Monthly Archives: December 2010

Gluten-free Whole Grain Waffle Recipe

Waffles are the new muffin.  You heard it here first, Dusty Baker style.

Last weekend I was bequeathed with a waffle iron, that I dutifully packed into my carry-on and brought back to NYC from Cincinnati (thanks, Rae!).  This morning I had guests to prepare breakfast for, and was frustrated with my lack of muffin options – I had no nuts, berries, raisins, fruit, nothing to put into a muffin!  I had thoroughly explored the gluten-free muffin world last year in Cincinnati, and now that trip inspired what will surely be one of many gluten-free waffle recipes to grace this site.  I popped out all the flours I had open in the fridge, consulted classic waffle recipes, and got to work.

The result: these waffles are deliciously whole-grain and sweet because of the use of amaranth and quinoa flours.  I used two different types of cinnamon to give them bite.  And 6 tablespoons of butter gave a perfectly creamy balance to the grains.

If you don’t have all of these ingredients, substitute with what you have.  Cow’s or soy milk can be substituted for the almond milk, as can a soy/vegetable alternative to butter and egg replacer for the eggs easily makes them a gluten-free vegan waffle recipe that holds its own comparatively.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour (provides sweetness and a soft texture)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour (provides a bit of protein and aids digestibility)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (provides body and heft)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch / flour (binds the flours together)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (provides fiber for digestibility)
  • 1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour (it’s sweet and I’d never used it before!)
  • 3 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used half Chinese and half Indonesian cinnamon)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (or soy butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or cow’s, soy or rice milk, just try to use unsweetened)

Directions:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool
  • Heat your waffle iron
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl and slowly add the milk
  • Add the melted butter, stiring to combine
  • Pour liquid ingredients into dry and stir with a fork or spatula to combine
  • Use 1/4-1/2 cup batter per waffle, cook until toasted

Makes 8 waffles.

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10 Holiday Kitchen Gifts – Things I Can’t Live Without!

Okay, so saying that I can’t live without something is relative, right?  Yes, I could live without a standing mixer.  But would the people in my life who receive the treats made from it actually want me to?  Questionable.

There are so many blogs about the best gifts for this and that online.  And I am guilty in my day job of writing for other people’s websites of contributing to those lists.  But the other day a new person in my life was in my kitchen and I pointed to a saute pan and said “I could do without all the things in my kitchen except for THAT”.  THAT slowly turned into four or five things that make the family I could basically cook anything from.  So here are those and a few other of my little favorites of varying expense that are sure to add a little Dusty pleasure to holiday stocking or nestled under the tree.  If you have a chef in your life that you’re looking for the perfect last-minute holiday cooking gift, you can’t go wrong with one of these babies that I’m slightly and probably unhealthfully obsessed with.

Click on the images to find the products online.

10. The Cuisinart 5.5 quart Stainless-Steel Saute Pan

$55.00 on Amazon with lid. Also at Home Goods and TJMaxx sometimes.

I am a big believer in stainless steel over non-stick.  Cuisinart makes an incredibly affordable line of quality stainless steel pans.  They heat evenly, have a nice weight to them, clean up easily and are impeccable with letting the flavor of your food come through.  I use it to brown meat, fry eggs, saute vegetables, fry donuts… it goes from stove to oven so frittatas are yummy and meat dishes get a good browning under the broiler.

9. Le Creuset 5.5 quart Dutch Oven

$65 at Home Goods or starting at $200 online.

I am in love with this piece of equipment.  So much so that this picture is one of many I have taken of it.  And I love Le Creuset in particular.  I’m sure there are comparably good french cast iron pieces of cookware, but I don’t need to meet them.  I have penned poetry about this pot.  Sad?  Yes.  But this pot has made countless delicious soups, nestled lamb loins, sweetened peaches for pie, sauteed vegetables into gooeyness.  It goes from stove to oven to table.  If I could pick one piece of equipment to cook in, this would be it, in this size (I also own the 3.5 quart oval and the 9 quart round). I got mine at Home Goods for about $65.  But I’d pay $200 if I had to.  If you have a cook you love in your life, get them one of these and don’t be surprised if you see tears.

8. Silicone Spatulas/Spoonulas from Williams-Sonoma

Starting at $7

These are a both a guilty pleasure and a practical, almost indestructible necessity for the kitchen.  The silicone is safe for all surfaces, so pots and pans are protected from scratching.  The spoonula is perfect when sauteing vegetables.  They come in all sorts of pretty colors that make an appealing assortment when out on a counter.  I get them randomly as presents and never complain.

7. OXO Good Grips Flexible Spatula

$13.00

I got one of these a year ago from a local kitchen store and it’s now my go-to.  The flexible steel yields to cookies, eggs, meats and vegetables perfectly, so food that is slightly soft doesn’t threaten to break.  I actually rarely use a stiff spatula now.  And at only $8 and virtually indestructible, it’s a steal.  People I’ve gifted it to love it.  Stocking stuffer.  Oh yes.

6. Ghee

About $6

Yes, ghee.  Ghee is clarified butter most commonly known in Indian Cooking.  Regular butter is heated at a low temperature so that the protein solids separate from the pure, delicious ghee.  It’s so much more tasty than regular butter.  It has a higher smoking point, a deliciously nutty taste, and rounds out dishes perfectly.  While I don’t use it in baking, it’s my go-to butter when I cook.  In sauteed vegetables I usually use olive oil as my base, and then add some ghee at the end to pump up the flavor exponentially.  If I had only one fat to cook with, it’d be ghee (though I’d cry a little at the loss of duck fat and olive oil).  And, yes, it’s perfection on toast.

5. KitchenAid Standing Mixer

$239. on Amazon.

This is one of the best kitchen gifts I’ve ever been given (ties with the first Le Creuset my mother gave me).  Quick story: I had inherited one from my boyfriend’s parents that made literally thousands of cookies and hundreds of pies, breads and cakes in the 30-years they owned it.  And they’re ridiculously delicious bakers.  The work kept going in my kitchen until the boyfriend became the best friend and the mixer went with him.  I ended up borrowing his father’s so often during the holiday season last year that he gifted me one for Christmas.  Thanks, Kevin!  It’s indispensible for quick pie crusts, whipping egg whites into stiff, peaky perfection, kneading bread dough… there’s nothing a good mixer can’t do.  Soon I hope to get the grinding and pasta attachments for it.  If you want to wow with a present, get a KitchenAid.

4. Bialetti Percolator

$26.00

Okay, so this technically isn’t a cooking thing.  But I love good coffee and love offering it to my guests. And after experimenting with standard coffee makers, espresso makers, one-touch systems, a simple drip filter and the lovely French Press, this is my favorite.  I love the 3-cup one specifically because it makes just the right amount of really strong coffee for me to mix with hot water into a perfect Americano. And, as this Dusty Baker always seems to be moving, it fits so easily into luggage and comes with me wherever I move.  And you need nothing but heat to make coffee – perfect for electric or gas stoves or the campfire!  Delicioso!

3. Flexible Cutting Boards

From $5 on Amazon

These are ingenious.  They protect your counter and then fold easily to ease food into pots and pans. Nothing more to be said.  Inexpensive and worth their weight.

2.  A Chef’s Knife

I use a Cutco standard 9.25 inch chef’s knife.  Granted, I’m not as versed in knives as others, and I hope to be able to afford an upgrade in the future.  But I’ve had this knife since my 2nd year of college and it still never fails me.  Cutco knives sharpen easily and come with lifetime guarantees, so if it chips they’ll fix or replace it.  A good knife is probably the most vital instrument in a kitchen.  And this one ain’t bad.

1. Sur La Tabla Nonstick Jellyroll Pans

$19.95 for two

I lived by a Sur La Tabla last year and was instantly in love (and slightly addicted) to their affordable brand of products.  These two jellyroll pans are my favorite for baking cookies – they’re thick enough that the temperature distributes evenly but not so thick that my cookies spread in scary directions. And when I’m roasting sides of pork or lamb, they can hold up to running fat and charred corners.  I basically have one that I solely use for meats now, and a set for baking.  Quality.

Punch Yo Mama Kentucky Apple Pie – Take One

“Bourbon Bacon Molasses Apple Pie”.

Until today, nothing would come up in a search engine with those five beautiful words strung together.

Now, this is not a healthy pie.  Nor a medicinal pie, except in that it may have magical qualities when trying to lure lovers or tame unruly children.  It blends those delirious tongue-teasers of savory and sweet, the unsuspected crunch of candied bacon embedded in folds of apples both sweet and tart.  A blend of spicy and soothing cinnamon and a dash of fresh nutmeg fuse them together and they sleep contented in a flaky, free-0f-the-demon-gluten crust.  This pie is work, but so worth it.

In making this recipe I combined techniques I’d learned from other kitchen explorations – par-baking apples, candying bacon, blending healthy flours for a gluten-free crust – and am very pleased with the first incarnation.  But this recipe still has further to go; it’s delicious on day one but the bacon sags into an unappetizing texture if you keep eating it on successive days (but if it’s more than you and a roommate trying to wipe it out of existence and you can eat it in one go, bake on).  The bourbon gives a delightfully oak-y slight to the senses, but hasn’t packed a wallop yet.

If you’re looking for a comforting, complex apple pie recipe with a twist, check this recipe out.  It’s fuller-bodied than your traditional American pie, and the flavors round themselves out very well.

This recipe requires three steps: 1. Candying bacon. 2. Preparing your apples. 3. Preparing and filling crust.  Refer to my BAKING BASICS posts for recipes on both filling and a variety of pie crusts.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons GOOD Kentucky bourbon (I used Blantons, one of my favorites)
  • 3 tablespoons organic blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar plus more as desired
  • six strips very thin bacon (from a butcher)
  • About 18 apples, prepared (CLICK HERE for page on apple pie filling)
  • Unbaked pie crust, enough for bottom and top.

Directions: Bourbon Blackstrap Bacon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay a baking rack over a cookie sheet with high rims and spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat small saucepan over medium/low heat.  Once hot, pour in 2 tablespoons bourbon and heat until it just gets bubbly.
  • Add 2 tablespoons molasses and stir with spatula until the mixture starts to bubble and expand.
  • Add 1/2 cup light brown sugar, mixing in, and bring to heat until the mixture expands again.
  • Turn off heat and let cool slightly.
  • Prepare to get sticky: using your hands, rub each piece of bacon in the bourbon mixture until coated.  By the 3rd or 4th piece the sugar mixture will be cooling and drying out a bit – don’t worry! Just drudge it as much as you can to coat the bacon.
  • Coat entirely with extra brown sugar until completely covered.
  • Lay on sprayed rack and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.  Set aside and cool completely.

Directions: Apple Filling. On EACH tray sprinkle:

  • For this recipe, I used 2 kinds of cinnamon, 1 very spicy and one mild and sweet. I love cinnamon, so I used 2 tsps. of each.  Vary this to your tastes.
  • Sprinkle on each trap 1/4 tsp of ground cloves and 1 tablespoon sugar, preferably something light like palm sugar over regular white sugar.
  • Toss the apples thoroughly.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are slightly softened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.

Directions:  Let’s Fill This Thing

  • Use a deep-dish 9″ pie plate (my favorite pie dish is my Emile Henry 9″. It’s wonderfully deep and the ceramic bakes to perfection) and fill it with your bottom crust.
  • Layer the apples in and pack them tightly – the apple should be piled into a very hefty dome.
  • In a small dish, combine remaining tablespoon bourbon and molasses, and drizzle completely over the top of the apples.
  • Place second crust on top, and pinch to close.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, covering the edges halfway through baking so they don’t burn.

This pie is best eaten the same day it’s made, but should be cooled completely before cutting if using a gluten-free crust (they crumble very easily).

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