This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge, hosted by Kelly of Sass and Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’ was to make a braided Danish. The second I saw the challenge, I started sweating bullets. This seems to be a theme for me with Daring Bakers. I had no idea how gluten-free flours would behave in a laminated dough, and I planned for failure. Actually, I planned for multiple failures, going so far as to find an alternate recipe in case I really struggled. Surprisingly though, my braid came off without a hitch. I tried sharing my technique, but other gluten-free bakers using similar flours struggled (nobody used the exact same combination). Over the course of the month, it became clear that part of the problem was the way gluten-free doughs behave in the fridge. Sweet rice flour (also known as gelatinous rice flour) holds up to refrigeration better than most, but refrigerating a dough overnight or for five hours, might not be the best plan. Several other gluten-free bloggers had success cutting the fridge time down to 10 minutes between turns and 30 minutes in the freezer before the final shaping. I think these times sound a little quick… the butter needs a chance to harden again or you will lose the flakiness. If I did it again, I would still let the dough rest 30 minutes between turns. But I would definitely cut the final fridge time down from five hours to something more like one or two (or use the freezer for 30). I have changed the directions to reflect these changes.

For the record, I would definitely make these danishes again. In fact, I meant to, all month. But, I’m trying to look good in a bathing suit this summer, and I devoured my entire braid in less than 24 hours, with minimal sharing. Needless to say, a repeat performance was not going to help my waistline. Still, my braid was flaky and flavorful. I loved the flavor of cardamom and orange in the pastry and the simplicity of the cinnamon-sugar and walnut filling. I will play more with the filling next time, but sometimes combinations are classic for a reason.

You can almost see the flakiness in this picture:

Recipe after the Jump

Life has been very busy lately, and I haven’t found a lot of time to be in the kitchen. This morning I was, but only as an onlooker. My Dad is down visiting me from Virginia, and he cooked me breakfast “New Jersey Farm Boy Style.” When he was young he had a job with New Jersey Department of Agriculture, which involved going to the Vineland farm auction and monitoring market trends. His favorite part of the job was grabbing a broccoli rabe and egg sandwich, and now that sandwich has become one of his own specialties. Since I can’t eat Italian Kaiser Rolls, today we ate broccoli rabe and egg with sausage. My Dad likes his with ketchup and Tabasco, but I was happy with just a little extra salt.

Broccoli Rabe and Egg (serves 3)

1/2 a bunch of Broccoli Rabe (also known as rappini) trimmed of the long stems (about 1 cup of leafy greens)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
6 eggs (or 2 eggs per person)
3 Tablespoons milk

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the Broccoli Rabe and simmer until the leaves are tender (10-15 minutes)
3. Add the garlic salt. Drain thoroughly, pushing on the leaves in the collander to get all the moisture out. Chop mixture into small pieces.
4. In a mixing bowl combine eggs and milk, whisking until eggs are frothy. Add broccoli rabe and stir to combine.
5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt a 1/2 tablespoon of butter, swirl to coat pan.
6. Add egg mixture and fry, when the egg mixture first starts to set, start scraping the bottom of the pan (scrambling the eggs). Continue until eggs are cooked through. Serve (with or without a bun, Tabasco sauce, and ketchup).

morning glory muffin

I promised this recipe last week, and I keep delaying posting it, because I have a horrible confession. I made these muffins the same day as the blueberry ones, and I still haven’t eaten a single one. I let them cool on the racks, slipped them into freezer bags and froze them. But every time I open my freezer, I hesitate for a mere second, before I reach for a blueberry muffin. I imagine that the morning glory muffins feel hurt, confused, and rejected. They are entitled to those feelings. I think, with time, I will find my way back these veggie-loaded, bran-like, standbys, but not today, and probably not tomorrow. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try them though. As I mentioned in my blueberry muffin post, these muffins were all I made in the muffin department for months, and they are very lovable.

Recipe after the jump

blueberry muffins

Having fished out the last muffin from my freezer for a mid-morning snack, I knew it was time to make more. Sometimes a batch of muffins can last me a long time, as I try to eat fruit during the day. So not having muffins in my freezer shouldn’t be a big deal. But for a quick breakfast, or a long study session, nothing beats a muffin for convenience and satisfaction, so I decided to go ahead and replenish my stash. For the last four or five months, every time I’ve made muffins, I’ve followed the same recipe, one which I will share later this week. But after reading this article in the New York Times, I decided to challenge myself and try something new.

So I started trolling the internet for muffin ideas, not sure what I was looking for. I thought about making quinoa muffins, or trying something exotic, but in the end, I decided on a classic, the blueberry muffin. I used this recipe on Simply Recipes as my base. To adapt it, I added an egg, upped the leavening, and changed the flours.

The resulting muffins are delicious. They fall somewhere between a muffin and a scone – a little denser than other gluten-free muffin recipes that I have made, but not in a bad way. These have a pleasant richness while still retaining a fluffy texture, and the browned muffin tops give a satisfying crunch. Lemon zest comes through as a subtle accent that plays off the tang of the blueberries without overpowering them. These are definitely going to be repeated, I just wish I didn’t know how much butter was in them…

Recipe after the jump

You may remember that this week, in an attempt to keep my grocery bill down, I vowed to make it until May without going to the grocery store. Well I did it, but it was a bit challenging.

Dinners weren’t too bad. I did have salmon in the freezer, and lots of leftover vegetables lying around, which helped immensely. Lunch was slightly harder, but making the pizza really helped. But breakfast, breakfast was by far the most challenging.

I was pretty much out of cereal the day I decided to wait on the grocery store. Now, if I go more than thirty minutes after waking up before I eat, I’m grumpy, starving, and convinced the world is going to end. So, cooking in the morning isn’t really a great option for me. If I have gluten-free oats, I do love oatmeal. But my last oatmeal kick was when I was traveling a lot to DC, before going gluten-free, and my mom would make me oatmeal and a cappuccino every morning before I went down to the Folger. The beauty of that arrangement was that I didn’t have to worry about cooking, and she woke up earlier than I did, so I could still go from awake to eating in 15 minutes flat.

But this week I tried, I made black bean cakes and ate them with eggs. That took me almost an hour, probably because I had never made the recipe before, but also because I was dragging my heels getting started. They were good when I ate them, but I was almost dizzy with hunger. This morning, I made quinoa pancakes (and yes, it was May already this morning, but I still haven’t been to the grocery store). I bought this quinoa flour months ago, and took one sniff, and left it on the shelf next to the bean flour. Which is sort of amusing, given that I love quinoa salads, and the flour smells like the grain. But somehow, in flour form, I found quinoa frightening, until this morning.

I loved these pancakes. I can’t promise that they taste like normal pancakes. They don’t, but in these pancakes that is a good thing. The quinoa adds a complexity of flavor and a nice nuttiness. After my pancakes were ready I couldn’t find any syrup, which was slightly tragic. But they weren’t bad with powdered sugar, and hours later I found myself sneaking back into the kitchen to have another one, cold, as a mid-morning snack, with no topping on top. Now I am not normally a cold pancake eater, but these were good that way too, which makes me anxious to try quinoa muffins next. Of course, nothing will every quite replace my cereal. As I was running today I stopped at the local Kroger and found gluten-free Rice Chex in stock, at last. So, tomorrow I might be eating cereal and leftover pancakes.

This is my entry for May’s “Go ahead honey it’s gluten free!” which is hosted here.

Recipe after the jump

love cakes and eggs


One of the most popular brunch spots in Atlanta is the Flying Biscuit. On the weekends, the line to get in is often an hour long, and most people are willing to wait. People wait, partly because going to the Flying Biscuit is an event unto itself, but also because the little street in Candler Park where the cafe is located is both picturesque and littered with funky shops that are ripe for the browsing. Once inside the cafe, you are treated to great food, an interesting menu, and a fun artsy atmosphere. Surprisingly, given the name, there are actually a lot of good gluten-free options on the menu, although in my pre-gluten free days I had a particular fondness for their pancakes with peach compote, and I still am tempted to ask for the apple-butter that normally accompanies the biscuit and just eat it with a spoon.

I first went to the Flying Biscuit with my friend Su, who recently moved back to California. We went together very early in our friendship, and over the years kept making our way back. Su almost always ordered the love cakes, although she preferred them accompanied by a salad, rather than eggs. So this week, since I’ve been missing her, I decided that I wanted love cakes as well. Luckily, the Flying Biscuit website provided a recipe. Maybe Su will whip some of these up too and even though we are on opposite sides of the coast we can eat love cakes together again. Make these today and share in the love.

Recipes after the jump