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. =)