Coconut Pancakes with Cinnamon Mango Sauce

June 12, 2010

Well hello readers. My apologies for the extended absence, I needed some time to refresh and recharge. I have been cooking a little less recently purely due to a busy schedule, but I’m happy to report that despite the busyness, I feel ready to cook some meals now ๐Ÿ™‚

Part of the busy schedule is due to attending several Zumba classes weekly. In case you haven’t gotten to your gym for a class yet and are wondering what all the fuss is about, Zumba is a super fun, high energy exercise class that consists of moves from salsa, hip hop, aerobics and I’m sure lots of other things (most of which I can’t spell!). Here’s a video of my class (I wasn’t in this one). My instructor, Azuka, is a freakin Zumba maverick! Here she is teaching the Kazaxe (Ka-za-shay) class that I go to:

So it might not look hard if you just watch the video….but try doing it in a basement room with no AC for an hour with approximately 120 other people.ย  AN HOUR, PEOPLE! My friend Emily (who introduced me to this class) told me that you can burn up to 1000 calories per class if you really work. And I definitely believe that!

Anyway, my class is at 7:40 PM and that hasn’t left much time for cooking lately. However, I did have one evening where I wanted something delish but realized that, due to Zumba, I had been eating out or frozen EVERY NIGHT and hadn’t bother to buy anything beyond mac and cheese in a box. wow. I checked out my pantry and threw these lovely pancakes together because…it’s all I had on hand. What a happy accident! I love these!

I found the coconut oil at Whole Foods a while back after reading about its benefits at The Spunky Coconut. (While you’re there, check out Kelly’s gluten free, dairy free, sugar free recipes. She has some amazing looking ones over there and a cookbook that looks fantastic!) If you can’t find it at your local store, she has a link on her page to a company that sells it online! Please let me know what you think by commenting on the blog, I love to get feedback on my recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚

No touch the mango!

Coconut Pancakes with Cinnamon Mango Sauce
Makes about 6 medium pancakes

1 cup Gluten Free Pantry Brown Rice Pancake and Waffle Mix
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 egg
1 c. milk (next time I am going to try 1/2 regular milk, 1/2 coconut milk!)
3 Tbsp. liquid coconut oil
1 cup shredded toasted coconut
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar

Combine all ingredients and then set batter aside to rest while you make the sauce. When the sauce is finished, melt a few tablespoons of coconut oil on a hot nonstick griddle. Ladle pancake batter onto hot griddle and cook until golden brown on each side.

Cinnamon Mango Sauce:

2 cups fresh or frozen mango chunks
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup sugar or agave nectar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot. Stir over medium high heat until the mixture has softened and thickened to a syrupy consistency.ย  Serve over pancakes hot!


Homegrown Steak Salad

April 11, 2010

Part of my balcony garden

I think my gardening obsession began with my mom. As a kid I was used to munching on the product of my mom’s evenings and weekends bent over rows of seedlings in our family garden. There is a famous story in our family about when my mom was feeding me carrots when I was a toddler. Apparently, I fed some back to her and during the exchange, my poor mother chomped down on my little finger. She still gets upset to this day when she recalls the utter betrayal stamped across my face and the tears that pooled up in my big baby blue eyes. Don’t worry Mom! I love you AND I still love carrots. No lasting damage done ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, since college I have always managed to have a sprig of something growing in a pot on my windowsill.ย  At George Mason University, I kept a basil plant and a rosemary plant one summer when I was living myself in a dorm room. They sure brightened the place up and really brought my Lean Cuisine spaghetti back to life. My first grown up apartment out of school had a lovely balcony where I grew rosemary, mint, lavender, oregano and thyme in window boxes. Now, in my new apartment, I am growing three different kinds of lettuce and patio tomatoes! I am so excited about having more space and being able to grow more of what I eat. Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” became my personal blueprint for eating (as much as possible living in an apartment, anyway) after I read it last fall. I am also very excited about goodLife {eats} and Katie’s new project growcookeat, where you can learn more about growing your own food. I will be following this series of posts with great interest.ย  Can’t wait for the next installment on container gardening, as I am always looking for more ideas about making the most of tiny growing spaces!

Today was a special day. Today was the first day that I was able to take cuttings from my lettuce and eat what I had grown! No wondering if there was something nasty on the lettuce from processing at an industrial farm. No possible way there were films of pesticide over those tender little leaves, no sir. Hopefully soon, my tomato plant will start producing and I won’t have to pay the outrageous prices people want for tomatoes even in season! To celebrate my fantastic lettuce and truly celebrate it’s flavor, I thought I would make a simple little salad with some leftover steak from Rays the Steaks. Any type of steak would work just fine in this, but mine was a thick New York strip.

Homegrown Steak Salad

4 1/2 inch slices steak
2 handfuls washed lettuce (mine is green, red, and a mesclun mix)
olive oil
balsamic vinager

Toss lettuce with salt, pepper, a cap full of olive oil and a cap full of vinegar. Place steak on the top. Serve with a piece of crusty GF bread and butter (I like Against the Grain baguettes, toasted!).

Lemon Cherry Scones

April 11, 2010

Serve with clotted cream or lemon curd for a tasty tea time snack

I am constantly searching for new breakfast ideas. I am too lazy to wake up early on a week day to make eggs or pancakes or, for that matter, to put on make up most mornings. I get really tired of cereal or toast and can’t do donuts or pastries anymore. What to do?

Make scones, of course!ย  One of my new cookbooks has a great basic recipe, so I altered a little bit and ta da! Tasty scones for my weekday breakfast pleasure. I made mine Lemon Cherry, but there are of course endless combos of flavors that you could play with. I love these toasted with lemon curd or clotted cream a la the Brits. YUM. These also travel insanely well. Although they’re a little crumbly, I managed to transport a few in a baggie in a full purse through a full day of work without them breaking apart. Road testing is awesome.

These travel really well and taste great!

Lemon Cherry Scones
Adapted from Gluten Free Baking Classics

1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup dried tart cherries
grated rind of one lemon
2 cups GF flour mix
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs

1) Preheat to 425 F. Position rack in center of oven. Line heavy baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

2) Combine milk and cherries in a small bowl and set aside.

3) Combine dry ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. With mixer on low, cut butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Put mixture aside.

4) Beat eggs until very light and fluffy. Add milk/cherries and flour mixture and mix on medium/low for 1 minute. Use lightly floured hands to pat out dough into a large, 1-inch-thick roundย  on a lightly floured surface.ย  Cut out scones with a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or a floured drinking glass) or cut into triangles.

5) Place dough on prepared baking sheet and put in center of oven. Turn oven temp down to 375 F and bake 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Hello, Cheesecake!

April 10, 2010

Well well. Look at that…it’s April already. WHERE is this year going?

I have been a little preoccupied lately because I have written several new pieces for NBC Washington’s About Town section ๐Ÿ™‚ They were both published on the website recently, feel free to take a look! The first was about Northside Social Coffee and Wine, a new coffee and wine bar with a cafe that is opening right down the street from my house. The second is about a fairly new Turkish restaurant called Ezme in Dupont Circle. Yippee! That was fun, and I’m excited to do more!

I have actually done a ton of great cooking recently that is sitting here waiting to get blogged about. So it’s about time that I do! I have been terrible about buying cookbooks recently. I went to Barnes and Nobel to redeem a gift card and walked out with THREE cookbooks! Ah! They are:

Gluten Free Baking Classics, by Annalise G. Roberts

The Complete Book of Home Preserving

1000 Gluten Free Recipes, by Carol Fenster

These books have provided a welcome influx of new ideas and inspiration for me. I felt like I was getting into a baking and cooking rut and am trying now to pull myself out of it. For example, Keith and I had plans to attend a monthly gluten free potluck event in DC a few weeks ago, so instead of doing my normal chocolate chip cookies I thought I would try a cheesecake! Annalise Roberts’ book has several good looking recipes and I decided to try the one for New York Cheesecake. I mean really, how can you go wrong with a super rich, dense, creamy cheesecake? What gluten free diner wouldn’t want a piece of that, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

I tried it out and the recipe was incredibly easy AND delicious. I made just a few adjustments to the recipe to suit my tastes, but it’s essentially the same. I served it plain, but the next time I make it, I will do a fruit sauce or chocolate ganache on the top like Keith suggested! I might also try it with a gf graham cracker crust next time, as that came out so well on my Pumpkin Cheesecake for Halloween. The best part about this recipe was that when we ended up not being able to attend the potluck, I invited over some friends that are NOT gluten free to help us eat it; when asked, they said that it tasted like regular (awesome) cheesecake. Victory!

New York Cheesecake

The cheesecake was gone WAY too fast!

New York Cheesecake
Adapted from Annalise Roberts’ Gluten Free Baking Classics


1 cup gluten free flour mix
1/4 cup almond meal
1 tsp. xanthan gum
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
grated rind of 1 lemon

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Line the bottom of a ten inch springform pan with greased parchment paper and dust lightly with rice flour.

2) Mix all ingredients for crust in bowl of electric mixer and mix at low speed. Press about 1/3 of dough into detached bottom of springform pan and bake for 12 minutes. Cool slightly on rack. While bottom is baking, roll the rest of the dough out between two pieces of wax paper and refrigerate. Turn oven up to 475 F.

Cream Cheese Filling

5 8-oz packages cream cheese
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1/4 tsp salt
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
grated rind of 1 lemon

1) To make filling, beat cream cheese until smooth in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed. Reduce speed and slowly add sugar, then flour, salt, eggs, egg yolks, half an half, and orange and lemon rind. Scrape bowl and beaters; beat at high speed for 5 more minutes.

2) Attach bottom of springform pan to sides. Press remaining dough around sides to within 1 inch of top of pan. Pour cream cheese filling into pan and bake in center of oven for 12 minutes. Turn oven control down to 300 F and bake 50 minutes more. If the top begins to get too brown, cover with foil to prevent scorching. Turn off oven but do not open door; leave cake in oven another 15 minutes. Cool cake on wire rack and refrigerate. When cold, remove pan sides and slide cheesecake off bottom onto a platter. Serve with fruit or chocolate sauce!

Shane’s Rib Shack GF Menu

March 10, 2010

The news for Celiac and GF diners in Northern VA and DC just keeps getting better and better! A coworker of mine told me last night that Shane’s Rib Shack, with locations in Alexandria and Laurel MD, now has a dedicated GF menu. WOOHOO! I have always gone to Rockland’s in Arlington to get my BBQ fix, but I am really excited to have a new option!! So make sure you all visit Shane’s and ask for their GF options, let’s keep the demand high!


PF Changs Offers New GF Options!

March 9, 2010

I’m sure you all, if you live in any kind of urban area like I do, go to PF Chang’s a lot. It is my go to place when I am required to go out to eat with a friend or family member that is visiting for several reasons:

1) I have never ever been glutened there
2) They have a dedicated gluten free menu and have GF soy sauce…YES.
3) I never have to explain my requirements to them. They just know because they’ve been trained. Thank god.

So yes, I do go there a lot. However, there is only one or two things on the menu that I will consistently order, and none of the options are things I would have ordered pre-gluten free days. SIGH. It is reasonably easy to burn out on a restaurant if you can only order one or two things!
However, I am pleased to let you know that PF Chang’s is now offering FIVE (count em, FIVE) new beef based GF dishes! YAY! Click the picture below for details. THANK YOU PF CHANG’S, for giving me back Beef with Broccoli ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Choupi Crepes

March 3, 2010

Today you can find my third article for NBC Washington posted here about Choupi Crepes, a smaller-than-small crepe cart located in Rosslyn that has recently reopened and is serving delicious (glutenous) crepes.

Of course, for my gluten challenged friends, I highly recommend my Gluten Free Crepe recipe that you would be crazy not to try this weekend. Try it out on your gluten loving friends and see if they can tell the difference! Probably not. And then you become the genius friend who can make crepes. You might have to open your own cart in Rosslyn!

I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to write about some of what DC’s dining out scene has to offer. ๐Ÿ™‚ If anyone has any favorite spots that they feel should be shared with the rest of the metro area, I would love to hear from you. Where do you eat out in DC?

Bake Some Love

February 15, 2010

Happy Day of Love!

Happy Valentines Day, blogosphere! I hope you are all snuggled up with your love muffin sugar pumpkin today and enjoying whatever you all have planned to express your love for one another.ย  Or, if you are single, I hope you have something strong to drink and a pile of Jane Austen movies on tap for your evening. I fall in between the two camps today, as my boyfriend is sick and our trip was canceled on account of snow. Oh well! I guess we’ll celebrate officially later this week, but I am really excited because I decided to attempt something that I haven’t tried yet since eating gluten free: Rolled Sugar Cookies!

I was leery of rolled cookies even before going gluten free, so attempting them with my little bags of flour seemed pretty scary. All that fussing around with the rolling pin seemed unnecessary when I could just make drop cookies with no hassle. There is, however, something very satisfying about eating shaped cookies, especially on a holiday! I made these cookies using Gluten Free Girl’s recipe, although I did make a few small changes in terms of how I handle the dough that worked really well for me! Also next time, I think I would leave out the amaranth flour. This was the first time I had tried it and the smell really bothered me. I will try replacing it with almond flour or coconut flour next time! I hope you give them a try, there’s no reason that gluten free kids can’t have holiday cookies too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also want to recommend that you use a Silpin, a silicon rolling pin, for any rolling of gluten free dough that you need to do. They’re great and gluten free dough tends to be extra sticky!

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Gluten Free Girl

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch fresh nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Cream together butter and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until blended well.

3) Mix flours, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum in a bowl. Add to butter mixture one cup at a time through a sifter, mixing well between each addition.

4) Once all the flour is incorporated, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5) Once chilled, take dough out of fridge for a few minutes to loosen up.ย  Divide dough into halves and between rolling each, store in the fridge wrapped in plastic. Put one half of the dough on rice flour sprinkled saran wrap or waxed paper on the counter, and roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness. This dough doesn’t really get too thin, so you should be ok as long as you don’t press too hard.

6) Once you’ve cut your cookies out, bake them on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before icing. Alternate rolling/cutting and storing each half of dough until it is all gone!

Bake up some love for your sweetie pie

Sugar Cookie Icing

Adapted from Craftzine’s post by Kate Goodman

2ยฝ cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk or half-and-half
2 Tbsp butter, softened
ยฝ tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring, optional


In small mixer bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and extract. Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional milk, if necessary, to reach the desired spreading consistency. Color with food coloring, if desired.

British Seafood Pot

February 14, 2010

I am afraid that I am becoming a bit of a shut in. I can’t help it; I honestly don’t know a lot of people my age who have to cook as much as I do. Most young folks seem to view it as a chore. Or more like “Cooking? Oh yes, I love cooking. I’m especially fond of Lean Cuisine.” Ahhhh. I make no secret of the fact that it is an important activity in my life, even were I not gluten free. I like taking ingredients and shaping them into something fine and different and fulfilling. I feel that food expresses feelings that sometimes I can’t express on my own, so it’s hard when people don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about over a handmade gluten free cake or a made-from-scratch stew. If they don’t get it, sometimes it’s like they don’t get me. Don’t ask where that came from. I’m feeling a bit contemplative tonight; perhaps all the Jane Austen I’ve been exposed to today. (By the way, if you like Jane Austen, try out “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. It is absolutely fantastic!)

Gotta have that bread for dipping!

Anyhow, I’m still on my Nigella Lawson kick and I thought that I would share a fantastic recipe for a Seafood Pot that is in her Nigella Express cookbook. I have mentioned how much I love Nigella for her simple ingredients, clear instructions, and charming writers voice. I should also mention that I am a complete Anglophile and pretty much love anything “typically” British. This was compounded by a visit to Northern Ireland a few years ago, where I got to visit the Republic for a weekend and stay in Donegal by the ocean. It was truly special and now I can hardly bear to eat seafood in the US. I especially love shellfish, so this was a perfect dinner to try out on a night where I am on my own.

I actually used some shrimp in my version as well, which weren’t in Nigella’s version. I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would, but I think it’s because they had been frozen for a while. If I had used some fresh shrimp, I am sure it would have been delicious! Alter yours as you see fit though, and I know that you will love whatever you make. Share it with someone you love.

Must love seafood

Seafood Pot
Adapted from Nigella Express

1 lb cherrystone or littleneck clams
1 lb cod fillet
1 lb cleaned squid
2 tablespoons butter
drop of vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 medium sherry
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped chives

1) Soak the clams in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes while you chop the fish.ย  Discard the open or cracked clams and drain the rest. Scrub thoroughly under running water with a brush to dislodge any sand or dirt.

2) Cut the fish and squid into 1/2 inch slices/

3) melt butter and oil in a large pot or pan with a lid, then over high heat add the fish and squid, stirring them around until they begin to turn opaque.

4) Add the clams and white wine, then cover. Shake the pot a bit so that they don’t stick. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.

5) Lift the lid, avoiding the steam, and pour in sherry and lemon juice. Cover again and cook for another 3 minutes. Salt and pepper just before serving and sprinkle chopped chives on the top.

6) Serve the seafood in the pot or in individual bowls if you have a large crowd. Serve with crusty bread on the side for dunking, you will have a lovely broth to go with the fish.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

February 13, 2010

I am obviously wishing for summer and skipping over pining for spring completely lately. I just did a delicious Ratatouille (summer veggies) and now I have baked a delicious cobbler with berries left over from last summer. AHH! The snow has taken its toll and I am ready to see some green leaves and flowers outside my door.

While I wait, I am cleaning out the freezer of last summers leftover produce. I always take the opportunity to freeze as much as I can to keep me going in times exactly like these, where I need a reminder that summer isn’t forever away. My personal favorites to freeze are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, and beans. This can keep going pretty much until my farmers market has something other than potatoes and cabbage! I highly recommend this strategy.
Anyway, I had a last half gallon bag of mixed blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries that I needed to use and thought I would try a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s “Nigella Express” cookbook. I LOVE NIGELLA! She is so charming and well, so British. I can’t resist her. This cobbler was incredibly easy to convert to gluten free because it takes very little flour to make. I really hope you all try this, it was incredible and, after being made last night, is now gone. ๐Ÿ™‚ Try it with vanilla ice cream or the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream recipe included below.

Breakfast? Because of the fruit? Yeah.

Mixed Berry Cobbler
Adapted from “Nigella Express”

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup flour (I used this mix, but I think pretty much any all-purpose mix would work here)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups berries
1/4 cup raw sugar
3 tsp cornstarch

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and set to one side for the moment.

2) Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds, sunflower kernels, and cinnamon in a bowl.

3) Tip the blackberries into a wide shallow baking dish, sprinkle over the sugar and cornstarch and tumble to coat.

4) Stir the melted butter into the crisp topping and spoon on top of the blackberry to cover (not completely).

5) Bake for 25 minutes and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Heavy cream
Vanilla bean/Vanilla paste

1) Whip cream in a cold mixer bowl with a cold mixer until soft peaks form.

2) Tip in sugar to taste as well as vanilla. Mix into cream and serve cold.

Health food right? Because of the antioxidants. Yeah. That's it.