Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd - Gluten & Dairy Free


This tangy lemon curd was created for my friend and fellow food lover, Andrea.  Given the velvety texture, and traditionally sweet and tangy taste, no one has guessed that it is free of granulated sugars and dairy!

6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup light agave nectar
3 large Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon tart lemon juice

Warm 1 inch of water in a 2 quart double boiler to a low simmer. 

If you do not have a double boiler, one can easily be created with a 2 quart saucepan and a stainless steel bowl about the same size that fits into the pan without touching the water. 

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of the double boiler, and cook for thirty minutes to one hour, until the temperature of the curd reads 180 degrees on a candy thermometer. 

Whisk often, scraping the sides and center of bowl, and maintain water at a low simmer - this ensures eggs do not start to scramble. 

Strain through chinois or fine meshed strainer. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate covered until ready to use.


*This is one recipe that trying to speed up a technique could result in disaster. You crank the heat, your eggs scramble, and guess what - it's ruined. Don't be tempted; leave plenty of time and be relaxed.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Star-Testing” Snack Cookies

(Double Batch)



~ bring all ingredients to room temperature
~ use as many Organic options as available/affordable
~ the omission of baking soda lends to a dense and slightly crumbly snack

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 cup almond flour
½ cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon
scant ¾ teaspoon finely ground Himilayan pink sea salt
2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup Florida Crystals or sugar
1 cup sucanat
Chia seed gel (recipe below)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 cups Quaker 1-minute oats
1 cup chopped dried plum bits
1 cup pine nuts, toasted (crunchy) or raw (soft)
1 cup Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips

While preheating oven to 350 degrees, make chia gel to be used as an egg replacer: combine ½ cup tepid water and 2 tablespoons whole dry chia seeds in a container with lid and shake to combine; continue to shake periodically while preparing cookie dough.

In a medium sized bowl, combine: all flours, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk gently to incorporate ingredients and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and Florida Crystals on medium speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about three minutes. Add sucanat; when combined, add chia gel, and lastly, vanilla extract.

Turn mixer to low and add flour mixture one cup at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next.

Finally, set mixer to “stir”, adding oats a cup at a time, and then the plums, pine nuts and chocolate chips.

Using a standard cookie scoop or two spoons (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons), portion cookie dough about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet (I double my parchment up and use it to bake the whole batch) . Because there is no egg, you need to then flatten the dough, about to the thickness of a chocolate chip. There should be about 1/2 inch between cookies at this point. This step just takes an extra minute, and not one to skip unless you want partially cooked gooey chia middles.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotating and cooking for another 3 -4 minutes, or until they have puffed and fallen, and are a medium golden brown on the entire exterior. Allow to cool for several minutes before handling, and then transfer to a cooling rack, allowing to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Yield: 8 dozen (which, if I am lucky, last three days around here, what with all the gifting I do!)









Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Breakfast Cookie

It has been far too long since I have shared a recipe with you. These cookies are super yummy and far healthier than the average sweet treat with chocolate chips. I contemplated selling these, but I am finding my path in the culinary world more focused on educating people on how to make their own foods, and sharing my recipes, to aid in that goal.

Having some key recipes (snacks, appetizers, quick meals, freezer meals, pantry staples, desserts)in your  repertoire frees you immeasurably. You have things to bring to pot lucks, you can make your family healthy and happy with traditional foods, and you can budget your costs. 

In that spirit, I offer you the Hidden Valley Camper Cookie, later renamed The Breakfast Cookie, due to their hearty texture and healthy ingredients, not to mention portability! These cookies work for  breakfasts, snacks, and desserts...for myself, they are best consumed early in the day, as they are packed with energy but I hear they make nice late night delights as well. My first offering then, is a combination Breakfast/Dessert Combo! Rare sighting.

A few quick notes about ingredients.  Please use the best (Organic, local) wherever possible. Thanks to substituting a chia seed gel for eggs, you are replacing that cholesterol with the best plant (seed) source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium and hydration/blood sugar regulation. If you can find grassfed butter, please use it!  Cinnamon too has an impressive nutritional profile, and replacing table salt with a mineral salt like pink Himalayan or Real Utah is better tasting, and better for you. The addition of sucanat (dehydrated cane juice) to the sweeteners adds another dose of minerals lacking in cookies made with all refined/brown sugar.  Similarly, whole grain flour and almond meal cut the amount of refined flour content and up the nutritional value. Guittard milk chocolate chips are my favorite, by far. Not only are they a local company, I used their products for years before I knew. I wonder if they would make Non-GMO verification? That would be wonderful.  UPDATE: Guittard labels their products "GMO Free" (Dreams do come true!)

I know sugar and flour are generally considered by all health professionals "the enemy", and of course they should be eaten in moderation but ... what's better than cookies for breakfast?! Okay, besides bacon. I jest, I jest.... or do I?!

The Breakfast Cookie
(If you have a six quart mixing bowl, you can easily double this recipe.)

To make Cookie Chia Gel
1 T organic chia seeds 
1/4 cup water

Add chia seeds to water in a container with lid. Shake or stir a few times, allowing to "bloom" for 15 minutes, set aside. This step can be done in advance or while preparing the recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cookie Chia Gel
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup whole grain flour (ie. whole wheat, spelt, graham)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (Himalayan pink fine grain, Utah Real fine grain, or Kosher)
3 cups Quaker oats, 1-minute quick
 6 oz. Guittard milk chocolate chips (about 1/2 of a standard bag)


In a standing mixer, cream butter, brown sugar and cane sugar for 4 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add sucanat and vanilla extract. Once incorporated, add chia gel and mix until evenly distributed, under a minute.  Turn mixer off.

In another bowl, or gallon sized Ziploc bag, combine flour, whole grain flour, almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon and salt - stir to combine.  With mixer on lowest setting, gradually incorporate the flour mixture to the butter and chia base. Add oats 1 cup at a time, and then finally the chocolate chips.

Using a standard cookie scoop or two spoons (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons), portion dough about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet (I double my parchment up and use it to bake the whole batch) . Because there is no egg, you need to then flatten the dough. I press in the center and make the dough the thickness of a chocolate chip, ensuring chips aren't stacked and reforming edges that may have cracked. There should be about 1/2 inch between cookies at this point. This step just takes an extra minute, and not one to skip unless you want partially cooked gooey chia middles.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotating and cooking for another 3 -4 minutes, or until they have puffed and fallen, and are a medium golden brown on the entire exterior. Allow to cool for several minutes before handling, and then transfer and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.










Monday, May 23, 2011

Calling All Chia People!!!

The number of people directly in my life, enjoying chia as part of their daily routine, has multiplied into the twenties now, and I couldn't be happier for everyone who finds this seed of use to their bodies!

I have seen and heard of reports of weight loss, increased energy, positive digestive cycles, and regulated blood sugar levels.

I have heard of chia being added to tortilla chips at Trader Joe's, and as part of a drink seen at Whole Foods named "MammaChia" (careful now!)

Of course, what works for some, not so much for others. As many as have reported positive results, have reported nothing remarkable over the short term. I have heard repeatedly that long term integration of the chia seed into the diet is imperative to its overall affect on the body. To which I agree as far as personal experience.

I must say, I either drink it hydrated in water, or ground up in a chia shake, and sometimes how I have listed in recipes on this blog.

Do you have a different way of using chia? Have you made energy bars or chips? Please, share with all of us, I will recipe test and blog citing you as the source, or will happily link to your blog. Let's work together and keep chia alive, in our lives, and the marketplace!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

PLEASE JOIN ME AT THE BLOGGER BAKE SALE THIS SATURDAY!

Check out my blog from April 20th for directions and more specific information; especially if you'd like to donate directly, or sign up to help or participate.

This event is going to be lots of fun, and raises money for  a great cause - feeding the 1 in 4 children here in America who suffer from hunger.

I have checked out the participants and it looks like the food is really going to be over the top fantastic! I would get there as early as possible :)

In fact, so many amazing bloggers have signed up, they have added another new location!

I will be at 18 Reasons, hosted and located at 593 Guerrero at 18th Street (parking is tricky, public transportation is highly recommended), from 10 am - 6 pm

There is another hosted location at Kiehl's, 2360 Fillmore at Washington, from 12 noon - 4 pm

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

San Francisco's Food Blogger Bake Sale May 14, 2011 10am - 6pm


I will be participating in a fund raiser that is focusing on feeding the nearly 1 in 4 children, here in America, that face hunger among their challenges.

If you would like to sample my foods, this is a great way to do so!

Closer to the date I will post what I will be selling, as fresh ingredients and my whimsy are both changeling forces.  Frozen rainbow chia smoothie pops,  chia and cheese dog biscuits 
(you heard me right!), chia water and chia energy bars are mental contenders; if you would like to request something, now is your chance!

And please, become a "Food Friend" if you like what you see!

Below is the promo excerpt from the Blogger Bake Sale Website

~~~~~~~

"The 2nd annual National Food Bloggers Bake Sale, will be held on May 14th 2011 from 10am to 6pm. Organized and spearheaded by Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking, food bloggers from across the US will unite to help end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their cities. Fans and readers will have an opportunity to taste the baked goods from their favorite food blogs as well as support a great cause.

Funds raised through the Food Blogger Bake Sale support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger in America.  Nearly one in four—children in America face hunger, that’s more than 17 million kids!! Despite the good efforts of governments, private-sector institutions and everyday Americans, millions of our children still don’t have daily access to the nutritious meals they need to live active, healthy lives. More information on Share Our Strength can be found at their website. Last year San Francisco food bloggers raised $1,650 with our sale alone. This year we’re shooting for even more!

Want to get involved?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in volunteering or donating baked goods, please visit our FAQ page and then contact us at bakesalesf@gmail.com. Please check back here for more updates as well!

If you do not live in the SF Bay Area, swing by What’s Gaby Cooking and check out the other cities that are hosting their own bake sale. If a city isn’t hosting one, start your own by leaving a comment on Gaby’s post or emailing her directly!"