Gluten Free Pancakes with Mini Chocolate Chips

The inspiration: A blizzard, and having my whole family home for breakfast

Most of the day yesterday and into much of the day there was a large snowstorm ( they call it Juno. Why I am not sure). But in any case, we got a good foot or so of snow, and my husband had off work and my kids had off school. When the family is all together for breakfast, I treat us all to homemade pancakes. I find it too difficult trying to get three kids and a husband out the door every morning to cook a hot breakfast, and this is the only one everyone agrees on.

The innovation: Making a family favorite healthier using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratios

There was one problem with me just getting into the kitchen and whipping up a batch of homemade pancakes, though. I was now on a primarily gluten-free, lower fat, lower sugar, lower processed/refined product diet. So how was I going to make pancakes for everyone and not be tempted to have one myself?  I decided to make them gluten free, and to keep the percentages exact, I turned to my culinary bible, Ratios. I primarily use this when I am baking, so I don’t end up with a disaster on my hands. I have a gluten free flour blend that is a 1:1 exchange for wheat flour. I doubled the recipe, used Earth Balance for butter, almond milk for regular milk, and gluten free flour for all-purpose, but the percentages are his- and once again they gave me a beautiful end result.

The reinterpretation: Gluten Free Pancakes with Mini Chocolate Chips

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Ingredients:

2 C unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk

4 large eggs

1 stick Earth Balance (4 oz)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 C  gluten free flour (make sure it is a 1:1 for wheat flour)

6 Tblsp turbinado sugar

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

Pam or other oil cooking spray

Mini chocolate chips (optional – I used Enjoy Life’s Mini Chips)

 

To prepare:

1) Melt the Earth Balance and set aside

2) Combine the wet ingredients- almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

3) Combine the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. If you find there are lumps in the baking powder or flour, sift them out.

4) Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and add the melted Earth Balance. Whisk together to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

5) Ladle mixture into desired size pancakes into a frying pan sprayed with Pam. Add chocolate chips and cook til bubbles start to appear, then flip over. Cook for about 2-3 minutes more.

 

 

 

 

Cranberry-Almond Bread Pudding

The Inspiration: A loaf of leftover challah from Shabbat, and a freezing cold day.

I live in a co-op building, and one day this past week they shut off the heat for an entire day to repair the boiler. It was raining, cold, and altogether dreary. I was desperate to bake something to warm my house, but couldn’t decide what.  I found a whole challah leftover from Shabbat, and nothing warms up a house faster than bread pudding. It’s easy to make, bakes pretty quickly, and is delicious right out of the oven.

The Innovation: Using oil instead of margarine to brown the bread.

I hear so much about how margarine is not good for you. Even if it is trans-fat free, there are much healthier alternatives. I wanted to see if I used oil if I would get the same result I do with margarine. I love bread pudding with a gorgeous, toasty crust and a soft center. Finding a bit of cottonseed oil in my cabinet, I got to work.

My interpretation: Cranberry-Almond Bread Pudding:

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I was very pleased with the result – a delicious bread pudding with a crispy, nutty top that is not too sweet, a soft, light center, and none of the greasy mouth-feel that margarine can sometimes leave behind.

Recipe:

6 cups of challah, cut into large cubes (I used water challah, but you can also use egg challah, but leave it to dry first)

1/3 C cottonseed or other light-tasting oil suitable for baking

2 C vanilla flavored almond milk

1 and 1/2 C sugar, plus a 1/4 C for sprinkling

2 capfuls of best quality vanilla extract 

Generous pinch of salt

9 meduim eggs

5 oz dried cranberries

3 oz slivered almonds

Heat a large pot, adding the challah then the oil. Stir repeatedly, to ensure all the bread is well-coated, and lower flame so it will gently toast. Take care not to over-brown; stir til bread is a light golden brown, then turn off flame. Do not remove pot from burner.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients except the slivered almonds in a separate container, whisk well to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the challah, fold gently to combine well and pour into a oven-safe casserole dish or oven-to-tableware.

Sprinkle the slivered almonds and the sugar on top. Bake in oven at 350F for about 30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out hot and clean. Leave sit in oven til mostly cooled for best result.

 

 

The Best Chanukah Present: Oreillettes

Chanukah came and went so fast this year! This past Sunday, I hosted my family for a dinner party at my home, and I got a chance to use a recipe that was given to me. I treasure this recipe – it is from a very lovely lady named Simone, and it is her own personal recipe.  Just like any good, heirloom recipe, the measurements were not exact, so I had to tinker a little to get it to where it needed to be.

Oreillettes means ‘little pillows’ in French (I have also seen it translated as ‘ little pig ears’, but little pillows sounds so much nicer, I think!). I originally saw a recipe for this dessert in Richard Olney’s ‘Provence the Beautiful’ cookbook and really wanted to make it. Since I had an unpleasant experience making a dessert from there previously, I went to someone I knew who was expert in French cuisine for their recipe.

The dough is silky smooth, and a dream to roll and cut. When placed into hot oil, they puff up almost immediately. Dusted with sugar, this Provencal treat is considered by many as the ‘sweet lover’s potato chip’.  I can see why – they are so light and airy, you could eat handfuls at one time, just like potato chips!

This recipe as is makes several dozen – halve the recipe if you are only making for yourself or a few people!

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Oreillettes

9 C flour

1 1/4 C almond milk  (can also use regular milk)

3 stick margarine, melted (can also use butter)

5 eggs

2 pinches salt

Zest from 2 oranges 

3 tsp rum

confectioner’s or icing sugar for coating ( I used regular sugar because that is what I had)

36 oz of cottonseed or peanut oil for frying

 

In a large bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center. Add half of the melted margarine, and work the flour in slowly, bringing from the outside in, going around the bowl. When all incorporated, add the eggs and knead together. To the remainder of the melted margarine, add the salt, rum, almond milk, and zest, mix lightly. Transfer dough to mixer with hook attachment. On low speed add the rest of the melted margarine. Mix on low speed til dough is extremely soft and silky to the touch.  Leave dough rest in a covered bowl in warm place for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, take dough and cut in half, working with one piece at a time, keeping the other piece in a covered bowl.  At this point heat oil in heavy pot or pan.  Roll the dough as thinly as possibly, and cut into strips, then on a diagonal to make diamonds.

When oil is hot add 8-10 little pieces at a time. Test with a tiny piece of dough first- if it sinks and stays at the bottom it is not hot enough. If it sinks and pops up right away, it is ready for frying. Fry for about 2 mins, til you see holes form on the pieces. Remove with slotted spoon to paper-towel covered tray, dust generously with sugar and serve immediately.

 

Salmon Tail Gravlax

The inspiration: A package of salmon tails and the need for new recipes for the High Holidays

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and walked out with something you never expected to buy? Perhaps it was something you never saw before. I’ve seen salmon tails before – they are quite common in Boro Park supermarkets.  I never thought to buy them, and I still don’t know what possessed me to, but I did.

When the fish is cut into fillets, the tail ends are left separate, and are usually a dollar or two cheaper per pound than a regular salmon fillet.  Salmon tails pieces are rather good to serve to young children as they are naturally boneless.

So the question was: what was I going to do with them?

The innovation:  Taking salmon tails to make something new and interesting

In the run-up to the High Holidays, I’m completely in experimenting mode – I like to try new recipes a month or six weeks before a holiday so I have time to refine them. This way, every Yom Tov I can add new dishes to my menu.  So I decided to try gravlax – I’ve never made it before and it’s less salty and fishy-tasting than regular lox, so I knew this would also appeal to my family.

From Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah, my family has a tradition not to eat anything sour or bitter – no lemons, vinegar, pickles, those sorts of things. We believe that what we eat during this time is an indication of how our year will be, so we enjoy a lot of sweet and savory dishes. We also partake of foods that are more elegantly prepared and presented than we do during the year, and gravlax fits this perfectly.  Using Levana Kirschenbaum’s recipe for gravlax was a stroke of genius – it gives the salmon a bold and unique flavor while still allowing me to keep with my family’s traditions for the High Holidays.

My interpretation: Salmon Tail Gravlax

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into salad.  .

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into gravlax spread.

I used Levana’s recipe http://www.levanacooks.com/gravlax-recipe/  and applied the mixture to six tail fillets of salmon. I cut the recipe in half (hers is enough for 2 full sides of salmon). I then wrapped in Saran Wrap and packed into a 9×13 tin, then covered the top with aluminum foil. To weigh it down, I took 4 32oz jars of duck sauce that were sitting in my cabinet.

Salmon tail 'bundles' ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils.

Salmon tail ‘bundles’ cured and ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils. Make sure to drain it  away.

It is important to turn the salmon over twice a day so that it gets equal pressure on all sides. After the third day I unpacked, removed the dill, sliced and tasted it. The texture was fantastic, and I will be making this again for Yom Tov. Store well refrigerated in Ziploc or air tight container.