Saturday, July 23, 2016

{Gluten-Free} Garden Cake with Matcha Whipped Cream, Berries, and Blossoms


Probably influenced by his hours at Earthbound Farm for their Afternoon Tea Party and wandering through their Edible Gardens, to celebrate the Nonni's safe return home from their trip, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf wanted to make them a garden cake. He wanted it to have strawberries and flowers; I happened to have both on hand. Sweet!

I suggested a matcha cake. He vetoed that in favor of a regular cake with matcha whipped cream. What can I say? The kid has vision. 

I'm not sure Nonno knew what to think of the cake, but he ate it.


Note: I baked this as two separate 8" rounds that were fairly flat as I was trying to speed up the baking time. I think next time, I'll bake it as one 8" round and slice it in half. Or bake it for less time. The cake layers were slightly overbaked.

Ingredients
Cake

  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 6 T butter, room temperature
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 C white rice flour*
  • 2 T tapioca flour
  • 6 T potato starch*
  • 1 t xanthan gum*
  • 2  eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 C organic plain yogurt
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract

Matcha Whipped Cream

  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T culinary matcha*

To Serve

  • 2 C organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • organic flowers (we used roses, snapdragons, and marigolds)

Procedure
Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 8" round pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper and the pan. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Mix in the eggs on low speed. Stir in the lemon zest.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flours, potato starch, xanthan gum, and baking powder.

In the butter bowl, beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top flat.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on rack. While the cake cools, make the matcha whipped cream.

Matcha Whipped Cream
Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until nice peaks form. Set aside until read to assemble.

To Serve
Place your bottom layer on serving platter. Heap 1/2 of the matcha whipped cream in the center and gently spread it to within 1/2" of the edge. Lay 1/2 of the strawberries on top of the whipped cream. Place the second cake layer on top of the strawberries. Heap the remaining matcha whipped cream on top of the cake, keeping 2 T aside. Gently spread whipped cream to within 1/2" of the edge. Lay the remaining strawberries on top of the cream. Use the last 2 T of whipped cream as a dollop on top. Garnish with flowers. Serve immediately.

Our gluten-free Sugar Pig was so happy!


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Inspiring Garden of Edibles at Earthbound Farm


Following the Afternoon Tea Party at Earthbound Farm, the boys and I decided to wander through the gardens on the grounds of the farmstand. And while anyone who knows me knows that I have a black thumb, it was inspiring nonetheless. To see what they are growing here locally - successfully - well, it gave me garden-goals.


I love this shot of busy bees. I can watch bees all afternoon; they're mesmerizing!


I had never seen quinoa growing. This plant was in the Children's Garden, in the 'Q' planter box. D yelled, "Mommy, we can grow quinoa." You can grow quinoa! But, I would love that. We eat quinoa quite a bit. I need to read up on how it goes from plant to plate. Do I have to dry it? Can I use it straight off the bush?


"Mom, look at the wheat!" D hollered when he reached the 'W' planter. "Too bad Dad is gluten-free. We could grow wheat."


This odd red flower puzzled me. Without hesitation, R declared, "It's a pomegranate, Mom. It looks exactly like a pomegranate. It's just that all of the parts aren't yet full-grown." Okay, I wouldn't say it looks exactly like a pomegranate. But I see what you mean.

And, just to confirm, I asked one of the gals if they had pomegranates out there. She said yes.


What an inspiring stroll. There are so many things I want to plant at our new house. While I love supporting local organic farmers that I know, it'd be nice to be able to eat more things from our own yard. 

Okay, who's willing to give me gardening tips?

Afternoon Tea Party at Earthbound Farm


When I saw 'Afternoon Tea Party' on the blackboard at Earthbound Farm's Farm Stand, I knew that the boys would have a great time there. My boys and I are huge tea-lovers. Huge. We love Tea Tasting in Chinatown. My little one doesn't leave for school without a stainless mug full of tea. And my husband brews his own kombucha.

We adore tea, tisanes, and any food that involves tea. We've poached pears in Earl Grey, folded mint tea into shortbread, made Matcha Ice Cream, used Earl Grey in browniesmarbled eggs in black tea, and poached cod in green tea...just to name a few. Lapsang Souchong adds smokiness to dishes without using, say, bacon!


And since EBF is just down the street from my office, I had the boys dropped off at the farmstand and when I finished my day, I joined them. What stunning tablescapes they had set up in the outdoor pavillion!


They had a Farm Stand Blend of herbs with bachelor button blossoms, fresh lavender, and chamomile for you to create your own concoctions. Quick note on the terminology here. If the brew doesn't include leaves from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), it's not tea. It's a tisane. 


Step 1: Select a teapot and pick a teacup.


Step 2: Blend your herbs, blooms, and/or tea leaves. Pour hot water over them, letting them steep to your desired strength.


Step 3: Pour into your teacup and sweeten with honey or sugar, if desired.


Step 4: Enjoy the beautiful day and the company!


We had fun with the teas and tisanes, embellishing our cups with fresh flowers.


And since it's not a party without treats - right?!? - EBF provided lots of delectable bites, all of which included tea in one form or another. But I have to give a nod to our absolute favorite of the day: Earl Grey macarons with a honey buttercream filling. Ummm...yum. More, please!


D wanted to buy some and take them home to Daddy. To our chagrin, they weren't for sale. And there weren't any more for me sneak one into my bag either. I looked!


What a fabulous event. And despite my twosome eating more than their fair share of treats and making multiple pots of tea, the EBF crew told them to come back next month. We'll see.


If nothing else, I'll sneak down there for a break from work in the late afternoon. It was very relaxing. Until then, this might have been the push I needed to actually try to make macarons again...after my first attempt flopped.

photo by the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#GuacSquad12 BONUS Recipe: Chocolate Guacamole #sponsor


I've just wrapped up my multi-day, multi-blogger event - #GuacSquad12 - that was sponsored by CasabellaGourmet Garden Herbs & Spices, and Melissa's Produce.  In case you missed it, you can still get the scoop. And, if you love guacamole, you should definitely explore all of the creative takes on guac: here.

I made a Holy Mole Guac on the first day of the event and shared a Chunky Greek Guacamole on the last day of the event. While I was so excited about all of the versions - we had Roasted Peach Guacamole from Jane's Adventures in Dinner; Deviled Egg Guac from A Day in the Life on the Farm; and a Grilled Guacamole from Cafe Terra; and so many more - I realized we were missing a dessert guacamole.

No one had taken the plunge to create a guacamole as a final course. Hmmm...


So, in typical Camilla-style, I embraced the adventure and decided to create a chocolate guacamole as a bonus recipe for #GuacSquad12. Mixing avocado and chocolate isn't too much of a stretch, really; I've made chocolate-avocado pudding several times before.


Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados 
  • 4 T ginger syrup
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • plain crackers for serving - or even cookies



Procedure
Peel and dice the avocados. Place the avocado, ginger syrup, sugar, and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Mash the avocados, incorporating the other ingredients, until your desired texture.


Stir in the chocolate chunks and spoon into a serving bowl.


I served these with plain-ish rice crackers. My crew thought it was too savory (no such thing in my mind!) and thought I should have served it with cookies. Maybe next time...

Here are Our Sponsors*... 
and how you can find them around the internet

Casabella
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram

Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Google+

Melissa's Produce
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. 
Click for the giveaway: enter here!

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Chunky Greek Guacamole and Pita Chips for #GuacSquad12 #sponsor


On the first day of summer, I wrote about this multi-day, multi-blogger celebration of all guacamole: #GuacSquad12. We've timed this guacamole celebration to coincide with the release of the Guac-Lock™ by Casabella. At the beginning of the month, I shared the amazing giveaway we have with items from our generous sponsors: enter here! You can win a Guac-Lock™ of your own. Click for my review of the Guac-Lock™.

Today, I'm wrapping up the #GuacSquad12 event with a recipe that makes me want to pull out the ouzo and yell 'Opa!'
Ingredients 

Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados* (thank you, Melissa's Produce)
  • 1/2 t oregano paste or 1 T fresh oregano* (thank you, Gourmet Garden)
  • 1/2 t cilantro paste or 1 T fresh cilantro* (thank you, Gourmet Garden)
  • 1-1/2 t chunky garlic paste or 1-1/2 T fresh garlic* (thank you, Gourmet Garden)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 t olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C pitted Greek olives (I used a mix of green and black) + more for garnish
  • 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese + more for garnish
  • 1/4 C diced marinated artichokes
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Serving
  • pita chips
  • sliced carrots and cucumbers (this was my gluten-free option for my husband!)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
Procedure

Guacamole
Place avocados, herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork until you get the consistency that you prefer. Some people like a more chunky guacamole; others prefer it more smooth. Stir in the pitted olives, artichokes, and feta cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Spoon your guacamole into a serving bowl. Garnish with more olives and feta cheese.


Serve with pita chips and fresh veggies if you need a gluten-free option. Enjoy!


Here are Our Sponsors*... 
and how you can find them around the internet

Casabella
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram

Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Google+

Melissa's Produce
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. 
Click for the giveaway: enter here!

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Soutzoukakia and Ellinikos Lemoni Patatas #bookclubcookbookcc #giveaway #sponsor


It's hard to believe that our year-long journey of the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Project is drawing to a close. And, to finish off the year, I chose Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. Click to read my invitation. And stay tuned for a wrap-up of all the recipes from this book. Soon.


We love Greek food and have made a fair number of recipes, including Stuffed Grape LeavesSouvlaki Arni, Bouyourdi, Befteki and Potatoes. So I was excited to read the book (again) and find inspiration in the pages.


On the Page...
I had read the book years ago - and saw the movie right after that. I wanted to re-read it with an eye on the food. Even still, I was captivated by the story. And I really can't categorize the story into a single category. It's a historical novel; it's a tragedy; and it's a love story. Antonio Corelli is an Italian soldier who, under Mussolini's orders, has occupied the small Greek island of Cephalonia. Corelli is billeted in the house of Dr. Iannis and his daughter Pelagia. The story plans over five decades from the invasion of the island till Corelli and Pelagia are old and grey. And, like any epic love story, it's not without its roadblocks. 

I won't ruin the book for you, but I will urge you to pick it up and slog through the first 100 pages or so. It's slow-going, but it picks up after the first 100 pages. And I just loved it. 

I will say that the mandolin, specifically its strings, save Corelli's life. I can never look at my son's mandolin the same again!

One of my favorite passages from the book...

All their lovers' talk began with the phrase "After the war".

After the war, when we're married, shall we live in Italy? There are nice places. My father thinks I wouldn't like it, but I would. As long as I'm with you. After the war, if we have a girl, can we call her Lemoni? After the war, if we've a son, we've got to call him Iannis. After the war, I'll speak to the children in Greek, and you can seak to them in Italian, and that way they'll grow bilingual. After the war, I'm going to write a concerto, and I'll dedicate it to you. After the war, I'm going to train to be a doctor, and I don't care if they don't let women in, I'm still going to do it. After the war I'll get a job in a convent, like Vivaldi, teaching music, and all the little girls will fall in love with me, and you'll be jealous. After the war, let's go to America, I've got relatives in Chicago. After the war we won't bring our children with any religion, they can make their own minds up when they're older. After the war, we'll get our own motorbike, and we'll go all over Europe, and you can give concerts in hotels, and that's how we'll live, and I'll start writing poems. After the war I'll get a mandola so that I can play viola music. After the war I'll love you, after the war, I'll love you, I'll love you forever, after the war.

On the Strings...
I already mentioned that my Precise Kitchen Elf plays the mandolin; it was the instrument he asked picked for his 8th birthday. I remember thinking, "Really? You can't pick an instrument that I can actually find somewhere locally?!?" But he was adamant. His first grade teacher played the mandolin and he'd had it in his head since then that he was going to play it, too. So, with some birthday money from both sets of grandparents, he bought his mandolin. He's been playing ever since. He just turned 14 and is so, so good now. Am I allowed to say that...since I'm his mom?!?

I really love when he bring his mandolin on our camping trips!


I'm wondering if anyone else can get to this (I don't know where this video lives besides on Facebook!): R and his teacher playing Zorongo back in 2011. And Pipeline, also in 2011. I definitely need to get a new clip of him playing. I had intended to do that this month - for this post - but it's been crazy around here. I'll get a recording one of these days. But this post is about the book and the food.


On the Plate...
Though I really did want to make the Spanokopita in the cookbook, I have yet to find gluten-free phyllo dough and I didn't want Jake to miss out. So, I went a different direction and wanted to make some new-to-us recipes. I settled on two and served them with Greek Olives and a salad. Dinner!

Soutzoukakia
meatballs in tomato sauce

Ingredients
Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 1⁄2 C finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 C gluten-free panko crumbs
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T mizithra cheese (you can substitute parmesan, if you can't find any mizithra) 
  • 1⁄2 t fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1⁄2 t ground cumin
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Sauce
  • 1 to 2 lbs fresh tomatoes
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3⁄4 t organic granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 t ground cloves
  • 1⁄4 t ground ginger
  • 1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1⁄2 C red wine

Procedure
Meatballs
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with all of the other ingredients. Mix until thoroughly blended. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Remove the meat from the fridge and let stand on the counter for another 30 minutes.

Sauce
Place tomatoes into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the tomatoes into a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. By then the meat should be ready for forming into meatballs.

Meatballs
With moistened hands, pinch off walnut-sized pieces of meat and shape into balls. Drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce. Stirring occasionally, simmer until the meatballs are firm to the touch, approximately 30 minutes.

Ellinikos Lemoni Patatas
roasted potatoes with lemon and garlic
Ingredients
  • potatoes, washed, dried, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon slices for serving

Procedure
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place bite-sized pieces of potato and crushed garlic in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; toss to coat. Turn the potatoes onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. The potatoes will be browned and crisped on the outside, soft on the inside. Serve immediately with slices of fresh lemon.

Giveaway
This month I, as this month's host and the final host, am giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook!

TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-PenguinGiveaway runs from July 1st till August 1st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give two copies away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

**This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


  

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