For anyone who has been following me on Instagram you know I’ve been a tad obsessed with cooking whatever is fresh at my local Jersey City farmer’s markets. Not too bad, right!?
It’s like my own Top Chef-Chopped challenge every week – what is at the farmer’s market today, what do I have in my fridge, and what can I whip up for dinner? Which mostly means, we have been eating a lot of salads, pasta, and more salads over the past few weeks, much to my meat-preferring husband’s chagrin. I am happy to report that he seems to be surviving.
I have made countless salad combinations with my fresh finds the past few weeks, but my Orecchiette with Kale Basil Walnut Pesto has been the real recipe winner to result from my farmers market shopping. Orecchiette is a great pasta when you want to really taste the sauce because the little “ears” really get coated, making a super flavorful pasta.
I like to leave pesto without cheese in it so that if I decide to marinate some chicken breasts or steak, I still have that option. And this batch of pesto makes enough for another pasta dinner, for some grilled veggies or for a quick chicken dinner.
1/2 pound orecchette pasta (or pasta of your choice)
2 cups fresh kale
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
reserved pasta cooking water
parmesan cheese (optional)
In a saute pan on low-medium heat, slowly toast walnuts until just fragrant, around 4-5 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
In a food processor fitted with a blade, add kale, basil, walnuts, garlic and a few Tbsp of the olive oil. Begin to pulse. Slowly add the remaining olive oil until smooth. You might want to add a touch more olive oil depending on your preference.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta and set aside. Return pot to low-medium heat on the stove, and add half the pesto to the pot. Add a few Tbsp of cooking water and stir.
Put drained pasta back into pot and mix until pasta is completely covered. Add more pasta water to loosen sauce if needed.
Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish.
Making fresh sangria is one of my favorite year-round drinks to mix up at home.The thing I love about sangria (or shangria as we like to call it in my home) are the endless combination of flavors you can create depending on your tastes, mood and what’s in season.
Last week a dear friend of mine was coming over for a long-overdue catch up. We had discussed going out for drinks and a bite to eat with my daughter, but as my eyes fell onto a bowl of peaches that were just slightly over-ripe, I decided we should stay in and I would whip up a batch of shangria instead.
Some might say you should be picky with the wines you choose for sangria. But I say: use whatever you have on hand! And in this case, I had a bottle of Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc leftover from a recent Shabbat dinner. It turned out to be a perfect base for a light, Summery sangria. Add some strawberries, a bit of orange-flavored liqueur and club soda or ginger ale, and you are ready with a light, fruity and slightly fizzy drink.
Want some inspiration to create your own perfect pairing? Here are a few recipes that caught my eye:
Need the perfect serving set for your sangria? I love this super affordable 7 piece set which includes glasses for all your friends too. Sangria isn’t meant to be enjoyed alone, after all.
Cheers! Or rather, l’chaim!
1 bottle dry white wine, such as Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc
¼ cup orange flavored liqueur or orange flavored vodka
2 Tbsp sugar
2 peaches, cut into slices or pieces
1 cup strawberries, sliced
8 ounces ginger ale or club soda
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, around 2-3 Tbsp
In a small container combine orange-flavored liqueur, sugar, peach slices and strawberries. Put in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve pour the fruit mixture into a pitcher. Add wine and soda.
Garnish with fresh mint.
The first bread I ever learned to bake was challah. My grandmother was a rebbetzin famous for her glorious displays of baked goods, including challah. Once I started baking myself, my favorite time of the week was Shabbat dinner, when we’d lift the cover to reveal my braided loaves. We would all sigh, stomachs rumbling.
After a year of creative exploration of the wonderful world of bread baking, my one-woman gluten fest came to a rather rude end. I had been ignoring my chronic stomach pains and bloating, and though my celiac test came back negative, I opted to try a gluten-free diet and see how it went. Both to my dismay and relief, my pains subsided, my energy level increased, and I began to feel more like myself again. I swore off bread and wallowed in self-pity for a short while until I was pushed to at least try baking gluten-free bread. I soon discovered wonderful and tasty gluten-free flours, some made from grains I’d never even heard of.
After crafting this basic gluten-free bread recipe, I went off to create a challah recipe that would make my grandmother proud and would even be worthy of hamotzi and hafrashat challah, the blessing over separating and ritually burning a small piece of bread (also known as “taking challah”). See “Challah Back,” my rabbinic source sheet all about challah baking!
According to Jewish law, challah can only be “taken” if it is made from one of the five grains named in the Bible: barley, rye, wheat, oat, spelt. Bread made from other grains can be kosher, but you cannot say hamotzi over it, nor can you take challah from it. These five grains are precisely the grains that gluten-free eaters avoid. The one exception to this rule is oat, which can be gluten-free for some* if it is grown, harvested, and processed separately from wheat. A rabbi I consulted suggested that while no teshuva (responsum) has yet been written on this topic, the oat flour must be at minimum 51% of the total flour in the bread.
Based on these requirements, I put together the recipe below (using this amazing Kaiser Braided Loaf Pan). Enjoy!
1 package active dry yeast (about 1 Tbsp)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey (85 grams)
2 eggs (egg-free version: 2 tbsp flax seeds blended with 6 tbsp warm water until frothy)
1/4 cup (50 grams) grapeseed or other vegetable oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 cup (140 grams) tapioca flour/starch
1⁄2 cup (40 grams) coconut, quinoa, brown rice, teff, or other gluten-free flour (note: if you use teff flour, you can reduce your xanthan gum to 2 tsp).
Place the yeast and honey in the bottom of the bowl. Cover with the warm water and whisk for 30 seconds to dissolve the yeast.
Let the yeast foam and bubble for a few minutes. Mix in wet ingredients first (eggs, oil, vinegar) and then add the flours, salt, and xanthan gum. Mix well. Add raisins if you like. Pour into a lightly oiled 9×5 loaf pan and smooth the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
15 minutes before it’s finished rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dishtowel and bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes out of the oven in the pan before removing. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool 30 minutes before slicing.
Gluten-free bread dough is usually a similar texture to cake batter, which is not braidable. I have this braided loaf pan to trick people into thinking I actually braided this challah. But any loaf pan will do!
*Note: There are some celiacs who cannot digest oats, so I realize this recipe will not work for those folks.
When summer comes around, I love to take inspiration from the amazing fresh seasonal produce to create light and healthy dishes. The juicy melons and brightly flavored veggies work wonderfully to create sweet and crunchy salsas, tangy chutneys and colorful salads.
Picking your own produce at a U-Pick farm is a great way to spend a Sunday with the family. My kids relish the opportunity to pick blueberries from bushes and corn from the ground. We take home our amazing bounty and enjoy the farm fresh taste of just-picked fruits and veggies. If you’ve ever been to a farmers market, you know that there is no comparison between freshly picked produce, and the stuff sitting on the shelf in your grocery store.
Using bright and sweet farm fresh produce requires little preparation. I usually dress my salads minimally with olive oil and citrus, allowing the fresh flavors to speak for themselves. This watermelon corn salsa is a great example. I’ve made it with both raw and cooked corn – each is equally delicious.
TIP: A great way to remove corn from the cob, is to cut the corn over a bundt pan, allowing the kernels to fall into the bowl, instead of all over your counter.
For more recipes from Chanie check out her blog Busy in Brooklyn.
9 oz finely diced watermelon (about 2 cups)
3 ears corn, raw or cooked to crisp-tender, shucked
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, vein & seeds removed, finely diced
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
salt, to taste
Add all ingredients to a bowl and gently mix to combine. Serve with grilled chicken, fish, or tortilla chips.
NOTE: For more heat, add some of the jalapeno vein and/or seeds.
For centuries, Jews throughout the Mediterranean have made good use of artichokes. Most notably, in Rome, crisp and lightly fried varieties adorn many a holiday table. I’ve always loved the simplicity and approachable nature of Italian cuisine, so much so that my husband and I partook in a local Tuscan cooking class on our whirlwind honeymoon adventure through Italy. When I returned home, I was thrilled to observe that since the climate and terrain in California are so similar to that in Italy, I am spoiled by the riches in produce we get here that resemble true Italian fare.
Perhaps it is because I grew up in an image-conscious city, or because healthy eating and cooking is important to me, but I often like finding ways to lighten up a recipe while maintaining great flavor. Lucky for me, I prefer my artichokes grilled, rather than fried. I know that just about everything tastes better fried, but I love the smoky, crisp bite of a charred edge that only a grill can produce.
Often times, artichokes act as a vehicle for rich, creamy sauces, but with just the right amount of seasoning and the slight kiss of the grill, these babies need no doctoring, and are exceptional on their own. And don’t be too intimidated about preparing and cleaning fresh artichokes. Once you try your hand at the first one, you’ll get the hang of it. Served hot off the grill or at room temperature, grilled artichokes are the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal.
To read more about Jennifer Stempel’s culinary adventures, check out her blog at The Cuban Reuben.
2 large whole artichokes
2 lemons, cut in half
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 bay leaf
1 tbs Old Bay seasoning
Seasoning blend of your choice (I really like Regular and Salt-Free Greek Seasoning)
In a large stock pot with the steamer insert removed, add 2 halves of the lemon (1 whole lemon), garlic, bay leaf, and Old Bay seasoning. Fill the pot with water until it just meets the bottom of the steamer insert. Place over medium heat, and let sit.
Meanwhile, to prepare the artichokes for steaming, first cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Then, with your hand, peel off the tougher leaves (about 1 layer into the artichoke).
Using a pairing knife, cut off the base of the leaves you just peeled, and continue pairing down the stem until you have a single, uniform layer. Rub the exposed areas with lemon, squeezing the juice from the lemon a bit.
Cut the artichoke in half, and again, run the lemon over the cut sides to keep from browning too much.
Remove the fibrous choke at the center, as well as any colored (purple) leaves. Run the lemon over the exposed cuts. Slice the halves into quarters, and assemble on the steaming insert of the stock pot.
Cover and let the water simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the artichokes are fork tender.
(You can stop here, and eat them as is, but you'd miss out on the next step!)
Drizzle olive oil and seasoning blend over the steamed artichokes, then place them over high heat on a grill. Grill 1-2 minutes per side.
As the artichokes are already cooked, the goal here is just to get grill marks and the flavor of the char.
I am so happy to be back blogging today. I am officially back from baby hibernation and it’s glorious!
Today is a very special day. Not only is it the first day of July, and hence the start of National Ice Cream Month, but it is also my first blog post since The Husband and I welcomed Baby Sugar into our lives!
When thinking about what ice cream flavor to make for 365scoops’ grand “re-opening” I felt it fitting to write about the marriage of my two favorite desserts: strawberry rhubarb anything (err, pie or crumble) and ice cream.
I have always had a love affair with strawberry rhubarb pie. I literally cannot get enough of it. One of my more embarrassing restaurant experiences happens to involve strawberry rhubarb pie. The Husband took me out to a yummy dinner for my birthday. My only request was warm strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. The pie came and lo and behold, it was cold. I sent it back. It came again, and alas, still cold. The Hubby, who is normally a very reserved, I’m-not-going-to-return-my-food-and-bother-the-waiter-I’ll-eat-it-no-matter-what kind of guy said, “just eat it, who cares” to which I responded ever so kindly, “oh hell no”. I gently reminded him that it was my birthday and would he be so kind as to ask the server again to bring a warm slice of pie. Consider it my birthday gift, I told him. The Husband begrudgingly motioned for the server to come over, for a third time, and provide us with a warm slice of pie. Picture little beads of sweat pooling on The Husband’s forehead and upper lip. Picture me sinking in my chair out of shear embarrassment and fear. And now picture a piping hot slice of strawberry rhubarb pie landing at our table. That, my friends, was splendid.
This recipe is a perfect fusion of pie and ice cream. Picture rich vanilla bean ice cream with chunks of strawberry rhubarb crumble. Talk about delicious! For this recipe you’ll make a simple strawberry rhubarb crumble and throw chunks of it into freshly churned vanilla bean ice cream. It’s like deconstructed pie a-la-mode. Need I say more?
For the vanilla bean ice cream:
3 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the strawberry rhubarb crumble:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus ¼ – ½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
1 pound strawberries, hulled, and sliced (approximately 1 container)
12 ounces rhubarb ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (if you can’t find fresh rhubarb feel free to use frozen)
To make the vanilla bean ice cream:
In a medium saucepan, heat two cups of half-and-half until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Add the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
In the meantime, in a heat-proof bowl, whisk together the four egg yolks, slowly adding in the sugar until the mixture thickens and turns a pale yellow.
Temper the eggs by slowly pouring the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, stirring vigorously until well-incorporated. Pour back into the medium sauce pan and heat until a candy thermometer reads 165 degrees F, or the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula. Remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing any small clumps that may have formed. Pour in the last cup of half-and-half, and set aside. Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight. While the mixture is being chilled, make the strawberry rhubarb crumble.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a 9 inch round glass baking dish.
Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend.
Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats.
Place ¼ cup sugar in large bowl and add vanilla paste, and mix to blend well.
Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well.
Pour the fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.
Place on a baking sheet in case the crumble erupts and bake until filling bubbles and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
At this point, the ice cream base should be cold enough for you to churn. Pour the vanilla bean mixture into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes).
When the ice cream is done, scoop a heaping spoonful of ice cream into a storage container, and break pieces of the crumble into the ice cream. Stir gently and repeat until you have a container full of ice cream and crumble. Return this heavenly treat to the freezer for a few hours to harden, or if you can’t wait, enjoy immediately.
If you’re serving it straight from the freezer, let it sit out for approximately 10 minutes to soften before scooping.
I have countless recipes that I learned from the women of my family. Though today I mostly use websites and online documents to store my recipes, for years I cooked out of my mother’s recipe boxes, where recipe cards were squished in like sardines, and the recipes came in a variety of difficult-to-decipher scrawls. There was my mother’s handwriting, a loopy, tight cursive, and my grandmother’s a disciplined clear print, plus my aunt’s rounded letters, and some cards written by my Aunt Byrna, or a first cousin once removed. The cards were splattered with stains, and decorated with little pictures of ovens, strawberries, geese, or pies.
Flipping through those recipe cards brings back a tidal wave of memories. Each recipe is strongly associated with the woman whose handwriting is on the card. And there are even more recipes that I know by heart now, taught to me by one of these women. On days when I feel the loss of my mother, my grandmothers, or my aunt, I reach for my mixing bowls to make a recipe that they taught me. For the time that I spend in the kitchen, mixing, sauteeing, baking or kneading, I am keeping their memories alive, nourishing myself and my family with the legacy of food and love these women entrusted me with.
With my mother, it can be hard to choose which recipe to make to conjure up the best memories. But when I’m really yearning for the comfort I found in her kitchen I consistently end up making spanikopita, a dish she was known for making, and one of the first recipes I learned by heart. Crucially, my mom adapted a recipe from a cookbook so that it took significantly less effort than was originally prescribed, and these days I can whip up this wholesome dish in under 30 minutes (not counting baking time). If you find phyllo dough intimidating, or spanikopita sounds too labor intensive for you, this is your solution.
2 10 oz boxes of frozen spinach or 1 large bag of frozen spinach, defrosted if possible (if not no worries)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 Tablespoon dried basil
salt and pepper
8-10 oz ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
1 lb feta, crumbled
1 box phyllo dough, defrosted
¼ cup melted butter or olive oil
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds or parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 9x13 pan.
Defrost the spinach. If it's not totally defrosted, run it under warm water until it's no longer one big brick and you can break it up into reasonably small bunches. Drain. Meanwhile, chop the onion and mince the garlic. If you have time to sautee them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and the basil, do that. If you don't have time, just toss the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil in a big bowl. Add the spinach once it's reasonably drained (if it's still a little frozen that's fine). Add in the ricotta and feta and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs and mix again.
Take the phyllo dough out of the fridge and unroll it on top of a kitchen towel next to your greased pan. Do not worry if any sheet has broken or torn―no one will ever know or care. Using a pastry brush, grease the bottom of the pan with the melted butter or olive oil. Then put down 2 sheets of phyllo dough, and then brush those with olive oil. (If sheets have broken, just reassemble them as best you can―no one will be able to see them.) Put down two more sheets of dough, brush, and continue like that until you have 8 pieces of phyllo dough (4 batches of 2). Pour half of the spinach and cheese mixture on top of the phyllo dough and spread it evenly using a knife or a spatula. Then resume the 2 sheets of phyllo dough, brush with oil/butter routine until you've put down another 8 sheets of phyllo dough. Pour in the remaining spinach and cheese mixture. Again, put down 2 sheets of phyllo dough, brush, repeat until you've used up the phyllo dough. If the sheets are bigger than your pan some phyllo dough will be hanging over the edges of the pan, so just tuck them back into the pan. Brush the top with plenty of oil or butter, and sprinkle with either sesame seeds or parmesan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. This is best served warm with a green salad and some roasted potatoes.
When people think of the nine days they tend to panic. After all it’s hard to be creative and come up with meal ideas when chicken and meat are off the menu. I like to look at the nine days as an excuse to bring exotic flavors in my kitchen and experiment a little bit. There are so many wonderful cuisines that lend themselves especially well to vegetarian and dairy options.
I happen to love Latin inspired food and flavors, and of course tacos. It’s a great go to meal when you have kids and any ground meat can work. But Tacos are great without the meat as well. I recently started making tacos with black beans and corn, along with ½ an envelope of taco seasoning and a can of tomato sauce and they are delish. Garnished with some creamy avocado and chives or green onions this a healthy and tasty dinner. Serve it with Gazpacho for an authentic mexican feast.
Corn and Black Bean Tacos
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 1 can black beans
- ½ an envelope taco seasoning (less if you’re sensitive to spice)
- 1 small can tomato sauce (12 ounces)
- 4-6 taco shells
- sliced avocado or guacamole, hot sauce, diced tomatoes, chives, and green onions for garnish.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse beans and put all ingredients into saute pan/skillet, heat through. Toast corn tacos for 2-3 minutes until crisped. Fill tacos with bean and corn mixture, top avocado, chives, tomatoes, green onions or any topping of your choice.
Another easy Mexican inspired recipe is my Rice and Bean Bake. A one pot meal that’s delicious and so easy to make. Everything get’s thrown together, put in the oven, and baked until the cheese on top is bubbling. Serve with a fresh corn, tomato and basil salad.
Rice and Bean Bake
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 jar salsa
- shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can roasted chili peppers (optional)
Rinse Kidney beans then combine with rice and salsa, spoon into a greased casserole and sprinkle with shredded cheddar and jalapenos if you like spice. Bake for ½ hour till cheese is bubbly, place under broiler for 5 minutes if you like the top browned.
Corn, Tomato and Basil Salad
- 1 can corn kernels or 3 ears fresh corn shucked of kernels.
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 10-15 basil leaves, chiffonade
- juice of one lemon
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
If using fresh corn microwave for about 5 minutes with 1-2 Tbsp of water to soften the corn. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve immediately or keep chilled covered until ready to serve.
Moving beyond the Americas, lets travel to the flavors of Thailand, where coconut and curry feature prominently. Mild flavored flounder soaked in a coconut milk infused with curry and then dredged in panko breadcrumbs accompanied by a sweet and sour rice is a delicious meal that even your kids will like. You can opt to leave out the curry for less heat.
- 4 fresh Flounder Fillets
- 1 can reduced fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp curry powder
- panko bread crumbs
- neutral oil such as canola for frying or cooking spray.
If oven frying preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine coconut milk and curry. immerse fish in milk mixture then dredge in panko then back in coconut milk and dredge again in panko crumbs, repeat with all remaining fillets.
If pan frying let oil get really hot and cook 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown and cooked through. For the oven fry method. Place fish on a tin foiled cookie sheet and spray both sides liberally with cooking spray. Bake for around 20 minutes until golden turning over halfway through.
See recipe below for Sweet and Sour Pineapple Rice to accompany the Coconut Flounder.
Finally we finish in Italy with a whole wheat pasta tossed in a fresh parsley pesto served with a romaine lettuce salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette. The parsley pesto has a gorgeous bright green hue and a lighter, fresher flavor than a traditional basil pesto. If you want it cheese free you sub 1-2 anchovy fillets for the parmesan cheese.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Parsley Pesto
- 1 box wheat pasta of your choice
- 1 bunch parsley stems chopped off
- 1 bunch chives
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- juice of one lemon
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
Cook pasta in salted water according to directions. Combine fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and parmesan cheese in a blender and pulse until smooth. Toss with pasta and a little pasta water to help it really coat every strand.
These recipes are easy, healthy and delicious and you’ll find yourself using them even when it’s not the nine days!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse beans and put all ingredients into saute pan/skillet, heat through. Toast corn tacos for 2-3 minutes till crisped. Fill tacos with bean and corn mixture, top avocado, chives, tomatoes, green onions or any topping of your choice.
1-2 cups cooked rice (preferably jasmine or basmati brown)
1 small can crushed pineapple
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cube frozen chopped garlic or 2 tsp fresh chopped garlic
1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water to form a slurry.
1 tsp canola oil
Strain the pineapple from the juice set aside.
Heat the canola oil in a skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the strained pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and sesame oil and bring to a gentle boil to reduce slightly.
Add the corn starch slurry and stir until mixture thickens. Add in crushed pineapple and pour over rice, tossing to combine thoroughly.
I like to say that baking is chemistry, and gluten-free baking is a science.
The secret to baking gluten-free goodies that are very close to the real thing lies in producing the “stretch factor” without gluten and using the right mix of gluten-free flours.
Creating the Illusion of Gluten
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt that creates the “stretch factor” in batters and dough. Adding xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk to the mix helps create the same stretchy properties, and results in a chewy rather than crumbly baked good.
The Right Mix
In general, a mix of gluten-free flours will always be better than a single gluten-free flour. This is because no gluten-free flour can closely mirror glutinous all-purpose flour.
The gluten-free flours I use most frequently are sorghum, millet, brown rice, and tapioca. To add richness, I also sometimes add almond or hazelnut meal into the mix. A lot of my recipes have been developed through trial-and-error, but there are also many resources online for gluten-free baking.
I buy my own flours separately and combine them in different ratios depending on the recipe, but there are also some great gluten-free flour mixes out there: My favorite brand for all of my gluten-free flours is Bob’s Red Mill and Namaste is a close second. You can find gluten-free flours at most mainstream grocery stores these days, although it is usually cheaper to order them online.
Gluten-free baking is a bit more complex than glutinous baking, but I promise the results are so much better than store-bought gluten-free baked goods.
These yogurt mini-muffins are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or snack, packed with whole grains and protein. I offer two mix-in options below (coconut-chocolate chip and cranberry-pistachio), but feel free to add other nuts, dried fruit, or sweet morsels of your choosing. This is recipe is adapted from the Kitchn.
1 cup sorghum
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup tapioca
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
For coconut-chocolate chip:
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachios
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini-muffin tin (if you have convection, use it!).
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth.
Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in chosen mix-ins.
Divide batter evenly into muffin tin (I use my medium cookie scoop) and bake for 15-18 minutes until tops are golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container on the counter for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I always advise people never to try new things when you are bringing something or hosting a meal. And what did I decide to do? Try a new cake recipe to bring to someone’s house who I had never met. This past Thursday night, I opened my trusty copy of Kosher By Design Entertains and decided to make a simple vanilla and chocolate swirl cake recipe for Shabbat dessert. Easy enough, right? Wrong!
The recipe itself was great – the cake batter was awesome! I mean, obviously I licked the spoon. And then disaster struck: I let the cake cool 15 minutes and removed the cake. And it broke. Broken Bundt. #fail. So now what!?
Well, at 11:00 pm I decided to make another dessert. This time I would make my tried-and-true, always-a-hit salty doubly chocolate chip cookies. Except that somehow I under-baked them too much, and they were more like slightly baked cookie dough rather than perfectly chewy cookies. Yet another fail!
What was going on with me!?
Whenever I am whipping something up in the kitchen, I always post the photos to Instagram (are you following me yet? well why the heck not! Follow me here!). And on Thursday night I posted the photo of my poor, poor broken bundt. And lo and behold, a fellow pareve baker suggested I turn the cake into a trifle. Genius!
And that’s just what I did.
Now, the cake recipe is really the least important part. So to make this trifle you can use the same recipe from Kosher By Design Entertains, or you can use a store bought angel food cake or you can even use brownies if you want to be really indulgent.
For you dieters out there….you can actually leave out the cake entirely and simply layer different kinds of fruit together with chocolate mousse and some slivered almonds for crunch. Like a dessert parfait, but with chocolate mousse. Ok, ok, not exactly diet food. But slightly less carb-heavy.
For the trifle I made I used this recipe for the chocolate mousse. But truth be told, usually I live and die by this recipe for Olive oil and chocolate mousse from The New York Times. You can use any mousse recipe that suits you.
Don’t have a trifle dish? You can use just a big glass bowl! I bought mine from Target! But you can also order one from Amazon like this one.
Well, happy broken bundt baking everyone!
1 cake, such as chocolate cake or angel food cake.
1 batch chocolate mousse
2 cups fresh berries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
fresh berries for garnish
In a medium saucepan, add berries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until you have a syrup-like consistency. Mash berries or put through food processor for a smoother consistency. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, break up around 2 cups of cake or brownie into bottom of bowl. Add layer of chocolate mousse and a drizzle of berry syrup.
Repeat until you have 3 layers and have used up most of the cake and mousse.
Garnish with fresh berries.