Asian Pasta Salad - Gluten Free

This is my new favorite pasta salad.  It's packed with flavor without the heaviness often accompanied by pasta salad and since it doesn't contain mayo or meat, it makes a great side for an outdoor dinner.  I shared this at a potluck dinner recently and was disappointed that I didn't have any leftover!

Gluten Free Asian Pasta Salad

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup gluten free sweet and tangy or teriyaki sauce (San-J)
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

16 oz gluten free pasta fusilli or other bite size pasta
          (I used Trader Joe's organic brown rice pasta fusilli
           always check package ingredients as they often change!)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup dried cranberries
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 bunch (3-4) green onions, chopped
1/2 cucumber, cut in bite size pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.  Cook gluten free pasta as directed on package until al dente.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.  Immediately mix cooked pasta with salad dressing so that the pasta doesn't stick together.  Mix in the rest of the salad ingredients and toss gently until evenly combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Lemon bars.  Sweet, tangy, buttery, and indulgent.  A perfect dessert for spring.  I've always loved lemon flavored desserts and lemon bars have been a favorite since I was a little girl.  A few years ago I tried my hand at gluten free lemon bars and it was a disaster.  The lemony top was okay, but the crust was gummy and raw.  Yuck!  Recently I've been doing some experimenting with xanthan gum, or maybe I should say WITHOUT xanthan gum.  I've found that my banana bread doesn't need it, the scones I made last week didn't need it, and lemon bars most definitely don't need it!  I'll continue to use it with cakes and whenever I use yeast, but I've enjoyed the experimenting and the anticipation of how the finished products texture will be.

Cheryl Bullock, my neighbor growing up, made the best lemon bars on the block.  I've adapted her recipe to be gluten free.  They're as delicious as I remember!

Creamy lemon top with a buttery crust.  Delicious!

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

1/2 cup powdered sugar
5 Tablespoons cold butter cut into 5-6 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine crust ingredients and mix on medium until dough is crumbly (kind of like sand) for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Use your hands to press the dough into an 8x8 square pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, mix the lemon filling.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

In the same mixing bowl that you used for the crust (no need to wash it), combine all of the filling ingredients and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Pour onto the hot crust and immediately put it back into the oven.  Bake for another 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool.  Cut and serve.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin Scones for the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally

Scones, a most delightful breakfast treat - especially while watching the The Royal Wedding of William and Kate!  How perfect that scones happen to be this months challenge for the gluten free ratio rally.  I remember learning about pound cake as a teenager in home-ec class: a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of sugar; or a 1:1:1 ratio.  That's what the gluten free ratio is all about - using weight to figuring out gluten free baking/cooking ratios in hopes of creating an end result of perfect gluten free deliciousness.  Lauren, over at Celiac Teen is our host this month.  Head over to her blog for the complete list of scrumptious gluten free scones created in this months rally.

Scones, at least the traditional English kind, were a first for me.  Not only had I never made them, but I'd never eaten one before this challenge.  Yes, I'd seen them in the glass cases through coffee shop windows, but since I don't drink coffee or tea, I never really thought to eat scones. 
For many of the ratio rally challenges we will be using Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio and adapting as needed to make things gluten free.  Ruhlman does not have a scone ratio so we (a collection of very talented gluten free bloggers) did a lot of experimenting to find the ratio that works best for us.

I had success with a ratio of 3 parts flour/ 1 part liquid/ 1 part egg/ 1 part fat.  I started out by weighing my egg.  I usually use large eggs, but since my local store was practically giving away medium size eggs for Easter, that's what I had on hand.  Due to the size of my egg I measured everything in grams so that I would be more accurate.  The nice thing about using ratios is that you can easily adapt the recipe swapping out ingredients and making more or less depending on your pantry!

 Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Scones

50 grams sweet rice flour
100 grams gluten free flour mix
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
50 grams milk
50 grams egg (my egg was 49 grams. I added water to make it 50)
50 grams cold butter, cut into small pieces
70 grams raisins (about 1/2 cup raisins)

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add butter and mix on low until flour mixture looks like course meal, 1-2 minutes.  Place flour mixture into a small bowl and stick in the freezer to keep cold while you beat the egg.  Beat the egg in the same mixing bowl that the flour was in. (you don't need to clean it).  Mix on medium for 3-4 minutes or until the egg is very light and foamy.  Turn off the mixer and add the milk, raisins and the flour mixture from the freezer.  Mix on medium low just until mixture comes together (about 30 seconds).  Scoop dough onto a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat and pat down to a 3/4 inch thick disk.
Cut out the scones with a small cookie cutter or use a pizza cutter to cut it into 6- 8 wedges.  I cut out 5 triangles then pressed the dough scraps together into a small disk and got 2 more triangles plus a free form circle with the last of the scraps.

Place cut scones on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar crystals.  At this point I covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight so I could bake them fresh for breakfast.  If you don't want to wait, go ahead.  Skip the refrigerator, bake and enjoy!

Baking instructions:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place baking sheet into preheated oven and turn down the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (20 minutes in my oven for 7 scones).

If desired, drizzle a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with a little milk over each scone.