Perfect Gluten Free Pie Crust

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Last October I wrote a blog post about the perfect flaky gluten free pie crust.  We were living in the RV and traveling around the North East at the time and the photos that I took to accompany the recipe were terrible.  The inside of RV’s just don’t have the best lighting and backgrounds for nice food photos.  I’d planned to remake the recipe and add some nice photos when we got moved into our new house, but it slipped my mind until a few days ago when I looked the recipe up for a peach pie I was planning.  The photos made me cringe.  I could just shoot new photos and replace the old ones…. but they kinda fit the story….. so I just had to make another pie (gee, darn) and shoot new photos! IMG_8104

I have a confession…. I stink at making pie crust.  My Grandmother made the most fantastic pie crust and she swore that I could learn to make them too.  (Actually she swore a lot when I tried to make pie crust.)  I could stand right beside her, mimicking her every move and still screw it up.  Grandma would have this tender, flaky, perfectly ruffle edged pie crust and I would create frisbees.  It was bad.  (I did learn new swear words, though, so it was still educational.)  Fortunately you can buy some very nice, pre-made, frozen pie crusts.

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It wasn’t until I went Gluten Free a few years ago and I had to find pie crusts alternatives that I decided to try my hand at making pie crust again.  The frozen GF crust are often more expensive than I like to spend … though there are some nice ones (I like theses).  I found a great recipe from Wicked Kitchen for a gluten free (make your own gf flour) pie crust.  But I am lazy…. (not so lazy that I just buy the frozen GF crust, but too lazy to make my own GF flour).   I don’t like messing around with making my own flour…. King Arthur’s Measure for Measure and Cup4Cup are too good and so much easier.  So I just followed Wicked Kitchen’s non-GF recipe and used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure in place of the regular flour.

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This is a pretty straight forward recipe.  Dump the ingredients in your stand mixer in the right order… make sure the cream cheese and butter are COLD, and be sure to let the crust chill for the full hour before rolling.  Wicked Kitchen has some great tips and information about pre-baking and blind baking and such, so you might enjoy checking out her post too.

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I have also used this recipe to make Grandma’s Turkey Pot Pie.  I omitted the vanilla, but left the sugar… I know it sounds strange, but this isn’t an overly sweet pie crust and the slight (tiny) bit of sweet goes nicely with the savory flavors of the Pot Pie.

 

Gluten Free Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 2½ c  King Arthur’s Measure for Measure GF Flour
  • 1 c (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, chilled
  • 1 (8-ounce pkg)  Cream Cheese, chilled
  • 1 TBLS Sugar
  • 1 tsp  Vanilla
  • ½ tsp Salt

Directions

Measure flour and set aside. Using an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add in sugar, vanilla and salt; mix until well combined. Add flour in two batches beating just until incorporated. Scoop dough into a ball and flatten slightly.   Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Allow dough to thaw a few minutes before rolling. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap.

For Prebaked Pie Shells: Preheat oven to 425° F.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

——

I used 1/2 the pie crust recipe to make 3 small pies.  I used these dishes.

Peach Filling

  • 4 Peaches, diced
  • 3 TBLS Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 TBLS Brandy

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside while you prepare the pie crusts. Once the pie crusts are prepared, spoon the peach mixture into the unbaked pie crust.  I made a lattice top, but you could probably make a double crust using this size of pan. (Really though… lattice is SO much cuter for these peach pies!) Brush the top of your crust with an egg wash (1 egg whisked with a bit of water) then sprinkle a bit of sugar over the wet egg wash.

Bake at 350° F for 35 – 40 minutes.  Watch the top of your crust that it doesn’t get too dark. Pie filling should be bubbling.

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Chocolate Chip Almond Treats

I’ve been making a lot more recipes that call for almond flour lately.  I’m trying to stay lower-carb and keep away from all the gluten free flours and all of their high carb, blood sugar raising, deliciousness.  (Not that they’re not quite tasty and wonderful in many ways…. I’m just trying to cut back.)

Almond flour is a naturally gluten free (it’s just almonds) flour substitute.  It’s not the near perfect GF flour replacement of King Arthur’s Measure for Measure or Cup4Cup.  Almond Flour requires more fooling around and probably a better understanding of the whole chemistry/magic of baking.  I haven’t quite mastered the chemical/magical understanding yet, so I just stick to the recipes that other’s have already created.  Not that that’s foolproof either…. wow!  There’s some really awful almond flour concoctions out there!  Fortunately for all of us… this recipe isn’t one of the stinkers…. in fact, it’s pretty damn amazing.

One bit of warning:  These aren’t your traditional flour based Chocolate Chip Cookies…. they’re Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies.  They’re softer and chewier and have a slight almond (duh) flavor.

I discovered this recipe on the back of the Blue Diamond Almond Flour bag that I came across in CostCo a few weeks ago.  I usually prefer King Arthur Almond Flour, but I figured the Blue Diamond was such a great price, I should give it a try.  I’ve used it in several of my favorite almond flour recipes and its worked wonderfully.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 2½ cups Blue Diamond Almond Flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together butter, sugars and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and then mix in eggs.
  3. Stir in almond flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop tablespoons* of dough two inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top and firm to the touch.

*we used this cookie scoop and flattened the cookies with the back of a fork since they don’t spread on their own.

 

Detoxing (again)

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that I went gluten free after a variety of health issues combined to make life miserable.  (If you haven’t read my Gluten Free Living Story you can see my 1.5 year review here.)

I’ve been Gluten Free for…. five years? (Did I do the math right?  December 2012 – June 2017 = 4.5 years… WOW!)

Okay, so four and a half years… and yes, life is absolutely better without the wheat and the awfulness that come with eating it.  The food world has changed quite a bit in the last 4.5 years.  Gluten Free food is available nearly everywhere and many restaurants have gluten free menus, or at least have a vague understanding when you tell them that you can’t eat gluten.  Grocery stores have dedicated Gluten Free isles and more and more products are clearly labeled. It makes finding food so much easier…. and I think that may be part of my problem.  I’ve found a lot of gluten free replacement foods… high in carbs and sugar and low in real nutrition.

You see…. I’ve been feeling ‘off’ for a while now.  I’m so tired.  Even though I think I’m sleeping through the night I have zero energy during the day.  I’ve been having more headaches and my tummy has been making random comments about food again.  It’s not the gluten, I know I’m not getting into that…. but there’s something that’s messing with me.  I’m just not sure what….

I know what I need to do… eliminate the ‘big uglies’ and detox.  Then reintroduce foods and see what is causing the problem.  I know I need to do it…… but….

Apparently the Universe has had enough of my whining and not working on a solution.  I was roaming through CostCo when I saw a giant box of energy drink fizzies… you know, the kind you add to a bottle of water…  and I was reading the label to see if it was GF and if there was possibly enough caffeine to get me through an afternoon.  A lady stood across from me reading the back of another box of fizzies… “I just wanted to see what they use for the caffeine,” she said, leaning past me to stick it back on the pile, “Arbonne sells something similar.”  Before long we were exchanging business cards, chatting about Yoga and Gluten Free Living and discovering that we live in the same neighborhood.  (I knew that CostCo has everything, but I didn’t know that you could go there to find new friends!)

I left our first Starbucks date with a bag of Arbonne goodies, a scheduled Jamberry play date and an order of the Arbonne Detox Kit.

Did you know that Arbonne has a Detox Program?  I didn’t… I thought Arbonne was just skin care.  So the Universe has sent me a friendly neighbor to tell me to shut up a figure out what is the problem.  (The Universe told me to shut up, not my neighbor.)

I liked that the Arbonne products are all Gluten Free.  (Yay, one concern already covered.) I also liked that everything came together in one kit/program.  Yes, I could find a protein drink and a tea and vitamins and fizzies and whatever else on my own and possibly save a bit of money (Arbonne isn’t cheap), but I’m tired… so so tired.  I also like that it also comes with a person.  Someone I can text and talk to… someone who knows I’m supposed to be doing this detox and will probably ask me how I’m doing… and could quite possible catch me stuffing a cheeseburger and fries in my face….. They call it “accountability,” but we all know they mean “guilt.” There’s also a private Facebook group to chat with other people who are starting the program at the same time…..  that could be good… of course, we all could be really bitchy at the same time since we’re eliminating a bunch of foods…. which is why its better that its an online group and not a face to face meeting.

STEP 1 – Eliminate common allergens and non-healthy ingredients. • Wheat/gluten • Dairy • Refined sugar • Alcohol • Soy • Corn

I’m really not excited about eliminating Dairy…. I like cheese… no, I LOVE cheese.  Cheese goes in everything.  (Which is probably a sign that dairy is a problem for me.)  I’ve already eliminated Gluten, so I’m ahead of the game.  Alcohol is a bummer, but really I just drink an occasional glass of wine, so its not a huge deal.  Sugar is gonna suck.  If we’re eliminating Soy and Corn too, that pretty much means anything that comes in a box.  Which I know is a good thing….. did I mention that I’m just so damn tired? Fortunately Brian and Mom are going to give the program a try too, so I won’t need to make different meals for them.  Its only 30 days and hopefully I start to perk up quickly like I did when I quit gluten.  After the initial 30 days I can start to reintroduce foods and see if there was a specific food (I really, really hope it’s not cheese) that was bothering me.

Have you tried the Arbonne Detox Program?  Got any tips for me?

Okay, here we go…. cross your fingers for me and follow along on Instagram and/or Facebook for photos and updates.

 

 

 

Deliciousness from Disney’s Boma Restaurant

I have a kitchen!  More or less…. I’m just missing some crown molding and countertops.  I have the old countertops sitting on the new cabinets so I’m not completely topless. 🙂

Living in the RV worked great for our situation, but I’m really happy to have room to move around again…. and a real kitchen.  I missed my kitchen.  I’m so excited to be able to really cook again!  We’ll keep using the RV for work and travel, but I don’t see full time RV/Tiny House Living in my future.

We’ve been super busy getting things organized and settled for the past few weeks.  To celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary Brian and I decided to skip town for a couple of days and celebrate at Disney.

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I love pretty much everything about Walt Disney World, but as a foodie who can’t eat gluten, Disney is food heaven.  Brian makes reservations at as many of the Signature Dining restaurants as he can and we eat, walk, ride a few rides, walk, eat some more…. waddle to the next ride… wait in line… ride…. eat again.   It know it sounds unhealthy…. I’m not recommending this as a diet plan or anything, but its fun for a few days.  (I actually lost a pound instead of gaining the ten I expected!)

One of my absolute favorite places to eat in Disney is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Boma – Flavors of Africa – “Resembling a lively African marketplace, this restaurant features all-you-care-to-enjoy buffets at breakfast and dinner.”IMG_8090

Now, I know we GF people hear “buffet” and think “certain death,” but Disney is really pretty good.  I’m not going to die if I get into gluten, I’ll just wish I would, but I know there are some people that end up in the ER after being glutened.  I wouldn’t risk a buffet if I was them, but I personally feel pretty safe at the Disney buffets.  The gluten foods usually seem to be fairly separated from the GF items and the staff behind the buffets keep an eye out for spills and potential cross-contamination with spoons.

Even though Brian and I have eaten at Boma several time, I still ask to have the chef walk us through the buffet.  Each time there has been something that caught me by surprise as being GF or NOT being GF.  It’s always better to ask… and the chefs are so nice!

My favorite dish at Boma is the Bobotie.  According to Wikipedia, Bobotie, pronounced ba-boor-tea, is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.  This time I remembered to snap a picture of the tag with the dish so I could remember what to google when I got home.  I found this recipe on Mad About the Mouse.  It seemed pretty close, so I decided to give it a try as soon as I got home.

Okay, hear me out… I know you’re going to take one look at the ingredients and think I’ve lost my marbles… but you’ve just gotta trust me on this one.  It’s delicious.  I know, I know… Sugar?  Raisins and ground turkey?? Together?!  I swear…. it’s delicious.  The curry, cinnamon and coriander combine with the eggs and meat for a delicate sweetness that you can “smell” in the back of your throat.  Much like Thai food, its not so much of a “nose” smell, as a “throat” smell.  That sounds weird, but there’s no better way to explain. You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.

The following recipe, as I’ve said, is from Mad About the Mouse.  I decided to actually follow the recipe once before I started messing with it.  The Bobotie that I had at Boma last week had red and green peppers in it…. I’m sure because Brian picked them out and left a pile on my plate.  The sign said there were mushrooms and I don’t remember any raisins or almond slivers.  Most of the recipes that I’ve seen call for crumbled up slices of bread, but it is definately GF at Boma, so they’re either using GF bread or not using bread at all.  The bread is crumbled up, so I can’t say for sure one way or another, but I’d think that the eggs and meat might need the bread to help bind everything together.  I used Canyon Bakehouse GF bread.  Next time I’ll try leaving the bread out and see how it goes.  I’ll also omit the raisins and almonds (Brian doesn’t like them either) and add one cup of diced red and green peppers instead.  I think the peppers added a lighter sweetness that I liked better than the raisins.  (The raisins were good, but my tastebuds really wanted the peppers since that’s how it tasted before… you know how it is.)

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Bobotie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb (I used ground turkey)
  • 3 slices white bread, crumbled into pieces (I used Canyon Bakehouse GF bread)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325º.

Heat oil and cook onions, carrots and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat, cooking until caramelized, around 5 minutes.  Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium and add cinnamon, ground coriander and curry powder.  Stirring well to coat the onions.

Using the rice wine vinegar, and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  Add ground lamb or beef, cook breaking the meat into smaller pieces.  Continue cooking until meat is done, spooning out the excess grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon.  (Since I used the ground turkey there wasn’t enough grease to bother.)

Pour the meat mixture into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish and let cool slightly.

Add crumbled bread and 1 cup of cream, stirring to mix well.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, raisins and almonds.  Add mixture to the meat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and milk.  Pour the custard mixture over the meat mixture to form the topping. DO NOT MIX.

Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

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Let me know if you try it and what you think!

 

Mouse Waffles 


Last weekend Brian and I popped over to Disney World….. OMG! That still sounds so crazy! We just ‘popped’ over to Disney for the weekend…. ’cause we can do that now, ya know…. since we live in FLORIDA!

Sorry, sorry…. NOT SORRY! I am loving everything about moving to Florida!  (Except getting the stupid house built,  but that’s a whole different story.)

As soon as we had our Florida drivers licenses we got our Disney FL Resident Annual Passes.  I was not a fan of Disney as a kid, but after we went to the Osborne Festival of Lights with my in-laws one year, I was hooked. Disney is SO wasted on the little humans.

Brian and I planned to hit The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot this time… Hollywood Studios has a bunch of construction happening and Mom kept asking ‘How long are you going to be gone?’  So we figured three days would be plenty to start.

One of our favorite things (on our very long list) to do at Disney is EAT!  Disney has some really good restaurants….especially in Epcot. Now if you’re wrinkling your nose at me right now then you’re probably thinking about the quick-serve places…. like Pizza Planet and such…. while those places aren’t bad…. I’m actually talking abut the REAL restaurants. Chefs Du France and Yack & Yeti… places where you go in and sit and a person comes to your table and asks your order.

Disney is especially amazing if you have a food allergy. At the quick service places you can ask for an Allergy Menu and they’ll ring you up a special ticket and your food is made in one of the Allergy Safe kitchens somewhere… magical?  I’m not sure where exactly, but your food comes on a special tray and is delivered by a special cast member who verifies your allergy again before handing over your food. ‘Gluten, right? Just gluten?  Okay… here’s your food.’

I have never once been concerned about the safety of my food in Disney… and I’ve never gotten sick. It’s amazing the number of allergies they can work around. You can always ask to speak to one of the chefs.

Best of all (okay, second best… first best is not getting sick), no one ever makes you feel like a freak… or a problem, or sneers at you…. ‘Gluten Free?  Sure! No problem…. we have gf cookies too!’

So I was totally excited to go to Disney and EAT my way through the three parks. Calories don’t count in Disney. Last year Brian and I had breakfast at Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s Boardwalk. I ordered the Gluten Free Mickey Waffles that I’d heard all my favorite GF Disney Bloggers rave about.


They were the best waffles that I’ve ever had… gf or otherwise. (That’s a glob of Heaven in the center there… aka Mascarpone with cinnamon and sugar).

So this year I was totally wound about getting more Mouse Waffles… as I like to call them….


First of all, the presentation wasn’t nearly as cute, but I was just going to eat them… and there was no mascarpone… but I asked and they brought me some, so that was fine…


And then I sliced into my much anticipated, dreamed about waffles…. and they were gummy in the center!  Crisp on the outside… gummy in the center.

I sent them back and the manager brought me a bowl of fresh fruit while I waited for a new batch of waffles to be made.

The second batch was gummy too.

I gave up. Brian had already finished his meal and I’d eaten the bowl of fruit while I’d been waiting…. a third try wasn’t going to make anything better. Their recipe had obviously changed.

I asked about a recipe change when I sent my uneaten waffles back, and the waitress said that she didn’t think they’d changed anything. Later she returned with our bill having removed the waffles, and said that she’d overheard the manager and Chef talking. Apparently they had switched to using Bob’s Red Mill Pancake mix for the waffles and pancakes. (Ha!  I was right!)

After our visit last year I’d done some Googling and read that Disney used Cup4Cup Waffle mix for their waffles. I can’t remember where I read that… but I started using Cup4Cup to make my waffles at home and they tasted pretty much like I remembered Disney’s waffles.

The Cup4Cup website has several different waffle recipes, but I use their pancake recipe. At this point I can’t remember why I started using the pancake recipe instead of the waffle recipe… but I like the way they turn out and I think they taste quite a bit like the Disney waffles that I remember.

Cup4Cup Waffles

INGREDIENTS
1 cup Cup4Cup Original Flour or Wholesome Flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk, milk, or dairy alternative
1 large egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat griddle over medium heat.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. Whisk in milk, egg and canola oil until there are no lumps. Batter will be thick.

4. Spoon pancake batter onto preheated griddle. Flip when bubbles appear, cook on opposite side until golden brown.

Cranberry Relish

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Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

  • 1 – Navel Orange (Thick skin, no seeds)
  • 1 package 12oz – frozen cranberries
  • 1 c. – Sugar
  • ¼ – Lemon (Whole thing, skin and all)

Cut orange and lemon into cubes (skin and all). Chop frozen cranberries in food processor, add oranges and lemon to mix, chop until small (rice sized) chunks.  Stir sugar into the cranberry mixture.

Refridgerate overnight.  (No, seriously…. it’s not about getting it cold, don’t just stick it in the freezer!  It needs time to let the sugar disolve and the the juices to… juice.  Trust me.)

Serve chilled

Flaky Gluten Free Crust

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Forgive the poor picture… We ate them all before I could take a good photo! 

I don’t do well in confined places… I really do need supervision.  When I’m trapped inside (without satellite tv) I usually end up baking.  Why couldn’t I compulsively exercise or something healthy?  Nope, not me… I gotta bake.

Mom and I bought a gigantic jar of cherry pie filling from a farmers market while we were in Door County, WI and it was just calling to me… ‘bake me!’

I saw this recipe for Cherry Hand Pies from Wicked Good Kitchen and it’s been roaming around in the back of my head for a while…. ‘bake me.’

Right now I’m living in an RV and traveling all over the universe… okay, just the Northeast, but anyway…

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Another terrible pic, but look at that flaky deliciousness! 

I didn’t have all the ingredients called for in the crust recipe from Wicked Good Kitchen. I’m bad about not following directions… they’re just suggestions anyway, right?  I figured I could substitute Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour for WGK’s flour recipe.  Annnddd?  It worked!

I’ve made a number of recipes from Wicked Good Kitchen’s blog and they’ve all turned out delicious, so I’d bet this crust would have been super delicious if I’d actually followed the recipe…. but since I’m lazy and living with an under-stocked kitchen at the moment… I’m really pleased with how this crust turned out.  I’m already imagining using it for other pies.  It turned out flaky and tender….buttery…. so good.  No one would ever guess this was gluten-free.

 

Flaky Gluten Free Crust 

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cup Cup4Cup Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 8-ounce package chilled cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon granulated cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preparation

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, lightly cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar, vanilla and salt; mix until well combined. Add flour in two batches beating just until incorporated.
Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Thaw a few minutes to allow dough to become pliable before rolling and using in recipes. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling-pin.
Makes enough pastry for two 10-inch pies or one 10-inch pie with double crust.
Bake according to pie recipe instructions.