Every year I say I’m not gonna do any baking events during the holidays.
And then every year I do a few anyway. Because, like today, sometimes you can’t say “no” to making something sweet for a good cause. Continue reading
Hello there friends,
I had one of those mornings that tougher NYCers would laugh at but that’s left me with a scrunched up feeling in my heart.
I awoke once again just feeling off. Not full-blown sick, but really out of whack. I muscled to the living room to do a low-key Qi Gong DVD, which definitely had me slowing down, centering, focusing, and returning to somewhat a manageable plane of energy. I was feeling calmer, at least, and ready to tackle my morning.
Then the parking situation came.
In my neighborhood we have alternate side-street parking where you can’t park for 90 minute blocks certain days of the week so they can be cleaned. It’s a fun little matrix I now know well. It’s not rocket science (shout out to my friend Tim who is actually a rocket scientist), but takes some planning and moving your car quickly when the cleaning’s done on a street, so that you have a place before your time expires.
So at 10:05 I, feeling very grounded and quiet, took Mitra for a walk around the corner, stopping to tousle with her friends Scrabble and Checkers, before jumping in the car and pulling to a street a few blocks away. There, a few cars were doubled-parked on the narrow one-way street. Double parked! It normally isn’t an issue, though, because they come and move their cars when the time changes. So… you guessed it… 10:20 rolls around, usually when people are slipping in to park and waiting in their cars until go time (like yours truly and 3 other cars), and the squatters are no where to be seen. 10:30, nothing. Two of the other cars want to park and leave, which is now creating a pileup of passing cars, including a school bus that can’t get through. 10:35, still those cars and now the legally parked people are waiting, having pulled onto the curb so people can pass. By 10:38, I’ve dealt with plenty of yelling and honking people who are not happy.
So when the drivers finally come out, they’re met with grumpy people including me, who gives a lady an exasperated scrunch of the shoulders. She fires immediately, “oh, I’m 3 minutes late, kill me!” to which I respond, “actually you’re 8 minutes late and have pissed off about 20 people” to which she responds as she walks to her car “ooh, 8 whole minutes, doesn’t something ever come up for you? Welcome to New York baby, it happens” to which I go “I’ve been here ten years, no welcome necessary, it not an excuse to those 20 people backed up for you” to which she closes “I’ll tell my sick mother you said that”.
I park my car and get out to start walking before she can follow in my direction.
To most NYers, no big deal, right? Neither of us were obscene, and while she was yelling at my open window and looking very pissed off it was kept at that. It was inconvenient, and even if only for 8 minutes, those two people were basically stating that their time was more valued than others. But still, why did I have to engage? I usually assume that people are just having a bad day, or that something came up, and it’s only 8 minutes anyway. What if her mother is really sick and she was dealing with something important? What if she’s having a really low day and I made it lower?
I walked back into my building assessing my actions, not so much concerned at the severity of the situation – in reality it’s not that big a deal – but because I don’t want to present myself that way to the world. I don’t want to be a city-dweller who is insensitive to the fact that there are real people everywhere around me. I want to act respectfully first and assertively second.
Maybe I’ll go leave a note on her car. Just in case she actually cares.
So back inside, I make some coffee and start to work on this dish. A purple-ribboned aubergine called out to me at the market. I don’t normally eat eggplant (they’re a deadly nightshade vegetable and so not good for people with arthritic conditions) but in these cold winter NYC months I need smooth veggies, and lots of garlic, and my apartment smelling like cooking food and love.
To serve, I tried two ways. First, by slicing a sweet long pepper and filling each half with half of the mixture. And just because I wanted to see how it would taste as a munchie appetizer, I piped half into Tostito Scoops and topped with a bit of the chopped pepper. I’m not a huge chip / snack fan, but had some leftover corn chips from our Superbowl gathering (um, yeah Giants!). And when I do eat chips, they’re corn chips.
This plate? Yeah, gone by the time I got to typing this sentence.
The spread is both incredibly savory with a huge waft of garlic, but also sweet in the aubergine and the roasted flavor that comes from cooking the garlic in this way. It’s warm and filling without being heavy. And so full of flavor for such a small list of ingredients. I’m not a huge “party snack” fan, but this is definitely high on the list now. And I now have the rest of the head saved for something else (why do I not roast garlic more?!).
And with that, I’m going to get to some real work today. Cooking helps when mornings are cranky, and I’m fortunate to have set up my work lifestyle in such a way that I can go to the kitchen for an hour when I most need it.
Happy Thursday folks.
Hello bloggereaders! I’ve missed the CRAP outta yah. So much so that, yes, there as a “h” on the end of “ya” to prolong the sound of the word and therefore encapsulate my joy at getting to blog right now.
In a nutshell: sourcing for magazine, writing for diff magazine, shooting DB show, hanging with Meals on Wheels, managing family business, going to Chocolate Show.
Okay forget that, summarizing is boring and I’m tired after waiting for my internet to decide to work while watching Pan Am (it’s like a bad car crash, I just can’t look away… or plane crash, as it were).
Let’s just say I’ve missed blogging. Because while I’ve been baking away I haven’t had any time to take photos (with my new lens – which now makes my camera completely old and completely manual and completely ah-MAZ-ing) or write up the recipes.
But I have still enjoyed reading YOUR blogs! And if there’s one thing I’m learning from the holidays approaching it’s to sit and have a breather now and then, to drink more water, watch my sweets, and to enjoy the little moments. To give thanks. Gracias to my life coach, Lindsay at Rosemarried and the murder-sprees on American Horror Story and Boardwalk Empire for reminding me of this lately.
(And yes, I work with a life coach and YES it’s awesome. Like having a boss, an assistant and a mirror all in one. Stuff is getting DONE in Dusty Baker Land).
(Oh, and speaking of giving thanks, if you want to win 2 copies of an awesome gluten-free cookbook (one to keep and one to give) and a copy of a regular cookbook, check out the ThanksGiveaway).
Now, end of the rambling and onto the donuts.
Sometimes 1st time is a charm. I didn’t quite believe that when making these so tried two more times, concluding that my first go was by far my favorite. In each recipe I adjusted a bit here and there – kind and quantities of flours, amount of leveners etc. I knew that:
Check, check, check, check, check.
I brought the batch upstairs to some neighbors: we all have dogs and now and then gather for walks, a glass of wine or some delicious food. One is a private chef and the other is just really good with food, so they’re great to run recipes by. The chef remarked that the flavor was “perfect, perfect, perfect”. But he had no advice as to how to get them to taste chewier, like a real donut. Because while these do taste amazing, the texture is more like a moist cake than a donut. Making them gluten free and vegan… gonna be hard to get the chew. I’m still working on it, but let’s just say that these are a delicious take on a classic donut. Their guests noted that the pumpkin flavor was full throttle, the texture was soft, the flavor balance was perfect and they might even fare well after a day or two of drying out a bit. I didn’t take any home with me – so they were a hit.
For this recipe:
I recommend having all ingredients at room temperature or slightly warm. Like a basic cake recipe, you want the ingredients to meld slowly and not be shocked into expanding and then collapsing.
This recipe does NOT use xanthan gum. I usually do, in everything. But with this I found the absence of it made for a better texture given the amount of starch in the recipe already, as well as the flax, which also binds things together.
Teff is wonderfully high in protein and fiber and the world’s smallest grain so it’s extremely fine and works well in this kind of recipe. If you can’t find teff flour, I’d suggest amaranth or quinoa – because of the moist pumpkin and spices, the flavors get absorbed well and give you all the punch-packing nutrients.
I tossed some in cinnamon and sugar, made quick glaze for others with almond milk, powdered sugar and nutmeg, brushed some with melted coconut oil and then dunked them in sugar… have fun.
Let me know what you think. What’s your favorite gluten free donut recipe? I want to try it!
Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease donut pan.
Whisk together in a small bowl:
Whisk together in a large bowl:
Whisk dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined.
Pour into 4 large or 6 mini donut pans and bake for 15-18 minutes or until springy to the touch.
I love this frosting. I want to roll around in it. I want to put it on steak, eggs, green vegetables and toast. I want to give it a national holiday.
OK, those are all going way to far. But it’s good. It’s really good.
Smooth, creamy, pungent with currant, it’s my new favorite thing.
It’s not fluffy and not pipeable. It makes a mess. But I love it so much I don’t care.
Slather it on all things sweet, especially if they contain chocolate or heavy spice.
Maybe don’t put it on steak, eggs, green vegetables or toast. Other than that, go batty.
Broken hearts are messy. As is this (Broken) Heart Pie. In my mind my submission for Pietopia’s friendly competition which asks “what does your life taste like, in a pie?” was a bit more elegant, a bit more pulled together. But I guess that’s the thing about a broken heart in a dusty kitchen. Things aren’t always going to come out the way you had hoped. And that’s okay. Just like I will be.
So, “what does my life taste like, in a pie?”
Red fruits, lots of them; rich and luscious and sweet and syrupy. Candied nuts. Ginger. Cinnamon. Molasses. Warm flavors. All things ripe and sweet and full of color and bursting with love. For as much as my heart is very much broken, it is still bursting with love. Both for the person who broke it, and for myself. I’ve never been in such a humbled position.
So, the creation. I decided to cut myself some slack and not make homemade ginger molasses cookies, as I’m not in my apartment with my arsenal of tools. I picked up a box of Ginger Cookies with Sliced Almonds from Pamela’s Products. They’re very moist and gluten and dairy free, so all I had to do was crush them, mix them with about 3 Tbsp of melted unsalted butter, press into a pie plate and bake for a bit. I should have bought two boxes, to make a fuller crust, or gotten off my tush and made a pie crust as I have dozens for times before. But again, dusty. So the crust only covers the bottom and slightly up the sides.
I guess this is more like a (Broken) Heart Cobbler. Same difference.
The recipe for the filling is below, and I suggest your favorite sweet crust – using a ginger snap or molasses cookie seems to suit these fruits perfectly. And because of the cookies I used this pie was gluten-free. And had I used Earth Balance instead of the butter in the crust, it’d be dairy-free too.
While I only had a small bite of the final product, I can promise you this pie (cobbler, whatever), is very luscious, very sweet, and almost sanguine. The cast* gobbled it down after our run-through tonight and seemed pleased, saying they were fortified with the fruit and nut combination, and it disappeared quickly.
I didn’t tell them the name: (Broken) Heart Pie.
*Shameless plug: I’m performing in Enchanted April at the Hampton Theater Company, running from May 26th to June 12th in Quogue, New York. If you’re near the Hamptons, please come check it out. It’s a darling show with a lot of heart, and some really challenging and fulfilling moments for me onstage. And I’ll be selling garden shortbread cookies at the concessions.