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.