We rejoin the Peking to Paris motor challenge in southern Russia today as the teams race between Mongolia and Kazakhstan! No news is good news in terms of mechanical issues (yay!). It seems that more than a few competitors had to fly in replacement parts from the nearest dealership (even as far away as Australia!) and others were forced to load their vintage vehicles onto a truck until the road conditions improve - yikes!
Basically, blini (plural of blin) are Russian pancakes, most similar to crepes. The primary differences is the occasional inclusion of yeast in blin recipes, as well as some recipes which call for buckwheat flour (naturally gluten free) instead of a wheat-based batter. Here, we simply substituted a gluten free all-purpose baking mix instead. Traditionally, blinis can be either sweet or savory, served with sour cream and red caviar or fruit preserves and powdered sugar.
Gluten Free Blini with Pico de Gallo
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup créme fraiche or sour cream
1 recipe of Pico de Gallo
Heat the milk and water to 110°F in a small saucepan. Pour the milk mixture into a medium bowl. Mix in sugar and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine gf flour, cornmeal and salt. Stir in yeast mixture. Add buttermilk and egg yolks. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until mixture is spongy.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into cornmeal mixture.
Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, drop batter by tablespoons into the skillet (they will resemble small pancakes). Cook until golden on the bottom and bubbles break on the surface. Flip the blini and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to oven to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining batter.
To serve, spread a small amount of creme fraiche or sour cream over each blini and top with fresh Pico de Gallo.
Tip: You can make the blinis up to 8 hours in advance. Allow to cool before covering with plastic wrap and storing in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat the blini, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
Pico de Gallo
1/2 small white or red onion or 8 slender scallions finely chopped, rinsed, and drained
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Combine all ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Tip: Jalapeño juice can burn your skin, you may want to use surgical gloves, (available at grocery stores) to protect your hands! Also, be very careful not to touch your face, especially mouth or eyes, before washing your hands!
**Blini image from Stephanie Lim @ stephanie.posterous.com **