Tag Archives: food

Pineapple Express: Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Once upon a time I hated pineapple upside-down cake.  It tasted and looked like  Jiffy Mix met a can of sweetened pineapple, went out on a really bad date and fell into a deep dish, head first.

I’d forget after a while and make it again like it was something new and different.   And I still didn’t like it.  Even when I moved  past Jiffy Mix to decent yellow cakes, fresh pineapple and caramelized sugar, it still lacked something. Mostly it reminded me of school lunch fare.  Beige.

Still, I was hopeful that I might try just one more time (hope springs eternal or my brain is wired like Dilbert).  And I’m glad not only that I did, but had the foresight to write it all out as I was making it up. Continue reading

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Oat Tales: GF Oat Cookies with Coconut, Pecans and Raisins

Oatmeal is a lot like Uncle Fergus – you either love him or run for your life when he shows up at the door.

I grew up hating all things oatmeal. When I was forced to eat the stuff, it was like chewing the inside of the sofa stuffing (don’t ask how I know that). Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the same Quaker Oats container sitting on the pantry shelf had celebrated more birthdays than I had.

I met my first commercially made oatmeal cookie when I bought school-lunch the day the new cafeteria opened.   I loved cookies, but this thing was dreadful. Soft, squishy and stale, it was the color of tired beige with tiny dark specks.  Oats and I were finished.

That is, until I grew up and found out that oats were actually tasty. My mother-in-law, the original granola queen, used oats as much as she used lemons or mayonnaise (which in her house is a food group). She taught me the rules of food-cooperatives and how to chase the good stuff – think organic mills before organic was a type of certified product. Continue reading

Good News! It's a Very Lemon Tart, Gluten Free


Captain Awesome grew up in a family we affectionately refer to as the  Lemon Loving clan.  He and his parents love lemon tart more than chocolate.  Yes, indeed, gasp.  But true.  So recently, after we carted some pretty Meyer lemons home from the market, I thought I would make him a very lemon tart.

Three many tarts later I finally have it.  The first one was a candidate for  baking wreck of the week.  A little too much cornstarch and the lemon filling was smooshy bitter.  The second one was better, but the crust was rather like chewing crust-jerky.  And the filling was still bitter and slightly chewy.  Not what you want in a lemon tart.  Too much pith and brimstone.

The third time was the charm.  This one is so perfect I want to bronze it.  Half the tart is still in the refrigerator but I know it won’t last the day because Captain Awesome already had a piece for breakfast. Continue reading

Ask Essie:Making GF Recipes Not GF and AP Flour in GF Cake-Bad?

Judy asks how to convert a recipe from gluten free to not gluten free?

Well, Judy – we in the gluten free baking/cooking world don’t often hear that question.  Usually people want to know how to convert a favorite recipe to gluten free.

Convert the amount of GF flour listed in the recipe to the same using AP flour. However, flours vary in weight – sometimes tremendously.  One cup of AP flour will not weigh the same as one cup of any type of gluten free flour.

Your best bet is to look for recipes that list dry ingredients in  grams or ounces as a measure.   A small digital scale is a great investment for the kitchen. Continue reading

Flourless and Gluten Free Double Shot Espresso Cookies

I like chocolate.  I like chocolate cookies.  I especially like chewy chocolate cookies.

This recipe is inspired in part by Francois Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Cookies and a top-dog-secret recipe from the pastry chef at The Beverly Peninsula Hotel who gave us the recipe after we begged (literally) for months – a long time ago.

Even then, the recipe was faxed to us exactly as they use it in a hotel kitchen which feeds hundreds daily.  That meant my choice was to either make enough for the entire apartment complex or work on my math skills to convert it to a tiny kitchen recipe.  Since I didn’t have 85 pounds of cocoa in the cupboard, I had to break out the abacus. Continue reading

Baking Wreck: The GF Croissant that Wasn't

Photobucket19 hours of labor later

They look quite like about-to-be croissants in this photo.

Those three in the back were set to become little pain au chocolat.  It took over 19 hours to make them that pretty.  First there was the top dog secret dough prep by Captain Awesome.  Then came the chilling, then the folding, then the chilling.  That included making sure the marble board was ice cold for each turning so the result is a zillion layers folded in loaded with good unsalted butter.  They were left to rise, slowly overnight, ready to bake in the wee hours of the morning.

Captain Awesome is on a mission to create a gluten free puff pastry and croissant that reminds him of Paris.  These little pastries came out of the oven looking like perfect little gluten free imitations of a French croissant.  Small, crispy, flaky on the outside and the smell would have made you swoon with lust.  For croissants, that is. Continue reading

Love The Dog You're With: Apple Oat Molasses Cookies


Since the day is about love, it would be nice to remember those that provide the actual unconditional love and gift them with something tasty and easy to make.

Lulu and Phoebe make my life better not only because they provide hours of amusement and companionship, but because they remind me of why the little things should count the most.  Who hasn’t arrived home from the mailbox (one minute away) or work (more hours than is reasonable) only to be greeted exactly like you are a rock star.  Tails wagging, or in L&P’s case, rear ends wiggling, and kisses let you know how much they appreciate your arrival home.  A rocking party. Continue reading