Bechamel sauce and Green bean casserole


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I have mentioned green bean casserole in several posts, specifically about holiday dinners.  But you don’t have to wait for a holiday to have gluten and dairy free green bean casserole.

Two obstacles to making gluten and dairy free green bean casserole are cream of mushroom soup and fried onions.  I found really great gluten and dairy free fried onions here.  As far as I know, this is the only place you can purchase these.  You could make your own, but it’s really labor intensive.

Then there is the cream of mushroom soup.  I have been unable to find both gluten and dairy free cream of mushroom soup that I like.  You can make your own.  That’s where the bechamel, or white sauce, comes in.  Bechamel can be used not only to make cream of mushroom soup, but also for cheese sauce and lasagna.

I find it easier to whisk the bechamel in a skillet, but you can also use a large saucepan.

Ok, let’s get started with the bechamel recipe.

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For one cup of bechamel:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dairy free milk
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth (this adds flavor, if you want to omit it, use 1/2 cup of milk)
1 tablespoon dairy free spread
1 tablespoon white rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon herbs of choice, for example, thyme ( for cream of mushroom soup), italian seasoning (for lasagna)

Additional ingredients for cream of mushroom soup:

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4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped

Instructions for plain bechamel:

Melt the spread in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat until bubbling.  Sprinkle the flour over the spread and whisk until incorporated.  Mix together the milk and broth in a large measuring cup.  Pour slowly over flour mixture and whisk continually until thickened.  Bechamel should be thicker than gravy, but still spoonable.  If mixture is too thick, add additional milk or broth until desired consistency.

Instructions for cream of mushroom soup:

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute mushrooms in one tablespoon of butter, until softened.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of rice flour over mushrooms, stirring to incorporate. Follow above instructions for plain bechamel.

Assembling the green bean casserole:

Ingredients:

1 can green beans, drained
1 recipe cream of mushroom soup, above
1 package crunions

Instructions:

In a medium casserole dish, add drained green beans.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Pour in your cream of mushroom soup and stir to combine.  Add half of the package of crunions, and stir together.  At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole until needed, up to one day.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  If you have made the casserole ahead, remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking.  Put casserole in oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until bubbling.  Add remaining crunions to top of casserole, and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until crunions are slightly browned.  Remove from oven and serve.

You might need to increase the amount of the bechamel, according to the recipe.  For each cup of bechamel, use one cup of milk, one tablespoon of dairy free spread, and one tablespoon of rice flour.

There you have it!  Green Bean casserole, fresh from your own kitchen!

Review of Namaste Gluten free Bread mix


The folks at Namaste sent me a free sample of their bread mix to review.  This review is my honest opinion, regardless of receiving a free product. 

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The search for truly good gluten-free bread has led me down some interesting paths.  I have tried mixes (King Arthur and Pamela’s), and frozen, (Udi’s, Kinnickinick, O’Doughs) and have not yet found gluten free bread that reminds me of real, yeasty, chewy and gluten-filled bread.

I have to admit, I was skeptical about this bread mix.  The directions are pretty straight forward and easy, but how would it taste?

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Here are the directions from the side of the box:

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Review of King Arthur gluten free Gingerbread mix


 

 

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I don’t usually like gluten free cake mixes.  I find that most of them are disappointing. Having said that, I am consistently pleased with King Arthur gluten-free flour, so I thought I would try their Gingerbread mix.  You can also make cookies with it.

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Conquering my fear of Hollandaise sauce, with thanks to Gordon Ramsey


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I confess, this is not my picture

Until I sailed on Norwegian Cruise Lines, I had no idea you could make hollandaise sauce with olive oil.  It’s because of the butter that I had to give it up.

Before I went dairy free, I used to meet a friend of mine in a local diner.  I always ordered eggs benedict.  It always made me sick, but I had no idea why at the time.

Hollandaise is an emulsion of eggs and oil, much like mayonnaise.  If you do it right, it results in a thick, creamy and eggy sauce.  If you do it wrong; scrambled eggs.

Hollandaise can be difficult for even the most accomplished chefs.  I wanted to replicate that wonderful, creamy hollandaise I had onboard the ship.  So I did some reading up on it, and found that Gordon Ramsey’s recipe is the most straight forward.   But you can only do so much reading before you actually have to take a deep breath and just do it.  I didn’t follow his recipe exactly, and my sauce curdled.  But I was able to save it.

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Trifle


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This recipe wasn’t originally meant to be a trifle.  I experimented with an idea for a recipe, and it didn’t turn out the way I planned.  But I turned my frown upside down by re-working the idea into a delicious dessert.

I started out with my favorite King Arthur Cake Pan Cake recipe. I made some mistakes and some changes to this recipe, which might have changed the end result.  I added their cake enhancer to the batter.  I am not sure if this contributed to making the cake really soft or not.  The cake enhancer is supposed to make moister cakes that stay fresh longer.  I also cut the sugar by five tablespoons in this recipe and over poured the amount of oil. All of these changes might have contributed to the change in structure.

I originally wanted to make this a poke cake.  This might also have contributed to the softness of the cake, which prevented me from serving the squares I cut in one piece. Either way, it’s still a delicious, rich and decadent cake.

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#TBT Retro Recipe-Chicken pot pie


When I originally posted this on May 25, 2015, I was just beginning my gluten free journey.  I was never much of a baker until I discovered that if I wanted to have my favorite treats, I would have to make them myself.

When I made this pie, I was terrified of pie crust.  I still am, actually, and have not made this recipe again.  But sometimes we do things just to prove we can, and I felt a great sense of triumph after successfully pulling this recipe, or conglomeration of recipes, off. 

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Baking pie has always terrified me.  It is the one thing I have never attempted.  Okay, maybe it’s a silly fear.   My grandfather was the birthday cake baker.  But my grandmother would bake pies- from scratch with no recipe.  Ah, those were the days!

Last week, hubby was grumbling about how awful those frozen pot pies are.  One of the things I had to give up but don’t really miss.  You know the type; all crust and no filling.  Brings to mind Mrs. Lovett-“the worst pies in London”…  So I said, “I can probably make one of those” before I could stop myself.  And unlike Mrs. Lovett, I wouldn’t be using any priest.   Just plain old chicken.

I found a recipe; one thing about the internet is there are millions of gluten free recipes.  All of the guesswork and trial and error are done for you.  I only tried converting one recipe which was a bundt cake.  It became bundt crumbs when it stuck to the pan.  So I let others cry over crumbled cake.   The pot pie recipe did come with a pie crust recipe but for some reason, it sounded complicated to me.  I wanted something easier.  Pamela’s to the rescue!

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And two for tea…review of The Republic of Tea


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I posted a review the other day of The True Tea club, and how I was not really impressed with them.  I ordered a sampler of teas from The Republic of Tea, and so far, I am liking them much better.

Sampler packs are a great way to not only discover new tea, but to be sure that you like something without buying an entire box, only to discover you hate it.  I decided to get their 12 count tea bag gift sampler.  They have other sampler packs available also, so you can tailor them to your taste.

The samples came in a cute little box.  No excelsior!  The tea bags are round with no tags or staples and are easy to use.

I have tried a couple of the flavors I ordered, and so far, I really like them.  I should have looked up the ingredients list before ordering, as one of the teas contained barley malt and chicory root (I know, shame on me!).  The other teas I received checked out okay as far as dietary ingredients I need to avoid.

So far I have sampled:

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and

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Both have really nice flavors.  The banana chocolate is especially interesting and really tastes like bananas.  It is made with Rooibos tea.  The caramel vanilla has a pleasant vanilla taste and is made with black tea.  It is hard for me to find herbal teas locally that I can drink and that I like.  This is a great way to find new herbal and also decaffeinated teas.

If you are looking for a way to sample a nice variety of tea with no commitment, then the Republic of Tea is the way to go!