Monday, December 31, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

photo friday #2

My "assistant" while I was living in Savannah rearranging some things for me. How helpful!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

chamomile apple tea

Can you believe Christmas is over? I can't. It's so bizarre -- for whatever reason, it really didn't feel like Christmas. I don't know if it was because the lack of snow (we got rain...fabulous), or the fact that I've been living at home for the past six months. Ever since going off to school, there was all this anticipation and build up towards going home for the holidays. Going home was the reward for all that hard work over the semester and surviving those few atrocious weeks in between Thanksgiving and winter break which were inevitably full of stress, final projects, exams, and surprise assignments (professors always seemed to love piling on even more work at the end of the semester -- why??) But then, when you made it through all of that, you got to go home and relax. Eat cookies. Drink hot chocolate.

So, perhaps that's why this year didn't really feel all that Christmas-y. I was already home. There was no anticipation or build up towards the holidays. I've been done with school since before Thanksgiving. Plus, I've been so preoccupied about finding a job that I don't think I really thought all that much about the holidays. Ugh, finding a job these days is impossible! Seriously. How do people do it? Anyway, that brings us to today's chamomile apple tea -- the perfect antidote to feeling stressed. It's nice and warm and cozy and soothing -- the perfect drink to curl up with a good book or by the fireplace. It would be absolute perfection if there were snowflakes lazily drifting down from the sky -- but, alas -- it is still raining here. Oh well -- I can always pretend!

Chamomile Apple Tea
makes about two cups

2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons of chamomile flowers
A dash of cinnamon

In a small saucepan, bring the apple juice to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chamomile flowers, letting them steep for a few minutes. If you can't find chamomile flowers, chamomile tea bags will do just fine. Use one or two, depending on how strong you want your chamomile. Strain the mixture into a bowl then pour into cups. Add some honey and a dash of cinnamon for some pizzazz! Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

pray & love

I know it's been a while since I last posted something. Since Friday's tragedy, I haven't much felt like writing or baking. I've been doing a lot of thinking, meditating, and praying ever since I heard about the shooting. The other day, I was reminded of the prayer of St. Francis -- I think that this is the perfect prayer to meditate upon. 

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Sometimes, there are no words. All we can do is take a deep breath, pray, and love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

dutch baby with lemon curd

Well, it's another overcast, dreary day. What is up with the weather here?? Yesterday, it was nearly 60 degrees! Ugh. It's mid December. I want to see my breath. I want snow, gosh darn it! Last year, I was living in Savannah (I was home for Christmas break -- and we didn't get snow!), so needless to say, I did not see snow at all last year. NONE. I am missing out. I want WINTER. Even though I hate being cold. I still want winter. It's just so unnatural for it to be so warm here this time of the year -- didn't I move back from Savannah?? I suppose it isn't so unnatural for it to be so cloudy and overcast. But still. Some sunshine would be nice.

So, in place of sunshine, how about a dutch baby and some cheery lemon curd? So. Good. A dutch baby is sort of a cross between a pancake and a popover. It's also known as a German pancake (there's your fact of the day!) It's light and fluffy and delicious. Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! (Okay, maybe not dinner, but I've definitely eaten it for breakfast and lunch, and it would make a tasty dessert as well, especially with some chocolate hazelnut cream. Ooh, and maybe topped with some whipped cream! Okay, I'll stop now.)

So, without any further ado, here's the recipe! Enjoy!

dutch baby with lemon curd
gluten free, soy free
dutch baby adapted from Gourmet 
lemon curd from Bon Appetit

// ingredients

for the dutch baby 
3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of soy free Earth Balance spread 

for the lemon curd
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup of soy free Earth Balance spread
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, beaten

// directions  
for the dutch baby: Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed until nice and pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and continue to beat until the batter is smooth, about a minute. The batter will be pretty thin. Take the skillet out of the oven and add the butter, swirling to coat the skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet and return to the oven. Bake until puffed, golden-brown, and delicious looking -- about 18 to 25 minutes. Serve straight from the oven -- sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve with lemon curd!

Note: If you make the batter ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, it is extra delicious.

for the lemon curd: Combine first five ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in eggs. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until curd thickens, about two minutes. Strain curd through sieve into bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd; chill overnight.

Note: You can also totally buy store-bought lemon curd. Just make sure to read the ingredients to make sure that it is gluten free! Some lemon curds contain flour.

Hope this brightens up your day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

hello world! + dark chocolate coconut fudge

Hello there world! Welcome to my little corner of the interwebs. It seems like I've been thinking about starting a gluten free blog to share my recipes and photography for FOREVER. And, ta-da, I'm finally doing it! I love cooking and baking and thought that it would be fun to share these recipes and photos, and also to show people that allergy-conscious food can still look and taste delicious! So, here goes!

Since we are full swing into the holiday season, why not start with fudge? Whenever I think of fudge, I instantly think about Christmas. Our family would always receive fudge from friends for the holidays; it's the perfect gift to give and receive! Fudge is so versatile -- you can really go crazy with different flavors and customize the fudge for friends and family. AND you can wrap it up in really cute little boxes with ribbon. Score.

For this recipe, I took a really basic, foolproof fudge recipe and subbed in dark chocolate for the standard milk chocolate. I then added in some shredded coconut for some extra deliciousness. The coconut pairs really nicely with the dark chocolate; it adds some sweetness to balance off the bitterness of the chocolate. And, between the antioxidants in the dark chocolate and the healthy fats in the coconut, you could almost argue that this fudge is good for you. Really. It's healthy. At least that's what I tell myself everytime I eat a piece. Or two. Okay, or maybe three.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Fudge
gluten free, soy free

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand is good)
1 1o oz bag of Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of Enjoy Life or Theo Organic dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Earth Balance soy free spread, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla

Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan with Earth Balance soy free spread. Then, in a large saucepan add the combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, and Earth Balance spread. Cook over a low heat and stir often so that the chocolate mixture doesn't burn. Cook until all ingredients are melted and well combined. Remove from heat and add vanilla and shredded coconut; stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the buttered pan, smooth out, and sprinkle some additional coconut on top. Put the pan in the refrigerator and let the fudge set for at least two hours. When fudge is all set, let sit at room temperature for a bit, cut up into squares, and enjoy! Or, if you're impatient like me, run a knife under some hot water to make it easier to cut the fudge.

This recipe is MADE for riffing. You can definitely go traditional and use milk chocolate. Or switch it up and use some white chocolate! Add a layer of caramel and finish it off with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt. Chop up some peppermint and stir it in. Add in some toffee! But probably not all at the same time. Go crazy, have fun, and enjoy!

[print recipe]

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