Tag Archives: strawberries

End of Summer (Gluten-Free) Cake (Though Cake Season Never Ends)

4 Sep

I shuddered as I wrote that doomsday-esque title; I know I have no place to announce the ends of seasons, but with the imminent approach of Harvest Gathering I feel like fall is coming, regardless of temperature. It’s getting to that wonderful part of August where the nights are cool and the days still pass the 80 degree mark; football season avoid Ann Arbor at all costs season is beginning; tomatoes are all but falling off the vine en masse. It’s time once again to embrace fresh apple cider, savory baked goods, and socks. Really cozy wool socks. I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Pure Michigan commercial. Maybe it’s the ultra-calming effects of the Blue Lotus tea Brandon just made me. ULTRA CALM. SUPER CALM. MEGA CALM! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a few phrases in all caps. I’m feeling snappy already! Perhaps just snappy enough to tell you about the awesome cake that I’ve already made twice in the last week. In two variations!

I borrowed the recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess for an impromptu going-away-party-cake for Brandon’s sister, Corinna, who just moved to Connecticut to get even more awesome at being awesome. Oh gosh, Karina, Corinna…together for the first time in one sentence! Corinna has a really great band and Karina has a really great blog. Oddly enough, the post that this recipe came from begins with a letter from a “fan” full of backhanded compliments and waaay too much sass. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I can’t tell if it’s parody or not! Anyways, the cake recipe is GREAT. It’s totally a transitional cake–there’s a hint of cinnamon, cornmeal for a little texture, but based around summery strawberries. The first time I baked this with the strawberries, it was great. I opted for a pound of berries instead of the suggested pint, since it didn’t seem like the pint would at all cover the bottom of my cast-iron pan. The second time I tried the cake, it was even more impromptu and I only had peaches on hand, so they became the new base and GUESS WHAT. IT WAS STILL GREAT. SO GREAT. I topped both versions with homemade whipped cream, which was a stellar pairing. Also tasty would be some vanilla bean or cinnamon ice cream…mmm. This is a simple cake. “Rustic” seems like an appropriate adjective as chosen by Karina. I’ll let her do the talking as for the recipe (though I’ll insert my suggestions, too). Keep in mind my suggestion for more fruit! And experiment! What sort of seasonal fruits might you try with this?

iPhone for the win! Coming in handy when my camera is not around.

GLUTEN-FREE RUSTIC STRAWBERRY COBBLER CAKE

(for some reason my technology devices have decided that this section MUST be in a larger font size. I supposed it is the important part…)

The key word in this cake is rustic- due to the grainy cornmeal. I used a combo of hefty flours because I personally like a whole grain kind of feel in a cobbler cake like this.

For the strawberries:

 

1 heaping pint of fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry (I went for a pound of strawberries)

A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons organic sugar

 

Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal

1/3 cup GF buckwheat flour, GF millet flour, or brown rice flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of nutmeg- just a hint

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup hemp or rice milk, warm (milk or milk substitute of your choice! and it doesn’t actually NEED to be warm, as it turns out–I learned that due to a lazy moment)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or light tasting rice vinegar

3 tablespoons raw organic agave nectar or honey

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Egg replacer for 2 eggs- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with warm water (or eggs!)

Organic raw sugar for the top, if desired (it makes a lovely crunchy top)

 

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Warm up a seasoned 10-inch skillet (or use a hefty cake pan or casserole dish). I rubbed mine with a little light olive oil (or butter). Set aside.

Stem the strawberries; cut them in half; toss them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons organic sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine your dry ingredients: cornmeal, buckwheat and white rice flours, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: light olive oil, hemp milk, vinegar, agave, vanilla, egg replacer (or egg). Whisk till combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix by hand until combined- don’t over-beat (it isn’t necessary).

Drain the strawberries and pour them into the warm skillet (reserve several for the top, as I did, if you like).

Spoon the batter onto the strawberries. Place the reserved berries on top, cut side down, pressing in slightly.

Sprinkle the whole top with organic raw sugar crystals.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending upon your altitude and oven (here at 6,700 feet it took 47 minutes). *Mine took between 25 and 35 minutes each, here in flat ol’ Michigan*

Test for doneness by not only touching the top- it should be golden and firm- but by using a cake tester inserted into the center; it should emerge clean.

Place the skillet on a wire cooling rack to cool.

Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Wrap leftover slices in foil; bag and freeze. Thaw to room temperature or warm gently before consuming.

We enjoyed our cake with a little local hard cider!

Here’s the peach version (with blueberries on top) in case you were wondering.

 

 

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!

The Most Glorious Farmers Market

4 Jun

 

So I’ve been a little behind since we arrived in Portland. This time I’ll blame it on non-stop adventuring and leaving the iPad in the hotel room safe. However, I have no shortage of things to share with you! I will dedicate this post solely to the Portland Farmers Market because it was wholly incredible. This was definitely the biggest farmers market I’ve been to, complete with any kind of artisan food product you could think of (we were introduced to drinking vinegars), gorgeous organic and local produce (the brightest, sweetest strawberries), a locally-renowned biscuit vendor, and even a few gluten-free bakery stands.

 

Brandon and I were looking for a tasty, healthy, gluten-free breakfast and after many tasty samples and laps around the market, we first stopped at Pure. They were sampling both fresh-pressed almond milk (which had a nice hint of cinnamon) and an apple-mint-kale juice. Both were delicious, but the green juice won out and we got a bottle. We’re suckers for kale at any time, and the fresh mint flavor was to die for.

 

Just a few stands away we found Eatin’ Alive, purveyors of delicious raw (vegan and gluten-free) food. They had a totally awesome custom-made bike cart made by Rejuiced Bikes which held totally awesome raw goodies like kale and beet crisps, strawberry rhubarb strudel, zucchini lasagna, and more. After sampling almost everything, we ended up with a bag of “pizza” crisps (sundried tomato, etc.), a small jar of dandelion pesto, and a “falafel” wrap (sunflower seed patties and veggies in a collard green wrap). The pizza crisps were a perfect match for the dandelion pesto–the salty, thicker crisp held up to the sweet and slightly bitter flavor of the dandelions. And the faux-falafel was impeccably light and delicious, paired with a sesame tahini dressing alongside shredded fresh vegetables. We’ll definitely be making wraps with greens when we get home, so keep an eye out for those.

 

After forcing all of our companions to sample our breakfast, we set out to see the second half of the market (it was so big we had to explore it in rounds). Aside from the sheer size of the market, the most memorable part for me is the kindness of the people working there. We talked for a while with Emma, who had recently dubbed herself the Swedish princess of cheese (she had acquired a crown of fresh flowers, been dubbed royalty by a Swedish friend, and was working at a lovely cheese stand). We also established that she and I were twins since we had matching Birkenstocks.

A side note about footwear in Portland: I had no idea I would fit in so well wearing my clogs! There must be a bit about clogs on Portlandia…there must!

 

Moving on, we quickly found Divine Pies. These gorgeous little pies are gluten and dairy free, raw, and whole food. Made with a crust of local hazlenuts, they have a selection of their own twists on classic flavors like chocolate mint cheesecake, key lime, rosewater cardamom cheesecake, and more. With the owner’s recommendation, we decided to share a strawberry pie. The filling was light and smooth, and just sweet enough with fresh Oregon strawberries. The crust, loosely made with finely blended hazlenuts, was a perfect companion for the sweet center.

 

We tried tons of tasty treats (I couldn’t resist the alliteration just now) and I had to resist buying something at every gluten-free bakery. The sheer existence of their booths was too exciting for my g-free tummy and tastebuds. The rest of the weekend continued to center around food (as is par for the course for my foodie family). I’ll save the rest of our adventures for later, though. We’re in the airport now, waiting to head to San Francisco, where the fun continues. See you later, Portland!

 

Cake Is Beautiful (I Guess)

21 May

Listen: Life Is Beautiful (I Guess)

It seems right to start things off with a cake. Cake is delicious. I don’t care if you don’t have a sweet tooth, I will make you a savory cake. But for now, feast your eyes on this baby:

gluten-free coconut cake

This, my friends, was my Mothers’ Day gift. I called my mom to talk about festivities for the day (read: talk about food), and when we got to dessert she said that my cousin would be bringing a cheesecake and that she had an angel cake so I didn’t need to bring anything. I gently reminded her that I could eat neither of those things and would rather make a dessert that I could eat and that she would enjoy. My mom loves coconut, so this seemed perfect. I definitely got my foodie nature from my mama. She’s always been a wizard at the stove, whipping up gourmet meals fit for a princess. As an only child, I have no siblings to vouch for how awesome it was that my mom cooked a healthy, homemade meal every night for dinner. But trust me, it was great. And I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough at the time; I just kind of thought everyone’s mom was as much of a food genius as mine. As it turns out, I was wrong. I also learned once I got to college that the ability to cook is not entirely hereditary. However, I am constantly learning and am proud to say I can out-bake my mom any day (she’s a whiz at improvising, but is too…free-spirited…to pay attention to the science of baking). Nevertheless, cheers to delicious coconut cake and moms alike!

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I adapted this recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess and have included my notes along with the recipe below:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 free-range organic eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil (I usually use vegetable oil or another more mild tasting oil when baking, as I tend to notice the more distinct flavor of olive oil in baked goods)
1 14-oz can organic light coconut milk (I made two of these cakes, but when I was at the grocery store I forgot I was doubling the recipe, so I ended up using flax milk in the second cake which I don’t think made a difference-I tasted both)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper. (I used non-stick cake pans and skipped the parchment paper, everything came out easily and very intact)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients.

Add in the eggs, oil, coconut milk, lime juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth. It should resemble a slightly thick and sticky cake batter.

Scoop the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans and spread evenly. Use wet hands, if necessary, to smooth out the tops.

Bake in the center of the oven, side by side for 33 minutes, or so, until firm and springy. A cake tester inserted into the center should emerge clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

1 cup dairy-free butter flavored organic palm shortening (This is only necessary if you’re making it vegan-I used real butter because butter is delicious)
1 teaspoon pure coconut or vanilla extract (Surprise! I actually chose almond extract for this since I thought it would be more unique than vanilla, and I didn’t have any coconut extract on hand, though I’m sure it’d be tasty)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (The kind from a can and not the kind you might drink from a box–it’s thicker and makes a nicer frosting)
Optional: I pureed strawberries with a little bit of powdered sugar and mixed it with frosting to put in between the two layers of the cake. It added a nice burst of flavor and was pretty to boot! I bet this would be good with blackberries too…try whatever tickles your fancy and is in season!


Topping:

Flaked sweetened coconut for topping (I used unsweetened coconut flakes, as the frosting was sweet enough for me)
Optional: I also sliced strawberries and laid them around the edge of the cake. Again, try it with other berries! 

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening (or butter) and extract till combined. Add in the powdered sugar and half the coconut milk, and beat till smooth. Slowly add the remaining coconut milk, as you need it, a little at a time, until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.

To frost the cake:

TIP: To keep things on pretty on your plate, place a few sheets of parchment paper on the plate so they cover its edge before putting the first layer of cake down. This keeps you from frosting your plate and you can simply pull them out from under the cake when you’ve finished instead of trying to wipe frosting off afterwards.

When the cakes are cool, gently remove one from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Trim off the domed top if you like, using a long serrated knife, to keep the cake layer even. Brush off any crumbs.

Center the first layer top side down on a cake plate. Frost the layer with roughly 3/4 cup of icing (this is where I mixed in the pureed strawberries). Remove the second cake layer from the pan and peel off the parchment. Trim the dome top, if you like (brush off any crumbs). Place the layer on top of the frosted layer.

Scoop about a cup of frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges. Begin adding frosting to the sides of the cake, spreading it evenly over the sides. Clean off the frosting spatula under warm water and dry it off.

Smooth the sides by turning the plate as you hold the spatula firmly in place. Clean off the spatula with warm water again, dry it, and smooth out the top.

Sprinkle with grated, sweetened coconut, if desired (and fruit if you like!)

Allow the frosting to set, or chill briefly, before covering and storing the cake.

Yield: 1 9-inch layer cake

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Let me know what sort of modifications you might make!

Enjoy!

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