Gluten-free dessert – fruit galette


nectarine cherry gallette
Gluten-free nectarine cherry galette

Galette is a general term used in France for a flat, round or free-form rustic tart. Sweet and savory recipes abound – there are as many variations as there are regions in France. Choosing seasonal fruit, last month we enjoyed a strawberry galette and today fresh nectarines and cherries struck my fancy in the market.

I am an occasional baker and have found The Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust Mix comes closest to my homemade regular pie crust recipe. Many stores now sell the Gluten-Free Pantry mixes and I highly recommend them. One box of the pie crust mix makes enough dough for three single pie crusts or three galettes. I make the whole box, divide the dough into three balls and freeze what I am not using at the moment.

NECTARINE CHERRY GALETTE

Serves 8

Pie crust dough (gluten-free or not) that has been refrigerated for at least an hour, single pie crust amount
2-3 nectaries, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
6 cherries, pitted and cut into pieces or blueberries (both optional)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of arrowroot or cornstarch

Equipment: cookie sheet, parchment paper

Roll the dough into an 11″ circle on parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes (when rolling the gluten-free dough have parchment paper underneath and plastic wrap on top to keep the rolling pin from sticking).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once your round of dough has chilled lay it (along with the parchment paper) on the baking sheet. Combine the sugar and arrowroot and toss with the sliced nectarines. Immediately arrange the nectarines in concentric circles on the dough, starting about an inch from the edge, overlapping the fruit slightly. Sprinkle chopped cherries or blueberries on top. Fold the edge of dough over fruit. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake until crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool. Then transfer to serving plate. I trim the parchment paper but do not remove it because crust is very delicate. Serve warm or at room temperature – a spoonful of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side is yummy.

Gluten-free food in airports

Gluten-free in airports often means a bag of nuts and maybe a piece of fruit… one of my favorite gluten-free blogs: Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, talks about this in her post gluten-free in airports. Change is coming and the big news from Shauna involves our own Alaska Airlines…

“I’m thrilled that Alaska Airlines has started selling a gluten-free snack pack on its flights. They sent us one a couple of months ago to see what we thought. Olives, hummus, multi-grain crackers, almonds, a fruit leather, and dark chocolate? Yes, please. I wish we were flying on Alaska each time we travel this summer, just for that pack.”

Meanwhile when you return home from your travels and are looking for creative, tasty gluten-free recipes, Shauna’s new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story in 100 Tempting Recipes, is a delight. The New York Times names this cookbook one of the best of 2010!

Try this recipe from Shauna’s blog some night when friends are coming over…

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Hummus

1 poblano pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 15.5-ounce can black beans
1/4 of 15.5-ounce can garbanzo beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled
juice 1 lime
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
pinch chili powder
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup sesame oil or olive oil (depending on the consistency you like for your hummus)

Roasting the pepper. Preheat the oven to 450°. Massage the olive oil onto the pepper. Put the pepper in a sauté pan and slide it into the oven. Cook, tossing occasionally to sit on another side, until the skin of the pepper starts to blacken and separate from the rest of the pepper, about 20 to 25 minutes. Pull out the pepper and put it in a bowl. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and let the pepper sit until it has cooled completely. Peel it and seed it.

Making the hummus. Put the black beans, garbanzo beans, garlic, lime juice, avocado, chili powder, and the roasted poblano pepper into a food processor. Pulse it up until everything has blended into a chunky mix. Taste, then season with salt and pepper or more of any of the ingredients you feel it is lacking. With the food processor running, drizzle in the sesame oil until the hummus has reached the consistency you desire.

(Note: it will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator, so adjust accordingly.)

Refrigerate immediately and let it sit for at least 4 hours before eating it. Well, you can swipe a taste, if you want. However, the true flavors will not emerge until the hummus has sat for a bit. Plan ahead. Feeds 4.


Almond Flour Tea Bread with Lemon and Thyme

Lemon Thyme Pine Nut Bread
A savory, sweet gluten-free tea bread with lemon, thyme and pine nuts.

Maybe it’s the rainy, damp Pacific Northwest weather that has me craving the fresh tart flavor of lemons, a kitchen warmed by the oven and smelling like a bakery…

Almond Flour Tea Bread with Lemon, Thyme and Pine Nuts

Makes one loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
1 cup Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, then line bottom with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, olive oil and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon zest and mix another minute. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each is added. Mix in lemon juice and thyme. Add flours, baking powder, salt and mix until just combined. Stir in pine nuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake – gluten free or not

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake (deliciously gluten-free)

Inspired by the Lemon Blueberry Friands we enjoyed in New Zealand, this is a lovely spring dessert… light and moist with a fresh lemony flavor.

LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE

Makes 8 servings

3/4 cup olive oil
1 large lemon
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour or regular all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar

Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan or 9.5 inch cake pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (325 for convection). Grease pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper (very important with GF baking).

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and mix together with flours and baking soda. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice (2-3 TBSP), beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. I like to use a rubber spatula to fold in ingredients.

Transfer batter to pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Sift powdered sugar on top. I like to serve with some combination of fresh raspberries, blueberries, lemon sorbet or vanilla ice cream.

Fishing with John

When Jay & I settled in the Pacific NW almost eight years ago, locals spoke of a memoir about fishing in the Northwest – Fishing with John by Edith Iglauer. In her middle age, Edith, who had lived a sophisticated, urban life in New York, met a commercial salmon fisherman in British Columbia, married him, and spent the next four years fishing with him on his 41′ troller, the Morekelp. As transplants from the Washington DC area, Jay & I identified with Edith’s wonder and the sense of adventure she found in the Pacific Northwest.

Last Friday we spent an afternoon on the water with our own fisherman friend, John. Our task was easy enough – bring lunch and cold drinks for the three of us and meet him at the dock at 11am.  Prawn season in the San Juan Islands lasts only a hand full of days, so all the fisherman are eyeing the tide charts in anticipation. We motor toward Spieden Island, and John’s “secret spot”, hoping to avoid the crowd. As we arrive, we smile… there are fisherman everywhere – it seems the secret is out! Not to worry though, we are armed with John’s special bait recipe and I am confident that the four traps we lower into the depths (300 to 500 feet) will do the trick.

Once the traps are baited and lowered, we relax in the brilliant midday sun to enjoy our lunch. Immediately afterwards John begins work on the electric winch – this is the first use of the season. Turns out that a little improvising is needed to make it work but the guys succeed and soon the first trap is on it’s way up!  We all think that it feels extra heavy, laden with a full catch. What a sight! As the trap clears the water we see over 40 gorgeous spot prawns pulsing with life in the cage.  Their eyes glow fluorescent copper. Quickly they are released into the waiting bucket… a few escape onto the deck, adding to the excitement. Jay sorts them and the undersized prawns are released back to the water.  We having a satisfying number of “grandpa” jumbo prawns.  As we move from trap to trap, the catch gets better and better.

Our day ends happily with our quota of spotted prawns! With their succulent sweetness, they will be the stars of our Mother’s Day Fettuccine Alfredo!

Spotted Prawns from the San Juan Islands, WA
Spotted Prawns from the San Juan Islands, WA

Our recipe is inspired by Saveur’s Original Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo with Fresh Prawns

1 1/2 lb. prawns or shrimp (cleaned,reserving shells to create stock)
1 cup white vermouth or white wine and 1 cup water for stock
1 lb. dried fettuccine (I am gluten-free and recommend Tinkyada Brown Rice Fettuccini)
1⁄4 lb. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 lb. finely grated parmesan (about 3 1⁄4 cup)
chopped tarragon and Italian parsley for garnish
black pepper

  1. Clean the prawns. To make the stock, place the shells in a pan with 1 cup water and 1 cup white vermouth or white wine and bring to a simmer.  After 20 minutes, remove from heat, and strain liquid and return to heat.  Bring to a boil, and poach prawns in the stock for about one minute, until done.  Remove prawns with a slotted spoon. Only add as many prawns as will be covered by the boiling stock.  It’s OK to cook the prawns in batches.  Set the poached prawns aside in a bowl.  Gently simmer the stock for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. Cook fettuccine, following directions on the package, until pasta is al dente. For the best results, Saveur says to use dried pasta, which doesn’t break as easily during tossing as fresh egg pasta does.
  3. While pasta is cooking, cut butter into thin pats and transfer to a large, warmed platter, along with the olive oil. Drain pasta and place the pasta over the butter and olive oil on the platter.
  4. Sprinkle grated parmesan and prawns over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the prawn stock.
  5. Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more stock as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated.
  6. Garnish with chopped tarragon and parsley, and a grind or two of black pepper to taste.
  7. Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.

SERVES 4 – 6

Akaroa, NZ

Akaroa Bay
Akaroa Bay

A scenic one hour drive from Christchurch, Akaroa is a quaint little fishing village located on the southern side of Bank Peninsula. Akaroa sits at the edge of a beautiful harbor inside the eroded crater of a huge extinct volcano. Originally a French settlement, the streets have French names and local restaurants focus on French cuisine. The French settlers who arrived to establish the town in 1840 thought they were the first colonists of a new French territory, however the Treaty of Waitangi was signed just days before they arrived, which gave Britain sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand.

Donkeys in Akaroa, NZ
Donkeys along the road outside Akaroa, NZ

We arrived in Akaroa amid a downpour, so Jay decided to keep driving beyond the town to give the clouds time to pass by. That’s when we came upon these two donkeys huddling in their shelter to avoid the rain. Later in town Jay learned that the larger donkey on the right had lost his good buddy – a goat, and had been despairing, so his family had gotten a second donkey to keep him company. Ahhh.

Due to the wet weather we did a quick walk around town, and began the trek back to Christchurch. Another recommendation was to stop at the Little River Art Gallery. This was easy as they are along the Main Road SH 75, the road to Akaroa, and their building stands out as a contemporary structure in a very rural setting.

Little River Cafe and Art Gallery, Little River, NZ
Little River Cafe and Art Gallery, Little River, NZ

The Little River Art Gallery was impressive, showing the work of top quality New Zealand artists. Sculpture, paintings, pottery, jewelry were on display. There is also a lovely cafe attached and there we discovered friands. Tasty little almond meal cakes originally from France. The server suggested we try the Blueberry Lemon Friand which was gluten-free. Here is a recipe:

Blueberry Lemon Friands

10 TBSP butter
2 cups confectionary sugar
1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour or regular
1 1/2 cups almond meal
6 egg whites
2/3 cup blueberries
2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425° with convection. Grease 12 1/2-cup capacity friand pans or muffin holes.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, swirling pan occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until light golden. Remove from heat. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Sift confectionary sugar and flour into a large bowl. Stir in almond meal. Make a well in the centre. Gradually add lightly beaten eggwhites, folding in until combined. Add butter and fold in until well combined. Stir in berries. Fill friand pans with mixture, about 3/4 full.

Bake friands for 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 375° convection and bake for 8-10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar. Serve.