food

172: Lazy Italian Wedding Soup

A couple of weekends ago, I was watching America’s Test Kitchen with E8. They made an amazing Italian Wedding soup* that he begged me to make for him. I really don’t have the time or energy to be making real meatballs so I came up with my own lazy version. It was really good, even though none of the kids would eat the kale (IT’S A SOUP WITH KALE WHY DID YOU ASK ME TO MAKE IT ARRRRGH!). Hubs and I quite liked it.

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1 package mild italian sausage
4 carrots, sliced
1 box chicken stock (I use the kind from Kitchen Basics.)
1 box beef stock
1 Tbsp Italian herbs (I use the Lighthouse freeze-dried herb blend. It’s delicious and almost as good as fresh herbs.)
2 cups quick cooking gluten-free pasta (I found Gefen macaroni in the local Publix. It was good, although it did thicken the soup.)
Kale (I used about 1/2 a bag of chopped kale from Trader Joe’s)

Remove the sausage from the casing and form into 1/2″ meatball shapes. Brown the meatballs in a few Tbsp of canola oil. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes. Pour in both of the broths and bring to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook until tender. Don’t forget to stir! Reduce the heat and add the kale. When it has wilted down, the soup is ready to eat.

This was really tasty, but I do wish the kids had done more than just pick out the sausage. :-\

*link may or may not be behind a registration wall

food · holiday cheer

This is the Best Goddamned Gluten/Dairy/Soy-Free Pie in the History of Pies

I have been trying, for the last few Thanksgivings, to find a decent pumpkin pie recipe that will work with all of our food allergies. I found a pretty good recipe for the filling, but an even serviceable pie crust has remained an elusive quarry, until now. The two recipes I riffed off of can be found here and here. Here’s my version:

Pie Crust (makes 2 9″ gluten/diary/soy-free pie crusts):

160 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (usually I use Bob’s Red Mill, but right now I have a mix I’ve been working with that has amaranth, sorghum, arrowroot starch, and potato starch. It worked great)

150 grams coconut flour

40 grams almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

168 grams (6 oz) coconut oil

50 grams sugar

63 grams beaten egg (for me this was 3 eggs with several spoonfuls removed)

Ice water

Combine the flours. You can use a sifter, or put them all in a bowl and whisk them together like I did. Then I whisked in the salt.

Cream the coconut oil and the sugar. I used my stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer or a spoon. Whatever works best for you.

Add the egg, and some of the flour, mixing to combine. Then add the remaining flour. Don’t forget to scrape your damn bowl!

What I ended up with at this point was exactly like gluten-full pie crust after you cut the fat into the flour. I split this crumbly mixture into 2 separate bowls (using my kitchen scale) and into each I added enough ice water (a little at a time) to form it into a ball. There is no reason you couldn’t do this before dividing it in half. Roll each half into a 9″ circle between sheets of plastic wrap and then move it to a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour. NO CHEATING.

When you’re ready, get your sheets of dough out of the refrigerator and, if they are stiff (mine were like planks), allow them to rest until they are pliable before transferring them to your pie plates. If you get any cracks, just pinch the edges back together. Prick with a fork before baking (something I almost always forget to do!)

Pumpkin Pie Filling (makes enough for one gluten/dairy/soy free-pie, double if you want to make 2)

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger (I use the dehydrated whole ginger root from here and grate it into the sugars with my Microplane.)

1/4 tsp nutmeg (I use whole nutmeg and grate it with the Microplane.)

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 15 oz can pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup canned coconut milk (I use the full fat kind, but “lite” will work fine too)

Preheat oven to 425°

Whisk together the sugars, spices, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla, and coconut milk. Mix on medium until smooth.

Pour into your prepared (unbaked) pie crusts and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. It will probably look a little wibbly-wobbly in the center, but it will set as it cools. Let it cool for at least 2 hours. NO CHEATING.

OMFG THIS PIE IS FUCKING AWESOME. This is the first gluten-free pie crust recipe I have found that actually works the same way as a gluten-full crust. I was able to roll it out and get it into the pan without it being too sticky and it didn’t crumble to dust when I cut and served the pie. I feel like I can actually make a covered pie now! I can make pocket pies! I am ridiculously, obscenely, excited. And the filling is AMAZEBALLS. Creamy, custardy, smooth, and perfectly pumpkiny. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

One final note, the egg in the pie crust makes it more susceptible to burning, so if you have (or can get) a pie crust shield, I highly recommend it. Or not. I mean. Pie crust that’s a bit dark on the edges never hurt anyone. Besides, you’re not fucking Martha Stewart so stop Instagraming that shit and eat it.

Although, to be fair, this photo is at least a little better than anything Martha Stewart took without a food stylist.

food · holiday cheer

Our First Gluten Free Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving since going gluten-free/dairy free/soy free, so planning the menu required a bit of research and creativity. Here are some post-Thanksgiving thoughts and notes for posterity. Sadly there are no pictures. The entire meal was devoured before the thought of taking out my camera even occurred to me.

  • The Turkey: This year, as last year, featured turkey from Trader Joe’s and gluten-free (at least according to their customer service) and delicious.
  • The Stuffing: Not technically “stuffing” since I didn’t cook it in the bird. I followed this recipe from Crockpot365. I will definitely do this recipe next year, but I think I’ll do all corn bread instead of a mix of corn bread and rice bread. I might also add some pecans and a couple of boiled eggs and possibly an apple.
  • The Potato Mash: Yukon Gold Potatoes + Hemp milk + Earth Balance (soy free) = delectable.
  • The Gravy: I followed these directions on Gluten Free Girl only instead of using the Earth Balance (soy free) like I should have, I used palm shortening. FYI: Do not, ever, use shortening (of any sort) for gravy. The flavor was okay, but the mouth feel was … odd.
  • The Cranberry Sauce: Since we are trying to avoid cane sugar, maple sugar, and molasses (on top of everything else), I tried this recipe, sweetening the berries with honey. Next year I will use more honey. Probably a lot more honey. My sauce was extremely sour.
  • The Pie: This one from eHow, only I used agave nectar in place of the sugar. It was just like a “regular” pumpkin pie, seriously. There was no difference in taste or mouth feel. It was absolutely wonderful. No whipped cream for us though. Luckily we didn’t need it.

All in all, it was a mostly successful dinner. Maybe next year I will remember that, even though the package says “never frozen”, there will still be a huge chunk of ice in the center of the bird which prevents the breast and everything below (and including) the wings from getting up to temperature at the same time. *sigh*

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, everyone! Now, I’m off to finish my NaNo. Only 4200 more words to go!