Tag Archives: agave nectar

inverted oreo cake

interted oreo cake gluten freeIt’s like a dream, an inverted, chocolate-laced, cheesecake flavored twisted reverie of a treat loved past.

If I were a professional nature show host, I might say that what we’ve got here, mate, is a very rare breed.  “It seems to resemble oreo, yes, that’s sure.  Only that it’s a little more like a brownie, and makes me feel good when I eat it.  It seems to be a little short on the gluten, and, oddly, instead of having an overly sweet filling, it tastes like cheesecake.  I reckon we better let this lil bugga into the wild for all to enjoy.”

piping frosting

This is why I don’t host a nature show?  –amongst many reasons… um yeah.

I’ll stick to the kitchen: It’s also nut, corn, and egg-free, and can be vegan if you want it to be.  Lactose is either minimal or very optional.  ahhh, makes more sense.  ;)

flax seed blender

adding flax seed goo to dry ingredients

This recipe came about when I was playing with ways to combine blended flax seeds and cocoa powder.  I really wanted something sweet, and did not want to intake a ton of sugar.  Egg whites don’t sit well with me, so the flax seeds and I have been spending lots of time together in pastry land.  The result was unexpected and beautiful inside and out.  (Inside and out of me and the cake itself.)

So, without further adieu, here’s our little shining star.

plated oreo cakeinverted oreo cake

gluten, butter, egg, corn, soy, nut – free

vegan options!

cake:
7 tbs. flax seeds
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. agave nectar
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar (1/2 cup sugar for those who like it sweet)
1/4 cup + 2 tbs. rice flour
1 tbs. arrowroot starch (flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbs. neutral oil (grapeseed ideal)

frosting:
1/2 cup mascarpone or vegan cream cheese
2 tsp. rice milk
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
4 tsp. powdered sugar (this is not too sweet, but just right for me.  if you’d like it more sweet add another ~2 tbs. powdered sugar to taste.)

soak time: 6 hours (or overnight)
preparation time: 15 minutes
cook time: ~30 minutes
yields one large/two small inverted oreo cake (serves 6-8 depending on serving size)

1. Prepare cake: soak flax seeds in water in a covered container for 6 hours room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).  Blend both water and flax seeds with vanilla, agave nectar, and sea salt until white and few traces of seed shells remain.
3. In separate large bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add flax seed mixture and oil.  Combine until homogenous.

dry ingredients cocoa powder flours

batter oreo cake
4. Prepare one large brownie pan or two small cake pans with a thin layer of oil/cooking spray and a dusting of rice flour.  (You want the batter to spread out to be about an inch thick, no more.)
5. Spoon batter into prepared cake molds and bake for about 30 minutes, until center is solid and top is crusted.  Remove from heat, let cool entirely before frosting.

oreo cake pre-frostingmascarpone frosting in bowl
6. Prepare frosting: mix all ingredients until homogenous.  Transfer entirety of frosting into a piping bag with a large circular tip.
7. Finish cake: pipe parallel and equal rows of oreo-filling size circles onto the top of your cake as shown in the photos.  Cut into a square or rectangle for something classy, and serve, ideally, in a square or rectangle shape with a few strawberries and perhaps a glass of bubbly?

cutting cake

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gluten-free teff BAGUETTE

cooked baguetteswhen the goin’ gets teff… (first and last bad joke, I promise)

brushing oil teff breadoh baby

teff milkTeff flour has been one of my favorite substitutes for wheat flour for a while now.  Teff milk was a new discovery today: I’m not sure that rice milk is the best thing to consume out of the lactose-free milks as it’s basically just sugar.  It’s not bad, but it’s not rich, either.  Teff milk has now been my favorite dairy-free milk for one day.  A whole day.  And now night.

It’s real here: baguette is something that surpasses stereotype.  It surrounds the daily function of the Parisian, clings to the backs of those dedicated enough to leave an opening in their backpacks for the long strand of yeast-risen staple, breaks beneath the fingers of the eager who cannot make it home without finding the tip missing.  Yup, baguette’s a thing.  And today I wanted one real bad.  That’s when I found teff flour for the first time in grocery stores here.  Sha buy yah roll call

teff bread demi baguetteI think you’ve gotta be a bit of a geek to make it in this world.  Tech-y stuff is all over, and what’s slightly paradoxical is that I’ve found the more I give up my old ways of traditional-is-better-because-it’s-more-human, unless I actually want to go Neanderthal, it’s hit me that these new advances in images and sound and things with computers and wires can actually make the human things we do more interesting.

shaping baguetteIt’s not like the computer made the baguette.

I say this because you may notice that these pictures look slightly better than the past.  That’s because technically they are.  I’ve succumbed to, with the greatest pleasure, an actual camera.  It’s manual, I control things like aperture and shutter speed, and photoshop is now something taking up space in my hard drive.  In between washing off the teff flour and gluten-free yeast from my hands,  I spent my first day with my new ally in the kitchen.  And then ate some baguette so I’d have something pretty to share with you.  Of course, that was the only impetus to construct a plate like this.

plated breadExcuses are lovely sometimes.

Teff Baguette

-vegan-

-gluten, nut, soy, dairy, egg, and corn free-

ingredients: 2 tbs (21 g) flax seeds, 3 tbs (41 g) hot water, 1/4 cup (50 g) + 1/3 cup (75 g) teff milk [can substitute water], 3/4 cup (90g) teff flour, 3/4 cup (100 g) brown rice flour, 2 tbs (16 g) arrowroot starch/flour, 8 g yeast, 1/4 tsp (a large pinch) sea salt, 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar

method: In small bowl, pour hot water over flax seeds.  Let soak 20 minutes.  Combine flax seed mixture with 1/4 cup teff milk (or alternative dairy-free milk or water) until puréed.  Set aside.

flax seed mixCombine all dry ingredients in large bowl, adding salt at the very last second before you add liquid.  (Salt will kill the yeast if left too long without the sugar to feed on.)

dry ingredientsAdd flax seed mixture and half of the teff milk.  Knead with hands.  Add honey/agave nectar and remainder of milk and more if needed to get a moist dough that is not sticky.  If too dry, add more milk or a bit water.  If sticky, add a bit of rice flour.  Knead for about 5 minutes, form into a ball, and let rise in bowl covered with wet towel.

kneading doughcovered rising doughKnead again for 5 minutes, separate into three balls for mini baguettes, two balls for demi baguettes, or keep whole for a large baguette.  Roll into a cylinder, then taper out the edges.  Place on a prepared baking sheet (silicon mat and a light oiling will do quite well) and flatten a bit in the middle, and then fold in both edges (see photo at beginning of post).  You’ll make a bit of a smushed taco.  Flip over (the smush is the bottom of the baguette) and make lines with a small knife on the top.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise about 1 1/2-2 hours minimum.*  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Bake bread for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with a fine layer of oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place back in oven turned the other way, for even cooking, and bake another 10 minutes.  If the inside or bottom is not cooked through, reduce heat to 375 F (185 degrees C) and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  This really varies upon the size of your baguette and your oven.  Remove from heat, let cool to touch, and consume within a day for freshness.  To keep longer, keep it in the freezer until use.

*If preparing the night before, keep covered in the refrigerator and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours the next day.

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why sushi rice doesn’t taste like normal rice

homemade sushiYou know how when you have sushi and it doesn’t taste like just rice and seaweed and raw fish?  Yeah, that’s probably the reason we keep eating it, because as appetizing as the thought of eating an ocean soaked in China’s starch staple sounds, it’s not.

Sushi can either be refined art, think Jiro Dreams of Sushi, or something as casual as a taco cart.  The problem with eating at Japanese restaurants for those with Celiac Disease is that soy sauce is made with wheat traditionally, and most preparations might have a touch of it as it replaces salt in most Asian cuisines.  The problem with making sushi at home, then, would be that rice cooked in just water never seems to taste like “sushi rice” and finding sushi grade quality fish may not be possible in your area.

homemade sushiThe thing is, making gluten-free sushi at home is really quite easy.  What’s more, you know the products you’re using are to your standards (because you bought them) and you have creative liberty to replace salmon with tofu if you’re vegetarian, or add some fun flavors like mango and cilantro if you’re seeking some peppppps.

homemade sushiThe other day I have rice and leftover dried seaweed from an experiment a few weeks prior.  I had leftover bits and pieces of smoked salmon, and no interest to go grocery shopping.  I had forgotten how much I love the convenience (and price tag) of making sushi at home.  The difference, for me, is in the rice.

Homemade sushi lunchSUSHI RICE

Ingredients: 1 cup short grain eastern rice variety (preferably deemed sushi rice, either brown or white– basmati will do in a pinch if you’re really stuck), 1 1/2 cups + 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp. rice or white wine or apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp. agave nectar, 1/2 tsp. powdered wasabi (optional, but highly recommended)

Method: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil.  Lightly salt water, add rice, stir just once, skim foam off top using a spoon, cover, and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 30-35 minutes.  Once water is absorbed, taste rice to make sure it is cooked enough.  If not, add about 2 tbs. more water, cover, and let steam another 5-10 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is cooked al dente.  Remove from heat.  Keep covered.  In small sauce pan, bring 1/4 cup water, vinegar and agave nectar to a boil.  Let bubble about 30 seconds, remove from heat.  Whisk in wasabi powder (optional, but recommended).  Using a large flat spoon, stir syrup into cooked rice gently.  This gentle stirring serves two purposes: it covers the rice in flavor and it also gently releases the starches while it slowly cools down the rice for optimal texture and binding properties.  Let rice cool to room temperature before using it in your sushi.

sushi rollsGreat.  I’ve got my rice.  WhaaadooIdoooNow?  You get to play with your food!  Maki Sushi refers to the type where the seaweed is on the outside.  This type is really convenient to make at home, as you don’t even need a sushi rolling mat or plastic sheet wrap.

MAKI SUSHI

Ingredients: 2 sheets dried seaweed (available at most grocery stores in the Asian section or at Asian specialty stores), 1 preparation sushi rice (see above), cooked protein/smoked fish/sushi grade raw fish/vegetable of choice cut into long thin cubes, optional additional vegetables cut into thin/julienne size strips (cucumber, mango, carrots, jicama, etc.)

Method: Lay dried seaweed flat on a clean cutting board.  Cover all of it with a thin layer of sushi rice, leaving about 1″ (3 cm) gap at one of the ends (see photo at the top).  On the opposite side of the seaweed, 2″ (6 cm) in from the edge lay out your toppings.  Ready to roll?  Gently brush a tiny bit of water on the edge of the sushi not covered with rice (this serves as glue).  Like rolling up a sleeping bag, start with the rice-covered side and cover the filling.  Keep going, and as you completely roll your filling into the rice and seaweed, pull so that it’s snug and compact.  Roll until it touches the other end, where you will press slightly firmly to seal the dry sushi to the wet sushi, where the added water will act like glue.  To serve, using a sharp chef’s knife, cut into desired piece sizes and serve with tamari, pickled ginger, and wasabi if you’ve got it.

If you wanna get fun, try difference variations, like using last night’s fried chicken with a touch of tamari to give it some Asian flavor.  Making your own sushi may take a few practice rounds to see the exact amount of rice vs. filling, but you can always start over and reuse your rice and protein.  Dried seaweed is cheap as Monday, so don’t feel bad if you waste a few sheets in your trials.   

 

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Avocado Banana Bread

avocado banana breadthe $5 plating

fancy plating avocado banana breadthe $12 plating (No, I have not left my apartment for 2 days.  Gremlin flu.)

I still remember the day after homecoming.  Senior year, me working in a scrapbook shop, me being sent home.  Nay, not a sending home because of frivolous amounts of partying the night before (the angel I was didn’t really drink in high school), but because I almost fainted from being sick.  I thought it was strep throat. Which I guess can easily be construed for mono.

Homecoming 2005Me and pops von Trapp, homecoming ceremony 2005 ‘merica!

I can’t compare what I have right now to mono, aside from the throat that won’t sit still, the ample plugging and then releasing of the nasal region, and the impressive head pressure.  Also the fact that I am horrible at being sick.  I really am:

The week of homecoming my extracurricular jargon kept me at an average of 5 hours of sleep a night (I was notably sick then, too).  Once discovering it was mono and being quarantined to protect my peers,  I gained weight instead of lose it because if I’m stuck at home, what better way to pass the time than the prepare food?  Nothing has changed.  This octopus flu has me cooped up like an unwilling chicken and I am unexpectedly active in the hen house.

Guess the not being able to sit still thing is good for the career of Chef. And here’s an experiment gone right in my days of sunny cabin fever.

blender

Avocado Banana Bread

Gluten, nut, dairy, soy, and corn-free.  Vegan option.

1 avocado

2 bananas

1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar for vegan)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup + 2 tbs. potato starch

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: about 15-20 minutes

Serves 4-6

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celcius).  Slice avocado and banana into small pieces.  Purée these pieces in blender with honey (or agave), vanilla, and sea salt.

2. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Combine with wet ingredients until batter is formed.  Bake for 15-20 minutes in standard ovens (or until inserted toothpick comes out clean).

It’s a healthy cake.  Still tasty, but gotta say it.  To make it slightly less healthy, cover it with frosting.  (I whipped some kefir with powdered sugar for an icing.)

avocado and banana

 

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It’s my birthday!!!

extravagant child birthdaySomething very strange has happened.  Firstly, as you can tell from the header of this post, I am happy it’s my birthday, and am a declared lover of birthdays.  I find it lovely to have the reason and universally acknowledged imperative to maximize your day.  Birthdays are such things–a time to contemplate who you want to share them with, what you love doing, and then hopefully be able to couple the two into a celebration of your life so far and present.

Secondly, I think I’m finally growing up.  While, yes, I did wake up this morning with that little happy place in my belly of “Weeee, it’s my day today,” it was infinitely less intense than years prior.  It was a continued joy of my days that have been coming, exist as well today, and will hopefully have a nice span of existence in the future.  It was a knowledge that I am thrilled to spend it with someone I love, and that I am going to take the day minute by minute, feeling the beauty of whatever comes.  I guess today was the first birthday I woke up without expectations, and it’s feeling really beautiful.

Crisped Rice Treats

So, I did not expect to post anything today.  However, after waking up with that calm sharing feeling, here’s a little sneak peak of the Peanot Butter Crisped Rice Treats from the upcoming Bubble Child cookbook.  Enjoy my allergenically accelerated hooligans.

crisped rice treatsno nuts, marshmallows (aka vegan), dairy, soy, corn, or eggs in this oven-free dessert… which given my current oven status of broken and my current allergy-list of not-changing is a thing of ideal

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