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:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Last night we had a bunch of fresh tomatoes which were given to us.  I was out having coffee with a friend, went home and decided that I needed to use all of them.  How should I do that with the limited time I had?

Well, first off I let hubby know dinner might not be quite ready when he got home!

Somehow I got a pasta dinner together in about 1 1/2 hours.  It's a fair amount of work, but the result was great!

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Basil

1.  Fill a 2-qt saucepan about 2/3 full with water and heat it to boil. 

2.  Put a 4-qt saucepan on the stove with 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Add one onion, chopped.  Let it cook a few minutes while you proceed to the next step.

3.  Wash ~4 lbs of tomatoes.  Drop them into the boiling water 2 at a time.  When the skins have blistered, pull them out with a slotted spoon.  Put them into cold water until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins.  Cut tomatoes in half and remove green/hard parts.  Poke your fingers through them and let all the seeds slide out into a trash receptacle.  Hold what is left over the 4-qt saucepan, and squish them into the pan to join their onion and oil counterparts.  Keep doing this until your tomatoes are all in the pan.  Yes, this is messy but if you do it with a CD of Andrea Bocelli singing in the background you will feel creative and romantic.

4.  Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and black pepper to taste.

5.  Get yourself some fresh basil, a nice bunch of it.  Rinse it off and shake it dry.  Grab some clean kitchen shears and trim off irregular pieces of basil leaves.  Drop these into the 4-qt pan as you cut. 

6.  Let the whole thing simmer on medium-low for about an hour, uncovered.

7.  Meanwhile, heat up some water in yet another pan to cook up some gluten free pasta.

8.  As your pasta is cooking, decide it you want to eat your sauce chunky, as we did, or if you want it thicker.  I figured if I wanted it thicker I could have put in some tomato paste, but we decided to leave it alone.  Also, if we didn't want the watery broth, I could have pureed the whole thing in the pan by using my hand blender.  We didn't do this, either.

9.  Toss pasta with some of the sauce.  Serve with extra sauce and parmesan.  Consume with pride. 

10.  Smile!

Off the Handle: A few more desserts and photos

Katie and Andy celebrated their first anniversary last weekend.  We had them and other family members over for dinner and a delicious gluten free cake, using a recipe from the book, The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn.  The cake was an orange cake, filled with lemon curd, and frosted with a cream cheese frosting.  It was fabulous.

Their new miniature schnauzer, Dogmatix, joined the celebration.  He is adorable!

I had also made some cookies for John from yet another cake mix.  This one used a chocolate cake mix that also has cayenne in it, for a spicy touch.  John loves it.  This time I used the cake mix, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 2 Tbs of oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla.   I then added about 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips.  I rolled them in sugar, as with the cookies of 7/22/2011, and baked them (using parchment paper to line the cookie sheet) for 12 minutes at 350, as before.  I like the way these came out better.  They had more of a cookie-like texture (as opposed to a cake-like texture). 

A day after that, we went to a car show in Granby, CT.  The sunset was beautiful.  Here it is:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Off the Handle: Peanut Butter Rice Crispie Treats

Yesterday I decided to make Rice Crispie Treats, considering that Kellogg's has come out with a gluten free version of this classic cereal.  Add to that, I came across a bag of Campfire Marshmallows, with the words "gluten-free" clearly marked on the bag.  YaY!

I used to make these all the time when the kids were little.  Easy and delicious!

I had my own way of doing this, substituting peanut butter for margarine or butter. 
(I have a life-long passion for peanut butter.)

Mmmmm.  I was looking forward to this!

I found that old recipe and got started. 

The "giant roaster" marshmallows that I got were just about 1 oz. each. 
Ten marshmallows, add peanut butter, put in microwave, measure cereal.....

Oops!  The marshmallows were flooding all over my microwave!

Luckily I had lots more marshmallows and stuff.  

Cleanup wasn't too bad.  I was actually laughing over it all. 
Here is the REVISED version of how I make my Rice Crispie Treats. 

Peanut Butter Rice Crispie Treats
(makes 24)

Spray a 9 X 13 glass pan with GF cooking spray.

Into a LARGE (12 cup) microwaveable pyrex bowl, measure out:

10 oz gluten free marshmallows, and
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter.

Put this in the microwave, and cook 2 minutes on high,
watching closely that it does not puff up so much that it overflows.

Stir.  Microwave 1/2 to 1 minute more

Dump in 6 cups of Gluten Free Rice Crispies.

Using a rounded knife or a spatula, stir everything together well and quickly.

Press the mixture into the pan, spraying your fingers or the top of the mixture with your cooking spray.  (This keeps it from sticking to you!)

Cut into 24 squares.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Off the Handle: Ice Cream Crunch Cake

I recently came across a glutenous recipe that I could tell would adapt nicely to a
gluten-free dessert.  I knew it would be perfect for one of the many birthdays
in my family during the month of August.  This was DELICIOUS!

Ice Cream Crunch Cake
(Serves 8-10)

Take a 8 or 9-inch springform pan. 
    (Mine is 8 or 8 1/2", depending on how you measure.)
Line it with foil.
Spray that with a little GF cooking spray.

Measure 4 cups of Gluten Free Rice Crispies into a large bowl.

In a smaller microwave-safe bowl, place
    3/4 cup of GF chocolate chips, and
    3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter.
Microwave 1 minute to 1 minute + 20 seconds.
Stir until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

Add the chocolate-PB mixture to the cereal and carefully combine the two.

Press this cereal mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan.
This is the tricky gets sticky.  I used wet fingers.
Buttered fingers or fingers sprayed with above cooking spray may work well, too.

Place this into the freezer.
At the same time, remove from your freezer: 
    a half gallon container of the best ice cream you can find,
        in a chocolate chip flavor.
(You won't need all of this for the cake,
but you will need extra for after your cake is gone.)

Wait 10 minutes.  Clean your bowls while you are waiting.

Take the pan out of the freezer and fill the empty space with the ice cream,
using a sturdy spreading spatula.
I placed mine in by piling on thin slices and then spreading them together.

Take 2 Tbs of cocoa powder.
Place this into a small strainer with a fine mesh bottom.
Holding the strainer over the cake, tap it with a spoon.
By moving the strainer around as you do this,
you can create a nice cocoa powder topping to the cake.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap.
Place in freezer for 4 hours.

Remove cake from freezer about 10 min before serving.
Remove from springform pan and wrappings.
Place it nicely on a pretty plate.

Cut into slices!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sausage and Cabbage Medley

We went for a walk the other day and saw three red tailed hawks, but I didn't have my camera on me.  The following day we saw one in a tree.  I took this photo.

The day after that we didn't see any at all.  I'll keep looking!

I had a bag of cole slaw in the refrigerator and decided to use it in a cooked dish.  I came up with this one!

Sausage and Cabbage Medley
(Serves 3 1/2)

Start cooking 1/2 cup of dry rice to make two cups of cooked rice.
Preheat the oven to 350.

Take one 12-oz package of cooked chicken sausage
Slice it thinly, and place it in 12-inch cast iron skillet. 
Heat it a little on the stove to get it going. 

Add one onion, chopped.

Layer on one 14-oz bag of cole slaw mix (from the produce section)
and the cooked rice.

Mix in a bowl:

15-16 oz canned tomato sauce,
1 Tbs brown sugar,
1 Tbs lemon juice, and
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce.

Pour this over the cole slaw mixture in the skillet.
Cover loosely with foil.

Bake 40 min,
uncover, and
bake 20 minutes more.

Stir the mixture before serving, and
sprinkle it all with parsley.

Serve with parmesan and freshly ground pepper!

I say this serves 3 1/2 because we ate it up and just had a little left over!