Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Although this challenge had a lot of time consuming components, it was much easier to convert to gluten free than the last challenge. I saw the challenge and had to sigh with relief! The only special item I had to finally break down and buy was a food processor. I have wanted one for so long, and I finally had an excuse to get one! Yippee!

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

The only ingredient I had to change was the small amount of flour in the cake. I also left the Xanthan Gum out (by accident!) as well as the alcohol (not by accident!). Everything else stayed the same. I do have to say that I didn't like the buttercream recipe. I have my standby Swiss buttercream recipe that I love, and this one didn't cut it for me. I also thought that the finished product was too sweet. I think I must like more bitter tastes, because everyone else who tried it loved it and thought that it had just the right amount of sweetness. I brought it to a church function, and everyone who tried it (non gluten free eaters), loved it!

We were also supposed to decorate the top of the cake with a beautiful piped design using the praline buttercream, but my house was literally 92 degrees, and the buttercream was separating inside my piping bag as I tried to make the design. Although, I could not use the buttercream on the top, I feel that I was able to elegantly substitute the design with a beautiful flower made from gum paste rose leaves, filled with toasted filberts (hazelnuts) in the center. I also used some leftover praline powder to mask the sides of my cake. It turned out beautifully and I may make it again with less sugar and my own buttercream recipe in the future.

This month, I am not going to post the entire recipe, but if you are interested in making it, the recipe originally comes from Great Cakes by Carol Walter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Award

Thanks to Sandra over at Hey, I Can Eat That for the "You Make My Day Award"! Check her out, she's got some great recipes!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lemon Herb Chicken with Vegetable Brown Rice

When times are hard, cooking becomes not only a talent or hobby, but a therapy as well. It allows you to plan and execute an entire meal while forgetting about your worries. All thoughts are on your food. Once complete, there is a certain satisfaction in seeing your food, tasting it and sharing it.

This meal was exactly that for me. Relatively quick to make and super tasty, it allowed me to focus on one goal--making dinner for my family, and to let all of my other stresses and worries aside for a few minutes. To me, cooking is a different world, a respite from life and its challenges. At the end, what a wonderful reward!

Lemon Herb Chicken with Vegetable Brown Rice

This meal is simple to make while also being refreshing on a hot summer's night. The lemon and herbs go beautifully together, while the veggies add a nice crunch. If you wish, you may shred the chicken from the bone and toss it together with the rice.

5 large pieces of bone-in Chicken, breast and thighs
1/4 C Olive Oil
Zest and juice of 1 large Lemon
Herbs: Thyme, Red Pepper Flake, Fresh Basil, Salt and Pepper-all to taste, and a couple shakes of your favorite chicken grill seasoning (optional)
1 cup Brown Rice
1 cup Chicken or Veggie Stock
1 cup + 1 Tbsp Water
assorted veggies, I used Carrot, Zucchini and Onion--all diced small
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you have bone-in chicken with the skin still on, you may want to remove the skin. It's your call (I did). Set your chicken on a broiler pan, and broil them about 5 inches away from the heating coil for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. In a bowl, whisk the oil, lemon zest and juice and herbs/spices together well.

Begin the rice by bringing the liquids together in a medium pot to a boil, then add the rice, lower your temp to medium low and cover with a lid. Once the rice begins to soften, maybe after about 10 minutes, add the veggies to soften with the rice with the lid on. Once finished, stir in the salt and pepper.

Once the chicken is finished broiling, let it rest on the counter for a few minutes, then toss the pieces in the lemon herb sauce. Plate up the chicken over a bed of rice, and using a ladle, drizzle the rest of the lemon herb sauce over each plate.
Cozy up to the one you love, and enjoy the new window air conditioning unit you just bought...hehe!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blogging Awards and NO Recipe??

Hey everybody! Go visit Elle over at Elle's New England Kitchen...she is the 'bestest' ever!! Not only does she have a super rad blog, but she is so nice!! She was so kind as to give me the "I Love You This Much" award!

She also made a new award--the "Hard Working Food Blogger" award, which she has awarded to all of her readers. How super cool is that?!?

Anyhoo...It is now my turn to pass these along :)

For the "I Love You This Much" award--
1. Emilia at A Gluten Free Day
2. Lizzie at The Good Eatah
3. Melissa at Gluten Free For Good
4. MsC at My Sweet Cupcakes
5. and last but not least, my favorite Denverite: Steve at Gluten Free Steve

Then for the "Hard Working Food Blogger" award--
1. T .W. Barritt at Culinary Types
2. Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked

Technically, anyone can have the "Hard Working" award, but these two are my special picks, because they put so much work into their blogs, and they are some of my all time favorites. :)

You are all so great!!

Next...I have no recipe today :( Sorry. I've been working on a recipe for a while now that I am really excited to post, but alas, it still tastes gross. Haha! It's funny, but true. So, hopefully things will come together and I should soon have a new recipe up. Anyhow, I hope that my awarded bloggers enjoy those shiny new awards. Oh, and keep eating!!!

See you all soon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Restaurant Review: WaterCourse Foods

"WaterCourse Foods is proud to serve a 100% vegetarian menu. Our style of comfort food has won over the hearts and stomachs of people from all types of dietary backgrounds. The greatest compliment we hear (and we hear it often) is when a initially reluctant patron, who was dragged in by their spouse or kids, says they never thought they would eat vegetarian food and now WaterCourse is their favorite restaurant."

Last night Mark and I made the trip out to Downtown Denver to try out Denver's most popular vegetarian resaturant: WaterCourse Foods. I had heard nothing but good things ablout this restaurant for years, so we decided to give it a try. Visiting their website before heading out, I was comforted by their statement "We speak fluently about allergies, just let the wait staff know of your special requests". Their menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner and is mostly comfort food, but very eclectic.

I was pleasently surprised that although they do not specify the gluten free items on their website, the gluten free items on their menu are clearly marked with a 'squiggle' next to the name. Yippee! Our server, Carly, was very pleasant and was well versed in the menu and what was what. I ordered the Polenta Crusted Portobello Cap, which was crispy and delicious, covered with a chipotle aioli served along side cooked carrot 'fries', brown rice, home made pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Every bite was delicious, and I was satisfied, but not over-stuffed at the end. Mark-o decided to step outside his (and my) comfort zone by trying the marinated Tempeh Scallopini dredged and fried in it's own mushroom gravy, served along with mashed potatoes and steamed chard. At first, Mark was unsure about his dish. His first comment was 'this tastes like earth'. I had to laugh at him and then try it out for myself. I dug in and was really tasted great! I even offered to trade him plates, but he decided to stick through it. By the end, he was happily saying that the tempeh had grown on him, and he really enjoyed the nutty flavor and texture. The one thing he consistantly did not like was the steamed chard, which he said tasted bitter.

"Polenta Crusted Portobello Cap"

WaterCourse foods also has a full service bakery that supplies their desserts. On the website, it boldly states: "WaterCourse Foods Bakery has employed pioneers and scientists, dreamers and career bakers. In order to create a baking program that matched the innovativeness and quality of WaterCourse Foods Restaurant, we went through much trial and error to come up with the incomparable product we now offer. Our highly skilled and motivated bakery staff is the industry leaders in gluten-free and vegan baking".

We decided to take home one of their gluten free 'Scout Cookies', made from coconut and chocolate (and I think some nuts). It wasn't until I made the comment "this looks just like a Samoa girl scout cookie" that I realized that's the reason it is called the Scout! Haha! We got home and gave it a try. was ok. I guess I was expecting the real girl scout cookie taste, which I did not get. Unfortunately, the flavors were a bit dull and muddled together. I never like to say the phrase 'for being gluten free and vegan, it was ok', but in this case, it fits. I want gluten free and vegan to taste better than the original. Sometimes I think my standards might be too high.

Anyhow, we love WaterCourse, and we will absolutely return. I highly recommend them if you are in the area!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quick Little Ditty: Cool Broccoli Caprese Salad

The other night, my family invited us over for pizza and root beer-our traditional Friday night celebration. I was asked to bring a salad, but I had very few 'salad' ingredients available to me. I don't like going to the grocery store on a Friday night-it's way too busy, so I threw together a few ingredients to make this wonderfully delicious salad. It was so easy to make, and consisted of things I had already in my fridge.

I sauteed up some frozen broccoli, just to take the bitterness out, then stuck it back in the fridge to chill. I then added some minced white onion, diced mozzarella, grape tomatoes, torn fresh basil leaves and drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss that together with some kosher salt and pepper, and voila! You have a lovely, quick, tasty salad! It went perfectly with our pizza, and the colors were beautiful.

I think that tonight for dinner, we will toss the leftovers with some quinoa and maybe a grilled chicken breast. It is so easy and versatile, who wouldn't want to try this?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Surprise Jamba Muffins

You may wonder why I call these 'Surprise Jamba Muffins'. As you may recall, I have mentioned the dry heat we experience here in Colorado in past posts. As our house does not have air conditioning, or any kind of cooling system, I really hate to turn on the oven if I don't have to. Sometimes though, I really want to bake. I really want eat a tasty home made cookie or muffin. So what should I do? Bake it on the grill, of course! Surprise!

I started off with the idea of following a recipe, but then just ended up throwing random ingredients in. Once the batter was all mixed up, I couldn't get over how much the aroma reminded me of how Jamba Juice smells! I think Jamba Juice has more locations than just Colorado, so at least some of you know what I'm talking about...I hope :) At Jamba Juice, they are always squeezing fresh oranges. Add that smell with all the other fruit smells they have in there, and it smells sooo yummy! Well, my batter smelled just like that to me, so that's also where I get the name.

After baking these off, they taste not so "Jamba-y" and more fruity muffin-ish. They are some of the best muffins I have ever had, and much healthier than most other recipes to boot! I know this will be one of your favorites :)

Surprise Jamba Muffins

1/2 C Agave Nectar
1 C Coconut Oil
1 Egg
1 1/4 C Sylvan Border Farms AP GF Flour (or whatever flour mix you like)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 Tbsp Flax Seed
pinch of Salt
2/3 C Soy Milk (or any milk you like)
splash of Vanilla
zest of 1 large Orange
1 1/2 C fresh or reconstituted dried Cherries
a couple handfulls of sliced and toasted Almonds

Preheat your gas grill to 350* f (or your oven). It helps if you have a thermometer on your grill lid. Mix all ingredients except the cherries and almonds together, but do not over-mix. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the cherries. Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups, sprinkle the toasted almonds on top and push them in a bit so they stick. Bake on the top rack of your grill, with the lid down, for 15-25 minutes- depending on your altitude. Mine took about 2o minutes.

To test for doneness, bop your finger on the top of a muffin, and if it springs back up, they are done. Or you can stick a toothpick in to see if it comes back out dry. Once out of the grill/oven, remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

A really great thing about these is that if you store them in a zip top bag, then they do not dry out for like 4 or 5 days (if they even last that long!). I gave out the muffins to random friends and family, and I got a great response from everyone! Even my glutenous (not the same as gluttonous, silly!) friends thought they were awesome! Success!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


OK, so I dont usually like to do meme's, but I saw a great one done by My Sweet Cupcakes that is really fun so I decided to indulge a bit and do one myself. I think it is pretty neat :)

1. Madam Tiffany, 2. Macarons, 3. Gold all over the ground, 4. spotted or striped!, 5. who dey?, 6. When life gives you lemmons..., 7. Prenent un Bany. Taking a Bath., 8. Crème Brûlée from Berry Milk, 9. pop up, 10. Takidani Train Station 5 (re-do), 11. Friday Fun Socks (day 81), 12. Untitled

If anyone comes across this and wants to do one themselves, here's the rules:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name
Stay tuned for a great recipe you wont want to on Life After Gluten. (Sounds like a soap opera, huh? [Like sands through the hourglass...]) LOL
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