Once you’ve gotten used to baking with the “normal” ingredients of flours, sugars, milk, eggs, etc., the idea of changing that up can be rather frightening. And I have to admit, I’ve had some pretty big flops in the kitchen in the “non-traditional” baking world.
But, I just can’t quit. I welcome the challenge (not the frustration and shouting that often follows) and know it’s all about trial and error and patience. Yeah, that P-word is not one of my favorites…
But it’s summer, and there are few desserts that shout summer as much as a sour cherry pie.
Gluten-Free Cherry Pie
It was a sad year for these beautiful fruits. My home state of Michigan, the state that grows more sour cherries than anyone else, suffered a huge loss of around 90% of their crop this year. A crazy warm front came in early spring, and then lots of frost followed it, so those baby buds couldn’t even compete. Hey, I’ve heard of this thing called global warming, have you?
Funny story, Michigan was actually somewhat able to survive, due to sour cherries imported from Poland. Rather interesting, but apparently the Polish variety are similar enough that the Michigan fruit production industry could make do.
Back to pie. Gluten free baking is definitely a challenge, or can be for a novice. But if you can set some time aside, as well as a pile of something to throw every now and then, you’ll do just fine. And the end result (even if the cherries are from the NW)? The flakiest, most delicious gluten-free crust ever. Continue reading
Woa, where has the time gone? I’m going to have to stop trying to make excuses as to what life obstacle got in my way and took me away from blogging for so long. A new job. Vacation. Summer sunning. Summer drinking. Sumer cooling. The list could go on.
Instead of pretending that I will be able to finish every saved draft I’ve created and forgotten about. Let’s try killing a few birds with one stone. I present to you my compilation: My Month in the Kitchen (or so). Here are some of the fun things that I’ve been up to over the last couple of months…
Wow. I can’t believe it’s been one year already! But yes, one year ago today, we brought this little bundle of love home with us from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.
And let’s face it, we’ve had our share of hurdles with the little princess, but any way you shape it, this little girl has changed our lives for the better. She may not be the most dog-friendly, and she still may have accidents (or puke on the carpet right after we had it cleaned) but she’s one of the best cuddlers a guy could ask for, and helps make the apartment feel warmer.
To celebrate her one-year since being born again, I decided she needed a special treat. Instead of having a full-blown party like I actually debated, I just went for a cake for the little girl.
As much as I wanted to let her eat the whole thing… I knew it was in the best interest of my floors that it be divided up over a few days.
Sophia’s First Glance
Oatmeal- peanut butter cream filled cookies and orange-chocolate scones
Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although it was Mother’s Day (just wait for Georgene’s comment on here shortly…) I in fact did not spend it with mommy dearest. Instead I was in Houston with Gabe’s family, spending the weekend at his godmother’s house.
So of course, I had to find a way to go overboard with brunch — and not without some… hiccups, because it wouldn’t be a day in the kitchen without them, right?
In full disclosure let’s just get the dirty laundry out of the way quickly.
1) Only one oven of the double oven was working. And to make matters more complicated, the one oven that is working is a broiler oven, unbeknownst to me.
2) I made it to the grocery store at 11:30, when they closed at midnight, the night before brunch. We were able to get what we needed, but of course, I was up at 6:30 to go and get a bag-full of items I forgot, oops.
3) Being in a stranger’s kitchen, I had to improvise some kitchen tools, of course, later to find them hiding somewhere.
So problem #1 considered, we went for more of a …. 6-ish hour, spread out “brunch tapas” event. Yeah, that’s what we’re calling it.
I LOVE Kale. And I LOVE Feta cheese. And heck, I’m Greek.
I’ve been making spinach pies for years, but lately, I’ve been substituting kale in the mix. You could use any green, leafy vegetable, but how can you go wrong with kale?
Green Onions in Cast Iron Skillet
The topped off kale-feta pie
- 2 bunches of kale
- 1 bunch of green onion
- 1 package of phyllo dough
- 1 pound of crumbled feta cheese (feel free to use low fat)
- 1 egg
- dried or fresh dill
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- olive oil
- Chop kale leaves, stripping them from stems.
- Quickly blanch kale in boiling water.
- Finely chop green onions and sautee in olive oil.
- Add sauteed green onions, kale, feta cheese, dill (to taste) egg, sour cream and feta cheese to bowl.
- Mix to incorporate all ingredients.
- grease a 9 x 17 baking dish.
- Layer 4 pieces of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan, coating each layer lightly with olive oil.
- Pour kale mixture on top of phyllo.
- Layer 4 more pieces of phyllo on top of mixture, coat top with oil.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven until top is browned, about 40 minutes.
For the last month or so, I have embarked on quite the mission: emptying out the pantry. Like every other
20-something old woman, there isn’t much else that brings me as much joy as grocery shopping. Ok, well, there are quite a few other things, but I really like grocery shopping…. but not so much hauling all those groceries home with my little granny cart.
Well to the point here, I have been sorta “stocking up” for something for quite some time. If it’s a 10/$10 sale for canned vegetables, looks like I’m digging through for the salt-free varieties. Buy-one-get-one-free loaves of bread? Guess who’s freezer is full. Cake mix 2/$4 and I have a $2 coupon? Looks like I need to start using Betty Crocker cake mix and stop cooking from scratch so much.
Yeah, I get it, I’m kinda a junky. Well between little bouts of travel, I decided to see how long I could go without having to make a trip to the grocery store (except for small needs here and there.) And let me just say, I’m about at the end here. I know that Gabe is getting a bit sick of my zany concoctions, but at least my end date is Wednesday, and then I’m off to the west coast for a week.
Along with last night’s veggie chili pita pizzas (I know, it was weird) I was wanting something sweet yet healthy-ish so I decided on a vegan cranberry-almond quick bread.
Vegan Cranberry Almond Bread
Why do I do this to myself? I get going crazy with my posts… and then I fall off the face of the earth for a while… bake some things, eat lots of thing, drown myself in hoppy beer, and then finish full circle right here.
I guess I’ll stop yelling at myself and get to the point. But holy shit, this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made.
The other day, a good friend was celebrating his birthday. And instead of the presumed bottle of champagne or handle of shit vodka, I decided to step up my game. And what better way to celebrate good friendship than with a cake? I can think of few.
And I had my work cut out for me. When I asked him what type of cake was his favorite, I expected to hear “chocolate” or “vanilla” or heck, maybe even something fancy and gentrification-adoring like “red velvet.” But no, oh no, I was answered with “chocolate mousse or cheesecake.”
What?! Those are hardly cakes in my book! But I. must. make. it. work.
I had lots of cream cheese in the refrigerator (thank you stock up sale) so I knew whatever direction I went, good ol’ Philly would be a part of the finished product. So I searched and searched for some sort of inspiration. It took a while, but then I came upon this and I knew what I was baking.
I would be remiss not to wish you all a very wonderful Valentine’s Day first of all. I don’t get all hallmarky over it like some, but I also don’t subscribe to the “singles appreciation day” that some do. I’m just some sort of a middle ground guy. Hey, I’m like Mitt Romney when he ran for governor. Oh wait, he wasn’t even that moderate, shit. Well… I’m not going to do a complete 180 like that.
Valentines day is fine. It’s a bit overrated. And heck, I feel this way now that I’m in a relationship, and I did before when I was single. It’s all the same. But I’ll take an excuse for some bubbly and chocolate. Bring it.
Before I get to what’s going on in Shaw tonight, let’s talk about my mush. No, not my being overly mushy (I can’t make any promises after champagne), but rather the mush that my hands were shoved in the other night…
Enter conundrum: I want a sweet. No, I want to be healthy. No, I worked out today, I’m allowed to eat dessert. No, wait, I’m not going to make dessert because I’ll eat it all. I’ll just sit here and take a few pieces out of the big Mike n Ike box each time I walk past it.
Yeah that was my story the last few days, leading to complications. I avoided eating a dessert I really wanted and ended up eating super processed sugary candies instead.
I figured if I was going to make something, it had to serve a few purposes. And what better answer than to make something sweet enough to be dessert and then to work as breakfast in the morning.
Inspired by the Breakfast Bachelor’s breakfast baking, I decided to go for some muffins. Continue reading
It’s truly been a bake sale weekend in Shaw. I guess in part it’s because of the cool weather, in part because of Gabe being out of town and in part because it’s basically the start of the holiday season. Whatever my justifications are, I have spent nearly every waking hour this weekend, in the kitchen. Of course, though, I was graced with a snafu or two. Such is life.
I actually got so carried away, that my photo-taking was quite limited. Instead of the usual play-by-play, it seems the best I can do is take collective photos after the fact.
So as the weekend concludes here is what is on my sacrificial offering table: gallons of pumpkin butter (well… I’m not sure it’s gallons per say, but its a whole lot of pumpkin butter), a peck of apples peeled, sliced and frozen, mollasses turkey cookies with butter cream icing(they are just cut out as turkeys, don’t start thinking something nasty), butternut squash-sage-spinach lasagna, 2 trays of spiced pumpkin seeds and a pumpkin praline pie.