Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake Cupcakes

Gluten free blueberry cake cupcakes
Love blueberry cake? Here's my cupcake version.

Just in time for July Fourth, here's a sweet little recipe for blueberry cake cupcakes. I know that's redundant- calling it a blueberry cake cupcake. I mean, how can a blueberry cake be a cupcake too? It's either cake or cupcake. It can't be both.

Or can it?

Continue reading

Margaritas, anyone?

Go ahead, have a few! Guaranteed hangover-free! :)
To make the margarita cookies:
  • Using a #2 tip, outline the cup and stem of the margarita glass in white.
  • Using a #2 tip, pipe a lime rind on one corner of the glass. (AmeriColor Leaf Green)
  • Thin both white and light green icing with water until they reach the consistency of syrup, cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes (AmeriColor Leaf Green).
  • Stir the green icing gently with a rubber spatula to break any bubbles on the surface and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
  • Fill in the majority of the glass with green flood icing to just underneath the rim of the glass.
  • Fill in the lime wedge.
  • Stir and transfer white icing to a squeeze bottle. Fill in the top of the glass with white (touching the green), making a somewhat wavy line. for a frosty glass look.
  • Fill in the stem of the glass in white.
  • Let dry overnight.
  • Using warmed corn syrup or a mixture of meringue powder and water, paint a line across the top piping on the glass with a small paintbrush.
  • Sprinkle with clear sparkling or sanding sugar to make the salted rim. Shake off any excess.

Mediterranean Fish in Foil Packets- with Rice

 Easy grilled fish in foil- perfect for summer

This easy as 1, 2, 3 recipe has been a summer family staple since I was a blushing bride, learning to grill fish. We won't talk about how many years ago that was, Dear Reader. I mean, the blushing bridal part. Let's just say my oldest son is 26 and leave it at that.

So, you may ask- if you're a blushing bride yourself- how do you grill a slab of fresh fish and veggies all at once and have it turn out so tender and flaky and savory that your newly minted partner for life will turn to you and whisper, I knew I married the right girl? Or boy (I make no assumptions around here, goddess forbid). Well, here's a little secret I learned way back when. Back before cooking blogs and Food TV and Jamie Oliver. I learned it from a woman who liked my paintings. This is the only way to make fish, she told me. Trust me.

I trust you, I answered. Now tell me your secret.

Foil, she said. And onions, garlic and tomatoes. It's a Mediterranean style fish- not the typical butter and Ritz cracker crumbs you get around here (we were living on Cape Cod at the time). This is the real thing, she continued. Real food. Big flavor. You'll love it!

And she was right.

Here's my easy version of Mediterranean fish- grilled (or baked) with spinach, tomatoes, onions and garlic. I also added balsamic vinegar and fresh chopped herbs.

Easy Mediterranean Fish Recipe in Foil Packets- Serve with Rice

The fish I used this time was halibut. But any hefty white fish will do- cod, haddock, tilapia, or orange roughy would all be brilliant.

4 serving size fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry (about 1 1/2 pounds)
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper
8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 red or sweet yellow onions, cut into pieces
4 cups baby spinach leaves- or chopped spinach
8 plum or Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

Fire up the grill to medium high heat. If you are cooking indoors, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil and place it on a large platter or tray.

Lay the fish fillets in the center, in a single layer. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fillets. Season with sea salt and fresh pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, onion, baby spinach and tomatoes. Add the balsamic vinegar, fresh chopped herbs, red pepper flakes and toss to mix. Drizzle with enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten it all. Season with a little sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Tear off a second sheet of foil the same size as the bottom sheet.

Turn up all the edges of the bottom sheet a bit to catch any liquid that runs to the edge.

Spoon the spinach-tomato mixture on top of the fish. Drizzle on any remaining olive oil left in the bowl.

Lay the second piece of foil on top of the fish and veggies and crimp the foil closed all around the edges to make a large packet.

Carry the packet with the platter or tray to the grill and carefully transfer the packet to the preheated grill. Cover the grill and cook until the fish is done- about 20 minutes or so- depending on the thickness of the fillet, and how hot your fire is. The fish should flake easily with a fork, and appear opaque.

Serve with hot cooked rice. I served mine with my tasty Spanish Brown Rice Bake recipe.

Karina's Note for Gluten-Free Folks:

This is a safe way for those with celiac disease or food allergies to eat at pot luck barbecues and picnics. Bring your own packets! Make single individual packets for each person to make it easy to share the grill with no danger of cross contamination.

More (Fabulous!) Summer Grill Recipes From Food Bloggers:

Kalyn's Kitchen: Grilled Salmon with Asian Dipping Sauce
Cooking with Amy's Shrimp and Mango Kebabs
Food Blogga's Grilled Watermelon
Gluten-Free Bay's Grilled Chipotle Lime Chicken

Sweet Swimmer

A sweet surprise for swim coaches or a snack at the meet....

  • With a #2 tip, pipe the outline of hair on the cookie in brown. (Spectrum Chocolate Brown)
  • Using a #1 tip, pipe lenses of the goggles on the face in gray. (Spectrum Super Black)
  • With a #2 tip, pipe the face outline in fleshtone, meeting with the hair outline. (AmeriColor Fleshtone/Copper)
  • Thin brown, fleshtone and gray icings to the consistency of syrup. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit several minutes. Stir gently to pop bubbles that have formed on top.
  • Pour brown into a squeeze bottle and fill in hair. Use a toothpick to coax the icing into all corners and to edges.
  • Follow the same instructions with the gray icing and fill in goggles.
  • Follow the same instructions with the fleshtone icing and fill in the face.
  • Let dry at least 1 hour.
  • Again using the #2 tip and brown icing, pipe hair detail, going back over the outside outline as well.
  • Using a #1 tip, go over outline of goggles and add a nose piece.
  • Using a #2 tip, add goggle straps in red. (AmeriColor Super Red)
  • Change red icing bag to a #1 tip and pipe smile.
  • Mix a little silver lustre (luster) dust with vodka. (The vodka will evaporate.)
  • Using a small paintbrush, apply silver to the goggle lenses.

Brown Rice Tortilla Chips- It's Easy To Make Your Own

Gluten-free tortilla chips made from brown rice tortillas.

Take a gander at these golden crispy brown rice tortilla chips. I managed to eat the whole bowl, still slightly warm from the skillet.

Are you a salty crunchy snack person, or a sweet and creamy snack person? It's an easy question for me. I can answer it in my sleep. While dancing backwards blindfolded one hand tied behind my back (don't try this at home). Or even while insanely preoccupied attempting to balance my checkbook.

Wait. That's not true. I never balance my checkbook. I haven't in twenty years (does that count as never, or only mostly never?).

Continue reading

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Summer strawberries make sweet and tender muffins.

My latest vegan muffin recipe is a tender, fragrant strawberry banana treat. And they just so happen to be wheat-free, dairy-free and egg-free.

June is sexy gorgeous here in northern New Mexico. The sun is just the right amount of hot. The sky is flawless cobalt blue. The morning shade is deliciously cool. The mockingbirds sing their magic in the junipers. And the strawberries at the market are drop dead ripe. If fruit is love, it must be a strawberry- red and juicy and flirtatious.

And if I was so inclined I would wax voluptuous, like a cheap romance novel. I would detail every lip licking moment in my big strawberry love. How I crush and whip them into smoothies. Churn them into dairy-free sherbet. Bake them into golden scones. Macerate them in orange infused liqueur. And stir them slowly into sticky banana muffin batter.

In fact, I would flaunt my muffins.
Continue reading

For June brides...

With this simple tiered cake cookie cutter, the possibilities are really endless. Don't limit yourself to just wedding cookies, this makes a perfect birthday cookie, too. Over the years, I've probably used this cutter and my scalloped square cutter the most.

The edge on this cookie was finished in gold lustre dust.
This "squiggle cake" is a really simple design and still one of my absolute favorites! Here's how to make them:
  • Outline cookies in white royal icing, using a #2 or #3 tip.
  • Thin icing with water to the consistency of syrup. Let sit for several minutes covered with a damp dishtowel. Use a rubber spatula and run through the icing after sitting to break most of the air bubbles that have risen to the top. Pour this into a squeeze bottle.
  • Fill in cookies with the thinned flood icing, using a toothpick to guide into corners.
  • Let dry at least 1 hour.
  • Using a #1 or #2 tip (these cookies were piped with a #2, look at the top pic for #1 tip example), squeeze piping icing in a free-form squiggle pattern. (Be sure on this design to fill your piping bag no more than half full....any more and your hand will start to hurt and's a lot of squeezing!) :)
  • Ta-da! Place in a bag and tie with coordinating ribbon.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Crisp

Gluten-free blueberry crisp, Baby.

I've had more than a few requests this week for berry crisp and cobbler recipes, so I thought I'd reprise one of my favorite simple desserts- a berry crisp. I used blueberries in this recipe, but any combination of berries will work- try blackberries and raspberries. Toss in some strawberries. Make a mix of all four. It's all good.

Although fresh berries are lip-smacking wonderful in this crisp (and now is the time of year, after all, for fresh berry picking), frozen wild blueberries aren't terrible. They'll work. Do what you gotta do I always say.

Whatever gets you through.

As for me, it's been a busy week. And I have good news. My latest hip x-ray shows stability and healing. Those titanium spare parts of mine have been behaving. They're staying put. I'm now allowed to be a tad more adventurous! Translation? More walking. No bungee jumping, though. Those carefree bungee jumping days are over, My Darlings.

Oh wait. I never did any bungee jumping.

I'm not the bungee jumping type. I'm more like a wander on the beach picking up stones type. A bookstore browsing type. A lost in my thoughts thinking about colors and words type. I've never had an urge to strap on a helmet and hurl myself off a bridge, come to think of it. Well. Maybe that one time. On my first honeymoon when I woke up and thought, Uh oh. But I digress.

Let's get back to blueberries.

Continue reading

Cookies for soldiers: part 2

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to make cookies for the soldiers for Father's Day! Here's a peek at our contribution. I figured decorated cookies weren't going to make it traveling all those miles, so we made checkerboard cookies and peanut butter cookies.
I wanted to send something chocolate, but thought that chocolate chips might be a mess, so I decided on these checkerboard cookies made with vanilla and chocolate dough. The recipe and instructions come from The King Arthur Cookie Companion. The cookies aren't hard to make, they just take a little time. There is a lot of cutting (my bench scraper worked best for this) and stacking, but a lot of the time is letting them rest in the freezer between cuts.
This has to be my favorite part of the package. I asked my son to make a Father's Day card or picture for the soldiers and this is what he can up with. You can see what constitutes a celebration in our house...cookies & beer! :) I know his grandfather is so proud!

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies (this is a great recipe for cookies in a hurry, you probably have these items on hand):
adapted from The King Arthur Cookie Companion

1 c peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, not low-fat or natural)

1 lg egg

1 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchment. Beat together all ingredients until smooth. Drop by the teaspoonful into baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until cookies appear set. Cool on the pan 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

(The recipe states this makes 4 dozen; I got exactly 26 out of each batch.)

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Sherbet- A Dairy-Free Vegan Recipe

Ripe strawberries make delicious non-dairy sherbet

Now is the perfect time for a sherbet recipe. Why? Because June is lush and abundant in strawberries. And how do I love these sweet ruby gems? Any way I can get 'em. Popped into my mouth straight from the colander. Rolled in brown sugar and nibbled. Baked into scones (have you tried my Strawberry Chocolate Chip Scones recipe?) and berry studded banana muffins. Nestled into Balsamic Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. Macerated in Patron Citronge

And this week- transformed into a bliss inducing non-dairy frozen confection.

Sherbet- berry pink and creamy and just sweet enough. Studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips. (All right, I confess. I love strawberries and chocolate and I commingle the two every chance I get.)

I hope you dig it.

Continue reading