Friday, August 22, 2014

Gluten Free Peach Upside Down Cake

Ok, I will hold my head high and just freakin admit it...part of this came from a box. I am normally a scratch baker but since finding out about my Celiac Disease a year ago I feel like I am back to the baking drawingboard.

I am not ready to experiment too much just yet, but I am feeling comfortable with a little box cake doctoring.

This is my bad boy (or girl) of choice:

I have tried a few other products that have really fallen short on texture and flavor. I like beans but I am not crazy about them in desserts so the garbanzo bean flour mixes have been pretty meh in my experience. This is primarily rice flour but it has a nice mix. It's not so heavy on the rice that it reminds me of Mochi. Another good option for yellow cake mix is Gefen brand (available at Whole Foods).

Ok so back to the point. Let's make a cake. Here's what you need:

GF yellow cake mix
Ingredients listed on cake box
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1 t butter
1/4 t cinnamon
Peaches (at least 5)
8x8 or 9x9 pan

Start by making a sauce on the stove with the bourbon, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla and butter. It is easy to burn the sugar so stir it nonstop. You want it to bubble and melt the sugar but not burn and taste like ass. The syrup will thicken more as it cools.

Pull your sugar mix off the burner and give it a chance to cool a bit while you cut the peaches. Cut them thin and layer them as close together as possible (without touching) on the bottom of your greased pan. 

Pour your sugar mix over the peaches making sure that it covers all of the bottom of the cake. 

Pour in your cake batter (per the instructions on your mix). Toss in more peach slices at random to give some surprise peaches throughout.

Bake according to the instructions on the mix. Make sure to check your cake in multiple places to assure it's truly done. The extra moisture from the peaches and sugar syrup will most likely mean a slightly longer baking time.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vineyard Salad

It was just one of those perfect sunny but not too hot Summer days that leaves a glow on your skin and makes you want to spend time in the kitchen and garden. 

I made 2 great salads. One was just a simple Burratta caprese with basil and tomatoes from our garden. The one I am sharing today was heavily inspired by Toni Bark's Perfect Summer Salad recipe. Please check out the original too. This is my take on it.

First of all I think this salad is best plated up so you can pick and choose a little bit of everything in every bite. Besides it just looks bad ass.

Mixed baby greens
Beets (steamed)
Champagne grapes
Fennel bulb
English cucumber
Apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
Olive oil
Roasted garlic
Maple syrup
Sweet & Spicy Pecans (Trader Joe's)

1. Cut endive in half and brush lightly with olive oil. Throw on a hot grill. Let it get some nice grill marks but be careful not to let it burn. I put mine aside for it to cool.

2. Plate 2 handfuls of mixed baby greens. Top with blueberries and Champagne grapes.

3. Thinly slice fennel bulb and English cucumber on a mandolin. Use the thinnest setting. Watch your fingers. That thing is crazy sharp.

4. Slice avocado

5. Arrange the components around the edge of the plate including a bunch of Champagne grapes. They are so tasty.

6. Throw the following in the blender for some delicious dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, 2t Dijon mustard, 2t roasted garlic, 1T maple syrup

7. Just before serving add several spicy pecans and a drizzle of dressing. Enjoy!!