Friday, October 23, 2009

Who wants pie?

This time of year always makes me crave my favorite dessert - apple pie.  Although Celiac disease has made this tricky for me to enjoy, I had to learn to bake it for myself - and Gluten-Free.

Using this recipe (also below) from I was able to adapt the pie recipe to Gluten-Free standards, with a few minor adjustments.

You can use any gluten-free pie crust, or bake your own, but for this recipe I used the GF Pie Crust from Whole Foods GF Bakery.  I put it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes at 350 to thaw the frozen crust to room temperature.  This crust was easy to use but not the best for never became that yummy golden brown color.

I mixed the apple filling mixture almost exactly the same as this recipe, but I probably should have added some more GF flour to the mixture, as it was a bit runny/watery when it was done.

The crumble topping was tricky to make, as the brown sugar I had was in large chunks (I never remember the best way to soften brown sugar without cooking it?!) Any suggestions?  This made the mixing process difficult (and needless to say I had brown sugar all over my counter!)  In the end, the topping tasted good, but some bites were a bit sweeter than others ;). I will have to remember to mix better on my next attempt at this pie.

Another tip: I probably should have allowed the pie to vent while it was cooking.  The filling was pretty tight and the crumble covered most of the pie, leaving little breathing room.

This may have been why the pie was so full of liquid.  After a day in the fridge though, this pie was much better on day 2!

If anyone has other suggestions on apple pies, leave a comment!  Would love to be able to perfect this!! 

Apple Crumb Pie

    * 1 (9 inch) pie shell (GF)
    * 6 cups thinly sliced apples
    * 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
    * 3/4 cup white sugar
    * 2 tablespoons GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
    * 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    * 1/2 cup GF flour
    * 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    * 3 tablespoons butter


   1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
   2. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice if desired. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated. Stir in raisins and walnuts if desired. Spoon mixture into pastry shell.
   3. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling. Cover top loosely with aluminum foil (optional based on cooking times).
   4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspired by my own post!

After posting the Fall Harvest recipes last night, I decided to make the brussel sprout recipe again...and it did not disappoint!!

This time I have the pics to prove it!

I made this along with some roasted red potatoes and thinly sliced pork chops (can't get enough pork in one meal!)  The red potatoes I washed, sliced and added to a pyrex dish.  I have this wonderful basil infused olive oil, so I used this to drizzle over the potatoes in the pyrex, along with some salt, pepper and rosemary, mixed it up and put into the oven at 400 degrees.  I let this stay in there for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the potatoes did not stick to the pan.  I then lowered the heat to about 275 degrees just to keep it warm as the rest of the meal was cooking.

While this was going on, I made the brussel sprout dish in a 12" skillet, and then transferred this to a bowl when it was done. I used the leftover oil to cook the pork chops.  The bacon and onion flavor really brought out a nice taste to the pork chops, which I seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary.

I'm looking forward to leftovers tonight!!  Hope you enjoy this post!  Happy eating!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Harvest Recipes: Soup to Pie

Each October, my cooking club's theme is "Fall Harvest," featuring recipes with seasonal fruit and vegetables.  Last year was especially good: potato and leek soup, spaghetti squash with marinara, rosemary and pancetta brussel sprouts, and pumpkin pie.  These were very easy recipes to follow (listed at the bottom of this posting), and were for the most part, Gluten-Free! (Apologies in advance for the lack of pictures...but they were just too good - we ate it all before pics were taken!)

The Potato Leek Soup was from, but was originally from the Well Filled Microwave Cookbook.  It was great to be able to use the microwave, as NYC apts are so tiny.  This soup came out creamy and delish.  Great way to escape a cold evening.  If you are not making this for a group of people, you can put the leftovers in single-serve containers and freeze them.  Awesome lunches for work!

The spaghetti squash was something I've never made before...and it tasted great!  Makes a nice substitute for GF pasta, which packs a ton of calories and sometimes is less than stellar.

The brussel sprouts were definitely the star of the evening.  I am not a fan at all of these little suckers, but with this recipe, I can eat them all day long!  The rosemary and pancetta added such good flavor to the veggies, enriching the savoryness of the dish.

The pumpkin pie recipe was a WeightWatchers recipe, and we prepared the filling the same for both my Gluten-Eating friends and myself, only making a small substitute to the crust. I used Josef's Graham Crakers, crushing them in a plastic bag, and adding to a small ramekin.  We then added the pumpkin pie filling to this and refrigerated for about an hour.  Add some cool whip to this and it's amazing!

Potato, Leek and Sorrel Soup

Total Cooking Time: 32 minutes
Standing Time: None
Serves 4 to 6

1. Place the butter and 1 cup of the water in a large bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, or until the butter melts. Add the leeks and sorrel, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are well wilted.
2. Add the potatoes and remaining 4 cups water, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough to mash when pressed with a spoon.
3. Add the salt and cream, if using. Whisk to mix and mash the potatoes. Sprinkle the chives, if using, over the top and serve right away.

If sorrel is not available, substitute an equal amount of spinach and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara (from epicurious)

Per Serving: 97 cal, 3 g pro, 16 g carb, 4 g fat, 1 g sat. fat,0 mg chol, 4 g fiber, 386 mg sodium

1 med spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg Spanish (yellow) onion, cut into long, thin strips
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sm zucchini, cut into 1/4--4" strips
1 med red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into 1/4--4" strips
2 c canned tomato puree
1 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 sm yellow squash, cut into 1/4--4" strips

1. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place it in a microwaveable dish, and microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it softens. Remove from the microwave, and let it cool. (Be careful; it gets very hot.)

2. When the squash is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise. Then scrape out the seeds, and throw them away. Set the squash aside.

3. Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary to prevent burning. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper to the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly.

4. Add the tomato puree and basil, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

5. While the sauce is simmering, gently remove the spaghetti squash strands with 2 forks, and add them to the sauce. Stir in the salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the squash is heated through.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Pancetta
Makes 4 servings

6 ounces of pancetta, or thick cut bacon (if you cannot find pancetta), diced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Over medium-high heat, fry pancetta, or bacon, with rosemary in a medium sized skillet until crispy and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter has melted. Add shallot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add brussels sprouts and cook, turning brussels sprouts occasionally, until tender but still bright green about 15 to 18 minutes. Add pancetta to brussels sprouts and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings:  8
Preparation Time:  10 min
Cooking Time:  65 min
•    3 oz reduced-fat cinnamon graham crackers, about 5 1/2 sheets (I used Josef's GF Graham Crackers)
•    1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
•    2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
•    2 large egg white(s)
•    1 large egg(s)
•    1/2 cup(s) dark brown sugar
•    1/4 tsp table salt
•    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or less to taste
•    1 cup(s) canned pumpkin
•    1/2 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk
•    4 tbsp lite whipped topping
•    Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
•    Place graham crackers and light brown sugar in a food processor and process into crumbs (or smash into crumbs in a sealed plastic food bag with a rolling pin). Spoon crumbs into a small bowl; add melted butter and combine with fingers into a coarse meal. Distribute crumbs evenly on bottom and up sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes before baking. Bake until crust starts to turn golden, about 8 to 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.
•    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy; fold in egg, dark brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and evaporated milk. Beat pumpkin custard until smooth and pour into pie shell. Bake until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces, top each piece with 1/2 tablespoon of whipped topping and serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 1 slice per serving.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I heart Betty Crocker: Gluten-Free Brownies

I've heard great things about the GF mixes by Betty Crocker, but was struggling to find any in Manhattan supermarkets.  About a month ago, I was deliciously surprised.  Thanks to my future mother-in-law, who was visting NY from out of state, we now had a box, as she was able to buy it in her local store.

These brownies were so easy to make...even easier than the Pamela's mix, which I've used many times before. All you need are 2 eggs and some butter, mix it together and in about 25 minutes you have amazing brownies.  The batter was more delish than other GF mixes, a good sign for the final product.

These are great to bake when you are going to dinner with non-GF peeps (they won't know the difference!), or just to enjoy all on your own! They taste great, real gooey, rich and very chocolatey. 

The edges got a little hard, and removal from the pan became messy, but I chalk that up to the uneven distribution of the batter as it went into the pan (or maybe not enough cooking spray on the edges causing it to stick).

I'm looking forward to trying the Yellow Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie mixes next.  Stay tuned...