Gravlax with a Twist

Blueberry & Coriander Gravlax with Quick Pickles

Gravlax is something I only think to make a couple of times a year, and then kick myself for not having it at least monthly. It’s incredibly simple to make — the only difficulty is leaving enough refrigerator space for a few days’ curing time — it keeps well and for much longer than you’re likely to have it around, and it’s impressive enough to serve at parties or holiday gatherings. I’m the only one in the house who’ll enjoy gravlax in its standard dill-heavy format, so when I came across a recipe for blueberry-and-coriander gravlax in my weekly Taste email, I jumped on the opportunity to share it with Gil (and with you as well, since I decided to break my blogging fast just to tell you about it).

It’s a treat in every way. I mean, just look at it. They say you eat first with your eyes, and that’s surely true here, especially if you like bold, lively color on your plate. The texture is firm and the flavor is subtly sweet with zesty pops from the coriander and lemon. I honestly can’t gush enough about it.

But wait, there’s more! Darcie Hunter of Gourmet Creative came over to style this up for the cuttingboard.com photo contest we’re entering (#cutthecheese2017, ya’ll!) and brought over some of her homemade pickles to pair with it. She also whipped up a quick horseradish-and-sour-cream topping, and the combo of the gravlax with the pickles and horseradish was outrageously good. Check out Darcie’s pickle recipe at her blog and our behind-the-scenes photo on my Instagram feed, showing off my new cucoloris baby.

If you’re looking for a new spin on an old classic, do give this gravlax recipe a try! You can find it here, and while you’re at it, sign up for their emails. You’ll be happy you did.

This is the Pie You’re Looking For…

I’m pretty sure blueberries employ some kind of Jedi mind trick on me when I see them at the market. They coo as I pass, suggesting, “Strawberries are not the fruit you’re looking for; you will buy blueberries instead. We are better for you and more delicious.” How else to explain coming home with THREE QUARTS of them last weekend when I rarely eat fresh blueberries? It makes no sense, but I’ve come to terms with my inability to resist them if I wander in their vicinity. Do you have this problem, too? Ah well, it gave me some new items for my portfolio and today’s dessert, so I’m not complaining.

Without a plan and far too many berries (and nectarines, as it turned out) languishing in the refrigerator, I decided that pie would be a good idea. Yeah, I know. Pie/the bane of my existence/the very reason I hate baking. But I’m determined to make a go of pie for fear I’ll forfeit my Mennonite card forever if I don’t. I’m not sure what made me attempt a lattice-top version when I have trouble with a standard crust, but I sought instructions at Simply Recipes and it seemed doable, even ::gasp:: easy. And I was very pleased with the results! The lattice top is impressive and disguises flaws well; you love this pie and didn’t notice that I over-floured the edges.

Blueberries aren’t the only ones who can use Jedi mind trick. Hmph.

Now that my crust is semi-presentable, I really have to work on getting my fruit fillings right. It seems they’re either too juicy or too firm; I’ve never hit that sweet spot, which I think will come with experience. For this pie, I used the Cup4Cup crust recipe from this post, but rejiggered the filling a tiny bit. Because ground almonds worked so well as a juice-absorbing layer in my strawberry galette, I thought they’d be pretty successful here, too. I used about 1/4 cup of almond flour and it added a nice flavor, but my nectarines were freakishly juicy and overwhelmed the best efforts of the almonds. I’ll try double that next time if conditions seem the same. I’m sure I’ll have another blueberry situation before summer’s over, after all.

Gluten-Free Blueberry-Nectarine Pie | Minimally Invasive

Cup4Cup Week: The Biscuits

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While pie-baking has long vexed me, biscuits only began to do so when I went gluten-free. In my mind, biscuits are the true test of a gluten-free flour blend, because none I’ve tried to this point has given me an acceptable biscuit, much to my eternal Southern disappointment. No amount of cane syrup could make those starchy hockey pucks palatable, and I practically wilted from each letdown while the vapors nearly overcame me, dahlin’.

But one of Cup4Cup‘s great claims is that you can sub it for AP flour in your recipes, so I gave this a go with a simple recipe from Three Many Cooks. And you know what? They weren’t only passable, but truly good. I’m talking airy and moist, the way a good biscuit should be.

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Just look at them! Don’t you want to load up a plate and slather them with sweet butter?

For pie recipe with Cup4Cup Flour, click here.

recipe after the jump

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Cup4Cup Week: The Pie

Gluten-Free Pie with Cup4Cup flour

You can blame/thank Joy the Baker for this entire week of posts. If not for her gorgeous strawberry-ginger pie and enthusiastic championing of Cup4Cup Flour, I never even would’ve attempted this pie, much less five posts on the topic of… flour. My frustration with the intersection of pie crusts and small countertops is well-documented on this site, but I miss having a good slice of pie, especially after going gluten-free. See, I LOVE pie. I’m a pie girl. If you give me a choice of cake or pie, I’ll choose pie every day and twice on Sunday. I’m not too picky on the filling as long as it’s freshly-made and not dumped in from a can, but a bland or god-forbid bad crust really offends my delicate sensibilities. As Joy’s detailed instructions gave me hope of making my own pie with an amazing crust, I dove in after receiving my flour order.

Gluten-Free Pie Dough with Cup4Cup flour

Looks like pie dough, right? There’s usually a trade-off with gf flours: you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough, but it’s often so sticky, it’s tough to approximate an old favorite recipe. Not the case here, though! Win-win!

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I didn’t buy strawberries at the market, but did come home with a load of beautiful peaches and blueberries, so I swapped out the filling. Like I said, I’m not that picky.

Gluten-Free Pie with Cup4Cup flour

Into the crust it went. I was down a peach, so the filling wasn’t as bountiful as it should’ve been, but it didn’t matter too much in the end.

Gluten-Free Pie with Cup4Cup flour

Sure, my crimping skills aren’t up to par, but let’s just call this intentionally rustic and leave it at that. I topped it with a mixture of palm sugar and cinnamon instead of white sugar because I’ve been on a real palm sugar kick lately; it can be subbed one-for-one with white sugar but has a much more complex flavor, somewhere between cane sugar and brown sugar without the added moisture. I just love it and it gives a little color to your baked goods. It’s also in the spotlight at the moment because it’s supposed to be low on the glycemic index. I don’t eat enough sugar to be that concerned with sweeteners, but if you do, you might want to look into it.

Since this was the first thing I baked with Cup4Cup flour and I’ve decided to turn it into a review series, you’ve probably already drawn the conclusion that it’s pretty good stuff. And it is. No complaints at all so far. Of course, the pie crust isn’t as flaky as one with AP flour would be, but it was leagues better than any other gluten-free crust I’ve tried — flavorful and tender. It’s a pretty starchy flour blend, but not so starchy that the crust squeaks when you bite into it. And it browns beautifully. Thomas Keller’s no slouch, as it turns out. Heh. On the basis of this pie alone, I’d recommend Cup4Cup.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Cup4Cup Week: The Pie”

2 cakes:1 weekend. A good ratio.

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Gil, Rufus and I spent Saturday with the Connecticut branch of the family. In the spirit of being a good guest, I wanted to bring a little something for lunch, but couldn’t choose between a panzanella and dessert, when the September issue of Gourmet magazine decided things for me with their recipe for Nectarine Golden Cake. The picture was gorgeous (of course) and it sounded just like the kind of dessert I favor (simple and homey, no chocolate), but best of all, I already had all of the ingredients in my kitchen (yay!).

We got to the Levin’s right around lunchtime and Ru introduced himself to his canine cousins:

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Yes, you’re seeing correctly. That’s 3 golden retrievers, a labrador puppy and Ru. It was chaos, but the best kind.

Annie (the puppy) stood still for a few seconds so I could take her picture:

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Then she ran around like a madwoman and eventually collapsed on Ru’s bed:

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He didn’t mind. Ru had no need for a bed, as he was following Gil from room to room pleading to return to his quiet life in Ringwood. Or maybe he was just angling for a treat. He isn’t really all that picky.

But back to the cake. It was a big hit. Shame I didn’t make two, but my mind was sleep-addled in the morning and it just didn’t occur to me, so we all had small slices of cake mounded with fresh berries. It was a healthier option.

Our friend Ann came by with her gorgeous baby Sunday afternoon, so I tried another version of the cake with blueberries instead of nectarines and topped it with turbinado sugar. I was expecting to like it even more, but honestly, it was only every bit as good as the other. Which was still a home run.

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Summer lovin’

Oh, boy, do I ever love summer — buying berries by the quart doesn’t require a loan, and the best desserts are the simplest, like this blueberry and blackberry galette.

<Sigh> It actually makes me a little sad, knowing this will come to an end so soon. </Sigh> Guess I’ll just enjoy it while I can and take lots of pictures to tide me over during the long winter to come.

And hey, there’s always apple crisp season to look forward to!

recipe after the jump

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Another post about pancakes

The comments section of a well-traveled food blog can be a pretty useful and interesting place to visit. For the same reason I enjoy reading letters to the editor in a magazine, I’ll at least skim comments on a post that has caught my attention.

Sunday morning, I found myself back at Smitten Kitchen‘s pancake tutorial because I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more with my blueberry stash than to toss them in a big stack of pancakes for breakfast. (My runner-up would’ve been a galette, but you know how I feel about pastry dough, and I just couldn’t face failure so early in the morning; I find it sets a bad tone for the day.) And even though hunger was calling and I wanted to eat close to immediately, I started to skim the comments section out of habit. Good thing, too, because one of them left a rave review of another recipe that sounded more intriguing than the traditional buttermilk pancake. I googled it and was off!

This recipe was posted by The Wednesday Chef, who adapted it from the NY Times Magazine. I adapted it further, substituting blueberries for the cranberries, and loved it; Gil even nodded his approval between bites. The cornmeal in the batter gave these pancakes just the slightest crunch, the hefty amount of baking powder made them light and fluffy, and because the batter wasn’t too sweet, topping them with a goodly amount of maple syrup didn’t send us to a sugary slumberland. At least not right away.

recipe after the jump

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