Dairy-free

Mexican Chocolate Madeleines with Spiced Coffee Glaze – gluten and dairy free

Cinco de Mayo. When Mexicans celebrated their victory over the French (sorta) and young white whippersnappers drink tequila and feel all proud of themselves for making homemade guacamole.

I’ll be reveling tonight with a lovely group of friends over some amazing food and killer cocktails. And to bring a festive offering, this is what I’ve put together. Fluffy, full of flavors and with just enough kick, they’re a tiny sweet treat appropriate for any occasion.

Mexican Chocolate Madeleines

Makes about 48

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp coffee grounds (I used decaf espresso)
  • 2 tsp chili powder – adjusted to taste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp mesquite flour (optional)
  • 1 cup palm sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond, rice or soy milk if needed

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray madeleine pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cocoa and hot water. Whisk until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, and whisk thoroughly to combine.

Beat eggs lightly and add to chocolate mixture along with vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add to dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until smooth. If the batter is a tad thick, add milk by the tablespoon until it’s still a bit thick but loose (it should fall lightly off of a spoon but not be liquidy).

Pour into pan and bake for 12 minutes until just firm. Cool in pan for two minutes before removing to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining batter.

—————

Spiced Coffee Glaze

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened rice, soy or almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup ground spiced Mexican chocolate
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk thoroughly while it comes up to a boil, and let boil for about 3 minutes, until it slightly thickens. Cool a tad before lightly dipping tops of madeleines. Put in the fridge to set the glaze before transporting anywhere, and consider topping with crushed nuts, cocoa nibs or cracked hot pepper.

Extra glaze can be poured into a squeeze bottle and used to drizzle if plating.

—————

Advertisements

Gluten-Free Compost Cookies – Milk Bar Mondays

“I love you, Christina Tosi.”

“I hate you, Christina Tosi.”

This went on for a while as I scooped cookie batter onto Silpats and wrapped each sheet with plastic wrap. I couldn’t stop eating tiny nibblets of dough. Dough that was most likely the unhealthiest thing to ever come out of my kitchen. Dough housing chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, granola, potato chips, oatmeal, cookie crumbs, coffee grinds and a crap-load of sugar.

I love food, obviously. And, for the most part, food loves me. But maybe you’ve noticed that I’m trying to behave a bit more for various reasons.

Enter, these damned cookies.

Luckily, they’re so big and indulgent that one is all you need before you’re shivering in your shoes. There are so many fun flavors and textures happening inside, all you know is they make you obnoxiously giddy. I made it through one half and then had to step away. They should be called Compost Crack Cookies.

This recipe is part of Milk Bar Mondays, where a ridiculously lovely group of lady bloggers is baking our way through the Milk Bar Cookbook. I’m the gluten-dairy-free adapter of the group. In general we don’t change anything about the recipe – rather, we’re learning how to be better bakers by getting into Tosi’s world, and sharing our varying opinions as we go. Other than the gluten and dairy thing, I don’t alter.

Except that this recipe gave us a tiny bit of leeway.

The Compost Cookie was created to be endlessly adaptable, depending on what was around to be loaded up. I had a limited amount of cash in my wallet for the bodega and not enough time to run to Fairway for gluten-free pretzels, graham-crackers (I normally make my own), etc. So I used all of Tosi’s proportions and then had a little fun.

  • Instead of butterscotch chips, I used raw cocoa nibs
  • Instead of graham-cracker crust, I used some crumbled cranberry chocolate cookies that were chilling in my freezer, the result of a not-perfect recipe that still tasted really darned good
  • Instead of popcorn I used granola

It’s a scary-good cookie. The base and proportions will forever be one that I’ll use when needing some really big, chunky cookies and when feeling creative. My recipe’s below.

For the original recipe, head over to this week’s host Krissy of Krissy’s Creations. Her site is truly stunning.  And then check out what the rest of the ladies are up to, and come back on May 7th for my pick – Chevre Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Crunch and Beet-Lime Ganache. Yes, I’m excited.

Meet the Ladies!

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Averie of Averie Cooks!

Follow the group on Twitter!

Compost Cookies

Adapted from the Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi

Makes about 20 cookies

Note: I go back and forth between weighing and measuring – depending on if I need ease or accuracy with the ingredient. When adapting recipes with gluten-free flour blends, 90% of the time I weigh – otherwise I can’t be sure as to the proper quantity. Hope this isn’t maddening; it’s just my method.

Ingredients:

  • 16 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses

———-

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

———-

  • 75g brown rice flour (soft, fine and a good base)
  • 75g arrowroot flour (the starch that pulls it together, corn-free)
  • 50g millet flour (it’s golden and sweet!)
  • 25g white rice flour (to soften a bit and make more flavor-neutral)
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (to help bind together)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

———-

  • 150g bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 25g cocoa nibs
  • 125g gluten-free granola
  • 85g gluten-free cookie crumbs (I have a stock in the freezer of leftover cookies I crush for this purpose – this batch was some sort of chocolate cranberry I think? Mysterious….)
  • 40g old-fashioned gluten-free rolled oats
  • 5g decaffeinated espresso or coffee grinds (unused, not instant)

———-

  • 2 cups potato chips
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

———–

Method

In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, paddle the butter, sugars and molasses on medium/high for about 3 minutes, until smooth and light.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 8 minutes. This creaming method is somewhat unique to Tosi and gives these cookies incredible lift and chew. If you don’t cream long enough, they’ll spread and crisp too much.

Meanwhile, measure out your flours and dry ingredients, whisking to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until it just comes together, about 30-45 seconds (don’t overmix).

With the mixer on low, add all ingredients but the potato chips. Spin for about 30 seconds, until everything is evenly dispersed.

Dump in the potato chips and stir for 5 seconds, just so that they’re here, there and everywhere.

Tosi suggests measuring with a 1/3 cup measuring cup – these make HUGE cookies (awesome, but huge). I did 1/3 and 1/4, and found that the slightly smaller ones worked more for me. Drop onto Silpat or parchment-lined sheets, and press/shape into circles with slightly flattened domes. Wrap each sheet in plastic and stick in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours (do NOT put directly into the oven, or they’ll just fall into a flat, nasty mess).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°. Bake each sheet for 18 minutes, until lightly browned at the edge but soft-looking in the center. Cool for a few minutes on sheet before removing to rack.

I crumbled about 4 of these to have on hand in the freezer. The rest went to craving friends (big, big hit).

Banana Bread Pudding – Fruit Forward Fridays

Banana Bread Pudding

Okay, that whole “Fruit Forward Fridays” is a joke-thing.

I get the whole alliteration trend with “Meatless Mondays” and “Follow Fridays” and all, trust me. I’m part of “Milk Bar Mondays”, which is one of my favorite blogging groups (check out our Compost Cookies from Christina Tosi’s book this coming Monday – it’s a little too cool for school).  And I #FF back on Twitter. And I obviously appreciate a little word wit.

But, come on. Did my 12-year-old self ever foresee, when reaching into my fridge for a mid-day, typing-away snack, that the title popping into my head for a post would be “Fruit Forward Fridays”?

I think 12-year-old Jacqueline would pop 30-year-old Jacqueline a good one. Probably in her bad knee.

Social networking – as much as I love it – makes me chuckle and roll my eyes now and then.

This week I did four pretty killer interviews. All with incredibly different contributors to the NYC food scene, telling a dynamic range of stories. I came home exhausted but exhilarated from the discussions, transcribing away on my subway trips home, tiny laptop balanced comfortably.

I like talking with people. As in, those who sit in front of me.

But, back to you, person reading this on a screen.

Despite the potential of this recipe’s name, you do need to bake a banana bread to make it. I used a drying loaf of Portuguese Easter Masa bread. A gluten-free cinnamon raisin or millet bread would be grand. Or, for the glutenous, a loaf of challah would probably rock the world.

Bread puddings are incredibly easy and adaptable.  This one is bread heavy, but adding some cold milk upon serving would take it to a new place. Or, alternatively, just whipping up a bit more custard.  Folding in fresh raspberries right before baking would personally make me swoon. Adding some raw walnuts in would bring about one happy Curious George from this girl.

Oh, and it’s dairy free. And only uses a bit of maple syrup as the sweetener, which should be adjusted depending on the kind and amount of sweetness of your bread. It’s my preferred sweetener, and coconut is so good for you, so it’s an indulgent treat with some body-loving goodness.

While I loved the crap outta the too-many servings I’ve had of this over the course of the week, feel free to play.

It is, after all, Fun Freaky Friday.

Jacqueline

Sorta hard to make this dish look fancy... thank dog it's not Fancy Food Fridays.

Banana Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cubed bread (about 3/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 7 egg yolks plus one whole egg from large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit, milk or nuts as desired

Microwave the bananas in a heat-proof bowl or Pyrex until they just begin to liquefy and brown, about 1 minute. If your bananas are old and dark, you can skip this step.

In a large bowl (using a whisk, fork or hand blender), mash the bananas. Add the egg / yolk and whisk thoroughly until creamy. Pour in the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla and whisk/beat until creamy and a bit aerated. Pour in the bread crumbs and gently fold them into the mixture. Let sit for about 30-60 minutes, until some of the liquid is absorbed.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°. At this point, stir in any extras you desire and gently combine. Pour mixture into a deep baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, uncovered, until the bread on top gets a bit brown and golden.

Serve warm, maybe with some cold milk or a crumbling of nuts.

 

Sofrito Bean Soup – a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap

Sofrito Bean Soup

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog.

Freelancing can be awesome – no crushing subway commute, the ability to cook my meals three times a day, and relative quiet to work in that my uptown neighborhood gives me.

But it also means constantly scrambling for work, juggling many projects at once and sometimes a feeling of isolation. Topping it off with a body that requires more time than I sometimes feel I have to give it, and the days start to run together without relief.

I admit to being a bit stressed, bloggereaders. But still content, overall.

Because there are days like today, when work and words and food and people come together.  It’s recipe swap time again, and the Burwell General Store swap was the first I joined, over a year ago now. Through it I’ve met and befriended some incredibly talented people, and joining monthly with our shared love of food has been one of my favorite things about this lil ol site.

This is this swap’s recipe:

I had been daydreaming making a condiment using this recipe as a base, but then a new book fell into my hands, Chef Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food. It comes out next week, and I was to review it for one client and interview Chef Mullen for my column on Serious Eats NY. The review fell through today, contributing to the slight melancholia. But I’m particularly psyched about interviewing Chef Mullen tomorrow because his beautiful book on primarily Spanish cuisine is based around the foods he, as someone living with rheumatoid arthritis, tries to incorporate into his diet as much as possible for optimum health.

I’m getting tested for RA soon, because while many things about my health are right back on track, I’m still losing cartilage in my joints and my white blood cell count is usually a bit higher than average. I’m not too concerned by what the diagnosis or lack of diagnosis will mean – I regulate what’s going on in my body rather tightly and am generally feeling in a good space. But I don’t want my knees and back to keep disintegrating, and want to continue to use my food as medicine. So the timing of this book in my life was, well, sweet.

I’m also generally trying to cut back on the pastry a tad, because I’m still very hypoglycemic and need to keep that in check. So, in continuing my desire for more balance in my life, I wanted to shy away from adding that much sugar to something savory.

The compromise for this swap was to use a tomato reduction as the base / condiment to something nourishing and fortifying, using some of what I’ve been reading in Hero Food as inspiration and the swap recipe as the core. The result is a dish that’s incredibly dynamic in flavor, emotionally comforting, and packed with little heroes to keep body and mind strong.

I highly recommend this recipe, both the sofrito to have on hand as a base for a braise or soup, and this soup in its entirety. And I recommend grabbing Chef Mullen’s book as soon as it comes out on the 24th: it’s not written like a “health book”. It’s an incredible collection of techniques and recipes from a seasoned chef that also happens to also fill you in on the health benefits of the heroic foods included. My interview with him will be up on Serious Eats NY that day.

And I recommend checking out the recipes from my fellow swappers by clicking on the little blue frog below. Knowing that there are such beautiful people out there is quite fortifying too.

– Happy swapping, Jacqueline xoxo

Small Lima beans, sofrito, greens, olive oil, pepper and sausage.

Sofrito Bean Soup

Sofrito is an incredibly rich reduction of onions, tomato, bell peppers and garlic, simmered to bring out the vegetables’ dynamic sweetness. You can make up a batch as a basis for soups, stocks, risottos… endless possibilities. I didn’t have as many onions on hand as is usual, but I wanted my base to be more focused on the tomato anyway, in keeping up with the spirit of the swap. Whip up a batch for the soup recipe, or just to freeze in small batches for added flavor to an abundant variety of dishes.

The more time the flavors have to meld with this soup, the better. Let it sit overnight when possible.

Sofrito

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large onions, finely chopped (I used 3 Vidalia and one Spanish yellow)
  • 4 vine tomatoes, grated into a pulp (basically cut the tomatoes width-wise in half, then use a box grater to puree the pulp out of them, leaving the skins aside)
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted (I chop the bottom of the bulb off, then lay it cut side down in a ramekin of about 1 tbsp olive oil, then let it cook in the oven as I’m roasting vegetables or baking or something. It packs ridiculous flavor into recipes and I generally like to have it on hand. If you don’t, then just finely mince about 6-8 cloves of garlic)
  • 2 large bell peppers, finely chopped (I used one red and one orange)
  • a glug of white wine vinegar (about 2 Tbsp, red wine or cider would work too)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes or preferred chili pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat. Bring the oil up to temperature and add the onions, sauteing gently until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the onion, grated tomato pulp, garlic and pepper, and cook on medium heat partially covered for at least two hours. During that time, stir occasionally and add salt, pepper and chili / red pepper flakes as desired.  When ready to use, stir in tomato paste and cook for 20 minutes more. Freeze in batches or use in the Sofrito Bean Soup, below.

Sofrito Bean Soup

I love using a pressure cooker for how much flavor get seeped into things like beans. I got mine at a Portuguese cooking supply store, but they’re pretty easy to find and wonderfully inexpensive. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, combine the ingredients in the same order below, just simmer on the stove until tender.

  • 2 cups dried lima beans, soaked very well for at least 24 hours and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken or clear vegetable stock
  • 1 small Abruzzese sausage or chorico (about 4oz), sliced into thin rounds
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup sofrito
  • 1 handful greens (kale, mustard, or even a salad green like arugula)
  • Olive oil and red pepper flakes to taste

In a pressure cooker combine beans, stock, 1/2 of the sliced sausage and garlic cloves. Fit lid, and heat on high until it whistles. Lower to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. Reduce pressure (either by releasing the steam valve or letting it come down naturally) and check on the beans; there should still be a little liquid left, but the beans should be incredibly soft. If they’re not, bring back up to heat and have another go for 10 or so minutes.

When soft and creamy, stir in the sofrito, combining gently. The beans should break down a bit and thicken the soup. Set the heat onto a simmer, and stir in the remaining sausage and greens, cooking for a few minutes just until they wilt.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of crushed red pepper.

Crack Pie – Gluten Free Milk Bar Mondays

Gluten-free Crack Pie from Empress Tosi

I admit, my faith was challenged.

While this pie (and its custardy cousins) were in the oven, I doubted Tosi’s recipe writing and my history with gluten and dairy free adaptations.

Problem: the original recipe called for heavy cream.  I substituted with coconut milk, which was much more watery in the can than others I’ve opened, and realized I should have tossed in yet another yolk.

Problem: it’s a holiday weekend and I had been home for mere hours, with a laundry list of to-do’s.  Do-overs were not possible.

Problem: the original recipes includes milk powder and… um… I’m allergic to milk (save for butter, which has so little protein in it I can get away now and then with using it).

So I adapted and altered and doubted and gave up… then wanted to smack myself.

I have no idea how Crack Pie is supposed to taste… but I could see how my variation could take that title.

If you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic… stop reading right now.

If you’re neither, get ready for a super-sweet, gooey, rich pie that will have you shivering in your shoes.  The chewy, gooeyness is so good you might want to smack something, too.  It’s got a smoky brown sugar center with an undercurrent of oat cookie.  This version definitely isn’t as custardy as my Milk Bar Monday cohorts’, but I’m still addicted, so much so that I’ll have to attempt again sometime and adapt a bit more with what I know about dairy-free custarding.  But for something almost caramely in texture, make this.  And make sure to have someone to give a lot of it to, lest you end up in a sugar-coma.

Happy Milk Bar Mondays, folks.

And, Ms. Tosi… sorry for ever doubting you.

– Jacqueline

Meet the Ladies of Milk Bar Mondays!

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes (go to her site for the original recipe)

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

Averie of Averie Cooks

Follow the group on Twitter!

Crack Pie and Pie-lettes

Gluten-Free Crack Pie (Dairy Optional)

  • 1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)
  • 15g / 1 Tbsp tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1g / 1/4 tsp salt

———-

  • 55g / 4Tbsp butter, melted, plus more if needed

———-

  • 1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)

———-

Assembling the Pie

  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Put the cookie, brown sugar and salt into a food processor and grind to a grainy powder.
  3. Put crumbs into a bowl and add butter.  With your hands, knead into a ball.  If it’s falling apart, add a bit more melted butter.  Because of the gluten-free aspect, my version wasn’t totally tacky – it’s okay.  Just make sure the majority of the recipe pulls together.
  4. Divide the crust into the two pie plates, pressing with your hands to spread the mixture evenly.  I actually used one pie plate and then divided the rest amongst a few ramekins, as my recipe didn’t look like it was going to make two compete pies.  Result?  I had awesome little single-portions at the ready!
  5. Put pie shells / ramekins on a cookie sheet.  Fill with pie filling to about 3/4 way full.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 325° and bake until the center is jiggly but the sides are set.  This took me much longer than the original recipe called for, I think because of the lower level of fat since I used thin coconut milk instead of heavy cream… use your judgment.
  7. Cool completely, then freeze for 6 hours or overnight to get the filling to be perfectly chewy, creamy and crack-pie-y.

Ooey, gooey Crack Pielette

Oat Cookie

  • 115g / 8Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used butter-flavored Earth Balance)
  • 75g / 1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 40g / 3Tbsp granulated sugar

———-

  • 1 egg yolk

———-

  • 80g flour / 1/2 cup (I used my hodge-podge gluten-free bin for this… with cookies I find it doesn’t matter all too much in such a circumstance)
  • 120g / 1.5 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • .5g / 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • .25g / pinch of baking soda
  • 2g / .5 tsp kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Combine the sugars and butter / Earth Balance in the bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment and cream on medium/high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and yellow.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed to low and add the egg yolk.  Increase to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the egg is fully incorporated and the mixture is pale.
  3. On low speed, add all the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Spray a quarter sheet pan with cooking spray and fit with parchment.  With your hands, spread the mixture evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the center is soft but the edges are set and crispy.
  5. Cool completely before making into crust.

———-

Crack Pie Filling

  • 300g / 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 180g / 3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 30g / 1/3 cup corn powder (get freeze-dried corn and crush it into a fine powder in a food processor)
  • 6g kosher salt / 1.5 tsp

———–

  • 225g / 2 sticks melted butter

———-

  • 160g / 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2g / 1.2 tsp vanilla extract

———-

  • 8 egg yolks (separate these with your fingers instead of with egg shells – you don’t want any egg white to get into this mixture!)

———-

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, corn powder and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment and paddle on low until evenly dispersed.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix on low until the dry ingredients are nice and evenly wet.
  3. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and paddle on low for about 2 minutes until no signs of coconut milk remain.
  4. Add the egg yolks and mix on low until the mixture is smooth and shiny.  Keep the mixer on low so that now air gets into the batter, but make sure the mixture gets silky smooth.

Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake – Happy Birthday Mom!

Layers of Meyer Lemon Cake (gluten free) with strawberry rhubarb compote and (dairy free) liquid cheesecake!

59 Reason Why I Love My Mom

  1. She is the only person who reads almost every single thing I write.
  2. She’s seen every show that’s been important to me.
  3. She can really shake it on a dance floor.
  4. Her generosity knows no limits.
  5. She has an infectious smile.
  6. She is constantly learning, evolving, growing, and never giving up.
  7. She has spent years figuring out how to cook for me, with so much success.
  8. 60 miles in Boston.
  9. 60 miles in Philly.
  10. 60 miles in Atlanta.
  11. 60 miles in Twin Cities.
  12. A convertible and pink boas for all those other 60 miles.
  13. She flew to Tampa to surprise me after my 60 miles there.
  14. She knows my limits and helps me not to cross them.
  15. She’s a boobslinger, with pride.
  16. She can rock a red hat.
  17. She gave me my big sister.
  18. She gave me my little brother.
  19. She gave me my little sister.
  20. I see my entire life whenever I decorate my Christmas tree.
  21. She’s a great show-partner… and a brave one.
  22. She’s seen me partially clad onstage (twice) and commended me for both performances.
  23. She always sends a card, just when I need it, for no reason other than she knows I need it.
  24. She truly loves my pets and helps me best care for them.
  25. She’s by far my favorite person to shop for clothes with.
  26. Some of my most beloved things were gifts from her.
  27. She knows how to laugh at herself.
  28. Sometimes she says the funniest things! And then laughs at herself…
  29. She’s always there for her friends, 200%
  30. She can talk to anyone, and with genuine interest and respect.
  31. She’s just plain beautiful, outside and in.
  32. Dozens of now-adults still call her “mom”.
  33. She’s stepped in to sew, drive, cook, clean, pack, move, promote, organize…. she’s Everywoman.
  34. She made those awkward teen years exponentially less awkward.
  35. Even though we sometimes view the world very differently, she always listens to what I have to say and never responds with judgment or disappointment.
  36. She’s got healing hugs.
  37. She is endlessly curious about the world around her.
  38. She puts people above all else, especially when you need her to.
  39. She knows when to coddle, and when to let go.
  40. She cries with me when the world is too big for both of us.
  41. She is a great gift-buyer (not just for me!)
  42. She sings with her whole heart.
  43. She worships with her whole heart.
  44. She’s an incredible travel companion.
  45. She sees her fears and lets those who love her help her overcome them.
  46. She’s flown and driven countless miles, just to be there when you want her.
  47. She gives without expectation.
  48. She receives with humility.
  49. Her biscotti will always be better than mine.
  50. A heart full of love.
  51. She still comes to doctors appointments with me when I’m too sick to go alone.
  52. She’s a jitterbugginging queen!
  53. The woman can rock a karaoke night.
  54. You never leave her house without leftovers… no matter how old you are.
  55. She takes care of her parents with no complaint.
  56. People remember her for her joy, her laugh, her twinkling eyes, her friendship.
  57. She naturally inspires loyalty and love.
  58. She steps up, every single time.
  59. She’s a true, true friend, as well as an incredible mother.

I wish her much, much love and happiness in this, her 59th year.

Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake

Adapted from my Apple Pie Layer Cake adaptation for Milk Bar Mondays

I pondered several recipes for her celebratory cake, then found rhubarb at the market.  Strawberry rhubarb is one of our favorite pies.  I took it as a sign.

Components (in the order I made them):

  • Pie Crumb, 1/2 for frosting and 1/2 in layer cake (recipe follows)
  • Strawberry Rhubarb compote (recipe follows)
  • Rhubarb Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cake (recipe follows)
  • Liquid Cheesecake (I reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup from 3/4 cup and prefer it slightly less sweet, the rest of the recipe is the same)
  • Pie Crumb frosting

Assemblage:

Place a 6″ cake ring on a plate on top of a piece of parchment.  Prepare a piece of acetate 6″ high, fitted to the ring.

Use the ring to cut out two circles of Meyer Lemon Cake.

Use the scraps of the cake to fill in the bottom of the ring, pressing down with the back of your hand to form an even layer.  Use a pastry brush to wash with some Rhubarb Simple Syrup.  Spread 1/2 of the Liquid Cheesecake evenly on top.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the remaining pie crumb, and tap down to secure.  Top with 1/2 of the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.  Gently top with one of the cake circles.

Fit the acetate ring gently in, coming just below the cake layer.

Repeat with more simple syrup and remaining pie crumb, Liquid Cheesecake and Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.

Top with second cake circle, frost with Pie Crumb frosting and sprinkle with remaining Pie Crumb.

Freeze overnight, and remove to fridge to defrost at least 6 hours before removing cake rings and serving.

Pie Crumb:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp organic white sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
  • 1-2Tbsp water if needed

Preheat oven to 350°.  Fit a half-sheet with Silpat or parchment.

In the bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment, paddle all dry ingredients on low until fully combined.  Add butter in a slow stream and paddle until crumbs form.  If too dry, add water slowly until the batter starts to pull into crumbs, but before it pulls into a dough ball.  Bake for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until slightly firm.  Cool completely before using.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • About 6 short stalks rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1lb strawberries

Method:

Heat water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat, whisking sugar to dissolve, and bring up to a low boil.

Meanwhile, trim ends of rhubarb and, if desired, peel of thick outer layer.  Quarter thick stalks length-wise if needed to make a uniform thickness, then dice into small pieces, about 1/2 inch.

Toss rhubarb in simple syrup and cook on low heat until soft, about ten minutes.  Strain, reserving simple syrup in a heat-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup.

Chop strawberries into 1/2 inch dice, and stir into rhubarb.  Stir until the rhubarb breaks down and forms a sort of coating around the strawberries.  Put aside to cool completely.

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Cake

  • 3 oz arrowroot starch
  • 3 oz white rice flour
  • 2 oz quinoa flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 8oz organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract/oil
  • zest of one Meyer lemon
  • juice of one Meyer lemon

Method:

Heat oven to 350°.  Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper (I put a dab of cooking spray underneath to hold it in place, but don’t grease the top).

Measure out dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.  Whisk in the lemon zest.

In a small pot over low heat, whisk the eggs and sugar.  Keep whisking while the eggs slowly warm, being careful not to let them curdle.  Once just above room temperature, transfer to bowl of standing mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium/high speed until doubled in size and incredibly fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Fold in the dry ingredients, turning the bowl and gently incorporating together.  Add the butter and lemon juice and fold until completely incorporated and smooth.

Pour onto sheet pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set in the center.  Cool completely before cutting and filling.

Pastel Tea Eggs

I admit to throwing in a little red food coloring in my red velvet creations.

Frosting? Yup, the rainbow reduced to little plastic squeeze bottles goes in there too.

But there always seemed something so off about dying eggs for Easter in such a way.  Though I’m neither a Christian nor a Jew, I grew up Catholic and have many beloved Jewish friends (and the culinary traditions are stellar).  So the holidays of this time of year still mean, to me, a bit of a fresh start.  The earth is starting to pour out beautiful things for us to eat again, and animals are popping out little ones by the baaa’ful (or neigh-ful or whatever).  It’s a time of cleansing and self-reflection.

So, I set to making an Easter egg that not only looks beautiful and delicate and natural, but actually has some flavor benefit as well.  Because why dye the outside of the egg if, when putting together a holiday plate, you can color the part that you eat and infuse some new flavors too?  My mind quickly turned to… tea.

Clockwise from top: chamomile, burdock, hibiscus and raspberry Earl Grey teas.

I drink a lot of tea.  I own several items in which to brew it.  I drink it by the potful as I type.  One whole shelf of my (teeny tiny) pantry is devoted to it.  I throw it into scones, cookies, cakes… delightfulness.

But can it dye eggs?

Various hues from the different teas.

Yes, it can.  Much more subtly (in the cracked, stain-glass versions) than bright pigments.  But the colors are so soft and delicate and would seem perfectly at home nestled in baskets on raffia amongst dark-chocolate bunnies (or whatever your tradition may be).

Perfectly cooked and colored.

My favorite (color-wise): Hibiscus

Tea Eggs

I doubled each amount of tea and let the teas sit for 20 minutes, covered, to make sure they were at full strength.

Burdock: I was disappointed that this didn’t do too much in the color department, but the deep, smoky flavor was quite lovely.  Would probably work best with completely shelled eggs rather than the cracked version I tried.

Hibiscus: Turned the shelled egg to a glorious purpley-red, and gave the cracked one dark purple/blue lines.  I wonder how it would have been had I soaked it longer…?

Raspberry Earl Grey: Gave clear, dark blue lines and an awesome flavor.  Would be great to use on a salad with slivered almonds.

Chamomile: I was surprised that it made the egg as yellow as it did! And the flavor was truly beautiful… fragrant and slightly sweet, like springtime!

Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs

Place eggs in a pot and fill with water until it covers the eggs over by at least one inch.  Bring up to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes.  Immediately rinse eggs and run with cold water.

To Color Eggs

The eggs can be put directly in the cooled tea once they’ve been strained and slightly cool.  If made in a large enough mug, you can color three eggs at a time.  Play around with shelling them completely or cracking them thoroughly to give the stained-glass-window affect.  I let my eggs sit for about 75 minutes, but the longer they sit obviously the more they’ll color up.  Occasionally stir them around for even coverage.

Happy Easter!

Milk Bar Mondays – Cinnamon Bun Pie (Gluten and dairy free)

I was nervous, then I was excited, then I was nervous again.

“Mother dough” may sound pretty awesome in the gluten-full world, but in mine any recipe that swears it can be used as a bagel, brioche, focaccia or croissant dough – as well as one ready for a sweet filling such as this – sends up too many red flags.

Gluten-free and bread dough are not casually made connections.

Yet, in the spirit of the Milk Bar Mondays swaps, I’d learned to question little and go forward with strength and spirit.  My Carrot Cake Truffles? Um, delicious.  The Apple Pie Layer Cake? Worthy of a sister’s birthday and one of the most fun things to disrobe.  Confetti Cookies? In my attempts to control my sugar levels I gave away most of the batch, both with a swing in my step since I was gifting such an outstanding cookie and with the regret at having gifted away such an outstanding cookie!

This pie?

Well…

The filling is outta this world… cinnamony, sweet and creamy.  Oh, and of course gluten and dairy free.  Well, almost, because I used butter and not Earth Balance or coconut milk… but close…

The dough rose and got puffy when it proofed, which is always fun to watch…

…but then it hardened while baking, and got the trademark look and mouth-feel of an adolescent, gluten-less bread dough.

My suggestion?

Rock on with the filling, but put it into one of my gluten free pie crusts (maybe this one, or the one linked below).  Or wait until I get off my tush and start making gluten-free bread for real.

Oh, and rock on hard with the filling, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my budding relationship with Tosi, it’s that you can’t go wrong with liquid cheesecake and brown butter.

Happy Milk Bar Mondays, folks.

Meet the Ladies!

Host Erin of Big Fat Baker (go to her site for the original recipe)

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

and welcome to Averie of Averie Cooks!

Follow the group on Twitter!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun Pie

Components:

  • 1 recipe my pie crust (I adapted the Mother Dough recipe from the original, but it’s not worth writing home about… on the list now)
  • 1 recipe Dairy-Free Liquid Cheesecake
  • 1/4 cup brown butter (microwave in a heat-proof container with a lid for about 5 minutes, until the butter pops and gets all caramely and brown)
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Streusel (recipe follows)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Roll out dough to fit a 10″ pie plate, and flatten within.

Spread half of the brown butter into the bottom of the pie plate.

Gently layer on 1/2 of the liquid cheesecake, then a second layer of brown butter.

Scatter the brown sugar on top, then tamper it down with a spoon or the back of your hand.

Sprinkle on the salt and cinnamon.

Gently layer the 2nd half of the cheesecake, then the entire batch of streusel topping, patting it into place.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm.

Cinnamon Streusel:

  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not quick cooking or whatever)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, coconut oil or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly.  Pour in melted butter etc. and vanilla.  Stir thoroughly into large clusters.

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


Mini Gluten-Free Pastry Puff Strawberry Shortcakes

Brent Herrig, 2012

Fruit and cream are two of my favorite things to smash together, but since I’ve been dairy-free for almost 20 years (save for butter, which as such little protein in it I can indulge), it’s not a combo I get too often.

In dreaming about what sweets I could fill into gluten-free puff pastries other than the traditional cream for my FoodBuzz 24×24 party, the combo naturally came to mind.  Why not do a mini take on a strawberry shortcake to compliment my cool and minty Mini Banana Splits?

This combo is quite adorable – full of flavor and texture, nostalgic and simple.  And look how cute and romantic.

I’m all smiles.  Love.

Mini Gluten-Free Puff Pastry Strawberry Shortcakes

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe gluten-free puff pastry, baked with about 1 Tbsp each for a small size
  • 1 quart of strawberries, chopped small
  • 1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake, baked an additional five minutes to set almost firm
  • 2 Tbsp organic sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, plus 12 small leaves for garnishing
  • Powdered sugar

Method:

Combine the strawberries, chopped mint and sugar in a small bowl, and stir to combine.  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight to let the flavors meld.

To serve, cut a small hole in each of the pastries.  Fill with strawberries.  Use a mini cookie scoop to scoop out a round of liquid cheesecake.  Tuck mint leave in between layer.  Top with pastry top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

%d bloggers like this: