Author Archives: Rella Kaplowitz

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I try to eat a pretty healthy and mostly unprocessed gluten-free diet, but I do love mac & cheese. This is my new favorite way to make it—a healthier cheese sauce that uses pureed butternut squash and milk as the base with just a bit of shredded cheese, topped off with cheese and buttered breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven until it’s bubbly inside and toasty on top. This is also a great way to get picky kids to eat vegetables—the sauce tastes cheesy, not squashy! For an extra bit of richness, use whole milk instead of 2%.

butternut-squash-mac-1

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Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups cooked butternut squash

1 ¼ cup 2 % milk

½ tsp sea salt + more to taste

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 lb gluten-free pasta (macaroni, penne, ziti, or rigatoni are best)

1½ cups shredded mozzarella, divided

1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp melted butter

Finely minced herbs for garnish

Directions

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place a large pot of salted water to boil and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft. Remove from heat and add squash, 1 cup of milk, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend squash mixture until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or blender and puree in batches.

Add additional ¼ cup of milk as necessary, you want a thick sauce but you don’t want it too chunky. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Once the water is boiling, cook pasta until very al dente (3-4 minutes less than you would normally cook it, this will help prevent the pasta from becoming mushy as it cooks longer in the oven). Drain pasta and return to pot. Add squash sauce and stir until all of the pasta is evenly coated. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Stir bread crumbs into melted butter. Top pasta with remaining mozzarella and buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the cheese and breadcrumbs are toasty and the edges of the pasta are browned.

Top with your favorite fresh herbs such as basil or parsley.

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Posted on June 18, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Gluten-Free Honey Apple Cake


For me, Rosh Hashanah always symbolizes the beginning of Fall (although it is way early this year, practically still summer) and I love celebrating apples at my holiday table.

This sweet, nutty apple cake will be the perfect ending to your Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot meal, and is sure to satisfy even the most gluten-loving guests.

honey apple cake 2

Gluten-Free Honey Apple Cake

Ingredients

¼ cup coconut oil (or margarine or other fat of your choice)

¼ cup honey

¼ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup almond meal

½ cup brown rice flour

½ cup millet flour

3 Tbsp teff flour (or millet or brown rice flour)

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup diced apple

1 tsp sucanat (raw sugar)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease an 8-inch round pan.

Using a mixer, cream coconut oil, honey, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to incorporate before adding the next. Stir in applesauce and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: almond meal, brown rice flour, millet flour, teff flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, allowing each batch to incorporate before adding the next. The batter will become thick and sticky. Stir in diced apples.

Spread batter into prepared pan and sprinkle sucanat over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is firm, the edges are golden and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For more of Rella's delicious gluten-free recipes check out her blog The Penny Pinching Epicure.

Posted on August 27, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Gluten Free Mini Yogurt Muffins

I like to say that baking is chemistry, and gluten-free baking is a science.

The secret to baking gluten-free goodies that are very close to the real thing lies in producing the “stretch factor” without gluten and using the right mix of gluten-free flours.

Creating the Illusion of Gluten

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt that creates the “stretch factor” in batters and dough. Adding xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk to the mix helps create the same stretchy properties, and results in a chewy rather than crumbly baked good.

The Right Mix

In general, a mix of gluten-free flours will always be better than a single gluten-free flour. This is because no gluten-free flour can closely mirror glutinous all-purpose flour.

The gluten-free flours I use most frequently are sorghum, millet, brown rice, and tapioca. To add richness, I also sometimes add almond or hazelnut meal into the mix. A lot of my recipes have been developed through trial-and-error, but there are also many resources online for gluten-free baking.

I buy my own flours separately and combine them in different ratios depending on the recipe, but there are also some great gluten-free flour mixes out there: My favorite brand for all of my gluten-free flours is Bob’s Red Mill and Namaste is a close second. You can find gluten-free flours at most mainstream grocery stores these days, although it is usually cheaper to order them online.

Gluten-free baking is a bit more complex than glutinous baking, but I promise the results are so much better than store-bought gluten-free baked goods.

Cranberry pistachio yogurt mini-muffins

These yogurt mini-muffins are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or snack, packed with whole grains and protein. I offer two mix-in options below (coconut-chocolate chip and cranberry-pistachio), but feel free to add other nuts, dried fruit, or sweet morsels of your choosing. This is recipe is adapted from the Kitchn.

Gluten Free Mini Yogurt Muffins

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup sorghum

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup tapioca

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

 

For coconut-chocolate chip:

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup chocolate chips

 

For cranberry-pistachio:

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pistachios

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini-muffin tin (if you have convection, use it!).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth.

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in chosen mix-ins.

Divide batter evenly into muffin tin (I use my medium cookie scoop) and bake for 15-18 minutes until tops are golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container on the counter for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Posted on June 12, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad

roasted veggie quinoa

I’m gluten-free so quinoa is part of my everyday life, but I think most gluten eaters appreciate quinoa the most on Passover, when more mainstream grains like wheat, barley, and rice are off-limits. This quinoa salad is very versatile in that you can use pretty much whatever vegetables you like depending what is in season. Here I do a roasted veggie medley of sweet potatoes, onions, zucchini, and bell peppers, but asparagus, tomato and scallion would be just as delicious.

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, diced

1 red onion, chopped

2 zucchini, quartered and chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, cubed

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

2 cups water

1/4 tsp salt

juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

dash of pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease two baking sheets. Spread sweet potatoes and onions on one baking sheet and zucchini and bell peppers on another. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over each baking sheet. Roast zucchini and peppers for 10 minutes, sweet potatoes and onions for 25 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.

In the meantime, place quinoa, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and rest for 10 minute before fluffing with a fork.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Add quinoa to vegetables and drizzle dressing over top, mixing to combine.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Posted on March 18, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Yummy Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

Yield:
7-8 dozen small hamantaschen

gluten free hamantaschen v2Food related traditions like hamantashen are some of my favorite parts of being Jewish. I had to work on this hamantashen recipe for a while, because creating a gluten-free cookie dough that can be rolled and cut is no easy task. But I think I’ve finally got it (don’t skip chilling the dough, it really makes all the difference)!

This recipe makes hamentashen that are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. If you prefer them to be completely crispy, bake an additional 2-3 minutes.

Yummy Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) of margarine, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour, divided*
jam or other filling of your choice

Directions

*Make sure you choose a gluten-free flour that includes xanthan gum (I like Bob's Wonderful Bread Mix or Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend), or add 1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum with the flour.

Cream margarine and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to combine before adding the next.

In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of gluten-free flour (and xanthan gum if required). Turn mixer to the lowest speed and add to wet mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the dry ingredients to be incorporated before adding more. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Divide the dough into four parts, roll each into a ball, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Dust the counter and the rolling pin with gluten-free flour. Remove 1 dough ball from the refrigerator and cut into circles using a 4 oz. mason jar or small juice glass (if the dough is too sticky to roll out and cut, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is pliable enough). Fill with 1/4 tsp tsp of filling, pinch into a triangle, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Rella Kaplowitz has blogged gluten-free and mostly dairy-free as the Penny Pinching Epicure for the last 3 years. In "real life," Rella lives in Washington, DC with her husband where she specializes in organizational improvement consulting for the federal government.

Posted on February 19, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Gluten-Free Apple Kugel


gf-apple-kugel-eletterI love apple kugel, and have come to realize that making kugels gluten-free is actually really simple if you have the right ingredients. I keep an all-purpose gluten-free flour on hand that has xanthan gum already included in it (brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Better Batter). Buy yours online and in bulk for the best prices.

Gluten-Free Apple Kugel

Ingredients

3 golden delicious apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 eggs
¼ cup honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss with lemon juice and spread evenly into the baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together two eggs. Add honey, lemon zest, vanilla, oil, and applesauce, whisking to combine.

Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour batter evenly over apples.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until the edges are browned and the top is firm.

Posted on September 10, 2012

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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