Two big eaters get healthy... without giving up good cooking

posted by Kerry on May 17, 2011
Smorgasburg.  Celia.  Will you please go and report back?

posted by Kerry on May 17, 2011

Smorgasburg.  Celia.  Will you please go and report back?

posted by Kerry on May 16, 2011
Mmmmm…baguettes…Paris.  La meilleure!

posted by Kerry on May 16, 2011

Mmmmm…baguettes…Paris.  La meilleure!

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posted by Kerry on May 11, 2011

Vegetarian chili; white bean, lemon and rosemary hummus; cold veg and apple.  LunchSkins reusable lunch bags.  Love them.  Sunny, hot day with lunch next to the river avec book.  First outdoor work lunch of the year.

posted by Kerry on April 21, 2011
Celia, I just got my new Bon Appetit in the mail yesterday and am informed it is, in fact, the Italy issue. Big awesome! Tonight I’m planning to queue up some Paolo Conte, pour up a glass of wine and settle in with my magazine to see if Bon App and Italy inspire a menu for my mom’s birthday lunch in a week. Perhaps that focaccia could be worked in somewhere… Have you read the issue yet? Anything jumping out at you?

posted by Kerry on April 21, 2011

Celia, I just got my new Bon Appetit in the mail yesterday and am informed it is, in fact, the Italy issue. Big awesome! Tonight I’m planning to queue up some Paolo Conte, pour up a glass of wine and settle in with my magazine to see if Bon App and Italy inspire a menu for my mom’s birthday lunch in a week. Perhaps that focaccia could be worked in somewhere… Have you read the issue yet? Anything jumping out at you?

posted by Kerry on April 21, 2011
Brekkie:  wholegrain English muffin; Trader Joe’s organic, creamy, unsalted peanut butter; bananas; honey
Yet another bad iTouch photo. Must:  a) get a decent camera, b) have it with me when desirous of photographing food for tumblr.

posted by Kerry on April 21, 2011

Brekkie:  wholegrain English muffin; Trader Joe’s organic, creamy, unsalted peanut butter; bananas; honey

Yet another bad iTouch photo. Must:  a) get a decent camera, b) have it with me when desirous of photographing food for tumblr.

posted by Kerry on April 18, 2011
Celia - you’re who I take my Italian cooking/baking questions to. Have you ever made foccacia? Check out this recipe for Foccacia with Scallions and Sage from The Yellow House. I know you’re not much for onions, but our sage plant is sprouting velvety green leaves despite the cold snap (and inappropriate SNOW) and I’m thinking about trying this recipe to have with some soup or some Celia-inspired zucchini and eggs for dinner some night this week. But yeast breads intimidate me for some reason. Also, do you think I could mix in some whole wheat for this bread with good results?

posted by Kerry on April 18, 2011

Celia - you’re who I take my Italian cooking/baking questions to. Have you ever made foccacia? Check out this recipe for Foccacia with Scallions and Sage from The Yellow House. I know you’re not much for onions, but our sage plant is sprouting velvety green leaves despite the cold snap (and inappropriate SNOW) and I’m thinking about trying this recipe to have with some soup or some Celia-inspired zucchini and eggs for dinner some night this week. But yeast breads intimidate me for some reason. Also, do you think I could mix in some whole wheat for this bread with good results?

posted by Kerry on April 13, 2011
My mom got me the Babycakes cookbook a year or so ago, and I’ve baked a couple things from it. The original Babycakes bakery is in New York - perhaps you know it? A related FAQ is provided on the bakery’s website, and truly, there is a whole canon of baker knowledge specific to this world of baking. The standard baker’s skills are of course applicable, but all those little tricks and sixth senses that are second nature to you as a lifelong baker need to be bolstered with details about how these ingredients are accurately measured and how they function and interact with each other and heat.
Using this cookbook, or generally baking gluten free or with other alternative flours, means a small annex to your pantry. I didn’t find the initial pantry additions particularly cost-prohibitive though. Some of the fundamentals from this particular cookbook include alternative flours, coconut oil, agave nectar and xanthan gum. As I recall, the xanthan gum was the spendiest item, but it’s key in so many recipes for creating a desirable texture and crumb which is standard in more traditional baked goods.  
The Agave Sweetened Brownie Gems use garbanzo-fava bean flour and brown rice flour and are so far my favorite from this book. I did not make the accompanying chocolate sauce, instead topping each brownie with a small disk of dark chocolate when they came out of the oven. These brownies are richly chocolate and not particularly sweet; they’re like a cakey version of a rich piece of dark chocolate.  I found them to be a perfect mid-point between cakey and fudgy brownies and a great size to sate a desire for a decadent dessert. 
Agave Sweetened Brownie Gems
From Babycakes by Erin McKenna
1/2 c. garbanzo - fava bean flour
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. potato starch
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. coconut oil, plus more for the tins
1/3 c. agave nectar
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. hot water or hot coffee
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the 1/2 cup oil and the agave nectar, apple-sauce, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
3. Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 5 minutes. (For a more fudgy-tasting cake, bake for only 8 minutes total.) The finished brownies will have firm edges with a soft center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
4. Let the brownies stand in the tins for 20 minutes, or until completely cool. While they are still in the tins, press your thumb into the center of each and fill the depression with 1 teaspoon chocolate sauce. To maintain freshness, leave the brownies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

posted by Kerry on April 13, 2011

My mom got me the Babycakes cookbook a year or so ago, and I’ve baked a couple things from it. The original Babycakes bakery is in New York - perhaps you know it? A related FAQ is provided on the bakery’s website, and truly, there is a whole canon of baker knowledge specific to this world of baking. The standard baker’s skills are of course applicable, but all those little tricks and sixth senses that are second nature to you as a lifelong baker need to be bolstered with details about how these ingredients are accurately measured and how they function and interact with each other and heat.

Using this cookbook, or generally baking gluten free or with other alternative flours, means a small annex to your pantry. I didn’t find the initial pantry additions particularly cost-prohibitive though. Some of the fundamentals from this particular cookbook include alternative flours, coconut oil, agave nectar and xanthan gum. As I recall, the xanthan gum was the spendiest item, but it’s key in so many recipes for creating a desirable texture and crumb which is standard in more traditional baked goods.  

The Agave Sweetened Brownie Gems use garbanzo-fava bean flour and brown rice flour and are so far my favorite from this book. I did not make the accompanying chocolate sauce, instead topping each brownie with a small disk of dark chocolate when they came out of the oven. These brownies are richly chocolate and not particularly sweet; they’re like a cakey version of a rich piece of dark chocolate.  I found them to be a perfect mid-point between cakey and fudgy brownies and a great size to sate a desire for a decadent dessert. 

Agave Sweetened Brownie Gems

From Babycakes by Erin McKenna

  • 1/2 c. garbanzo - fava bean flour
  • 1/4 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c. potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, plus more for the tins
  • 1/3 c. agave nectar
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. hot water or hot coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the 1/2 cup oil and the agave nectar, apple-sauce, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

3. Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 5 minutes. (For a more fudgy-tasting cake, bake for only 8 minutes total.) The finished brownies will have firm edges with a soft center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

4. Let the brownies stand in the tins for 20 minutes, or until completely cool. While they are still in the tins, press your thumb into the center of each and fill the depression with 1 teaspoon chocolate sauce. To maintain freshness, leave the brownies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

I’ve never tried making gluten-free bread before. I’m not gluten intolerant, but I think it would be an interesting experiment. And I’m curious about how it tastes.
Have you ever experimented with these flours, Kerry?

I’ve never tried making gluten-free bread before. I’m not gluten intolerant, but I think it would be an interesting experiment. And I’m curious about how it tastes.

Have you ever experimented with these flours, Kerry?

posted by Kerry on April 7, 2011.
I’m having serious spring fever.  We are soclose to the first spring farmers’ markets and I kind of can’t handle it anymore.  I have big plans for this Shaved Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen.  I’m planning on grilling it like she suggests towards the end of her recipe.  Our market has a cheese guy who has the finest fresh mozzarella ever and I can just imagine that cheese waiting to be made in Wisconsin - its infinitesimal, not yet born, totally non-existent little consciousness eagerly anticipating its destiny as the anchor of my beautiful grilled, shaved asparagus pizza.  There will also be wine.
Celia, what are you dying to cook with from this spring’s farmers’ markets?

posted by Kerry on April 7, 2011.

I’m having serious spring fever.  We are soclose to the first spring farmers’ markets and I kind of can’t handle it anymore.  I have big plans for this Shaved Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen.  I’m planning on grilling it like she suggests towards the end of her recipe.  Our market has a cheese guy who has the finest fresh mozzarella ever and I can just imagine that cheese waiting to be made in Wisconsin - its infinitesimal, not yet born, totally non-existent little consciousness eagerly anticipating its destiny as the anchor of my beautiful grilled, shaved asparagus pizza.  There will also be wine.

Celia, what are you dying to cook with from this spring’s farmers’ markets?

posted by Kerry on April 6, 2011
Wednesday lunch:  for when I have little time to do much prep - tofu cubes (browned on a dry cast iron skillet over medium to low heat), brown jasmine rice, Trader Joe’s Peanut Satay sauce, (leftover) sauteed zucchini with lemon zest and garlic. 
Bad iTouch photo.

posted by Kerry on April 6, 2011

Wednesday lunch:  for when I have little time to do much prep - tofu cubes (browned on a dry cast iron skillet over medium to low heat), brown jasmine rice, Trader Joe’s Peanut Satay sauce, (leftover) sauteed zucchini with lemon zest and garlic. 

Bad iTouch photo.