Celebration Meal

Tonight’s dinner is all Mark Bittman’s fault.

Well, in reality, he shares part of the blame with Gordon Ramsay. Let’s be fair to poor Mr. Bittman.
I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and ended up spending the day at home. I’m actually glad, because there was a torrential downpour going on when I woke up. Sitting in my living room, I watched as the rain slashed through the flowering cherry trees outside my window, scattering petals hither and thon, and I thought “I need something warm and filling tonight.
I’ve termed this a celebration meal because several things are going on that I feel need celebrating. 1) Keith is almost done with his class at BU! It’s been a difficult one and he’s very stressed about finishing it, so I thought that I would provide some incentive. 2) I got a new cookbook this weekend: “Mark Bittman takes on America’s Chefs”! Cookbooks are one thing that I don’t feel bad buying anymore. I used to feel like they were a luxury unless I KNEW they were amazing before I bought them. No more. I am buying cookbooks with abandon and expanding my horizons. You can’t go wrong with more food options when you’re eating gluten free! 3) I’ve decided that as bad as my job is, there are people out there that are worse off. People that don’t have jobs at all and are trying to take care of their families. I will not complain anymore.
So these glorious and transcendent chefs have inspired this evening’s menu. I watched Gordon Ramsay prepare a chicken (nothing like this one) but it made me want roasted chicken SO badly, I went out and bought a beautiful little organic bird and roast it up with some thyme, lemon and garlic. Yum!
Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Thyme and Garlic
1 whole organic chicken, washed, pin feathers plucked, and giblets removed (don’t forget this part!)
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 small bunch thyme
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
sea salt
coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2) Stuff clean chicken with lemon, thyme, and garlic and 1 tablespoon salt
3) Place chicken breast side up in roasting pan. Brush on melted butter and sprinkle on salt and pepper
4) Roast for approximately 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the thigh yields clear juices.

I served this with steamed asparagus with butter and lemon, and a risotto with parmesan cheese, white wine, and lemon. YUM.
You didn’t think I was going to forget dessert did you? This one was Bittman’s fault entirely. The cookbook that I bought has a recipe for Chocolate Pear Cake by Anna Klinger, and it looked really easy to modify to be gluten free. This was AMAZING.

Gluten Free Chocolate Pear Cake
Serves about 8

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for buttering the pan
1 cup fine plain gluten free bread crumbs (I used almond meal and it was really good!)
1 cup gluten free flour mix*
1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder
3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 c. roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate

1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Liberally butter a 9-inch springform pan. Add the bread crumbs or almond meal to the pan and swirl to coat bottom and sides. Tap out the excess and reserve. Sift or stir together the flour mix and baking powder.

2) Put the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them on high for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until they’re light, frothy, and pale yellow. Then with the mixer still running, add the sugar in a slow steady stream. Beat for another minute and then beat in the flour mix with baking powder and melted butter.

3) Pour the batter into the springform pan, arrange the pears in a single layer over the batter, and scatter the chopped chocolate over the pears. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, unmold, and serve warm.

*I made up my own flour mixture for this cake. The recipe is as follows. With these amounts, I only had about 1/4 of a cup left over.

Gluten Free Flour Mix
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. sweet white rice flour
1/2 c. almond meal (i just used the excess from the pan)
1 tsp xanthan gum

Whisk together. If you are making extra and keeping it, either freeze or refridgerate since there is a nut meal involved, which can go rancid quickly.
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4 Responses to “Celebration Meal”

  1. H.Peter Says:

    That cake looks amazing. (yes, the chicken too)

    Pear & chocolate ranks a close second to raspberry chocolate inmy house.

  2. H.Peter Says:

    That cake looks amazing. (yes, the chicken too)

    Pear & chocolate ranks a close second to raspberry chocolate inmy house.

  3. kitschen Says:

    H.Peter, thanks so much! I really enjoyed making this meal, it turned out really wonderfully and really felt like a celebration. 🙂

    The pear and chocolate cake is definitely going to be a go to recipe from now on! If you try this, let me know what you think.

  4. kitschen Says:

    H.Peter, thanks so much! I really enjoyed making this meal, it turned out really wonderfully and really felt like a celebration. 🙂

    The pear and chocolate cake is definitely going to be a go to recipe from now on! If you try this, let me know what you think.

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