Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gluten-Free Cloudberry Carrot Cake - Recipe

     My sister and her family are gluten-free so I decided to create a cake that everyone can enjoy.  I chose  to make my cloudberry carrot cake gluten-free.  This cake is delicious and moist because of its ingredients.  I love cloudberry jam in this cake.  It adds moistness, a delicate flavor, and texture from the seeds.  I also like the crushed pineapple for a little tartness.  I do use oat flour in this recipe, so use an oat flour which specifically states that it is gluten-free.  Oats often are grown in the same fields in rotation with wheat, so volunteer wheat plants get harvested along with the oats.  Also cross contamination in milling facilities can be a factor.

     What are cloudberries?  They are delicate orange berries that grow in the northern countries of our planet.  In Norwegian they are called "molter", and enjoy a cult like  following.  Norwegians have their secret cloudberry patches that they pick from year after year.  The berries need very specific growing conditions and a plant takes seven years to develop before it has its first bloom.  Cloudberries, "highland gold",  can be made into preserves and is found in Scandinavian food stores or ordered online.

Gluten-Free Cloudberry Carrot Cake

(Serves 12)

2 c.  Oat Flour* Labeled as Gluten-Free
1/4 c. Tapioca Flour
3/4 c. Rice Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 c. Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
3 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground Cardamom
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. Cloudberry Jam
1/2 c. Olive Oil
3 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Crushed Pineapple with juice
2 c. Carrots finely grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans.  Cut out 3 parchment circles and place them on the bottom of the pans.  Lightly flour each pan with a little gluten-free oat flour.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free oat flour, tapioca flour, rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, palm sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and salt.  In another bowl mix together the cloudberry jam. olive oil, vanilla, and pineapple.  At this point make sure the carrots are grated and standing by.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and quickly mix by hand just until incorporated.  Quickly fold in the carrots and divide the batter evenly into the pans.  I use a measuring cup to scoop out the batter.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and un-mold onto a rack.  Remove the parchment and discard.  Cool the cakes completely before frosting.  Make the cream cheese frosting (see recipe below).  Place one cake round on a serving platter (I use a large, flat, metal spatula to assist me in picking up the cake.) and spread one third of the frosting over the top.  Position the second cake round onto the first, and spread another third of the frosting onto the top.  Place the final cake round on the top of the second and spread the last third of the frosting on the top.  Make little peaks in the top layer of frosting by taking a spatula or spoon and gently touching the frosting with the tip.  Lift up with a flick of the wrist and repeat several times over the top of the cake.  Place in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes uncovered to set the icing.  Gently cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  To serve, cut with a thin knife, cutting straight down in a single motion, then draw the knife straight out without lifting it up again.

*Always read labels and ingredient statements, and ensure that products are safe to consume.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. Cream Cheese
3 oz. Goat Butter or Cow Butter
2 T. Cloudberry Jam
16 oz. Confectioners Sugar

Soften the cream cheese and butter.  Cream the butter and cream cheese and add the jam.  Slowly add the sugar, beating  after each addition until a spreading consistency is attained.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spicy Sunday Scramble - Recipe

     On Sunday mornings, my grandparents used to make a big deal out of breakfast.  Eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, and fruit salad memories are still very vivid.  I like to make my weekend breakfasts different from the weekday too.  Today I thought, what would turmeric and cayenne pepper be like on a scrambled egg?  I am always looking for imaginative ways to incorporate turmeric into my dishes.  I also had some goat chèvre in the refrigerator.  My first version mixed everything together and fried it up.  It tasted good, but the color was not appetizing and of course the chèvre almost completely melted into the mixture.  So I knew it could be great with just a tweak.  I tried again, this time scrambling the eggs and salt alone.  At the last moment I crumbled in the chèvre and plated the eggs.  Next I sprinkled on the turmeric and cayenne to make a beautiful display.  The flavors all were more noticeable too, since they were not spread throughout the eggs!  Delicious and easy!

Spiced Scrambled Eggs with Chèvre

(Serves 4)

8 Eggs
1/4 tsp. Salt
Palm oil to coat the bottom of pan
4 oz. Goat Chèvre crumbled
1 tsp. Turmeric
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Whisk the eggs and salt in a bowl.  Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium heat and add eggs.  Scramble the eggs and when finished toss in the cheese.  Plate immediately and sprinkle the eggs with turmeric and cayenne pepper to taste.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Joys of Silver Plate

Ok, I was always of the mind that I would never ever collect dishes that tarnish and are labor intensive to maintain.  Well, never say never.  I noticed over the last few years that tables with beautiful silver plate platers, bowls, chafing dishes, etc. have a totally different look.  They look elegant!  Not that other dishes are not beautiful and elegant, but silver plate just seemed to take it into another league.  Perhaps I have been watching too much Downton Abbey, I don't know.  I have noticed that many antique stores have lots of silver plate items to explore.   And it is often affordable too,  especially if it was a little tarnished!  The serving dish and water pitcher below were $42.  Here is what I found in Chicago this year.  I  brought them home and polished them up with Hagerty Silver Foam.  Wallah!  Instant beauty!  To keep it that way I wrap them in silver cloth.

Do I use it?  Yes.  Like my good china, it comes out to play regularly.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lamb Paté with Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese, and Garlic - Recipe

 I absolutely love this recipe.  I was going to call this a Lamb Roll, however, when I tasted it, it had such a sofisticated flavor and smooth texture that I had to call it a paté.  The lamb is seasoned perfectly with fennel  and has a light smooth texture from the potato and a little oat flour.  The filling is heavenly with melted goat cheese, garlic, and swiss chard.  This is one of those recipes that is worthy of company, yet so easy to make, it almost makes you feel like you fooled them all.

Lamb Paté with Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese, and Garlic

(Serves 12)


2 lbs. Ground Lamb
2 c. Yukon Gold Potatoes boiled, peeled, and mashed (about 2 potatoes)
1/2 Yellow Onion minced
1/4 c. Oat Flour
1 Egg
2 tsp. Coarse Celtic Sea Salt
3 tsp. Fennel Seed slightly crushed in a mortar and pestle


2 Large Green Swiss Chard Leaves separated from center rib and chopped finely in a food processor
6 Cloves Garlic minced with a garlic press
1/2 tsp. Coarse Celtic Sea Salt
4 oz. Country Jack Goat Cheese grated

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix the lamb, potatoes, onion, oat flour, egg, salt, and fennel seed together with your hands until thoroughly combined.  In another bowl, combine the swiss chard, garlic, salt, and cheese.  Place a large piece of parchment paper onto the counter.  Pat the meat into a long rectangle (18 x 8 inches).  Distribute the filling onto the meat leaving a 1 inch margin along one of the long sides.  Lift the other side of the parchment paper and use it to help roll up the paté.  With the seam on the bottom cut the roll in half and place both pieces in a baking dish without touching each other.  Bake for 1 hour until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.  Let rest out of the oven for 20 minutes, then slice and arrange on a platter.  Serve immediately.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Alfredo - Recipe - Turkey Leftover Solution

     Hope your Thanksgiving was grand!  Mine certainly was.  Especially the Thanksgiving part.  I love my family and cherish every minute.  Every meal with them is a gift.  We are small, but have an enormous amount of love.  I am enjoying now.  I have seen my son grow into a man, who is already wise beyond his years, and yet is funny and lighthearted at the same time.  Time flies and all we get is now, so that is what I am thankful for.  I always get philosophical and nostalgic on holidays.
     We did my Brandy Brine Turkey  this year and I am so glad.  It was wonderful, and my absolute favorite way to eat turkey.  Now for the leftovers.  Here is my answer.  Turkey Alfredo!  So easy!

Turkey Alfredo

(Serves 4)

8 oz. Sharp Cheddar Goat Cheese grated
2 1/2 T. Regular All Purpose Flour
2 c. Chicken Broth
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
2 c. Cooked Turkey Meat cut into bite size pieces
8 oz. Frozen Peas (thawed)

Toss the cheese and flour together in a bowl and set aside.  Heat the broth on medium heat till steaming, not boiling, and add the mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and cloves.  Add the cheese one handful at a time, whisking after each addition until it is melted.  Continue whisking until thick.  Stir in turkey and peas.  Heat until warmed through.  Serve immediately over pasta.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mashed Potato Vegetable Casserole - Recipe

     This is a fun way to serve mashed potatoes and get other vegetables in as well.  They are actually steam cooked in a pasta pot.  I use the regular insert that I would use for making pasta, but fill water up to the bottom of the insert. It works beautifully!   Delicious with turkey!

Mashed Potato Vegetable Casserole

(Serves 6-8)

1 Turnip
1 Onion
4 Carrots
6 Potatoes

1/2 Green Cabbage


Peel turnips, onions, and carrots. Cut all vegetables in large chunks. Pour water in the bottom of a pasta pot to come just under the insert. Add the vegetables, cover, and bring to a simmer to steam. Cook until all vegetables are soft. When done, place them in a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Mix in salt and pepper to taste and top with butter.

Chopped and ready to steam
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Grilled Cranberry Garlic Flatbread With Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Plus Breadsticks - Recipe

     I am on a roll with the cranberry thing this year.  Yes, two new recipes in one day!  I can hardly stand it!  My husband said, "I want to make pizza on the egg."  (the Big Green Egg, that is)  I thought a flatbread would be nice, with a thin crust using his porter pizza dough recipe.  The topping would have cranberries, salted minced garlic, Swiss chard, and goat mozzerlla cheese.  I coated all the toppings in olive oil and drizzled on a tiny bit more before going onto the grill.  I also sweetened the cranberries with a little organic coconut palm sugar.  Not only did it turn out, it is fantastic!  With each bite, you enjoy a different facet of the topping since they are not all mixed together.  This certainly makes an elegant appetizer at any holiday party!

chopped cranberries with oil and sugar

Swiss chard chiffonade

garlic, oil, and salt

Swiss chard and cranberries on the flatbread

after adding the garlic plops, and cheese

just take in those beautiful colors

after the olive oil drizzle

Grilled Cranberry Garlic Flatbread With Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Plus Breadsticks

(2 12-inch Round Flatbreads with extra dough for 8 Breadsticks)

For Flatbreads

1 large leaf Green Swiss Chard cut into thin strips (1 cup cut up)
2 c. Frozen Cranberries roughly chopped in a food processor
2 T. Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
14 Cloves Garlic minced (2 T. after being minced)
1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
5 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz. Goat Mozzarella Cheese sliced thinly

Prepare the Porter Pizza Dough.  Prepare grill for indirect heat.  Preheat grill to 525 degrees Fahrenheit.  On the Big Green Egg, we used a plate setter with the legs up and the grill in place.  The flatbread was rolled out and placed onto stainless steel pizza pans with holes which allow the crust to stay crisp during and after baking.  Do not use nonstick pans, since I cannot predict how they will hold up under such high temperatures.

Role out 2 12-inch circles of dough and place onto greased pizza pans.  Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the Swiss chard and distribute evenly between the two flatbreads.  Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the cranberries and then mix in the sugar.  Distribute the cranberry mixture between the pans.  Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic and salt.  Distribute onto the flatbreads in little small plops with a spoon between the two pans.  Do not spread.  Distribute the goat cheese between the two pans, and drizzle the remaining olive onto the top of the flatbreads.  Keeping the flatbreads in their pans, place them on the grill (bake one at a time if necessary).   Bake the flatbreads in a closed grill for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown underneath.  Take off grill and let sit in the pan.  Cut into pieces and serve warm.

For Breadsticks

Leftover Porter Pizza Dough
Olive Oil to coat
Garlic Powder to taste
Celtic Sea Salt to taste

Role out the extra dough into a thick rectangle and cut into strips.  After the flatbreads are baked, brush all sides of the bread sticks with olive oil.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt.  Place onto the grill and cover for about 5 minutes.  Check the underside at 2 minutes.  It should be brown and have grill marks when done.  Timing will depend on how thickly the breadsticks were rolled out.