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Adventures in Curry-Making, or How to Make a Disaster of Your Kitchen

beef curry

So there I was, this past Monday night, with lofty goals of making a beef curry. I’d prepared the curry paste the day before to save time, and I grabbed my pressure cooker. The recipe I was using as a guideline (it’s rare that I actually follow a recipe – I tend to make a lot of changes along the way) suggested I would be braising my beef shanks for 2 1/2 hours. Since this was a weeknight, I figured a 45 minute stay in the pressure cooker would do the trick nicely.

And so it began. I browned the beef, and placed it in the pressure cooker along with a generous helping of coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, lemongrass, and cilantro. Things were smelling good, and I was salivating at the idea of such a flavorful curry that would be gracing our plates in about an hour. I get really excited about curries of all kinds. There is just something so wonderful about an intense mix of spices and flavors that, when simmered for a bit, they really get to know one another and emerge as more than the sum of their parts. It’s comforting and soul-satisfying, and it’s why I have several recipes hanging around this blog, such as this Kerala-style Curry or this Shrimp Cauliflower Curry. A good curry sends me to my happy place.

Well, my (older generation, super-simple) pressure cooker began to heat and spit some steam, so I lowered the temperature a bit. I then set to chopping cauliflower for a side dish in my “prep area” towards the right of the stove. About 10 minutes had passed, and that’s when it happened.

Suddenly, the pressure cooker exploded with a loud “BOOM”, and shot off to my left, across the floor. I squealed. And then just stared, motionless, at the disaster in front of me. My husband (who was in our living room), moments later, asks me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I mutter, dumbfounded. So he asks again, worry in his voice. “Baby, are you okay?”

“Yes. I’m fine.” I say, rather flatly, given the situation. I was in a bit of shock. “It exploded.”

The mess was horrendous. There was coconut milk on every surface to the left of where I’d been standing – on the cabinets, on the counter, on the stove (on the burner, smoking a bit and turning black, thanks to the sugar), on the floor, on the walls, and even on the cabinets and the books on top of the cabinets on the opposite side of the kitchen from the stove. The smell of fish sauce permeated the air. By some miracle, I had none on me at all. Later on, I would realize that I was rather lucky. That pressure cooker could have flown in my direction and bruised or burned me, or worse.

I quickly picked up the pressure cooker and set it back on the stove, with the beef and about half of the sauce still inside. My husband joined me, and we started cleaning. It was about then that I started to realize just how absurd the whole fiasco was. I laughed at it. Laughed at the coconut milk under the cabinets, laughed at how disgusting the floor was, giggled at the cilantro stuck to the wall inside my combination laundry room/pantry at the end of our kitchen (a good 12 feet away, at least), and joked about how we’d be finding this mess for months. Any other night, an event of this magnitude might have brought me to tears, but in that moment, it was pretty darn funny, and laughing was all I could do. It took us about an hour to get the kitchen back to some semblance of order. I mopped twice, and came back home the following day to mop again so I could get rid of the film left by the coconut milk.

Needless to say, we didn’t have curry that night.

However, I did manage to salvage that beef and remaining sauce. I stuck it in my smaller, 4-quart slow cooker and stuck it in the fridge. In spite of all that happened, I still wanted curry. Also, I detest throwing away food. So the following night, I asked my husband to take the slow cooker out of the fridge and turn it on high for a few hours when he got home. (He’s typically home an hour or two before I arrive.) I was going to resume this curry-making, for better or worse.

Thankfully, it was worth the trouble. Well, maybe not worth the trouble of the whole pressure-cooker-explosion thing, but it was worth salvaging the meat for another night. The slow cooker finished the braising job beautifully, and with a relatively quick finish in my skillet, we had a deliciously spicy, silky beef curry. There are a few things I’d do differently, if I was to make this again (and I’ll share those notes in the recipe below), but we were both more than satisfied, with happy, full bellies and that sense of calmness and peace that accompanies a good curry. It was a tad salty (even though I reduced the fish sauce), and of course, due to the explosion factor, the amount of liquids actually used in the cooking process are approximated. So this is definitely not a perfected recipe at this point, but I felt I had to share with you, if for the story alone! But all in all, it was worthy of seconds by my husband, so I declare it a winner.

Now, the next question is: Does anyone have a good (safe) pressure cooker recommendation? One requirement – it must not explode.

Print Recipe

Spicy Beef Curry, adapted from Bon Appetit - this is what I did, but I am giving you notes to adjust for better flavor next time.

Spice Mix:

3 whole cloves

1 1/2 t coriander seeds

1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1 t cumin seeds

seeds from 2 green cardamom pods

1 t kosher salt (I would probably use 1/2 t next time)

1/4 t ground cayenne (I would reduce this to 1/8 teaspoon or omit, as the resulting curry was plenty spicy!)

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Add cold water to cover, then drain. Place spices in large wok or skillet. Dry-roast over medium heat until dry and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to spice grinder. Add salt and cayenne; grind to fine powder.

Curry Paste:

10 small chiles de arbol, stemmed

about 25 cilantro stems

1 c chopped yellow onion

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 piece of ginger (about 1 1/2 inches long), thinly sliced

1 1/2 T grated lemongrass

Place chiles in small saucepan; add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Combine cilantro stems, onion, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in large skillet. Add 3/4 cup water. Cover skillet and cook until ginger is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Scrape vegetable mixture into a small food processor. Add drained red chiles. Blend, adding enough reserved chile soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls to form smooth paste. Stir in spice mix. If you are making this the day before, transfer to bowl, cover, and chill.

For the beef:

3 T coconut oil, divided

2 1/2 lbs cross-cut beef shanks (each about 1 1/2-2 inches thick)

2 cans coconut milk (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

2 cups beef or chicken stock (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

About 25 cilantro stems

3/4 c fish sauce (I would use 1/2 cup and increase the stock next time – or if using a slow cooker, I’d use 1/4 cup)

1/3 c coconut palm sugar (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

1 1/2 T grated lemongrass (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

1/4 c fresh orange juice

1/4 c chopped roasted cashews

1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large skillet (if transferring to slow cooker) or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Brown the beef, searing until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer beef to plate. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, fish sauce, coconut palm sugar, and lemongrass into the slow cooker or Dutch oven. If using a slow cooker, add the beef and turn on high for about 3-3 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender and pulling away from the bone. If using a Dutch oven, bring the liquids to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add the beef. Cover and allow to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender and pulling away from the bone.

Transfer beef to a plate to cool. Strain braising liquid using a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl and set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in the Dutch oven or a large skillet over medium heat. Add the curry paste. Stir until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved braising liquid and bring to a boil. Add the orange juice and beef. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is silky and clinging to the beef. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve beef curry with steamed long-grain rice, such as Basmati, garnished with chopped cashews and cilantro.

Serves 6.

    Sriracha-Curry Hot Wings

    Sriracha curry hot wings

    Looking for a fun appetizer for the “Big Game” this coming weekend?

    Honestly, I’m not even sure how of the Superbowl much my hubby and I will be watching. It’ll be on, certainly, as we don’t mind watching the Broncos, but we will always be Dallas Cowboys fans first and foremost; even though they’ve pretty much stunk up the place for many years now. Also, we are old and require an early bedtime. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have good munchies.

    Even if you’re not a football fan, these wings will certainly be something to celebrate. They’re easy (no frying required), and they pack a punch of spicy flavor, thanks to Madras curry powder and Sriracha. While I may not have announced it often here, I have to confess: I am a huge fan of all things Sriracha. It’s a delicious, spicy-but-not-too-spicy condiment. When you have something that needs just a little oomph, Sriracha can be just that “thing.” I enjoy it especially on fried rice and eggs, but honestly, it’s excellent on just about anything. These wings are another such place where it compliments the curry flavor perfectly without overwhelming it. They’re complex in flavor, but easy to make and eat. Best of all, they’re finger food, and what better for a party than finger food?

    What do you like to serve at a Superbowl party?

    Print Recipe

    Sriracha-Curry Hot Wings (gluten-free, dairy-free)

    3 lbs chicken wings, drummettes and flats separated (save wing tips for chicken stock)

    2 t Madras curry powder

    2 t ground coriander

    1/4 t cayenne powder

    1 1/2 t kosher salt

    1/3 c canned full-fat coconut milk

    1 T Sriracha

    1/2 t honey

    1 t gluten-free soy sauce

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.

    In a large bowl, add the wings. In a small bowl, mix together the curry powder, coriander, cayenne, and salt. Add to the wings and toss well, ensuring each wing is well-seasoned.

    Place wings in a single layer on top of the rack, ensuring none touch. Bake on center rack in oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, Sriracha, honey, and soy sauce. When wings are done baking, toss them in the sauce to coat.

    Serves 4-6.

     

     

     

    Dairy-Free Coffee Panna Cotta

    I’m definitely a fan of coffee in desserts. Okay, let’s face it: I’m really just a fan of coffee. I love using it in unexpected places – in rub mixes for meat, for example. I’ve used it before in brownies. I love it in ice cream, and lately, I’m really digging starting my morning commute with a jar of cold brew coffee. I figured I’d go ahead and continue with my coffee routine, and make this unbelievably easy dessert with a coffee flair - panna cotta.

    Panna cotta is one of those desserts that are excellent for dinner parties. They’re make-ahead, and really only take a few minutes to prepare. Then, they keep in the fridge until ready to serve, and you can whip them out, add any finishing touches you desire, and you’re ready to go. I don’t know about you, but that’s the way I like to do things. I’m not very good at playing hostess and putting together something complicated in the kitchen at the same time. I have to concentrate in the kitchen. So when I have guests, I try my hardest to plan my meals so that I can do as much preparation as possible before they arrive, making things easy for me while I’m hosting.

    Anyway, back to this panna cotta. It’s creamy. It’s not overly sweet. In fact, it’s a perfect treat after a late summer dinner – creamy and cool. The coffee flavor is definitely there, but it’s not overly strong. In contrast to many of my favorite foods, this isn’t one of those in-your-face flavor punches. It’s gentle, a little rich, somewhat subtle, but especially satisfying.

    You can certainly serve this with garnishment – some shaved chocolate or a chocolate or vanilla sauce. I preferred to keep things simple for the time being, and served mine unadorned.

    Print Recipe 

    Coffee Panna Cotta (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free)

    2 T + 1/2 c strong brewed coffee, cooled

    1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin

    1/4 c coconut palm sugar

    1 1/2 c full-fat canned coconut milk

    Pinch of salt

    4 panna cotta molds, bowls, or dessert dishes

    Pour the 2 tablespoons of coffee into a bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Let stand until softened.

    Pour the remaining coffee into a small saucepan along with the coconut palm sugar, coconut milk, and salt. Stir until dissolved, and place over a medium heat. Allow to warm until just before it comes to a boil (when there are bubbles just starting around the edges). Remove pan from heat.

    Scrape all of the softened gelatin into the pan and whisk until it has fully dissolved.

    Divide the mixture equally among the 4 molds or dessert dishes. (You may wish to first pour the mixture into a pitcher or measuring cup for ease of pouring.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until set. Allow to sit out at room temperature around 30 minutes before serving.

    Serves 4.

    The BEST Coffee Ice Cream Ever…And It’s Dairy-Free!

    A good coffee ice cream is pure heaven. It simply must have strong (but not bitter) coffee flavor, balanced perfectly with just the right level of sweetness, and have enough cream and richness to really feel silky and to satisfy. And now, since I am dairy-free, it has to be friendly to my belly.

    Naw, I don’t have high standards. I just know what I want.

    And now that it’s getting to be the time of year where a cool version of my most-necessary-beverage-of-all-time is highly appreciated. And dessert is always welcomed. In other words, I need ice cream, stat.

    Good thing this coffee recipe delivers. I know, that’s quite the confident title too. Best coffee ice cream ever?

    Well, I’ll let you be the judge. But I’ll let you know that it’s full on coffee flavor, sweet but not too sweet, and the coconut milk used makes it creamy and silky and delicious. It’s also pretty easy to make. I opted not to use egg yolks, so there’s no need to make a custard before chilling, and it’s vegan. The only downside I can see is that it’s gone too soon. In fact, I think it’s time I make more!

    Print Recipe

    Vegan Coffee Ice Cream

    2 cans full-fat coconut milk

    1 c agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup, sugar, or honey, if desired)

    1 c whole coffee beans (use decaf, unless you want a caffeine buzz with your ice cream!)

    A pinch of salt

    3/4 c water

    1/4 t guar gum

    1 t vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agave nectar, coffee beans, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and guar gum and add to the saucepan. Heat the mixture until it’s just about to boil, whisking, and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 2 hours.

    Strain the coffee beans from the mixture using a fine-meshed sieve with a large bowl underneath to catch the cream. Whisk the vanilla extract into the cream. Chill the cream mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until cold.

    Process ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for several hours or until firm, or serve immediately for soft serve.

    Makes 6-8 servings.

    5 Ingredient Mondays: Creamy Meyer Lemon Dill Sauce over at The Daily Dietribe

    Have you checked out 5-Ingredient Mondays over at The Daily Dietribe yet? Every Monday, Iris at The Daily Dietribe hosts a blog carnival, encouraging everyone to share a simple recipe with five ingredients or less. I love it – simple recipes are usually the ones that we come back to time and time again, especially when we are short on time or just too tired to put together complicated things. I often rely on simple recipes like this during busy weeknights, so I’m all about finding new things that I can wrap my mind around!

    Today I’m sharing a super-simple meyer lemon dill sauce over at The Daily Dietribe for this week’s 5-Ingredient Mondays. Head on over there to check it out, and while you’re there, link up your favorite 5-Ingredient recipe!

    Dairy-Free Sweet Corn Ice Cream

    For a few summers now, I have seen recipes float around for corn in ice cream. Come to find out, this isn’t exactly a new concoction – it’s been around for quite a while. But it was new to me. While I’m not accustomed to corn in sweet dishes, I do like my cornbread a tad sweet, and I love creamed corn, so the thought of corn in ice cream wasn’t too much of a stretch. So when fat, fresh corn cobs showed up everywhere in the farmer’s market, I couldn’t let the season pass me by once more. I knew it was time to try this for myself.

    Dairy-free, of course.

    I grabbed two large fresh, luscious organic corn cobs from some of my favorite farmers and tucked them into my bag. By about 4 PM that day, my ice cream was already in the freezer, chilling and getting ready for an after-dinner treat.

    And a treat it was. A bite of the cool cream was full of corn-y goodness, permeated with a touch of citrus from the orange liqueur and lime. The balance of flavors was nice, if I do say so myself.

    Mind you, I don’t really eat corn often. I find I feel better with less grains, and corn is included in that group. However, once in a while, I indulge. And what better way to indulge than to grab the freshest, local organic cobs you can find – and then throwing them in ice cream?

    No, I can’t think of anything better at the moment either.

     

    Sweet Corn Ice Cream (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free), adapted from Rick Bayless

    2-3 ears fresh sweet corn

    1 1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

    2 egg yolks

    3/4 c sugar or sweetener of choice

    1 can coconut milk (full-fat)

    1/2 t ground cinnamon

    2 T orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

    1 T freshly squeezed lime juice

    Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and measure out 2 cups. Place kernels and almond milk in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

    Set up a double boiler (or do as I do – place a stainless steel bowl over a small saucepan with an inch or so of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer). Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, and add this and the corn mixture from the blender to the double boiler bowl. Whisk almost continuously over the simmering water until the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes. (It should coat the back of a spoon.) If your mixture has any curdles/chunks, strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer. (I didn’t do this)

    Fill a larger bowl halfway with ice. Place the smaller bowl into the center of the ice and whisk regularly until cool.

    Whisk in the can of coconut milk, the cinnamon, the Cointreau, and the lime juice. Process with an ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker directions. Scrape into a container and place in the freezer for several hours to firm up.

    Print Recipe

    Summer is almost over! What summer foods or recipes are you hoping to try before the season is gone? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

     

    2012, Balance, and Shrimp Cauliflower Curry

    Gosh. It’s been a week and a half since I’ve graced you with any tasty eats. I hope the scalloped potatoes were enough to keep you sustained through the holidays. I didn’t anticipate taking so much time away from here, but with the rush-rush-rush of the holidays and a busy work schedule, I was glad I did.

    How was your holiday season, by the way? Merry, I hope, and full of warmth and family and friends, worthwhile indulgences and comforts. We spent the holidays here in town (as we usually do – we are lucky to have most of our family members here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex), feasting for what seemed like days. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with so many loved ones. We rang in the New Year with family as well, enjoying a retro-yet-fun fondue party in our home. The perfect ending to the holiday was a trip to the Winspear Opera House to see Les Miserables on New Year’s Day. (If you are ever in Dallas, I highly recommend checking out the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I’m ecstatic that Dallas finally has such a gorgeous area for the Arts.) While this isn’t my first time seeing Les Miserables (heck, I practically have the thing memorized), I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, soaking up all that I could from this spectacular performance. It was gorgeous.

    And now, I’m transitioning back to “normal” life. While I didn’t post a list of “resolutions” this time around, I did take a look at my 2010 goals. Actually, I was rather surprised - I have achieved nearly all of those. I haven’t posted my very own bread recipe yet, so I imagine I’ll still focus on that goal, but I have worked towards improving the design here at Tasty Eats At Home (more still to come!), and I posted a menudo recipe in 2010, and I attempted puff pastry/phyllo. As for the work/life/blog balance thing, I’m repackaging that into my 2012 focus.

    Instead of a list of “resolutions”, I’ve opted for a singular word. A theme, if you will. Balance. I struggle with balance on a regular basis. I think many of us do, always trying to do too much, too fast, too often, and many times ignoring other areas that need our attention as well. Personally, I forget to give myself permission to be still. Most days, I’m up before 5AM, and I am busy-busy-busy, getting my workout in, packing breakfast and lunch to take to work, getting ready for the day, and I’m out the door at 6:30AM or so. I commute about an hour to/from work, and then I’m home, and busy-busy-busy making dinner, washing dishes, doing other chores, and gosh, before I know it, it’s bedtime, and the whole process repeats itself, and I feel I can’t find the time to contribute to the blog, to keeping the house clean, to doing special things with the kids, much less “relaxation” time! I have to remind myself that it’s okay to let things be from time to time, to remain still, to balance the crazy-busy with the calm-happy parts of my life. So, for 2012, balance is the theme.

    It only makes sense that on a grander scale, The Balanced Platter launched yesterday!

    This is an exceptional place you can visit for balanced, gluten-free eating. You might notice me around there, as I’ll be contributing posts from time to time. I’m extremely excited about this site and its future!

    Balance also carries into my diet. While I’m not joining the millions of others in a New Year’s diet, I do want to achieve balance in my eating. I feel best when I am eating in a balanced manner. For me, that means many fresh vegetables, a healthy dose of protein, very little grains, and healthy starches such as sweet potatoes and pumpkin. And fats. I feel satisfied when I have lots of good fats. For me, coconut oil and coconut milk suit me well, and I love to incorporate them in a lot of recipes. In this curry, (which is somewhat a variation on gobi masala) I use both. The result is not nearly as creamy or indulgent as some other curries I’ve shared, but the coconut milk provides a lovely body to the sauce as it clings to the shrimp and cauliflower. It also gives the dish a dose of comfort without being overly heavy; the perfect balance of healthy and satisfying. You might find this dish in need of a bit of extra heat – when I make it again, I’ll likely add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (we like a bit of kick). However, even without the heat, this curry was delightful.

    Shrimp Cauliflower Curry (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

    3 T unrefined coconut oil, divided

    2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used large shrimp)

    1/2 t kosher salt

    1 T black mustard seeds

    1 medium onion, chopped

    2 T red bell pepper

    6 cloves garlic, minced

    1 t grated fresh ginger

    1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

    2 t ground turmeric

    1/2 t ground cumin

    1/4 t ground cinnamon

    1/2 t garam masala

    pinch asafoetida (hing) (make sure it’s gluten-free; many contain wheat)

    1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

    3/4 c coconut milk

    1/2 c water

    salt to taste

    chopped cilantro

    Heat skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Season shrimp with salt and lightly cook (in batches if needed), 1-2 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink but not cooked all the way through. Remove and set aside.

    Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the mustard seeds and saute for about 30 seconds. Add onion and red pepper; saute 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlid, ginger, and serrano chile. Saute another minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, and asafoetida and stir once. Add the cauliflower and stir into the seasonings to coat. Add the coconut milk and water and stir to coat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally. Add back the shrimp and season with additional salt to taste. Cook for another 2 minutes or until shrimp has cooked through.

    Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with steamed basmati rice if desired.

    Scalloped Potatoes (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

    The other day, I was ironing out holiday plans with my sister and parents. It was determined that the only time we could all get together for Christmas was in the morning, so we decided on a brunch. At the time, the only thing I knew I’d be serving would be a nice ham, and some sort of baked egg dish (I’ve since determined we’ll enjoy a variation on this frittata). When I called my mom to discuss plans and mentioned ham, she suggested scalloped potatoes.

    It sounded delicious – ham with scalloped potatoes. But I felt a twinge of heartache as I envisioned the creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes I was accustomed to; after all, I wouldn’t be able to indulge. (Yes, that might be a touch self-centered, but I’m being honest here.) And those dairy-free cheeses (such as Daiya), while I enjoy them, don’t fool the rest of the cheese-eating members of my family. I started to go down the path to decide whether to make it and just not eat (after all, there would be plenty of other safe things for me to eat), or to make something else. Then, I thought, what if I could find another way to make dairy-free scalloped potatoes?

    And just like that, I was researching.

    I browsed what seemed to be a hearty handful of recipes, no two of which were alike. (Except for, you know, the potato part.) I considered the flavor combinations that were used, and started to formulate a recipe that was unique to my own tastes. I wanted creamy and decadent, but didn’t want it to taste like “fake” dairy. I wanted it to be so flavorful that no one would wonder where the cheese was.

    I think I’ve accomplished that goal. These scalloped potatoes are decadent. Creamy. Golden brown on top. Rich and full of flavor. You might even think that they’re better than the traditional version, finding ways to sneak just one more bite. I hope so. I hope these potatoes steal the show at your next meal, as I’m afraid hoping they might just do that for me.

    Scalloped Potatoes (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

    About 3 lbs gold potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) peeled and sliced thin ( I used a mandoline)

    1 c coconut milk

    1 c vegetable broth (chicken broth can be used)

    2 T vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

    2 T arrowroot starch

    2 T sweet white rice flour

    2 T nutritional yeast flakes

    ½ t onion powder

    ¼ t garlic powder

    ½ t dry mustard powder

    ¼ t white pepper

    ¼ t nutmeg

    3 T mayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise to keep it vegan; regular can be substituted)

    ¼ c white wine

    1 T lemon juice

    Salt to taste

     

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish and set aside. (I used a dish that was 7X11 inches.)

    Combine potatoes, coconut milk and broth in a saucepan. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving milk mixture. (Use a sieve and a bowl underneath to catch the milk.)

    Clean out saucepan and add vegan butter. Melt over medium heat and add in arrowroot starch and sweet white rice flour, whisking for 30 seconds or so, to cook the flour. Add back the milk mixture, the nutritional yeast flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, pepper, nutmeg, mayonnaise, and white wine. Continue to whisk until smooth. Continue heating
    and whisking until thickened. Remove from heat.

    Layer about half of the potatoes in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Pour half of the sauce over this layer. Press down the
    potatoes to make sure the sauce covers them all around. Add the remaining potatoes and pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Press again to ensure the sauce covers the potatoes.

    Bake for an hour or until potatoes are browned on top and tender throughout. Serves 8.

    This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Gluten-Free Homemaker and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

     

    Looking for other gluten-free holiday dish ideas? Check out this discussion over at the Udi’s Gluten-Free Community!
    .

    A Gluten-Free Holiday: Savory Sweet Potato Pie

    Today over at Daily Bites, we are sharing our favorite holiday entrees and side dishes in our continuation of A Gluten-Free Holiday. As always, there is a giveaway involved (Hallie will be giving away a copy of her new book, The Pure Kitchen) so be sure to head over there and check it out!

    Our family has their fair share of holiday favorites. I’ve already shared the need for stuffing and gravy (as welcome at Christmas as it is at Thanksgiving, if there’s a turkey involved), broccoli cheese rice casserole, and tamales. But I’ve already blabbed about those favorites with you time and time again. I asked my husband to help me brainstorm on holiday dishes. He suggested gumbo (which has a cult following in our family this time of year), but the traditional recipe is a direct replica of Emeril Lagasse’s, so it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. So then I thought – why not create a new favorite?

    But what? When I think of holiday food, many times, I can’t get desserts out of my head. (We’ll share desserts as part of A Gluten-Free Holiday too, on December 15, at She Let Them Eat Cake, but that’s another time, another day, another recipe.) I had to brainstorm. Savory. Side Dish. Holiday. Think! Think! What are foods eaten in fall and winter? Umm…root vegetables? Sweet Potatoes? I love sweet potatoes, but they’re not very special. How can I make sweet potatoes special? Hmm, I have some leftover pie crust dough in the fridge… And suddenly, the waters parted. I knew just what I would make, and this simple-but-special, savory, delicious pie was born.

    What I love about this dish is that unlike so many other holiday foods, it’s not overly heavy or rich. In fact, paired with a nice side salad, it could easily be a welcome brunch for guests that stay at your home during the holiday season. (Or even just a good pre-holiday-shopping meal!) Truthfully, it’s not all that fussy. No more so than making a typical pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, truthfully, and if you wanted to go crustless, you could simply bake the filling in a greased pie dish (or heck, even individually-sized ramekins) and serve it that way. But if you have a bit of time to make a pie crust, go for it. In my mind, it elevates this pie to holiday status. It also provides a bit of contrasting texture. And the flavors? With a creamy, slightly sweet custard, touched with rosemary and smoked paprika, how could you go wrong?

    Savory Sweet Potato Pie

    1 recipe gluten-free pie crust (or your favorite gluten-free pie crust recipe -  I haven’t tried this with a nut-based crust, but I bet it would work well.)

    5 egg yolks

    2 c cooked sweet potato puree (if using fresh sweet potatoes, simply prick with a fork, microwave until soft, scoop out flesh, and puree in food processor)

    1 c coconut milk

    1 t fresh rosemary, chopped

    1 t kosher salt

    1/2 t fresh ground black pepper

    1/4 t smoked paprika

    1/8 t nutmeg

    1 T maple syrup

    1 T sweet white rice flour (or your favorite gluten-free flour)

    1 egg whisked with 1 T water for egg wash

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out pie crust in between two sheets of parchment paper; transfer to 9-inch pie plate. Place egg yolks in the bowl of a food processor; process for about 30 seconds. Add sweet potatoes, coconut milk, rosemary, salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, maple syrup, and rice flour and puree until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean. (Note: you may want to use a pie shield or cover the edges of the crust with foil during the baking process to prevent excess browning.) Cool for 15-20 minutes. Serve.

    Do you have a favorite holiday entree or side dish to share? Link it up over at Daily Bites!

    Interested in some gluten-free edible gift ideas for the holidays? Check out my post and all of the links shared there! Want even more ideas or to chat a bit more about this topic? Over at the Udi’s Gluten-Free Community, we’ve shared some edible gift ideas!

     

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    Daring Bakers: A Grain-Free Tribute to Povitica

    The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat! Jenni explained in our challenge that Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-sa) is traditional Eastern European dessert bread that is traditionally served during the holiday season. It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia, just to name a few. Basically, the dough is rolled so thin that it’s see-through, and filled with a nut paste, rolled up, and baked so there are lovely layers of nut filling and sweet bread all over. It’s gorgeous. Just look at it.

    I am enamored by the work and beauty that goes into this baked treat. But how to make it grain-free and dairy-free? I have been staying away from grains for a while now, and I didn’t want to work on a bread that I wouldn’t eat. (Guess I’m kinda selfish that way!) So obviously, I’d have to take the spirit of the challenge, and adapt to my own needs. I imagined what this bread would taste like (having never indulged in it before), and thought about creating a nut paste of my own and incorporating it into a grain-free bread. I’d noticed that Elana over at Elana’s Pantry recently posted a paleo bread recipe that I’ve been dying to try. However, I knew this bread would be a quick bread – a batter that definitely wouldn’t be kneaded or rolled. I’d have to swirl my nut paste into the bread, which obviously wouldn’t be an exact replication of a true povitica, but I hoped it’d be a good approximation.

    Whether it was indeed an approximation to the original, flavor-wise, I won’t know. However, this was a tasty, not-too-sweet bread that held together well (a definite plus for gluten-free/grain-free bread!), with a subtle flavor of chocolate and cinnamon in the swirl. It also had the bonus of filling the house with a delicious aroma (even my husband commented about how good it smelled). I’d love to continue to work on various flavors of “swirls” in the bread – I used to be a fan of cinnamon raisin bread back in my gluten-eating days, and it’d be lovely to enjoy a slice of it again as a treat. A big thanks to Elana for working on a paleo-friendly bread that’s sandwich-worthy and delicious – it definitely helped make this challenge a possibility in my kitchen!

    Grain-Free, Dairy-Free “Povitica” (a.k.a. pecan-swirl bread)

    1 recipe paleo bread

    1 cup raw pecans

    5-6 pitted dates

    1 T honey

    1/2 t ground cinnamon

    1 t cocoa powder

    1 T coconut oil

    3 T coconut milk

    1/8 t Vanilla Creme liquid stevia

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside. Prepare the Paleo Bread batter as directed in the recipe, and scrape out of the food processor into a bowl. Place the pecans in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until they resemble a coarse meal. Add dates, honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut milk, and stevia. Process until everything comes together into a paste, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary.

    Scoop half of the Paleo Bread batter into the loaf pan. Spoon out half of the nut paste and place spoonfuls all over on top of the batter. Scoop remaining Paleo Bread batter over and spread out. Spoon out remaining nut paste and place evenly over the top of the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl batter around, making a zig-zag motion, from one end of the pan to the other. If needed, smooth out the batter on the top with the back of a spoon.

    Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, and remove from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.