Category Archives: gluten free

Three Versatile Ingredients Found in Every Kitchen

I was browsing through my pantry cabinets and refrigerator today in search of the right ingredients for a snack. It became clear that I needed to do some shopping. But I’ll save that for another day. Today, I created something out of three ingredients that can be found in almost any professional or home kitchen: peanut butter, bacon and onions. And it was gluten free, which is a plus.

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I know that this combination may sound crazy to most of you but my guess is that there’s some licking their lips while they read this.

My first thought when I saw the peanut butter was “well, I can think of a hundred things to do with this.” There are endless combinations out there with peanut butter: peanut butter with jelly, with honey, with bread, with coffee, with desserts, with rice. The uses I’ve seen are endless.

The next ingredient I came across was the bacon. Oh bacon! You really are the most versatile ingredient. If you were ever curious as to why most chefs drool over the slightest mention of bacon, I’ll fill you in. Bacon goes good with everything! Why wouldn’t a chef love an ingredient that can be used in savory and sweet dishes alike? I ask you to think of the first ingredient that comes to mind and picture it with bacon wrapped around it, crumbled on top of it, or even picture it cooked in bacon grease. If you were thinking of something sweet, what about pairing it with candied bacon?

Onions, we’ve all got ’em. They come in all sizes and colors. Here, in Seattle, we have sweet Walla Walla onions (they’re awesome). Think of your favorite dish. Does it have onion in it? Probably. I am an onion fanatic. I use them in so many different dishes in so many different ways. They can be sautéed, grilled, fried, and roasted. A truly caramelized onion develops a sweet flavor and tends to lose that strong onion-y flavor. This is perfect for pairing with something sweeter.

“I Don’t Know What to Call It” Taco:

Peanut butter
Bacon
Onion
Corn tortilla

To begin my experiment, I pan fried a few strips of bacon. I am very generous with crushed black pepper on my bacon. I enjoy a good crunch and the pepper adds that texture without overcooking the bacon.

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Once I had the bacon nice and crispy, I let it dry on paper towels. There was still some grease in the pan. Bacon grease is a very versatile thing in itself. You can save it for later use or dispose of it properly.

I simply swiped the pan with a paper towel to get the excess grease off. I used the same pan to caramelize the onions. The flavors from the grease are still in the pan, giving the onions a bacon-like flavor.

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When my bacon and onions were finished, I set up the rest. I placed a corn tortilla on a plate and thinly spread peanut butter.

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I then added the bacon.

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Then the onions, and there it is!

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These three versatile ingredients not only go well with just about anything else, but also with each other. I also have to mention that these are gluten free again.

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The Best Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Over the last few years, since I met my wife, I have been searching for the best gluten free alternatives. My wife was diagnosed with celiacs disease when she was younger. This means that she has an intolerance to gluten. Being a proffessional cook, I find it hard to prepare classic desserts and exclude gluten from the recipe. We have found so many frozen foods and prepared foods that are gluten free and taste similar to their gluten counterparts. The fact of the matter remains; my wife and I are foodies and we would much rather prepare a meal from scratch than simply heat something up in the oven or microwave.

I have found a brilliant recipe for peanut butter cookies that most gluten intolerant people can enjoy. There is a basic cookie dough recipe, and if you want to add a twist, follow the extra steps.

For the basic cookie dough you will need:

1 cup Peanut Butter (I prefer creamy)
1 cup Granulated Sugar (try brown if you like)
1 Large Egg
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Using a mixing bowl, add the sugar and egg then whisk. Sprinkle the pinch of salt. You need to whisk this mixture only briefly as to break down the egg.

Now you will add your 1 cup of peanut butter to the egg/sugar mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the peanut butter with the other ingredients.

For these cookies, you can use chunky peanut butter or add crushed peanuts if you like. I am giving you a blank canvas to work with. The cookies with the basic dough are delicious as is, but can be spiced up according to your palate.

Once the dough mixture has a simple creamy texture (about 5 minutes of folding), you’re ready to create. Using a metal spoon, scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and place on ungreased cookie tray. The oil from the peanut butter will prevent the cookies from sticking to the tray.

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When all of the dough has been scooped and transferred, use your hands to round out the dough. You want to create small spheres. Place these about an inch and a half apart on the cookie tray.

You can bake these cookies for 10-13 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Now, if you like to be creative, you may enjoy my secret to creating The Best Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie.
Using the dough recipe above, add 2 tablespoons of honey to the mixture. This means you can retract a little sugar from the original recipe if you like. The honey acts as a natural sweetener and gives the cookies a great earthy taste that pairs well with the peanut flavor.
Use the same method from before for transferring the dough to the cookie tray. Once all of the cookies have been rounded, you can use your finger tip to press a slight imprint into the cookies to make a sort of “cup” for extra ingredients. In this cup, you can place what your heart desires. I prefer to put a single honey roasted peanut. But remember, it’s your creation.

From here I will sprinkle my favorite ground coffee on top of the cookies. I prefer a nice medium roast. This makes for a great earthy harmony between the peanut, honey and coffee. Using this same balance of flavors, you can also replace the honey roasted peanut with a coffee bean and sprinkle crushed peanuts on top. The ideas are endless. Let your palate decide. And remember, these are completely gluten free!

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I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. Let me know your thoughts and what ideas you used to make the basic recipe better.