Friday, June 19, 2009

Who needs fancy flours?

I want to be home right now so I can try this recipe:

EDIT: Definitely recommended!! This could not have been easier to make - while the chocolate melts in the microwave, the garbanzo & egg is blitzed in the food processor. Add sugar and baking powder (I added a dash of coffee and vanilla), then the melted chocolate. DONE.

The texture is moist and dense but still has some lightness to it. There is not a hint of beaniness. It may sound strange to use garbanzos in cake, but actually garbanzo flour is a common ingredient in gluten-free flour blends. This is just a hydrated version of the flour :).

Next time I'll kick up the flavor with a bit of salt, cocoa powder, and some cinnamon (maybe a tiny bit of cayenne for a Mexican chocolate spin). A handful of walnuts may be in order; fiance's suggestion of toasted sesame actually sounds appealing. I look forward to many, many iterations of this wonderfully simply cake.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Something old, something new

What do you do when you have a day all to yourself? Why, grocery shopping of course! By the time I was done futzing around the house, it was too late for the Montclair farmer's market, but the Union Square Greenmarket's open till six!

Since my resident chef is away for the weekend, I exercised restraint in my ingredient purchases. I know me; I have a million recipe ideas, but I usually forget to get around to them. Ever.


Organic chard, Middle Eastern cukes, stalks of garlic and shallot (I'm told you can use the greens, too), lemon verbena
Also, yellow onions, tomatoes, luscious strawberries (half of which are in my belly), and delfino cilantro. I needed cilantro, but I was excited to see the delfino cultivar - it's supposedly an easier variety to grow, and thus far I've utterly failed at growing regular cilantro. It'll be nice to see if the flavor stacks up.

After I couldn't justify and/or carry any more greenmarket purchases, I wandered in the direction of public transit. That took me past the BBQ festival at Madison Square Park (where I saw a man schlepping literally half a pig), and I soon realized I was near the Asian grocery on 32nd Street. I'd been meaning to case the joint for possible GF finds.


Sweet potato starch, sweet rice flour, wasabi powder, loose green tea, nori wrappers, dried shitakes, and buckwheat/corn soba noodles (wheat-free). It was a challenge, since the packaging is English-optional, but fun nonetheless.

So, what does a lazy cook do when she arrives home at 8pm with gobs of exciting new ingredients? Rehash leftovers, of course!

Spicy Tilapia "Sushi" Rolls

From the kitchen: Leftover tilapia, mayo, lemon, sriracha
Veg from the market: Tomato, cucumber
And for the first time ever: Nori sheets, wasabi powder

Flake the tilapia with a fork. In a bowl, mix mayo, sriracha, lemon juice, a few grinds of pepper and a little wasabi; mix in tilapia pieces. Cut tomato and cucumber into matchsticks. Arrange tilapia & veg in an even line on nori sheet and roll. I used a little lemon juice to moisten and seal the edge. Slice. Devour.

Mind you, I've NEVER worked with nori before or attempted sushi, but I had this together in about 10 minutes. I wouldn't pretend to instruct anyone on the finer points of maki-making and defer to the myriad of advice you can find online. However, I hope maybe I can inspire you to actually try this sort of crazy idea, because if a n00b like me can do it, well, you know.
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Leftovers FTW!

Rice paper is a new food-crush of mine. Typically made from little more than rice flour, tapioca, and water, they're naturally gluten-free. I found mine at Whole Foods, but Asian markets will stock them, too. You can find rice paper handling instructions on YouTube - it's really not difficult.

They can be eaten cold, but today I decided to go for maximum caloric impact and try them crispy. They do tend to break and let oil in, though, so I ended up wrapping my rolls, seam-side down, in a second layer of paper.

Today's experiment began with a poorly-stocked fridge, other than a few leftover salads and last night's tilapia fillet. Of course, the filling options are legion - any tasty combination would work, as long as the textures are varied and it's got some crunch. A couple weeks ago, it was deli ham, snow peas, home-grown sprouts, tomato, eaten unfried as an afternoon snack.

Today's process:

1. Survey leftovers.
2. Heat the kettle & get the rice paper from the pantry.
3. Heat 1/2" oil in a cast iron skillet.
4. Dip 1 rice paper in plate of warm water till it just starts to soften.
5. Wrap tilapia bits, salad, and a drop of (optional) Sriracha hot sauce into a spring roll shape
6. Shallow-fry till crisp. Drain, cool.
7. Devour.

Here are more ideas for using rice paper from a gluten-free forum (tuna salad sandwiches??):

Spring rolls - bake em, freeze em

Lasagna, tuna sandwich, baklava??