Posts Tagged ‘kid friendly gluten free food’

Mystery Recipe Monday- July 9, 2012

Okay everybody, I know it’s been quite a while since we have done the Mystery Recipe Monday thing… but I really feel like we should get back into the habit once again.  All of you really seem to enjoy it when I post recipes, as we get lots of visitors and regulars who stop by to see what the “good lookin’  Modern Pioneers have got cookin’!”  Many of you will remember parts of that line from a Hank Williams Sr. song entitled “Hey, Good Lookin’, Whatcha Got Cookin’!”

Today we have something really good lookin’ a-cookin’ in the Modern Pioneer Kitchen. (Oh, and it’s also really good tastin’ too!)  I (Modern Ma) am so delighted with my newly remodeled kitchen that I have been itching to get in there and really put this beautifully functional and just plain beautiful work-space to hard work. We finished this huge home improvement project (stay tuned for several upcoming DIY posts about remodeling a farmhouse kitchen on a budget), just in time… for a monumental heat wave… OF COURSE!  So the past couple weeks have been mostly salads and foods that can be cooked via microwave, such as turkey enchiladas made with ground turkey I had            pre- cooked and frozen for later use and Spanish rice made with leftover rice I had also frozen as an easy prepare staple for hot or busy evenings.  Due to the heat-wave, Pioneer Pa and I decided to put off having an anniversary cake until the weather cooled (our wedding anniversary being June 29th and being as this one is #10, I felt like I ought to do a special dessert.)

Having seen a variation of Red Velvet Cake done in blue by the Betty Crocker test kitchen , I decided try my hand at a beautifully decorated Gluten Free version of my own variation a Black Velvet Cake (okay I was actually aiming for a Royal Purple Velvet, Pa’s favorite color being purple… but alas I was completely out of both red and purple food coloring… trying to use up much of my old Wilton gel food coloring before the kiddos return home)… so I did it with black food coloring which I had a lot of (if you think red and yellow food coloring makes little boys hyper-active, try giving them black food coloring! Grab a putty knife and prepare to scrape those boys off your ceiling!).  Yes, Black Velvet Cake, sounds very “Elvis Presley”, but it should be very beautiful and dramatic (is anything quite so elegant as a black and white cake in the world of desserts?)… quite suitable for a 10th Wedding Anniversary.  Especially considering that we had a Christmas In June Wedding, which was also quite stunning and dramatic in it’s own right.

So, now for our Mystery Recipe Monday recipes.

Black Velvet Anniversary Cake

(A Special Gluten-Free Dessert for Special Occasions )

*WARNING– This cake is NOT FD&C DYE FREE and NOT DAIRY FREE

2 pkg. Betty Crocker Gluten-Free yellow cake mix

6 large eggs

2/3 cup. canola oil

1 TBSP Cocoa Powder, leveled

1 cup plain soy or almond milk

1 tsp. cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/2 of a large jar of Wilton Gel Food Coloring (Black)

Prepare cake mix, as per manufacturer’s directions, adding the cocoa powder into the cake mix before adding the wet ingredients. Substitute the soy/almond milk, vinegar and 1/2 cup water for the water called for on the box.  Mix in food coloring

Grease  four 8 inch or three 9 inch  round cake pans and divide the batter equally among the pans.  Space them equally in the oven on both racks and bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in the pans on a cooking rack until about room temp. If your cakes mound up in the center, you can level them once they are removed from the pans with a serrated bread knife.

Place bottom layer on a cardboard circle or a  cake plate/cake stand. Fill with cream cheese icing or another favorite filling (such as raspberry or blackberry jam, or both jam and cream cheese icing together would be lovely, 2 layers of filling).  Place next layer on top of  bottom layer, leveled-side down, and once again fill between layers with icing or favorite filling.  Repeat for 3rd and 4th layers.

To seal in crumbs, thinly frost cake w/ room temp. cream cheese icing, starting at the top center and working out toward the top edge and then down the sides with a large angled (off-set) metal spatula.  TIP: If you have a rotating cake stand or a lazy-susan from your spice cabinet, place your cake plate/round on it and use this to smoothly turn the cake as you frost it… this makes the job a little faster and easier and usually results in a more professional looking cake.

Once cake is crumb-coated, place in the fridge for about 2 hours to set the icing.  Remove from fridge and frost cake again so that cake does not show through the icing.  Return to fridge for about 2 hours to set again.  At this point,you can either serve it as is or decorate it with contrasting tinted icing using a piping bag and decorating tips for a special occasion such as a birthday anniversary or even small wedding or wedding shower. Once again, allow a couple hours in the fridge for icing to set, especially in the summertime, it will solidify the shortening/cheese mixture that is the basis of your icing and prevent all your hard work from sliding down the side of your cake.

Cream Cheese Decorator Icing

(Note: if you have a stand mixer, definitely use it for making decorating icing, as this type of icing is quite thick.)

8 oz pkg. cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

3 lbs powdered sugar (approx. as moisture levels in this product can vary, adjust as needed)

2 tsp. double-strength vanilla extract

1 to 2 tsp. rum flavoring

1 tsp. raspberry flavoring

2 to 3 TBSP Almond or Soy milk

Using an electric mixer (stand type if you have one), cream together the cream cheese and shortening.  Slowly add in sugar1/2 cup at a time, beating well between additions.  After adding 1/2 of the sugar, add in the flavoring extracts and 1 TBSP of milk.  Mix well.  Add more sugar, a little at a time, until most of it is in the icing.  Add another TBSP of milk then finish adding the sugar.  Adjust thickness of icing by adding more sugar or milk as needed for a spreading consistency to ice the cake with.  To make stiffer icing for piping decorative designs and borders onto cake, thicken with more powdered sugar.

To make black decorator’s icing (that doesn’t taste like ink), darken your icing with baking cocoa (powder)… this will also thicken consistency slightly, then begin adding black gel food coloring until desired color is reached mixing color in between additions (let stand 5 to 10 minutes when color is a shade lighter than you think you want, as they sometimes darken a little in a buttercream/cream cheese style icing with time.  You can always add more color, but you can’t take it away… you can add more “white” icing, but you may end up with far more than you need.)

You can find Wilton Cake Decorating supplies at many local discount or craft stores (such as Walmart, Ben Franklin Crafts or Hobby Lobby) or at http://www.wilton.com .

To decorate the cake above:

1. Using black icing in a disposable decorating bag fitted with a coupler and a #2 round tip to  pipe a pretty scroll design on the sides of the cake, which I repeated 5 times around the side of the cake. (I used a tool I’ve had for years called a pattern press to mark my scroll-work, this product is no longer available unless you get lucky finding one in a thrift shop, but you can find a design or clip-art you like, print it out and trace it onto waxed paper and then use the wax paper to position the design and mark the design onto the cake using a toothpick to prick the wax paper and leave marking on your cake icing.)

2. Using Tip #107 and white icing in another disposable decorating bag fitted with a coupler, pipe drop flowers onto the scrolling vines.

3. Using the black icing and #2 tip again, pipe dots into centers of flowers.

4. Using  a #10 tip and white icing pipe a line of white icing around the base of the cake at the plate.

5. Changing black icing bag to a #97 ruffle tip or a #104 rose tip, fat end up, pipe a ruffled border at the base of the cake on top of the line of white icing (this will help it flare out like a ruffle), wiggling up and down slightly as you pipe around the cake.

6. Changing black icing bag to a #10 round or a # 32 star tip, pipe a ball border or a shell border on the top edge of the cake.

* Refill our decorating bags with icing as needed as you go, leaving  enough room to twist the bag closed at the top so icing does not squish out the top and make a huge mess.

For more complete instructions on these decorating techniques, please check out the Wilton link above or consider purchasing a very basic starter kit from Wilton locally.

You might even be able to find cake decorating class locally that you can take (possibly with your spouse if he’s interested, or with one of your kids… most 7 or 8 year-olds are plenty old enough to learn cake decorating with parental supervision.)  My mother took the first two courses in a local Wilton Decorating class and taught me at the age of 5 while she was practicing at home.  As a teen, I self-studied the more advanced classes.

For Pioneering Families in this Modern Era,  the basics of cake decorating are a terrific skills to consider learning.  Not only is is a great, fun-filled family activity, it can also be a frugal, money-saving skill compared to the rapidly increasing costs of having a cake professionally decorated by a bakery… particularly when you are at a stage where weddings, anniversaries, baby showers etc. are frequently in order.

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Mystery Recipe Monday- March 26, 2012

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Mstery Recipe Monday

Millet Dogs

I know Millet Dogs sounds very odd, but before you run away in fright, please allow me to explain.  One of Farmer Boy Charles’ favorite foods is that “Fair Food”  favorite the crunchy and delicious on-a-stick treat, the Corn Dog.  But lately we’ve noticed some less than desirous behaviors when Charles eats foods made from corn.  We are not sure if this is from the “gluten” in corn (aka corn protein… it really isn’t the same type of gluten as you find in wheat barley or rye.)  Or from the starches/sugars in the corn making the  overgrown yeast population in his gut “a little too happy”.  (Yeast eat startches and sugars, turning them into carbon dioxide, the lovely bubbles that make yeasted bread dough rise, and as their waste product of this digestion, they make alcohol (or what my high school microbiology teacher liked to call “yeast pee-pee”.)  The alcohol can be a wonderful by-product if for example you are brewing beer, making hard cider or fermenting wine… but a bad by-product if there are a huge population on them in your 8 year old child’s gut, making him act like a goofy drunk every time he ties on a meal heavy in carbs.  We don’t know which is the problem for Charles, but we decided to take him completely off corn for 1 month and then do a challenge test to see how he’s handling it.  The goal with this is to see if we are going to need to remove corn permenantly from the family diet or not.

In order to keep life as normal as possible and keep one of the few protein delivery devices we have in Charles’ diet, Pioneer Pa  devised the following recipe, which substitutes coarsely ground millet flour for fine cornmeal.

Millet Dogs (Baked NOT Fried… a healthier version of Fair Food!)

You will need: 1 medium sized mixing bowl, a whisk or wooden spoon for stirring, small ladle or serving spoon (for pouring batter into cooking device), bamboo skewers (may be cut in 1/2 for shorter sticks) and a Corn Dog R (this is an electric cooking device, similar to a waffle iron that makes corn dogs and similar foods… we actually baked brownies in ours once but that is a story for another day.  A Corn Dog R can be purchased for about $25 from www.amazon.com by typing corn dog maker into the search in the kitchen section.  It’s worth the investment if you have a family with young kids who like “resturant” type foods).  See pictures below of our Corn Dog R:

Ingredients:

1 cup Millet Flour (white or red will both work equally well, the white will make a more “yellow” corn dog looking millet dog.  Millet Flour is usually a little coarse and mealy like conrmeal)

1/2 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup soy flour (or sweet sorghum flour if you are avoiding soy.  We use soy to get more protein into our very picky  eater Charles)

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

2  large eggs (or equivalent of egg replacer)

1 TBSP Olive or Canola Oil

1 to 1 1/2 cups water or “milk” substitute (this really depends on how dry your flour is.  You are looking for a pancake batter type consistancy here. Tips from Ma: We’ve used the cooking water from making steamed veg like broccoli and such before to add some extra vitamins and minerals before or added 2 to 4 oz of pureed baby food veggies like peas or green beans for part of the liquid in the batter, because Charles will not willingly eat vegetables except for pumpkin (baked in bread or pies) and tomato- based sauces… thus we usually have to hide veggies in other foods.)

1 pkg of your favorite brand of GF/CF Hot Dogs (remember to read your labels)

Pam-type spray oil for oiling the Corn Dog R to prevent stickage

Instructions:

1. Plug in Corn Dog R to heat up.

2. In your mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients until well blended

3. Beat eggs until they appear “scrambled”.

4. Add eggs and oil to dry mixture and blend well.

5.  Add liquids (veg. puree first if using, then water or milk) a little at a time, stirring between additions until the pancake batter like consistancy is reached.

6. Cut hot dogs in 1/2 so they will fit in the baking wells of the Corn Dog R.

7. Spray the hot, ready to use Corn Dog R with spray oil, coating well to prevent sticking.

8.  Using a large spoon or small ladle, fill the bottom portion of the cooking wells in the Corn Dog R with batter.

9. Place 1/2 hotdog in each well and spoon a little of the batter mixture over the top of the hot dogs.

10. Close the lid.  Slide in the skewer sticks, there is a little hole in the side of each well where the sticks go in after the machine is closed.

11.  Wait for the light to come on indicating the millet dogs are done.  If they aren’t quite as browned as you like, you can close it again and keep cooking another minute or two, before removing them.

12. When Millet Dogs are done, either plate up individual plates or place on a platter to serve family style.  Serve with your favorite condiments.  Baked Sweet Potato Fries or Baked Green Beans make a lovely complimenting side dish.

Allow leftovers  to cool.  Place in freezer safe zipper bags and freeze.  These are easily frozen and warmed up again using the microwave.  These make great quick suppers on the run, after-school snacks or can be packed in the lunch box of your school aged children and so forth.  We often make a double batch of them and freeze a bunch on the weekend for later use… we like to call that DIY Gluten Free Convience Food!

(*Pioneer Pa is the keeper and guru of electric cooking appliances at our house… seriously I burn stuff so easily using small electric appliances that when our last toaster died I refused to get another one and dug the toaster oven out of the camper and brought that in the house… I totally manage to burn stuff in a crockpot… give me a  wood or gas range anyday!)

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Someday this old wood-fired range will be returned to where it belongs, in my home. The previous homeowner of our farm removed it from the house and placed it out in the shop building for storage.  I can’t wait to bring it back, as I learned to cook on this type of appliance (though not nearly this fancy) while living off-grid on my father’s ranch in the mountains of Eastern Washington.

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