Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

"The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger. Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,“Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Luke 2:11-14 NLT

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gluten Free Lefse

It's time! It's finally time!

It's time for a Zimmerli family tradition (hmm perhaps it's a Synstelien tradition... Dad a little help on the origins please.) Either way.... it's time for lefse!

Last year I posted my southern twist on lefse. This year, I am gluten free. Because I love the tradition of lefse, I came up with a gluten free version that is just tender and flavorful as my dad's original recipe.

And once again- I caution you if you haven't ever made traditional lefse, learn from someone who knows how to prepare it. It takes years of practice and patience. But once you master it, your family will beg for it year after year.

Reheating gluten free lefse is a little more of a challenge because it naturally lacks gluten that holds it together. Adding xanthan gum helps to alleviate breaking and tearing.

For easy rewarming, I recommend putting one piece at a time in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. I fold my lefse before putting it in the fridge. If you do this as well, put the folded piece in the microwave, don't try to unfold it before you warm it or it will tear.

Before I send you off to make some delicious lefse- Charlie wanted to say hello from under "his" Christmas tree:

All the gifts have to stay on one side of the tree so he can go back into the corner to sleep and escape out the other side.

Rar! I am the keeper of the Christmas lights! (Fun fact: Charlie  has learned how to turn the lights on with the foot pedal switch so now we have to unplug the tree to prevent him from turning it on in the middle of the night.)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Gluten Free Lefse*
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen pieces

*This recipe is intended for those who already know how to cook basic lefse.

3 lbs potatoes (3-4 large)
1/4 cup skim milk
4 TBS butter
3 heavy pinches kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp xanthan gum
approximately 1 cup gluten free flour of your choice
1/4 cup tapioca flour
Additional tapioca flour for rolling out

Peel and cube potatoes. Put in a large pot and fill with cold water. Lightly salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes until fork tender. Immediately drain.

Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill.

Warm milk and butter until butter is fully melted. Pour into riced sweet potatoes. Stir in and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered at least 4 hours until fully chilled.

Once chilled, add flours 1/2 cup at a time. Mix in until you've incorporated all the flour. You should have a soft dough that will still be slightly sticky.

Using tapioca flour- flour a large round pastry board. Pull a piece of dough the size of a golf ball. Dip in flour. Using a grooved rolling pin with a floured rolling pin sock, roll the dough out very thin. On my board I know it's thin enough when I can just barely make out the words on my pastry board.

Using a lefse stick, transfer lefse to your dry griddle. Cook 1-2 minutes per side until the bubbles are slightly golden. Do not overcook.

Move to a lefse cozy or between a few clean tea towels.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gluten Free Condensed Soup

I know I share a lot of recipes that contain condensed cream soups. And I try to note on them that you should always check your can to ensure it's gf.

But, I also know that purchasing gf condensed soups can be pricey(or unavailable). Therefore- I am going to share a recipe I stumbled on a few months ago and fell in love with. I originally found the recipe over on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. (Her recipes rock!)

It's super easy and it's made with things I always have in my house. I did tweak it a tiny bit to give it a longer shelf life. I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour in the last batch I made. Works like a dream.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Gluten-Free Magic Mix 

2 1/3 cups Dry Non-Instant Powdered Milk
1 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. As with all gluten free flour blends- store in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life. 

Cream of Chicken Condensed soup

3/4 cup Gluten Free Magic Mix
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup gluten free Chicken Broth
1/4 cup diced, fully cooked chicken breast or canned chicken
3 TBS butter

Combine Magic Mix, onion powder, garlic powder, butter, and chicken broth to a saucepan. Mix well. 

Turn heat to medium and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

Fold in 1/4 cup chopped chicken.
Use one recipe of this for each can of condensed cream of chicken soup called for in your recipe.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

I have a well known love of soup. I am particularly fond of it when it's cold and rainy out.

The last week or so has been soup weather. We've had taco soup, tomato soup, and a brand new recipe- cheesy broccoli soup.

We served the cheesy broccoli soup with crusty gluten free ciabatta buns. The meal was wonderfully rustic- and simple. It was just what I needed during the busy Christmas season.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Serves 6

1 cup chopped onion  
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 cups chicken or veggie broth (I used turkey broth that I made and froze at Thanksgiving)
1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets 
 2 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk 
1/3 cup all-purpose gluten free flour 
1/4 tsp black pepper 
8 oz Velveeta, cubed
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded 

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheeses, stirring until cheese melts.

Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth* Return pureed soup mixture to pan. Ladle into bowls and serve.

* I used my stick blender to puree the soup. I like mine to have some texture so I leave it fairly bumpy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easiest Turkey EVER

Ok, I know. I know. I said I'd be back more often and where have I been? Not here. I know.

But it's my crazy season kids! I work retail. It's the nature of the beast.

Take a peek at this little project- Our Advent calender for this year. Jon picked out the cute chubby penguin to mark the 25th. Even with a million and one things going on- there will always be time for arts and crafts!

This year for Thanksgiving at my parents house, we went semi non-traditional. I shared my recipe for corn bread stuffing with you in this post. I have a few more holiday recipes in upcoming blogs, so be on the lookout for those. 

Jon still had a hankering for a big turkey dinner. So, while the birds were still on sale for a great price, he picked one up. We have both been very busy with work and personal projects lately. As a result, big, family meals have been less than a priority than usual. We decided since we were both off- today was the day. Turkey day.

The best part of doing the whole meal today is I get to freeze some for future meals. And Jon gets turkey dinner leftovers for lunches- his favorite part of holiday meals. 

I found a recipe a few weeks ago I have been itching to try. It's a Trisha Yearwood recipe. It's a no-peek, hands-off recipe. I had to try it.

Here's how the day went:

I got the bird prepped and in the roaster. Cooked the turkey for 1 hour at 500. Turned it off and walked away. **Serious. Walk away (after you warn everyone in the house if they open the door the consequences will be dire...)**

We went to the beach and saw this amazingness-

Jon and I happened upon this beautiful picnic area with walking trails tucked into the trees along with beach.

I've never smelled the air so crisp, and clean as it was today.

Jon taking it all in

A sunset stroll on the beach. A perfect end to the day.

Ok! I had a day of fabulous relaxation. Walked over to the oven and took out  the "forgotten bird." Lifted the lid (braced myself in case I  just made a HUGE mistake...) And was completely wowed at the most beautiful bird I've ever cooked. I made Jon come into the kitchen and marvel at the moistness of the meat.

Made the rest of the fixin's and enjoyed a big meal with my hubby.

I love this recipe- I don't have to worry about basting or timing. It's perfect!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Easy No-Peek Turkey

1 (12-pound) turkey, completely thawed, all giblets removed
1 stick salted butter, softened
2 TBS garlic salt
2 tsp pepper
2 stalks celery, cut in lengths to fit turkey cavity
1 medium onion, cut in quarters
1 large carrot, chunked
2 cups boiling water or chicken stock

Adjust oven racks so covered roasting pan fits easily inside oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Rub butter on outside and in cavity of turkey. Sprinkle salt and pepper on outside of turkey. Put celery, onion, and carrot in cavity. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water or chicken stock into pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put pan in preheated oven.

Start a timer when oven temperature returns to 500 degrees F. Bake exactly 1 hour and turn off oven. Do not open oven door. Leave turkey in oven until oven cools completely; this may take 4 to 6 hours. (Mine  took about 5 hours) Carve as usual.