Second food swap (first in our area!) boomed with bounty. The special aspect of a summer swap is that those with gardens bring their freshly harvested abundance. One day I will have a patch of land with a garden, but for now my swap items are kitchen creations and confections. My items this go around were meringues and black raspberry shrub drink mixers. Everything was “swapped up,” and I returned home with more than I could have ever imagined! The camaraderie is almost as delicious as the goods. I now refer to Food Swaps as “Food Christmas.”
Last month I participated in a community food swap for the first time! Mary has been diligently working to connect our region with the Food Swap Network (read all about it on their site). These photos were taken when I joined her at City Market for the Indianapolis Food Swap. My swap items were riffs on previous recipes made and documented on this blog: Honeycomb Brittle and Porter Candy Apples. I made three types of honeycomb brittle (lavender, toasted almond, black raspberry) and chocolate stout lollipops. At first I was nervous that no one would want to swap for candy, but as you can see I had nothing to worry about. I have been enjoying my swap loot ever since, and now because of Mary’s efforts, Northeast Indiana will host its inaugural swap this weekend. I can’t wait to see what swap-chances await; I hope people will swap for cold-pressed black raspberry shrub drink mixes…
A fresh batch of granola for my upcoming road trip! This go around, I changed up Melissa Clarks’ recipe with some dried mango, candied ginger, and walnuts. Packed and ready: a tasty remedy for the munchies and a potentially queasy stomach, along with a hint of summertime flavor.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (regular or gluten free)
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup chopped (or torn) dried mangoes
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add mangoes and candied ginger, tossing to combine.
Much alone or atop yogurt.
Chocolate & peanut butter: one of the great &s of all time. Earlier this week I whipped up a variation on two decadent (gluten free) dessert recipes. These recipes are suspicious alone but wonderfully dangerous when combined. I took a couple of the dense treats over to a neighbor who shares my affinity for peanut butter. He later told me, judging by the weight of the 2 “cookies” I knew it was serious business! So there you have it, this recipe mash-up is not for the faint of heart. Can you handle it?
Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Recipe
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts
4 large egg whites at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325-degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt (I like to use a mesh colander to sift the dry ingredients). Stir in chocolate and peanuts (I pulverized half of the nuts in my blender). Add egg whites and stir just until incorporated (looks like thick brownie batter).
Drop dough balls (cookie scoop works wonders) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are dry to the touch, about 23 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)
Peanut Butter Cream Adapted from Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing Recipe
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Stores well in the fridge but spreads best at room temperature.
Recently I noticed a new addition to the freeze dried foods selection at my local market: tangerines. While I enjoy fresh tangerines, they are rarely available where I live, and the texture of canned tangerines is a little slimy for my liking. Imagine my delight for this new storable tangerine option! Crisp and filled with air like a cheese puff, though incredibly light and flavorful, I immediately thought of making bittersweet and bright, dark chocolate snacks with these freeze dried fruits. Simple to do; the small tiger-striped bites melt in your mouth without the dense chewiness of dried fruit or over the saturated syrupy taste of a jelly. Fun for a party! Next I ground the remaining freeze dried tangerines in my coffee grinder to add an unexpected citrus twist atop dark chocolate chunk brownies. Make your favorite brownie recipe, bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then let the tangerine dust work it’s magic at the very last minute. The tangerine and dark chocolate air is an added bonus.
These cookies are not the prettiest. Or are they? At first glance they remind me of homemade purple Playdoh (which is always tempting to eat, though the grape smell unfortunately misguides the actually unsavory ball of pliable salt dough), but the more I look at them I see edible moon rocks. Maybe even robot food? They also seem prettier the more I eat them; soft, sweet butter cookies with a hint of blueberry flavor are perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.
Drawing from one of my favorites, The Minimalist and “Everything” guy Mr. Mark Bittman, I made a gluten free blueberry butter cookie recipe based on “One dough, endless cookies.” I love his approach: start with the basics, keep it pure, and create small change-ups for new big flavors. The basic recipe appears in a few of his cookbooks and also on his website here. The final intergalactic touch was a spray of Duff’s cake graffiti in metallic silver. In the future I plan to make this recipe in smaller scone-like bites, drizzled with a lemon glaze.
Gluten Free Blueberry Butter Cookies Adapted from Mark Bittman
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups Bob’s Gluten Free Shortbread Mix)
1/4 cup blueberry powder (grind 1/2 cup freeze-dried blueberries)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed.
1. Heat the oven to 375. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla and egg and beat until well blended.
2. Combine the flour, blueberry powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the dough, beat for a moment, then add the milk. Beat for about 10 seconds, then add the remaining dry ingredients and a little more milk, if necessary, to make a soft dough.
3. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Begin with a pillowy marshmallow meringue bowl, fill it with fluffy peanut butter mousse, then top it off with a classic chocolate Hershey’s kiss; it’s a bite-sized recipe mash-up to remember, and I call it the fluffernutter kiss.
Make it yourself by combining these recipes:
Stephen Collucci’s Peanut Butter Mousse Consider yourself forewarned on this PB mousse: the stuff is simple spoon-able heaven. This recipe is my standby for filling up killer parfaits and chocolate cookie tart shells.
Martha Stewart’s Meringues I did not pipe them in heart shapes the way Martha does, rather I scooped the meringue into cupcake papers and made a little well in the center using a tablespoon. They baked for a total of 1.5 hours, and cleanup was a breeze.
And if I may, I will tack on a final sentiment to Robin Leach’s signature line:
“Champagne wishes, caviar dreams, and fluffernutter kisses.” Goodnight!
It all starts with a crock of split peas on Sunday and eventually evolves into my favorite silky soup by the time Tuesday rolls around. Bonus transition time snack: split pea sweet potato dip. I am convinced the in between days are what makes this soup a promisingly tasty journey from start to finish. My steps are loosely recorded below.
Day 1: Toss in a few cups of split peas, a few cups of vegetable stock, a little water, and seasonings (salt, pepper, I switch up between cumin & ground coriander) in a crock pot. Either cook on high for 2 hours or low for about 6 hours. Roast some sweet potatoes and bacon in the oven (do it together if there are no vegetarians on the premises and by all means throw in some garlic cloves): sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, sometimes cumin, and bacon sprinkled with your preferred sweet granules. Bake for 20 minutes in 350-degree oven, remove bacon, bump heat up to 400-degrees, and finish roasting sweet potatoes for an additional 15 minutes. I like to eat all of these things together with arborio rice.
Day 2: Synthesize the left over split peas and roasted sweet potatoes in your blending mechanism with the amount of olive oil necessary to achieve a spreadable or dippable consistency. Black bean chipotle chips are recommended utensils, though carrots and celery maintain their respective merits.
Day 3: Use leftover dip to create a silky soup. Thin the dip down by adding hot water or stock. Crème fraîche or sour cream also slides in a tangy edge. A bacon garnish never hurt either.
You know those cozy hexagonal structures of wax made by bees to store their precious goods, including honey? How perfect that this honey brittle recipe also takes on the appearance of its former storage home: the honeycomb! Martha Stewart’s recipe for Honeycomb Brittle has been close to the top of my “I want to make this recipe” mountain since I spied it a few years ago.
All that time I had no idea that I was just four ingredients away from a little kitchen science and my new favorite brittle recipe. The mixture explodes in the pot when baking soda is added at the last minute, which accounts for is delightful airiness. It’s also easy to break apart once it hardens; if you’d like a little more control over the shapes of the shards, just score the brittle with a knife beforehand.
Next time I will add walnuts or almonds to the honey candy, as it is a perfect mix for encasing extra goodies. In part of this batch I set up candles in the brittle and broke them apart to make edible candle holders for plopping atop a honey lemon cake later this week (I will be 32!). The honeycomb brittle was also a fun and sweet crunchy accompaniment to a mug of creamy Greek yogurt the other morning. There’s nothing wrong with pre-celebrating, is there?
Since it stores and travels well, I am taking bags of the light and golden candy to contribute to our family munchies this holiday. Warm (and sweet) Thanksgiving wishes to All.
P.S. Dreaming All Day included me in 50 Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas today – check out her yummy round-up!
I get giddy when people think of me when they discover a new recipe, so you can imagine my delight when my friend Jillian wrote to me about her experience in the kitchen making October Apple Cake. We agreed that the possibilities for variations on this recipe were ripe, and this is how the November Golden Pear Cake came to be.
I changed up the modest ingredient list to make my own perfectly sweet & gluten free autumnal cake with pears, substituting oat flour with rice flour and swapping out the chocolate chunks with cubes of buttery caramel. Can I describe a dessert cake as both delicate and hearty? I hope so, because this recipe seems to fit those descriptions, and when sliced in wedges, it radiates like the golden November sunshine.
Enjoy, serve, or gift the November Golden Pear Cake at any time of day. It’s amiable to eat with a fork and cup of tea at the breakfast table, as a handheld treat on a fall forest potluck picnic, or as appetizer pick-ed mini bites preceding a festive night’s cheese course. Happy Novembering.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 pears (I used D’Anjou)
optional: 1/2 cup caramel bits or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Grease a pan with olive oil and dust with flour, set aside (I also lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper).
2. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 minutes.
4. Peel the pears and chop them into chunks. Chop up caramel or chocolate into chunks.
5. Add the brown sugar and olive oil to the fluffy, fluffy eggs and continue to whip for another minute. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until combined.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then nestle the pear and caramel chunks until they are nice and snug in the batter.
7. Bake for about an hour, then if you can stand the wait, let it cool. Turn out the cake onto a plate and serve hot with drizzled caramel and sprinkled with sea salt, or cold with freshly whipped vanilla cream on top.