Tag Archives: Dill

Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

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Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

As a dietitian I get asked all the time about gluten-free recipes and food ideas since so many people it seems, either are diagnosed with Celiac Sprue or have developed wheat or wheat-related allergies.  One of the great things about food from different parts of the world, especially South Asia is that a variety of non-wheat based flours are used in cooking.  In any Indian, Bengali or Pakistani grocery store you will find “Besan” which is chickpea flour, split gram flour (a type of lentil), rice flours, potato flour and a myriad of other flours.  They are routinely used for everyday cooking in a variety of ways.  They are much less expensive to buy at an ethnic store than at a “specialty” or “health-food”  store. Not only are these delicious but they add a depth of nutritional content that is not found in traditional processed all-purpose wheat flour.  One of the complaints I hear about those having to go gluten-free is the lack of breads and crackers that taste delicious.  I recently made some homemade Thyme and Rosemary crackers http://kolpona.com/2012/03/21/thyme-and-rosemary-edam-crackers/ and decided that I could make a variation of that using non-wheat flour and the results were truly, truly delicious.  The rice flour adds a crunch to these crackers that make them so addictive that I must confess I ate most of the crackers by myself.  It was a little embarrassing.

Ingredients at a glance

Cream the butter and add the herbs, garlic and cheeses

Roll the dough into a log and wrap with plastic wrap - refrigerate at least 30 minutes

Slice refrigerated dough into 1/8 inch slices

Place about 1 inch apart on a parchment or silpat lined pan

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees

Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup of goat cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1  tsp dried dill

1 tsp dried thyme

1 whole clove garlic, pressed through garlic press

1 cup rice flour

1/4 cup chickpea flour (Besan)

1-2 tsp water (use only if the dough is not coming together)

In a medium-sized bowl cream butter with an electric mixer.  Add in herbs, garlic and cheese and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Slowly add in both the chickpea and the rice flour, add the water if needed for the dough to come together.  I did not add any salt to this recipe since goat cheese is pretty salty.  You can add some kosher salt to taste if you’d prefer. Roll into about a 9″ log and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cut the log into 1/8 to 3/8 inch rounds with a sharp knife.  Place on a parchment or silpat  lined cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a cooling rack before serving.  Makes about 24-28 crackers but you can tell others it only makes 6 (which is what I had to do because I ate most of them myself)

Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Triangles

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Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Triangles

One of the most vivid memories I have of visiting Greece as a teenager is the amazing food.  Everything tasted wonderful and different from foods that I was used to at that time.  I loved the pastries, the meats and the delicate flavors.  It’s during that trip that I began a serious love affair with Spanakopita, a crispy, delicate and delicious Spinach Pie.  I seriously could eat huge quantities of Spanakopita.  Every year in September, my city has a big Greek Festival.  I try to go annually to load up on Greek delicacies that I don’t have time to make.  For years I used to pig out on Spanakopita at the festival, when finally a few years ago I got smart.  I decided that I’d asked all of my Greek friends to give me their very best versions of Spanakopita recipes so I could try them all.  My friends were very helpful and passed on several recipes and over the last several years I’ve combined the things I liked from all of them to come up with this current recipe.  Some families like to make Spanakopita in a large pan and cut them into squares, while others prefer to make them into triangle shapes.  I love the versatility of the triangle shape since it’s so portable and because I can freeze them and bake them up individually (or a whole bunch) whenever I have a craving!

Ingredients at a glance

Saute the onions, garlic, herbs and kosher salt together

When the onions are tender, add the Spinach

Mix in eggs, cheeses and lemon juice to spinach mixture

Cover Fillo dough with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out

Brush Fillo with melted butter

Cut buttered Fillo sheets into three equal strips

Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of spinach mixture on the corner of one strip

Fold into a triangle

Fold it over on itself until it's a complete triangle

Place on a cookie sheet and brush with melted butter before baking

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes

Here’s the recipe:

Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Triangles

1 box Fillo Dough

2 pounds frozen chopped Spinach (you can use fresh but in this recipe there is very little difference)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 eggs, beaten

1 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil (I like to use fresh basil)

1 tsp dill

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (you can use dry thyme)

1 tsp kosher salt

5 stalks of Scallions

7 oz crumbled Feta

1/2 cup Ricotta

1/2 cup Cottage cheese

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

3/4 lb (3 sticks) of unsalted butter

4 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Defrost Spinach and squeeze out all excess water and set aside.  In a large skillet heat olive oil and saute onions, scallions, garlic, salt and herbs.  After onions are tender, add Spinach to the mixture and stir fry for a few minutes.  Take off heat and pour it into a large bowl.  Add eggs, cheeses and lemon juice  to the Spinach mixture.  Stir to mix well.

Take out Fillo dough from package and put them on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out.  Melt 3 sticks of butter in a microwave safe bowl  and get a pastry brush.  Place a piece of Fillo dough on a large cutting board and brush it with melted butter, working quickly so the fillo doesn’t dry out, place another sheet on top and brush that with butter as well.  Repeat with three sheets of Fillo.  Using a pizza cutter, cut three equal long strips on the Fillo.  Place a large 1 1/2 tablespoon of spinach filling on the top of one of the strips and fold it at an angle so it forms a triangle.  Keep folding the triangle onto itself until all the filling is enclosed in a triangular shape.  Place it on a cookie sheet and brush the completed triangle with melted butter.  Repeat the procedure withe the other two strips.  Continue making triangles with three sheets of buttered Fillo at a time.  Should yield about 42-46 individual Spanakopitas.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  Serve warm.

Dill Onion Bread

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Dill Onion Bread

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread.  I love making my own bread for several reasons;  I like to eat bread and there’s nothing quite like taking out your frustrations on a piece of dough.  Bread is pretty forgiving and can take a good beating…er..kneading.  This particular bread is one of my favorites.  It has onion, dill, cottage cheese, all the flavors that makes it a great bread to eat toasted, by itself or in any type of sandwich.  This bread can elevate any sandwich into a gourmet delight (except maybe peanut butter and jelly).  This is not an original recipe of mine.  I don’t remember where I got this recipe, but I’ve made this bread for about 20 plus years.

If you’ve never made bread before, don’t worry, this is the perfect recipe to try for the first time!

Ingredients at a glance.

Proofing yeast:  This is a great way to find out if your yeast is working.  Add sugar, yeast and warm water and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes until you see it begin to foam.  That’s when you know a good reaction is taking place and it will leaven your bread correctly.

After kneading all the ingredients together, place in a greased bowl (I use a vegetable oil spray) and cover with plastic wrap to rise.

Dough should double in size within 50-60 minutes.

Lightly punch down the dough and shape into a ball and place in a sprayed (or greased) round baking dish and cover to let it rise again. About 30 minutes.

Dough will double again in size.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven to bake for about 30-33 minutes (depending on your oven).

Take out of oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before cutting and enjoying.

There’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread!

Here’s the recipe:

Dill Onion Bread

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 Tablespoon Sugar

1/4 cup warm water (hot tap water will do – about 165 degrees)

1 package of quick rising yeast (2 1/4 tsp if using a bulk package)

2 Tablespoons softened butter

1 egg

1 cup cottage cheese, at room temperature

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp Dill Seeds

1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes

Proof yeast in a glass cup or bowl with warm water and sugar, set aside for 2-3 minutes and allow to bubble and foam.

In a separate large bowl add flour, salt, baking soda, dill seeds and dried onions and stir together.  Add cottage cheese, butter and egg and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Add proofed yeast to flour mixture and use your hands to begin kneading dough.  Don’t pull on the dough but press in with the heel of your hands until all the flour is incorporated and a dough forms.  Put a few teaspoons of oil on top of dough and spread it all around and flip dough over in the bowl so the whole dough is lightly coated with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft free area until doubled in size, about 50-60 minutes.  Punch dough down gently and shape into a nice, round ball and place into a greased round casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise another 30 minutes or so, until doubled in size and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-33 minutes, until golden brown.  Take out of pan and let rest on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving (otherwise bread get crushed when being cut).  Enjoy it warm or toasted later!