MANCAKES

15 Aug

Listen: http://thegorounds.bandcamp.com/

Brandon and I have been playing with this killing band all summer (see above link) in addition to our snazzy Appleseed adventures. Each show includes anywhere from 12 to 17 performers and feels slightly more epic than the last. I think I actually injured my neck from dancing so hard last weekend. Blah blah blah it’s super cool blah blah, anyways there are a couple other gluten-free kiddos in the band which gives us yet another thing to get excited about (BAKED GOOOODZ). I brought some gluten-free banana zucchini (my roommate dubbed it “bacchini” [bikini]) bread a few weekends ago to Sleepy Bear Music Festival, took some homemade gluten-free oreos to our gig in Traverse City last weekend, and I would love to take some goodies to Hoxeyville this weekend, but our sink is in disrepair which does not really inspire me to figure out alternative cleaning methods.

Anyways, I digress. I’ll get on with the treats. I wanted to figure out something tasty to make with quinoa flour and pancakes were definitely a good choice. I will share these with my fellow gluten-abandoners when I next get the chance.

Any gluten-free baker knows the trials and tribulations of finding the right flour blend for each endeavor. I’ve experimented with a lot, and I think I’m most often pleased with my own flour blends instead of pre-mixed anything. They’re great in a pinch, but there’s something lovely about the creativity involved in gluten-free baking and the richness of the flavors you can combine. Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl and The Chef has a great post about ratios and making your own flour blends (I ended up blending whatever I had in the kitchen, which at the time was a mix of these flours: brown rice, oat, quinoa, sorghum, tapioca, and brown rice). Check it out here (scroll down a while) and then make her pancakes. I did.

And for your convenience I’ve copied her recipe below:

PANCAKES YUM!

7 ounces whole-grain flour mix
1 ounce ground flaxseed
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
8 ounces buttermilk (I used flax milk “curdled” with lemon juice)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
2 ounces melted butter

(I also added bananas and blueberries!)

bacon grease or butter for the skillet

Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour and flaxseed meal to incorporate them together and aerate. Add the baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. Whisk them all together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Combining the wet ingredients. Whisk together the buttermilk, almond extract, and eggs. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula until the batter is combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the pancake batter is entirely combined.

Making the pancakes. Preheat the oven to 250°. Put an oven-safe plate in there.

Set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Grease the pan liberally (and by liberally, I mean a lot) of bacon grease or butter. Pour the pancake batter into the buttered pan, about ¼ cup at a time. When bubbles have started to form and pop on the top of pancake, flip it. Cook for about 1 minute more, then put the crisp pancake in the oven to keep it warm.

Enjoy!

Detox.

9 Aug

Oh my. We have just returned from over a week in northern Michigan, frolicking in both the upper and lower peninsulas. We had a lovely time playing at Sleepy Bear Music Festival in Lake Ann, enjoyed a little beach time at Lake Michigan, then made our way (barely) to Marquette, up and up all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula for Farm Block Fest. It was a time full of ups and downs, camping and bug bites, amazing music and slightly less amazing food, totally badass storms and lots of time in the car. But we’re home now, gearing up for the BIG CD RELEASE SHOW TOMORROW AT THE ARK. Brandon and I have been eating deliciousness for the last few days, trying to shove as many vegetables into our bodies as we can to make up for the lack thereof experienced on the road (it’s hard to keep veggies fresh in your cooler for that long).

As we walked into the grocery store, wondering what to make for dinner, it suddenly smacked us right in the face:

collard green wraps.

I can’t say enough about these thangs. Really, though, the only words we seem to be able to get out while eating them are “dude…so good…” and then we both just make “mind blown” faces. We’re nerds, it’s true. In fact, the first words out of my mouth during dinner tonight were simply “I love food” (sorry for not initially acknowledging the lovely candlelit table, B).

So here’s what’s up.

COLLARD GREEN WRAPS (SHABANG!)

(Serves 2)

2 large collard green leafs

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber, sliced thin

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 heaping Tbsp baba ghanouj or hummus

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 brick of tempeh, cut into strips and cooked

handful of pickled carrots

handful of bean sprouts

2 Tbsp crumbled feta

To prepare the collard greens, slice them in half along the stem, removing the stem and leaving yourself with two wrap bases. Spread avocado and baba ghanouj in the center of each wrap, and pile on the toppings! I listed what I used/had around, but whatever you’re interested in would surely be delicious. Vegan burritos? Falafel and tabbouleh? Collard greens are a great (and gluten-free) replacement for tortillas or pitas in a sandwich-type situation. We used tempeh and pickled carrots from The Brinery right here in Ann Arbor, our favorite fermentation location. Both mixed well with the slight bitterness of the collard greens and all the fresh vegetables offer a very satisfying (and healthy) crunch.

What will we wrap up next?

……….that joke, surely. That’s a wrap on that joke, folks. Oh gosh, I can’t stop. Someone make it stop…oh look food pictures!

Enjoy!

(It’s Never) Too Hot to Eat

23 Jul

I’ve tried to avoid saying this here, I really have, but it’s hot. I know it’s summer, but it’s still true. It’s HOT. I have spent a mildly inappropriate amount of time sitting in the cross breeze between the two fans in my room and/or going “shopping” just to enjoy free air conditioning. Brandon seems well suited for the heat while I instead simply schvitz while sitting. I could post another recipe for ice cream or anything chilled, but instead I’m going to share a tasty, refreshing summer salad! Because you can only subsist off of frozen dairy products for so long.

I’ve always loved fresh corn on the cob. I think sweet corn is a bit of a midwestern specialty, along with blueberries and cherries–at least in Michigan’s case. The sweet grilled corn in this salad combined with the crunchy spice of the fresh radishes and the cool creamy avocado is a combination that’ll knock your socks off (why would you be wearing socks? It’s 100 degrees outside!)…help you forget for five seconds that you could probably fry an egg on the sidewalk. Now that I think of it, this salad would stand up well to a fried egg sitting on top. Then again, I’m not really very opposed to fried eggs being on anything.

SUMMER SALAD WITH BUTTERMILK-AVOCADO DRESSING

2 heads butter lettuce, washed and chopped

2 heirloom tomatoes, quartered

2 ears sweet corn, rubbed lightly in olive oil and grilled

6 small fresh radishes, sliced thin

——

Dressing

1 large avocado

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp fresh dill, chopped fine

pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Blend dressing ingredients in blender until smooth. If it seems too thick, you can add a little olive oil (1-2 Tbsp) to thin it out.

When the grilled corn has cooled, remove from the cob either with a corn zipper (weird and awesome that there’s a tool for that) or with a knife. Combine salad ingredients, dress lightly, and serve! EASY.

I categorized this as “sides” because when I ate it, it was indeed a side dish. But, like I mentioned earlier, you could easily add a poached egg or some crumbled tempeh and call it a meal. Ta dah! Channeling Mad Men housewives again (thank goodness I have no interest in pork wearing slices of pineapple and maraschino cherries…very little interest…ok I’m now interested in revamping that).

Enjoy!

Link

“Baby to Beast” Free Stream at AOL/Spinner’s Listening Party!

16 Jul

“Baby to Beast” Free Stream at AOL/Spinner’s Listening Party!

Check it out! You can stream The Appleseed Collective’s new album “Baby to Beast” at AOL/Spinner’s Full CD Listening Party for just one week! Get there!

Happy Ice Cream Day!

16 Jul

So apparently it is National Ice Cream Day. July is also National Ice Cream Month according to Ronald Reagan, who established these holidays back in the 80s. I suppose there’s a reason why they don’t make greeting cards for National Ice Cream day, and that is because everyone is too busy stuffing their faces full of ice cream to look at any card. Plus, cards do not taste nearly as good as ice cream.

Being the model citizen that I am, I celebrated the holiday by making some REAL TASTY ICE CREAM. A few weeks ago I met Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. She is a totally awesome lady who is now a James Beard winner among other shining accolades. She makes delicious ice cream. I visited one of her retail stores in Nashville while we were on tour in February. Ben, Brandon and I stood in front of the counter sampling literally every flavor. Plus some. Seriously. The kind lady behind the counter asked if we wanted to sample the ice cream sandwiches, some things from the back (that’s when I tasted Influenza Sorbet for the first time…). Anyways, the point is that Jeni’s jazz is to die for. I would probably consider buying a franchise if she’d let me, except I’d probably gain 100 pounds and lose money due to “disappearing inventory.”

So, since I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel or anything, I made one of Jeni’s recipes. It’s her best seller (she told me herself) and it’s pretty easy to see why once you shove just one (or several) spoonfuls in your mouth.

JENI’S SALTY CARAMEL ICE CREAM

2 cups whole milk

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)

1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp tapioca syrup (or light corn syrup)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the tapioca starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color.

NOTE!!! This is the “dry-burn” technique. This means it’s just the sugar in the pan. In order to get this right, do NOT give in to the urge to touch the sugar! It could “seize up” and be done for. But do not fret! It’s actually quite easy to successfully caramelize sugar. Simply turn the stove on to medium heat and let the sugar sit. When you see the edges of the sugar beginning to brown, you can begin to swirl the sugar simply by shaking the pan a bit. It’s always safest to not touch the sugar, since you lessen the chance of any impurities making their way into the process. Continue to shake the pan as more of the sugar melts until it’s melted evenly and has an amber color.

When the sugar gets little bubbles popping, remove the pan from the heat and immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture in with the sugar (carefully! it’ll pop and spit). Stir til incorporated, then slowly incorporate the rest of the cream mixture.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the tapioca starch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes (alternately, you can just put the mixture straight into the refrigerator-we were waiting for the ice cream maker to chill entirely, so I just left the mixture in the fridge for a while and it was totally fine).

Pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker canister and spin until thick and creamy (usually around 25 minutes or so). Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

So, ice cream is not simple to make by any means, but it sure is worth it. Stay tuned for another flavor!

Enjoy!

The Days of Kiddie Pools and (Gluten-Free) Pies

12 Jul

I’ve started watching Mad Men again (I tried to watch the first season a while ago and failed). It’s a fabulous show. The men are handsome, the women are impeccably dressed, the food looks…appropriately scary. It was the 50s, okay? I was struck by a comment one of the housewives made in an early episode regarding her new neighbor, a divorcee. She said something like “I can’t imagine working AND running the house! It must be exhausting.” Now, I am by no means a housewife, nor am I raising children, but I am a working musician and I do appear to be the only person in my household who cleans anything. Sometimes I’m floored at how much of the day can disappear simply because I’ve spent it cleaning! Can I get an amen? Just kidding. Anyways, there’s not much of a point to this rambling other than me wanting to note that

a) I sometimes wish I cleaned house wearing a fabulous dress and heels (but then the amount of sweating and dust flying around always changes my mind)

b) I probably should spend less time cleaning and more time blogging

c) How do I turn spending the entire day in the kitchen into dollars in my pocket? You are looking at a bona fide recently graduated, rather unemployed 22-year old with big dreams and (often) bigger worries. But I’m working on that, one step at a time.

So step one, today I write. I decided to make a patriotic pie (not) for the fourth of July (that was so long ago…the shame!!) and today I share it with you. Even though it’s all gone. Yes, Brandon and I ate it all. It was that good, and we actually have no shame. The week prior to the fourth, Brandon and I joined about 13 other people on stage for the release of one of my dear friend’s new albums (Graham Parsons/The Go Rounds–Feathername). As a side note, I made delicious vanilla cupcakes filled with cherry almond butter and frosted them to appear somewhat like the album cover. The show was amazing. Playing with a 15-piece band is not something I get to do regularly. Now, we’re usually a hot mess when performing in an air-conditioned environment, but on this particular evening we were in a barn. A very hot, buggy barn. It was a great show, but late night lake swimming was a definite necessity afterwards.

As we were walking back from the lake with Chris Bathgate, he asked me if I had come up with a good gluten-free pie crust yet. I said no (I lied). Well, I didn’t entirely lie. Bathgate was looking specifically for that flaky, buttery pie crust that you can pass off as your grandmother’s (and since that night I’ve made that happen). Anyways, he got me thinking about pie, which once started is a dangerous game. I ended up deciding to make a(n almost) no-bake pie since it was so gosh darn hot out the week of the fourth. I wanted something easy and delicious, and decided that strawberry was the right way to go.

I borrowed a crust that I’d made before from a sweet potato pie way back in the winter months (now you have something to look forward to). It’s disgustingly simple, tasty, and nut-based! You can use walnuts, pecans, almonds…the possibilities are endless. I chose pecans, since they are such a rich treat. This crust can be filled with whatever you want. It’d be lovely in a cherry-blueberry pie with a crumble top. Or a pecan pie…double pecans are almost as great as a double rainbow. But enough with the pie ramblings! I must stop. For here is your recipe:

STRAWBERRY PIE WITH PECAN-OAT CRUST

For the Crust (Adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook)

2/3 cup pecans (or other nut)

2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of salt

In a food processor, blend all crust ingredients together until the mixture is finely ground. Scrape into a 9-inch pie plate and press the crust evenly across the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust alone for 10-15 minutes (until just browned) at 350.

For the Filling:

4 cups fresh strawberries, in quarters

1/4 cup raw agave nectar

2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

2/3 cup water

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is no longer clumpy (this is making a slurry!). In a medium saucepan, combine agave, salt, water/cornstarch mixture, and a little more than half the strawberries. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring and roughly smashing the strawberries until the mixture is quite thick. Remove from the heat, and stir in vanilla, butter, and lemon juice. Allow this to cool.

Once both the pie crust and filling have cooled, add the filling to the crust and top with the remaining strawberries. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set some more and chill if you so desire (I did).

Top with whipped cream when you’re ready to eat! For a hint of citrus, feel free to grate a little lemon zest on top.

Enjoy!

Tis The Season For…Herbs and Sinusitis

22 Jun

So it was 95+ degrees out yesterday and I spent most of the day in the walk-in clinic with sinus pain that come on faster and stronger than normal. OH BOY, FUN! I know, everyone totally wants to spend their summer days in bed, sweating (more than normal), thermometer constantly in mouth checking to see if that fever has yet to break, eating soup because it hurts too much to chew, and in my case, pounding a mixture of hot water, honey, and apple cider vinegar. But that is quite enough of a sob story for now. The good news is that I took the opportunity of staying in bed to watch a nerdy science show about aliens, and convinced Brandon to make vegan/gluten-free “mac n cheese.” Now, I totally owe you a recipe for this, but I was barely able to help cook, let alone play photographer and lighting wizard (not like I’m even a lighting wizard when not having fever dreams…on that note, last night’s fever dream included “jazzy” salmon…). I will tell you this much, though: it was delicious, easy to chew, and not nearly as hard to make as one might imagine. AND we put this beet in it!

Is that not the beet to end all beets? I am determined to find more like it so their beauty shall not go to waste in such a concotion as pasta!
Anyways, that’s enough raving about g-free noodles for now, especially when I can’t even show you what we ate. In case you’re wondering, yes, the sauce DID turn pink. Very pink. To top off his evening of winning in the kitchen, Brandon surprised me with some MINT GALACTICA coconut milk ice cream. He’s a real keeper. OH! And truffle oil. He brought home truffle oil. And put it in the “mac n cheese.” Ok, now I really have to stop because this must be torture for you vegan, gluten-free folks out there with a mean hankering for a rich, creamy pasta (I probably need to widen my market eh?).
In other news, we have managed not to kill all of our herb plants, and in fact have just harvested some thyme! We’re going to dry it to have on hand in the cooler months. Here it is!

 

 

Ain’t it purty?
Well, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I did make some tiny, tasty lemon tarts with leftover curd from Brandon’s birthday cupcakes and I think they’re calling me. I’m planning to be beaming with health tomorrow as I perform my little heart out all day. Come catch me at The Ark or Woodruff’s and I promise I won’t breathe on you!
Yours,

 

 

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