Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Holiday Treat Recipes!

OK, I don't have pictures for you yet, but I wanted to point you in the direction of some great holiday recipes I'm pulling out this year --some of these are tried and true and some are new ventures, so I hope you enjoy!

Peppermint Meringues: This recipe from Bon Apetit was forwarded to me by my mom and I'm going to be whipping them together this afternoon. The recipe is fairly straightforward and it makes a large quantity (approx. 60 per recipe).

Stained Glass Windows: This was a childhood staple for me during the holidays --for gluten-free and gluten-eating alike. I'm a sucker for the chocolate combo, so these are always good in my book. And with just five ingredients (I usually leave out the nuts), they're ridiculously easy to make!

Crisp Coconut Chocolate Pie: I made this first for Thanksgiving last month. It worked so well and was so delicious (and a little bit rich) that I just have to make it again for Christmas. Again with the chocolate-coconut combo. This time I am trying it with coconut milk instead of heavy cream - fingers crossed that it actually works!

Poached Apples: I fell in love with poached pears earlier this year. (Seriously, if you're in the Cleveland area and haven't tried the poached pear with creme anglaise at Sasa Matsu, you need to go!). When I got three (ginormous!) delicious Jonagold apples with my CSA order this week (OK, there were actually four, but with peanut butter in the house the fourth one did not last long...), I wasn't sure what I would do with them, especially with no gluten-free flour, oats, or pie crusts... And then it struck me: poached apples. Poached. Apples. Yes, yes, and yes.

For more gluten-free recipes and ideas, follow my gluten-free board on Pinterest!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Recipe Conversion - Egg Casserole

Growing up, egg casserole was a holiday tradition in my house. We'd all wake up on Christmas morning, open presents and then sit down to breakfast of cinnamon rolls (yeah, still haven't figured out gluten-free for that...) and egg casserole. Fluffy, cheesy, savory, egg casserole was always amazing.

When I went gluten-free I didn't even really think about how much I'd miss this until the holidays hit and then I remembered. Egg casserole is essentially a savory bread pudding. Yeah, there's that word: BREAD.  In the ten years since I first went gluten-free, the market has exploded with some great options for us GFree eaters and that includes bread, so after a long sabbatical, I decided to try to recreate my mother's egg casserole. This recipe below (which I pretty much eye-balled) filled an oval pan about 8x12".

6 Slices of Gluten-Free Bread (I used Whole Foods' Sandwich Bread), cubed
6 eggs
2/3 cup of milk
1 pound of gluten-free sausage (I used Bob Evans' original)
2 Tablespoons of yellow mustard
4-8 oz. of cheddar cheese (depending on how much you want)
Some nutmeg (not a huge amount, just enough to add some zip)

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Alrighty, so first things first: Brown the sausage and break it up into smaller bits (about bite-sized), next toss your bread cubes into the pan. I like to toss them with the sausage for flavor.  Layer the sausage/bread mixture in the pan with cheese throughout.

Beat your eggs and add the milk and mustard to them, mixing well. If you want to use Nutmeg you can also add it at this point.  (If you are making this ahead of time, i.e., overnight, you may want to add an extra cup or so of milk). Pour the egg mixture over the bread and press the bread down with a fork so it's all coated. It's totally alright if some edges stick up though because this will be crisp deliciousness later. Spread the remaining cheese on top and pop in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes until brown on top and the middle is set. Mine took about 45 minutes and it came out wonderfully.

Serve hot! Or, do what I did and divide portions up into individual servings for packed breakfasts. Going to try to freeze it and see if it will be okay, but that remains to be seen so far.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. I know I did! For a (not-very-good-quality-cell-phone-)picture, see my tweet from last night. I will be posting the photos here eventually, but it won't be immeediately.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Baking

Thanks to the holidays, I have been baking a lot more than I usually do (which is pretty much not-at-all). My experiences with gluten-free baking in the past have not been all that great. To be honest, there's a bit of a love-hate relationship between me and gluten-free baked goods. "Love" when someone else makes it and "hate" when I do. Also,  I have to contend with not only being gluten-free, but also being yeast-free as well --double whammy!

Anyway, this holiday season, I decided I would plan ahead and make my own gluten-free treats to take to holiday parties so that I wouldn't just go and have to watch everyone eat all the delicious food. I'll be trying to post more recipes as I go, but here's a synopsis of my current holiday favorites (which actually isn't all baking, but oh well!):

1) Chocolate Coconut Pie - Found this recipe on Pinterest and was surprised to see that it was a) relatively easy and b) completely gluten-free without any modifications whatsoever. I made two of these for Thanksgiving and I was pretty happy with the results. I will say that I'd like to try my hand at making this recipe a little lighter since it was so incredibly rich. Also, the crust was a little difficult to cut if you weren't careful.

2) Bob's Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix - I actually tossed these together last night after I got home from work. They were really quite simple and delicious, but (as with most gluten-free items) a bit on the dry and crumbly side. It may be heresy to do this to shortbread, but I'm thinking about adding a thin frosting (maybe a lemon glaze?) on top to add a little zing. Also, I found out last night that I don't own a rolling pin. I might need to remedy that. Last night I was rolling out cookies with the salt container...

3) Lastly, pumpkin pancakes! Yes, I know. It's not baking. BUT it was a fantastic holiday morning treat (especially after completing my first ever Turkey Trot). I modified Katie's recipe to toss out some delicious pumpkin pancakes that were just about perfect. They were a little too cakey for my taste, but future modifications can remedy that.

Happy Holiday and good luck on your gluten-free holiday baking adventures!