Over sharing

I’ve been away from this space for far too long, and it’s making me twitchy. Almost every day I think about posting something, but then I realize I don’t have a photo, or wonder if it’s too easy/difficult/ordinary/bizarre to bother sending out into the ether, or I can’t read my notes; and then I get irritable and go into my kitchen and make something that I know someone else out there might appreciate, but I forget to take a picture (or it turns out really shitty because my house of windows is also a house of shade trees and gets almost no natural light), and it starts all over again. Bah!

I don’t aspire to be a fancy pants food blogger. I only think to check stats when I realize I made a big typo in an ingredient list and worry about how many people might have made the recipe. I’m too busy to finish my cookbook proposal. But when someone sends me an e-mail gushing about how much my recipe for something or other made their day, well, it makes my day, too. I use this site as my personal recipe repository – there are dozens of recipes that live in draft status, for the reasons I listed at the top of this post. Once I tweak a recipe to exactly how my family and I like it and I go to the trouble of transcribing it to this site, I guess I could just share it, right? And then maybe I won’t be so twitchy.

CMR-noted

In times of desperation I may simply post this. ^^

Because absolutely no one cares but I can’t stop thinking about it so I’m going to over share: a few things that make me twitchy. The word y’all. Andrea in The Walking Dead. The smell of anything fishy, including seaweed. Intentionally misspelled words. Noisy children. Not being able to tell Nina why I get choked up over certain characters in the Harry Potter series because we’re only midway through book four and oh, so many of them are going to die! Anyone who doesn’t recognize Stephen King as a genius storyteller based on his writing and not the genre.

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Moving on!

So here’s the thing: I’m going to start putting more of my recipes out there. The boring ones, the really complicated why-would-anyone-bother ones, the accidentally genius-to-me ones. Even the one pot meals that I fear my family will have to subsist on once law school starts in a few weeks. If it’s good enough to make my personal recipe archive, it guess it might be good enough to share.

CMR-after

 

Cherry macaroon tart with muscovado and rye

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Muscovado, rye flour, and dark, heady fruit are one of my favorite combinations. I’ve made this tart with blackberries and plums in the past, depending on the season. The crust can easily be made gluten free by substituting buckwheat flour for the rye. I use a tapioca slurry in place of egg white for the macaroon topping, which gives it a nice sheen. Flax-thickened water made with whole seeds (which are strained out) also works well, if you have the extra time; you can add the strained seeds to the crust. I find that arrowroot gets too gummy, and cornstarch makes the topping dull.

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3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup rye flour (or buckwheat flour for gluten free)
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup muscovado sugar, lightly packed
6 – 8 tablespoons natural cane sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved

1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup natural cane sugar

2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup water

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 F / 160 C. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish or tart pan with parchment.

Combine the almond meal, rye flour, shredded coconut, and sugars in a large bowl and whisk to incorporate, taking care to break up any lumps. Add the melted coconut oil and combine; the mixture should be damp and sandy, and stick together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to your lined dish and distribute evenly. Set aside the bowl to use for the macaroon topping. Using a silicone spatula or dampened fingers, press the crust into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 350F / 180C.

While the crust is baking, combine the additional shredded coconut and sugar for the macaroon topping in your bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan, whisk together the tapioca flour and water. Place over low heat and whisk until it just starts to thicken and turn glossy, one to two minutes. Remove from heat, whisk once more to make sure it’s smooth, and add to the macaroon ingredients, taking care to scrape out any last bit clinging to the sides of the pan. Mix the macaroon ingredients together until well combined; there should not be any dry coconut in the bowl.

Spread the cherries evenly over the crust. Add dollops of macaroon topping in between the spaces, around the edges, and over the top until used up. There should be bits of cherries poking up here and there. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or the macaroon peaks are golden brown. Cool before slicing.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 40-45 minutes, divided

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Rule breaker // Super fluffy gluten free buckwheat pear pancakes

You know how most book lovers have certain things they just will not tolerate? At least one of these things usually makes its way onto a bibliophile’s Do Not Do list: Dog-earing corners; placing down an open book with its spine facing up instead of using a bookmark; using inappropriate items to mark your place; writing in a book.

For me, not writing in books was a steadfast rule. For thirty-odd years, I wouldn’t so much as pencil my name inside the cover of a book. All of that changed when I found out I was allergic to wheat, and suddenly realized that almost none of my favorite recipes were wheat/gluten free. I attempted rewriting every single recipe out in my own hand. But then – well, have you seen my handwriting?

editsMost of my favorite cookbooks now look like this.

Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and definitely my favorite one to bake from. I bought it while I was still figuring out whether my issues were with wheat or all things gluten, and as a result I got into the habit of adapting most of this books’s recipes to be gluten free. (And vegan.)

buckwheat.pear.pancakes buckwheat.pear.pcakes.crossectionlots of height and a tender crumb, all done without gluten, xanthan gum or powdered egg replacer

Buckwheat cornmeal pear pancakes

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I think these taste best if you use vegan butter in the batter, but they also taste pretty good if you use coconut oil. They hold their height and crumb after they’ve cooled, and reheat well the next day. You can eat them folded up taco-style around a few strips of tempeh bacon, or stacked up and drizzled with maple syrup. Most of the time, I serve them with whatever fruit didn’t make it into our morning smoothie.

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Coconut oil or vegan butter, for the pan

Dry mix:
1/3 Cup buckwheat flour
1/3 Cup fine grain cornmeal
1/3 Cup potato starch
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt

Wet mix:
1 Tablespoon unsalted vegan butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 Cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon flaxseed, ground (grind after measuring)
1 Tablespoon very hot water
1 medium pear, ripe but firm, peeled

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Whisk the melted butter, soy milk, and apple cider vinegar until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the whole peeled pear into the batter; the juice should also fall into the bowl. Gently fold the grated pear into the batter. The batter should be slightly thick, with flecks of pear throughout.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter or coconut oil, to ensure crisp, buttery edges. Working quickly, dollop 1/4 Cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth as needed before griddling additional batches. If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly. Repeat until all of the batter is gone.

Be sure to ‘test’ the first one out of the griddle; they disappear fast.

Yield: 6-7 pancakes

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Not a croissant

This little pinwheel cherry explosion may not look like much, but looks can be deceiving. Before I knew what I was doing, I made my first batch of croissant dough yesterday. Buckwheat croissant dough, at that.

I had planned to make scones, those dense, sweet biscuits that take all but a minute to whip up. I had a monster of a long run planned that was going to keep me away from home for hours. Scones would both feed my family and make me feel productive at the same time. But then – a torrential downpour combined with a 20-degree drop in temperature made me reconsider. What was supposed to be a short, no nonsense pre-dawn stint before heading out for an 18-miler turned into a long, languorous morning/afternoon in the kitchen.

If the thought of making croissants sounds intimidating, just make them any shape other than a crescent, and voilà! – you have yourself a danish. Same dough, easier to pronounce name. Even better than the name is Kim Boyce’s technique for getting butter into the dough. I see a lot of not-croissants in my future.

Buckwheat cherry danish
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Dry mix:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup white spelt flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

3 ounces unsalted vegan butter, frozen

Wet mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond or soy milk, warmed to 100 F / 38 C

Filling:
1/4 – 1/2 cup filling
Use less for preserves, more for a fruit butter or paste

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Using the large holes of a box grater, quickly grate the frozen butter into the dry mixture. Briefly toss with your hands to stir the butter into the mix, then place in the refrigerator to chill while you continue with the recipe.

Combine the warm milk and yeast in a small bowl and allow to bloom, anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Scrape the yeast mixture into the dry and stir just until the flour is moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours. This dough can be chilled overnight.

Once the dough has chilled for at least 2 hours, transfer it from the bowl to a well-floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and use your hands to press it into a rough square. The dough will have a rough texture at first, but comes together quickly. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a long rectangle (9-by-15-inches or so), and position the longer side parallel to your body. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. You’ll need to use a bench scraper when making the folds. Turn the dough to the right, so that the seam is a the top and the longer side is once again parallel to your body. This is your first turn. Flour the top of the dough, roll out into a large rectangle, and repeat two more times (for a total of three turns). As you do the turns, the dough will become more cohesive and streaks of butter will begin to show throughout. The dough will also soften as the butter warms and the yeast begins to react. After your third turn, shape the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Place the dough back into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to chill briefly.

After the dough has chilled, spread the filling out over the entire rectangle. With the shorter edge parallel to your body, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Cut into 6 even slices and arrange them, spiral side up, on a parchment-lined or buttered baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and leave in a warm area to proof for two hours.  The spirals will swell somewhat, but will not double in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 F / 218 C. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The pastries are finished when their tops are golden brown. Best eaten the same day they are made.

Yield: six pastries