Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkins Revisited: The Savory Side

I know, I know, I've already written about pumpkin-themed recipes - but I can't help it, I'm obsessed! The air is crisp and clear, leaves are turning red, gold, brown and covering the world in a shimmering, festive blanket - and pumpkins fit right into this glowing, golden world. That being said, there is so much more to pumpkins than jack-o-lanterns and pie! Last week's post investigated the sweet side of this iconic gourd, and this week I want to share a few recipes that highlight the savory applications of the pumpkin: from stem to seed.

Here is some advice from one of our resident experts, Chef Jessica, on making homemade pumpkin puree:

Most recipes call for pumpkin puree. You can obviously use canned pumpkin puree for many recipes and this is a big time saver, but if you are a purist then by all means get your carving knife out and be prepared to get your hands messy! There are several ways to prepare pumpkin puree.

Steam: Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds, pulp and any stringy stuff. Remove the hard outer peel or rind and cut the flesh into small pieces. Place the pumpkin pieces in a steamer basket set over simmering water and steam for about 45-50 minutes or until the pumpkin pieces are tender. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and puree.
Boil: Repeat the same process as above except this time place the pumpkin pieces in a saucepan and cover with water and lightly salt. Boil for about 25-30 minutes or tender. Puree in a blender or food processor.

After the pumpkin puree has cooled completely, you can divide it into freezer containers and freeze in smaller portions for future use. A 5lb. pumpkin should yield about 4-1/2 cups of pumpkin puree. Just as a comparison, one 15 oz can of pumpkin puree is about 2 cups of pumpkin puree.

-Chef Jessica

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

To be perfectly honest, this is one of my favorite parts of pumpkin carving! In the process of preparing your pumpkin for carving, you scrape out all of the seeds -- and then clean them off and toast them! Crunchy, salty, spicy - these are the perfect (healthy!) snack on a cold Halloween night!

1-1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash of ground mace
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Rinse the seeds to remove pumpkin pulp. Dry seeds on paper towels. Place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl and toss with melted butter, cayenne pepper, mace and season with salt.

Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere

One 5-6 pound pumpkin
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cups gluten free Chicken Stock*
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 cup light cream
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 pound gruyere cheese, shredded
Salt and white pepper
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all strings and seeds. With a sturdy knife, cut away hard peel. Coarsely chop pumpkin flesh; you should have 8 cups.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden,
4-5 minutes. Add gluten free stock, chopped pumpkin and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 15-30 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Using a food processor, puree soup in small batches. Alternately, use an immersion blender.

Return puree to pan and stir in cream, orange zest, orange and lemon juices, nutmeg and ginger. Reserve a handful of cheese and sprinkle the rest into soup, stirring over low heat until cheese melts and blends in.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a warmed tureen, individual bowls or pumpkin shells and garnish with reserved cheese and chives.

You can serve this lovely soup in a large pumpkin shell, or small individual ones. You will need additional pumpkins. Cut off the stem end of pumpkin and carefully scrape out flesh leaving a shell 1/2 inch thick. Fill the shell with soup, and garnish.

* - You can either purchase premade stock (Pacific Naturals produces a gluten free (and low-sodium) chicken and vegetable stock) OR you can make your own! Here's our recipe for homemade chicken stock!

Pumpkin Risotto

1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups aborio rice
6 cups gluten free chicken broth
1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon butter
Dash of nutmeg

In a large, heavy saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and onions; saute until translucent. Add rice and saute, stirring about 5 minutes. Add wine and allow to cook off for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add chicken broth, 1 cup at a time. Cook after each broth addition until liquid is absorbed and then add more broth. When risotto is almost done and after last broth addition, add pumpkin and let cook until risotto is a creamy consistency. Add parmesan cheese and stir to melt and until well blended. Stir in butter and serve.

Spinach Ravioli with Sage and Pumpkin

1 3/4 cup gluten free flour
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed and then chopped

1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Place chopped spinach in center of a large square of cheese cloth. Gather edges of cheese cloth and squeeze all water out of spinach.

Place gluten free flour, salt, olive oil and spinach in a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly (gluten free) floured surface and knead dough until smooth. If dough seems sticky, add a little more gluten free flour until it reaches a nice doughy consistancy. Cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes.

While pasta is resting, combine pumpkin purée with ricotta, nutmeg, egg, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside.

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.

Run dough, a little at a time, through your pasta machine until it reaches the 3rd press. (For complete instructions on how to make pasta, take a look at our online cooking classon homemade, gluten free pasta!) Cover each sheet with plastic wrap and continue until all pasta has been pressed into long sheets.

Working with one sheet at a time, cut pasta into 1-1/2 inch squares. Top one square with a teaspoon of filling. Dip your finger in water and run along edge of square containing filling. Top with a pasta square and press on edges to seal; squeezing out any air pockets.

Place finished ravioli on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining pasta. A word of caution: if you stack the ravioli, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Boil ravioli until they come to the surface of the water and are al denté when tested. Drain.

In a large skillet, melt butter and sage over medium heat until butter is lightly browned. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar on each plate. Top with ravioli and garnish with parmesan and sage leaves. Serve immediately.

You will need a pasta machine to make this recipe!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Super Salads

Nutritious and delicious salads can be created from a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, sorghum and gluten-free oats. These healthy gluten-free ingredients can improve the nutritional quality of the gluten-free diet which is often lacking in fiber, iron and B vitamins.

Salad dressings using balsamic or red wine vinegar or fruit juices such as lemon, orange or pineapple, combined with olive or canola oil and various herbs can add unique flavor combinations. If purchasing store bought dressings remember to read labels carefully. Make sure they do not contain wheat flour, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, soy sauce (made with wheat), seasonings (often contain wheat flour or wheat starch as a carrier agent) or malt vinegar (contains barley).

-Shelley Case, RD
Shelley's article highlights some very important concerns for all of us living gluten-free: being wary of everyday ingredients which can pose a health risk, as well as the importance of proper nutrition and a well-balanced diet.

Greek Lentil Salad

1- 19 fl oz can of lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup calamata olives
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1 cup cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley and/or cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dried oregano

IN a large bowl, combine lentils, olives, vegetables, and feta cheese.
WHISK dressing ingredients together.
ADD parsley and/or cilantro to salad and toss with dressing to coat.
CAN be eaten right away or covered and left in fridge to marinate for 2 hours before serving. Salad can be made a day in advance.

Green Bean Salad with Apples & Bell Peppers

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half diagonally
2 ears of corn
1 small red onion, cut in half through the root (root trimmed), and cut lengthwise into thin slices
1/3 cup English cucumber, diced
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, larger ones cut in half
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the green beans from the water and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Add the corn to the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. Drain through a fine sieve and place sieve containing the corn in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process; let sit for 2 minutes. Drain the corn and the beans and transfer them to a large salad bowl.

Meanwhile, place the onion in a small bowl filled with ice water (this will crisp it and mellow the flavor).

Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Place the garlic paste in a small bowl and add the vinegar and oil and whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Just before serving, drain the onions. Add the onions to the beans and corn along with the cucumber, apples, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Adust seasonings, if necessary, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with crumbled feta and serve.

Quinoa Salad

2 cups gluten free quinoa
3 cups water
6 tomatillos
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
7 Tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups corn, cut from cob and micro-waved for 1 minute
4 ounces soft mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place quinoa on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil; adding quinoa. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool.

In a large saucepan blanch tomatillos, drain and place in cold water.

Using a blender combine tomatillos, onion, cilantro, lime juice, parsley, oil, vinegar, chile and garlic; puree. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and mix in quinoa. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a large spoonful of quinoa mixture in individual bowls or salad plates and top with cucumber, radishes, red onion, bell pepper, corn, mozzarella and lime zest. Serve immediately.

Chinese Chicken Salad

1/2 lb. sugar snap peas
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
3 carrots, shredded
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

3 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Juice from 1 lime
4 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)
1-1/2 teaspoons gluten free Chinese chili sauce

Place the water in a wok and heat to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the sugar snap peas; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until the peas are just tender. Drain peas in a colander and rinse under cold water; set aside. Return the wok to the heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the wok, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir fry until chicken is browned and just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; let cool.

Place the peanut butter and sesame oil in a large salad bowl. Whisk in the lime juice. Add the soy sauce, ginger, sugar and chili sauce. Whisk until dressing is thoroughly mixed. Adjust seasonings to taste with sugar more chili sauce. Add the chicken, snap peas, cabbage, peppers, scallions, carrots and cilantro. Toss until all ingredients are coated with dressing. Serve immediately.

Shelley Case, RD is a consulting dietitian, speaker and author of the national best seller Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. See

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seeing Orange

With Halloween right around the corner, it is no surprise that pumpkins are everywhere: white pumpkins, orange pumpkins, fairy tale pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, giant pumpkins, mini pumpkins, tall pumpkins, squat pumpkins - pumpkins everywhere! Faced with this all together pleasant bombardment of squash, I spent some time in our recipe archives looking for fun and fabulous pumpkin recipes to use in the next few weeks.

Since almost everyone has a favorite pumpkin pie recipe, be it your Grandma Ruth's grandmother's sister's recipe, passed down on a crumbling recipe card, or the recipe from the back of the can of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie is a personal journey. So instead of providing even more alternatives in that category (although our Maple Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Rum Cream recipe is amazing!) we have a whole list of other - equally delicious - pumpkin ideas. Happy Pumpkin picking!

Pumpkin Apple Sauce Bread

2 cups sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup apple sauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
3-2/3 cups gluten free flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F

Using a elecric mixer at medium speed, beat together sugar, molasses, pumpkin, apple sauce, oil, eggs and milk. Mix in dry ingredients.

Pour into 2 well-greased 9"x5" loaf pans and bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pans before carefully turning out onto a wire rack. Allow bread to cool to room temperature and store loaves wrapped in foil. Can be frozen for up to three months.

Also check out our Golden Pumpkin Bread and Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread recipes!

Chocolate Pumpkin Bars

2 cups gluten free flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, sugar, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, canola oil, and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 2 inch squares and serve.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brownie Crust

For the Crust
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

For the Cheesecake
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pumpkin puree (16 oz)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves

For the Crust

Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium saucepan bring a small amount of water to boil.

Melt butter and 2 ounces of chocolate, stirring constantly, in a double boiler over simmering water; water should not touch top pan.

Remove chocolate mixture from heat and let cool slightly. Stir 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg into chocolate mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk gluten free flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Stir in chopped walnuts.

Spread batter in prepared springform pan; smoothing surface with a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes, or until risen and dry to the touch. Set springform pan on a large sheet of foil and fold sides up around sides of pan.

For the Cheesecake
Melt remaining chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in cornstarch and vanilla.

Add 1 cup of cheesecake batter to melted chocolate and stir well to blend.

Beat pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into remaining cheesecake batter. Pour 3/4 of pumpkin cheesecake batter over brownie crust.

Check chocolate mixture to see that is thin enough to spread. If it is too thick, heat it in micro-wave for 10 seconds. Pour the chocolate batter on top of pumpkin cheesecake batter. Spoon remaining pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of chocolate batter. Use a table knife to make a few decorative swirls. Do not overswirl.

Set springform pan in a medium roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up side of springform pan.

Bake pumpkin cheesecake at 325°F for 1-1/2 hours, or until it is firm around edges, but slightly jiggly in center. Turn oven off, prop oven door open and let cheesecake stand in the water bath in warm oven for 1 hour, or until completely set.

Remove pumpkin cheesecake from water bath and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove foil and springform pan ring from cheesecake. Carefully transfer cheesecake to a platter, cut into wedges and serve.

Also look at our Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust recipe!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gluten Free Cupcake Madness

Well, today is National Chocolate Cupcake day and to celebrate, here are a few of our favorite recipes from over the years - including a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe for chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow; a recipe for spooky Halloween cupcakes and Chocolate Mousse Grand Marnier cupcakes for the grown-ups. All three are delicious gluten free and perfect for celebrating National Cupcake Month!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Filling

For the cupcake batter:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 jar (7 ounces) Kraft marshmallow cream

For frosting
8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa


For cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°F and line 12 muffin cups with liners.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. When melted, remove pan from heat.

In a medium bowl combine sugar, gluten free flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together soy milk, Tofutti sour cream and canola oil. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in chocolate.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until all ingredients are smoothly blended. Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare cupcakes for filling, use a small, sharp knife, remove a 3/4" wide by 1" deep cylinder from top-center of each cupcake. Trim off and discard about 1/2" from bottom of each cylinder, retaining approximately 1/2" for further use with cupcakes.

With the tip of a knife, hollow out a small cavity inside each cupcake. Spoon marshmallow cream into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Twist end of bag tightly to secure.

To fill cupcakes, place tip into cavity of cupcake and without moving tip, squeeze filling into cavity to 1/4" from top of cupcake.
Fill remaining cupcakes in a similar way. Insert reserved cupcake cylinders back into holes, covering filling.

In a food processor, combine Tofutti cream cheese, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and cocoa powder; pulse until smooth.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes prior to frosting cupcakes.

Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto tops of cupcakes or alternatively spread frosting onto cupcakes with a knife.

Featured Recipe: Spooky Chocolate Cupcakes


For the cupcake batter
1-1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon gluten free almond extract
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips (Hershey's and Nestle semi-sweet chips are gluten free)

For the frosting
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
dash of salt
1 unbeaten egg whites
1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
Black food gel coloring OR recipe for Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine sugar, gluten free flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine apple sauce, egg, oil and almond extract. Beat until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into paper line muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool muffins in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the frosting, combine sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Very slowly add sugar syrup to 2 unbeaten egg whites in a mixing bowl. Beat constantly with a mixer until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

To create a spiderweb design in the image, reserve half of the frosting as white and color the other half with black gel coloring OR make a batch of chocolate ganache frosting. Frost with white first and, once the base has set, draw concentric circles using the black frosting and a fine, round tip. While the black frosting (or ganache) is still wet, drag a clean toothpick from the center of the "web" to the edge, creating six equal segments.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

This is my single-favorite frosting recipe of all time - and looking at the ingredients it's no wonder why! Based on David Lebovitz's frosting recipe from his (in)famous German Chocolate Cake, this is a show-stopper all on its own!

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream


In a medium bowl, combine 8 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter.

In a saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over chocolate, butter and corn syrup mixture. Important: let stand for one minute (to melt the chocolate and butter) before whisking until smooth. Let cool to room temperature before piping onto cupcakes. If you use this for the base frosting, refrigerate the mixture for up to 45 minutes before attempting to frost (otherwise it is just a delicious semi-liquid mess...)

Featured Recipe: Chocolate Mousse Grand Marnier Cupcakes


6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/4 cup gluten free flour
Whipping cream for topping


Line a 12 muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

Combine chopped chocolate and butter to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir with a rubber spatula until melted. Remove from heat. Add sugar, eggs, egg yolks and Grand Marnier to a large bowl and beat with electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until thickened and light in color. Sprinkle gluten free flour over batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Fold in melted chocolate. Fill muffin cups half full and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can keep these in the refrigerator for up to a day before baking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake for about 7 minutes. Cupcakes should puff and crack and an inserted toothpick should come out with moist batter attached. Let cool, the center of the cupcakes may fall slightly. When cool, the center of the cupcakes will be soft, almost like pudding. Top cooled cupcakes with whipped cream and serve.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"...Adieu! Adieu! To you and you and yo-ou!"

(Doesn't the Sound of Music make everything better?)

Well today begins the final section of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge! A brief recap: the rally began on September 10th with over 120 vintage vehicles (bearing both a driver and navigator) setting out from Peking, China with plans to cover more than 14,630 km/8,923 miles in 37 days. While the rally participants were faced with many challenges along the way - mechanical, environmental & social - nearly everyone arrived this morning in France! Due to a last minute rally in Paris protesting a recent change in legislation, the route through the City of Light was revised late last night and released to the participants for tomorrow's final drive! Today's journey, from Aix les Bains to Troyes (both in France) covered 430km/267 miles from the foot of the Alps, northwest through the beautiful countryside and into central France.

French Onion Soup


1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 large yellow onions, sliced
5 cups gluten free beef stock
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese, shredded
4-6 slices gluten free french bread (1/2" thick and toasted golden brown)


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions; salt to taste. Stir to coat well with the butter, cover and cook stirring occasionally, until very tender about 20-30 minutes. Remove the cover, raise the heat slightly and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions turn a deep caramel brown, about 1 hour. Add the stock and bay leaves, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat a broiler. Discard bay leaves. Season the soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle soup into heavy soup bowls placed on baking sheet. Sprinkle a little cheese into each bowl, then place the toasted bread slices on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.


The secret to wonderful onion soup is to cook the onions slowly so they caramelize. You can add sliced leeks or shallots with the onion for a more complex taste.

Like this recipe? Also try our French Onion & Garlic Soup

French Carrots


6 carrots, peeled and grated
2 shallots, minced
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, minced


In a medium bowl, combine the carrots and shallots. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the sugar and cumin. Sprinkle the cumin mixture over the carrots and toss to blend. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and toss gently. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. Just before serving garnish with Italian parsley.

Coq au Vin


1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
7 ounces gf bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup brandy
8 cups dry red wine
Bouquet garni: 1 parsley sprig, 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf tied with butcher string or cheese cloth
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tabllespoons gluten free flour


Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Salt and pepper chicken pieces and add to skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Transfer chicken to a large casserole with a lid or a dutch oven. In the same skillet, fry the bacon pieces until the fat is rendered. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the chicken. Saute the onions and garlic in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the chicken mixture. Add the mushrooms to the skillet; season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms, without their liquid to a plate; set aside. Add the tomato paste and brandy to the pan with the chicken mixture; stir and ignite with a match. When the flames subside, add the wine. Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat and reduce by half. In a small bowl, mix softened butter and flour into a paste and add to the sauce. Cook until smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and add chicken and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat through.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Viva Italia!

As the Peking to Paris rally is quickly drawing to a close, we find ourselves on the Italian peninsula -- but only for a night. The rally participants left Greece this morning and, taking the ferry from Igoumenitsa, they crossed the Adriatic and docked in Ancona, a rather large city on the east coast of the Italian peninsula. As the day draws on, the competitors will head west and cross the Italian countryside, spending tonight in Viareggio, a seaside resort town most well-known for its annual carnival and parade of papier-mâché floats, traditions dating back to the late 19th century.

And so today, we proudly bring you an Italian-themed menu, using traditional ingredients and regionally inspired flavors!

Italian Country Garbanzo (Ceci) Bean Soup


One 14 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup gluten-free pancetta, chopped (may substitute bacon)
1 scallion, chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
Pinch of marjoram
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup lean pork, chopped into 1/2" pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and when hot, add pancetta, scallion, garlic, parsley, marjoram and saute. Stir in beans and tomatoes. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Add pork. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Italian Roasted Chicken with Prosciutto


1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large chicken breasts with bones & skin
4 slices of prosciutto
8 basil leaves, plus 1 Tablespoon minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup gluten free chicken stock
2 Tablespoons cream


Preheat broiler.

In a small skillet melt butter in olive oil over medium heat. Add half shallots and garlic; sauté, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Scrape mixture into a small bowl and let cool briefly.

Loosen skin of chicken breasts without completely detaching. Place a teaspoon of shallot mixture under skin of each breast. Top with a folded piece of prosciutto and
2 basil leaves. Smooth skin over fillings and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Set chicken in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Broil for 5 minutes. Turn and broil for 5 minutes more. The skin should be crisped on top.

Turn oven temperature down to 350°F. Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until juices run clear when meat is pierced.
Transfer chicken to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm.

Transfer juices from pan into a small bowl; spooning off any excess fat.

Place roasting pan over medium heat. Add remaining shallots and garlic; sauté until soft and golden. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of the. When wine is nearly evaporated, pour in chicken stock and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced to about
1/2 cup. Stir in minced basil and reserved drippings. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a stuffed breast on a plate and spoon sauce over top.

Tuscany Inspired Orange-Almond Cake

1 small/medium orange*
1 lemon*
6 ounces almonds**
1 cup gluten free flour (for this recipe, I used Jules All-Purpose GF flour)
1 Tablespoons baking powder
4 large eggs (or 5 medium), at room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup olive oil (the higher quality the oil, the better)
Confectioner's sugar, for serving (optional)


First things first, get started on preparing the citrus. Put the orange and lemon in a saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. They're going to float, don't worry about it. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In the mean time, preheat the over to 325F (one rack in the center) to toast the almonds. Distribute the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until they look golden and smell all roasty and delicious. Err on the side of over-toasted, just make sure they don't burn! Let them cool completely, (I dumped mine out onto a tea towel to expedite the process) then toss 'em in the food processor until finely ground, like coarse corn meal. Set aside and don't worry about cleaning out the food processor.

Bump the oven temperature up to 350F and grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan. The baking time will differ depending on which size you choose/have on hand.

When the fruit has cooled, cut the lemon in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds; discard. Cut the orange in half also and remove the seeds, leaving pulp in tact. Put the lemon rinds and orange halves in the food processor and chop until they form a really coarse paste.

Meanwhile, combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

In a mixing bowl or the base of a KitchenAid, combine eggs and salt, then beat until foamy. Gradually beat in sugar. If using a KitchenAid, switch to the blade attachment, stir in the flour/baking powder mixture. Beat in (on low speed) the fruit, almonds and olive oil, until just incorporated, but be careful not to over mix! Pour batter into springform pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean: 45-60 minutes for a 9-inch pan, 30-40 for a 10-inch pan.

Remove from oven and cool in the springform pan on a wire rack (I used the stovetop of my gas range-- you just need circulation to facilitate quicker cooling). Remove the sides of the pan (by far, my favorite aspect of using the darn things) and serve.

Serving suggestions: ganache or chocolate glaze, Sabra glaze (Israeli orange-chocolate liqueur), confectioner's sugar. Honestly, our house isn't huge on super-sweet desserts and we love it plain. Next time, I'll probably press sliced almonds into the top of the cake half-way through baking.

For storage, keep at room temperature and cover tightly with plastic wrap to maintain moisture. This cake improves with age and is best on its second or third day.

* Because you are eating the whole fruit, rind and all, if possible, use organic fruit.
** You can substitute pre-roasted almonds but it turns out so much better with freshly toasted almonds.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's all Greek to me!

The Peking to Paris rally officially left Istanbul this morning, destined for Thessaloniki, Greece! By Saturday, the rally will have officially concluded in Paris, awards will have been distributed and the first participants will begin packing up and heading home. With only 2,630km/1,634 miles separating the rally participants from the Parisian finish line, the last week is being met with mixed feelings: while everyone is excited to arrive in Paris and head home, there is also a feeling of disappointment that the adventure is already coming to a close. Here are some of the most recent and unbelievable photographs from Glutenfreeda's (#60) journey from Peking to Istanbul:

More of the Central Asian highlands

Anastasia and the mother of a goat herder in their home

At the Uzbek border with the lovely gentleman who helped repair our car!

From our brief detour to Moscow en route to Istanbul last week...

Greek-style Sausages

More like oblong meatballs than sausages, these have been a long-time favorite. One reader reported that his Greek fiance made this recipe for her family and it passed the test of tradition!


12 oz. (3/4 lb) ground pork
4 oz. (1/4 lb) ground beef
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried savory
Rind of 1 small orange, grated
1 teaspoon salt
8 black peppercorns, crushed
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 Tablespoons olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Allow meat to marinade in the refrigerator at least 4 hours (ideally, overnight) to allow all of the flavors to blend and meld.

Preheat a broiler. Form the meat mixture into about 24 cylinder sausage shapes, about 2-1/2" long and place on broiler pan. Broil for a total of 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Alternately, cook the sausages in batches using a heavy skillet (we like our cast-iron cookware) over medium-high heat, turning frequently until browned on all sides and cooked through.

Serve with Tzatziki or a Greek Salad

Friday, October 8, 2010

Turkish Delight

With only 8 days left in the Peking to Paris motor challenge, car #60 is still in Istanbul, with final repairs well underway. Our team has had nothing but praise for the city, harrowing the local mechanics as some of the most qualified in the world! Hopefully these latest repairs will last us the remaining 2,200km/1,367mi to Paris!

While Turkey has gifted the culinary would with many treats (baklava, Turkish coffee, pilafs and many more), our recipe today represents one of the most popular culinary traditions: kebabs. Technically, kebabs are Persian in origin, they have become a Turkish specialty and one of the region's most well-known foods! While we are only sharing one recipe today, our archives feature more than 18 kebab recipes for you to try!

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Fresh Grapes


3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into small cubes (1" diameter)
1/2 lb. seedless red grapes
3 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bamboo skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine curry, cumin, paprika, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, orange juice and garlic. Set aside.

Thread pork and grapes alternately on prepared skewers. Sprinkle spice mixture on skewers and pour marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prepare grill. Grill kebabs, turning frequently for about 8 minutes or until pork is done (two minutes per side). Remove from grill, garnish with parsley and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fairs, Planes and Cupcakes - oh my!

What a busy weekend - happy Monday, everyone! So much to tell you about today, including a recap of the Nature's Market 8th Annual Gluten Free Fair!

The Fair, hosted by Nature's Market in Kent, is a two-day gluten free extravaganza! With more than two dozen vendors sampling their wares, almost every gluten free product was on sale. From soups and pastas to seasoning salts and salad dressings, ice creams and dairy alternatives to convenience foods -- like our burritos and granola! We spent the day at the Market, hanging out with Zing! Bars, Enjoy Life, Kettle Cuisine, Amy's, Sunny Valley Wheat Free and many others. All of the vendors are kind beyond words and their products speak for themselves!

Positioned between Zing Bars and Lulu's Granola, we spent the morning sampling our Chicken & Cheese and Vegetarian Bean & Cheese Burritos as well as each of the three flavors of our granola: Apple Almond, Raisin Almond and Cranberry Cashew. We connected with so many wonderful individuals and families, some seasoned gluten free consumers (some going on 20+ years) and others who have only recently been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant (three weeks ago!).

On a related note, we also had the opportunity to do some product sampling while we at the Market - most notably, of Julie's new ice cream sandwiches featuring lemon frozen yogurt sandwiched between two of Glutenfreeda's vanilla cookies! Amazing! Just sweet enough, perfectly tangy and absolutely refreshing, another fantastic dessert from Julie's!

On another note, over the weekend, one of the Glutenfreeda teams (car #60) in the Peking to Paris motor challenge is in Istanbul, Turkey! After another broken axle en route to Samarkand to rejoin the group, it became clear that the safest choice would be to fly the car to Istanbul for more lasting repairs and better road conditions. After a day-long layover in Moscow, Douglas and Anastasia are now safely in Istanbul, working on repairing the car. The rest of the groups passed through Turkmenistan over the weekend - covering more than 1,550km/963miles! After a rest-day in Samarkand, the teams left Uzbekistan on Saturday and drove over across Turkmenistan, arriving in Gorgan, Iran this evening. With only one more scheduled rest day, the race will soon move into Turkey and the Central Asian chapter will come to close. From that point, the teams will move from Turkey to Greece, into Italy and through France on the way to Paris -- all in the next 12 days!

Don't forget, October is Cupcake Month over! With cupcake ideas for everyone, we are featuring several fantastic recipes: our Chocolate Mousse Grand Marnier and Carrot Spice, just to highlight a few!