Agave Pumpkin Pie with Walnut-Brown Sugar Topping

                                   Agave Pumpkin Pie with Walnut-Brown Sugar Topping

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 can (15oz) pure pumpkin
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup light agave nectar
2 eggs

Pie Crust:
1 unbaked 9" gluten-free pie crust (found at natural food markets)

1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and spices. Continue beating until smooth. Add agave nectar and eggs one at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Pour filling into gluten free pie-crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 350°F and bake 30 more minutes. While pie is baking, combine all topping ingredients and blend into fine crumbs. Use a blender or small food chopper to do this.

After 30 minute time, sprinkle topping evenly over top of pie. Continue to bake pie for 10 to 15 minutes longer (or until knife inserted in center comes out clean). Let cool and then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Can be made 1 day ahead. Tent with foil and chill.

ready for a feast...

Thanksgiving dinner complete with pear and spinach salad, 
lemon-garlic green beans, braised carrots, maple roasted sweet-potatoes,
 GF cornbread stuffing, cranberries, turkey and of course PIE. 


Thanksgiving Side-Dish! Colorful Roasted Potatoes with Sage

This is probably one of the easiest and healthiest side-dishes you could have at your Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, it tastes delicious!

                                                        Colorful Roasted Potatoes with Sage

1 1/2 lbs. mixed fingerling potatoes (red, purple, yellow), cleaned and cut into about 1/2" to 3/4"cubes
1 1/2 lbs. red skinned sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbs coarse kosher salt
20 medium fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl;  toss to coat well. Spread mixture in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are tender and begin to brown around the edges. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring at the 1/2 way (20 min) mark. Serve roasted potatoes warm or at room temperature.


Holiday Iced Sugar Cookies

This recipe has been adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe: Foolproof Holiday Cookies. Of course cooking with gluten-free flours is far from foolproof. The recipe in Cooks is simple, straightforward but I had to do a bit of tweaking to make them gluten-free and acceptable. I was shocked when I could actually roll out the dough as I have experienced many gluten-free sugar cookie failures that have ended up in the trash...

Holiday Sugar Cookies
1.5 cups sweet rice flour
3/4 cups fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
16 tbs butter, cut into 1/2" pieces, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs cream cheese, softened

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum until combined, about 5 to 10 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add the vanilla and the cream-cheese and mix on low until dough begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl to form a large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and divide in half. Pat into two (2) 4-inch disk. Wrap each in parchment paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. 

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375°F. Roll out 1 dough disk to a fairly even 1/8" thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters and place on a parchment paper- lined baking sheet, spacing cookies about 1-inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough ball. Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature. Do not ice cookies until completely cool. 

(These cookies can be simply made non gluten-free. Follow all instructions, but omit baking powder and xanthan gum and use 2.5 cups white flour instead of the GF flours) Enjoy!

All-Purpose Glaze (Cooks Illustrated Nov & Dec 2011)
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tbs milk*
2 tbs cream cheese, softened

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Spread glaze onto completely cooled cookies. Let glaze dry completely before serving, about 30 minutes. 

*For citrus flavored glaze, substitute orange, lemon, or lime juice for the milk. The glaze can also be flavored with 1/2 tsp of your favorite extract. Or you can add a bit of lemon, lime or orange zest to the glaze for a subtle flavor. 


Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

There is something about fall that I really love yet also feel very sad about. The warm smells from the kitchen, the abundance of pumpkins and squash at the farmers markets, the warm days and cool nights...yes these are the things about autumn that make me smile. But all too soon, it comes to a screeching halt and I am left with cold bitter days, wind, fallen leaves, loads of snow, and the daylight is far too little. On cold days, I want warm comforting food so I turn to one of my favorite blogs for inspiration: Smitten Kitchen. Of course Deb at the Smitten Kitchen does not have a gluten-intolerance so I must adapt accordingly!

In my younger days, aka when I didn't know I was gluten-intolerant, I would make galettes for my vegetarian hubby. There is something beautifully rustic about them. Maybe it's because they remind me of a quaint french bistro or maybe it is all the savory or sweet goodness that is inside. Whatever the reasoning, today I wanted a Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette (original recipe here).

I haven't mastered my own flakey, buttery, gluten-free pie crust, so I used the recipe from Bella Gluten-Free to make a savory crust (no sugar). I was able to see "Bella" in action at a recent Boulder County Celiac Meeting and her pie crust was a big hit with the attendees. I purchased a bag of All-Purpose Baking mix to test out in my own kitchen. The recipe for sweet and savory pie crusts are on the back of the bag.

                                             Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1 cup +2 tbs Bella Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix
1 tbs ice water
6 tbs cold butter

1. Make pastry crust by following instructions on Bella Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix.

2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

5. Assemble galette: roll the dough out into a 10-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

fontina and sage

pastry flour

galette, before baking


Spicy Chicken Fajitas

I adapted this recipe from Jaime's Food Revolution cookbook. Naturally, being from NM I like a little more spice than recipe calls for, so adjust the seasonings to your liking. 

                                                                     Chicken Fajitas
                                                                        (serves 3-4)
1 red or orange bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 portobello mushroom
2 small zucchini/ summer squash
2 skinless, boneless chicken bread fillets (preferably organic or free-range)
1 tsp smoked paprika
generous pinch of ground cumin
2 tsp red chile powder
2 limes
olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
corn tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 avocado
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh salsa (homemade or store-bought)
fresh cilantro (optional)

Use a grill pan or large skillet on medium-high heat. Halve and seed your bell pepper and cut it into thin strips. Slice mushroom and squash into thin strips. Peel, halve, and finely slice your onion. Slice your chicken lengthways into long strips roughly the same size as your bell pepper strips.

Put the bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, squash and chicken into a bowl with the paprika, chile powder and cumin. Squeeze over the juice of half a lime, drizzle over a lug of olive oil, season with the salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside to marinate for 5-10 minutes.

Use a pair of tongs to put all the pieces of bell pepper, onion, and chicken into your preheated pan to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is golden and cooked through. As the pan will be really hot, keep turning the pieces of chicken and vegetables over so they don’t burn – you just want them to lightly chargrill to give you a lovely flavor.
Halve the avocado, scoop out the flesh from both sides and slice. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the avocado slices.

Warm your tortillas up in a microwave or on a warm dry frying pan. Divide your warmed tortillas between your serving plates. At the table, carefully help yourselves to the chicken and vegetables straight from the hot grill pan.
Halve your remaining lime and squeeze the juices over the sizzling pan. Serve fajitas with bowls of plain yogurt/sour cream, avocado alongside your shredded cheddar and your fresh salsa. Garnish with cilantro. 

                                                                        Fajita Feast!