“Apples and Oats” Breakfast On The Go

I’m so excited about this I hardly know where to begin!  So, so happy to have found an answer, finally, to the blank Starbucks stare. You know – the stare that people on restricted diets get when they go just about any where – but particularly at Starbucks because they present the most beautiful pastries in the world?

HEALTHY – DELICIOUS – PORTABLE – GF- BREAKFAST ON THE GO

Some of you might relate to this, or you might think I’m just a little bit crazy after you read what I’m about to disclose. Here goes…

We’ve always had horses, and foxhunting (riding horses to hounds chasing foxes) is an amazing sport we’ve enjoyed over the years. And before you get all perturbed about the foxes, think cat. Foxes have catlike personalities and enjoy outwitting the hounds, often reappearing to observe the hounds chase their scent.  Early frosty mornings. Heat rising from the backs of excited horses. Then galloping, jumping, standing quietly waiting while hounds search brush for scent, and several hours later we’re all spent. A quiet walk back to the trailers, cool down the horses, trailer them home, brush them, and put them in their stalls with some sweet hay,fresh water and, sometimes, a mash.  Mash consisted of oats, apples, bran, molasses, and a little oil. Mixed with hot water and left to soak for a few minutes made a sweet smelling,rejuvenating elixir our horses were grateful for.
Good for their coats, their blood and their attitudes.

“What’s that got to do with anything?” you might ask this queen of bunny trails. Well, this: Apple Oat Bars contain similar ingredients that are good for the hair, the skin, the blood and the attitude. The fact that it’s portable means we can rise early, go work out, shower and head to the office with a big square of this healthy bar to munch on.That’s pretty cool! 

I’ll share the recipe I based this on with you.  I modified it. You’re welcome to try the original recipe. It’s just that I actually don’t know how to follow a recipe without modifying it in some way. Guess I was just born bad. Oh well. A good thing I did was to leave on the apple peel. And another good thing I did was to add some chopped hazelnuts. And here’s why those are good things. Apple peel is the main reason apples are so good for you. Check this out. If you don’t want to bother clicking on that link, do it anyway. You’ll learn a lot!  Hazelnuts (filberts) also have special benefits.  Hmm, and then of course I added more apples than they call for in the recipe and I used gluten free flour and I didn’t add quite as much sugar because I used sweeter apples.

Oh, and one more thing about the recipe. there was no accounting for the 1/2 cup sugar as the directions unfolded.  After the fact, with the sugar still sitting on the counter looking all forlorn, I realized it must belong in the dough, so I added it last. Make sure you add it in with the oatmeal and cinnamon. That would be where it belongs. 🙂

Here’s the recipe from another happy blogger at The Fat Fig. Apple Oat Breakfast Bars. Enjoy, and don’t forget that steamy cup of coffee or tea. I sprinkled my latte with a touch of cinnamon. That, and an Apple Oat Breakfast Bar will make you a happy camper no matter how your day started.

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Apple Raspberry Pie is a Gluten Free Wonder

Who’d have thought? Apples make an almost creamy suspension for little jewels of raspberry; a combo never before in my kitchen or on any menu I’ve ever seen before. The flavors melt into comforting warming goodness with no need for sprucing up using spices -of course a dollop of cream or ice cream makes it…Mmmmm – but isn’t that kind of simplicity what makes comfort food comforting?  Making it gluten free is easy if you use the Pate Brisee recipe I posted back in February. That recipe makes enough for two lattice pies. It’s no big deal to replace the flour in the fruit with gf flour.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but I’ll tell you a little story and then refer you to the Martha Stewart recipe I (sort of) followed.

A few weeks ago my sister, daughter and I loaded up the car to go visit my youngest daughter (KJ to you). That’s right, my blogging partner. She’s in grad school at a beautiful university in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Late October was gorgeous with the leaves beginning to turn, the orchards full of ripe apples and vineyards offering those emerging wines. We spent a few hours lulling in the sun at this cool orchard where the price of a bushel of apples was shamefully cheap. So I bought Golden Delicious and Red Rome apples, brought them home and have been enjoying them ever since. Here we are. 🙂Yep! It was a picture perfect day, designed for play.

The raspberries were winding seriously down to about 1/2 cup a day. This pie was a way to blend the summer flavors of fresh berries with the fall apples. And it was a great marriage of flavors. Keep in mind that there were no spices needed.  I made this pie twice and the 2nd time I chose to try a deep dish pie. It was equally wonderful and of course used more apples. I always go heavy on fruit and light on sugar if possible. So I barely added as much sugar as the following recipe calls for and added 2 more apples to the pie recipe than she called for. For the deep dish version I added another 4 apples. Used golden delicious and red rome combination. For the pie, like the pastry, I used a gluten free flour mix. My choice is always either Jules or Domata Living Flour.

And (here is a good option to feed more people) this makes a great slab pie, similar to my Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie from earlier this summer.

Click here for the recipe: Martha Stewart Apple Raspberry Pie

Autumn Raspberry Custard Tart

Autumn may be here, but she hasn’t whispered that to our raspberry bushes. I love this time of year when the brilliant red berries glow under a still hot sun which – thankfully – arrives mid morning after the mist rises.  The cooling earth and the mist and turning leaves makes me want to savor those precious last raspberries more than I do in June when they seem like they’ll last forever.

At the end of April we had an enormous snowstorm that crushed some of the tender shoots that had begun to green. We had a good raspberry season but I do think we lost about 30% of what we could have had. That’s why there’s no cordial being made from the late crop.  So what should I do with those lovely gems?  I came across some really awesome looking recipes and advice from friends. Everything from “Eat them like popcorn” (which we did) to making jam (the Berry Patch near our home does that the best) to serving under chocolate (excuse me, that’s an every night before we go to bed snack around here).

I wanted nothing but pure raspberry flavor to come through and I could just imagine the raspberries drowned in nothing but cream – but that’s way too decadent don’t you think? said no one ever!

I found this recipe http://foodforpoems.blogspot.com/2010/03/raspberry-custard-tart.html She doesn’t blog anymore, but I like the idea she had about food for poems so I just knew this would be a great recipe.  It turned out perfect but I did change two little things: I filled those raspberries so that you could not see the bottom of the pan at all, and I used the gluten free Pate’ Brisee’ recipe you’ll find in our archives. I should have chilled the dough before I made it but I was impatient.

Here’s to the beautiful raspberry – mine’s Joan J. I think each ripening fruit and vegetable in the garden deserves to be singled out and enjoyed. Pure. Simple. Unadulterated fullness of flavor. That’s what you get in this custard tart. 

Beer Risotto with Butternut Squash, Cheddar Cheese, Shrimp, and Cayenne

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I debated whether or not to add shrimp to a beer risotto with cheddar cheese. That ability which some people have to understand intuitively which flavors mesh well often fails me. But I had shrimp in the freezer, and it felt only right to rework it sooner rather than later (it was originally used for A-MAZ-ING shrimp tacos that I can take zero credit for).

Leftover beer from my brother’s continual wedding celebration.

Carrots I bought the first weekend I moved here. Yeah. Close to gross.

Squash from the farmer’s market.

Here it is. Perfect for someone who often has beer on hand but not wine. Later in the semester we’ll see how this tastes with something cheap like Rolling Rock. The only sad part about this is that, if you’re like me, you’ll be out of beer by the end.

Beer Risotto with Butternut Squash, Cheddar Cheese, Shrimp, and Cayenne

*Inspired by Cooking This and That

1/2 small onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups Arborio rice

1 12 oz bottle of beer (I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale)

5 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 carrots, diced

2 cups diced butternut squash

1 garlic clove, diced

2 cups shrimp

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

In a saute pan, heat butter, diced garlic, and shrimp. Cook until lightly brown on each side. Set aside. Heat 5 cups chicken broth in a saucepan. In the meantime, cook onion in large saute pan with olive oil until tender. Add rice and stir until coated in olive oil. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, stirring gently until the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to add broth, stirring each time until the rice absorbs the liquid (probably should use low heat at this point).

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After most of the chicken broth is absorbed, gradually begin to add the beer and stir. Add carrots, butternut squash, and rest of broth. Stir until the rice is puffier and only has a little bit of a bite when you try it. Add cheese, cayenne pepper, and shrimp.

Serve warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It goes well with this song.

Penniless Pancakes

These probably are not worth blogging about. Then again, what is worth blogging about? Yeah. Answer me that. You’ll have solved the Internet.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I’m fancy. I’m not.

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I had a box of Mrs. Buttersworth pancake mix that my mom sent me to school with, leftover oatmeal, butter, and cinnamon. This is not atypical. A trip to the grocery store is a luxury for which I do not have (or make) time. I’ve got novels to analyze, people! You think those characters wait around for just anyone? Exactly.

But I digress.

The point is, if you haven’t added oatmeal to your pancakes before, you should try it. It’s good.

Pennyless Pancakes

1 cup pancake mix

3/4 cup water

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup cooked rolled oats

Butter

Heat saucepan over medium heat. Mix pancake mix, water, cinnamon, and cooked oats. Make pancakes on hot pan with butter (I am not going to explain this). Serve with butter.

I did not even have honey, sugar, or syrup to sweeten these, and I still ate more than I’m going to tell you.

Dark Chocolate And Parmesan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Dark chocolate and Parmesan: A Scientific Pairing? I was skeptical, but you can’t argue with science. The bitterness of parmesan compliments the deep flavors of dark chocolate, and gluten free bread actually serves as a great (flavorless) backdrop. I give it an A+. It’s certainly more interesting than the classic Velveeta.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

2 slices country bread
2 ounces dark chocolate (64%), coarsely chopped
6 thinly shaved slices Parmesan cheese
Butter

Directions:
Layer one slice of bread with the chocolate and then with Parmesan cheese and top with second slice of bread.

Heat a panini press, grill pan or skillet. Butter the outside surface of the bread. Grill until bread is golden brown and chocolate and cheese are oozing. Serve immediately.

Best paired with red wine and music. We experimented with white wine, and it didn’t work well, so go with a red (syrah was nice).

Peaches and Cream Angel Food Tunnel Cake is Gluten Free. Yeah Baby!

This is the Peaches and Cream Angel Food Tunnel Cake I just made!

This is the Strawberry Angel Food Tunnel Cake my sister made for Dan and Kelly’s wedding celebration.  It was made from a boxed angel food cake mix.  It looks delicious. I heard it was amazing..except some of us…ahem, ahem…Scott, Missy, Marcia….couldn’t eat it because it contained gluten.

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow and angel food cake is her favorite. She has committed herself to being gluten free.  For the first time ever in this house ( ‘this house‘ because I did try one years ago and said ‘ehhh, a lot of work and not as good as boxed’) we will have a gluten free angel food cake celebration.  The birthday girl just happens to be coming off a week of liquids because of intense mouth pain  and so the light silkiness of an angel food cake is just what the doctor mother ordered. Maybe I’ll make the same Strawberry Angel Tunnel Cake pictured above, maybe not. We’ll see what the girl can eat.

Let’s go over what makes this cake successful before we get into the fray. Egg whites, sugar and flour are the most important ingredients.

It doesn’t matter if the egg whites are cold or at room temperature. It is the speed used to inflate them that counts, and you don’t have to own a power machine because some people use a wire whisk – imagine that!  Always start the eggs at a low speed and mix until the big bubbles disappear around the edges and the whites barely begin to form what might look like meringue before adding anything else.  In this recipe ingredients are added a little at a time and, using an electric mixer, you never have to go above medium speed.  You’re not looking to spackle the walls with it!

Sugar can be granulated or superfine. I chose superfine because it incorporates more quickly.  Superfine is hard to find so I make mine by whirring it in the blender for a few seconds, just long enough to make the granules less visible.  Adding it slowly assures thorough blending.

Flour is a big deal too.  There are plenty of gluten free options out there and most everyone has their own preference.  I’ve tried most of them and, let’s be honest, I can’t adjust to having flour taste like hummus or cardboard.  With an angel food cake the goal is to have a light silky end product. I turn to Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour when I want a superior product.  Her flour is as close to what I grew up with as I’ve been able to find. It’s a big deal to make something where no one has to ask if it’s gluten free.  One flour I used to use tasted like I’d mixed sand into it. It was awful!  Sifting is important with angel food cakes.  Light and no lumps is required. If you don’t have a sifter – I don’t – just whisk it with a wire whisk several times and even whisk it as you add it into the mix.

Slow baking, bottom shelf, turning it upside down once it’s finished and allowing it to fully cool that way for a few hours are all important.

Here goes:

You’ll need about 1 dozen eggs to make almost 2 cups of egg whites only. I found you can freeze the yolks. I did it in baggies of 4 yolks so that I can make things like Hollandaise Sauce and Pasta Carbonara. Pound Cake takes more yolks than whites too.

Place oven rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

1 dozen large egg whites (what ever it takes to equal a little more than 1 3/4 cups)

1 cup Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (my preferred choice)

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided into two equal *3/4 cup parts

Sift the other 3/4 cup sugar with the flour.

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

The ticket for success with angel food cake is the way you mix it. More power doesn’t equal a taller or lighter cake. I learned that there are many methods to increasing volume and sturdiness of meringue. So follow this and trust me, I’ve done a lot of research…..of course we don’t know how it will taste yet, do we?

Place egg whites in large clean bowl.

Beat on the lowest setting of your mixer until  large bubbles around the edge disappear and soft tight bubbles begin to form a bit of mounded shape. Add in the cream of tartar.

Then add 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing at medium speed.

Mix this until the meringue is shiny and soft peaks are forming. Don’t mix till peaks are stiff.

At this point go ahead and add the lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts.  Mix just until blended. You can put the mixer away at this point and use a firm spatula for the next phase of folding in the flour/sugar mixture.

Fold the flour/sugar mixture and salt into the batter, 3 Tablespoons at a time, until all is folded in and no lumpy flour pockets remain.

This process should take about 5 minutes.

Once this is done you’re ready to pour the mixture into the angel food cake pan that has a removable bottom.  Run a spatula through the batter once it’s in the pan, then tap the pan a few times on the counter to make sure there are no bubbles left in the batter.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until it is golden on the top and springs back when pressed firmly.

Oh baby, this looks like the real deal!  We shall see!

Invert the cake over a glass bottle or turn upside down if the pan has prongs on it like mine does.  The goal is to leave it that way for several hours until it is completely cooled to prevent it from falling back into the pan and becoming dense….I mean it IS Angel Food.

Since this cake will probably be covered in whipped cream and currently has little crumbs all over it, take a food brush and dust it off. That way it will be prettier and ready for icing.We’re ready to decorate.  My mother always used fresh flowers rather than making decorations out of icing.  Make sure if you do this you choose flowers and herbs that are not sprayed with chemicals and are edible choices. Mint, lilies, pansies, lilacs, violets, carnations and lemon verbena are some obvious choices and so pretty.

To prepare this tunnel cake take about an inch off the top of the cake and set it aside.Next create a tunnel inside the cake, making sure the bottom stays intact, and remove the pieces. Set pieces aside to be folded back in later.To prepare the filling you will need 15 1/2oz. sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup heavy whipped cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 10 oz. chopped peaches (or 10 oz. frozen sliced strawberries) and the cake pieces that were removed.  The birthday girl chose fresh chopped peaches instead of strawberries.  2 more cups of whipped cream are needed to frost the cake.

Mix condensed milk, extract and lemon juice. Fold in the 1 cup of whipped cream. Chill 10 minutes. Take 1 1/2 cups of this mixture and fold in the little cake pieces and the peaches or strawberries. Spoon this mixture into the tunnel.Replace top of cake and prepare for frosting by brushing the crumbs away.

Now is the time to frost the cake. Because I used peaches I decided to add some peachy food coloring to the remaining frosting.  I used a combination of red and yellow to achieve a pretty pastel color.  It’s easier to frost a cake that has had the crumbs dusted off.  The frosting (in this case cream) sticks to the surface better.On to the transformation.  I washed and dried mint leaves and day lilies, then decorated the base of the cake with them.  Gold sugar sparkles made it festive!It was amazing with a touch of fresh raspberry sauce!