Monthly Archives: September 2011

Coming Sunday… Millet Breakfast Pudding

Check back in on Sunday for

Coconut Milk Millet Breakfast Pudding

Part of this month’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap


GF Honey Layer Cake inspired by Once Upon a Mattress

Layers of downy gluten-free cake with fruit-laden creams

“I come from the land of the foggy, foggy dew ooh-ooh-ooh!
Ooh-ooh-ooh! Ooh-ooh-ooh!
Where walking through the meadow in the morning is like walking through glue!
The swamps of home are brushed with green and gold at break of day.
The swaps of home are lovely to behold from far away.”

So sings Winnifred, the heroine of Once Upon a Mattress, the musical based on the fairy-tale The Princess and the Pea.  I first discovered Sarah Jessica Parker’s recording when in high school, and fell for the slapstick comedy and crazy belting of the tiny star.  Then I heard Carol Burnett tackle it in the original recording.  For any gal who grew up reading princess fairy tales, this one kicks butt; a story of a princess so genuine all fall in love with her for her crass attitude, humble upbringing, huge heart, and ability to drink and dance them under the table.

This recipe was inspired by Kelly at IngestedRead, a submission for her September Fairytale Challenge of The Princess and the Pea. She originally inspired me to utilize whatever I was reading into a recipe (and so created my smoky, sexy American noir Big Sleep Cupcakes) as she does on her blog across the pond.  In turn I evidently inspired her to open a page up to her readers and blogging friends.  Please check her out – what’s better than books and sweet things?

So in daydreaming about this recipe I obviously thought of layering a gluten-free cake with, well, something.  And while I wasn’t about to use real peas or kill my blood-sugar by making little ones out of fondant, I figured I could incorporate pea-like ingredients.

Pomegranate seeds.  Yes.

And blueberries.

Oh, and I have some dried cranberries and ground walnuts on my shelf.  Perfect.

So I whipped up this moist, slightly-sweet honey cake with a blend of rice flours and starches, using the basic method that I used when making my Little Red Velvet Cupcakes.  A few days before I had made some Pomegranate Lime Coconut Milk Ice Cream – completely dairy free, it’s smooth, creamy and delicately citrusy – one of my new favorite ice creams on its own, adding just the amount of cold-creamy-sweetness I wanted for this dessert.  I also whipped up some coconut milk whipped cream, and layered them all together in a trifle glass with some fresh blueberries and pomegranate seeds.

Result?  Let’s just say I’m one happy allergy-ridden gal.  It’s extremely rare that I get a more complex dessert that I can eat all of.  Cookies and cupcakes are great and all, but this has everything I love about dessert: ice cream, fruit and whipped cream (one of my favorite things on the planet are those Italian tarts with custard and glazed fruit, which I miss horribly), and a not-too-sweet cake.  Put them all together and it feels special.  Not the fanciest combinations of desserts in the world, but one that makes me extremely happy.

View from my window

Oh, and the princess of the swamp was definitely channeled today as I took these pictures: I took the ice cream out to defrost, took the dog on a quick walk and returned to a black sky and pouring rain, making it impossible to take exciting photos.  I was miffed.

But it didn’t stop me from enjoying the crap outta the subject matter after.


Mmmmm... cake...

Check out my post on Pomegranate Lime Ice Cream for that recipe and how to make coconut milk whipped cream.


  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar, white sugar or sucanat
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 rounded tablespoons Tofutti “sour cream”
  • almond or soy milk (directions below)
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp distilled white vinegar, separated
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda.


  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • Butter / spray your desired cake pan of choice
  • Add Tofutti cream cheese to a liquid measuring cup and fill to just shy of one cup with almond or soy milk.  Whisk thoroughly with a fork until smooth.  Add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and continue mixing.
  • In a small bowl, whisk flour and salt thoroughly.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix sugar, honey and oil thoroughly on medium speed.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Turn speed down to low.  Add the flour in three additions, alternating with 1/2 of the milk.  Make sure to mix thoroughly between additions.
  • Mix baking soda and remaining 2 tsps vinegar until foamy.  Add and beat for 10 seconds or until incorporated.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before removing to cool on a rack, or cool completely in pans.
  • To assemble, use a round cookie cutter (fitted to whatever serving glass you’re going to be serving in) to cut the cake out in circles.  Half the cake length-wise (or in thirds depending on the thickness of your cake – you want thin layers).  Place one layer of cake in the glass, then top with whipped cream and few fresh blueberries.  Add another layer of cake and then some ice cream.  Then a final layer of cake with a jot of whipped cream and some fresh pomegranate seeds.

Bloody Derby (Bourbon Bloody Mary)

Say hello to my little friend - The Bloody Derby

This gray morning in NYC, I grabbed a leash and left the phone at home.  Normally I multitask and check my emails, facebook and morning texts.  Or plug in my headphones and use the time to mentally prep for my day.  But this morning the dog and I looked out at the cool water that separates Manhattan from Jersey as we walked in relative silence.  And when I got home I left the phone by the bed and went into the kitchen to tackle my to-do’s, the things I really love.

It was that kind of morning.  I needed a break from technology.

Now, this recipe wasn’t made from a place of melancholy or rage against the machine.  I just happened to want to put this recipe together for a while, and the gorgeous tomatoes and peppers in my kitchen can’t withstand the humidity to make it to the weekend.  I made the tomato reduction for the juice in the morning before grabbing lunch with a beloved cousin (hi Jon!) and set myself for a scandalous mid-day cocktail upon coming home.  No, this isn’t a habit.  But I’m listening to speakeasy music from the roaring 20s and I can’t throw this delicious concoction away!  I have to drink it!  The sacrifices we make, I know.

Posting the cocktail – the first beverage on The Dusty Baker – was actually inspired by a fun first date I had a few weeks ago.  I introduced the New Man to the joy that is putting bourbon in a top-notch Bloody Mary instead of vodka (I lived on the border of Kentucky while working at a theatre in Cincinnati for a bit and fell in love with bourbon distilleries.  And bacon. And bluegrass).  We were at the lounge in the Ace Hotel, which has a delicious bar.  I had a feeling they would serve up a good Bloody Mary.  And, in my dusty little opinion, the spicy mixture of tomato, horseradish and citrus is so much better complimented with bourbon than vodka.

New Man asked the mixologist if he had heard a name for it.  He hadn’t.  Googling brought up nothing.  Throughout the long, fun getting-to-know-you conversation we came up with a few options, and settled on Bloody Derby.

So while I’m obviously not the first to put bourbon in a Bloody Mary, you heard it here first, folks.  September 28th, 2011.  Spread it around like wild-fire.

Talley ho.

Like a Bloody Mary... but BETTER!

The Bloody Derby.

Notes:  There’s a lot of “to tastes” in this recipe, because obviously a lot depends on the kind of tomato juice you use and how generally spicy you like your cocktails.

I’m Azorean Portuguese and Italian, so I like my food and drinks with a spicy kick.   I started with halves of the spice proportions below, and kept adding, eventually exceeding these proportions.  And if you want it a bit darker, throw in a dash of Worcestershire sauce.  I just don’t keep it on hand.

I made my tomato juice old-school style: meaning I don’t own a sieve and so literally pressed cooked tomatoes, garlic and onions with my hands through a strainer.  Worked for me.  But if you don’t want to make your own, I suggest either something rich and organic or Clamato, which is what is usually used in Bloody Caesars. 

This combo makes a sweet and dark cocktail, with a bit of smoke.  Big fan. Welcome to Kentucky, folks. Via Washington Heights.

Oh, also, props go out to Rosemarried and Boulder Locavore, who often have delicious cocktails amongst their incredible recipes and inspire me to want to start paying more attention to my beverages.  Stop by to see their versions of this classic cocktail or to learn how to flavor your own liquor.  I’m a big fan of these ladies – please show them some love.


  • 4 cubes ice
  • 4 oz tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon (my favorite is Willets Reserve.  But if it’s too fancy of a bourbon for you to mix, Makers Mark works just dandy)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated horseradish to taste
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic to taste
  • pinch of kosher salt to taste
  • freshly cracked tricolor pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco to taste
  • 2 wedges of lemon
  • 2 wedges of lime
  • celery and carrot sticks
  • adorable sweet baby peppers


  • Mix ice, tomato juice, bourbon, horseradish, garlic, salt, pepper, Tobasco, juice of one lemon wedge and juice of one lime wedge in a chilled glass.
  • Garnish with remaining citrus, celery and carrot sticks, and sweet peppers.
  • Drink with brunch outdoors, while listening to old speakeasy music, or when perusing the Sunday Times.
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