Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm still here :-)

Hi everyone ... I'm still around but unable to post and visit due to caring for my sick wee one. Littlest gouda girl is very ill with strep throat. They also suspect she has viral meningitis. My poor baby (okay she's 10 but she'll always be my baby) feels miserable. She's a tough cookie, though, and I hope to hear her laughing again in just a couple more days.

Keep coming back and I promise lots of yummy recipes to share. I'll get over to visit all of you very soon, too. See you soon! xoxo, Paula

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fabulous Fish Tacos - Part 1 of 2 (gluten free, too)

Mmm ... Fish tacos. There’s something uber awesome about fish tacos. All those fab flavors sharing the same real-estate makes me sigh with pleasure. There are zillions of versions of fish tacos out there. I tend to favor the Baja style ones, but I truly love all varieties. I’m completely hooked on the crunch and tang of the cabbage slaw, the creamy coolness of the crema, the ocean goodness of the fish, the flavor punch-up of the pickled onions, and the earthy warmth of the tortilla. Heaven in every bite if you asked me.

In my on-going quest to incorporate more pickled goodies in my diet, I zeroed in on fish tacos. What do fish tacos have to do with pickled goodies? Well, it’s the toppings that make the difference. First, no lettuce and cheddar cheese grace these fish tacos. Instead, a lovely cabbage slaw, while not truly pickled, is marinated in a zesty vinaigrette and spooned on top.Next, how about some “Cebollas Yucatecas” which are Yucatan-style pickled onions. Those little guys are refreshing and outstanding. Rounding out the flavors is a lovely crema, some left over baked salmon, and I threw in some avocado, too. Mmm, mmm, mmm ... street food at it’s finest.

In addition to those toppers and fixin’s, guess what really gives these tacos two thumbs up? Come on, come on, guess! I’m so giddy with culinary success right now. Are you ready? Here it is: I conquered making homemade corn tortillas. Now, before you go ... Uh, that’s, uh, well dandy (notice the lack of exclamation here?), keep in mind that gluten free households tend to go through towers of tortillas on a regular basis.

While I’m lucky to have a plethora of corn tortillas available for purchase at my mega mart, I’m also well acquainted with how much better the made-from-scratch ones are. Think of it this way ... if given the choice, would you want to eat a store bought, wrapped in plastic chocolate chip cookie or a homemade, fresh and warm one? I’m guessin’ most of you will pass by the former and gobble up the latter.

So, since I use corn tortillas frequently for a whole variety of recipes (not just Mexican), I really wanted to tackle it myself. The end result? Let me just say that my days of buying tortillas are over.

These come together so fast. It only took me a mere 25 minutes, start to finish, to make 16 of these babies. I’m sure I’ll shave minutes off of there the more proficient I get. The recipe states that they will keep for a week in the fridge. Mine didn’t even last an hour. But when another batch is no more that 25 minutes away, who’s complaining? That’s a no-brainer for me ... make more. Plus, this is a great way to get friends and kidlin's in the kitchen to help out. Taking turns rolling and pressing, everyone could have a dandy time making tortillas.

Anywho ... without further ado, here’s how to make corn tortillas from scratch.

2 cups Masa Flour (not corn meal)
1 tsp sea salt
1 ¼ cups water or chicken broth (I used broth), hot
1 tsp lard (or shortening) (Hey my blogging peeps ... don’t get on me about the lard. Please read Real Food by Nina Planck.)
3 tablespoons hot waterGather your ingredients. Be sure to use masa flour.This is a tortilla press. It comes in very handy for this process. I covered mine with plastic sandwich bags for ease in removing the flattened tortillas. It worked perfectly.It’s gluten free, too!
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Masa flour and the sea salt. Dissolve the lard in the hot broth. Pour into the mixing bowl.With a fork, combine the masa flour mixture with the liquid. It will be very crumbly.When the mixture is cool enough to handle, use your hands to work it into a large ball. Add the additional hot water if necessary. I used about 2 additional tablespoons. Let it sit for a few minutes.Roll golf ball sized ball portions.Place said little ball on the tortilla press, just outside of center.Close the lid
Press the handle downOpen it up ... voila!Heat both sides in a dry skillet, flipping when the edges start to look dry. Cast iron is best but a non-stick skillet will work, too. Place in a tortilla keeper or cover with a towel to keep warm.

These babies are outstanding. I mean really, really good. You’ll never want a store bought corn tortilla again.And, like most things at It's All Gouda, these are gluten free all the way, baby! Yummmmm-eee! That's curly cabbage, by the way, not lettuce. Anyone want to come over and make another batch with me? Tune in next time when we’ll make the terrific toppings for these lovely babies. YUM!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tantalizing and Tangy – Ground Beef and Sauerkraut Soup (It's Gluten Free, too!)

Part of my re-education on eating good food includes incorporating fermented and pickled vegetables into my diet. I’m on a quest to learn how to make my own fermented cabbage, kimchi, and sauerkraut. As comfortable as I am in the kitchen, I know ZIP about fermenting and pickling. And I mean Zippo, Zero, Zilch! I’m an eager student, though, and would welcome any and all help from you as to how to proceed. Please ... someone ... anyone? Anyone else interested in dabbling in pickling? We could learn together! Hmmm ... there is always YouTube!

In the meantime, I found this awesomely awesome ground beef and sauerkraut soup recipe at Kalyn’s Kitchen. If you’ve not visited Kalyn before, please take a moment to do so now. She authors an amazing blog full of really terrific recipes. I’ve made many a dish from her repertoire, and I’m always satisfied with the results. This bowl of goodness is no exception. As we all do with each other’s recipes, I tweaked this just a bit by adding some rice and modifying the procedures. The final product was so terrific, so tantalizing and tangy, that I’ll be adding this super soup to my regular weekly homemade soup rotation.I used my new "go to" meat ... ground beef from grass fed/pasture raised beef ... and jarred sauerkraut. The end result was like a tangy cabbage roll. Have you ever made Italian Beef using jarred pepperocini? You know how the pepperocini brine adds a certain somethin’-somethin’ to it? Well, the sauerkraut does the same thing here. While plain chopped cabbage would make a wonderful soup, the sauerkraut kicks it up a notch or two with additional depth of flavor. I just adore it.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Kalyn’s. In addition to slightly altering the ingredients, I modified the cooking procedure, too. I think you'll love it. Like many recipes here at It's All Gouda, this is gluten-free, all the way, baby!

Ground Beef and Sauerkraut Soup

1 lb. very grass fed/pasture raised ground beef
3 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 14 oz. cans beef broth (Note: I didn’t have any beef broth, so I used 3 cups chix broth and 1 cup water)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 14 oz. jar sauerkraut with juice
1 additional cup water
1 T brown sugar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3 dried bay leaves
3 T minced parsley
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 cup cooked rice
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Seasoned salt (if desired)

In large dutch oven, heat the olive oil, adding ground beef breaking into small pieces with turner. When almost done browning, add the onion and garlic. Saute just a couple of minutes to soften. Drain if needed (I didn’t have any fat in the pan). Next, add the chicken and beef stocks, canned tomatoes, sauerkraut, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, parsley and sage. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for one hour. After 1 hour, add additional water. Cook for an additional hour. Add the cooked rice about ½ hour or so before the soup is done. Season with pepper and seasoned salt if desired.Isn’t it pretty? Are you tantalized? Um, I won’t ask if you’re tangy. Too much information. Back to the soup ... I love how it smells! I love how it tastes! I find the two hour simmering really breaks down the meat in a very favorable way. I enjoy the ratio of broth to filling here, too. All in all, a very tangy tummy tantalizer!

PS: On another subject, it’s CYO basketball season here at It’s All Gouda. My youngest daughter has decided to leap into the frenzy this year. Although her first love is soccer, she’s having a great time playing hoops.Uh, sweetie, this is what we call a foul. Yep, that’s my daughter, #4, enthusiastically wrapping all 55 lbs of herself around the player in possession of the ball. Yeh, the refs called it. After the game, she told me that she fouled her on purpose to stop the play. I’d say she succeeded. :-) Love it! Oh, and she doesn't just dish it out ... she takes it, too.Check out the forearm to her back! The coaches are really good about correcting both of these moves. This is 5th grade, recreational level play, and the kids are all learning how to play. It's SO MUCH FUN watching them spread their wings! They are having a great time on the court!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pop this tart! Savory Corn Torilla Tarts (gluten free)

Hellooooooo blogland! Happy New Year! Oh, how I’ve missed visiting with all of you! Did you have a great holiday? Are you refreshed and recharged for a glorious 2010? Speaking of which, let’s take a quick opinion poll. How many of you refer to our new year as “two thousand and ten”? How many of you say “twenty-ten”? I think I fall into the latter camp on that one.

Lots and lots of changes taking place here in the Gouda kitchen since we last talked. During my blogging hiatus, I’ve been educating myself on what good food means to my family. After viewing two films, Food Inc. and King Corn, my meal planning on what I will and will not feed my family has changed. My menus will reflect some of those changes. See my side bar for a link about both of these!

I won’t go into too much detail here, but suffice it to say, those two shows have changed my life. Changed. My. Life. I’m not easily swayed either, and no one could ever accuse me of being the type to jump on the proverbial bandwagon. Nevertheless, I encourage you to borrow these two videos from your local library and decide for yourself. I sat in stunned silence, particularly after the Food, Inc. program. Then I had my dad and sister watch it. They, too, sat stunned during the program. Anyway ... it my mission to spread the word about those shows. Some stuff in it won’t surprise you ... other stuff will blow your mind. Blow. Your. Mind. Yep, it will. Even if you only incorporate one change in your diet based on what you see, like only eating grass fed/pasture raised beef, you’ll be making a dramatically positive impact on your health. Go on. See for yourself.Here’s a gluten free recipe that will blow you away with its yumminess. It’s for little corn tortilla savory tarts, and I just love them. They are gluten free and infinitely versatile. Why feed your family an overprocessed globby filled poptart for breakfast, when these babies are available. Easy to assemble and store, they are a great addition to your breakfast or lunch menu when you want something quick and tasty. They are also quite transportable, for those days when you have to eat and run. These are adapted from a recipe I saw in Gluten Free and Easy.

Here’s all you need. Feel free to vary the fillings.

Soft corn tortillas
¼ cup milk
½ cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
seasoned salt
red pepper and any other of your favorite spices
2 chopped green onions or 2 tablespoons diced onion
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

¼ cup diced green chilies, green peppers, or red peppers (or your fav cooked veggies)
¼ cup corn kernels
olive oil to grease muffin tins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the tortillas on a plate, cover with a papertowel, and heat in microwave for about a minute until they are warm and soft. Dab a little olive oil on the paper towel you used to warm the tortillas, and use it to grease OVERSIZED, deep muffin tins.Gently press a warm tortillas into each muffin tin.Spoon the cheese, peppers, corn, and green onions over the base of each tortilla. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk sour cream, cilantro, season salt, red pepper and spices. Be sure to season liberally.Pour the egg mixture into the tortilla shells, filling as high as you can. No worries if there are some leaks. Bake in the over for 30 minutes or until puffed and brown. Let the tarts cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, them remove and serve. Leftovers store and reheat nicely.Viola! Look at how puffy they are! Gluten free savory tarts. The contrast of the crunchy corn along with the quiche like filling was very palate pleasing.These are great for breakfast as well as lunch. I served mine with salsa. Yum, yum!Here, make yummy noises with me. What do you think?