Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Black and White Cookie Recipe

My parents are coming to visit, and we are getting ready.  We have been cleaning, shopping, and planning.  I have been looking for ideas for what I am going to cook when my parents are here.  One of the things that I get to do when my parents come is that my husband and I get to cook together.  My parents play spend time with the grandchildren, and my husband and I get to create together with few interruptions.  The kids have a tendency to need something the minute we start cooking dinner.

One of the things I love to make is dessert.  Elana's Pantry inspired me with a post about her favorite Christmas cookies.  I saw her black and white cookies and I just had to make them, but with a little twist.  Here is my recipe:

Black and White Cookies

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
~1 cup chocolate chips
Vanilla icing

Combine almond flour and salt in a large bowl, and put it off to the side.  In a small bowl, combine grapeseed oil, honey, and vanilla extract.  Pour the wet ingredients into the big bowl with the dry ingredients and combine into a dough consistency.  Put dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.  I used my kids' 2 inch plastic cup to cut out the cookies, but anything that has a 2 inch diameter will work.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  When the cookie sheet is full, place it in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Bake until the edges are browned.  The amount of time needed depends on the thickness of your cookies, thicker cookies equal longer baking time.  Cool the cookies for at least 30 minutes.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook the chocolate chips in 1 minute increments, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted.  Spread the chocolate on half of each cookie and set the cookies on the parchment paper to cool.  Once the chocolate has hardened, spread vanilla icing on the other half.  Place on a platter and serve.  It should make about 24 cookies.

We tried the cookies today, and they turned out great!  My parents really liked them.  The center of the cookie was soft and chewy, which is the consistency that I like my cookies.  The cookie was not overly sweet, so the frosting added to the sweetness factor, but it did not overpower it.  The cookies tasted very similar to the ones I had when I was younger.  I was really pleased with the result.  I hope you will feel the same way when you try them in your kitchen.  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gluten Free Stuffed Meatballs

As I talked about in an earlier post, we went to a holiday celebration with a group of our friends last weekend.  I already posted the delicious Gluten Free Garlic Bread I made for the pot luck.  My husband and I enjoy cooking together, so he made Gluten Free Stuffed Meatballs.  This recipe was inspired by Rachael Ray.  We have made them before, but we have never made them completely gluten free.  They were delicious, so I thought that I would share what he did.

Mozzerella Stuffed Meatballs

6 slices gluten free bread
3/4 cup milk
2lb ground beef
1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp allspice
1 egg
salt and pepper
32 mini mozzarella balls
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat the oven the 425 degrees.

Take 6 slices of gluten free bread and tear them into small pieces.  Place them in a small bowl and cover with milk.  Make sure that the bread is submerged in the milk.  Put this off to the side.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, allspice, egg, salt and pepper.  Then add the bread to the meat mixture.  It is important to squeeze out the excess milk from the soaking bread.  Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients together.

Divide the meat into quarters.  Then divide each quarter into quarters, giving you 16 sections.  Take a section and form a cup in your hand.  Place 2 mini mozzarella balls in the center, and then close the top of the cup.  This should give you a nice rounded meatball.  Repeat for each section.

Transfer the stuffed meatballs onto a cookie sheet, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over all of the meatballs.  Place in pre-heated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  They should be firm when you touch them.  Take them out of the oven and serve them immediately with tomato sauce.

We did not make a tomato sauce, because the hostess made her own tomato sauce for her contribution to the pot luck.  We served the meatballs covered in tomato sauce with gluten free spaghetti, salad, and the gluten free garlic bread.

When we make this in our kitchen, we serve everything a la carte.  My mother used to tell me that I needed to eat whatever she was serving for dinner, because she was not making anything else.  The only time I could have something different was when my mother cooked something spicy.  Those are the nights I got macaroni and cheese.  So, we adopted the principle that we are not running a restaurant in our kitchen.  We try to make dinners that everyone will eat, but everyone does not have to eat everything.  We have found that this works really well for us.  For instance, I am very careful of the grains I eat.  I can eat the meatballs covered in tomato sauce, salad, and a little garlic bread and be perfectly happy.  My kids do not like tomato sauce, so they prefer to eat the meatballs and spaghetti plain.  Now my husband is the easiest one of the bunch.  He just eats it all!  The important thing is that we are all together sharing food, sharing our day, and showing each other how much we love each other.

I hope you enjoy sharing this with your family.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gluten Free Garlic Bread Recipe

I have a group of friends who get together, with spouses and children, once a month for a pot luck dinner.  We rotate homes, so that no one family hosts the dinners all of the time.  It is a wonderful tradition that we started this summer, and it gives us a chance to have some adult conversation while the children play.

This weekend we celebrated the holiday season at our monthly pot luck dinner.  Our contribution for the pot luck was Mozzerella Stuffed Meatballs and Almond Flour Garlic Bread.  My husband made the meatballs, and they were excellent!  I will talk about them in another post.  This post is all about the yummy garlic bread.  First, I needed to make 2 loaves of almond flour bread.  I based my recipe on a bread recipe from Elana's Pantry.  I decided to substitute with tapioca flour.  Gluten Free bread can be very heavy, but this combination made a lighter bread that was very successful when used in a Gluten Free stuffing and as a garlic bread.  

Almond Flour Bread

1 1/2 cups of almond flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the 4 eggs until they are frothy.  I used the wire whip accessory with my mixer.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.  You can place the bowl and wire whip in the freezer for a few minutes before using to decrease the amount of time it takes to whisk the eggs to make them frothy.

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca flour, flaxseed meal, salt, and baking soda.

Stir the honey and apple cider vinegar into the frothy eggs, and then add the dry ingredients into the same bowl.  Combine all of the ingredients together, but do not over blend.  You want the batter to stay light, and it will lose the fluffiness if you over stir.

Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan.  Cook for ~20-25 minutes or until the toothpick (or metal knitting needle in my case) comes out clean.

Let the bread cool before serving.

I cooked the bread for only 20 minutes, and even though the needle came out clean, there was a little spot in the middle that did not get completely cooked through.  Next time I will have to stick the needle in a couple places on the bread to make sure it is thoroughly cooked, and I will cook it a few minutes longer.  I ended up slicing the loaf in 1 inch slices and baking it in the 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to make sure that everything was cooked thoroughly.

Then it was time to make the garlic bread.

Garlic Bread

2 loaves of almond flour bread, sliced
1/2 cup spreadable butter
~2 (rounded) tbsps of minced garlic

I mixed together the butter and garlic together in a small bowl.  You can adjust the amount of garlic based on your preference for garlic.  This is probably a pretty heavy amount of garlic, because in my family, we love the taste of garlic.  My husband always tells me that he can eat a lot of garlic, as long as I do too, so we cancel each other out. I buttered one side of each slice of bread with the butter/garlic mixture and placed it on a cookie sheet.  A few minutes before we sat down to dinner, I placed the garlic bread in the broiler for about 2 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

The garlic bread turned out very good, but a few of the pieces were a little overcooked.  I think the extra toasting I had to do to guarantee that the bread was done might have overcooked the crust on some of the pieces.  Otherwise, it was fantastic.  The host even kept some of the garlic bread to eat for breakfast the next morning.

Stay tuned for my husband's Mozzerella Stuffed Meatballs.  I hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chopped Liver Recipe

I am the kind of person who likes to be organized.  I do not always follow through on this, but I try.  One of the ways I do this in the kitchen is that my husband and I plan our dinners for the week on Saturday or Sunday.  Then the whole family goes grocery shopping together.  We try to limit leftover dinners to twice a week when the kids have karate.  This week the days we needed leftovers was multiplying.  So, I went into the freezer to look for some inspiration.  There I found chicken livers.  I knew what I was going to make.....chopped liver.  It is full of protein and it is an excellent source of iron.  And my whole family will eat it!  

As with many of recipes, this one was taught to me by my mother.  She learned it from her mother and grandmother.  I have fond memories of making this with my mother, and my kids enjoy making it with my mother when she visits.  The only trouble with chopped liver in our house is that there is never enough.     

Chopped Liver Recipe


3 large onions
1lb chicken livers
3 tablespoons oil
1 can of sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 piece of Gluten Free Bread

Cook onions in the oil until they are dark in color.  The darker the onions, the darker the chopped liver will be.

Add the chicken livers, canned mushrooms, and Worcestershire sauce to the onions.  Cook until the chicken livers are no longer pink on the inside.  It should take about 15-30 minutes.  Make sure to cover it for about half of the cooking time to allow some of the liquid to cook off.  Once this mixture is cooked, remove from burner. 

The next step requires the use of a grinder I have a grinder on my Kitchen Aid Mixer. 

KitchenAid FGA Food Grinder Attachment for Stand Mixers

Spoon the liver mixture into the grinder one spoonful at a time.  Then push down with the wooden pusher to push it through the grinder.  It is important to do this slowly to prevent splattering (and yes, I learned this the hard way).  Add the hard boiled eggs, one at a time, spread out while you are adding the liver mixture.  The liver mixture is liquid-y, so the eggs help bind the chopped liver together to give it a good consistency.  When all of the liver mixture is gone, put the slice of gluten free bread or a couple of gluten free crackers through the grinder.  This will clean out any remnants, so you do not waste any of the liver.  Stir the chopped liver to make sure everything was mixed together well.   Make sure to taste it to see if it needs salt or pepper, but I usually do not need to add anything.  You can put it in a serving dish and serve immediately with gluten free crackers and/or vegetables or it can be put in the refrigerator to serve later.   It is extremely yummy anytime!  I hope you enjoy making this recipe with your family.