Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Ginger Scones

I've always loved scones. They remind me of my mom and growing up. She always would love to make every meal or snack time an occasion. So when she'd make scones, she'd have some tea made as well as all the toppings for the scones: clotted cream, butter, jam and lemon curd. 




Scones are perfect for a nice snack in the middle of the day or in the morning for a light breakfast. These scones are a wonderful gluten-free version of what I remember from my past. These are so fluffy and, of course, I've added some sweet zesty flavor from ginger. They taste so great and they are great for anyone to eat. So make up a batch today and dig out your favorite tea for your own personal tea time or to enjoy with friends.

GLUTEN-FREE GINGER SCONES

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter
2 large eggs
 ½ cup whole milk
 ¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
(Optional: 2-3 tablespoons sparkling sugar)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Ready a sheet pan with a silpat baking mat (or line with parchment).

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.

Cut up the butter into small pieces.

Work in the cold butter until the flour mixture is crumbly with some small butter bits remaining.

Gently stir in the chopped crystallized ginger.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla until frothy. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring until well blended. The dough should be cohesive and very sticky.

Place dough on a gluten-free  floured surface. Pat out to about a1 inch thick rectangle.  Using a knife cut down the middle length-wise. Then cut little triangles out of each half and place onto the prepared pan. You can also use a biscuit cutter to cut into circles if you desire.

Lightly brush milk on top of the scones and sprinkle with sparkling sugar (optional)

Place baking sheet, uncovered, in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with butter and homemade jam. ENJOY!


So, when do you think is the best time for scones?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grow Your Own

It’s Earth Day. Time to talk about growing your own. No, I’m not talking about anything illegal. How about some herbs that will notch up the flavor of your food (which is always the Foodgasmic way).

Actually Earth Day erupted as a protest against pollution just 43 years ago. And with that first commemoration came a chilling warning about global warming.

 

For many, celebrating Earth Day has come to symbolize planting new trees. But you may not have an acre to plant trees one. So why not bring some greenery into your house.

And while you’re at it, why not have that greenery be something you can also eat.


Homemade rosemary vinegar
 This is a rosemary plant I bought two months ago. I put it in a larger pot, placed it in a sunny window, and watered it almost daily. My $3.00 purchase is doing quite well, and has already been used several times.

 How to use rosemary? Well, it’s often combined with meat or poultry dishes. Whole springs of rosemary can be roasted with fish quite nicely as well. Oh, and there are other possibilities. Soups. Breads (can you say focaccia). Rosemary can add a subtle taste to dishes or drinks, such as rosemary infused oils or vinegars. Or cocktails.

Think about celebrating Earth Day today in your kitchen. Buy a potted herb. Green plants in your home can reduce the air pollution inside. And you can use parts of that herb to add flavor to your food.

 Happy Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Orange Cashew Caramel Corn

Who doesn't love a snack that is both savory and sweet?  And this popcorn recipe is the perfect combination of both. You've undoubtedly had caramel corn before but this one is more of a gourmet caramel corn, which is totally awesome by me. 

My favorite nuts are cashews, but feel free to replace them which your favorite nut. This snack is perfect for game night or for a nice movie night at home with your "special friend." Also these can easy be formed into popcorn balls when they are still warm. But watch out, because this popcorn is extremely addictive and disappears quickly. Chomp, chomp, chomp, I do hope you enjoy this sweet crunchy popcorn treat!





Orange Cashew Caramel Corn
Yield: 12 cups

Ingredients
  • 12 cups popped popcorn (plain is best)
  • 2 cups halved cashews
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tablespons frozen orange juice concentrate, undiluted
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place popcorn and cashews in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat butter, brown sugar, honey, orange zest, and orange juice concentrate over medium heat until butter is melted. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in extract, salt and baking soda – the mixture will foam.
  3. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well. Spread evenly in a large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, stirring a few times during baking time, Stir caramel corn as it cools on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh Granola, How I Love You!

My mom has been making granola for as long as I can remember.  I always loved it. And it's always good.  And although I have never seen an actual recipe for it, I asked her to write it down.



                            Mom's Granola
                                      Makes 8-9 cups granola
                  Vegan • Gluten-Free • Dairy Free

Ingredients
8 cups old fashioned oats*
1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1 ts vanilla
½-1 cup chopped nuts (walnut, peanuts or pecans)

*If gluten is an issue, make sure to use oats that are specifically processed gluten-free.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix oats with oil and honey and vanilla in a large bowl.
Add nuts, if desired.

Bake for 15 minutes in two 13 x 9 cake pans (preferably glass).
Stir once in middle of baking.

Take pans out to cool. Keep stirring granola while it is cooling or it will clump together. (I usually put it back in the (washed) bowl I mixed it in earlier).

When it is cooler, add dried fruits like raisin, flaked coconut.

When completely cool, seal in airtight container. Eat responsibly. It’s addictive.

GRANOLA MY WAY

I like to make my own special variations of my mom's granola. And for an added health benefit, you can add in 1/4 cup chia seeds and/or 1/4 cup flax seeds to the granola after it bakes (you can do this for any variation).

Variation 1: Make original recipe with 1 cup chopped walnuts and I like to add a dash of salt. Right after you take the granola out of the oven, add the zest of a whole orange. Then add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1 cup chopped dates. Mix well.

Variation 2: Make original recipe with 1 cup chopped pecans, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and a dash of  salt. Right after you take the granola out of the oven add in 2 cups dried chopped apples. Mix well.

Variation 3: Make original recipe with 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts and I like to add a dash of salt. Right after you take the granola out of the oven add 1 cup flaked coconut, 1 cup chopped dried mangoes, and 1 cup chopped dried pineapple. Mix well.

Making homemade granola is easy and fun. You can get very creative and do your own Foodgasmic variation. It's also really nice to make a batch and put in glass jars to give as gifts for friends and loved ones. ENJOY!

Then let me know how yours turned out.