Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 The Year Ahead & Gluten-Free Lemon and Cranberry Scones

I like lists.  I have lists of books to read, movies to see, stacks and stacks of recipes to try, exercises to do in the morning, hikes to take, far off places to visit, and ....

I don't often refer back to them other than to occasionally cross off one or two that I may have finished.  However, this list is different.  This is my life list.  Or at least the many things that I want to do, accomplish, embrace and become this year.

1. Be authentic. Be me.
2. No doormats here. Practice loving assertiveness.
3. Love with all my heart and without expectations.
4. Slow down. Tell stories. Express myself.
5. Ask more why questions.
6. Be kind even in the face of unkindness.
7. Write more.
8. Dream. Set goals. Live.
9. Practice acceptance.
10. Go somewhere that inspires me for my 40th.
11. Love, honor and nurture my body.  Practice health in all the realms.
12. Let go.
13. Continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
14. Cook and bake more.
15. Embrace my creativeness (or serious lack thereof).
16. Learn to play guitar.
17. Go back to school with purpose and gusto.
18. In ceramics class, create more and perhaps socialize less.
19. Take more pictures.  Capture moments.
20. It is always my choice.
21. Learn to ride the waves.
22. "...be willing to let go of the life we have planned ... to have the life that is waiting for us."
23. Embrace the present.
24. Be brave.
25. Run trails. Hike more.
26. Practice yoga.
27. Meditate.
28. See Gary Allan, Eric Church and Lady A in concert.
29. See more sunrises.
30. Go camping every month.
31. Run the LJ 1/2 marathon...for the 2nd time.
32. Believe in hope.

Working on #14 first, I made scones to take to ceramic class on Saturday.  As I tasted one, I realized that I should have two different gluten-free flour mixes.  One for sweet things and another for savory things.  My current gluten-free flour mix worked well in the Black & Tan Brownies (see previous post) because of the rich, dark chocolate flavors.  However, the gluten-free flour mix did not work as well for the light, citrus notes of the scones.  So it is back to the drawing board.

Scones ready for the oven.

Lemon and Cranberry Scones
from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon zest
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (see previous post for my g-f whole grain mix)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, butter and zest until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, then transfer to a bowl.
3. In a small bowl, whisk egg and yolk together, then stir in cream.  Add egg mixture and dried cranberries to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
4. On a piece of floured wax paper, pat dough into 1 inch thick and 8 inch round.  Then with a small juice glass dipped in flour, cut out 2 inch rounds and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Black & Tan Brownies for Tami's 40th

Tomorrow is a big day.  My good friend Tami turns 4-0!  Happy Birthday to you!

My amazing and beautiful friend Tami
Her birthday falls during the time of year where many of us (myself included) are taking stock of our life and making lists.  I've come across several of those "lists" the last couple of days.  One of them speaks of friendships.  Keep people in your life who truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, enhance you, and make you happy.  For me, Tami is one of those people.  A keeper.

Friends and brownies.
Tami somehow knows when to call me and really ask, "Hey, how are you?" as she listens intently to me as I go on and on ... oh and on about this and that.  I hear her on the other end of the line ... smiling and I feel my shoulders relax and whatever was my "on" for the moment becomes insignificant and we share a good laugh.

To you my dear friend, I hope this 40th year is a special and wonderful year for you.  You are a treasure and I hold our friendship close to my heart.

Black and Tan Brownies
Modified from Cooking Light, March 2010

Tan Brownies
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.5 ozs. gluten-free flour mix (I followed Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef's whole grain flour mix ratio and used * see below)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Black Brownies
3 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Guinness Stout
4.5 ozs. gluten-free flour mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
Good looking ingredients: beer and chocolate.
1.  Preheat oven to 350° and lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Start with making the tan brownies by placing the softened butter and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in eggs, one at a time then stir in vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and beat until combined, fold in pecans.
5. Pour tan brownie mix into pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
6.  While tan brownies are baking, start making the black brownies by melting chocolate and butter in a small microwave safe bowl.
7. Add granulated sugar and stir to combine.
8. Add eggs, vanilla and Guinness and stir with a whisk to combine.
9. Add flour and salt, stir to combine.
10. Pour black brownie mixture over tan brownies and bake for an additional 25 minutes or so.
11.  Cool in pan on a wire rack then cut into squares.
Black & Tan Brownies.
* AB's Whole Grain Flour Mix
300 grams each of quinoa flour, amaranth flour, and brown rice flour
150 grams each of potato starch and tapioca  flour

1.  Set large plastic container on a kitchen scale and hit tare, then add first flour until scale reaches 300g, then start adding the second flour until the scale reaches 600g, you're following me right?
2.  Seal and shake to combine flours.
A little Guinness left over for me.