Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Citrus Salad

Please help yourself to this kaleidoscope of flavors and colors from the Kitchen Gypsy cookbook by Joanne Weir.* Topped with a white balsamic vinegar and honey dressing, the salad is a perfect way to lighten up and keep those New Year’s resolutions.

A delicious discovery in this recipe was the Condimento Bianco di Modena white balsamic vinegar (Whole Foods, $10.99).  It added just the right amount of sweetness to balance the acidity of the fruit, and I've since used it in cole slaw and tuna salad. Plus, the thick cork top and beautiful label bring a touch of Italy to my kitchen and a smile inside every time I see it on the shelf.



1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (personal preference)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt & pepper


1 white grapefruit
1 ruby grapefruit
2 Cara Cara oranges
2 blood oranges
1 small red onion
10 kumquats
1 lime
Zest of 1 orange and 1 grapefruit.

Optional mint or other chopped greens for garnish (I used dandelion greens).


1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. 

2. With a sharp knife, cut the bottoms and tops off of the grapefruits and oranges. Cut the peel off of the sides. Slice each one horizontally into 1/4" pieces. 

3. Peel the onion and cut 1/8” slices. Cut the kumquats in half and remove the seeds. Cut the lime into thin slices and cut in half again.

3. Arrange the grapefruit, oranges and onion on a plate. Drizzle the dressing over the slices. Add the kumquats, lime, zest and optional chopped greens.

Serves six.

#paleo #citrus #salad #glutenfree #dairyfree #healthyeating

*Recipe adapted from Kitchen Gypsy cookbook by Joanne Weir.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

cake, cranberries, holiday eating glutenfree
’Tis the season for a Cranberry Upside Down Cake. This recipe uses coconut milk, minimizes the sugar, and adds lemon zest to allow the taste of the fruit to shine through. It looks beautiful on the table, and is a refreshing light dessert after a big meal.

Once again, the Cup4Cup flour worked great. The pastry chef at The French Laundry restaurant started experimenting with gluten-free flours, and Thomas Keller, head chef, encouraged her to develop her own brand. It’s now available in stores and online.


For the Topping:

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, preferably Muscovado Light Brown

For the Cake:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup coconut milk, mixture of solid and wet parts

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar for final dusting

Optional Coconut Milk Whipped Cream: 1 can coconut milk, preferably Trader Joe's Coconut Cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the topping:

1. Combine the cranberries and juice in a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a 9” cake pan, add the butter and brown sugar. Put in oven and keep a close watch until the sugar beings to caramelize, a couple of minutes. Remove from oven.

3. With a slotted spoon, add the cranberries to fill the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Pour the remaining juice over the berries, and set aside.

For the Cake:

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and slightly fluffy. Add the vanilla, and then the egg yolks, one at a time, until all is mixed well. 

3. Alternate adding the flour blend and coconut milk ending with the flour just until blended together. Put the batter in another bowl, and fold in the lemon zest with a rubber spatula.

4. Clean the mixing bowl and attachment. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter. The mixture will be quite wet. 

5. Spread the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. until a wooden skewer comes out clean; check at 25 minutes. My cake took 40 minutes.

6. When done, place the cake pan on a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Place a serving plate on top of the cake and turn it all over to allow cake to drop on the plate. Let cool down, and sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar on top through a sieve. 

The cake is best served warm. If desired, top with Coconut Whipped Cream, instructions here.

#cake #upsidedowncake #cranberries #glutenfree #holidayeating

Recipe adapted from Alice Water’s website here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Valrhona Spice Cookies

Inspired by round iced cookies historically made for Rosh Hashanah, later infused with a European spice palette by immigrants to Jerusalem in the 1930’s, and now updated and served in a London restaurant by Yokam Ottolenghia, these spice cookies (with a bit of paleo tweaking) are a delicious blend of cultures, cocoa and candied fruit for the holiday season.

Ingredients for Candied Meyer Lemon Peels (prepare the night before):

6 Meyer Lemons, cut in half and juiced
Water to cover lemons

2 cups water
3 cups pure cane sugar

1 teaspoon pure cane sugar (for finishing)

Directions for Candied Meyer Lemon Peels (prepared the night before baking):

1. Cover the lemon halves with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Pour off liquid, and repeat Step 1. Peels should easily be pierced with a knife (or repeat). Drain and let cool.

Note: for Eureka Lemons or orange rinds, rinse 3 times.

3. Scoop out and discard the inner rind of the halves with a spoon. Slice the peels into 1/4” strips with a knife. Gently scrape the inside of the strips with a knife or spoon to remove any excess pith, leaving a thin film of white against the colorful zest.

4. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and sugar to a boil. Add the lemon peels and lower heat to a simmer. Cook gently (to avoid making the rinds tough) until the peels are slightly translucent and the temperature measures 220 degrees F.

5. Put a rack over a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. With a slotted spoon, place the lemon peels on the rack to cool. Air dry the cooled peels in fridge overnight. When ready,  cut the peels into various shapes: triangles, rectangles, squares, small strips. Toss the cut peels in a teaspoon of cane sugar, shake off excess, and set aside.

6. Store the candied peels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a year.

Ingredients for Spice Cookies:

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons currants 
4 tablespoons white grape juice 

2 cups gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces Valrhona Guanaja 70% chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces Ghirardelli 60% chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 large egg, beaten

Directions for the Spice Cookies:

1. Soak the currants in the white grape juice for at least 10 minutes .

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, spices, salt and chocolate shavings. Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, and zests together for just 1 minute. Do not aerate too much. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg and mix for another minute. Add the dry ingredients until just mixed together.

4. Remove the bowl from the stand and add the currants (with juice), mixing in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Then knead the dough with your hands until it forms a cohesive ball.

5. Divide the dough into about 1 3/4 ounce chunks (about 1 tablespoon), and roll with your hands to make balls. Place balls 3/4” apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and let rest in the fridge for an hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes and check with a wooden skewer. They should be firm on the outside but soft on the inside. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a rack. Transfer the warm cookies to the rack, and place the rack on top of the baking pan and parchment paper.

7. While still warm, drizzle 1 tablespoon of glaze (below) over the top, and put 3-5 pieces of the candied lemon peel on top.

Serve when cool, or store in airtight container fridge for about 3 days.

Ingredients for Glaze:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions for Glaze:

1. Whisk together the lemon juice and sugar.

Makes about 30 cookies.

#cookies #dessert #chocolate #glutenfree #nutfree 

Cookie recipe adapted from the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Candied peel recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

British Butter Cookies & Lime Curd

If you haven’t watched The Great British Baking Show on PBS, I highly recommend it. In the UK, this season’s finale was the BBC’s most-watched program of 2015.

Over a period of 10 weekends, amateur bakers compete for the title of Best Baker. The contestants are given three challenges each week: a signature bake, a technical challenge, and a show-stopper. The judges look for excellent flavors, uniform sizes, and an elegant presentation.

I can hear Mary Berry now tasting my cookies and curd: Well, the biscuits and curd have very good flavor, but the presentation and uniform sizing falls a bit short. Remember, it’s style and substance that counts.


The judges, Paul and Mary Berry, taste a show-stopper. 
Photo downloaded from internet.
Lime Curd:
6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2/3 cup pure cane sugar
2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Shortbread Cookies:
2 cups gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped cranberries


Using the ingredient list above, prepare the cookies following the directions from the Bribery Bakery website here.

Makes about 30 cookies.

#dessert #cookies #curd #glutenfree #greatbritishbakingshow #maryberry

Recipe adapted from the November Food & Wine Magazine feature on the Bribery Bakery recipe.