What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free is casseroles. I love the idea of throwing a few ingredients together and popping it in the oven for a simple meal. However, I rarely make casseroles. I didn't really grow up eating many casserole dishes, except for the occasional pot luck where the casseroles seemed to be more mystery than good eating. I am hoping to pick up some new and fresh ideas over at The Gluten Free Homemaker this week. For my contribution, I made a recipe that I got from my mother-in-law a few years back. This breakfast casserole is so simple and for my small family can serve us for a few days. It's also perfect for Easter and other family get togethers that involve breakfast or brunch.
Breakfast Casserole:
1/2 pound of meat (Bacon, Sausage, Ham, or a combination of any)
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup green bell pepper (Chopped)
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1/2 cup water
1 package (about 16 ounces) fresh hash brown potatoes or frozen hash browns-thawed
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dill weed
Baking Directions:
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes Begin by cooking the bacon, sausage, or any other meat of your choice. Cut the meat into bite size pieces. While the meat is cooking, chop the onion and green pepper, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the 12 eggs, milk, water, salt, pepper, and dill weed. Add the meat, hash browns, cheese, onion, and pepper to the egg mix. Combine thoroughly.
Pour the whole mix into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread the mixture around in the baking dish to even it out. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool for a couple minutes before serving. The hash browns do a great job of holding this casserole together. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!!!