Gluten-Free Baked Onion Ring Recipe and Pinto-Rice-Peanut Veggie Burger Recipe

August 26th, 2008 yum Posted in American Homestyle Cooking, Brown Rice, Diner Food, Easy, Gluten Free Crackers, Lowfat, Onions, beans 7 Comments »

The other night DH and I settled down to a deceptively simple feast of homemade vegetarian pinto bean burgers, corn tortillas, lettuce, and baked onion rings. And yes, I just said BAKED onion rings. Of course, they were totally GLUTEN-FREE. But the real secret… they weren’t even that hard to make! I had been thinking about baked onion rings for some time when I stumbled across an intriguing recipe at Cooking for Engineers. It used a nice buttermilk batter (alas, not gluten-free) and a crispy coating of potato chips and (non gf) saltine crackers. I just happened to have some buttermilk in the fridge so I converted the batter to be gluten-free, and then reworked the coating. I was reluctant to use FRIED chips for a BAKED dish and cancel out all that healthfulness, so I decided to use the newly gluten-free and crunchy Rice Chex instead of potato chips. DH and I had recently discovered a new type of Glutino Cheese crackers at the local New Leaf health food store, and I decided to use them as a substitute for the saltine crackers. The result was cheesy and flavorful with less fat than the gluten-based-recipe that inspired me. To accompany this traditional American fast-food restaurant treat, I took some homemade slow-cooked organic pinto beans and sauteed them with some caramelized onions and garlic, adding peanut butter, tomato paste, green pepper, and fresh cilantro for flavor. Then I added some freshly cooked brown rice and shaped the mixture into patties and floured them with pure GF buckwheat. I pan fried them in a little peanut oil in a cast iron pan and then sprayed them with nonstick cooking spray and baked them until they were firm and perfectly brown. We enjoyed them in a non-traditional corn tortilla with mayo and ketchup (and a little chipotle salsa) and they were the ideal accompaniment for golden, perfectly baked onion rings. Onion rings have always been a rare treat, due to all the trouble (and guilt) of all that oil and deep frying, but with this recipe, they can be on our regular menu. In fact, DH has insisted that we have them again… soon!

*I know, I know, the pinto bean burgers don’t have exact proportions. This is one of those recipes that I created as I went along, tasting and adjusting as I liked. That’s the fun thing about veggie burgers- you can make them up as you go along, just making sure they will shape into a croquette at the end of your kitchen witchery. Enjoy- and tell me all about your version!

Question of the day:
What is your favorite gluten-free breading, either homemade or purchased? Tell me in the comments!

Baked GF Onion Rings
*3/4 cup GF Glutino Original OR Cheese flavored crackers (or substitute)
*1 1/4 cup GF Rice Chex (check the box) or similar unsweetened GF cereal

1 large onion (cut into wide 1/2 inch rings and separated)

3 tbsp. white rice flour
1 tbsp. potato starch
1/4 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

1/4 cup fine brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place large NOT oiled cookie sheet or baking tin in oven.

Grind Glutino Crackers and Rice Chex in your food processor until you have smooth, even crumbs a similar texture to coarse corn meal.

Whisk together your white rice flour, potato starch and spices with buttermilk and the egg in a medium bowl.

Put the onion in a plastic bag with the brown rice flour and shake until onion slices are coated with flour. Bring over your buttermilk mixture and shake the ground cracker and cereal onto a flat plate. Dip the floured rings into the white rice flour-buttermilk batter and then place each ring in the ground cracker-cereal mixture, covering both sides. Try not to get extra liquid into the cracker meal.

Take the hot pan out of the oven and baste it with a small amount of your favorite oil OR use a nonstick cooking spray. Place each coated onion ring (flour, batter, cracker meal) on the cooking sheet not touching each other and place in preheated oven. Bake for eight minutes and then turn and put back in the oven for 5 to 8 more minutes, checking after five minutes. Take out of oven and enjoy with ketchup or plain. Yummy!

DH loved these more than those made with a conventional breading mix. In fact, we both thought they were delicious and WILL be making these again- soon.

Amount of chex and glutino crackers is approximate. Use more chex than glutino, but cut down proportions to suit your taste and cracker supply.

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Gluten Free Chinese Takeaway: Szechuan & Chili Pepper Zucchini Brown Fried Rice Recipe

October 9th, 2007 yum Posted in Brown Rice, Chinese, Rice, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian 3 Comments »

frricetri.jpgI’ve always found finding good gluten-free Chinese food in restaurants to be a challenge. Wheat based soy sauce seems to always be lurking somewhere, and even those dishes without soy sauce tend to be either bland or contaminated by preparation in a busy, glutenated wok. I know some people have had luck, but I tend to avoid Chinese restaurants, with the exception of the less than authentic P.F. Changs or Pei Wei (its cheaper sister restaurant) and the offerings of their gluten free menu on occasion. The only trouble is that strict vegetarian dishes are rare at such places, and unless you’re willing to consume the occasional seafood, you’re pretty much stuck with one or two rather bland vegetable dishes. (I do enjoy P.F. Chang’s flavorful garlic snap peas, but their other vegetable dishes look less than exciting.) Anyway, it’s a good thing that you can make your own tasty Chinese food at home! I started studying Chinese cookbooks seriously when I met DH, who loves Chinese restaurants more than almost any other. With time, I learned to wield a wok with confidence, and whip up a tasty sauce to make any vegetable sing. Fried rice took more experimentation, but I’ve been experimenting with recipes for a while now and now I’ve finally come to a point where I can whip up a 100% vegetarian and allergy friendly (Even soy free!) fried rice up on the spot. I have to admit, DH is not crazy about brown rice- but I’ve always enjoyed its nutty, unique flavor. Really, I’ve never met a variety of rice I didn’t like. The other day I had some leftover brown rice and decided to use some lovely seasonal zucchini for a grilled, smoky ingredient adding depth to a totally vegetarian, totally delicious “fusion style” fried brown rice recipe. Even DH liked it. (He’s my in-house equivalent of “Mikey”, when it comes to certain ingredients.) So, why not try a healthier version of a classic, Chinese takeaway favorite, with my Szechuan and Chili Brown Fried Rice recipe?

Try my other Chinese Recipes:
Gluten-Free Soy-Free Chinese Fried Rice Recipe (Veg)
Gluten Free Chinese Food: Spicy Chili Tofu and Chinese Mushroom Broccoli Recipe (Veg)
Szechuan Chinese Peas and Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir Fry (Veg, Soy Free)
Special Fried Rice (optional seafood ingredients)

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Zucchini Szechuan Pepper Chili Fried Rice Recipe
Grilled Veggie:
1 large zucchini or zucchini squash, sliced
sesame oil
1 tsp mesquite seasonings (any blend with earthy flavors like chili powder, onion, garlic etc.)
Main Ingredients:
1 tbsp schezuan peppercorn oil
1 tbsp scallion oil
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed lightly
1 small onion, diced
3 cups cooked brown rice, cooked in vegetable broth preferably cold and left in refrigerator overnight
1 tbsp. crushed ginger (like from trader joes, from a jar)
1 orange pepper, cubed
3/4 cup green peas

generous amount of freshly ground pepper (szechuan pepper or white pepper is especially yummy)
1/4 cup tbsp GOOD GF vegetable broth
healthy glub of sherry
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
10 drops of sesame chili oil (the small japanese variety, at most equivalent to 1/4 tsp, maybe 1/8 tsp of oil altogether)
1/2 tsp flavorful honey (mesquite, raw etc)

Baste your zucchini slices with sesame oil and sprinkle them with mesquite seasoning and salt on both sides.

Heat your grill (propane is easiest) and grill your veggies so that zucchini slices have grill marks on each side but are NOT burnt or excessively mushy. When done cut into bite sized squares.Reserve.

Mix your sauce ingredients

Heat your peppercorn and scallion oil in a wok or cast iron pan on high and add your garlic, letting it get golden brown and then removing the garlic from the oil. (Toss the garlic.) Throw in your diced onions, stirring occasionally until slightly caramelized. Add your rice and leave alone until it forms a light crunchy crust on the bottom, and then turn. Mix crushed ginger into the rice. Add your orange peppers on the top, but don’t fold in yet. Microwave your peas (if frozen) and pour the sauce over them. Check your rice, and if it’s brown, fold in peppers and toss peas and sauce on top. Mix peas throughout rice and let achieve desired level of dry, golden brown texture. Season GENEROUSLY with salt and pepper to taste. (Really, taste it!) Remove to large plate or bowl and enjoy!

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