Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday Foto: Tuna Salad Sandwich

Sandwiches are a thing those of us in the gluten-free community simply don't eat enough of. Usually, it's for lack of GF bread. Or, we find it simply easier to go without than to either eat a sub-standard version or go through the trouble of finding or baking a decent loaf of sandwich bread.

As I've written before, the yeast bread in our cookbook is a hearty bread. We love it solo, or toasted with butter or jam, or made into garlic toast, or used for French toast, or turned into bread crumbs. And while I've also used it for sandwiches, admittedly it's not ideal for the task.

In recent weeks, I've been in the kitchen baking again, working on a new yeast bread designed specifically for sandwiches. My goal is a light, airy loaf of bread. The most recent iteration was a big step forward, and while the recipe isn't quite ready to share (I have more changes I want to make first), the results to date are worth posting.

Kelli sliced the bread thin, and whipped up a batch of her famous tuna salad. There's tuna, and some mayo, and kosher dill pickle, and red pepper, and... it gets a little fuzzy after that. My brain is too tired to remember all the details, so I'll have to update this post with info from Kelli.

The mental lapse is purely the result of exhaustion. As I write this on Thursday night, I'm sitting in a hotel room in the Adirondacks in New York after having been on the go for 18 hours straight, starting at 3am in Colorado. By the time you read this Friday morning, I'll be high on a mountain peak in single digit temps with a ski mountaineer friend, a ski patroller, and a professional photographer working on a magazine story... But that's another story!

Have a great weekend!

- Pete

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Foto: Pan-fried Dover Sole Fillet

It's Friday, which means it's time for a Friday Foto. And today's recipe for pan-fried Dover sole fillet is particularly apropos. You see, we're a few short weeks away from Easter, and that means that it's the season of Lent. In the Christian tradition, Lent is the (approximately) 40-day period leading up to Easter.

As a child, I was raised Roman Catholic, and the Catholics have some very specific requirements about penance and abstinence during the season. For example - and to the point of today's post - you are required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Not that big a deal. The hardest part about it (for me) was simply remembering that it was a Friday, especially if I was out for lunch with friends from school and I errantly ordered some ham or turkey or chicken or beef. Sometimes I strayed and absentmindedly ate some meat, but it was an honest mistake.

Dinners were always on the straight and narrow, however. I fondly remember family dinners on Friday nights during Lent. We usually ate by candlelight, and it became tradition in our family to always have fish for dinner instead of meat. I don't remember so much the kind of fish we ate, or even how it was prepared, but my gut tells me that a dish pretty similar to this pan-fried Dover sole fillet was probably on the menu at least once during my childhood.

When Kelli and I made this dish last week, we were both craving a white fish, and our original intention was to pair it with a pan sauce that could be drizzled over the fish. But after two failed attempts to create a new sauce, we scrapped that idea and simply ate the fillets. We were both pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were on their own, and Marin agreed...she finished her own fillet! The fish was tender and moist, with a delicate flavor that was complemented by the light breading.

Here's how we made it:

8 Dover sole fillets
1/2 cup Artisan Gluten-Free Flour blend
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Rinse and pat dry the fillets.
2. Season the flour with a generous dash each of salt and pepper.
3. Melt the butter in the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour and cook them, in batches, in the skillet. About 4 minutes per side, depending on how thick the fillets are, and how brown you want them.
5. Drain on paper towels and serve.


- Pete

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Foto: Cream Puffs

Today's Friday Foto comes 100% courtesy of Kelli. She had a major craving for cream puffs, and conveniently enough, was able to repurpose and modify components of our Chocolate Eclair Cake to make it happen. I had the distinct pleasure of being able to sit back and simply enjoy the sweet fruits of her labor! Here's how she did it:

1. Make one batch of the eclair pastry dough as per the directions.
2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Drop large spoonfulls of dough, evenly spaced, onto a sheet pan. (You should get about 12 cream puffs or so.)
4. Bake until they're very golden brown, then remove from the oven and let cool completely. (As their name implies, the cream puffs will puff up with air while baking. Some will collapse or shrink as they cool. Don't worry. The big pocket inside created by the air will still be there!)
5. Make one batch of the vanilla cream filling, but increase the quantity of cornstarch to 1/3 cup. Chill.
6. Slice the cream puffs in half horizontally (across the equator) and fill with the vanilla cream filling.
7. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

- Pete

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday Foto: Baguette

First, apologies that today's Friday Foto is a day late. Between being out of town for two days on a story assignment, and getting sick yesterday with a 103-degree fever (plus other symptoms...blech), I just couldn't pull it together. None the less, excuses aside, here we are.

Today's recipe is a companion to last week's Mussels in a White Wine Broth. One of the best things about that dish - besides the mussels themselves - is the broth. And there's no better way to enjoy it than by sopping it up with some tasty, crusty bread. And therein lay the rub...we needed a GF baguette.

I'm happy to report a success. Here's how we made it:

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 egg whites
2 1/2 cups + extra Artisan GF Flour Blend
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp each sea salt and crushed black pepper
De-hulled millet

1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
2. Once the yeast is active, add the olive oil, vinegar, and egg whites. Mix.
3. Add the flour, xanthan gum, salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. You will have a very wet dough.
4. Add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, just until the dough is workable by hand. It should still be soft, elastic, and doughy, but should not be so wet as to stick to your hands or your work surface.
5. Roll the dough into two logs, each 15 inches long.
6. Place the logs onto a greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 20 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. After 20 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and use a sharp knife to score the top of the logs on a diagonal.
9. Brush the loaves with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and the millet.
10. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.


- Pete