Gluten free strawberry crumble

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Although we are not on a restricted gluten free diet, I like to explore different possibilities for gluten, when I can. It also seems that going gluten free greatly improves my husband’s control of his diabetes.
Spring in the air, fruits are looking better and better every day, I found this amazing recipe here, and had to give it a go.
Huge success, the combination of oats and shredded coconut was brilliant, gluten free and very yummy. Easy to put it together, a great dessert for the warm evenings that are about to start.

Gluten free strawberry crumble

4 cups (1 L) halved hulled strawberries
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Crumble Topping:

1-1/2 cups pure uncontaminated large-flake oats
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Stir together strawberries, brown sugar, cornstarch and vanilla; scrape into 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish.

Crumble Topping: In bowl, whisk together oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs with some larger pieces. Sprinkle over strawberry mixture.

Bake in 350 F (180 C) oven until topping is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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Gluten free strawberry crumble

Standard

20140426-102309.jpg

Although we are not on a restricted gluten free diet, I like to explore different possibilities for gluten, when I can. It also seems that going gluten free greatly improves my husband’s control of his diabetes.
Spring in the air, fruits are looking better and better every day, I found this amazing recipe here, and had to give it a go.
Huge success, the combination of oats and shredded coconut was brilliant, gluten free and very yummy. Easy to put it together, a great dessert for the warm evenings that are about to start.

Gluten free strawberry crumble

4 cups (1 L) halved hulled strawberries
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Crumble Topping:

1-1/2 cups pure uncontaminated large-flake oats
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Stir together strawberries, brown sugar, cornstarch and vanilla; scrape into 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish.

Crumble Topping: In bowl, whisk together oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs with some larger pieces. Sprinkle over strawberry mixture.

Bake in 350 F (180 C) oven until topping is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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Milk buns from Heaven

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It seems I can’t keep up posting what I’ve been cooking lately. Just had a hard time trying to post through the WordPress app on my iPad, which used to work like a charm. Finally had to give up and use my laptop instead, while finding some time to inform WordPress about the issue. I literally lost 2 entire postings! It is a lot of work gone down the drain, as we all know, specially because writing in English doesn’t come as naturally for me. However, this morning, as most Sundays, I had my coffee reading my dear blog “Life in a flash” at Menomama3′s Blog and as always, she inspired me to rescue my lost postings and keep going.
I shouldn’t blame only WordPress for my absence in the blog. We are in the process of relocating, big move ahead of us, hopefully this summer. On top of this our little puppy Stella went through a major surgery in both back knees 2 weeks ago. It was a heartbreaking experience with the 3 of us at home doing anything and everything to keep her comfortable and safe. She is doing well now is having a wonderful recovery and the care is being easier and less stressing.

Anyway, I’ve been cooking too!

I found this recipe in the House & Home magazine, from chef Eric Vellend. I was planning to try the technique of baking bread with a steaming water tray in the bottom of the oven, to get the glossy brown crust for a while and had the opportunity to do so with this recipe.
Perfection! I couldn’t expect for a better result: moist, light, these buns melt in your mouth. As dinner rolls they stole all the attention from the main dish!

Milk buns
1 cup whole milk scalded and cooled
1 cup water at room temperature
3 tbs honey
3 tbs olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast ( 1 envelope 8 g)
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more if needed

1 large egg at room temperature, beaten

Place milk, honey , water and oil in large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve honey. Add yeast and salt. Gradually stir flour with a wooden spoon, until dough forms.
Transfer to floured surface. Gently knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth, 5 minutes.
Oil bowl, large enough for the dough to double size and place dough in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in warm spot until doubled in size, 1 hour.
Transfer dough to floured surface and briefly knead to knock out gas. Return to bowl, cover again and let or sit for 45 minutes.
Transfer dough yo the floured surface again and divide into portion the size of a tangerine ( 45 gr). Form each portion into a tight ball. Place 1/2 ” apart on parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm spot for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Bring kettle of water to boil. Pour 1″ layer of water into a roasting pan and place pan on bottom shelf of oven.
Brush tops of buns with egg and bake in upper third of the oven until golden brown, 20 minutes.

The pan of hot water creates steam in the oven, which helps the buns rise better and form a glossy and brown crust.

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The magic of a crispy and fresh no knead bread

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I finally did it! I’ve been waiting for a long time to try a “no knead” bread recipe. I mean, a long time, years actually. I waited until I made one of my most precious kitchen investments and purchased my Le Creuset – Round French oven pan . I was persistent and lucky enough to find the pan, in my choice of color, at Home Sense – Winners at half price! It is the one I use every day, cast iron spreading the heat beautifully and evenly making my cooking faster and easier. I leave it on the stove since it is so pretty and colorful! Other than one frying pan and one sauce pan, I hardly use anything else in the kitchen pans department.

I had seen Laura Calder making this bread and found the exact same recipe The miracle boule on line. Followed her directions and voilà!

The simplicity of the ingredients, flour, water, yeast and salt makes one appreciate the mystical symbolism that bread has always had in the history of civilization, as one of the basics foods for human beings for centuries.

The exchange is quite simple too, no need to knead but you do need to wait. Start to make the night before, 5 minutes of super easy preparation to put the dough together and then forget about it. Next morning or afternoon it will be ready for the next step, one more raise.
Patience does pay off. It is so beautiful to see the yeast working its magic, no intervention needed, as many times we should behave in life, waiting for things to go its own way…

I just loved the whole process and I am now with 2 more doughs gently sitting on my counter top. Forgot to mention how delicious and indulgent was to have the fresh and still warm bread with butter. Simple and irresistible.

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I followed Laura Calder recipe completely. The only thing I would add is to cover the dough bowl with a wet cloth to avoid the dough of being dry. I read many other recipes and tips on the “no knead” bread and apparently you can get the same result with pans that are not cast iron like mine. There are some more information about it here.

Now, to the recipe:

No knead bread

3 cups or 375 g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cup water
Cornmeal, wheat bran or extra flour

Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir in water to blend. What you’ll have is a wet, shaggy, sticky dough, but not so wet as to be batter. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours. It’s ready for the next step when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it. Sprinkle over a little more flour and fold it once or twice. Cover with the tea towel and let rest 15 minutes.
Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, wheat bran or flour and lay the dough on it, seam-side down. Dust with more cornmeal, wheat bran or flour. (You need quite a lot because you want to be sure the dough doesn’t stick to the towel). Cover and let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will be more than double in size.
Half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Put a 2-liter cast-iron pot or Dutch oven (cocotte) inside to heat.
When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough into it, seam-side up. (It will look messy, but this is OK.) Shake the pot to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is nicely browned, another 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

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Perfect moist and light banana bread

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Bananas are very abundant in Brazil, all shapes, many different types, found everywhere, a fruit that is commonly taken for granted, as so there is an expression to describe it: “as cheap as bananas”. You would think that banana bread would be a favorite there too but it is not.

There are plenty of banana cakes, banana pies, breads filled with banana and cream, tons of different types of banana desserts but nothing like the North America’s favorite, banana bread. I tried it for the first time still in Brazil, many years ago, in a friend’s house, who used to be a baker in Montreal and I fell in love since.
I never miss an opportunity to try a different one at any coffee shop and I am always experimenting with new recipes, like my Ultimate and fluffy banana bread, still looking for the perfect banana bread, that would remind me of that first one.
So it happened! I was flipping the pages of the last issue of Canadian Living magazine and found it! I had to try it right away and so far, this will be the one I will be baking, for ever!!
The original recipe is here.

The secret that makes it so special ? Let the mashed ripe bananas soak for 5 minutes with buttermilk and baking soda and the magic of fluffiness gets started!

Moist and light, no surprise that baking with brown sugar and real butter would bring the banana flavor very alive, but it was worth it! I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat flour and half of the brown sugar with sweetener to make it diabetes friendly.
If you like walnuts, chocolate chips or raisins, go ahead and add 1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite thing.

Perfect moist and light banana bread

1 loaf – 12 pieces

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Stir together bananas, buttermilk and baking soda. Let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until combined; beat in egg, vanilla and banana mixture. Stir in flour mixture until combined; scrape into greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake in 350 F oven until cake tester inserted into centre comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Homemade healthy granola bars

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For the times when you’re craving something sweet and doesn’t really need that nasty chocolate bar to fulfill your desert desire, I have the healthy solution! These granola bars are sweet, nutty, crunchy and delicious. It is great as a snack, tucked in your purse for work, for kids in school and as a quick breakfast on the go. For me, it has the sweetness I normally miss in the cold nights of this never-ending winter, with my tea and I get the added benefit of being totally satisfied and craving-free.

I love all the ingredients in this recipe, specially the taste of coconut that goes so well with cranberries. Although the original recipe, from Ina Garten, calls for dates, I will replace it next time for a different dry fruit, probably raisins. I found dates were too sweet. It was my first time using wheat germ and I was very pleased with the result and the taste. Easy, fast, healthy and yummy, give it a try! You will never buy granola bars again!

Homemade healthy granola bars
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Shrimp and palm hearts tart for your Super Bowl dinner

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My Super Bowl dinner is ready and frozen, just in case we decide to watch the game. We are not big fans of football, for me the commercials are the biggest hit, although here in Canada we don’t get to see all the hot ones. Anyway I guarantee we will eat this tart with or without Super Bowl.
I like to serve with a fresh arugula salad and a soup since the weather calls for a steaming one. It is a good choice for a quick meal, lunch or pic nic. I know, I’ve been a bit delusional lately, dreaming of summer, in this coldest winter in the last 20 years, here in Canada. It would be soooo nice to see some double digits temperatures that are not below zero, for a change…

I used store-bought pie shells this time but if you have the time make your own. Here there is a pastry recipe I’ve been using.
I love palm hearts but I know it is not so popular in North America; you can find it in most grocery stores, canned and they make up for a variety of dishes, from salads – just plain with some extra virgin olive oil – to soups and soufflés.

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By the way, the soup I am making is my ever tasty Cheesy cauliflower cream soup .

Shrimp and palm heart tart

2 to 4 portions

1 lb uncooked medium or large shrimps, deveined and peeled
1 small can (480g) Palm hearts, water drained, sliced
1/2 small onion chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 package of Tenderflake pastry (2 pies shells) previously thawed
1/4 cup green olives chopped (optional)
2/3 cup frozen sweet peas (optional)
finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
2tbs butter
3 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 cup liquid (milk, cream of your choice or vegetable broth)

Pre heat oven to 400F and place the shelf in the center.
In a medium pan cook the onion in the olive oil until tender and transparent, add the shrimps and cook for 1 min. just until, pink. Be careful to not over cook at this point since the pie will be baked. Set aside.
In the same pan, medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux, stirring quickly. Add the liquid you’ve chosen, stirring well, until all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from heat.
Add the previously cooked shrimps, the palm hearts, olives, red flakes, peas and parsley, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the pie with the shrimp mixture, arrange the second crust on top, pressing the edges with a fork. Make a few small slits in the dough to let the hot air out. Brush with egg wash if you like and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 15 min with the foil and then for more 20 min without it until the top is golden brown.

Enjoy and Happy Super Bowl game!