Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate gingerbread


Could there really be something quite as wonderful?  Yes, and take it to Nigella Lawson to create it. It is fabulous!  It made a wonderful birthday cake, rich moist, spicy and chocolate!  The transition to gluten-free was easy, I just switched out the flour.  Next time I think I'll add a little candied ginger...


Oh, and BTW, Nigella has a GF filter on the recipe search on her site.  Lucky day!!


Oatmeal with candied ginger and dried cranberries

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Help the SCC preserve climbing areas in the Southeast

Hey all,
I know I haven't been posting a lot.
But this is important.

The SCC has a chance to win $250,000 to purchase 2 properties and maintain existing trails and climbing areas through the Pepsi Refresh Project. You can vote everyday for the month of November. So please, take a moment for the next 28 days to vote for expanding our climbing areas and preserving some Southeastern wilderness.

Check out the video, made by friends of mine.

Oh, and sign up for a daily email reminder. They promise to only spam you for the month of November :)
(if they do afterward, let me know, although I'll be getting spammed too, so I'll probably already know)

Last if you want to find out more about the SCC check out their website. And get out there and explore some of the fantastic work they have already done!

Here is Amos enjoying Boatrock
(He's wondering why A &M haven't figured out how to get up here yet)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recent Exploits in the Kitchen

Giant toasted marshmallow brownies
(coconut pictured, also made walnut, milk and dark chocolate brownie)

German Chocolate Birthday Cake, guessed it Julia.

Brown sugar banana muffins

Sunday, August 22, 2010

mango "sticky rice" ice cream

I just realized that I never posted last year's Miss Mary's Ice Cream Crankin' submission. (Also vegan for the Veg)

Mango "Sticky Rice" Ice Cream**
**Sorry no pics, it was eaten way too fast

mix together and heat over medium low heat until small bubbles begin to form and batter begins to thicken:
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups rice milk
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 tbs arrowroot starch

add and let steep for 5 minutes:
1 tsp jasmine pearl tea

Strain tea out and cool batter in fridge overnight, or in freezer for 4 hours or so.

toast 1/2 cup coconut (about 5 minutes at 350F)

Chop one ripe mango into 1/4" dice and put in freezer.

Make the ice cream according to your ice cream makers directions. During the last few minutes of freezing add the mango and toasted coconut, to taste.

Wow your friends with the fact that this ice cream is vegan.

Salted Coconut Caramel ice cream

Since the Veg's last day of work was Friday, I made her the long-awaited coconut milk caramels as part of her going away present. For those, I dipped in dark chocolate* and sprinkled toasted coconut on the top. I had some of the caramel left, and Miss Mary's Ice Cream Crankin' was coming up, so Salted Coconut Caramel Ice Cream, seemed like just the ticket.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream (vegan)**
**pictures to follow when it comes out of the freezer

2 cans coconut milk (approx. 4 cups)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Coconut caramels (recipe below)

heat 1 can of coconut milk over low heat with the sugars and salt until the sugar and salt melts. take off heat and add in the other can of coconut milk and the vanilla. Stir to combine and chill.

Once chilled (I stick my batter in the freezer for a few hours), churn according to your ice cream makers directions.

When frozen, alternate layers of the ice cream with the caramel sauce.

Coconut caramels (or coconut caramel sauce)
2 cans coconut milk (approx. 4 cups)
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a sauce pan combine the combine 1 1/3 cup coconut milk with the sugar and corn syrup. Over medium / medium high heat bring to up to a boil, without stirring, and then cook to 245 -250 deg F, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The mixture will darken significantly during this time.

Add 1 1/3 cup coconut milk and again cook to 240 deg F, or so.

Add the last 1 1/3 cup coconut milk and cook to 220 deg F for caramel sauce or 235 deg F for soft caramels.

Off heat add the vanilla.

I found that this is different than using true cream, as there is a higher fat to water ratio with heavy cream. This mixture takes a while to get up to temp and stirring will lower the temperature of the mixture.

* Dipping the caramel's in chocolate is key for the summer weather in GA. Since coconut oil melts at a low temperature, the caramels will get very "soft" (read spread everywhere) and the outer chocolate shell keeps them in a manageable piece. To dip the caramels, cut into pieces and freeze, take a few of the pieces out at a time and dip into the chocolate.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chocoholic heaven aka Vanilla Cream Brownies

I'm sure you're asking yourself, why would something I declare is chocoholic heaven begin with the word "vanilla". The reason is quite simple, a layer of vanilla cream tucked in between a dense dark brownie and a layer of semisweet ganache, give this brownie an edge over pure dark chocolate madness (which I have been known to create). It adds a bit of sweetness and allows the ganache and brownie to play off of one another rather than compete. But, be forewarned, the cream does not make this brownie kids play, it is still on the dark and rich side. Even I can only eat one, although a second is awful tempting...

So try it for yourself.

Vanilla Cream Brownies
Brownie base (modified from "the Fannie Farmer Baking Book" by Marion Cunningham)
preheat oven to 350
grease and flour or spray a 8x8 pan

Melt over low heat:
4oz unsweet chocolate - do yourself a favor and use the good stuff
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Take off heat and add and stir until combined:
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add in (after making sure the mixture is not hot)
2 eggs

mix well and add in 1/2 cup GF flour with xanthan gum (or for you wheaties out there 1/2 flour) mix well one last time

Pour into prepped pan and bake for 35-45 mins, until the brownies are slightly underbaked as all good brownies should be.

While the brownies are baking prepare the ganache:

Bring to a boil:
1/2 cup of cream

take off heat and slowly mix in:
8oz of semisweet/dark chocolate (or a combo thereof )

once well mixed add in:
1 tablespoon of butter
mix well to combine

Pour into a bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the ganache and allow to cool completely

Last make the vanilla cream:

To 1cup powdered sugar add:
1/4 cup very soft (or melted butter)
1tablespoon vanilla extract
mix well

add milk as needed to get to a thick, but spreadable consistency

Once the brownies are cool put it all together:
Top the brownies with the vanilla cream and 1 cup of the ganache
Put in the fridge to set the top for 15 to 20 mins and then cut into squares

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Banana pancakes and summer peaches

Wow! It has been a while since I posted.

M and I have had a great couple of months, a nice Easter with our neighbors, and heading to the west coast for my cousin's wedding and to catch up in British Columbia with one of my best friends and her family. Work has started to pick up some more and summer in GA is in full swing. Warm evenings, hot days, and great produce...peaches!!

I have been heading over to ELF (East Lake Farmer's market) on Saturday mornings and lately, the peaches have been fabulous. fresh, juicy everything a peach should be. This morning I went a little crazy with my purchase and now have peaches cut up for freezing and simmering into sauce on the stove and I still have plenty to eat fresh.

Banana pancakes, peaches, and Tuscan blue basil flowers

But I'm getting ahead of myself, I started this morning by making Banana Pancakes. A mixed up concoction that worked out fantastically. I was out of milk and substituted coconut milk and just ran from there:

Gluten Free Banana Pancakes

Warm the following to melt the butter and allow to cool slightly:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
Mix in:
  • 1 banana - I keep ripe bananas in the freezer (peel and all) defrost in the microwave for a minute or so and the flesh slips right out of the peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Separate 2 eggs, mix the yolks into the liquids and whip the whites to soft moist peaks

Blend together with a fork:
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
Mix the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, fold in the whipped whites add additional coconut milk to thin if necessary.

These were great to eat on their own, or with fruit as I like, or with syrup for my sugar-loving M.

Now, back to those peaches!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Four years ago today!

Yup, four years ago, today, M and I said our vows.

Here is a picture of us on Jeju Island, South Korea, where we spent our honeymoon. It was a great two weeks exploring a wonderful country. I hope we have many more opportunities to go exploring together!

A little Atlanta pride in Korea
Originally uploaded by frannylue

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Atlanta skyline

View from the botanical garden last Saturday.

Atlanta skyline
Originally uploaded by frannylue

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This is your Brain...

Just for you Bennwitz.

This is your brain

This is your brain on gluten-free bread

Any Questions??

Oh, and it's good, really good. Probably the best bread I've had since going gluten-free.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Artisan GF Bread

Artisan GF Bread
Originally uploaded by frannylue
Here is my first attempt at Artisan GF Bread. Looks pretty good, supposedly I have to wait until it is cooled entirely to crack it open...we'll see if that happens.

Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

* I did change the recipe slightly as I ran short of brown rice flour and ended up adding about 3/4 c of white rice flour to make up the difference.

Hopefully it is taste, because I have 3 more loaves ready to bake sitting in the fridge.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A walk with the Amos

I think all of Atlanta has spring fever these days. As with the rest of the US, it has been cold and snowy and not how spring should be here in the Southeast. Today was one of those days that lets us know that this cold, snowy, rainy crap isn't going to last forever. Bright blue skies, a shining sun, birds singing and squirrels, lots of squirrels. So after running errands in the morning. Amos and I set out for a little trek around the neighborhood this afternoon.

His goal: to rid the neighborhood of all of those damn squirrels.

My goal: to see if we could get some of the spring fever out of his system.

On a mission...Squirrels

A sign of spring, Amos wasn't impressed

I smell squirrels!!

Squirrels, squirrels everywhere, if only they weren't so fast!!

A glimpse of the Atlanta skyline

Almost home, Amos can smell it

And home again.

At the end of our walk it was, Amos: 0 Squirrels: 100
Maybe he'll have better luck next time!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries (GF and DF)

Having a few friends whose kids have issues with dairy and heading over to one of their homes to watch curling this evening. I decided to give cooking with coconut oil another try. I found this chocolate chip cookie recipe from the Picky Palate and modified it to be gluten and nut free.

GF DF Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup softened Virgin Coconut Oil
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 Cup gf flour with xanthan gum
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12 oz) chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, raisins or craisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 375
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, flax seed, baking soda and salt
Using a mixer cream together the oil and sugars
Add the eggs and vanilla one at a time and beat until fluffy
Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter then add the chocolate chips and dried fruit
Using a cookie scoop, or a couple of teaspoons scoop dough onto a parchment lined sheet and back for 9 minutes (or so) until edges are golden and cookies are puffed.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think as I'm continuously modifying and (hopefully) improving my recipes.

Now I'm off to watch some Olympic curling! It is about as close as I can get to being on the ice in GA.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mr. T says, "Happy Balentine's Day"

Yes, as children of the 80's Mr T. still holds great influence over M and me. So, in our house we celebrate Balentine's Day, and spend a good portion of the day saying "Happy Balentine's Day" in bad imitations of Mr T.

In honor of the holiday, I made M a dinner of amber jack, sweet potatoes, and broccoli with apple pie for dessert. Here is my recipe for dried apple pie. ( I was too lazy to run to the store for apples and had orange juice to use up)

Mmm...Apple Pie
(if you actually let it cool before slicing into it, it cuts quite nicely into pieces, if you can't wait that long, it is a little crumbly)

Dried Apple Pie
a recipe developed from a mishmash of cookbooks (Cookwise, 1001 Best Recipes, and Bette Hagman)

mix together and put on stove over low heat:
1 cup (170g) of dried apples
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups water (next time I think I'll reduce that to 1 cup)
let simmer until apples are puffy and softened and the liquid has reduced and thickened

Puffy apples

take off heat and add:
1/2 cup brown sugar (may increase slightly next time)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
mix and allow to cool

What, don't you put cheese in your pie?
I'm a 'sconi girl, everything is better with cheese

I added about 1 1/2 tbs of cornstarch mixed with a little water to the filling after it cooled

While the apples are cooking away, make your favorite pie crust. I used Bette Hagman's featherlight vinegar pie crust. It is by far the best GF pie crust that I have made to date.

Sweets for my sweets
It is also the only day of the year I would put hearts into a pie crust

Heat oven to 500F, with a cookie sheet placed on the bottom rack.

roll out pie crust, fill, top with top crust, put in generous vents (more generous than mine)

Place pie on cookie sheet and turn oven down to 425F. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate half way and reduce temp to 375. bake until bubbling and golden, another 30-40 minutes.

In actuality, after that first 25 minutes, I'm no sure how long I baked the pie. I was skyping with my brother and forgot to hit start on the timer, suddenly my house was smelling pretty darn good and I realized that it was probably time to take out the pie. It was also at that point that I realized I had not vented the pie enough. Luckily, I'm not so into looks!

The pie, didn't like the hearts so it popped its top.
It still tasted great.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Yup I'm still here.
I'm so far behind in my blog updates that I'm not going to give an excuse. Just know that I am still here.

Anyway it SNOWED!!! today, not the crappy icy kind or just a sprinkle, but those fat fluffy flakes that make you want to bundle up and play outside all day. So Amos and I took advantage of it:

Here he is playing as it is just starting to fall.

After I finished working for the day, we took a walk ran in the play field by the house and took a few pictures of the house. I think the snow sets it off nicely (and obviously some other people do too, as I caught a lady taking a picture from her car)

view from the school yard

view from the street

Well, if the snow sticks around i might just get caught up on my blogging!! Happy Valentines Day and Happy Snowpocalypse 2010!