Monday, September 30, 2019

Gluten Free Cornish Pasties

I'm heading to England to teach and as always, I tend to make food from the country I am visiting before I get there. It's a pretty unconscious motivation and I don't realize that I am doing it until after I have cooked the dish. This time, I made Cornish Pasties, also known a Hand Pies, using the Gluten Free Pastry Dough from my new Cookbook - so you are getting a recipe preview. Of course, this filling is very different!

Cornish Pasties were first made as a lunch meal for miners, as they were easily portable and could be eaten with one hand. The filling was always quite simple, usually minced Lamb or Beef, small chunks of Potatoes, Carrots and often Rutabaga. I like to add in Celery too. The seasoning for the filling is light, usually just salt and pepper and sometimes a bit of Thyme or Worcestershire Sauce and I kept to the tradition, because I like to serve them with Steak Sauce which adds more flavor. The Pastry is usually made with Lard or Butter or these days, Vegetable Shortening. The  Xanthan Gum holds it together and lets you roll it out. Make the filling first and get it cold before trying to fill the Pasties. These also freeze well, but they will take a bit longer to cook. I am taking some with me on the plane as I am leaving now....

Gluten Free Cornish Pasties

Meat Filling

1/2 pound of ground Beef or Lamb
1/2 cup of diced Onion
1/2 cup diced Potato
1/2 cup of diced Carrot
1/2 cup of diced Celery or Rutabaga
1/2 teaspoon Salt
pinch of fresh ground Pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups of Beef Broth
1 heaping Tablespoon of Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons Water

In a large saute pan, cook the Beef (or Lamb), Potato, Carrot and Celery pieces on medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add in the seasonings and the Beef Broth and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the harder vegetables are just getting a little soft. Then add in the Cornstarch slurry and stir until the mixture thickens. Cool completely before using as a filling.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough

1 ½ cups Gluten Free Flour Blend
2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum (if the Flour Blend does not include it)
½ cup cold Lard, Butter or Vegetable Shortening
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 large Egg for Dough + 1 additional Egg, lightly beaten for the Egg Wash
1/3 cup Ice Water

In a food processor (or large mixing bowl), mix together the Flour, Sugar and Salt.  Then add in Lard (or Shortening or Ghee). Pulse until it is incorporated (or use a pastry cutter or two forks). Then add in the Egg and Cold Water and mix until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill until cold (about 30 minutes). 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Then lightly dust a cutting board and rolling pin with a little extra flour. Roll out ½ of the dough at a time and cut 4 - inch circles with a cookie cutter.  Use a dough scraper to lift the circles of dough. Place one piece in the palm of your hand. Fill with 1 slightly rounded Tablespoon of filling and pinch to seal.  Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Repeat until all are filled. Use a little extra dough if needed to patch any tears in the pastry. Brush with Egg Wash. Bake for 20 - 25  minutes or until golden brown.  

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and the Broth adds even more. If you use Lamb, you are adding the Fire Element. Carrots bring in more of the Earth Element, as do Rutabagas. The Celery contributes the Wood Element and the Onion makes sure that the Metal Element is present and the mostly Rice Flour Gluten Free Flour adds even more. The Egg in the dough  and the Egg Wash contributes the Water Element along with the Worcestershire Sauce. Only the Fire Element is missing, unless you use Lamb and then this snack is balanced. I used Beef so that's why I serve it with Steak Sauce and also a Salad on the side to make this snack into a balanced meal!

New Cookbook Coming Soon!

I wanted to let you know that my cookbook, Divine Chinese Cuisine, written with my son Stephen Lesefko, is almost ready for publication!  It has 100 Authentic Chinese Recipes with 70 Vegan Options!  And, all recipes are Free of Gluten, Dairy, Seafood, Nuts, Dye and MSG for all of you who have food sensitivities and allergies. I will let you know as soon as it is available for purchase!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Ukranian Style Cabbage Salad

My friend Wendy recently went to a Ukranian festival here in Seattle and told me about the wonderful Ukranian Coleslaw she had there that was full of Dill and other vegetables. I remembered for the first time in a long time that I used to make a simple version of this salad for my ex-husband. who has Ukranian heritage. It's a simple Cabbage Salad, but it is so full of flavor. I can't believe I haven't made it in so many years and now that I have remembered it, I will be making it often as I love the flavor of fresh Dill and I love Cabbage too.

Ukranian Style Cabbage Salad

4 cups Red Cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup fresh Dill, cut into small pieces + 1 Tablespoon extra for garnish
1/4 cup White Vinegar (I used White Balsamic)
1/4 cup Sunflower Oil
1 teaspoon Sugar

Place the Cabbage in a mixing bowl and add the Salt. Mix in with your hands and massage it in thoroughly. Let the Cabbage sit for 15 minutes.  

Then in a small mixing bowl, mix together the fresh Dill, Vinegar, Sunflower Oil and Sugar.  Stir to blend thoroughly and pour over the Cabbage. Let sit for another 15 minutes before serving or refrigerate until you are ready to serve it. It keeps overnight very well. Garnish with the remaining Dill before serving.

Five Element Analysis

Cabbage belongs to the Earth Element and this dish is primarily Earthy, but the Red Color of the Cabbage in this dish also brings in a little of the Fire Element too. The Vinegar contributes the Wood Element and the Dill adds in e Metal Element. The Oil, made from Sunflower Seeds adds some of the Water Element too. So this Salad has more intrinsic balance than is evident and makes a good side for meat dishes.