GLUTEN FREE Peach & Blueberry Upside Down Cake

If you’re looking for something to do with all the amazing peaches arriving at the farmer’s markets this month, THIS. Use all peaches, or blend fruits like I did. Either way, know this: this is a VERY easy WOW-FACTOR dish everyone needs in their repertoire.

While I typically use regular all-purpose flour for this cake, this was the first time I attempted working with a gluten-free flour. And, let me tell you: this Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour performed EXACTLY like my regular flour. The cake was light and moist… and, tasty as all get out. So, if you’re wanting gluten-free, THIS IS IT.

PREP TIME: 30 minutes / COOK TIME: 30-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

SUGAR GLAZE / FRUIT LAYER

  • 3 TBSP salted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups peaches, skinned and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries

CAKE BATTER

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs (room temperature… or ‘flash warmed’ in a bowl of warm water)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep your fruit.

STEP 2: PREPARE THE BATTER

  1. Whisk or sift together the flour, baking power and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth and fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in half the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients.  Do not over-mix; stir just until the flour is barely incorporated into the batter. Set aside.

STEP 3: MAKE SUGAR GLAZE / FRUIT LAYER

Melt butter in a 10″ cast iron skillet with stove on medium high. Add brown sugar and whisk the sugar into the butter to bring to a slow boil. Wisk for 2-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat.(NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can caramelize your butter and sugar in any skillet. Then, once melted, simply pour the sugar mixture into a baking pan before moving to next step.)

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

  1. Arrange the fruit in the bottom of the pan. If it’s in slices, you can create a pinwheel design around a circular pan – or, get creative. Set aside.Gently dollop the batter over the fruit then gently smooth with a pastry spatula so there is an even layer of batter over all the fruit.
  2. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until: a) the top of the cake is golden brown, b) it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and 3) a toothpick comes out clean. (NOTE: Sometimes the fruit bubbles up and over. You can place a sheet pan on the shelf under the cake to catch any drips.)
  3. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.  Let the cake settle for a minute, until any fruit that has leaked up the sides has stopped bubbling.  (TIP: Do not let the cake completely cool or it will be very difficult to get it out of the pan.)!  Run a knife around the edges of the cake.  Place your cake plate over the cake and, using hot pads, carefully flip the cake over.  Gently remove the cake pan. Here’s a peek into how it all comes together in my FINEX cast iron 10″ skillet:

NOTE: Follow Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook and Instagram and watch for the release of the full length video – coming soon! And, yes, while my company, Relish Division, produced this video for Bob’s Red Mill, the recipe and the opinions are all my own 🙂 And, yes, that’s actually me in the video making the cake from scratch.

YOU CAN DO IT: Strawberry Ricotta French Galettes

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After months of being consumed by remodeling, moving, unpacking, and purging, all of a sudden I woke up and the truth hit me: I have a child starting 7th grade, one starting high school, and my baby going into 3rd grade next week; the big Labor Day camping adventure we do with six other families every year is THIS weekend, our 17th wedding anniversary is coming up on the 5th; and, yes, SUMMER IS OVER.

Wow. Three months gone. Just. Like. That.

While summer started with us packing up and moving out of the rental we were in for two years, it’s ending with us officially in our new house – yippee! It’s the smallest house we’ve lived in as a family (we left 3800 sq feet in suburbia three years ago and now live in just about 2100 sq feet), yet it’s also the happiest, most comfortable house we’ve ever lived in. Soooo much work went into getting it ready for our July 1st move in: tearing down walls, a new beam, electrical work, floor installation and refinishing, painting, carpeting… and, even though we’re in, there’s still lots and lots of work to complete. But, WE ARE HOME – and we are blessed we now have a place to root our hearts and watch our kids continue to grow.

One of the raddest parts of this remodel and move is that Frigidiare partnered up with me again! Yep! Revolocity Creative spearheaded the whole project and in just a few weeks our new kitchen campaign will launch. You’ll see the reveal of my kitchen before and after, tag along with me as I shopped for appliances, and then cook with me in the kitchen! I’ll share recipes, kitchen life hacks, and we’re even doing a recipe contest giveaway! So, follow meFrigidaire and Kraft Foods on Facebook and STAY TUNED!!

Something I want to share with you today, though, is this: my strawberry ricotta french galette.

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It seems only appropriate as we say goodbye to summer and, soon, to fresh strawberries, that we mark the end with a little something special, no? Well, THIS is special… and it’s gonna thrill your taste buds to no end.

All it takes is this: a pint of fresh strawberries, some ricotta cheese, a little powdered sugar, and homemade pastry dough…

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and then these simple ingredients for the finishing: an egg wash (take a room temp egg and beat it until smooth), a little sugar, and some fresh grated lemon zest.

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First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and make the dough. It’s the dough I used for my mango tart on Food Fighters, and the same dough I use for my hand pies and plated pies. This is the dough you need to know.

FOR TWO CRUSTS:
2.5 cups flour
2 regular sticks of salted butter
2 TBSP sugar
12-13 TBSP ice water

  • Add flour, butter, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on for 10 seconds nonstop. Then, pulse and additional 5-8 times. The goal is for butter bits to be about a little larger than pea sized…. so don’t over process!
  • Drizzle a TBSP of water at a time through the top of the food processor and pulse for 1 second after each water addition.
  • Pour mixture from food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, squeeze the dough together until all of the mixture is stuck together. (NOTE: The dough should lean to the dry side. If it is too dry, wet your hands and continue to work dough until it adheres. If it is too sticky, add a tsp of flour at a time until the stickiness is gone.
  • Form two discs, wrap in plastic, and chill.

For a video tutorial on the dough, watch this:


Second, prepare your ricotta mixture.

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar

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Place the two ingredients in a bowl together and stir until sugar is fully incorporated. Set aside.

Third, prepare your strawberries. Wash and dry them, and then slice them in thin slices. Be sure to keep the strawberries together, though – it will make for a prettier layout when you put the galette together. Set aside.

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Fourth, roll out the pastry. Once your dough is chilled and ready to use, flour your surface, flour the disc, and get to rolling until you have a disc that’s bout 1/4″ thick.

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Now, one of the things I love most about galettes is that they’re meant to look rustic. So, when you roll the crust out, remember that: it doesn’t need to be perfect.

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Fifth, assemble the galette. With the rolled out pastry centered on your baking sheet, smear your sweetened ricotta cheese around the center (being sure to leave about 2″ between the ricotta and the edge of the crust).

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Cover the ricotta with your strawberries, and then begin to fold the crust up over the edges of the strawberries….

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DSC04339 Once you have the sides folded in, wash all of the exposed dough with your egg wash (it’s what helps the crust get nice and golden)…

DSC04346 Lightly sprinkle the entire tart with some sugar…

DSC04357 And then finish it off with a little fresh grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon worth)…

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Once it’s ready to go, bake it in the oven for 15-18 minutes (or until golden brown)… and LOOK WHAT YOU’LL HAVE: pure deliciousness.

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From start to finish, this is something you can get together in less than 30 minutes (if you already have the dough made)… AND, it’s something that will make whomever you serve feel your love 😉

Make it. Eat it. Come back and tell me about it. I’ve missed you… and, now that I have my brain back and I’m settled in, I promise I won’t be a stranger anymore. Thanks for sticking with me – thanks for reading.

TOMORROW: It’s quinoa time!! I’ll tell you what to do with a leftover rotisseri chicken and a box GQ Brand 100% Royal Tricolor Quinoa. It’s a fast, flavorful, crowd-pleasing meal you don’t want to miss.

You Can Do It: Mama’s Honey Vanilla Quinoa Granola (“Quinola Crunch”)

Honey Vanilla Quniola

Honey Vanilla “Quinola Crunch”

My mom’s dad was addicted to granola when I was little. He was a military man – very rigid and regimented, and when we stayed with them I knew one thing for certain: granola and milk would be my breakfast.

My grandpa would buy dozens of boxes of granola at a time. He bought the exact same brand and exact same flavor, and I could always count at least six boxes at a time being perfectly stocked side by side in the overflowing pantry. (I chuckle as I think of him standing in front of the dozens and dozens of granola options we have available today… how would he have decided?)

But anyway, with all that said, I guess you could say I have a special spot in my heart for granola… and for the sweet memories of childhood it brings to mind.

While I love granola, though, the problem I have with most commercial options (beyond the mere fact they are flat out expensive!) is they are filled with sugars, preservatives, and other junk. If you read the labels, it’s quite shocking, actually: some granola has even more sugar than the ‘taboo’ cereals like Frosted Flakes. Seriously! So, what’s a girl to do?

Make my own!

Today I’m sharing my Quinola Crunch recipe with you for several reasons:

1) It’s yummier than anything you’ll find on the shelf.

2) It’s made with nothing but amazing God-made ingredients (i.e. no refined grains, flours, or sugars).

3)  Making it yourself will save you a boatload of money.

4) It’s one more exceptional way to get a little more quinoa into your day!

5) I love you and I want you to be healthier by cutting out all the excess refined sugars you can.

So, you ready to wow yourself with your quinola-making abilities? Here we go:

Timing: It will take you about 10 minutes to put together, 20 minutes to bake.

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Tools:

  • baking sheet
  • large bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • small glass bowl (or glass Pyrex measuring cup)
  • a large airtight container for storage

Ingredients:

DRY mixture:

  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup toasted buckwheat (“kasha”)
  • 1 cup whole oats (if you buy gluten-free oats, this recipe will be 100% gluten-free)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut ribbons
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

WET mixture:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup pure coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to bake at 300 degrees on ‘convection’ setting; or, 325 in a regular ‘bake’ setting.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside
  3. In a glass bowl, melt coconut oil for approx 45-60 seconds. Add honey and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Using a hand whisk, whisk thoroughly; then, add in vanilla and salt and whisk again to fully incorporate all ingredients together.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are coated evenly. Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet so that the mixture is about one inch thick.
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove sheet and carefully stir the mixture so that exposed surfaces are turned under. (Pay special attention to disrupt the sides and corners since those tend to toast faster than the center.)
  6. Return sheets to oven and bake for another 10 minutes. (NOTE: The key to cooking time? You’re waiting for the mixture to turn a beautiful LIGHT golden color. So, if the mixture is already looking golden when you pull it out after the first 10 minutes, you’ll want to return it for less time after stirring; and, if you don’t notice much change in color after the first 1o minutes, you’ll be able to leave it for a little longer in the second round.) 
  7. When baking is complete, remove trays from oven and allow quinola to cool completely right on the tray. Once cooled, use a spatula to carefully release the quinola from the pan. (The more gently you work, the more chunky your quinola will be.)
  8. Store in an airtight container.

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That’s it! It is sooo yummy… and an entire tray is sooo inexpensive to make when you consider how much ‘gourmet’ quinoa snacks and granola are going for these days. (I’ve seen granola similar to this selling for close to $20+ a pound!! And this recipe? It will probably cost you about $5 for the whole tray.)

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I love to just nibble on my quinola, or it’s especially yummy as a sprinkle over greek yogurt:

Quinoala Crunch and Greek Yogurt

Quinola Crunch and Greek Yogurt

A few final tips:

  1. You can find all ingredients in most bulk bins.
  2. Buy organic everything if you can… and look for ‘unsulfured’ dried fruits.
  3. The first time you make it keep a close eye on it so you don’t over toast it! Lightly toasted, lightly toasted, lightly toasted!
  4. The quinola continues to cook AFTER you remove it from the oven… keep that in mind! So, it’s better to pull it out a little under toasted than too toasted.

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you try it… and then come back and let me know what you think!!

Quinoa (Dutch) Baby, Oh Yeah!

My earliest memories of ‘breakfast’ are from when I was 5. We were living in an apartment in Oakland, California. Every morning before Kindergarten my nana would get me out of bed, sit me in my dad’s antique rocker with the velvet cushions and lions head arm-rests, and she’d serve me toast with strawberry jelly and a cup of coffee.

(Yes, I said “kindergarten” and “cup of coffee” in the same sentence.)

Sometimes I’d get cereal… and, sometimes I’d get her scrambled eggs. But without a doubt: breakfast was always one of those three dishes.

Then, my next breakfast memories are from when I was about 9 and in Guam. I remember the feel of the cool island air on my skin as I sat in the open doorway of our tin shack’s back porch. I always made it just in time to watch my nana throw cracked corn to the masses of chickens cooing in her honor. Half asleep, I’d watch her routine – and then, when her pockets were empty of the chicken goodies, she’d walk next door to her house and then return to mine with one of three things: a bag of warm donuts from the old man that used to sell them out of the back of his car on our street, a stack of her famous pancakes, or a plate of scrambled eggs.

Again, I could always count on it being one of those three things… and, honestly: the lack of variety never bothered me one bit.

So it is in my house these days. Breakfast is one of those meals where my kids can pretty much bank on one of a handful things, typically: cereal, fruit, and hardboiled eggs; quinoa porridge; or this:

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Quinoa Dutch Baby, served with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of real maple syrup, and fresh strawberries

The beauty of this dish is that, while it looks gourmet and totally wows the kiddos, IT IS SO SIMPLE. Seriously, it cooks itself! Here’s what you do:

Ingredients to make one 9×11 glass baking dish (feeds 4-5):

  • 4 eggs, room temperature (you can bring eggs to room temperature by soaking them in their shell in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • two pinches of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of cooked quiona
  • 3 TBSP butter, sliced in squares
  1. Place your glass baking dish in the oven and pre-heat the oven (and the dish) to 425.
  2. Whisk your eggs until they are light. Add the milk, flour, and nutmeg; and, gently whisk until all ingredients are blended. (NOTE: It’s okay for it to be a little chunky, so don’t over mix!)

When the oven is ready, here’s where you’ll need to work a little quick:

  1. Remove the hot pan (carefully!) from the oven. Place the butter squares in the pan so they begin to melt. Using a fork, stab a butter square and butter up the sides of the pan, too.
  2. Pour the cooked quinoa into the buttered pan; toss it quickly through the butter and evenly distribute it.
  3. Immediately pour in your batter over the quinoa making sure the batter goes to each edge of the pan. (Yes, it will disrupt the perfect distribution of your quinoa, but that’s okay.)
  4. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the center is set, and the sides are lightly brown and begin to curl up the sides of the pan.

Voilà!

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Now, here’s a big difference between my quinoa dutch baby and a traditional: This version won’t give you the impressive ‘rise’ of a true dutch baby due to the density of the whole quinoa. BUT, what it lacks in rise, it makes up for in texture and flavor. (Since you add the quinoa to a hot buttered pan, it crisps just a little and – mmmm! – you get a little crunch here and there…) 

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Now, peeps, seriously, there are some MUSTS for serving this yumminess hot out of the oven:

  1. You MUST use real maple syrup when you serve this little number… and just a drizzle! You don’t want it drunk on maple syrup.
  2. You MUST also use fresh fruit of some kind, like berries, or mango, or a warm fruit compote made by simply throwing some frozen berries in the microwave. The texture of this dutch baby is very dense, so the fresh fruit lightens it.
  3. You MUST dust with powdered sugar. Notice I said ‘dust’. It’s simply for effect more than anything. The goal is for the sweetness to come from the fruit and maple syrup, not an abundance of powdered sugar.

You may be asking: “Elisha, what if I don’t want it with the powdered sugar and maple syrup? ” Or, “what can I do with the leftovers?”

Here’s an alternative for serving (and it’s even better when they are cold):

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

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And that’s it!

Please note that this recipe is not gluten-free. I used regular flour for this recipe, although I’m guessing it’s possible to replace the regular flour with gluten-free flour. Would you do me a favor? If you make a gluten-free version of this, would you come back and share it with us? I’d love to hear how it turns out and what (if any) alterations you had to make to cooking time.

Happy eating everyone!

The Delight of Home-Made Cookies

When we eat cookies, I prefer they be decadent as possible. Forget the packaged cookies that have been packed on a shelf for months. Forget the ‘treats’ that are low-fat, sugar free, calorie free. Yuck.

If my kids are gonna eat a cookie, I want it to be made with real everything and nothing but pure delight to the palate.

(Same thing applies to cakes, pies, scones, cobblers. If we’re gonna eat it, then I’m gonna make it. Why? Because I know when I make it it’s gonna be the best it can be.)

Take these peanut butter cookies my 11-year old wowed us with yesterday: real peanut butter, pure vanilla extract, a dash of baking soda and lots of pure cane sugar.

Lots of sugar? Yes. But, she took pleasure in the process – and all of us took pleasure in the enjoyment of warm cookies fresh out of the oven. We made several batches, which means we’ll all be nibbling on cookies for the next several days. BUT – when the cookies are gone, it may be awhile before another batch is produced.

That’s the thing about sugar: in moderation it’s perfectly fine, especially if it is contained in what we expect it to be contained in: candy, cakes, pies, treats.

Where I have a problem with sugar is that’s been added to everything these days. We are hard pressed to find anything without added sugars, including “healthy” things, like yogurt, energy bars, condiments, soups, bread. Just take a look!

And, it’s the ‘healthy’ places that sugar lurks that drives me crazy. Why? Because the ‘evil’ is unidentifiable to my kids.

Candy? Identifiable evil.

Fresh baked cookies where my girl has added the sugars firsthand? Identifiable evil.

I’d rather my kids be able to identify what needs to be eaten in moderation (candy, cookies, treats), then be duped into thinking ‘fat-free’, ‘low-calorie’, ‘whole-grain’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘heathy’ means a free for all. (And yes: there is junk food lurking under each of these labels…)

So, back to the issue at hand: home-made cookies.

Life needs a little sweetness, doesn’t it? So, let’s take the time to make cookies at home. Let’s enjoy them. Let’s dip them in cold milk and savor every fat filled, sugary gulp they provide.

But let’s not do it too often, let’s not overdue it when we do it, and let’s be sure that we keep the added sugars out of the rest of our food so we can eat home-made cookies (and other home-made treats) with pure pleasure, and little guilt.

Rebel on,

Elisha