Nothing beats a Pennsylvania Whoopie Pie!

Monica says:

Spring has sprung and it’s my sister Dina’s birthday!

Time to party!

Since we all have grown children, my sisters and I have time now to get together and celebrate each other’s big day. It has really become a great bonding experience for us, not to mention the great food that accompanies the celebration!

This year all I can think of is chocolate!

So I was reminded of a segment on our local television station many years ago, where a talented local chef was featured baking a gluten-free cake.

I sat there riveted with pen and paper in hand, writing down her recipe to try and replicate it someday.

Well, this talented young woman, Jen Yemola, went on to become one of the final three contestants in the 2007 Hell’s Kitchen competition with Chef Ramsey!

Here is a link to an interview that I found online regarding her experiences on the show…

http://www.fansofrealitytv.com/forums/official-articles/66324-hells-kitchen-3-interview-jen-i-wasn-t-going-anybody-s-doormat.html

I’ve made this cake several times over the years, and one time in particular stands out….this creation was brought to school with me for a birthday celebration and one of my carpool buddies, upon tasting it said, “Is it bad manners to want to lick the plate after eating this?”

For Dina’s birthday, I decided to make whoopie pies (since I bought the pans a while ago) and I wanted to make a peanut butter filling for them….we all LOVE the combination of chocolate and peanut butter in our family!

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So without further ado….here is the recipe I transcribed!

Thank you, Jen!

Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies or Cake

Dry Ingredients

1 ½ cups sorghum flour

1 ½ cups tapioca flour

1 cup Dutch cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 ½ tsp salt

2 cups brown sugar

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs

1 cup 1% milk (I used Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk)

2 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup veggie oil

1 ½ cups HOT coffee (I used instant dark roast)

Directions

Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients together. (If using a stand mixer, mix with paddle attachment at speed 2).

Now whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Add in vanilla and veggie oil and whisk again.

Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry.

Let the mix get a little tough and then SLOWLY add in the 1 ½ cups of HOT coffee until well combined.

Using whoopie pie pans, fill each one 2/3 of the way (mine are Wilton and didn’t need to be sprayed with Pam!).

Bake @ 325˚ for 10 minutes, turning the pans around after 5 minutes.

Cool on wire rack and remove from pans after 5 minutes.

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Yield: 14 whoopie pies or 28 individual cakes; can be made in a 9” x 13” pan as well (use parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray).

© Recipe by Jen Yemola of Jentastic Sweets

We were pleasantly surprised this year by the addition of our sweet Ava (granddaughter of my sister Lucia) and her hubby, Neil, who joined in the celebration!

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And did I mention that Dina received a whoopie cushion to keep with the theme of the party?

Yes, we love to have fun!!

Hope you try this moist, rich, decadent recipe…it’s a keeper!!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

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Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Monica says:

When Daria was a little girl, she always wanted to BE Irish!

It was so hard to explain to her that this was not something that was going to ever happen…

We always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and one year, two of my students (sisters) introduced her to Irish step dancing and a star was born! We quickly became involved in the world of competition and traveled to places that we had not seen. It was fun and certainly great exercise for her!

Daria says:

Even though I always loved my heritage (Croatian, Polish, Italian) there was just something always intriguing about being Irish! Not necessarily the beer or the food, but the green eyes, red hair, and intricate Celtic designs

I loved watching Lord of the Dance and was determined to try it out someday. Then I met the Brown sisters – Breighann and Mallory….next thing I know I am going to lessons every Sunday night and LOVING it!

We performed and competed and I LOVED every minute of it!

The little CroPoTalian jigged her way to the top and beat all of the little Irish girls….14 first places and one silver!

I still have my ghillies!

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Monica and Daria say:

The one thing that we baked every St. Patrick’s Day was Irish Soda Bread. And yes, it was full of gluten and made us feel ill (like everything else did).

So here is a gluten-free version of a great soda bread…hope you try it and enjoy!

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Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 350˚ and spray a 9-inch springform pan with Pam (non-stick cooking spray).

Cut a piece of parchment into a round to cover bottom of pan. Spray parchment on it, too!

Dry Ingredients

3 ½ cups of brown rice flour

¼ cup Arrowroot Starch

5 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients

2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter

2 large organic eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups of buttermilk (you can use unsweetened Almond Vanilla Milk OR Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk with 2 tsp lemon juice added to either; your choice!)

Splash of pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups raisins

Directions

Whisk all dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream butter, eggs and sugar for a minute or so until fluffy (if using a stand mixer, on medium; if using a handheld mixer, on high).

Place one-half of the dry mixture into the mixer and combine on low speed.

Next, add the buttermilk mixture and vanilla and stir until well combined.

Now add the remaining dry mixture. Stir to combine.

Add raisins. Stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread, comes out clean (ours took 1 hour and 20 minutes and started to get very brown on top so we placed aluminum foil on top at about 1 hour baking time).

When bread is done and ever so sweet-smelling, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove from the pan after about 5 minutes and let cool completely on rack.

 

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Serve with butter or your favorite topping or jelly!

Yum!

     whisks    © 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

It’s National Crab Day!

Monica and Daria say:

We just love when Lewie (hubby and daddy) cooks!

He is great in the kitchen…will try any recipe that looks intriguing and his food is always delightful!

We are very luck women!

In honor of crab day and since we posted our crab cakes in an earlier post, we wanted to share a crab soup or bisque that Lewie whipped up for a cold winter evening.

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This soup uses FRESH lump crab meat…that really makes the difference! The crab is so sweet and tender; it literally melts in your mouth!

So without further ado…

Crab Bisque

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cook time:  45 minutes

Servings:  6

INGREDIENTS

1 cup onion, minced

1 cup carrot, minced

21 ounces of chicken broth (we like College Inn low sodium in the box)

4 tablespoons GF arrowroot starch

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 cup cooking sherry

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like spicy!)

Fresh chives, minced (optional)

Pinch of kosher salt

1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat

 

DIRECTIONS

Sauté onion and carrot in 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Set aside.

In a 4-quart saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add arrowroot starch, whisking constantly over medium heat until roux becomes light brown (about 5 minutes). Make sure it doesn’t burn!

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking constantly to ensure mixture stays smooth.

Add onions and carrots, cover, and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Add cream, sherry, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and crab and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh minced chives if desired.

Note:  Adapted from a recipe on http://www.food.com

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Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

“Buh-bye” February!

Monica says:

As I begin writing this post, we are in the midst of yet another snow storm to be followed by ice…March is certainly carrying the bad weather forward!

I had a very busy end to February and luckily, it included some sun and a lot of fun!

Yes, my sister and I went to “The Sunshine State” of Florida to visit some wonderful friends and get some much needed rest and relaxation.

And even though Florida was experiencing some very cold weather, the last few days of our trip were in the 70s while our northern families and friends were in a deep freeze. So let’s just say we felt very blessed!

While visiting the Seminole/St. Petersburg area, I was able to find some gluten-free goodies! Here are a few of my finds!

Double Tree @ North Redington Beach had a gluten-free menu!

Turkey Reuben with roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut on toasted GF caraway seed bread! Accompanied with Strawberry Lemonade with beach umbrella….mandatory!

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Horiatiki Salad @ Hellas in Tarpon Springs….garden fresh tomato wedges, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, Greek olives, and feta cheese. I had mine with oil and vinegar to be safe.

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The “best Gyro in town” without the pita @ Hellas! A blend of lamb and beef, broiled….melted in my mouth with tzatziki sauce! Delightful!

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We had to go to Florida to find a Pizza Hut that carried gluten-free pizza….was a treat but didn’t have the taste I remember! I guess I was really missing that gluten-filled crust….oh well!

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A visit to the Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete was the best place yet! We could have wandered in this place all day! Everyone was hustling and bustling about….great fun!

Of course, I had to have dark chocolate gelato and look at these Italian salamis and pepperonis!

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February ended on a very high note when Lewie and I attended the wedding of our dear friends’ son, Ian who married his high school sweetheart, Sarah. Lewie and I (also high school sweethearts) celebrated our own wedding anniversary just a week prior and were so happy to be invited to this celebration! And the weather cooperated!

Ian’s mom, Dori, and I first met when I was hired as an elementary librarian at a school district in the Poconos where her children attended school. She was hired as my library assistant and our friendship was cemented right off the bat! We had so much in common and have been close ever since….19 years and counting!

Later, when I transferred to the high school, I was again connected with Dori’s children….just loved having them!

Luckily our husbands are good friends too….Mike and Lewie have a lot in common as well….both LOVE food and are great cooks! Lucky us….although we aren’t too bad in the kitchen, either!

Anyway, Ian and Sarah chose what proved to be the absolute best place to have their wedding reception….The Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey.  It was stunning in every way!

The food was phenomenal….by far, the best wedding reception food we’ve ever eaten! It truly did not taste like mass-produced food at all….it was fine dining!

And even if I couldn’t eat some of it…I admired the smells and beautiful presentation of the appetizers, the drinks, the salads, the entrées, etc.

To say that we were “stuffed” is an understatement! You just couldn’t help yourself….so much to eat and so little time!

Thank goodness for the wonderful DJ and dancing!

The evening began with appetizers too numerous to recount but here are a few of my gluten-free favorites!

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Our dinner was a Mediterranean dream….the wait staff asked you to choose your salad, pasta, and entrée.  I did not choose pasta for obvious reasons, but here are my other choices.

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And c’mon…..how about this dessert table?

Italian zeppole (doughnuts), wedding cake that tasted like strawberry shortcake (or so I was told by Lewie), Italian cookies, fruit, and coffee (with your choice of liquor) that was so pretty, you just didn’t want to drink it…but I was told it was incredible! Even though I could only choose fruit, it was delicious and satisfying!

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Let’s face it…there’s nothing like an Italian wedding! If you’ve never been to one….I hope you get invited to one of these amazing celebrations!

Just love this picture of Mike, Sarah, Ian, and Dori!

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Much happiness for Ian and Sarah!

Thank you for letting us share this glorious day with you!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk