Gluten Free Linzer Cookies

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Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pie Crust

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I am definitely having end-of-summer blues! It has been an amazing summer here in Connecticut and it is tough to believe it has just about ended. Lucky for me, pie season is right around the corner. With the days getting (slightly) cooler and a freezer full of blueberries, I decided to buckle down and create an incredible pie dough that was worth its weight in the gluten-free community.

For those of you who know what a challenge that is, worry no longer! Make this recipe and you will impress even the gluten-loving in your life! I advise two tricks to this delicate dough; first get the right flour. While moseying down the organics aisles, I discovered that Bobs Red Mill has a new 1 for 1 flour. Let me be the first to tell you, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Use it! Second, and this is a given for most bakers, do not over work the dough. The more crumbly, the better.

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Gluten Free Pie Dough: 

2 1/4 c Bobs Red Mill Flour

1 T Sugar

1 c Organic, All Natural Shortening

1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Pinch Salt

Ice Water

Dash of Nutmeg

Almond Milk (for “egg wash”)

Sugar for Top

For the Inside:

4 c Blueberries

1.5 c Sugar

1 T Lemon Zest

2 T Lemon Juice

2 T Cornstarch

For the crust, combine all dry ingredients. Add the shortening then flake and rub until the dough is crumbly. Add three tablespoons of the ice water mixed with the vinegar a little at a time, until barely combined. Form into a disk and chill for an hour. Halve and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment. If the dough becomes sticky, pop it in the freezer for a minute to chill. Once rolled out, put the top in the freezer, lying flat. “Butter” and sugar the pie dish, put the bottom piece in, and place in freezer. Now, start the filling. Thaw blueberries a little, and combine all ingredients. Put in middle of pie and put the top on. Crimp together the top and bottom. Wash the top with the almond milk, and sugar the top. Make cut outs if desired, or just make a few slits.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and put the pie in the freezer until the oven is ready. Place a piece of foil down to catch any blueberry juices bubbling over. Put the pie in and bake until top is golden and juices are bubbling; about 1.5 hours. Cool for at least four hours and enjoy! This delicate pie tastes amazing with a coconut milk ice cream.
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Healthy “Fried” Eggplant

This august it it seems like my garden decided to be ready to eat all at once! We have been eating so much eggplant that I’m getting creative and changing up classic recipes that my mom used to make when … Continue reading

Garden Salad

Now that summer is in full swing, it hasn’t been easier to be inspired. Our garden is flourishing and the raspberries are out; as a culinarian I am literally in nirvana!

To make this simple salad, I added the ingredients listed below. If you don’t have a garden, try your local farmers market! This is peak season for New England growers and it is good to support them.

Garden Salad:

Speckle & Green Lettuce (the smaller leaves are more tender and mild)

Fresh Coriander (seeds, flowers, & fronds)

Thai Basil (flowers & leaves)

Traditional Mint

Wine Raspberries

Cucumber (thinly sliced)

Dressing:

1 tsp Raw Honey

1.5 tsp Dijon Mustard

Basil Leaves (about a handful)

3 Tbs Apple Vinegar

1/3 c Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

-Blend dressing ingredients until pureed. Rinse & dry all vegetables and plate neatly. Top with dressing. Garnish with basil & cilantro flowers.

Lemon Tart with Salted Pecan Crust

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Spring emits feelings of lightness; airy, warm days that bring flowers to our garden and happiness in our lives. Citrus season is here, so in that honor I have whipped up a very easy, wholesome lemon tart. This tart has an incredible nut crust that adds a salty crunch to the music. In the curd, I used Eureka lemons. They are notorious for being extra juicy and tart; exactly what I needed to contrast the crust. The curd is subtle in sweetness, so as to not be overbearing. I find that a lot of lemon curds seem to taste like sweetened custard. Being a culinarian, I like my sweets to have a luscious texture and sharp flavor a.k.a mouth confetti. Every sweet treat should be a cause for internal celebration!

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Lemon Tart:

1/2 c Eureka lemon juice

1/2 Lemon Zested

1/4 c Coconut sugar

6 T Earth Balance

3 Egg Yolks + 2 Whole Eggs

1/4 t cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Crust:

1 c pecans

1/4 c hazelnuts

3 T raw honey, warmed (or maple syrup)

1 t sea salt

1 dash cinnamon

1.5 c olive oil

Grind the pecans and hazelnuts. Add in the remaining ingredients and “rub” the crust together like you would a biscuit dough. If  it is too dry, add more olive oil until it can stick together. Press into the bottom of your tart shell and bake in the oven at 350 until slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove.

To make the curd, whisk the sugar, eggs and starch in a pot. I recommend making a slurry with the cornstarch, or sifting it on-top of your wet ingredients before whisking it in to prevent lumps. Once combined, add the lemon. Whisk constantly until it is thick and creamy. Once it starts to resemble a freshly made pudding, remove from heat and whisk in the earth balance. If you wait until it gets too set (too thick) you will overcook the curd. You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with it before removing it from heat. Strain it if you notice it has some lumps, or if you are in pursuit of curd perfection. Pour filling into tart shell. Pop back into the oven and allow the curd to set. About 20 mins.

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My Rendition of the Gin Rickey

 We all love a classic cocktail. They are a great start to a meal and a fun way to relax and unwind.

I decided to do a few renditions of the old classic, Rickey. Rickey’s are generally made of few ingredients. In David Wondrich’s Imbibe, it clearly states that they are simple, hard-edged drinks for the working man to cool off. With that in mind, I went off on a few different tangents that I believe you will enjoy.

Rickey’s Sister is simply a more romantic version of the Gin Rickey. I added the brûleéd lime as a compliment to the acid of the lime juice and a contrast to the floral crème de violet and lavender soda. The charred sugar adds a nuance of flavor, as well as a layer of complexity without over-sweetening the drink. This drink is both perfect for a cocktail reception at a wedding and a fun special for any cocktail bar. It is served chilled making it ideal for the warmer months.

Rickey’s Sister.

2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz of Crème de Violet

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1 thick wedge of lime, brûleéd (dipped in Demerara sugar and caramelized)

Dry Lavender Soda (As needed approximately  3oz)

Garnish: Lavender flowers

Glass: Tall Goblet

Method: In a mixing glass, combine lime juice, crème de violet and gin with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a goblet with three to four large ice cubes. Add a few splashes of lavender soda and give it a quick stir to combine the flavors. Add the thick lime wedge and a small cluster of lavender flowers. Serve.

Rickey’s can be made with either gin or whiskey. The Tricky Rickey still contains all the elements of the original (soda, whiskey, lime), but I added some balancing flavors. Sweet vermouth is great for adding a layer of sweetness, without being overpowering. The addition of Domaine de Canton compliments the spicy ginger ale, which is a new spin on the addition of classic soda water.

Tricky Rickey.

1.5 oz of Whiskey

1/2 oz of Sweet Vermouth

1/2 oz of Domaine de Canton

1/2 of a lime

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Ginger ale

Glass: Short or regular Goblet

Method: Combine Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Domaine de Canton, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled.

In the Goblet, squeeze the half of lime and put at the bottom of the glass. Top with three to four ice cubes and strain the chilled mixture into the goblet. Top off with a spicy ginger ale.

Total Utilization.

With summer in full swing and waistlines toning, a lot of fruit is sure to be in your diet. Farmers markets galore, super sales on blueberries and memories of cherry-stained faces always come into mind this season.

The only issue with all this healthy-yummy fruit in our diets this season is spoilage! It happens to all of us; the best of us. Last summer when I was working at a restaurant, the pastry chef at the time loved peaches and he left them out one night too long and they completely rotted! What a waste of resources and money.

But fear not, my friends. It is very easy to keep the spoilage from dampening your summer days and keeping you from cleaning out that refrigerator door at the end of the week. Just follow my easy, thoughtful tips and I guarantee you will not only save loads of money, but you will have more to go round!

Tip 1: Freeze you assets!

Don’t you just love berry season? I believe I’ve mentioned my love for it once or twice before. It is the best time of year! I always get super excited whenever I go to the farmers market and see the plethora that the Connecticut and New York vendors have to offer. I usually end up buying one (or two, or four) pints too many and they start to get over-ripe before I even get the chance to eat them.

All you have to do is freeze them! If they are blueberries, strawberries or the like just give them a quick rinse and pop them into the freezer. Put them in cakes, sauces, smoothies, pancakes, or stew them together and let them thaw when your having a craving. They macerate beautifully this way. I personally love to cut up strawberries and freeze them for a cooling snack. Yum!

Tip 2: Banana-rama

Bananas spoil so quick, but are oh-so essential to the healthy persons diet.

If you have ever been to a marathon they tend to have them by the hundreds lined up and ready to go. They are the perfect super-fruit; Full of complex carbs, simple carbs, fiber and potassium.

Instead of tossing those browned nanners, peel and freeze them. Add them to your next batch of oatmeal cookies, zucchini bread or, again, a smoothie. There are some great vegan ice cream recipes that can be made with them as well! I personally love them dipped in extra dark chocolate with some crushed peanuts and a little sea salt.

Tip 3: Someone say sangria?

With Labor day coming up, I am sure your getting ready to host or attend a fantastic soirée. If not, this is a great idea to start off any meal as well.

Simply take your fruit that your trying to use up, frozen or not, and add it to some wine and brandy; presto! Sangria is born. There are hundreds of different ways to make it, and usually none wrong. Add what you like, to taste. I always make mine with frozen blueberries, raspberries and leftover cherries. I love adding pear brandy and an inexpensive vino verde or cabernet sauvignon. Yum.

Tip 4: Soft peaches equal a yummy dessert.

Have some peaches begging to get tossed? Fear not!

Peel those beautiful babies and put them into a blender with:

1 part water

1/4 c of lemon juice

4/5 sprigs of mint

Add agave or simple syrup for added sweetness.

Freeze to make a granita (comb through it with a fork every half hour)

Churn it in an ice cream maker

Or, even easier: Ice pops!

 

There are endless things you can do with all that extra fruit so next time you veer away from it; think about the endless possibilities that await and all the money you will save by using it.

 

Vegan Shortcake

Herb Shortcake with Roasted Heirloom Strawberries

Many of my gluten free baking recipes have been, or are easily adapted, to be vegan. This shortcake recipe is simple, just how I like it, but more importantly tasty.

On another note, it is a major growing season here in the North East. I used herbs and heirloom strawberries from right outside which is so refreshing; No trips to the market were necessary! For the herb shortcake I used lemon balm and spearmint. This added a complex flavor to the cakes which I was rather fond of. The heirloom strawberries are much smaller then what you will find in the market, but they are sweeter and full of flavor. I prefer them over the strawberries that you find in regular grocery stores and I recommend trying to grow them in your garden.

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Vegan Herb Shortcake:

1 c Bob’s Red Mill flour

1/3 c sugar

1/4 t salt

1 1/2 t baking powder

3 T Smart Balance Light (vegan butter alternative)

1 t vanilla

3 oz. Coconut milk yogurt

1 sprig each of Lemon Balm and Spearmint

Preheat oven on Convection to 350°F. In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Scoop in the 3 Tablespoons of butter alternative. With your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is mealy. Add in the vanilla and yogurt. Wash and chiffonade the herbs then add to the batter. Spoon the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar ontop and bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.

Wash the strawberries, remove the tops and quarter them. Sprinkle desired amount of sugar (I used 1 tablespoon) onto the berries. Roast them on a baking sheet for five minutes while your cakes are baking. Scoop onto a halved shortcake with fresh lemon balm. A wonderful summer treat.