Gluten and Dairy Free

Gluten and Dairy-Free Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies: Milk Bar Mondays!

Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies – Gluten and Dairy Free!

I’m missing shooting real photos with a real camera, instead of frantically with an iPad while I cook more in one day than I ever used to dream I could. Anyone have any suggestions for how to make photos from an iPad look awesome?!?!

Other than that bit of crankiness I’m pretty psyched by this Christina Tosi Milk Bar Cookbook recipe that Cassie of Bake Your Daypicked for today’s Milk Bar Mondays swap. Even before I baked these kids up, I knew that they were going to be crazy-awesome. And considering the time that goes into most Tosi recipes (the Apple Pie Layer Cake and Carrot Cake Truffles being two that spring to mind), these are relatively easy to make. And super awesome.

Being a cookie, it’s a simple matter of whipping together some fat and sugar, beating in some protein and more fatty yumminess, and then folding in gluten-free flours and starches and some chocolate crumbs.

Because, of course, a Tosi cookie has to have that little something extra. It has to have some crumb, crunch or liquidy addition to take it from “oh my dog yeah” to “save me from myself this is just too much yum in one cookie“.

Let’s just say I may have eaten a bit of batter before putting these mammoth babies in. Continue reading

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Summer of Salads: Jicama and Watermelon

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Every now and then, someone comes into your life and you breathe a huge sigh of relief.

One of those such special people made me a Jicama and Watermelon salad on the 4th of July. It went scrumptiously alongside some huge langostines I fried up all spicy-like and some ridiculously fresh sea bass that took a mere ten minutes to broil to perfection. He was all achy and sore from a pulled back muscle. I was exhausted from long days of cooking for other people. We feasted with white wine I had been saving for over a year for a special occasion – until I grew up and realized that every good meal with a good person is a special occasion. Then we climbed onto the roof and watched NYC’s spectacular fireworks burst over the Hudson river.

Then I stole his recipe.

I adapted it slightly for the family I cook for, and set it on the pink-canopied backyard table with some of my garden chicken salad and grilled burgers. By the time I got around to snapping pictures of it 24 hours later it had faded in color but the flavors had developed even more fully.

Jicama is a root that’s a cross between a water chestnut and rhubarb, believe it or not. Watery, slightly sweet and somewhat starchy, it’s often eaten in its native Mexico with fiery spices. Because of the light sweetness and water content, it pairs extremely well with watermelon, giving a salad of both some crunch and texture. They’re found at most big grocery stores out in the east coast, but are easy to overlook.

After grunting and sweating away peeling the annoyingly large jicama, I tossed it lightly with watermelon, lime, cilantro and a bit of jalapeno for a ridiculously refreshing salad that my blew my  bosses guests away.

Happy summer, happy Friday!

– Jacqueline

Jicama and Watermelon Salad


Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Serves 6 as a side

1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into thin 3″ long strips (about 3 cups)
1/4 watermelon, cut into thin 3″ long strips (about 3 cups)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill before serving.

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Crunch and Beet-Lime Ganache – Milk Bar Mondays!

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt on Beet-Lime Ganache with Pistachio Crunch

gluten free, cow-dairy-free

My roommate pulled me into the show “Fashion Police”, where Joan Rivers and her panel praise or destroy the fashion choices of the Hollywood elite for the week. Very unlike me to watch. I adore it. In the last bit of the show the panel tries to convince Joan which is the worst look of the week, and they have 10 seconds to speak directly to the offending starlette, pointing out what went wrong.

Inevitably, and to my absolute frustration, at least one of the three melodramatically says “oh my god, what were you thinking?” Unless you’ve seen the show and share my pain, there’s no way to fully convey how infuriating that phrase is.

It was running through my head all day while I composed this recipe.

“Oh my god, Jacqueline, what were you thinking?”

It’s my turn to host Milk Bar Mondays, where a lovely group of lady-bloggers is baking our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook every other week. The gluten-free and dairy-optional Compost Cookies, Carrot Cake Truffles and Apple Pie Layer Cake have been particular standouts, but all have been worth the time and effort.

Since I have unavoidable food allergies, I’m given a little leeway to adapt as I need, but in general we all stick directly to Tosi’s method on point. When glancing through to see which recipe I’d want to host, a chèvre frozen yogurt sounded perfect. I love making ice-cream, and while I can’t have cow’s milk, I’ve always been cool with other forms of dairy.

Damn me for not looking closing enough.

What was I thinking?

The end result was, of course, incredible. It was one of the prettiest desserts I’d ever plated, and once again I learned new techniques that I will apply to so many other recipes. But there was a lot of risk in adapting this recipe.

The full recipe for all steps is below, with my variations in italics and thoughts on the adaptation process there as well. This dessert is delicious: creamy, an intense contrasts of smooth / crunchy and light / rich. And, wow, what a plate.

Meet the Ladies!

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Follow the group on Twitter!

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt

Makes about a pint, enough for four desserts

I was psyched to try making an all-goat frozen yogurt. The first time I didn’t bloom the gelatin enough, and so had hard bits of it once it was spun a bit. I tossed it completely. The second time it also didn’t thicken in my ice-cream maker, but froze well in the freezer. I’m curious to see how the other ladies’ came out – mine was delicious but the consistency could have been whipped more.

Tosi stresses the importance of using citric acid specifically, and while I had been using corn syrup in previous recipes I gave in and bought glucose (since they’re nutritionally the same anyway, I discovered), and found the consistency definitely helps in this recipe. You can substitute the gelatin sheets with 1 tsp powdered gelatin and 2 Tbsp corn syrup instead of the glucose if necessary.

2 gelatin sheets

1/4 cup milk / goat milk

1/4 cup fresh chèvre
1/4 cup buttermilk / goat milk
2 Tbsp yogurt / goat yogurt
1/4 cup glucose
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp citric acid

Bloom the gelatin by placing it in a bowl of cold water for 2-8 minutes. It should be completely soft with no hard edges, but not falling apart.

Warm a little of the milk and whisk in the gelatin to dissolve.  Transfer to a blender and add the remaining milk, the chèvre, buttermilk/milk, yogurt, glucose, sugar, salt, and citric acid. Puree until smooth.

Pour the base through a fine-mesh strainer into your ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions. The frozen yogurt is best spun just before serving or using, but it will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Pistachio Crunch

The pistachio crunch requires feuilletine, which is essentially toasted crepes in tiny pieces. Some say these can be adequately be replaced with corn flakes or crispy rice cereal, but Tosi says it’s not the same. To make the crunch gluten-free, she suggests replacing the feiulletine with 1/2 cup additional pistachios. I made my own gluten-free crepes, over-toasted them and then processed them into bits. It was delicious, but went stale extremely quickly. Just so ya know.

It was really hard for us to find pistachio paste in our areas. We tackled this in different ways, I by using almond paste instead. Again, it was delish, but would have benefited more from pistachio paste. Still delicious.

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup pistachio paste
3/4 cup feuilletine
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 325°.

Put the pistachios on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Put the toasted pistachios in a clean kitchen towel and bash them into smaller pieces, at least 1/2 of their original size but not into nut crumbs.

Combine them with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium-low speed for about one minute, until homogenous. The crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Beet-Lime Ganache

I used dark chocolate instead of white, and coconut milk instead of heavy cream. While I could see how appropriate white chocolate would be, and how it would lighten up the flavors of the entire dish a bit, it was still delicious.

My blender couldn’t cut pureeing the beets, but my food processor made quick work of them.

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks

1 lime
4 1/2 ounces (120g) white chocolate  / dark chocolate
2 Tbsp butter / Butter-flavored Earth Balance
1/4 cup glucose
1/4 cup heavy cream / coconut milk
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 325°.

Wrap the beet chunks in foil and put on a sheet pan. Roast for 1-2 hours, or until the beets are on the mushy side of tender; give them additional 30-minutes intervals in the oven if they aren’t.

Meanwhile, grate the zest from the lime; reserve. Squeeze 2 tsp juice from the lime and reserve.

Transfer the beets to a blender and puree them (if your blender is giving you trouble, add up to 1 Tbsp milk to help get it going). Pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer – it should have the texture of baby food. Measure out 1/3 cup puree. Let cool.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them in the microwave and 15-second bursts, stirring between blasts. The result should be barely warm to the touch and totally homogenous.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a container that can accommodate an immersion blender – something tall and narrow. Warm the glucose in the microwave for 15 seconds, then immediately add to the chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender. After a minute, stream in the heavy cream / coconut milk with the hand blender running. The result will come together into something silky, shiny and smooth.

Blend in the beet puree, lime zest and salt. Put the ganache in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Use a spatula to fold the lime juice into the ganache (do not do this until the ganache is set, or you will break the ganache). Put the ganache back in the fridge for at least 3 hours or, ideally, overnight. Stored in an airtight container it will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Serve cold.

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.

—————

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.

 

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


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