Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lemon Passover Sponge Cake

Oh my gooodness, do I love this cake. My mom first made this for Passover this year, and even though it was before I went completely gluten-free, I still loved the light texture and flavor of this cake. What would be a shockingly enormous piece of any other cake is not even enough to make me feel completely full. (Of course, this does not mean that I don't make up for that by eating another piece. That is the danger of this cake.) It resembles an angel food cake, but the regular wheat flour has been completely replaced with potato starch. This was the first time that my mom made it with a lemon glaze, which I thought added a nice touch. She usually serves this with some fresh strawberries piled high on top, and some kind of whipped topping is usually involved. I think it would also be fabulous with some sort of dark berry concoction, either heated or just mixed together and tossed with sugar. But personally, I like it best plain so I can enjoy the full intensity of the lemon flavor.

Lemon Passover Sponge Cake

7 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar, sifted
1 1 /2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
3/4 cup potato starch, sifted
dash of salt

Separate six of the eggs. Beat the six yolks and the one whole egg until frothy. Gradually add sifted sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rind, beating constantly and thoroughly. Then gradually add sifted potato starch, stirring constantly to ensure thorough blending. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff but not dry. Fold gently but thoroughly into egg-yolk mixture. Place in ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake in a moderate oven (350 F) about 55 minutes or until cake springs back when touched gently with fingers. Invert pan and cool thoroughly before removing cake. Serve with sliced strawberries, blueberries, or any other dark berries.

If you want to have a lemon glaze, mix together powdered sugar with lemon juice and potato or arrowroot starch until you get a good consistency.

1/2 c. powdered sugar (make sure there is no cornstarch in this if you want this to be kosher!)
1 tsp. potato or arrowroot starch, and more if needed
3 tsp. lemon juice
water to desired consistency

 Drizzle over the cake and let harden before serving.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pacific Northwest Gluten-Free Bakery Tour

I just wanted to put in a little blurb for some of the bakeries that I visited in the Pacific Northwest and make sure that everyone knows about them, in case you should be in that area at some point and crave something delicious and gluten-free. The pictures on this post are all from New Cascadia Traditional, but I have to put in a little blurb for the following bakeries as well: The Flying Apron in Seattle, WA - all vegan and gluten-free, this bakery had delicious cakes, cookies, and pastries, as well as lunch items! Da Vinci Bakery in Seattle, WA - some delicious cakes and bread offerings here. This one is a little more out-of-the-way, but it was worth the drive. Panne Rizo in Vancouver, BC - this place was AWESOME. I only wish we had something similar in St. Louis (much less in the US for easier shipping!). They have a lot of items that are dairy-free, including a killer herbed foccacia bread that was so delicious and soft that I couldn't tell that it was gluten-free. If you're ever in the Pacific Northwest, definitely check out as many of these bakeries as you can! You won't regret the extra time it takes you to get there once you taste these delicious treats. Multi-grain seeded bread from New Cascadia Traditional Portland Sourdough from New Cascadia Traditional

Spicy Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, and Blanched Haricot Green Beans

My mom's specialty dish has become roasted chicken and potatoes with her special blend of spices. It's something that almost everyone in my family will eat at least some part of (even though my sister will douse it, like everything she eats, in ketchup before touching it), which is in itself a rare treat for my mom. The spice mixture has an irresistible aroma, and it tastes a little bit different each time, depending on how much certain spices come through or not. The recipe below is very loose and can very easily be adapted to your own taste.

My mom assembles this in very large spice canisters that she saves, so we usually end up with a 40 oz./1.13kg bottle of this stuff. The measurements aren't very exact, and when she made me my bottle, she actually just drew me more of a map on the side of the bottle instead of giving me measurements, making marks where she stopped pouring the different spices. You really don't have to make a huge quantity of it, but it does store well and is nice to have on hand.
Mom's Spicy Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, and Blanched Green Beans

For spice mixture, use the following as a guide, but always make this according to your own taste and adjust as you go along!

2 parts garlic salt
2 parts oregano
2 parts sweet paprika
1 part pepper
1 part basil
1/2 part hot paprika

Assemble the spices in a large container with a lid, and shake until well-mixed. Store until ready to use.

For the meal:
3 -6 tbsp. olive oil
6-8 tbsp. spice mixture
1 whole chicken
5 lbs. Yukon potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
16 oz. fresh cut green beans (haricot are especially good)
1 tsp. baking soda (to cook with green beans; optional)

Clean the chicken and pat dry. Place on the roaster and rub with a thin layer of olive oil. (My mom and I have chicken roasters that are upright and more or less impale the chicken to bake it. You can use one of these, or just a normal roaster.) Then, pat all over with the spice mixture, coating it well. Place the chicken in the oven at 350 F for about an hour to an hour and a half, using a meat thermometer to gauge doneness, if necessary. The inside of the bird should be at about 190 F when it is done.

Meanwhile, clean the potatoes and cut them into wedges (just remember, the bigger your wedges of potato, the longer you'll have to wait for dinner to be ready!!). Place them in a large bowl, and coat first with 2-4 tbsp. of olive oil, and then with the spice mixture to taste. I do not go light on the spices on the potatoes, but you should add the spice mixture to your own taste. If there is room in your oven, you can add the potatoes to cook with the chicken for the last 30 minutes of baking, or you can remove the chicken and start slicing it as the potatoes are cooking. If you put them in by themselves, raise the temperature to 400 F. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning ever 10 - 15 min., or until you try one and it tastes done to you.

Green Beans:
In a small saucepan, bring some salted water to boil. Add the green beans and 1 tsp. baking soda (which will keep them looking lively and green), and boil for 5-10 min. or until they are tender yet slightly crisp. If you want it, you can add butter and salt to the green beans once they are done, but they are so flavorful that you don't really need to add anything. Serve and enjoy!

Mixed Berry Upside Down Rum Cake

My great-aunt Gene used to make this killer rum cake that I used to dream about. It is still a favorite in my family, although we don't make it as often anymore, and I have wanted to try a gluten-free version lately (actually, ever since my cousin brought a rum cake to a gathering over July 4th weekend - I had already gone gluten-free and was only able to smell it and imagine eating it!). I decided to try it using a Gluten-free Pantry cake mix, since I've heard good things about that brand, and to infuse even more flavor by adding some mixed berries. The result was an incredibly moist and delicious cake that my family seemed to genuinely enjoy, despite its being gluten-free. I ended up using only about 2/3 of the rum glaze recipe below, but my cake also did not turn out to taste overly rummy; you could definitely add the whole amount and have a more potent glaze flavor in your cake. I'm don't see how more butter-rum flavor could be anything but fantastic.

Mixed Berry Upside Down Rum Cake

For the cake:

1 box Gluten-free Pantry Old-fashioned Cake and Cookie Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. + 1/4 lb. (for glaze - see below) Soy Garden Buttery Spread
1/2 cup rice/soy milk or water
8 - 10 oz. mixed berries (I used Fit&Active Frozen Mixed Berries from Aldi)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the rum glaze:

1/4 lb. Soy Garden Buttery Spread
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Rum (80 proof)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9" springform pan by lining the bottom with wax paper, and then using the 2 tbsp. Soy Garden Buttery Spread to grease the wax paper and the sides of the springform pan.

Mix together the 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon, then use it to coat the inside of the springform pan (as you would with flour). Arrange the mixed berries across the bottom of the pan on top of the brown sugar.

Mix the cake ingredients according to the instructions on the package: beat 1/2 cup Soy Garden Buttery Spread until fluffy, then add the cake mix a little at a time, beating constantly. Add the two eggs and vanilla, and continue to beat the mixture. Then stir in the 1/2 cup rice milk gently, folding it into the rest of the batter. When the batter is well mixed (but don't overmix!), pour it into the prepared pan and spread the top to make sure it is even. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 28-40 minutes (mine took 40 minutes, but the box said 28, so I leave it up to you), or until a knife comes out without big clumps of still-moist dough when you stick it in the middle. (The knife I stuck in was not completely clean, but I think that just made the cake that much more moist later on.)

Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 5 - 15 minutes, or, if you get impatient like me, immediately remove the sides of the springform pan, invert the cake onto a large plate, remove the bottom of the spring form pan, and slowly and carefully peel away the wax paper so the bottom of the cake is now the top.

To make the glaze, melt the 1/4 lb. Soy Garden Buttery Spread in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the water and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 5-8 more minutes, stirring constantly, until it becomes thick and very bubbly. Remove from the heat and pour in the 1/3 cup rum and stir into the mixture. Immediately spoon/drizzle it all over the top of the cake. I couldn't use all of it and had at least 1/3 of the drizzle left over, but then, the rum flavor wasn't particularly potent when I ate my piece of cake. Use your own judgment and taste to decide how much you'd like to spread over it. Another idea is to wait to invert the cake until you've made the drizzle and pour some of it onto the cake before you invert it, so over what will become the bottom of the cake. That way, the flavor would remain a little more separate from the berries on top. Let cool and serve! This cake turned out to be very moist and flavorful and would not really need ice cream to accompany it, and the flavor might even be overshadowed with it. Oh, and watch out, because you might run into someone like this who tries to steal a bite before it's cooled! :)