Friday, February 28, 2014

Mahi Tacos

One of my favorite dishes to get at a local restaurant is the Mahi Mahi sandwich.  Actually, it's a dish that I get at TWO local restaurants.  Julep is a great local Southern restaurant.  When I was in residency, we took all of our applicants to Jule for pre-interview day dinner.  I was in charge of recruitment one year so I went to Julep QUITE frequently.  I decided that I needed to try different dishes; but every time my "different dish" would come out, I wished that I had my mahi mahi sandwich! 
So, wouldn't that lead you to believe that I'd like mahi mahi at home?!  It would!  However, when I made it several months back I just didn't like it.  Insert sad face!  Last month, I decided to try again but in a different form.  Instead of cooking the fish to just eat, I grilled the fish and used it on tacos.  Problem solved!  This dish was SO good and fresh!  We used corn tortillas so David could enjoy it.  Makes me want to have this again soon. 

Mahi Mahi Tacos
mahi mahi filets, seasoned well
avacado........whatever toppings you want, really!

Preheat your indoor grill pan.  Season the fish very well.  Spray the pan and place filets on the pan.  Cook until fish flakes.  Gently heat corn tortilla (or whatever tortilla you want).  Place cooked fish on the tortilla and top with your desired toppings.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beautiful Bread

This past weekend, we went to my parents' house to pick up K...and to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday!  Mama threw a surprise party and invited all his siblings and his cousin who shares the same birthday.  It was such fun.  But I knew that I'd need to do some cooking in order for David to have some similar things to eat.  Mama was planning on having cinnamon rolls Sunday morning, so I decided to take this month's Daring Baker's Challenge in a gluten free version for David.  Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

I knew that this might really be a challenge to do with a gluten free dough since the gluten in what gives dough it's stretch.  Unfortunately, I was right!  As soon as I went to flip the dough through the center slit, it broke...every time.  I did get one triangle to look like it should.  Ha!

As far as taste, once it was heated again, it tasted pretty good.  Several of my family members tasted it and said it was pretty good.  David enjoyed it and has taken it some to work this week.  The biggest change I made to the recipe was (obviously) to change the flour to gluten free (I used an all purpose gluten free mix) and to add a little extra liquid as the gluten free flours tend to require more.

Cinnamon Sweet Bread
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water + about 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup (180 ml) warm milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1-3/4 oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3-1/4 cups gluten free (all-purpose) flour, approximately
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) dry yeast


1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) (1/4 cup) (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) cinnamon
1/2 cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3-1/2 oz) sugar

For drizzling: 

glaze made with powdered sugar and water

In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. Set aside
In another bowl sift the flour with the salt.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.

  Place the dough in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double.  (If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 390°F/200°C then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl)
After it has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 4 parts.  Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter.  I used a wooden rolling pin.  Brush the first layer with butter then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Place the second layer on the first layer repeat the brushing and sprinkling and then do the same with the third layer. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.

 Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles.  Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle. The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip as you can see in the picture  Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside.  Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet.  Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together.

  Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9 (rack in the middle).  Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 460°F/240°C/gas mark 9, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 390°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 15-20 more minutes. When golden, remove and allow to cool.  Meanwhile, make your glaze.  After it has cooled (or better just before serving) drizzle the glaze on top.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I try to bake something each week with K.  With David doing gluten-free, it means that sometimes we bake more than that.  I have actually found LOTS of good options for gluten free baking. 
Really, the biggest downside I've found for the basic baking (not sandwich bread) is the cost.  Gluten free flours are expensive and you have to have multiple types to get a better texture.  Oh, well!  Whatever I need to do for my man! :-)  These were some basic chocolate chip cookies but they turned out pretty good.  They were a little chewy and more like the soft-baked style cookie.  David really liked them and K had fun making them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies...Gluten Free from Nerd Family
Dry Ingredients
1 1/4 cups White Rice Flour
1/2 cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) Softened Butter
1/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 bag (about 2 cups) Chocolate Chips
Cream butter then add both sugars and cream together in a consistent mixture. Then add the eggs 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together with a fork. I don’t feel sifting is needed (because all the dry ingredients are already very light) but mixing them together is a must! Then slowly blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by adding the dry ingredients in small batches. Due to the powder like dry ingredients, there will be a little blowing of flours no matter how careful you are. So be prepared to wipe it up when you are done;). Then blend in the chocolate chips.
You can bake these immediately at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes but they tend to spread. To give these gluten free cookies a great shape and texture I recommend scooping them out and freezing them before baking them. Then you bake them frozen at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes.
I make these 3 batches at a time and scoop them all out onto a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer. Remember you don’t need to leave much space because you are freezing them and there isn’t any spread in that;). I then put them  into single baking servings  portions in quart freezer bags. I find 14 cookies are a good batch for us. Then I store them in the freezer and bake as needed.
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1 1/4 cups White Rice Flour
1/2 cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) Softened Butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pack brown sugar (packed)
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups chocolate chips 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cream butter then add both sugars and cream together in a consistent mixture. Then add the eggs 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together with a fork. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by adding the dry ingredients in small batches. Then blend in the chocolate chips.  Place on baking stone in Tablespoon sized balls.  Place stone in oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Holiday Snack

Snack mixes are fun to make, especially when you are going to have people around.  My family always has "trash" at Thanksgiving.  We frequently make "Christmas Crunch" at Christmas.  Last year I made a sweet and salt Frito mix.  This year I found a new one that I thought K would like due to the marshmallows.
 It would be SO easy to change the candy you use and make it "any holiday" friendly (AND it's gluten free if you omit the pretzels!). You could add candy corn, especially since they now make it in Easter colors...maybe even Valentine, I'm not sure!  Just have fun with it and enjoy with loved ones!

Fall (Holiday) Snack Mix from Stick a Fork In It
6 cups Chex or Crispix cereal
1 cup pretzels (Omit or substitute if making gluten free!)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Reese’s pieces or M+M’s
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup candy corn (holiday appropriate colored!)

Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large bowl, then toss together with the cereal and pretzels (if using) until evenly coated. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then toss with the cereal mixture to evenly coat. Spread the cereal mixture onto the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then, stir together with the Reese’s (or M&M's), candy corn and marshmallows. Enjoy!