Desserts, Gluten-free, Recipes

Blackberry Cobbler

Update 8/19/2016:  For a delicious gluten-free version, scroll to the end of this post.  Dennis agreed with me that the gluten-free version was as good or better than the original!

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I rediscovered this old recipe, written down more than thirty years ago, when I unpacked some of my cookbooks and recipe files from the box I’d packed them in at the start of the kitchen renovation.  This dish was a potluck staple of my former pastor’s wife in Klamath, Joyce Fleshman.  I’ve tweaked it just a bit, substituting butter for margarine (we all baked with margarine back then before we knew how bad for us it was), and adding a splash of my homemade vanilla.  I also substituted organic, whole-wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour.  And this coming week, after I pick berries again, I propose to make this recipe with the Bob’s Red Mill bean-based gluten-free flour that I use so often.  I’ll let you know how that turns out, but I’m sure it will work, as I’ve subbed it for all-purpose flour in other recipes like this.

Usually when I make cobblers, I make a soft, sweet biscuit dough to top the hot fruit, which has been mixed with sugar and some kind of thickener, cornstarch or tapioca.  I made one of these a couple of weeks ago, and it was good, as always.  But somewhere in the back of my mind was the memory of this other cobbler that I always loved when Joyce made it all those years ago.  When I found the recipe, I was really eager to try it, and the dish lived up to my memory.  The batter for this cobbler produces a more cake-like texture, and as it bakes, it makes layers in the pan, with the berries in the middle layer, separating the two cake layers.  The fat in the pan produces a crisp, shiny surface.  It’s really good.

Joyce’s Berry Cobbler

½ cup (1 stick) butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups milk (whole is best for baking)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4-6 cups of ripe blackberries (Use lesser amount if your blackberries are super ripe and rendering juice.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the butter in a 9X13 inch baking pan and place in oven to melt.  While butter is melting, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Beat in milk, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is smooth.  Pour batter over melted butter in pan, mix in slightly, swirling batter through butter with a spoon.  Sprinkle berries on top of batter evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until bottom layer is set when tested with a sharp knife.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Note:  The berries sink to the bottom or middle as the batter rises and the cobbler bakes.

The cobbler may need more baking time if your berries are very juicy, or you use the larger amount of berries.  I live at about 4500 feet, and it took about 50 minutes in the oven at 350 to get the bottom layer of the cobbler set.  Baking this at a lower altitude will probably take less time, so keep an eye on it.

We ate this warm out of the oven with ice cream the first day, and oh, baby.  It was very good cold with whipped cream the next day.  My granddaughter, who loves to bake, helped me pick the berries and make the cobbler, and she was a fan after she tried the dish.  For me, eating it brought back a lot of memories of church potlucks with good friends when my kids were little, and of Joyce, whom I loved.

Gluten-free version:

For the wheat flour, substitute same amount of gluten-free flour  (I use the bean-based flour from the bulk bin at Winco, which is Bob’s Red Mill).

Add 2 teaspoons xanthan gum to dry ingredients.

Follow directions as above.

This version might take an extra 15 minutes or longer to bake.  The texture is slightly different, more like a sponge cake crumb.

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Dairy, Gluten-free, Main dishes, Recipes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Until I started making buttermilk pancakes and sourdough pancakes from scratch, I really wasn’t all that fond of pancakes.  I’m sure I enjoyed them as a kid, because what kid doesn’t like pancakes?  But when my husband would make them for our kids, from pancake mix, they were always just so heavy and doughy, I didn’t really enjoy them.  I had to start making them from scratch to fall in love with pancakes again.

I love sourdough pancakes.  I like to make them on holidays when I’ve activated my sourdough starter to make sourdough rolls. But I don’t always have my sourdough batter activated and ready to go every time I want to make pancakes.  You either have to keep your sourdough always growing on the countertop (which I don’t), or you have to plan ahead and activate your refrigerated starter the night before so you can make pancakes the next morning (which I don’t).  And that’s why I love buttermilk pancakes, made with real buttermilk.  They are light and airy and tender, like sourdough pancakes, and they have a similar flavor.  And believe me, the flavor and texture of real buttermilk pancakes is nothing like the flavor and texture of a buttermilk pancake mix.

I make my own buttermilk now, so I always have it in the fridge. I usually only make 2 cups at a time, so I can use it up and keep making it fresh.  (Click the link to see how easy it is to make your own buttermilk.)  Also, my fridge is kind of small, so it helps with the space issue to keep just a pint jar going, and that’s enough for a big batch of pancakes, or a small batch of pancakes and a batch of biscuits.  (Yeah, real buttermilk biscuits are the bomb, too.) Because I always have buttermilk on hand, I don’t have to plan ahead to make delicious pancakes.

I have also used milk kefir in place of buttermilk with the same results.  I tried this because I had some kefir go a little alcoholic in the fridge when I was ill with the flu and unable to eat dairy.  I didn’t care to drink it when I got better, but I didn’t want to waste it.  The kefir made wonderful, light, fluffy pancakes, just like buttermilk, with no adjustments to the recipe.

I often make pancakes on the weekends.  I use a gluten-free, bean-based flour, and Dennis loves them.  He usually pours maple syrup on his.

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I like to change it up.  Sometimes I like maple syrup, but I often will open a jar of my blackberry syrup or another fruit syrup I’ve made, or I’ll spread my pancakes with my old-fashioned, low-sugar, strawberry jam made with whole berries. (You can tell this picture was taken recently during the kitchen renovation, because of the paper plate and plastic fork!)

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Or maybe I’ll pile them with apple butter or pumpkin butter and then drizzle them with maple syrup. Here’s a pic of one spread with apple butter and then rolled up like a blintz.  Then I coated it with maple syrup.

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I like them in the summer with sliced fresh strawberries, or fresh raspberries or blueberries, or fresh peaches or nectarines, and whipped cream.  And if you add an extra egg and thin the batter out a bit with more buttermilk, you can use this batter for crepes as well.  Then you can fill them with sweetened cream cheese and fruit for blintzes.  Oh, my.  If you omit the sugar, you can use the crepes for a savory dish.  I’ll have to dig out my old recipe for chicken or turkey main dish crepes!

Here’s my gluten-free buttermilk pancake recipe for two (double the recipe for a family), and after that, I’ll share an old buttermilk pancake recipe that uses wheat flour.

Gluten-free Buttermilk Pancakes

Wet ingredients:

1 large egg

2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil (I use grapeseed, olive, or avocado oil)

1 cup buttermilk or milk kefir (Regular milk can be used, but the flavor will be different. Omit baking soda if using milk, and increase baking powder to ¾ teaspoon.)

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free baking flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill from bulk bins at Winco.)

1 Tbs. sugar (any kind, or can be omitted; I use coconut palm sugar)

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ + pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (can be omitted; I’ve forgotten it, and the pancakes still held together)

Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl; mix wet ingredients into dry. Let batter rest and get bubbly for a few minutes before baking on a hot, greased griddle or skillet.

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I spread the batter out a little bit with the spoon to get a neater circle and a thinner pancake, although obviously they are not always the same size!

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I cook at just hotter than medium in a little butter (and I really do mean a little) so they brown nicely and don’t have to be buttered after cooking, which can make pancakes soggy.   Allow bubbles to form and break before trying to flip, and make sure the pancakes are fully set and browned on the bottom before you flip them.  Don’t crowd the pan or griddle like I always try to do at least once.

You can make about a dozen small pancakes or 6-8 medium sized ones from this amount of batter.  We usually have a couple left over that I save and reheat for a weekday breakfast.

Buttermilk Pancakes (with wheat flour)

Wet ingredients:

1 egg

1 ¼ cups buttermilk or soured milk* (or milk kefir)

2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

Dry ingredients:

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Beat egg.  Beat in buttermilk and melted butter.  Combine dry ingredients and beat into wet ingredients until batter is smooth.  Bake on hot, buttered griddle or skillet.  Flip when bubbles have formed but before they break.

*If you don’t have buttermilk or milk kefir, you can approximate the flavor and acidic action of these by souring milk.  To one cup of sweet milk, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.  Stir and let stand a few minutes to curdle.

Notice a few differences in techniques between these two recipes.  With gluten-free flours, you almost always mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  The gluten-free pancakes also need to cook a little longer before you flip them.  With wheat flour, it’s nearly always a case of mixing dry ingredients into wet.

If you’ve been eating pancakes made from a commercial mix, I hope you’ll try making buttermilk pancakes from scratch.  It really takes only a couple of minutes more to measure out the extra dry ingredients, and the taste and texture of the real thing is worth the tiny bit of extra time.

 

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Gluten-free, Recipes

Gluten-free Yeast Bread

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There is no scent more homey and comforting than a baking loaf of bread. When I gave up wheat, I missed yeast bread so much, it was almost painful. For a year or so, I baked almond flour bread, which is quite tasty, but doesn’t have the flavor or consistency of a good loaf of yeasty wheat bread. It’s more like a dessertish quick bread. Nor does it work quite as well for sandwiches or toast. So I set out in search of a recipe for a gluten-free bread that would taste and perform like a yeasty wheat bread. And I found it.

My thanks to Josie Hyde, who posted the recipe I started with on the Bob’s Red Mill website. I’ve tweaked it in a couple of ways, added salt (bread needs salt), adjusted the yeast, used a different sugar and slightly less of it, and come up with a variation for Cinnamon Raisin Bread that I absolutely love. I’ve been promising this recipe for a year or more, and I’m finally getting around to posting it.

Just one last thing before the recipe. While this bread tastes delicious and very much like a yeasty wheat loaf, it isn’t as smooth and pretty as a wheat loaf. You’ll see in the pictures. It’s hard to get a smooth top on this very sticky dough. But if it tastes good and performs well in all the different applications for bread, what does a wart or two on top really matter?

Gluten-free Yeast Bread

  • 3-1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour** (See notes)
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (necessary to stabilize the dough)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar (brown, white, or other—I use coconut palm sugar and love it!)
  • 2 ¼ teaspsoons instant yeast*** (See notes)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil**** (See notes)
  • 1-1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons warm water***** (See notes)
Step 1: Grease a 9×5 bread pan* (see notes). Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hooks. (You really do need to use a stand mixer for this sticky dough. It climbs the beaters of a hand mixer something awful!)

Step 2: In a measuring cup, beat the water, oil, and eggs together with a fork.

Step 3: Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4: Beat for 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently, or until all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth batter. Do not overmix.

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Step 5: Scrape batter into greased bread pan and smooth out top with wet spatula or wet hand. Cover with greased/oiled plastic wrap. Place in warm spot to rise.

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Step 6: Let rise about 30-45 minutes, or until the batter is just slightly above the rim of the pan. The bread will continue to rise in the oven.

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Step 7: Bake in a 375°F pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 190-200°F). Top will be quite brown.

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Step 8: Remove from pan immediately; cool thoroughly on a rack.

Cut when thoroughly cold. Makes 12-15 slices. Wrap well and store in fridge, or slice and freeze in a freezer bag (I put waxed paper between layers in the bag to keep the slices from sticking together) for longer keeping.

Notes:

*Greasing the pan has been a source of frustration for me. I don’t want to use vegetable shortening, but I have, and it does work. I’ve used coconut oil, and the bread sticks to the pan. I’ve started greasing the pan with butter, and it works. Grease the piece of plastic wrap to cover the loaf at the same time you grease the pan. Less mess.

**I buy the bean-based baking flour at Winco. It is not marked Bob’s Red Mill, but I have used the bagged Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, and it is exactly the same as what I get at Winco for much less moolah. This is my workhorse gluten-free flour. I use it for pancakes, biscuits, pie dough, and bread.   Ingredients: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, fava bean flour. Nutritional information for the bulk flour at http://wincofoods.com/bulk-bin/2105. Compare to Bob’s Red Mill GF AP Baking Flour at http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html.

***If you don’t have instant yeast, you can use 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast, and the dough might need to rise a little longer. Don’t use bread yeast. Bread yeast is formulated for more than one rising.

****The original recipe called for vegetable oil.   I don’t use vegetable oil because it is actually soybean and other oils I don’t care to use. I’m trying to use healthier oils, so I have been using grapeseed oil and sunflower oil in my breads. Both are virtually flavorless but high in healthy fats. I would also use olive oil, but not extra-virgin because it is so strongly flavored. Use whatever oil you prefer.

*****I wanted to see how the bread would work without powdered milk, so I tried warmed milk instead of water and omitted the powdered milk. I ended up with a slightly denser loaf. It’s do-able, if you don’t want to buy powdered milk. I get powdered milk in bulk at Winco, which is also where I buy xanthan gum.

What I love about this bread is that it works for sandwiches and toast. It is delicious warm, too (but the raw dough doesn’t taste good, so don’t let that scare you). I usually cut off and freeze the heels until I have enough to dry out and make bread crumbs, and then I have gluten-free bread crumbs for breading whatever I want to bread. I also make croutons for salads and soups out of the heels by tossing the cubed bread in a little melted butter or olive oil or a combination of the two, garlic salt and pepper, and crushed herbs, then toasting them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until browned. They keep indefinitely in a sealed bag. I don’t eat bread every single day, so I slice my loaf when it is cool and keep it in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When I want a sandwich, I have bread that only takes a few minutes to thaw. And for breakfast, plain bread toasted with low sugar, old-fashioned blackberry jelly.

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Or how about cinnamon raisin bread toast?  Love, love, love!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Make loaf as above, using brown sugar. To dry ingredients add 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon. To batter, add 1 cup of raisins and just mix in. Don’t overmix! Bake, cool, and slice as above. I keep a Ziploc bag of sliced cinnamon raisin bread in the freezer for breakfast toast. Oh, I love this! I missed it so much the first couple of years after giving up wheat bread. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have taken a photo of my Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I was probably too busy gobbling it up!  Next time I bake a loaf, I will take a pic and add it to this post.

I don’t miss wheat bread at all any more.   I hope you won’t either.

I’m working on a gluten-free sourdough bread recipe. When I find a method that really works, I’ll be sharing that one as well. Right now, I’m experimenting, and I can tell you that making a sourdough starter with kombucha was an epic fail! More later. 😉

 

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Gluten-free, Leftovers, Main dishes, Recipes

Turkey Pot Pie

I love Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m perfectly happy to eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce for days afterwards. Days. But eventually, I start wanting to do something different with my leftovers.

On Day 3, I put two turkey dinner plates with the works in the freezer. I also made mashed potato cakes from the over-abundance of mashed potatoes for brunch on Sunday and still had some left over. What to do? Then the light bulb clicked on. Turkey pot pie.

The thing that clinched this dish, turkey pot pie, was the fact that I had a little bit of pie dough left over too. I also had some mushrooms that needed to be used before they became unusable. I have a lot of carrots in the fridge from my garden (and more in the garden), and I had some raw turnips already peeled and cut which were left over from the raw veggie plate.

I didn’t have a lot of cornbread stuffing left over, but I had the thought to use it for the bottom crust of the pot pie. I’ve never done this before, but I figured it could go one of two ways. Either the stuffing would crisp up and form a crunchy crust on the bottom, or it would absorb the juices of the other filling ingredients and become moist and succulent again. And either way would be fine. It turned out the second way, with the stuffing absorbing the juices of the rest of the filling, and it was delicious. So here’s how I did it, complete with pictures.

Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

(all measurements are approximate—use your judgement and your taste with the layers, add ingredients that you like, such as peas)

1 ½ cups leftover stuffing (link to my gluten-free cornbread stuffing)

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced turnips (optional)

½ cup diced onions

½ cup diced celery

1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups leftover turkey meat, light or dark or both, chunked

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil

½ cup leftover turkey gravy

1 unbaked pastry circle for top (I make a gluten-free crust that’s really good.  Recipe coming soon!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter or heat oil in large skillet. Add carrots and turnips and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until carrots start to caramelize.  Add onions, celery, and mushrooms. Salt and pepper lightly. (Remember, there will be salt in the stuffing, the gravy, and the mashed potatoes.) Sauté vegetables until mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has mostly been cooked away or absorbed. Stir frequently.

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While vegetables are sautéing, butter or spray oil the bottom and sides of a nine-or-ten inch pie plate. Crumble stuffing between your fingers and press it onto the bottom of the pie plate, and up the sides if you have enough and want to. Dollop the mashed potatoes over the stuffing and press into a compact layer.

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Spoon the sauted and softened vegetables evenly over the mashed potatoes. Layer the meat over the vegetables, and spoon the gravy (warmed if it has solidified) over the meat.

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Roll out your pie crust, cut several vent slits in the top, and lay it over your filling. You can crimp the edges if you like. Place the pie on a cookie sheet to prevent it from bubbling over onto the bottom of your oven.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is browned and juices are bubbling inside the pie. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes to allow the pie to set. Don’t worry, it will still be hot when you cut into it!

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I was able to remove cut pieces with a spatula, but it would have been easier to dish it up with a big spoon!

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Absolutely delicious!

 

 

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Dairy, Desserts, Gluten-free

Blackberry Sour Cream Custard Pie

I owe the inspiration for this pie to two people: my friend, Wes Reid, who brought me an Apple Sour Cream Custard Pie one day many years ago (his partner, Lori Farias, had baked it), and my friend, Tara Johnson, who mentioned in a Facebook post that she was making a blackberry cream pie. Lori’s apple pie recipe evolved into my Rhubarb Sour Cream Custard Pie last summer. Tara’s blackberry cream pie turned out to be a riff on the Pioneer Woman’s blackberry cheesecake squares. But Tara’s choice of words got me thinking. I had Loganberries (a thornless blackberry) still ripening. Hmmm . . . would a sour cream custard work with blackberries? How would the cinnamon streusel topping go with the blackberries? I had to give it a try.

For some reason, I had a brain freeze when I got out my 10” pie plate and rolled out my gluten-free pie dough. Duh . . . the recipe is for a 9” pie! So my pie turned out a bit thinner than it should have. You’ll see that in these pictures.

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In a 9 inch crust, the custard layer would be thicker.  It is typical for the fruit (both rhubarb and blackberries) to float to the top of the custard as it bakes.  I made a few adjustments to the sour cream custard filling because although rhubarb is quite sour and releases a lot of water when it cooks, I’ve seen the juice that cooked blackberries release, and I had a feeling that they might water the custard down too much. Other than the goof with the pie crust size, the pie turned out perfectly! So here is the adjusted recipe, and I sure hope you still have some blackberries so you can try it. If not, you can use frozen blackberries, but thaw them and drain the juice off first. (Save it to drink—yummy—or make a syrup out of it to pour over some vanilla ice cream on top of the pie later!)

Blackberry Sour Cream Custard Pie

One 9-inch, uncooked pastry crust. See my gluten-free version if you like; I used some *homemade vanilla sugar in the crust for this pie.

Filling:

1 ½-2 cups blackberries (if you rinse them, drain them really well before adding to pie crust)

3 Tablespoons flour* (see notes)

1 cup sugar + ¼ cup sugar (keep separate)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large or extra-large eggs (I used my chickens’ eggs, which are a bit small, so I used 3 eggs)

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Streusel topping (recipe below)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out pastry crust and place in 9 inch pie plate. Crimp edges as you prefer. Sprinkle blackberries on crust. Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of reserved ¼ cup of sugar over blackberries. (How much sugar you use depends on how sweet or tart your blackberries are. Taste them, so you can decide how much sugar you want to use.)

For custard filling: Mix the flour, 1 cup of sugar, and salt together. Beat eggs, add to sugar mixture along with sour cream and vanilla extract, and mix well. Pour over blackberries in crust.

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Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until custard is set in the center. While the pie is baking, prepare the topping.

Streusel Topping:

¼ cup softened butter (not melted)

1/3 cup flour* (see notes)

1/3 cup sugar* (see notes)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional: scrapings from 1 vanilla bean* (see notes)

Mix topping ingredients together to make a streusel, set aside.

When custard is set, remove pie from oven and increase temperature to 425 degrees. Gently sprinkle topping evenly over the pie.

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Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until topping is bubbly.

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Remove pie from oven and cool thoroughly on a rack. You can eat this pie cooled, but it is best chilled with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top. Store in fridge, covered.

Notes:

*I bumped up the vanilla in this recipe in several ways: more vanilla extract than usual in the custard (and I used my homemade vanilla extract), vanilla sugar (scraped vanilla beans buried in a jar of white sugar) in the pie crust, and vanilla bean seeds in the topping. Why? Vanilla and blackberries go very well together! Vanilla adds the illusion of sweetness to a tart berry without adding more sugar.

*For the streusel topping, I used brown sugar this time, and I liked it with the blackberries. I have used white sugar and coconut palm sugar in previous versions of this pie (apple and rhubarb), and they all work quite well.

*I also used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour to keep it gluten-free.  I’ve discovered that brown rice flour is a perfectly acceptable substitute in all applications in this recipe (and many others).

I wish I’d been inspired to make this pie earlier in the summer, when blackberries were more plentiful. If you still have blackberries or can find them at a market, I hope you’ll give this pie a try.  My wild berries have been gone for a month, and the Loganberries are nearly done now, too. However, the sour cream custard idea is still inspiring me. Who knows where I’ll go with it next? I did can a whole lot of blueberries this summer . . . .

 

 

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Garden and Greenhouse, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side dishes

Zucchini Latkes

Subtitle:  The One That Got Away

It’s that time of year when everybody who has a garden has a zucchini that’s too big for its britches. I call squashes like this “the ones that got away (from me)”.  What do you do with them?

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Some people make relish. I don’t care for it, myself. Too sweet. (If anyone has a sour, dilled zucchini relish recipe, please pass it along!) Some people make pickles. I haven’t tried that because I’ve tried making pickles with Armenian cucumbers, and they were mushy. I can only imagine what zucchini pickles would be like. Yuck. Some people, including me, shred the monster squashes and freeze the shreds for zucchini breads and soups. And I use the shreds for another dish, my favorite way to eat zucchini: zucchini latkes. These are paleo, gluten-free, low carb. What’s not to like?

Now, there’s been a recipe floating around Facebook for Zucchini Fritters.  They look a lot like these, and the recipe is similar, except for one thing.  There is no flour in these.  And because there is no flour, they are not doughy.  They are nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside, but with no doughy texture.  And I have to give credit where credit is due:  I would never have come up with these if my friend, DeAnna Beachley, had not taught me to make potato latkes exactly the same way.  And I thought, if it works for potatoes, why wouldn’t it work for zucchini?  It does.

 

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And try them with the dill sauce. Yum.

 

Zucchini Latkes

About 3 cups shredded/grated zucchini

¼ cup shredded/grated onion

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Olive oil or other oil of your choice for frying

 

After grating or shredding the zucchini and onion (either by hand or in the food processor), put it in a strainer for a little while to drain. Then dump the contents of the strainer into several paper towels or a clean tea towel you don’t mind staining green, and squeeze it like you mean it. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the zucchini and onion.

 

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Dump the squeezed zucchini and onion into a bowl, fluff it with a fork, and add as much egg as you need to make the mixture hold together. Don’t add too much egg, or the latke will not hold together when you fry it.  In the photo below, I have about a cup of zucchini and yellow squash shreds, and into that I mixed one of my little chicken eggs (very small), and it was just perfect.  For 3 cups of shreds, one large egg should be just right, but mix it in a little at a time until all the shreds are moistened in the egg, but no egg is pooling in the bottom of the bowl.

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Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil. Flatten with back of spoon. Fry until golden brown and latke is holding together, then flip. I find using both a pancake turner and a silicone spatula makes turning the latkes easier.

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After the second side is brown, remove from hot oil and place on rack; sprinkle with salt and pepper. (If you put your rack over a cookie sheet in a warm oven, your latkes will stay crisper and warm.)

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Do not salt the latkes before frying or as they are frying. Salt causes zucchini to release more moisture. You can add the pepper whenever you like, but always salt them right after they come out of the frying pan.  These lovely little patties are scrumptious served with the dill sauce below, made with either plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Yogurt or Sour Cream Dill Sauce

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Mix 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill weed or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed into ½ cup dairy sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. (You can make your own yogurt and sour cream.) A little minced red onion, up to a tablespoon, is good too. I also like to grate a little lemon peel into the sauce sometimes, and if you use commercial sour cream, some fresh squeezed lemon juice will loosen it to sauce consistency.

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If you have monster zucchini in your garden, consider freezing some for zucchini latkes this winter. To use frozen zucchini, simply thaw, drain, squeeze, and proceed as above.

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condiment, Gluten-free, Recipes

Stick Blender Healthy Mayonnaise

How many of you have given up mayonnaise because of health reasons? How many of you have tried making mayonnaise with a more nutritious oil, only to end up with a gloopy mess in your blender or bowl that didn’t amalgamate? There is a better way.

Do you have a stick blender (a.k.a. immersion blender)? An egg? Some good oil? Some fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar? If so, you have the makings of the easiest,  healthiest, and best mayonnaise you’ll ever taste.

Recently, I read an article about twenty-one foods that were supposed to not only prevent arterial plaque build-up but to actually clear out plaque deposits. One of those foods was avocado. Now it happens that I had just found quite a bargain on avocado oil, normally rather expensive, at our local Grocery Outlet. And it also happens that I was out of mayonnaise and couldn’t find a brand I wished to buy. I’ve gotten rather picky about my mayo in the last few years, and I don’t buy bargain brands of mayonnaise any more. They just don’t taste right.

So, avocado oil, no mayo, and an ah-ha moment. I’d read about stick blender mayo about a year ago, had meant to try it, and had just never gotten around to it. Besides, there’s not much point in making mayonnaise when you have a great big jar of Best Foods from Costco sitting in your fridge. But now, convergence.

There are so many different stick blender mayo recipes on the internet, it was hard to choose one. Then a particular recipe was recommended to me, so that’s where I started. Here is the link to the recipe I began with, although I altered it a bit, and ended up with the most delicious mayo I’ve ever tasted. Dennis didn’t really want to taste it because he’s not that fond of mayonnaise and usually only puts spicy brown mustard on his sandwiches, but when I insisted, he said, “Mmmm. Wow, that’s good. Way better than store bought. I’m going to start putting that on my sandwiches from now on.”

I rest my case.

Stick Blender Mayonnaise

1 large egg*

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I used my homemade apple scrap vinegar)

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon plain active culture yogurt** (I used my homemade yogurt)

1 cup light tasting oil *** (I used avocado oil.)

Now, this is where the fun begins. You need a container to hold your ingredients that will also hold your stick blender. I used a jar I’d saved, because I could mix the mayo right in the vessel I intended to store it in. You can use a plastic container, or a deep bowl, and transfer your mayo after it’s made to any storage container you like.

Put all the ingredients in the order listed into the vessel of your choice. Let the egg settle to the bottom of the vessel, then put your stick blender all the way to the bottom of the vessel and turn it on. You’ll see mayonnaise forming almost right away. Move the blender around and up and down a little to mix in all the oil. The entire process only takes about 30 seconds.

When all the oil has been mixed and your mayo is creamy white and thick, you’re done.

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Turn off the blender, remove it from the vessel, and scrape off all that lovely lusciousness. Your mayonnaise should last for several weeks in the fridge. Because it contains no preservatives, it will not last indefinitely like store bought mayonnaise. But that’s okay—it’s so easy to make, whenever you run out, a fresh batch is only 30 seconds away!

Notes: *Using raw eggs scares some people. There’s a process for pasteurizing eggs at home if you’re one of those folks. I just use the freshest eggs I can buy whenever I have a raw application, and I don’t worry about it. In this case, I think the combination of oil and acids in the vinegar (lemon or lime juice can also be used) and mustard, as well as the salt, makes for a pretty safe combination. And the addition of the **active culture yogurt is also said, according to some, to keep the mayonnaise fresh longer.  I found a recipe for coconut oil mayonnaise, not made with a stick blender, but which I would very much like to try with a stick blender, that uses Greek yogurt and whey. Whey is simply what drains from the yogurt and contains the lactobacilli which make milk into yogurt, so adding active culture yogurt has the same effect.  ***For oil, you can use any light-tasting oil: extra-light olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, walnut oil. Strongly flavored oils, like extra virgin olive oil, may cause your mayo to be too strongly flavored.  I stay away from canola oil because it is one of the commercial crops sprayed with glyphosate herbicides.

I now have about 1 ½ cups of avocado oil mayonnaise so good I can’t decide exactly what I’m going to do with it. Sandwiches, of course, maybe some tuna salad or egg salad. Homemade buttermilk salad dressing? Potato salad? How about a little mayo mixed with some lemon juice and lemon zest as a sauce for steamed broccoli or asparagus, or perhaps a dip for artichokes? I am going to have some fun!

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