Sunday, March 26, 2017

Strawberry upside down cake, take 1

If anything can be a pancake, and any pancake can be adapted into a muffin, then why not adapt the pecan maple muffins into an almond and honey coffee cake? And, why not use up those strawberries that are starting to go iffy?

I think this recipe still needs some wor, but here is is for now....

180 grams total almond flour and almond meal (about 1/3 meal, 2/3 flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum, and maybe a pinch more
3/4 tsp baking soda
About 1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch, or....)

84 grams honey
42 grams melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanillaf
2 large eggs

4 ounces water

About 1/2 lb strawberries, washed and chopped
About 1/4 cup organic sugar
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Spray 8" square pan liberally with coconut spray.
  2. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan.
  3. Sprinkle strawberries over nuts, then sprinkle sugar over all. Set aside and preheat oven or toaster oven to 325 (f).
  4. Mix dry ingredients in small mixing bowl.
  5. Mix wet ingredients in medium mixing bowl.
  6. Mix dry into wet.
  7. Spread batter over strawberries in the 8" pan.
  8. Let sit about 5 minutes for batter to hydrate.
  9. Bake until toothpick tests done, about 30 minutes.
  10. Let sit about 10 minutes. Loosen edges, then invert on a plate to serve.
It's not as beautiful as you'd want a strawberry cake to be, but it is moist and tasty.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss-ish Bars

Often, instead of developing my own recipe, I'll redevelop someone else's. There are already several GF versions of cranberry bliss bars out there, so it's not like the world needs another one. Or, maybe the world does. You can never have too much bliss, right?

I started with Cookin' Diva's glutenacious recipe on I took her suggestion to reduce the sugar, and instead of regular white and brown, I used a combo of organic sugar and molasses. I used my new favorite GF blend, Premium Gold. I added a pinch more xanthan gum than was already in the flour, plus a pinch more baking powder than the recipe called for.  Then, to further lower the sugar count as well as the effort, I skipped the melted white chocolate on top and the grated orange rind.

For the bars:
2 sticks very soft butter
188 grams organic sugar
12 grams molasses
3 large eggs
2 tsp orange extract
224 grams Premium Gold flour blend or GF flour blend of choice 
a pinch of xanthan gum (more if your GF blend does not already include it)
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
scant 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries, lightly chopped if not already sliced/chopped
3/4 cup dairy free or regular white chocolate chips

2 ounces vegan or regular cream cheese
18 grams butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract
200-230 grams organic powdered sugar
optional: 2 tsp - 1 tbsp non-dairy creamer or milk

Extra dried cranberries, sliced or chopped

Make the bars:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, line a 10X15 jelly roll pan with parchment, then spray the parchment with coconut oil. 
  2. Mix butter, sugar, and molasses in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time to incorporate,
  4. Add extract.
  5. Mix flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, ginger, and salt in a small bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture to incorporate.
  7. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate. 
  8. Spread evenly in prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes, just until edges are lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake.
Frosting and Topping:
  1. Using a hand mixer, mix cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until fluffy. 
  2. Add extracts and incorporate.
  3. Gradually add sugar, mixing until smooth, light, and fluffy. Add creamer if needed to get a spreadable consistency.
  4. Spread frosting over cooled bars, then sprinkle cranberries on top. 
  5. Cut into bars or triangles. 

To freeze: Put one layer of bars in the container, then freeze a few minutes to harden the frosting. Put a layer of wax paper on top, then another layer of bars. Repeat until the container is full.  

To serve: Remove frozen bars to a plate, then let thaw for a few minutes. Do not thaw bars while they are stacked in the freezer container. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chicken Vegetable Soup for One

I love soup. I just don't love all the work that goes into making a big pot of soup. And, I don't love the fact that some bowls of soup get more chicken other bowls get more pasta.  So, I make soup for one.

First, take a 2 quart pan and dump in about 6 to 8 ounces of random fresh or frozen vegetables. Today I used:
  • 1 ounce frozen organic peas
  • 2 ounces frozen bell peppers
  • 2 ounces frozen okra
  • 2.5 ounces frozen organic green beans

Next, add about 3 or 4 ounces organic canned tomatoes and 3 ounces cooked chicken.

Then, spices and herbs. Today I used:
  • Penzey's  Cajun seasoning
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Pepper

Add chicken broth, water, and maybe a squirt of tomato paste, then cook until it is as done as you like.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Arroz con Frijoles Muffins

Think of these as a bean and cheese burrito turned into a muffin.  Never mind that I cheat a little by using Asian sauces as a topping. 

Arroz con Frijoles Muffins

Dry Ingredients
24 g. white rice flour
66 g. brown rice flour (or, omit white rice flour and use 90 g. brown rice flour)
30 g. almond meal
3/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Wet ingredients
2 oz. tomato paste
4 oz. water
2 eggs
54 g. olive oil
12 g. agave syrup
1 Tbsp lime juice

1/4 cup frozen bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup frozen petite peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
70 g. cooked brown rice
130 g. refried black beans

goat cheese
sriracha sauce
green dragon sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. 
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients.
  4. Gently mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients using a silicone spatula.
  5. Gently stir in the add-ins.
  6. Let batter sit to hydrate while you line 36 mini muffin cups. Spray muffin liners with coconut or other spray oil.
  7. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 to 7/8 full. Top with a small amount of cheese and a few drops or a small drizzle of sriracha, green dragon, or both.
  8. Bake about 10-12 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let sit in the pans about 2 minutes, then gently remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Oh, Crap Muffins

Friday. My day to bake a little something in the morning then volunteer in my friend's kindergarten class  A nice day.  I like Fridays.

7:30 AM: Maybe a variation on my fried rice muffins. Spanish rice style. Top with cilantro pesto. Yumm. But, first, coffee and a little more book time...

8:25 AM: Oh, crap. How am I going to get that fly out from between the patio door and the screen door out without him getting in the house? Bzzzz. Bzzzz. Dagnabbit, stop clinging to the screen and go away! Yeah, I can prevail over flies. Wash hands. Apron...

8:36 AM: Oh, crap! Spouse 1.0 needs to leave in 20 minutes, and I haven't even started assembling ingredients. OK, quick breakfast burrito for him, then make the muffins. Now, where did I put my iPad?

8:53 AM: Oh, crap! DAVID!!! You gotta get outta here!!!!  Here. Eat this. Muffins when you get back.

9:08: 1 cup of cooked rice. Oh, crap! That doesn't look like even a third. Cook some quinoa? No, black beans! Yes, black beans!

9:10: Oh, crap! no black beans. (rummage, rummage rummage...) OK. Red beans. Mix dry ingredients. Now, get the muffin tins ready.

9:22: Dang, I hate it when the coconut oil spray drops on the floor, I really do need to organi... OH, CRAP!!! The sprayer doohickey's bent! IT WON'T STOP SPRAYING!

9:25: Well, if the can explodes, at least it'll do it outside in the trash bin.

9:27: Oh, crap! Oil on the kitchen floor. And, spray oil, no less!

9:53: OK. good enough for now. Clean more while the muffins are baking. Now where did I put the olive oil spray? Oh, crap, I can't be out!  I never run out! Oh, here it is. 

9:54: Muffins in the oven, floor still hazardous. I know! Put the non-slip undermat from a throw rug over the worst of it. Oh, crap, that's dirty. Need to get new undermats.  Well, it'll keep us from breaking our necks for now. Hopefully.

9:56: Oh, crap, it's getting late.  Still need to pack my lunch. And put notes on the floor so Spouse 1.0 doesn't slip and kill himself when he gets home. Yikes, what a mess! OK. Breathe. No problem. Still plenty of time.

10:17: Wow, a bit crumbly, but actually pretty tasty.  Oh, crap! I should be in the shower already.

10:43: OK, showered, dressed, no makeup. Ready or not, here I com...  Oh, crap! Still need to put muffins away. And set out some for Spouse 1.0. And pack some for Melanie.

10:48: Oh, crap, I'm late.

Not sure what I'll call these, but for now, I guess it's "Oh, Crap Muffins."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pesto Musings

I used to hate basil.

I used to hate oil.

I used to hate washing and chopping and getting my kitchen messy.

I used to hate the smell of garlic on my hands.

I used to hate food preparation of any kind.

There's not much here that would cause you to point to me and say, "That woman makes her own pesto."  In fact, there's not much here that would lead you to believe I even like the stuff.

I am, however, an infernal optimist, a bit creative, somewhat impulsive, and always on the lookout for ways to get Spouse 1.0 to eat his vegetables.

And, that's how I got into making pesto. 

One day I was walking by the organic basil at T-Jo, and the thought flitted through my head, "I could make pesto for Spouse 1.0!"

Why anyone who had never owned a jar of it, routinely scraped it off sandwiches, and probably had never even tasted it would suddenly decide to start making it is still a mystery. 

But, I was sure I could make pesto, and I was absolutely certain he'd love it. (Did I mention that I can be a little impulsive and a bit optimistic?)

So. I did.

And, he did!

And, now, I'm a basil geek. Totally in love with the varieties available: Italian, Greek, lemon, lime, cinnamon, purple ruffly, jade, opal...

Today, the CSA brought me an abundance of cilantro. (Alas, no basil of any nationality, flavor, or gemstone.)

So, I made cilantro pesto. 

About 60% cilantro, 40% Italian basil (from my T-Jo potted plant). Pepitas. Olive oil. Pecorino romano. Garlic.  Lime juice. Salt, cumin, and chipotle. 

Spouse 1.0's comment?  "It's good. I like it." 


Monday, December 28, 2015

Southwest Lime Basil Pesto and Lemony Lemon Basil Pesto

I think you can't be a basil geek without being something of a pesto adventurer.  So, with the recent frosts threatening to destroy my miniature basil crop, it was time for some creative pesto creations. 

The first creation, lemony lemon basil pesto, was pretty simple: Using my favorite pesto recipe (the Williams Sonoma recipe in their muffin cookbook), use all the lemon basil. Supplement with enough Italian basil to make 1 cup. Add a splash of lemon juice. Other than that, follow the recipe.

Using up the lime basil called for something with a little more of a southwest inspiration. Alas, I didn't have any cilantro.  But then, Sis-in-lalala will be visiting soon, and she loathes cilantro. So, for now, we stick with flat leaf parsley. Plus some Mexican oregano, since I have enough to feed a small nation. But, next time, I will use cilantro and oregano. 

Next, the nut. Almonds immediately came to mind. While I was rummaging for almonds, I thought about using pepitas.  Next time maybe.  Or maybe next time, sunflower seeds. But, for now, almonds.

Oil: Either olive or sunflower. I used both.

Other seasonings: chipotle powder, ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, cumin.

Ready, set, Pesto:

1/2 cup raw almonds (or pepitas, or sunflower seeds, or combo)
4 cloves garlic
6 Tbsp unrefined sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh Mexican oregano, loosely packed
1 cup lime basil leaves (can use part Italian)
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder and/or smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
salt to taste
3-4 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese

  1. Pulse almonds and garlic together in a small food processor until finely minced, but not quite ground.
  2. Add parsley, basil, and oil.  Pulse until well-incorporated, stirring periodically.  If it seems a bit dry, add more oil.
  3. Pulse in the rest of the seasonings. Stir, taste, and adjust. 
  4. Stir in the pecorino romano, adding more oil if needed.
Top with a little extra oil to keep the basil from turning brown.