Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip)

Tzatziki, tzadziki, or tsatsiki (Greek: τζατζίκι) is a Greek meze or appetizer, also used as a sauce for souvlaki and gyros. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, usually olive oil, pepper, sometimes dill, sometimes lemon juice and parsley, and sometimes mint added. Tzatziki is always served cold. Whenever I go back to Greece to visit my husband's family, tzatziki is always served with any restaurant meal.  Tzatziki is served at the beginning of a meal with bread and horiatiki, "villager salad" which is tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, olives, topped with a giant slab of feta and a sprinkling of oregano. Since there are no gluten-free pitas to be had in Greece, I usually get french fries for dipping into the tzatziki. Yes, very indulgent but so delicious! When I make tzatziki back at home, I serve it with simple accompaniments such as sliced cucumbers, peppers, and my delicious grilled gluten-free pitas with lots of oregano and rubbed with olive oil.  It's perfect on a hot summer's day. Easy and so fresh.

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 pint Greek yogurt (strained)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Peel the cucumber, seed, and grate very coarsely. The best tzatziki is very thick and creamy, so removing excess water is key. Salt the grated cucumber generously with kosher salt to draw out moisture and place in colander or on paper towels. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes and then squeeze/wring out water.

Combine all ingredients in medium/large mixing bowl. Make sure to remove excess water from grated cucumber before adding. Taste for seasoning. Chill for at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
Serve as a dip. Garnish with a small drizzle of olive oil, olive, and/or dill. Great with pitas.

This is part of Food Network's Summer Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The seasonal produce we're focusing on here is cucumber! We all need to keep cool as a cucumber with the peak of hot summer upon us.  Here are other delicious features on cucumbers:

Pinch My Salt: Chilled Cucumber, Kefir and Avocado Soup
What’s Gaby Cooking: Cucumber-Basil Gimlet
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Radish-Cucumber Crostini
Big Girl Small Kitchen: Spicy Cucumber Salad with Shallot, Ginger and Mint
Grecian Kitchen: Summer Cucumber Salad
And Love It Too: Cucumber, Mint and Watermelon Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumbers Coolers with Agave Simple Syrup
Cooking With My Kid: Cucumber Limeade
FN Dish: Summer Fest: Cucumber Recipes
CIA Dropout: Relishing Cucumbers
Healthy Eats: Cool Cucumber Soup
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Cucumber Cherry Salsa
Cooking With Elise: Green Tea Cucumber Pops
Glory Foods: Cucumber and Shrimp Boat
Virtually Vegan Mama: Fire-Roasted Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho
Food2: When Life Gives You Cucumbers, Make a Cucumber Cocktail
Cooking Channel: Cucumbers Stuffed with Crab-Mango Salad
Recipe Girl: Bread and Butter Pickles
Taste With the Eyes: Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Wakame and Garlic Blossoms
Virtually Homemade: Cold Thai Cucumber-Mint Soup
Add a Pinch: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
The Cultural Dish: Ahi Tuna with Cucumber Sauce and Salad
Daily*Dishin: Cool n’ Zesty Cukes: 7 Minute Summer in a Jar
Daydreamer Desserts: Cubanita Margarita
Purple Cook: Cucumber Gazpacho with Indian Flavored Shrimp Relish
Indian Simmer: Cucumber at its Best with Chaat Masala
Big Apple Nosh: Quick and Easy Homemade Pickles
Sweet Life Bake: Agua de Pepino
Zaika Zabardast: Cucumber Gazpacho
A Way to Garden: Cucumber-Growing Q&A and the Best Pickles
Cooking with Books: Summer Fest: Cucumbers

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Peach Tart (Gluten-Free)

Inspired by Food Network's Summer Fest focus on peaches and Gluten-Free Girl's pie party, I created this recipe for a peach tart.  Growing up in Cincinnati, I had many traditional German/French fresh fruit tarts made by old-school pastry shops that are institutions here.  I miss those, being gluten-free now.  Therefore, I knew the only solution is to make it myself.  The crust is a short dough using Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix, which is one of my favorite "cheats" to bake with.  (When I say "cheat" I am referring to using a ready-made GF flour mix; I use this one for pies, cakes, cookies, and pancakes as a 1-for-1 substitution in any recipe.  Usually I rebuild a recipe completely gluten-free, usually individual GF flours.  But sometimes I want easier & quick.  Hence, Pamela's Baking Mix.)  It has brown rice flour, almond meal, powdered buttermilk, amongst other goodies.  The filling is a brightened, sweetened low fat cream cheese with lemon zest.  Only one perfectly ripe peach was needed for this tart.  Apple jelly is used as a glaze to keep the peaches fresh and pretty.  I found a couple of lavender flowers in my herb garden that I dipped in the apple glaze and added as a garnish.

short dough pie crust:
113 grams butter, softened
pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
68 grams sugar
1 egg yolk, from large egg, room temperature
270 grams Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix

filling and topping:
226 grams | 8 oz Low Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature
zest from 1 lemon
100 grams confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
dash of mace
1 ripe peach
apple jelly
lavender flowers (optional)

short dough pie crust:
Using a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, and salt as low speed until smooth.  Add the egg yolk and mix until just absorbed.  Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until evenly blended.

Roll out between two sheets of parchment or wax paper very thin, about 1/4 inch.  Chill on a cookie sheet in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until it firms up enough to work with it, but not hard and rigid.  Remove dough from fridge, remove top sheet, and carefully turn over into a tart pan or pie pan.  Working from the center, work the dough to the bottom of the pan while removing the other layer of paper, and make sure dough is fitted into the corners well.  Using a butter knife, remove the excess dough at the edges of the pan.  Dock (poke with fork) the dough and bake in a 350F preheated over for about 20 minutes, until browned.  Remove and allow to cool.

filling, topping, and assembly:
In a medium bowl, add in the softened cream cheese and the lemon zest.  Mix with a silicone spatula, followed by adding in the sugar, salt, mace and vanilla.  Mace has become one of my favorite spices.  It is the outside covering of nutmeg.  It has the spice of nutmeg, but much lighter.  Mix well until homogeneous.  Turn into cooled the short/pie crust and smooth until an even layer.

Slice a peach into very thin segments.  Arrange artfully (use your creativity here) on top of the tart filling.  Heat about 1 cup of apple jelly until runny and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Using a brush, gently brush on apple jelly evenly on the peaches and filling.  If you are fortunate enough to have lavender flower, dip into melted apple jelly and place on tart.  Chill tart for at least 1 hour before serving.  Store in fridge covered.  Enjoy!

Please visit Food Network's Summer Fest Peach Blog Wrap-Up to see what other delicious peach recipes other incredible bloggers have created.  And go to Twitter and join in the conversation #cookingwith

More peach recipes from family and friends:
CIA Dropout: Peachy Keen Panna Cotta
What’s Gaby Cooking: Peach and Blueberry Cobbler
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Easy Peach Preserves
I Am Mommy: Peach Bread
Daily Dishin: Fresh Peaches and Cream No-Bake Pie
Cooking with Books: Peaches and Cream Cheesecake
Cooking With My Kid: Peach & Friends Cobbler Pie
White on Rice Couple: Peach Heirloom Tomato Salad
Cooking With Elise: Bruschetta with Grilled Peach Chutney
Taste With The Eyes: Warm White Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
Recipe Girl: Fresh Peach Pie
A Way to Garden: Farm Fresh Peaches Frozen to Perfection
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Peach Cookies
Sassy Radish: Peach, Apricot and Blueberry Cobbler with a Cornmeal Crust
Sweet Life: Sweet Peach Ancho Chile Salsa
Indian Simmer: Indian Peach Gujiya
Dixie Chik Cooks: Peach Cobbler
Food2: 5 Killer Peach Flavored Cocktails
Healthy Eats: 8 Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Eat Peaches
Cooking Channel: Peaches on the Grill
Add a Pinch: My Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler
And Love It Too: Pan Seared Salmon with Fresh Peach Salsa
From My Corner of Saratoga: Double Caramel Peaches
She Wears Many Hats: Peach Wontons
Pinch My Salt: Creamy Peach Smoothie

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Ravioli: A Pasta GF Ratio Rally Challenge

This month for the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, Jenn of JennCuisine (our lovely hostess this month), gave us the mother of a challenge: fresh GF pasta.  Pasta is one of those items that really relies upon the formation of gluten to give the critical physical characteristics of making pasta: strength; flexibility; plasticity; and elasticity.  Without having these qualities, it is near impossible, downright frustrating to make pasta with all the manipulation needed to form the pasta in desired shapes.  Hence, I created some tricks to cobble together some decent GF pasta in form of a ravioli.

My stepfather was an "Old German Jew" who was a self-proclaimed "Born Again Italian."  (This become a joke amongst his "OGJ" bridge group.)  He spent two years traveling around Italy to womens houses learning how to cook the traditional Italian culinary repertoire.  By default, I became his sous chef.  This was years become I was diagnosed with my gluten intolerance.  We spent hours at time making pasta in all forms, including raviolis which were my favorite.  To me, any filled pasta is like a surprise.  You never know exactly what you are going to get.  And considering the simplicity, there is no need for any heavy, over complicated sauce that could easily overwhelm the raviolis.  Based on what I have in my kitchen, the filling I made had shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese.  The only sauce that was a good match for this ravioli would be a browned butter with fresh herbs.  And roasted tomatoes to add some additional color, complexity, and nutritional aspects to the plate.

According to Michael Ruhlman's Ratio, the fresh pasta is 3:2/flour:eggs.  While in Gisslen's Professional Baking, the ratio for fresh pasta is 8:5/flour:eggs.  Remember ratios are based on weight, the only accurate way to cook (gluten-free or not.)  Which is foundation of the GFreeRally as started and explained by Gluten-Free Girl here.  Based on my experience with GF baking, I know that elasticity, plasticity, strength, and flexibility can be achieved by gelatinizing the amylopectin in certain flours by treating with boiling water.  My favorite flour to achieve this is sweet/glutinous rice (which is gluten-free, but named so because of its characteristics, therefore my pasta ratio will differ because of this, obviously in the reduction of eggs used.  I still feel as though I could better optimize this recipe to make up to what I consider ideal.  This recipe works well, and tastes great considering it is gluten-free.  You know how I operate, that is not good enough; I want my recipes to be home runs regardless that it is gluten-free.  My final ratio for this pasta was 8:3:2/flour:liquid:eggs, or if I combine the liquid + eggs, the ratio is 8:5/flour:eggs which matches up with Gisslen.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped very fine
1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped very fine
1 cup fresh mushrooms, very fine dice
salt, pepper, fresh thyme to taste
2/3 cup raw shrimp, chopped very fine, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, from large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces of fresh soft goat cheese, at room temperature

200 grams sweet rice flour (extra for dusting, rolling, etc)
150 grams boiling water (roaring boil)
100 grams | 2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly scrambled
100 grams brown rice flour
100 grams oat flour (Bob's Red Milled assayed GF)
1 teaspoon salt
15 mL | 1 tablespoon olive oil
(1 scrambled egg for assembly)

browned butter sauce:
1/2 stick butter
pinch of salt if unsalted butter is used
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley and chives

In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the shallots and mushrooms.  Sweat with frequent stirring.  Add in the spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme; stirring frequently until spinach is completely wilted.  Allow to cool.  Taste for seasoning, add more if needed.

Transfer to a bowl.  Add in the raw minced shrimp, mix thoroughly, followed by mixing in the yolk completely, lastly adding in the goat cheese.  Cover and put in fridge until ready to assemble raviolis.

pasta & assembly of raviolis:
In the work bowl of a stand mixer weigh in the sweet rice flour.  Use paddle attachment, preferably with a scrapper.  In a separate medium bowl, measure and combine the brown rice flour, oat flour, and salt.  In another container, gently scramble the eggs.

With the stand mixer running on lowest speed, add in all of the roaring boiling water at once.  Allow to cool until the outside of bowl is touchable.  Add in the eggs in a minimum of 3 additions very slowly, allowing each addition to completely incorporate into dough.  Add in the flour/salt mixture in 3 additions very slowly, allowing each addition to completely incorporate into dough.  Add in the olive oil.

Turn out dough to a clean, floured (sweet rice flour) surface.  Knead, making sure the dough is homogeneous.  If it is sticky, add in barely enough sweet rice flour so it is easier to work with.  Since it is gluten-free, there is no need to let the dough (gluten) relax.  Cut the dough into 4 even pieces with a bench scrapper.  Set the rollers of the pasta (sheet) attachment at the widest opening (1.)  Roll the pasta into very thin sheets.  The thinner, the better without cracking or forming holes.

Over half the rolled pasta, make small mounds of the filling, depending on size of raviolis, allowing space for a sealed frame of pasta.  I used a large rectangular ravioli cut out.  You can use a round one, cookie cutters, ravioli cutter, or if all else fails, a pizza cutter.  Carefully paint a thin layer of egg wash around the filling to act as glue between the layers of pasta.  Lay the other piece of pasta (whole sheet, or individual piece depending on strength of your dough) over the top and press down between the mounds of filling to seal well, removing any excess air.  Cut out and lightly dust with extra flour if needed.

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, add in about half the raviolis.  Boil for a total of 7-8 minutes until fully cooked.  I split the raviolis into two batches.  Meanwhile, make the browned butter sauce.

sauce & assembly:
In a large saute pan over medium to high heat, add in the butter and stir until it becomes browned.  Turn down heat to low.  Add in the herbs and salt, if needed.

Once the raviolis are cooked, strain and add to the browned butter pan.  Gently toss until coated.  Serve immediately.  I garnished with parmesan and roasted tomatoes.

Makes about 24 large raviolis.  Serves about 4 people.

For a complete wrap-up of this month's #GFreeRally (on Twitter), go to our host for July, pasta, Jenn of JennCuisine. Want to know more about gluten free pasta ratios creations? Check out all the posts by the participants in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally!

Brooke from B & the Boy! made Ravioli w/strawberry filling and chocolate berry sauce
Caneel from Mama Me Gluten Free made Multi-grain fettuccine
Charissa from Zest Bakery made Linguini with smoked salmon and creamy vodka sauce
Erin from The Sensitive Epicure made Ravioli w/ shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, & cheese filling in browned butter
Gretchen from Kumquat made Vegetable lasagna
Jenn from Jenn Cuisine made Tagliatelle with smoked salmon, peas and parmesan
Lisa from Gluten Free Canteen made Lokshen kugel
Karen from Cooking Gluten Free made Homemade gluten free pasta
Mary Fran from Frannycakes made Pasta with pink vodka sauce
Meaghan from The Wicked Good Vegan made Vegan gluten-free homemade pasta, in creamy artichoke tagliatelle
Meg from Gluten-Free Boulangerie made Fettuccine with sun-dried tomatoes
Pete and Kelli from No Gluten, No Problem made Tortellini
Rachel from The Crispy Cook made Smoked paprika noodles with garlic scapes and herbs
Shauna of Gluten Free Girl made Gluten free fresh pasta
Silvana from Silvana’s Kitchen made Lemon-poppy pasta with tomato, corn and basil
Tara from A Baking Life made Fazzoletti with wild mushrooms and spring onions
TR from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Tomato basil pork raviolis

Be sure to join us next month, when Kate from Gluten Free Gobsmacked will be challenging us to make cake!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure