MasterChef Guest Post – Dahlia Abram’s Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread (Gluten Free)

Today’s guest post comes from another one of my fellow MasterChef survivors competitors, Dahlia Abrams.

Dahlia is one of the people THAT I didn’t really meet in LA, but have come to know since returning to the real world. You may have heard me mention her on one of my Youtube videos… probably this one, with Matt Orsini. Basically, they’d cooked similar dishes back to back, she got an apron, he did not… so my new baby sister – Christine Kim – and I made a pact right then and there. We HAD to get aprons (you know, because we hadn’t been focused on that before, right?), just so we could somehow “take Dahlia out”.

Christine and I went home the next day, no aprons! LOL, so much for THAT plan, huh?

I still feel a little guilty for the pact… I hadn’t met Dahlia, and had nothing against her personally. I’d JUST found out that Matt had gone home – no goodbyes! – while I was required to go shopping. Trauma and grief will do weird things to a person, LOL!

Luckily, Dahlia seems to be a forgiving person… so here is her guest post! Enjoy!

PS: Be sure to check Dahlia out on her blog – Detroit Tokyo, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

I’ve always loved food but really started cooking three years ago. My passion for it has since grown into an all consuming one. Cooking is my meditation, creative outlet, and the way I express my love for those I share it with. I started my blog two years ago to share that love with you!

“Health food”… Sounds like dirty words. Let’s add “diet” to the list too. When we talk about food, why can’t we just talk about food? As with everything, food is about balance. Balance of flavors and textures surely but also balance in nutrition for balance in your body.

My philosophy on food is strongly influenced by a digestive disorder I suffer from. I do have to mind what I eat but I never want to feel like I’m missing out on what I love. So, I don’t! I do not have Celiac, nor a wheat allergy. Limiting my wheat intake, however, has been beneficial. It could be for you, too! I’ve found brown rice flour to be a great substitute.

Yes, this recipe is gluten free. Yes, this recipe is low-fat. Yes, it is all natural. If those terms put you or those you’re sharing food with off, I’d just advise you to try it for yourself and see how delicious and satisfying healthful eating can be.

Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread

3-4 small bananas – very ripe, mashed but not pulverized
1 egg
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup orange mango juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Glaze:
2 tbsp orange mango juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Yield: 1 loaf/3 mini loaves/12 muffins

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tin with liners and/or loaf pan(s) with cooking spray.

Place bananas in a large mixing bowl and mash, but don’t pulverize. Add egg, yogurt, sugar, agave, juices, zest, and vanilla. Mix to incorporate. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add half of dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and repeat. Gently fold in poppy seeds, be careful not to over-mix!

Pour batter into prepared tins/pans and fill 2/3. Place in middle rack of oven and bake:

– For 1 large loaf, bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

– For mini loaves, bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

– For muffins, bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. As they cool, combine juice and sifted powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle or spread onto tops of cooled bread(s)/muffins.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Fromage Fort, or “How to Make Garlic Cheese Bread like a BALLER”

Recently, I woke up from dreaming about Fromage Fort. Literally, I woke up to making a mental list of the bits of cheese that we had in the fridge, if we had any appropriate wine already open, etc.

To be fair, it HAD been a while since I’d made the stuff. It was just an odd thing to randomly wake up to, you know?

Anyway, for those not familiar with it, Fromage Fort (“Strong cheese”) is recycling at its finest. This is a ridiculously delicious cheese spread that you make from whatever odds and ends of leftover cheese you may have laying around in your fridge. Add some garlic, white wine, maybe some fresh herbs… yeah. Awesome stuff!

Our favorite use of the spread is to lightly toast some baguette slices in the oven, spread liberally with fromage fort, and then broil until it’s all melty and insane. That’s actually what my husband woke up to for breakfast, that morning! SO GOOD.

Like some of my other recipes, this is less a “recipe”, so much as “guidelines and suggestions”. This is very much a case of your final product being very much the result of what ingredients you have on hand, and your personal tastes!

The amounts of ingredients that you’ll use will vary, depending on a few factors.

– Generally speaking, for every 1/2 lb of cheese, I’ll use 1/-8-1/4 cup of white wine. This depends on how soft the cheese are that I start with, and how soft I want the final spread. More soft is great for a dip, less soft is great for spreading on a baguette and broiling.

– If I’m using a lot of hard cheeses, I’ll add a couple Tablespoons of butter for every 1/2 lb of cheese.

– I like to use a ton of garlic, maybe 2-3 cloves per half lb. Some people will use as little as ONE clove per POUND of cheese. Do what you like!

– Fresh herbs: Use whatever you like, in whatever amount you like. Start with a little, taste, and add more if desired.

Fromage Fort

Bits of leftover cheese
Butter
Fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
Dry white wine of choice
Fresh herbs, optional
Salt & pepper, optional

If any of your cheeses have a rind on it, trim the rind and discard it.

Place all of your cheese into a food processor, blitz it till it’s finely chopped. Add butter and garlic, continue blitzing until finely chopped and well combined.

Slowly stream in your wine, a bit at a time, until the cheese mixture reaches the consistency that you’re looking for. Taste, and add any herbs that you’ll be using, and blitz again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Cover spread tightly, chill for at least a day to allow flavors to mingle. (Assuming you have patience. We usually do NOT.)

Savory Shortcake

Back when I was preparing and training for MasterChef, I spent a good deal of time thinking about potential ingredients, challenges, etc. I brainstormed about unique ideas I could put forth, that may bring an edge to my game.

Today’s post is one of the ideas I came up with – just a fun, summery appetizer: Savory Shortcake!

I almost feel guilty about posting this today, just a day after my Sushi Cake yesterday. My roomie from MasterChef ended up posting about it, saying that I have this “thing” about making savory dishes look like dessert. I thought “What? I’ve done it like.. twice now. What?”… and now, this. Ok, three times! (The first time being my Buffalo Chicken Buns!)

Anyway, this savory take on shortcake starts with a savory baking powder biscuit, topped with a cheese infused whipped cream, and crowned with jewel like cherry tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. SO GOOD.

This would be great served as a light lunch, appetizer at a garden party, or with tea. Also, as the result of weird schedules being subject to my whim.. I can tell you that this makes a great breakfast, too! Enjoy!

Savory Tomato Shortcake

Tomato Topping

1-2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar of choice*
Salt and pepper
~ 1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons

Toss tomato slices with balsamic vinegar until well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, the add in as much of the basil leaf ribbons as you want. Cover and chill until use.

* I like to use a light colored, lemon flavored balsamic for this.

***

Biscuits – makes about 6 large biscuits

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne powder
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 green onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne powder.

Measure shortening into the same bowl, and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork(s). The ideal is to work it in until it’s evenly distributed throughout, in very small pieces. Stir in cheese, garlic, and green onion.

Add milk, stir until dough comes together. Don’t over stir or beat it. Gently compress the dough slightly, then roll to about 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick. Use a glass or round cookie cutter (about 3 – 3.5″ in diameter) to cut biscuits.

Gently arrange biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10-12 mins, or until golden brown. As the biscuits are baking, prepare your goat cheese whipped cream.

***

Goat Cheese Whipped Cream

2 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup heavy whipped cream

In a small food processor, blend together goat cheese and ricotta until smooth. Add a little whipped cream – about 1/4 cup – blending once again, just until incorporated.

Add remaining whipped cream, process until mixture is at least doubled in volume, and reaches a consistency that you like – it will be thicker than normal whipped cream.

***

To Assemble:

Split each biscuit in half, top with a generous dollop of goat cheese whipped cream. Use a slotted spoon to garnish with tomato mixture, serve immediately.

Cardamom Pear Streusel Muffins

So, we’re having a bonus FRIDAY post today, by popular demand. You see, I made muffins last Sunday… first time in a few years! Between having to go off gluten for a couple years, not having a kitchen (tornado!) for much of that time, etc? Muffins weren’t on my priority list.

We had a handful of pears about to go bad this week, though. Seemed like the perfect excuse to whip out an old favorite – Cardamom Pear Streusel muffins!

I created this recipe a few years ago, when I went on a crazy muffin making binge. SO many awesome recipes came from that week – I’ll be sure to post them in the near-ish future.

Cardamom and Pear is one of my favorite flavor combinations for baking with, so of course I had to incorporate them into a muffin recipe. This recipe makes 12 big, moist, and delicious muffins with a delicate crumb and warm, exotic flavor. It’s the perfect way to start a day!

Anyway. I posted a photo and description of these online that morning, and was inundated with excited comments and requests for the recipe. As I have most of May already scheduled, I figured this would merit an extra blog entry.. and here we are, just in time for the weekend!

Cardamom Pear Streusel Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
1.5 cups grated pear (~2 large)

Cardamom-Streusel Topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cardamom. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla pears. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffin batter in cups.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.


Cardamom-Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp butter, chopped

In small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and cardamom. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

“Breakfast Club” Bread Pudding, AKA “The Basketcase”

Remember back when my friend Stephanie was on a reality show last summer? Well, today’s guest post comes from my good friend Laura, who was my partner in crime when it came to the setup and administration of the Team Steph social media campaign. She’s also the blogger behind How Not to be an Asshole, her relatively new blog.

Laura recently told me about an experiment she was going to attempt for her dinner club, and really… it just sounded far too epic to NOT invite her to guest blog it for us. SO, without further ado, lemme turn this over to her…

I am not a food blogger. I do not take pictures of my every meal and post them on Facebook. I’m an OK cook and a decent baker. However, some experiments simply must be recorded for posterity…..

Cap’n Crunch Bread Pudding with Caramelized Sugar (a.k.a, “The Basketcase”)

I can already hear you thinking, “What on earth….?” Yes, you read that correctly. I’m the member of a monthly Dinner Club, where a group of lovely woman gathers each month to make new things, eat, and talk about the food. Every month, there is a different theme we each sign up to make a specific course. We’ve had some good ones – French food, Dips and Fondues, Foods Starting with the Letter Q, Upscale Cafeteria Food…. anyway, in March 2013, we had a new theme: The Movies. Redesigned movie theater food, or food inspired by a movie.

So, at first I was thinking, “Um….. Coke? With vodka? Yum!” Then I started pondering food that they serve in movie theaters. This was a bit problematic, since I pretty much don’t buy anything they sell there. I was going to try to do some upscale nachos, when it hit me… What is the most memorable food scene in a movie? Oh, no, you say. Oh, yes, I say.

If you want to take a minute to go watch that scene in The Breakfast Club, I’ll wait. Go ahead.

And if you don’t know what on earth I’m talking about, then you’re probably not actually reading this, because you live in a cave and do not know anything about computers or the internet. Anyway, The Breakfast Club is the best of the brat pack. It’s 1980s John Hughes perfection about a group of very different high school students sentenced to spend a Saturday in detention. As part of that, each student brings his own lunch. And Ally Sheedy, that darling, makes something horrific and appalling that fascinates us all.

She pulls a sandwich out of her bag, removes the pimento loaf, and tosses it over her shoulder, where it hits a statue. She then is left with one slice of wheat bread and one of white. They appear to be buttered. She opens Pixie Stix and pours sugar over each slice of bread. She then takes Cap’n Crunch cereal, smooshes it onto the bread, and makes a sandwich. Crazily, she then actually eats it. Through it all, she is sipping a can of Coke. A friend and I tried this when we were 12. It’s not an experiment I would ordinarily recommend repeating.

I made a joke to a friend that I was going to make Cap’n Crunch Pixie Stix Sandwiches. I was tempted to bring them as a side and pretend that was my contribution. But then it hit me – why not actually make something delicious using those ingredients?

I assume you’re thinking that this is impossible. Part of me agrees that it’s at least insane to try. But, once I got started on that path, I figured – why not? I can do this. Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never actually made bread pudding.** And can you believe that a google search of “Cap’n Crunch bread pudding” didn’t yield any recipes? Well, it will now…. Anyway, so I started by scouring bread pudding recipes. It doesn’t look that difficult. Essentially like baking mushed up french toast. And I see that some people use nuts or raisins, so a little crunchiness should be appropriate.

So, first, we assemble the ingredients….

To be totally authentic, I am using half white bread and half wheat bread. Plus, using wheat bread makes it healthy, right? Totally makes up for the fact that we’re using soda, children’s cereal, and candy. Anyway, to recreate this awesomeness, you’ll need the following:

Bread Pudding

4 slices each, stale white and wheat bread (I left the crusts on)
1/2 cup melted butter
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups sweetened corn and oat cereal, such as Cap’n Crunch.

1 cup caramel sauce (recipe below)
Colored sugar (any color, but yellow may go best with the other colors in the finished product)

If you don’t have stale bread, you can put it in the oven at 350 for about 10 minute so or so until it gets hard. Be careful not to burn it.

Rip bread into chunks and put in large bowl. I had a lovely 15-year-old sous chef take care of this for me, which was extremely helpful. In another bowl, beat the eggs well, add to melted butter. Add milk and whisk, then add brown sugar. Mix well. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Pour mixture over the bread, and let sit for about 15 minutes, periodically, pushing the bread down to ensure that it remains well covered. Once bread is soft, mix in cereal. Pour into greased 9X9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency. Then, make caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup cola
2 tbsp. water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk

To start, bring cola to boil in small sauce pan. Reduce to medium heat, then let boil until it reaches a thick, syrupy consistency. Set aside.

In another pan, mix water with white sugar, bring to boil. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar caramelizes – it will turn a golden brown. (Kiddo was also quite helpful in this capacity – see if you can borrow a teenager before you begin.) Do not burn. Add butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until it boils. Add cola syrup. Cook and boil until mixture reduces and reaches desired consistency. Be careful not to let it boil over.

Remove bread pudding from oven and let cool. Cut and serve drizzled with caramel sauce. To be 100% authentic, drizzle with colored sugar. Enjoy. Marvel that something so weird can be so delicious.

Still contemplating whether this should be served with a slice of lunch meat that you can pull out and throw over your shoulder before eating it….

* In the interests of double full disclosure, I only ate it for the first time in December of last year. Yes, I am no better than those cave dwellers I mocked a few moments ago.

“Porter House” Grainy Rye Bread

Sometimes, you just need a big, flavorful bread. Not just a basic rye, but something with a lot of bold flavors and textures. For that, I created this “Porter House” grainy rye bread.

Not only does this bread benefit from the addition of a variety of seeds – caraway, mustard, pumpkin, and celery – but also the addition of onion and garlic puree. The resulting bread has a beautiful complexity, without being overbearing at all. Eat this fresh out of the oven with a bit of butter, or make a sandwich from it – it’s actually quite versatile!

“Porter House” Grainy Rye Bread

2 Tbsp molasses
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups rye flour
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
4 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 – 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 cup, + 1 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
Cornmeal
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Add molasses into warm water, stir till well blended. Add yeast and stir again. Allow to sit (somewhere warm!) for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a spice grinder – or with a mortar and pestle – grind seeds until well cracked/broken, add to mixing bowl.

Puree onion together with garlic until smooth. Add to mixing bowl, along with 1/4 cup olive oil and yeasty water mixture, mix until everything is well blended. Dough should ball easily – if it’s too wet, add a bit of flour. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water. Knead for ~ 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl, add dough, flip over to coat. cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled.

Spread about 1/4 cup of cornmeal (your mileage may vary) over a baking sheet. Form dough into a large “football” shape loaf, place in the center of the cornmeal coated baking pan. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk egg and water together until smooth – this is your egg wash.

Once dough has completed its second rise, brush with egg wash.

After applying the egg wash, use a shapr knife to cut a few slits across the top of the loaf, cutting about 1″ deep in the middle.

Bake for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Finished bread will sound hollow when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.

Enjoy!

“Fauxsa” (Gluten Free Naan/Bread substitute)

They say “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and I’ve never found that to be as true, as it has been since being disagnosed with gluten allergies. It’s amazing what you can come up with, when someone takes your bread away!

Maybe “desperation” is the father of invention?

Anyway. I was enjoying a dosa at a local Indian restaurant last year, lustfully eyeing my husband’s naan… when it hit me. What if I used the ingredients and basic concept of dosa (a paper thin, crispy crepe), but made it much thicker, to be a makeshift substitute for naan?

… and so I did. It worked beautifully! I give you… “Fauxsa”, as my husband dubbed it that first day.

While nothing compares to the flavor and texture of fresh, full-gluten bread products, this bastardization hits upon the right components of a bread craving – it even looks like bread – and satisfies completely. It’s sturdy enough to use as a dip for Indian foods, and goes ridiculously well with melted curry butter.

Enjoy!

“Fauxsa”

2 cups dry long grain white rice
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1/2 cup dry yellow split peas
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, mix together rice, lentils, split peas, and mustard seeds. Cover completely with hot water, to about 1″ above the rice mixture level. Allow to soak at room temperature overnight.

In the morning, strain mixture, reserving about 1 cup of the rice water. Place strained rice and beans mixture into a food processor with about 1/4 cup of the reserved rice water, puree for about 5 minutes, or until very, VERY smooth.

Transfer rice batter to a large bowl, stir in yeast and salt. Add enough of the rice water (if needed) to make a very thick batter, about the consistency of THICK pancake batter.

Cover bowl with a clean tea towel, allow to ferment in a warm place for a few hours.

Once you’ve fermented the mixture, give it a good stir – some separation will have occurred. (Note: it’ll smell awful. That’s ok – the finished product does not!)

Heat up a nonstick fry pan (Medium heat), spray with a little pan spray. Pour about 1 cup of rice batter into the middle of the pan, swirling it out to make a “pancake” about 6-8″ across. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until the bottom is set and browning, with air bubbles popping on the top. Carefully flip, continuing to cook on the other side. Cook until batter is completely cooked, all the way through.

Serve hot.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten Free Marbled Cornbread

With my husband being the Lord of the Corn Freaks that he is, I couldn’t resist playing around with multicolored cornmeal lately.

For the uninitiated, while white and yellow corn meals are the staples you’ll find in most grocery stores, you can also get different varieties of corn meal if you seek out specialty shops (especially online). In particular – pink/red and blue cornmeal.

Now, both of these options have very different flavor profiles, both from each other, and from the more common varieties of cornmeal.

Red cornmeal is made from red corn (duh), but is actually a pink color. It’s a very sweet tasting cornmeal, and makes a tender cornbread.

Blue cornmeal is a greyish violet color (when dry), and has a roasty, almost nutty flavor.

What do you do when you have two new cornmeals to play with, and can’t decide where to start? Simple, you marble them together! Not only is this cornbread pretty, the contrast in colors, tastes, and texture is really interesting, a unique cornbread.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Marbled Cornbread

1 1/2 cup Gluten Free Bisquick
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup red cornmeal
1 cup blue cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350F, spray a 9″ x 12″ baking pan with pan spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bisquick, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and sour cream together until smooth. Slowly add milk and chicken broth, whisking until everything is well combined. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir just until everything is combined.

Pour out half of the batter into the bowl that had been holding the dry ingredients – be careful to get the two halves of the dough as even in volume as possible. Add red cornmeal to one bowl, and blue cornmeal into the other, stirring until well distributed (but don’t over mix it!).

Scoop batters into the pan, using whatever marbling technique that you prefer. (Random globs work best for this recipe.) To marble the batters, use a butter knife, held straight up-and-down. Starting at one side of the pan, run the knife through the batter in a long zig zag motion – hitting both the “top” and “bottom” of the pan, from your view – all the way to the other side. Then, turn the pan 90 degrees, and repeat.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Buffalo Chicken Buns

As you may know, I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy a few years ago. Not Celiac, mind you, just an inflammatory thing, secondary to my autoimmune hypothyoid. Big fun, made my life miserable, gave me fibromyalgia… and then everything cleared up once I went gluten free.

At the time, my Dr offered me a slight bit of hope: Go off gluten for a 2-3 years, things MAY heal themselves, and the allergy could clear up. MAYBE.

Flash forward a year and a half. I’d been really good, and only caved once, early on. (Got so violently ill, I swore off gluten for the rest of my sentence!). One day, I made a batch of bagels for my husband that looked and smelled SO good, I caved. I rationalized that it had been long enough. I mean, I tend to heal ridiculously fast, so odds were good, right? I rationalized that eating a bagel would be done “in the name of SCIENCE!”, and how would I know how things were progressing, if I didn’t test it?

I rationalized that any fallout from it would be worth it. I mean really, those suckers were loaded with toasted caraway! I ate one, with no problem. I savored it, angels sang, my world became more colorful in that instant, it was breathtaking.

So, I ate 3 more. Well… more like inhaled. I figured hey, if I am going to get sick, I am going to make it really worth my while! If I’m going to do the time… 😀

Well, I didn’t get sick. No pain, no fibro, absolutely no lingering evidence of the hell that gluten put me through just a couple years ago. WOO HOO!

I’ve been on the most ridiculously hedonistic gluten bender ever since. Bagels! Baguettes! A real doughnut! Loads of bread. I thought… “Oh yes, the goddess of gluten is back in full effect!”

Except not. BOO. Took a week or two, and then the problems set in again.

So, I’m back to gluten-free, but would love to share one of the very first things I baked after being sprung from “gluten free jail”: Buffalo Chicken Rolls. I developed this recipe a few years ago, and have been dreaming of it ever since! So ridiculously good.

Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

(Makes 6 giant buns)

1 1/2 cups warm – not hot! – water*
4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup (or more, to taste) hot sauce

2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese

* For a more complex and adult flavor, use a 12 oz bottle of beer in place of the water (We used a light tasting home brewed corn beer). Pour beer into a microwave safe bowl, heat til warm (not hot).

Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes.
(OR: mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes or so!)

Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, make your filling:

Freeze chicken breasts just long enough to firm them up a bit, maybe 10-15 minutes. Trim, chop into very small cubes.

In a large pan, saute onion and celery in vegetable oil, until vegetables are soft and translucent. Add chicken, garlic, and hot sauce, continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked. Set aside, allow to cool to room temperature.

Once dough has doubled in size and chicken mixture has cooled, roll dough out on a floured surface. Aim to make it a large rectangle, say 15 x 20″ or so.

Scatter half of the cheese across the rolled dough, avoiding the very edge of the rectangle.

Evenly scatter the chicken filling over the cheese, avoiding the edge of the dough.

Scatter the remaining cheese over the chicken mixture, once again avoiding the edge of the dough.

Starting with one of the shorter edges, tightly roll the dough up.


Generously grease or spray a 9x 13″ baking pan.

Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 6 even rounds. I recommend wiping your knife down between each slice, to keep them looking clean and pretty.

Carefully place each roll into the pan, spacing them evenly.

Cover pan with plastic wrap, allow to rise one more time – about 45 minutes. While waiting for the buns to rise, heat oven to 375F.

(This is what they looked like after the final rise!)

Once final rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, if you’re patient. Serve hot, preferably with a drizzle of ranch dressing! (Hey, the whole idea was themed around cinnamon buns, may as well continue that thought in serving them!)

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels

You know, for being married to someone who’s allergic to gluten, my husband still manages to be utterly spoiled in the breads department.

The other day, I decided to treat him to a batch of my homemade bagels. It’s been a while, I definitely haven’t made them since the tornado, so it’s probably been over two years. Wow!

From the smell of these, right from the raw dough making through to the finished product… I would think that they were very much worth the wait. Hell, I seriously debated whether I should just snarf one and accept the week or two of serious fibromyalgia that THAT would mean, to me. I didn’t… but OH so close! So close. Also, there are three of them left in the kitchen right now, and my husband is away at work… oh, willpower!

Anyway.

Bagel making is a little bit of effort, but *nothing* beats fresh, homemade bagels. These are traditional bagels – chewy, dense, and wonderful. As we’re big fans of the cheddar / jalapeno / beer, I created this recipe to encompass those flavors. Sigh. I miss bagels…

Says my husband:

“They’re SO good; no bagel from a store can compete with an oven fresh bagel bursting with flavor and that amazing texture.”

Anyway, I’m gonna go ahead and post this recipe, so I can move on to something else… maybe distract myself from the thought of those golden rounds of heaven on the kitchen counter.

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels

(Makes 6 giant bagels, or 10-12 regular bagels)

1 12 oz bottle of beer. (We used a light tasting home brewed corn beer)
4 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
6 oz cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped into small pieces.
1 egg

Pour beer into a microwave safe bowl, heat til warm (not hot). Stir in yeast and sugar, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Once dough is fully kneaded, add in cheese and jalapenos, knead to distribute. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out. We divided the mixture into 6 equally sized balls, for LARGE bagels – but you can make them smaller by dividing into 8 or 12 equal sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 350F, and bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you form the bagels.

There are two main ways of forming bagels – with roll each lump of dough into a thick “snake” and secure the ends together, or roll each lump into a smooth ball before poking a finger though. Once you have a hole made, stretch the ring of dough our a bit to enlarge the hole. Personally, I prefer the latter.

Once you have all of your bagels formed, set them on a baking sheet to rise for another 10 minutes.

Turn heat down a little, allowing water to simmer rather than boil. 2 or 3 at a time, drop your bagels into the simmering water, allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip each and allow to cook for another minute. Drain well, place on a greased cookie sheet.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each bagel. Bake for 35-37 minutes (small) or 40-45 mins (large), until golden brown.

Yum.