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Saturday, November 19, 2011

pumpkin custard -- gluten free + dairy free

wow, time certainly can fly by. i had expected to make a few more pumpkin posts before thanksgiving, but it seems like that chance passed! i don't know about you - but my pantry is still stocked - bursting at the seams with canned pumpkin. i was at whole foods a few days ago and their canned 365 pumpkin was on sale for $1.00 a can. slamming deal. i stocked up. in the event of nuclear war - i will survive. on pumpkin. i'm not sure how i'm not sick of it yet - and am on the fast track to turning even more orange in hue (i have carotenosis and have a orange-fake tan tint to me - from eating so much pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot). i must admit - that while i've been at home i've been making my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins on a bi-weekly basis.

before i dive into my post - i wanted to extend my thanks to you - all of you. all of my friends, family, readers whom i don't know. thanks for supporting my photography, recipe creation and for being there for me. i appreciate every single one of you and hope that you have a safe, happy thanksgiving. theres a lot to give thanks for. i hope that you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and that you were able to share it with the ones you love.

quick custard
a little over a week ago i was in seattle for work - visited for the first time ever and absolutely loved it. i could certainly see myself living there. everyone is super friendly and its green, damp and beautiful. i got some time to get out and check out the sights. one morning i woke at 4am - worked out, showered, dressed, jumped on a local bus and journeyed to Fremont to visit the gluten free/vegan flying apron bakery. i enjoyed a hemp milk cappuccino with a smooth, silky lemon poppyseed muffin - admittedly the best gluten/dairy free version i've eaten yet (i will attempt to re-create in the near future).

i also ate at local 360 - a great joint that boasts foods and drink sourced from with 360 miles of the restaurant. i enjoyed local oysters, a beet salad, amazing french fries all washed down with willamette pinot noir.

local, organic goodness fresh from homegrown

on my last day in town i finally ventured into capital hill and had my sights set on eating at sitka + spruce - an adorable venue that serves locally sourced foods. i walked around - looked for the restaurant and finally gave up and landed outside of homegrown - another restaurant i had scouted before heading to seattle - one that also serves local, organic foods - as well as gluten free and dairy free items. to my amazement - i walked in and realized that i had entered a small marketplace - melrose market and that BOTH homegrown AND sitka + spruce are co-located there.

forgive me chelsea market, but this market might just take the cake for my favorite market. ever

fremont, wa - pikes place market - space needle
seattle was breathtaking and i fell in love with the city. it has that big city feel without any of the associate negatives. its strewn with amazing shops, impeccable dining, friendly inhabitants and beautiful surroundings. i can't wait to get back!

spiced pumpkin custard
  • 3/4 can of pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 c hemp milk
  • 1/2 c grade b maple syrup (or honey or agave)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
preheat oven to 350. in a large mixing bowl combine above ingredients and whisk together until completely combined. pour batter into 4 - 3/4c ramekins (or similar oven-safe baking vessels). place ramekins into a large baking pan and pour warm water into baking pan until it reaches 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins (this is known as a water bath). place in oven and bake 50-55 minutes. remove from oven, and place ramekins on cooling rack. serve warm, cold, or however you fancy em. they are tasty regardless!

check out these great blogs!

Monday, November 7, 2011

chocolate chip pumpkin muffins -- gluten free + dairy free

and so my pumpkin quest continues. i swear by this stuff - its simply amazing. i've been able to omit oil and fat by substituting pumpkin puree in lots of recipes.  oh yeah - i've got at least two more pumpkin recipes up my sleeve...are you sick of pumpkin yet?

i was sitting around and was craving pumpkin bread, but didn't want to wait for a full loaf to bake up. and so i ventured to my spiced pumpkin bread recipe that i concocted this past april and have been adapting it over the past couple weeks into chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. i've finally perfected the recipe and am ultra happy with the end result. the pumpkin puree in these dairy free/gluten free muffins keeps them extremely moist and lends them their fall appeal.

i want pumpkin.
i swapped a few things around from my original recipe and really suggest using a gluten free all-purpose flour that doesn't already include guar or xanthan gum. ultimately, the consistency of your muffins depends on the ratio of gum to the flour being used. on my 3rd attempt making these i used an ap blend that already had guar gum and they just didn't turn out well - they were really chewy and didn't cook properly.

okay - before i share my recipe with you - i wanted to share a recent find in denver. mark and i were shopping and decided to grab a bite before heading home. we wound up in highland - a hip section of denver with loads of great restaurants. we ended up at a deli - i ate salad - meh. and mark ate a reuben with cheddar beer soup - i turned green with envy. feeling un-satiated i moped around after we left and protested that i wanted something good to eat. and then i looked up. a HUGE milk canister towered above me - taunting me.
looks can be deceiving.
little man ice cream was scribed upon the gigantic canister. exactly what i needed - to have more dairy deliciousness waved in front of me. to my surprise - i looked at the menu and there was vegan chocolate ice cream! score! i asked about the ingredients and the gal working there told me they tested many recipes and decided on a soy/coconut blend for the best texture/flavor combo. they did good. real good. the gal behind the counter asked what type of cone i wanted - i explained no cone, because i'm gluten free. she wheeled around - not saying anything to me and pulled out a box from the counter below. gluten free waffle cones. i shit you not. seriously. i teared up with joy. i can't tell you the last time i REALLY enjoyed ice cream. i'll be returning - and soon. apparently they have a vegan vanilla as well as a vegan green tea ice cream. can't wait to try both of them out!

long time coming...

chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
  • 1.5 c all-purpose gluten free flour (without guar or xanthan gum) - i used king arthurs ap gf flour
  • 1/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1/4 c brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c brown sugar - packed
  • 1 16oz can pureed pumpkin (no spices included)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk or milk alternative
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (or more) chocolate chips - i tend to use more ;)
preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners - i've been using tin liners for these muffins - they work very well. to begin combine all dry ingredients - not including the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined. in a separate bowl - combine all wet ingredients - including the brown sugar and whisk until well combined. pour wet ingredients on top of dry  ingredients and gently stir until combined. pour in chocolate chips and gently stir until chips are dispersed in batter. using an ice cream scoop (great investment - makes scooping muffins/cupcakes SOOOO easy) place a heaping scoop into each cupcake liner. i've found that this mix yields around 14-16 muffins depending on the generosity level of your scoops. bake 25-27 minutes - rotating the pan 1/2 way thru the baking time. test for doneness with a toothpick - when inserted it should come out clean. remove muffins from tin and cool completely on a cooling rack.

one note - try and use restraint with these. i've had issues with getting a batch to last more than a day. IE - i eat all of the muffins and then wind up in the gym for hours due to the sheer guilt. hey - at least there's no refined sugar / oil in them - right?!?!?!

nourishing treasures
little brick ranch

Saturday, November 5, 2011

trip to NYC -- gluten free + dairy free

i love NYC. yes, i really do. yes, i could totally see myself living there. yes, the city is an incredible place and yes, i've only seen a fraction of what it has to offer. this post is going to be a recount of my fabulous trip there a few weekends back...

my friend liz - author of the beautiful blog once upon a tomato joined me toward the end of my work trip and we stayed on over the weekend. it was a fun trip filled with drinking, shopping, eating. and then more and more eating.

after the business portion of my trip was over liz and i moseyed over to chelsea market. i had heard amazing things about it and knew that it was supposed to be a foodies heaven - it certainly didn't disappoint. the market is full of bakeries, restaurants, and artisanal food shops. liz and i stopped by each shop in the market  and spent a good duration of the day there ~4-5 hours. we walked around looking for gluten + dairy free muffins - i was craving one. to no avail we decided that protein was a better choice and we stopped into friedmans lunch to grab real sustenance.

friedmans lunch - chelsea market
i had heard about this joint on some food network program before making the trip to NYC and decided it would be worthwhile to stop in. the service was impeccable and the food was even better. i informed our waiter about my food allergies. he was super attentive and spoke with me about the way the cooked everything that i ordered. to start liz and i  ordered sweet potato fries....freaking delish.

sweet potatoes - friedmans lunch
next up, for the entree...i ordered an edamame 'studded' brown rice bowl with asian veggies and grilled organic chicken. it wassssss goooood. and not super healthy good. it had a decent amount of oil in and it wasn't lacking in the taste department by any means. 

edamame studded brown rice bowl w/ chicken - friedmans lunch
liz ordered herself a whopping plate of fish you can see, the portions at friedmans lunch aren't for the birds. 

fish tacos - friedmans lunch

we continued on, shopping the market - and visited the filling station, a cute little shop that sells infused olive oil, vinegars and salt with different flavors. visitors are encouraged to sample each infusion - a great marketing tactic -which only complicated my final purchasing decision. everything that i tried was incredible and it was hard to walk away without purchasing one of each. chocolate balsamic vinegar, mango white balsamic, blueberry balsamic, butternut squash olive oil, merlot sea salt....the list goes on. i ended up being a good girl and only buying mango and blueberry balsamics - along with a spanish rosemary infused sea salt. thank god one can place orders on their website...i'll 100% be purchasing stuff from them online - i've since almost finished off the blueberry balsamic vinegar and rosemary sea salt.

the filling station - chelsea market

after our trip to chelsea market i was still craving something sweet. hence a trip to baby cakes was in order. my first encounter with baby cakes was this time last year. my friend came out with me to NYC for the same trip and happened upon baby cakes while she was searching gluten + dairy free options in the city. while i was at work one day she made the trek over to the kitchy-retro bakery in the lower east side. she brought me back the most amazing chocolate chip cookie sandwich that i've ever had (never mind that it was gf + df). full on heaven in your mouth good - this no holds bar cookie sandwich is straight up bad-ass.

babycakes - i love you

i finally got myself there this trip - and LOVED it. it was totally worth getting soaked to the bone in the rain while hungover. worth every second of the long trek to make it there.  the girls that work there are beauties and made me yearn to have my own bakery/restaurant one day. btw - everything on the menu is allergy friendly. if you are in the area - with food allergies. this place, above all is a must visit.
spring street natural
later in the day, after much shopping we ended up at a restaurant that liz suggested...spring street natural. this place is a must visit - all natural food - tantalizing menu. we shared the antipasti plate - which included house made hummus (yum), roasted beets, eggplant caponata and marinated olives. liz downed a delicious bloody mary and i swigged pinot noir. twas the perfect treat.

bouchon bakery - rockefeller
my biggest downfall the entire trip - macaron. no, not coconut macaroons, i'm talking about the real-deal french (likely made italian method) macaron. i remember seeing these things and thinking they would have the consistency of a meringue cookie - brittle, hard, crunchy. boy was i wrong. these pillows of heaven were so light - and as you bite into them they become softer and creamy (thanks for the amazing ganache center).

chocolate macaron - bouchon bakery
i stumbled upon these at the bouchon bakery in rockefeller - and habitually ate 'lunch' there everyday while i was there for work. if you didn't catch my drift - macaroons constituted lunch for me each day. if you're in NYC please do stop by and check this place out - its adorable - the chocolate macaron (they boast many macaron flavors) and homemade peppermint patties were the only things on the bakery list that were both gluten and dairy free - however, that was enough to keep me going back. they also sport adorable lunches - like create sandwiches, soups and beautiful salads. fyi - they also have soy milk - so it was quite the treat to enjoy a baked good and nice warm latte. expect to see some macaron recipes on everything reconsidered in the near future - i'm fully addicted.

all in all, my trip to NYC was nothing short of mind-blowing. i enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to get back there...i've got a few more trips coming up before the year ends - later next week i'm heading to seattle, wa for 7 days. i'm pretty excited, and have already scouted at least 5 vegan/gluten free bakeries/restaurants that i can safely eat at. after that i'm home for thanksgiving and then heading to boston for an event. this is the first time my job has brought me back to my home state. i'll be sure to recount my food adventures during my travels.

and not to fear - i promise my next post will be a recipe. and a good one at that.

last but not least - my friend, allison, just got her blog up and running Coup d' Cuisine - she features 'fully loaded' recipes that don heavy hi-fat ingredients and 'coups' them - by substituting healthier ingredients sans losing the flavor - wicked smaaaart.

other inspiring blogs to check out...

boulder locavore
once upon a tomato