Thursday, September 26, 2019

Round and Round We Go...Oat Challa I Love You So!

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So it's that time of year, or new year, I should say. We welcome the Jewish Year  5780 I"H in just a few days. There are certain traditional items used in the Rosh Hashana meals, such as apples dipped in honey and round challas--which symbolize the cycle of the year.  Although there are usually a few round gluten free round challas in my local supermarket freezer, they tend to be expensive even for the small ones. Lillie has expressed she wants one bigger than her usual standard muffin sized gluten free challa she uses every Shabbat, but understands she doesn't need a full sized one for her personal use.  Enter the wonder that are Texas-sized muffin tins. They also go by the name extra large muffin tins. They have come in handy in a number of applications, I decided to use them to make larger, round personal sized challas for the holiday.
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Since I'm busy making a wide variety of foods for the four meals we'll eat over Rosh Hashana, I wanted something that wasn't too time consuming to make. I don't find that yeast in oat challa has an especially profound affect. There are no strands of gluten being built up, and no puffing of the challa due to the yeast in the manner you find in wheat challa.  So, I felt that a more quick bread approach, using baking powder or soda would be fine. I was inspired by an Oat-Pecan muffin in Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook, and used some of her ratios as a starting point.  I traded the pecans for golden raisins, another Rosh Hashana tradition, and made a mixture of both oat and all-purpose gluten free flour with xanthan gum.

The result were light and fluffy individual round challas in nearly no time at all. No waiting for the dough to rise, and a recipe that could be mixed by hand if needed.  They froze well and we look forward to trying them out. Have a sweet and happy new year!

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I made my oat flour by grinding 2 cups of old-fashioned oats in my food processor until finely ground. You may use this method or buy gluten free oat flour. 

Gluten Free Individual Round Oat and Raisin Challas

Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (or 2 cups old fashioned oats)
1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF Baking Flour)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk, e.g., soy, almond or flax (with 1 Tablespoon vinegar mixed in)
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
1/3 cup honey
½ cup golden raisins

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 12 regular muffin cups or 6 Extra-large (Texas) muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat and all-purpose flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, eggs, vegetable oil and honey until well combined. You may use an electric mixer on medium or large spoon for mixing.

Stir in raisins. 

Spoon batter into muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.

Cool on a wire rack. Best served warm.

May be frozen well wrapped.

Yield: 6 large or 12 regular muffin sized rolls

Thursday, September 19, 2019

It's that time of year!

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So if you have even glanced at the Internet recently, you will see people are losing it over everything pumpkin pie spice. I enjoy it too, but in well placed proportions. Drinking, eating and inhaling it all the time until the first snow appears is a bit much for me (and then it's all things peppermint).  But I do love it in a muffin or cookie. 

Lillie has been dashing out the door in the morning as a busy high schooler, now needing to catch a bus.  Her school instituted a short period at the start of the day for breakfast. I thought that was such a good idea. Not only do they recognize that a lot of teens miss out on this important meal due to the early start time of high school, but that it boosts their cognitive ability and overall alertness. As well, it's a nice time to regroup and chill with other students before you sit down to a long day in classes.

Since Lillie can't buy most of the offerings the school sells for breakfast, and time is of the essence in the a.m., she started making oatmeal cups. As she got busier with the school year, I have taken on the task, and of course tweaked the recipe to make it my own.  There are many variations, anything from adding dried cherries and chocolate chips, to nuts and dried apples, and even throwing in an extra protein punch with a scoop of protein powder.

However you start the day, aim for wholesome and convenient. These two things will allow you to get the most out of your morning meal, and most importantly, actually get it!

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To check out a load of great products and ideas to make your gluten/allergen free life run smoother and more deliciously, check out the Nourished Festivel for Gluten Free, Allergy and Special Diets coming to the NYC area next month. This year Paleo and Keto diets have been added to the exciting lineup of presenters and products. Here are the details and get 30% off now with this link and code EARLYBIRD: 

Date: October 5-6, 2019
Location: Meadowlands Exposition Center
Times: Saturday 10am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm
@nourished fest  #nourishedfestival

Harvest Goodness Muffin Cups

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup honey)
2 large eggs
1 cup soy, almond, oat or flax milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Optional mix-ins  : 1/4 to 1/2 cups of chopped nuts, dried, diced apple, dried, diced apricot, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 4 ingredients.  Add the next 4 ingredients and stir until will combined. Stir in cranberries and any additional mix-ins.

Cover bowl and allow mixture to sit for 15 minutes (this will soften oats and absorb the liquids).

Spoon batter to nearly the top of each muffin cup. 

Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until muffins are dry in middle when a toothpick is inserted.

Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

These freeze very well in a zip top bag or plastic container.

Yield: 16 muffins

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Saving Summer


One of my kids remarked that Labor Day is the last day of summer. "Actually, it's September 23rd, I replied". But back to school, russet colored decorations filling the stores, and an undeniable chill in the evening air certainly signal a big shift.  But, canning and freezing the lovely fruit and vegetables of summer that are rapidly being usurped by their fall counterparts is one way to save summer--at least in your kitchen.

I found a darling little vegetable that looked like a mini cucumber in my local Indian grocery. In my mind I reasoned it must taste like a cucumber because it looks like a cucumber and therefore be used in the way I use cukes.  But in actuality, the tindora, as it is called, is used more in cooked, hot dishes in Indian cuisine. Sauteed in spicy red sauces with other vegetables, it is far from the humble cukes I know and love.

Nevertheless, I decided the tindoras would make the most delectable bite sized pickles.  I went ahead and tried them in an easy dill pickle recipe. It requires no actual canning (although you can if you want), just storage in plastic or glass containers in my refrigerator.  The process is easy, requiring not much more than slicing and boiling. The result...a crisp bite or two that is redolent with the memory of summer.

Slender Persian cucumbers or sliced Kirbies work equally well for this recipe.  If you prefer to can and preserve your pickles check out the Ball Canning website  for instructions.

Bombay via Brooklyn Pickles

1 pound Tindora or Persian cucumbers, washed and halved lenghtwise
1 cup dill weed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tablespoon pickling spices
1/2 Tablespoon peppercorns
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt

Place ingredients in a large Dutch oven or stock pot in order listed. Stir.

Bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until salt and sugar are dissolved. 

Remove lid and allow to cool completely. 

Divide among clean quart jars or plastic containers. 

Refrigerate 2 to 3 days before using.  Keeps in refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 pound pickles