HONEY CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS

May 25, 2019

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

After Christmas this year I wanted gluten-free grahams or shortbreads for a Lithuanian cooking demo I was giving. Below is the recipe for my own gluten-free version of honey cinnamon graham crackers.

Gluten-Free Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers 

Ingredients:

  • ¾ c (3oz) my gluten-free flour mix – see below
  • ¼ c (1oz)  almond meal/flour – Trader Joe’s at $5/lb, Costco 3 lbs for $12, Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur $10-12/lb.  All labeled gluten free.
  • ½ tsp (3ml) xanthan gum
  • ¼-1/2 tsp salt – decide on how much you want after first time of baking
  • 1+1/2 tsp (8ml) gf baking powder
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon – or more after first baking (2 tsp of ground ginger for ginger snaps.)
  • 2 oz (60 ml)  half a stick of really soft butter – (Earth Balance instead of butter, coconut oil has so little flavor for this cookie, but up to you)
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) honey or 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp corn syrup if honey flavor is too strong.
  • 1 tsp (5ml) gf vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (1+1/4 oz, 45 ml)  light brown sugar – 4 tbsp (1/4 c, 60 ml)  was too sweet for me, so I reduced light brown sugar but kept honey for flavor and liquid content in making dough.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Always mix dry ingredients (gluten-free flour, almond, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, cinnamon) together first and whisk or stir to get rid of any lumps.

2. Beat really soft butter, honey, vanilla and light brown sugar together until light and creamy. 1-2 minutes.

3. Add dry ingredients and slowly mix until it becomes a soft dough that is only scoopable not rollable.

4. I used a #60, 1 tbsp scoop (mine is pampered chef-Home Goods often carry stainless steel scoops at good price) to evenly scoop out dough onto lined baking sheet.  Don’t use black pan. Don’t have dough over flowing in scoop. Place scoops of dough at least 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle scoops of dough with sugar. Use the bottom of a glass or similar flat surface (decorative cookie mold might also leave a nice impression) to flatten scoops to a little over 2” across. I used the white plastic food pusher tube insert from my food processor. If your kitchen is very warm you will have to 'peel' dough off glass. They will spread to about 2+1/2” on baking.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes to start.  I cooked mine for 15 minutes total and they were just starting to over brown and taste burnt.  They will still be softly firm to the touch as they crisp up on cooling, they will have barely changed color due to cinnamon coloring dough.  Lift up a cookie to see if base is over browned and therefore nasty tasting. You will have to adjust times according to your oven, the pan -stoneware tends not to burn on the bottom, and size of scoop. Grahams that I flattened cool to crisp, if you don’t flatten they are chewier.

Store in air tight tin.


My Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • ½ cup potato starch or arrowroot starch for those with nightshade problems
  • ¼ c tapioca starch – note there is a difference in tapioca starch from different brands
  • 2 tbsp amaranth or millet flour: Bob’s Red Mill (millet is roughly one third the price of amaranth, is not so nutritious, but is more readily available.)
  • 2 tbsp sorghum flour: Bob’s Red Mill
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Sicilian Sausage Soup

May 22, 2019

A hearty and warming gluten-free soup, perfect for pre-trick or treating.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I had this soup at a local restaurant, thought about making my own even better and checked on line what people thought Sicilian sausage soup should be. Most used pasta. And I felt rough the day after having this supposedly gluten free soup.

Feel free to play with the recipe. The more you add the thicker, less is thinner. Note that I ask for the vegetables to be finely chopped.  That’s because I like to have a selection of vegetables etc on my spoon. However, if you decide to chop your vegetables in the food processor, take care or your vegetables will be far too finely chopped. There is a difference in taste from different tomatoes, pasta sauces, Italian sausage, nothing bad, just different. I made this first time with quinoa as I’d run out of arborio rice.  Both go really soft when cooked in soup.  Cook arborio rice separately if you want rice to be firmer.

Remember that quinoa plus spinach or kale and veg etc are all high in fiber and can put your body into overdrive.  You have not been cross contaminated.  When you cook rice, quinoa or pasta in soup, you need more water as they all absorb water as they cook.  If you have leftover cooked rice etc to add at the end, then use 2 cups less stock. Remember that left in the fridge the rice etc will absorb more liquid and soup will be thicker.

Gluten-Free Sicilian Sausage Soup 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 lb (500g) bulk gluten-free Italian sausage, sweet, hot, with fennel or turkey. They all taste different. You can also buy raw sausages, slice open and peel like a banana
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs/stalk of celery, washed, quartered lengthwise and cut into small slices.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1″ squares
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz, 480 ml) gluten-free marinara/pasta sauce. Both Paesana, Classico and Barilla sell 24 oz jars labeled gluten-free. I like Paesana low sodium Marinara as the salt doesn’t catch the back of my throat, but Classico or Barilla are much cheaper, or you can use homemade marinara. Some recipes use just canned tomatoes.
  • 1/2 c arborio rice, quinoa or small gluten-free pasta
  • 6 c (48 fl oz, 1440 ml), gluten-free chicken stock, or beef stock for deeper flavor
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Italian herb seasoning, or fresh basil and parsley added at the end of cooking, or spoonful of basil or sundried tomato pesto stirred in at end
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika or Arizona dreaming spice (from Penzeys), they add just a bite of heat, increase if you like spicy or use hot Italian
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 c (4 oz, 112g) fresh spinach, or same quantity by weight of chopped frozen spinach. I keep 1lb bag of loose, chopped frozen spinach in the freezer and can add it by the handful. Or kale or Swiss chard, your choice. This is a good time to use up the fresh spinach that’s not nice enough for salad.

Note: I don’t normally add extra salt as sausage, stock, marinara sauce already contain salt. But I am a low salt person. Feel free to add salt if you feel it’s necessary. 

 Directions:

 1.  Heat olive oil over gentle heat in large pan, add sausage crumbling it in your fingers, and frying until sausage starts browning.

2. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bell pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until softening.

3. Add marinara sauce, stock, arborio rice (or substitute), freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes until veg is soft, (5 minutes in my electric pressure cooker).

4. Add spinach and cook for a few minutes. Spinach wilts almost instantly.

5. I like to add fresh chopped basil and parsley, or some basil pesto or sun dried tomato pesto for boost of flavor.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning. If too thick for you, add more stock or milk.

6. Serve with a sprinkling of cheese on each bowl, crusty gluten-free bread, or gluten-free homemade croutons (see note below on croutons).

Note: I like to heat a skillet, add olive oil and small dices of whatever gluten-free bread/bagel/roll I have on hand, dust with garlic powder and fry until crispy. Fresh garlic in oil is great, but burns too easily if you pan fry. You can also oven roast croutons. My husband eats these croutons like candy.

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Sweet Potato Hummus and Goat Cheese Snacks

Courtesy of Crunchmaster

Ingredients:

  • 24 Crunchmaster® Pumpkin Harvest Crackers
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 5 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  1. In food processor, blend sweet potatoes, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and 1/3 cup water until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.
  2. Spread 2 tsp hummus over each cracker. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Tip: Refrigerate leftover hummus in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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English Scones

May 21, 2019

A gluten-free Mother’s Day treat!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh


I saw the original wheat flour dough for this recipe in one of my English cookbooks and made gluten-free version of the dough, tried it, liked dough, but was bored by filling  But since then I have used my gluten-free version of the dough to make scones, non-yeast cinnamon buns, non-yeast Stromboli, yeast and non-yeast Lithuanian bacon buns, and Italian sweet ricotta Easter Pie. All of this just by altering amount of sugar, butter and type of liquid from fat free milk to heavy cream.

This pastry is a cross between pie crust and cookie dough—soft, rises due to baking powder, very rich.

In all my hands-on wheat flour cooking classes as well as brunch parties for clients, I always had to make my English scones, with raspberry jam and whipped cream with Chambord, or peach jam and cream with peach schnapps. Clients would stand in kitchen watching me make scones, unable to believe that people still baked real food. Scones are a part of life in England, cream teas, Sunday afternoon tea. My mother used to make them by the hundreds for church fair.

Gluten-Free English Scones
Makes 6 scones

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz (1 cup less 1 tbsp, 140g) King Arthur gluten-free all purpose flour – no baking powder or xanthan gum. Available in 24 oz box in grocery store.
  • 3 oz (¾ c, 84 g) almond flour – note finely ground almond flour (white) is less volume than more coarsely ground almond flour or almond meal (freckly), that’s why I weigh. Too much or too little by volume will alter recipe. Not all measuring cups are accurate.
  • ¼ c (1 oz, 28 g) powdered (icing) sugar
  • ¾ stick (3 oz, 84 g) cold butter
  • 2 tsp (10ml) gluten-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp (3 ml) xanthan gum, ¼ tsp xg crumbled too much even when cold.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gf vanilla extract, almond if doing more almond filling.
  • ¼ c (60ml, 2oz)- 1/3 c cream.  I use cream for scones for a richer taste, but also a more tender dough that will crumble a bit when warm, it doesn’t need more xanthan gum.  I use 1/4c cream if I am baking scones on a baking sheet where they will spread. If you are putting scones into mini whoopie pie tins or a ‘shape’ then I use 1/3 c for dough so it’s moister but will spread without walls to contain scone.

Directions:

  1. Mix gluten-free flour, almond flour, sugar, xg, baking powder and salt together, then rub in cold butter until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Food processor is quickest.
  2. Mix egg, cream and extract together and whisk with a fork to blend egg.
  3. You can add liquid mix to dry mix in food processor and pulse to combine.  For scones I prefer to take dry mix from food processor into 4 cup bowl, add liquid and stir until combined.  Gently knead a few times with white rice flour.
  4. Pat dough into roughly 6 inch circle, Cut into 6 pieces, separate and place on lined cookie sheet or skillet and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.  Scones should have risen, be a nice light golden brown color, and look fluffy inside when you break one open. Round each piece into a ball to cook in mini whoopie tin etc.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool slightly.  If you try to halve scones too soon, they will disintegrate. Then halve and serve with good raspberry jam (my favorite) topped with imported clotted cream – about $5 for 6 oz jar in specialty cheese section of my regular grocery store. Or just whip and sweeten some heavy cream.
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No Bake Easter Sweet Cheese Mold

March 21, 2019

Also known as Lithuanian Flowerpot cheese (saldus sūris) or Russian Paskha

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

 

This recipe makes 2 x 1 lb cottage cheese or sour cream tubs, washed well, holes poked in bottom for drainage and lined with damp cheesecloth. Or new plastic flower pots. People in my Lithuanian cooking demo said it was like a cheesecake.
“This rich and lovely addition to the Easter table is reputed to be of Russian origin, but is described as sweet cheese in books on Lithuanian traditions” – Treasures of Lithuanian Cooking. From(1960’s) Time-Life Foods of the World -Russian Cooking. “The Paskha is meant to be a marvel of cottage cheese, rich cream, eggs, raisins, almonds and candied fruits deposited in a four-sided, perforated wood frame in the shape of a truncated pyramid. The mold is lined with cheesecloth and weighed down so that the surplus liquid in the ingredients can seep out. The mold has more than a purely utilitarian function; it usually has a cross and an XB design carved on its inner sides, so that when the paskha emerges it is already decorated. XB stands for the Cyrillic initials of Christos Voskres, the greeting given at Easter Saturday Midnight Mass (therefore being Easter Sunday) of “Christ is risen” “Truly He is risen.” If the mold doesn’t have this imprint then the letter are spelled out on the outside of the cheese in fruits and nuts and they continue to celebrate for the next three days.” (The molds are available to buy on Amazon).
The original recipes would have used whisked raw eggs and sugar to enrich the cheese. In today’s salmonella-conscious world we either make an egg custard or purée hard boiled egg yolks. For cheese now we can buy the ‘Friendship’ brand of Farmers cheese or cottage cheese that we drain and then puree. They would have forced the cottage cheese (which would probably have been home made) through a sieve to give the smoother texture. We have the food processor.

 

Gluten-Free No Bake Easter Sweet Cheese Mold

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1lb Friendship brand farmers cheese –Market Basket, sold in 1 lb packages in specialty cheese section for about $4/lb (500g). Not Andrulis brand which is a slicing farmers cheese
  • ¾ c (5+3/4 oz, 160 g)  sugar
  • 4 oz (112g) cream cheese at room temperature, cut into pieces. I buy Market Basket’s own lite.
  • Yolks of 3 large hard boiled eggs
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 3/4 c (6 fl oz, 180 ml) of heavy or whipping cream
  • ½ tsp (3 ml) gf vanilla extract
  • 1/4c (40g, 1+1/2 oz) golden raisins (sultanas)
  • ¼ c candied orange peel – optional
  • 1/3 c (2 oz, 55g) finely chopped blanched almonds

Directions:

  1. Put the farmers cheese, cream cheese, sugar, cream, egg yolks, orange and lemon zest in a food processor and process until the mix is extremely smooth.  Depending on sharpness of food processor blade, you might only get it to tiny dots of cheese not puréed totally smooth. With my new blade mix became very smooth, runnier than instant jello vanilla pudding.  Transfer to mixing bowl.
  2. Add vanilla, raisins, almonds and fruit and stir well to combine.
  3. Line a clean, unused 4 c flowerpot (plastic is fine) with a double layer of rinsed and squeezed-dry cheesecloth. Or 1 or 2 lb cottage cheese/ricotta/sour cream etc tub, rinsed, holes poked in the base.  Spoon the cheese mix into the lined pot, smooth the surface, fold the ends of the cheesecloth neatly over the top. Place a saucer or plastic lid that fits inside rim of container, on the cheesecloth, then a 2lb weight such as a can on top of the saucer.  Stand the flowerpot upright in a bowl large enough to drain into with enough space under bottom of flower pot so it is not sitting in drained liquid. (I made 2 smaller flower pots)
  4. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  5. Discard any liquid that drained out. Unmold the sweet cheese onto a serving plate and carefully remove the cheesecloth.

Cookbooks say this will keep refrigerated for a week once removed from cheesecloth.

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Raspberry Wine Glazed Ham

Raspberry Wine Glazed Ham

A delicious gluten-free main dish that’s perfect for Easter

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh


T
his recipe (originally from Lithuanian Heritage magazine) would have been made with one of the hams, bone in, really thick layer of fat and skin and selling for about 79c/lb, versus the very expensive (and yes, delicious) spiral cut ham ($10/lb) from that chain that sells fancy hams. At my last Lithuanian cooking demo in March with an Easter menu, I was saying how my father and then I, would soak one of these cheaper hams for 24 hours, drain, fresh water and cook, then drain and finish in oven. This used to be the only type of ham that was available. One of the ladies said her mother always did it that way, so did she until her husband asked her why and she really didn’t know.
To get rid of excess salt–
she and her husband were happy to get a sensible answer.


Last year I bought for the first time, Carando labeled gluten-free, sliced, spiral boneless brown sugar and spice ham. $2.99 or $3.99 per lb, at my local Market Basket with long refrigerated shelf life. Remove red foil cover, then netting. Hold plastic vacuum wrapped ham over sink, cut open, drain off juices and then I put it in large ziploc bag on a dinner plate in fridge. I find that if you separate the spiral slices and immerse them in raspberry wine glaze and refrigerate for 1-2 days, they really absorb flavor of raspberry, wine and butter. Then gently reheat in sauce to serve. The ham darkens in color, remember raspberry glaze will stain white tablecloth.

Gluten-Free Raspberry Wine Glazed Ham

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup dry white wine or sherry – I used Fetzer Gewűrtztraminer
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons gf cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam _ I use Trappist, ~$3 for 12 oz jar in my local store -Market Basket.
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Elsbeth, a German lady from my Lithuanian cooking demos, suggested adding 3 crushed Juniper berries (I buy juniper berries from Penzey’s –Nationwide mail order or stores) and one whole clove to deepen flavor as you make glaze, just remove them as you serve.


Roughly three times quantity, so more glaze for soaking slices of spiral cut, rather than glazing whole ham:

  • jar of seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 oz butter, I actually used a 4 oz stick last time.
  • 3/4 c wine
  • ¼ c lemon juice – ~1 lemon, genuine lemon please, not the bottled stuff.

Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 325*. Place whole boneless spiral ham in deep serving dish, If you are leaving the spiral ham whole.


2. In a small saucepan, blend wine and lemon juice with cornstarch.


3. Add about half the jam. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the remaining jam and butter. Heat and stir until butter and jam are melted.


4. Brush ham with the raspberry glaze. Bake in 325 * oven until glaze is bubbling and browning without burning- 15-30 minutes. Check internal temperature of ham. It needs to be cooked or reheated to 140*. Spoon any remaining glaze over ham. With a spiral cut ham left whole, you can ‘persuade’ the glaze to drizzle down between slices.


Remove from oven, let stand 15 minutes before serving. You can really taste the butter so don’t leave it out. Or just gently reheat the slices in glaze/sauce.

Or


1. Drain soaked raw ham, cover with fresh water, gradually bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 1-2 hours, timing from when the water boils (which could take almost an hour). This helps remove more salt (there seems to be more salt in cheaper cuts) and keeps ham moister during cooking, rather than drying out in oven. I normally only give the ham one hour in the oven to finish off with a glaze after simmering. With a fully cooked ham, I still prefer to soak it, change water and simmer for about 45 minutes, then finish with the glaze.

 

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Date and Walnut Irish Soda Bread

March 6, 2019

Date and Walnut Irish Soda Bread

A delicious recipe for gluten-free Irish soda bread featuring dates and walnuts

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I keep playing with the recipe for gluten-free Irish soda bread trying to get a taste even closer to what I grew up with. Both my parents were born in Southern Ireland, so soda bread was almost a daily bread growing up, even in London, England.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread with Dates and Walnuts


Ingredients:

  • 1 c (5+3/4 oz, 160g) the brown rice, potato starch, tapioca starch mix (King Arthur, Annalise Roberts, Authentic Foods) OR 1c (4oz, 112g) my gluten-free blend (see recipe below) and 1/2 c (2oz, 56 g) almond flour
  • 1⁄2 c Teff Flour (2+1/2 oz, 70g)
  • 1⁄2 c Millet Flour (2 oz, 60g)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder – I use Rumford’s labeled gluten-free
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp (3ml) xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) butter or substitute
  • 6 Medjool dates, pits removed and cut into small pieces. (about $5.99/lb box in my local market)
  • 1⁄2 c (2 oz, 56 g) chopped walnuts, toasted – Mariani brand has started labeling their nuts gluten-free. I toast all my walnuts at one time and store them.
  • 1+1/4 c (10 fl oz, 300ml) milk (fat free milk or soured almond milk)
  • 1⁄4 c (60 ml) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1+1/2 (8 ml) tsp baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda in UK)


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400*.
2. In a wide shallow bowl mix flours, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum and sugar.
3. Rub butter into flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Or in food processor and then turn into mixing bowl. Stir in chopped dates and walnuts.
4. Whisk baking soda into milk and yogurt in 2 c jug. Many older English recipes have you stir baking soda into liquid ingredients so it dissolves. Otherwise you can taste nasty, metallic flavor in your mouth from too much baking soda or baking soda left in lumps. That metallic taste is why so many people don’t like soda bread.
5. Stir milk mix into dry mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until mix resembles quite a sticky dough, not a dry dough. I described it as looking like concrete as you mixed it due to color of flours. Very wet to start. Depending on how carefully you measured ingredients and brands used, the flour mix might suck up liquid and be quite dry, needing more of the milk. Weather conditions, humidity all make a difference to dryness of flours. If you think mix is too wet, wait a moment or two. I find that baking powder and xanthan gum almost immediately thicken dough so it is scoopable. You do want it to be sticky, so it is not dry on baking. This dough is dark colored so it is difficult to see if it needs more liquid. Stir to the very bottom of the mixing bowl.
6. Scoop dough onto greased skillet that is roughly 10” across top. You can bake in smaller skillet for thicker loaf. Remember gluten free tends to spread so I always cook it in a ‘container’.
7. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Even though bread might look cooked, if you break off a piece and it still tastes a bit grainy and bitter soda, it needs more cooking. When thoroughly cooked there shouldn’t be a soda aftertaste. Cook until bread is well risen, hard on top to the touch and sound hollow if you tap the bottom of the bread. Any white specks showing in bread is yogurt not mixed in and that almost always happens.
8. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Rub with butter if you want. Wrap in clean cloth to soften crust if you want. I love the crunchy, nutty flavor crust so I prefer it crisp.
9. Serve with egg and smoked salmon torte or toast for breakfast with marmalade, or straight from the oven hot with butter melting. Also great with cheese.

My Gluten-Free Mix (Rice Free)


Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup potato starch or arrowroot starch for those with nightshades.
  • 1⁄4 c tapioca starch – note there is a difference in tapioca starch from different brands.
  • 2 tbsp amaranth or millet flour: Bob’s Red Mill (millet is roughly one third the price of amaranth, is not so nutritious, but is more readily available.)
  • 2 tbsp sorghum flour: Bob’s Red Mill.


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Cucumber, Smoked Salmon and Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce

February 26, 2019

Cucumber, Smoked Salmon and Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce

An easy to make, yet elegant looking appetizer

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I love good smoked salmon and served it at our wedding and our son’s christening on Irish soda bread. It makes for an easy appetizer, that’s elegant looking, can be made in advance, and is very very popular. The sauce is a variation on the sweet mustard dill sauce that is served with gravlax cured salmon. Gravlax is delicious, not easily available to buy, and normally expensive, so I make the sauce and serve it with regular imported smoked salmon from Costco or Ducktrap smoked salmon from Maine. Not lox salmon.

Directions:

  • 1 English cucumber, removed from plastic wrapping immediately you get home and refrigerated. I find cucumber goes moldy rapidly if left in tight plastic wrap. Wash cucumber, leave skin on and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices on a diagonal. Experiment and see what thickness you like best. Too thin and cucumber can’t hold weight of salmon and sauce.
  • Smoked Salmon 4-8 oz– as much as you want to buy or how much you love ‘em all. Open vacuum packed bag and use sharp knife to cut salmon in tic,tac,toe pattern as chopped salmon is easier to place on cucumber slice and easier to eat.

Top with small spoonful of sauce (recipe below), and finely chopped chives or fresh dill.

This is the proportions of ingredients I like for the sauce, everyone’s taste is different. Remember that every mustard can taste different, you might like more or less honey than I do, dill can be overpowering and bitter. It is always possible to add more of any ingredient, but not so easy to remove.

You could fold chopped smoked salmon into the mustard or sour cream sauce and put spoonfuls on cucumber and that’s easier to prepare.

Gluten-Free Cucumber, Smoked Salmon and Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce


Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c mayonnaise – I buy lite
  • 2 tsp honey Dijon mustard
  • and 2 tsps honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill


Directions:

1. Mix together and refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavors to blend. Add a bit of water to thin if necessary. If you only have regular Dijon, then you will need to add more honey to taste. Honey mellows the mustard so the flavor doesn’t overpower the cucumber and smoked salmon.


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No-Bake Wicked Chocolate Cake aka Groom’s Cake

January 30, 2019

Prince William had this cake at his wedding to Catherine Middleton.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I don’t remember where this recipe came from but I have vague memories from England (pre-celiac disease) of a flyer with recipes based on Scotch Whisky, which is no doubt why I tried this recipe in the first place! In England we are not into chocolate chip cookies (or at least not when I lived there), so chocolate for baking is quite expensive and normally bittersweet. I made this for Thanksgiving one year at my husband’s request and the ladies present must have needed a chocolate fix, since we sat nibbling away like little mice until it was finished.

This is a very easy recipe that keeps well in the fridge or the freezer so it is ideal for the holidays. It can also be poured into a loaf pan, sliced once firm and served in small pieces, as the equivalent of an after dinner mint.  It is very rich, but the flavor of whisky or other liqueur is not overpowering. Some variations could be gluten-free gingersnaps with spiced rum and raisins; orange rind and raisins soaked in orange liqueur, instant coffee and coffee liqueur, gluten-free dark chocolate wafers and brandy or chocolate liqueur. My personal favorite is the orange version. Be creative! For gluten-free, choose which cookies and liqueur you can tolerate.

By the way, if you are at all concerned about using the eggs, then don’t use them. Just add the sugar to the melting chocolate mix and leave out the alcohol for kids.

Gluten-Free No-Bake Wicked Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature (about one hour out of fridge)
  • 2 c (12 oz bag) of gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (4oz) butter
  • 1/2 c cream – whipping or heavy
  • 8-oz gluten-free graham crackers or gluten-free shortbread made into fine crumbs
  • 1 c, 4 oz finely chopped, toasted almonds, pecans or hazelnuts (10 minutes at 350*)
  • 1/4 c whisky or other liqueur

Directions:

1.  In a 2-qt non-stick saucepan, gently melt chocolate, cream and butter until the chocolate is smooth. Do not heat on high temperature but the mixture does need to be showing the bubbles of almost boiling, once everything is smooth.

2.  In a food processor, kitchen aid or hand held electric mixer and bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until foamy but not stiff.  About 2-3 minutes.

3.  With the machine running pour in the melted hot chocolate mix. As the mixture beats, it will thicken to a thick sauce like consistency. With an electric mixer it will only thicken slightly. The hot chocolate mixture has actually cooked the eggs into a chocolate sauce.  There is no more cooking involved. This is why it is important to start with eggs at room temperature for about 1 hour and have the hot chocolate mixture just bubbling as you pour it into the machine.  The heat of the chocolate mix should take the temperature of the eggs above the 160* mark. (The temperature at which salmonella is killed if it is present in the egg.  Salmonella has to be there to start with, it will not magically appear).

4.  Pour chocolate sauce out of food processor into a 4-qt bowl.  Mixture can remain in kitchen aid bowl.

5.  Stir in crushed graham crackers, nuts and alcohol.

6.  Line a 1-qt basin or 7-8” decorative cake pan (4 cup capacity) with plastic wrap and pour the chocolate mixture into pan.  Smooth surface, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  This allows the flavors to develop as well as being sufficient time for the chocolate to set.  The chocolate will not set like a bar of chocolate but will be more like a cold block of cream cheese.

7.  Turn out onto decorative plate and either cover in whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate or drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Indulge!

 

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Lithuanian Apple Cake   

Lithuanian Apple Cake

Also known as Obuolinis Pyragas.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

The original recipe for this cake is from Treasures of Lithuanian cooking which says its, “an easy and delicious cake for family gathering or a weekend treat.” I give monthly Lithuanian cooking demos, as I have given Lithuanian cooking demos for many years and studied at summer school at Vilnius, Lithuania. I also give talks, with photos, souvenirs, scrap books and a buffet of Lithuanian dishes.

Gluten-Free Lithuanian Apple Cake


Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar (5+1/2 oz)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon
  • 1/2 c (4 fl oz, 120 ml) neutral tasting oil – I use avocado oil
  • 1 c flour (5+1/2 oz) King Arthur all purpose gluten-free
  • 1/2 tsp (3ml) xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp (3 ml) gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (3 ml) baking soda
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, washed, cored (no need to peel) and either shredded in food processor or cut into small pieces.
  • 1/2 c (2 oz, 56g) toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c (60 ml. 2 fl oz) milk – fat free or almond milk is fine.


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*, 180*c. Spray 8×8 or bundt pan and dust with flour. I use rice flour for gluten-free.

2. Beat eggs and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in oil, mixture will deflate a bit.

3. Add rest of ingredients except for apples and nuts.

4. Finally stir in apples and nuts.

5. Bake in 350 oven for an hour. Cake will be well risen, nicely golden brown but soft to the touch. I literally dig into middle to make sure it’s cooked through.

6. Remove from oven. Leave bundt pan to cool for about 10 minutes, then use a thin plastic spatula to loosen edges and turn out onto serving plates. It might break. Leave 8×8 in pan, 8×8 cake is very sticky to cut evenly.

7. I buy Trader Joe’s caramel sauce, labeled gluten-free, heat slightly and drizzle over turned out bundt or on top of 8×8. Wegman’s, Rothschild’s also carry caramel sauce labeled gf. Remember that substitute ice cream sauces often contain gluten.

Ideas:I would also like to mix sour cream with honey and use as topping.

Add orange or lemon rind. Add dried fruit. I’ve also used one peeled, cored and shredded pear, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1-2 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 c butter melted.
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla.

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan, boil for 3 minutes over medium heat, drizzle over warm cake.


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