Monday, January 31, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chili & Jalapeño Corn Muffins (GF)


Every Super Bowl, my friends and I look forward to a giant hot bowl of chili to sit and watch the big football game. All my friends look forward to it. If I changed the menu, I do not know if they would be too happy. This chili sticks to your ribs, warms you up with the complex, deep flavors and slight heat from the chipotles (smoked jalapeños.) Ground meat, tomatoes, chili peppers, beans and a wide array of seasonings/aromatics are the basis of my recipe. With chili, the longer it cooks, the more the flavors marry together. I find this to be true with dishes that have a tomato base with many seasonings. That means you can throw it together after lunch, put it in the slow-cooker, and it will be perfect come game time. Leftovers are even better the next day.

My favorite pairing for chili is jalapeño corn muffins. Gluten-free, of course. They are delicate, light, spongy, corny, slightly spicy and sweet. These little treats disappear quickly. Make sure to have other accoutrements for the chili such as shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados or guacamole, Fritos Scoops. I usually set up a buffet on the kitchen counter with bowls, spoons, napkins, of course the chili on ‘keep warm’ and all the fixings. Best to keep the corn muffins and scoops/chips in the center of the action by the TV.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Slow-Cooker Chili:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can (29 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can (29 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (16 oz) kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ~1/3 small can (+/- to taste) chipotles in adobo, run through mini-processor
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (+/- to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or ground ancho chilies
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn meal or masa flour
  • As needed: water/broth

For the Jalapeño Corn Muffins:

  • 1 packet (200 grams) Chebe or modified tapioca starch
  • ¾ cup (130 grams) cornmeal
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (470 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
  • 1-2 pickled jalapeños (canned), seeds removed, diced very small
  • Dash of garlic powder (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

For the Slow-Cooker Chili:

Sauté the ground sirloin in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, turn the slow-cooker on high, and put in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the beans. Once the meat has all browned, strain off fat/liquid, and add into slow-cooker.

Return skillet to low-medium heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, onions, green peppers, and garlic to sweat. Once it is tender and transparent, add to the slow-cooker and stir well. Add in the processed chipotles in adobo, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn meal/masa and mix well. Adjust seasonings, salt, heat (chipotles) as needed. Cook for at least one hour on high with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Taste again and adjust as needed. Add liquid as needed if it gets too thick for your taste. Turn down to low or keep warm until guests arrive. Can tolerate 3-6 hours of heat easily. Serves 6-8.

For the Jalapeño Corn Muffins:

Preheat oven to 400oF. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the buttermilk and eggs. Mix well with a wooden or silicone spoon. Spray two small muffin tins well with non-stick spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake for about 15 minutes (20-25 minutes for regular size muffins), until golden brown, and toothpick comes out clean. Note: since this recipe uses baking powder, the batter must be cook sooner than later for best results. Makes about 36 small muffins.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chocolate Covered Clementines

Chocolate Covered Clementines

Winter brings a bounty of citrus. My favorite being clementines. While living in Spain last winter, one night we did a chocolate fondue with fresh fruits as a special treat. It proved to be very indulgent, fun, yet healthy. The clementines with chocolate revealed to be a much loved combination. Upon returning home, to the US, chocolate covered clementines became one of my go to simple and healthy desserts for entertaining. Fun finger food. Clementines work so well since the thin membrane keeps the segment contained, and not water down the thick chocolate ganache dip. This time of year, we are all looking for ways to cut down on the heavy desserts and eat lighter. By using fresh fruit and not adding any sugar, makes this treat a healthier choice. And with only three ingredients, this treat is super easy to make.

Ingredients:

4-6 clementines, peeled, cleaned, segmented, dry
300 grams (1 ½ cup) chocolate chips, semi-sweet
100 grams (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Directions:

Put the chocolate chips into a small/medium microwave safe bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until boiling. Meanwhile, microwave the chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Immediately pour the boiling cream on to the chocolate chips. With a silicone spatula, constantly stir until it becomes smooth. Use care to not stir too vigorously, thus adding air. Make sure there are no clumps or bubbles. Thereafter, dip each clementine segment into the chocolate ganache. Use care to not coat the segments too thickly. Put each dipped segment onto wax paper or parchment. Allow to set at room temperature for serving within a couple of hours. Alternatively, place in the fridge if you prefer it colder, or plan on serving beyond two hours. Arrange on platter for serving.


-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gluten-Free Pie Crust: Leek & Goat Cheese Quiche

Pie crust proves to be difficult, even when it is not gluten-free (GF). Working on the perfect GF pie crust, I went back to basics using my professional baking textbook from culinary school and found two different types of pie crusts: a flaky one and mealy, enriched pie crust. I thought to myself, doesn’t everyone want a flaky pie crust as opposed to a mealy one? That tends to be the first complaint about GF baked goods: mealy. Regardless, I made up the two texturally different types with my GF adaptation magic and low and behold, the flaky one was the winner. Well, as flaky as we will achieve with gluten-free. The mealy one turned out to be slightly mealy, but more like a shortbread with the egg yolk in it. (Maybe we will revisit that later.)

While looking at the produce, I was stuck at how beautiful the leeks look this time of year. Leeks have a great mild flavor that is slightly sweet with light almost chive character. Leek and goat cheese quiche sounded like the perfect filling for the pie crust. Leeks and a good goat cheese works well as a great flavor pairing. Keep it simple. By making the quiche using both goat cheese and goat milk, it is lactose free. I do not recommend soft goat for this recipe; too much water and not enough flavor. Go for something that you can grate, with some more character to it. While cheese shopping, ask the cheese monger for samples of different types of a semi-hard to hard goat cheese. You will be amazed how many different kinds there are. Pick your favorite; do not worry about the strength of the flavor. The goat cheese and the leeks are the stars of the quiche.

Ingredients

For the gluten-free pie crust:

  • 105 grams | 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 60 grams | 1/3 cup sweet rice flour
  • 55 grams | 1/3 cup millet flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 100 grams | ½ cup shortening (like Crisco)
  • 2 egg whites, cold (large)

For the quiche:

  • 1 leek
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 120 grams | 4 oz | 1 ½ cups grated goat cheese
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 175 grams | ¾ cup whole goat milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Directions

For the gluten-free pie crust:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, millet flour, salt, and sugar. Put the shortening into the food processor bowl, fitted with the blade attachment. Add in the mixed dry ingredients. Pulse until incorporated; it will look mealy. With the processor running, slowly pour in the cold egg whites. Stop right when it looks like uniform dough. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Place another sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, roll out into an even ¼” thickness. The less you handle it, the flakier it will be. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove top sheet from the pie dough. Flip carefully into your pie pan, exposed side down into the pan. Remove the other sheet. Carefully press into bottom, corners, up wall. Trim off the excess around the edges. To give the fancy edge, pinch using your thumb & forefinger of one hand with your other forefinger between those two. It takes practice, but very pretty if using a plain pie tin/pan. If there are any gaps in the dough, just carefully patch up with excess dough. “Dock,” poke the bottom with a fork evenly distributed to keep the crust flat, preventing it from rising. Pre-bake for 10-12 minutes until barely lightly golden. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before putting in filling. (Keep the oven on to bake the quiche.)

For the quiche:

The most tender and flavorful part of the leek is the white stalk. Since that part that was in the ground, it can be very sandy. Make sure to rinse it well. Trim the leek, cut it length wise, then rinse, well. Cut into thin strips. Cook in a sauté pan with a teaspoon of vegetable oil (little flavor) over low/medium heat until they become soft and semi-translucent. Allow to cool.

Into the pie, evenly sprinkle the sautéed leeks and the grated goat cheese. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the pie, covering the cheese and leeks evenly. Carefully place pie on lined baking pan and place in center of oven. Bake at 375 F until the filling is set, turning as needed for even cooking, until it is lightly golden brown on top. Cooking time is around 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting (or it will not hold shape).

Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature. Cut into wedges of desired sized. A simple salad of spring greens with a mustard vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment for quiche.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Whoopie Pies: Devil’s Food Cake with Maple Marshmallow & Gluten-Free

By definition a whoopie pie is a sandwich of soft, chocolate cakes with a fluffy filling, usually containing marshmallow in some form. They remind me of the prepackaged variety like Suzy Q’s and Little Debbies that I liked as a child. Whoopie pies are more of a comfort treat than cupcakes to me, but I guess I am lucky that I can no longer eat those processed ones (since they probably taste better in my memory) because I have Celiac. Therefore, I have the opportunity to recreate gluten-free versions and make them much better than the mass-produced types.

While developing this recipe, I never realized there were so many types of chocolate cake, and ultimately decided that devil’s food cake was the best choice. To add depth to the chocolate, I used buckwheat and teff flours*, as well as a small amount of coffee. (I prefer to bake using weight in grams (g) for ease, differentiating densities of gluten-free flours, and guaranteed, fail-safe results.) Lately, I have been making marshmallows with maple syrup for the flavor complexity and to avoid the over-processed high fructose corn syrup. And after a few tests and trials, I created the ultimate gluten-free devil’s food cake that is moist, light, and fluffy.

Ingredients

For the gluten-free devil’s food cake:

  • 2/3 cup (86 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 grams) brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup (38 grams) teff flour*
  • ¼ cup (35 grams) buckwheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) guar gum*
  • 1 1/3 (285 grams) cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon (7 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) shortening (I used Crisco butter flavored)
  • 1 cup (235 grams) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon (3 grams) Nescafé Instant Coffee
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) chocolate, 100% Cacao

For the maple marshmallows:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon(10 grams) gelatin, unflavored, granulated
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water, cold
  • 1 cup (212 grams) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (130 grams) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water,
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

*Note: All the flours I used for this recipe were from Bob’s Red Mill.

Directions

For the gluten-free devil’s food cake:

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the work bowl (of a standing mixer) or a large mixing bowl, mix the following: tapioca, brown rice, teff, and buckwheat flours with guar gum, sugar, baking powder and soda, and the salt. Mix until uniform.

Add in the shortening and mix until mealy. In a cup, combine the buttermilk with the instant coffee and vanilla; mix with spoon until dissolved. Add about half of the buttermilk mixture to the batter, mix until incorporated. Add in the eggs, one at a time.

In a separate small bowl, melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted, constantly mixing. Once smooth, slowly add and mix in the remaining buttermilk mixture. Once completely smooth, add into main batter. Mix for about 2 minutes. Portion with a scooper (a good investment) giving ample space between on parchment paper. Gently smooth out into a round shape with the side of the scooper or a spoon. For 1-1 ½ ounce, bake for 12 minutes.

For the maple marshmallows:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup cold water; let stand to bloom for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons water, and salt. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Mix for 7 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract. Use immediately to assemble whoopie pies as it sets up quickly.

To assemble, turn all of the cake-cookies upside-down. Using a scooper or spoon that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray, portion the marshmallow on the cake-cookie. Immediately take another cake-cookie right-side-up and gently press to make the whoopie pie. The marshmallow sets up quickly, so do this individually for best results. Allow to set for 1-2 hours. Store in an air-tight container.

(For the extra marshmallow, scoop onto a lightly sprayed wax paper/parchment. Allow to sit. Then toss with powdered sugar in plastic bag to store. Good on top of hot chocolate!)

Details

Makes 32 cake-cookies, 16 whoopie pies


-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure