Tuesday, May 10, 2016

So it turns out....

Bloggin' is tough.  I cook and bake all the time but the writing and taking pictures seems to escape me somehow.  There have been many recent occasions of sharing delicious things and instead of beating myself up for not taking the time to take the right kind of photos...I'm sharing!  Will there be some recipes? Yes! Stories? Sure! Will the photos be on point? No and I'm beating myself up for it!  But still I invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy this smattering of delights from my kitchen.

Fresh Strawberry Cake
I have been celebrating a lot of birthdays lately!  This treat was requested by a friend who had a hard time making that final birthday cake decision.  She didn't want to ask for a Strawberry Cake because she had heard it was hard to make, labor-intensive, etc.  I said, "Sh! You are getting your cake"!  She told me stories about cakes from her childhood.  She only wanted strawberry cake and so when she wanted a cake in the shape of Barney the Dinosaur it looked like a massacre when they cut the cake.  I love those stories.  I combined a few recipes for this cake.  The cake comes from Add a Pinch.  Follow the link to get the recipe.  For the frosting I stuck with the good ol' standard butter cream and added a few tablespoons of strawberry jam.  It came out the perfect shade of pink and tasted like real strawberries.  This is a keeper for sure!
Par-tay Mix
PAR-TAY mix is always a hit and so easy to make.  The version here is gluten free to accommodate a good friend's snacking needs but you could easily make it chuck full of gluten.  
Pretzels, Popcorn, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, A mix of nuts (Peanuts, cashews, almonds...whatever you like).  I was inspired by Smitten Kitchen's Popcorn Party Mix.   I doubled the recipe and added a pinch of cinnamon.  Also, the instructions ask you to brown the butter.  I skipped this step because I simply didn't read the recipe carefully!  I will be browning the butter next time. This made a really big batch and we were snacking happy for days.  

1 bag pretzels
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Corn Chex
6 cups of popped popcorn
2 cups of mixed nuts
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ground smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Heat oven to 250°F 

Mix together all the snack mixings in a large roasting pan.  

Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to remove lumps of sugar.
Pour the mixture of the snack mixings and stir well so everything gets a coating of goodness.
Mix slowly and patiently.  It takes a minute to get everything tossed around but it is worth it.  

Bake for 1 hour and stir every 15 minutes.  Toss, taste, add more salt if needed and then you are done!

Gluten Free  Greek Flatbread with Golden Tomatoes and Olives
Bob's Red Mill GF Flour 1 to 1 was used to create this crispy flatbread.  Here's the situation, I make things and don't write down the recipes....darn it!  This blog is helping to remedy that problem but, alas, I do not recall the exact recipe for this beautiful thang!  What I do recall is that water, yeast, flour and salt were involved, there wasn't much resting or rising of the dough and the dough was really sticky!  After scrolling the interwebs and looking at other GF flatbreads, all of this is relatively normal.  I promise to write it down next time!
Tomato Basil White Bean Dip
Just put beans and stuff in a food processor and voila you have a dip!  This is the easiest way to test your creativity.  This round came together with white beans, garlic, fresh basil, dried oregano, sun dried tomatoes, Greek olives, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Done!  I whizzed it up and put it in a bowl and shared it with some friends who came over or a night around the fire pit. Nothing fussy...just dip!
Lemon Squares, Gluten Free
This is my beautiful friend and she has celiac disease which means she REALLY can't have gluten. Our friendship has given my the chance to explore this world of recipes and get creative.  I mostly stay away from wheat.  Not because I have a diagnosed intolerance but just because I gave it a try, felt better and kept going.  This makes me one of "those" people.  Listen...I worked in restaurants and  I get that it's annoying so I try not to make a fuss or anything.  But my friend here, for her I make a fuss (and buy weird flours). I went to a trusted source, Food52, and nabbed this recipe. GF Lemon Squares.  The only thing I would change is the thickness of the crust.  I wanted more lemon than crust.  Also, I added a lot of zest.  
Baby Scones with Lemon Glaze
I have this fantasy of being a baker in my own shop and creating divine breads and treats...it is my little secret.  I see myself covered in flour and watching the sunrise as I knead bread.  This book helps color my fantasy bakery.  I am obsessed with Yvette van Boven's book Home Baked!!  There is the amazon link.  Go and buy it now!  The pictures are beautiful and the recipes are so accessible.  I mentioned about that I don't eat wheat but that doesn't mean I don't love to make breads and other goodies for others.  I'm a sharer.  But the amazing thing about this book is that is contains a great variety of GF baked goods.  I made her scones for our Daffodil Festival Picnic recently and they were a hit!!
Lemon Meringue Pie
Birthday treats all over the place this past week.  My friends hosted a Derby Day Birthday Brunch that celebrated 3 birthdays.  The requests came in and one was lemon meringue...oh you little devil pie.  When it emerged from the oven I was so pleased but I let it sit out too long on a very humid day and the filling did a little spreading once I cut the first slice.  Oh well.  The birthday boy was happy and that is all that matters!  I used the recipe from America's test kitchen but I added more zest!

Ok.  There it is.  I did it!  

I vow to be more consistent in my photo adventures and not to allow hunger to get in the way of food styling :)  Sorry husband....
Derby Day Brunch
Here's to the ladies who BRUNCH!!