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Christmas Cookies

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Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

So it’s December?  Or should I say it’s almost 2013?!  Not like you need me to state the obvious, I’m just reflecting on how much of my “life” seems to be under different categories.  I’m obviously not able to keep up with every thing (this blog included) but I’m not quite willing to let it go.  I really enjoy posting recipes and more times than not, I’m thinking about what I’m making as a blog post (after the fact) but then I never get a chance to catch my breath or write it up.  Ah, but there are such worse things in life.

After a soon-to-never-be-released comic strip on Mommy-Plans-Gone-Wrong marathon of errand running yesterday and bath time, etc, I did manage to not only make the cookie doughs but I rolled out the roll out cookie and gingerbread between pieces of parchment (4 large pieces each) and slid them into the fridge.  That way today I merely had to pull the pre-rolled dough out and put it in front of the kids for them to cut out shapes; decorate and go.  Honest to goodness, it was the best choice ever.  What two or four or forty-three year old has the patience for cookie making?  Not me, I tell ya.  But thanks to my kids, I don’t think all of my Christmas cookies will be naked from here on out.    Today we made three different kinds of Cookies:  roll out cookies, GF Joe’s Gingerbread Cookies and PB Kiss Cookies (the no flour version).

Not too shabby.

Tomorrow, me/myself/I will attempt to gather 3 toddlers and a wonderful 8-year-old around a table for the royal icing to decorate the gingerbread men.  I think I will lose my mind.  Or not.  It could be the messiest fun I’ve had in days! :D

Hope that life is treating you well.  May you have many messy happy moments this season.

We could all certainly use them. :D

Merry Christmas, All.

~Kate

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

GF: Pao de quejo (aka “Brazilian Cheese Bread”)

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GF:Pao de quejo, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I have to admit this. I love Brazilian Cheese Bread – but I really am working hard to save some money for us. So buying the different mixes is completely out. It’s been a long time since we’ve purchased the mixes. But, I’ve rather missed the quick and easy cheesy bread balls. Soo… I decided to try to make my own.

I think you will agree that the recipe isn’t complicated. The things required beyond the dry ingredients (eggs, cheese, butter and seasoning) are about the same as what is required from the mix you can buy. But this time, you can vary it enough for your own tastes and not worry running out to get the mix or spending the money for it!

I suppose one reason why this is easy for me is because I *always* have tapioca flour (same as tapioca starch or tapioca starch flour) on hand for my baking. I like the texture that it gives baked goods and it is cheap to buy (especially at the local Asian markets).

On New Year’s Day, I made a batch of these cheesy biscuits for my parents who had never had them before. As the bread baked, I laid out the leftover Jalapeño Popper dip, some ham and turkey slices, some sprouts and spinach, some cucumber slices etc. Basically whatever would make for great sandwich fixings. None of us were too hungry (we had a late lunch) but we could all stand to nosh on something – so this was perfect.

And let me just say this: This cheesy bread + jalapeño popper dip + cucumber slices is like HEAVEN in mini-sandwich form. My husband told me that his favorite was definitely the same but with ham in lieu of the cucumber slices because it reminded him of Jalapeño-Cheddar bread that we so adore. But heck! That bread takes an hour – and this took 15 minutes!

Okay… enough of my prattle. Here’s the recipe. We’re off to make Jambalaya for dinner… and I think I’m going to make some of these to accompany it as well. I just can’t get enough of them.

OH WAIT! I forgot to tell you something else important. You can EASILY adjust the seasonings to make this as a pizza crust (or pizza flavored sandwich bread, etc), or whatever. We used dried chives and dill to make it perfectly delish for us/our purposes. What seasoning will you use?

Gluten Free Pao de Quejo ~ Brazilian Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch)
2 cups shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons dried chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  3. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. (Almost make them in to small disks, if you want them to look like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  4. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with sandwich fixings or your favorite soup.

Enjoy!
~Kate

UPDATED TO ADD:

Last night we made our favorite potato pizza for the first time in a VERY long time.  The toppings are heavy so my usual pizza crusts (this one and this one) don’t really hold up to the weight of the toppings.  So.. last night I made this recipe.  I doubled it (for two pizza crusts) and only used 2 cups of shredded cheese.  (We were putting more cheese on top… so why kill ourselves with even MORE? LOL)  I formed the crusts by rolling it out on parchment paper.  Then I prebaked the crust alone for about 15 minutes on a preheated pizza stone.  We used one crust for potato pizza and the other for regular cheese pizza.  It was a HUGE hit with our two non-gluten free pizza fans.  This was their first gluten free pizza – and they were happily munching away.  :D  Hooray!