Guest Submission: Es’s Gluten Free with Pumpkin Seeds and Apricot Biscotti


You have to try this tested recipe made of GF flour with Pumpkin Seeds and Apricot Biscotti.  Although I have to say so myself, this is the best ever I have managed to make GF.



Ingredients
1 c Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour – Bob’s Red Mill
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup white sugar
½ cup salted pumpkin seeds
½ cup sliced dried apricots
2 XL eggs
¼ cup almond milk

Method:
Preheat oven to 320F
Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
Mix flour, baking power and sugar.
Add seeds and sliced apricots.
Whisk eggs together with the milk till combined.
Form a log of ±3-4″ wide and place on baking tray.  Leave some space down the length of your tray in order for some spreading of the dough.
The mixture is rather wet, so make sure to cover your hands and the board you work on with a good helping of flour while shaping the dough into a log.
Bake for ±30 minutes, or till you have a slight golden crust
Let it cool down properly before you cut the log into biscuits, about ½” thick.  If you prefer, as I did, cut it again into half or you will end up with a very big and unmanageable biscotti.

Turn down the oven 300F
Place the sliced biscotti on a cooling rack (cut side up) and continue to bake for ±10 minutes.  Turn the biscotti over and repeat this process on the other side.
Leave it in the oven and place a spoon in the door to keep it slightly open.
I prefer to add this extra step in order for the biscotti to completely dry out for ± ½-1 hour.
Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
I can promise you, this is the best ever GF biscotti I have ever concocted, and it’s so easy and quick to prepare.  I only made a small batch, as I had to test it out, but believe me, next time I will make more of same.

Guest Submission: Farmer’s Market

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“Come and get your roasted almonds! Come step over here!” Bright morning sunlight streamed through tall sycamore trees as the crier held out his wares for the passing crowd.

“Mmmm.” Was all I could say as I breathed in the warm spicy scent. I felt my hand reaching for my wallet when a sharp voice whispered in my ear.

“You’re not seriously thinking about blowing your money on that junk are you?” My eye snapped open as she squeezed me around the waist.

I looked at the vendor, and he looked at me. “I’ll pass, thanks though.”

My stomach rumbled as we walked past vendor after vendor. Stalls sat with tables full of fresh produce, baked goods, noodles, and spices. Cool morning air twisted between our feet as we wove around huddles of people, laughing and eating. Beautiful dogs with sleek coats either struck out into the crowd with their masters or were carefully tucked at their owner’s side, willing a morsel of food to drop onto their waiting nose.

My wife pulled me forward, and I felt the sun begin to sizzle on the back of my head. It was going to be a hot day.

 

 

Guest Submission: Cupcakes

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Cupcakes

There are few things in life that are as satisfying as the perfect cupcake.  The moist, dense crumb contrasted against the smooth, sweet frosting.  When you peel back the paper from the cupcake, the world nearly pauses in anticipation for something amazing.  The next step of eating a cupcake is up to the eater.  How will he or she approach the task?

  1. Top First: Eat the frosting first, coating your tongue with the sweetness that will complement the cake, which is eaten last.  This method appeals most to the cake lover.
  2. Bottom First: The cupcake is dissected horizontally, pulling the top of the cake with frosting off.  The cylindrical piece of cake is eaten in 3–4 bites before being chased by the cupcake top with frosting.  This method appeals best to the frosting lover– The best is saved for last.
  3. Straight: The cupcake is approached from the side, eating bite after bite of cake balanced with frosting.  Each bite is the same and equally exciting.  Most often, those that have no preference for frosting over cake approach the life-changing moment this way.
  4. Sandwich: The cupcake is again dissected horizontally, pulling the top of the cake with the frosting off of the rest.  The top of the cupcake is then inverted and placed on top of the cupcake cylinder, creating a frosting sandwich.  This approach appeals to those that prefer not to make a mess, and bookend the frosting with bites of cake.

Es’s Gluten Free Lemon and Maple Syrup Mini Bundt Cake



Ingredients:
200g soft/room temperature unsalted butter
½ cup super fine/berry sugar
75ml maple syrup
5ml pure lemon extract
Grated rind of 2 lemons
4 XL eggs
200g Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (I used Enjoy Life)
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
30ml lemon juice (½ lemon)
±15-20 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Icing/confectioners sugar for dusting

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 6 well mini Bundt pan.
Cream butter, sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy with a hand mixer.
Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt and mix into wet mixture.
Add lemon juice and zest and mix until combined.
Spoon ±½ cup into prepared mini Bundt pans and smooth the top with a spoon.
Bake 20-25 minutes till firm to the touch and you have reached a nice baked color, or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool for ±10-15 minutes in the pans before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust only once cold with icing sugar.

Guest Submission: Parfait Mornings

There’s nothing I love more than yogurt parfait in the morning. Something about watching the sun rise over the mountains as a spoon slides into thick and flavorful yogurt. With a light dusting of sweetly seasoned granola, I sit at my kitchen table and watch as the sun glides up over the buildings around my house.

With a satisfying crunch, the cinnamon and brown sugar encrusted oats fill that empty space associated with a spoonful of yogurt. And to top off the experience, a burst of blueberry juice seals the deal, giving me the start I need to greet this new day with a smile.

Now the only question is, what combination are you going to try?

-Anonymous

Guest Submission: Midnight Snack, an excerpt from ‘Glasgow, My Love’ by Fanni Suto.

Fries and burger on a plate by Robin Stickel pexel.com
photo credit: Robin Stickel

I’d give half my years to know what he is thinking about. He seems so peaceful under the city lights; they are painting neon stripes on his face. The beauty of the moment breaks my heart a little. Why couldn’t this happen back then in that café, many years ago when we could have been unconditionally happy? Now we had to take the sadness and the guilt, too.

“One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel,” he murmurs mostly to himself, like he was talking to a memory. I look at him for explanation, but he avoids my eye. He takes my hand instead and draws tickly circles in my palm with his thumb.

I decide that I don’t care about what others might think and I nestle into his shoulder. I toy with his hair; it feels like silk, just like I’ve always imagined it. The cabbie stares stiffly at the road. He must be sick of lovebirds making out in his back seat or he might just be tired. We arrive to a hotel somewhere in the western part of the city, judging from the houses, it might be Notting Hill. I vaguely remember being here once, but it might have been a movie. Everything is a blur. David is paying the silent driver for the ride. In a moment of radio silence my stomach grumbles loudly.  

“Are you hungry?” he asks laughing.

“I didn’t have time to have dinner with the reading and everything.”

The driver’s face remained emotionless, but his lips twitched. He hated the lot of us, it was official now.

We get out of the car finally; the driver looks relieved and disappears into the night, a shiny black spot in the darkness.

“Should we find something to eat?”

Laughter always hides in his voice, but there is sadness in his eyes.

“I doubt that anything is open.”

“I’m Scottish, I can always find food,” he says. He looks around, smells the air with an exaggerated motion. “That way!” He points in a random direction and sets out, his coat floating after him like tired wings. He hurries off, but then remembers you and waits under a street light.

Music drifts to the street from a house party somewhere, old songs from the nineties. They taste like youth. I start dancing on the rain-splashed street, forgetting about the world, forgetting about him.  I want to forget about him, but it’s impossible. I feel his presence under my skin, trembling at the end of my every nerve. I only stop and open my eyes when the song ends. I feel his eyes on me, his looks make me feel self-conscious, reminding me of the times when I wore too high heels or too low cut tops. I feel really stupid.

“I’m sorry,” I say, staring at the nose of my pink Converse. I was willing to grow up in everything, but my shoes.

“Why?” he says and grabs my hand. He spins me around even without the music. “I missed this, the drunkenness of freedom. I haven’t done anything crazy for years, would you believe that? Me who wanted to be an artist. The most irresponsible thing I’ve done recently was to buy shirts before the sales started.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“No, really. That was the adventure factor in my life.”

A young couple passes us by, the girl has a shock of purple hair and wears a T-shirt which says “The boobs are real, the smile is fake.” When she is not paying attention, the boy looks at her in a way that squeezes your heart. They are so young. Also, very much in love, but neither of them wants to admit it.

I notice an oily paper cone in the boy’s hand; they are sharing a hearty portion of chips. I wonder where that might have come from and I swallow back the rising hunger. It echoes a very different kind of hunger I felt in the cab a mere twenty minutes ago. Guilt sinks in again: How can I feel so carefree and unconcerned in the middle of a crazy and possibly adulterous escapade?

“Excuse me,” David walks up to the couple.

“What’s up, mate,” the boy says. His voice is strangely calming and playful, like the waves of the Thames.

“Could you tell me where did you get your chips which smells so heavenly and unhealthily?”

The guy grins at him.

“Sure thing, there is a Favourite chicken just around the corner. Say that you are a friend of Lark, they’ll give you a discount.”

“Thanks,” David grins back and the couple walks off into the night. I follow them with my eyes and I hope they don’t waste their chance like I did.

We find the chicken place. The warm greasy smell hurries to welcome us like an old friend and I feel much better. I order an incredible amount of comfort food and I’ll let the Anna of tomorrow worry about it.

The tall guy behind the cash machine just sighs and touches a plastic card to the reader. It has the image of a beautifully stylized brown bird and, as by magic, all the prices he entered  disappear.

“There you go, it’s on the house. I just hope Lark doesn’t send a any more people here,” he grumbled “We’ll go bankrupt.”

I offer to pay, but he refuses, so I thank him and grab my loot.

David must be also wondering about our mystery benefactor, but he doesn’t say anything just dives in the cone of chips. It’s a piece of greasy heaven.

After thirty, people try to live as healthily as possible, I’m no different. I avoid red meat; I usually don’t eat carbohydrates after five and I torment myself with Pilates twice a week. I even made friends with my childhood archenemy: broccoli. What is this if not the complete treachery and failure of adulthood?

Sometimes, however after a very long and exhausting day, I raid the closest fast food place and buy some oversalted fries and crumbling chicken breast. I live a spotless life, my only sin is occasional junk food. Pathetic. I smile at David above my can of fizzy drink. His mouth is too busy with the food, but his eyes sparkle back.

I dive in right away. My stomach protests at first, but I don’t give into its weakness. After a bit of grumbling, it happily welcomes the midnight junk food galore. I immediately feel the love handles building up on my side, but for once, I don’t give a damn.

Author Bio:

Fanni Sütő

www.inkmapsandmacarons.com

@Fanni_Pumpkin

I’m from Hungary, but I live in France.I don’t really remember the exact moment when I started writing, it’s always been part of my life. It became something serious during high school.My realistic dream is to finally finish a novel (in Hungarian or in English.) My unrealistic dream is to have my stories made into a BBC series and to meet Neil Gaiman and have a writer to writer talk.

Guest Submission: Es’s Gluten Free Vegan Cake Pan Release Mixture


You never have to worry about having cake disasters again

Ingredients
½ cup Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
½ cup Crisco All vegetable shortening
½ cup 100% Pure Canola oil

Note:  When baking a chocolate cake, use ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup baking flour.

Instructions
In a small mixing bowl, add flour, then oil and lastly the shortening.
Whisk ingredients thoroughly till well combined and no lumps visible.
Store in a console air tight glass jar till ready to use.
It will keep well for up to three months in your fridge.
When ready, take out your jar, dip a pastry brush in mixture and coat baking pan with a thin layer, making sure you cover all the nooks and crannies especially when using a patterned bundt pan as in picture.
Prepare your cake mixture as usual and pour cake mixture into your pan already coated with this awesome mixture. Bake as per instructions for your cake recipe.

Use this release mixture for any recipe that calls for greasing and flouring your pans.
This is the best ever release recipe, I have tried and tested.
When you want to take the cake out of the tin, it just slides out, no crumbs, no breakage, just a perfect shaped cake.
Also it makes for easy cleaning of a bundt pan with small nooks and crannies. You can basically just wipe out the pan.

Recipe Credit:  ifyougiveablondeakitchen

Guest submission: Es’s Tip – Grinding of Coffee beans with a drop of water


I am sure you may know this, but I find it so handy that I wanted to share this tip with you all.  

 

As we are coffee-holics we like a decent cup of  coffee. We buy bags of coffee beans and grind them as we use it to make a fresh cup of coffee. We have experimented with different grinders over the years, and now settled on a Coffee Burr Grinder.

Still when you grind the beans, the ground coffee tends to be very static and when you pull the container with the ground coffee out of the machine it tends to “fly” all over the countertop, and it’s such a mess.

Hubby then started to investigate on the internet and found out that once you add a drop or three water on the beans, that this problem is solved.

We have now tested it for a number of months, and it does work, no more static and coffee grind all over the countertops.

Feel free to test it for yourself, I promise you it does work.
Enjoy your next cup of coffee.

Guest Submission: Es’s Homemade Baked Cheese Crisps


Make awesome crunchy cheese crisps with just a few ingredients (or just one) and a few minutes.

Ingredients
Cheese
Optional – herbs or spices.
I sprinkled some dried parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with PARCHMENT paper (Do not try anything else)

I used Cracker Barrel Slices.
Cut sandwich slices into 4 equal sized pieces and place onto the parchment, a couple of inches apart.
I only placed 12 on a tray as they spread as they bake.
Bake ±7 minutes or until beginning to brown around the edges.
Leave them on the tray for ±5 minutes, to set a bit, before gently scooping it up with a plastic or metal egg-lifter and place on a cold surface or plate and allow to cool complete, to finish getting crispy.

Some additional info: Please note that as each oven differs, you may have to bake it a little bit longer to get it nice and crispy. Another factor would be the amount of fat/oil in your cheese. I ended up baking mine a bit longer (say in total about 10 minutes) but be careful not to burn them, to ensure it remains crisp. Today it’s still yummy and crispy like a chip.

Source: Saw this idea on the internet, and could not find the recipe again, so just winged it.  Made it from memory from way back then, so this will not resemble the original recipe in any way shape or form.

Guest Submission: Es’s Pork Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy



Ingredients
1 lb pork tenderloin
3 Tbs soy sauce
1½ Tbs teriyaki marinade
1½ tsp golden brown sugar
1½ tsp maiziena / cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Enough VOO (virgin olive oil) to lightly coat the wok
3-4 medium minced cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
4 medium white button mushrooms, chopped
3 medium heads baby bok choy (wash, cut off the white stalks and keep leaves separate)
½ cup unsalted cashews

 

Method:
Slice the meat in medallions of ±½-1 inch chunks.
Whisk the soy sauce, teriyaki marinade, brown sugar, cornstarch, and freshly ground pepper until the cornstarch and sugar are dissolved.
Add the pork, toss to coat, and marinate for 5-10 minutes. Flip and turn the meat after 5 minutes in the marinade in order to cover both sides.
Heat oil in a large wok (just enough to cover the bottom) until hot. Drain or wipe out the excess oil.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry, till nicely flavored.
Add the pork in a single layer and cook till medium done.
Drip the remainder of the sauce over the meat medallions.
Turn the heat down and stir-fry till the meat is nearly cooked through and keep aside.
Heat some more oil in the wok, add the bok choy stalks, as well as the mushrooms and stir-fry until crisp-tender.
We prefer our greens more crispy, so do not over cook.
Return the pork and add the bok choy leaves and cashews to the wok, and stir-fry until the leaves are wilted and serve immediately.


We served it with sweet glazed butternut. The flavors complimented each other very well.

All the above tweaked, prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabs

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