I’ve been holding onto this recipe for months. I perfected it right before I decided to stop writing FrannyCakes and evaluate whether or not I wanted to keep putting myself out there. Read more
Ah. Back to baking and it feels so good.
When I decided to discontinue frannycakes, I was disappointed that I hadn’t shared this recipe, especially because it is one of my most requested (and personal favorite) treats. Read more
Roast chicken might be one of my favorite meals. It is simple. I mean, really, really simple. It is delicious and tastes like home. It is also one of those meals that I hadn’t bothered to tackle for quite a while. Why would a single lady need to roast a whole chicken? It’s not like I am feeding a family or trying to get some handsome fella to propose (seriously, it is a thing people do).
And then I realized that a chicken can be made into meals for the whole week. A nice roast dinner on Sunday. Grain bowls for lunch. Chicken salad sandwiches. Tacos. Enchiladas. BBQ chicken. Any number of soups or chili varieties. As a topping for a green salad. Roasting chicken is a great shortcut for meal prep and quite the economical choice. (Ugh, such an adult thing to do – when did that happen?)
I’ve now made this chicken at least a dozen times, and is in regular rotation both for dinners with friends and for prepping meals for the week.
- 1 approximately 3 1/2 pound chicken (preferably organic)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 bulb garlic
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture of those herbs
- About half an hour before you are going to make your chicken, take it out of the fridge. Your chicken won’t cook right straight from the fridge. Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/gas 9. The best part of this recipe is that you don’t have to peel any of the vegetables. Just wash and roughly chop them.
- Pile all the vegetables and garlic into the middle of an 11×13″ pyrex or other roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper – making sure you rub it all over. Prick the lemon all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the pan and put it into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you want to roast some potatoes or vegetables, put them in the oven for about the last 45 minutes or so.
- Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the vegetables are looking dry, add a splash of water to the tray to keep them from burning. When cooked, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 15-20 minutes. Cover it with a layer of foil and a tea towel while it rests. If you are making gravy, make it now.
I posted a picture of my food magazines on Instagram a little while back. It was a tower of the food magazines that I find myself going back to – sometimes just for the pictures, sometimes for the recipes and sometimes for the stories. If you look closely at that stack, the famous food glossies are noticeably absent. It’s full of magazines that are as lush and beautiful as cookbooks. It was mostly Jamie Oliver magazines, a few copies of Lucky Peach, a few issues of Cherry Bombe and my latest favorite, GFF magazine.
It’s a magazine that combines my love of food and cooking with my need to be gluten-free and my design snobbery. Everything from the choice of the paper to the style of the photography bring gluten-free eats to a level that is normally off-limits to us custom eaters.
The summer issue grabs you with perfectly fried chicken on the cover and holds you captive all the way to the no-bake marscapone cheesecake on the last page. In between there are articles and recipes for everything from elevated cook-out meals to fancy schmancy cocktails to quick things you can make from items you probably have in your pantry (my weeknight M.O. 🙂 ).
The magazine takes you on a culinary tour of gluten-free Denver (that has me planning my next vacation). Profiles of mixologists and chefs have me plotting how to make them my new BFFs. (Or maybe I can add them to my GFF crew?
If you haven’t subscribed yet, there are print and digital subscriptions available (plus back issues are available on their site so you can get your hands on a copy of the summer issue). Use the code GFFCAKES at checkout for a 20% discount!
I was provided a copy of the magazine to review, but I was a supporter early on in the Kickstarter. All opinions are my own – if I didn’t love the magazine, I wouldn’t write about it.
Every year, my friend Andi asks for a PB&J themed birthday treat…and one year, I’m terrified that I am going to run out of ideas and have to repeat. Or I’m going to end up making her a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. I threatened her with that option this year and she laughed and told me I’d figure it out…or I could always bring back a winner from the past. (So far we’ve done gluten-free peanut butter & jelly cupcakes and gluten-free peanut butter & jelly whoopie pies.) And you know repeating isn’t an option. I’ve got to keep trying new things.
I got lucky this year. A surprise gift from Mammacakes of Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food gave me a recipe to solve this year’s birthday treat dilemma. Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies.
Now, I’ve made peanut butter swirl brownies and I’ve made brownies filled with a jelly center. Why I didn’t consider combining the two before Jamie Oliver told me it was not only possible but a good idea, I don’t know. I mean, peanut butter, jelly and chocolate. All amazingly delicious things.
I mean, look at these babies. Ooey gooey. Rich, dark chocolate decadence. Blobs of jelly popping up.
Oh yes, we have a winner.
- For the custard
- 1 cup milk*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 heaping tablespoon tapioca starch
- 2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
- For the brownies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces (225 grams) high quality dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend**
- 1/8-1/4 cup jelly (you don’t have to be super precise about this – you just dot small bits around the top)
- optional handful of fresh strawberries or raspberries (to match your jelly flavor)
- In a sauce pan over low heat, combine the milk and the vanilla bean paste. Meanwhile, whisk together your egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar with the softened butter and tapioca starch. Once the milk is hot, add it to the egg mixture slowly while continuing to whisk. Pour the whole thing back into the sauce pan and return to the stove. Cook this over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes – until the custard starts to thicken. Stir in the peanut butter and remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line with parchment and grease an 8×12″ baking dish. Over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter together. Make sure you keep stirring slowly and gently until everything is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Next, add the eggs one at a time making sure you fully incorporate one egg before you add the next. Sift in your flour in 2 parts, slowly stirring until it is all combined. You never want to stir to fast or hard because brownies are supposed to be dense and fudgy – over stirring will change the texture.
- Pour the brownie batter into your prepared pan. pour the custard over the batter in blobs and swirl the two together. Next, drop small spoonfuls of your jam all around the top. (You can slightly warm your jelly first to make it possible to swirl it if you like.)
- These are best made the night before – they fall apart a little when they are too warm.
My kitchen and I have been at odds lately. A place that has been a sanctuary my entire life suddenly started to fill me with dread. I let my brain fill itself with a healthy dose of imposter syndrome and I let the prospect of a pile of dishes convince me it wasn’t worth the effort.
But then Mammacakes had summer break and she started texting me pictures of all the things she was baking for my dad. Muffins. Pies. Cakes. More pies. Quick breads. All the things she taught me how to make. The things we used to bake together from the time I was old enough to stand on a chair and peer into a mixer.
The longing to be back to the whir of Old Faithful and the desire to fill my apartment with the scent of fresh-baked goodness crashed over me like a wave. (Having a nearly too-ripe bunch of bananas was also a bit of an incentive…)
I thought I’d end my baking hiatus with some muffins. Decadent, tasty muffins. Dessert for breakfast.
Muffins. Simple food. Easy to bake, no mixer required. Infinite possibilities.
They really are a blank slate – ok, and an excuse to make a dessert-like breakfast. (From what I remember of regular, gluten-full muffins, even bran muffins were a sweet treat…although that was 10 years ago…).
Scrounging around my kitchen (as one does at 9pm when they decide to bake), I gathered up bananas, coconut flakes and chocolate chips. I was well on my way to some epic
cupcakes gluten-free muffins. Except, I was out of sugar. And butter.
I needed muffins. I needed to bake. I had to figure it out and you know they say necessity is the mother of invention. Another perusal of my pantry led me to honey and canola oil. These muffins would not have been such a success had I used the butter and granulated sugar. Can we call it fate? I think so.
The unofficial muffin taster gave these muffins high praise (both in person and on the insta).
The recipe makes a dozen muffins and they freeze well, so you can wrap them individually and defrost them any time you need a perfectly decadent breakfast or a breakfast on the run.
- 280 grams (2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup (80ml) canola oil or melted coconut oil
- ½ cup (120ml) honey
- 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature**
- 1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk***
- 30 grams (⅓ cup) sweetened coconut flakes, plus some to sprinkle on top
- 45-55 grams (¼-⅓ cup) chocolate chips****
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). Line on 12-muffin or 2 6-muffin tins with papers or grease the pans. (I always use papers – they make cleaning up easier)
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, honey and eggs. Make sure you beat it well. Mix in the mashed bananas, milk and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with a large spoon until just combined. Stir in your coconut, chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you are using.
- Divide the batter evenly between all the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full (I like using a squeezable ice cream scoop to keep things even and clean). Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little spare coconut. Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- When the muffins are done baking, set the pan on a wire rack and let them cool for 15 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow to finish cooling on the rack (or eat a few warm…) These will keep for several days in a sealed container or up to 6 weeks in the freezer.
! I was provided a box for free for both myself and as a giveaway. KC from G-Free Foodie / Love With Food also happens to be a dear friend – however, I would not post and share about it if I did not fully support her and think these boxes are awesome. There are also referral links in this post – all those are marked with an asterisk!
I love surprises. I have a subscription box addiction. And I love delicious food. So naturally, I would love a box with gourmet treats finding its way to me every month.
Subscription boxes have really started to take off – I get makeup, workout gear*, razors and even shoes* delivered monthly. And I have wanted a food box in the worst way. My friends get these snazzy boxes of gourmet treats from a variety of sources. Packages of snack food, global treats and gourmet ingredients. For way too long, I had no (or few) options for a truly safe gourmet box.
Sure, you can get TasteGuru or Send Me Gluten Free if you need safe options. Those are great services that I wish existed when I went gluten-free nearly 10 years ago. These days, those boxes don’t fit what I’m looking for. Those are full of snacks and cooking mixes that would have saved me money on thrown away food. Introduced me to snacks I might never have bought. But the food in them is always safe. They are a great way to sample all those foods. But that’s what they are. I found them to be filled with foods I knew about or had tried and nothing that embraced my love of cooking.
That’s where the Gluten-Free Box from Love With Food comes in. KC Pomering of G-Free Foodie started a subscription box to fill this need – gluten-free boxes filled with artisanal / gourmet treats. It was a thoroughly awesome box when it started, but now that the box comes from Love With Food, it is even better. I get the same awesome box curated by KC and a meal gets donated. I’d say that’s a win.
What comes in the boxes?
I’ve received everything from spice blends and fancy pants tomato paste to spice rubs, pasta and gourmet push pops. I’ve started keeping the tomato and umami paste in my kitchen all the time and using an alcohol free vanilla in my smoothies.
Oh, and you can win a box!
Just leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on June 30,2015 at 11am central time. (You do have to live in the US to win).
Somehow, adulting* is taking all of my time these days. There seems to be something to do every night. Ballet. Yoga sculpt. Barre. Dance Cardio. Tap. French conversation group. Coffee dates with best friends. Museum dates with mom. Doctors appointments. Lots of doctor’s appointments. Being responsible and doing things like paying bills and negotiating better rates. Fitting in a day job.
*adulting: the tasks and duties of being a grown-up.
These days, there’s not always a whole lot of time to cook special dinners every night. Pasta and jarred sauce or boxed mac & cheese aren’t meals that I should keep as fixtures on my dinner rotation and lunches out add up pretty quickly. So what’s a girl on a budget with high food standards and a crazy schedule to do?
Hint, the answer isn’t decide chocolate is a food group and eat it for dinner. (I keep trying to make it happen, but I fear that its fate is the same as “fetch”…never going to happen).
Answer: Maximize cooking productivity
It takes almost the same amount of time to cook a 2 serving batch of a dish like this as it does to cook a 6 serving batch. (It can also be a help for budget cooking – you aren’t wasting half used bunches of herbs). I’m not saying go all once a month cooking crazy (there’s not enough room in a shared apartment freezer for that to be possible), just make a couple extra servings.
Big batch cooking takes the pressure off of busy week nights and even frees you up for impromptu plans because you have backup meals in the freezer. (As a single lady, a big batch of meals to me is a normal-sized batch for a family).
The worst part of big batch cooking is if you eat the same dish for lunch and dinner 3 days in a row. If you can pay attention to your meal inventory, you can make sure that you never run out of options in the freezer and could have 2 or 3 different dishes tucked away at any one time.
One of the meals I keep coming back to (I probably make a big batch every 6 weeks) is a chicken & chorizo paella that I have adapted from Save with Jamie. Now, all that’s “paella” about it is the method and possibly the pan, but it is still darn delicious. The chorizo and paprika give a spicy depth to the dish while the peppers and carrots round out the flavors with a little inherent sweetness. Parsley and a squeeze of lemon brighten the dish.
The dish is pretty fluid and adaptable. Don’t have carrots? Add more peppers. Only 2 chicken thighs? I hear shrimp is good (it isn’t in my version of this dish due to my shellfish allergy).Want more veggies? Double the peas or serve it on a bed of a spicy green like arugula. No arborio rice? Short grain brown rice can be used as well. No parsley? Use chives or scallions in place of the stalks and skip the leaves.
I could even see experimenting with different flavor profiles within the framework of this dish. You could easily swap out the chorizo for a different kind of fresh/uncooked sausage (the new Whole Foods in my neighborhood has a variety of fresh sausages) and changing the seasoning and veggies to match.
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots
- 15 g f(4-5 stalks worth) fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 70 g (2.5 ounces) raw chorizo (or 1/4 of a package of Mexican chorizo
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about a pound or 450 grams)
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 3 1/4 cups (750 ml) water
- 1 large red bell pepper or sweet red pepper. You can also use 6-8 mini sweet peppers
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste*
- 1 cube chicken stock
- 300 g (1 1/2 cups) arborio rice
- 100 g frozen peas (optional)
- 1 lemon
- Prepare a mise en place (Gather up and measure out each ingredient, set up your cutting board, knives and pans).
- Peel and mince the garlic. Next, peel and roughly chop the onion and carrot.
- Remove the leaves from the parsley and set aside. Finely chop the parsley stalks.
- Roughly chop the chorizo (you still need to break up the chorizo a little bit if it is the raw mexican kind so that it disperses evenly into the dish) and chicken thighs.
- Put a lug of oil into a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat. Now, add in the garlic, onion, carrot, parsley stalks, chorizo, chicken and paprika. Cook all this for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- In a tea kettle or pot over high heat, boil your water.
- While it is cooking, deseed and chop the pepper, then add to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and crumble in the stock cube over everything.
- Then add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes -this will help all those flavors permeate the rice.
- Pour in your boiling water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Pop the lid on and cook until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat so your liquid is at a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. (If it looks like it is about to dry up before the rice is cooked, you can add a splash more water.
- If you like peas (or happen to have some hanging out in the freezer from the last time you made mushy peas and need a reason to use them), stir them through (from frozen is fine). Cook for about 5 minutes more – you just want ever
- Season to perfection, then chop the parsley leaves, scatter them over the paella, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.
Have you missed me? I’ve missed you.
I’ve been busy galavanting around, hiding from my roommate, writing magazine articles and taking ballet. You know, important life stuffs.
(Seriously, go grab a copy of the Spring 2015 issue of Allergic Living, I’ll wait.)
But even more than missing you, I’ve been missing baking. The sweet magic that happens when I spend some time with “Old Faithful” in the kitchen.
I might have a little bit of a love of cupcakes. Delicious, little, personal treats. (I even made a tshirt about it, which you should order).
(Or, sometimes giant ones).
But these cupcakes.
Oh, these cupcakes.
Tender buttermilk cakes. Tangy lemon buttercream clouds. A burst of intense lemon curd at the center. Dainty little bites of sunshine.
That’s a tall order for any cupcake…much less a gluten-free one, but I assure you that these are amazing. So amazing your gluten-eating friends won’t notice that you left it out and your gluten-free comrades will be singing your praises for the best cupcake they have had in ages.
- For the cake
- 560 grams (4 cups) gluten-free flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 400 grams sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk
- For the Lemon Swiss Merengue Buttercream
- 8 large egg whites (30g each–total 225g, or 1 cup)**
- 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
- The peel of 1 lemon
- 560 grams (5 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon curd
- ¼ tsp salt
- Lemon curd to use as filling
- Sprinkles or lemon zest to decorate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake tins with papers. (This recipe makes 24 cupcakes)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together your gluten-free flour, xantham gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (it will take 3-4 mins with softened butter)
- Add your eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined and scraping the bowl after each addition.
- Next add half of your flour mixture and mix at medium speed until just combined.
- With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk in a slow, steady stream. Raise your speed to medium once all your buttermilk is in and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of your bowl.
- Add your remaining flour mixture and mix on medium until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat your eggs (it will toughen your cakes).
- Fill cupcake pan wells 2/3 full and bake for 16-20 minutes. Cakes are done when the top springs back after a gentle tap.
- Combine the egg whites, sugar and lemon peel in a small pot until they reach 140 degrees fahrenheit.
- Transfer this mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, beat until light and fluffy (soft peaks) and the temperature is neutral – the bowl should not be warm to the touch.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter one chunk at a time until it is all combined.
- It might look like it is starting to curdle, don’t panic! It should all smooth out by the time you add the last bit of butter. If it is getting too loose, you can pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes to help it set up.
- You can use a cupcake corer or a paring knife to cut out a small amount of the center of the cakes, preserving the top of what you take out.
- Fill the wells with lemon curd (if using), and replace the tops on the filled holes.
- Use a large decorating tip for simple, beautiful swirls. Top with your favorite gluten-free sprinkles or even a bit of lemon zest.
I don’t accept advertising on FrannyCakes and rarely accept product from brands, so if you enjoy my recipes, please consider supporting FrannyCakes by purchasing a “Cupcakes are my therapy” tshirt.