Rhubarb Hazelnut Tart (Gluten Free)

Here it is, the middle of June, and all my summer food adventures have thus far been concocted with such frantic abandon (Hello sun! Hello air that doesn’t hurt my face! Hello GREEN!) that I’ve only just remember I have a food blog.
Ahem.
Hello food blog.

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All that to say, I took a deep breath and a little care to snap pictures and make recipe notes with this one. Partly because it has been requested more than once, and partly because Gluten Free baking is hard to wing. (Hello, measuring tools my old nemesis). But with a few carefully-measured scoops of delightfully-varied flour, sugar, some well-whipped eggs, and the glory of lip-puckering rhubarb, this tart rings roundly of spring’s tail end. For which I will only grudgingly part ways with because strawberry season comes next.  Enjoy!

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CRUST
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup ground cashews or hazelnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

FILLING
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chopped rhubarb

Notes:
• You will need a food processor for this recipe.
• GF flours are a little tricky to use if you’re not used to baking without gluten, but I am finding the flavor in different four varieties far exceeds pre-mixed gluten-free flour options, because most are made with a lot of rice flour. If you’re feeling brave, try this recipe as it’s written, but if it’s a little too scary, you can go ahead and use a pre-mixed gluten free flour. You’ll be just fine either way.
• Oat flour: I just throw gluten-free rolled oats in my food processor and whirl until they are a fine powder.
• Buckwheat flour: You can find this flour at most grocery stores, but if you want to get creative you can substitute Amaranth flour or Sorghum flour for a lighter color dough, while maintaining the rich nutty flavor.
• Ground hazelnuts: You can substitute cashews or walnuts here as well. As with the rolled oats, simply whirl in a food processor until fine.

METHOD

CRUST
In a food processor, combine oat flour, buckwheat flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, and butter (cubed). Whirl until the ingredients combine to form a very thick, heavy dough. Remove form the food processor and press the dough into a buttered pie plate or tart pan. Don’t worry about pressing the dough up the edges of the pan as it will slide down while baking away. Just press evenly across the bottom.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges bubble. Remove and allow to cool and set slightly, for about 10 minutes.

FILLING
In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, oat flour, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Beat until smooth and creamy. Stir in rhubarb. The filling will become slightly more liquid-heavy because rhubarb releases water when it rests. The eggs and flour will help compensate for this, so don’t worry. Pour the batter onto the prepared crust and spread the rhubarb around until it’s distributed evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of the tart is golden brown and the middle is firmly set. Allow to cool well. Gluten crusts and doughs appear to be undercooked when warm, but set up perfectly as they cool, so give it time.

Serve chilled with fresh whipping cream.

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Lilac Simple Syrup

Where I live in the more northerly-regions, the massive lilac bushes in my yard hit peak bloom this past week. Everything smells of lilacs. I cut armloads of blooms and filled the house with blossoms.
On every surface, a vase.

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Lilac season is so short—the blooms open, flourish, close, and die in a matter of days, and they won’t flood the world with their color or fragrance for another year. So my fanaticism is totally justified. This year I decided to take things a step further, and devise some way to hang onto that amazing lilac essence just a bit longer.
As with violets, nasturtiums, lavender, and many other blooms, lilac blossoms are edible and their gorgeous color and fragrance lend a unique flavor to anything you bake them into. (Shortbread is my particular favorite).

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This week I took it a step further and concocted a simple syrup. It’s versitle, keeps for quite some time, and looks absolutely lovely bottled. Sadly, the farmhouse lilacs (traditional blooms, large, light purple, unbiquitious to farmfields and in quiet rural neighborhoods) have finished blooming for this season. However, there are several varieties that bloom a bit later and you will still be able to find them this season (at least if you live in zone 2 in the US). These varities include the smaller, more vibrant Purple Dwarf lilacs and the white-bloomed French lilac. Both of these varities will also serve beautifually for this recipe.

LILAC SIMPLE SYRUP

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4 cups water
4 cups granulated white sugar
4 cups tightly-packed flower blossoms, green parts and stems removed.
4-5 blueberries (for color)

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a light simmer until all the sugar has disolved. Add the flowers and berries and simmer for another 6-8 minutes until the blooms are wilted and the water is a soft purple-blue color, and fragrant.
• Note: The water will smell strong and floral but not particularly like lilacs due to its concentration. When the syrup is added to food the lilac essence will be obvious and unmistakeable.

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Strain the syrup through cheese cloth until it is clear. Allow to cool, and then bottle. It can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks, or if canned, for months.

I use the syrup to flavor my coffee, and it is also lovely over ice cream, served with carbonated water (as a lilac soda), in all manner of baked goods, and in coctails!
Enjoy!

My Black Friday Christmas List

Black Friday is the day after tomorrow. I know this because my mailbox, email inbox, and voice mailbox are full of offers promising to save me all the dollars, on all the things, for all the people, forever and ever amen. I’m exhausted just thinking about all the savings.
To help me sort through it all, I’ve put together a Christmas shopping list. Perhaps you’ll find it useful as well, should you also need help wading through your gift-giving and purchasing processes.
Happy day-before Thanksgiving!

MY BLACK FRIDAY CHRISTMAS LIST:

• Wisdom as I try to better love, nurture, feed, educate, and raise my Littles in a world that values their pocketbooks more than their creativity, their bodies more than their minds, and their contributions more than their ethics.
• Skinny jeans that aren’t jeggings, leggings, or tights; that don’t gap in the back when I bend over, and that don’t have glitter on the back pockets. My butt doesn’t need glitter, thank you very much fashion industry.
• A paid-in-full mortgage on the place I call home.
• Sleep in any form—free from extra children in my bed, late night cries for water, bad dreams, snoring, and random fire-alarm beeping due to low batteries.
• Words at the tip of my tongue when I need them, as opposed to two days later in the middle of the night.
• Grocery carts that don’t flip when being ridden upon by four small children.
• Car seats that buckle and unbuckle themselves.
• A checkbook that balances itself.
• A checkbook that balances.
• Balance.
• Someone to decorate my house like JoAnna Gaines’s house.
• JoAnna Gaines’s house.
• JoAnna Gaines.
• Netflix shows that have a longer than 14-second next-episode countdown, so I can actually work up the willpower to stop. watching. at. 2am.
• Willpower. Of any kind.
• Greater empathy, deeper kindness, expansive generosity, more certain convictions, faith that never wavers, and a love that never fails the people I care about the most.

What’s on your Christmas list? I’d love to know! xo

 

Eggnog Pie Crust

There’s eggnog everything, right? Kinda like pumpkin spice? I don’t know. I’m not as cued into Starbuck’s influence on the tastebuds of the world as I used to be.
But of one thing I am certain: Eggnog is yummy. And the more ways I can incorporate it into my holiday eating experience, the better.
It was from this belief that eggnog pie crust was born.
Is there any better accompaniment to a pumpkin pie? Any better duet than with a caramel apple pie? Chocolate silk pairing?
Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas right on its heels. Baking will be required! Pies! Let this be your go-to crust recipe.
Enjoy

EGGNOG PIE CRUST

1/2 cup butter, chilled and sliced
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Eggnog, chilled

In a food processor, pulse the flour, the cold butter (sliced), and the salt until crumbly. With the preprocessor whirling, slowly pour in the eggnog until a crumbly dough forms. Empty the crumbles into a clean mixing bowl, and using your hands, meld together until a smooth ball forms. Press into a circle and roll between waxed paper.
Each batch makes one crust. Double the recipe if you have a food processor large enough to handle the job!

Blitzkuchen

I think all of my childhood memories orbit around food.
*thinky face*
I’m not sure if this is good or bad. But Blitzkuchen (blitz-koo-chin) is one of my favorite memories. It means “Lightning Cake” in German because it’s so simple and so quick to make. Imagine something that crosses the bridge between a perfectly soft sugar cookie and a spongy pound cake, and there you have it.

When I was little, Mom would whip up this cake right in the middle of math (worst subject ever, even for this homeschool kid) and just when long division was becoming unbearable, it was ready. Vanilla and cinnamon would waft through the house, and I would know with certainty that I’d survive math after all. Lightning Cake to the rescue. I think the world needs a big pan of it.
Enjoy.

BLITZKUCHEN

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, melt butter and stir in sugar and vanilla.Add eggs, whipping each one into the butter and sugar until smooth. Add flour and blend completely. Pour into a well-greased cake pan, sprinkle the top generously with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 400 degrees until an inserted knife comes out clean. About 20 minutes.

Tortellini Soup

Yes, I know. I am blogging two soup recipes back-to-back. In some circles this is a crime. In my opinion, this is winning.
And if ever there was a soup with which to commit aforementioned “crime” this is it. A perfect addition to a windy fall day. Three-cheese tortellini soup with roasted red tomatoes, wilted spinach, and enough fresh Parm to make your heart sing. Throw in an accompanying glass of red wine, a side of fresh bread with great swaths of butter, and basically, life is made. Or, yaknow, dinner.

This soup is tremendously easy to make, comes together in a matter of minutes, and looks (and tastes!) like you slaved. It’s one of those dishes you can serve to guests, or to the regular lovely faces that gather at your table.
Enjoy!

TORTELLINI SOUP

1 tbsp garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette (or a splash of red wine!)
1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 its broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
several handfuls of fresh spinach
1 package of tortellini, fresh or frozen (not dried)
parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt butter and add garlic and onions. Cook until caramelized. Prepare yourself to be blown away by the gorgeous aroma. For real.
Throw in a dash of balsamic vinaigrette or a splash of red wine to amp the flavor up a notch.
Add one quart of broth. I like chicken broth for this recipe, but you can use beef for a more hearty flavor, or vegetable for a more delicate flavor (and as a meat-free option of course).
Heat through, and empty one can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes to the pot, as well as the second quart of broth. Heat until boiling.Toss the tortellini noodles into the boiling soup and cook until they are all soft and floating atop the broth.
Add spinach and stir until the greens wilt.
Serve topped with fresh parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

savory pumpkin soup

Fall is definitely in the air.
Cool nights. Crisp mornings. Sky so blue it hurts my heart.
And I am loving every second.
Not that I’m rushing anything. Seriously. Here in northern Minnesota we typically have winter from the end of October till early May. So much fun. *heavy sarcasm*
Even so, I am in love with fall, and soup and I are basically bffs.
This savory pumpkin soup is warm and smooth with coconut milk, but bright with a hint of apple. If you crave a more hearty flavor, substitute beef broth for vegetable.
Enjoy!

SAVORY PUMPKIN SOUP

2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
a generous dash of cinnamon
a dash of rosemary
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned is fine, though making your own is a snap).
1 quart broth (vegetable, chicken, beef)
3/4 cup coconut milk

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt clarified butter and caramelize onion, garlic and apple together until translucent and fragrant. Add spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, rosemary) and a splash of broth. Heat to boiling and simmer for a few minutes until you can’t even handle how good your kitchen smells.

Add pureed pumpkin, half the broth, and the coconut milk. Heat through, and then either with an immersion blender (Best Invention Ever) or by transferring the contents of your soup pot to a blender—in batches if necessary— whirl until smooth. If you’ve used a blender, transfer soup back to the pot and add the remaining broth.
Stir gently until texture is consistent.

Serve warm with crusty bread (or without if you happen to be doing whole 3o *cries all the tears*)