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Ode to the Crêpe

Monday, Sep 12 2011 Cooking!

The crêpe embodies all that is good in life: simplicity, versatility, elegance. It is French, after all. Unlike romantic partners, bank accounts, or the weather, a crêpe is infinitely malleable and adaptable to one’s desires. It’s equally comfortable gussied up as the debutante (Suzette) or dressed down the peasant (aux oeufs). Buckwheat crêpe for savory preparations, white flour for sweet. A nearly anonymous vessel, it provides a beautifully straightforward vehicle for sauces, cheeses, eggs, sweets, fruit, veggies, ice creams, and the like. It is the alpha and the omega; the breakfast, the appetizer, the entree and the dessert. All in one.

I’m willing to err on the side of hyperbole and proclaim it one of the greatest culinary inventions, ever.

After much trial and error, I nailed a GFDF facsimile that compromises neither taste nor texture. Below is my recipe for crêpes sucrées, or “sweet crepes”. I most recently served these with lemon curd, fresh strawberry coulis, and a filling of DF sour cream whipped with lemon zest. Strawberry. Lemon. Cream Cheese. Crêpes. Yes, please.

CRÊPES SUCRÉES

1/3 c. white rice flour
1/3 c. sweet/glutinous rice flour (it’s gluten-free despite the confusing name)
1/3 c. brown rice flour
2 eggs
1/3 c. canned coconut milk
2/3 c. water
1/4 t. salt
2 T melted butter or grapeseed oil

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Mid-Summer Recipe Round-up

Friday, Aug 5 2011 Cooking!

Thus far on La Kitchenette, Jen and I have featured our own custom or modified recipes. However, neither of us spend all of our cooking hours reinventing the wheel. On the contrary, our daily repertoire owes a huge debt to cookbook authors, chefs and culinary bloggers who have developed recipes that need no little or modification. Below are two of my favorites of the summer. Enjoy!

Socca piled with diced potato, poached egg, pan-fried sole, sweet onion and fresh herbs.

SOCCA

The landscape of the Gluten-Free diet is, perhaps, most notably characterized for its lack of bread products. Sure, there are GF bread options, but store-bought tends expensive and often dry, while homemade requires a sizable time commitment and specialized flours arsenal. Both of these have their time and place. But, when the carb cravings fire up, my standard go-to is socca.

Socca is a French flat bread, virtuous for its simplicity, informality and hearty flavor. My friend Teresa first introduced it to me via the recipe below. This one works impeccably as-is. Sometimes I have added crushed garlic or fresh herbs (esp rosemary and thyme) and I have occasionally substituted fava-chickpea flour for a nice change of pace.

Socca pairs beautifully with nearly any savory meal. My favorite is for breakfast, piled with diced potatoes, poached egg, a few greens and fresh herbs. I have also served it with lentil salad, soup, fish, and braised greens.

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Strawberry Mousse Ice Cream

Tuesday, Jul 12 2011 Cooking!


Strawberry season came and went in the blink of an eye. The oversized, well-manicured berries from the perma-sunny environs of California and Mexico (as those above) are still on the shelves here in Portland. But for three short weeks, we were spoiled with pints of fresh Mount Hood strawberries. Sadly, the diminutive, beautiful, luscious, juicy jewels have already passed us by. But before they made their disappearance, I was able to polish up an iconic summer recipe, just in time for a 4th of July fête.

Drawing inspiration from Recipes from an Italian Summer, I restyled a wild strawberry ice cream into a dairy-free incantation. While mentally adjusting the ingredient ratios, I inadvertently used twice the amount of guar gum I had intended. This proved a happy accident, yielding a rich and flavorful ice cream with a decadent mousse-like texture. The silky mouth-feel, in harmony with the complex earthy palette of the berries, yielded results akin to summer in a bowl.

This recipe may well work with your standard-fare fresh or frozen supermarket strawberries (I can’t vouch because I haven’t tried either… yet). But, if you are able to get your hands on a pint of deliciously small and sweet heirloom varietals, you are in for a truly special treat.
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Mango Sticky Rice

Tuesday, May 31 2011 Cooking!

Last weekend I was cruising around southeast Portland, headed towards the Asian supermarket on 82nd to stock up on rice noodles and coconut milk when I got caught in a late-afternoon hunger slump. After striking out at the GF bakery, I navigated to Pok Pok in a hypoglycemic haze, placated by one consuming thought: Cha Ca La Vong. Quite possibly, my favorite meal anywhere, ever. And I don’t say that hyperbolically.

Putting my name on the list (who has a queue at 4pm on a Saturday?), I quasi-patiently fidgeted under the outdoor awning, dodging raindrops. Ten minutes later, I was escorted to a seat at the bar and presented with the lunch menu. The lunch menu? Boooo. No offense Pok Pok, you know I love you, but the lunch menu is a tease. And conspicuously lacking the delectable grande dame.

Not to be consoled with the fish sauce wings, I tucked my tail between my legs and escorted myself out, empty-handed. I retreated to the ‘burbs, eating pho and chatting with Jen on the phone about the rapture, which was surely imminent, right? (It was May 21st.) Once fed, my world was righted and I carried on to Fubonn.

I don’t know if you’ve spent much time in the rice stacks at an Asian market, but it is a practice in humility, intrigue and befuddlement. After an embarrassing amount of over-contemplation (something like obsessive without the compulsive) I grabbed two bags of sweet rice to try -one brown, one white. I haven’t opened the brown one yet, but here’s how the white has played out: deliciously.

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Rhubarb Galette {First Attempt}

Tuesday, May 3 2011 Cooking!

Spring has sprung in scenic Portland, Oregon. Finally. The weekend ushered in blue skies, warm weather, patio brunches and a bounty of seasonal produce. Strolling through opening day of the King Farmers Market with Teresa, we were greeted with regal purple and white radishes, delicate papery-skinned red potatoes, fragrant basil bouquets and beautiful bold red spears of rhubarb. Rhubarb. I bought two pounds on the spot. How could I not?

Last Friday, Jen and I went to a book signing for Kim Boyce and Heidi Swanson at the Ace Hotel Cleaners. So, I had Kim’s Good to the Grain on the brain, with its gorgeous rhubarb galettes on the cover. After coming up blank for rhubarb recipes during a survey of my cookbook collection, I turned to the internet where I was able to track down Kim’s recipe and an adaptation from Smitten Kitchen. But, neither of these are gluten-free so I pulled in my favorite GF pie crust recipe for a little back-up support. With the kitchen windows flung open, the first sunburn of the season gilding my shoulders and Lynne Rossetto Kasper floating on the radio waves, I dove in.

For a first attempt, I would say these galettes were good. The rhubarb filling was, as it is wont to be, tart. I think the balance was pleasing but you might want to add 2-4 Tbs more sugar if you prefer your desserts on the sweet side. Next time I make these I’ll add some lemon zest to the rhubarb mix to brighten it up, too.

Here’s what I did, with some notes inserted. Consider this a draft, but a pretty good one. I’ll update it next time I make another batch, with any notable modifications.
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Coconut/Milk Conversions

Saturday, Apr 9 2011 Cooking!

Ode to Canned Coconut Milk
Since going dairy-free, I’ve found canned coconut milk (what I like to call CCM) to be an indispensable substitute for cow’s milk. Coconut milk works nearly seamlessly in sweet recipes and handles most savory applications too, with a little flavor adjustment (salt, garlic, lemon, etc). And, as luck would have it, the substitution ratios are a snap to remember:

  • 1 part coconut milk = 1 part half & half
  • 1/2 part coconut milk + 1/2 part water = 1 part whole milk
  • 1/3 part coconut milk + 2/3 part water =  1 part 2% milk

Now, when I say “coconut milk”, I am referring to one product and one product only: the fatty kind that comes in a can. I’m not talking about coconut water (such as Vita Coco), I’m not talking about the fancy expensive stuff that comes in a milk carton that you put on your cereal, and I don’t mean low-fat canned coconut milk.

Choosy Lover
The Asian supermarket here in Portland boasts over a dozen unique kinds of CCM. The standard-fare supermarket usually as at least two options. Even our corner market has three different kinds. The choice of which is “the best” can be overwhelming. Your secret weapon in the canned coconut milk conundrum? Label reading.

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Toasted Coconut + Turmeric Ice Cream

Wednesday, Mar 30 2011 Cooking!

Dear Mom & Dad,

I don’t think I’ve taken the opportunity to formally thank you for the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker you gave me for my birthday last year. Thank You. It’s awesome. I’ve used it to make so many yummy coconut-milk ice creams. Plus, it’s very easy to use and economical.

Last month, Jen had me over for Thai night with homemade Khao Soi so I concocted a Toasted Coconut and Turmeric Ice Cream for dessert. It turned out amazing—rich, briny, sweet, tangy and complex. If you’d like, I will make it for you when you come to visit.

Love,
Jenn

 

TOASTED COCONUT + TURMERIC ICE CREAM
  • 2 1/2 c. Canned Coconut Milk (not low-fat)
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t. Ginger Powder (ours is very fragrant/fresh so only 1/4 tsp is needed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Guar Gum
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/3 c. Sweetened Shredded Coconut

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Dance Party Pancakes

Saturday, Mar 5 2011 Adventures!, Cooking!

My mom recalls that the first time she gave me cow’s milk it dripped down my chin leaving a bright red streak. As a kid, I was allergic to wheat, dairy, citrus, tomatoes, and chocolate. Although I’m too old now to remember the consequences of dietary indiscretions at such a young age, I am told that there were hives and other unpleasantries. Around 4 years old, all noticeable symptoms disappeared and I went about my way, leaving carob chips and sesame snacks behind forever.

Fast-forward: 28 years.

On the heels of a 3-week gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free cleanse last April (2010), I discovered that I was unable to seamlessly reintroduce gluten and dairy to my diet. While on the cleanse, I felt great and my skin cleared, my energy was good and after a few days, my digestion was impeccable. When the cleanse concluded, I tried to go back to my prior ways—toast for breakfast, cream in the Earl Grey, pasta on semi-regular rotation. It was a non-starter. Mild rashes were appearing on my face, my digestion was off, the glow was gone and stomachaches reappeared. Nuts.

Enter: New way of being.

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