Archive for November, 2009

A Virginia Thanksgiving & Sweet Potato Biscuits

Posted in baking, recipe on November 30th, 2009 by Betsy – 4 Comments

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, full of good (gluten-free) food, no contamination, and time with family and friends.  David and I had a great time on the Eastern Shore with both of our families.  There were many highlights from our vacation on the Shore, and I loved getting to be in the kitchen with my family.  David cooked an incredible turkey on the grill that was unbelievable.  Alden made her famous pulled pork barbecue in the Dutch Oven for David’s birthday as well as the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner. My mother-in-law, Elaine, brought her famous baked butternut squash for our Thanksgiving feast.  Mom treated us to delicious bacon, eggs and grits in the morning and made her skillet cornbread to go with chicken chili on Saturday night.  No one went hungry!

Over the vacation, I made some old favorites and experimented with new creations in the kitchen.  At the last minute I was inspired by Molly Wizenberg’s article, “Biscuits with a side of Nostalgia” in the December Bon Appetit.  In Wizenberg’s article she talks about her parents’ roots in Maryland and Virginia and how she grew up eating many ‘Virginia & Maryland foods,’ even though she grew up in Oklahoma.  Being away from Virginia this year, I became nostalgic myself as I read, thinking about all of the foods that come to mind when I think of Virginia.

The article included a recipe for sweet potato biscuits with Smithfield ham, which are quite possibly one of my favorite things, especially when I’m on the Eastern Shore.  I had not yet created a gluten-free sweet potato biscuit so I thought I’d give it a try for Thanksgiving.  We already had plenty of food so if the baking went horribly wrong, I knew no one would miss them.  Also, my brother, Rob, loves bread, doughnuts, rolls, cake and all things gluten.  (I know he lives in fear that he will someday be diagnosed with celiac.)  Rob’s such a good sport about limiting his gluten intake at holiday meals so I wanted to create a biscuit that would help him not miss the gluten so much.

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I used Wizenburg’s recipe as my outline for the recipe, but of course substituted different flour.  The biscuits were delicious.  All were consumed at Thanksgiving dinner except two, which I ate on the ride to the airport yesterday.  We ended up not putting Smithfield ham on these biscuits since we were already eating so much food.  These biscuits were definitely a worthwhile addition to any holiday meal or a great finger food at a holiday party.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ pound red-skinned sweet potato, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup white rice flour*
  • ¼ cup soy flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 8 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup chilled buttermilk

*If you want to make the gluten-version of these biscuits, just use 1 3/4 cups flour and omit the xanthan gum

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Cook sweet potatoes in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain, cool and mash.

Position oven rack in lower third of oven.  Preheat to 425.  Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch cake plan with 1 ½ inch sides.  (I didn’t have this so I just used a cookie sheet.)

Whisk flour and rest of dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add cubed butter to flour mixture.  Toss to coat and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Whisk ¾ cup mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk into a separate bowl.  Add to flour mixture and toss with fork.

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Gather mixture in bowl, kneading until dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto floured work surface (I used rice flour for this) and pat dough until it’s about 1-inch thick.  Using 1 ½ inch round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, flouring cutter each time.  (I had to use a shot glass because we didn’t have any biscuit cutters.  It would have been better to have the actual cutter but this was a solid substitute.)

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Gather scraps, cut out additional biscuits.  The recipe says not to do this more than once but I did it twice, and all of my biscuits turned out fine.

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Arrange biscuits side by side in prepared cake pan.  Brush with melted butter.  Bake until puffed and golden on top, about 22 minutes.  (Mine only took 18 minutes but I think they were a little on the small side.  Keep an eye on yours as they cook.)  Turn biscuits out and gently pull them apart.

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I made these earlier in the day and just reheated them before dinner.  If you want to serve as ham biscuits, use Dijon mustard and Smithfield ham.  Honey is also delicious with the ham and mustard combination.  These sweet potato biscuits were a huge hit at Thanksgiving dinner, even with Rob.  The entire weekend was perfect and great to be with our families.

After 5 days of delicious Thanksgiving food, birthday meals, and leftovers, tonight I’ll be enjoying my Kung Pao Chicken from Dinner A’ Fare.  Even those of us that love to cook, need a little break from the kitchen.  On Saturday night, as we were serving up the chicken chili and cornbread, my dad said, “I’m all cooked out.”  Yes, my dad said that.  I must agree though;  I’m “all cooked out.”  Well, at least for a couple of days.

Eno Restaurant & Wine Bar

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on November 25th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

This weekend David and I went to Eno Restaurant with our friends Jim and Jen who were in town for the weekend.  I must admit, the main reason I chose Eno was because all of us love the Bravo show, Top ChefEli, from the current season of Top Chef Las Vegas, is the chef at Eno.  Did you know there are three Atlanta chefs that were on the current season of Top Chef?  (Kevin from Woodfire and Hector from Pura Vida are the other two Atlanta contestants.)  I hope to try all three of their restaurants this year, to complete my Top Chef trilogy.  While we did not get to see Eli at Eno, because he was in California for the weekend, we still enjoyed a delicious meal, great wine, and quality service.

The atmosphere at Eno is great.  It has a wine and cheese shop attached to the restaurant and the bar has lots of space so you don’t feel crowded. We sat at the bar before dinner and enjoyed a glass of wine.  They have a great wine by the glass selection and you can get ‘tastes’ of wine for a smaller price, if you want to sample a multiple wines.

The menu had a large variety which was helpful since we had a vegetarian and a celiac in the group.  Lots of seafood to choose from and plenty of gluten-free options.  Eno’s menu changes every day and has a seasonal focus so there are always new items to sample.  They offer small plates and large plates.  I contemplated getting two small plates, the sunchoke soup grabbed my eye, but ultimately I went with an entrée. We all shared the octopus appetizer that was served on top of a pear grown in  one of Eno’s window boxes.  Pretty cool.  It was the first time I’d ever eaten octopus and it tasted quite nice.  I asked our patient waiter about a couple of options and she was very helpful and clear about what I could order and what would be gluten-free.  She checked with the chef (not Eli) to make sure she was correct.  I always appreciate a waiter that’s willing to double check with the chef and doesn’t assume to have all of the answers.

For my entrée, I ordered the pork with polenta, homemade charcuterie and greens.  So good and naturally gluten-free!  Definitely a hearty southern dish with all kinds of good flavor combinations that mixed well together.  The sausage charcuterie added a great spice and some heat to the sweeter pork and polenta.

Our waiter was great and nice to put up with us.  We had a great meal and did not feel rushed.  I will definitely return to Eno and hopefully next time I’ll get to meet Eli!

eli

Eno Restaurant & Wine Bar

800 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30308
404-685-3191
Eno on Urbanspoon

Urban Pl8 Now Serving Brunch, & it’s Gluten-Free Friendly!

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on November 24th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

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Chef Betsy Pitts is now opening Urban Pl8 for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, starting this weekend.  Delicious, fresh, seasonal food, Urban Pl8 offers a variety of delicious options for brunch that will please all.  Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are all over the menu.  I’m particularly excited that the cheese grits and oven roasted rosemary potatoes are gluten-free.  I’ve included the brunch menu below, but stay tuned because Betsy is working on gluten-free pancakes and they will soon be on the brunch menu as well!

If you’re tired of cooking after the chaos of Thanksgiving, take your house guests to Westside’s Urban Pl8.  You won’t be disappointed!

Urban Pl8’s Brunch Menu:

STARTING SATURDAY NOVEMBER 28TH SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS 11AM – 3PM

All served with Oakview Farms Granary yellow stone ground cheese grits or oven roasted rosemary garlic potatoes, whole wheat biscuit or Holeman & Finch grilled bread

Classic  7.75: two Carlton Farms eggs, housemade Bershire pork sausage or Apple Bacon

Huevos Rancheros  8.25 two Carlton Farms fried eggs, tomato salsa, housemade corn tortilla, sour cream, cilantro      

Steak and eggs  8.75 Painted Hills hanger steak, two Carlton Farms eggs, cognac shallot cream sauce      

Bacon and eggs  7.50 two Carlton Farms eggs, three strips of Bershire Apple Bacon      

Smithfield country ham and eggs  8.50 two Carlton Farms farm eggs, country ham, collard greens, red eye gravy      

Breakfast Crabcakes  12.75 two crabcakes, two Carlton Farms poached eggs, fried green tomato, remoulade sauce, whole wheat english muffin                

Greek omelette  7.75 three Carlton Farms eggs, spinach, feta, kalamata olive, basil, tomato salsa      

Grilled Springer Mountain chicken pesto omelette  8.50 three Carlton Farms eggs, grilled chicken, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and pesto               

White egg omelette  7.75 three Carlton Farms egg whites, mozzarello, feta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, oregano      

Tofu vegetable scramble  7.75 tumeric tofu, sauteed local vegetables, tomato salsa      

Vegan Breakfast  7.75 Spicy pinto sausage, roasted sweet potatoes, collard greens, whole wheat Holeman & Finch toast      

Vegan soft corn tacos  7.75 BBQ tofu, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted corn salsa, spicy pinto sausage      

organic buttermilk oatmeal pancakes with maple syrup  6.75 cranberry walnut french toast with maple syrup  6.75

whole wheat waffles with whipped honey butter  4.95

sides

short stack of organic buttermilk oatmeal pancakes with maple syrup  4.50

half-order of cranberry walnut French Toast  4.50

housemade sausage patties- 2 patties  1.95

Bershire Apple Bacon- 3 strips  1.95

oven roasted rosemary garlic pototoes  1.75

Oakview Farms Granary yellow stone ground cheese grits  1.75 Holeman & Finch grilled bread and jelly  1.25

housemade spicy pinto sausage  2.75

oven roasted sweet potatoes  1.75

collards greens  1.95

cocktails bloody mary  5.95 mimosa  5.95 screwdriver  5.95 greyhound  5.95 70

After Thanksgiving Meals: Chicken (or Turkey) Chili

Posted in cooking, meals, recipe on November 23rd, 2009 by Betsy – 7 Comments

One of my favorite meals to make for a crowd is black bean chicken chili.  It makes enough food for 8 people and it freezes well.  Sometimes, when I’m making a batch of this chili, I’ll double or triple the recipe, so I have plenty to freeze.  I made a bunch a couple of weeks ago and we’ve had it multiple times since.  Just last night we took some out of the freezer and enjoyed it for dinner with our friend, Mimi.

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In thinking about Thanksgiving meal planning, there are many meals beyond just the actual Thanksgiving dinner that need to be planned. While I’m on the Eastern Shore this week with my family, we’ll be having chili one night and Alden’s pork barbecue another evening.  I originally found this chicken chili recipe on Glutenfreeda, (a great database of gluten-free recipes) but have since committed it to memory because I’ve made it so many times.  It’s delicious with chicken, but would also be a great use for leftover turkey.  I like it for a post-Thanksgiving meal because it’s easy, no major clean up and you can eat it on your lap while watching football.

The spices and stewed tomatoes add great flavor to the chili and it feels like you’re eating a hearty meal, even though it’s healthy and low-fat. The onions and garlic are also a great component to the dish.  (Feel free to add extra garlic if you’re a garlic lover like me!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 3 cups GF chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
  • 2 16 oz. cans back beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, diced (or leftover turkey)*
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • sour cream

* I cook my chicken for this recipe one of two ways.  I’ll either buy boneless chicken breasts and cook them on the stove top or if I have the time, I use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and cook them in the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 and put the chicken in a pyrex dish.  Drizzle in olive oil and salt & pepper.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  Let cool a little and then start to dice.  Chopping the chicken and onions takes awhile, particularly if you’re making a double batch but it’s the bulk of the labor for this recipe.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft.  Add chili powder, oregano, cumin and garlic.  Saute for another 30 seconds.

Add the chicken broth, beans and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper.  Feel free to use some hot sauce or red pepper flakes as well.  I usually just go with extra chili powder.

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Serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Enjoy this chili with warm cornbread.  David likes to actually put the cornbread in the chili while I prefer cornbread with honey on the side.  Another delicious meal where even gluten-eaters won’t miss their gluten!

Thoughts on Mashed Potatoes: A Classic

Posted in recipe, vegetarian on November 20th, 2009 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Mashed potatoes are a personal favorite food and a family favorite.  They will definitely be a part of my Thanksgiving dinner.  Many people are intimidated by mashed potatoes because they worry about their mashed spuds being perfectly smooth, with no bumps or lumps and rich amounts of cream.

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I’m a firm believer that mashed potatoes are best made simple, even daring to call them rustic.  I like to use red or Yukon potatoes and not even peel them.  (Of course you want to scrub them really well if you’re not going to remove the peels.)  I simply hand mash my mashed potatoes with a masher and add the additional ingredients as I mash.  No blenders, no ricers, just the hand held masher.  I also vary what I put in my mashed potatoes, depending on the other flavors I’m cooking with and what my taste buds are telling me that day, so I’ll give you a couple of varieties and you can make whatever you’re in the mood to eat.

Mashed Potatoes for a crowd:

5 lbs. red potatoes or Yukon gold, scrubbed, unpeeled.

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Put whole potatoes in a pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and continue cooking (at a boil) for 25 minutes or until tender.  When in doubt, cook for a little longer.  Remove from heat and drain potatoes.

Put potatoes in a bowl and now start adding the good stuff.  I begin with the milk or crème and then add in other ingredients.

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Additions:

Milk or crème: You definitely want some kind of liquid in your mashed potatoes.  This is what makes them smoother and allows the other ingredients to blend better with the potatoes.  Add ¼ cup at a time, mash and add more mik/crème depending on the consistency you like.  I usually just add milk because crème can be a little rich for my liking.  But if you’re making these potatoes for a fancy occasion, crème adds to the flavor and taste of the potatoes.

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Garlic or shallots: both of these add great depth to your flavor and you can mince or simply chop the garlic or shallots.  I wouldn’t use both, just one.

Parmesan cheese: This is a personal favorite of mine and I’ll be using parmesan for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.  Start with ¼ cup and see how you like the taste.  Other cheeses you might like to try: cheddar, goat, or smoked gouda

Sour cream: another good choice.  You still want to use milk if you’re going with sour cream, but it adds more complex flavors.  I think sour cream mashed potatoes go particularly well with steaks.

Salt & Pepper: These spices are a must.  You have to taste as you add S&P, but if anything, you’ll find that your mashed potatoes are under seasoned.

Fresh Rosemary: a great addition to your mashed potatoes.  Just chop up some rosemary leaves and toss it in as you mash your potatoes.

Another great thing about mashed potatoes is that you can make them ahead of time and just reheat before serving.  It’s one less side dish to be worrying about in the moments leading up to the big dinner.  And they make great leftovers the next day.  I always make extra.

What do you like to put in your mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes don’t need to be fancy, with ricers and blenders in order to be delicious!  Hopefully this will help you as you continue to plan your yummy, gluten-free Thanksgiving and holiday meals.

Thanksgiving Tips & Recipe Ideas from Other Bloggers

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19th, 2009 by Betsy – 1 Comment

One of the things I love to do is look at other foodie bloggers to get ideas for my own kitchen.  With Thanksgiving a week away, I thought you might enjoy seeing what some of my favorite bloggers are putting together for Thanksgiving, using their own archives of recipes.

Gluten Free Girl:  I love Shauna’s photographs and her style of writing.  Her recipes are worth the time!

Ginger Lemon Girl: Her sweet potato and apple casserole looks delicious.  And all of her desserts are beautiful.

Karina’s Kitchen: A long list of recipes and meals that offer good ideas for dinners over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Elena’s Pantry:  Elana’s basalmic roasted turkey with apple stuffing sounds awesome.  If we weren’t doing turkey on the grill this year, I’d be eager to try it.

NPR just did a special called “A gluten-free Thanksgiving,” by foodie blogger, Stephanie Stiavetti.  It’s got some good recipes, including a delicious butternut squash pie and a good gluten-free flour mix. 

Just know that if you’re gluten-free, you’re not alone this holiday season.  Many of us will be diving into our gluten-free meals next Thursday, sharing our gluten-free lives and recipes with our family members and friends.  If this is your first holiday gluten-free, breathe, and know that it will be alright.  It might not be perfect the first time around, but rest assured that you’re going to feel so much better after the meal than you have in years past.

A couple of tips to make your gluten-free holiday smoother for you and your loved ones:

  • Make sure that you’ve talked to the people you’re spending Thanksgiving with about your new dietary needs.  I know it’s awkward, but they will feel terribly if you arrive at the meal and they had no idea that you’re gluten-free.
  • Offer some of your own ideas and definitely volunteer to bring some things.  It’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed about cooking for someone gluten-free, so if you offer some ideas, like baked butternut squash, it might feel more manageable to your hosts.
  • Definitely let your host know unusual (but important) things.  For example, making gluten-stuffing in the turkey will actually contaminate the turkey.  It’s so easy to make stuffing separately, so they’ll want to know.
  • If there are things in your holiday buffet that contain gluten, ask if you may go first in line so that you can make sure none of the food has gotten cross contaminated.
  • Bring something sweet for yourself (even M&Ms) just in case you can’t have any of the desserts.  You don’t want to be tempted!
  • Enjoy the time with your family and the delicious food that will make you healthy and keep your stomach happy.

Going Beyond the Box: Baking “Real” Brownies

Posted in baking, recipe on November 18th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

This weekend I made brownies from scratch for the first time ever.  I must admit, I’ve been a little intimidated about going beyond dumping from a box, adding eggs and butter.  Also, I really like the Betty Crocker’s gluten-free brownie mix (just add extra chocolate chips!) so I hadn’t felt pressure to find a new, better brownie.

We were going to dinner at a friend’s house on Saturday night and the only component of the meal I was responsible for were the brownies.  I decided I would take the plunge and bake brownies from scratch.  I was skeptical of the time, energy, and even cost that was involved in making these brownies, but the final product was worth it!

The difference in taste between these brownies and “brownies in a box” was enormous and I felt like I was eating brownies from a high end bakery.  I still can’t compete with Tully’s Bakery, but I must admit they were pretty darn good and definitely better than any brownie I’ve ever made.

I used Virginia Willis’ recipe for Georgia Pecan Brownies from her Bon Appetit Y’All cookbook.  I didn’t use pecans because I don’t really like nuts in my brownies and I cut her recipe in half.  Of course I changed the flour as well.  Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cups flour (I used ¼ cup tapioca flour, ¼ c. brown rice flour & ¼ c. sorghum flour)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Dagoba organic chocolate)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz. nice semisweet dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×9 or 8×8 baking pan.  (If you want to use a 9×13 in. pan then you should double the recipe.)

Cut chocolate into small pieces.  If you use a large, sharp knife, this works very easily and the chocolate sort of flakes off the bar.

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Melt butter over medium heat.  Add sugar and stir into butter.  Keep warm.

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Whisk in a bowl, flours, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

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Add butter/sugar to bowl and combine.

Add eggs, chocolate and vanilla.  Stir until blended.

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Pour batter into pan and cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on how gooey you like your brownies.

You’ll notice I did not use xanthan gum in this recipe.  I’ve recently met a few people with celiac that avoid xanthan gum so I wanted to try baking without the xanthan gum.  The brownies fell apart a little when I cut them because of the absence of xanthan gum, but they were still yummy.  I’d rather affect presentation over flavor any day.

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Enjoy brownies with ice cream or by themselves.  These brownies are so flavorful that you don’t need a lot to get the chocolate satisfaction.  I promise you, it’s worth going beyond the box for these ones!  Of course I’ll still keep Betty Crocker and Pamela’s in my pantry too.

Barefoot’s Beef Stew

Posted in cooking on November 17th, 2009 by Betsy – 7 Comments

I love Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.  Her recipes are simple and use fresh ingredients.  Besides Joy of Cooking, Barefoot Contessa was my first introduction to the cookbook world.  Barefoot made me feel welcome in the kitchen and that I could actually make food, even good food.  Laid back and no frills, Barefoot’s show is always fun to watch and I love it when she talks about her husband, Jeffrey.  For those of you that haven’t seen the show, Jeffrey works in the city during the week and comes home to Nantucket on the weekends.  Jeffrey’s favorite meal is roast chicken, so she usually makes him roast chicken on Friday nights.  Barefoot’s roast chicken became one of the first meals that David and I started making when entertaining and we agree with Jeffrey, that it is one of the best meals!  Ina films the show in her home in the Hamptons and she’s always hosting awkward dinner parties and get togethers with her local friends in the Hamptons, such as the florist, the local butcher, etc.  She usually has a theme to each episode, or just “Friday Night Dinner with Jeffrey.”  Visualize Mr. Rogers meets Julia Child and the neighborhood is East Hampton.

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Recently I made delicious, beef stew using a recipe from Barefoot Contessa’s back to basics cookbook.  While the recipe is a bit labor intensive at the beginning, your work is complete way before the meal is ready.  You can wash your dishes, and then relax while the stew cooks.  It’s quite a filling stew so I just served it with warm, homemade cornbread.  We had some people over for dinner and everyone got seconds; it’s that good.  In the following recipe, I made a few changes to Ina’s recipe but for the most part, it’s true to its original form.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds good-quality chuck beef, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle good red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 7 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups flour (I used white rice flour)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped, yellow onions (about 2 onions)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1 ½ inch chunks
  • 1 pound small potatoes, quartered
  • 1 14.5 oz. can beef broth (I just found out that Progresso’s broths are GF)
  • 1 large branch fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen peas

Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves.  Cover the bowl and marinate in fridge overnight.  (It’s so worth doing this!  It makes the meat really flavorful.)

Brown the bacon in a large sauté pan for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.  Transfer bacon to Dutch oven, using a slotted spoon.

To prepare the meat, put the flour in a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon pepper.  Lift beef out of marinade and discard bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade.  Dredge the beef cubes in flour mixture, shake off excess flour.  Brown the meat in the same sauté pan you used for the bacon.  You’ll need to do this in batches.  Turn the meat to brown on all sides.  Put finished meat into the DO.   Repeat with next batch.  (You might need to add a little olive oil to the pan if it starts to dry out.)

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Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

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Lower the heat in the sauté pan to medium-low, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, adding more olive oil if needed.  Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for five more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add veggies to the Dutch oven.  Add 2 ½ cups of wine marinade to the sauté pan.  Cook over high heat to deglaze the pan.  (This is how you get all of the delicious flavor from the beef and bacon bits left in the pan!)  Stir and scrape up bits with wooden spoon as it cooks.  Add beef stock, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.

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Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the DO and bring it to a simmer on medium heat.

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Cover the pot and put it in the oven for two hours, until meat and veggies are tender, stirring once during cooking.  If the stew starts to boil (not simmer), decrease heat to 275.

When the stew is done, discard the rosemary branch.  Ladle one cup of juice into a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of rice flour.  Pour it back into stew, stir gently and simmer for 3 minutes, until thickened.  (You don’t even have to do this step.  Sometimes I add the flour, sometimes I don’t.)

Stir in frozen peas, season to taste.  Enjoy!

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I made this stew in the morning and just let it sit for the rest of the day, until serving it that night.  I think stews and chilis get better over time, so just letting it sit and reheating later is great.  It also gives you more flexibility as the chef!  You can even make it a couple of days in advance.

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Don’t feel like you have to follow this recipe exactly.  Last time I made it, I added a couple of chopped tomatoes as well because I had them around the house.  I’ve used red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes.  Thyme would also go well in this recipe.  This beef stew also freezes well.

Let me know what you like to put in your beef stew or if you have a favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe!

I’m Tweeting!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

I’ve finally joined the Twitter world and you can find me as betsyglutenfree.  What an interesting concept.  Only 140 characters allowed.  For any of you who’ve tried, 140 characters is not very many.  People have been telling  me I should be ‘tweeting’ so I’ve decided to go for it.  I tend to be a wordy person so keeping updates to the allotted character max is tough for me.  I already had one post rejected this morning by Twitter because it was too lengthy.  (Then I realized that Twitter tells me how many characters I’ve used as I write.  Very helpful!)

So what will I be doing on Twitter?  I won’t be solving the problems of the world, but I’ll be giving brief updates of what I’m making in the kitchen, what I’m buying, local produce, restaurants I’m going to, and fun things going on in the gluten-free, foodie world.

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted in baking, vegetarian on November 13th, 2009 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Peanut butter might be one of my favorite foods.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I eat it all the time.  It’s a great snack and goes well with many different foods: honey, jelly and of course, chocolate!

I love this cookie recipe, not only because it includes my favorite ingredient, but because it doesn’t require a mixer or fancy flour.  This recipe only requires four ingredients, and they’re all items that you might have in your pantry without having to make a trip to the store.  This recipe  makes at least 2 dozen cookies and are a huge hit with both gluten-free and non gluten-free eaters.  Perfect to take to a holiday event.  My friend, Ellie, always made these when I would come over to her house so they remind me of her!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg & 1 egg white
  • ½ cup (or more) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate cookie dough for 12 minutes.  Scoop chilled cookie dough into small balls and place on a greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until top begins to brown.  (They may seem a little soft but will harden once they cool.)

Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey’s Kisses

There are a few versions of this recipe.  One that my students loved used Hershey’s Kisses instead of chocolate chips.  Just make the batter and roll each dough ball in sugar.  Squish down balls with a fork.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and put a Hershey’s Kiss on top of each cookie.  Put in the oven for another 10 seconds.  Let cool.  (When making this recipe, sometimes I use a 1 teaspoon of baking powder in the mix.)  You can also make this recipe without Hershey’s Kisses and just have a peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Bacon

I also found another twist on this recipe by Joy the Baker.  This one calls for cooked, diced, bacon.  Sounds a little weird when you first hear about it, but these two foods are a great combination.  My grandmother introduced me to this flavor combination as a child.  She microwaves Ritz crackers, peanut butter and bacon and it makes a great appetizer.  I’m thinking about trying it with Glutino crackers because it was such a part of my childhood and a great snack!  Seriously, try it.

Check out Joy the Baker’s post for peanut butter bacon cookies.  It’s almost exactly the same as the previous recipes except with bacon instead of chocolate.

Enjoy!