Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Possibly GF Tater tot hot dish

It is always amazing how often you have coincidences, or near misses. M and I went to the homeland to see family and boy did we see family. My Mum's side had a family reunion on Saturday and we were able to see M's family on both ends of the weekend. We came home Sunday night late, exhausted, but glad that we were able to see everyone. (Pictures of the mayhem are available on my Flicker site for friends and family, I'll probably post a few of the better ones here too)

So, back to near misses, after being at home all weekend I was quite surprised to get a voicemail from a grad school friend that was in 'Sconi visiting her own in-laws. Liz, if we had only known you were in town we could have caught up on Sunday! She called to request my tater tot hot dish recipe (yes it is a hot dish, not a casserole) She is planning on serving this Midwest delight to her new friends out east when they return from vacation.

Now, just so you know, I do think that this hot dish has a certain "low brow" factor to it, with the condensed soup and all, but sometimes comfort is really what you need. I'll post my Jello Cake recipe soon, another "low brow" but delicious excursion into Midwest culinary adventures.

So, here is the original recipe for those that can eat wheat:
2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup and a little milk
1 lb of hamburger (I usually use ground turkey)
green beans, fresh or frozen
Onion flakes
Salt and pepper
tater tots

Season the meat with salt, pepper, and the onion flakes and brown
Put the browned meat in the bottom of a 9x11 baking dish
Mix together the cans of soup and add a little milk until it gets to a good spreadable consistency
spread half of the soup mixture on top of the meat
top with green beans and then the rest of the soup mixture
cover the whole mess with lots of tater tots
bake at 350 until warm, bubbly and the tater tots have browned

Here comes the GF (I think) version:

First the ingredients (definitely the tricky part)

Ground Turkey
Peas (or you could have used green beans, mixed veggies, etc)
Onion flakes
salt and pepper (sound familiar)
1 can organic cream of mushroom soup, thickened with RICE flour, instead of wheat flour like the other brands
poultary seasoning (yes, I think it is supposed to be poultry seasoning, Dekalb Farmer's Market isn't known for their spelling)
Olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
garlic powder

It starts out, just like the other version by browning the meat. Since I was using ground turkey breast, I added a little olive oil to the pan. I added the poultary seasoning, onion flakes, and salt and pepper. After browning it, I thought it lacked flavor so I tossed in some garlic powder, and the Worcestershire sauce along with some more pepper. You can really use any seasoning you desire.

Once the seasoning was good. I added the cream of mushroom soup and the peas. After mixing it all together, I thought it looked a little dry, so I added a half a can of milk. Way too much! As you can see it became quite soupy. I tried to remedy this by adding some cornstarch and baking it a bit before topping with the tater tots. It helped some, but next time definitely less milk (if any)

Top with the tater tots and toss in the oven at 350 until golden bubbly and brown

Now, I checked the ingredients on the tater tots and I couldn't see any sign of wheat, but I didn't call or email to confirm. The same with the soup, but after running to the grocery store in the rain after work and searching for soup for a good 20 minutes. I decided both of these would be "good enough". Every normal brand of soup, does thicken their cream of mushroom with wheat flour.

So, on the next rainy or cold day, check out this little taste of the Midwest. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

GF Blueberry Steusel Muffins


So, I'm headed back to San Antonio this week and decided to treat myself to some muffins for breakfast while I am there. Lucky for me, J from work dropped off some fresh blueberries. yum!

Recipe modified from the June/July 2007 issue of Cook's Country.

1c brown rice flour
1/3c brown sugar
1/3c white sugar
1/2tsp of cinnamon
1/4tsp of kosher salt
7 Tbs of melted butter

Squish the flour, sugars and cinnamon together with a fork, add melted butter and mix until pea size clumps form.

Wet stuff:
4 Tbs of very soft butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
1 tsp lime (or lemon) zest
1/2c buttermilk

Whisk the egg until smooth and add the sugar, vanilla, and zest, whisk to incorporate. (don't you just love that bowl. It use to be my grandma's) Whisk in the super soft butter. than the buttermilk. My mixture curdled a bit, but don't worry about that.

Dry stuff:
2 c nearly normal flour
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

Whisk together to sift
reserve 1Tbs of the flour for the berries

Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, gently fold the two together.
(yup, the bowl even has a pour spout. could it be any better for baking?)
The xanthan gum will make the dough very stiff.

The good stuff:
1 1/2 c frozen blueberries

Since I had fresh berries, I rinsed them off then put them on a paper towel and in the freezer, while I threw the rest of the ingredients together. By the time I was ready for the berries, they were frozen quite nicely. Freezing the berries will prevent them from bleeding all over the muffins and the paper towel made them easy to get out of the pan. Toss the berries with the flour before adding to the batter. Fold in the berries, until evenly scattered throughout the dough.

Getting ready to bake:

prep the pan, you could butter and flour each individual muffin cup, or you could just use the pretty paper liners.
scoop in the dough, press it into the cups with a wet finger
Cover the muffins with streusel, I had a lot of streusel left over, and may make less next time. Although, the stuff is pretty good by itself.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes

Cool in the pan for 30 minutes then remove and cool the rest of the way.
Supposedly will store in a sealed container for 3 days at room temp...if they last that long

Two seconds later:

Yup, they are pretty good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Almost nothing to report.

We went though permitting with the house on Friday.

M brought all the documents in and they passed with flying colors, our GC had a crew ready to dig a big hole on Monday (yesterday) and then M got the bad news.

Although he went through the permitting review and the woman in charge said we were done and everything looked good, we have to wait one to two weeks to get the actual permit. She needs to interoffice the documents to various people and have them email her to tell her that they received them.... did I mention that she is the one in charge, and she already did the review???

Don't you just love the city of Atlanta.
total efficiency.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th! (one day late)

We had a great 4th yesterday. Nice and laid back with some friends. (Thanks MB & D for having us over, the food and company, as always, was fabulous!)

We had talked about going out of town, but with our crazy schedules we never got anything set up. I think staying home might be just what the doctor ordered, some lazy R&R, before we springboard into summer.

We are headed back to the homeland in a few weeks for a family reunion with the house and work this probably will be our getaway for the summer. My aunt and uncle are hosting the family reunion and recently asked for some pictures from our wedding. I had so much fun reminiscing that I thought I would share some of the pictures here. All of the professional pictures were taken by Carl Christie, who did a fantastic job.

M and his sis K, goofing off for the camera

For those of you that weren't there, M and I split our wedding into a weekend of festivities, a private ceremony on Friday, and a low country boil reception on Saturday. We rented out Laurel Hill Bed and Breakfast for the weekend. The two houses had just enough room for our families to stay, giving us a perfect place for the ceremony and reception.

Walking down the isle, or cobblestone path. I'm wearing my grandma's dress.
(the 6th person to wear it)

This may be my favorite picture. I think it captures the ceremony perfectly.

It's legal!

This is just so much my sister and I.

The reception (Dad and Uncle T in the foreground)

Cutting the cake.

More of the reception, the grounds were beautiful.

Cousin M, Bud, and K

At Ted's for dinner on Sunday (notice the people in the window)

All-in-all, it was a great weekend, memorable and meaningful. Everything a wedding should be!