Tag Archives: gluten-free

Cantaloupe-mint sorbet, or we got an ice cream maker!

6 Jun

I can now point to a time when Twitter actively changed my life.  My internet pal/fairy blogmother Evelyn Lamb  tweeted a few months back about how great homemade yogurt is, and she sent me her recipe for it (future post).  Then she mentioned that it also makes great HOMEMADE FROZEN YOGURT.  I love frozen yogurt and what other people spend at Starbucks, I spend at frozen yogurt joints.  I asked (this entire conversation is somewhere on Twitter) if it’s worth it to get an ice cream machine, and she said yes, so I added it to our crate and barrel wedding registry, not thinking anyone would get it for us (we had 25 people at our wedding).  Turns out people who don’t come to your wedding still like buying you gifts, so now we have an ice cream maker!  WOOHOO!

Speaking of gifts, husband got me some flowers as a welcome-home present from that conference I went to in Ann Arbor (more on that later).

This is the least flour-y photo ever put on a baking post in this blog

This is the least flour-y photo ever put on a baking post in this blog

I loved the arrangement, and I especially loved that they put fresh mint into it!  Immediately after getting me from the train station we went grocery shopping, and I picked up a cantaloupe and a lemon.  I came home to that new ice cream maker, and knew what had to happen.

Sugar and water might be a great match, but their parents are traditionalists- they can't elope.

Sugar and water might be a great match, but their parents are traditionalists- they can’t elope.

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell if I'm joking, or if I mint every word in my captions

Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell if I’m joking, or if I mint every word in my captions

Sorbet is actually pretty easy: make a sugar syrup (or use honey or agave), and blend it with your fruit+ flavors.  I boiled a cup of water with a cup of sugar, then let it simmer while I cut up a cantaloupe.

Mmm... melons

Mmm… melons

He's water.  And boy, he'll

He’s water. And boy, he’ll (BO-IL)

be excited to see his sweetheart.

be excited to see his SWEETheart.

Let's give them some privacy to mix

Let’s give them some privacy to mix

I have yet to figure out a reasonable way to cut up a melon.  I just sort of hack it into chunks.  That’s fine for this, because you just throw it in a food processor/blender with the juice of a lemon and some mint leaves until it’s pureed.

Water might start getting jealous- cantaloupe is looking very (c)hunky!

Water might start getting jealous- cantaloupe is looking very (c)hunky!

Did ya hear there was a breakout at the Spooner grove?  Jemons on the loose!  Err... Lemons on the juice!

Did ya hear there was a breakout at the Spooner grove? Jemons on the loose! Err… Lemons on the juice!

Then you mix in enough sugar syrup to taste.  I made a cup of simple syrup, but only used about 3/4 of it.  You want to make the mixture a little bit sweeter than you like, since freezing it makes it less sweet (ice crystals… science… stuff…).

I sometimes wish I'd been born two weeks early so I could be a Torus, sign of the bowl (wow that doesn't make any sense!  Worst bowl ever!)

I sometimes wish I’d been born two weeks early so I could be a Torus, sign of the bowl (wow that doesn’t make any sense! Worst bowl ever!)

Then throw it in your ice cream maker and let it run for 20 minutes or so!  I’ve never used one before so it was pretty amazing to see it go from complete liquid to this thickened substance stuff.

Everything was mixed up earlier.  Glad we got it SOR(be)TED out.

Everything was mixed up earlier. Glad we got it SOR(be)TED out.

By the time this was done, our steak was resting and salad on the table, so I scooped it into a tupperware and put it in the freezer until we were ready to eat it.  I love the brightness of the mint and lemon popping out of the sweet taste of cantaloupe (which I evidently love from that smoothie post).

Missed the sorbet this time...

Missed the sorbet this time…

Cantaloupe-mint sorbet, adapted to be an easier version of this Better Homes and Gardens recipe:

1 cantaloupe

1 c sugar

1 lemon

5 sprigs of mint

 

Bring 1 c of water + 1 c sugar to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer until thickened while you dice the cantaloupe, leaf the mint, and slice the lemon.

Turn off the heat under the simple syrup, and if you have electric, move the pot to let the syrup cool.  Meanwhile, puree the cantaloupe, mint, and lemon in a food processor (you will probably have to do this in batches) until smooth.  Then add cooled sugar syrup to taste (somewhere between 1/2 c and 1 c, depending on your melon).

Refrigerate while you do other stuff, or don’t (I put in a load of laundry, read a bit of math, and started dinner, which took about two hours).

Throw it in your ice cream maker and let it whir for 20 minutes until it looks good.  Put in an airtight container in the freezer.  It’s so good.

Homemade flavored salts, or quick wedding favors

13 Apr

Many apologies for delay since last post.  My Yale talk went over great, and I meant to make a Q&A: Grad School post with all the questions the undergraduates asked and my answers, but my amanuensis didn’t take any notes!  Since then I’ve been reading a lot of cool stuff, including this awesome paper by the awesome Matt Clay.  So hopefully I can get that paper into a blog post, as well as some cool math from the SECOND annual Midwest Women In Mathematics Symposium (the first one was last year at UIC, mentioned in that blog post).  But this is not a math post.

I cannot imagine doing this for a wedding of more than 25 people (and really I did favors per household so I only made 14), but if you had helpful friends then knock yourself out.  These are also “fill in the blank” favors or small gifts (housewarming?).  I made four types of flavored salts, which are SUPER EASY and fairly quick if you just let them dry out for a day or two instead of baking them.  They mostly follow the same idea:

Take X amount of salt, and mix thoroughly with Y amount of flavoring using your fingers.  Spread on a baking sheet and let dry in a not-humid room for a day or two.  Package cutely.  Note the lack of equipment, expertise, or active time!

Most flavorful: Sriracha salt

This one is a darling of the internet and is straight from the Sriracha cookbook, which I do not own nor think I ever will (we own two or three cookbooks right now: my mom’s 1970s copies of “Joy of Cooking,” a Three-Ingredient Cookbook from my sister-in-law, and possibly his copy of Rachel Ray’s 30-Minute Meals, which he claims is a misnomer).  I did 1 1/2 c salt + 1/4 c + 2 TB Sriracha.

It'd be great to make a robot that could play the music of British progressive rock bands.  It'd be called "Bot-Tull" (Jethro in case people didn't get the reference)

It’d be great to make a robot that could play the music of British progressive rock bands. It’d be called “Bot-Tull” (Jethro in case you didn’t get the reference)

Mix that up with chopsticks until there are just little clumps left, and lay it out for a day or two.  This ends up being pretty chunky, so people recommend beating it (wrap in a towel and hit with a rolling pin) or pulsing it in a food processor, but I am lazy so my guests got chunky Sriracha salt.

Orange you glad I only make bad puns sometimes?

Orange you glad I only make bad puns sometimes?

Prettiest: Rosemary salt

This one is the opposite of the last, in that it’s not all over the internet and the Martha Stewart website I got it off of kept being down.  Other recipes call for a food processor and just pulsing the rosemary to teeny bits, but I actively hate having pieces of rosemary in my food so I went with rosemary scented salt.

You should go lie down, salt, you're looking a little green around the edges

You should go lie down, salt, you’re looking a little green around the edges

You heat up rosemary with salt in a pot (I did 1 1/4 c salt + 4 stick/twigs of rosemary) and stir every minute or two for 10-ish minutes until little pieces of rosemary start falling off and it smells good, then put it in a tupperware and forget about it for a few hours.

Some parts fell off, but I'm at piece with that

Some parts fell off, but I’m at piece with that

Or you’re Martha Stewart and you remember about it after five minutes and cover it.  In any case, pop a lid on that and leave it for a day or three.  It’ll smell SO GOOD when you take off that lid.  For packaging, I popped a teeny piece of fresh rosemary in to each little jar and topped it with salt, discarding the big pieces and leaving in the little cooked parts.

Most unusual: Vanilla salt

I still don’t really know what to do with this one.  I bought a vanilla bean from the store, which I’ve never seen before, and mixed it into a cup of salt using my hands.  You use your fingernails and scrape out the inside from the bean-holder-thing (pod?), and then use your fingers and massage it into the salt.  It smells good!  Then spread it out and let dry like the others.

Best smelling/most versatile: Citrus salt

This is a fun one: take 1 1/4 c of salt, and zest a bunch of citrus over it.  I used two oranges, two lemons, and two limes.

We're naked... is that appeeling to you?  Actually 'fruit porn' is a thing (sometimes it's just food porn, and sometimes it's I don't know what I don't want to click on the links)

We’re naked… is that appeeling to you? Actually ‘fruit porn’ is a thing (sometimes it’s just food porn, and sometimes it’s I don’t know what I don’t want to click on the links)

Use your fingertips to crush the zest into the salt, releasing the yummy smelling oils, and then spread out a baking sheet.

A far better than usual interpretation of "yellow snow"

A far better than usual interpretation of “yellow snow”

I tried to dry this in the oven and hated the results and did it over again- I cooked it too hot and it sucked all the citrus flavor out. Plus you have to pay attention to the oven and who likes to do that?  (Possibly readers of baking blogs, but let’s forget about that…)

Sometimes I just want to yell, "Ogre in da house!" when I'm feeling the opposite of orange.

Sometimes I just want to yell, “Ogre in da house!” when I’m feeling the opposite of orange.

I packaged these in small jars I found on Amazon, but my maid of honor sent me cuter ones which I thought were too small: about two ounces of flavored salt is pretty good.

2014-04-08_08-34-15_232We buy 4 oz jars of flavored salts when we do so (it’s always truffle salt), so half that for a favor sounds perfect to me.  Plus the colored lids precluded the need to label each jar, which would’ve been a pain for ~50 tiny jars.  I threw them in clear favor bags I picked up a Target, along with a printout of a Bible verse/Byrds song, some suggestions on how to use the salts, and a thank-you tag.

2014-04-08_08-34-25_656 2014-04-08_08-34-38_2192014-04-08_09-05-09_289

Total cost:

20 count Favor bags (Target): $2

Ribbon (Target): $3

Printing (Fedex/Kinkos): $5

Salt (Grocery store): $4

Vanilla Bean (Grocery store): $3 (!)

=$17 if you don’t count stuff you’re going to use anyway

2014-04-08_09-05-23_226

Lemons, Limes, Oranges (store): $5? (and then we ate them later, so basically free!)

Bottle of Sriracha (store): $6? (we’ve had this for awhile)

Rosemary (store): $3 (and then we ate some lamb with it!)

=$31 if you count things you will eat

I’ll leave this post with something I thought was ridiculous when I went to Target.  Also, shout out to the amazing Alliance Bakery for the BEAUTIFUL job they did with our cake!  I’ll post pictures of that cake up when I get some.  It was lemon with a mango mousse filling.  Yum!

Why would you buy these?

Why would you buy these?

My mom’s thit kho (Vietnamese braised pork with eggs)

22 Dec

So I said in my one-year anniversary post that the next post would be this recipe.  I apologize for lying.  I’ll try hard not to!

This is one of my favorite comfort foods.  It reminds me of my dad.  He didn’t make a wide variety of foods, but the ones he did he did right- bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew) with fresh bread from the store, bun mang vit (duck noodle soup with bamboo), pho ga (chicken pho, using two chickens), prime rib with twice-baked potatoes, and thit kho.  I also remember a lot of broccoli covered in cheese whiz, green beans dipped in hard boiled eggs crushed into soy sauce, and crackers covered in pieces of banana and cheese (I just tried to google this and got a woman who ate bananas + cheez whiz.  I am not willing to recreate this to show you a picture, you’ll just have to imagine the glory).

I don't want to support Cheese Whiz, so here is a pretty picture from this blog with a recipe for real cheese sauce.  Click on picture to go to Iowa Girl Eats.

I don’t want to support Cheese Whiz, so here is a pretty picture from this blog with a recipe for real cheese sauce. Click on picture to go to Iowa Girl Eats.

Luckily my mom also knows how to make thit kho, and I have an old email from my dad with the recipe for bo kho.  I doubt I’ll ever have pho ga or bun mang vit as delicious as he made it, but I will eventually try those too.  When I have a little more confidence with my Vietnamese cooking.

Thit kho is a wonderful food- sweet, fatty, salty.  The caramelized sugars play so well with the coconut juice, and the hard boiled eggs soaked in sauce are awesome when mashed into rice, with more sauce spooned on top.

You might want to hit the gym- looking a little porky there

You might want to hit the gym- looking a little porky there

Lots of recipes for this use just pork belly, but that’s a little TOO fatty for me.  I think it’s good to do 1/2 pork shoulder and 1/2 pork belly, or even 1/3 belly and 1/3 shoulder.  Marinate the pork with salt, pepper, and some minced garlic for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, boil a bunch of eggs.  I like to put my eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, let boil for about a minute, and then turn off heat and cover.  Forget about them (or check on them after 10 minutes or so).  Then drain off the hot water and pour cool water into the pot so you don’t burn yourself trying to peel them.  To peel the warm eggs, crack them on the rim of the pot, then peel the shell off into the water, giving them a quick rinse to get rid of any extra eggshells.  Then you can dump the water through a colander to throw out the egg shells (or use them in your compost!)

Caution: it's about to get eggstremely hot in here

Caution: it’s about to get eggstremely hot in here

P1010489

Turns out eggs can’t handle the eggstreme condition (of being cracked and peeled), but who would?

My mom likes to brown the pork in a bit of oil first, but this is an optional step.

Come on over and meat the family!  We're all very close- you could say we're cut from the same cloth.  If by cloth you mean animal.

Come on over and meat the family! We’re all very close- you could say we’re cut from the same cloth. If by cloth you mean animal.

Not an optional step: cook rice!  My roommate has an awesome rice cooker that I love to use, but I guess now is a good time to start rice in a pot if you want to do that.

Ohhh yeah baby you know how to turn me on.  It's really not that hard.

Ohhh yeah baby you know how to turn me on. It’s really not that hard.

Now for the fun part!  Put some sugar in a pot (yes I’m going to be that vague.  Verbatim from my mother: “not too much.  Oh that’s sort of a lot.”)  Turn the heat to medium and WATCH IT CAREFULLY.

P1010479 P1010480 P1010481 P1010482 P1010483 P1010484

It’ll go from sugar, to a syrup, to light brown, and finally to a deep brown.  MAKE SURE YOU PAY ATTENTION HERE because you don’t want it to burn.  When it’s that pretty color, toss in the pork and stir it around.

That's weird, it's like everyone has changed since you met us.

That’s weird, it’s like everyone has changed since you met us.

The Canadian saw this cooking and said "Pork, eh?".  The chef was Mexican and answered "because it's food?"
The Canadian saw this cooking and said “Pork, eh?”. The chef was Mexican and answered “because it’s food?”

Then dump in a bunch of coconut water.

I'm coco for coconut water!  I go nuts for coconut water!  There's no con in coconut water!  I should go into advertising.

I’m coco for coconut water! I go nuts for coconut water! There’s no con in coconut water! I should go into advertising.

Add in the eggs, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until pork is cooked.  Turn off the heat, and dump in a bunch of fish sauce and some black pepper.  Serve over white rice with steamed veggies or the bean sprout salad below.

Bean sprout salad: microwave a few handfuls of beansprout in a plastic bag for 1 min and 30 seconds.  Check how crispy they are.  If you like them softer, keep microwaving in 30 second intervals.

Make a dressing: mix a lot of rice vinegar, a spoonful of sugar, and a few drops of sesame oil.

We have all our labels on already, so we're willing to help out with someone dressing.  Don't know why someone would need help with that.

We have all our labels on already, so we’re willing to help out with someone dressing. Don’t know why someone would need help with that.

Cut up whatever herbs you have (we had cilantro and green onion, but basil, mint, parsley would all be fine too) very finely, and toss with the beansprouts and dressing.

These bean sprouts don't seem to be dressed... where's the paper?

These bean sprouts don’t seem to be dressed… where’s the paper?

1385157_10100358079038534_889028551_n

Thit kho (from my mom!)

2 lbs of pork- your choice of how much to do belly and how much shoulder/butt.

Garlic

Fish sauce

Sugar

Pepper

Eggs (1-2 per person)

Coconut water

Salad: bean sprouts, fresh herbs, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil

1. Cut the pork up into 2-inch chunks.  Season with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.  Refrigerate while you hardboil the eggs and start cooking the rice.  Since it takes awhile to hardboil eggs, if a half hour hasn’t passed yet this is a good time to make that salad- microwave the bean sprouts for 1-2 minutes.  Mix 2 TB rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, and a few drops of sesame oil.  Mince herbs.  Toss with bean sprouts and dressing and set aside.

2. (optional) Quickly sear pork cubes on all sides to get them a little brown.  Alternately, parboil the pork for a minute or two to get rid of the gunk and have a slightly clearer sauce.  Alternately, do neither of these things (which I do most often).

3. CAREFULLY caramelize 3 TB or so of sugar (see pictures above). Immediately stir in the pork and pour in about a cup of coconut juice/soda (I love cocorico).  If you have a sweet tooth, use all coconut juice (I do!), but otherwise, add in enough water to cover the pork.  Bring to a simmer.

4. Peel your eggs.  Toss em in.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until pork is done.  Eat over white rice with the bean sprouts.

Candied almonds

10 Nov

These are very fast and quite tasty.  You just throw raw almonds + sugar in a pot, let it boil, and then roast them for awhile.  I messed up a bit and made almond brittle, essentially, but it was still really tasty.

I wonder if Doc and Marty had to carry a lot of stuff with them in a murse or something in that movie... it'd be a bag to the future

I wonder if Doc and Marty had to carry a lot of stuff with them in a murse or something in that movie… it’d be a bag to the future

Measure out the brown sugar, and let it boil in a pot with the salt, cinnamon, and some water.

I see the light!  It's the least important word on the bag!

I see the light! It’s the least important word on the bag!

This view makes the tsp of cinnamon look HUGE.  Good to keep spice in perspective: otherwise you'll just have a messed up privet and who wants that plant?

This view makes the tsp of cinnamon look HUGE. Good to keep spice in perspective: otherwise you’ll just have a messed up privet and who wants that plant?

You may worry, but don’t.  It’s a little bit energetic, the boiling, but everything will be okay, just stir in the almonds.

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and pot of sugar bubble

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and pot of sugar bubble

OK everyone in the pool!  All (m) in!

OK everyone in the pool! All (m) in!

I just sat here and watched, ranking the almonds.  You could say I was SATuRATING

I just sat here and watched, ranking the almonds. You could say I was SATuRATING

Also I didn’t read the recipe and apparently I was supposed to stir these constantly.  Oh well!  Cook until the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.

If Doc and Marty brought this along, it'd be a hot tub time machine for the almonds.

If Doc and Marty brought this along, it’d be a hot tub time machine for the almonds.

Then dump them out onto a silpat or a sheet of parchment paper (NOT DIRECTLY ON THE BAKING SHEET), and spread those guys out.

This one almond has no equal... because every other one is better.  OOH ROASTED!

This one almond has no equal… because every other one is better. OOH ROASTED!

Bake for 10-15 minutes.  I sprinkled them with salt before throwing them in.

Brittle me this: are almonds all they're cracked up to be?

Brittle me this: are almonds all they’re cracked up to be?

Let that cool (I let them sit out overnight), and then break up the brittle.  If you cooked them long enough and stirred them which I did not, they’ll probably end up looking more like the original blogger’s:

Candied almonds from Barbara Bakes:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (I like lots of it!)
  • 2 cups almonds

Boil brown sugar, water, cinnamon, salt.  Once boiling, stir in the almonds.  Stir constantly until liquid is evaporated (5-10 minutes).  Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with something (foil, parchment, silpat, anything!), and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Cauliflower Pizza! Also, on the joy of cooking

29 Sep

A few weeks ago, a friend from out of town visited and I took him to Longman & Eagle, my favorite restaurant in Chicago (if you go, you have to try the roasted bone marrow.  My yelp review here).  While there, I told him about this cauliflower pizza I had made.  Later, he asked me what other interesting weekend cooking projects I had on tap.  I didn’t quite understand what he meant, and he gave this pizza as an example of something special that one would devote an extra amount of time to, and perhaps make for a special occasion.  I told him that I made this pizza because it was a Tuesday and I had some cauliflower.  So, segue into a short thought about cooking.

People (generally around my age) are often impressed that I cook so much (by which I mean, every day).  I also eat every day, so it doesn’t seem all that crazy to me to put together the things that I eat.  Yet when I visit friends in New York, or friends who don’t wear jeans/shorts to work (another reason to love being a grad student), we only eat out.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of good food out there for the buying, and I’m sure if you do it judiciously it’s also healthy.  Maybe I’m just a control freak, but I like knowing what’s in my food, and that kind of transparency just isn’t possible for most places (also it’s cheaper to eat at home but that’s an obvious statement unless you’re prone to eating at Chipotle when you go out and only eat lobster and steak at home).  I like how little oil I use, I like knowing my ingredients, I like undersalting food.  And I love cooking- the magical alchemy of it, the pleasure of serving others, the satisfaction of pointing at something and saying “Hey!  Look world!  I made that!  I might’ve spent four hours today reading half a page of mathematics and coming up with a list of questions to ask my advisor, but I just made something that will nourish myself and others that I can touch!  I’m not a useless waste of space!”

On a bit of a darker note, cooking grounds me in a world of the endless luxury of sitting on a couch that we own and paging through a novel while a 3-year old gets shot at a park ten miles away from me.  I mean, the problem of evil is a big one, and spirituality/faith/philosophy are all ways that people deal with it.  I guess I’m saying that cooking is a spiritual ritual for me- it connects me with the billions of humans who exist and have ever existed: all of the grandmothers, the mothers, the daughters, and happily, the grandfathers, the fathers, the sons.  The friends, the clans, the families- eating together, seeking out nourishment in the physical sense and satisfying the need in the social and emotional sense as well.  Everyone who has ever lived has seen/experienced evil in their lives, and closer to every day than not, touched food.  Just one little keyboard key away from good.  I’m saying that food is good.

Excerpt from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals (link here for a fuller excerpt):

It matters because food matters (their physical health matters, the pleasure they take in eating matters), and because the stories that are served with food matter.

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of sushi “lunch dates” with my mom, and eating my dad’s turkey burgers with mustard and grilled onions at backyard celebrations, and of course my grandmother’s chicken with carrots. Those occasions simply wouldn’t have been the same without those foods — and that is important. To give up the taste of sushi, turkey or chicken is a loss that extends beyond giving up a pleasurable eating experience. Changing what we eat and letting tastes fade from memory create a kind of cultural loss, a forgetting.

So!  Cauliflower pizza!  Once upon a time boyfriend was “paleo” and we still don’t eat too many carbs.  This was my first time making pizza by myself.

Cauli-egg, cauli-cheese, cauli-salt... oh we just add cauli to one of the ingredients?  Whoops, my bad.

Cauli-egg, cauli-cheese, cauli-salt… oh we just add cauli to one of the ingredients? Whoops, my bad.

First thing you do: take out that food processor!  Grate the heck out of your cauliflower florets.

Best floral arrangement ever.

Best floral arrangement ever.

On the edges of the food processor, you can see the border collie(flower).  I named that piece CauliLassie.

On the edges of the food processor, you can see the border collie(flower). I named that piece CauliLassie.

It’ll eventually turn into cauliflower “rice”.  Toss it in a bowl with a handful of water, top it with a loose plate, and microwave it for 5 minutes (alternately you can just do the same thing in a pot).  Most recipes say to toss it in a sieve at this point, and I tried that, but like no water comes out so I’m not sure why you’d do this.  Anyways, throw the cooked pulp into a clean dish towel, wrap that up like you’re a stork, and squeeze.  Niagara falls is going to come out and you will be surprised.

This probably is how the stork sees the little human babies- strange piles of mush inexplicably inside a towel that you're expected to wrap up and carry.  Why?

This probably is how the stork sees the little human babies- strange piles of mush inexplicably inside a towel that you’re expected to wrap up and carry. Why?

This is the end of the squeezing but there's still a steady stream coming out of there

This is the end of the squeezing but there’s still a steady stream coming out of there

Squeeze until you’re sick of doing so, then mix all the dough ingredients together.  I had a teeny tiny piece of mozzarella and ran out, so then I subbed in parmesan.

You could use that flax gel I've talked about before here, or egg, yknow? (that's a pun on 'oregano')

You could use that flax gel I’ve talked about before here, or egg, yknow? (that’s a pun on ‘oregano’)

Pinch me, I must be dreaming... of a gluten-free pizza!

Pinch me, I must be dreaming… of a gluten-free pizza!

Mix that up, pat it out, and bake it at 400 while you make the toppings.  I did a simple tomato sauce by pulsing a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with some garlic, olive oil, and spices.  Then I fried up some ham, drained a can of pineapple, and sliced up some mozzarella.

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Top that pizza and throw it back in until the cheese is melted.  Yum!  This was a fork-and-knife pizza because I made the crust a bit too thick, but I’m interested in experimenting with a thinner crust.

Seriously plain pizza
Seriously plain pizza
Top o' the evening to you!

Top o’ the evening to you!

Cauliflower crust pizza: recipe adapted from the detoxinista and the lucky penny food blogs:

1 head of cauliflower

1 egg or egg substitute (1 Tb flax/chiaseed + 2 Tb water)

1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

1 Tb olive oil (because I didn’t have 1/4 c of grated mozzarella but you could use that too)

Pinches of sea salt, oregano, and basil

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Usually I don’t like preheating too much ahead of time but 400 is super hot and it’ll take this long to get it that hot.

Grate the cauliflower into snow using a food processor.  Cook the snow by either putting it with a bit of water (1/4 c) in a pot and boiling, then turning off the flame and covering for 5 minutes, or put it with a bit of water (2 TB) in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes.

Get rid of as much water as possible by putting the cooked cauliflower mush in a clean dish towel and wringing it (let it cool a bit before doing this step).

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Pat out onto a silpat (unless you’re fancy and own a pizza stone etc.) and bake while you prepare your toppings (about 30 minutes).  Then top with toppings and keep baking until the cheese melts (another 10 minutes).

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Pudding!

20 Sep

As a little kid, I really really wanted a chia pet.  They were SO COOL.  Who am I kidding; they’re still cool!  You can get one that looks like Obama:

Chia we can believe in

I mean, they’re amazing!  Anyway, I’ve been food-experimenting a lot since moving to this city: we ate paleo-ish for awhile, which explains the gluten free recipes, and a few of my friends went vegan, so I’ve been playing with that, which led me to flaxseed as an egg substitute.  Turns out you can do the exact same egg substitute using chia seeds (yeup, the exact same ones that go on barack obama’s clay head).

I was at my favorite grocery store the other day and saw a box of chia seeds.  I had recently heard of them for this egg thing, and also almond pudding.  Tapioca pudding is another thing from childhood that I coveted and never got (my mom is still very against processed food etc. but we did sometimes get jello/kraft mac because, well, three kids).  Apparently it’s a thing that American grandmas make, based on the comments at allrecipes.  My Vietnamese grandma made me beef wrapped in betel leaves and sticky rice in banana leaves from our backyard.  So a little bit far from the all-American tapioca pudding.  In any case, I heard that chia pudding is sort of like tapioca pudding so of course I decided to make it.

Nutritionally, it'd probably be better to walk in fields of chia rather than gold.  Geez Sting don't you care about your health?

Nutritionally, it’d probably be better to walk in fields of chia rather than gold. Geez Sting don’t you care about your health?

What’s really nice about this pudding is you just need a mason jar (or that’s what I did anyway).  Put all the ingredients in…

Just a touch of Vanilla makes this Nice, Nice.  Baby.

Just a touch of Vanilla makes this Nice, Nice. Baby.

And shake shake shake!

Agitate, joggle, worry... actually, just shake it.  Don't want to scare you off with too much technical JARgon

Agitate, joggle, worry… actually, just shake it. Don’t want to scare you off with too much technical JARgon

Then throw this in the fridge for awhile.  I did it overnight and totally forgot about it, but I ended up with some hard clumps.  I’ll have to experiment more, but I suspect that if you shake it after an hour or two, and then shake it again before you eat it for breakfast/dessert, you’ll have a more uniform texture.

Speaking of texture, this pudding fulfilled all of my wildest dreams.  So that’s an advertisement to try it (I’m making it again right this minute for breakfast tomorrow!)

P1010368

Chia pudding (adapted from detoxinista, which is a site I’ve used before!, and whole foods)

1/3 c chia seeds

1 c milk (I used whole, but I think almond/soy would be great and make this recipe vegan)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 TB maple syrup

Put all ingredients in a mason jar or some other storage container.  Shake.  Refrigerate overnight or for several hours, shaking whenever you happen to open the fridge.  Top with whatever and eat (I like bananas, but coconut, nuts, berries, anything would be great)

PS Look at this HILARIOUS thing I found on the internet when searching for ‘chia pet obama’!  It is SO FUNNY. 

Flourless chocolate cake

15 Sep
Birthday boy pavlova + flourless chocolate cake!

Birthday boy pavlova + flourless chocolate cake!

It’s been done a million times and you’ve had it in all the restaurants, but it’s still so good and so easy.  Flourless chocolate cake.  Four ingredients: egg yolks, butter, chocolate chips, milk.  You should make this when you’re feeling VERY indulgent.  I paired it with the pavlova from last week for my boyfriend’s birthday, and it went quite well: the light airy pavlova with the ultra-dense gooey chocolate cake.

No ingredient picture this time because I was making it while making the pavlova and was a little overwhelmed.

Butter?  I barely know 'er!

Butter? I barely know ‘er!

Melt your butter, set aside.  Then in the same pot, melt your chocolate chips in the milk and whisk until smooth:

P1010295 P1010296

How I whisk you were here... I'd make you a cake!

How I whisk you were here… I’d make you a cake!

The recipe called for seven egg yolks but I just had the six from the pavlova.  Whatever!  Still delicious!

Ah, to be free of this yoke of unused yolks!

Ah, to be free of this yoke of unused yolks!

Aside: apparently there’s all sorts of food safety with saving leftover yolks/whites etc.  If you aren’t making two desserts at once like I did, you should check out this site with food handling tips.  Then again, that site says not to do the egg separating trick because shells can hold bacteria.  Where are you getting your eggs?!

Anyways, beat up those yolks, then alternate adding the butter and yolks to the chocolate-milk stuff, beating each time.

Beat a bit of butter in your batter.  Then do it again with yolks

Beat a bit of butter in your batter. Then do it again with yolks.

Finally throw the whole thing into a greased pan and bake for half an hour!

I had a friend in middle school named Em.  If he were here I'd say Em, pour!  Yum!  And he'd be like, Yen we aren't in a store here.

I had a friend in middle school named Em. If he were here I’d say Em, pour! Yum! And he’d be like, Yen we aren’t in a store here.

Let it cool (maybe throw it in the freezer), and top with powdered sugar and fresh fruit, or whipped cream.

P1010311

Recipe adapted from about.com I am so serious:

6 egg yolks

2 sticks butter

1 c milk

1 bag chocolate chips

Melt the butter, set aside.

Whisk the chocolate chips into the milk over medium heat, until smooth.

Add about 1/3 of the butter to the chocolate-milk and beat until mixed.  Then add 2 of the egg yolks and beat.  Alternate butter, egg, butter, egg until you’re done.

Pour into a greased dish [I used a glass 8″ pie pan] (or a springform pan lined with parchment paper if you’re fancier than me).  Bake at 350 for half an hour.  It’ll look totally uncooked in the middle; don’t even worry about it.  Take it out, let it cool, throw it in the freezer/fridge.

When ready to serve, top with powdered sugar and fresh fruit.  Serves lots of people.

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