Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GF CSB, Week 6

Blueberry Lemon, Vanilla Bean,
Mango Sunrise Cupcakes.
 This is the last GF CSB pickup for the current session.  Each member is receiving an assortment of Gluten Free Gourmet Cupcakes, one of each flavor:

~Mango Sunrise:  Cake scented with organic oranges, handmade Ataulfo mango filling, Italian meringue buttercream with mango, freshly squeezed organic orange juice, and a hint of organic raspberries, naturally colored orange sprinkles.

~Blueberry Lemon:  Lemon-vanilla cake, handmade organic blueberry filling, organic cream cheese icing flavored with pure vanilla and organic freshly squeezed lemon juice, homemade candied lemon zest, naturally colored purple sprinkles.

~Candy Bar:  Vanilla cake, caramel American buttercream, dark chocolate ganache drizzle, roasted peanuts, fleur de sel.

~Ultimate Chocolate:  Chocolate cake, fluffy chocolate filling, organic dark chocolate ganache, dark chocolate wafer (chocolate is from Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point, OR).

~Salted Chocolate Caramel:  Chocolate Cake, dark chocolate ganache filling, caramel American buttercream, smoked sea salt.

~Vanilla Bean:  Classic vanilla cake, vanilla bean American buttercream, naturally colored sprinkles.
Cupcakes should be served at room temperature.  To store, keep in the bakery box in the refrigerator up to three days (if they last that long!), or freeze to enjoy within three months. 

I hope CSB members enjoy this last assortment of goodies, and I hope everyone has enjoyed eating the treats as much as I have enjoyed baking them!  Thank you for your continued support, and I hope you will consider being a part of the Fall 2012 GF CSB Session!

What's in your box!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GF CSB, Week 5

 Bar cookies often bring back childhood memories, remembering the excitement of finding a brownie tucked inside your lunchbox, or standing on a stool helping to stir together ingredients while being coached by your grandmother. If you haven't made them yourself, they are actually a fairly easy introduction into baking, when following basic, simple recipes. Naturally, I have made so many throughout the years that I have come up with my own recipes, or have tweaked traditional ones to create, in my opinion, better variations than the originals!

This week each GF CSB member gets to take home an assortment of Bar Cookies. Flavors are:
~Zesty Lemon Bars: A classic favorite, my version has a buttery shortbread crust and a tangy organic lemon filling.

~Apricot Cranberry Oat Bars: These feature a wholesome, whole grain crust made from certified gluten free oats. The filling is satiny, with organic dried apricots and Oregon-grown, juice sweetened dried cranberries. They are topped with a sprinkle of chopped California organic walnuts for added crunch.

~Chocolate Caramel Crispy Treats: I have made these many times before, and they are always a hit at the market or in CSB shares. Chocolate brown rice cereal, handmade caramel sauce swirled in, and homemade marshmallow makes these special. These treats are best enjoyed within a day of being made.

~Fudge Truffle Brownies: Flourless, super popular, decadently dense, and absolutely delicious, my brownies satisfy serious chocolate cravings! Made with dark organic chocolate from Lillie Belle Farms in Entral Point, OR.

~Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Truffle Brownies: A twist on the classic Fudge Truffle Brownies, these take chocolate to a whole new level! Organic peanut butter filling, and topped off with a generous amount of roasted peanuts and all natural mini peanut butter cups.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GF CSB, Week 4

Square Blueberry Crumble Tartlet,
Almond Tart Wedge,
Rustic Apple Tartlet
Many people have a serious soft spot for pastry. Cravings can be difficult to appease when following a gluten free diet, unless you can figure out how to master the unruly rice flour blends available as substitutes for wheat flour, or if you're lucky enough to have a local bakery to make it for you.

I actually like making gluten free pastry MORE than wheat based, to be completely honest! While it can be crumbly and difficult to work with at first, it never shrinks, and is much less temperamental than wheat based versions. Once baked, it also stays crispy (notice I did not say flaky), even after a day or two of fridge time!

GF CSB members each get to try several different varieties of tarts and tartlets this week. Flavors are:

~Coconut Cream Tarts: Made with pure organic coconut milk, from BPA free cans, and nestled in a crumbly tart shell, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes. Please keep this refrigerated!

~Almond Tart Wedges: Inspired by Lindsey Shere's recipe, made the opening night of Alice Waters' restaurant, Chez Panisse in 1971 (but their tart isn't GF, and they charge about $10 per slice!!). Hints of Grand Marnier and Kirsch in the decedent, silky-yet-crunchy filling, baked into a crumbly caramelized tart crust. Refrigeration recommended, but not required.

~Chocolate Cream Tartlets: Square Shaped chocolate tart shells, filled with homemade dark chocolate pudding, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. A classic, made even better by organic dark chocolate from Lillie Belle Farms. Please keep these refrigerated!

~Chocolate Caramel Tartlets: Square shaped chocolate tart shells, filled with a surprise layer of homemade caramel and a top layer of dark chocolate pudding, and drizzled with more caramel! That is a chocolate wafer from Lille Belle Farms on top! Please keep these refrigerated!

~Blueberry Crumble Tartlets: Classic GF pie crust, homemade blueberry pie filling, homemade last summer from organic Oregon grown berries, and an oatmeal crumb topping.

~Rustic Apple Tartlets: Free Form tartlets made with GF pie crust and homemade apple pie filling, made last fall. The apples used were from Belweather Farm in Keno, OR, certified organic, plus a few sprinkles of chopped organic Granny Smith apples for added crunch and a punch of flavor.
Chocolate Cream Tartlet,
Coconut Cream Tart,
Chocolate Caramel Tartlet

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GF CSB, Week 3

Baking cookies is so fun, and a total throwback to childhood for me! My older sister would often babysit my younger sister and I, and to occupy us we'd bake cookies! With the dusting of snow outside, today's CSB treat seems even more appropriate. Sit back with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and enjoy one of these decadently gourmet goodies!

Each CSB member will take home 32 assorted cookies:

~Not-Your-Average Chocolate Chip Cookies (handmade crispy caramel shards and organic dark chocolate from Lillie Belle Farms, with a sprinkle of Oregon harvested artisan sea salt)

~Vanilla Butter Wafers (featuring vanilla bean paste from Singing Dog Vanilla, a company located in Eugene, OR)

~Coconut Caramel Chews (dark cocoa flavor with a soft homemade caramel center, rolled in organic coconut)

~Blueberry White Chocolate Pillows (dried wild blueberries and pure white chocolate)

~Lime & Pepita Sugar Cookies (a personal favorite)

~Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (featuring vanilla bean paste from Singing Dog Vanilla)

~Cashew Oat Crisps

~Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

~Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies (with local mint oil from Mint To Be, located in Tulelake, CA, and naturally colored green sprinkles)

ALL cookies are completely gluten free, of course! Even the oats are certified GF. You probably won't be able to tell a difference between these and some of your favorite wheat based cookies. Please store them at room temperature in an air tight container, or freeze, individually wrapped, for longer storage.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GF CSB, Week 2

Caramel Corn is really fun to play with. Once you get a good recipe, or two, in your repertoire, experimenting is easy, with tasty results! Popcorn is a natural for the GF CSB, and this week happens to be the perfect opportunity to share some of my creations with members!

By baking for so many at once, I can warrant making several different flavors, and everyone gets to sample them all!  Flavors are:

~Maple Chile: Organic popcorn, pure organic maple syrup, and a bit of spiciness.

~Vanilla Sea Salt Honey Corn: Organic popcorn, local honey, and vanilla flavored sea salt. With almonds and cashews.

~Classic Caramel Corn: Organic popcorn, completely corn syrup free, rich and buttery (no nuts).

~Chipotle Lime With Pepitas: Organic popcorn, organic lime juice, a hint of chipotle spice, smoked sea salt, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

Store leftover caramel corn in airtight containers at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GF CSB, Week 1

With the chill of winter still in the air and frost on the morning windows, summer's fresh fruit seems like a fantasy still a long way off. Imagine my surprise when, a few days ago, I saw a facebook post that said that particular day was National Cherry Day! Confused, I had to comment, as others did also, picking up on the fact that JUNE is the month to enjoy cherries locally (even nationally), unless you're celebrating importation of Chilean grown cherries. No thanks.

Every growing season I make sure to store a variety of fruit to make the winter a bit brighter and more bearable. GF CSB members will see a few treats featuring this effort in the coming months, and today is no different. I am pleased to use the gorgeous organic cherries that I received from Belweather Farm last summer in the Valentine Cake each person gets to take home this afternoon!

Each six inch, two layer chocolate cake is filled with cherry creme, a combination of the cherries from Belweather Farm (located in Keno, OR) and Italian meringue buttercream. They are finished by pouring dark chocolate ganache (Lillie Belle Farms) over the top and decorated with naturally colored, handmade marshmallow fondant decors (I even made the marshmallow from scratch for the fondant!).

I suggest enjoying cakes served at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge, well wrapped (or in the bakery box), or freeze for up to one month, tightly wrapped in plastic.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I feel that Red Velvet Cupcakes need to have their own post. I won't make red velvet cake as most know it, due entirely to the fact that one recipe can have as much as TWO bottles of artificial red food coloring in it. FD&C Red 40 is suspected to cause hyperactivity in children, possibly contributing to ADD and ADHD, is a known carcinogenic (causes cancer), and has a host of other issues as well. It's also very hard to avoid, being in many processed foods that Americans buy on a daily basis.

My own children are often drawn to brightly colored foods (who isn't?!), and I am always trying to find ways to make what is consumed at home fun for all of us, yet still healthy (or healthier).  I have been using natural colors for years now, and have quite a bit of experience with different brands, varieties, etc. unless they are actually baked IN the food. Natural colors chemically react with other ingredients, and while you might start out with a batter that is bright yellow or pink, once it starts to bake it changes to a drab brown or worse.

Several clients have asked me about Red Velvet Cake, and I needed to wait until I had some free time to play with various recipes and ingredient combinations before I could confidently say that I can offer them for special orders. My cousin cornered me at a Christmas Party last month, and finally pushed me over the edge to begin experimenting, after a lengthy discussion on the chemistry involved in naturally colored RVC, among other goodies. I finally took the chance.

Two tries resulted in tasty cupcakes that were deep red on top and bottom, but light brown on the inside. Two other completely different recipes were inedible, although bright red throughout, making my chickens feel very spoiled and happy! I knew I needed to find a happy medium, which finally led to a delicious recipe that is bright red on the top and bottom, and light pink inside.

I am now happy to offer naturally colored Red Velvet Cupcakes for special orders. They are made with the highest quality ingredients, organic red beet powder, and are topped off with a swirl of organic cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of naturally colored red sprinkles (or other color as desired). They can be made Gluten-Free.

Due to the inconsistency in color in the center of the cake, RVC is only offered as cupcakes and mini cupcakes, not layer cakes. Cupcakes will showcase the red color at its best. If you happen to be from the South, and are looking for the traditional fluffy vanilla "gravy" icing like your grandmother made, I happen to offer that as well! Contact me for pricing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Whole Grain Bread Class

This morning I was up early to finish preparing for the Whole Grain Bread Class that started promptly at 9 AM.  Six ladies joined me to learn how to make quick, nutritious whole wheat sandwich bread in 2 1/2 hours, and also a versatile dough that can be used for pizza, pita, focaccia, and so much more.  The Italian bread dough can help you create a pizza in record time, for a relatively fast dinner, or even faster as flatbread or pita.  We even discussed how to grill it in the summer to avoid heating up the house with your oven!

Everyone gathered around the oven to watch as the pita puffed up into cool (well, HOT) pockets, and then sampled it with local raw honey, homemade pear butter, and olive oil and balsamic.  Slices of warm sandwich bread were served as well.

Once the majority of the bread had been baked and the pizza dough had a chance to finish rising, it was topped and baked as well.  One pizza had all natural pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, organic red pepper, mozzarella, and home-grown, home-canned pizza sauce on it (one half was left vegetarian, sans pepperoni).  The other had homemade basil pesto (that I froze from last summer's harvest), mozzarella, grilled organic chicken breast, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, homegrown sundried heirloom tomatoes, and organic green onions.  Both were served with a citrus salad (featuring blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, organic Navel oranges, and organic grapefruit), green salad (organic spring greens, local dried cranberries, local cheese, spiced pepitas, and vinaigrette), homemade raspberry lemonade, and Tazo Focus iced tea.  It was a delicious, gourmet feast!

Each participant was provided with a packet of recipes and tips for success in baking their own breads, and the discussion revolved around ingredients, and the history of wheat.  A raffle was held at the end, and two people were sent home with loaves of bread. 

If you are interested in being part of one of these great classes, contact me right away!  The Classes! link at the top of the site has dates and information on upcoming sessions.  The bread class was full, and the others should fill quickly as well!