Gluten Free Chicken Strips

Gluten Free Chicken Strips

A deep fryer is handy for these, although not entirely necessary.  A skillet with couple of inches of oil should suffice if the strips aren’t too thick.

Ingredients:

2 cups masa harina
1 cup corn starch
1 cup rice flour
1/8 cup brown sugar
seasoning to taste
4 eggs
1/2 cup of water.
1 lb sliced chicken breast

Preheat the oil in the fryer to about 375 deg F.

Mix half the corn starch with the seasoning. I use Montreal/Canadian steak seasoning, but you can use whatever you like. Salt and pepper are the essentials. Wash and pat dry the chicken and throw it into a gallon zipper seal bag with the corn starch/seasoning mix. Shake until the chicken is well coated.

Beat the eggs thoroughly with the water. Mix the masa harina, remaining corn starch, brown sugar and the rice flour in a bowl. Dip each piece of coated chicken into the egg mixture, then into the masa mixture, then into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown and floaty, 3 to 5 minutes, you don’t want it raw inside.

The brown sugar helps give a nice brown, crispy breading while the masa gives a bit of a corn chip taste. You can play with the seasonings, but the key is to make sure they go on with the first layer, not the last (although mixing a bit of the seasoning mix into the masa enhances it’s flavor as well).

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies are so good, you won’t care that they’re gluten free.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 8+ ounces chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F (325 in a convection oven).

Cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next, then add the vanilla. Combine the salt, soda, coconut flour and tapioca starch, then mix slowly into the egg/sugar mixture. Add chocolate chips to taste. Drop by the teaspoon onto cookie sheets (I line mine with silicon baking sheets or parchment paper, makes clean up much easier) and bake for 15 minutes (about 12 minutes for a convection oven). Your times may vary as ovens aren’t consistent.

Remove from the oven and let cool, then hide them from everyone else.

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Almost 10 years? Really?

Decided to do a bit of maintenance on the blog today and happened to notice that the first entry in the archives is dated July of 2004. So that means I’ve had this site up for nearly 10 years, it hardly seems possible. I’ve gone through seasons where there were no posts to seasons with multiple post per day (not many of those!), but one thing has remained unchanged: God’s love for me and all mankind. I’ve always felt that theologians try to make Christianity too complicated, Christ Himself kept it very simple, confess, believe and accept. Confess you need Christ, believe He loves you and will forgive you, and accept that forgiveness. All the rest will follow in good time. Christianity is not a religion of law and taboo, it is all about being free in Christ. This freedom is not license to sin, but rather the freedom of knowing that our sin will be forgiven if we turn away from it back to Christ. As Christians we shouldn’t be acting out of fear that we will be smitten when we make a mistake, we should be living in the joy that we don’t have to fear making a mistake.

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Christmas

I’m not a huge Christmas person. Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas carols and enjoy some of the traditions, but I find the relentlessness of the season to be exhausting. It’s hard to escape it short of hunkering down in a hole somewhere far from the rest of the world (an admittedly tempting prospect at times). Add in the faux controversies (Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas, Keep Christ in Christmas vs Xmas, etc.) and I’m ready find that hole well before the actual holiday comes around. It can be hard to remember that, while the birth of Christ is important, it’s His death and resurrection that really matter. Sometimes I think Cromwell and the Puritans had the right idea when they outlawed Christmas, as it strays further and further from its roots. Perhaps it would be better to have a secular “Solstice” celebration for everybody and then, for Christians, follow up with a quieter, more contemplative Christmas celebration. The gift giving and commercialization could follow the secular holiday, leaving Christmas proper to the Christians. We just have to make sure we avoid creating a Robot Santa Claus that will attack holiday mirth makers. Merry Christmas!

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Gluten Free Pound Cake

My wife is gluten intolerant, so we do a lot of gluten free cooking. We’ve found that cakes and cookies tend to work pretty well with gluten free flours. This recipe is based on the traditional pound cake recipe (1 lb butter, 1 lb eggs, 1 lb flour, 1 lb sugar) and makes a rich, slightly heavy cake.

1 lb softened butter
1 lb sugar
1 lb eggs (approx)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 lb coconut flour (approx)
1/2 lb rice flour (approx)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, incorporate eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla. Slowly mix in coconut flour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Continuing to beat, add just enough rice flour that the mixture is the consistency of normal cake batter.
Put batter into buttered and floured pan (or pans) and bake until a cake tester comes out of the middle clean (Approx 20-40 minutes, depending on pan size and shape).
Cool in pan on a rack, then turn out.
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Salted Caramels

2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup corn syrup
Kosher salt

Bring sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1 cup of the cream to a boil.
Add remaining cream slowly, keeping the boil going.
Continue to boil until temperature reaches 245 to 250 deg F, slowly reducing the heat as the temperature increases. 245 deg F will yield softer caramel, 250 firmer caramel, above 250 will give you something like Werther’s.

Pour into an 8 square inch dish, either buttered or lined with parchment paper and let cool. When the caramel has formed a skin on top and is slightly firm to the touch, sprinkle with kosher or coarse sea salt, fairly liberally. Allow to cool until fairly firm, then cut into squares with a pizza cutter liberally coated in butter. I have no idea how long they’ll keep because they never last more than a day or two around here.

Warning! These are highly addictive and extremely rich.

If you use a good heavy saucepan, you shouldn’t need to stir much once things come to a boil. A good candy thermometer is a must though.

Salted caramels on holiday plate

Salted Caramels

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Life

I sit here in in a coffee shop, typing this on my Nexus 7, thinking about the changes that 2013 has wrought. It’s been a strange year, as I was laid off at the beginning of the year, but still received severance through July. In one way, it was welcome time off, a chance to spend more time with my son, but in other ways, it has been anxiety inducing as I’ve pondered over my future and the family’s finances. Odd Job Computing is starting to take off, albeit more slowly than I’d like, but it’s still a long way from being able to pay the mortgage on a regular basis. And thinking about the tax situation for this year is enough to make one break out in a cold sweat. But God provides, He always has and always will, so I concentrate on doing what I can and try not to worry about things that are out of my control (and if I can control something, why would I worry about it?). It’s a new stage of life, and one I’m not sure I was quite ready for. In the meantime, I can work on getting the house fixed up and support Kara as she pursues her dreams through the church and Thirty One.

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Redecorating

I’ve decided to do some redecorating around here, I’ve not changed the backgrounds or theme on the blog for something like 7 years. So if you notice some dust about or things not quite where they should be, it’s just me reworking things in the background.

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Odd Job Computing

So, I’m starting a new business, Odd Job Computing. I’m going to be concentrating on IT support for small and home offices in the local area, including networking and security. We shall see how it goes.

Odd Job Computing Logo

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Rampage Replacement Soft Top

After 15 years, the soft top on the Jeep was getting a bit (actually more than a bit) ratty, so I began to look for a replacement. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the top, but I did want something that would look nice and would keep out the weather. My first inclination was toward a Bestop Sailcloth Replacement Top, as I’d heard good things about them, but alas, they were way out of my price range at $500 plus. So I started poking around on Amazon to see what I could find (I find the free shipping that comes with the Amazon Prime account can make a huge difference on bulky stuff). What I found was the Rampage 99515 Soft Top with Upper Door Skins for a mere $320. The reviews on Amazon looked good so I hit the one-click button and purchased the top.

The top arrived two days later as per the usual Amazon Prime shipping, It was nicely rolled in a reasonably small package with tissue paper separating the window plastic. As I had nice weather, I went ahead and started the installation despite the temperature being a bit low (mid 60s). The top itself and the rear windows went on without a hitch, there’s a bunch of small screws that secure the top to the windshield mount, those needed to be saved and reused. All in all, replacing the top and rear windows took about half an hour and it would have been quicker if I hadn’t needed to drill out some of the mounting screws. The fit was good, the top looks great and it’s much easier to put up and down than the original top ever was.

And now we get to the hard part, the upper door skins. I knew before I started that they would be trouble and they were. The first step was to cut the old skins off the frames and clean the frames up a bit. No problem there, a bit of work with a pocket knife and the frames were naked. The next step, though, was a lot harder; you have to stretch the new skins over the frames, so that they fit tightly. It helps a great deal to warm the skins up first, a few minutes in a clothes dryer at low heat does the trick nicely. However, try as I might, I could not get the skins on the frames. And when I finally did, I ripped the skins slightly! This was a problem, although the skins were still weather tight, they didn’t look right and I was pretty sure they shouldn’t rip going on.

I called Rampage about the problem and told them the model year, etc of the Jeep. They asked where I purchased the top, I told them Amazon and they grumbled a bit. Apparently, the upper door frames on a ’97 Wrangler are slightly larger than those on a ’98+ Wrangler and they ship a different set of door skins for ’97s. However, as the order went through Amazon, they didn’t see it and so I got the wrong skins. After a little back and forth with some emailed pictures and a copy of my receipt, they shipped me out a new set of the properly sized door skins. When I received them I compared them to the original skins I received and yes, they are ever so slightly larger, but it’s just enough. I threw them in the dryer for a couple of minutes and was able to get them on with minimal fuss. They still weren’t easy to get on, but at least I didn’t rip them and didn’t have to resort to profanity. I’m thinking Rampage really needs to create a separate part number for ’97 Wranglers so others don’t have the same problem.

All in all I’m quite happy with the top. There are still some minor issues with the way the doors close, but I think that’s a misadjustment on my part. Rampage was very good about getting me the correct door skins in a timely manner. The top itself went on very easily and looks great. There are a couple of zippered pockets in the inside front corners that are pretty handy and you can’t really beat the price (especially with Amazon Prime). I can highly recommend the top, just make sure you get the correct door skins!

 

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