Archive for February, 2014

Red Velvet Beet Cake

This is attempt number two in efforts to create a more cake-like red velvet made with beets. The first attempt of making this cake was a failure that actually turned into tasty dark chocolate brownies. My adaption was a big success! The confection had a nice cake consistency and sweet flavor. The folks at my work greatly enjoyed it (despite that most of them are not accustomed to gluten-free or vegan specialty foods; some even asked for my recipe). Unlike the brownies, the cake batter has more fruit puree, no chocolate chunks, and less cacao powder and beet puree, so it is not as dense. I used the same frosting recipe as with the brownies.

Red Velvet Slice 01

Red Velvet Beet Cake
Adapted recipe from Jen Cafferty’s recipe on the Gluten-Free Food Examiner.

Yields 15 to 20 Servings

Ingredients
2 T Chia or Flax Seeds, course ground
6 T Warm Filtered Water
1 C Cacao Powder
1/2 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 1/2 C Unsweetened Pureed Pears
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 – 1 1/2 C Evaporated Cane Juice or Turbinado Sugar
1 3/4 C Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Medium Beets, scrubbed, trimmed
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
2 oz Gel or Liquid Red Food Coloring
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Sanding Sugar, optional*

Red Beets

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the beets clean with a vegetable cleaning brush under cool water. Trim off the end of the tail and the top. Foil-wrap beets and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes. Cool slightly on wire racks away from heat. Unwrap and quarter. Puree in food processor with lemon juice. Set aside.

Foil-Wrapped Beets

In a small bowl, beat chia or flax seeds and water with a fork until smooth to create “egg” substitute. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour-dust a glass 9″ x 13″** baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix cacao, apple and pear sauces and vanilla. Set aside.

Into a medium bowl, sift flour, xanthan gum, 1 cup sugar, soda and salt. With an electric mixer, gradually add in cacao-apple mixture. Blend in “eggs,” beets, and food coloring. Beat until fully incorporated. Adjust batter to desired level of sweetness with remaining sugar, mixing in a quarter cup at a time.

Red Velvet Beet Cake

Bake for at least 30 minutes (mine took 70) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly on wire rack.

 

Frost and decorate as desired. If you are using frosting that was prepared ahead of time and chilled, let it soften at room temperature to prevent separation. Make sure to stir it well before applying it to the cake. Serve and enjoy!

Decorated Cake 01

*To include a colorful decoration without adding extra sugar, even out the cake with a long serrated knife, carefully slicing off the top and trimming the sides to make them flat and level. Crumb the cut-off potion in a food processor. Use the crumbs in lieu of sanding sugar to decorate the cake after frosting.

Red Velvet Slice 02

**If desired, bake the cake in two round cake pans. Use the frosting as the cake topping and filling.

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Pudgy Pies

I first tried out cooking hand pies with this method several years ago while car camping with Adriann and a bunch of other friends. I tested out hers to make a very yummy snack and have wanted a set ever since, especially now that we have a fire pit on our back patio. Unfortunately, other than on Amazon or other online stores, pie irons are rather challenging to find. So when I saw them in one of our local overstock stores, I bought two right away as an early Valentine’s Day gift for my husband. Pie irons are fantastic usually long-handled cast iron hand-pie makers (like a waffle irons) for cooking over an open flame or camp fire. You can either use dough or slices of bread to make the piecrust, but keep in mind that thinner crusts will allow more room for fillings. They are easy to make in these irons and are an incredibly simple comfort food. The outside is nice and toasty, while the fillings are warm and gooey on the inside. Since you get to choose your own toppings, you can make the pies meaty, cheesy, vegan, gluten free, healthy, or however you like.

Pie Irons

To make a hand pies, put a slice oil or butter-side down (to prevent it from sticking to the iron) onto the bottom half of the iron. Place your fillings, like fruit preserves, chocolate, nut butter, meat, eggs, cheese, etc., in the center of the bottom bread slice; make sure you include an ingredient that acts as a binding agent, otherwise the pie will not stay together as well. Lay a second slice of bread over the top of the fillings with the oiled side up. Close the the iron, so the top bread slice covers the filling. Clamp the iron closed. Trim off any excess bread sticking out from the sides of the iron. Place the cast iron over the fire, holding onto the wooden (or otherwise insulated) handles. Bake the hand pie for about four to six minutes rotating occasionally.

There are all sorts of recipes you can try. Richard O’Russa wrote a great looking cookbook and you can find even more recipes from Rome’s online shop, which features more information about the devices. I am sure you can find other hand pie recipes for baking with pie irons elsewhere on the the internet, as well, like here. You can also check out Pudgy Revolution’s Pudgy Pie Test Kitchen You Tube series, and if you really like their recipe ideas, you can support their pudgie pie cookbook Kickstarter.

Heavenly Ham Sandwiches

I just made awesomely amazing ham sandwiches for my husband and myself. I was raving about it so much, I had to share it with you, too. It was simply that good! It satisfied many of my cravings at once, sweet, savory, salty, fatty, crispy and gooey. Sorry I did not include any pictures below. They did not last long enough to photograph, but I’m sure you can use your imagination.

Despite the bright sunshine of happiness lifting many people’s moods in the North Bay and that many people had today off due to Presidents’s Day, I was feeling tired and a bit run down, so I felt like making myself some comfort food for lunch. I did have half of the day off after all, so I had some time to make a hot lunch at home.

Grilled Ham Sandwiches
I made two versions of the sandwich one for my husband and one for me. For a more balanced lunch, I accompanied them with big green side salads dressed with vinaigrette.

Version 1
1/4 C Fatty Ham Trimmings
OR 1 tsp Bacon Grease
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
2 Slices Soft Gluten-Free Bread of Your Choice
1 1/4″ Slice of Glazed Ham, enough to cover bread
2 T Shredded Daiya or Dairy Cheese
1 – 3 T Honey or Dijon Mustard

Version 2
1/4 C Fatty Ham Trimmings
OR 1 tsp Bacon Grease
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
2 Slices Soft Gluten-Free Bread of Your Choice
1 1/4″ Slice of Glazed Ham, enough to cover bread
2 T Shredded Daiya Mozzarella-Style Cheese
1 – 3 Cranberry Mustard

Directions
Melt the Ham fat out of the trimmings for flavor on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Stir again to redistribute the flavors. Add two slices of bread and the ham to the pan. Make sure they absorb some of the oil to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Once the bottoms are a bit browned, flip the bread and ham. Add and distribute more oil as necessary. Sprinkle some cheese onto each slice of bread. Place ham on top. Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove the lid. Add the mustard. Put the slices together to make a sandwich. Carefully flip the sandwich a few times, waiting about 1 minute in between each flip. Grill until toasted to your liking. Serve. Cool a bit to prevent burning hungry mouths.