Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Apple Vitti

You might ask: what is Apple Vitti?

Vitti is the nick name my uncle gave me, it's the gangster diminutive for guys named Vittorio.

When I was in middle school I amended and Apple Brown Betty recipe for my Home Ec class. My dad was converted from apple pie and my mother dubbed it Apple Vitti. This is my father's favorite dessert and there is almost always one in the house.

I used to make it as a treat, but since I moved out my mother has allowed it to become a staple.

When I got home I wanted to make one that I could enjoy too. We had tried it with gluten free flour only, and it wasn't quite the same. So this is the newly modified version.

Apple Vitti

1/2c. Smart Balance, butter or margarine
2 tbsp flax meal
1/2c. brown sugar
2/3c. agave nectar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2c. teff flour, or other gluten free flour
1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2c. chopped pecans

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
5 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
3/4c. orange juice

Heat oven to 350 F. Place apple in an appropriate size baking dish. Cover with foil and cook for 50-60 minutes.

Mix dry ingredients together. Using a spoon or fork until blended but still crumbly. Spoon over cooked apples. Replace in oven and bake another 20-25 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. We eat it alone, with vanilla frozen yogurt or with whipped cream.

My dad preferred this to any type of birthday cake I could have made him.

Blueberry Tart

Every year a family that lives near us hosts a neighborhood Fourth of July Picnic. They've got a lot of property and plenty of room for the kids to play, the adults to talk, and the men to grill. They always supply burgers, snacks and drinks, but always suggest that we bring a dish to share as well.

I can only remember attending the picnic once before, and that ended in a trip to the ER when my mom ate a Hawaiian Burger, and swallowed the partially charred toothpick that held it together. That was a memorable Fourth!

We got our annual invitation, and since I was home visiting my parents I thought it would be nice to catch up with some of the neighbors I haven't seen in eight years or more. Besides, I found this great Blueberry Tart recipe I wanted try. Picnics are always great places to test run recipes that you don't want to eat all by yourself.

Blueberry Tart
(adapted from Eatting Well August 2008)

1/2 c. walnuts, lightly toasted
1 c. gluten free (Mi-Del) ginger snaps
1 large egg white
1 tbsp Smart Balance, melted

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 c. fresh blueberries

To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 325 F. Coarsely chop walnuts in a food processor. Add ginger snaps and process until the mixture is fine crumbs. Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the crumb mixture and butter, toss to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan (or pie pan). Set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and slightly darker around the edges, about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

T prepare filling: Beat cream cheese, sour cream and 1/4 c. maple syrup in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. When the crust is cool, spread the filling evenly into it, being careful not to break it up. Arrange blueberries on the filling, pressing lightly to set in. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

When I was planning my visit home, I asked my mom to get a bag of gluten free oats. I have been wanting to test my sensitivity to gluten free oats, and my dad's favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin. I thought I could make the cookies, try a few, and leave the rest for him to enjoy.

Since my father had heart surgery a year ago, I wanted to try something that was at least slightly more healthy than the standard recipe. However, while I was in the middle of making the batter, the power went out, so I had to finish in the dark with a little LED headlamp on. I refrigerated the dough and baked them when the power came back on.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2c. Smart Balance
2/3c. flax meal
1/2c. packed brown sugar
1/2c. molasses
1/2c. agave nectar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4c. teff flour
3/4c. quinoa flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
3c. gluten free oats
1c. raisins

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 15 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered (if any last that long).

Now, I had heard that some celiacs also react to the protein in oats, since they are very similar. I am one of those. My reaction wasn't as bad as if I had been glutened, but it wasn't pleasant either. I will simply have to leave these cookies to my dad and those of you who can enjoy them.

By the way, my dad said they were fantastic!