Breakfast

I’ve Never Made Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Banana Bread This Delicious!

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve stuck a recipe up here.

But I want to make sure I remember this one, and that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Because it was so quick to make, and so delightfully easy, and so deliciously lovely, that I want to come back to this recipe every time. And so here we are. A sweet-but-not-too-sweet, moist, crunchy-crusted banana bread with fatty coconut and the spice of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg that rose and crackled and popped outta the pan.

Make and report back, please.

Continue reading

Pro Pastry, Gluten Free: Frangipane and Chef Brooks Headley’s Quick Jam

It was August, and I hadn’t made a single pie.

I hadn’t made a single batch of ice cream or sorbet, either; but the cardinal sin was with the pie.

Pie is my favorite dessert. I make one for my birthday, or when I want to impress a man, or when a man I’ve impressed breaks my heart. And this summer I hadn’t made one. 

But then I saw huge stalks of rhubarb in my hometown grocers. Rhubarb that was far too girthy for its own good, and so late in the season that I couldn’t nearly call it “peak”. But rhubarb none the same. I also had some really beautiful black plums from a farmers market in NYC. And I had Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts on my brain.

It came out October 1st, but I had it mistakenly launching on my schedule on the 20th, so this little post is a touch late. Brooks had kindly sent it to me after we’d barely missed each other at a mutual friend’s restaurant anniversary party; a black-and-white copy with notes someone had scribbled on random pages.

Now, I’ve never worked with Brooks. I met him when he was celebrated as a 2013 Dessert Professionals Top Ten Pastry chef, where we’d been introduced by Niko of Dessertbuzz (that link is for the 2014 celebration, because I love the photo Niko took of me with my favorite sweet pea of a pastry chef, Ron Ben-Israel). I had planned to work with Brooks in my interview column, but first he was busy writing the book and then my column ended. I still have yet to work with him, as I’m saving up my “wanna work on…?” request for something meaty. But the book had landed magically in my mailbox after the post Brooks-is-walking-away-from-this-party email exchange.

And it’s f***ing awesome.

Continue reading

Battle Inflammation: {gluten free} Honey Flax Granola

Living with Lyme disease = a constant battle against inflammation.

It’s nothing new, or novel, that eating certain foods and imbibing on tasty cocktails causes many to feel gross. But when you have an inflammatory illness, that “feeling gross” can result in horribly painful joints and enraged digestive systems.

Currently, it seems like everything and their brother causes inflammation in my body; my fingers are swollen, I have to roll out the puffiness in my feet and ankles, and my face get a Cabbage Patch Kid-esque pique to it. Lyme Disease + being in my thirties + adrenal stuff making it really hard to get the green light to exercise as often as I’d like = puff.

Does that mean I never indulge? Hell no. It just means that I’m constantly putting inflammation-fighting foods in my body, and making sure that the clean days far outweigh the indulgent ones.

This granola recipe is one of my favorites. It’s insanely easy, and wonderfully adaptable. Continue reading

{gluten-free} Cranberry Bread for The Baker Chick’s Virtual Baby Shower!

Audra's Shower

Hooray for babies!

Today some ladies across the internet are showering our friend Audra of the Baker Chick with some sweet loving, as she prepares for the birth of her first child, whom I cannot wait to meet!

Audra and I met first through our Milk Bar Mondays group, and then in person for a Blogher luncheon. Since then we’ve met occasionally to trade stories of baking, acting and nanny-ing in the city, and the absurdities of it all. It was Audra (and Lauren of Keep it Sweet Desserts) who encouraged me to keep blogging even as my health starting slipping and my inspiration for exploring on this site was waning a tad. She’s a genuinely warm and caring person, and I’m so thrilled that we’re celebrating her today!Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread - The Dusty Baker-2 Continue reading

{gluten-free} Pumpkin Pecan Muffins (…and some butter love)

Let’s talk about butter.

Those of us who can have it, love it, right? I’ve been off all cow-dairy above butter for about 20 years now, and am so thankful that when my stomach is strong enough I can handle it, because it just makes everything taste delicious, and when you’re cutting out this and that, anything naturally delicious is a plus.

So, yeah, I’m all about a moderate amount of butter in my diet.

But I’m tired of this whole brown butter thing.

Yes, browned butter is delicious. Christina Tosi swears by it, so it often makes its way into our Milk Bar Mondays recipes (returning in November!), like this Cinnamon Bun Pie. I’m guilty of using it specifically in my Maple Ginger Cakes with Brown Butter Caramel and Nutty Gluten-Free Peach Buckle, amongst others. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Fresh Corn Cornbread

Gluten-free cornbread with fresh sweet red sweet corn.

Gluten-free cornbread with fresh sweet red sweet corn.

I am badass.

I’m not really supposed to be eating corn right now. But here we are, with this plate o cornbready love.

Bad. Ass.

Fall dessert recipes are starting to abound and my local grocery store has an aisle of Halloween candy at the ready. But I’m not about to call it quits on summer yet, even though the leaves are falling on my city sidewalks and there’s talk of a cold winter to come.

Instead, today I’m going to light up my dad’s grill and char the fresh tiny eggplant that I got at the farmer’s market on Wednesday, even though it’s a nightshade and not good for people with arthritis (me). Then I’m going to take it to my grandparents along with gigantic stems of broccoli rabe and some grilled chicken and a few cookies I made. Because, again, I’m pretty tough.

Oh, and last week I flew a plane with my little brother. Continue reading

Light and Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes

If you look under my little “Categories” toolbar to the right over there, you’ll see that there’s one titled “Pancake Addiction”.

Though they’re not my go-to every morning breakfast (that would be slow-cooked eggs over arugula with avocado, goat cheese, sunflower seeds and a dash of really good olive oil and fleur de sel), they’re one of my favorite things: so light and fluffy and indulgent.  I’ve been doing the gluten free thing for almost 20 years – sometimes incredibly strictly, sometimes a bit more lax – and I remember a huge chunk of my childhood either going without or having really sub-par replacements. Not any more. Continue reading

Chocolate BlogHop! Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread (gluten and dairy free)

Dark Chocolate Tea Bread

“I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

(five points if you can guess the movie)

Hello bloggereaders!

It’s February, and soon NYC will be painted pink and red and boxes of chocolate and racy lingerie will be put to good use in the throws of holiday romance.  Where will yours truly be this year?  Jury’s still out.  I actually dated a man for about 8+ years and I think we celebrated Valentines Day maybe twice?  I have a thing with forced romance or commercially-fueled celebrations.  All I know is the bottle of champagne I have still from one of the wineries on the South Fork will probably make an appearance.

But, heck, baking is what I do and celebrating with food is what I love, so it’s fitting that this month’s BlogHop theme, of which I’m excited to be one of the cohosts for the first time, is Chocolate!

I use chocolate (and carob) all the time: fair-trade, organic and usually vegan as I can then be assured of the dairy-free aspect.  I’m a big fan of extremely dark varietals, decked with spices or infused with flowers.  I ate my fill at the NY Chocolate Fest a few months ago, where I grabbed Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate, which I have been pouring over with hungry eyes (check out my Spicy Mexican Mulled Wine Cocoa play on one of his recipes).

I don’t think chocolate has to always be the center of the sweet, though, so when stretching my cranium for my bloghop contribution, I wanted a rich, spicy and subtle alternative to the abundance of chocolate this time of year.  Luckily, Young is a master at making a variety of complex, versatile chocolate desserts – I highly recommend his book as a present for the Valentine in your life.

The result?  This tea bread is of my new favorite recipes, and one that will be a staple in my hosting repertoire.  I bake delicious things all the time, but this I will serve with particular love.  Laden with fruit captured perfectly in a dense, spicy cake, the chocolate compliments the other flavors and the tongue finds it in just the right moments.  It’s solid without being heavy.  Exactly what you want in a fun take on a traditional British tea bread.  I’ve adapted it to be gluten free and, if you use dark chocolate, it’s naturally dairy free in Young’s original recipe.  I adjusted here and there for what I had in my pantry and to make sure the gluten-free flours could hold up.  I used puer tea as a nod to my friend Louis, who’s visiting from out of town and with whom I first drank puer years ago in San Francisco.  I’ve given slices of it out wrapped in parchment like little gifts from a Dickens novel.

Sh*t, I’m getting all romantic.  Here’s the blasted recipe.

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

based on Chocolate Ginger and Cardamom Tea Bread from Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate

Note: you need to soak the fruits overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 5.5 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2/3 cup organic seedless red raisins
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of one large orange
  • 6 Tbsp organic light brown sugar – Young suggests muscovado, which is divine but more expensive.  Take your brown sugar a step up and buy organic and it will have a flavor and texture more on par with muscovado)
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong tea – I used puer, which is a very dark, earthy tea.  Have fun with any spicy, strong black tea you like
  • 1 large organic egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature and beaten extremely well
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3.5oz bar 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used Divinebecause it’s fair-trade, 1 bar is exactly 3.5 oz, it’s not overly expensive and I hadn’t tried it before.

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine ginger, raisins, nutmeg, orange zest, brown sugar and tea.  Mix to combine, cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325° and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment.
  • Add beaten eggs to fruit and mix thoroughly.  Add flour and incorporate completely.  Stir in dark chocolate.
  • Pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 80-90 minutes, cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan.

Young suggests wrapping the cooled cake in clean parchment and a kitchen towel and letting it sit for 24 hours.  He overestimates the layman’s patience, I believe.  I cut into this baby 1 hour after it was done baking and it was divine, but the wrapped pieces did taste even richer then next day.

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February is #chocolatelove month!
Please check out the recipes from the other co-hosts and peruse links below!

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Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of February 2012. Please link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove.

Pomegranate & Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins – Guest Post from Free Spirit Eater!

Pomegranate Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins from Free Spirit Eater

Hello Bloggereaders!

I am so very excited to welcome Kym – the Free Spirit Eater – to my blog today!  A few months ago Kym asked me to guest-post on her site.  She was so sweet and humble in asking, where my reaction was something like, “Um, YE-AH!”

I love Kym’s incredibly warm and inspired love for food.  She’s a trained chef, and with her fiance Tim creates recipes for her site that look mouth-wateringly delicious.  If they lived closer by, theirs is an apartment I would randomly be stopping at during dinner hours, pretending I found one of her sneakers on the sidewalk or asking to borrow a cup of milk (which I don’t drink) or something.

I told her I only had one catch – she’d have to guest-post for me! I’ve never had a guest-poster on my site, so the idea of swapping made me super tingly excited.  Then the holidays came, and went, and Kym prepped for a big apartment move, and I got a new job, and our recipes got away with us.

Until today.  I welcome Kym to The Dusty Baker with open, hug-ready arms.  We met a few months ago through writing for Bromography.com.  Then Kym accompanied me to the Great American Pie-Off, lending some moral support for my entering my first pie competition where we took home 2 of 4 awards.   She’s a very talented cook and food photographer, and I’m sure she’ll continue to achieve incredibly great things.

Head over to FreeSpiritEater to grab my recipe, Kumquat Chutney Hand Pies.  And while you’re there, flip through her mouth-watering recipes.

Kumquat Chutney Hand Pies

From Kym, The Free Spirit Eater

When Jacqueline asked me to guest post on the Dusty Baker Blog for a recipe swap I immediately felt a sense of excitement. I love her site, am a huge fan of her writing and consider her a friend. I can only wish that one day my writing could be as intricate, descriptive, delicate and powerful while still being witty and quirky as Jacqueline’s writing style is. But I also felt my quick moment of panic. What did I get myself into? I am no stranger to gluten free cooking. I’ve altered dishes to make them gluten free by request when I worked as a line cook. But until this recipe swap, pretty much every baked good I had ever prepared requires some type of glutinous ingredient.

As someone who has never had a food allergy in her life and is a free spirit who simply consumes what is placed before her, working with restrictions was quite a challenge. Whenever I thought of a recipe to attempt, I stopped myself realizing it wasn’t gluten free. Through this challenge and experiment, I have gained a great respect for anyone with a food allergy.
Now onto the baking!

I found this gluten free muffin recipe online which asked for soy milk, sesame oil and oats among the list of ingredients. I used neither of these and altered it entirely where it does not resemble the original recipe in any way. I had never worked with white rice flour before, but purchased it for this special occasion. The texture was different, lighter, leaving a lovely scent as I plopped down the first cup full. Since pomegranates are still in season, I worked some seeds into the mix as well as sweetened coconut flakes and golden raisins. They didn’t rise as much as I wanted them to, so another ¼ teaspoon of baking powder wouldn’t hurt next time. A bite into the finished product resembled a mix between cupcakes and muffins in texture. Not overly sweetened, but a pleasant light feel with sparks of pomegranate, sweetened flakes and juicy golden raisins teasing your palate with each bite.

Attempting my first gluten free baking project was a mix of emotions. I think the point of this swap was to get your hands dirty while being thrown out of your comfort zone. It was a challenge, but a successful one none the less. The muffins are not that big and have plenty of natural ingredients adding a distinct lovely taste. For those with a dairy allergy, soy can replace the cow’s milk. Feel free to switch the coconut flakes for toasted sliced almonds, or other nuts and dried fruit. Enjoy!

Pomegranate & Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup of rice flour
  • 2 Tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate
  • ½ cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup of golden raisins
  • (Extra flour and coconut oil or canola oil for greasing)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another (except for coconut oil, pomegranate, coconut flakes and raisins).
  3. Bring ingredients together by combining in one bowl, and then add coconut oil, pomegranate seeds, golden raisins and coconut flakes, mix well until fully incorporated.
  4. Divide into a greased and floured 6 muffin tin. (If you use coconut oil for this step, you will achieve a nice golden brown on the bottom part.)
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or test with a toothpick to make sure it’s ready.
  6. Let cool, remove and serve. Cover in saran wrap to store.

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins for a Grey Winter Day (gluten free)

Breakfast on a cold, rainy day in NYC.

Yesterday was one of those mornings.  I awoke to a barely lit room despite the fact that it was 9am.  Before I opened my eyes I could hear rain pitter-pattering on the air conditioner outside my window.  Yes, here there’s no lulling drop on shingles.  It’s a wet, alley cat kinda life.

I dragged Mitra along the sidewalk, battling to keep my oversized red umbrella from flying off into the Hudson.  Rain pelted sideways, and the poor dog kept tying to climb up my legs as I desperately implored her to “just pee, pee please, baby, and then we can go inside”.

Only seconds later, defeated, the dog unrelieved, I closed the umbrella and we sprinted back home.

Because in that tiny moment, it had hit me.

It’s here.

Those dark, wet, sticky months in the northeast when everything just feels damp.  When un-waterproofed boots mean feet will be molested by a foot of frozen slush that had somehow passed itself off as level sidewalk.  When subway tunnels become wind tunnels.  When snow somehow manages to fall horizontally.  When buildings are overheated and New Yorkers are steamed.

As we raced to my building we passed gourds and tiny pumpkins abandoned in windowboxes, their flesh sagging over the edges and most likely putrid inside with stank innards.  Discarded Christmas trees cried on the curb, fearing the moment when they would turn into mulch, most likely pondering on why they grew for years only to be adored for a scant few weeks.

At least that’s what I was thinking on their behalf.  I love trees.

Two years ago I spent the dark months backstage in a warm theatre on run crew: reading books, drinking tea, catching up with my dear friend Lily and occasionally holding a curtain for an exiting actor or moving a piece of prop furniture.  Not a bad way to spend the grey period.

Last year I spent most of my time downtown with the delicious man I was dating.  One night we walked to the Angelika, hated the film (Blue Valentine – yes, I hated it), then exited the theatre into 4 inches of snow.  Happy, bundled and loving NYC, we walked back to his place under fat flakes, stopping to take pictures for tourists, arriving home soaked.

This year I’ve got a  bundled-up pup, a fully outfitted kitchen where treats are rolling, good friends coming and going, and work that I love.  As much as I fear these post-holiday, dreary months, they’ve always brought me a sense of hibernation that truly is refreshing.  Next weekend I head out to the furthest corner of Cape Cod to do a show, get pampered in a posh B&B and walk on the frozen beaches.  In February I plan to bunker in my Louisa May Alcott attic at my friends’ in Southhampton, where I’ll walk Mitra and Mia on another frozen beach and gaze out romantically at the bay as I type.

But until then, I need this in my life:

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins with apricot and blackcurrant jam (and butter... I'm bad....)

I was complaining to one of my editors the other day the agony that is going to a coffee shop and seeing a pathetic little shriveled gluten free muffin in plastic alongside their overstuffed, glutenous counterparts.  These muffins have now satiated that grumpiness.

I recently got a delivery of gluten free flour from Better Batter to test a recipe for an article I’m working on.  Yes, the flour will be used for it.  But after the seasonal revelation I couldn’t curb my impatience to try it out, especially as I always blend my own flours and never have the ease of one already prepared.  I’m a big fan of the Better Batter flour from this trial, so far. More info on that to come that I’ll link to down the line.

I used the oversized-6 muffin tin for these babies, and admit that I ate TWO AND A HALF of them yesterday!  And the one pictured above for breakfast this morning.  They’re sticky and dense, perfectly sweet, and inspire being layered with butter and jam and enjoyed along some strong coffee and a newspaper in print.  I wasn’t originally planning on posting them as they weren’t exactly what I’d pictured in my head, but a visiting friend couldn’t stop saying “mmm, these are SO good” as she at one.  She encouraged me to share.

Oh, I added some flax because it makes my body happy.  And used organic pumpkin so that I didn’t have to use butter so they’re dairy free and low in fat!

Happy January, bloggerreaders.  Hope you’re staying warm.

Jacqueline

My favorite with these was tart apricot jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour.  I used Better Batter, which already has xanthan gum in it and a lovely neutral-flavored mix of flours
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup warm milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease 6 oversized or 12 normal muffin tins.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, flax seed, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In another bowl, beat eggs thoroughly.  Add pumpkin / sweet potato puree, milk and maple syrup.  Beat / whisk thoroughly to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.  Fold in nuts.
  • Pour equally into muffin tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  • Try not to eat too piping hot – I dove right in and have a light burn on the top of my mouth to prove it.
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