Monday, June 20, 2011

New Blog

I am so sorry for not keeping everyone in the loop! Please find my new blog at I hope you like it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Dad's birthday was celebrated at brunch time, so it seemed a little weird to make a traditional birthday cake. Combined with the slew of birthday and Valentines related treats, I was looking to make a bit of a lighter cake! Fruity desserts are healthier, right?? :-)

I debated between two recipes for this old classic. One was from old faithful Cooks Illustrated, while the other was from Chang's Flour Recipe Book. I went with the CI recipe since they used brown sugar in their caramel sauce, which sounded tastier. I'm sure both are wonderful, though. This sure was! My only advice would be to make this dish the same day you're serving it. Since I had a volunteer commitment the morning of my dads birthday brunch, I made the cake the day before. I think the refrigeration changed the consistency a bit, and next time I'll make this when I can serve or eat it immediately!


Pineapple topping:
1 medium fresh pineapple, peeled and diced in small pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups flour - I used GF Better Batter!
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature
1/3 cup whole milk

Grease one 9 inch round, 2 inch deep round cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

For the pineapple topping: combine the pineapple and brown sugar in a 10 inch skillet.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally during the first five minutes, until pineapple is translucent and has a light brown hue, 15 - 18 minutes.

Empty the fruit and juices into a mesh strainer or colander set over a medium bowl. Return the juices to the skillet, leaving the pineapple in the strainer, returning the bowl underneath to catch additional juice.

Simmer juice over medium heat until thickened, 6 - 8 minutes.

Feel free to add more of the juice that collects in the bowl, but don't worry about all of it, especially if it gets added past the four minute mark as it won't have time to reduce. Off heat, add the butter and vanilla.

Whisk until butter melts and then add the mixture, which is now caramel, into the bottom of the 9 inch cake pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla, and beat to combine the eggs, one at a time (ending with the egg white). Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce speed to low, add one third of the flour mixture, and beat until mixed. Add one half the milk, and repeat with the remaining thirds of the flour mixture and half of the milk. Give the whole thing a final stir with the spatula. The batter will be thick!

Here are your three items:

Distribute the cooked pineapple in the cake pan in an even layer, gently pressing the pineapple into the caramel.

Spread the cake batter over the pineapple/caramel layer and tap the pan to release any air bubbles. Bake until the cake is golden brown and passes the toothpick test, 45 - 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, not much longer so the caramel doesn't harden in the pan, and then place the inverted serving platter over the cake pan. Invert the cake pan and platter together, lift off cake pan. Your cake should be left behind!

Mom's Beef Stew

My mom made some awesome beef stew for my birthday dinner, and I had to make some!

Olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 -3 pounds stewing beef, lean
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
mushrooms, optional - I left them out
2 lbs potatoes - I found a bag of very small yellow potatoes from Roche Brothers I used. I think they were mini yukon golds
1 can tomato paste
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
4 cups of GF beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
Flour, I used GF flour Better Batter
Seasonings - whatever you prefer! My mom brought me back some great spices from her trip to Grenada. The seasonings she used in her stew, which I did as well, was a calypso chicken seasoning mix. The ingredients listed are salt, chilies, paprika, onion, garlic, oregano & ginger. So a combination of these spices (the onion and garlic being in powder form) would work great!

Take the meat out of the plastic and dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drudge in your flour.

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, such as a Dutch oven, and add your meat in one or two batches. Using tongs, turn the meat after a few minutes on each side. When done, transfer to a large plate.

Add the onion to the now empty pan, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits left behind by the meat. After a few minutes, when the onion is soft and beginning to turn translucent, add the carrots (and mushrooms if you're using them, plus any other veggies you'd like) and let cook for another few minutes. When the carrot is softening a bit, add the tomatoes, sauce, paste, broth, salt & potatoes. I added two tablespoons of my spice packet.

Bring to a boil, then add the meat. Cover, and either simmer on low heat or transfer to a 350 degree oven. Either way, cook for around an hour until the meat is nice and tender. I like to finish cooking it in the oven, especially this time because I was also cooking some bread I made from one of my new King Arthur Flour gluten free bread mixes. BTW, the bread was AWESOME! One of the best breads I've ever had, and not even "for being gluten free". Just fantastic!

Doug had a nice bowl waiting for him when he got home from work!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've made both gluten free chocolate cupcakes from scratch and from a mix. The mix was reeeally good, like better than most regular (non GF) mixes I've used. Since it was so good and easy, it will probably be my go to from now on. It's the King Arthur Flour gluten free chocolate cake mix. Since all gluten free flours are a mix of a bunch of things anyway (soy flour, potato flour, rice flour, xanthan get the idea) I don't feel like it's cheating.

So there are your instructions for GF chocolate cupcakes. The frosting, which is my favorite vanilla frosting, is as follows. It's called Crispy Magic Frosting and is from Joanne Chang's cookbook, who is the owner of Flour Bakery. 

2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/5 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and 2/3 cups of confectioners' sugar (I don't use quite this much...add gradually and taste so you can stop when it's sweet enough for you)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites and the regular sugar. Place the bowl over, but not touching, a small saucepan of simmering water. Let heat, stirring frequently, for between 3 - 5 minutes. The mixture will be hot to the touch and the sugar should be completely dissolved.

Remove the egg/sugar mixture from heat and transfer to a standing mixture with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed for 6 - 8 minutes, until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch. Turn down the speed to medium, add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, and let beat between each addition until the butter is fully incorporated. Add the confectioners sugar (see note above), salt, vanilla and milk and beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and satiny. Pipe onto your cupcakes or cake! If you're not using immediately, you can transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge, or let stand at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you refrigerate, make sure to let come back to room temperature before you try to frost your cupcakes.

Here is my batch of cupcakes, ready to be delivered to all of my favorite Valentines!

Mississippi Mud Pie

Who needs flour??? That's the kind of thing I think when I make something like this...a flourless chocolate cake of sorts. Super easy, and a crowd pleaser.

8 ounces GF graham crackers or GF ginger snaps...I used ginger snaps because I had some lying around that were about to go stale.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate filling:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350. 

To make the base, put the crackers in a food processor and process into a fine crumb. Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming, but not boiling, water. Here is a blurry picture of my melting chocolate and butter:

Melt the butter and chocolate, then add to the cracker crumbs and press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

To make the filling, do the same thing with the butter and chocolate to melt it. Put the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and using a standing or hand held mixer, beat until thick and foamy. Beat in the cream, followed by the melted chocolate. Pour the mixture on top of the cookie crust and bake for around 45 minutes until just firm.

It will harden quite a bit as it cools, though. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to fridge. Let chill for at least a half an hour before serving.

I thought it was best with some whipped cream and raspberries :-)

Fiesta Casserole

This is a really easy weeknight dinner. It also makes great leftovers. I served it with Mexican rice for high school girl friends Emily and Julie. And of course, Doug eat his fair share when he got home later that night. The recipe calls for ground beef, but I swap it out with turkey.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups chunky tomato salsa (any temperature, I used hot because I like spicy things :-) )
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juice
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernals
12 corn tortillas (most corn tortillas are GF, as opposed to flour tortillas, but I use Trader Joe corn tortillas that have the GF symbol right on them)
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Add the brown and break up with a wooden spoon/spatula until it's lost its color. Add the peppers and let cook until peppers have softened a bit. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the salsa, tomatoes and corn. Bring the whole thing to a boil then remove from heat.

Spread a cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with half of the tortillas, then spoon half of the remaining meat mixture on top. Sprinkle some cheese on this layer, then do it again. I put more cheese on the top of the dish - use however much you choose. Bake, covered,  for 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve with sour cream, avocado...whatever you'd like!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thai Chicken

My nephew Caiden has been a GREAT couch buddy while I've been injured. We were hanging out, him in his dino outfit and exersaucer and me with my boot and crutches (I know, he's cuter), and I browsed through my sister's crock pot recipe book. The crock pot is awesome for minimizing standing time!

Meredith had this Thai chicken in her crock pot while we were hanging out, and it smelled really good. She told me how easy it was, and being injured, I decided I wanted to make it too. She warned me that the sauce looked kind of like vomit, which it did, but it was delicious. Since we (ahem...Doug) ate it too quickly, I even made more a few days later. I doubled the quantity for the sauce the second time, since we ate it with rice and like extra sauce. This recipe is the single sauce recipe, so double it if you like sauce as we do. I also usually have most of this stuff lying around my house (OK, except fresh ginger), which is always convenient.

2 - 2.5 lbs chicken breasts
1 cup hot salsa (I used Newman's Own)
1/4 all natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon GF soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish

Mix together ingredients 2 - 6 in a bowl. Lay the chicken at the bottom of the crock pot, then pour the sauce over (this photo is from when I doubled the sauce).

Let cook on low for 8 - 9 hours. I like shredded chicken, so near the end I went at the chicken with two forks, then let cook for awhile longer. Sprinkle the peanuts and cilantro over the chicken.