The Sunday Recipe: Cheese Sauce for Cauliflower and/or Pasta #glutenfree

Gluten Free Cheese Sauce for Cauliflower and/or Pasta

I based this simple cheese sauce on Betty Crocker’s old-fashioned Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Something about the lack of the flour requires some extra flavor boost from an increase in mustard and Worcestershire sauce. I’ve used it several different ways since then. The first time I steamed a head of cauliflower in the microwave and mixed it with the prepared sauce then baked. That was a delicious side dish. The next time I prepared some gluten free pasta and combined the pasta with the cheese sauce and a steamer bag of frozen riced cauliflower that had been cooked in the microwave. I just stirred it all together and served my daughter for a thumbs up.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tapioca or corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups whole milk + ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken up and steamed (optional)
  • 1 bag of riced frozen cauliflower, steamed (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (al dente) (optional)

Directions

  1. Shred the cheese into a bowl or on a plate.
  2. Combine the starch with the ¼ cup of milk.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter to melt and add the milk.
  4. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Continue stirring gently until the milk begins to steam and small bubbles appear around the edge.
  6. Put the cheese in a handful at a time while stirring to melt.
  7. Give the starch and milk mixture a little stir and pour into the cheese and milk mixture.
  8. Continue stirring for a minute while it thickens then remove from heat.
  9. For baked cheese cauliflower – prepare a baking dish with cooking spray or butter and arrange the steamed cauliflower then pour the cheese sauce over it and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  10. For creamy mac and cauliflower – simply stir in the steamed riced cauliflower and cooked pasta then serve.

The Friday Poem: Subside

The Sunday Recipe: Potato Pancakes

Also known as potato latkes, these are a traditional meatless Lenten meal I grew up with. I’ve used every type of potato but yellow or white probably work best. I’ve tried using several other things than flour to thicken and it just doesn’t work as well. Tapioca flour is okay, but it doesn’t hold together as well as the wheat flour. The baking powder isn’t traditional but I like what it does for them. I typically serve these with cottage cheese and applesauce on the side, but I’ve also used sour cream with them. They would also make nice breakfast hash browns. I cover the bottom of the cast iron frying pan with a puddle of refined olive oil then add a bit more between batches. The hot frying pan heats it to a good temp almost instantly.

Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Extra light olive oil for frying

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the three eggs.
  2. Chop or grate the onion into the bowl and stir it into the eggs.
  3. Peel and grate the potatoes over the eggs and onion. (Food processor also works okay for this but I like to hand grate them on a large hole grater.).
  4. Get the pan heating on medium high.
  5. Dump the flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder into the bowl with the potato mixture and stir vigorously.
  6. Check whether the pan is ready by dropping just a little mix into the oil and seeing if it sizzles.
  7. Carefully place potato batter into hot frying pan. You can use a big spoon or a quarter cup measure. Pat down the mound of potato batter in the frying pan to spread it out.
  8. After 4 minutes, turn over using two spatulas, one to flip and one to hold and ease the pancake down so it doesn’t splash the oil.
  9. I can get three pancakes into my ten-inch skillet at a time. This recipe makes 12 large pancakes if you use a quarter cup measure.
  10. You may need to add some more flour to the batter as the potatoes release moisture.
  11. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Haiku 2/17/2021

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

We love cheesecake, but I prefer to make it without flour or cane sugar, and I like to make individual serving size cups too. To that end, I present you lovely little cheesecake cups in ramekins. If you have the old Pyrex fluted ½ cup ramekins, those work great too. Whatever you use needs to be oven proof.

For juice, I like Minute Maid frozen lemon juice but any other kind will work, fresh too. The flavor may just be a tiny bit more subtle. For the lime, I use key lime juice that I buy in a 16-ounce bottle in the grocery aisle. NOT sweetened. It’s shelf stable until opened then must be refrigerated. I freeze the whole bottle and take it out when I want to use some.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature or a little warm. It’s easy to get this with a microwave, but that doesn’t work for an egg. What to do? When I was learning to make macarons, I came across a simple tip. Place an egg from the fridge into a bowl of hot tap water for ten minutes. Voila, a room temp egg.

You can make this in just three ramekins for an extra-large portion. You can also place a good cookie, such as a butter short bread, in the bottom of each ramekin for a crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon or key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of tapioca flour, or cornstarch

Directions

  1. If you can remember, get your ingredients out a couple hours in advance.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  5. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  6. Microwave on medium power for one minute.
  7. Whisk together gently. Side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps works best.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese and maple syrup.
  9. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
  10. Whisk in the tapioca flour or cornstarch.
  11. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  12. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  13. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  14. Carefully place in the oven.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  17. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  18. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  19. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  20. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Writing in Circles

The Sunday Recipe: Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is the best pound cake recipe I have ever found. (I copied it down 30 plus years ago so if anyone knows who deserves credit, let me know.) It makes a nice crust that is just delicious. I tried to make it gluten free and refined sugar free, with varying results, none of them fantastic. The first time it was just a bit stodgy, using rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, and maple syrup. The second time I added an extra egg and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder but only had salted butter. The butter separated out and smoked the kitchen to high heaven. If you can stand a little flour occasionally, I highly recommend making this the old-fashioned way. If I ever do come up with a good gluten free recipe, I’ll be sure to share it.

Pound Loaf Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease, then flour, or create a parchment paper sling, for a medium sized loaf pan. (About 8 by 5 inches.)
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and blend well after each addition.
  5. Add sour cream and flavorings.
  6. Sift flour and baking soda in, then mix together.
  7. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.
  8. Cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. I like to serve this with some blueberry or cherry pie filling, but it is fantastic on its own.

The Friday Poem: A Love Note to the World

I don’t know who I was “channeling” but this is one of those poems that just popped into my head. I heard Nat King Cole singing “It’s Almost Like Being in Love” in my head, picked up the beat, and out poured this poem. If you like it, please share it.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Cornbread

My go-to cornbread recipe uses all cornmeal without any other flour, but it’s a very grainy texture and sometimes you just want something a little more sumptuous. I’ve found replacing wheat flour with a combination of white rice flour, tapioca flour or starch, and cornstarch, produces a consistently good product. If you want to use plain wheat flour, just replace the combination with a half cup of wheat flour. This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker’s Southern Buttermilk Cornbread. I like honey in my cornbread so I also replaced the white sugar with honey and increased it just a touch. For a real treat, make some honey butter to slather on slices of the bread, recipe below, you’ll be glad you did!

Gluten Free Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup light olive oil, or other neutral cooking oil 
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (the higher fat content the better)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (sugar is okay too)
  • 1 ½ cups of cornmeal (I used stone ground yellow)
  • 6 Tablespoons white rice flour
  • 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. (This comes together fast so make sure you do that first.)
  2. Whisk the eggs then whisk in the oil until combined.
  3. Mix in the honey and the buttermilk.
  4. Add the cornmeal and whisk.
  5. Measure the rest of the ingredients and pour on top then whisk them all together.
  6. Pour into a greased or sprayed 8-inch or 9-inch square pan. (Either will work.)
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Slather with butter, or honey butter.
  9. Enjoy!

For honey butter, combine 1 stick of softened unsalted butter, 3 Tablespoons of honey, and a good pinch of sea salt. Beat them together. If they are too cold to combine, microwave on 30% for a minute and beat together. Even if it all gets melted and has to be chilled, it will still taste fabulous.

The Friday Poem: Misplaced Ambition

Misplaced Ambition

Isn’t it strange how you wake up one day
with all these memories inside, and behind, you?
People who’ve influenced your storyline
inhabit space in your mind and take part
in all the stories you tell yourself each day
about what happened and what it means.
Though I’ve a richness of experience
to draw upon, I seem to have misplaced
my forward moving ambition of late.
I’d still like to write literary stories,
marry fantastical plots and prose
that goes with fast-paced action and moments
that thrill, and beauty that can be described.
Draw it all back out, in a silver stream
like a movie film beamed at a screen,
but right now, I just seem to be holding still.

© 2021 Melora Johnson

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