Tequila Macerated Berries w/ Lime Whipped Cream

>> Tuesday, August 25, 2009

As summer begins to retreat, I am grabbing on with both hands; willing the long warm days and abundance of fresh fruit and veggies to linger on a bit longer. This dessert makes use of the last of the summer berries, it also screams summer. It's a perfect end to a BBQ and would even make a great picnic dessert if it's prepared ahead of time and kept cool until serving. This recipe may also give one a new appreciation for tequila. It allows you to enjoy the subtle agave flavors without the side effects of a massive headache and wondering why you're sleeping in all your clothes.

- 1 lb. container fresh strawberries (16 oz)
- 1 lb. container fresh blueberries (16 oz)
- 2 containers raspberries (8oz each)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp anejo tequila (adjust to taste but don't over-do it)
- juice of one lime

Start by zesting your time and setting the zest aside for your whipped cream.
Hull and slice strawberries

Slightly muddle or gently smash blueberries with a fork (leave mostly intact, you just want to rough em up a bit so they can absorb some tequila)

Mix strawberries and blueberries and add raspberries
Spoon sugar over mixture and stir gently
Add tequila and lime juice and stir gently
Refrigerate at least two hours, up to 24, stirring once every hour.
Serve with lime whipped cream

- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- zest of one lime
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar

Measure sugar into a small bowl then zest lime into the sugar. Mix and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Put mixing bowl and beaters in freezer until ready use but at least 30 minutes. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and a little water. Place a smaller metal bowl on top of the ice water in the bowl and pour the cream into the smaller metal bowl. Using electric beaters or a whisk (you must have major muscles and stamina to do it old skool, a whisk attachment for electric hand beaters is ideal) whip/whisk until stiff peaks begin to form. Add sugar mixture and whip until you have light, fluffy whipped cream. DO NOT OVER-WHIP or you will make lime flavored, oily butter. Yech.

Spoon berry mixture into a bowl or goblet and top with whipped cream. This recipe is insanely good and the tequila is very subtle, not at all knock-you-on-your-butt alcohol-y.


Blue Cheese "BCT" Coleslaw

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

Those of us new to a gluten-free lifestyle know that we have to be really careful and do our research when it comes to eating almost anything. Gluten hides in unexpected places like soy sauce, salad dressing and even Mc D's french fries! I had read that blue cheese often contained gluten because most blue cheese is made from bread mold. I was pretty sad to hear this because I LOVE blue cheese; I was REALLY sad about it when I had a big bite of delicious coleslaw at a party, not knowing that is was chock full of blue cheese. The one bite I had haunted me. I couldn't stop thinking about that tasty combo of crispy cabbage, tangy blue cheese and salty bacon. I had to have it. I went online to do some digging and found this helpful site.

I could eat blue cheese!?! Hallelujah! I now know that I just have to be smart and search for brands that I know do NOT contain gluten. So far I have had no trouble finding G free options. Shout out to Ralph's for incorporating new labels on their private label products that clearly show whether the item contains wheat (or any of the other eight major allergens.)

You really must try this recipe. It's insanely easy and makes the best coleslaw I have ever had, hands down. Heck, I didn't even like coleslaw until I tried this! I tweak the original by adding halved cherry tomatoes to make kind of a Blue Cheese "BCT" (bacon, cabbage, tomato) slaw. Feel free to leave the tomatoes out if they are not your thing, maybe add something else like avocado chunks (mmmmmmmmm.) This recipe is the perfect side for summer grilling.

- 8 strips of Niman Ranch bacon
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- pinch of celery salt
- 16 oz coleslaw mix
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Pre-heat oven to 375.
Place bacon strips on a foil lined cookie sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes or until very crispy but not burned. Drain and cool the strips on paper towels then chop or crumble them into small pieces.

Whisk together all wet ingredients, add the blue cheese, sprinkle in celery salt to taste and whisk some more.

Stir in the coleslaw mix and sprinkle in the bacon.

Top with tomatoes, mix gently and serve!


Extra Crunchy Gluten Free Chicken Strips

>> Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One thing I miss about being able to eat wheat is the blessed, heavenly crunch of deep fried whatever. I am not super picky when it comes to fried things. Onion rings, fries, calamari, mozzarella, Oreos, Snickers bars, you name it, batter it and fry it and I will eat it (except chicken fried steak: NASTY!!!!)

Though my scale hasn't bemoaned the absence of these delicacies, my tastebuds surely have and thus I decided it was high time I bought a deep fryer. I found the perfect one: sleek, compact and it actually fits easily on my countertop! So what if it can only fit two chicken tenders or about five french fries at a time? Fried chicken doesn't have to be hot to be good! I fired this baby up for the first time to make a batch of crunchy chicken tenders. Now, when I say crunchy I mean you can barely hear your own thoughts when you eat these bad boys. In other words, they were perfect.

*I served the strips with my Blue Cheese Bacon Coleslaw and Parmesan Garlic Dipping Sauce. The Sauce recipe is in this post, the slaw will be my next one.

- 14 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (I bought them pre-cut and trimmed but you can also just cut up chicken breasts)

(Mix dry ingredients then divide in half and reserve half for batter)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups buttermilk

- 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- reserved seasoning mix
- 1 can club soda

- 6 cups gluten free Rice Chex cereal

Mix dry ingredients for the marinade then divide into two parts.

Put half in a large plastic ziplock bag and save the other half. Pour the buttermilk into the bag and seal it mix the powder and buttermilk well by shaking and squeezing the bag. Put the chicken tender strips in the bag and refrigerate overnight or for at least five hours.

To prepare the coating, place the Chex into another zip bag and squeeze out most of the air then seal the bag. Roll over the bag with a rolling pin to crush the Chex. You want it really crushed. Trust that even crushed into a semi-fine powder, this will make a nice crunchy coating. Once it's crushed up, pour it into a shallow pan (something with sides) for dredging.

To prepare the batter, pour the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and the rest of your seasoning mix into another shallow pan and mix with a fork until combined. Pour the club soda into the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. You may not want to use the whole can of club soda. Start with half a can and add until your batter is your preferred consistency. I used a whole can but I wish I had used less and made a thicker batter.

Line a pan or baking dish with plastic wrap to put your breaded tenders in. One at a time, take the tenders from the bag with the marinade and dredge them first in the batter mixture then coat them evenly with crushed Chex. Place each coated tender in the dish. Once the dish is full, add another layer of plastic wrap then put another layer of tenders on top then cover that layer with plastic wrap and so on until all the tenders are coated with batter and the coating and all are securely covered with plastic wrap. Put the dish of tenders in the refrigerator for at least one hour before frying.

To fry: I used peanut oil and followed the instructions on my deep fryer. If you don't have a deep fryer, fill a large, deep pot or skillet with enough peanut oil so that the tenders will be able to float if you place two or three in the pot at a time. Heat the oil to 375-400 degrees F (make sure you use a thermometer.) When the oil comes up to temperature, drop in a couple of tenders. Let cook for about 6-8 minutes. Check your first tender for doneness then figure out how long your tenders will need to cook based on that. Fry the tenders two at a time and place them on a cooling rack to cool. Serve with a dipping sauce like my garlic parmesan mayo!

Garlic Parmesan Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup Mayo
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/3 cup Parmesan grated on the smallest hole on a box grater (the one that basically makes a powder)
- 2 small sprigs of fresh thyme (discard the stems and chop the leaves)

Mix together, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve!