The Hot Handle

A blog interspersed with occasional gluten free recipes.

Please note: If you have a family member who requires a gluten free diet, be sure to use a cast iron skillet that has never previously touched gluten....and if it has, scrub it all down completely and re-season, to be on the safe side.

Looking for information on Celiac Disease? There are many good sites, but here is one to get started with:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Off the Handle: Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

This is a little counted cross stitch piece that a client of mine made for me when I was a grad student.  She was an elderly lady.  I was honored that she took the time to make this and give it to me.  It has been hanging in my kitchen ever since I got married and moved in.

I'm sure she would be happy to know I have treasured it so much.

Too bad the food we create gets eaten and you can't look at it 30 years later.  I guess that's where photos, blogs, and memories come in handy. 

These cookies, however, were really quick to put together.  Not like counted cross stitch!!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies
(Makes 18)

Preheat your oven to 350.

Grease a 8x8 square baking pan. 

In a mixing bowl, combine:

One 10.5-oz box of Kinnikinnick gluten free graham style crumbs
          (about 2 1/4 cups),
1 cup (or a little more) gf chocolate chips,
1 tsp. baking powder, and
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional). 

I had hazelnuts handy, for some reason. 
(I store nuts in my freezer, fyi.)

After the dry stuff is mixed together, add:

1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk, and
1 tsp vanilla.

I had to use my [clean] hands to mix it a little toward the end. 
The mixture is extremely thick!
Put the mixture in your pan, using wet fingers to smooth it down.

Bake 30-35 minutes.  A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean.
Let cool *completely* before cutting.

This is nice alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
I also liked it drizzled with a little bit of that chocolate sauce from the last post.

Just plain is good, too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Off the Handle: Simple Chocolate Syrup

This photo is from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. 

I always amazed at how much information is at our disposal if we want it.  I love to spend my time in bookstores, libraries, and perusing the internet to research questions I have. 

I recently was attempting to figure out if chocolate syrup is okay for a gluten free person to consume.  But really, even if it's gluten free, did I want to have my company consuming all of that high fructose corn syrup? 

I looked around and--in my usual research style for recipes--found a number of ideas for making homemade chocolate syrup.   I take a little from this, a little from that, tweak something here, change something else, and the next thing I know I have my own recipe that really isn't like anyone else's.   If it comes out good, I put it on the blog.

Simple Chocolate Syrup
(Makes over one cup.)

In a medium saucepan, combine

2/3 cup cocoa,
1 3/4 cup sugar, and
1 cup of water.

Bring it to a boil.  Boil gently one minute. 
Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.
Let it cool.
Store in the refrigerator.

I had made gluten free chocolate cupcakes.
I poked holes in them,
poured chocolate syrup over it, and
topped it with whipped cream.

A little messy, but everyone gobbled them up!

You really can't go wrong with those ingredients. 

And what if we added some cinnamon to the mix?  Or peppermint? 
Hmmmm.....a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Roasted Broccoli and Peppers

This is a manatee in the South Florida museum in Bradenton, Florida.  He is a pretty old manatee (over 60 years old!) that cannot be released into the natural environment. 
His name is "Snooty."  He likes lettuce and broccoli and things like that. 
I had the opportunity to see him in early 2010.

Manatees are fascinating beings.  Big and slow and adorable. 
I watched this guy for quite a while. 

Snooty likes his veggies fresh, but roasting them is nice for humans.  For my Mom's birthday dinner I roasted broccoli and red peppers.  I need to do more of this roasting. 
I could have used more leftovers on that one!

Roasted Broccoli and Peppers
(Serves 4-6)

Preheat your oven to 425.  (400 will work, too.)

Take 3 stalks of broccoli, trim the stalks a little, and halve them lengthwise.

Slice up a red bell pepper into chunks or strips.  (I made pieces about 3/4" by 2").

Coat your skillet with olive oil, put the veggies in artistically,
and drizzle olive oil over it all.

Sprinkle with seasonings to taste.  I used that WOW seasoning that I have used in the past.  You probably want a small amount of salt in the seasoning. 
A little garlic is nice, too.

Cover with foil.  Bake 10-15 minutes.   Uncover.  Bake 10 min. more. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breaded and Baked Boneless Chicken

Today is my Mom's birthday!

When I was first married, Mom was taking classes on painting.  She depicted this serene scene, gave it to me, and I have had it in my living room ever since. 

It's nice to have family-created items.

I had a dinner party for Mom this weekend, with 10 people at the table.  I find cooking for 4, 6, or even 8 not so bad, but 10 gets me a little nervous.  You need to double most recipes!  When I have this size of a group, I try to keep it simple, and I write out a timeline as well as a menu.  However, I forgot to plan on some minor disaster happening.....which it did, when the oven got turned off instead of the timer.  In the end, dinner was about 30 minutes late, but still delicious.  Here was my main dish:

Breaded and Baked Boneless Chicken

Preheat the oven to 425.

Take however many boneless chicken breast halves as you need. 
(I had way too many!  But that's okay because they make excellent leftovers.)

Bang them a little with a meat mallet to tenderize them slightly.

Spread the chicken with some olive oil on both sides. 

Roll the chicken in an appropriate coating.  In Whole Foods, I found an interesting pre-made coating mix called "Kariba Farms Wheat & Gluten Free NutCrusters" in an Almond-Lemon Flavor.  This contained almond meal, soy, flax and spices.  I used this coating mix until I ran out, then we quickly scrounged up some gluten free bread and whirled it in the food processor for a while, then adding parmesan, spices and salt to taste.  Both coatings were very good.  Tonight I will have leftovers of the breadcrumb-parmesan style, topped with tomato sauce and some provolone to make a chicken parmesan alongside some gluten free pasta. 

Coat the bottom of your cast iron skillet with some olive oil. 
Put your chicken in the skillet.

Bake the chicken (uncovered) for 30 to 35 minutes.  We always check our meat for done-ness with an instant-read meat thermometer.  I'd hate to find it wasn't cooked enough after it had been served!

Those little pieces are little bits of tenderloins and such that didn't cut neatly.  Mmmmmm....chicken nuggets!

The lighter-colored piece at the bottom right had the bread crumb mixture on it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Off the Handle: Garlicky Spinach and Bean Soup

This picture shows a promise of nicer was taken off the Connecticut coastline on Sheffield Island, from last summer.  It was a really beautiful place if you didn't care about the goose droppings or the vicious mosquitoes.  Just goes to show....there's usually good and bad in everything!

Last week I made a delicious soup to use up leftover beef broth.  It came out really nice.  There was nothing bad about it.  An exception to the statement above!!

Garlicky Spinach and Bean Soup

Put in a crock pot:

2 - 2 1/2 cups gluten free beef broth,
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes,
1 15.5-oz. can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed,
6-8 cloves of garlic, run through a press, and
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted. 

Cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Serve topped with GF bacon bits and parmesan....
OR....if you have some of that leftover cooked chicken sausage that I discussed in my last post, cut that up and spoon the soup over it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Sausage

How I am fighting the winter blues:

1.  I have flowers.

2.  I got my hair done with low-lights.

3.  I am wearing bright colors.

4.  I write 10 good things about each day in my journal at night.

5.  I exercise at Zumba class.

Of course, you can't do the exercise at Zumba, get flowers, or get your hair done if you can't get out of the house.....luckily we have had a bit of a break here.  The sun shone all Sunday, and it was glorious. 

Still a lot of snow, however....

On Friday I got out to do errands, which took twice as long as it would normally due to the difficulties driving (it's hard to see around the high snowbanks) and parking (there are very few spaces available due to all the snow, which is piled up wherever they could figure).  Whole Foods had their chicken sausage on sale.  Their basic mild and hot chicken sausages are gluten free.  (Always check this!!)  I took eight home and cooked them up.  They can go with gluten free pasta, into sandwiches, in soups, or whatever!

Chicken Sausage

Put your sausages in an appropriate cast iron skillet.
Put in a half cup of water.
Turn on the heat, cover, and let it bubble away for a while.
I let mine cook for about 30 minutes.  You want to fully cook the meat.
Let the remaining water boil off.
Brown on each side.
Eat some and save some for other uses.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Off the Handle: Almond-Ricotta Tea Biscuits

This is another photo from early January in Woodstock, VT. 

Don't expect any non-snow related photos anytime soon.....

Last weekend I perused online for ways to use up ricotta in a gluten free cookie.  I couldn't really find what I wanted.  I wound up with pretty much my own creation.

As I worked, I thought, "What the heck am I doing?"
Then I figured, "How bad could it be?  The ingredients are awesome!"

Turns out it was good enough for the blog.  (Not everything is!)

I sent these to John at college, where he and his friends consumed them quickly.  They are tender cookies, not-too-sweet.  A wonderful way to serve them is in a small bowl, topped with strawberries and whipped cream....kind of a mini strawberry shortcake.  (Amazingly enough, we have strawberries in the grocery store, thanks to the state of Florida!)

Almond-Ricotta Tea Biscuits
(Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream 1/2 cup butter
with 3/4 cup sugar.

Add 1 cup ricotta (I used the full fat version)
and 1 egg.
Blend thoroughly.  Stop to scrape the mixer bowl a few times!

Add 2 cups almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill).

Mix in 10-16 oz gluten free baking mix, or pancake mix.
(I used Whole Foods brand, but I don't think they are making that anymore, so the next time I probably will substitute gluten free Bisquick or something similar.)

Roll into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls (about 1 Tbs each).

Roll these into turbinado sugar (or perhaps cinnamon sugar).

I think you need something with color here, like the brownish turbinado sugar or cinnamon sugar.  Once baked, the cookie itself is quite "white," even though it browns a bit on the bottom.  That will look a little weird without some kind of covering....

Place the balls onto parchment paper on baking sheets. 
Flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass.

Bake 12 minutes.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Update on 5/31/2013:  I made these again, using not quite a full box of Maple Grove Farms GF Pancake & Waffle Mix, probably about 11 oz, until I had a stiff dough that looked like it would work.  These spread out a bit more than the batch above, but they tasted awesome, and traveled well in a box to New Mexico.  We again enjoyed some of them with strawberries and whipped cream, but alone they make a darn good cookie.
This recipe is a keeper!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good Ol' Family Favorite Chili

I knitted this nice, cozy cowl for myself.  I wore it the next day after completing it....and I love it!  We need cozy and comforting things in this wild winter weather.

Here is one of my very favorite recipes.  It's one that my family has enjoyed for ages,
and has always been gluten free. 

HH's Good Ol' Family Favorite Chili

Take your cast iron skillet and brown 1-2 lbs of ground beef or turkey.  Drain any fat.

Browning is an important step.  Once I tried to skip this step....
the results were not pleasant!  :(

Mix the browned meat in your crock pot with:

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes,
1 6-oz can tomato paste,
1/2 cup water,
1-2 chopped onions,
1 19-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed,
garlic or garlic powder to taste,
1 Tbs chili powder, and
1/2 tsp salt.

Optional additions:
 1-2 red, green or yellow peppers, chopped,
1 tsp oregano, and/or
1/2-1 tsp cumin.

Cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Serve with some shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. 

This is a comforting dish on a cold day! and luscious!

Peter had to put a smiley face on his!