Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chocolate Espresso Gluten Free Babka

We went to see Jerry Seinfeld on Friday night here in Portland and it was an excellent show, we laughed the entire time, my cheeks and stomach were both sore from the laughing.   It was a little surreal being that close to Jerry Seinfeld having been a fan of his for a long time. I have the entire box set of the tv show and have probably watched the entire series over 10 times.  His new web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is also pretty hilarious.

With the Seinfeld show coming up and my craving for some sort of sweet bread that was not one of the usual suspects (pumpkin, banana, etc) I flashed back to the Dinner Party episode, where Elaine and Jerry were supposed to pick up a chocolate babka and got stuck with a cinnamon babka.

Having never had a babka I didn’t really know what to expect.  And after looking around online there wasn’t much in the way of gluten free babka recipes out there. 
I used my Gluten Free Cake Flour  because I had a batch mixed up.
Mix together:
¾ cup lukewarm water (I make it a little on the hotter side then the cooler)
1 packet of yeast
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
Let it sit until it gets foamy and has that yeasty smell.
In another bowl mix together 2 eggs, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp of melted butter or oil, until well mixed and fluffy.
Add the egg mix to the yeast blend and set aside.
Blend together 2 ¼ c cups gluten free cake flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt.  Add the egg/yeast blend to the flour, it will be very sticky as most gluten free breads are.
Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and butter/oil it up. Place your sticky dough on the parchment and grease up your hands, press it out until its about ½ inch thick.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter and spread it over the dough. Then sprinkle it with 2 tbsp of espresso powder and top with ½ cup (or a little more) of dark chocolate chips.  Apparently there are a bunch of ways to fold a babka. I went with the easiest, especially with this gluten free dough I didn’t want to make a mess of things.
Fold the babka in thirds lengthwise. Then fold one end in and then the other until its mostly a loaf shape.  This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker gives you a good idea of what you are looking for while folding.  I didn’t do the twist since I didn’t want it to fall apart. Next time I make a babka I think I’ll try it.
Place the babka in the bread pan. It shouldn’t stick  to the sides if it has oil on it but if you are concerned butter or oil the sides of the pan.
Turn the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly cover the babka with a kitchen towel and sit it on top of the stove for 30-45 minutes to give it a chance to proof. Once its puffed up a bit its time to bake.  Brush with an egg wash made with a beaten egg and a little water.
Bake in the 375 degree oven for 15 minutes then turn it down to 350 degrees and bake for another 30. If its browning too much cover it with aluminum foil. My oven runs a little hot, but most of the babka recipes I have seen suggest baking it at 375 the entire time. 
Let it cool, slice and enjoy! 
I should have added more chocolate chips! 

It's not very sweet and would be easy to make with other fillings, sweet or savory. I think it turned out pretty well. Next time I think I might try a savory version, with cheese and herbs. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kitchen Nightmare to Modern Kitchen

This post has been a long time coming… It never felt like the right time to take after shots and after much deliberation I figured let's just pull the trigger already.  I took these photos Sunday since it was so nice and sunny out. 

When we first purchased our home it was in interesting shape. It was a short sale and had more than a few cosmetic issues (it still does) and popcorn ceilings filled with asbestos. We had our work cut out for us. We spent a month working on it before we moved in and we are still working on it today.

We have come a long way baby,  and this is very present in our kitchen. 

Our kitchen’s before pictures: 

Yup totally Brown and icky 1970s kitchen.  The thing I loved about it was there is lots of storage, and the pass through to the dining room is awesome. The brown was really dated and made the room feel so dark. 

Eventually we will remodel the kitchen completely but in the meantime living with this brown hot mess was just not do able.

Here are the steps I took to transform this kitchen.

Painted the lovely brown tile with HOMEX bath and tile epoxy. I did this step before we moved in and it was very stinky.  I had to wear gloves, eye protection and a respirator. I had seen this idea over on this blog.
bye bye brown tile!
It took two coats to do the entire thing.  So far its holding up ok, and it covered the icky grout and tile but I probably will need to do a touchup coat at some point.

I painted the entire Kitchen in Crisp Linen by Sherwin Williams. I had it colour matched to Behr at Home Depot because it was less pricey and it worked just fine. (I don't know if you could tell in the before shots but yellow was the original wall colour in here)

I did use a Benjamin Moore Primer on the cabinets, Stix. And it was fantastic.  I opted to do two different colors; for the top cabinets I used Khaki Shade (color match to Sherwin Williams) and Sandy Ridge (also SW colour match)  for the bottom. Both were semi gloss.

When painting cabinets you really should use paint specifically made for that application, such as  Benjamin Moore Advance Paint, but I spaced this out and bought a bunch of paint at the same time at Home Depot and ended up buying Behr as well for the cabinets.

Fortunately the Behr paint turned out just fine, but it does need a few touchups.  I have to imagine that might be the case with any paint.

I spray painted the mustard coloured hood with high heat spray paint

I swapped out all the hinges for chrome and purchased new door pulls and handles on Amazon. (I even had a few extra pulls to revamp the bathroom pulls) 

We got a new faucet for the sink

It took me a week to do everything (not including the new faucet which my husband did :) and it was a lot of work but I think totally worth it.

Our kitchen light we got at Ikea and I just love it.

 Initially I had planned on adding glass to the missing cabinet doors to give it more of an open feel, but I actually really like the open shelving so for now am leaving it this way.

Eventually we will remodel and take over the family room my husband is using as his "man cave/office" but until we do, these  fairly inexpensive changes and the time spent on it was well worth it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Slide Inn

I may love Brunch now, but it wasn't always this way. When I was a kid I would order chicken caesar salads or grilled cheese sandwiches, but as I have gotten older I have started to appreciate brunch.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out a Portland restaurant The Slide Inn, and we made it out just this last weekend. 

Once a month, my family and I try out a new brunch place in town. So far the options for gluten free have been pretty slim at most places we have tried, or on occasion just terrible.

This is not the case with Slide Inn. The owner/chef is Eugene Bingham, who spent a portion of his career in Germany, this is absolutely present in their menu.

The Slide Inn offers brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner. I took a look at all their menus and I have to admit I cannot wait to go back for dinner.  Everything looks delish and most menu items either are or can be made gluten free.  Eugen’s wife Lenor is gluten and dairy free so you can trust that they know what they are doing when it comes to cooking for those with dietary restrictions.

For Brunch we tried a few different options.

My husband got a sausage scramble and my sister got the eggs benedict, she loved every single bite, it was so filling she had to bring some home. 

Both the scramble and the benedict came with a potato rosti – which I would describe as similar to mashed potatoes but fried on the flat top – I stole a bite and basically they are the best hash browns you will ever eat. Creamy and crispy. Yum.

My parents split the salmon hash (the special) and the Pflaumenschmarrnm. My dad raved about it. Sadly I couldn’t try it but it sure looked good. The plums used are locally sourced from a neighbor of the Bingham’s.

I tried the Gluten Free Yam waffle with shaved clove – and I am telling you I don’t know if I have ever had a GF waffled that tasted this good. 
It came with 4 of their house made syrups – chocolate, ginger, hibiscus and lavender.  I even shared a few bites of my precious waffle, and it did not taste gluten free to the gluten eaters of the bunch. 

The D├ęcor of the place is right up my alley. Its very mid century modern, between the sputnik light fixtures, the atomic clocks and the glass ware it has a very cool vibe.

Another total plus about this place – they take reservations – how many Portland brunch places do that? 

For Grimm fans, you may have already seen The Slide Inn featured as Portland Java during Season 2. 
courtesy of The Slide Inn's Facebook page
I can't wait to go back to this place and try the rest of their offerings.  If you are looking for a great dining experience in Portland, gluten free or not, you definitely want to check them out!  

 The Slide Inn is located at 2348 SE Ankeny St. Portland OR 97214

Friday, January 10, 2014

Clementine Vodka

My original plan was to give this delicious libation as holiday gifts, however I was a little late on getting it started, fortunately it was ready just in time for one of the Portland Preservation Society meet ups.

about 15 clementines
6 cups of 100 proof vodka
2/3 cup White Sugar

Juice enough of your clementines to get 2/3rds of a cup of juice. In a saucepan combine the juice and sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Put the juiced clementine shells in a large glass container. I used two 1 gallon mason jars.  I ended up cutting up the remaining clementines and adding them to the containers as well.

Evenly divide the  sugar mixture between the two containers and then add 3 cups of vodka to each.

Let sit in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks - I ended up letting mine sit for 5 weeks.

Strain the vodka through a few layers of cheese cloth.  I picked up these fab bottles on Amazon, sterilized them and added the strained vodka.

It made 6 bottles (8.5oz each) plus a little extra. Store in the freezer so its nice and cold when you imbibe.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookie Butter

I have been wanting to try making Cookie Butter spread for some time. The Gluten filled versions of it have been popping up all over the place. I believe Trader Joe's might have been the first place I saw it,   but I have seen the Biscoff spread at Cost Plus as well.

With the Portland Preservation Society meet up in a few days  and a couple bags of cookies I figured it would be the perfect time to make this.

2 bags Trader Joe's gluten free ginger snaps
4 tbsp Coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup half & half (or you could use vegetable oil)
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Place cookies & brown sugar in your food processor and blend until they are crumbs and well mixed.
Add in the coconut oil, half and half, vanilla extract, and spices.
Blend until it all comes together.
Put into jars and try not to eat it all! Keep it in the fridge but let it sit out for 30 minutes before using.