Delicious days of almost-fall

September 15, 2007

I love fall. Well, mostly. The weird temperature changes I can do without. But the changing leaves, fall fruits and vegetables? Those I adore.

The Man was supposed to take me out (for the first time in a year) for dinner tonight at a place in Naperville that can supposedly prepare a GF meal. Last night, he reneged. Bastard. The meal was to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary, which is the 18th.

So in place of the not-made-by-me dinner I was supposed to have, I went a little nuts in my own kitchen. Lots of goodies below, my friends.

But first, a little puppy porn. The Gidge is now 6 1/2 months old. Here she is, stylish in a new pink sweater, showing off the hack-job Momma did on her face. I guess she better learn quick to not move when Momma has the clippers in her hands.

It is such a beautiful day – The Gidge spent a good part of the afternoon outside (because I was in the kitchen working), thinking dog thoughts, barking at everything that moved, and wrapping her dopey ass around the support posts under the deck. The deck that only has 2 ways underneath, and those two ways underneath are barely big enough to let HER in. Momma had a scary moment this afternoon LOL I didn’t think I’d get her out!

I look around the house and think of all the stuff I should be doing – putting away clean clothes, cleaning the fish tank, doing a few loads of laundry, vacuuming…but I chose to nap and cook instead. Oh, well. Tomorrow’s another day – a day that will be spent out at the barn.

The second level’s walls are basically built. I can probably start decoring up there tomorrow while the guys get the walls up on the first level. For anyone local, Dollinger’s Pumpkin Farm opens for business two weeks from today. They are open during the week, but the Haunted Barn (my pride and joy) is only open on the weekends from 12 noon to 6 PM.

Back to food. It always comes back to food, doesn’t it?

Tonight’s special dinner consists of oven-fried chicken, potato-zucchini-tomato galette (just potato for Mr. The “Picky” Man), and butternut squash and red pepper casserole (plain ol’ boring corn with butter for Mr. The “Picky” Man).

I found the recipe for the squash and pepper casserole here.

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Oven-Fried Chicken

1 pound chicken parts of your choice; I used boneless-skinless thighs and breasts
1 quart buttermilk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 cups GF cornflakes, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil

Place the chicken parts in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the top, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by laying down a layer of aluminum foil, then spraying it with cooking spray.

Set up a workstation by doing the following:

Bowl with chicken/buttermilk——>Bowl with egg whisked together with water and olive oil —–>Bowl with cornflakes, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, parsley, paprika—->Prepared pan for baking.

Work with each piece of chicken by removing it from the buttermilk, dipping in the egg mixture, dredging in the cornflake mixture, and placing on the baking sheet. When all pieces have been coated, sprinkle any remaining cornflake mixture over the top of the chicken pieces.

Place into the oven and bake until brown and crispy, about 30-40 minutes.

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Potato, Zucchini & Tomato Galettes
Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart.com

Makes 2 small galettes

2 baby yukon gold potatoes
2 baby red potatoes
1/2 a small zucchini
2 slices of a pretty tomato
Grey salt
Ground thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray two small shallow baking dishes with cooking spray (I used creme brulee dishes!).

Slice the potatoes into 1/8″ thick pieces. Do the same with the zucchini.

Starting with the reds, place an overlapping layer of potatoes on the bottom of a baking dish, covering the entire bottom. Then do the same with the gold potatoes. Then place a ring of zucchini slices around the outside of the baking dish. Place a tomato slice in the middle, sprinkle with sea salt and thyme, and set the dish aside. Repeat with the other baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the edges begin to brown.

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And the piece de resistance…

Apple Dumplings


Makes 3 dumplings


3/4 cup + 5 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp + a pinch of cinnamon
1/8 tsp + a pinch of nutmeg
1 cup water
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tbsp sweet rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
3 small apples – peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the syrup: combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp of the butter. Set aside.

To make the dumplings: combine the white rice flour, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, and 2 tbsp sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and mix until the flour resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Pat into a ball, split into 3 parts, and wrap each part in plastic wrap (form each into a ball and then flatten into a disk). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

On a white-rice-floured-surface, roll out each dough disk into a 6″ circle. Place a third of the chopped apples into the center of each dough circle. Top the apples with 1/3 of the remaining 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Using a spatula (the easiest way I found to keep the dough from tearing during this part), gently fold up all sides of the dough over the top of the apples
. When all sides are folded up, use your hands to gently press the dough closed and sealed. Place the completed dumplings in the prepared baking pan.

Pour the syrup over the top of the dumplings. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. When removed from the oven, spoon some of the syrup over the top of the dumplings and then serve.

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