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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Apple Crumble…add sweetness to your winter!

I went to visit a good friend today. We had a very nice time, chatting about life and things we have in common. She cooked lunch for the two of us and it was delicious! For dessert, she made an Apple Crisp — she said she’s been craving one for over a week now! (Me, too!) It was so sweet and juicy, with that little bit of crunch on top. It was the perfect way to end the meal.

This reminded me of a recipe I have for Gluten-free Apple Crumble. In the middle of winter when everything is either white or dirty brown (especially in Maine), it’s hard to remember the other seasons and their bounty of ripe, colorful fruit. I’m grateful to be able to get fresh apples that still taste good at this time of the year!

Here’s to winter wherever you are, add a little apple sweetness to your table.

Enjoy!

Apple Crumble (Gluten-free)

Crumb crust/topping:

1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup Pamelas’s Gluten-free Baking and Pancake Mix

1 stick butter, softened

Filling:

4 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons Pamela’s Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish. For the crust — in a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar and ½ cup Pamela’s mix; stir to combine. Cut butter into oats mixture and blend well. For the filling — in a large bowl combine fruit, spices, sugar and Pamela’s mix; toss with a spoon to coat well. Pour fruit mixture into the greased dish. Spoon oats mixture on top of fruit and spread evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Desserts

 

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Gluten-free rolls, best texture so far…Schär!

My husband LOVES bread and sandwiches, so when he became intolerant of wheat gluten, it made him very sad…until very recently!

We’ve been experimenting with gluten-free breads and rolls for a few months now. We’ve tried buying them frozen at the local supermarket, fresh at Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s, in box mixes or making them from scratch – somehow they just never seem to taste quite good enough. Most of the products are crumbly and dry – which makes it difficult to use them for sandwiches. Gluten adds so much to the texture of breads and rolls, it’s hard to find a satisfactory substitute.

Just last week, I finally discovered a gluten-free roll that will hold up to making a deli sandwich, plus it tastes good. My husband rates it an A+! It’s made by a European company called Schär. (http://www.schar.com/us/)

The company has been around since 1922, but launched its first gluten-free line of products in 1981. Although its headquarters are in Italy, it began expanding into the United States in 2007, and then opened it first US production facility in 2011. They have an online store on their website, or you can order some of their products through Amazon.  My local grocery store stocks the “Classic White Rolls”, but I know I’ll be ordering more of their products soon to taste-test them. I’m especially interested in their Ladyfingers – we have a great recipe for Tiramisu. What better place to find gluten-free Ladyfingers than from an Italian company… I’ll keep you posted!

Enjoy!!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Ingredients/Products

 

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Tomato Vegetable Soup…gluten-free, low fat, good for you!!

Now that winter has officially settled in to Maine (cold temperatures and 8 inches of snow on January 12th), and the holiday eating frenzy is over, a nice warm, healthy soup is the best thing to start the new year. My mother made this soup often while I was growing up, although I have changed it to suit my tastes, as usual!!

I make a big pot of this soup and we have it for lunch and dinner several times during the week. I have also seen my mother freeze this soup, which is a great idea for couples or singles – so it doesn’t become boring as you eat it for the 6th time…

As with any recipe and especially with soup, the variations are endless. Add whatever vegetables are in the fridge, leftover rice, gluten-free pasta or bits of meat, and pick your favorite spices and stock. Although I use a beef stock for this soup, it can easily be made with vegetable stock for vegetarians. Bon appetit!!

Tomato Vegetable Soup (Gluten-free)

3 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, including leaves, diced

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

2 cups thinly chopped green cabbage

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes

6 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons dried parsley (can use 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

2 teaspoons dried basil (can use 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all chopped and diced vegetables into a large pot. Add canned tomatoes. Add stock and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked. Add more liquid if the soup is too thick.

**Optional:

– Can add chopped broccoli, spinach, summer squash, etc. to pot in addition or to replace any vegetables above.

– Can add 1/4 cup rice to pot before boiling


 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Soups

 

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Burtons Grill… a friendly, accomodating restaurant for gluten-free diners!

This picture is from the "Yelp" website and not taken by the author of this post.

Our society has come a long way in recent years concerning food preparation for people with allergies or sensitivities, but sometimes it can be difficult to find a good restaurant that understands what “gluten-free” means. My husband and I love to eat out, but sometimes the servers give you a blank look when you ask about wheat-free/gluten-free meals. They have to run to the kitchen each time you ask about a particular item on the menu and it’s a little scary when the cook doesn’t understand it either. My husband ends up eating salad a lot!

So, with all that being said, we’ve finally found a great restaurant that is very responsive and accomodating for gluten-free diners – Burtons Grill! (http://www.burtonsgrill.com/index.html )

Over the holidays, we visited family in southern New Hampshire and went out to eat at Burtons Grill in Nashua. My husband asked if they had a gluten-free menu. At this point, some restaurants will show you a very small list of a few items from their menu that are gluten-free. Not Burtons, their menu has a good selection of every category. (http://www.burtonsgrill.com/downloads/GF-Nash.pdf) Plus, their menu states they are “In Partnership with the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program®”.

They alter some of their regular meals and use corn flour to coat the fish sandwich or calamari. Plus, they offer gluten-free rolls and buns for burgers or sandwiches. My husband ordered one of his favorites, a fried haddock sandwich. He hasn’t had one of these since he became gluten-sensitive. It was very good.

When they served his meal – it arrived on a square plate. The server explained that all gluten-free food is served on square plates, while all other food is served on round plates – that way the kitchen knows which food is which. We even had a manager come over after our meal was done to ask how we liked everything. When I looked at their website more, I found their “Food Allergy Commitment” page. (http://www.burtonsgrill.com/menu/FoodAllergyCommitment.pdf) They take this commitment seriously and we were very impressed!

We will definitely go there again whenever we can!! They have other restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia. Maybe we’ll see you there! (Or maybe, they’ll open one in Maine??!)

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Dining Out

 

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Blueberry Cake to end 2011…

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake

Wow, this year flew past. I can’t believe we’re in to another new year already – I guess that happens as you get older. Well, the holidays were very nice this year. We spent Christmas weekend at home, with friends on the “Eve” and just the three of us for Christmas day. Somehow, the week after Christmas seemed to disappear – I had no time to write a post for this blog, although I did do a good amount of cooking. With my college son at home, it seems like I’m either cooking a meal, cleaning up after one, putting dishes in the dishwasher or taking them out. Also, I’ve been going to the grocery store at least three times a week! My son is a weight-lifter and can really empty the refrigerator and cupboards quickly… It’s so good to have him home!!!

To end the year, we were invited to our friends/neighbors for a family version of  “Chopped“. If you’ve never seen the American version on the Food Network, here’s a short summary:  four chefs have to prepare an appetizer in 20 minutes using mystery ingredients from a basket, one chef is “chopped” after the first round; then, three chefs prepare a main course in 30 minutes with a new set of mystery ingredients, another chef is “chopped” in the second round; finally, two chefs prepare dessert in 30 minutes with still another set of mystery ingredients and one chef is chosen as the winner.

Our friends modified this a little, having two teams and only preparing the main course, but it was still a lot of fun. My husband and I were allowed to be the judges – YUMMY! I was also the only one who brought the dessert for this meal – so I guess you could say that I won the dessert round – by default – but I’ll take it!

My dessert was gluten-free Blueberry Cake, made with fresh blueberries. It’s one of our favorites, especially in the summer when the local blueberries are ripe, but the store-bought ones work just as well. It’s very light and not too sweet, even with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cake

 4 tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add beaten egg and blend in. Add Pamela’s mix, milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and light. Gently fold berries into batter with a spatula, do not beat in. Bake for 45-50 minutes. After cake cools completely, sift powdered sugar on top. Makes 8-10 servings.

** Options:  Can use fresh raspberries, blackberries or cut strawberries in place of blueberries.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Desserts

 

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