Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Easy Peasy Lemon Cheesy Muffins

13 Research Based Health Benefits Of Lemons

If you have some cottage cheesy,
and you want a recipe that's easy.
Try these muffins so lemony. 
Your guest will think they're heavenly!

Cottage Cheese Is the New Greek Yogurt - The AtlanticAs usual, I'm pressed for time before the upcoming holiday of Shavuos, therefore my quippy and to the point blog post. It's traditional to eat dairy food on Shavuos for several reasons, which Chabad.org does a better job of explaining then me (click on link). This easy recipe is perfect for a snack or as a side dish to a big green salad on the holiday.

I used the "Cottage Cheese-Dill Bread" recipe from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen as a jumping off point for this recipe.

Easy Peasy Lemon Cheesy Muffins

non-stick cooking spray
1 cup cottage cheese (preferably whipped)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar (for a sweeter muffin use 1 cup)
Juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (with xanthan gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (you may line with paper cupcake cups if you like). Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients. Add sugar, lemon and lemon zest; stir until well combined.

Add dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Spoon into muffin cups filling 3/4 full.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until no longer wet in the middle.

Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 1 dozen. May be frozen.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Pickle Chicken


Is it a trick or a treat? When you find a surprise flavor or hidden ingredient in a dish are you pleased or peeved?  Given all the hype about chicken sandwiches lately, I've been wanting to try a copycat of some of the more popular fast food items, but found the obstacles great and the need for many subs due to my family's food allergies (i.e. soy "buttermilk", GF flour), although I'm generally not daunted by such things. But along the way of my chicken recipe search, I came across a trend of brining the chicken in pickle juice! "Eww" or "Ohh"...you decide.
Image result for pickle jar
After the pickles were all eaten in a medium sized jar (which took about 1 day in my house), I stuck the leftover brine in the fridge until I was ready to cook my chicken later in the week. A great sale on chicken legs dictated the cut of chicken I would use. I decided to keep it simple and just used pickle juice and a about a tablespoon of agave nectar, to take the edge of the acidity of the brine, to marinate the chicken. I marinated it overnight, then crumb coated with GF panko and rice crumbs for a majorly crunchy coating. I prefer to oven fry my chicken (and many other things), it's simpler, less messy and healthier. It yielded  a perfectly browned and crispy coating!

But, the proof is in the eating. After the initial crunch of the coating, I was gifted with one of the most tender pieces of baked chicken I ever sank my teeth into. The brining really did the trick to soften the meat.  The taste was  a surprise. To me it tasted like a chicken or turkey sandwich with pickles on it, which I love!  To others who tasted it, they couldn't quite place the taste at first and then they reconciled that it looked like one thing and tasted like another.

We decided that these would work great with pickle strips and a creamy dip like ranch or creamy jalapeno. The dish isn't hot spicy, but rather has a bright "zingy" flavor. The type of pickle juice you use will affect the dish too. I don't recommend using a too sweet variety like bread and butter, but dill or half sour would work well.  Overall, this chicken dish is a great addition to the plethora of pickle flavored foods from potato chips to ice cream.

As mentioned above, you can use any cut of chicken and any type of gluten free bread crumbs. To pump up your pickly flavor, you might want to try pickle flavored potato chips crumbled up in place of some of the bread crumbs. 
Pickle Chicken

1 chicken cut into 1/8ths (or equivalent amount of other cuts of chicken)
Juice from a 32 ounce jar of pickles (can be less, as it just needs to cover chicken)
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey
2 cups gluten free panko or favorite bread crumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Sea salt, to taste
non-stick cooking spray

Place chicken in a non-reactive bowl or baking dish (like pyrex) or a large ziploc. 

Mix together the pickle juice and agave or honey and pour over chicken to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or lid, and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight, turning midway through marinating time.

Place panko and spices in a paper or plastic bag, big enough to hold a piece of chicken. Shake to combine.  Spray a non-stick baking pan with cooking spray. 

Drain pickle juice from chicken and discard. Put chicken pieces in bag of crumbs one at a time, and shake well to coat. Place chicken on baking pan. Generously spray top of chicken with cooking spray.

Bake at 375F (for whole pieces) for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (or until a meat thermometer reaches the correct temperature for doneness). 350F for half an hour for chicken cutlets, until they are no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Holy Zeppole!


When I was a child we lived near a very Italian neighborhood. I recall their annual fairs where we could enjoy a ferris wheel ride, carnival games and the smell of frying zeppole dusted in powdered sugar that seemed to be everywhere.

For Chanukah, when Jews traditionally eat fried food, my neighbor's daughter will usually show up at our door with a plate of fresh sfenj, the Moroccan equivalent of a zeppole. They are always fresh and tempting, but neither Lillie nor Rosie could partake b/c of the wheat and eggs (or so I thought). Then this past year, I came across a sfenj recipe with no eggs! I thought I discovered something new. After some research and discussion with me neighbor, I found that traditionally sfenj doesn't have eggs. So I reverse engineered the recipe to make a gluten and dairy free version and lo and behold they were lovely.  I felt the addition of seltzer water, citrus flavor gave the lift much needed in an egg free dough, but also the citrusy hint so common in Italian desserts.

What I discovered, in a very Proustian moment, was that my kitchen smelled like those long ago Italian fairs, and the sfenj was reminiscnet of zeppole in taste and appearance. Further digging found that would be the case.  The recipes were near identical, and the end product certainly so.

With Mardi Gras coming up this week, and fried goodies abounding, I'd like to share this recipe. For whatever religious holiday you observe, or non at all, these zeppole/sfenj/fried dough beauties are delightful for dessert or brunch. Check out the "How To" video on You Tube below.

You can substitute granulated sugar mixed with cinnamon for the powdered sugar, or drizzle with melted chocolate. A favorite restaurant dessert in the past few years is zeppole with several dipping sauces like raspberry, chocolate and caramel.

Gluten Free Vegan Zeppole (Sfenj)

¼ cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) powdered yeast
2 tablespoons granulated Sugar (up to a ¼ cup may be added for a sweeter dough)
3 cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend with xanthan Gum (such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-       to-1 GF Flour or King Arthur Brand)
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups seltzer (plain or lemon or orange flavored)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Canola or favorite vegetable oil for frying (about a half-gallon)
Powdered Sugar (optional)

In a large mixing bowl whisk together with a fork warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until bubbles appear.

Add flour, salt, seltzer, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat on medium heat or mix with a large wooden spoon, or your hands, until very well combined.

Cover and set aside for 3 hours. They dough should about double in size.

Heat oil in a large pot or wok to 375 F degrees. Put a piece of carrot (optional) in heated oil to keep from over browning.   Scoop up batter with a soup spoon or 1/8 cup measure. Using another spoon, shape into a mound and transfer to oil. Fry about 4 sfenj at a time. Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side, until deep, golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet to cool for a few minutes.  Toss in powdered sugar or drizzle with honey and serve.

Yield: About 12