gluten free goodness across the web

My friend Karen just launched a new blog, one of the best named blogs ever. Downward Facing Hot Dog. As described by her, the new site is “where my love for yoga and food meet on a gluten free bun.” I feel that writing can be one of the best ways to cope with changes, and if it’s food related writing, you know I’m all over it!

Her post about food allergies, and dipping her toe into the world of gluten free cooking, had me chomping at the bit. So many gluten free cooks I read are so inspiring. I just had to come up with a list of some of my favorite, most helpful gluten free blogs.

On one hand, this goes directly out to her. On the other hand, I hope everyone finds it helpful. Because even with a daunting list of allergies like Karen’s, all is not lost.

Gluten Free Girl should become your new best friend. Or at least a very favorite blog of yours.
Joy The Baker just recently posted both gluten free waffles AND cupcakes!
Zenfully Delicious is also a great, growing resource. The creator, Jennifer, went through a similar allergy discovery as yours and she is trying to make her site a base for all things delicious, even for those with chronic health issues.
Kate and Autumn are two friends who both have fabulous blogs that are gluten free. Kate even has a new book out!

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quick bite: saucer sized oatmeal cookies

Have you ever eaten something that leaves you so happy, so head over heels, that you feel like you need to shout it from the roof tops? Well, I just did and that’s what Quick Bite is about. When I eat something that is so amazing, I’m going to shout it from my internet roof top.

Yesterday was the Great American Bake Sale, where food bloggers and bakers across America baked and sold their treats. The cause is Share Our Strength, who is fighting to end childhood hunger. I baked and helped run the table for a few hours yesterday, and while the table was full of awe-inspiring homemade goodies, the one bite that absolutely took my breath away?

NOT the cookies in question, but some equally pretty ones from esthereggy on Flickr.

Saucer Sized Oatmeal Cookies! The recipe is from Pam Anderson, and the cookies were baked by her daughter Maggy [who organized the NYC bake sale], they are incredible. Chock full of tart cranberries, rich chocolate chunks and toasted pecans, a really nice chew to the cookie and so flavorful. And guess what? We’re lucky enough to have the recipe available to us online. I say this rarely, but this is the only oatmeal cookie recipe you need. It’s simply the best!

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delicious alliteration: multigrain marmalade muffins

It’s that time of the year, when asparagus arrives! When ramps make their special appearance! When the ruby beauty that is rhubarb finally graces us with its presence! And, if you’re a canner, big or small, the gorgeous new fruits and vegetables excite you. It’s a sign of a glorious canning season starting again.

Then again, you may be looking at your panty in shock. “Wait, I still have jars? But hoooow?!” Well, that’s the state I’m currently in. I did not have the opportunity to gift as many jars as planned, and my first year of canning was full of many experiments. So my pantry still has a fair amount of rogue jars to go through. What’s a girl to do?

How about turning an entire jar of marmalade into muffins!

These multigrain muffins were inspired by Good to the Grain, Kim Boyce’s beautiful cookbook. She not only has an impressive array of flours in her baking, but she uses purees, compotes, butters and jams as sweeteners. I am always on the lookout for delicious techniques and recipes that involve less sugar and more whole grains So why do I love these muffins so much?

With the jar of homemade four fruit marmalade (received during a swap) and a tablespoon of honey, the muffins are sweet but not cloying, with the bitter citrus reading clearly (but not too loudly). The mix of flours give a complex, nutty flavor. These muffins don’t have major rising power, but their density is met with an equally tender crumb. If the ingredient list seems daunting, don’t fret. They’re flexible – use 8 oz of fruit condiment and 2 cups of the flours that occupy your pantry.

While these will be morning breakfast this week, these also make a great brunch snack. Invite some friends over, bring out your favorite jams, honey and butter, and have a lovely spring brunch while you clean out your winter pantry.

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noms for a cause

The world has been going through some rough times lately. I’ve felt a bit fickle with my recipes and giveaways in the midst of it all, but it’s also overwhelming. In the long run, all I can hope for is that these bites bring comfort.

But another thing we can do, hopefully all of us are doing, is give. In whatever way, raising money is key. And it’s not always about the dollars you can hand over, but in the case of a bake sale, the items you can bake. The time you can spend helping. The promoting you can do. So I’m baking. For the Online Bake Sale for Japan and for the NYC Bake Sale for Japan.

Growing up, bake sales were small. They were local, focused on a group in a school or in a church or a festival. For a trip, for new uniforms, for some new resources or education to share with the community.  Never would I have imagined that a bake sale could happen on the same day for the same cause worldwide. And online? A virtual bake sale? No, not even until recent years could my brain wrap around these ideas.

But they exist, and for great reason. On March 30th, there will be the Online Bake Sale for Japan. Hosted and organized by The Tomato Tartover sixty bloggers will be offering up homemade goodies for sale. They will be shipped to the winner’s front door, hopefully still fresh and delicious as they were out of the oven. All money raised will go to Second Harvest Japan.

Right after that, on April 2nd, it is the worldwide Bake Sale for Japan. Bake sales are happening all over the United States and the world, and in New York City, the Brooklyn Flea is hosting us, and Sweets By Sillianah is organizing. All money raised will go to Peace Winds Japan.

I’m also here to give you a little sneak peak at the planned treats, especially all you online shoppers. So here’s the deal: the latest hit of my baking career has turned into cake pops. I enjoy making them, people seem to enjoy eating them. They also seem to be shippable. So for the online auction, there will be cake pops of three flavors available for auction.

  • Funfetti cake with vanilla frosting
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate / coffee / peanut butter frosting [your choice]
  • Vanilla cake with lemon / coconut / strawberry /vanilla frosting

Cake pops are composed of cake, baked and thoroughly crumbled, mixed with frosting, put on sticks, dunked in candy melts, and sprinkled with the pretty, pretty sprinkles of your choice. The cake and frosting are from scratch, no exceptions.

In addition, I have one dozen salty-sweet chocolate chip cookies with butterscotch sauce. [Also known as Not Yo Moma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.] This recipe borders between a chewy and a crispy cookie, puffing up a bit but spreading as well. These cookies are full of browned butter, brown sugar and chocolate, with a touch of salt. And the butterscotch sauce that joins it is both loaded with vanilla and sea salt. Packed in a separate jar to keep your cookies fresh and not soggy, you can dip them, drizzle them, or eat them straight up.

Also, let me guarantee that Sabrina of TTT and Lilian of SBS speak much more eloquently about the ins and outs of both events. They both have many details on their sites, so if you have any questions, or just want to learn more, do check out the pages. And if you’re interested in baking for either bake sale, wait are you waiting for? Contact the organizers soon!

  • Online bake sale: bakesale [at] thetomatotart [dot] com
  • NYC bake sale: nycbakesale [at] gmail [dot] com
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jam winners!

Thanks to everyone that played along with Emily’s first giveaway adventure! So I forgot to specifiy, the winners on the blog and Facebook were chosen with Random.Org. And now, I present you with winners!

First, on the blog we had ten beautiful comments. [No really, mouthwatering suggestions abound.] But the winner was…

Autumn! She happens to be a canning/swapping/blogging buddy, and the writer of the very awesome Autum Makes and Does! It’s a great, and also gluten-free, blog. I discovered she was doing a giveaway this week as well, so a little giveaway karma seemed to be sent her way by way of random numbers.

Now, on Facebook, I have 41 new fans and the winner over there was…

Which, no collusion involved, happened to also be a blogging friend of mine, Anna of Very Small Anna. She’s a baker who makes rather pretty cupcakes that are a far cry from the monstrosity of Crumbs.

So there you go, the first giveaway. I really hope to do more of these, whether it’s jarred goodies, products or items I love, or whatever else floats my way. And thank you for playing along!

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golden child jam – and a giveaway!

During the winter months, those of us particularly obsessed enthralled with eating seasonal foods have a tough time of it. My love of kale and winter squash only stretch so far. But there are a few highlights in the fruit world, earlier and later in the cold months. First, quince pops up in farmers markets, a slow cooking savior from the apples. Then finally, citrus makes an appearance in grocery stores. And in the midst of cara cara and blood oranges, tangelos, pomelos, the meyer lemon is one citrus that gets a lot of attention.

These golden children of the winter season just happened to be languishing in my refrigerator together when my roommate and I went through an epic cleaning. “Keep them in until Friday, if I don’t do something with them, I’ll toss them.” This was on Sunday. By Tuesday, it dawned on me – put them together! Floral, honey scented quince and tart, sweet, almost piney meyer lemons living together? Of course! And let me tell you, this jam might be the best thing I’ve canned in my ten month spree. It’s a mix of marmalade and jelly, chopped lemons mingling in smooth quince.

But, and there’s always a but, the recipe is sort of a mess. Because this recipe started with my attempt at membrillo. Which started with white wine poached quince. They were pureed, equal amounts of sugar added, baked on low, and then cut and dusted in sugar. Except I did not have time to individually wrap the pieces. So the stack of membrillo squares languished for a few weeks , letting off more liquid. What I’m giving you is the best approximation of a recipe. A technique, more than anything. Because the jam pictured is three pounds of membrillo puree, one and a half pounds of meyer lemons chopped in the food processor, that hung out together for three days before canning. Continue reading

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hopping on the bandwagon

I’ve been a pretty eager tweeter since falling into its madness (New York City is a major tweetheaven). And as soon as I launched this site, I grabbed the @nomnivorous handle. But I never quite knew what to do with it.

But, I finally launched a Facebook page. And with that, I hop on the total social media bandwagon. I hope that these venues create more instant communication. Have a recipe idea? Or a restaurant you think I should check out? Feel free to write it on the wall. Or tweet me. I’ll slowly be feeding all food-related tweets to @nomnivorous, and somehow not bombarding my personal account with them.

One last thing: I’ll let you in on a little secret. I may just be doing a little giveaway this week. And my Facebook fans might have one of their own. These pages are for you, so give it a like, if it pleases you, and a follow, if you’d like.

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