Thursday, May 26, 2011

Who doesn’t love blueberries?

I love blueberries and cannot get enough of them!
A couple of weeks ago I made a blueberry coconut coffeecake. I only got one small piece, so I made a smaller one for myself and didn’t share any of it!  I dropped the first one off at one of my Sister's house and left because she had people coming over for a class.  I didn't hear anything, so I assumed no one liked it.  I thought maybe they just tossed it in the garbage.

Well, today  I dropped over to take a little food because one of our sisters was affected by the recent Minneapolis tornado. She was spending nights there because she does not yet have electricity.
So my Sister (who got the coffee cake) goes "that coffee cake was really good, whoever didn't get here early missed it".  "That was really good".   Well, that made my day.

I am intrigued by recipes that are really old and made from scratch. The inspiration for this recipe came from a Native American blog: ; post Cooking with Blueberries

Recipes that call for whole wheat or white flour are the easiest to convert. When flours like rye, semolina or graham are used, there is no real substitution.

Recipes for Blueberry Bannock, a fried biscuit, can be found in many American Indian cookbooks.
This modified gluten-free version is changed to baked and reduce fats.

Date sugar is reputed to be a lower glycemic sweetener.  It is  an unprocessed sugar made from dehydrated dates that are ground into small bits to be used as a sweetener.

Print Friendly copy

Baked Blueberry Bannock (Indian Biscuits) – Gluten Free

7/8 cups gluten-free All-purpose Whole Grain Flour Blend - Self Rising* (make your own or King Arthur flour has a whole Grain gluten free blend, which will need gum and leavening – I have not tried it)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
3 tbsp date sugar (or maple sugar)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp shortening
3/8 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients including sugar.

Cut in the shortening and set aside.

Crush the blueberries to get about 1/4 cup juice.

Beat in the eggs until foamy.

Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Stir in the dry ingredients and stir just to mix.

 Divide batter evenly into a lightly greased 6 portion doughnut or muffin pan. I decided to pop a blueberry on top.

6. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on top and springs back when lightly pressed. The toothpick test can also be used.

7. After removing from oven, allow to cool about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to circle around the sides of the muffins to easily remove them. Feel free to use cupcake liners. This recipe does not have a lot of fat, so it sticks a little bit.

The pan cleans up very easily. It has an anodized finish, but does require a bit of shortening.

Serve immediately.

Servings: 6
Yield: 6

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 152 calories, 7.8g total fat, 2.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.2g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, 3.3g saturated fat, 35.4mg cholesterol, 81.8mg sodium, 87.5mg potassium, 18.9g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 17.4g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 4.8g sugar, 2.9g protein, <1mg iron.

These had a soft whole wheat texture. This was my first try at making these. They will definitely be made again.

The Blog source of the original recipe has numerous great recipes. I do ask that if you use or repost any of them, please give credit to the original Blog.

Any rice-based gluten free blend will work. Add in either almond meal or a bit of bran. A purchased almond blend would also work great with this recipe.

*My whole grain mix includes the ‘the Ancient Grains’, plus potato starch. To use your favorite non-self-rising blend, add 1 tsp baking powder plus 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp gum, if not included in the blend.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

'Southern' Caramelized Garlic Vegetable Risotto

Almost any Southerner or anyone who grew up in the South love okra in different forms. Some like it fried, boiled, baked, grilled or mixed in with other vegetables.
My preference is the small tender pods so I can either stir-fry it with other vegetables or add it to soups or black-eyed peas.

'Southern' Caramelized Garlic Vegetable Risotto
1 1/2 lb fresh small-sized okra (3 inches or less)
12 oz frozen mixed vegetable bag (corn, green beans, carrots, peas)
1 cup Italian Arborio rice (large grained)
8 large garlic cloves caramelized in olive oil
2 Tbsp freeze dried garden herb mix (several brands on market)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarse grind black pepper
1/4 cup grated garlic white cheddar cheese, optional
3 tbsp olive oil, divided (includes the oil from the garlic)

1. Wash and trim okra, removing any remaining stem. Cross-slice okra to 1/2 inch wide. Set aside
2. Wash the Arborio rice, drain.
3. Place the caramelized garlic along with a tablespoon of the oil from the garlic into an iron skillet. Turn heat on high. Add the rice and sauté for about a minute until the water has dried, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups broth or water. Cover and turn heat to low.
4. Microwave the vegetables 5 minutes - can be done at same time as the next step.
5. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in large iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat to hot.
6. Pour okra into skillet and stir (wooden spoon best) for about a minute on high.
7. Add mixed vegetables and all of the seasonings. Stir and cook on high for about 3 minutes, continuously stirring.

Cover and turn heat to low.
8. Rice takes about 15 minutes, so check the rice at that point or it could become over-cooked. If soft, fluff with a fork, remove from heat as you check for done-ness of the vegetables.

Vegetables will be slightly crunchy, not soggy. If you want softer vegetables, turn heat to medium for a couple more minutes after stirring.

9. Dump the cooked rice into the cooked vegetables and stir just to mix.

Optionally stir in cheese.
10. Serve immediately

Servings: 6
Yield: about 6 servings

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 251 calories, 8.8g total fat, 5.4g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 2g saturated fat, 4.9mg cholesterol, 223.3mg sodium, 286mg potassium, 37.8g carbohydrates, 4.1g fiber, 33.7g net carbohydrates, &lt;1g starch, <1g sugar, 6.6g protein, 1.1mg iron.

How to caramelize garlic - simple
Peel garlic and remove skins from cloves. Heat oven to 350F. Spray the cloves with olive oil or at least dip them in olive oil.
Bake on a large baking sheet until starting to turn golden brown in color. Do not burn.
After completely cooled, store in olive oil in a glass, air tight  jar in refrigerator.
I do about 2 pounds at a time, refrigerate it and never run out of garlic.

A little info about Okra

Okra supposedly originated in Ethiopia. It arrived in American South in the 1700’s along with the Slaves. It is reported that the seeds are toasted and ground, and used as a coffee substitute in North Africa and the Middle East.

The name okra derived from the West African nkruma, and was in use by the late 1700s.

Common names for okra are Lady’s Fingers and Gumbo. The French call it Gombo, in Spanish it’s known as Quibomo, and in India it’s called Bhindi. Okra is a good source of vitamin C and A, also B complex vitamins, iron and calcium. It is low in calories - 1 cup is 33 calories, fat-free, and a good source of dietary fiber.

Okra is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton.

Okra can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and eggplant. Whole, fresh okra pods can also be pickled.

I like to sauté okra with other vegetables such as corn or mixed vegetables. This meal uses mixed vegetables and rice. Large grained Arborio rice works really well, because it tends to hold the shape and does not get mushy as quick as regular white rice.