Friday, August 31, 2012

Article on Biscaitie

Well, I'm feeling utterly flattered. Turns out one of our regular cafe goers, Jay Flemma, is also a fantastic writer. Check out his wonderful review of Biscaitie and Odradeks here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I had the worst craving. My cousin, Vanessa, posted a photo of her blueberry cornbread and I've wanted some ever since. I invested in a good textured cornmeal and set to work this morning. The apartment still smells delicious, and three slices in, I am very satisfied.

My recipe is as follows for (gluten-free) Cornbread:
1 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup coconut flour
1 heavy tsp xanthum or guar gum
1 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 cup soy milk 
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 425 F and grease a baking pan (I tend to use whatever rectangular pan I have).
2. Mix dry ingredients together and whisk throughougly to combine/add some air to the flour.
3. Add butter to dry and pound in with a wooden spoon until it is well dispersed.
4. Whisk eggs and milk and pour into dry mixture.
5. Stir until just combined (over mixing ruins the airy quality).
6. Pour mixture into greased pan and bake from approx. 25-30 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick before turning off the oven and stuffing your face.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich

Break time at work and I needed a snack. I used the last of the spare dough (from the previous post) and made two thin under baked cookies as the parenthesis for my sandwich. The rest is vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips and sliced strawberries. A simple experiment at first, with a lot of potential for growth.

Odradeks Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe I use is here. My boss is a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips. So I use this recipe but make the dough chipless and add them on top at the end (in my signature pattern) to satisfy both cravings. The ground walnuts are a perfect substitute for the chips, adding flavor and texture to an otherwise simple cookie. Here are my adjustments:

Delicious (Gluten-full) Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts run through food processor

The Crane Factory

I haven't forgotten one of the original purports of this blog: sharing 1,000 cranes. In fact, I've started a system of making cranes in bulk. Each stage of crane creation has its own jar and they occupy our window as decoration. I have no idea how many I've created, but there are 4 more chains on their way out into the big wide NYC.

And the tally: 150 (from before) + 60 (from these 4) = 210 cranes made

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Basil Peaches

It's the end of peach season and I've been attempting a peach dessert since I first saw peaches in July. The trouble is I always eat them, not that I've ever bought enough for a whole pie or anything...but ripe local peaches are just so flavorful!

Well, I finally did it. I noticed the seller at the Union Square Market was tossing away the bruised and battered peaches with undesirable holes and depressions. I asked if I could buy them cheaper to make into a pie and she was willing. This is a great tactic to try with cooking fruit. The lesser parts can be cut out and the residual fruit (if picked recently) is utterly fresh and supremely good. I had the basil from my dad and step-mom's garden. The recipe is borrowed from Food52 and the link is here.

That said, I made some alterations:

Basil Infused Peaches

3/4 cup white wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup 100% pomegranate juice
1/4 cup honey

The rest of the recipe is as the website indicates. I HIGHLY recommend it. This is one of the greatest desserts I've ever had. (A bold statement, I know!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wait, What Did You Put in That Pie?

I'm getting more experimental with my baking. There's a certain point where you've done a recipe so many times that it gets, well, boring. So I've been throwing the recipes aside and following through with some of the what-ifs. And this is definitely a what-if pie. It turned out well except that I was over zealous with some flavors and forgot to add enough sugar. There isn't anything a scoop of ice-cream can't fix but I changed the amount below so you can do it better.

As for the fruit, I took everything we had: a pint of forgotten blueberries, two plums, and a bag of frozen mixed berries as well as a couple roasted beets for kicks. (I know what you're thinking, beets? Well, I'm convinced a vegetable that sweet definitely has its place in the dessert world. I don't recommend it for this pie, but I'm through with my theory!). I also added a little sweet white wine. I'm not sure it made much of a difference, so its place might remain with savory fruit blends. The best success of this pie is the crust, a perfectly flaky and buttery gluten-free mix.

For Crust:

2 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I use a mix of the King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill, I think the more variety you have in the mix, the more disguised the gluten freeness).
2 tsp xanthum or guar gum
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
6-8 tbsp cold water

1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Whisk the flour, gum and salt together well. The more you whisk the finer the texture of the flour. It's like sifting without the sifter, a trick that works well to smoothen out undesirable chunks of bean flavor.
3. Add the butter and shortening in pieces and combine in the mixture until there are pea sized crumbs. I like to mix by hand.
4. Add water in stages and fluff with a fork until the mixture comes together willingly into two balls.
5. Take a sheet of plastic (I re-use plastic bags for this) and roll the crust out in between two layers, using flour to dust both sides. Measure the circle you roll to approx. the size of your pan.
6. Place the pie tin upside down over the crust and slip your hand under the plastic sheet to flip the dough into the pan and form it to the pie tin shape.
7. Roll out the second crust the same way.

For Filling:

1 pint blueberries
2 pints mixed berries
2 plums
Whatever other fruit you need to use up
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp minute tapioca
2 tbsp gluten free flour
2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

1. Add all the ingredients together and stir until well combined. You can usually tell just by tasting if you need more sugar or citrus to balance out the flavor.
2. Pour the mixture into the pre-made crust (above) and cover with the top crust.
3. Pinch the two layers together, removing excess crust as you go.
4. Paint the top with an egg wash.
5. Cut a hole for ventilation.
6. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until the crust is crisp, then reduce heat to 350 until you fill your home with the smell of fresh baked pie (approx. 45 minutes).
7. Cool for 20 minutes and ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Watermelon Thumbprints

Thanks again to BK Swappers, I had a delicious jar of (labor intensive) watermelon jam. It has all the flavor of watermelon and the perfect texture for jelly. I'm still shocked that something so ethereal in texture could yield jam! Borrowing Kicinski's recipe for thumbprints, I made a simple dough to match the flavor. Unfortunately I forgot to add my xanthum gum, so these cookies turn into a jam cookie paste soon as you get them to your mouth (and that's if they don't crumble on their way!) Hopefully this is a lesson I only need to learn once.

We Three Gluten Free

I've been trying to figure out how to optimize my cookie dough, not just in terms of flavor, texture and eye-ppetite, but in how much I can do with just one batch. Kicinski's gluten free cook book has a great recipe for Snickerdoodles (pictured here in the right corner). I took the rest of the dough and experimented, adding a touch of ginger and butterscotch to some (center) and chocolate to the others (left). My sister had the grand suggestion of a spicy chocolate flavor in the next experimental batch, and I think some cocoa and coconut flakes would taste delicious too (especially since I used coconut flour for this recipe). The tough thing with gluten free dough is keeping the texture right after baking. I find that the shortening helps as a thickener and smaller sized cookies hold their shape best.

Here is the recipe with my alterations:

3/4 cup of soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups coconut flour
1 tsp guar or xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

Bake at 350 F for 12 to 15 minutes. 

1. Cream butter, shortening and sugar with a wooden spoon.
2. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla.
3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and stir into the wet until just combined.
4. Form tablespoon sized balls and roll them in cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, butterscotch, anything that you thing might taste good, and give them a re-assuring flattening pat before baking.
5. Let cool a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.
6. Enjoy!

(Recipe based off of "Snickerdoodles" in Simply...Gluten Free Desserts, by Carol Kicinski)