Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gluten free adventures!

   I always wanted to try gluten free baking... mostly to challenge myself and to try something new. I heard a lot of negative opinions about gluten free baking goods... that the texture is off, that the flavor is bad, or that it's impossible to make at home. The last one is really what caught my attention and I wanted to put my skills to the test and see if I could make a delicious, gluten free desert. My friend's son (who also happens to be my son's best friend) is gluten free, so she became an expert in gluten free cuisine, constantly testing new recipes for breads, muffins, bagels... you name it, she probably tried it... and I have to say all of her stuff is delicious! So what better way to test my gluten free baking skills than inviting them to dinner and feeding them my gluten free lemon-blueberry cake? Here is the recipe:


*  1.5 cups gluten free all purpose baking flour (Bob's RedMill)
*  1 cup sugar
*  1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp.
*  1 container (6 oz) lemon Greek yogurt
*  2 eggs
*  1 tsp baking powder
*  1/2 tsp salt
*  2 tsp lemon zest
*  1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
*  1 cup fresh blueberries
*  1 tsp corn starch


*  1 cup powdered sugar
*  1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. In a bowl combine and whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs (one at a time), add yogurt and lemon juice and mix everything for 1-2 minutes.

3. With mixer on slow, add dry ingredients, a little bit at a time, and mix until combined.

4. In a small bowl, combine blueberries and corn starch and mix until coated.

5. Gently mix in blueberries into a batter, transfer into greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack and let it cool.

6. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, mix until smooth and pour over the cake to glaze it.

   I have to be honest, baking the cake was a little bit tricky... every time I inserted a toothpick in the middle of it, it came out a tiny bit wet, but after 60 minutes of baking I decided to take it out of the oven and let it sit. It turned out great! There was no under-baked dough, the cake was moist (maybe not as moist as a regular flour cake, but not bad at all) and the flavor was really, really delicious. My "gluten-free expert" friend, who doesn't really have a sweet tooth to begin with, loved it... or at least that's what she said and I take it!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Duet in the kitchen!

   Cooking dinners during a weekend is usually "Christopher and Mommy" time. He brings a chair to the kitchen, puts it next to me so he can reach the counter, demands bunch of utensils and of course the same ingredients to work with as me (anything but onions and garlic... and raw meat of course!). He chops, he mixes, he samples, he makes a lot of mess and usually he has no problems with me trashing it at the end of it. Recently however, he became more sophisticated and he started demanding that if I take pictures of my food, I must also take pictures of his. At first I though it was just a cute joke, but he got serious pretty quick and he even insisted that he will plate and arrange his own photo-shoot (insert eye rolling emoji here)! I'm a little proud and very entertained by all of this!
   This time I made a quinoa stir-fry with chicken and veggies and Christopher made a vegetable soup, both featured below.


*  2 cups dry quinoa
*  2 large carrots, sliced
*  2 small zucchini, sliced
*  4 oz mushrooms, sliced
*  2 cups broccoli heads
*  3 green onions, chopped (save a little for garnish)
*  1 lb chicken breast, cut into small, thin pieces
*  1 egg
*  2 tbsp olive oil
*  1 tbsp hoisin sauce 
*  1 tbsp honey
*  2 tbsp soy sauce
*  1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
*  1 tsp garlic powder
*  salt


1. Cook quinoa according to the instruction on the box. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add chicken with a pinch of salt. Saute for 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces) until thoroughly cooked. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil (1 tbsp) until very hot. Add vegetables, season with a pinch of salt and garlic powder and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Do not cook more than 5 minutes if you don't want the veggies to be mushy.

4. Make a little bit of space in the middle of the skillet, add egg and cook stirring until dry. Mix with the vegetables.

5. In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar and soy sauce to create the sauce.

6. Add chicken and cooked quinoa to the veggies, add the sauce and mix everything until combined.

7. Sprinkle with some green onions when serving.

   As promised, I also took pictures of Christopher's "soup" and even though his knife skills have some room for improvement, given the fact that it was a butter knife (as blunt as it gets) I say he did pretty damn good! Thank God he didn't ask me to taste it, because there might have been some "floor ingredients" in the dish.

   And here is the master chef himself... very proud of his creation! We fed the soup to the birds and they loved it ... we think!

    Going back to my stir fry... it tastes as delicious as a regular rice stir fry, but the texture is different. Quinoa is a grain that people either love or hate... if you are like us and love it, you will really enjoy this dish!

Magda and Christopher