Field to Feast: Strawberries & Rhubarb, Part I

To be perfectly honest, rhubarb won’t make an appearance until the second post, but I hope you’ll forgive me, because today’s strawberry galette is a doozy on its own. And that was a surprise to me, because I usually find cooked strawberries a bit underwhelming on their own.

Galettes are one of my favorite desserts to make when spring rolls around because they’re incredibly easy and are supposed to look like crap RUSTIC, imperfection being a key selling point of this dessert! And honestly, I need no particular encouragement to make my baked goods look RUSTIC and HOMEY!

Gluten-Free Strawberry Galette at Minimally Invasive

See? RUSTIC! 

I’ve always been happy enough with the crust I use for galettes; it’s shot through with cornmeal, which gives it some heft and a really pleasing crunch that goes so, so well with whatever filling I’m using. This time around, I did swap out AP flour for Cup4Cup because I bake gluten-free now, but it worked perfectly.

My relationship with fruit fillings has always been a bit complicated. I like the individual berries to still have some form after baking — mushiness doesn’t do it for me — while tossing them with flour seems to muddle things on the visual and flavor fronts. I honestly didn’t think there was anything to be done about the flour because the juice that develops during baking has to go somewhere, but I was wrong to think there wasn’t another approach. Oh, so wrong. While looking around for some general amount of flour to use on the strawberries, I found a really interesting way around it; using ground almonds mixed with flour and sugar as a base layer, then topping it with sugared berries.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Galette at Minimally Invasive

You can see above how the berries still glisten with sugar (and with balsamic vinegar, one of my special additions that really adds some complexity to the dessert) before baking. I nibbled on so many of these before putting the galette in the oven that I’m surprised the pastry was still filled by the time it started baking.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Galette at Minimally Invasive

But the minimal amount of self-control I exhibited paid off with a dessert I’ll be making again and again while strawberries are still in market. The ground almond layer handled the juices like a champ and kept the strawberries looking and tasting exactly as they should, even after baking.

You can use any combination of berries you like in a galette, so if strawberries aren’t your thing, maybe blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or even cherries would be more to your liking. Or maybe rhubarb. Or later in the year, maybe try apple or pear…

Learn about growing strawberries and check out the delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce at The FarmGirl Cooks!

Strawberry Galette adapted from Cooking Light and Laura Calder/Cooking Channel

The ground almond layer added a very subtle almond flavor, which I loved. If you want more of it, use the optional almond extract.

Pastry Crust
1 3/4 cups Cup4Cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup buttermilk
Turbinado sugar, for dusting

Filling
1/2 cup ground almonds, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon Cup4Cup flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 pints strawberries, hulled and halved if large
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional

To prepare pastry crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a food processor; pulse two times. Add butter to flour mixture; pulse 4 to 5 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add buttermilk through food chute; process just until dough forms a ball. Gently press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Unwrap dough and place on a sheet of parchment paper, dusting with flour if dough feels a little tacky to the touch. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll dough into a 15-inch circle. Carefully peel off top piece of parchment and slide dough with bottom sheet of parchment onto a baking sheet.

To prepare filling, whisk together almonds, Cup4Cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon onto prepared pastry, leaving a 2-3-inch gap around the edges. Combine strawberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar, balsamic vinegar and optional almond extract, then spoon carefully onto the almond flour mixture.

Using a bench scraper, carefully fold edges of pastry up and over the strawberry filling. If you see any rips, pinch to seal. Lightly sprinkle edges of dough with turbinado sugar.

Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes to one hour, or until pastry is golden brown and strawberry juices are bubbling. Carefully slide galette still on parchment paper onto a rack. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Finally!

coconut flour, almond flour

After choking down loads of dense, eggy breads, biscuits and pancakes that felt like they were expanding in my throat, I decided coconut flour just didn’t live up to its reputation as an exciting (or even acceptable) paleo/gluten-free flour. No matter what it was blended with, the results were off just enough to remind me that I was eating a substitute for the real thing. But high praise from Jenny at MFAMB for a chocolate chip cookie made with a blend of coconut and almond flours* but no eggs led me to reconsider. The recipe at Cookie & Kate sounded deceptively simple, so I went straight to the kitchen to test the vegan version** with coconut oil. After cooling them on the pan until they were firm enough to be handled — 10-15 minutes — I bit into a delicious, standard chocolate chip cookie that was crisp at the edges and soft in the center. I defy anyone to identify them as gluten-free by taste alone.

coconut flour, almond flour

Naturally, I also baked a batch with butter instead of oil, but I made a few other big changes at the same time:

  • I browned the butter instead of just melting it, because brown butter makes everything better.
  • Taking a cue from the awesome Jacques Torres cookie recipe that swept the food world several years ago, I rested the dough in the refrigerator for three days before baking.
  • I doubled the size of the cookies from one tablespoon to two, flattened them slightly, and topped each with a sprinkle Maldon sea salt before baking for 13 minutes.

Weirdly, the butter amplified the coconut flavor more than the coconut oil did, but otherwise, I much preferred the second batch. It’s a heftier cookie that gets its only crunch from the sea salt, which accents the chocolate and just leaves you wanting more. And more. And still more.

Gluten-free bakers, this one’s a home run. Be sure to try this recipe.

* For the record, I used JK Gourmet Almond Flour rather than the more easily found Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour, which probably had a lot to do with the smooth texture that mimics regular flour. If you use almond meal, I’m sure you’ll produce a cookie every bit as delicious as these, just a bit coarser.

** For vegan cookies, be sure to buy dairy-free chocolate chips. I know you dedicated vegans always read labels, but when you’re just starting out, it’s sometimes easy to forget.

Day 22, Alfajores

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 21

Hmmmm. These cookies, these cookies, these cookies…

I’ve had alfajores in the back of mind ever since Matt Armendariz first posted about them five years ago. I finally got around to making them this week, but my experience with them was mixed. Oh, they were delicious, as you’d expect from a dessert so dependent on cajeta. And the cookies themselves weren’t especially difficult to make; they didn’t spread at all in the oven, which can’t always be said about gluten-free dough. But the filling kept oozing out of them because I never quite got my cajeta to the perfect consistency despite cooking, cooling, cooking again, and cooling again. I realize this is entirely my fault, which is why I wanted to post about it anyway; you may have better luck than I did, after all. And if I wasn’t taking pictures for this blog, the consistency of the cajeta wouldn’t have been an issue, because who doesn’t love a layer of gooey caramel sandwiched between two cookies?

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 22

Come to think of it, maybe there was no problem at all. Have I mentioned that they were delicious?

Maybe rolling the edges in coconut as instructed would’ve helped, but I left it out because I didn’t want to interfere with the cajeta flavor.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 22

Get the recipe here and make it gluten-free with Cup4Cup Flour. The cajeta, as ever, came from Rick Bayless. I do heart him.

Day 19, Fig & Blue Cheese Savouries

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 19

While it may seem that all we do is consume sugar around here, salty or savory foods are what really do it for me. When I do want a little sugar, though, I’m happiest at the intersection of savory and sweet, which is exactly where today’s treats are located.

A few weeks ago, I was looking over my copy of the new Food52 Cookbook before its launch party when these beauties jumped off the page and demanded to be made. As always, I adapted this stellar recipe with gluten-free flour, but this time it took a little coaxing to get the results of regular flour. Still, this minimal extra work was rewarded with flaky, delicate pastries, so don’t let it scare you off.

(And how’s this for a shameless plug? Be sure to check out my recipe for Short Rib Ragu in the winter chapter of the Food52 Cookbook!)

recipe after the jump

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Day 18, Chocolate Chunkers

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 18

These chocolate chunkers may not be the most attractive cookies ever to grace a blog, but they surely rank among the most delicious. And why wouldn’t they? Dorie Greenspan developed the recipe. ’nuff said.

I’m a batter eater from way back and honestly had a hard time convincing myself to cook these at all, but after resting for 10 minutes out of the oven they somehow improved upon what I thought was perfection. As we nibbled in the following days, Gil and I took to microwaving the cookies for 15 seconds or so to melt the chocolate a tiny bit, which was a great idea; they’re rich, and one is perfectly satisfying when they’re ever so slightly gooey.

Did you know that you can click on any image and it’ll take you to its flickr page? I only bring that up because, unless you’re using the biggest of monitors, the following behemoth will be tough to view in one window. Sorry ’bout that, but these cookies merited an ingredient shot. Plus, I’d just bought that chocolate spear, which is AWESOME and makes chunking chocolate from a big bar so much easier than doing it with a knife.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 18

Get the recipe here. The only changes I made were to substitute equal parts dried bing cherries and chopped apricots for the raisins, and Cup4Cup flour for the AP flour.

Day 15, Sweet Potato Pie

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 15

Today, we liberate sweet potato pie from the tyranny of Thanksgiving! We free it from the bonds of turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans! No more shall this dessert be relegated to one holiday when 364 days of the year are so glaringly sweet potato pie-deficient. Radiating a spirit of Christmas generosity, give the world a slice of heaven; I assure you, no right-minded pie-eating person could deny it.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 15

Like a lot of people, I grew up eating pumpkin pie, which was fine because I didn’t know better; the spices were there, but the flabby, wet consistency was a turnoff. I grew up with this idea that sweet potato pie could be amazing because my dad gets this dreamy look in his eyes when he talks about the ones his co-worker used to bring in. But he never tried to duplicate them at home, so sometime in adulthood I discovered sweet potato pie on my own and wondered if there were other secrets my family kept from me all those years. If you can have the real thing, why suffer through a Jell-o approximation?

W. Kamau Bell put sweet potato pie front and center in his Thanksgiving episode, maintaining, “Black people like sweet potato pie and white people are wrong.” If the breakdown is that stark, then yeah, he’s got us there. So I’m getting evangelical about it . . . Make This Pie! The gluten-free version is just as good as the regular, so you really have no excuse.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 15

I also made my own pie spice, using the recipe here. Totally worth it to have something so fresh and, you know, spicy on hand. As the recipe yields a lot, it gives me plenty of reason to make more pies as often as possible.

So treat yourself this holiday season. Make a sweet potato pie.

recipe after the jump

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Day 8, Macaroons

Chocolate-Drizzled Pecan Macaroons

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 8

For our Save the Date wedding cards, Gil and I originally wanted something along the lines of, “A Cajun Mennonite and a Jew walk into a bar…” Upon further reflection, we decided fielding questions or hearing the end of the joke from a couple hundred people while we were planning a wedding in another city wasn’t the brightest idea, so the card defaulted to more traditional wording. But you can see that, right from the very beginning, we knew how to blend.

While we both came into this thing with an appreciation for Mel Brooks and Faulkner House Books, Gil has taken on LSU football and the whole “Christmas with a large family + boudin” thing with gusto, and I’ve learned to appropriate a few of his holidays while putting a southern spin on them. Example the first: Pecan-Brown Sugar Macaroons.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 8

. . . with bourbon vanilla extract and drizzled chocolate! Happy Hanukkah, y’all! (I know I should be frying something instead, but these are easier and leave my house smelling a whole lot better.)

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 8

I started with my go-to recipe from the past few years, but wasn’t sure what the added moisture from the brown sugar would do, so I used a little less. The pecans were a one-for-one swap for the almonds, and the bourbon-vanilla because you can’t have pecans and brown sugar without a little bourbon, amirite? (I’ll get to the finer points of making your own vanilla extract in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.) I probably don’t have to tell you how delicious these were, so I’ll just let Ru do the talking . . .

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 8

Honestly! I took Otis out for five minutes and came back to discover this. My initial surprise turned to wonder. Why did he leave three? Is he ok? Is he saving them for a midnight snack? To quote Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad; that’s amazing!” (And yeah, we got confirmation that Ru was the guilty party during our walk the next morning. That jerk.)

Chocolate-Drizzled Pecan Macaroons
Print
Pecan Macaroons
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Pecan macaroons with bourbon and brown sugar, glazed with melted chocolate.

Course: Snack
Servings: 16
Calories: 68 kcal
Ingredients
  • .25 cup organic palm sugar, or brown sugar packed
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • .25 cup pecan pieces toasted and finely chopped
  • .5 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (or pure vanilla extract)
  • pinch coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flour
  • .25 cup bittersweet chocolate chips melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Whisk together sugar and egg white in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and allow mixture to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Form dough into sixteen 1-tablespoon mounds and drop each onto sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake macaroons until golden-brown on bottoms and edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

  3. To finish, using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cooled macaroons. Macaroons will keep, covered, for up to one week.

  4. Macaroons will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Adapted heavily from Martha Stewart.

Day 4, Lemon Curd Tart

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

I just love the bright zing of a citrus dessert, don’t you? Chocolate has its place — I’ve known and loved many chocolate desserts over the years — but citrus just seems fresher and lighter on the palate, if not in calories. This tart came about through a bit of trial and error, but I was very happy with the final product and hope you will be, too!

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

The fillings are quite sweet — apple-lemon curd topped with candied orange peel — so a buttery almond crust is the perfect foil. Elana’s Pantry is my go-to site for anything almond-flour related, and this simple, rich tart crust did not disappoint. Just be sure to make the base as thick as the sides. You can see my base was a bit too thin which caused a few problems when cutting.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

Instead of a straightforward lemon curd, I searched for something that would play well with apple, as my original idea was to top this with roasted apples (which fell apart, hence the candied orange peel) and found an interesting recipe for a Bramley apple-lemon curd. Bramleys are a variety of cooking apple popular in the UK, quite sour, and quite impossible to find in the states. Still, the recipe was intriguing enough that I substituted the tartest varieties of apple I could get my hands on and walked away with a sweet, delicate filling for the tart. Now that I think about it, I wonder if quince would be an acceptable substitute for Bramleys. Hmmm…anyone?

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

I have to admit I chose the candied orange peel for aesthetic reasons, as I did the amount shown in the photos, but apart from the difficulty it caused slicing the tart, it was a good choice. I’d advise topping the already-cut pieces with a few slivers of peel just before serving to make life a lot easier.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

But the absolute best part about this recipe? It’s a two- three- four-fer. Is that even a thing? The recipe makes a LOT of lemon curd, which is a wonderful homemade gift, assuming it can be refrigerated soon after you give it. Packaged with a little porcelain spoon and a sleeve of shortbread cookies, I promise it’ll bring a smile to your food-lover’s face. The orange peel recipe also yields a metric shit-ton, so give those as gifts, too, or make them even more special by dipping them in melted bittersweet chocolate first. LOVE. And then there’s the remaining orange syrup…stay tuned for that one.

recipe after the jump

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Day 1, Mini Apple Pies

Hello, and welcome to this year’s Advent Calendar! Are you in the holiday spirit now that December’s here? Maybe you’re the organized sort with your shopping done and presents wrapped. Maybe you’re dreading the idea and hope to put it off for another day. If so, consider yourself among friends; have a glass of prosecco and hang out for a bit. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’m here to help! My goal with this series is to post every day till Christmas with gift ideas and recipes (many southern-inflected, all gluten-free). Think of it as my own NaBloWriMo, only my failure is guaranteed the posts are planned to end on Christmas day. Wish me luck; it’s a huge undertaking for someone who typically posts once a month.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 1

You won’t find sweet stuff here everyday, but let’s start off with a bang, shall we? For your consideration, mini apple pies: all the goodness of the deep dish version, but portable, adorable and (hint, hint) perfect for giving. If you’re missing Hubig’s —and who isn’t? — okay, this isn’t the same, but close your eyes and pretend for a bit, then send some love their way.

For this recipe, as ever, I turned to Joy the Baker, who is unable to steer you wrong in matters of pie. Like Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson sifted together, she’ll buck you up and won’t let you fail. But even if you do (hey, shit happens), it’s still pie, and you can eat your mistakes.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 1

Once again, I brought out my prized Cup4Cup flour, which cured me of a fear of pie crusts. I don’t fear much in the kitchen and mostly keep my cool no matter what, but I absolutely am a big old drama queen when it comes to pies. Silly, I know, but you weren’t around to witness my abject failure whenever I tried to make a gluten-free version. Vapors were experienced, cursing ensued. But this flour is a dream to work with and the flavor’s right up there, too.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 1

But you’re not here to read about my issues. You want pie, and pie you shall have. With pictures. After the jump.

Continue reading “Day 1, Mini Apple Pies”

Another Hanukkah, Another Macaroon

Hanukkah treat

I’m heading to Louisiana tomorrow for an extra-long (and warm-weathered) Christmas visit with my family! (Cue happy dance.) Gil has to work this week, so he’ll join us after spending a few days alone with the dogfaces. Since I won’t be around for the start of Hanukkah, I thought I’d make Gil a batch of chocolate-drizzled macaroons to remember me by.

Hanukkah
I was still working on my drizzling technique with these first few, but they’re charming in a jolie laide sort of way, right?

Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it! Next up: something savory to balance all of the sugar I’ve been posting…

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Another Hanukkah, Another Macaroon”