Saturday, July 23, 2016

Chocolate Quinoa Cake [Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipe]

This gluten free chocolate cake stays so moist, and it's so rare to have a cake with just one gluten free flour ingredient. The secret to this cake? Quinoa.

I told this to a ladies organization event - a birthday party actually - and served it just like it wasn't even gluten free. On that day, I was the only one who needed a gluten free or dairy free cake anyway. There were a few vegans in the crowd though. I was so happy to offer something that wasn't going to taste different to my friends, and they raved about it.

The next weekend, I made one for my coworkers, including R who has a tradition with his wife to try chocolate desserts at all the restaurants in the valley. He's even mentioned this cake recently, which makes it clear that it was not forgotten in the eyes of the chocolate connoisseur. 

Now, in the recent months, quinoa has made it clear to me that we don't really get along, but I do love to serve this cake to my gluten free friends. Quinoa can sometimes be what is called a cross-reactive grain, or one that causes a response in the body similar to gluten. That's why oats and I don't play together.

My birthday is also coming up in a few days. Great birthday cake options for the gluten free person in your life include:
Molten Lava Cake for Two
Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Roasted Banana Cake with Dairy Free Rum Frosting
Candied Lemon Party Cake
Coconut Tea Cake

Chocolate Quinoa Cake
adapted from this recipe
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa [made from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup dry quinoa cooked in water]
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dairy Free Frosting:

⅓ cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
2 tablespoons coconut milk [from a carton]
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple syrup

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the upper sides with coconut oil.

Combine the coconut milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Process just until combined. Add the cooked quinoa and the coconut oil. Blend well until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the contents from the blender and mix with a wooden spoon or whisk until combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake on a rack in the middle position for 28-30 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto cooling racks and remove parchment paper.

For the frosting, combine the cocoa powder and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients, while mixing on low until combined. It's that simple - nothing to heat, and you're ready to go!

After frosting the cooled cake, chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to let the frosting set up a bit

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fluffy Grain Free Bread

Fluffy gluten free, grain free bread that bends and has a little bit of chew to it, but isn't soggy in the middle. Um, isn't that what everyone wants? 

I am so excited to have a loaf of this bread on my counter to use whenever I want - it's been perfect for toast with breakfast, spread with fusion hummus and sandwiched for lunch, or to the side of some fresh pea soup. It gets crispy when you toast it, it pulls against your teeth just a little bit when you bite (like an artisan bread or focaccia would), and has a reasonable taste to it. The darker color could almost convince you that it's a hearty, multigrain wheat bread. Let me show you how stretchy it is - this is me bending it so you can see that it doesn't just crumble into dust in your hands, like so many gluten free breads do.

Before you get too excited, I do want to give you the honest review. There's a few things you should know before you set out to make your own loaf.
- Grain free breads require a lot of fresh eggs. There's not a lot of ways around it, and it's whipped egg whites to soft peaks that make this bread work and give it the wonderful texture you'll love. Make sure you have a few dozen on hand if you are planning to bake grain free bread items, because they're rarely without eggs. You will have 2 extra egg yolks from this recipe, and few things bother me as much as extra egg yolks. Make some clementine curd, a custard, or something else rich and tasty with the extra egg yolks.
- Some of the ingredients in this recipe are pretty unique, including psyllium husks, which I had to buy from the store for the first time. Psyllium husks are actually the main ingredient in stool management products like Metamucil, except you want to buy the unflavored kind when you are baking. I found my Whole Psyllium Husks in a large canister (similar to an oatmeal canister) on the bottom shelf of a natural supplement aisle in my regular grocery store.
- Psyllium husks can also give your baked goods some interesting colors. If you look close, you can see some green tints to the bread. It could be the sunflower seeds, it could be the psyllium husks by itself, or it could be the combination of the two, but I assure you the bread isn't moldy or spoiled. Some brands of psyllium husks can also give baked goods a purple cast to them, as can some brands of flaxseed meal. If you're inviting guests over for dinner who haven't had your food inventions before, you may want to put this chewy bread in the freezer before they arrive, or at least warn them so they don't ditch it in a potted plant while you are out of the room.
- Foods made with psyllium husks should be consumed with a lot of water, and I actually noticed this on my first day when I hungrily ate a few slices. If you don't consume extra water to go with it, it could slow down some things in the gutty-works, so keep that in mind if you have a sandwich while out hiking or something.
- This is also not a beginner bread recipe. Gluten free breads usually aren't for beginners, between the unusual ingredients, different dough textures, and higher risk of disappointments. Once you've tried it a few times, you'll get faster at this recipe and be able to do it in no time.
- You'll find this recipe easier to prepare if you have a stand mixer or electric mixer to help you with beating the egg whites. It's not mandatory, but your arm will thank you.
- Other than that, enjoy this lovely creation!

Fluffy Grain Free Bread
Inspired by this excellent recipe

4 large eggs, separated
2 large egg whites (reserve 2 egg yolks for another recipe)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted or soft
½ cup lukewarm water
⅔ cup psyllium husk powder (grind whole husks in a spice grinder)
¼ cup flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar or 2 tsp of lemon juice or 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Note for eggs: you will need 4 egg yolks and 6 egg whites in total. The extra egg yolks can be used in something like clementine curd.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 7.5 x 4 inch pan with parchment paper, reaching the paper all the way up the sides of the pan.

Separate egg yolks and whites, with the whites being in the bowl of a stand mixer or set aside for an electric mixer. Put egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside. In the stand mixer, whip egg whites to soft peaks (not stiff!), add the cream of tartar and barely incorporate, and then turn off the mixer.

In the medium bowl with the egg yolks, add sesame oil, coconut oil and water and stir these ingredients together well.

In one more bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, except for the cream of tartar. Stir ingredients together and set aside.

Pour egg yolks bowl into dry ingredients, stir just until combined. Then, add a big spoonful of the egg whites into the yolks/dry ingredients and fold it in by hand. Add the remaining egg whites as soon as possible and continue folding gently until the egg whites are combined. You don't need to mix this very long to get the whites incorporated; stop as soon as the whites are no longer separate from the rest of the mixture. Scoop into the pan and bake for 1 hour.

After baking, remove pan from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Pull out the parchment paper and let loaf cool on parchment paper for 20 minutes before serving or slicing. Can be sliced and stored in the freezer.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Clementine Curd

I've shared recipes for using up extra oranges before, and now I'm sharing with you what to do with extra clementines. (Does that actually happen? Ours get eaten at an alarming rate!) And if it's not extra clementines you are battling, it may be a batch of extra egg yolks from the last time you made something that called for exclusively egg whites.

I grabbed this photo from a photo project I worked on where affirmations were scattered throughout my daily surroundings. I particularly like the idea of nourishing your body.

Clementine curd is perfect for a topping on this dairy free berry ice cream, spread over a fresh coconut tea cake, or served as a filling inside an easy sponge cake.

Clementine Curd

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 clementines, zested and juiced
a squirt of lemon juice, if needed
pinch of sea salt
4 ounces or 1/2 cup solid coconut oil

Over a double boiler/water bath, combine all ingredients in a heavy pot. Stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients combine and thicken. When you can swipe your finger over the wooden spoon and the mixture doesn't fill in the line, it's thick enough. If it's not very tart when you taste it, add a little extra lemon juice to sharpen the flavor. Set a small strainer over a bowl, and pour through the strainer to remove the extra zest and random clementine parts. Cool, and serve with whatever suits your fancy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chewy, Tender Biscuits [GF, DF Recipe]

We love pairing these chewy, tender biscuits with soup and other hearty meals, like taco soup or balsamic beef stew. They're even great as part of a filling biscuits and sausage gravy breakfast or as part of a layered strawberry shortcake smothered in sauce. They are even great as the topper for tuna biscuit casserole.

At summer camp, we tried the Bob's Red Mill Biscuit Mix with dairy free ingredients, and it was not nearly as good as we were hoping. I just didn't have time to prepare this biscuit mix before we left, and I'm regretting it. I am planning to make sure that we use my delicious recipe each time going forward, combined with Louanna Coconut Oil as a solid, dairy free fat.

These have a delicious stretch when you pull them apart, which makes them so unique for a gluten free biscuit. The coconut oil gives them a flaky and rich texture that people who are normally dairy free go crazy for. These are also fairly low in carbohydrates because the almond flour doesn't contribute to the carbohydrate count - just the tapioca flour has carbohydrates. This is a great combination for our diet, and we have been using this recipe for our homemade biscuits for several years now.

Chewy, Tender Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits

1 1/2 cups almond flour [the best is Honeyville brand; I buy it at Costco in a big bag]
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons flavorless coconut oil [solid]
1 cup dairy-free milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together almond flour and tapioca starch, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the solid coconut oil with a fork or your hands until the mixture is coarse crumbles. Stir in the dairy free milk until a batter forms. Drop heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are golden. Serve warm.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Flashback Friday: Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are great all year round - they're not just a Christmas food. They're still the boy's favorite cookies that I make (even though he wants cookies an average of less than once a year). We've moved into a new version of snickerdoodles that are dairy free and still have those really tender, flaky edges that make them melt when you bite into it. It surely hits the spot when you need them. I even keep a combo of cinnamon sugar in the cupboard for when the moment strikes.

What about you? Do you have cookies that show up in your kitchen all year round?
Check out the original gluten free version of snickerdoodles we made.

Other cookie recipes you should try:
Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
If you can tolerate gluten free oats, these Oatmeal Ranger cookies are worth it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spicy Fries: Crispy and Tender

I've got my very own chopper to make wavy fries! Everyone loves the tender insides of a crispy wavy fry, and now you can have them at home!

One of the challenges of gluten free eating is not getting French fries when you are out on the town if the restaurant doesn't have a dedicated fryer. And fries at home are sometimes soggy and not that satisfying. I've got a few tips to help you nail the texture every time, and have some great fries to pair with your favorite burger or barbecued chicken.

Spicy Fries

1 large Russet potato per person
coconut oil
olive oil
garlic powder

Using a wavy cutter, or a knife, create batonnet cuts in your potatoes. The easiest way to do this is cut off both of the short ends of the potato, square off the four remaining sides, and then slide the rectangular block of potato into strips. We prefer leaving the skins on.

[Read more about culinary knife cuts]

Drop the batonnet cuts into a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. This part is really important. You can cut it down to 10 if you are short on time.

Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, line a tray with foil, and combine one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon coconut oil on the pan and put in the oven to warm. If your kitchen is cold, the coconut oil will need to melt before it can coat the potatoes.

After the 20 minutes has passed, drain the water out of the bowl and dump the fries onto a towel or paper towel. Pat them dry. This part is also really important, Dry potatoes will crisp better in the oven.

Remove the heated pan from the oven. Arrange potato pieces on the baking sheet, coating them in the oil mixture. Make sure the sides aren't touching for maximum crispness. Sprinkle paprika and garlic powder over the whole sheet tray, trying to get a bit on each fry. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt. Serve quickly with your favorite dipping sauce.

Other fry recipes to try:
Eggplant Fries
Sweet Potato Fries
These roasted potatoes are a faster option if you are short on time. Can't beat a 30 minute crispy potato recipe.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Flashback Friday: Quick Risotto Tips and Risotto, of the Asparagus Variety

March and April never fail for me as the months when I am in a dinner rut. The heavier foods with meaty tastes that we love feel overdone for the time being. It doesn't mean we stop eating them, more just that we eat them while wishing for something else. The fresh, light foods of spring and summer don't seem filling enough, and it's a balance to get everyone at our house full and happy for the evening.

One of our household meals that does transition from winter to spring is, without fail, our staple risotto. We almost always simmer up a batch of crimini mushroom risotto, but a fresh take on it is this creamy asparagus risotto we enjoy too.

Tips for Quick Risotto Dinners
And while I'm at it, a few tips for you to have risotto accessible at your house.
- Sometimes, you need to just make it from a box. Lundberg risotto is always in our cupboard, especially for nights when I am out of town or we are out of homemade stock.
- Homemade stock is still a freezer staple we always have hanging around. I've experimented a little more with mushroom stock lately, even buying bone broth from our local butcher, but our standard veggie or chicken stock is a year round necessity.
- A little known fact is that a huge amount of the mushrooms for the intermountain West come from Utah. Mountain View Mushrooms, profiled in this article, grow the mushrooms we buy, and they are so good. One of my quick mushroom tips is to bring them home, clean and slice them, then saute them in a pan until the liquid is released and everything is darker in color, then freeze in a muffin pan and keep the discs in the freezer for when you need them. Two discs of mushrooms is the perfect amount for risotto for two.
- Don't let your stovetop temperature get too low. I like to keep mine on medium-high the entire cooking time, and this keeps the simmer rolling and the starch developing in the risotto. You want that starch development, and you don't want the dinner to take two hours to simmer!

Hope you enjoy this week's Flashback Friday and shout out to creamy asparagus risotto.

Another side note and thanks to you readers while the blog has been happily in semi-retirement. You are all awesome and eating gluten free takes hard work but has brought me great benefits in managing Celiac disease and autoimmune disease. Keep up the good cookin'!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Molten Lava Cake for Two: {Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe}

If you have a quick craving for chocolate, this is the perfect 15 minute recipe to quench your chocolate thirst in a sophisticated manner!

You can order these at restaurants all over the place, but rarely (even before gluten free) eat dessert in restaurants. After all, dessert at home is fast, dairy free, and well, there's more than one serving of it after the bill has been paid. Bonus!

Now that we are embracing the early darkness of winter (and my terribly dry lawn that isn't getting any rain or snow lately), I love watching cleaning videos on Youtube. I can't help it - one of my coworkers thinks it's the most bizarre thing. But, if you've ever watched adorable Canadians giving toilet-cleaning tips, you might start watching cleaning and organizing videos on Youtube. This has led to late-night organizing of our food storage container drawer, lots of closet decluttering and organizing, and all sorts of uses for vinegar in housecleaning. I guess, in the grand scheme, getting organized as a hobby isn't that bad of a thing to do when you are procrastinating other things.

Last Year: Gourmandise Restaurant Review
Two Years Ago: Apple Pie that won the county fair
Three Years Ago: Berry Streusel Coffee Cake
Four Years Ago: Gluten Free Groceries in Stockholm
Five Years Ago: Gluten Free Cherry Galette
Six Years Ago [how is that even possible?!]: Chicken Coconut Curry

Molten Lava Cake
Modified from this Food and Wine recipe

1/4 cup Spectrum organic shortening
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon millet flour

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. This can easily be done in a toaster oven, too. With some Spectrum shortening, grease and lightly flour two 6-ounce ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the shortening with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale.

Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then flip out of the ramekins. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Stuffed like a turkey

This year's festivities lasted Thursday and Friday, and what a weekend! One of the best parts was going to eat Chinese food at C's house. It was delicious, and I loved sitting at her kitchen table, wearing a stuffed turkey hat, and laughing together.

You're welcome on this excellent, grainy picture of me "dressed" as a turkey. Ha! Thanksgiving joke. It was a tremendous and relaxing day. This was the wonderful spread that C prepared for us: orange chicken (C's version modified from the Pioneer Woman, or the version I've made before), fried rice, and these yummy egg rolls.

We busted out the ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy (I'm a gravy professional), C made great rolls, apple pie and pumpkin pie with Steve's dairy free ice cream, cranberry sauce, spiced nuts, pomegranates, veggies with homemade ranch dressing, and some new Breton gluten free crackers. (These tasted great - I was disappointed that they contained dairy and soy, so some of our guests couldn't eat them). Then, throw in the Jello, Farnsworth apple cider, chocolate cake, baked yams, lemon bars, and more. It was bursting with great food, and all of it was gluten free, dairy free, and so tasty!

Here's a funny tidbit from my mom about Jello:
"Oh, there's no vegetables in the Jello you brought."
"Yeah, I didn't need to put them in there."
"Why not?"
"When you were little, you wouldn't eat the vegetables, so I had no choice but to put the vegetables in the Jello!"
Ha. I insist that I would eat vegetables, but I do love a good green-Jello-with-carrots on occasion. I'm glad my mom has taken such good care of me throughout my life.

Here's a historical shot at what we've done for Thanksgiving since our gluten free journal started:
Thanksgiving 2013
Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving 2011
Thanksgiving 2010
Thanksgiving 2009
Thanksgiving 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Butternut Squash Pear Soup Recipe

One of the reasons I love September in Utah is the fresh produce. The Co-op Market is under construction right now, so I haven't been there in probably two months. I'm wishing for my favorite grass-fed beef and chicken breasts right now. I'm tired of paying the Whole Foods price for my meat and ready to get back to the actually local, cheaper, and more delicious meat from the Co-op.

However, I've been haunting a really great farm stand that I pass by on Saturdays in Bountiful. I believe it's run by A & J produce, and this last Saturday, I was there while one of the local farmers brought his truck load of watermelon.

Recently we've gotten some delicious butternut squash, pears, the best apples ever (Jonathan and Honeycrisp this week), Russet potatoes, onions, Fresno peppers, raspberries, the most delicious Brigham City peaches (best peach of 2014!), cute little pumpkins, some great garlic, and Green River melons.

The squash and pears have combined forces to make one of my favorite soup recipes. I find it's hard to make a good, filling soup that has no dairy and no tomatoes. This one hits the spot. I made it and froze it in individual portions. On Sunday, I came home during a downpour, plopped a frozen soup on the stove, and in 10 minutes I was ready with a hot meal. The ginger in the soup mellows a little when it's been frozen, so I even added extra ground (dry) ginger to make it a little stronger when it's been thawed and reheated. Oh and homemade croutons - olive oil on toasted Udi's bread - are excellent in this soup.

The other great thing about September in Utah? Cats. The neighbor cats are out looking for mice right now, and so many of the outdoor cats have been frequenting our backyard. I should say this is much to my delight! It sounds bizarre, but I love waking up in the morning and finding a cat in the backyard I can pet before heading off to work. Free snuggles, no commitment, and something fun to talk about. Our current favorite cat visitor is an orange and white cat that slinks around our yard that we've named Ham Cat, since he has a thing for little bits of ham I've fed him. There's my confession: I love playing with neighbor cats. You're welcome.

I take you now from cats to butternut squash pear soup.

One Year Ago: Better Burger Food Truck
Two Years Ago: Malawi's Pizza, Provo Review
Three Years Ago: Flashback in 7 Links - A Shoutout to some of my favorite recipes
Four Years Ago: Split Second Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Five Years Ago: Gummy Candy Race Cars - Make your own gummy candy

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup 
Inspired by this recipe

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root OR 1 teaspoon powdered ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken broth
4 medium pears, peeled and chopped

Cut squash in half and discard the seeds. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and put the squash, cut side down, on the baking pan. Then, bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly; scoop out pulp and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, saute the onion in oil until tender. Add the curry powder , garlic, ginger and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, pears and squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Top with homemade croutons and serve warm. Or, package in individual serving-sized containers and freeze. If frozen, reheat on the stove for 10 minutes on medium and eat.


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