Are you celebrating Mother's Day? Are you cooking anything special?
I think I'll make a batch of these chocolate chip cookie pancakes for my mom. Unlike other chocolate chip pancakes, which just add chocolate chips to regular pancake batter, this recipe uses brown sugar, butter, and a generous amount of vanilla to taste like, well, chocolate chip cookies! They're light, fluffy, and, thanks to the dark chocolate chips, special enough for a holiday.
And if you're not celebrating Mother's Day, these pancakes are perfect for any special breakfast.
Don't you love meals that taste like "Sunday Supper" but take only a few minutes? This is one of those meals! It only takes 15 minutes minutes to make! That's like...someone took a 30-minute meal and cut it in half. ;-)
Here's how to get these pork chops from the grocery store to your plate: . . .
One Sunday I woke up craving cinnamon buns. Yum, right? But making a batch of cinnamon buns means mixing dough, allowing it to rise, and then, of course, baking. All told, I wouldn't have eaten the cinnamon buns I craved until the afternoon.
And my craving didn't want to wait that long! I had things to do. (Like eating breakfast.) Since it was a "waffle-Sunday" in our house, I decided to try making a batch of "cinnamon bun waffles."
Oh my goodness. Just writing about them makes me want to run into the kitchen and make a batch! I love these waffles.
At first I thought about simply adding ground cinnamon to my waffle recipe. But that wouldn't . . .
I recently ate at Carrabba's for the first time. Have you dined there? Honestly, I was a little nervous about the experience. Thanks to cross-contact, eating out always makes me a little anxious. It's not that I don't think folks can handle serving a safe gluten-free meal, it's that I know how easy it is for a gluten-free meal to come in contact with gluten-filled food. So the idea of eating gluten-free at an Italian-style restaurant? Yikes!
Happily, I was fine! (And not only am I gluten-free, I also need to avoid nuts and sesame.) The waitress assigned to our table understood Carrabba's gluten-free menu and, as directed on the menu, I ordered everything without "grill baste."
My mom (who's also gluten-free) and I shared the . . .
Chocolate and strawberries are one of my favorite dessert combinations, which I usually enjoy in the form of chocolate-covered strawberries. So when a reader asked me to convert her mother's recipe for chocolate strawberry cheesecake tart, I lept at the chance. (And wondered why I'd never made a chocolate berry tart before!)
Although I hesitate to call this a quick dessert, it does come together rather quickly for a fruit tart. You make the chocolate-almond tart dough in a food processor in just minutes. And like the savory tart recipe we made recently, the dough gets pressed into the pan before chilling unlike traditional tart doughs that are chilled for several hours before being rolled out and put into a pan.
Preparing the New York cheesecake-like filling is the only step that requires a little time and special attention. Like a good cheesecake, the filling should be smooth and creamy, not lumpy and dry. To achieve a smooth cheesecake filling you need three things:
Before I went gluten-free, Greg and I occasionally picked up a frozen pizza on busy nights. Unlike some folks who turn their nose up at prepackaged foods, I'm grateful for them. Sometimes life gets busy and it's nice that we have the option of letting someone else do the cooking from time-to-time. Even if that "person" is the Red Baron* or Amy!
The pizza Greg and I got--without fail--was a supreme pizza. Now I don't think we ever ordered "supreme" pizza when we went out to eat. Somehow we got into the habit of frozen pizza=supreme pizza.
We'd pop the pizza into the oven, change into comfy clothes and then unwind. We all need nights like that, right?
After going gluten-free, I missed the supreme pizza ritual. So I started making it myself. Was it the same? No! But it was close.
For a long time when I made my gluten-free version of a supreme pizza, I just put thinly sliced sausage links on the pizza. But this always felt wrong. On the pizza I was trying to imitate, the sausage wasn't sliced. Nope. It was little bits of sausage-y goodness.
When it finally occurred to me that I could make those little sausage nuggets instead of just slicing up sausage for my pizza, I was so excited you'd think I found out that pizza was calorie-free! (Can you tell I am a texture person? While the pizza flavor was right. The texture, thanks to the sausage slices, was wrong to me.)
So if you are like me and miss those little sausage pieces on your pizza, here's how you can make them!
Folks new to the gluten-free diet often assume cornbread is gluten-free, but most recipes use wheat flour along with cornmeal in the batter. In this cornbread, brown rice flour and ground almond flour replace the wheat flour, providing a moist, cake-like texture that still has the crunchy mouthfeel you expect from cornbread.
The recipe, inspired by a reader's request for a gluten-free version of her favorite cornbread, falls on the sweet, rich end of the spectrum. It's more cake than cornbread and tt's definitely not something youd' serve with chili. In fact, it reminds me of the Italian cornmeal cake my grandmother made during the summer and served with a warm berry compote for dessert.
Most of the time poutine is annoyingly gluten-filled. You wouldn't think so, since it's just fries, gravy and cheese curds. Yet I've been unable to find a restaurant that serves gluten-free poutine. There are usually one or two gluten culprits at play, either the gravy contains wheat flour or the fries are made in fryers that are shared with gluten-containing foods; sometimes it's both. So when I recently got the taste for poutine, I headed into the kitchen instead of into a restaurant.
March 13, 2012
The other day I tried to create chewy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and while this version missed the chewy mark, they was so flavorful that I didn't mind. The flavor comes from golden syrup and browned butter, two ingredients you don't usually find in chocolate chip cookies. They lend a nutty, caramel-like flavor to the already buttery cookies.
While these aren't super-chewy cookies, they are softer than traditional gluten-free chocolate chip cookies because of the golden syrup, egg yolks, and a low baking temperature. If you prefer soft and chewy cookies, under-bake the cookies slightly. To do this, reduce baking time until the cookies are just set and faintly brown on the edges. . . .
Did you grow up eating snickerdoodles? I did! My husband? Not so much. The first time I made a batch, he eyed them and said something like, "What? No chocolate? I thought there were Snickers in snickerdoodles."
Ah, nope! In the cookie world, snickerdoodles are a quiet charmer. Unlike fancy cutouts or "everything but the kitchen sink" cookies they don't scream for attention. But snickerdoodles aren't boring! Thanks to a generous amount of butter, cinnamon, and vanilla, snickerdoodles are packed with flavor. And isn't that why we love them?
Their classic flavor isn't the only thing that makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle. They also have a unique texture. And this is where snickerdoodle lovers divide.
I like mine puffy with crisp edges and a soft, almost cake-like center. Others prefer snickerdoodles flat and crisp. What's a baker to do? Simple--v . . .
Recently it occurred to me that some of my favorite sandwiches are seasonal sandwiches. I eagerly await the first BLT of the summer and come winter I can't wait for a croque-monsieur. Of course, unlike the BLT, there's nothing really seasonal about this sandwich. Bread, ham, cheese and white sauce are available all year round. Yet tucking into this hearty sandwich during a warm season just doesn't appeal to me. (Probably because I am too busy eating BLTs.) Come the cold nights of January, however? I'm ready for a dressed-up ham and cheese sandwich.
While this French sandwich has been around for at least a hundred years, it's fairly new to my culinary repertoire. For years I avoided it because the thought of a sandwich topped with béchamel sauce sauce didn't sound appealing to me. I imagined the bread would turn unappetizingly soggy. However, I was wrong. Terribly wrong. After one bite, I knew why this sandwich was a classic. It's a comfort food sandwich! How did I miss this before? Warm cheese, salty ham, and tangy mustard. As for the bread, as long as it's well toasted (which is key with gluten-free bread.) the bread doesn't get mushy under the thick sauce.
Since the sandwich takes a little time to prepare, I usually don't make it for lunch. Instead I serve it for dinner along with a peppery green salad and a gluten-free beer.
A few years ago, when one of my readers asked me to create a gluten-free version of Campbell's green bean casserole, I was excited. Until then, I had never eaten the classic Thanksgiving side. After perfecting the recipe, a funny thing happened: several of my friends revealed themselves to be secret green bean casserole lovers. Now I make this for Thanksgiving every year. Another huge part of the tradition is munching on the freshly fried onion strips.
Remember the "You Donate. I Bake." post? Well, it ended up raising over $700! Over the last few weeks, I sent hundreds of gluten-free shortbread cookies into the world. Thank you to everyone who donated! Your generosity amazed me.
Several folks asked for the recipe for those simple shortbread cookies. I'm more than happy to share it And I'm more than please (tickled really!) that several of the folks who received cookies are NOT gluten-free and still wanted the recipe!
Since starting the project, I've learned lots about these simple cookies! Here's what you need to know before whipping up a batch:
1. Don't overmix. Shortbread cookies are dense affairs. Over-mixing the butter causes their texture to become too light and crumbly. When preparing the dough, don't cream the butter and sugar so much that it becomes light and fluffy.
2. Take your time. Since these cookies contain no eggs, there's no moisture to coax the ingredients quickly into a dough. Once the dry ingredients are added to the butter and sugar paste, it takes a little while for a dough to form. At first the dough seems incredibly sandy--you might even worry that it's not coming together--don't fret like I did the first time I made a batch! The dough does come together after two or three minutes of mixing. Don't rush it and don't give up. The wait's worth it.
3. Re-rolling is welcome. With no gluten to make things tough, you can roll and re-roll this dough until every last piece is used. Since these cookies are so rich, I make about two dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies from one batch, gathering and re-rolling the dough as needed to get this many cookies.
Steamed potatoes. Don't they sound, I don't know, kind of boring? Truth is, steamed potatoes are not something I'd made--or thought about--until recently.
For my friend's birthday party, her husband made an incredible clam steam. Along with the clams, sausages, and corn, there was, you guessed it, steamed potatoes. At first I thought I'd give the steamed potatoes a pass. I mean, they were just potatoes! Better to save tummy room for those clams, right?
Well, after I'd eaten my share of clams, I still had a wee bit of room--perfect for half a potato. Since these were large white potatoes, I asked my husband to share with me. (Spoiler: This does not end well for Greg.) I cut the potato in half, poured some melted butter on it and gave it a generous sprinkle of salt. Oh my! This potato was so good! It's flesh was creamy while the skin remained almost "snappy" without being tough. When Greg decided to nab his share of the potato, I, um, decided I didn't feel like sharing!
I wondered if I loved the potatoes so much because they steamed above clams and sausages or if perhaps steamed potatoes were just that good. After making several batches this summer, I can affirm: they are just that good.
Today, for the first time ever, I made a peanut butter pie. What took me so long?
Mike Perillo, husband of blogger Jennifer Perillo, nudged me into the kitchen. I'll have to send a little word of thanks into the universe for Mike to hear. See, Mike died early this week.
On Monday morning, my first day back from vacation, I caught up on my Twitter feed. I saw several tweets mentioning Jennifer. I quickly realized that her husband had passed away. I paused. I shook my head. I re-read. Perhaps I'd misread? I didn't. My heart sank.
Jennifer isn't someone I know personally. But in my on-line circle, she's someone I know. And you know how that feels right? Think about the people you've met on-line. I'm sure there are some "big names," like blogger Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. But I bet there are other smaller, but no less important, people too. On Facebook alone I've connected, and re-connected, with lots of folks. These folks are no less "real" to me than the person I chat with at my local grocery store. Community is community. That I know for sure. And in 2011, a part of our community might be "virtual" but it's still community.
When I learned that Jennifer lost her husband suddenly, my heart broke open for her and her family. And I wanted to do something. But, for the moment, there wasn't anything practical I could do. Then Jennifer posted a simple request: make a peanut butter pie to remember Mike. Jennifer shared that this was his favorite pie and she kept meaning to make it "tomorrow" for him.