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Category Archives: potatoes

Pierogi Pizza

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Yesterday was John’s birthday.  It happens to fall on National Pi Day, and it makes this former math teacher giggle every year.  For several years I’ve made him pie for dessert instead of cake at his request.  His favorite meal is pizza.  If you haven’t noticed, we don’t have pizza often.  It’s hard enough when you’re gluten free, but toss in dairy and tomatoes and it all gets more complicated.  Now, John can still eat pizza, he’s not allergic, but the date falling during Lent puts a hitch in the situation.  This issue was discussed last week in a Facebook group I follow.  One suggestion was to try a pierogi flavored pizza.  Thanks for the idea, Elizabeth; it was great!

We tried to make real gluten free pierogis when we were studying Poland last school year.  It was pretty much a flop.  They all fell apart in the boiling water.  It was so bad that I finally baked the rest.  The baked ones were great, but I pretty much gave up trying to make gluten free-egg free pierogis ever again.  Pierogi Pizza was a much better idea.

Pierogi Pizza
I started with this pizza crust recipe.  As always I was missing a few ingredients, so I improvised a little.

I started by mixing this gluten free flour blend:

2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup teff flour

I doubled this pizza crust for my family, but next time I might triple it.  It worked out this time because I had extra mashed potatoes and dessert coming.  Don’t worry I plan to share the dessert recipe in the next post.

Pizza Crust
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tablespoons safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon vinegar, optional

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of additional liquid at a time, until dough comes together easily. Cover and let sit at room temp for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With lightly oiled hands, press dough into a 10″ circle on a lightly floured pan, building up edge slightly.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Remove crusts from oven, top with sauce, etc. and return to oven. Heat until toppings are bubbly, about 8-10 minutes. Parbaked crusts can be stored frozen to use as needed.

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This is the part where we diverged from traditional pizza recipes.

Earlier in the week I started fermenting sauerkraut using cabbage from my St. Patrick’s Day produce pack using mason jars and this method.  The finished product was waiting in the refrigerator.

Once I had my pizza dough mixed and resting, I started boiling 2.5 -3 lbs of potatoes for our mashed potato “sauce”.  These I mashed with almond milk and some nutritional yeast.  Sorry I didn’t measure that part.  Then I mixed in about two cups of sauerkraut.  Taste and add salt if needed.   The adults in the house thought that it needed more kraut, but the kids thought it was just right.

While the potatoes were boiling, I started browning one very large thinly sliced onion in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Stir regularly.  Once the onions were pretty brown 10-15 minutes, I drizzled them with a couple of tablespoons of safflower oil, sprinkled them with salt, and reduced the heat to medium-low for another ten minutes or so.

Then I sliced mushrooms and tossed them in to saute with the onions.  I had a few sprigs of fresh thyme from my St. Patty’s pack, so that went in too.  At this point I felt that it needed some color.  Once the mushrooms were cooked I added some spinach I had in the fridge leftover from our spring rolls the day before.

Somewhere towards the end of mashing the potatoes and cooking the mushrooms, I patted the dough out on the floured pizza pans and parbaked them according to the directions above.

I spread the mashed potato “sauce” on the cooked crust and topped it with the onion and mushroom mixture.  Discard the thyme stems as needed.   Bake for another 8 minutes and serve with oven roasted asparagus.

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Baked Potatoes with Turkey and Broccoli

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Tonight’s dinner was fast and easy.  That was good, because Little Man refused to nap today.  He’s about to turn three and is becoming particularly mischievous.  It’s time to pull out the preschool quiet time boxes, so I can get dinner on the table.

This is our favorite way to make baked potatoes.  This is the original recipe that I modified for my first post on this blog.

Baked Potato with Turkey and Broccoli

Baked Potatoes with Turkey and Broccoli

10 small potatoes, baked using your preferred method
1 lb cooked shredded turkey from the freezer
1/2 medium onion diced
2 lbs broccoli, steamed or roasted
2-3 T olive oil
salt to taste
Vegan Parmesan Cheeze (optional)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that has a lid.  Add the onions and start cooking with a pinch or two of salt.

Add the cooked turkey when the onions have turned translucent.  Stir it until well mixed and the turkey is warm.

Place potatoes on the plate.  Slice and mash slightly with a fork.  Drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil and a pinch of salt.  Top with turkey and Parmesan.

I served this with steamed broccoli, and served leftover mango rice pudding for dessert.

The Tenth Day of Christmas – Fried Chicken

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I only make fried chicken twice a year.  Once after Pascha and once after Christmas, so it is a treat for everyone.  You see, there are no chicken nuggets in our house, not even the gluten free varieties from the store.  At the very least they all have some pepper in them, so Buster would be left out if I bought them.  Since he struggles with feeling left out of “special” things in general because of his allergies, I don’t like to do it inside the house unless it is unavoidable.

I originally planned to prepare this meal during the Christmas celebrations, but a rescheduled church party pushed it to Tuesday instead.  In lieu of this meal the children helped make sugar plums as our festive contribution.  Buster pitted dates; Snuggle Bunny measured the fruit; Little Man added the nuts; and I added the spices.  I substituted allspice for the cinnamon.  Then I only had ground fennel, so I didn’t bother with the toasting step.  Everyone helped roll the sugar plums in coconut, then we were off to the party before I thought to take a picture.  They were so good that there were no leftovers after the party; Little Man may have single handedly finished off a third of the batch himself, as I remember him having one in each hand most of the time.  The party was lovely, but as always we left right when the guitars came out with a sobbing two year old–the sign of having too much fun.

Fast forward a few days and I finally made the fried chicken.   While the oil was hot, I also whipped up a pepper free batch of Sev with the sev maker I received for Christmas.  It took less than ten minutes and was very tasty.  Much was eaten for snacks, but we did manage to get one breakfast of Poha out of this batch.

Sev
Moreover, I have a hard time throwing away good food.  So every time I make fried chicken, I make frybread out of the leftover flour and almond milk from chicken coating.  I have no actual recipe.  Each time I add about a half teaspoon of baking powder, mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk together until smooth.  The batter should be a little bit thicker than pancake batter.  Sometimes I have to adjust by adding a little water or additional flour depending on the given consistency.   Then I fry the mixture about a tablespoon at a time in the oil after the chicken is cooked.  I think this may be as close to Navajo Frybread as my family will ever be able to get.

Fried Chicken
Oh, those little potato looking things to the side are really taro root.  I got both taro and malanga when I was shopping for the pasteles.  I wasn’t sure which one was the correct choice, so I bought both determined to find a way to use the incorrect one.  I roasted them according to this recipe.  I left out the peppers and used the optional curry leaves, since I had some on hand.  They were very good and the children would have eaten twice as many.

I served honey mustard for dipping.  It’s nothing fancy–just half Dijon and half honey whisked together.

Fried Chicken

1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into nugget sized pieces
oil for frying

Dry Ingredients (more in similar proportions if necessary)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca  starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 cup water or nondairy milk of choice (I use almond milk)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder

Whisk dry and wet ingredients into separate bowls.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or skillet (this cast iron is my favorite).  You will know when it is hot enough because a drop or two of water sizzles gently in the pot; if the water causes the oil to spatter violently, decrease temperature.

Dip the nuggets into the flour and the milk and then the flour again until evenly coated.  When you have 8-10 nuggets ready, you may start the first round frying assuming that the oil is hot enough.  Cook for 5-8 minutes turning regularly.  You will know that the chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked throughout if you cut through the middle of a nugget.  It’s always the chef’s prerogative to sample the first nugget for quality assurance.

Continue until all the chicken is cooked.

Make frybread if desired.

Serve with your favorite sides.

The Ninth Day of Christmas: Pasteles

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I’m one of those people that asks questions of other shoppers while in ethnic food stores.

“What is this?  What is your favorite way to cook it?”

Most times I get a cursory answer or someone who doesn’t speak my language any more that I do of theirs.  Sometimes, though, I meet that friendly person who is delighted to share their culinary knowledge.  Right before Christmas was one of these times.

I asked about an herb that was right next to the cilantro.  It was called recao (or culantro).  This lovely lady was using it to make Recaito (Puerto Rican sofrito) for Pasteles.  She spent time telling me in detail about Pasteles.  She gave me enough information that I was able to go home and track down a recipe.

Pasteles are very similar to tamales, only the masa is made of quite a variety of tubers, gourds, and green bananas.  Then you boil the pasteles submerged in water rather than steaming them like tamales.

I didn’t think that I was going to manage to make these this year seeing as I was out of fresh pumpkin and didn’t have plans to acquire any.  However, I ended up bringing my mom’s last pumpkin home from our Christmas festivities as she wasn’t going to manage to use it before it went bad.

Since I was already shopping for tamale supplies, I simply got enough banana leaves for this process as well as the few extra ingredients.

I followed this recipe using the food processor instructions.  I simply substituted pureed Mexican zucchini for the peppers and tomatoes in this recipe and the recaito.  I froze the extra recaito in an ice cube tray to use another time.

I found annatto seeds at an ethnic grocery store.  To make annatto oil infused 2/3 cup canola oil with about 1 1/2 teaspoon annatto seeds on low for about 20 minutes.  This way I could season the meat and infuse the oil without having the rest of a bottle of annatto oil hanging around my pantry.

For the sazon packet I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, annatto seeds, and garlic powder into the pot with the meat along with the other ingredients in the recipe.

Also, yautias are tubers called taro or malanga at the grocery stores near me.  However, taro is also a name given to a smaller tuber.  Yautias are larger than baking potatoes, while true taro is smaller than a red potato.  I read that either will work, but the malanga is the most traditional.

Pasteles
John and I liked the pasteles.  We though they were a fun derivation from our tamales.  However, of all three children only Little Man liked them.  I guess we’ll have to stick to tamale making in the future.

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Hamburgers

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Not only is it the seventh day of Christmas, but this day also marks the end of another calendar year.  I have been reading peoples musings on the past year and their goals for the coming year.  I have no grand thoughts or life changing goals.  I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions.  I like to make small goals for myself throughout the year as needs arise instead of large goals once a year.

Our family is also the one that never makes it to midnight awake.  John’s schedule has us early to bed and early to rise.  We’ll be lucky to make it to 10pm.  So, Happy New Year, ya’ll!

Our day was filled with searching for banana leaves for meals these next few days.  We’re making tamales with friends tomorrow and trying pasteles on Thursday.  The meat is cooked and broth has been made from yesterday’s turkey.  With all those pots simmering together, I kept dinner simple. We ate hamburgers.

I rarely do buns with our hamburgers.  The kids disassemble them anyway when I try.  Tonight I tossed in some oven fries and cooked slider sized burgers in the cast iron skillet.  The burgers were served on a bed of lettuce with some honey mustard on the side.  I might normally add an additional vegetable side to this meal, but I didn’t buy anything this week since I thought I had more vegetables in the freezer.

Hamburgers
My honey mustard is nothing fancy.  I simply whisk together Dijon and honey in eyeballed equal parts and adjust to taste.

I also planned to slice an avocado, but when the neighbor kid showed up for dinner I forgot that detail.  Pray for his family because tonight they were waiting for his grandfather to arrive for hospice care.

The Sixth Day of Christmas: Turkey with Trimmings

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I bought turkeys on sale in November, and they’ve been waiting in the freezer for the Christmas feast to come.  I defrosted one and roasted it for today’s meal.  I actually got everything ready for Monday’s lunch, which turned out to be a great impulse because my car’s battery died after an errand later in the day.  I’m so glad I had leftovers to feed everyone after we made it home.

Special thanks to my neighbors who helped John get my car running and back home again after work last night.  You really are the best neighbors ever!

Turkey with Trimmings

With the turkey I served:

mashed potatoes (mashed with broth)
sweet potatoes with marshmallows (I kept some plain for Little Man who can’t have the corn)
green beans
cranberry sauce (recipe on the bag)
stuffing
gravy (turkey drippings, millet flour, broth, and salt… sorry I didn’t measure)

Fourth Week of the Nativity Fast: Vegan Colcannon

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After John left to sleep at the hotel Sunday night, I realized that we forgot to light our fourth advent candle this week.  We decided to wait until he got home to do the readings.  He got home too late last night, so tonight we caught up with the weekly readings and cooked together for some events coming up at the end of this week.

This week’s Advent candle is white and represents peace.  While we could do some sort of dove craft this week, we may just simply work together to create a peaceful atmosphere in our house.  That may be a bigger task than originally imagined after all this icy weather kept us cooped up together.

Fourth Week of Advent

You’d think with being iced in that I’d have had more time to blog, but with John gone for over 48 hours I had more than enough to keep my hands away from the keyboard.  This week has kept me on my toes making meals with what was already in the house.  I am glad that we got our Bountiful Basket Saturday morning despite the weather, so that I didn’t have to venture to the empty shelves at the grocery store.

Here’s the rundown of this week’s meals so far:

Black Rice Salad

Bok Choy Miso – This time I left out the beans and added softened rice noodles.

– This simple mung bean soup:

Mung Bean Soup
Saute some carrots, onion, and celery with ground rosemary.  Then add the cooked mung beans and salt to taste.  I served it alongside stir fried napa cabbage with shitake mushrooms over brown basmati rice.

Vegan Colcannon – This was a new recipe that I’ve had bookmarked for months.  I omitted the pepper and used russet potatoes; regular cabbage and mustard greens from our CSA took the place of the savoy and kale in this recipe.  The results were great!  Everyone asked for seconds.  It was a simple meal, but very satisfying.  This would also be a great fasting meal for studying Ireland.

Colcannon