I Have Two Words For You

Gluten-free treat with hazelnuts and chocolate | Minimally Invasive

OK: “Nutella” pudding.

Gluten-free treat with chocolate and hazelnuts | Minimally Invasive

Strictly speaking, it’s a gianduja pudding because there’s no Nutella product in there, but that doesn’t matter — if you love hazelnuts and chocolate, you’ll fall hard for this dessert.

Hazelnuts | Minimally Invasive

I was perusing Food52 a few days ago and noticed a little “We Think You’ll Like” section in the corner with this recipe leaping from the screen. Oh, Food52, you know me so well.

Gluten-free treat with hazelnuts and chocolate | Minimally Invasive

Oh, and the recipe taught me something new — Dorie Greenspan’s method of aerating the pudding before it chills to get an even silkier texture.

Gluten-free treat with hazelnuts and chocolate | Minimally Invasive

Because of that little step, this pudding is light and airy, while Nutella is dense and perhaps too rich to eat much of in one sitting. Not a problem here.

Gluten-free treat with hazelnuts and chocolate

In fact, it’s gone far too soon. Get the recipe here and see if you can’t manage to scrounge up more will power than we did.

Note: I changed only one small thing in this perfect recipe, and topped the pudding with chocolate shavings just before serving. Not a crucial step by any means, more along the lines of eye candy than anything.

From the Market — Week 7

Cherries

Well, things certainly have been buzzing around here. Even though I’ve neglected this blog for a while, I want to take a moment to pat myself on the back (gingerly, so I don’t dislocate a shoulder) for getting anything done at all. You see, I’ve been shooting another cookbook! (Not my own!) In my spare time! Which means every weekend! Minus the two vacations we’ve already scheduled! I’m hoping the exclamation points give me a little energy, because it’s a grueling pace, but I’m already so happy with the way things are going that I don’t mind the lack of rest. (OK, that’s not entirely true. My resentfulness does overflow on occasion when Gil’s taking a nap while I’m slaaaaaving away in the kitchen, but it’s what I signed up for, so I just suck it up.)

So in addition to the 2-3 recipes I’m cooking, styling and shooting for the book each day, I try to eke out a little something of my own to share here. This was my most recent stab at something new:

Asparagus and cherry tacos…whaaaa? I know, I wouldn’t have thought of that combination, either, but The Kitchn’s newsletter featured the recipe and made it sound so good, I had to give it a shot. I really should’ve made the asparagus salsa as well, but I was taaaahrd (a Southern kind of tired that hits you deep in the bone marrow) by Sunday afternoon and just couldn’t bring myself to cook one. more. thing. Still…it was quite luscious with just a spritz of lime juice and farmer cheese instead of the queso fresco.

And since cherries were still in the market, I took the opportunity to rework that jam I’d over agar-agared a week before. I still wanted to use agar agar as a thickening agent, because it doesn’t require cooking the fruit — I like the idea of a really vibrant and fresh-tasting jam. Halving the amount called for on the package yielded exactly the consistency I was hoping for, so yay for progress.

recipe after the jump

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From the Market — Week 5

Because it's cherry season!

Gather ye cherries while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying…

Unlike the apple, which you can’t miss because it won’t leave, the cherry is ephemeral, making its arrival much more eagerly anticipated. I’ve been seeing them piled up on fruit carts around the city for the past month or so, but I can’t bear the thought of random street germs wafting over my fruit, so I managed (just barely) to hold off until I could be sure to get local, juicy, pesticide- and city stank-free versions at the market.

Though cherry season is fleeting, we’re blessed with an abundance during that time, which means I couldn’t decide between varieties, so they all came home with me — Queen Anne, sour cherries, and sweet. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the sour cherries other use them for cherry soup, so I googled and got a great idea from Chowhound: I’m now the proud owner of a jar of bourbon-soaked sour cherries, which will be just the thing with a Manhattan for old bourbon-soaked me.

The rest of these babies went into a jam. It was my first attempt at recreating my current (expensive, Whole Foods) favorite — cherry-strawberry-almond jam — and it came pretty close, I’m pleased to say, especially because I just winged it. Though the agar agar I used as a thickening agent went way beyond the call of duty and lent the jam more of a Jell-o texture than the loose jam I wanted, whenever I glanced at the packet I was happy enough to reminisce about my high school biology teacher discussing petri dishes lined with “aaaagah aaaagah” before she cut into a dead frog or fetal pig.

Anyway, after that lovely image, if you want the recipe for this jam, stick around. I’ll give it another go this weekend.

Iiiice Creeeeeeam!

For various reasons there was no farmers’ market for us this weekend, but we did eat our weight in ice cream sandwiches, so it wasn’t a total wash.

Who cares if the ice cream was store-bought? Just sandwich some Haagen-Dazs vanilla between homemade spicy molasses cookies and call it a party.

Like I did with the popovers, I subbed Jules Gluten-Free Flour in place of the AP flour in the recipe and the cookies came out great. It’s been my experience that gluten-free cookies spread a bit more than regular, so I used a smaller amount of dough per cookie and they were absolutely perfect. Next time, I’ll try using coconut oil instead of the butter to see if that firms them up a little bit. (There’s less moisture in the cookies from the original recipe because it calls for shortening instead of butter, but man, that stuff gives me the willies.)

recipe after the jump

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From the Market — Week 3

Caramelized Scallops with Strawberry Salsa

I haven’t come close to using everything I picked up at the market this weekend, but here’s a good sampling of what we’ve had.

Strawberries. Oh, yes. Divine, luscious, sweet, knock-your-socks-off strawberries, the memory of which will drive me away from the display at the grocery store that tries to tempt me, so redly and smugly. “Hey Amy, it’s still summer. Doesn’t a large, mealy strawberry sound delicious right about now?” Erm, no. Even more so (possibly) than tomatoes, they’re just so much better from the local growers.

They deserved a more special treatment than sliced over homemade yogurt (though they popped up there, too), so I worked up a strawberry salsa to top caramelized scallops. I tempered the fruity salsa with red wine vinegar so it would balance the naturally sweet scallops.

And we both loved it — if only I’d made more than just the appetizer portion you see here! But I set some aside for a very different, but still delicious appetizer, inspired by this post at Chocolate & Zucchini. Instead of using smoked sea salt, I smoked the remaining scallops with alder chips in my Camerons Stovetop Smoker, but otherwise stuck to the general recipe, then topped them off with fleur de sel.

It wasn’t difficult, but was a bit more trouble than the original would be. I think I’d happily feature the radishes with smoked salt for a party, just for ease of assembly.

My refrigerator is also seriously stuffed with all sorts of greens which I haven’t delved into (much) yet, but weeknight dinners are looking up!

recipe after the jump

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Who Doesn’t Love a Parfait?

Parfait of dairy-free coconut ice cream and rhubarb-strawberry topping with slivered almonds

Not me, that’s for sure. Especially during a heatwave. Especially when that heatwave comes on the heels of a winter that lasted a record-breaking two years and four months. (Well, that’s what it felt like, but I’ll be honest and say I’ll take summer and all of its stankiness over winter’s misery any day and twice on Sunday.)

But we were discussing parfait, right? When a dessert’s based on a premise of perfection, it’s tough to mess up. You can get pretty creative with it — just do a quick Google search to see what I mean — but there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, either. For these, I just layered dairy-free coconut ice cream with a rhubarb and strawberry topping I threw together in about 10 minutes, then topped it with toasted slivered almonds. And you know what? It really was perfect.

Dessert parfait

I don’t keep anything like a dairy-free diet, but there was no milk or cream in the house and I wanted needed to make ice cream. Since I usually have coconut milk in the pantry, I gave that a go with this recipe and loved the outcome — very coconutty/custardy with a rich, creamy texture. The fruit topping recipe came from here, and it’s very bare bones, but when you’ve got stunning strawberries and juicy rhubarb from the farmers’ market to work with, why gild the lily?

recipe after the jump

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From the Market — Week 2

This weekend’s farmers’ market was a great example of the early bird getting the worm. We lazed around Saturday morning instead of hitting the market when it opened and by the time I got to the vegetable booth (15 minutes before closing), the only produce available was potatoes and spring garlic. Good thing I overloaded last week and have a crisper drawer that really works; I was still set for a couple of meals this weekend.

Yes indeed, what you see up there is more pizza, but in my defense, I’ve been looking for the definitive gluten-free pizza crust and now have two in my arsenal. The batch from last weekend was featured on Shooting the Kitchen, a blog well worth your time if you’re into gorgeous food photography. The crust had a rich depth and could fool just about anyone into believing it’s the real thing, but it requires a two-hour initial rise and it’s best after spending a full day in the fridge. It’s great for the weekend, but maybe not so practical on weeknights (unless you get home far earlier than I do).

This week’s crust was from Jules Gluten-Free, and took less than an hour to make, but relies on a starchier flour combination and the taste is a little one-note. Still, if you need to turn your pie around right away, it’s a great option.

The toppings were cobbled together from last week’s market haul with minimal grocery store supplementation — sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic and red pepper powder, paper-thin lemon slices (which turned sweet under the high heat of the oven), drained ricotta, grated parmesan and the remaining garlic confit that needed to be used up this weekend. I just love throwing together lunch with whatever’s on hand.

with bacon/cider vinaigrette and toasted slivered almonds

Speaking of, that’s how Sunday’s lunch came about, too. The spinach was robust, but already a week old, so I tossed it together with the juiciest strawberries you can imagine, some toasted slivered almonds and a bit of minced shallot. For the dressing, I heated some of the rendered bacon fat from the bacon jam weekend, added a little neutral oil, cider and sherry vinegars and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s a perfectly delicious and light salad that really lets the seasonal produce shine.

Sweetness and Light

with cinnamon sugar

Aaaaaah, cinnamon-sugar popovers. Remember them? I thought they’d remain nothing more than a pleasant memory, but I had a craving and decided to test the claim that Jules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour can be subbed one-for-one with standard wheat flour.

with cinnamon sugar

I tried it once before with biscuits, and wasn’t entirely pleased with the results, but these popovers sure looked like the real thing:

with cinnamon sugar

But the flavor, the texture? How did they taste?

Indistinguishable from the real thing, which is to say, eggy, moist, light and springy.

I suspect the problem with the biscuits was just a lack of moisture. Popovers are made of a fairly thin batter, so that wasn’t an issue here. But I’ll test my biscuit theory again sometime soon and let you know.

Get the recipe from David Lebovitz in the New York Times Magazine. To make these gluten-free, just sub Jules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour one-for-one in the recipe.

From the Market — The Kickoff

Grilled potatoes, radish green pesto, shaved asparagus

We went straight from winter to summer around here, and not a moment too soon. I’m stuck in an office today instead of out enjoying perfect grilling/hanging out/whatever weather, but at least it gives me time to reflect on last weekend’s fixin’s.

We’re going to have some green on this blog and lots of it now that our local farmers’ market is back for the season! It was a bittersweet opening, as some of you know — our market is now dog-free. Poor Gil looked like a lost soul just wandering around without the boys, while I did what I always do and loaded up on good stuff to carry home. We’ll probably venture out to other markets that are dog-friendly in upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for a full report.

grilled potatoes, radish-green pesto, shaved asparagus

I felt like an appetizer to get the ball rolling, and ended up with one that would be just as good for barbecues as for a light dinner during grilling season — grilled potato rounds with radish-green pesto and shaved asparagus. It’s vegetarian, nutrient-dense and good hot or cold (though I give the nod to hot-off-the-grill because crispy grilled potatoes just can’t be beat).

grilled potatoes, radish-green pesto, shaved asparagus

It’s easily adapted to use what you have in the house. The radish-green pesto came about because I hate throwing anything away, and a pesto is just about the easiest way to use extra greens. If you don’t have radish greens or just don’t like them, use any kind of pesto you prefer. I had some garlic confit in the fridge, so I tossed the asparagus with garlic oil and lemon juice, but go ahead and use olive oil if that’s what you have.

Springtime pie

For lunch, I rejiggered my triple-garlic pizza, adding quick-pickled wild garlic & spring onions and shaved asparagus and radish-green pesto leftovers. Really good stuff.

These quick-pickled wild garlic & spring onions were inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s pickled onions.

after baking

A thin layer of mozzarella and grated parmesan and garlic confit (natch) tied the whole pizza together. We made short work of it, I’m afraid, but I still have the makings for one more pie, which should be just the thing to kick off this next weekend.

recipe after the jump

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Ready, Set, Grill!

It’s been too long since I last posted — a heady combination of travel, an insane work schedule and a cold that wouldn’t quit conspired to keep me from updating — but I had to kick off the Memorial! Day! Weekend! with something grilled, so here you go: Lamb burgers with gluten-free buns.

Atypically, I tried a new recipe for the burgers instead of going with the tried-and-true kofta concoction. It was as essentially burgery as you’d expect but I missed that depth and balance of flavor from spices thrown in by the handful, so I’ll likely stick with it next time. But I did love the toppings enough to keep them on future burgers — sun-dried tomatoes, oil-cured black olives and arugula.

Normally, when we go out for burgers, I’ll order mine without the bun and be perfectly happy, but I wanted to give gluten-free buns a try this time around since I was doing the burgerizing myownself. As always, I turned to Gluten-Free Girl for the recipe and think it’ll be my go-to for the rest of the summer. That’s assuming the buns freeze well, anyway — they took forever and a day to prepare, but were so worth it (and most of the time was resting time for the dough). I was out of potato flour, so I substituted equal parts rice flour and sorghum flour, which might’ve made the buns a little heavy, but the buns were so yeasty and, dare I say, bread-like I ate one on its own.

But you can’t have a burger without fronsh fries (why, that’s un-American!), so I dug deep into the archives for my standard oven-baked garlic fries that I see no need to depart from.

So Happy Memorial Day Weekend and unofficial start to summer! Hope the weather’s as nice where you are as it (finally) is here, and you can take advantage of it with a little grilling.

Oh, and our weekly Ringwood Farmers’ Market starts again this weekend! So much to look forward to . . . fresh vegetables, organic fruits, and quality meats and eggs that only traveled a few miles to get here. Can’t get better than that.