Oatmeal Raisin Wonderfulness

I know I’ve said it a hundred times, but recipes that are already gluten-free are so much nicer.  This Christmas, I treated myself to a Babycakes (look how lovely!) cookbook, and I’m finally getting the chance to put it to use.  And, now I have a new favourite dessert.

I made her recipe for oatmeal cookies and crumbled one (and a half, shh) into a bit of greek yogurt.  It was a beautiful combination.

cookie yogurt

The recipe calls for Bob’s Red Mill products, and I definitely suggest you use them.  There are a lot of other gluten-free products on the market, but Bob’s is reliable and makes a great mix of baking flours.  Whenever possible, I buy their flours.  I even found my first Bob’s flour in Belfast today — oat flour — and I’m going back to buy a bunch of it tomorrow!

So, here is the Babycakes recipe for the cookies.  I hope you try it, love it, and run out and buy the book for yourself.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
1 cup [vegan] sugar
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free oats
1/4 cup ground flax meal
2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1 /2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup raisins

Hardware:
measuring cups and spoons
mixing bowl
parchment paper
baking sheet
whisk
spatula
oven

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, oats, flax meal, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted coconut oil, applesauce, and vanilla stirring with a spatula. Add the raisins and stir until combined.

Bake for 8 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 7 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the parchment for 15 minutes.

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When in Belfast . . .

SB dinner

When in Belfast . . . and you get one of the two weeks with warm and sunny weather . . . do as the Irish do — “barbecue”.  The term “barbecue”, here, refers to anything that is put over a fire.  It does not require any specific sauces or any particular lawn ornaments.  It just means you go outside and eat your food.

This weather is called “exam weather” by most people.  Belfast experiences two guaranteed weeks of lovely weather each year, the first as schoolboys and -girls sit their year-ending exams.  The idea is that they spend hours staring at essays and standardized tests only to glance up at the sun streaming in the windows.  The second week is just as school resumes in the autumn.  The new school term generally brings with it the winter uniform (wool blazers and long socks) and another sunny, warm week.  The apathy of the new syllabi and reading lists is met with even more sunshine.  In short, it is cruel.

However, not being a schoolchild and not currently facing a near deadline of any sort means that I can take advantage of the weather.  I am not — by ANY stretch of the imagination — an outdoors person, but I relish in these days, mostly because it is dry rather than warm.

Today, on a bit of a whim, I bought a mini disposable barbecue.  It amounted to an aluminum casserole tray, a bit of charcoal packaged in paper, and a thin grate.  We procured my husband some German smoked sausages and mini finger rolls, a chicken breast for myself, and the makings of a wee cookout.

The finished product included Pão de Queijo, grilled blackened chicken, smoked sausage hot dogs, grilled green beans and asparagus, and both German and American potato salad.  It took too long to make, but it was so worth it!  Check out the recipes linked below, and recreate our cookout for your own summer days, whether they be often or twice a year.

Pão de Queijo
German and American potato salad
Grilled green beans and asparagus

CB dinner

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese breads)

When I first became gluten-free, my aunt passed this recipe on to me.  Her boyfriend is from Brazil, and he recommended it as a gluten-free recipe (requiring no substitutions, which I find so useful).  It was so impressive, I tried several combinations of flavours.  Try various types of soft cheeses and throw in your favourite herbs and spices.  It’s quick and easy — especially if you have a blender — and is a tasty snack.

Other additions that have been successful are cayenne; garlic powder and basil; cracked black pepper.  Let me know if you try something new and like it!  Also, if you’d like to make multiple flavours at once (and/or like a bit more rustic appearance), sprinkle your chosen spice/herb directly atop the batter once poured into the muffin tins.  It looks lovely and lets you tell the difference between the different kinds.

The final breads will puff up in the oven and fall once they begin to cool.  The centers will be chewy but should still be light.  If the centers are heavy, let them bake for a few more minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning the thin tops.

Ingredients:
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
1/2 cup packed (about 66 grams) grated fresh mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
sunflower oil spray or other greasing oil

Hardware:
medium mixing bowl (or blender)
wooden spoon (if no blender)
measuring cups and spoons
flexible spatula
large spoon or ladle
muffin tins
oven

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

If you have a blender, the directions are incredibly easy.  Add all ingredients, minus the sunflower oil, into the blender in the following order: milk, egg, flour, cheese, salt, paprika, garlic powder, olive oil.  I include this order because it has liquid on top and bottom, encouraging the entire mixture to properly circulate through the blender. Blend until combined, stopping to scrap the sides with the spatula to ensure a proper mix.

Grease muffin tins, and pour the mixture evenly to just above the middle of each cup.  It should make approximately 18 small breads.  Bake for about 18 minutes, until breads have risen and are slightly browned on top.

If you don’t have a blender, I hope you have a strong mixing arm!  Add the ingredients to the mixing bowl in the following order: milk, egg, olive oil, cheese, salt, paprika, garlic powder, flour.  The reason I include this order is because, otherwise, you will likely have a gluey substance in your bowl!  It will still take swift and heavy stirring to thoroughly combine, and the job will be made easier based on how finely your cheese is grated.  Stir until you are sure it is completely combined, scraping the sides with the spatula when necessary.

Grease muffin tins, and spoon/ladle the mixture evenly to just above the middle of each cup.  It should make approximately 18 small breads.  Bake for about 18 minutes, until breads have risen and are slightly browned on top.

German & American Potato Salad

There is little more that says American summer than a yellow, mayonaissey potato salad.  Besides meat, it was the bit of the various holiday cookouts that I despised the most.  I’ve never been a big fan of mustard, which both my parents love, and there are hundreds of other tasty ways to eat potatoes.

When I spent time in Germany, I came to try potato salad again.  It just didn’t LOOK like mustard.  I loved it.  Then, years later, my husband tried potato salad on a cruise ship.  He ate massive amounts — I simply hoped that he would OD on it and never really want it again.  No such luck.  One lovely day, a cookout of our own took place, and I made both German and American potato salads because I was eager to please. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the American variety best, and my dear husband liked the German one more.

German potato salad


Ingredients:
2 lbs. new or baby potatoes
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water (plus enough for boiling)
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 slices bacon/turkey bacon/veggie bacon (depending on whether it needs to be veggie for you or not. I use turkey bacon.)
salt and pepper

Hardware:
small frying pan
knives (or knife, singular, if you want to wash between uses)
large pot for boiling potatoes
colander
fork
cutting board
wooden spoon
measuring cups and spoons
medium casserole dish
plastic wrap (if your casserole dish does not have a lid)
stovetop
refrigerator

Directions:
Cut potatoes into small, bite-size pieces and boil in salted water until just tender. Stick a fork into them to check — you want the fork to enter easily but the potatoes to cling to the tines rather than crumble off.  Drain through the colander and allow to sit to cool to room temperature.

Dice the onion.  Fry the bacon in the frying pan until it reaches your desired crispiness.  Veggie and turkey bacon doesn’t really crisp up the same way pork bacon does, but both are considerably healthier options.  Remove the bacon from the pan, and add the onion, butter, and 1/4 cup butter to the pan.  Stir quickly with the wooden spoon until the onions begin to soften — only two minutes or so.  Stir in the bouillon cubes until completely dissolved; the consistency will resemble a thin paste. Try to work out as many bouillon lumps at this stage as they will be harder to mush later.  Remove from the heat, stir a bit more, and set aside to cool.  Chop bacon into small pieces.

Place cooled potatoes into the casserole dish.  Pour vinegar and oil over the potatoes. Spoon the onion mixture into a thin layer on top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle bacon bits over the top.  DO NOT mix together yet.  Cover with lid or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.

Let sit for at least two hours.  It’s best if you can leave it overnight. Just before serving, mix the entire potato salad together.  Serve cold.

American potato salad


Ingredients:
2 lbs. new or baby potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 eggs
1 cup each chopped onions and celery, if desired
2 slices bacon/turkey bacon/veggie bacon (depending on whether it needs to be veggie for you or not. I use turkey bacon.)
salt

Hardware:
small frying pan
knives (or knife, singular, if you want to wash between uses)
large pot for boiling potatoes
colander
fork
whisk
medium mixing bowl
cutting board
wooden spoon
measuring cups and spoons
medium casserole dish
plastic wrap (if your casserole dish does not have a lid)
stovetop
refrigerator

Directions:
Cut potatoes into small, bite-size pieces and boil in salted water until just tender. Carefully add the eggs to the boiling water for the last few minutes to hard boil.  Stick a fork into the potatoes to check — you want the fork to enter easily but the potatoes to cling to the tines rather than crumble off.  Drain through the colander and allow to sit to cool to room temperature.

Fry the bacon in the frying pan until it reaches your desired crispiness. Veggie and turkey bacon doesn’t really crisp up the same way pork bacon does, but both are considerably healthier options.  Remove from pan, allow to cool to room temperature, and chop into small pieces.

In the mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise, the dry mustard, garlic powder, basil, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, and sugar. Whisk together until combined.  Ensure the dry mustard does not have any lumps as it will be unpleasant to bite into a mustard lump in the finished product.  Add the remaining mayonnaise and the yellow mustard and whisk together.  Add in the onion and celery, if using.

Chop eggs into small pieces.  Add potatoes, egg, and bacon to the sauce mixture. Pour into the casserole dish and cover with lid or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least a few hours.  Serve cold.