Read this published by Gluten Free Optimist-it’s exciting!
Archive for February, 2011
Read this published by Gluten Free Optimist-it’s exciting!
I was standing at my deli today, minding my own business and eating potato chips with my two-year old when I noticed this little gem being offered in the Boar’s Head pamphlet display. I was impressed that it was there in the first place and my two-year old thought the apple cup cake recipe looked pretty good. Nicely done Boar’s Head! And thanks to my local HEB grocery for providing it! You can find the whole brochure available for download here. Umm Boar’s Head……does everything have to cost more than $7.00 a pound? That’s a little rich for school lunch these days:)
I didn’t grow up in a sugar cereal eating household. The sugariest cereal I got was…Cheerios, and no, not honey nut. So my haven for sugar cereal was my grandparents house. Now, they didn’t go heavy. There was no Captain Crunch, nothing like any Fruit Loops. But there was Rice Crispies and Special K and those were both sugary enough for me!
So all of these years, despite attempts by other companies, there is really no GF crispy rice cereal that tastes like the real thing. So, when I found out the exciting news that real GF Rice Crispies were coming…I couldn’t help rejoice! Now if I could only stand real milk, not sure anything else will stand!:)
A few weeks ago I wrote about trying a recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s blog for gluten-free Brioche. At that time, I hadn’t worked with the recipe yet-and I was a little unsure of what I thought of the possibility of the bread really working out.
Well, I’ve tried it, eaten it out of the oven, as toast and as french toast. It’s good. It’s worth making and eating! Here are some pic’s of in the oven and out I thought you would enjoy and would lend some confidence to your baking.
Note about pictures on blogs: So often, a picture attached to a recipe is not an actual picture of the product. How do I know? Sometimes I do it! Baking, Blogging and living life takes a lot of time. Sometimes I just don’t have a picture handy. And sometimes that’s ok. Sometimes GF looks just like the gluten-containing so it works. But I don’t think it works with bread. When I see a picture of gluten-free bread looking gorgeous and perfect…I start to wonder. Is that really a picture of gluten-free bread? Just so you know, all the breads posted on my site are actual pic’s of the actual breads that I’ve made. So if it looks gorgeous, it really was!
NO! Wrong answer! The ugliest bananas make the best banana cakes, breads, muffins etc! Here’s what you do. Take them, and I do this with the skin on, and I do this no matter how ugly they are, and throw them in a ziploc bag into the freezer. Then when you need them for a recipe, take them out and put them in a bowl and gently microwave them until they are thawed. You can also thaw them in a bowl in the fridge. Now here is the important part: you will notice that you have banana insides, gross peels and liquid. Remove the peels and squeeze the liquid out of them. The peels can get thrown into your compost. But the banana insides and the juice will go right into your recipe! Mash the bananas with their juice and use them right away. I always measure because bananas vary in size. If you need a few more bananas, just take a few more out of the freezer.
This works so great with gluten-free recipes, because a little extra liquid really never hurts. And, I find that the banana flavor is always more intense after being frozen. Now that you know how to do this, you can buy black bananas from the store if they have them on sale and throw them in the freezer for future use. When I find those kinds of sales, I buy about 20 pounds at a time!
Mostly I think “whatever” about cupcakes. Most of the time, they are nothing. Just a spec of sorta dry cake with some sweet grease on the top. And unfortunately since the dawn of the Fancy Gourmet Cupcake Movement, I have missed out because I can’t frequent those establishments due to their use of wheat flour.
So when Valentines rolled around this year I was thinking brownies, chocolate dipped shortbread etc. But then for some reason I remembered this recipe that I had gotten out of the August 2008 issue of the Alamo Celiac Newsletter for Barfield Banana Cake. The recipe belongs to Anne Barfield of Chicken Paradise Bed and Breakfast here in San Antonio. If you have never heard of it, you should! The Barfield’s cater to all sorts of food allergies, especially Celiac/gluten-intolerant. The property is paradise as the name indicates, but the host and hostess are what make the place out of this world!
But anyway, Anne makes this Banana Cake with the dreamy icing. Her recipe is gluten-free, casein- free (dairy-free) and can go egg-free as well. I’m not a banana cake fan, but this cake wins at everything I bring it to as being so fabulous. I decided to use a Peanut Butter Frosting with a dark chocolate drizzle instead of the white frosting on this go-round. I made a few widgets to this recipe only because I didn’t have a few things it called for.
Barfield Banana Cake (with very minor changes)
Makes 18 cupcakes, 2 8-inch, 9-inch or 10-inch layers
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. Crisco or Spectrum Solid Palm Shortening
3 eggs or 3 T. flax meal (Put into a measuring cup. Add boiling water to make 3/4 c., stir, let sit to thicken)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. plain soy yogurt, goat yogurt, cow yogurt (I used sour cream!)
1 c. mashed very ripe banana
2 c. My GF Flour Mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Method of Prep:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcakes papers in cupcake pans, or get your cake pans sprayed with a little non-stick pan spray.
In mixer, combine shortening, sugar and vanilla. Cream together at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs on at a time or flax mixture until combined well. Cream another few minutes. Take your bananas and mash them well. Combine the yogurt/sour cream with the bananas. Measure all your dry ingredients together and mix well. Alternating dry and wet, and always ending with dry, add the flour mix and banana mix into the mixer. Scrape the bowl down and give it a final mix. Scoop into cupcake pan or cake pans and bake until done, about 15 minutes for cupcakes and 20 minutes for cake layers. Cool well and get ready to frost.
My Peanut Butter Frosting
1 c. creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural)
6 T. butter or crisco or palm shortening
2 c. confectioner’s sugar
5T. warm water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Method of Prep (peanut butter frosting):
Cream the butter/shortening with the peanut butter and the vanilla with your whisk in the mixer. When combined, scrape the bowl and then sprinkle in the confectioner’s sugar. As soon as that it added, your icing will be grainy and thick. Gradually add the water about 1T. at a time until your icing becomes smooth. Once it is smooth, stop adding water ad turn up your speed on the mixer and whip until the icing is fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes or cake layers.
4 T. Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life or Hershey’s Special Dark, depending on your needs)
Method of Prep (chocolate drizzle):
In a non-metal bowl, microwave chips about 30 seconds at a time until they begin to melt. Stir thoroughly. They may need a final 15 seconds or so once they are all blended. Either drizzle on top of the cupcakes using a pastry bag or make stripes with the chocolate coming off the end of fork.
I expect a lot of things from the internet. I expect things that shock, biased news, how to loose unsightly belly fat in three simple steps, gossip rags and lots of things for sale. What I don’t expect is other people’s viceral exposures of their cores. And least of all, I don’t expect it to rock my world and hit so far home. I read this post from Kelly Diels blog called Cleavage: Sex, money and meaning. Writing through the lines that shape us.. I got to the post kind of by accident off my Twitter through @scoutiegirl. What I found make my eyes grow large and tears roll down my face as someone else put words to something that for me is not usually easy to explain. In my household we call the subject of her post my “ever-stalwart” issue and attribute it to being a true “Yankee-woman”. But read on, understand better and maybe find yourself in her post as well. Enjoy!
Love is Ugly
There’s a dark side to generosity. Most of us (one hopes) are taught to give to those “less fortunate than ourselves”. That’s noble, altruistic, charitable…
We’re taught a one-sided charity. We’re taught that the rewards reside in giving, in being privileged enough to give; and that magnamity and magnificence flow in one direction: from the offeror, with the offer.
For a long time I believed that to love was to give and I bathed my beloveds in acts of kindness and charity.
But I rarely, if ever, asked for help, even when I desperately needed it. Unless I had no choice.
Late one afternoon I was stranded on a bridge that, just moments earlier, was the scene of a horrific, multi-car, fatal accident. The bridge was shut down. I wouldn’t be going anywhere for hours. And the daycare closed in thirty minutes.
And I was sick about having to call my friend for help. She’d have to drop everything, pack up her two kids, and dash to the daycare right now and then she’d have to feed all of them dinner. Such an imposition.
I had no choice. I had to ask. And I worried about it all the way home.
And almost every day was a day like that. I was a newly separated single working mama of two kids under the age of four. I worked, I took care of the girls, and when I wasn’t at the office I was essentially housebound. I had no after-work-hours childcare. I had no money for babysitters. I did, however, have family and friends living within a four block radius of my home.
But I couldn’t ask for help.
This is not a dainty spinach salad. Spinach salad always makes me think of Easter. Small, tender spinach leaves support nicely cut boiled eggs, supremed oranges, and crisp bacon. This beast of a salad is not the dainty Easter kind. In fact, the people you are serving this salad to might tentatively serve themselves just a little bit at first. Only to go back for 2-3 more helpings! This salad involves big, craggy spinach leaves and a slightly sweet hot dressing that is poured on at the last minute and tossed immediately to slightly wilt the big spinach leaves. This goes well with everything from chicken to pork or just by itself! Serving a crowd? Then buy 2-3 bunches of big spinach and multiply the dressing into greater amount!
Warm Winter Spinach Salad, Serves 2-3 people
1 large bunch of big, craggy spinach leaves (washed very well and spun dry)
3 slices of thick applewood smoked bacon, diced small
3 boiled eggs, diced small
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 apple, any kind, diced medium
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely
1/4 c. whole grain mustard
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. Sherry Vinegar
1T. Rice Vinegar
3T. Olive or Canola Oil
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Method of Prep:
Wash all the spinach well and spin dry. Break into bite-size pieces by hand and put into a big bowl. Boil the eggs, cool, dice and set aside. Dice the bacon and saute until crisp. Leave the bacon and it’s fat in the saute pan as you will be using it when you make the dressing. Slice the mushrooms and set aside. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl and whisk together. Taste the dressing and salt and pepper to your taste.
When you are ready to serve the salad, heat the pan with the bacon in it. When the pan is hot again, throw the apples and minced garlic into the pan and saute for about 1 minute. Add the dressing and heat until the dressing begins to boil. Turn off the heat. Add the mushrooms and egg to the spinach in the bowl and toss. Then add the hot dressing to the top of the spinach and toss very thoroughly. The hot dressing with coat the spinach, but because you are using large spinach leaves, it will not wilt the salad very much. Serve immediately. You will probably not have any leftovers.
Time is getting short! Don’t forget to sign-up for my gluten-free cooking class being taught at Central Market San Antonio on February 26, 2011. For the details of the class and to enroll, here is the link…sign-up here.
I’m not sure why I thought I was going to luck out and be exempt. Maybe it’s because like his dad, my son is so handsome and charming. Maybe it’s because my oldest is 12 and I forgot that it was going to happen. But sure enough, 1 week from turning 2, the NO has started. And it hasn’t come gradually either. In fact, the last three days he has awoken at 5:30 am ready to go for the day by saying NO about twenty times in a row. But the good news is that it is just a stage. Right?