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The GF Taco

GF, SF Taco Recipe

(Can be made DF, vegetarian, and vegan by leaving out meat and dairy products or substituting)

Serving Size: About 8-12 tacos with other filling

Taco Ingredients:

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Taco Toppings

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Garden of Eatin Corn Tacos

– 1 Box (12 tacos) of ONLY corn hard shell tortillas (We use either Bearitos Taco Shell or Garden of Eatin’

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Bearitos Corn Tacos

Yellow Corn Taco Shells )
– 1 – 1.5 lbs of ground meat (we use ground breast turkey meat) or beans or other meat substitute
– 2-4 TBSP of gf taco seasoning (recipe below)
– 3 tomatoes chopped
– 1-2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
– 1 onion, thinly sliced
– 2 avocados, diced
– 1-2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped
– 1 cup of shredded cheese (optional)
– jar of salsa
– container of sour cream (optional)
– any other fun ingredients

Taco Directions:

1. Brown taco meat by placing it in a skillet and stirring every now and again. (This should only take 7-10 minutes). I like to use a non-stick so I don’t need to use any oil. Once the meat begins to brown, I add 2-4 TBSP of taco seasoning and 1/3 cup of water. I mix that together and then taste. Sometimes I might need to add more water, so just keep an eye on the meat.

2. While the meat is cooking you can warm taco shells by the directions on the package. I often use my toaster oven when not making more than 6.
3. Also while the meat is cooking, I prep all the veggies. Sometimes I even prep them ahead of time.

4. Assemble the taco. I tend to layer in the veggies first and then put on the meat so that the meat weighs down the veggies and keeps them from popping out.

5. The finale . . . toppings – I love to put salsa on top, but perhaps you might enjoy sour cream or something else!

6. Serve with salad or bed of rice or just by itself!

Taco Seasoning Ingredients

Servings: I would guestimate about 8-10 TBSP

(I have no idea where I originally got this recipe from, but it has been adapted.)

– 1/4 cup dried onions, minced (sometimes I use powdered)1/4 cup chili powder
– 1 TBSP salt
– 4 tsp cornstarch
– 1 TBSP dried garlic, minced (sometimes I use powdered)
– 1 TBSP cumin, ground
– 1 TBSP red pepper flakes, crushed
– 1+1/2 tsp dried oregano (either powdered or flakes)

Taco Seasoning Directions:

1. Mix all the seasonings together in an airtight container. (I like to use a glass jar with a tight fitting lid). It should keep 6 months – 1 year, but I always use mine up before then.

2. When ready to use, you need about 2-4 TBSP of seasoning (to taste) and 1/3-1/2 cup of water to 1 lb. of cooked meat. Spoon into the pan after you have begun to brown the meat.

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And, NO, I was thankfully not in the car.

Sorry for my delay in getting posts up, but I have been side tracked by a hit and run side swipe in the Whole Foods parking lot!!

I found my car with someone else’s paint all over the back driver’s side after finishing my shopping. And just to think that I was wondering how I was going to kill an hour before picking up my daughter and her friend 🙂 !

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First, I took pictures of the car and ground where paint lay everywhere. Then, I ran back into whole foods to see if I could look at their video camera, only to learn that because their parking lot is leased, only an insurance company can have access to it. Grrr!

Just as I was leaving I ran into a lovely police officer who advised me to file a police report.

So, I head around the corner to (luckily) the police precinct, only to learn:

1. You have to have your insurance card and registration on hand, (so I had to go back to the car to fetch it!)
2. My deductible might be higher than the estimate, in which case it doesn’t behoove me to file it, and therefore I will never have Whole Foods video footage.
3. The only way to find out what is best for me to do is to go get an estimate before filing.

But honestly, I just want to watch the videos and catch the jerk who didn’t even bother to leave a message, other than half the paint off his/her car.

I guess I must have needed some adventure today. Lol!! Alas. . .

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My Daughter Posing with her Gluten-Free Jewel Pop

This is a quick and easy gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan snack.

Lemonade Popsicles

Ingredients:

– Fruit juice of any kind – we used lemonade aid, (but you can also reconstitute the frozen kind,too)

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Tovolo Jewel Pop Molds

Supplies:

– Popsicle molds or Dixie cups and Popsicle sticks
(We love our Tovolo Freezer Jewel Pop Molds, Set of 6, because they’re a perfect size and fit right on your finger!)

Directions:

1. Pour lemonade aid or fruit juice into molds*.
2. Put in freezer. The amount if time will depend on how large your Popsicles are.

*NOTE: If using Dixie cups and Popsicle sticks, you might want to place a piece of aluminum foil over the cup, make a small hole in the center for the stick, and put the stick through the hole. That way, the stick will not fall over.

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Baked Hamantashan

So, when I picked up my daughter from school yesterday, they informed me that they would be eating Hamantashan.  I rushed home to see if I could replicate what I haven’t had in years.  I made gluten-free, dairy-free hamantashan and they were AMAZING!!  I got rave reviews.

Just as a note, lots of hamantashan are made with a citrus zest.  I really like mine just plain and simple, so I did not use any of that.

Stellar Hamantashan (GF/DF)

This recipe is adapted from the The Shiksa Blog:

Ingredients:

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Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I make my own, but the safest GF variety without alcohol is Frontier Vanilla Flavor)
  • 281.25 grams of GF multipurpose flour or about 9.92 oz (the real recipe called for 2 1/4 cup flours, which would be too much for this recipe.  If doing cups, I’d try about 2 cups for starters and you can always add as you go)
  • scant 1 tsp of Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 5 tsp water (if needed) – I did not need this
  • Any kind filling: jam, nutella, chocolate chips, poppy seed, etc.

You will also need

  • 1 baking sheets, 2 mixing bowls, wooden spoon, whisk,  parchment paper
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Servings: About 16 cookies
Kosher Key: Pareve (depending on filling)

Directions:

1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Weigh your flour and then add baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.20130221-185257.jpg
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla.
4.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet.
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Adding Dry Ingredients

Note:  this never formed the hard pastry dough I was thinking it would.  It was quite sticky.  I contemplated adding more flour, but decided it would be better to refrigerate.
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Mixed Wet and Dry

6. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes.

7.  On a sheet of parchment paper, break dough off and roll into about 1″ balls.  I completed each Hamantashan at a time, because the dough was a bit sticky and I didn’t want it to sit and get too warm.  Flatten them out, put a dollop of jam in the middle, then pinch corners together to make a triangle.

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Making the Hamantashan

8.  Place formed dough in a 350* oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes until edges just begin to brown.

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Finished Hamantashan

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This recipe was inspired by my friend, Laura Hahn, a gluten-free food blogger at Guilt Free Foodie Cutie and winner of NBC’s Next Local TV Chef.  She invited me to help her cook and staff the gluten-free table at the March of Dimes Chef’s Tasting Gala with 500 attendees being held at the Please Touch Museum.  With less than a week to spare, and GF baguettes and brownies from Sweet Christine’s Bakery in Kennett Square, PA coming our way, we devised a plan.  (To read more about this adventure, check out my article.)

Laura and I divided and conquered.  Being obsessed with fall foods and wanting to resurrect my Halloween pumpkin, the idea for my spread was born.   I was going to make the Winter Squash Ricotta Spread finished with pomegranate seeds, and she made the White Bean Spread finished with an Arugula Pistachio Pesto.  The choice for ricotta came about, because Laura convinced me it would make the spread go farther than cream cheese.  So I began my Google search for a mouth-watering recipe including pumpkin and ricotta, and to my dismay, came up empty-handed.  How could that be possible?!!  There seemed to be no such thing as the spread I had been turning over in my head.

And that my friends, is how the recipe was born . . . a pinch of this, a pinch of that . . . and the use of my favorite ingredient . . . MOLASSES!!  To read more about health benefits of blackstrap molasses, click here.


Gluten-Free Winter Squash Ricotta Spread Recipe

You’ll have to bear with me on this one, because I made this recipe hoping to feed 500 people.  It made 4 quarts of spread.  I played around with it using only 2 cups of squash, but it might not be totally perfect. Feel free to adjust the amounts of spices and cheese you use, and feel free to tell me what you did.  All I can say is that Laura went home that night and told me she ate a whole pint by herself, so it must have been pretty good.

Serving Size: about 1 quart

Ingredients:

– 2 cups pumpkin or winter squash (canned or roasted) (I used 1 cup pumpkin and 1 cup butternut squash)
– 1 TBSP ricotta cheese (or to taste)
– 1 TBSP black strap molasses
– 1 tsp ginger
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp cloves
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1 tsp vanilla extract (gf)
– 1 tsp powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Halve and seed your squash.

2. Roast squash flesh side down in the oven at around 400*F for about 1 hour.  For details on roasting squash, click here.

3.  Let roasted squash cool for about 20 minutes skin side down and then scoop out the flesh.

4.  Put 2 cups of the squash in a bowl, and using an immersion blender, puree it.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, stick it in your food processor to get it smooth and uniform – no clumps.

5.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend again.

6.  Spoon onto your favorite baguette, and top with pomegranate seeds or even a cranberry sauce.

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A few days ago a New York Times (NYT) staff writer by the name of Catherine Saint Louis  published an interesting article in the Dining & Wine section of the NYT called Removing ‘Sacrifice’ from ‘Gluten-Free’.

She talks all about her dining experience with her friends, always having to qualify her cooking with the statement “it’s gluten-free” as if to offer some condolence to the fact that it an imposter to its gluten counterpart.  I have said that more times than I have hands to count on, and watched people turn up their noses in refusal of the gluten-free food, all because it’s gluten-free.

However, a few weeks ago . . .

Laura & Me at Tasting Table

I got an exciting call from my friend, Laura Hahn, with Guilt Free Foodie Cutie.  She was going to have a gluten-free table (at a full of gluten event).  The table would beshow-casing Sweet Christine’s GF baguettes and brownies at the March of Dimes Chef’s Tasting Gala taking place at the Please Touch Museum three days later.  We decided it would be best to partner up and make spreads for the baguettes and a topping for the brownies.

In two days, we had everything planned and were cooking till the minute we ran out the door.  Rushing to meet Laura, I arrived at the same time as she did.  We loaded her stuff into my car, and while shoving it in the back, I notice that my car started to venture forward into the street, gaining some momentum.  In high heals, I started chasing after my car, jumped into the driver’s seat, and tried to assess the situation before the situation assessed me; luckily I didn’t have to get very far.  In all the excitement, I had forgotten to put the car in park!!!  Um, can we say, “Ding-Dong?!!”  That had never happened before.  I guess there’s always a first for everything.

With the minor situation behind us, we reached the loading dock, and hauled our stuff through the underground maze like tunnels.  Once we reached the table, we began decorating it, slicing bread, cutting brownies, and adding the spreads.  Laura had made a Tuscan White Bean Dip finished with an Arugula Pistachio Pesto.  I had made a Winter Squash Ricotta Spread topped with pomegranate seeds.  I was hoping to find a recipe for my latest and greatest idea, but it appeared that a recipe didn’t exist, so I began to create my own with my latest favorite ingredient.  Can you guess?!!  MOLASSES!  (For the health benefits of molasses, click here.)  If you want to read this mouth-watering recipe, click here.

Spreads, brownies, & Ingredient Cards

We had a FANTASTIC night, meeting such fun and interesting people!  As we watched the faces of those sampling our foods, we saw faces of relaxation, delight, and euphoria.  They came back for seconds and thirds.  We waited in anticipation for them to express that it was gluten-free, and yet people could not believe their pallets or their ears.  Though some said they could texturally feel the difference, there was no taste difference at all.  The truth was that we were proud to announce that our food gluten-free, because it was AWESOME!!

Unlike Saint Louis who only had one guest say he couldn’t believe that it was gluten-free, the majority of our samplers couldn’t believe it.  With lots of practice and patience in the kitchen, I truly believe that my gluten-free food is often superior to its gluten counterpart, but maybe that’s because I’m making everything from scratch, which seems to be a lost art.  Though 20 years ago it was hard to find a gluten-free product, and 10 years ago the gluten-free products tasted like stale jail food, today’s gluten-free products are excellent; however, it does take a bit of trial and error to know which ones to use.  Saint Louis did not choose all the brands that I would have chosen, so of course my first thought to her dinner party was that I would have chosen a different flour and a different pasta.  I would have indeed made my cheesecake with a nut crust and not have used any flour.  There are also excellent gluten-free graham crackers to make a crust with, too . . . however, the more we try the more we learn.

Three Tips for Making Gluten-Free Food Better than the Original

Some people have the misconception that “gluten-free” means “taste-free.”  Here are 3 tips to make your gluten-free dishes delicious:

1. Choose the Best Tasting Brand

To read more, click here . . .

This article can also be found on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Celiac Central: Bits and Bites Page

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Gluten-Free Renegade Latkes

Photograph taken by Brittany Sanford

At the last minute, I decided to throw a very small gathering Hannukah Party.  And of course, what’s a Hannukah party without Latkes.  I usually make sweet potato latkes, but this year I decided to get a bit more rebellious and cook with my most favorite ingredient . . . MOLASSES!  If you want to read more about the health benefits of molasses, check out the Frankenstorm Chocolate Chip Molasses Brittle Cookies Recipe.

My specialty is sweet potato latkes.  When I realized I only had two sweet potatoes in my kitchen, I knew creativity was to be born!  I decided to mix the sweet potatoes with butternut squash, but that would cut the sweetness.  I then decided to add apple to give it a sweet burst, and upon looking in the fridge, I had this burning desire to use my parsnip.  Well, then I concluded I needed it to be a bit sweeter, which gave me an excuse to use my favorite ingredient.  That’s right!  You guessed it . . . BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES!

Personally, I thought the latkes were sweet enough without the molasses, but my guests thought the molasses really hit the spot.

Gluten-Free Renegade Latkes

Serving Size: about 22 2″ in diameter latkes

Ingredients:

2 cups of grated sweet potato, skins scrubbed
2 cups of grated butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup of grated apple, skins scrubbed and core removed
1/2 cup of grated parsnip, skins scrubbed
6 scallions chopped
1/2 onion chopped
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp of blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup of gluten-free flour* (see #6 below for more details)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Frying Oil – Coconut, Canola, etc.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 200*F

2. Grate the potato, squash, apple, and parsnip and put in separate containers.

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Grated Sweet Potato (front) and Butternut Squash (rear)
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Grated Apple (left) and Grated Parsnip (right)

2. Grate the potato, squash, apple, and parsnip.  The apple will need to be squeezed out.  I used a ricer to squeeze out the juices, which I caught in another cup and drank!  Then mix all the food you grated together in a large bowl.  If you decided to create your own base ingredient mix, then make sure that together it weighs about 1 lb or 16 ounces.

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3. Chop onions and scallions and toss them into the mix.

4. Add salt and pepper and toss.

5. Add slightly beaten egg and molasses and toss to mix evenly.

6. Add 1/2 cup of your gluten-free flour blend or 1/4 cup of a gluten-free 1/4 cup of a starch.  I use my hands to mix this in really well and make sure the consistency is just right.  If not, I add about a teaspoon at a time of more flour.  For one batch I used a gf flour blend, and another batch I mixed 1/4 cup of brown rice flour with 1/4 cup of tapioca starch.  As for flours, just pick one with a milder flavor and any starch will do.  Some people like to use potato starch, since you’re cooking with potato.  Other recipes call for only starch, but I really prefer the starch/flour combo or gf flour blend.

Latke Mix

7. Add oil to your pan so that it comes up about 1/4 of an inch high.  I set the burner to right below the highest heat setting and wait about 5 minutes to make sure my oil is good and hot.

8.  While the oil is heating up, I put parchment paper on a baking sheet, and set that in the preheated oven.

9. Then, I use my hands to make about a 2″ in diameter flat pancake.  I lay that on a spatula, and gently put it in the oil.  I put about 4-5 latkes in the oil so as not to decrease the heat too much.  You want the oil to bubble when you put it in.  I cook it for about 1-2 minutes per side.  When the edges start to brown, then you know to flip it.

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Frying Latkes

10. When the latkes are done, I transfer them onto the baking sheet in the oven.

11.  When all the latkes are completed, I turned my broiler onto low and just finished them off in there so that they would be super crispy.

12.  You can top with applesauce, sour cream, or some other fun dip!

The latkes turned about to be  AMAZING!!!  I was so glad I made 3 batches for 7 1/2 people.  I would not have had enough!

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