I absolutely love a road trip, especially when it’s a solo trip. There’s something about settling in to my car for a few hours, knowing that I can’t accomplish anything but driving. I usually choose an audiobook that I couldn’t pay someone to listen to with me, and enjoy my time alone. My gluten intolerance has really put a damper on these road trips, however, because there isn’t much on the road that’s gluten-free friendly, unless you want to eat nothing but peanuts for the next several hours. For longer road trips (or those driving to the middle of nowhere) I usually make my own snacks to bring along.
This year, I wanted to try out some cheese crackers for my Spring Break road trip. I’m still searching for that elusive gluten-free substitute for Cheez-Its, so I love trying out a new cheese cracker recipe. Not to mention, as a Southerner I find that that anything that’s similar to cheese straws or biscuits are full of win. According to my taste tester, these crackers are the closest I’ve come to Cheez-Its so far. And even if they miss the mark in your mind, they’re delicious, and they barely lasted the entire 8 hour trip.
Cheddar and Mustard Crackers
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2003
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 tbl dijon mustard
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients using a food processor. Divide dough into two, and roll into 2 inch thick logs, wrapped in wax paper. Place logs in freezer for 1 hour, or longer if not firm.
Remove from freezer, preheat oven to 350 F, and slice logs 1/4 inch thick. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool, then serve.
I absolutely love lazy Saturday morning brunches. Delicious food, nothing to do for a few hours, and time to spend enjoying the weekend. Sadly, the local choices seem to require either spending a lot of money or an interminable wait to get a table or order in. I’ve thrown in the towel as far as venturing out for brunch is concerned, and I’ve incorporated it into my meal planning for the week.
The one problem with this route, is I seem to find myself it a rut, which is made up of the occasional scrambled egg and a ton of pancakes. I miss those meals that are truly brunch- breakfast ingredients in a form heavy enough to make a mid-day meal, and maybe even include a salad on the side. These grits souffles will fill that hole in your brunch repertoire, and pair nicely with a light salad on the side. You may even find yourself eating the rest for a late lunch. Please don’t get concerned because of the world soufflé- this was easy to whip together in the morning, and didn’t leave me with a ridiculously messy kitchen either.
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetít, June 2008
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup quick cooking grits
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1. Set oven to 425 degrees and butter 4 medium size ramekins. Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté leek and onion until soft. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of milk and salt, then add grits. Cook grits over a simmer until cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together yokes and the remaining milk together.
3. After removing grits from the heat, stir in yolk mixture, scallions and 3/4 of the cheese. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks, and then fold into grits mixture. Divide between 4 ramekins.
4. Sprinkle souffles with the rest of the cheese, and bake for approximately 18 minutes until puffed up.
I love parfaits for breakfast in the morning. There’s something happy about yogurt, a little granola for crunch and a small amount of honey first thing in the morning. But the last thing in the world I want early in the morning is a bunch of sugar right when I wake up. Pancakes are a late morning treat on the weekends, and sugary cereals just sound horrible. In fact, you’re more likely to find me eating the leftovers from last night’s dinner than a sticky bun right after I wake up. Unfortunately, most commercial crunchy granola also comes across as too sweet for me in the morning.
My brother is the one who came to the rescue for this one. A few years ago, he created his own healthier version of granola and I have shamelessly stolen the recipe. This is definitely not the right granola if you’re looking for a lot of sweetness. In fact, I usually drizzle honey over this and yogurt to give it a sweet punch. But if you’re a freak like me, I hope you enjoy.
- 3 cups oats
- 2 tablespoons water
- 15 oz can pumpkin
- ¼ cup sugar
- nuts and dried fruit as desired
Preheat oven to 325. Mix oats, water, pumpkin and sugar in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet. Bake until completely dry, checking every 15-30 minutes and mixing the pieces to dry evenly. Once dry, allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.
I absolutely love college basketball season. As a Duke fan, I spend a ton of time in the winter in front of a television or computer screen yelling at the players (as if they could hear me all the way in Durham!) and generally being a pain for all my neighbors. The UNC-Duke game happens at least twice a year, and it’s a major event. This year I felt like proper game snacks were needed for the first game, and I turned to the Homesick Texan for fill the need. Clearly something went right, because we won! These would be great for your March Madness party, or Cinco de Mayo.
The Homesick Texan Cookbook
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 tbs. chili powder
- 1/2 tbs. ground cumin
- 2 jalepeños, sliced
- juice of half a lemon
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
The Homesick Texan Cookbook
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pits removed
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- juice of half a lime
- salt, to taste
Mash all ingredients together until smooth.
Chile con Queso
The Homesick Texan Cookbook
- 2 Hatch chiles, roasted, skin removed, and cut into strips
- 2 jalepeños
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Melt butter in a large skillet. Cook unions until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add half-and-half and chile strips to skillet, then lower heat and add cheese in small amounts. Stir until completely melted and serve.
As you can probably tell by the lack of posting, things got pretty busy around here again. Between things due for midterms, my birthday, and screwing up my knee yet again, it’s been hard to find time to post, or even cook. Rachel thought up this great recipe for crazy times when you want a home cooked meal but need to throw it together in a small amount of time. If you love the funky taste of anchovies and capers with a hit of spice, this is definitely the meal for you.
Spaghetti with Anchovies and Capers
From Rachel Eats
- 1 pound gluten free spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2.5 oz can anchovy fillets packed in oil
- 2 dried red chilies
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 cup chopped flat parsley
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta. Return pasta to pot.
2. While pasta is cooking, head olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chiles and garlic in the pan for approximately two minutes, until garlic is soft. Add anchovies one at a time to the pan, allowing to melt into the oil. Remove from heat and add capers.
3. Stir anchovy mixture into pasta, tossing to evenly mix. Add pasta water to mix evenly and create a pasta sauce.
4. Serve with parsley served over top.
I’m sure my memory is distorted, but it feels like ever Saturday night growing up, Mom and Dad would head out for the evening, leaving me and my brother with a babysitter. We never minded it- it meant a night of watching a movie and chowing down on the delicious Chinese food from the restaurant up the street, a place that was voted Best Chinese in the city every year. We took such wonderful food for granted, and I never knew until I moved away for college that it wasn’t standard to have such high quality food right at our doorstep.
One thing we always ordered was Egg Drop Soup. It was definitely your standard egg drop soup that you’d expect anywhere you went- thick and gloppy sauce with some egg thrown in. This recipe from Budget Bytes takes it to a whole new level: barely thickened, with strong flavors of ginger and green onion. I doubled the egg from the original recipe because I wanted this to be all I ate for dinner, but I would recommend cutting the number of eggs in half, and planning to pair this with some fried rice, or egg rolls if you can eat them.
Egg Drop Soup
- 1 Tb. canola oil
- 2 Tb. minced ginger
- 4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 spring onion (or you can use half a bunch of scallions), sliced thinly
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 Tb. corn starch
- 1 Tb. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
- 4 large eggs
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, approximately two minutes. Add chicken stock and tamari, bring to a boil.
2. While soup is coming to a boil, mix cornstarch with a tablespoon of water to make a slurry. Once soup is boiling, stir in cornstarch. Let soup boil until slightly thickened.
3. Beat eggs in a small bowl, and add a little water to thin. Once soup is thickened, remove pot from heat, and let the boiling completely stop. Swirl a spoon around the pot to create a whirlpool, and slowly drizzle in egg to create egg strings. Add spinach and serve.
I am so glad that my challenge of giving up sweets for a month is over! I really did need the month off. I had gotten to the point where I was extremely disappointed if I didn’t have dessert even after lunch! I feel like I finally reset my sugar cravings, but I am so glad that I can finally indulge again. Completely cutting dessert out of my diet was definitely not sustainable- the cravings were crazy the last day!
I made this the first night I could dig into dessert, and it was definitely worth the wait. The chocolate was rich and the candied ginger added added a twist that I wouldn’t expect. I ate this after a very spicy curry and it was a great combination. I would definitely make this the next time I have a spicy main dish.
Ginger Chocolate Pudding
Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Food and Wine, December 2011
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 quart half and half
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped with 1 teaspoon sugar
- candied ginger, cut into strips
Sift sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk half and half and cocoa mixture in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate. Pour pudding into individual bowls and refrigerate until cool. Top with whipped cream and candied ginger and serve.
I’ve been very absent this month! Unfortunately, typing has been a little difficult, because I cut my hand cleaning a knife. The good news for you: lots of recipes to post!
These raspberry breakfast bars are definitely for someone with a sweet tooth. These bars are delicious, but after a few mornings, I had to move on to something else in the morning. However, these are also great as dessert, so I wouldn’t write these off even if you don’t like a lot of sugar in the morning.
Raspberry Breakfast Bars
Adapted (very very slightly) from Smitten Kitchen
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter
For the raspberry filling:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbl all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1 pound raspberries (if frozen, thawed)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbl butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″x13″ pan, layer the bottom with parchment so that it overhangs two sides, and butter the parchment.
2. Put all crust ingredients but the butter into a food processor and pulse until crumbled and combined. Add butter and pulse until completely mixed. Spread 3/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the pan, reserve the rest. Bake the crust in pan for 12-15 minutes until browned.
3. Combine all raspberry filling ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well combined. (If you use frozen berries, it may be liquid- that’s totally fine.)
4. Pour raspberry filling on top of crust, sprinkle reserved crust on top of filling. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until top is browned and filling is bubbling.
5. Once cooled, cut into squares.
Sometimes you eat something at a restaurant that haunts you for days. When I had dinner with my brother and father over a year ago Empire State South, the Pimento Cheese topped with a small amount of Bacon Marmelade blew me away. How delicious! When I found it back on the menu shortly after Christmas, I had to order it. Everyone at the table loved it, and I resolved to find a way to make it myself.
Thankfully, Hugh Acheson was kind enough to publish the pimento cheese recipe in A New Turn in the South. I turned to Ms. Martha for the bacon jam recipe, mostly because it used my favorite kitchen tool, the slow cooker. The combination of these two recipes? Absolutely fantastic. You’ll be licking your plate when you finish because its so fantastic. Just promise me you won’t send your cardiologist after me when you fess up to eating all of it without sharing.
A New Turn in the South
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand
- 2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (NOTICE the roasting- don’t miss this like I did!)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
- pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Grate the cheese by hand. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. (I recommend allowing it to sit for an hour to meld the flavors).
- 1 1/2 pounds bacon, slices cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup brewed coffee
1. Over medium-high heat, cook bacon for 20 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions are translucent. Add vinegar, brown sugar, syrup and coffee. Add bacon and stir until thoroughly combined.
2. Transfer bacon mixture to slow cooker and cook on high for four hours uncovered. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse until chopped. Refrigerate.
I don’t consider myself to be much of a salad person. Greens with a little dressing can provide a nice contrast to the main event, but I rarely find myself getting excited about a salad. This beet and carrot salad is a big exception for me – I actually found myself craving this early in the morning. What kind of lunatic craves salad before lunchtime? Feel free to call me a lunatic, because I’ll be daydreaming about it around breakfast time the next time I make it.
I also loved how easily this salad came together. I usually associate beets with imperfect cooking times and a ton of cleanup. This recipe made peeling easy by boiling the beets, and the cleanup was a cinch since you use paper towels to peel the beets. (Though I will admit I still had some very pink fingertips this next day!) I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.
Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad
Adapted slightly from A New Turn in the South
Serves 6 (I say 3, and they’re still small salads)
- 1 tsp. salad
- 1 lb. baby carrots, peeled with a small amount of green left on top, greens reserved
- 1 pound baby beets, cleaned
- 1/4 pound feta, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cumin Vinaigrette
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil, and blanch the carrots. Remove carrots after one minute and place in a bowl of ice water to cool. Put beets in water and boil until soft. Remove beets from water and peel by rubbing paper towels against the still hot beets.
2. Arrange carrots and beets on opposite sides of a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil, and roast for 15 minutes.
3. While carrots and beets are roasting, finely chop carrot greens.
4. After beets and carrots are roasted, divide carrots and beets evenly between the plates. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of cumin vinaigrette over beets and carrots. Sprinkle carrot greens and feta on top.
A New Turn in the South
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted in a small pan and then crushed
- salt and pepper
Place all ingredients but salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.