Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gram's Cornbread Dressing

I have so many fond memories of this dressing on holidays. My gram passed away in 2000, but I grew up watching this made as a family affair. My grandparents, my mom, and as many of her three brothers who were there would all crowd around the bowl with tasting spoons, arguing over whether it needed a bit more celery or 1/4 teaspoon less sage. There was no recipe and it just went by taste.

A couple years before my gram got sick, my mom finally told her there needed to be a recipe, because her girls didn't know how to make this stuff. :) They never let us help. So they sat down together and my gram tossed everything into her palm the way cool old country granny cooks do, and my mom carefully transferred it into measuring spoons so that she could pass a written recipe to me. I'm so glad, because it really doesn't feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to me without this stuff. We went without it a few years while we looked for a good gluten free cornbread recipe, but we got it, so here we are again. Yum.

2 recipes of cornbread, crumbled and dried overnight

Saute 3.5 cups celery and 3.5 cups onion in 2-3 tablespoons oil until transparent.

Crumble cornbread; mix with cooked celery and onion.

Sprinkle in 1.5 teaspoons poultry seasoning and 1 1/4 teaspoons sage.

Pour about 4 cups chicken broth and mix. (I usually use two cans)

Mix well. Pack into iron skillet (or 13x9 pan if you don't have a skillet) and bake in oven till top is crusty.

And it occurs to me now that there isn't a temperature marking. I usually throw it in on the bottom shelf while I'm cooking something else and just keep an eye on it.

Gluten Free Cornbread

I have no idea where my mom got this recipe, so I'm probably copying without credit. Sorry 'bout that, but it's tasty and I need it written in a place where I can find it!

1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup shortening (not butter)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the flours by sifting them into a large bowl. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir.

Cut the shortening into the flours, the way you would when making pie dough. You should end up with walnut-sized pieces in a sandy flour.

Combine the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Stir with a rubber spatula until everything is combined.

Stir in the cornmeal, whisking fast, until just combined. Do not overstir.

Pour into greased 9x9 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides of the cornbread are slightly shrinking back from the edge of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chick-Fil-A-ish knockoff Nuggets

Chick-fila is one of the places I really miss. We can still do the fries and coleslaw, and the grilled chicken filet, but those nuggets and that crispy #1 sandwich haunt my sleep, with the two crucial pickles....

So on pinterest I found this recipe and tried it. It was really good, but didn't quite nail it for me, so after reading all the comments and judging what I felt like it was missing the first time I tried it, I tweaked it and came up with this one. It's still not quite CFA, but it is tasty and quells the cravings. I think next time I make these, I'll run through the drive thru and get coleslaw and fries with lots of chick-fila sauce and ranch, just to make the whole experience complete.

2 big boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in little bites
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 good sized spoonful hamburger dill pickle slices
1 cup Bob's Red mill all purpose GF baking flour
1 tbsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1 tsp Mrs. Dash (I like the table-ready kind so it's ground fine, but any kind is good)
2 tbsp powdered sugar (this was in the original recipe so i kept it. not sure what difference it would make to leave it out)
1 tsp pepper
oil for frying (I use refined coconut oil- it's better for you if you gotta have oil. the recipe calls for peanut or canola but I don't do those. A: can't do peanut. B: explain to me what a canola plant is? oh that's right... no such thing. manufactured in a lab and not real food!)

Put the chicken, beaten egg, milk, and pickles in a gallon ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
Put all the flour and spices in another gallon ziploc.
Drain the liquid out of the marinade bag and add the chicken to the spice bag. Seal and shake. (If you hate fried pickles, fish those out first. I happen to love them, so I just mix them in with the chicken for a secondary treat.)
Heat your oil to 375 in a deep-ish pot, should be an inch or two deep with oil.
Drop chicken/pickles in small batches and cook about four minutes.
Try to let them cool so you don't burn your face off munching them.