Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Dessert

Contributed by Kathleen Pierce

Memorial Day confuses me a little bit. Here is a day that is a day off for remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in a free country...and we are celebrating with cookouts and parties? On the other hand, I suppose that those cookouts and parties are all part of the special freedom we enjoy because of those who gave up their lives. So I like to at least honor the memory of those who died by serving something patriotic at our cookout. Yesterday I made this:

It was an easy creation. Here's how:

1. Make your choice of pie shell - gluten-free or with flour. Press into a tart pan and bake until lightly browned. Cool completely.

2. For the filling: combine 1/2 block of softened cream cheese, 1/4 c. honey, 1 c. of heavy whipping cream whipped to stiff peaks, and 2 t. vanilla. Spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Slice strawberries and arrange on tart. Add blueberries to the center. Chill.

A yummy dessert for Memorial Day or for the 4th of July!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Almond Flour Focaccia

Original source: Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Erica Kerwien (the voice behind Comfy Belly)
Contributed by: Kathleen

Pizza Crust (Focaccia)

2 c. blanched almond flour
1/4 t. each dried basil, oregano, garlic powder (optional)
1/8 t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. shredded parmesan cheese (or a softer cheese or mixture of hard and soft)
1 T. olive oil

Mix flour, herbs, and salt together. Add cheese. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add olive oil. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix. Divide into separate "pies" or keep as one large one. On parchment paper, spread mixture out to desired size, shape, and thickness. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with hidden vegetable pizza sauce and whatever other toppings you prefer. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Parchment paper is one of my newest best friends. Seriously. It makes it possible for me to make things like kale chips and...well, and almond focaccia pizza crust without having to scrape them off my baking pan like yesterday's road kill on Rt. 66. If you don't have a roll several rolls in your pantry, go buy one several now.

To aid in spreading the "dough" out, I find that dipping your fingers in water before attacking the task helps.

Basic Pizza Crust (with Herb variation)

Original source: The Urban Homemaker
Contributed by: Kathleen

Basic Pizza Crust(Makes 2 crusts)

4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. yeast
1 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. warm water
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1-2 T. each basil and oregano (optional)

Combine oil, honey, water, and yeast in mixing bowl. Allow yeast to bloom. Add salt and flour and mix using the dough hook on your mixer. You may not have to use all 4 cups of flour - use just enough that the dough pulls cleanly off the sides of the bowl. Add in your optional ingredients to make this an herb crust. Knead for 4-5 minutes (and by kneading, I mean with the dough hook, though I suppose you could do it the old fashioned way with some muscle behind it). Let proof for 45 minutes to an hour. Then roll out, top, and bake.

So in the actual recipe that comes from The Urban Homemaker, she says to just mix all ingredients together. I personally like to let my yeast bloom first. I think it's because I just enjoy seeing the concoction poof up. Dare I say it delights me?

She also instructs you to go directly from kneading to rolling out and finishing it up. Not that I like to drag things out or anything, but I prefer to have my dough of any kind proof before I do anything to it. This is probably because my oven has a really cool proof setting, and I feel all professional and Food Network-y using it. Also, there is nothing quite so satisfying as punching down your dough after it's risen. Am I right?

For the toppings, I always, always hide a ton of vegetables in my pizza sauce. Because as most anyone knows who knows my kids, 3 out of 4 of them are deathly allergic to vegetables. That's why this is one of my favorite meals to feed them...they love it, and I can hide so much in it! Today, for example, they are getting pizza topped with kale, red peppers, and onions, and they don't even know it. They are especially allergic to kale. I'm such a mean mom. To hide these insidious ingredients, I just throw them into my NutriBullet and pulverize them into unrecognizable oblivion.

I should play a villain on some sort of Food Network superhero show.

Oh, one other note: I most often feed them pizza for lunch, so if I plan ahead, I make this dough the night before, let it proof, then stick it in the fridge. Then about an hour before lunch, I get the dough container out and let it sit again before proceeding.