Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guest Post: Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

An email from our momma:  

i made these this morning & they are YUM! left out the cloves & chocolate chips. Upped the nutmeg & ginger slightly, added ground flax seeds - tablespoon or 2, and chopped walnuts. I tossed some raw pepitas with a small amount of raw sugar & sprinkled on top of muffins before baking. The pumpkin seeds really added a nice crunch :D


Monday, March 10, 2014

Gluten-Free Almond + Orange Tea Cookies

These fluffy, cakey cookies actually remind me of a lemon poppyseed olive oil cake I picked up recently at the La Grande Orange Grocery in Phoenix. I whipped them up on Sunday to serve with chamomile tea (for P) and a hot whiskey toddy with fresh squeezed orange juice (for me).

I came up with the recipe after reviewing five or six recipes for orange and almond cookies online. The batter was just a little too wet to form with my hands, but happily they baked beautifully as cookies and did not pancake at all. The cakey texture and mellow flavor makes them perfect for serving as a snack with tea anytime of the day.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup gluten-free baking mix 
2 eggs
Zest of 1 small orange
Juice of 1/2 small orange
2 teaspoons almond extract
Several drops orange extract or food-grade orange essential oil (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a cookie sheet, or cover your cookie sheet with a Silpat baking sheet or parchment paper. 

Cream your sugar with olive oil and softened butter. Add almond meal, flour, and eggs. Mix well. Zest one small orange over your mixing bowl. Once you are done zesting, squeeze the juice of about 1/2 of the orange into the bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of almond extract. If you have it on hand, add several drops of food-grade orange essential oil or orange extract. 

Use a spoon to drop batter onto the baking sheet. The recipe will make a dozen cookies and you should be able to bake them in one batch; just make sure to leave about two inches between cookies. Bake for 15 minutes, and let cool completely before enjoying. 

If you prefer a sweeter treat, these would be great with a quick icing made of confectioners sugar and fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you don't have orange extract or essential oil on hand for the batter, you might consider making a quick reduction from the juice of a full orange to make sure the citrus flavor comes through. These would also be lovely with thinly sliced almonds baked in or pressed on top.

Finally, the batter is pretty forgiving so if you want to play around and add a bit more juice or almond flavor, or if you think it needs a bit more or less flour, go for it. The batter has the consistency perhaps of something between a traditional cake and traditional cookie batter, so don't worry if it seems a bit wet. 


Food Allergies and Ethics: These are gluten-free. However, if you are not living in a gluten-free household you could easily use all-purpose flour in place of the gluten-free baking mix. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Roasted Tomato & Rosemary White Bean Dip

Spring has come to Arizona, but for everyone still suffering from cold weather this roasted tomato and rosemary white bean dip is just the thing. I served it during the holidays and for the superbowl; it's great party fare but also nice to have on hand during the week to use as a sandwich spread or salad topper.
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes
3-4 roma or hothouse tomatoes
1 head garlic
10 sprigs fresh rosemary 
3 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Smoked paprika
Chipotle powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Quarter roma or hothouse tomatoes and halve grape or cherry tomatoes. Slice the top off of the garlic head. Arrange tomatoes and garlic together in roasting pan and drizzle very generously with olive oil, pouring a nice glug directly over the head of garlic, especially. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Let roast for 30 minutes, then add about half of your rosemary  and stir or flip tomatoes. Roast for an additional 30 minutes or until your tomatoes are running with juice and beginning to caramelize. 

While tomatoes are roasting, pour three cans of rinsed and drained cannellini bins into a large saucepan. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with sea salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika to taste. Add chipotle powder if interested in a spicier, smokier dip. Add good amount of de-stemmed rosemary leaves to the saucepan. Stir and mash gently while beans heat all the way through. Add more olive oil if they begin to get too dry. 

Remove tomatoes and garlic from oven and beans from heat. Add tomatoes and beans to a large serving bowl. Remove rosemary sprigs, but feel free to knock the leaves off into the beans and tomato bowl. Rinse garlic head under cold water and then slip skin off of the roasted cloves. Mash cloves into the beans and tomatoes with a masher or a large fork until texture is how you prefer. I like it fairly smooth but with some of the beans keeping their form. Make sure to pour all of the oil from the roasting pan into the dip, and add other seasonings until the flavor is as you prefer. Decorate with remaining rosemary sprigs.

Serve warm with roasted or raw vegetables, crackers, bread, or even tortilla or potato chips. Enjoy.

Food Allergies and Ethics: The dip itself is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Just be mindful of what you serve it with. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Baked Farro

I've tried making farro before, but somehow I never got why people rave about it.  This time I do.  It's a perfect, hearty, deliciously savory vegetarian meal for a cold night.

2 cups (dry) farro - note whether you have whole, semi-pearled, or pearled
2 cups of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
2 cups broth
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 egg
2 cups grated cheese (I used a gouda)
1 cup chopped parsley

First, if you are using whole farro, you will need to either soak overnight, or pressure-cook for 10 minutes. For semi-pearled or pearled, you need to cook it for a few minutes in the broth until it softens a bit.

Then, just mix together all of the other ingredients, pour them over the farro (and broth) in a baking pan, and bake uncovered for 45 minute at 400.   

Newfangled Cheese Ball

I made this over the holidays and it got eaten faster than anything else on the snack table.  The parsley makes it much more attractive than your traditional cheddar-and-almonds orange blob.

In case of recipe link death (it has happened to some of our early posts!  Quelle horreur!), here's what you need to know:


Group One:
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 TB buttermilk
8 ounces cream cheese
about 3 Medjool dates, minced (should be 3 TB)

Group Two:
1 TB minced shallots
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Group Three:
1/4 cup minced parsley
2.5 TB walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Thoroughly mix Group One (you may need to let your cheeses soften first), then mix in Group Two.  Use saran wrap to form this mixture into a ball, refrigerating it for a bit first if needed.  Unwrap, separately mix together Group Three, and roll the cheeseball in the mixture.

Cotija Tacos

The main point of this post is to note that it's easy to make a delicious, salty, soft-and-chewy round of griddled cotija in the toaster oven.  Make some little piles of crumbled cotija on the metal toaster tray.... toast them.... et voila! Plunk each one on a warmed corn tortilla and top it as you please.  I used crema, pickled onion, and some corn and nopales (finely diced and browned in butter, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, cumin and salt).