Archive for Appetizers

Mar
03

Soft, Warm Pretzels Gluten-Free!

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That’s right! For this month’s Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, I made gluten-free soft, warm pretzels. I saw the recipe on Flour Arrangements, a blog full of wonderful recipes posted by Sophie. I love her blog name: It just seems so appropriate for someone baking lots of gluten-free treats, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I probably have a dozen different gluten-free flours in my pantry. I’m always impressed by the big, beautiful photos on Sophie’s site. They always make my mouth water. And when I saw her post for these pretzels, I immediately thought of the buttery, gluten smell of the hot soft pretzels at the mall. You know the ones I’m talking about. I just had to give her recipe a try.

So how were they? Good. Really good. But perhaps not perfect because I think I erred a little bit. I tried my best to follow the recipe exactly, but did have to make a couple substitutions. I did use teff flour and almond meal as instructed for the high-protein flour. But, I had to substitute brown rice flour for the white rice flour. I didn’t realize I was out of white rice flour. (Actually, I think I quit buying it.)

Another problem I had, the recipe calls for 1-1/4 tsp of yeast. When I tried to proof it, nothing happened. So, I added another teaspoon of yeast to the mixture. That seemed to do the trick. Now for the big mistake: I put the dough into the warm oven to rise, but I didn’t cover the bowl. Oops! By the time I got the dough out, it hadn’t really risen much. And, the surface of the dough got a little dry and crusty in spots. But, I was determined to make it work. So, I got it out and worked with it a little and pressed on. I didn’t find the dough to be very sticky at all. Perhaps it got too dry in the oven. But, I actually found it to be fairly easy to roll it out and shape into pretzels.

The baking soda and water mixture was a lot more than I needed to brush on the pretzels. But, it is definitely necessary for the taste and texture of the crust of the pretzel. As the pretzels came out of the oven (Oh, what a wonderful smell!), I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled a mixture of coarse Kosher salt and coarse sea salt on them. The flavor is just what you would expect for the pretzels. The texture was good, too, however I would prefer a lighter, airier pretzel. I think the combination of letting the dough dry out in the oven and then kneading the dough probably deflated the necessary air pockets from the dough.

I was hoping to get a chance to make another batch of pretzels before posting this, but I ran out of time. I will definitely make these again! Even with the denser dough product, these were really good. The flavor was right-on and they were soft and tender. Even the next day, they still tasted good. My husband heated one up in the toaster oven two days later and said it was still good.

So for my next batch, I will use 2-1/4 tsp yeast and cover the dough before putting into the oven to rise. I would also say that for the baking soda solution, you can use 1/2 cup hot water with 1 tsp baking soda. That should be more than enough to brush onto the pretzels. And, my husband would say, “Don’t forget the mustard!” I prefer mine plain, with just a little salt.

My thanks to Sea at The Book of Yum for creating this fun and productive blog carnival. It’s great motivation to learn about some fellow gluten-free bloggers, and try some new gluten-free recipes. Thanks also to Thomas of The GFCF Experience for hosting the event this month. And, thanks to Sophie for sharing so many wonderful gluten-free recipes. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates your tasty recipes!

Notable Links:

Categories : Appetizers, Breads, Recipes
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Jan
30

Better Burgers Gluten Free

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We eat hamburgers in my house almost weekly. It’s my daughter’s dinner request every night. Most nights we eat them just as patties, no bun. Sometimes we buy some frozen gluten-free rolls or buns at the grocery store. But a couple weeks ago I decided to try something new and exciting. Earlier this month I saw two great-looking recipes on Gluten Free Gobsmacked: Cheese Bread Rolls (aka Pao de chejo and Chebe bread) and Jalapeño-Popper Dip. They looked like a great way to change up our hamburger dinners.

And, since Book of Yum is hosting another Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger this month, I decided to use those two recipes to share with you. I’m happy to share my good results with you, and introduce a gluten-free blogger you may not have checked out yet. Gluten Free Gobsmacked is a blog that has been around for a while. Like so many other celiacs, the author Kate suffered years of illness and health problems before finally being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She began the website as a way to share recipes and connect with family and friends. And the rest of us out here in cyber land have gotten to benefit from her knowledge and recipes. I certainly enjoyed them this month.

The Cheese Bread was so much easier to make than I thought it would be. It really was fairly quick to mix up and bake in the oven (maybe 30 minutes total). In my attempt to make it, I followed the recipe as close as I could. For the cheese I used about 2/3 cup shredded cheddar, 2/3 cup shredded provolone, and 2/3 grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses. For the herbs I used finely chopped fresh chives and dried dill. Because I was hoping to use these as hamburger buns, I made them a little larger and flattened them a little more than Kate did in her post. I was able to make nine of them with the recipe, and baked them on a Silicone Baking Mat for about 10  minutes. They smelled fabulous and tasted just as good. My husband ate one of the rolls as they were cooling down on racks. He said he was just going to have a taste, but it was so good had to finish it off. :) The very airy texture of them worked well as hamburger buns. They don’t rise or expand much during baking, so make them the size and shape you want them before baking. We used two rolls for each hamburger. We also found that they stayed fresh on the counter (in a sealed container) for a couple days. To eat them with dinner later that week, we just popped them into the toaster oven to warm them up. We will definitely make these again!

So, to make our hamburger night even better, I also made Kate’s Jalapeño-Popper Dip. This recipe I didn’t follow as strictly as I should have, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients and had to make some adjustments. I didn’t have the Pasilla Chile Powder, so I used 2 tsp of Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder. I also didn’t have dried green onion, so instead finely chopped up a few fresh green onions. We really enjoyed the fresh onion flavor. It was delicious. It works great as a dip, but I thought it was so good I slathered a thick layer of it on my burger. Not that’s a better burger! :) I had a lot of the dip leftover, so since then I’ve also used it on steamed vegetables. It was great and would make a great dip to make for a Super Bowl Party, too!

Related Links:

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Sep
02

Avocado Salsa

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This naturally gluten-free recipe has been a family favorite for years. You may call it avocado dip or even avocado pico de gallo, but my family lovingly calls it “Ugly Dip.” Why ugly you ask? I’m not sure, but someone must have thought it was ugly at one time.  This dip is best after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle. Of course, if left too long the pretty green and yellow avocado may start to turn brown. Maybe that’s where the “ugly” title got started. I’ve found that the vinegar in the recipe helps keep it all looking and tasting fresh for at least 24 hours if sealed tight in a plastic container.

It makes a perfect appetizer for a party. Make it the night before, or the morning before the party. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, seal tightly and place in the refrigerator. A couple hours later, take it out and serve with some tortilla chips.

So, here’s another reason why I love this dip so much: You don’t have to wait for the avocado to be perfectly ripe. This tastes great with an almost ripe avocado. (You know, it has a dark skin, but it’s still firm — not really soft enough for guacamole.) So next time you think about making guacamole, but the avocados are too firm, try this instead. You won’t be disappointed.

Avocado Salsa (aka. Ugly Dip) Recipe

Ingredients:

1 firm avocado, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped black olives
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped green chiles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Additional Notes:

  • IMG_4313xThis is a mild dip. It has good flavor, but isn’t spicy. If you prefer something with a little more kick, add one or two finely chopped jalapeños.
  • This is also great served as a pico de gallo. Consider adding it to tacos, salads, or fajitas. Or, as I did here, on top of Cilantro Rice, slow-cooked Mexican Chicken, and shredded cheddar.

Related Links:

More gluten-free appetizer recipes at The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?
More gluten-free Super Bowl Party Foods at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
For football party ideas, check out Celebrate-It!

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Aug
28

Kids Make Fruit Kabobs

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IMG_4270xI love to get the kids in the kitchen and have them help prepare meals. Well… that’s what I like to say. But honestly, when dinnertime comes around, I’m often rushing around to get it done. Instead of finding something the kids can do, I’m often scooting them out the kitchen, out of my way. With our summer activities finally slowing down this week, we were able to take our time and make something together. We decided to make something that’s always a kid favorite: Fruit Kabobs!

Fruit kabobs are a great activity for kids. You can use almost any fruit, they are in bite-size pieces, and the kids can put it together themselves (or with minimal help, depending on their ages). Melon is a perfect fruit to use on the kabobs because it is so easy to cut. I did the big cuts, and removed the rind from the fruit with the big, sharp knife. But then the kids could use a butter knife to easily cut the melon into bite-size pieces. They thought it was great. We had a cantaloupe, but watermelon and honey dew would be good additions. You can see from the picture that we used strawberries and grapes, too. Go ahead and use up whatever you have in the house. Of course, some fruit turns brown quickly, so if you’re making them in advance you’d probably want to avoid those.

Cutting the fruit. If your kids are older, consider letting them cut the fruit themselves with Rachael Ray’s Young Cooks Cutting Set. If they’re younger you could cut the fruit yourself, and just let the kids put the pieces on the sticks. If your kids are somewhere in between, consider letting them use butter knives or plastic knives.

The Sticks. You can use a variety of sticks for skewering the fruit: toothpicks, bamboo skewers, coffee stirs, small skinny straws, or even chopsticks. But my favorite is plastic swizzle sticks, or Drink Stirrers. They are just the right size, not too sharp, and colorful.

Good for kids and the family. This activity encourages kids to help out in the kitchen. Kids feel good about what they created. They get to pick the fruit they want, and then eat it! With the kids going back to school soon, I’m also thinking this activity is great for helping kids build fine motor skills.

Now that I got the kids back in the kitchen, I’m hoping to continue it more often. So, when I sit down to plan our meals for next week, I’m going to include one or two items that the kids can help prepare. Planning in advance will allow me to schedule around after-school activities and give us plenty of time to get it done. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly recipes, or maybe a little more inspiration, check out these online posts and articles:

Gluten-Free Kids in the Kitchen

Getting Your Children to Cook

Happy Kitchen Jam Tarts (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Kids in the Kitchen: Spaghetti and (Gluten-Free) Meatballs

Stir Fry Kid Style

Other Online articles about Kids in the Kitchen:

Benefits of Cooking with Kids

Cooking with Kids Teaches About Simple Snacks

Dads and Kids Cooking Together

Why Invite Your Kids Into The Kitchen?

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Cantaloupe is the theme ingredient this week for Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. So check it out for more gluten-free recipes with cantaloupe.

Aug
07

Corn and Black Bean Salad

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Here’s another quick and easy recipe that’s great to make for parties, especially a Mexican fiesta. Everyone will love the fresh flavors and the bright colors. You can serve it as a dip with corn or tortilla chips, but I think it’s best as a side salad. It’s also great added to Southwestern Chicken Salads, rice bowls and even as a filler in tacos. I’ve made this salad with several variations. Here’s what I put in it the last time I made it:

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Corn and Black Bean Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

4 Cups (about 16 oz.) frozen whole kernel corn
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 Cup (about 4 – 6) green onions, sliced
1/4 Cup red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 2-3 fresh limes
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped and added right before serving

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the tomato.
  2. Cover and chill the salad for a couple hours or even overnight.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir gently right before serving.

Additional Notes:

  • Adding the tomatoes right before serving, prevents the salad from getting too watery and the tomatoes from getting mushy.
  • If you don’t want to bother with adding the tomatoes at the end: chop up a sweet red pepper instead and mix it in with all the other ingredients before you chill it.

For more gluten-free recipes with onions, check out this week’s Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

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