Roasted cranberry chicken

December 16, 2009

Perhaps you have a can of cranberry sauce in your cupboard, leftover from Thanksgiving, that you don’t know what to do with. This recipe is for you. The brining step is optional if you are trying to cut back on your sodium, don’t have time, or don’t like the taste of brined meat. If you do have the time and forethought, the brine will guarantee moist and flavorful chicken through and through. You might want to start at the lower end of the brining time your first time making the chicken, brining it longer the next time if you would have liked more flavor, as the 6 hours of brining might make the chicken too salty for some tastes. Serve the chicken and gravy with steamed brown rice and roasted butternut squash.

Brine:

  • ¼ C salt
  • ¼ C sugar
  • a few long sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • water
  • one gallon resealable plastic bag

Chicken:

  • 3 ½ to 4 lbs bone in chicken breasts with skin
  • 3 T softened, unsalted butter
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1 T chopped ginger
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can of cranberry sauce (whole berry or jellied)

Fill the resealable plastic bag one third to half full of lukewarm water. Add the salt and sugar, swishing it around a bit to help it dissolve. Add the chicken breasts and rosemary and seal the bag. Place the bag in a in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours. Remove the chicken from the bag and rinse it thoroughly (or else the chicken will be too salty).

Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with some paper towels and place them into a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the finely grated zest of a lemon and of an orange with the butter. Separate the skin of each chicken breast from the meat with your fingers and rub the zest-butter mixture under the skin of each chicken breast. Sprinkle 1 T chopped ginger, the juice of a lemon, the juice of an orange and about 1 T balsamic vinegar over the chicken breasts. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake the chicken at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Place the cranberry sauce in a bowl and mash it with a fork so that it is easier to spread over the chicken. Take the chicken out of the oven after 20 mintues and spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce over the chicken, putting  the remaining cranberry sauce in with the pan juices. Bake the chicken for another 20 to 30 minutes at 450 degrees, or until internal temps reach 165 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place the chicken breasts on a platter to rest, loosely tented with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Skim the fat off of the gravy in the pan. Serve the chicken and some brown rice with the gravy.

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Cream cheese cookie dough

December 14, 2009

Here is the recipe for a very rich, tender and versatile cookie dough. This year I used it to make thumbprint cookies and bar cookies. If you are not gluten free, substitute 2 C all purpose flour for the gluten-free flours and omit the xanthan gum.

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened (gluten free)
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 ¼ C sorghum or rice flour (or half sorghum and half rice)
  • ½ C tapioca flour
  • ½ C cornstarch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine the flours and xanthan gum together in a bowl. With an electric mixer, cream together the softened cream cheese and butter. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Then gradually mix in the remaining dry ingredients.

*For thumbprint cookies, chill the dough for an hour or two. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into small balls. You can roll the balls in some finely chopped nuts if desired. Place the balls of dough on a greased cookie sheet and make an indentation in each ball with your thumb. Using a baby spoon, place some jelly of your choice in the indentation. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are set but not browned.  Allow the cookies to cool thoroughly on the cookie sheet before removing.

*For cookie bars, you can mix the additions of your choice into the dough (I used chocolate chips, chopped almonds and sweetened, dried cranberries) or press the toppings firmly into the top of the dough after spreading it in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake the 9 x 13 pan for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the pan. Allow the cookie bars to cool completely, at least a couple of hours, before trying to cut them.

Sour tapioca flour…beware!

December 10, 2009

Tapioca flour/starch is indispensable in my gluten-free baking because of its mild taste and the wonderful texture it adds to any baked good. Occasionally, however, after eating some gluten-free baked good, an offensive aftertaste lingers in my mouth. It almost seems as though someone dumped extra baking soda into the dough.

The culprit? Bad tapioca flour. Every once in a while I open a bag of tapioca flour and catch a whiff of that sour smell. A quick taste confirms the tapioca is inedible. I have also had this experience with gluten-free mixes that perhaps have sat on the shelf too long. So I am issuing this warning – taste your tapioca flour before baking with it. It should not have a lingering sour, baking soda taste.

Happy baking!

Gluten-free Naan!

December 3, 2009

I had made many attempts to take the gluten out of the delicious flat bread that I used to eat at Indian restaurants, but to no avail. You can imagine my triumph, then, when my husband tried this flat bread the other day and smiled, “it’s naan!” My main hurdle was trying to press the sticky gluten-free dough into flat rounds…very difficult. So, I have opted to press all of the the dough with liberally oiled hands into a jelly roll pan to make a large flat bread, and then cut it into square portions after it has baked. Just keep oiling your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them as you press it out. You’ll love it!

  • 1 package of rapid rise yeast
  • 2 C sorghum flour
  • 1 C tapioca flour
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T olive oil or melted butter
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 C of warm water
  • ½ C plain yogurt, warmed slightly in the microwave

Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl in the order listed, and mix them together for a few minutes with an electric mixer. The dough should be pretty sticky. Liberally oil your hands and form the dough into a ball. Press the dough, with well oiled hands or spatula, onto a greased jelly roll sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven and set the heat to 400 degrees. Once the oven reaches 400 degrees, bake the bread for another 5 to 7 minutes or until it is golden on top. Cut the flat bread into serving size pieces with scissors or a pizza cutter.