Dessert

{gluten-free, vegan} Dark Chocolate Lace Cookies

Every year I say I’m not gonna do any baking events during the holidays.

And then every year I do a few anyway. Because, like today, sometimes you can’t say “no” to making something sweet for a good cause. Continue reading

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{gluten-free} Italian Wedding Cookies (Lemon Cake Cookies)

There are a few gluten-full recipes I miss from long ago and haven’t yet tackled, and Christmas is the perfect time for playing with them!

Growing up, my Auntie Jo always brought lemony Italian Wedding Cookies to our summer family functions. Bursting with lemon oil and encased in a thin layer of powdered sugar icing, they were a simple cookie, and one of my favorites. I now have Auntie Jo, my cousin Diane and my mother’s versions of the recipe, and the other day tried my own hand at them for a little shindig I was throwing.

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{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 and dairy-free) Brownie Pie – Milk Bar Monday!

Gluten-dairy-free Milk Bar Mondays Brownie Pie Love...

Gluten-dairy-free Milk Bar Mondays Brownie Pie Love…

We’re baaaaaaaack!

Sometimes inspiration for making something sweet comes from a new pan or a road trip to someplace spooky with friends. And sometimes it comes from a group of ladies you’ve met via the interweb, and have agreed to bake your way through a cookbook with!

I’m tickled pink that the Milk Bar Mondays ladies are back after a hiatus so that we could take care of a few small things; members moving and graduating college and having babies, the little beautiful details of life like that! Every time I get wiped from the mess of internet madness that makes me want to head for the hills — where wifi and mobile service are replaced by oak trees and crickets — I stumble upon the picture of one of my beautiful lady friends with their growing belly, or growing child, or growing dreams, and my heart fills up and I am so thankful to this crazy bit of technology that’s helped me find such talented, lovely people.

And together it’s brought us on a trippy journey, baking our way through Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, me adapting as I can to fit my dietary needs. We’ve had some incredibly yummy ones — the Compost Cookies I can’t stop making, the decadent Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake that sent me swooning, the Blueberry and “Cream” and Chocolate-Chocolate cookies and Birthday Layer Cake and Chevre Frozen Yogurt with Beet-Lime Ganache… love.

And here we are again, with a dangerously rich chocolate Brownie Pie nestled in a graham crust. And, for you and moi, this version is gluten and dairy free.

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{gluten-free} Maple Pear Galette for Two

Yesterday was one of the best days ever!

Being a freelancer and having a complicated chronic illness mean I’m often stressed about money, or restrictions because of the limits of my health, or both, as in a recent $634 bill for natural medication. But it also means I’m often forced to lay low, by my own discipline,my family forcing me or my body just shutting itself down. I had worked three full days in my family office and then gone out with some food media/publicity friends late into Wednesday night, meaning that Thursday had to be market a NOTHING! day in my calendar. Being Halloween, that NOTHING would include watching American Horror Story (!), buying cider from the corner store, avoiding going downtown, and catching up on some writing / blogging. Yes, writing and blogging aren’t doing nothing. But when I have space for them sandwiched by American Horror Story and rainy walks with Mitra, they’re relaxing, too.

So there I was, infuriated by my ancient computer’s incapability to work with me by loading pages and saving documents and such, when I threw up my hands, powered down and walked into the kitchen. Because freelancing and NOTHING also mean I can put my hands into (gluten-free) flour and slice fruit when I feel like it, dammit! Continue reading

{gluten-free} Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Until last week I was in denial that the weather was really, truly changing.

I don’t like being cold. Yes, I like bundling up and being cozy, but cold is not my thing. When you live in a city, you cannot help but meet with the elements in full force, and I know soon I’ll be facing pools of slush on stopped-up street corners, shlepping my tiny dog through sopping snow four times a day, and dealing with the wind tunnels that take over some of the avenues, melting faces and freezing fingers. Yes, New York is gorgeous in the autumn with the falling leaves, and nothing fills my heart like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade prep on Wednesday or accidentally finding myself near Rockefellar late at night after the tourists are sleeping off their days. I love New York during the holidays. But I’m still not ready to give up on flip-flops and jacket-less tromping.

And yet…

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{gluten free} Pumpkin Bread

Ugh, I hate when I make something so delicious as this pumpkin bread, sometimes.

It’s just too, too much for one little body.

But when the leaves start to shift from green to gold — yes, even here in New York City — and I can no longer wear flipflops when walking Mitra in the mornings (sniff), my thoughts turn to pumpkins and squash and apples with such a force that recipes like this get penciled in my day between interviews and rough drafts and number crunching, or whatever it is the day may hold.

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Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake (gluten free)

Photo by my brother's awesomely talented friend, Louis Abate

Photos by my brother’s awesomely talented friend, Louis Abate

I am conflicted about the end of summer.

I don’t want to say goodbye to peaches, or long swings in the hammock in Connecticut, or walking barefoot through grass, or taking Mitra for her morning walk in flip flops and short sleeves. I don’t want to say goodbye to the farmer’s markets that dot the northeast and flourish only a few months a year. I don’t want “school to start again”. Or to admit that I haven’t “started school again” in ten years.

But then…

There are pumpkin-laced candles to be burned. And root vegetables to roast. And CHRISTMAS. And fireplaces to light. And scarves and jackets and warm cocktails and long, hot baths. And apples and pears and gingerbread.

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Gluten and Dairy-Free Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins

2013-08-13 19.15.09

No fancy camera out here – this is all I got!

In the past week, two chefs in separate interviews have brought up how they note trends and movements in the food world – the ebbing and flowing of ingredients, techniques and ideas – and that those movement have strongly affected the menus they put out at their restaurants today.

I look at the movements of my own life in various ways.

Ten years ago today I signed my first lease in New York, and moved into a 10 x 30 foot apartment on the Upper East Side with three of my closest guy friends from college. Yep, three of us in 300 square feet. Then Brooklyn, then Astoria, then Washington Heights. I have some sharp memories of those places, punctuated by hot summer nights with the boys on the emptied streets of Manhattan, the coffee shops and Italian Ice in Brooklyn, my melting pot of European neighbors and food in Queens, and now the somewhat more subdued, sunlit place I call home.

Ten years ago I was dating Ruark, and we continued dating until four years ago. Now we’re still close friends, and he just moved in with his current girlfriend, which I think is wonderful. In Ohio I dated a man named Adam for a while, and he was sweet and gentle and the kind of man you should date when you’re newly out of a 10-year relationship and need some comfort. He’s now engaged and just bought a house with his fiance, and I couldn’t be happier that he found the kind of love and relationship he deserves. And then there was Aaron, who turned my world upside down by telling me he loved me, and then again when he let me go. I have no idea what he’s doing right now, but hope he’s finding what he needs to feel whole.

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Gluten-Free French Lemon Madeleines (and a boost of blogging confidence)

Lemon Madeleines - TheDustyBakerI am a mess of many things.

I bake. I write about famous people who make food. I research articles. I develop recipes. I review events. I take photos in professional people’s kitchens. I blog. I manage my family business’ books. I walk hundreds of miles for breast cancer awareness. I don’t eat gluten. I used to write plays. I grew up with Lyme Disease. Sometimes now that stays hidden. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how that all comes together here.

I used to feel like I had a “voice” on this blog, one that was quirky and fun and so focused around the joy that is throwing flour in the air and making a mess and being all scrappy in NYC and not letting the whole gluten-free thing be the thing that stops someone from baking and being all dusty in the kitchen. And then two things happened; I started getting a lot more writing/cooking work and my Lyme Disease-related symptoms started making me not feel well again.

Bare honesty here: I don’t feel well a lot, nowadays. I do a lot of things through an incredible doc who does intensely focused plant-forward immune supporting regimens. I also take a combo of pain killers regulated through a pain management doctor I’ve trusted for over ten years. I also meditate, and work with a life coach, and keep a positive attitude, and sometimes let myself cry in the bathtub because in certain moments none of that seems to make a difference.

Sometimes I don’t know how to express this person I am in this body, at this point in my life.  I have a good life. I love my work, value my relationships and have a home that I adore. But I have a history, and even as I’ve tried to start sharing the reason why I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for twenty years, I’ve worried about how it will translate on here.

But then I had a conversation I really needed yesterday. Continue reading

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