Friday, December 28, 2012

Ginger Carrot Clementine Soup

Ahhh.  Soup on rainy days is just the best.  This one takes advantage of that box of cuties you have in your fridge.  You can make this soup with oranges too and we will be doing that when Olsen starts selling at the Sunday market (maybe this weekend!).  Another great source for organic citrus is from Twin Girls.  We had this soup Christmas Day as is and then the next day for leftovers I added some roast chicken to it for a very satisfying lunch.  Steve swears the leftover pork roast was delicious in it as well. 

Ginger Carrot Clementine Soup
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced--this amount gives a pretty good heat, use to your taste
4 cups chopped and peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)--more for a thicker soup
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh squeezed clementine juice (or orange juice)
dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, sautee onions and ginger in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and stock and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft. Add clementine juice and stir well. Working in small batches and using a food processor or blender, process soup until smooth. Return to pot or serving bowl and add nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring well.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake

File this under: SPECIAL TREAT (It also has virtually no ingredients from within a 100 mile radius).  It was Steve's birthday last week and I really wanted to make him a cake that we could all enjoy with our various dietary restrictions.  I found this cake recipe originally at Epicurious but it was full of gluten and dairy and sugar, three things we are all desperately trying to avoid.  BUT.  It was his birthday so I modified this to be gluten and dairy free.  I could do nothing about the sugar thing--it's cake, okay?  Man, this was one of those cakes that came out so, so good.  It smelled good, it tasted good, it really is vying for "birthday cake forever on Daddy's birthday."

Start the cake the day/night before you want to serve it.  You could start it the morning of, but there's a fair amount of components to it, so breaking it up helps alleviate some of the mess and dish doing in the kitchen.  I also got a chance to try out some new products with this.  King Arthur Gluten Free Flour mix, Earth Balance Coconut Spread, and Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread.  All were great and I would use them again when baking.

Banana Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake

For the cake:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups gluten free cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons kosher salt
 1/2 cup Coconut spread
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3-4)
1 cup plain coconut milk or almond milk yogurt
1 10-ounce bag mini chocolate chips

For the peanut butter filling/frosting (optional):
I used this sparingly, you can omit completely for allergies or use more if you want more of a peanut butter taste
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
2.5 TBSP. Earth balance butter spread (or 1/2 and 1/2 with the coconut spread)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 TBSP cup coconut milk from a can (not Light!)

For the chocolate fudge frosting:
1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules (I used Medaglia d'Oro)
1 1/2 TBSP. hot water
8 TBSP. Dutch processed cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
8 TBSP. Earth Balance
2 TBSP. almond or coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2  1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
* I have found that making 2 batches is best  vs. just doubling if you want more frosting for your cake...

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment; coat paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butters, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in vanilla.

Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Add bananas and yogurt; beat just to blend. Fold in mini chips. Divide batter evenly among pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes, but don't be surprised if it goes a little longer. Transfer to wire racks; let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator.
Make chocolate frosting:  Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the cocoa, "butter", milk, vanilla and prepared coffee.  At medium speed, gradually add the confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth.  Add more milk to get to your desired consistency.  I like mine more on the "fudgy" side but it's really up to you.

Make the peanut butter frosting: Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, "butter", vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream (again watching your consistency, this one should be a little more creamy) and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Assemble the cake:  Frost the first layer with a layer of the chocolate frosting then swirl the peanut butter frosting on top.  Set the top layer on and finish frosting with the rest of the chocolate frosting.  I used the peanut butter frosting as an accent.  I put it into a pastry bag and did this:

The heart outlines are with the peanut butter and I just used a cake mate gel frosting for the writing.