Friday, October 26, 2012

Blueberry Coffee Cake yeah. This didn't last very long in my house. I really need to have a more formal process for getting rid of all the baked goods I produce while living alone. That is, I need to alter my process, which often consists entirely of me just eating it all. Thank goodness for co-workers and friends who are willing to help me out!

Recently, I got nostalgic for this cake that my cousin and I made when she visited last year. I remembered it being pretty fantastic, and I also remember us absolutely demolishing it within a day or two because it was so good. We found a way to eat some at almost every meal. And um, sometimes not at meals. 

I can now confirm that the recipe holds up to my memory - this was absolutely delicious! It's a great recipe to make for a lazy mid-morning brunch or for dessert. And best of all, it's based on a ratio, meaning you can substitute nearly any flour you like as long as you keep the weight the same (but just be careful with coconut flour, which notoriously sucks up more than its fair share of liquids in baked goods; if you use it, you'll need to add more liquid to this recipe). 

*Please note that all measurements given below in cups are approximate, as I used my kitchen scale to make this cake and used an online converter to figure out the volume measurements.

4 eggs
8 oz. white sugar (~1 cup)
3 oz. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (3/4 stick or 6 tbsp.)
5 oz. applesauce (unsweeted, natural) (~1/2 cup)
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. tapioca starch (~3/4 cup)
2 oz. sorghum (~1/2 cup)
3 oz. brown rice flour (~1/2 cup)
(OR 8 oz. of your favorite gf flour blend)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 lb. blueberries

For crumble topping:
4 - 6 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or more to your own taste)
2 tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spray a glass 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium or large mixing bowl, beat the eggs (preferably with an electric mixer) with the sugar until it's frothy.  Add the Earth Balance, applesauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until it's well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum.  Add about 1/3 cup at a time to the wet ingredients, beating on medium speed until the batter is very smooth.

Pour the batter into the 9" x 13" pan.  Press the berries lightly into the top of the batter.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and Earth Balance.  Mix with your fingers until it's finely crumbly.  Sprinkle the cake generously with the cinnamon sugar crumble topping.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for as long as you can stand it before eating a piece (we lasted 20 minutes).  Keep refrigerated once cooled.  It's fantastic if you warm it slightly in the microwave before eating.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Taco Quesadillas

Mmmmyes. This, friends, is bliss. You can also call it a taco quesadilla. My brother Michael came to visit me for about a week before he left for his study abroad year in Germany, and we ate these for at least 5 - 6 meals while he was here. Because they are just that amazingly good. And super easy and fast to throw together. And did I mention that they're really good? Ok, good. Because they are.

Easy Taco Quesadillas

Gluten-free corn tortillas
Cooking spray or olive oil
Spices for tortillas: salt, pepper, garlic powder, chipotle powder or chili powder (if you have it)

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
Your favorite taco seasoning (I used Trader Joe's, which is rather spicy)
1 small can mild green chilies
1 cup roasted corn kernels (or plain corn)
Bell peppers of any and all colors, sliced and sauteed until soft
Sliced onion, sauteed until soft
Daiya Mozarella cheese (or your favorite non-dairy cheese)
Optional (i.e., not pictured here): refried beans, sour cream, any other taco toppings

Cook the ground beef/turkey and add the taco seasoning, chilies, corn, onion, bell peppers, and water (as directed on your taco seasoning packet). Simmer until it thickens to the consistency you want (you want it to be fairly thick so it doesn't drip a crazy amount in the quesadillas).

For each quesadilla: Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray, then sprinkle a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chipotle powder in the pan. Take a corn tortilla and rub it around on the bottom of the pan so it catches the spices, and cook over medium heat. As soon as you put the tortilla over the heat, sprinkle it with your non-dairy cheese on one side, and then add a spoonful or two of your taco meat on the other side. When the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy, fold it in half and remove from the pan. Serve immediately. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Caramelized Garlic Tart

So....fair warning. This tart is seriously addictive, and if you make it once, you're pretty much locked in to making it many more times, probably in a ridiculously short amount of time. Just saying.

Over the last few years, I haven't really bought many cookbooks - especially since my foray into the world of food blogging. There are so many fabulous recipes online now that it takes something really special for me to actually purchase a cookbook these days.

Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty is one of those cookbooks. Beautiful pictures with vivid colors and flavors - and simplicity. All the recipes are vegetarian (although he himself is not vegetarian), and each picture looks mouthwateringly delicious.

And this one, converted to be gluten- and dairy-free, completely lives up to the picture. It's pretty much amazing. First of all - caramelized garlic. What?? It's fantastically good, with the sweet balsamic syrup complementing the garlic flavor perfectly. And even though the original recipe calls for all kinds of dairy (heavy cream, goat cheese, and creme fraiche), the non-dairy version is still totally delicious.  I basically gave all of the non-dairy products in my fridge a chance to shine in this one - a little sour cream, a little yogurt, a little tofu-based goat cheese (from scratch), a little cream cheese, and Daiya cheese.

So, I know this recipe might look like it's a lot of work. And it's definitely more than minimal effort, although it is much less complicated than it might appear to be. The crust is super easy and requires no rising or rolling or anything - you just toss everything in a food processor, push the button, and then press it right into the pan. Done! And trust me....the results are worth the extra time you'll spend making this. Everyone I've served it to has loved it (one even admitted to dreaming about it later).

On top of that, it makes a perfect comfort food meal for autumn. So, it's pretty wonderful.


Caramelized Garlic Tart (Adapted from Plenty)

For crust (adapted from this recipe)

1 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
14 cup tapioca starch
3/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup ice cold water

For the caramelized garlic

2 heads of garlic cloves, peeled (I buy the peeled cloves from Trader Joe's to make the process go faster)
1 cup water
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. white sugar

For the "cheese" filling

1/2 of this vegan goat cheese recipe (or if you can tolerate goat cheese: 4.5 oz soft goat cheese, and 4.5 oz hard goat cheese)
4 tbsp. vegan sour cream
3.5 tbsp. vegan cream cheese
2.5 tbsp. soy creamer
3 tbsp. plain non-dairy yogurt (I used So Delicious)
1 cup Daiya Mozarella Cheese (more if desired)
optional: 2 tbsp. non-dairy ricotta cheese
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a tart pan or 9" springform pan with cooking spray.

To make the crust: Place the flours, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse for about a minute, or until the butter has been distributed evenly throughout. In a small bowl, mix the egg and cold water together, then add to the food processor. Mix until a large ball of dough forms. Remove from food processor; if you have time, let it chill in the freezer for about 20 minutes. If you don't have time, press it into your pan evenly, making sure to build up about an inch of crust around the edges. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes while you assemble the other ingredients. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 350 F.

To make caramelized garlic: You'll blanche the garlic before caramelizing it. To do this, place the peeled garlic cloves in several cups of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes. Drain the cloves, then add 1 cup of water and balasmic vinegar, then bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the sugar, rosemary, and thyme, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until a thick syrup has formed. Add the caramelized garlic evenly onto the baked crust, making sure to add all the syrup.

To make the "cheese" filling: Make the vegan goat cheese separately and add in dollops across the baked crust with the caramelized garlic. Then make the cheese filling as follows:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, soy creamer, Daiya cheese, ricotta cheese (if desired), and eggs, and mix well together (I used an electric mixer). Add about 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Pour the entire thing over the garlic and goat cheese and place in the oven at 350 F for 40 - 50 minutes, or until it is ever-so-slightly browned on top and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. If you want the tart to be slightly more moist, err on the side of 40 minutes; if you want it to be a bit dryer, let it bake for about 50 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving. This would go great with anything green - I served it with grilled asparagus, but a green salad, brussel sprouts, etc. would be wonderful, too.