Here’s a new post for you all. Happy Friday!
Posts Tagged ‘baking’
Wow, what’s this – posting two days in a row? It’s like I’m on a roll or something…
Debating whether to give you dinner first, or the pictures…
Dinner it is…
Seeing as how yesterday was Mardi Gras and as usual I was mostly oblivious to that fact, today I decided to make Jambalaya. Just as a nod to Louisiana and New Orleans. I’ve not been there, not sure when I will get there, but spicy food is good and Jambalaya is good when it’s spicy. It’s Shirley’s fault, over at Gluten Free Easily. She posted this yummy sounding recipe and suggested Popovers to go with the Jambalaya. Yummy.
FYI – Shirley appears to be some kind of gluten free angel. If you follow her on facebook or twitter, she posts all sorts of gluten free recipes from a variety of websites. She’s tipped me onto some great blogs, this just happens to be the first recipe of hers that I’ve made.
Did I mention that I’ve never made either of these before? Jambalaya is just stew, right? My mom used to make Popovers periodically, for whatever reason I never have. Their only purpose seems to be to hold copious amounts of butter. Who doesn’t need more butter? (Actually I need more butter, I’m all out of the good Kerry Gold stuff, guess I’ll have to do with the regular Organic… and really there is a huge difference in taste.)
Being me, I couldn’t follow the recipe for Jambalaya exactly. I thought it needed chicken and bacon. Because everything needs bacon, that’s why. Oh there was that Jalapeno I added, and the Cayenne pepper too. For the most part though I did do what she said. And there was much rejoicing.
The Popovers really, really popped! So many crannies and crevices for butter. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Now I know why I haven’t made them before. Highly, highly addictive. Between the Jambalaya and the Popovers, I foundered myself tonight. No, the Popovers are not a heavy bread… but by the time you eat three of them you know about it. I showed great restraint not plowing through two more before I finished my bowl. As far as the Jambalaya, I can’t say as the bacon or chicken added anything, they didn’t seem to be a detraction though. Got the heat just right too.
Now for pictures, because we all like pictures, right?
Whenever we can we try to provide toys for the horses. Really, anything non-toxic can work. One day there was a rag, what appeared to be an old T-shirt that the colts were playing tug of war with. The cone game works something like this… whoever is toughest gets to play with the cone. The filly gave up on it when the colt said he wanted to play with it. The object of the game is to get the cone picked up and wave it around and try to scare your pasture mates. If they aren’t scared of it, then play of war. Or decide it’s a boring game and just go bug someone. I have not managed to get many pictures of the bay colt recently, because he will not get far enough away from me. His goal in life seems to be to become a lap dog. Since he’s already the biggest of the three yearlings, I’m not too sure how that’s going to work out for him.
Now, some random, gratuitous sunset pictures…
The road to nowhere?
On that note, I’m going to leave you as I go lay down to digest.
It’s fixing to storm here again. My arena is half mud. Too slick and sticky to work in. New project is going to be fixing the footing so it drains. That probably won’t get started on until this summer, maybe.
Anyhow, since this turned out to be a mostly indoor day, I figured I’d cook and bake. The stew is simmering away on the stove. It smells good, hopefully it tastes that way too.
After reading this post which includes a very yummy looking recipe for banana bread, which I have yet to try, I was feeling braver about trying to substitute gluten free flour for the regular stuff.
I’ve had this bag of Crystallized Ginger by The Ginger People for a while, it was one of those things that just begged to come home with me. I figured it would be tasty in something. The back of the package has a recipe for Chewy Ginger Snaps. Looks like a good recipe. Since my last attempt at gluten free ginger snaps was simply to add some ginger chips (also from The Ginger People) into a molasses cookie recipe. Those didn’t turn out bad, just not the ginger snap taste I was looking for. I used to love the little Triple Ginger Cookies from Trader Joes that have the pieces of ginger in them, seems they don’t have a gf version. Plus going to my nearest TJ’s is a five hour round-trip. All in all, this recipe was looking promising. And I’ve been wanting some good gingersnap cookies.
Here is a link to the recipe. Other than the ingredients being in a different order, it looks the same. No wait, what’s this 2 cups + 2 Tbsp of flour? On the back of the package it only calls for 2 cups. Hmmm, could this be why my cookies spread way out? And went beyond chewy to super crispy? Or is it because I subbed the gluten free flour? The dough wasn’t quite as stiff as I remember ginger snap dough being… so I’m leaning towards the extra flour being needed. Not having made this recipe before though, I didn’t really know what the dough was supposed to be like.
The cookies that didn’t get overly crisp are like a ginger lace cookie. These things really spread out on the pan.
The ones that got overly crisp are now in a ziplock baggie. I’m thinking they will turn into ginger cookie crumbs for a pie crust.
I haven’t decided if this experience has shattered my new found sense of confidence for baking with gluten free flours. The cookies do taste good. The flour didn’t seem to alter that. Anyone out there know if those 2 Tbsp of flour would make that much difference?
My upside in the kitchen is the loaf of Paleo Bread I made turned out the best so far.
You thought I was going to say donuts, didn’t you. Nope. Scotch Eggs.
Scotch eggs are my new morning staple. A great punch of protein first thing with a little bit of fat to help it stick for a half a day. I figure it’s about a quarter pound of sausage (probably a bit less) that gets wrapped around the egg. Entering that info in the recipe calculator at sparkpeople, that’s about 22g of protein. Seems like a lot. All I know is I can go until 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon until I feel any hunger again.
Obviously the first batch I made is long gone. Also the second batch. What I have figured is that I should make as many as possible at a time. The pan I like to boil my eggs in can fit exactly 11 eggs. Since my body didn’t seem overly thrilled with the chorizo I used the other day, I started making my own sausage. There was nothing catastrophic from the chorizo, just a nudge from my tummy saying that stuff might not be good. The ingredient list just included ground pork and spices, so it is possible there was gluten in it (in the spices).
Did you notice that I post links to recipes on other sites, but don’t give any of my own. Here’s why. It is a rare day that I measure ingredients. I cook by guess and by gosh. Dump in some of this, then add some of that. Go through the spice cupboard again and see what else looks good to add… I am more than happy to tell you what I put in, just a little tricky to give you exact amounts of it. (When baking I am a bit more exact… I break out the measuring spoons and cups, but even then I’m not usually real exact with my measurements.)
I’m not sure where sausage making falls. Is it cooking or baking or something else?
Here’s how this all goes for me. Pick up a pound or so of ground pork. Thaw some pork/antelope mix friends have given. Maybe pull out some ground beef too, if there doesn’t appear to be enough meat yet. I figure roughly to do 10-12 eggs I need about 3 pounds of meat. If you end up with more sausage than eggs, it’s ok. Fry it up and have sausage patties. It’s a great way to check your work while waiting for the eggs to bake.
Which by the way, I like baking the eggs the way Melissa describes in Well Fed much better than frying them. Less mess, easier and I think they turn out much less greasy. The recipe for Scotch Eggs is in her 30 page book preview which is free to download.
Back to making the sausage for these beautys. Throw all the meat in a bowl, add spices and mix by hand. In rough order from most to least the spices I used were: dried minced onions, dried minced garlic, garlic powder, tarragon, red pepper, salt, black pepper, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil. The marjoram to the basil were all together in McCormick Italian Seasoning. I wasn’t trying for Italian. I don’t think I got Italian. Just flavorful, savory sausage with a bit of spiciness. So, I think my sausage turned out fantastic.
I get funny looks from people who have happened by after I’ve made these when I offer them a Scotch Egg. “A what?” “What is that?” So far the guys are all into it. “An egg with meat around it? Sure I’ll try one.” The little gems have met with approval from everyone so far.
Making my own sausage for these has me thinking… how hard could it be to make my own sausage links? There is an attachment for my Kitchen Aid to grind meat and stuff the casings. The seasonings aren’t that hard to figure out, and really it’s personal taste anyhow. I’ve been wanting to experiment with offal (heart and liver mostly) but not sure I could eat it on it’s own. Maybe I could include it in sausage to get the benefits of the organ meats and bypass the weird gag-iness it brings up? There is a whole other story in there about the last time I had Liver and Onions. I’ll tell you about it sometime.
Meanwhile, anyone out there really make their own sausage? Please tell me about it, particularly if you included organ meats. I realize some sausage by definition should have those in them. Chorizo being one of them, but what I find seems to not have those parts in them. If I can include the weird meats in the sausage without creating a gag reflex for myself, then I can make more healthy Scotch Eggs.
How to deal with mud? Don’t. Yesterday I was thinking it would be dry enough to work the footing in the arena and work some horses today. Wrong. It took until at least noon for the ground to thaw. Which means the moisture didn’t start moving through the ground until then. This is what it looked like at 2:00 in the afternoon.
Yummy, standing water with mud underneath. I tried walking in the arena and realized I would definitely get the tractor stuck out there. Maybe tomorrow I can work horses.
Here’s how my day started. Bruce wanted out first thing, so I let him out the front door and saw that my chickens were roaming about. Crap! I forgot to close them in last night. I treat the flock of hens with the rooster kind of like a Koi pond. I don’t have a specific count of how many there are, but as a unit they should have a certain look. As near as I can tell they still look the same, so I’m under the impression none were lost to coyotes.
Then I went out back to let Karat out of her stall. (She is being prepped for the breeding season by keeping her under lights for part of the night, simulating summer light which makes her body think it is breeding season.) As I stepped out the door, a little yellow head was in the pen directly behind the house. Exactly where it didn’t belong. There was also a small sorrel and bay out there. Yes, the babies (yearlings) had gotten into the pasture with two of the older horses. As I held my breath to prepare for the worst – blood, babies being crashed into fences by bigger/older horses, miles of fence down – I realized there was no catastrophe. In fact the palomino filly was holding her own with Ki. (She’s so in love with him.) The colts were sticking to themselves.
I traipsed out to put the babies back where they belonged and at least put a band-aid on the fence. There was mud right by the barn where they all hang out. Once I was thirty feet away from there the ground was frozen with a nice crust of snow on top still. The colts came running up to me. Probably trying to tattle on the filly, that it was her fault the fence was broken and it was her idea that they should all be in the same pen with the grown up horses and it was because of her that they couldn’t figure out how to get back to their pen. Uh-huh, yeah, sure. After I got everyone sorted out to where they were supposed to be, I did a red-neck fix on the fence. It held through the day. Fixing fence is someone else’s department and they didn’t get to it. Maybe tomorrow, huh?
This is what you do when you are a princess filly after you got to run around with the big horses and seriously flirt with your crush earlier in the day.
You nap on a bed of hay the colts made,
and eat some when you feel like it. BTW, don’t you just love the look of a muddy horse! I have no idea how she got her hip that covered in mud.
So what did I do all day? I made stuff in the kitchen. I knew it was cold enough in the morning that I could concoct things until noonish. I watched for the snow to melt off the driveway. When that happened I went out to see if there was any possible hope for the day. Not seeing any, I took pictures of mud and a muddy baby horse.
So here’s what I made and what I thought of it.
BarBQ Pulled Chicken to make into sandwiches for dinner. I’d include a link, but I just kind of throw stuff in the crock pot for this and stop when it smells good. This one had about three or four pounds of chicken thighs (skin on, bone in), a can of pineapple tidbits, a roughly chopped red onion, a yellow bell pepper, a red bell pepper, about 5 cloves of garlic, a bottle of BarBQ sauce, a bottle of hard cider and a jalapeno pepper. I shouldn’t have used as much liquid (probably could have eliminated most of the cider) as it turned out soupy. Good, but soupy.
Scotch Eggs. Sausage and egg married together in loving harmony. The first place I saw this was in the 30-page sample of Well Fed. Then I saw a slightly different version at Mark’s Daily Apple. The version I made was closer to the one at MDA. I think next time I will try to just bake them like Melissa does in Well Fed. Not that I mind frying things up a bit, but I had them in the oven for about 20 minutes anyhow before the sausage was cooked even with frying them to start with. Why bother with grease and potential grease burns (or actual ones, like I wound up with) if it doesn’t hurry things up.
You need to know that I don’t care much for hard-boiled eggs. Just have never been something that I enjoy. In a salad they’re ok. Sort of. Sometimes I avoid salads that have hard-boiled eggs in them. These were really good. I ate one warm in a bowl, it would have been great with a little bit of ranch or mayo. I used chorizo sausage which added tons of flavor and pretty well masked the stinky boiled egg-ness of it. I have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow and will likely make them again.
Yesterday (I think, but it might have been the day before) I saw this recipe for Flourless Crack Brownies. Pretty much any combination of chocolate and peanut butter has me thinking it will be a good thing. What I love about this recipe and how Brittany has it laid out is that it is so flexible. Also, the options. The options that she says are ok and that she encourages you to do what you need to do are awesome! Yumminess. Mine were made with normal powdered sugar (trying to use it up and get it out of the house) and mostly almond butter, but didn’t quite have enough so I added a little bit of peanut butter from the near empty jar that I’m planning to not replace when it’s all gone, also I used gluten free oats (again, trying to use them up and get them gone – now that I’m not making granola for my mornings). I think I shall now semi-worship Brittany as a kind, helpful kitchen goddess. She has tons of other recipes that look absolutely amazing. I also love that she is not at all fazed by someone being upset at her calling these Crack Brownies. Seriously, some people need to get a sense of humor and a life.
I’m almost positive that either part of this recipe could stand on it’s own. The brownie part would be a flourless tort. It would be way better and cheaper than the semi-ok one they sell at Trader Joe’s. The Nut Butter topping would totally work as no bake cookies. In fact one thing to note in making these is to not mix the topping up too early. I would suggest timing it be ready as you take the brownies out. If not, do not sample it, unless you have very good self-control. I had to walk out of the kitchen and wait for the timer on the brownies, other wise I was going to just set there and pick away at that nutty delicious mess until it was all gone. Needless to say, the finished combination is heavenly and is calling me back for another bite right now.
Finally, I made grain free flat bread to use as buns for my BarBQ sandwich. Stupid easy and quick to make, I just mixed mine in a measuring cup and really followed directions (for once!). They did spread and poof up a little. I like coconut, I just wasn’t expecting to taste it here. Not because I didn’t think the taste would carry through, but because I was expecting (normal) buns. Totally my screw up for having wrong expectations. These did a good job of sopping up the extra liquid of the BarBQ. I think for me to love these I need to use expeller pressed coconut oil, to cut down some on the coconutty taste.
Oh and I threw together cole-slaw quick too. Don’t be too impressed, the cabbage was prepared (from a bag) and the dressing was store bought. It hit the spot with the chicken though.
I’m off to double check that all my birds are locked up for the night.
So, the thing is I am trying to post every day. I figure if I’m going to do this, I should do it right. Which for me means I need to do it everyday otherwise it will fall by the wayside. Then three months later I will check in and be shamed that I just let it all drop. However, yesterday did not go as planned. In the morning I had this lovely thought train going about why I am doing this blogging thing and was planning to share it. By the end of the day I was kind of worn out and then there were the connectivity problems. Just about the time my MiFi would connect it would somehow not be connected. Gotta be the sunspots. That combination (tired and internet issues and my, um, distractability) meant that post didn’t happen yesterday. In fact, by the end of the day that post was gone from my mind. Nothing concrete was replacing it, but odds are good it would have been whiny. Probably things worked out for the best as I know no one wanted to read my whining.
That brings us to today. No whining today. Very, very happy. Got my first ride in the new pen today. It works just fine. There is plenty of room to get a green one kicked up to a lope, but not so much room that they are tempted to be stupid. More riding planned for tomorrow. There are at least four horses I need to work, two of them need ridden. Also happy that the back cinch and billets I ordered to match my Martin saddle came today too. Now I have an extra work saddle and can accomplish more. More! Can you here the horses, they are all so excited. That’s half true. As soon as Kanak saw the halter in my hand today he was running across his pen. “We get to do something? I get to work? What are we gonna do? I’m so excited!” He is a dork, but a happy dork. At the other end of the spectrum was Ki, his older half-brother, who conveniently angled himself so that getting out the barn door was a challenge, as he has to do an immediate 90 degree turn to come out the barn. He just stood there and looked at me, “but I can’t you see. There is just no way I can make that sharp of a turn and pick my feet up over the threshold of the door. It can not be done.” With a little encouragement he realized it was possible, quite simple and very easy.
Onto the cravings. Usually for me chocolate cravings happen for two reasons – my world has gone to shit or my hormone system is under demonic possession. Tonight I am craving chocolate. As you can surmise, my world is good. Cravings caused by option number two. Normally, I have chocolate stashed somewhere in the house. It seems that all known easy chocolate supplies have been exhausted. That means no chocolate chips anywhere. That means no instant chocolate fix by grabbing a handful (or three) of chocolate chips. That also means I can’t bake chocolate chip cookies to try to cure the craving. Uh-oh, I had to get resourceful. Just out of the oven is a batch of brownies. Gluten free of course. Recipe here. As usual, I made substitutions. Traded honey for the brown rice syrup. Only had unsweetened chocolate. Didn’t have enough regular brown sugar, so subbed one cup of Sugar In the Raw. Added a teaspoon of almond extract, because I like it. Didn’t have any heavy cream so used coconut milk instead.
One thing that I think is great about this recipe is except for the brown rice syrup and coconut flour all the ingredients are pretty standard pantry items. And even I used a different sweetener, because I keep honey, maple syrup and regular sugar on hand. I could rant about all these sugar alternatives, but the long and short of it is I understand why some people want to avoid too much sugar and I am not one of them. It’s not that I think too much sugar isn’t a problem. Just that I’m not going trade a fairly natural sweetener for some chemically concocted thing that may or may not have health consequences that we’ll all find out about ten years down the road. I’ll stick with the devil I know, thank you very much.
Because of the lack of cream, I had an opened can of coconut milk. At first I thought I would just make whipped cream out of it and throw that on top of the brownies. Then I decided to make frosting. I am all out of powdered sugar, so couldn’t make a version of butter cream. Elana’s Pantry Coconut Cream Frosting looked like it would work, with a substitution or two. Oh man, am I really that bad? It seems I am unable to follow a recipe exactly. About those substitutions, the only thing I didn’t have was agave nectar. Instead I did equal parts honey and maple syrup. Then I added vanilla and almond extract. Why? Because I like it. Didn’t we just go over this?
My only problem with the frosting recipe is it requires time to cool and harden. Sometimes, I’m not so patient. This is one of those evenings. Two shots of rum later (with other stuff mixed in) the frosting was ready to whip and put on the brownies. One of these days we’ll have a chat about how to mix the yummiest, froo-frooiest rum drink. Meanwhile, here’s pictures of the brownies.
This was my first attempt at gluten free brownies from scratch. These are by far better than the Betty Crocker mix available at stores. While that mix is faster and has done for me in a pinch, it has an odd aftertaste. Truth is these have a (very!) mild coconut flavor. I’m pretty used to that now. My only issue with this batch of brownies is that they are slightly dry/crumbly. Not sure if someone who didn’t know what was used in these, or hadn’t had similar baked goods before, would notice anything other than they are dry. I don’t have an unsuspecting guinea pig handy to confirm this though. I’m thinking of adding some mini-chocolate chips next time. It is also possible (gasp!) that I over-baked them. About the frosting, remember my lack of patience tonight? Well, I didn’t let it cool completely before I was out of all patience and decided it had to be done. So my frosting is much more of a glaze. It works. It tastes good. It may help keep the brownies moist and less crumbly, since I baked them for too long. Chocolate craving cured. For now.
Adding a quick note: The next day I couldn’t detect the coconut flour. That first night I could taste/tell the texture of the coconut flour. After that, it seemed to fade into the brownie. I am likely to make these again.