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, December 31, 2011

Holiday Cooking Recap

Here's a recap of the cooking we did this year for the holidays:

I meant to make Pizzelle (1/22/11 post) here, but never got to it.  I will have to do that soon.

John made some Peanut Butter Cookies (10/3/10 post) here, to share with friends, but then there were plenty of leftovers to put on our table at home.

We did, however, make Italian Almond Cookies (6/25/11 post) here, decorating some with whole almonds instead of slivered almonds.

We also made my famous Almond Biscotti (1/2/11 post) here.

We couldn't forget "The World's Only Good Fruitcake" (12/29/10 post) here.

And, of course, the Christmas Pierogi for Christmas Eve (12/26/10 post) here .

It's important to use every last bit of our HoneyBaked Ham in soup (1/30/11 post) here.

We had company during the week between Christmas and New Year, so I just used my Family Favorite Beef Stew recipe (12/8/10 post) here.  That, combined with the GF Cheese Biscuits from Whole Foods, makes a nice dinner.  We topped it off with leftover Christmas cookies (as mentioned above) and some ice cream.

Good thing I enjoy cooking!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gluten Free Holiday Peppermint Brownies

Merry Christmas!

These are delicious.....


Put out two sticks of butter (1 cup) to soften.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Take out a 9x13 pan.  Spray it with GF cooking spray.

Step One:  The Brownie Layer

Take out your mixer.  Put one stick of the butter (1/2 cup) inside the bowl. 
Run the mixer to cream the butter.
Slowly add:
1 cup of sugar, and
two eggs.

Take two 1-ounce squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.
Put this in the microwave to melt.  It doesn't have to melt all the way. 
Once it looks kind of melt-y, just stir it up with a teaspoon until it's smooth.  

Drizzle this into your butter mixture as the beater runs. 

Stir in:
1 cup of gluten free flour, and
1/2 cup of chopped nuts.

Pour this mixture into the pan.  It will be stiff.
Use wet fingers to smooth it down.
Bake 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.

You can turn off the oven now.
Clean your mixer because you need it for the next step, too!

Step Two:  The Peppermint Layer

In the mixer, place 1/2 stick (4 Tbs) of the butter
Run the mixture to cream the butter again.
Slowly add:
2 cups of confectioner's sugar (a.k.a. powdered sugar),
2 Tbs of water, and
1/2 tsp of peppermint extract.

If you dare, taste this mixture. 
This can be dangerous:  you may not want to stop tasting the mixture! 
(Perhaps you can limit yourself to licking the beaters?)

Put this amazing peppermint concoction into a small bowl and cover it with some plastic wrap. 
Clean up your beaters and mixer bowl. 
By now, your brownies might be cooled.  If not, go have tea and check it out later.

Spread the peppermint concoction onto the cooled brownies.

Step Three:  The Chocolate Drizzle

Melt 2 more 1-ounce squares of unsweetened baking chocolate, as before,
but add 2 tsp of sugar to it.
(Alternately, you can use two 1-ounce squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate without the extra sugar.)
When you go to stir this all up, add 2 Tbs of your softened butter. 
(Yes, you will have 2 Tbs of butter remaining.  Return that to the fridge.) 
Stir this all up and make sure it is of drizzling consistency. 

Drizzle this all over your nice white peppermint top to make a pretty design of your choice. 

Chill in the refrigerator.

Cut in to squares. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Singing a Song

The day after Thanksgiving, I always tune into a local FM radio station, "Lite 100.5."    This station plays strictly Christmas music from Thanksgiving through Christmas.  Others think I am nuts at first, but then don't complain as we listen to toe-tapping beats of familiar tunes.

I figure that there is one month out of twelve that I get to do this, so what the heck?

As I pondered why I like Christmas music so much, I decided that it is some of the most "singable" music around.  We all know the tunes and the words (mostly), so belting out a few lines comes naturally.

I am sure that my musically-inclined friends will agree that singing is good for the soul.

I am thinking that singing a song a day will be a good New Year's Resolution.  I have already been trying to sing out loud a tune from the radio as I drive to work, whether I feel like it or not.

Other singable songs include songs from the "Great American Songbook" and Country music.

Yes, singing a song a day will make a good New Year's Resolution.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The broken branches hold on to their leaves!

After the devastating Halloween snowstorm, the treescape has changed.

One sees the typical December bare branches, but they are interspersed with downward-facing broken limbs.  These limbs continue to sport dead leaves.

It appears that nature has something here.  To remain alive, the tree needs to drop the unnecessary leaves.  The dead branches hold tight to them.

There is a time for getting rid of things.  For cleaning out your closets.  For putting aside pettiness.  For saying goodbye to some aspects of your life, secure in the idea that Spring will arrive eventually.

Interesting that this happens just before the December holidays (i.e., Advent) and the New Year. 

I guess we should take these things out to the road, assuming there is pickup service available. 

(Hey, if I can't wax philosophical on my own blog, when can I?)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunset in Newport

We took a quick trip to Newport, RI, yesterday.  The Newport Winery had one of their special tastings.  It's always fun.

Having some household tasks to accomplish at home, we didn't even leave our town until after noon.  It's a good two-hour drive, but that gave us enough time to do what we really needed to do.

When I visit Newport, I have to take the Ocean Drive and view the water near Brenton Point.  It's breathtaking.

We climbed down to the rocky area to collect my favorite type of rock:  the nice smooth, rounded, and fairly flat ones.  These are fun to stack in a zen-like fashion. all these years, I never realized that there is a fantastic view of the sun setting over the water from there. 

I ran around, clicking photos left and right.  I attempted to get a photo of BOTH the sunset and the waves crashing against the rocks, but that didn't quite pan out.

A group of three young adult women asked me to take a video of them with their camera.  Delightfully, I filmed them speaking in Spanish, creating a "commercial" for a brand of makeup, as a class project.  They were incredibly cute. 

Time passed quickly.  I didn't even notice how chilly it was getting until we actually got into the car. 

As we drove, we discussed how sunsets always seem brighter in the colder weather.  I guess it takes a little bit of chill to achieve clarity of vision.  There may be a parallel to life there somewhere....

We didn't get a chance to go shopping at the Brick Marketplace, which we often do.  We wanted to drive a little way, get some dinner, and arrive home at a reasonable hour.  But heck, I already had my rounded rocks (and my photos) as souvenirs.