So I started another blog. Where I talk about food.

The Kitchen is a Mess.

Or maybe I talk about other stuff. Or maybe I forget I blog at all, like I did here... We'll see, I guess.

English Muffins for breakfast

Buttered English Muffins
I love English muffins.  Love them love them love them.  Without gluten in my kitchen, I have a heck of a time trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast that's not garbage, 97% sugar, and not leftovers from the night before (which I will eat for lunch, more often than not. Who wants to eat the same food for three consecutive meals? Yes, a real first world problem, I realize).

I was looking for a good breakfast food and came across three consecutive mentions of English muffins on the internet, one of which was gluten free.  So I decided to find a starting point and tweak from there.  I made the Better Batter recipe, using a Better Batter cheat recipe and found out the hard way that I need to make a sweeping generalization: There is too much stinking xanthan gum in most gluten-free recipes which is what makes them gummy, heavy, without air pockets, and generally yuck.

So I made a second round, tweaking the flours (you can substitute 3 1/2-4 cups of your favorite flour mix), the xanthan gum and realizing that I only had 4 English muffin rings for a recipe that makes about a dozen English muffins.  They were light, non-gummy, toasted really nicely (well, would have toasted better if I had, um, a toaster.  But the broiler worked fairly well) and took a lovely pat of butter making my eyes roll around in my head when I ate it (the butter and the muffin).

Gluten-free English Muffins, heather-style

2 1/4 tsp (or 1 packet)  dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 cup milk (dairy or non, or water if you wish), warmed to about 110 degrees
1 cup warm buttermilk (or 1 cup milk/milk substitute, plus 1 T vinegar)

5 T shortening (I use Spectrum, non-hydrogenated palm shortening)
1 1/3 cups rice flour or sorghum flour
1 cup, plus 2T millet or amaranth flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2/3 cup potato starch
(or substitute 4 cups of your favorite flour blend)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milks, and set aside to proof for 5-7 minutes until frothing and bubbly.  While the yeast is proofing, blend the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a sifter or a whisk.  Cut the shortening into the mixed dry ingredients with a pastry blender, two knives, or rub it in with your hands until well-blended.  When the yeast is well-proofed, add it into the flour mix, and mix for 2-3 minutes, until fully incorporated.

Spray and flour the inside of your English muffin rings ($5 for 4 at Sur la Table) or empty tuna cans with the top and the bottom removed, washed, labels removed.  PLace them on a baking sheet on a piece of parchment paper, lightly sprinkled with flour.  Evenly fill the rings about 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter.  Without the extra xanthan gum, the batter is sticky instead of dough-like.  Welcome to the world of gluten-free batter.  If you don't have rings, or if you only have a few, you can either free form themm, or form them in the rings, and remove them, but they will spread and become more crumpet-shaped.  Let the English muffins rise for 45 minutes in a warm place (I usually set the oven at about 100-115 degrees and let them rise in there).

Risen English Muffins

When they've risen and are a bit puffy on top, bake them in a 350 degree oven for 18-25 minutes.  Or until light golden brown, whichever.  Set the muffins on a rack to cool.  Remove the muffins from the rings.  You may need to run around the inside of the ring with a thin knife, to release them.  Split the english muffins with a fork to take advantage of those patented nooks and crannies.  Freeze everything you won't eat now, to thaw and toast later.  Spread with butter or jam or both or honey or, you get the idea.


Gluten free brown sugar coffee cake

It's recipe time again! If I were a good blogger, I'd also have photos. But I'm not. So it goes.

Gluten-free brown sugar coffee cake

1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour (or 3/4 cups brown rice flour, 3/4 cups millet flour)
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt

Sift the above ingredients

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Add the sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in thirds, alternating with the sour cream.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put 1/2 of the batter into a greased 13x9 inch pan. cover with 1/2 the topping. Gently spread the remaining batter over these two layers, cover with remaining topping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
NOTE: Updated 05.4.09 to adjust xanthan gum level

New Plan!!

My new plan is this: post a chicken enchilada casserole recipe every month.

It's not really a new plan. It's apparently what I've decided to do. My friend Droolie gave me her recipe and I liberated it from gluten. Aunt Droolie's nephew used to have a hard time pronouncing Chicken Enchilada Casserole and called it Chicken Encarada Rascapole, so who am I to argue?

Also? Full disclosure, I haven't made this yet, so let me know how you like it. :)

Chicken Encarada Rascapole – Gluten-free

4-6 Chicken Breasts
1 large chopped onion
12 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups GF Chicken stock
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup minced fire-roasted chilies (mild or spicy to taste) (or 1 Small can minced green chilies)
1 T cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
3 T corn flour
1 T canola oil
1 Cup grated Jack cheese
1 Cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Can Evaporated Milk
¾ can of Ro-Tel, drained

Put chicken, chicken stock (enough to cover chicken), large chopped onion, crushed garlic, cumin, oregano in a crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. When chicken is finished cooking, remove the meat from the crock pot and set aside to cool. When cooled, shred chicken with two forks.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil, and whisk in the corn flour. Cook for a few minutes, then slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Stir frequently until the mixture starts to thicken. Slowly incorporate the broth mixture from the crock pot, and add the Ro-Tel tomatoes. Heat through, continuing to stir with a spoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and mix, setting aside ¼ to coat tortillas.

Lightly oil 13”x9” baking pan. Dip the tortillas in the reserved sauce and line the baking dish in a single layer. Add chicken in a layer, and top with a layer of mixed cheeses. Repeat until everything is used. Top with a final layer of tortillas and cheese. Refrigerate overnight (optional, because really? Who wants to take 2 days to make this?).

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees (if refreigerated) or for 25 minutes at 350 degrees (if not refrigerated)

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I got peer-pressured, yo.  On Twitter/Facebook, I mentioned I was making a chicken enchilada casserole. The public demanded (okay, like 3 people) a recipe.

I'm not great with recipes because I throw stuff in without much regard to measuring - it's a bit more intuitive.  Taste and add.  Here's the best I can do.

(Despite the use of the crock pot and the word casserole, it's not particularly one-pot. At least not if you make the tortillas when you get home.)

Enchilada Sauce Ingredients (based on Karina's easy enchilada sauce):
1.5-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast and/or thighs
1 28-oz plus one 14.5-oz can of tomato sauce (or puree, or crushed tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large onion (or 1 small)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon coriander
A few shakes of cayenne pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup flour (Rice flour or tapioca flour will work fine if you're gluten-free. I like corn flour to impart the corn flavor from the tortillas)
crushed red peppers (optional)

16 corn tortillas (if you're insane like me and want to make 16 tortillas from scratch when you get home after being at work for 11 hours, use 2 cups maseca, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/4 cups of water)
shredded cheese (I like jack and cheddar)

Gettin' Down to Bidness:
Mix sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 7? hours (maybe more? I don't know - I left it for 11 hours on low because that's how long I'm gone for work).  Remove chicken from sauce, and shred it using two forks.  Remove about 1.5 cups of the tomato sauce from the crock pot and set aside.  Mix the shredded chicken back into the remaining tomato sauce.

Lightly oil a 13x9-inch baking dish, put 1-2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Lay 4 corn tortillas, dipped in the enchilada sauce, cover with 1/3 of the shredded chicken and 1/4 of the shredded cheese. Repeat these three layers 2 more times.  Top with remaining 4 corn tortillas dipped in enchilada sauce.  Pour any remaining sauce over the top layer of tortillas and cover with the remainder of the cheese.  Stick in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until it is melty and heated evenly through. 

Cut up into pieces (I use a pizza cutter) and serve hot.  Makes about 8 servings.  Take pictures to make your blog post less boring (optional).  Get someone else to wash all the stinkin' dishes you dirtied making this.

The Post-Mortem:
That's pretty gross to talk about a post-mortem on something you just ate, but it's late and I'm tired.  Anyhow, it was pretty good - basically I have grown weary of ground turkey/beef and wanted to do something else.  The chicken was lighter than the turkey but it sucked up tons of extra sauce after being shredded and mixed back in.  If you wanted to do a turkey or ground beef enchilada sauce, mix the liquid ingredients of the sauce in a medium sauce pan, following Karina's recipe.  Add the flour after sauteeing onions and garlic.  Use only the 28 oz can of tomatoes - you don't need quite as much liquid for the ground turkey.  Mix about 1 cup of enchilada sauce into your browned ground turkey, and use the rest to pour over each layer as you assemble.  Eat, clean up and go to bed full.

It was fall but it felt like winter, been gone a couple months, felt like a year

It was August.  I posted a list of food I have eaten.  I closed my eyes and now it's November?  It's time to start getting ready for Thanksgiving and being thankful when somehow I missed September and October and blinked and missed the riotous oranges and reds and yellows of the trees in the city and outside.

It got cold.  I can see my breath in the morning and have a harder time justifying leaving the house for work in a wet ponytail.  Well, clothes and a wet ponytail.  It's time to start putting logs on the fireplace and sipping cider in front of the crackling flames.  Forgetting the utter lack of a fireplace down here and my general aversion to hot cider after the first 4 sips.

Every fallwinter I make a mulled cranberry cider.  I throw unmeasured amounts of heady wintry spices, lemon juice and sugar into a pot and simmer it until it's thick and syrupy and my college roommates and friends told me I made the house smell like Christmas.  But it doesn't quite smell like Christmas, because the smell of snow is missing from the mix.

Even though I've never had a white Christmas.  California is prone to 80 degree Christmases and last year, my first Christmas On My Own, was too mild.  There may have been a snowy Christmas in Chicago when I got a Play-Doh Dr. Drill and Fill and my grandmother taught me to make snow angels.

It's coming out too stream of consciousnessy, but I don't want it to.  That's not why I sat down to poke this blog awake.  I started a tumblr, but I'm still trying to get the shoes to mold to my feet.  These shoes fit already.

I have the gooey feelings of excitedsad that happen during this time of year.  The ones I get during the scenic shots of The Spitfire Grill but more.  I've got my toes on a precipice and I'm leaning forward into the wind.  There's exhilaration and a little bit of fear but I keep muttering platitudes to myself .

Jump and the net will appear.
Leap of faith.

I want to write a song but I don't know how it goes.  But it's there.  There are many of them there.  I just can't hear them though.  So I knit and watch reruns of House and swim along the current of Twitter and Facebook updates.

But my guitar has been sneaking out more.

I know this is annoying to read; it's fairly annoying to write.  But there are many words that are blocking the exit and if I get them out it may be just the ticket.

That's just the ticket, he said accentuating the words with a swing of his arm.  He adjusted his newsboy cap and walked off jauntily.

Omnivore's Fifty-eight

I stole this from Jill Elise's page!

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream (allergic, so I am unlikely to ever eat it again

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava (stupid walnuts)

30. Bagna cauda (wouldn't surprise me if I had, but can't remember)

31. Wasabi peas Allergies. Again.

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects

43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more No need.

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin It's a visual thing. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini Not a fan of olives

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin (the mineral? If so, then it appears to be an anti-caking agent, so I guess so?)

64. Currywurst

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew!

69. Fried plantain Allergic

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette Clearly my brain sometimes get in the way.

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini (but not together)

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill The whole thing about not eating dead animals whose intestines have been perforated would make me decline altogether.

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie (not sure why this is less gross of a food to have eaten than sea urchin, because it's really a draw in my view...)

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini (the dude in the towel from Kids in the Hall, right?)

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse My friend Flicka?

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab (although after reading this I don't know that I ever could again. Caveat, it's disturbingly gross)

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano Allergic and yum!

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor (I'm not striking this out because I'm not put off from it other than it's a heartattack in a shell under a cheesy brown crust)

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (this is the jaguar poop coffee, no? No, it's not... That's Kopi Luwak/Civet Coffee)

100. Snake

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

Ay! Bake me some pie!

I had a little conversation with a co-worker over email today that made me feel oddly self-satisfied in ways that it shouldn't. It also tells me I need to learn how to interact like a total non-dork sometimes. That will be tricky. We'll call that one a "long-term goal."

Co-worker: I made a peach pie with a half the sugar the other day. It is surprising just how different it was. Not so sweet, and maybe a touch less flavor, but my goodness, it was really refreshing and light. It was one of those mistakes that turned out not what you wanted, but good nevertheless.

Me: I bet if you made it with 2/3 the sugar it would boost the flavor but keep the lightness and refreshingness. I really want to make pie. Pie pie pie pie. With blueberries. Or blackberries. Oooh! Or chicken pots.

Co-Worker: I so want to make blackberry ice cream I can almost taste it. What are chicken pots?

Me: Duh, they're what you use to make chicken pot pie.

Co-Worker: You want to make a chicken pot pie in summer?

Me: No, but I wanted to confuse you with references to chicken pots.

Co-Worker: I'm lost…. You have succeeded.

Me: I believe my work here is done. I'm going home.

About this blog

erratically updated for food, yarn, or other nonspecified reasons