Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meeting Jamie Deen.

meeting jamie deen

Seriously. Could my daughter and I be any more happy in this pic?? We had the opportunity to meet both Bobby and Jamie last night. They are incredibly nice guys. I think Brenna was disappointed a bit, as she was hoping their mama would stop by. No such luck. But, it was a fun evening!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Feelin' Saucy!

Last night I actually made it to my PCII class! Hoooray. It was sauce night. I actually am a big fan of the utilization of sauces to enhance dishes, so I'm always thankful for the opportunity to practice making them. We divided up into teams of 4 and got busy, and it was an incredibly fast paced and crazy night. We made 1 quart of each - Espagnole, Tomato Sauce, Bechemel, Veloute, and then we all attempted a demi glace. Of course there wasn't enough time, in a 3 hour class, to complete this incredibly time consuming sauce.

It's always pleasing when Chef says that we produced a good sauce. He liked the taste of all of them, and said we had near perfect nappe on the Bechemel.

I would like to meet the person who designed the production kitchen. In my own very special way of saying thanks, I'd like to whap him/her upside the head with a baseball bat. The French stoves give off SO much heat, it's like standing in the sun and just letting it beat down on your face. It's awful.... the heat is insane in that poorly designed kitchen. Though, it certainly does foster the need for team work. If you aren't working with your team.... you are pretty much working against the other teams, and that simply doesn't cut it in the kitchen.

We have next week off for the holiday, but I have to start practicing making a Béarnaise as we will have a practical exam on it. I have a feeling that anything less than a perfect sauce is going to result in a failing grade. Ugh.

On a totally unrelated note, today I attended the Scholarship Recognition luncheon at the college. I was this years winner of the Hector Boirdi Culinary Scholarship. The luncheon was fun and I got to meet a couple people from the college who are involved with the Phi Theta Kappa. I've been a member for over a year, but haven't really done anything with the group. Now that I've met the president, perhaps I will. =)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stocks....

I missed my second PCII class and first kitchen lab. I was spending the evening in the company of the sweetest 11 year old on the planet. Joshua and I had a room at Children's Mercy, where he was being treated for a severe ankle sprain. Thankfully, Chef Head allowed me to make up the class - so I went in yesterday morning at 8AM. Oh, what a long day it was.

We made Fish Fumet, Court Bouillion, and Vegetable Stock. Unfortunately, we didn't produce the exact quantity that we were supposed to, we fell a little short. But, on the bright side... Chef smiled and said, "Oh, that's tasty" when he tasted the fumet and the other stocks.

I spent a bit of time working on hospitality club fliers for both club membership and NYC. I did get quite a bit accomplished. So, despite the fact that it was a horrifically long day- it was a productive one. I was in class until 9:00. I was so exhausted by the time I finally made it home. That drive seemed to take hours!

I've got to get working on my market feasibility study, it's going to take forever.

On a side note, Joshua is in an air cast and walking on crutches. My poor guy. He's being brave, but we can all see how much pain he's in. He'll go to the pediatrician tomorrow for a follow up. The nurse called me yesterday and informed me that there is water on the ankle joint, probably a result of the trauma to his ankle, but I think we need to follow up even further. I'm going to request a referral for my orthopedic surgeon. I'm afraid he's out for most of the football season, though.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 1 - Complete.

What have I gotten myself into? Holy toledo.

Yesterday's classes -
  • Seminar: Menu Planning & Design
  • Seminar: Purchasing
  • Interpersonal Communication
The menu planning class is going to be much harder than I could have ever imagined. And, it'll involve a lot more MATH. Oh, how I hate math. My first project is a market feasibility study for my "dream" restaurant. Where is it going to be? What are the demographics of the area? Who is my target consumer? Etc. Once the study is complete, I get to work on the actual planning of the menu, which then needs to be costed out. Oh. My. I think it'll be fun... but challenging.

Purchasing is going to be a great class. I've had Chef Marcellus previously and he's a great professor.

The communications class is going to be interesting. And that is all I really have to say about that. =)

On a totally awesome and positive note, last night I became a student member of the American Culinary Federation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Culinary School - Year 2.

Last night I started my 3rd semester (2nd year) of Culinary School, it was my first night in the Professional Cooking II class. Chef Head lectured for the majority of the night, most of it was review but he did fill us in on his career as a Chef. Much to my delight, Chef Head is another person for whom the Culinary Arts was a second career. He was in the military for 25 years and once he was retired, he decided to become a Chef. He's incredibly passionate about his craft and inspired me quite a bit after just one night.

Again this semester I am using Professional Cooking, 6th Ed, Wayne Gisslen, John Wiley and Son.

We toured the production kitchen and I freaked out a bit seeing just how little space we have to work with. The kitchen itself is incredible. One could easily run an entire catering business with one row of equipment - steam jacket kettles, a tilt table, a Combi (convection, convention, & steam) oven, salamanders...etc. Ohhhh so much stainless steel!

Next week we'll start right out in the labs, we'll be making:
Fish Fumet
Court Bouillion
Vegetable Stock

I can hardly wait to get into that kitchen!!

Stock to cook is voice to singer. - Anonymous

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Julie & Julia

Seriously, I loved this movie. I feel a little bit sad because I didn't really care about Julie's story all that much. I love Julia Child, I always have - I always will. She was America's Escoffier and is my idol. I remember watching her on PBS when I was a little kid. I would laugh at her funny voice, but even way back then... I was learning!

I honestly did not realize that Julia Child was in her late 30s, much like myself, when she decided to go to Culinary School. All this time I've been thinking that I'm too old for such a huge career change. After learning Julia's story, I think I've changed my mind. I'm ready for this.

Thank you Julia. And, thank you Julie for writing the book that became a movie, that taught me more about Julia Child's life before she made the decision that changed her life forever. ♥

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On Being Gluten Free...

Are you gluten free? The answer, for the most part, is yes.  I had someone email me to inquire so I wanted to set the record straight.

I am gluten intolerant. I do not have Celiac disease. However, my daughter does have Celiac. My 2 boys are both intolerant. My husband is neither intolerant to gluten nor a Celiac.

When I am at home, all of my cooking and baking is done 100% gluten free. My husband is gluten free when he is at home with us.

There are occasions when I might eat something that is not gluten free, I am able to tolerate it in very small amounts, like... a bite of a cupcake, a slice of bread, or a cookie.  I am in culinary school and sometimes it's required that I follow instructions on a recipe, to the "T," that recipe might contain wheat flour - like mother sauces, for example. I can't properly season my Bechemel without tasting it. My tastes are tiny when the flavor is big.

I am a big advocate for the gluten free diet. My daughter requires it for life. My oldest son has Asperger's - which is on the Autism Spectrum - and he greatly benefits from a gluten free lifestyle.

My dream is to be a pastry chef. I am pursuing that dream, but I have to do it "by the books." I have to bake with wheat, barley, and rye. Since I do not have Celiac, this will not be as detrimental to me as it might be to someone else. I will learn, and then I will take what I learn and make it gluten free.

I've been "mostly" gluten free for 4 years now. My sons and daughter are 100% gluten free.

I hope that answers any questions. =)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Alaska!

I've been absent for a while, and I have a few new recipes to share now that I'm back. However, I have to tell you about my trip to Alaska. =)

My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years, we never had a honeymoon. We decided to take a trip without the kids, and since I hate the heat - it seemed that Alaska was the perfect answer. We went on a Royal Caribbean cruise and had an absolutely amazing time.

I was one of the lucky few who were able to tour the ships' galley and meet the executive chef.

*Oh dear.... I have to cut this short, the kids need me! I'll be back!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wine, glorious wine!

My restaurant has 96 wines available by the taste, glass, carafe, or bottle. It's a really cool place, and it's a lot of fun to see our patrons wandering around, exploring our Eno machines. We are redoing our wine list for the summer. Every Tuesday, we have a wine company rep come in for a tasting and wine class. Our first class was last week. Bernie, from Premier Cru, came and introduced us to the first 11 wines. They include:
  • St. Clair Vicar's Choice Sauv Blanc
  • Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre
  • Domaine Olivier Savary Chablis
  • Errazuriz Wile Ferment Chard
  • Monchhof Mosel Slate Riesling Spatlese (my personal fave!)
  • Storybook Mountain Zin Gris
  • Crios Syrah Bonarda
  • Spellbound Petite Sirah
  • Joel Gott Zinfindel
  • Errazuriz Max Reserva Cab Sauv
  • Somerset Ridge Buffalo Red (a yummy Kansas wine!! Yes, they do exist!!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

For no reason other than cuteness....

My little Indiana Jones...

ianindyhatcloseup

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake

I will post pictures as soon as the entire thing is finished... but I was just so excited about this recipe, from Gluten Free Cooking School, that I simply had to post. As I type, it's in the oven.... and it looks awesome!!!

11cake

Southern Red Velvet Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten (room temp)

1 c. brown rice flour
3/4 c. sorghum flour
3/4 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp cider vinegar and 1 c. milk substitute)

1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. red food coloring (this is one of the McCormick’s bottles)
1 Tbsp. cocoa

Frosting Ingredients:
1 box confectioner’s sugar
8 oz. cream cheese (can sub vegan cream cheese)
1 stick butter (room temp)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Cake Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Use a mixer to cream oil and sugar. With the mixer still going, add one egg at a time and beat until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated. (This step creates an emulsion that holds the batter together)

3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Make sure they are well mixed, either by sifting the flours or whisking them.

4. Add the flour to the oil and sugar mixture in four parts. Alternate the flour with the buttermilk. You should begin and end with dry ingredients and each part should be mixed in completely before you add the next. (If you were to start with the liquids the emulsion would break.)

5. Make a paste of the cocoa, red food coloring, and vanilla and gently stir it into the batter.

6. Pour the batter into two greased and floured round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes. (A toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake should come out clean when the cake is done)

7. When the cakes have completely cooled, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Frosting Instructions:
1. Cream the confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, and butter.

2. Mix in the vanilla and chopped nuts.

3. Spread over cooled cake.

redvelvet

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snickerdooooooodles!

My Josh-man is turning 11 tomorrow. For the life of me, I can't figure out where time went.

His favorite thing in the world is Snickerdoodle cookies. I have incredibly fond memories of making them with my grandma on Sunday mornings. My little sister absolutely loves them, and it would be a huge treat for me to make them for her. Now, I want to make them (myself) for my son.

There is one problem though.... about 6 months ago Joshua's annual celiac panel came back unequivocal. In the past, there has been some leeway on the interpretation of the results, not to much this time. Joshua has Celiac Disease - just like his sister and little brother.

It was my mission to find/create a gluten free Snickerdoodle and I am happy to report that I have succeeded.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles

Source: The Gluten-Free Baker by Robyn Ryberg

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used margarine)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavouring
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp water
Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:
  • 2 Tbsp sugar mixed with
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla flavouring. Mix well. Add potato starch, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and water. Mix well to eliminate any lumps in the dough. Dough will be sticky. Lightly oil hands or spray them with nonstick spray to better handle dough. Shape into small balls, using a slightly-rounded teaspoon of dough for each cookie. Roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  2. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and press each ball to an even thickness of about 1/3 inch. Bake for 10-12 minutes. A single cookie should be removed at the shortest-baking time to test for doneness. Browning is not a good indicator for these cookies.
Makes about 3 dozen.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I've been MIA, again!

I started my job about a month ago, and I absolutely LOVE it. I'm now a full fledged cook in a commercial kitchen, but it's not just any commercial kitchen. It's a small wonderful kitchen that turns out high quality small and large plates for wine pairing. It's just wonderful!

Of course a side benefit of my job is the wine. I get to try wines that I would never dream of purchasing, due to the cost. I'm learning SO much!

On another note, I've learned to make the BEST gluten free bread there is. Right at the moment, I'm teaching my 10 year old how to bake it. He was recently diagnosed with Celiac, just like his brother and sister, and is frustrated about bread. I'm trying to help alleviate those frustrations by having him get his hands dirty. I figure if he bakes it, he'll be more likely to try it.

I promise to post the recipe either tonight when I get home from work, or sometime this weekend!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicken & Brown Rice Bake

A few of my wonderful September Mama friends sent me to the Crockpot 365 website a few months ago. I adore this website, not only because the recipes are delicious... but they are also all gluten free, so I don't have to adapt, readapt, and change the recipes to suite our dietary requirements.

Tonight I'm making the Chicken & Brown Rice bake. I'm really excited about this recipe because it doesn't use a canned "cream of whatever" soup. You actually make the soup yourself before adding it to the crockpot and it's SOOO easy!!! Plus, again... this one is safe for me children and I to eat!

So, if you are interested in this recipe or any other recipes that are uber easy, delish, and gluten free - head on over to her website. And, you can easily adapt the gluten free part for normal flour use!

Thank you for your recipes, Stephanie!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Mac & Cheese Upgrade!



  • 12 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 head roughly chopped cauliflower
  • 4 slices torn bread
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley - chopped
  • 3T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package label, add cauliflower during the last 3 minutes; drain.

Mix in a bown and set aside; torn bread crumbs, parsley, 2 T olive oil, 1/4 tspn salt and pepper to taste.

Return pasta to medium heat, add remaining oil, add onion, s&p, cook just until onions start to soften.

Mix cheese, sour cream, cheese, milk & mustard in with the pasta.

Transfer to shallow baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake 12-15 minutes.

notes:
I used gluten free pasta and bread, obviously. It worked wonderfully. So, for my gluten free friends... this is really a tasty treat!!! For those who aren't gluten free, use regular elbows and whatever bread you chose. I think it would work great with italian!!

Another side note.... I added some fine Italian breadcrumbs to my own "homemade" bread crumbs because I knew that my kiddos would want more "bang" for their buck with regards to a bread topping. Feel free to experiement!!! =)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Job in "the industry." =)

On Thursday I was hired for a part time position at an upscale establishment in Kansas City. I'm really very excited about this, and I just can't believe that I'm going to be paid to cook!

Just for fun, I thought I'd throw out my first "graduation" shot, this was the Professional Cooking Class from the Culinary Center of Kansas City.



It seems that every week, one of my Chefs or Professors asks for reminders of who is currently working in the industry - and who's in the back/front of the house. I'll be so proud when I can finally raise my hand next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cocoa Agave Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Icing


Today is my husband's birthday. And, I feel the need to bake!! So, in honor of my hubs, I've made Cocoa Agave Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing.

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!

Cupcakes
  • 2/3 cup Silk soy creamer
  • 1/2 tspn apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tspn almond extract
  • 1 cup gluten free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Pancake/Baking Mix)
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn Xanthan Gum
Line Muffin pan and preheat oven to 325.
Combine soy creamer and cider vinegar and allow to curdle slightly.
Beat in agave, oil, and extracts until well combined.
Sift dry ingredients, add to wet, and mix until smooth.

Fill liners 2/3 full and bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
*Overbaking will cause dryness*

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken with Applesauce

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance. Yahoo. While I am not diabetic, I really have to watch my intake of carbs and sugar. I'm always trying to get my kids to eat better, but it's difficult. I found a Fix it and Forget it crockpot cookbook for diabetics, and thought I'd give a couple of the recipes a whirl.

Last night I made Chicken with Applesauce and it was actually very good. Due to the nature of the medication that I'm taking, I've had to seriously up my protein intake for a few weeks. So, chicken is back on my list of things I "will" eat. I know... I know... I can hear all the vegetarians in the world grunting and groaning. Believe me, I've grunted and groaned too. I know I can get plenty of protein from beans, legumes, and grains... but they just don't stay with me the way animal protein does. *sigh*

Anyhow... I've been taking Metformin for PCOS for 2 weeks now...and I've lost 7 lbs already! Go me!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (we use Sweet Baby Ray's since it's GF)
  • 1/2 tspn poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. honey (I used Agave instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1. Season chicken with S&P, brown in oil for 5 minutes per side.
2. Cut up chicken into 1" chunks and transfer to slow cooker.
3. Combine remaining ingredients, pour over chicken and mix together well.
4. Cover. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or until chicken is tender.
5. Serve over rice or noodles.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Valentine's Day Box

It all started with melted couverture and coating chocolate. We cut out the heart shape - then used molding chocolate to create the sides of the box.


We made rum truffles to fill the boxes, and a poured sugar base for presentation.



The finished project. =)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Earth - Coffee

This months Iron Cupcake's special ingredient is coffee. While I'm not much of a coffee drinker, I do enjoy a Campfire Mocha from Caribou every now and then. So, the campfire mocha was my inspiration for this months challenge.

My ingredients were gathered... my KitchenAid was ready to rock... and I began the arduous task of creating a winning recipe. Baking gluten free is a pain in the neck, though!

The campfire mocha is basically coffee, chocolate, and marshmallows. So, my cupcake is a mocha cake, with a mocha mousse, topped with marshmallows and a dark chocolate ganache.


Vegan & Gluten Free Campfire Mocha Cupcakes
  • 1 cup chocolate soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix (I used Arrowhead Mills)
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/4 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 cup Earth's Best buttery spread (vegan)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons strong coffee
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar - allow to curdle.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder together, add salt - set aside.
4. Cream margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy - NO more than 2 minutes.
5. Add in coffee, beat until incorporated.
6. Starting with the dry ingredients, alternate dry ingredients, then milk & cider mix, until everything is well incorporated.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Chocolate Mousse Topping
  • 1 (12-3) ounce package extra firm silken aseptic tofu (Mori-Nu) drained of excess liquid
  • 1/4 cup chocolate soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 12 ozs semi sweet chocolate chips
1. In a small saucepan, combine soy milk and coffee crystals - heat until crystals dissolve.
2. Crumble tofu into blender, add soy milk & coffee mix, agave (and maple syrup if using 70% chocolate). Purree until completely smooth, set aside.
3. In double boiler, melt chocolate chips and add to blender once melted and smooth.
Scrape sides of blender down often!
4. Transfer into an airtight container and chill for a couple hours before frosting.

Ganache:
  • 1/3 cup soy creamer
  • 4 oz chocolate (again, I used 70% - but you could use whatever you like!)

Heat creamer to scalding, pour over chocolate... stir well until chocolate is melted and shiny. =)

The marshmallows in the picture are not vegan. The rest of the cupcake, frosting, and ganache are all vegan. =)

Mixing the batter...


Baking...


And, here they are... fresh from the oven. They didn't rise as much as I thought they would, so it was a good thing I had extra batter. Had I filled them 2/3 full in the beginning, this mix would have made 12 easily.



And, here is my finished product. I have to say... I'm quite proud of this one! My husband each had a cupcake last night. We both loved them. He took the rest of them to work today. My Campfire Mocha Cupcake is now history, his coworkers ate all of them, and loved them. Hooray! =)



Prizes this month are:

* DIANAEVANS - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5599270
* a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6057281.
* CAKESPY - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5243382

As an added bonus for February, SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY will be tossing in a variety of cupcaking supplies, http://www.acupcakery.com/index.html.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NRA - here I come!

No, I don't mean the National Rifle Association. =)

Last week I became a member of the Hospitality Club at the college. They take two trips every year, one to the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, and one to a show in New York. I've wanted to attend a show like this for years, but never had the opportunity.

I attended an informational meeting on Monday... and learned that only 20 (possibly 25) people would be able to go. Yesterday, I was confirmed as number 23! I'm headed to Chi Town in May!

I can't wait!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wanna watch while I kick myself?

I always tell people, "read the lable, every single time" when they ask about feeding allergic children. Yet, I often fail to live by my own advice. I've been eating veggie burgers at the cafe' at the college for two semesters now, and I've failed to realize that they contain wheat!!!

For months I've gone out of my way to avoid any and all wheat, in any product. Only to realize I've been eating it all along. What a dumba**.

Well, today is Super Bowl Sunday... and tomorrow is a brand new day. New day, new diet, NO wheat. NO wonder I'm still not feeling 100%, or even close to it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Voting is now open!!!

Voting for the Iron Cupcake: Earth - Wine challenge is now open!!
I'd be ever so appreciative of your vote!!

Click here to vote for Goodness & Goodies in the Iron Cupcake Battle!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Fritters with Cayenne Aioli


I absolutely love Eden Alley in Kansas City. It's one of my favorite restaurants, but it's down on the Country Club Plaza and quite a bit out of the way. One of my favorite dishes is a corn & potato fritter with turtle beans and cashew cheddar. It was my inspiration for this dish.

For the Fritter:
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can organic sweet potato puree
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free flour mix
Mix all ingredients well using the paddle in a stand mixer. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil (or vegetable oil of choice) in a large saute pan. Drop the fritter batter into the pan and shape into pancake like circles. The batter is thick, so it'll need to be flattened and smoothed out a bit.

Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve on a bed of brown rice with a drizzle of the Cayenne Aioli.

Cayenne Aioli
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whisk together in a small bowl - and refrigerate until ready to serve.

note: I didn't measure my "pancakes" - but I'd guess I was using about 1/4 cup batter for each fritter. I was able to make 8 fritters and served 2 on 1/2 cup of brown rice, with just a drizzle of the aioli - perhaps 2 tablespoons or so. =)

Heart Shaped Box

This is my first creation in my confectionery arts class. By no means is it finished yet, but this was how I left it after class. One group chopped up blocks and blocks of Prima Coating chocolate, while the other half of the class made modeling chocolate.



The Prima was spread out onto sheet pans and left to harden. Once it was finished, we cut tops and bottom heart shapes. We kneaded the modeling chocolate and then ran it through a dough sheeter to flatten it out. Using a yard stick, we used pizza cutters to straighten the sides and cut to size.

Once sized, we molded the modeling chocolate around the heart, then filled it with more melted Prima in order to seal the edges.

It was really fun, and I can't wait to work more on it next week. We'll be making pastillage, chocolate roses, and truffles!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Earth - Wine Challenge



I'm really excited for my first Iron Cupcake challenge. I decided to use Port, since I happened to have a bottle on hand.

I'm still trying to get the hang of gluten free baking, and my first cupcakes didn't turn out very well. So, I used a cake mix as a base. Since my cupcakes are gluten free, it was only fitting that I used a Cherrybrook Kitchens mix to start the baking process.



I flavored the cupcakes with my two favorite spices, cloves and cinnamon. Yum! I chose a Stone Hill 2005 Port as my wine component.



Here they are, fresh from the oven.



The icing is made with cocoa, marscapone cheese, butter, powdered sugar....and Grand Marnier!


The fantastic prizes for the Iron Cupcake Challenge include:

* DOGBONE ART - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=22042
* as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6057281.
* PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5243382, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

As an added bonus for January, our friend at SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY will be tossing in another treat as well, http://www.acupcakery.com/index.html.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com.

NEW, BEGINNING IN JANUARY; our new friends at UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/ will be providing our winner with one of their cute cupcake attitue t's! Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Syllabus Day!

Tonight was my first night in the Confectionery Arts class. I was really nervous about this class, as I was introduced to Chef a year ago... and he scared me then. Now, he's "my" Chef. Though, he wasn't as scary last night. =)

Anyhow, I am really excited about this class now. Even more so, I was excited about the fact that there is now more room in the bake shop because they've removed some of the huge metal cabinets and replaced them with giant Craftsman Tool Boxes!

For our first class, we simply reviewed the syllabus and discussed the different types of Couverture. In class, we'll be working exclusively with Callebaut, 58%. We went through the process of how chocolate is made, and how to properly temper it.

The objectives for this class are:
  • prepare syrups for casting, pulling, and blowing
  • prepare pulled sugar for reuse
  • color and shade sugar work
  • make decorative flowers, ornamental items, and birds from case, blown, or pulled sugar
  • prepare and model with modeling chocolate
  • temper and make chocolate centerpieces for display
  • demonstrate marzipan modeling
  • prepare pastillage
Sounds fun, huh? =)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shame on you!!!

I just read this article about Wellshire Kids Gluten Free Chicken Bites. And, I'm NOT at all happy. We tried to feed these to Brenna once, and she became very ill. We assumed there was something else in chicken, perhaps in the spices, that was bothering her. The reaction wasn't one of an allergic nature, but it was one of "celiac nature." Now I know that Wellshire Kids Gluten Free products are NOT, in fact, gluten free. The Codex standard for acceptible gluten limits in the UK are 200ppm. There is currently no set standard in the US, though they keep promising us there will be one. There are some who feel that 200ppm is incredibly too high for a person with Celiac. Wellshire Kids Chicken has been found to have over 2000ppm. Yikes!

Added: This article was in the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to School

Tomorrow I begin my 2nd semester in the Hospitality/Culinary program. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous. This semester I'm taking Confectionery Arts, Professional Cooking II, and Beverage Control. I have my books, I have 2 Chef's coats - I learned last semester that one simply isn't enough- and I have located my toque, which was MIA for most of the winter break.

My long-term goal is to provide tasty, yet nutritious, treats for those affected by Celiac Disease and food allergies. Yet, I'm cooking and baking with wheat. I have such an odd learning curve here.

In March I'll be taking a gluten free baking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City and I'm really looking forward to that. Baking is such a delicate balance of art and science, and I'm really enjoying the education. I'm really looking forward to getting back into their kitchen, too!

Soup, Glorious Soup

I love soup. It's been a favorite food since I can remember. One of my all-time favorite meals, to date, is grilled cheese with tomato soup. When I was little it was American on Wonder, with a dish of Campbell's. Num, yummy.

I can no longer eat Wonder bread and much to my surprise - and dismay - Campbell's Tomato Soup contains wheat. (I've asked 'why?' about 100 times, to no avail!) I don't like most gluten free breads, though I keep trying. I've started making sandwiches on Van's Gluten Free Waffles Buckwheat Waffles. And, I've replaced my soup with a much healthier alternative - Amy's Kitchen Cream of Tomato Soup.

Why am I babbling on and on about soup?? Well, primarily because I tried out a new recipe today and wanted to post it. Secondly, because Joshua.... my oh-so-picky 10 year old, actually ate a whole bowl of tomato soup last night, and he LOVED it!! I was dancing for joy!

Without further ado:

Quinoa & Spinach Soup
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups quinoa - rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic, & oregano
  • 10 oz spinach leaves
  • Salt, Pepper, Cayenne to taste
1. Coat large saucepan with nonstick spray and heat over medium.
Add onion, and saute' 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in broth and water, bring to a boil. Add quinoa, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes and spinach leaves. Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered, or until spinach and quinoa are tender. Season with salt, pepper, and Cayenne if desired, serve immediately.

**Feel free to add in up to 2 cups of your favorite frozen vegetables to add flavor and nutrients.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today, my husband and I celebrate 11 years of wedded bliss! =)

Happy Anniversary, Adam. It seems like I should bake a cake today!! =)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Toddler Treats


I'm always in search of a tasty and nutritious snack for my kiddos. They have numerous food allergies so it's often a very futile effort.

The other day I was browsing through the Gerber Graduates just knowing that nothing would be safe for Ian, until I found the Apple & Strawberry Fruit Twists.

Ian had never eaten anything with strawberries up until this point, since his big brother is so allergic. But, these treats looked pretty healthy and tasty.

So, now begins my little son.... "He tried them, he liked them. He tried them, he liked them." Yea, I watch way too much Yo Gabba Gabba!

I'm pleased with these fruit treats, so I had to give Gerber a big shout out. Especially since I'm usually bashing the company. =)

Xanthan Gum - 101

I figured out the problem with last nights cake. It wasn't the combination of flours that caused the bread-dough like consistency. It was the Xanthan Gum. After perusing through my GF baking book, I realize that most cakes and light pastries call for very little XG. While breads and crusts call for a bit more.

Due to my uncertainties about the flour mix, I used 2 tspns - and apparently, that was way too much. I'll remember that for next time!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Mystery Cake


I was feeling a bit nostalgic so I started going through some of the cookbooks that had once belonged to my Grandma - Nanny. She was born and raised in Kentucky and she was very much a Southern Woman. One of the cookbooks she left to me, specifically, was a Southern Heritage Cake Cookbook. In it, a recipe for a Mystery Cake. I was really interested in this cake, primarily because I could not figure out the mystery. I read the recipe over and over again, and finally realized that it's a 3 layer cake, the top and bottom being white, while the center is a chocolate layer. Ahh, mystery solved.

I decided to make this yummy sounding cake, but of course... it had to be gluten free.

So far I've had a lot of luck using a gluten free all purpose flour mix in my baking. Tonight, my luck ran out. Actually, my Arrowhead Mills flour ran out. I needed 2 1/2 cups for the recipe. I only had 2. I had to improvise and use another brand of gluten free flour to finish it off. Note to self: Not all gluten free flour blends are the same!

I gathered all my mise en place - and got ready to attempt this cake.



I noticed the problems with this cake as soon as I started mixing. It had the consistency of bread dough. One would almost swear there was gluten in there by the way the batter became elastic-like. I have to add, I also subbed Hemp Milk for dairy milk, because not only am I gluten free - I'm also dairy free.

In any event, I'm not going to bother posting the recipe because this simply didn't work. However, it was incredibly tasty!! The cake was lightly spicy (cinnamon & nutmeg) while the frosting was mocha chocolaty goodness. The cake had a consistency of a biscuit, rather than cake. The white layers tasted more like spicy biscuits as well.

I think I will try this cake again, but I will use only one type of gf flour blend and see how it turns out. If it works, I'll post the recipe. =)