Rice Flour, Violet Riot Muffins, and a Casserole!

Hi again!

After I posted my first muffin experiment yesterday, I kept hunting for new ones to try out.  I hadn’t experimented with rice flour yet, and I found a recipe for blueberry muffins that I just had to try!  As usual, I put my own spin on the recipe according to my tastes and what I had on hand.  We’ll cover that in a moment.  First, I want to talk about rice flour.  It worked out a lot better than I expected.  (This is another picture-less post because I’ve been lazy.  I really need to get better about that.)

The thing about oat flour is that it can be tricky to get a finely ground result if you don’t have a grinder or even a food processor to dedicate to it.  When I use my blender, the oats get clumpy and stuck together, or the blender doesn’t generate the “vortex” that creates the movement needed to evenly and finely grind them up.  Rice, for whatever reason, does get the movement needed to get an even and super fine grind.  For those of us making our own flours with a blender, this is a god-send, especially if your blender isn’t very new or powerful.  I’ve read articles and blog posts that instruct you to soak the rice for a few minutes then strain it, blahblahblah.  This is time consuming and can be messy.  So what did I do?  I just put a couple cups of dry, un-soaked rice in my blender, put it on a high setting, and left it to do its thing for ten minutes or so.  The end result was a very fine, powdery substance more closely reminiscent of actual flour than my oats would ever be.  The muffins I made with them were much lighter and fluffier, closer to the “real thing” than my oat muffins.

Violet Riot Muffins (aka Blackberry Rice Muffins)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil  (Vegetable, canola, olive, grape seed, whichever you want or have on hand)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups rice flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces blackberries, frozen or fresh

Streusel topping:
4 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons rice flour
2 teaspoons oil

Mix up your streusel topping first in a small bowl.  Make sure it’s well mixed and crumbly, then set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and either grease your muffin pan or set it up with baking cups.  (I found adorable baking cups at Michaels for relatively cheap.)  In a medium mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon), and after you’ve whisked them together, add your berries to the mixture and stir gently.  In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil) and mix well.  Gradually mix in your dry ingredients and berries until mixed well.  Be careful with this step or you’ll bust the berries like I did.  It gave me purple muffins, so if that’s your thing, go ahead and beat the snot out of ’em!  Fill your baking cups 1/2 – 2/3 full, sprinkle your streusel on them, and bake them for 15-20 minutes.  Mine took exactly 19.  Make sure you let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes before you take them out of the pan.  This should make a dozen large muffins.

The next thing I want to share with you is my “Remixed Broccoli Rice Casserole.”  It’s a labor of love that stemmed from how much I enjoyed broccoli rice casserole at holiday gatherings when I was growing up.  I remember thinking to myself, “I just want to eat this and only this forever,” but broccoli rice casserole is just broccoli, rice, and cheese.  As an adult re-discovering my love of spending time in my kitchen, I decided to put a few things in.  Originally, I followed this recipe to the letter and added some chicken and bacon, but it wasn’t quite the same taste as what I had in my mind so I have tweaked it to suit my tastes.  It’s a big hit around here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Remixed Broccoli Rice Casserole
3-4 cups cooked white rice
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
8 bacon strips, crumbled into bits
1/2 red onion, chopped
10-12 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 pound processed cheese (like Velveeta), cubed
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
Salt to taste

Cook up your bacon and chicken however you choose.  (If you need a marinade idea, check out the marinade in this post.)  Cut them up however you like and set them aside.  Set aside 1 cup of cheddar to top the casserole.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 13″-x-9″ casserole dish.  In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.  When it’s melted, add in your milk and cream; stir well.  Add your cheeses, and melt them thoroughly, then add the broccoli, chicken, bacon, and seasonings.  Stir it all very well and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before you add the rice.  Make sure the rice is fully coated and incorporated then pour the mixture into your casserole dish and sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar cheese over it.  Put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are a crispy golden brown.  Cool for about an hour before serving if you can wait that long.  

I believe these will be the last recipes I post for a bit.  I have some writing to share with you over the next week, and I am thrilled about the new Nine Inch Nails album as well.  (=


Kortney Marie

Gluten-Free Breakfast: Muffin and Pancake Edition

Hello!

Okay, one thing they don’t tell you about this gluten-free thing is that breakfast delights like muffins, biscuits, pancakes, and other starchy nomminess go out the window.  In fact, most baked goods do unless you know the secrets of how to make them sans gluten, which is as simple as buying an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.  That, however, is quite a mouthful when you’re hunting for it at your local grocery store and employ the help of a near-by clerk, and when you do find it, it can be very expensive.  So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when trying to eat on the cheap without the evil wheat?  Lately, I find the answer is oat flour.  You can buy your own oats, grind them up in a food processor or blender until they reach a flour-like consistency, and presto!  You have oat flour.  Almond flour is also a solution with a similar process, but almonds are expensive too.  I’m not saying gluten-free rolled oats are super cheap either, but since I’m dealing with a gluten sensitivity as opposed to a hardcore allergy, I can rock the cheapest tub o’ rolled oats I see.  If you’re trying to be thrifty about your gluten-free eating, this is usually a safe alternative.  If you must, must, must go gluten-free for everything, you’ll probably still save a bit buy grinding your oats yourself.

I don’t have picture for these two recipes, but who photographs breakfast?  lol

Oat Flour Pancakes  (inspiration found here)
2 cups oat flour
2 large eggs
2 cups milk  (Water can substitute, but the milk gives a richer taste)
1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil when I can; this one is really up to personal preference.)
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 mashed bananas (optional)

Mix your dry ingredients (oat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a medium mixing bowl.  Add milk and stir until combined.  Add oil, mix well, then add one egg at a time, mixing well after each.  If you’ve opted for bananas (or any other fruit), add it in and mix well.  Coat a medium heated skillet with a bit of butter or oil, and pour pancake batter 1/4-1/2 cup at a time.

Raspberry Oat Muffins with Lemon Glaze (Inspiration:  muffin, glaze)
Glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup water and cornstarch and set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and slowly add sugar until dissolved.  Add cornstarch and water mixture, and stir with a whisk for approximately four minutes.  Glaze will thicken in pan.  Set aside to cool.

Muffins:
2 cups oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon + splash lemon juice
2 large eggs
6 oz raspberries, fresh or thawed, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare muffin pan with baking cups or lightly grease pan.  Whisk together dry ingredients (oat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon) in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Mix together wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, lemon juice, eggs) in another mixing bowl.  Gradually mix in dry ingredient mixture until thoroughly mixed.  Fold in berries and pour into pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  16 minutes seems the average success margin, but we all know ovens vary.

When muffins have cooled, top with glaze.  Place them on a large plate in your refrigerator to expedite the cooling process.

Our next cooking adventure will be my remixed broccoli rice casserole!  ^_^


Kortney Marie

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