Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie

I got this recipe from a lovely lady who has been like a mother to me pretty much since I've started my life here in Georgia.  As much as she is a great person, she is also a great cook.  I love her sweet potato pie, but as my tinkering nerves like to join in the fun every time I make something, I've done it in a slightly different way, so that my funny brother-in-law can enjoy some pie too.  Here is how I made it.
The pie crust looks like this when it's ready.

For the gluten free pie shell:
1 scant cup uncooked rolled oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
2/3 cup walnuts/pecans, minced
1/3 cup butter (5 tbsp & 1 tsp), melted

I made it for our family Christmas gathering and I would like everyone get to eat some dessert, including my brother-in-law D, who is gluten intolerant, to be able to enjoy some sweet too.  So I tried out this pie crust recipe I found online and it turned out pretty well.  I saved the aluminum pie pan for Publix brand pie crust to use it as aide for this.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread the rolled oats in a large shallow pan and bake for 10 minutes to toast.  Toss with sugar, nuts and melted butter.  Press over bottom and up sides of the 9" pie pan. Refrigerate while preparing the filling. Oh, to mince the nuts, I use the Pampered Chef food chopper to do the job.

I had a little leftover crust material, so I put it in a small ramekin.

This pie crust is not as messy to make as a regular gluten free pie crust made out of flour, as I made it last year.  It has a different texture as one would expect, but I can dig it.

For the filling:
1 big sweet potato, well done (about 1 & 1/2 cup or a little less when mashed up)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup & 2 tbsp sugar
Sprinkle of salt
1/4 evaporated milk *
1&1/2 eggs *
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* I made my own version of the evaporated milk with original unsweetened almond milk by Blue Diamond, since brother-in-law also can't have dairy (butter in cooking is ok).  Use 3 to 1 ratio, cook 3/4 cup of almond milk down to 1/4 cup as needed for the recipe.  Remember to constantly stir while cooking the milk down.

* The recipe I got was for 2 pies and it calls for 3 eggs, that's why it seems odd to have 1 & 1/2 eggs there.  I just used 2 eggs myself.

Wrap the sweet potato in paper towel and cook it in microwave until it's tender all throughout, about 7 to 8 minutes, depending the size of the sweet potato.  Scrape the meat off the skin and mash it in a big bowl.  Add butter, sugar and salt, mix well.  Mix the eggs and vanilla extract in a separate bowl well, then add the mixture to the potato bowl.  Slowly add milk the last and mix all into a pudding like consistency.  It should be thinner than mashed potatoes.  Pour it into unbaked pie shell.  Place in 300 F oven and bake approximately 1 hour.  The pie should be lightly brown and set.  Luckily, I had enough filling to fill up the small pie too.  So, voila, there is one big and one small.

Well, the whole pie turned out to be very delicious.  And everyone enjoyed the pie, including my brother-in-law, who misses eating pies!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole

It's been a while since I last posted any tasty meal, so here is one we had tonight - brown rice and broccoli casserole.  It took sometime due to the baking process, but otherwise it's a fairly simple dish to make.

As usual, remembered to take a picture when the dish was half way gone.
1&1/2 cup of cooked quick cooking brown rice *
4 dried Shitake mushrooms, diced
1 cup cooked broccoli, chopped *
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
Canola oil
1 14oz can cream of mushroom soup *
2/3 cup water
2 jumbo Smart Dog veggie links, diced*
1&1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

* I used the Success Boil-in-Bag brown rice.  According to the package, one bag is supposed to yield 2 cups of cooked rice, but my estimate is probably 1&1/2 cup or so.  It just didn't look like there were 2 cups of it.  For the broccoli, I used the steam in a bag frozen kind.  It saves some time and makes the whole process just a bit easier.  For the soup, I used Amy's organic semi-condensed cream of mushroom soup.  Well, as for the veggie links, since I'm a fan of substituting ingredients, you get the idea, swap them out with other vegetarian or non-vegetarian protein as you wish.  You may want to cook the raw meat before baking, otherwise you should prolong the cooking time in the oven.

Soak the dried Shitake mushrooms with boiling water in a small sauce pan with lid.  That way the tops of the mushrooms also get moistened and soften, since mushrooms tend to float on the water for their light weight.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F, cook the rice according to the package direction (I used the same baking dish to make the rice so I have one less dish to wash.), chop up the celery and onion.  Heat some canola oil up in a small skillet, saute the onion and celery until they are softened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Take the mushrooms out of the water.  Gently squeeze the water out of the mushrooms but BE CAREFUL!  The water in the mushroom is very HOT, so squeeze them gently under running tap water to avoid burning yourself.  Chop the stems off the mushrooms and dice up the caps.  Add the mushrooms into the onion and celery mixture, let them cook for a couple minutes, then turn the heat off.

Drain the water off the rice bag and pour it into a 2 quart baking dish.  Add in the broccoli, the onion mixture and the mushroom soup.  Use the empty can to get about 2/3 cup of water and pour into the dish.  Add the chopped veggie links.  If they are frozen, thaw them out for easier chopping.  Mix everything well.

Shred the cheese on top of the dish and spread them around evenly.  You can mix some cheese in with everything else; I didn't want too much cheese flavor myself, although my hubby probably disagrees on this one.

Cover the dish and stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Then take the cover off to bake an additional 5 or 10 minutes.  Dinner is served.  The mushroom soup really renders the savoriness to the dish, the Shitake mushrooms add unique flavor, and the celery adds a little crunchiness to a rather soft dish.  Everyone enjoyed the meal, so I declare it's a success!  Bon app├ętit, everybody.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Potato Zucchini Flat Cakes

Lunch time is closing in on Easter Sunday.  I wanted to use the zucchini on hand, but I'm kind of tired of the usual stir fry or stuffed zucchini.  I could make zucchini fries, but then I had to have something to go with it.  Hmm...wonder what the good old internet has advice for me....As I was typing "zucchini" in the search bar, a picture titled "zucchini cakes" in the search result caught my eye.  Yes!  I shall make that; but of course, my own version.

1 medium Rusett potato
1 large zucchini, shredded
What they look like when uncooked.
3 stalks of green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup of meatless crumbles, heated through
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dry basil
1 egg
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons milk (unsweetened almond milk)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Half of the batch, nice and golden.
Cut the two end of the zucchini off and shred it in a big bowl, mix in a little salt.  While waiting for the juice to come out, wrap the potato in a moist paper towel and cook it in the microwave till well done.  Peel the skin off and mash the potato well.  Mix all the ingredients except for milk, soy sauce, zucchini and cheese.

A couple bunny shaped patties for my kids, well, they were meant to be bunnies.
Drain the juice out off the zucchini, mix in with the mashed potato mixture; then put milk and soy sauce in, the cheese last; mix all the ingredients well.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil in, shape the potato zucchini mixture in patties, plop them in to cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes each side.  Make about 11 patties (around 2&1/2" to 3 " in diameter).  It might be tricky to flip the patties since the potato is very fine and easy to crumble apart.

It tasted savory, yet mild, quite yummy, perfect for lunch.  Four of us cleaned up the whole batch, no leftovers!