Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Now Infamous, Spinach, Rice & Feta Pie

You’ve asked, I’ve delivered. Our Spinach Rice, and Feta Pie Recipe. Why am I using “our” instead of “my” you ask? Because I must give dual props to my wonderful husband. The original recipe was his, and we made it frequently during our brief journey in vegetarianism. Can you make that an ‘ism’? Seems right.

I digress.

We decided to make a few changes to the recipe, making it gluten free, and healthier. It is so easy to make, and keeps for days! I am not a leftover person myself, but this changes all the rules. I must confess that I am a perpetual packer of leftovers, and never a consumer of the day old remains of my lunches and dinners. I place the food neatly in airtight containers, insuring its freshness…then it sits. And sits. Until it’s thrown out. My attempt at green eating, and food conservation ultimately fails in my fridge. I will work on this my friends. Now that I have put the demon out there, it shall be conquered. Starting with a delicious spinach pie that, wait…tastes even better the day after! AND COLD! I usually have to AT THE VERY LEAST heat my leftovers. I was never the cold pizza for breakfast gal. But this, can stand on its own two feet, in any temperature. More than I can say for myself. I have to be thawed below 65 degrees.

So here you are dear readers and followers, the spinach pie recipe. I am happy to oblige. Now go get cookin’!

Spinach, Rice, and Feta Pie

•2 tsps margarine
•¾ cup onion chopped
•2 tsps brown rice flour
•½ tsp kosher salt
•¼ tsp pepper
•1 ½ cups organic skim milk
•2 cups organic brown rice- cooked
•¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
•1 large free range organic egg-lightly beaten
•2 large free range organic egg whites
•10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
•Olive Oil cooking spray
•2 tbs parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400°.

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, and saute for about 3 minutes. Stir in the brown rice flour, kosher salt, and pepper. Gradually add your milk, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook 1 minute or until it becomes slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in the cooked rice, crumbled feta cheese, egg, egg whites, and spinach.
Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over pie.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator (if making ahead of time)

To serve, let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
Bake pie at 400° for 35 minutes or until set. Broil 2 minutes or until pie is golden brown.

Monday, October 25, 2010

GF Indie VS GF Baking

Welcome readers, young and old, to this never-ending battle between the oven and GF Indie. In one corner, we have the fickle flamed oven- armed with baking time and heat trickery to all gluten free substitutes, with an astounding record of 4 months undefeated wins. In the other corner, GF Indie, a determined gluten free chef, armed with a new recipe, wooden spoon, and an iron will to win.

The chef whisks and whirls her spoon into the batter, aware of the eerie red eyed glow of the oven, waiting to destroy her newest baking opponent. Can this baking battle end with the GF Indie baffling the tumultuous oven winning streak? She pops in her filled muffin cups and prepares for a possible comeback.

The minutes tick away, as the little chef eagerly checks the oven window. There is no apparent sign of burning; the batter seems to be nestled comfortably in its fluted cups. A faint sugary pumpkin smell seeps out of the oven. The battle seems to be leaning in the chef’s favor. 3…2…1…BEEEEEEP. The resounding sound of the battle’s near end echoes throughout the kitchen. Here is the moment of truth. The chef reaches in with her mitts, and pulls the muffins away from past and present potential baking debauchery.

The muffins have cooled and the results are in. GF Indie’s breath catches in her throat as she inserts the slender wooden toothpick into the center of the muffin. Clean. She braces the butter knife and delicately lets it fall into the fluffy concoction. Lifting the half into her mouth she is taken aback by the bursts of pumpkin, cinnamon and spice!

It melts lovingly with it’s tickle-to-the-tongue texture.

Alas! A win for GF Indie! This chef will no longer be the gluten free baking buffoon.

Okay, Okay, you may think that this post was a little dramatic to open with but my dear friends, this was a win for the world. I have had to deal with multiple trials and tribulations in the kitchen for months on end now. My cookies spread wildly over the pan, dripping it’s failed firming technique all over my oven’s burners. My brownies take on an unpleasant soupy state. My pies have not cooked through, and my cakes taste like I used sand instead of sifted rice flour. I have tried homemade, semi-homemade, and store bought recipes…all ending in near or all failure.

I admit this to you, because I don’t want you to think that all this change has been easy. I have had many hardships in the kitchen. I used to be wonderful at baking. It was one of the things that naturally came easy to me. I have always loved cooking three course meals and being able to end it with a blissful dessert was a specialty I felt blessed to have come into. However, all that changed when I went gluten free. Baking is a whole new ball game, and has become a battle of wits I refuse to back down from.

So this my friends, is a battle won. These pumpkin corn muffins are a real treat, and easy schmeazy to make! I was inspired by one of gluten free goddess’ recipes, but made mine a little sweeter. We could always use more ways to make life a little sweeter right?

Pumpkin Corn Muffins

•3 large organic free-range eggs
•1/2 cup olive oil
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
•1 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
•3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
•1 cup organic light brown sugar
•1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal
•1 cup Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs till frothy, and add the oil; whisk to combine. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk well. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and Pumpkin Pie Spice and whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together your cornmeal, Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix, baking powder, and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir by hand just enough to make the batter smooth. Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the twelve muffin cups filling almost to the brim.

Bake on a center rack in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or so, until the muffins are firm to the touch and golden. Check with a wooden pick, if necessary; if it emerges clean, the muffins are done.

Let the muffins cool, then remove the muffins from the tin and place them on the wire rack to continue cooling.

Serve warm. I found they were delicious with yogurt butter, but I would imagine apple butter would be divine! We had ours the next day on the side with our navy bean soup, and would also compliment chili quite well!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Festival Foodie

I love to camp in the fall. The air is crisp, the trees are a melody of colors, and the weather is perfect. I enjoy cozying up to a warm fire and watching the embers sizzle my stress away. Another love of mine is live music in the fall. Combine them both, and well, you have my heaven on earth.
My husband and I traveled to Mulberry Mountain last weekend for Harvest Bluegrass Festival. I was excited to set a naturally gluten free menu that kept our bellies full and our hearts light as we danced away to the sound of musicians seducing the strings of their instruments. Banjoes, brats, bunches of dried fruit, and boisterous buddies made our weekend absolutely blissful.
I like to keep my menu easy when I camp. No fuss so the focus is on enjoying mother nature’s gifts. We could all use a little help from nature to get us back in the right head space. I encourage you to throw your camping gear in the trunk before the winter chill peeps it’s head in, and pack some easy snacking goodies. So here you go… a few good snacking on the go recipes to keep in mind for your next camping excursion…Or just to have around the house!

>Tasty Trail Mix
• ½ cup dried cherries
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup unsalted almonds
• 1 cup plain M&M’s
• 4 cups rice chex

Mix together and munch away!

Puppy Chow
• 9 cups crispy rice cereal squares
• 1/2 cup peanut butter
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate; add peanut butter and mix until smooth. Remove from heat, add cereal and stir until coated. Pour powdered sugar into large plastic bag, add coated cereal and shake until well coated. Store in airtight container.

Cranberry Mixer
• 2 cups sunflower seeds, raw
• 1 cup pine nuts
• 1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
• 1 cup cranberries, dried and sweetened
• 1 cup raisins

Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Apple Pie Dip with Cinnamon Corn Chips

•1 1/3 cups peeled, cored, and diced apple
•1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
•2 teaspoons brown sugar
•2 teaspoons apricot preserves
•1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
For Corn Chips
•5 (6-inch) corn tortillas
•2 tablespoons butter, melted
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•1 ½ tbs sugar

Combine all the dip ingredients in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate the mixture until chilled. Brush the tortillas with butter, and then cut them into wedges. Arrange the wedges on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 350ยบ F until golden brown, (about 10 minutes). Let them cool before serving.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Falling for Fall Fare

Before I begin my newest post I feel as though I must apologize to you dear readers. I have neglected you for quite some time now and I appreciate you letting me know that a new post is wanted! So, with this apology, I begin my post. Enjoy.

Fall is officially here. Beautiful bursts of red and orange are sweeping across the trees, and the air is getting crisper by the day. Football has officially taken over our television sets, and I am consistently craving grilled brats and the smell of my chiminea. I try and spend as much time outside as possible, breathing in the change of the season. And with the change of the colors and weather, a change in my menu is a must. I’m saying goodbye to the bright summer fruits and chilled cucumber soup, and hello to crisp gala apples and warm spinach and feta pie.
While I took a brief hiatus from my blog, I collected a many new delicious recipes. See, my absence alas brings new and fresh ideas to the table. Your dinner table. And hopefully a little absence made your hearts and tummies a little fonder.

I am christening fall foods with a recipe that will warm up your grilling gloves and get you game ready in no time flat. Lemon & Oregano Grilled Chicken with oven roasted, sea salt rosemary potatoes. Two very simple recipes that taste simply delicious. Both are easy to make on a week night as well. And don’t we all need more of THOSE recipes?!

Lemon & Oregano Chicken
•4 free range organic chicken breasts – pounded out
•2 lemons
•Dried Oregano
•Garlic Powder
•Kosher salt

Place chicken in a marinating dish. Zest both lemons over the top, and then squeeze the lemon juice on top. Coat the chicken on both sides with kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Don’t be afraid to get liberal with your spices. Grilling can burn off some of the flavor and nobody likes a bland chicken breast!
Grill the chicken until well done. Be careful to grill pretty immediately because the acid in the lemon juice begins to break down the chicken pretty quick. Serve with potatoes below!

Roasted Rosemary & Sea Salt Potatoes
•10 red skin potatoes – quartered
•2 tablespoons dried rosemary or 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
•4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
•1 tablespoon sea salt
•1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
•2 teaspoons garlic powder or 3 cloves fresh garlic (finely minced)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Quarter your potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl. Add all your seasoning ingredients. Transfer seasoned potatoes to a nonstick baking dish.
Place in oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Enjoy with your chicken!