One thing to know before making a batch of jalapeño poppers: they are slippery little buggers! So slippery, in fact, that prepping them for frying takes a little extra care so that in the end, you have jalapeño poppers and not jalapeño exploders.
At football parties, few things frustrate me more than a plate of piping hot pigs in a blanket that I can't eat. (My team losing would be the #1 thing that frustrates me. I'm looking at you Green Bay.) A few years ago, I grew tired of this--it was time for a gluten-free version.
Traditional wheat-based pigs in a blanket are often made with store-bought dough, usually crescent dough or puff pastry. Those of us on the gluten-free diet currently don't have the option of using pre-made dough. While not as easy as popping open a can of dough, this gluten-free pastry isn't tough to make.
To prepare the dough, simply cut some butter (or shortening) into dry ingredients, add an egg and some milk and stir until a firm dough forms. That's it.
These can also be made ahead of time and frozen. After wrapping each wiener in dough, place them on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about three hours, until they're firm. Then place the pigs in a blanket in a plastic bag and return to the freezer.
When you're ready to serve, preheat the oven and bake from frozen. . . .
I was reminded of this when I first attempted to make gluten-free mozzarella sticks. The cheese sticks kept melting in the hot oil. Instead of crispy sticks with oozy centers, I had cheese that was a runny mess. Then I remembered a technique I hadn't used in years: double dipping during the first part of the standard breading procedure.
The classic standard breading procedure calls for you to . . .
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pie While traveling through New Hampshire last fall I saw a pile of pumpkin whoopee pies. "Pumpkin Whoopee Pies!" I thought. "Awesome!" If you aren't familiar with a whoopee pie, let me give you a brief primer. Whoopee pies are a classic New England snack cake. They're usually chocolate cakes sandwiched together with a fluffy white icing. So, a non-chocolate whoopee really stood out. I adore pumpkin and am always looking for new ways to bake with it. These whoopee pies are a perfect reason to open a can of pumpkin. In fact, in the fall, I think I might prefer this version of whoopee pies to the traditional chocolate. . . . keep reading
Devil Dogs Devil dogs are made by Drake's Cakes and, I think, are only available in the Northeast. But that doesn't mean you haven't eaten something like a devil dog. Think chocolate snack cake. Now, these aren't like a chocolate Twinkie. Where Twinkies are like a sponge cake, devil dogs are a little dry, but in a good way. What do I mean? The "dry" texture helps the cakes to hold together and, honestly, just tastes good! (By the way, I wondered why these are called "Devil Dogs." I found out, it's because the ones made by Drake's use devil's food cake for the sandwich.) . . . keep reading
Pigs in a Blanket I've learned a lot as the editor of this newsletter. One of the more interesting tidbits I've learned from readers is that folks really like "pigs in a blanket!" After last year's Super Bowl, I received numerous requests for an easy "pigs in a blanket" recipe. The recipe took a little longer to develop than I thought it would. Since traditional "pigs in a blanket" use crescent rolls, I needed to create a "blanket" that was easy to make and tasted "bun-ish." I settled on a biscuit/muffin style batter. Thanks to the many readers who requested this recipe. . . . keep reading
Cheese Straws I only make cheese twists when I entertain. So they always feel like party food to me. This recipe is surprisingly easy to make. Just be sure to use cold butter or your twists won't be as light as they can be. Served with wine, fruit, and nuts, these cheese twists really shine. Enjoy! . . . keep reading
Hushpuppies If you are wondering why a recipe for hushpuppies is in a newsletter without fried fish, I don't blame you! Even though hushpuppies are usually served with fried fish, I never serve them that way. I like to serve hushpuppies when I need a break from my traditional side dishes. While they go well with most foods, I particularly like them with barbequed chicken or pork chops. Yum! Of course, you could always serve them with fried fish! No matter how you chose to serve these hushpuppies, I'm sure you will enjoy them. The recipe is excellent. . . . keep reading
Bar-Style Chicken Wings I know. You can make chicken wings by tossing together wings and hot sauce and baking. But, as good as those wings are, they aren't bar-style wings. This recipe is for anyone who misses crispy bar wings. Now, all we need is an easy-to-find gluten-free beer. . . . keep reading
Garlic Dipping Oil Recipe Dipping bread into olive oil never really appealed to me. I know some folks love it, but dipping my bread into oil just didn't do it for me. Until I thought about it. I love olive oil. I love garlic. I love bread. Ahh...why not put the three together? So, I did. Oh my God! It's good. The fresh flavor of raw garlic mingling with delicate olive oil is pleasure on a piece of bread.
The measurements below are approximates. To be honest, I never measure the ingredients. I pour olive oil into my measuring cup, squeeze some garlic into the oil, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and let stand. About an hour later, I divide the oil into separate dipping bowls and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt. (The oil is so good I find myself "double dipping", so my own bowl is a must.) I then cut up whatever gluten-free bread is around and begin dipping. . . . keep reading
Turkey Roll Recipe I really like Thanksgiving leftovers. You don't need to cook for days and the food is really good! What could be better? These Turkey rolls were born when I was out of bread, but wanted some leftovers for lunch. The flavor of the corn tortilla goes very well with the turkey, cheddar and cranberry. . . . keep reading
Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread Recipe I eat cheese spread three times a year at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. This recipe takes only a minute to put together and is much cheaper than pre-made spreads. It tastes better too! . . . keep reading
Easy Spinach Dip Recipe Whenever I make this recipe, everyone clamors for the recipe. Served with vegetables, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free bread or chips, this dip is delightful. . . . keep reading