Monday, December 28, 2009
Health updates and more recipes!
I haven't posted for a couple of weeks because I've had a bad cold and have been grading final exams for my class. I'm still not over the cold....in fact, I think it's turning into bronchitis, but at least I've managed to turn in grades! :)
Also, I've had another blood test for Lyme disease (the Western Blot test) and I'm awaiting the results. I hope to know something within another week or two!
Anyway, it's been difficult to do a lot of cooking while sick, but I have managed to try a couple of new recipes that have turned out very well....they're now family favorites, in fact!
The luscious cake pictured above is my version of a Nigella Lawson recipe, Clementine Cake. Actually this recipe is all over the Internet in various forms, and was brought to the attention of the larger public by Starbucks, who sold a similar cupcake called the "Valencia Orange Cake" for several months. It was advertised as "gluten-free" so people didn't buy it often (unless they HAD to buy gluten free), so Starbucks decided it was unpopular and stopped selling it. :(
The great thing about this cake is that it's ALWAYS been gluten free, because it's traditionally made with almond flour. You can use oranges, clementines (which are a type of mandarin orange) or even a mix of oranges and lemons with extra sugar, but clementines are my preference because the little ones I buy at Trader Joe's have very thin skins. The thinner the skin, the better your chances are of having the cake turn out well, because thick skins contain more pith (the white part) and can make the cake bitter.
We had Clementine Cake for our dessert on Christmas Eve; it received rave reviews! Here is my version; as usual I used both almond and coconut flours:
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free Clementine Cake
Approximately 1 pound of clementines (for me that was 10 tiny clementines)
1 1/4 C sugar (yes, I used sugar....I do plan to try it with agave syrup)
2 C almond flour
3 T coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Remove any stem remnant from each clementine if necessary; place whole clementines into a pot with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and cover pot, cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds, if any. Squeeze excess water out of each clementine half by hand. Then finely chop the clementines in a food processor until they achieve a sauce-like consistency.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Total bake time is about 40 - 50 minutes.
Grease and line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
Beat the eggs. Mix the sugar, almond flour, and baking powder together in a separate bowl, then add the beaten eggs. Mix well, adding the processed clementine "sauce" last.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes; cover the cake with foil at that point to prevent the top from burning. Cook for 10 more minutes or so until a metal skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. It's normal for the outside of the cake to be dark golden brown; it's also normal for it to "puff" up above the pan and then settle back down towards the end of baking.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a rack. This cake is fabulous as soon as it cools, but is even better the next day after the flavors blend and mellow....it's moist, light and delectably citrus-y. Yum!!
Another recipe we've become fond of recently is a very tasty grain free flatbread originally posted by Liz (aka "lonewolf") in one of the forums on celiac.com.
4 egg whites
2 - 4 egg yolks (note: original recipe calls for 2 yolks, but 4 works too)
1 tsp melted butter
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 C almond flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Separate egg whites and yolks....
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Beat yolks with melted butter, dash of salt, and agave or honey.
Sprinkle the almond flour over the egg whites and fold in gently along with egg yolk mixture.
Spread the batter onto the parchment paper into a 12" by 12" square (if using 2 yolks only) or a 12" by 14" rectangle (if using 4 yolks). Make sure the thickness is uniform over the square (or rectangle). Bake at 350 for 12 minutes; it should be turning golden brown on top when done.
This bread is so versatile! You can simply cut it into squares and use them for regular sandwiches, or into the right-sized rectangles to be wrapped around hot dogs as a bun-replacement. You can even take an entire sheet of bread and cover it with Dijon mustard, ham slices and Swiss cheese, roll it like a jelly roll, microwave it until the cheese starts to melt, slice and serve.
OK....it's not as flexible as wheat-based bread, so it does tend to crack a bit when you're rolling it up, but it's still AMAZING bread when you consider that it's entirely grain free!
Last minute health update: I just returned from Urgent Care with a diagnosis of bronchitis and a severe asthma attack. Have to increase my prednisone dose for a few days plus take antibiotics! Why do I get sick so often over the holidays? :(
I truly hope that all of you, my dear readers, are healthy right now, and that you and your families are blessed in every area and are enjoying this holiday season together!