Tag Archives: chicago

Gluten Free Tamale Pie – on the grill

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Gluten Free "Tamale Pie"

It is not nearly as hot here in the Pacific Northwest as it is where my family is (Chicago & Minnesota).  You guys have certainly had the heat wave.    We are still wearing our October gear in the mornings.  However, yesterday it was 85F.  (I know, still not hot comparatively, but come on… that’s a 20 degree jump for us!)

We took full advantage of the day:  playground in the morning, walk after lunch, bubbles/sidewalk chalk, building a fort, soccer outside, etc.  By the time dinner-cooking-hour rolled around, I was hot.  And so was the house.  We don’t have air conditioning and the warmest time of day here is late afternoon.

At 3:30PM, the house was almost 80F.  The thought of heating up the house further to cook (as the temperature was still rising) was NOT appealing to me at all.  I had planned to make a tamale pie with whatever veggies + ground beef that were in the fridge.  I knew this meant browning the beef, sauteing veggies and what not on the stove top and then finishing in the oven.  Oh.  NO.  Wasn’t happening.

So I cracked out the cast iron skillet and headed outside to the grill.  Beyond making the tamale dough topping, the rest of this was prepared on the grill.  I honestly didn’t plan to give a “recipe” today.  I totally winged this – but I think some of you might find the idea functional for you HOT house as well.

Forgive the lack of perfect measurements, I didn’t measure anything – so they are all guesstimates.

Nice, huh?  What a food blogger am I.

Oh well.  Here goes nothing!

Gluten free tamale pie - before "baking" it on the grill

 

You can see my fancy topping here – precooked.  Lovely, huh?

Tamale Pie on the Grill

NOTE:  Make sure you have enough gas (if using a gas grill) to have your burners on for 30-40 minutes on medium-high (or enough to maintain an internal temperature of 350F +)

TAMALE TOPPING (Prepare inside with you mixer)

Ingredients:
1 1/ cups masa harina, rehydrated according to package instructions
1/3 cup of butter, cut into pats
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water + gluten free chicken bouillon) or MORE
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
granulated garlic to taste (1/2-1 1/2 teaspoons)

Directions:

Put your rehydrated masa dough into the mixer.  Add the chicken broth, baking powder, salt, some granulated garlic and half of your butter pats.  Mix thoroughly on low.  Increase speed to medium after broth has been well incorporated.  Add the remaining pats of butter until well incorporated.  Beat on medium.  The dough texture should be coming up the sides of your mixer and not dense on the bottom or in a ball.  It is not super light – but should be very pliable.  If not, add a bit more broth – tablespoon by tablespoon – until your get rid of the ball stage.  Set aside.

TAMALE PIE – Meat + veggie bottom

Ingredients:

1 pound ground meat of choice (I used beef)
1/2 cup minced onion
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 small can green chilis
2 whole tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup (or more??) frozen corn kernels (or fresh, if you’ve got them!)
1 Tablespoon + cumin
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
salt/pepper to season to taste

Directions:  (written for those cooking on a gas grill)

  1. Put your cast iron skillet on your preheated grill.  Heat thoroughly.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Dump in diced hard veggies (onions, carrots).  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add diced peppers and tomato.  Cook again another 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic – cook until aromatic (1 – 2 minutes)
  3. Add ground meat.  Brown.
  4. Taste.  Add green chilis, frozen corn, cumin, chili powder and salt/pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer.  Taste again.  Adjust seasoning to desired.  (NOTE:  If it is mild now, it will be SUPER mild later – so really taste/adjust now.)
  6. Once you’ve reached your flavor, top with the reserved tamale dough.  (I used my fingers to make a flat piece (much like working with play-dough) about 1/3-1/2 inch thick.  Cover the pan to the best of your ability.  I purposefully leave the edges open to allow me to see/check the base and the topping.
  7. Put your cast iron skillet on the “cool side” but still over some heat.  Our grill has 4 burners.  I turned the right two burners to high and the far left one to the off position.  The second one I had on medium.

GRILL BURNERS
ONE (off)           TWO (medium)           THREE (high)           FOUR (high)
Position pan over burner #2

8.”Bake” with your grill closed until the tamale pie topping is cooked through (about 30 minutes or more, depending on the temperature of your grill/outside).  You can check the dough by poking it (I know… but hey – I was only cooking for me).  If the center is dry/cakey/tamale like, you are good.  If there are any wet/doughy parts, keep it on the grill longer.

Serve with:  cucumber, avocado, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, fresh diced tomatoes, black olives, whatever….

GRILL BURNERS
ONE (off)           TWO (medium)           THREE (high)           FOUR (high)
Position pan over burner #2

Gluten Free "Tamale Pie" - made on the grill!

 

KISS Your Greens, gluten free

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K.I.S.S Collard Greens - GF, of course

Keep It Simple, Silly:  Collard Greens
Photo by Kate Chan

I have to be honest.  The last couple of CSA boxes have had collard greens.  And I’ve swapped them out every week because I’ve been intimidated.

My Love really enjoys collard greens – but it is also because he loves southern food and has had some great food in Chicago.  And me?  Yes.  I like collard greens, but cooking them?  *Yikes*

I’ve heard how “long” and “tough” it is to cook collard greens and have them turn out fabulously.  Seasoning them and making them the right texture and not having either mushy or bitter greens to serve.  And you know what?  I’m much more of a baker than a cook, so that whole “you’ll know when it’s done” thing?  Doesn’t always work for me.  Well, unless I’m grilling chicken or pork chops.  I’ve got that down.

Last week (and this week’s) CSA box had collard greens, so I bit the bullet.  I was going to prepare them and prove my Love wrong.  I was going to make simple and tasty collard greens.  And guess what?  It totally worked.  He wants more.

So tonight, with my family here visiting, we’re making grilled chicken breasts, some more KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) Collard Greens, fresh new potatoes roasted with feta cheese and parsley and watermelon.  And for dessert?  I’m attempting a checker-board sponge cake.  (Yeap, now I’ve gone ’round the bend, huh?)

So, for those of you with greens and not southern touch to your cooking (like me), feel free to copy.  These are fabulous greens.  I’m thrilled to have an easy recipe to make collard greens with now.  And I won’t be swapping out my collards for any more carrots.  I promise.

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

Serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cleaned/washed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice.
  • OPTIONAL/Main Dish Salad:  chopped chicken, raisins or dried cherries, toasted almonds.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water (salted. optional) to a boil on the stove.  While you wait, prepare your collard greens.
  2. Cut the thick center vein/stem out of the collard greens.  Split each leaf in two.  Roll together and slice into thin strips (1/4 inch – 1/2 inch).  Cut the strips in half.  (See picture above of rolled collards that have been cut into strips.  I just sliced the rolls in half one time.)
  3. Drop the greens into the boiling water.  Boil for 6 minutes (thin slices) – 8/10 minutes for thicker slices.  Remove the collards once they have reached the “al dente” noodle stage after 6 – 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your strips).
  4. Drain and press out the excess water.
  5. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan.  Add your garlic and stir until fragrant (1 minute).  Add the greens and stir fry for 4 – 5 minutes until tender.  Drizzle with sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.  Continue over the heat until even temperature.  (The greens will remain “al dente” or just tender and not mush after such speedy cooking.) Squeeze a half a lemon over or drizzle a teaspoon of lemon juice over (or more, to taste) and toss.
  6. Serve warm as a side.  Or top with a few raisins, sliced chicken and toasted almonds to make a fabulous entree salad.
Happy Eats!
~Kate

New Product: The GFB (The Gluten Free Bar) – and a GIVE AWAY

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DISCLAIMER:  I have NO connection whatsoever with this company.  I received 4 bars to taste for this review.

I rarely do product reviews, so for those of you who are curious about that please know this:  I love easy, accessible gluten-free foods, but I’m picky!  If I can make a better version in my kitchen, I don’t typically write a review of it.  That being said, I actually have three products that I want to review in the next few weeks.  Oh yes, gluten free foods are getting better, people!  (And my life is manic, which has helped usher in a new appreciation for prepared gluten free goodness.  Life with one child?  Busy.  Life with two (ages 2 and under)?  INSANE, joyous, fabulous and utterly EXHAUSTING.)

This first product is one my to-order list.  And right at the top of it, too.   And I honestly was a tad leery at first.  Not only was it a protein bar (something I never thought I would be packing in my car/purse) but the name made me giggle.

You see, when Elliott (one of the owners) contacted me and I saw the name “GFB(The Gluten Free Bar), my mind flashed back to the books I would read to my elementary school kids.  Roald Dahl (who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, etc) wrote a book called the BFG.  It’s about a gentle giant who lives in the land of kid-eating giants (don’t worry…it’s not freaky).  The giants choose their “dinner entrees” based on country names.  The kids from Turkey?  Taste like turkey, of course.  The kids from Chile?  Yeap.  Chili.  The kids from Greece?  Ew.  Not so tasty unless you are in to sinew and stuff.  So now that you have had that lovely adventure through my mind’s eye, you can see why I was chuckling at the email and completely willing to try the protein bars.

The guys (there are three of them) manufacture these bars in Chicago.  A fact I missed until they arrived and I saw the return address.  And now I know.  Chicago tastes like peanut butter goodness.  Well, at least it does according to these yummy bars.  Definitely a fact I missed even though I lived there for ten years.  (We HEART Chicago and miss it dearly.  But peanut butter is definitely not the flavor profile I would give to that city of FANTASTIC food!  You gotta travel there to believe me, but it’s true.  GF Dining isn’t so tough with that many options about…. but I digress.  Let’s get back to these bars.)

I have struggled with the adjectives that I want to use to describe these bars.  I really think there are so many protein bar options on the market because it is SUCH a huge personal choice/preference.  Unlike cereal, which 90% of us can agree SHOULD be crispy even with milk, protein bars have a wide variety of textures, flavors and feel when you eat them.  I think I like these so much because if I were to make a protein bar, it would be like these.

These bars are moist (the peanut butter version moreso than the chocolate-peanut butter, IMHO) and slightly chewy.  There is just enough of a crunch from the peanuts, brown rice and flax seeds to let you know that you are tasting something fabulous.  You gotta have crunch.  But not so much that I fear for my teeth and hope for a huge bottle of water.  This crunch is perfectly subtle and delectable.

I tried the first bar on a morning when I had rushed about for the two girls.  It was a choatic morning.  By 2:30pm, I was so hungry I was truly contemplating munching on my own person.  The baby was asleep on the couch in a room that is attached to the kitchen and the toddler was asleep on the other end.  Since they had both been fussy (colds, etc) and hard to get down for naps, I didn’t dare “whip up”something in the kitchen.  In fact, I was even considering eschewing the plastic wrapper on the GFB (almost typed BFG there again….yikes).  I snuck into another room and open the package, hopeful that I would truly find something to satisfy my hunger least I have yet one more crabby girl in the house.

And it was great.  The bars are slightly sweet (they contain brown rice syrup, dates and agave) but not so sweet that I would have thought it was a candy bar.  In fact, it was appropriately sweetened for my tastes.  Since they are slightly soft/chewy (not overly like a taffy or a fig bar, but a thickened peanut butter style), it was easy to eat and enjoyed without having a million crumbs hit my lap.

And the best part?  This bar plus a glass of water completely satisfied my hunger.  Really.  And not just as a temporary swing either.  I was perfectly content until dinner time.  In fact, dinner was LATE that night because I was truly satisfied and hadn’t even thought about dinner.

Elliott was kind enough to send me 4 bars (2 peanut butter, 2 chocolate-peanut butter).  As soon as I figured out that the bars were tasty and worked well, I packed one in my car and another in my purse (for my desk at work).  The remaining bar (a chocolate-peanut butter one) was “sacrificed” recently just for this post.  :grin:  (Hey, somebody’s gotta do it, right?)  I wanted to be able to write about the chocolate version too.

I like the chocolate one as well.  It’s NOT a sweet chocolate bar (I was relieved), but since it has the addition of cocoa, it is not quite as moist (very slightly so – may have even just been that bar) as the peanut butter one.  But it is definitely tasty too.

I will be ordering some of the peanut butter bars for our house and my travels.  With the two kids, I find that sometimes I am prepared for their snacks/meals, but not my own.  And then, by the time they are fed and satisfied, I’m starving.  These bars are going to be quite a help and relief when those moments hit.  Once we are back to the gym routine, I know this bars will be a great energy boost then too.

So are you interested yet?  I hope so!

The cost of the bars work out to about $2.00 per bar.  They are sold in very limited retailers (although, I am going to ask GF Joe to see if he can get them!).  So you will have to order online (as will I).  Elliott and the gang have offered FREE SHIPPING for Gluten Free Gobsmacked readers AND the first two commenters will receive their own sample pack (like I did).

To get your free shipping, when checking out, enter the coupon code:  gobsmacked

Order yours here:  http://theglutenfreebar.com/

Interested in the give-away?

Do tell:  What do you seek in a protein bar?  (Texture? Content? Taste?  Sweetness?)

Happy Gluten Free Protein Bars, All.

I sincerely wish  The Gluten Free Bar guys the absolute best in their journey as a new GF company.  Every little bit helps – and their tasty contribution to our community is quite appreciated by me. :)

~Kate

PS.  I just saw an offer on their site to TRY their protein bars and if you don’t like them, they will give you a refund – NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  Seriously?  You gotta try these.  :)