It’s just beginning to feel real Wintry here in NYC. It happens that way each year, where one day, it just gets cold and we begin to hunker down for the Winter ahead. We roast squash and make soup and need to wear socks to bed. It’s a new season and we learn how to submit to it.
In terms of cooking, the warmer and heartier the better. I’ve been making soups like crazy and roasting a whole kabocha squash each week. Some people feel daunted by the produce limitations, but I’ve learned some things over the years to help inspire cold-weather cooking. Besides beans, lentils, etc, I always have preserved tomatoes on hand: canned, chopped, fire-roasted or whatever you like. It’s the simplest thing to keep around that can make cold, Winter nights a little better. I use them in soups, make a quick tomato sauce, a savory braise - the options are endless. We may not have fresh tomatoes, but we wouldn’t want to eat them this time of year anyway. It’s time for baking, braising, roasting - all the warm things in life.
Savory Tomato & Parmesan Crumble (Gluten-free) Serves 8
-This recipe, at its base, is a simple crumble. I used romesco and cannellinni beans, but you could use any veggies or herbs you have on hand and need to get rid of! A few notes, too: you can use all cornmeal instead of cornmeal/corn flour to keep it simple.
- 26 oz. Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 2 teaspoon tamari
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 small romanesco, chopped into about 1 inch pieces
- 1 (15 oz.) can of cannellinni beans, drained
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1/3 cup basil, sliced thin or chiffonade
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs marjoram
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 5 sprigs thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk chopped tomatoes together with cornstarch, lemon juice + zest, tamarin, sumac, salt and red pepper flakes. Then, stir in romesco, beans, garlic, shallot and herbs until well combined. Add to 9x9 or similar sized baking dish and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, stir together oats, almond meal, cornmeal and flour, parmesan, thyme and salt. Mix until well combined, then add chilled butter cubes, Using your hands, work together dough - breaking down butter - until mixture looks and feels like oatmeal cookie dough. Add olive oil, and mix in well with your hands, making sure to get all the flour bits at the bottom.
Add crumble evenly over top tomato filling. Bake for exactly 30 minutes or until tomato is bubbling up around the sides and topping is golden browned. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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For the record, I’ve never been super into all-purpose flours for gluten-free baking. I find a lot of times it’s a cop out on the recipe developers side, unless you use the exact one they recommend (If they don’t, forget it entirely). You can always swap in an all purpose flour and call it a recipe, but it’s so much more interesting to do something different. What I've loved about gluten-free baking is all the amazing whole-grain flours I've discovered in the process - to taste the difference between brown rice and buckwheat, and to learn your favorite variations. This gives people their own autonomy in baking, to learn a skill and be a little less afraid of the cloudiness that it gluten-free baking.
That being said, the only people I would truly trust to make a gluten-free all-purpose baking flour is America’s Test Kitchen. I’ve been a (huge) fan for many years, in awe of their specificity and science not to mention immense knowledge on all things cooking. The whole point of their company is demystifying cooking for people - to make recipes that work every time, so you can be more at ease in the kitchen. Without gushing, I just love what they do. They sent me some of their whole grain all-purpose flour and I couldn’t wait to try it. I decided on a cobbler, since it is Summer after all, and I'm telling you - I could eat these biscuits for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I mean, when was the last time you had a biscuit? I can’t even recall. This is a perfect dessert for your cookout / bbq / holiday festivities that will please gluten-intolerant and regulars alike. Hope you have a lovely July 4th weekend!
Strawberry & Apricot Cornmeal Cobbler (Gluten-free) Serves 8
From America's Test Kitchen "How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook - Volume 2 (adapted slightly)
- 5 ounces or 1 cup cornmeal
- 4 1/2 ounces or 1 cup ATK (whole-grain) All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend **
- 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
- 8 tablespoons grass-fed butter, chill & cut into cubes
- 3/4 scant almond milk with a squeeze of lemon juice (*non-dairy buttermilk)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons tapioca starch
- About 3 cups sliced apricots
- About 3 cups quartered strawberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
For the biscuits: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside. Pulse cornmeal, flour blend, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and anthem gum in a food processor until combined. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until it resembles a coarse cornmeal with few slightly larger lumps, about 10 pulses.
Transfer cornmeal to a medium mixing bowl, add buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough gathers into moist clumps. Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, scoop out about eight mounds of dough spaced about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle remaining sugar over biscuits and bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned (rotating rack halfway thru cooking). Set aside to cool.
For the filling: Stir sugar, tapioca starch and salt together in a bowl. Gently mix in apricots, strawberries and lemon zest& juice. Add filling to a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or pyrex, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Remove foil, add biscuits to top and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until biscuits are warmed through. Serve i immediately with a dollop of greek yogurt, creme fraiche or ice cream.
**ATK ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND
- 24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
- 7 1/2 ounces(1 2/3 cup) brown rice flour
- 7 ounces (1 1/3 cup) potato starch
- 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
- 3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder
Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer to air-tight container and refrigerate up to 3 months or freeze up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before using
Maybe it’s just the hustle of life, but I know I’m not the only one who sometimes feels overwhelmed by the weight of the everyday. I’ll look down at my list of what needs to happen today, tomorrow, this week, this month - the big projects and the small - and wonder how will I ever get it all done (and done well). There’s always a mess (in my head or in my home), there’s always more to be done - there are always ways to be better. I’ve always struggled with this concept - the continual pursuit for more, for better. You’ll see these quotes about *enjoying the process* & *doing what you love*, but they don’t mention the amount of grit that goes into it all, no matter your love or dedication. I’m often overwhelmed by the process, feeling like “will this ever be enough? will I ever feel satisfied?”
When I have these moments, I’m usually succumbed by darkness & doubt - feeling like I can’t possibly go on. But like anyone does when they’re knocked down - either by themselves or others - you find your way back to your feet. Maybe it’s OK that there’s no script, that I don’t have all the answers. Maybe the concept of perfection or feeling “complete” is actually an illusion. Although I know I’ll still strive for it, maybe some days we have to settle for good enough. Some days the floors won’t be clean, and the deadlines will be late, but it’s good enough for today. And we’ll see where tomorrow takes us.
BLUEBERRY & RICOTTA SKILLET CAKE (gluten-free) Serves 6-8
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (+ 2 tablespoons to top)
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
- 3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, close to room temperature (not chilled)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Confectioners sugar, to top
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together first six ingredients (dry ingredients) until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together almond milk, coconut oil, ricotta, vanilla & egg yolks. Set egg whites aside &chill separately for 10 minutes. Mix wet ingredients into the dry until combined well. Stir in blueberries and lemon zest, then set aside.
2. Grease a 9 inch cast-iron or springform pan with coconut oil. Add chilled egg whites into a stand mixer and whip on high speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy with soft peaks. Fold whipped egg whites, into the batter, adding a little at a time, making sure not to overmix.
3. Add batter to your greased pan, top with 2 tablespoons raw sugar & bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 20-25 minutes before serving. Top with confectioners sugar & serve!