Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gifts...on a shoestring.


Can't wait to use that Amazon gift card you received this holiday? Why not try Nicole Hunn's new book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy,  a follow up to Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap.

The sparkly donut on the cover is festive in it's own right.  The book incorporates Hunn's frugal approach to gluten-free food prep with a short on time flair.  Although she uses shortcuts like cake mix for desserts, such as, Twinkie cupcakes (yes the Twinkie rears it's head in this blog once again).  She also provides a whole chapter with homemade mixes-- a cost conscious approach, and appreciated.

She gives tips for using ones limited time in the kitchen wisely, such as freezing portions of rice to have on hand for a spontaneous fried rice.   Her section on yeast-free breads including English Muffins, Pita Bread and Hamburger buns certainly makes the lengthy process of bread baking quick and easy.

One aspect of the book I didn't like was the lack of pictures. There is a cluster of pictures in the middle of the book, and they are all baked goods. Although the whimsical picture of Goldfish-style crackers is adorable, the one of Texas Toast is uninspiring. I would have like to see a variety of dishes, and more of them throughout the book.

There is a lot of variety in Hunn's book from Meatless Monday ideas like Italian Polenta to Workday Dinners including a Quick Shepherd's Pie. All around the globe, Hunn keeps costs in mind showing you how much you saved at the end of each recipe. I think Nicole Hunn's new book is a feather in her Gluten-Free on a Shoestring cap, and worth checking out.

In addition to cupcake pans, you can make this recipe actually look like a real Twinkie (or close). To make the "boats"see Todd Wilbur's instructional video on making them out of foil (not difficult once you get the hang of it; I was able to wash them on the top shelf of my dishwasher), or get a "canoe baking pan" as above for a consistent professional look.

Twinkie-Style Cupcakes
from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy by Nicole Hunn, p.p. 154-5

1 (16-ounce) box gluten-free yellow cake mix, or 1 recipe Make-Your-Own Vanilla Cake Mix
2 Tablespoons  vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup water, at room temperature
5 ounces egg whites (from about 4 extra-large eggs), at room temperature

8 ounces marshmallow creme (1 small jar Fluff)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar 
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.

2. Place the cake mix in a large bowl and whisk a bit to break up any lumps. Add the shortening, butter, and water, and mix well. The batter will be thick.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.

4. Scrape half the egg whites into the bowl of batter and fold in gently. Add the remaining egg whites and fold gently until on a few white streaks remain.

5. Fill the wells of the prepared muffin tin about three-quarters of the way full. Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 22 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the middle muffin comes out nearly clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan.

6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the marshmallow creme and shortening. Beat on medium speed to mix well. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and beat on high speed until fluffy. Transfer the filling mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small "Bismarck tube" pastry tip.

7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, invert them onto a piece of parchment paper. With a wooden skewer or large toothpick, make four holes in the underside of each cupcake, and wiggle the top around a bit to create space for filling. Insert the pastry tip into each of the holes, and pipe in some filling (as much or as little as you like). Repeat with remaining cupcakes. 

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

Egg Fried Rice
from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy by Nicole Hunn, p.p. 103

4 Tablespoons canola oil
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
2 scallions, white and green parts chipped finely
4 cups cold, previously cooked rice, with the grains separated as much as possible (not clumpy and sticky)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the add the eggs. Stir to scramble the eggs, and cook only until slightly runny. Remove the eggs from the pan and set them aside. Wipe out the pan.

2. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of canola oil to the hot pan. Add the scallions and the rice, and stir, spreading the rice in a shallow layer int he pan. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes without stirring. Using a wooden spoon, break the rice apart, then stir int he sesame oil, tamari, and rice vinegar.

3. Return the cooked egg to the pan, and mix well. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

1 comment:

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