Saturday, August 23, 2014

Feeling a little southern

After spending the last week in Atlanta, visiting friends and working. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. In the process of trying to determine what is still salvageable in my fridge, I run across a bag of mini bell pepper in my fridge. Now, I have a strong dislike of bell peppers, but would still feel a bit guilty throwing them out. I've got plums I'm already thinking of turning into jam, I think I just found my afternoon project...

Bourbon Pepper Jelly

1.5 lbs bell peppers
2 cups cider vinegar
6.5 cups sugar
4 Tbs crushed red chili flakes
1/2 tsp habanero (or cayenne) chili powder
1/2 tsp butter
6 Tbs powdered pectin
1/3 cup bourbon

Chop bell peppers
Add to pot with next 5 ingredients
Bring to a boil and allow peppers to soften
Process mixture with an immersion blender until finely chopped. 
Add pectin and bring back to a boil, following the pectin directions
Stir in bourbon
Put into 1/2 pint jars and process 10 minutes
Makes 8 half pints

Sweet, smoky, with a kick. A lot like the south!!

Oh, Atlanta!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sectional teaser

Fran Walsh
Kimberly-Clark Professional

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Raspberry bars

You have these times in your life, big or small, when you are searching for the right thing.  In my case, it is often the right recipe....

Last night I headed to Trader Joes after work and was looking for something interesting for dinner.  I'm perusing the frozen cases and come across organic raspberries for $2.99.  Who could resist?  Now, I was planning on throwing those into yogurt for breakfast, but baking with them kept popping into my head.

I wanted a bar that was a nice dense cake with pieces of raspberries dotting the cake.  Maybe a little sour cream (or yogurt) in the cake a moist crumb and something that was easily portable, since I was taking these to a BBQ.  So I hit the google to see if I could find such a recipe.  And there were recipes, bars with crumbles, strudel, with short bread crusts, pie crusts, etc...but no such recipe.  So I made another recipe Blondie-Brownies and they started cooling on the counter, but I still wanted the raspberry bar.  Then my brother called me to catch up.  I told him of my small obsession and he said, "why don't you just use mom's pound cake recipe".  And I wondered why I didn't think of that.  Budder, thanks.

So here goes:

Raspberry Bars
Mix together in a bowl and set aside 
(use 150g ~ 1cup of all purpose flour for non GF + the baking powder and salt):
Heading into the oven
  • 20g almond meal
  • 20g coconut flour
  • 20g rice flour
  • 30g potato starch
  • 30g corn starch
  • 30g tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Cream together:
  • 1/2 butter
  • 1 cup sugar
Add and beat well:
  • 1 egg
 Fold in:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • flour mixture
Put into a prepared brownie pan (11x7) and sprinkle a heaping 1/2cup of frozen raspberries over the top and press in lightly.  Bake at 325 for 45 minutes (or so).
Out of the oven

They are currently cooling in the pan.  I'll let you know how they turned out.
Ready for the BBQ
 Post update: these were a definite hit at the BBQ!  They were gone in a flash and I could have definitely doubled the recipe.  Nice, dense, moist crumb. I will definitely be making them again.  Maybe next time with blueberries or peaches...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

When life gives you runny sugar cookies...make lemon tarts!

So I have been on a bit of a lemon kick lately...

The "It's so good I dream about it" Lemon Pound Cake
With Glaze
Lemon meringue cake for Easter dinner (up in the upper right hand corner)
And lastly, lemon sugar cookie tarts, made in princess cupcake liners

With all that lemon going on some deliciousness has definitely been had, as well as some requests for recipes.

So, first off, for the "It's so good I dream about it" lemon pound cake.  I got the recipe from Art of Gluten Free Baking and then of course made it my own...

I have found that baking by weight has made my baking more consistent, so I used 130g brown rice flour, 130g rice flour, 80g tapioca flour, and 135g sweet rice flour, instead of the measurements listed.  What is nice about this is that all you gluten lovers out there should be able to make this cake with 475g of all purpose flour.  I followed the rest of the recipe as described (so I won't retype it here) and then added a lemon glaze.

Lemon glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
Juice of one lemon
Distructions (as M likes to say): mix the butter into the powdered sugar and a crumbly paste will form, then add the lemon juice, followed by capfuls of milk until a nice pourable consistency is achieved.  Pour over cooled cake.  I keep my cake on the cooling rack when I pour on the glaze and set a cookie sheet below the rack to catch the excess glaze.

sidebar: the cake is a large recipe and while it all "fits" into my bundt pan (read, it hasn't made my oven a complete disaster because I put my bundt pan on a cookie sheet), next time I would make a mini loaf or two with some of the batter to prevent the spill over.  It also unmolds quite nicely when you follow the directions and butter and flour your pan.

For the Lemon Meringue Cake, I got that right out of Nigella Lawson's book Feast.  And, as most of her desserts are, it is a work of pure genius.  So get the book, your friends will thank you.

Now, for the Lemon tarts...
I followed the directions for Cooks Illustrated's "The Best Sugar Cookie" which they have printed in their The New Best Recipe cookbook as well as their Holiday Baking 2007 special edition.  It is a great sugar cookie recipe, but when I threw them in the oven this time they turned into one big sheet of cookies.  I have some suspicions why, but sometimes a little disaster turns into the necessity for delicious invention...

I took the remaining dough and made mini tarts...

Just in case you forgot what they looked like

I followed the directions for the cookies, even rolled the 1 1/2" ball in sugar and then pressed each ball into the bottom of a muffin tin, lined with princess liners (very important).  I baked these in the oven at 375F for 11 minutes and then topped them with lemon curd and popped them back in for 5 more minutes.  This really could be done with any jam you desire, but lemon curd is pretty fantastic and easy to make:

Lemon Curd (From Bon Appetit 2004)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (in reality I just zest the lemons before I juice them and then use all the zest from the juiced lemons in the curd)
3 large eggs
Now for the easy part: put the sugar, lemon juice, zest and butter into the microwave.  Cook on high until the butter melts, whisking every minute or so.  Beat the eggs in a bowl, whisk in half of the lemon mixture into the eggs and then whisk the eggs and lemon mixture back into the rest of the lemon mixture.  (you do this so you don't cook the eggs too fast).  Put back in the microwave and cook on high, whisking every minute until the curd is slightly thickened, but not boiling.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.  Transfer it to a container, top with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin on top and stick it into the fridge. 

It is quite nice on the Lemon Meringue Cake, mixed into yogurt and on top of sugar cookies!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going Gluten-free

Hi!  Wow, it is almost March and I have not even posted yet in 2011.  I guess it is time to change that!  Life is good, work is crazy, but fun, and M is almost done with his architecture exams (big yay!!)

So, I recently have had two friends inquire on gluten-free cookbooks, tips, and tricks.  Below, is what I responded with, but I would love to know your opinions too.  Here is a couple questions to get you started:

  1. What is the one thing that make your life easier to be GF?
  2. What is your favorite source for information?  i.e. what is your go-to?
  3. What is the one thing that sets you back the most?  (for me it is sauces and cream based soups)
Bette Hagman is the cookbook author when it comes to GF cooking.  I got "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy" When I first went GF and it was/is awesome, lots of mixes and things so you could mix up a big batch of say, pancake mix, and then use it for the next couple months.  It is really helpful to have a number of go-to things ready.  I also have "The Gluten-free gourmet cooks comfort foods" it is a good one too.

A different option would be "Gluten-free Girl and Chef" by Shauna and Danny Ahern.  I have not gotten this one, but is is receiving some rave reviews from the NY Times and such.  I think as much as this is a cookbook, it also chronicles some of the struggles Shauna had with going gluten-free.  She also has a great blog.

Last, if you would like to get her a magazine subscription, Living Without is a great magazine.  It covers GF and food allergies really well, with new recipes in each issue.

A couple of tips to give your friend:
- figure out a flour mix she likes I mainly use the nearly normal GF mix. You can buy it premixed online, but I actually prefer to use the proportions and mix up my own.  that way I can add in more whole grains, etc.  But depending on how much of a baker she is, having something pre-mixed is nice.  There are tons of other mixes that she can buy, in fact bisquik now has a GF version.  I would avoid the Bob's Red mill GF flour, unless she really likes chickpeas.  They use a bean flour blend that can really turn you off to the possibilities. Bob's individual flours are great.

- Bisquik, Betty Crocker and some other big names now have GF offerings.

- learn to bake by weight 5oz = 1 cup of flour.  By doing that, you can usually substitute G-F flour for any of your standard flour containing recipes

- The best bread out there is Udi's and Kinnikinnick has good baked goods too.  Whole Foods has a good freezer section as well.

- Amy's has a good GF rice mac and cheese

- The web has been my true go-to for recipes etc.  If you want to give her a link to my infrequently updated blog (I need to work on that).  I have a whole list of good blogs to follow. (Look to your right)

So, what would you add?

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