Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gluten Free Biscuits Finally Fluffy!

I have tried since September of last year (10 months) to make a fluffy gluten free southern style biscuit, but no matter how much gravy or honey we dump on top of them, there's just no hiding the fact that they taste and feel like eating a sand castle. I almost gave up last week, but we found a gluten free frozen pizza that made me try one more time.  The crust wasn't grainy, and it reminded me of a recipe photo I saw for something called "oopsie bread."  It had egg whites and something else.  This pizza crust had tapioca starch and eggs.  A light bulb came on, and here's what I came up with. My best attempt at buttery homestyle biscuits ever.  My husband even said they were some of the best biscuits we'd had including recipes with "regular" flour. 

1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup potato starch
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1 stick butter softened*
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
enough milk to fill cream to 2/3 cup
1 egg

Yes, I realize this is not a healthy list of ingredients, but sometimes you just need a dang biscuit.  I have cut enough bread and pasta out completely, that I think these are okay in our Sunday brunch. :)

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixing bowl (I think mine is four quarts, but make it big enough to get your hands in) mix together your dry ingredients. (That's the first five on the list) Next, using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the softened butter.  If you've never made biscuits before that just means getting the butter to crumble in with the flour until you have a coarse meal.  Pour in the cream/milk and add the egg.  Using a fork or spoon, stir the liquid in until a sticky dough forms.  Do NOT overwork your dough, just make sure all the flour is wet.  It will become elastic-y at this stage.  Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead it just a couple of times.  Your dough will pick up some of the flour and won't be so sticky.  Roll (I press with my hands) dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a 2" round cutter or just cut in squares. 

Place biscuits about 1/3 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 18 minutes.  They'll be a pretty golden color and about 1.5 inches tall when they're done. My dough batch yielded about 12 biscuits. One was a smaller, hand formed cutie.

They taste like Cracker Barrel biscuits to me....mmmmm.  We made a giant omelet with ham and cheese and cut it to fill these. If you've ever had an Ultimate Omelet Biscuit from Hardee's or Carl's, then you know where we were going with that. I'm going to try pre-cooking for 10 minutes and freezing a batch.  I'll let you know how that turns out. If you try it before I do, please comment below!!  If you'd like to link to your favorite GF recipes, I welcome you to.  :)  

*For the love of Paula Deen, please use real butter here.  Margarine/vegetable oil spread does not have the consistency to bake a biscuit.  If you're out of butter, you could substitute shortening, but honestly you can get organic butter, and you won't be putting unneeded chemicals in your body. Everything in moderation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cupcake Bake Sale: An Army of Cupcakes

This weekend I had the privilege of working with volunteers from our troop's Family Readiness Group (FRG) to make and sell over 400 cupcakes!  If you know me, you know I like to go big, so this was a challenge that was right in my lane.

What I love most about this is how willing and supportive the soldiers and spouses are to give of their time, money, and waistlines to a good cause.  We had helpers who put in anywhere from 3 hours to over 20 hours on this project!!

As promised to several members of the troop, I've compiled the recipes we used for our five flavors. We had Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Cup, Birthday Cake, Pumpkin with Orange Cream Frosting, and Monster Cakes.

The recipes are uploaded to Scribd so you can click the download button in the preview panels to save PDF files directly to your computer. This is my first time to use Scribd to share files, so there may be some changes as I learn the best way to operate.  ;)  

BIG NOTE: THERE IS AN OMISSION IN THE PB CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPE. IT'S MISSING 1 CUP of CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER IN THE ICING. I can't remember my scribd password, so change that on your copy. THanks

Birthday Cake Cupcakes Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes Mint Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes Pumpkin Cupcakes With Orange Cream Frosting

 And for the googly-eyed monster cupcakes...skip on over to Annie's Eats for a tutorial on those. We used our birthday cake recipe and tinted the icing purple. They are cute with or without the M&M's eyes, too.

Did you get to enjoy some of these fabulous treats?  If so, comment below. We'd LOVE to hear from you. :)

If you want to keep up with all SK recipes, follow Sissy's Kitchen on Facebook for updates on new blog posts. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CROCKtober: Breakfast Casserole

I haven't been keeping up with the cooking blog like I should. I've been terribly unfair. I've been crafting away and neglecting the kitchen. I got a Vitamix and I just don't stay in there like I should. Sissy would be proud, though. I've been eating my veggies. ;)

It's hard to balance everything, though. This month, I'm dedicating the blog to good warm meals for the family that are easy to prep and not at all time consuming. We can have our supper and eat it too, or something like that. Anyway, the first thing on the menu is this breakfast casserole.

I stumbled on this one on Pinterest. Most folks were pinning this to "Christmas" Boards, but I'm pretty sure it's important to eat breakfast every day. We're a family of three, so this hearty meal made enough to have leftovers to eat for several days this week. Warm up a bit and serve with fruit. Much better than a pop tart. I didn't understand the dry mustard bit, (and honestly, I subbed some squeezy French's) but I think it allowed me to cut back on the salt. I was doing an inner monologue of Carl from the movie Slingblade about French Fried pertaters and musturd sauce, though. Anyway, here's a link to the recipe I used, and if you aren't pinning yet, do try it. And follow me. I have TONS of recipes pinned on there.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yes! More Meatballs! On top of spaghetti!

On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheeeeeeese. You won't want to lose THESE meatballs.  I know the second meatball recipe in a week, but when I was working on the Swedish meatballs, I thought I could change the sauce a little and hey look spaghetti and meatballs. I'm so glad I didn't and we found this recipe. It made my house smell like Estelle Getty was gonna walk in any minute and say, "Picture it, Sicily, 1937.." 

The sauce is thick and hearty with chunks of stewed tomatoes and caramelized onions. I should just hush and tell you how to make this flavor explosion for yourself. Get out the 1950's Betty Crocker book. This one's right out of it, mostly.

For this batch of meatballs, we're gonna brown the meatballs first, instead of letting them cook entirely in the sauce as with the Swedish

  Spaghetti with Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork (I used 1.25 lb beef)
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 TB minced parsley
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 TB olive oil
1 cup minced onions
5 cups cooked tomatoes (2 #2 cans)
6 TB chopped green pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp basil
2 small bay leaves crumbled
1 tsp dried rosemary 
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix first 9 ingredients and form into 1 1/2 inch balls. Add oil and onions to skillet and saute. Add meatballs to skillet and brown. I made a great mistake here and it tasted so good, I'm going to tell you about it. I got impatient and ADD and all that stuff that happens to me in the kitchen and I just about burnt the onions. I mean so bad that I almost cut up another one and started over, in fact, some of them were so stuck to the meatballs I cut them off with a knife. Take your onions to the edge, people. You will bring out a sweet smokiness that sets off your sauce. There is a difference in caramelized and burnt. It is a VERY fine line.
Okay, I'm off my browned onion soap box.  :) 
 Time to make the sauce! Add the remaining ingredients and simmer about an hour. No, don't just throw them in.  You're gonna drain about 1/4 the juice from the tomatoes. I used whole tomatoes and whipped them in the food processor. They weren't pureed or anything just broken apart. Did I mention this sauce excites me? So much so that I scraped the last of it out of the pan to save for bruschetta? Anyway, after this sauce simmers, just serve it up on a bed of noodles. We didn't happen to have spaghetti in the house, so I used linguine. So yum. I'm going to show you the picture again now. Oh, and I'm going to tell you my hubby who doesn't normally care for leftovers, ate this for lunch two days later and it was even better. All three of us helped clean the bowl. 

Stay tuned for strawberry cake! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Buttermilk Cake & Mocha Chocolate Frosting

Buttermilk cake? Mocha Chocolate frosting?  YES. PLEASE! Anyone who ever visited Sissy had some kind of cake at her house. Sissy always had cake. I think she bought cake pans by the pallet and I think she must have baked four or five cakes a week. I found this Buttermilk cake written in her own hand writing and I was intrigued or at least very hungry. I don't know how that last one could be possible as much as I've been baking lately, but in my defense, I have been sharing. ;)
I found this particular recipe while I was thumbing through a stack trying to make a plan and a grocery list. You see there are just so many pieces of paper and clippings and notes stuck here and there throughout the three books I brought home, it's easy to get distracted. I spent an hour just trying to put some of the recipes in sheet protectors so they didn't suffer any more damage than has already been done by time. Anyway, this cake and frosting were well worth the effort, plus it was a great excuse to use my new homemade vanilla extract and that buttermilk I had left from the Angel Biscuits.

Buttermilk Cake

3 cups sugar
3 cups flour sifted
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1/2 tsp soda (I used 1 tsp)
(1 tsp salt)
5 whole eggs
2 tsp vanilla

There were NO INSTRUCTIONS on the recipe. Just an ingredients list. Hello google. Yes, I looked over several buttermilk cake recipes and kind of followed suit. You can't make this stuff up, people. Oh wait, yes you can.

Step 1. Cream the Margarine and Crisco until fluffy. I use a Kitchenaid Stand mixer for all my baking so I run it on low for about thirty seconds, then on med, then on high, until it reaches a whipped consistency.

Step 2. Add the sugar and continue to whip.

Step 3. Add vanilla.

Step 4. Mix the soda, salt, and flour together in one bowl and mix the eggs and milk in another. I used a pourable measuring cup. Add the liquid and dry ingredients in alternating portions while mixing. This is where the Kitchenaid comes in handy because it's hands free, but you can alternate and use a hand mixer, too.

I baked this in a preheated oven. About 350F for 50 minutes in a bundt pan. There was too much batter, so I wound up making 8 cupcakes, too. They bake for about 25 minutes at the same temperature.

The batter is VERY thick. It's like a very heavy pound cake and the taste reminded me of a very sturdy twinkie. I will make this again and possibly add a bit of oil or water to make it more moist. The dryer tops of the muffins taste like sugar cookies. I LOVE it with the Mocha Chocolate Frosting which I added while the cake was still warm. It made a sort of shell as it cooled, but next time I make this cake I will try a peanut butter frosting between the cake and the Mocha Chocolate, much like the TastyKake from Philly (introduced to me by my lovely Philly-Italian neighbor), or perhaps I will make it in three thin 9" layers and use a creme filling. Okay, I'll just admit now, that while making this I had to kneewalk myself to the drawer in the kitchen where I keep my Metformin, and I spent at least two hours in a time warp sugar coma on the sofa. I mean LOOK at this thing!

Mocha Chocolate Frosting
6 TB Cocoa (Hershey's unsweetened)
6 TB Hot Coffee (I love French Roast Starbucks)
6 TB Butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar (10x powdered)*

So easy...Combine coffee and cocoa, add vanilla and butter, beat until smooth. Add sugar gradually, still mixing, until it is well blended and spreading consistency. * I actually used closer to 4 cups, maybe 3 1/2 because I had a small box and I think that was what was in there. If you want this frosting to be workable, you can apply to a hot cake in a pan, or spread it over a warm bundt cake like I did. I love the way it sets after it's cooled.

There you go! Don't hurt yourself. I'm still looking for that strawberry cake recipe, and I can't WAIT until it warms up enough to make ice cream. I've found several recipes for that. You'll probably be on your own for the peach version, since I can't get really great peaches here in Alaska, but I do remember her making chocolate and vanilla flavored for us.

Coming up..More meatballs, the spaghetti variety from Sissy's red Betty Crocker Book.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Easy Swedish Meatballs

Seriously, It doesn't get much simpler. Most of the ingredients are canned. This came from an adorable book first published in 1957.  I got the publishing date from a listing on ETSY since the title page is missing from our copy. The first page in our book is "Meet Our Home Testers" which is a page of sketches of the kids with quotes like, "We learned what things mean, like baste and fold and sift."  I am not ashamed to admit, this book is educational. Anyway, I was drawn to it because I love all things vintage, but I this recipe was brought to my attention by my Uncle Greg. He said Sissy made this for them (him and his brothers) when they were kids.

I was a little skeptical at first. I mean, the ingredients include condensed chicken with rice soup. It just seemed strange to me, but I've eaten corned beef hash from a can before, so I cannot be too judgmental.  Oh and just wait until I highlight a fried SPAM sandwich. Yes, thank you, Sissy,  for that nugget of culinary wisdom. But I digress.  Let us continue with tasty meatballs circa 1957.

Ingredient List
Swedish Meatballs:
1 TB Butter
1 chopped green pepper
1 minced onion
1 10.5 oz can cond. chicken/rice soup
1 10.5 oz can cond. tomato soup
1 14 oz can water or beef broth

2 slices soft bread
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt (I used 2)
1 lb ground beef (I used 1.25 for 24 balls)

Swedish Meatballs..."A wonderful way to dress up ground beef"  That's right from the book in case you didn't know. I thought I would tell you that part before we begin. Melt butter in a frying pan. I used a 12 inch with taller sides and a lid. Add pepper and onion and cook until tender. Stir in the soups and broth and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer. While the sauce cooks, make meat balls. Put the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Drop the balls carefully into the simmering sauce and cook on low/med heat for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes to keep from sticking.

It's as easy as that. I told you this was a kid's cookbook. If you can pick up a copy of it on ebay or Etsy, you should. It's a really well written book with illustrations and definitions. I plan to use some of the recipes with my ten year old.  I don't know which kid recipe tester is pictured above, but I'm guessing it's Ricky. He said, "We always said what we thought, even if it wasn't complimentary." WOW!  I know where he didn't eat! Anyway, I'm glad he was honest about the meatballs.

The sauce was creamy and flavorful. This would be a great make ahead meal because they ARE good reheated, and I'm sure you could work out the timing in a slow cooker as well. I'm thinking you could probably also change up and season the sauce with some basil and oregano and add some diced tomatoes and serve on spaghetti noodles for an Italian twist.  Oh, and they were good with the Angel Biscuits. 

Your next recipe: Buttermilk Cake (and Mocha Chocolate Frosting if you are so inclined)


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Angel Biscuits

YUMM!  Fluffy, flaky, buttermilk, angel biscuits!  I found this recipe stashed with Sis's. It's not written in her own hand, but many of her recipes aren't. She worked at the telephone company for a number of years, and there are countless recipes that were shared among co-workers.  In fact, one of the most famous cookbooks sold in Mississippi is Bell's Best. There are a few volumes of it, but I have what I believe to be a predecessor to this book. If you don't know the book I'm talking about, you can click  here to read about it or purchase a copy from the Telephone Pioneers Chapter of MS. Sissy was a member all of my lifetime. The older book I'm referring to is the one pictured below. South Central Belle's Recipes, from the Traffic Women of Jackson, Miss.

This book was compiled in 1970! 

I am currently looking through it for recipes submitted by Sissy. I found one on the same page where there was an old A&P receipt from 1979. 
Cheese Rolls! More to come on that. 

 Like most Southerners, I adore a good biscuit. It's the foundation of breakfast. I made a few of these trying different things and they still need a little tweaking, so I will probably update this recipe at some point in the future. For now, I'll give you the original and some minor adjustments.  I love the letterhead for the Southern Bell employment office!

Angel Biscuit Ingredients:
5 cups flour
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup fat (Crisco)
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (I used 2)
1 cake yeast (2 envelopes)

 Yes, this recipe actually says 1 cup FAT. That cracks me up. I guess it does sound better than LARD! I also have NEVER ever seen a cake of yeast. I had to google that one. Generation gap, much. Anyway, It's my guess that we might be able to use self rising flour here, much like the Hot Rize corn meal mix instead of corn meal, powder, soda, and salt, but I love the smell of bread with yeast.

According to the recipe, you need to dissolve the yeast. (Follow package directions.) Then cream the buttermilk, fat, and yeast. Combine dry ingredients and add to liquid. Mix well.

Roll dough onto floured surface to 1" thick.
Cut, dip in butter, stack or leave single, and bake in preheated oven.

Since there was no temperature listed, I turned to google again. Most biscuit recipes call for 15-20 minutes at 400F, and that worked fine for me. In fact I tried a lower temperature, but the biscuits didn't rise as well. Hotter is better. 

This recipe made 28 biscuits. I baked them all because I was experimenting, but I'm sure you can freeze them to use when you need them. Granny Beck does that all the time.

 A very special thanks to my mom for making sure I got this vintage biscuit cutter.  Soon, I'll be blogging recipes from that side of the family, too. This simple little guy really gets the job done, and it's the perfect thickness, too.

These biscuits have a slightly sweet taste, but are still fantastic under gravy, syrup, or jelly, and they are strong enough to make a biscuit sandwich with sausage or bacon and eggs. I'm going to make Swedish meatballs tonight and put some of the sauce on one.  I'll switch back to wheat toast on Monday morning. : ) Sissy would approve.