Saturday, January 31, 2015

Corn Flour Madeleines

First off, let me say that calling these Madeleines may be, well, not PC.
Classically, true Madelines are made by beating air into eggs and sugar very rapidly to create a light and fluffy cloud to hold melted butter, and flour. Well made Madeleine cakes also have a signature bump; a characteristic my French chef told me is only found in "exquisitely made cakes".

Since I had a bag of corn flour just sitting on my shelf, I thought to make these little cakes. Problem is that the coarseness of the corn flour, could deflate my batter and make me say rude things, so I opted for the "muffin method". Super easy too. Just combine your dry ingredients, then your wet ingredients, then mix everything together!
I could probably call these "Corn Flour Maddies", as to not offend anyone but, eh, I won't.

These are gluten-free and quite nice for dipping into tea or Mexican hot chocolate!

Corn Flour Madeleines:
1 cup corn flour
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg 
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients, except for the vanilla bean in a 2-cup measuring cup and whisk until thoroughly combined.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter comes together. Let the batter stand for 2 minutes to thicken. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the batter and whisk.
4. Lightly spray a Madeleine pan with cooking spray and fill the molds with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter. I used my two-ounce cookie scoop for this and I got exactly 12 portions.
5. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the Madeleine cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

These cookies are best served warm from the oven or within a few hours.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gluten-free Spanish Benedict

Gluten-free cooking has been difficult to explain to those who don't have dietary restrictions. 
To my wife, who cannot have gluten in her diet, it is often frustrating when we go somewhere and there are no gluten-free options. Luckily, if we go to our family's house, there is usually rice, beans, salsa and tortillas. But when we go out to brunch for example, options are limited to piecing together a meal from the "sides" menu that is hopefully not cooked on the same griddle as the pancakes. 

I wanted to make a special eggs Benedict that was just as crafted and put together like anything we would find in a restaurant. This recipe for my Spanish Benedict has several components that layer flavor. It is completely delicious on its own, piled high on a Portobello mushroom, leaving the gluten completely out. Serve it with a simple hash of red onions and potatoes, and love its gluten-free-goodness.

Call me old-fashioned, but the first I ever learned of "food science" was from Alton Brown. So now I use his recipe for Hollandaise, and watch this video every time I make poached eggs. They never fail me.

Spanish Benedict 
4 Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned with stems removed.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

1 pound Spanish Chorizo-style links, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Roasted piquillo peppers, packed in water, and at room temperature.
4 poached eggs
Classic hollandaise recipe, kept warm.
Smoked paprika
12-month aged manchego cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place the cleaned mushroom caps on top of a baking rack on the sheet.
2. Combine the oil, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl, and with a small pastry brush, apply the mixture to the mushroom caps evenly. Gently sprinkle the vinegar among each, gill side up, season with salt and pepper, and set on the baking rack, gill side down.
3. Bake the mushrooms for 10 minutes on one side, flip and bake for another 10 minutes. You want the mushroom to hold its shape, so make sure not to overbake.
4. While the mushrooms are baking, pulse the chorizo in a food processor, or chop into small chunks. Over medium high heat with a pat of butter, heat the chorizo bits until hot and set aside.
5. By now, the mushrooms should be done. Remove from the oven and set the caps on four plates, sill side up. Warm the poached eggs gently in simmering water and stir the hollandaise to make sure it is still emulsified.

To assemble: 
Fill the mushrooms with half of the chorizo, top with a roasted piquillopepper, then the egg. Pour the hollandaise over, then sprinkle with smoked paprika. Shave thin pieces of manchego over the top, sprinkle with more smoked paprika, and garnish with Italian parsley if desired. Divide the other half of the chorizo over top and onto the plate.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Bananas

I LOVE frozen chocolate bananas (in theory), but the thing I hate about them is that they're fucking frozen.
Seriously, they are way too hard, and if I wait until they soften a bit, well, I'll just be holding a frozen banana for longer than I feel comfortable with. In addition, chocolate covered bananas are just too delicious to wait for. 

Don't freeze it! Dip a very cold banana, one that's been sitting in the freezer for long enough that it has started to freeze, in a bath of chocolate a little coconut oil and you'll get an incredible, delightfully textured treat decorated with nuts, shaved coconut, sprinkles or anything your little heart desires. I'll never freeze another banana ever again. Truth.

Chocolate Dipped Bananas

4 bananas
8 popsicle sticks
3 cups 60% chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Topping Ideas
Chopped toasted nuts, toasted coconut, cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, sprinkles, white chocolate drizzle or multi-chocolate drizzle, just to name a few.

Peel and cut the bananas in half crosswise, so that you have 8 pieces and place the posicle sticks in deep enough so that it wont come out when you dip them.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place bananas in the freezer on the sheet pan for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the chopped chocolate in a double boiler with the coconut oil, stirring occasionally until shiny and not too hot. Transfer to a large measuring cup or tall mason jar with enough room for dipping. Let it cool slightly while you prepare your toppings.

Remove the tray from the freezer and carefully, but quickly dip the bananas into the chocolate, letting the excess drip off before they are rolled or sprinkled with toppings. Place them back on the sheet tray and back in the freezer for at least another 15-20 minutes. They can stay in the freezer for up to an hour after dipping before they become too hard.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gluten Free Nectarine Polenta Muffins with Blackberry Butter

I went a little crazy at the Farmer's market last week. 
But who can resist perfectly lined baskets of berries and plump, ripe heirloom tomatoes in every shade and hue? One would think that they were shopping for shoes instead of produce.

As we looked around, into my basket went perfectly sweet white corn, vibrant zucchini, yellow peaches that rivaled the perfume of my grandfather's tree, Bing cherries, a jewel-toned red onion, lettuce, peas, a basket of strawberries that ended up being an impulse buy right at the end, as well as a tempting little brioche (for me, not my gluten free love), and we drove off happy with ourselves ready to eat all of it in it's ripe, raw glory.

Cut to: Thursday when all of a sudden I'm looking at steadily ripening peaches, and a whole bag of cherries that seemed like a good idea at the time, I thought, "Uh, I think I went a little crazy at the Farmer's market." And I got to work making some of my favorite Farmer's market seasonal recipes to finish out the week. But that's another post!

Finally, I finished my veggies, now onto the last of it...those two nectarines that have been neglected all week because they were just under-ripe when I bought them. They now are super-sweet because of the warm weather and have been made into muffins. The polenta adds an amazing texture, and the blackberry butter from jam I made from the last crazed F.M. shopping spree, just makes everything better. 

Nectarine Polenta Muffins (makes 12)
1 ¾ cups Cup4Cup
¾ cup polenta
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of ½ an orange
1 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1- 1 ½ cups nectarines, diced
¼ cup sliced almonds and 1 tablespoon of sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°

1.     Combine the Cup4Cup, polenta, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest in a large bowl and mix well.
2.     In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, buttermilk, butter and extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
3.     Gently fold in the nectarines and portion into a muffin pan.
4.     Top with the sliced almonds and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
5.     Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6.     Once slightly cooled, remove the muffins from the pan and let them sit on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or with blackberry butter.

Blackberry Butter
4 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1 heaping tablespoon of blackberry jam and a pinch of salt.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strawberry Milk

When I was young, I would spend the summer days at my grandparent's house when my parents worked. I would arrive early in the morning and go back to sleep in the spare bedroom which I heard some years later, that it was haunted by the spirit of a, right?

Mid-morning, my uncle would arrive for a visit, and bonus, he brought my cousins with him. These girls were my partners in crime and their arrival signified a much needed break in the otherwise boring day at my grandparents house. Once we played tag in the yard, watched the one episode of Sesame Street that was allowed and played whatever make-believe game we conjured up, it was time for a snack.
What we ate, I don't remember, but what I do remember is the canister of Strawberry Quick milk drink powder set out on the table and how I was not fond of it at all. No one liked it, all the kids wanted chocolate, why the fake strawberry crap, grandma? I don't know and in taking one sip of the stuff, my young taste buds were indignant. Why, oh why was it the only thing we had to drink other than plain milk...which was gross. Duh.

Feeling rather nostalgic lately, I wanted strawberry milk, but what I wanted was a full-flavored drink made with real strawberries. Not"natural" flavoring with red no. 40.
Because I am a grown-ass adult now, I'd like my strawberry milk a little more complex too, with another element of flavor. So I steeped the milk with a bit of lavender and let it chill before I added the strawberry syrup.You don't have too though, and it will be just as lovely.

Strawberry Milk
1 Pint Strawberries, sliced
1/2  cup Sugar
Milk or milk alternative

1. Let the strawberries marinate in the sugar to release the natural juices.
2. Puree the strawberries until smooth.
3. Strain the puree in a fine mesh strainer.
4. In a sauté pan over medium high heat, bring the puree to a boil, stirring occasionally.
5. Once the mixture becomes foamy, it will begin to gel. Continue to stir quickly to prevent scorching.
6. Reduce the mixture by half and the color will be a deep red and the scent will gloriously fill your kitchen. Chill completely.

7. Mix as much strawberry sauce as you want into a glass of milk and stir. Strain into glasses if desired, otherwise, pour into glasses and stick a straw in it! Enjoy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mango Shrimp Lettuce Wraps-What's Your Favorite Way to Eat a Mango?

This is a quick, simple recipe using our incredible Manila Mangoes, on Sale today at Whole Foods Market!

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined with the tails removed
2 Manila mangoes, cubed
1 cup English cucumber, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 Thai chili pepper, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
1 head butter lettuce
1 head radicchio 
1 avocado
Sesame Seeds
Health Starts Here Sesame Ginger Dressing

1. Grill or sear the shrimp until they are fully cooked. Set in the refrigerator to chill, and make the filling.
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the sesame seeds and dressing. Toss to combine.
3. Separate 4 leaves from each the butter lettuce and radicchio and set one piece of the radicchio on the lettuce. 
4. Place the lettuce cups on a serving platter and fill with the mango mixture. Divide the shrimp among the cups and garnish with avocado and sesame seeds.
5. Serve with the dressing and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gluten Free Maple Bacon Chicken and Waffles

It has been quite a challenge to find good gluten free menu options at our local restaurants. Generally, T has to order a salad without dressing and an appetizer to piece together a meal when we go out. I have taken this especially hard, since I do not need to follow a gluten free diet and when we find ourselves craving something we used to eat and enjoy, well, I need to find a way to bring it back. 
Mussels in White Wine Sauce with Linguine, Po' Boy Sandwiches, Chicken n Waffles; I'm sure you see where I'm going.

Recently, I received somewhat of a "starter kit" from Bob's Red Mill containing gluten free flours, all of which I used to create these recipes and to which I am incredibly grateful for. I know I'm not the first gal to create a gluten free waffle recipe, or a gluten free fried chicken recipe, but here's my thing...

It's gotta be good. I have to feel like I could have walked into a restaurant, ordered and eaten the best damn Gluten Free Chicken n Waffles ever. So in combination with my green smoothies, an occasional brunch of chicken n waffles is fine by me, and now, fine by my gluten free love.

...I probably should just open a restaurant and call it, "The Best Damn Gluten Free Restaurant Ever"

To get everything done at the same time, measure all of the ingredients, then begin cooking.  The bacon can sit the longest, so that should be done first, the chicken takes the longest to cook, so that can be done while the bacon is in the oven.

For the Fried Chicken
6 boneless chicken thigh pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup potato starch
½ cup tapioca flour
¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1.    Lay the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound the chicken until it is just flattened. Don’t over do it!
2.    In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
3.    Combine all of the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
4.    Preheat oil in a skillet to about 260°
5.    While the oil is almost to the correct temperature, dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk.  Let the excess buttermilk drain off, then toss back in the flour. Set the pieces in the oil to fry until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes per side.
For the Maple Bacon Waffles:
6-8 slices bacon
¼ cup maple sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1 cup white rice flour
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup potato starch
¼ cup tapioca flour
¼ cup non fat dry milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½-2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon maple sugar (or dark brown sugar)
Preheat oven to 400°

1.    Place a baking rack over a foil lined baking pan and set aside. Coat the bacon on both sides with maple sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the bacon to a plate lined with parchment paper to cool.
2.    Coarsely chop the bacon and set aside while you make the waffle batter.
3.    In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, eggs, 1 ½ cups of milk and maple sugar.
4.    Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth. If the batter is too dry, stir in the extra milk. The batter should be pourable.
Stir in the chopped bacon, and then pour the batter onto the waffle iron.