Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cones (you know, for the ice cream...)

I had mentioned two posts ago ('Donuts') that, since going gluten free, there were certain foods that I've missed tremendously. One tragic loss was Ben&Jerry's ice cream. Happily, after about 9 months, I was reunited with ice cream in general (Breyer's) but, I've been thinking about that 'anyone can cook' thing that I wrote about. It was around the time that I was having these thoughts of culinary confidence that I was over the moon to receive the news that Linda Limonlino's (Call Me Cupcake's) book on ice cream was finally going to be released in the States!! With Christmas money, I bought an ice cream maker (which, ironically, arrived on one of the most brutally frigid, record-breaking cold days, this winter) and I waited with a heightened sense of expectancy for spring and my pre-ordered copy of her book to come. I had an even greater challenge, however - ice cream cones! Taking a recipe from Kyra Bussanich's book 'Sweet Cravings' I fiddled and fuddled with her recipe for canollizelli shells and have come up with a pretty lovely pizzelle recipe. Several people have asked for the recipe; so.... here's where I'm at with it, so far.

Gluten Free Pizzelle's or Ice Cream Cones

~ 3 egg whites and 1 yolk
~ 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
~ 5 1/2 TB unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
~ 1 tsp vanilla extract
~ 1 tsp brandy (or substitute orange extract)
~ 3/4 cup/145 grams superfine sweet rice flour
~ 1/4 cup/ 40 grams tapioca starch
~ 1 tsp baking powder

Using a stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip the egg whites and sugar until very thick and pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes.) Add in the vanilla, brandy, egg yolk and melted butter.

Brush pizzelle iron lightly with oil and plug in to begin heating.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, tapioca starch and baking powder. Fold into the wet ingredients.

The cookie presses on my iron are 5 inches round and I've found that using a 1 1/2 inch round ice cream scoop (that has the little lever to release the dough) works perfectly for dropping uniformly round blobs onto the iron that will spread through the mold fairly evenly. Before I thought of that, a tableware teaspoon (nothing too deep) that I could just swish out with my finger worked well enough. Place the small round of dough slightly back of the very center of the iron template and press the top down (the dough smooshes towards the front) - clamping it into place (that's how my iron works anyway) and let cook till the steam has almost finished escaping (about a minute for mine.) I don't like them all white (underdone) or all brown (too close to burnt and tough). I like the cookies to be quite golden with the relief of the pattern a lighter color. Lift the cookies off of the iron with a mini rubber spatula or something that won't scratch your iron if it's nonstick. 

Roll immediately onto a form if you want cones or just place on a cooling rack for cookies OR, I keep meaning to try making little ruffled bowls for ice cream. However, if making cones, I recommend that you enlist the aid of someone who can roll one while you roll the other or the second one will become too cool and stiff before you can get to it. (Not to mention the burnt fingers one gets when attempting to roll two!)

One last note: I don't know how long they last. I don't know how hard and sturdy for ice cream they get. They don't last beyond 5 minutes in our home. It's a trouble and a mystery that I will one day, hopefully, solve! I tried adding a 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar to the egg whites to make them stiffer and possibly of a stronger, yet, still crunchy construction but, then, realized that they had all disappeared before they were even cooled.

So, there you go! And, by the way, the idea to put lilacs in a cone came from Linda Lomelino and my pictures are in homage and admiration of her! One of these days (if it's kosher) I'll share one of her cakes that I've converted to gluten free. They translate beautifully!

Oh! And remind me to tell you about the kittens!!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring, fare thee well!

With a heavy heart, I was just preparing a farewell to spring but, in the past three hours, the weather has changed from quite a warm and muggy morning to very, very chill. So I say, "Spring! We are most heartily happy to welcome you back!" If only the lilacs and tulips could return, too.

and, well...

I couldn't really think of anything else to say.

I found this lovely Hellebore plant at Trader Joe's back when there was still mounds of snow (don't you just love the delicate coloring?) and the table is the 'two second' thing I threw together at Easter but it was pretty and fun. We broke with the traditional ham and had Steak Oscar - oh, yum!!


I'm listening to this oldie but goodie that is one of my forever favorite songs.

Perhaps, I'll share that with you - I love it so! :)

Yeah! That's what I'll do!

Oh! And remind me to, one of these days, tell you about the kittens.
(Only, I have about an hundred thousand pictures of them, being a properly proud parent.)


Thursday, May 14, 2015


About a year ago I shared about my discovery that, for many years, I've been severely gluten sensitive. Going gluten (and quinoa and oats, too, sadly) free has made a tremendous difference in my health, energy, life! But it has been a steeply uphill climb, sometimes. It may seem strange to say but I'm fortunate that I cannot even eat a speck of gluten without unhappy consequences. It may keep my back to the wall, sometimes, but it does keep me on the "straight and narrow". One challenging but very fun thing that's happened because of this is that I've had to replace all of my plastic and nonstick cooking tools - pots, pans, measuring cups, etc. - anything with a nook or cranny that could contain a speck of old gluten. After using the same things for twenty years, it was pretty darn fun to get new sets of everything, though, sometimes I would yearn for an old favorite pot or wooden spoon.

Another challenge has been going without 'take-out' and convenience foods. Oh, how I miss Joy-Wah, our local Chinese restaurant... and tacos and fried foods and shtuff like that. Enter into this story the discovery of a British TV show called 'the Great British Bake Off' where ordinary people create extraordinary dishes. It kind of woke me up - if they can do it - I can learn to cook anything! If builders, grandmas,  accountants and 18 year old girls can do it - so can I! I can cook anything! (Or, if you've seen 'Ratatouille'.... "anyone can cook"! ;) ) And that is where my creative energies have been focused these days - in the kitchen.

The pictures here are of the sweet potato, chocolate donuts I made with our brand spankin' new deep fryer - they were SO light and fluffy - a tender crisp on the outside and, then, rich, soft chocolate to sink one's teeth into - and very happy on a Saturday morning! Can't wait to try my yummy fish 'n chips recipe!!


Oh, yeah! David broke his finger but we seem to be almost completely over that and, honestly, we'll take the funny face. I'm just amazed that I even got two whole boys inside the frame (and not too blurry, to boot!) Apparently, rich, chocolatey donuts make great carrots! ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

a fairytale garden

I have often lamented to my friend, Mary, that there are no grand gardens to visit in Vermont (that I could discover, anyway.) Nothing artistic and creative as far as public gardens go.... I guess that I just chalked it up to the hard winters. I have often had to bite back my extreme jealousy (heh, heh), as I've watched dear Madelief visit some of the most precious gardens in England - places that I've only ever dreamed of seeing in person. And so it was that I became an armchair traveler - living vicariously through my blog friends who share so generously. Until, that is, when, one fine day last summer, Mary asked me innocently if the Garden Conservancy's featured garden for the weekend was in MY Chester.* What?! What is the Garden Conservancy? Where in the world is this grand home hidden? I had no idea! (Though, I suspect there are many corker estates hidden up secretive dirt roads on posted land all over these hills.)

As it turned out, it was, indeed, MY Chester - fortunate me! And so it was that I found myself, one sparkling Sunday afternoon, walking in a dream. Tom had heard rumors from builders and craftsmen in town of a home being built that employed imported German craftsmen and stone from an old castle in Scotland. Don't know if it's true or not but this home and garden had such a fairytale vibe that I truly do believe....

What I loved best were the layers of texture and color, both in the outside build of the house and the garden which worked beautifully in harmony together - and all of the details.... down to the last wooden peg and herbs and moss planted in between the stones. Oh! It was all so lovely!

My deep gratitude to the owners who offered us their hospitality.... so kind! It was a dear pleasure!

*Every New England state seems to have a Chester - not to mention the original in 'Ye Jolly Olde Englande'.


Jane and Lance.... their garden bothy - really, more like a garden hostel!