Sunday, November 12, 2017

#MillennialPink slaw

If we've been at the same potluck in the sometime over the last several years, you've probably had The Slaw. It's so basic but so, so good: tangy, crisp, a bit sweet, very lightly spicy. It's good as a side, but my favorite is piling it on pulled pork (or other meat) sandwiches. Incidentally it's very healthy - almost no carbs and very low calorie, incidentally gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut free. Plus it can sit safely on the potluck table for hours, unlike mayo-based sides.

It's based on this Smitten Kitchen recipe for sandwich slaw. There are many variations, but this is my favorite. It's just so pretty! 

You can spiralize/matchstick cut the veggies in whatever way you prefer. I have a mandolin that makes very short work of it, and I buy the carrots, beets, and sometimes cabbage already cut up.  You can use any crunchy veggie for this that you like. The red cabbage stains everything pink, so I use white if I'm making a rainbow version.
Pre-brine. The cabbage turns electric pink all the way through after a few hours.


2 cups white vinegar
1/2c kosher salt (less if it's table salt - the tiny grains fit more salt in the cup.)
1/4c white sugar
2tbsp mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic, gently smushed with the bottom of a glass or two side of a knife, so they're still mostly in one piece
Pinch of dried Thai chilis, or some slices of a jalepeƱo pepper
2 cups cold water

A bunch of veggies, to fill whatever container you want to put them in, all finely julienned or spiralized to roughly the same size:
- raw beets (cut your own or I've found "noodles" in the produce section)
-part of a head of red cabbage
-1 red onion
-1 or 2 red peppers
-a bunch of radishes
-peeled, seeded cucumber
-one of the small bags of matchstick carrots

On the stove, mix all brine ingredients except for the hot pepper & water. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool while you get the vegetables ready.

Layer the veggies in a container with a lid. Put the onions on or near the bottom.

Add water to the brine - if the mixture is cool, proceed, if not, put it in the fridge until it's at least room temperature. Pour it over the veggies and push down on them to submerge. Put in fridge for at least two hours before serving, preferably overnight - this is remarkably better after a day. Store in refrigerator.

Creamy variation: stir a few tablespoons of sour cream and/or mayonaise into well-drained slaw. It, to, will be gloriously PANK. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gluten free chocolate oat beet cake: This is the weirdest cake recipe ever but it's so so good

I promise you, this isn't healthy cake. Really. The last dessert I made was an 8x8 of blondies that had a cup each of butter, flour, sugar, and chocolate chips, plus a healthy glug of whisky (these Smitten Kitchen ones. follow her note at the bottom). This cake is moist, tender, delicate, deeply chocolaty, and oaty. Because the structure comes only from oats, almond flour and cocoa powder, there is nothing to make it gritty, dry, or weird like a lot of gluten-free baked goods. It's not good for being gluten-free, it's just really good. Consider the fiber, protein, and nutrients to be a bonus - I promise you won't notice them. 
And yes. It has beets. I hate beets, except in this cake. It's kind of like how with zucchini bread, the vegetable melts in to add moisture... but with a faintly perfumey, rich flavor that goes perfectly with the chocolate. I promise, it doesn't taste like dirt. You can also sub the same volume of pureed zucchini for the beets, just add 1/2c extra sugar - beets are sweet, zucchini is not.
This cake bakes up with a very tender, delicate crumb, one that falls apart into fudgy bits when you look at it wrong. For that reason, make sure that whatever frosting you choose is very light and spreadable. I thinned a basic buttercream, but next time I'm going to do a chocolate whipped cream, and one time I did a white chocolate whipped cream with beets in it and it was soooo pretty, so I'll include that below as well.

So, anyway, here's this weird cake. Make it next time you need to bring a gluten free dessert somewhere...or just next time you need to bring a dessert anywhere. 

Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from this recipe, which is also vegan. That means it's dairy- and egg-free, if your dessert plans require that. Makes a 13x9 or two 8" rounds. The beets can be precooked, but for goodness' sake not pickled. 

1 large or 2 small beets, or 1 large zucchini + 1/2c brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + tbsp lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oat flour (I whirled rolled oats in my food processor. If you do that, keep in mind that the oats should be measured after grinding.)
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup cocoa powder (dutch process cocoa makes this cake a deep oreo-colored brown/black!)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

If using beets, and they are uncooked: Wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until soft. Or steam for 30 minutes, or cook them however you want, just get them really really soft. Peel and puree in a blender or food processor.
If using zucchini: Leave raw. Grate by hand on the finest holes, or puree in a food processor or blender with some of the buttermilk to thin, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix vegetable puree, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs until combined. Add in dry ingredients and beat until smooth. No need to worry about overmixing this cake - there's no gluten to make it tough! 

Line pan(s) with parchment paper and grease well - especially important with 8" rounds, as this is a very delicate cake and won't come out intact otherwise. Pour in the batter - it will be very thin. Bake 30-35 minutes for rounds, longer for the 13 x 9 (totally forget, sorry!). When done, the crumb will be fudgy and stick to a knife or toothpick, but not liquid.  Allow to cool completely before frosting. 

You can top it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you're one of those people who thinks that's sufficient, or you can frost it. Here are some frosting options, because I love frosting and you deserve  some too:

Chocolate Whipped Cream
This is so good, I can't even. 

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
2 cups heavy whipping cream
dash salt

Chop chocolate finely. Heat cream in microwave or on stove and pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir once or twice to combine, allow to sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate, add salt,  and stir again until smooth. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to a few days.  Whip until firm but not stiff and frost cake. 

White Chocolate Beet Whipped Frosting

5oz white chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
A few tbsp of the beet puree from the cake 

Chop chocolate finely. Heat cream in microwave or on stove and pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir once or twice to combine, allow to sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Add salt, vanilla, and beet puree, and stir. Cool overnight, whip, frost. 

Basic American Chocolate Buttercream AKA frosting frosting
Use Google to find a recipe by someone who is less tired than I am, or...

1 cup / 2 sticks butter, softened
A bag of powdered sugar
Cocoa powder
Splash of vanilla
Several tbsp milk

Cream butter. Add some powdered sugar and whip it in, then add more. After you've added maybe 3 cups, add some cocoa powder - start with 1/3 cup. Mix that in. Add your vanilla, and if your butter was unsalted, add some salt. Keep tasting it (I'm assuming you've been tasting it already). Add more cocoa to taste or add more sugar. Keep adding until it's stiff, and then add a tablespoon of milk. Mix. Add another tablespoon and mix again. When it's thin enough to spread, put it on a cake. Or just eat it, you do you.