Tag Archives: FoodBuzz

Gluten-Free Pastry Puff Party!

photo Brent Herrig

I’ve been obsessed with a gluten-free cream puff recipe.

Having gone without gluten for almost twenty years (minus the occasional succumbing to a bowl of homemade pasta passed to me or the gloriousness of a chewy piece of bread on my family’s island in Portugal just last week), delicate, precious things like filled pastry puffs had long been far from my food thoughts.

But when I sourced a bakery for gluten-free Easy Eats magazine’s Sweet Surprise column in our most recent issue, those thoughts shifted.  As I assisted the food stylist on the shoot I fell enamored of the smooth, thick dough that puffed into crackly rounds.  I was amazed by how such seemingly simple ingredients and a rather quick process could make something so delightful.

So my proposal for FoodBuzz’s 24×24 dinner party – where 24 bloggers from around the world host and post on the same day – quickly centered around the thought: how much can I play with this in one meal?  The owner of the bakery and creator of the recipe, Geri Peacock, had mentioned that, growing up as a child, her mother and grandmother filled the shells with things both savory and sweet.  It was a bit of her heritage that she had adapted for the gluten-free community years later.

So I rounded up some friends, checked in about their dietary issues and cultural backgrounds, and set them in the living room with some cocktails and a really random mix of music, and got to stuffing.

The pastry recipe is below, with my thoughts about how to make each batch spot on.  Click on the images for links to the other recipes.

And please check out Easy Eats magazine for the original recipe and other beautiful gluten-free recipes, lifestyle tips and stunning photos – and my most recent feature of five gluten free pasta recipes! Oh, and coming out in May, my feature of six top-notch chefs give us their own food thoughts and easy-to-execute classic recipes made gluten free (two of the chefs even put gluten-free options on their menus after!).

Oh, and mucho thanks to my photographer, Brent Herrig, for plating and snapping away.  All images are his.

Brent Herrig © 2012

Gluten-Free Pastry Puffs

Makes about 36 puffs, depending on size

The original pastry recipe took a teeny tiny bit of playing with – things like the position of the oven rack and sheets used made a huge difference in how one sheet would either rise and become too thin or remain deliciously eggy but too dense.  Luckily they are rather quick to whip up, and once you get the hang of it you can start swapping flours and fats with relative ease.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, Earth Balance or lard
  • 2 cups Cherbourg Bakery flour blend
  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • dash of salt

Method:

Heat oven to 400° with rack in the center / one notch down from center.  Line 3 baking sheets with Silpat (the original recipe says ungreased cookie sheets but mine continually stuck that way – could be my ancient oven).

In a small pot on high heat, bring the water and butter (once it’s melted) to a full boil.  Lower the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix thoroughly, using a combination of smearing together and folding to completely incorporate the flour into the liquid.  Cook until a smooth ball forms.  Immediately transfer to a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat in eggs one at a time, starting on a low setting then raising to incorporate.  About halfway through, beat until smooth, and then continue with the rest of the eggs.  Once all are in, beat for about one minute on medium-high speed.

Drop on sheets in smooth lumps, about one tablespoon for smaller puffs (what I used for dessert) and twice the size for larger ones.  Bake one at a time for 30 minutes (I was lucky to use a neighbor’s oven as well).  Once you put the puffs in, don’t open the oven for a good 25 minutes to check – they need the heat to rise properly.  Cool for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Depending on the sturdiness of the puffs, I cut out small tops and filled them or sliced them in half and used them in a slider-type of way.  As they’re light, eggy and rather flavor-neutral, they worked well with strong savory and sweet flavors equally.

Puff Pastry Party Menu

Piri Shrimp

This is the one dish for which I’m not posting a recipe, because I totally cheated and just threw 1 pound of ethically caught shrimp (as in not from Thailand and labeled with certain standards) with 1 bottle of Very Peri Mild (I was sent some to test out and it’s quite delightful).  I marinated it overnight and then threw them in a hot pan with the juice of one fresh lemon.  YUM!

Lamb Stew

Garden Chicken Salad

Jerusalem Artichoke and Kohlrabi

Mini Banana Split with Dairy-Free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes with Dairy-Free Liquid Cheesecake


Gluten-Free Churros – a Family Holiday Recipe

Gluten-Free Churros

A few hours before posting this I had a huge panic moment: I’m still not quite sure how it happened, but while cleaning out unneeded photos from my hard drive collection I accidentally erased ALL OF THEM!!  These are the only two that survived as they’d already been dragged onto the desktop.  It was frustrating, to say the least.

I spend way too much time on little machines and it’s oddly refreshing sometimes to have them revolt against me.  It reminds me of what I love most about what I do: Words. Food. Art.  Not computers, DSLRs and smartphones. Simple, old-school.

Which is what this recipe is: simple and old-school.

My father is from Portugal, and my favorite recipes are ones that I’ve learned from my Tia or inherited through my Avo, my grandmother.  When I was 13 or so I remember walking into the garage at her house in Povacao (a small town on the island of Sao Miguel in the Acores) to see her plucking a chicken, with several others hanging from a rafter.  I also remember a sweet, dense bread she’d bake in a brick oven in that garage.  And fried sardines, spicy orange beans and creamy kale soup that she made magically with rustic cookware in her old kitchen.

One of my favorite family recipes, and one that was reserved for the holidays, are malasadas – a yeasted fried dough that she’d bring over, all puffy and risen, in a big bowl to whichever family was hosting.  As kids, we’d be given a ball of the dough to stretch out for ourselves.  After a quick fry (always stove-top, none of us had a deep fryer), we’d toss them in a paper bag of sugar and devour them warm.

My avo died last summer, and this is how I ended her eulogy which, of course, was a lot about food:

Avo loved to take care of all of us, and loved how we take care of each other.  As I learn how to make more and more of the foods that I remember coming from her, I thank her with all my heart for teaching us how to make a home, and bring a family to a table, to have faith that god loves us, and say those two precious words that I’ll never forget…

“Come, querida.”  Eat, darling.

I miss her the most when I’m in my kitchen.

A few years ago my Tia taught me several versions of the malasadas recipe.  It’s now one of my standards, and my favorite at-party trick.

This is how they usually look:

Malasadas

Light, fluffy, chewy and lemony, they’re little bites of heaven, especially when served warm and slathered with homemade jam.

The only problem I have with them – they’re not gluten-free!  Which means I haven’t eaten one in a long time.

So, finally, with a little nudging from FoodBuzz and Frigidaire’s Talk Turkey Campaign, I figured there’s no better time like the present.

I adapted my family recipe with gluten-free flours and the knowledge that gluten-free donuts  don’t always whip up with the same texture as their glutenous counterparts.  Instead of stretching and frying the dough, I was planning on piping it into churros.  See, I live in Washington Heights in New York City, which has an incredibly high Latino population.  And I love my neighborhood.  As I walk my dog around the area, down by the Hudson River during sunset and through Riverside Park, I inevitably run into neighbors who have now become friends.  We let our dogs romp, catch up on city news and almost inevitably talk about food: what we’ve made for dinner or to where our sweet teeth have taken us.

So this season I’ll be whipping up a few batches of these as my holiday gift: the perfect combination of my Portuguese heritage and my Latino location.

I created this post as part of Frigidaire’s Talk Turkey Campaign. Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire’s Make Time for Change site. For every recipe or tip that’s shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children’s U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need! Join me!

Happy Beginning of the Holidays!

- Jacqueline

Lemony, spicey and chewey! Perfect with a good espresso.

Notes about gluten-free churro-making love: because of the lack of gluten, you don’t need to worry about how long you knead the dough as there’s no gluten to develop.  The dough isn’t also necessarily going to rise as high as it would normally.  Don’t fret!  This dough shouldn’t be sticky, and should easily be scooped into a pastry bag. 

You also don’t want to fry them until golden – thirty seconds or so does the trick to keep them nice and light inside. I usually fry about 10 at a time, and just as I pipe the last one in the first one’s ready to come out.

Because I wanted to see which flavor combination I like the most in the sugar tossing, I added spices progressively.  This step you can suit to your taste – my favorite ended up being the all-four combo.

And they’re best eaten fresh – though a quick warming later makes them perfect for coffee dunking.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups gluten-free cake flour (my blend is HERE with xanthan gum)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 packets of yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp lemon oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of strong cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Large bottle of pure vegetable or canola oil

Method:

  • In a small bow, combine yeast and warm water, stirring with a fork to dissolve.  Set aside to sit and let get all foamy and homey-smelling.
  • In a Pyrex measuring cup or small bowl, combine butter and milk and microwave until butter is melted and milk is warm.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the breadhook, place flour and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, lemon oil, lemon zest, eggs and milk mixture.
  • Start mixer on low and progressively increase speed until the ingredients combine.
  • Turn off mixer, add yeast mixture, and slowly increase speed until at medium/high (6 on a Kitchenaid).
  • Mix until the dough is thoroughly combined, and pulls away from the side of the mixer in light air bubbles, about five minutes.
  • Place about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large bowl.  Move dough to bowl, tossing in oil to coat.
  • Cover with thick towels and place in a warm spot.
  • Let rise for about an hour, punch down to release air, and let sit to rise again, about another hour.
  • In a large heavy-bottom pot (I used a 7 quart Creuset dutch oven), heat oil on medium/high heat.
  • Pour sugar in a doubled small paper lunch bag (or use a large paper grocery bag).
  • Move dough to pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
  • Pipe dough directly into hot oil, snipping ends with kitchen scissors.
  • Fry for about 30 seconds (it should take about 30 seconds for you to pipe 10 churros in, and then you can start removing them one by one), then toss into the paper bag.
  • Toss in sugar and remove to a plate.
  • Add cinnamon to paper bag, and repeat frying and tossing a batch.
  • Add ginger, repeat.
  • Add nutmeg, repeat.
  • Serve warm to people you love, maybe with strong espresso or a glass of red table wine.


Pomegranate Lime Ice Cream – Dairy free!

Pomegranate Lime Ice Cream with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

This morning I had to face a personal demon and reason some things out: what do I do if the project I’m currently working on fails?  Since I lost my creative partner on the project a few months ago I’ve had to fully invest in moving it along myself.  And many times I’ve cursed the former partner’s name because it all would have just been so much easier if we were still working on it together.  I’ve equally been thankful that we’re not – the project is coming along well and I don’t know if the same fire would have been lit under me if he had taken the reins.

Without saying too much, just know that it involves food.  And it could lead to me eventually not having to leave the city to perform so much or spending so much time in audition rooms.  I love performing.  I love love love playwrights, directors, producers, other actors, the live audience, the thrill of a really good piece of work.  And I love work in general, so much so that I completely overdid it and had a relapse of Lyme several years ago.  And since that last bout I’ve realized I need something with a bit more of a direct path that doesn’t require such dramatic energy.  Yes, food work is obviously exhausting.  Which is why I could never spend as much time in a kitchen as is needed to be a chef.  But I have food to thank for making me well enough that I can work again at all.

Which brings me back to the whole failure thing.  I came to one awesome conclusion that has cleared a lot: I want to push this project forward so badly because I simply love performing and food and want to share with a community of people.  For 18 years I’ve gone back and forth between sickness and relative health.  I’ve had to watch what I put in my body meticulously.  When I go over the edge, it gets messy: a tiny bit of dairy can make me ill for days, alcohol can be temperamental depending on my sugar levels and if I don’t eat in proper rotation my body freaks out.

I love food for those very reasons.  It is a powerful thing.  It is my medicine, my magic.  It is a form of art that I highly respect when I see it in others and want to nourish in myself.

So if this project “fails”, I’ll still have learned how to make an exponentially yummy list of treats anyway. 

Like this one.  Two years ago I had no clue how to make coconut milk taste so good.  Let me share it with you.

Creamy, frosty, tangy goodness

A few years ago, one of my dearest friends (hi Ruark!) gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday.  Actually, he was more than a dearest friend – we had been dating for about 7 years at that point.  It was the perfect present – given to me in the dead heat of summer, while I was pulling out of that nasty Lyme flare and just able to eat food again.  That summer I made a lot of sorbet, and he made full-fatted, full-dairied ice cream for our friends and loved ones.

I was psyched to welcome the machine back into my life this summer.

With it I made a Coffee Ice Cream Pie for a Burwell Recipe Swap and Honeybun Ice Cream for my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Supper Party. All dairy-free, of course.

Unfortunately Ruark wasn’t around to taste either of these creations.  We broke up a bit after that birthday but miraculously have remained good friends, supporting each other in work and new relationships with a familial kind of love.  So when we decided on a little dinner reunion tomorrow night, ice cream went right on the menu.   Along with another dear friend of ours, we shall feast in my tiny Washington Heights kitchen.  And, as per usual, I always plan my desserts first.

This ice cream is completely dairy free and uses honey as sweetener – the half cup of honey made it a bit too sweet for me, but I have a feeling others may find it just right.  If you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic, a warning: about five bites and I was shaking like a leave in the cooling autumn wind (it’s coming, NYC, sooner or later).

I upped the egg yolk content a bit to add some extra creaminess – I found this made an incredibly decadent texture, spot on to the original that I remember those many moons ago.

I knew I wanted to add something to the mixture in order to compliment the pomegranates, and found lime to work perfectly.  Using the zest of two limes and the juice of one gave it an awesome current of citrus that wasn’t overpowering, nor overpowered by the sweetness of the ice cream.  The fresh pomegranate seeds at just a touch of tang and crunch.

I’m a huge fan of this recipe  Huge.

A note on pomegranates: Yes, you can buy containers of pomegranate seeds from the store, and that was my plan.  But they were out.  And so I grabbed two ripe pomegranates to seed myself, and am so glad I did! In doing so I was reminded at how beautiful a fruit they are, and how intricately constructed.  They sort of remind me of lapas, one of my favorite seafoods when I visit the island my family’s from in Portugal.  You use a tiny fork to get at the luscious meat hidden within the barnacle.  I have a feeling Salvador Dali would have like them.  And pomegranates.  And if you’re curious at the connection email me.  I’m a nerd for the surrealists.

Pomegranate!

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz egg yolks (that was about 8 large eggs for me)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cups coconut milk (full fat, please)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder / starch
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • zest from 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • seeds of one pomegranate (more or less if saving some for decoration)

Directions:

  • In a heatproof bowl whisk yolks and honey together until smooth and thick, about 1 minute.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, whisk vanilla into about 2 3/4 cup coconut milk, reserving the rest.
  • Set either in a double boiler or over low heat and bring the milk up to steaming.
  • Slowly warm the egg mixture by adding the warm coconut milk to it 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly, until about a half of the milk is whisked smoothly into the eggs.
  • Remove the heated milk mixture from heat.
  • Slowly whisk egg mixture into milk mixture, whisking continually while you work and whistling as well.  (It’s much more fun if you whistle.)
  • Dissolve the arrowroot in the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk.  Slowly add to milk mixture and whisk in.
  • Add salt.
  • Return bowl to heat and whisk thoroughly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Now I don’t work with dairy a lot and it’s been forever since I’ve made a cow-milk-custard. But I have a feeling it thickens moreso than the coconut milk.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.  But I whisked (and whistled, literally) to the point where it just coasted the back of a spoon.  Because of the high content of egg yolks, it worked well.
  • Remove bowl from heat and stir in the lime zest.
  • Let cool a bit, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge, either until cold or overnight.
  • When ready to churn (we don’t get to say “churn” enough nowadays), stir the juice of one lime into the mixture and pour into your ice cream maker.
  • Churn (he he) according to its instructions.
  • Meanwhile, remove pomegranate seeds from fruit.  When the ice cream is just starting to look icy and thick, pour in pomegranate seeds.
  • Remove to a sealed container and freeze until hard.

To make coconut milk whipped cream: Place two cans of coconut milk in the fridge and your whipping bowl / whisk in the freezer overnight.  When ready, pour both cans in and whip at medium speed for a few minutes, then at high speed until frothy and light.  Add honey, maple syrup or powdered sugar to your desired level of sweetness, and 1 tsp vanilla extract if desired.  It won’t get quite as light as regular whipped cream, but tastes great and is a nice touch to any dairy-free dessert!

Thanks to the humidity, melty and ready for eating.

Foodbuzz 24×24: A Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party

Scarborough Fair Supper Party

Life is so delicious.  Last night, August 27th, I joined 23 other bloggers from around the world in hosting dinner parties with varying, festive themes as a part of FoodBuzz’s 24×24 dinner party.

I had crafted a dreamy, end-of-summer supper party proposal for this monthly internet party, thinking we’d be poolside at my childhood home in Connecticut.  I had envisioned bubbly, fruity cocktails, sunblock, French music and pulling herbs and vegetables fresh from the garden for cooking.  We would feast as the sun went down in bathing suits and sweaters, candles and lightening bugs lulling us into full contentment.  Each course on the menu would highlight the unique fragrance and taste of an herb that was found primarily from my father’s garden and my window boxes – rosemary, parsley, basil, chives, spearmint, chocolate mint, sage and lavender.  My guest list was assembling, I was menu-planning in my head and on paper, and things were shaping up perfectly in my little fantasy.

But reality trumped fantasy this weekend:  a hurricane walloped my perfect party plans.  The poolside fete turned morphed into an apartment party – getting to Connecticut was deemed almost impossible with Hurricane Irene running up the eastern seaboard.  Then our mayor shut down our entire transit system beginning at noon on Saturday – there went half of the guest list, who were coming from Brooklyn, Queens and various nooks in Manhattan up to my apartment near the Hudson far up on the west side.

What resulted, though, was still an incredibly fun evening.  6 locals within walking distance joined me on the rainy, humid night.  My roommate and I had spruced up the apartment, cleaning and decorating as festively as possible.  Because of the impending winds we had to move my herbs inside anyway – they made incredibly fitting center-pieces along with all those emergency candles.

We threw on some French music, lit the candles, settled in with mint juleps and champagne, and chatted away as the rain poured down.

My guests were lovely in their praises of the food and asked me to describe each course in detail – how things went together and the inspiration behind each.  Amongst the chaos that had been descending on the city in preparation for what was expected to be one hell of a storm, most of my friends over the city were huddled in their apartments with liquor and junk food.  We, on the other hand, celebrated the apocalypse with empanadas, prosciutto, roast beef, rosemary potatoes and homemade French macarons and ice cream.

Everything on the menu was homemade, planned to highlight some fabulous flavors.  And the entire menu was gluten and cow-dairy free.

And the hurricane?  Well, we didn’t lose power and the sidewalks up here are strewn with fallen leaves.  That’s just about it.

Because of the lack of light in the apartment due to the storm the pictures of the party are quiet uneven – most food shots being taken throughout the day as courses were prepped.  Recipes for what can be shared are linked to below the images.

The Menu

First Course

Melon, Basil, Proscuitto, Iberico cheese

Melon, Basil, Prosciutto, Iberico Cheese drizzled in lavender honey.

Herbs highlighted: basil and lavender

Empanadas

Gluten-free beef empanadas.

Herbs highlighted: chocolate mint

These were a huge hit. I had been dying for an empanada recipe after indulging in the gluten-full ones at my favorite restaurant recently, so these were an early thought on the menu.  Beef was sauteed in onions and garlic, then stewed down with cocoa, honey, cinnamon and hot pepper before golden raisins and olives were mixed in.  Finally the chocolate mint was blended and the mixture cooled before being filled into the flaky crust.  Click here for the recipe.

Parsley-Basil Macarons

French Macarons with Herb Filling

Herbs highlighted: parsley and basil

This was the most out-0f-the-box contribution to the evening.  I had FINALLY made macarons to perfection – it only took me five tries, interviewing macaron cookbook author Jill Colonna and taking a class at Dessert Truck Works to figure them out.

So I wanted to incorporate a savory macaron into the meal as well as using them in dessert.  Luckily Jill, in her book Mad About Macarons, had an incredibly easy filling that was basically parsley and basil blended with oil.  So I threw a non-descript amount of both in my food processor along with some bergamont-flavored olive oil, pink Himalayan sea salt and fresh lemon juice.

The result?  One guest actually said that this was her favorite of the three appetizers – the sweetness of the macaron and its gentle crunch crumbled perfectly underneath the herb mixture.  It was both salty, sweet and savory.

Unfortunately I don’t have a great picture of the final product because we were in hurricane mode lighting-wise by the time they were prepared.  But grab Jill’s book if you want the recipe and some amazing others.

Entree

Roast Beef, Rosemary Potatoes and Herbes de Provence Summer Squash

Roast Beef

Herbs highlighted: rosemary and chives

I don’t often make roast beef.  But I love using fresh rosemary on roasts, and as there was an abundance at my dad’s house this seemed only fitting.  I brought the meat to room temperature and then crusted it in olive oil, about 5 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary and 1 Tbsp of chives, as well as a little kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Then I placed it in an elevated roasting pan on top of a shallow bath of onions, garlic and lots of fresh rosemary.  Cooked to medium rare, it was quite delicious and only took an hour and a half to roast.

Rosemary Thyme Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Thyme Roasted Baby Potatoes

Herbs highlighted: Um, rosemary and thyme?

I didn’t take a picture of the final product, again due to poor lighting.  But aren’t these tiny potatoes gorgeous!?! I love how easily they roast – they went into the oven doused in olive oil, kosher salt and fresh rosemary and thyme.  Without parboiling they were crispy and soft.  Perfection.

Summer Squash

Summer Squash with Herbes de Provence and Lavender Honey

Herbs highlighted: lavender, savory, fennel, thyme basil

Well, it wasn’t from my dad’s garden but this squash was local and deliciously sweet.  I doused it in a tiny bit of oil, a load of herbes de Provence (which in general I could never live without) and spoonfulls of lavender infused honey.  It went in the oven with the roast and potatoes, and in about thirty minutes was toasty and sweet.

Dessert

Hurrican Irene Erosion

Honeybun Ice Cream, French Macarons and Fruit Compote

Herbs highlighted: spearmint, lavender

What better way to end a summery supper party than with homemade ice cream and French Macarons with local summer fruit?  This dessert was gluten and dairy free, sweetened only with honey but oh-so satisfying.  Click here for the recipe.

The Party

Despite the rain, the threat that power-outages were coming, the lack of public transporation and the fact that we weren’t next to a pool celebrating the end of the summer, I was pretty darned pleased with my FoodBuzz Party.  No, it was not what I had planned.  But the food was still center-stage, and it was pretty damned good.  Possibly the best menu in entirety that I’ve ever made.  And I could think of no better way to spend the worst part of the storm than with some great people, some fabulous food and a festive atmosphere.  Hopefully I’ll get another shot down the road at hosting a Foodbuzz dinner party, but until then – thanks Foodbuzz.  And Irene.  And the glorious people in the pictures below for trekking out in the downpour to join me.

Place-settings

Menus decorating piano as we eat.

Friends

Amy - she also has gluten and dairy problems so this party was perfect for her!

Old-time buddy Jon - evidently he liked his dessert.

Meg - gorgeous with her dessert.

Gary enjoys spearmint. Just ignore Jon.

Empty, honey covered plate and chocolate mint.

The herbs were the focus still of the evening

Ambiance

My dog Mitra - hates rain, LOVES prosciutto

Bringing the outdoors in.

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