Blueberry Muffins (p.s. they are gluten free)

Good morning Friends!

 I have been searching for great recipes which my gluten free family members can enjoy.  The following recipe is adapted from Jeanne Sauvage’s Best Blueberry Muffins.

You will find this recipe to taste and feel like a traditional homemade muffin.  I love Mrs Sauvage’s all purpose gluten free flour.  It is great because it is bean free, corn free, soy free, and potato free.  What you get is a beautiful fluffy and tasty product.  I can not take credit for her flour.  So, you can find her recipe at http://artofglutenfreebaking.com.  Look for her all purpose flour mix.  It is a mix of brown rice flour, white rice flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour or starch (same thing), and xanthan gum.  I have used this mix for waffles this past weekend, and EVERYONE loved them.  They had a belgian waffle like texture and feel.

She is knowledgeable about everything GF.  I have found that just learning about what is gluten is an education itself.  She gave a great talk on youtube about what is gluten and what are gluten replacers is a must listen to.  Highly recommend this.

In the meantime, here is her recipe adapted by The Cooking Tutor for your reading enjoyment.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, 1 1/4 cups sugar (I used raw sugar, but certainly you can use granulated sugar), 2 2/1 cups Mrs. Sauvage’s All purpose flour mix, 2 1/2 heaping tsp baking powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, 3 eggs, 4 TBSP butter or Ghee, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 cup milk or almond milk with 1 TBSP vinegar mixed in (Mrs. Sauvage uses buttermilk and it is fabulous if are permitted to)

Topping

1/3 cup granulated or raw sugar, 1 large lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.  I also find that spraying the top of the pan with cooking spray like Pam helps to prevent sticky messy clean up.  

In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and 1/4 cup of sugar to a simmer over medium heat.  Mash them as you cook them and stir frequently.  They will thicken in about 5-10 minutes.  Set aside.  

In a small bowl, mix flour mix, baking powder and salt together.  In a large bowl, beat eggs (mixer) until light.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cup sugar and beat until almost foamy. This is the part of GF baking that is really important – beating the fat and the sugar together to create an airy texture.  Slowly add melted butter and oil, beat a few minutes more.  Add flour mix and milk alternating between the dry and the wet, but ending with the dry.  Fold in remaining fresh blueberries.

Fill muffin cups and then spoon your prepared jam on the top.  Using a toothpick gently swirl the jam into the batter.  

Finally, sprinkle your lemon sugar topping onto each muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes.  I tried Mrs. Sauvage’s 19 minute formula, but the batter was still uncooked.  You may find that your oven needs another 3-5 minutes beyond.  Look for lightly brown tops.

This is a wonderful recipe.  Thank you Mrs. Sauvage.  You are a genius.

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Gluten Free Granola Bars, original recipe by The Cooking Tutor

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Gluten Free Granola Bars, original recipe by The Cooking Tutor

ingredients: 2 cups gluten free rolled oats, 1 cup chopped roasted unsalted almonds, 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, 1/2 cup brown flaxseed meal, 3 TBSP coconut oil, 1/2 honey, 1/3 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 dried cranberries, 1/2 – 3/4 cup raisins, and optional 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350. line baking sheet with parchment paper.
toss oats, almonds, and coconut flakes on paper in pan and bake for 13 minutes until light brown.

lower oven temp to 300.

transfer mixture to bowl and add flax-seed meal.
add coconut oil, agave nectar, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt to small pot and bring to boil over med heat. cook for 1 minute longer and pour over oatmeal mixture.
add dates and optional chocolate chips.

pour mixture into the baking pan. wet your fingers and lightly press evenly in the pan. bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

cool in pan and cut with scissors or tear and store in air tight container for up to 4 days.

questions, contact thecookingtutor@aol.com

Cook- Free Summer Tomato Sauce

ImageIt makes me so happy to be able to make a wonderful pasta meal for my family that requires two main ingredients:  pasta and fresh tomatoes.

Please enjoy and share the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb uncooked fettucine
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup Flower City Olive Oil – “Meyer Lemon Olive Oil” or your favorite extra virgin olive oil.
  • handful of freshly chopped basil
  • 5 springs of freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  While pasta is cooking, half your tomatoes and squeeze the juice from them.  Then simply chop the tomatoes up and place them into the bowl with the tomato juice.  Add about 1/2 tsp of salt to the tomato mix, the olive oil, herbs and lemon juice.  Add pasta when cooked.  

Finally, grate cheese according to your liking.

Can be served at room temperature.

 

Enjoy.

Happy August!!!!!!!

The Cooking Tutor Visits The Village Bakery, Pittsford, NY

At 4 am this morning, while still dark out, we made our way to meet with Paul Mack, Head Baker at The Village Bakery in Pittsford, NY. He had already been there since 9:30pm. Fridays are the busiest days of the week, using 1500 lbs of flour today alone. The Bakery is known for its artisan breads and pastries, serving its customers as well as Black & Blue, Jojo’s, Trata, Marché Culinary Catering Events, as well as Rochester area Country Clubs, and Wholesale Accounts. Paul has 13 years of baking experience, and was trained in Europe at Eataly Torino to use “mother leaven” or natural yeast. Mack is a modest and humble man, but in doing some research, I discovered that prior to coming to the Village Bakery, Business Insider reported in January 2013 him as head baker at Eataly and was one of the first employees hired at Eataly where he oversaw a team of 7 bakers, making 34 different types of bread. At Eataly, natural yeast is used 100 percent of the time to produce 5000 loaves a day, 364 days a year out of a wood burning oven, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He recently moved to Rochester with his family to be closer to extended family.
Entering into Mack’s kitchen felt very much like going on the set of a Cooking Show. Bakers suited up in uniforms at a large butcher block table, breads lining the racks, dough rising on trays, and breakfast pastries ready to go out. There were mixers, an 8 decked oven, stacked bags of flour, and large refrigerators opening and closing.
Each loaf looks different. Each loaf is beautiful. It was interesting to learn about the difference between natural yeast and commercial yeast. Instead of using a commercial yeast, Mack shared that he brought natural yeast to the Bakery. It is 100 year old natural yeast from the Piedmontese Region of Italy. “She”, he refers to as the yeast, has evolved over the years being in America; it is yeast and bacteria which live symbiotically together and the yeast will eat the simple sugars in the flour, so the flour is starch that is converted into complex sugar and a simple sugar through fermentation. The yeast will eat the simple sugars in the flour, and give off carbon dioxide, alcohol, ethanol, and 12 other inner ingredients which are a by product. The lactic acid or lactic bacteria will take the complex sugars and break it down over a long slow process. Thats why when a natural yeast (starter) is used or sour dough starter – all the breads need to retard in the fridge or over an extended period of time. That bacteria will break down the complex sugars and gives off the carbon dioxide, the alcohol and ethanol, and lactic acid. Depending the age of the “mother” – the starter depending on how you feed it – if it is more liquid or more stiff, lots of different variables – will determine the sourness or sweetness of the bread. The stiffer the starter, (will have more flour)the more sour it will become. The less the stiffness, the more sweet the bread. If they are baked when slightly chilled, will have more acid – more sour loaf, baking it when warmed up will give a sweeter loaf. Mack said he can use the same loaf and give 8 different flavored loaves. Being able to understand the natural yeast and how the baker can affect the flavor depending on how the yeast is worked.
Mack’s loaves can stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature. Natural yeast is like a natural preservative. The more sour a loaf is, the softer the gluten structure. The sourness of the loaf will keep the loaf fresh with no preservatives unrefrigerated. In fact, he instructs the counter to tell customers to allow bread to sit out and to cut off the stale end and eat the rest each day. The sourness will over time still continue to break down the gluten and make the bread softer.
It was so fascinating learning about natural versus commercial yeast, sourness and sweetness of breads depending on the stiffness of the starter, techniques for producing different types of bread, but besides all of this, is a man who loves his product. Many of the loaves are handscored on the tops and are truly beautiful to the eye. NY Magazine recently quoted Mack as saying “the simplest things are often the best”. His work, his bread is simple and beautiful.

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