Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Scones

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blog, Recipes

 

Cherries are the ultimate in Summer fruit – sweet, tart, crisp, and easy to eat at the beach. Try as I may to ration out cherries for future days or future food projects, I almost always down them all in one sitting because they are Too good! Those who know me know I really struggle with self-control of my favorite foods. These days, those favorites are cherries, chocolate, and almonds. Lucky for you, I’ve married my favorite ingredients into some delicious gluten-free and egg-free scones!

After having to go gluten-free, I thought my scone-eating days were over… until now. These scones are a cross between a traditional scone and a very thick and chewy cookie and are made with almond, tapioca and oat flour. I make my own oat flour by blitzing quick oats in a blender, but you can also buy bags of oat flour (I like this one from Bob’s Red Mill).

The key to getting the consistency right with these scones lies in the butter. I add small cold chunks of butter to the dough and smash them with a fork into the flour. The goal is to have the chunks of butter mixed throughout the dough, but also have some small pockets of butter interspersed throughout the dough to keep it moist while baking. I also save a portion of the flour mixture to the end to add in to provide a little more texture. If your dough feels too wet to mold and form, add a little more almond flour. The scones are topped with a sweet vanilla icing drizzle, but feel free to taste a small amount of the dough before it goes into the oven (since this recipe is egg-free!) and add more sugar or flavoring if you’d like.

Chocolate Cherry Scones

Ingredients:

For the Scones–

  • 1 ¾ cup Almond Flour
  • ¼ cup Tapioca Flour
  • ½ cup Oat Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • scant ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ cup Full Fat Milk (I used Coconut Milk)
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Cold Butter, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cup pitted Cherries, cut into quarters
  • 1 oz. Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped (about 4 squares of a good quality chocolate bar)
  • ½ Tbsp. Butter
  • Coconut Sugar for dusting

For the Icing–

  • ⅓ cup Powdered Sugar
  • Full Fat Milk to thin
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

 

Instructions:

Mix the tapioca flour, ¼ cup of the oat flour, salt, coconut sugar, baking powder and 1 + 1/4 cup of almond flour in a large bowl. Slowly add in a few cold butter chunks at a time and smash the chunks with the back of a fork. You want there to still be some small flecks of butter in the dough, but have the butter be crushed enough so it’s somewhat mixed into the dough. Mix in the maple syrup, milk, and vanilla extract with a fork until the wet ingredients are mostly combined. Next add the remaining almond and oat flour, gently mixing it into the dough. Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chunks.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment. Gently pick up the dough and place on the parchment. Flatten the dough slightly and mold it into a circular shape so the dough has a thickness of ¾-1”. Slice the scones into 8 wedges and separate the scones on the baking sheet so they are no longer touching. Brush the top and sides of each scone with a little melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the scones in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees. The tops of the scones should be slightly browned with a browned bottom. Remove the scones from the pan and allow them to cool.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a medium bowl and slowly drizzle in milk 1 teaspoon at a time and mix with a spoon. When the glaze is thin enough to drizzle with a spoon, drizzle the icing over the scones in whatever pattern you desire. Top with chopped chocolate!

Stewed Green Beans with Buttery Rice Pilaf

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Recipes

An Armenian whose family moved to France to escape the Armenian genocide, my grandmother immigrated to the states when she was eighteen years old. While she was truly as American as could be in many ways, she impressed me constantly with the amazing Armenian food she would make for us when we visited her. She lived next door to her sister, and they would spend many days preparing all sorts of delicious foods that surprised and excited my eyes and taste buds. I wish I had developed my cooking bug earlier on in life and recorded all of her amazing recipes while she was with us, but here I am today trying to recreate food just the way she did.

Every February of my childhood, my parents and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Florida to see her and my grandfather. My father prided himself on being able to make the car drive from Long Island to Florida with little to no stopping in between, so it was an understatement to say we were all tired when we arrived at my grandparents’ little home. We would enter their home and be welcomed with aromas of garlic, tomatoes cooking, and lots of fresh herbs. One of my favorite dishes she always had waiting was a stewed green bean dish that was served over buttery rice pilaf. When she created this dish during our visit, she’d occupy me by snapping the tops off of green beans, which I think helped contribute to my love for food and cooking.

It’s a great idea to make this dish in the summer when green beans and tomatoes are in season. Green beans are great sources of Vitamin C and fiber, and a good option for a low carb vegetable. Look for green beans that are bright green and crisp when you snap them. Use whatever tomatoes you can find or grow locally, and feel free to use homemade crushed tomatoes for this dish. This dish is excellent hot, cold, or at room temperature and is even better the next day.

Tomato Stewed Green Beans over Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

For the Green Beans:

  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1.5 lbs. Green Beans
  • 2 large Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
  • ½ cup Water or Chicken Broth
  • Juice from 2 Lemons
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Coriander
  • 1.5 tsp. Salt (or more to taste)
  • Handful of Parsley, chopped

For the Pilaf:

  • 1 cup White Jasmine Rice
  • ½ small Onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1.5 cups Water or Chicken Broth

Instructions

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Chop the red onion and add to the pot, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and soft. While the onion is cooking, snap or cut the ends off of the green beans and mince the garlic. Add the minced garlic to the pot and stir for just a minute, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.

Next add the green beans and allow to cook in the pot for 1-2 minutes, until the green beans are coated with the olive oil mixture. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the crushed tomatoes, water or broth, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and salt. Mix everything together in the pot so that the cooking liquid covers or nearly covers the green beans. Reduce the heat on the stovetop to medium low, cover the pot, and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. After this time, remove the lid and toss the green beans with tongs to mix everything together. Continue to cook the green beans uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid the green beans are cooking in reduces and thickens. Taste the green beans and add additional salt to taste. Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the chopped parsley.

To make the pilaf, add the butter and chopped onion to a pot over medium heat. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the rice and stir to coat it in the butter. Allow the rice to toast in the pot for about a minute, but continue mixing occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn. Add the liquid to the pot and once the liquid begins to bubble, reduce the heat and cover the post for about 12-15 minutes. Once all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is flurry, remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before removing the lid. Serve the green beans over the rice pilaf.

Zucchini Rollatini

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blog

Summer in my family always means a lot (and I mean a lot) of zucchini. Every Summer, my father plants three zucchini plants that grow into monsters with minds of their own, taking over the garden with their leaves the size of dinner plates. As a kid, I remember trying to be diligent about picking them when they were small and tender, about 6 inches long, but often times we would miss a few zucchini that would hide alongside the cucumber plants until they were over a foot long. This forced my mother to get creative with the ways she could prepare the squash – ratatouille, stuffed zucchini, zucchini bread, fried zucchini, and more. I look back at this time and am so impressed by my mother’s creativity and resourcefulness. She saw the overabundance she had and worked to feed her family with what the garden supplied, and then made large portions of meals to freeze for later.

As an adult, I now follow in my mother’s footsteps to prepare meals with the abundance that is given to me. After finding the remaining jar of my homemade marinara sauce in the freezer from last Summer’s tomatoes and seeing my parents’ garden, this zucchini rollatini was born. While I’ve made many eggplant rollatini dishes in my past and stuffed the eggplant slices with ricotta cheese, these zucchini slices are stuffed with a ground chicken and herb mixture. To prevent the zucchini from becoming watery and soggy, the filling is thickened with a bit of rice flour, and the rolls are topped with tomato sauce after baking, instead of baking the rolls in the sauce. I had the best luck using zucchini that were about 8 inches long, and a little thicker than average so I could easily cut wide strips. The cheese in the filling is completely optional – I’ve made this dish with and without and both worked well. After the zucchini rolls come out of the oven, top them with your favorite marinara or tomato sauce.

Summer Zucchini Rollatini

Ingredients:

3 medium Zucchini
1 lb. Ground Chicken
¼ cup. Olive Oil, divided
½ tsp. Sea Salt
½ tsp. Dried Oregano
¼ cup packed Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley
1 small Red Onion, diced
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Rice Flour (or Corn Starch)
1 large Egg
¼-½ cup coarsely grated fresh Mozzarella (optional)
1-2 cups of your favorite Marinara or Tomato Sauce

Instructions:

Cut the ends off of the zucchini and slice each lengthwise into ¼” slices. Rub them in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and lay them on a parchment covered baking sheet, keeping them in a single layer. Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes on each side, or until the slices are pliable and can be rolled, but not too soft. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.

In a pan or small dutch oven, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute until the garlic begins to turn fragrant, then add in the chicken. Stir the chicken frequently, continually turning the ground meat so that all sides cook and so that any water released can cook out and evaporate.

Add the dried oregano and sea salt and continue to stir until the chicken is no longer pink and nearly cooked through. Add the rice flour to the chicken and stir until the flour is mixed throughout and any remaining cooking juices in the pan have begun to thicken. Once the chicken mixture begins to thicken, remove the meat from the heat, pour the mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg until mixed well, and add the egg to the chicken once the chicken is no longer hot. Mix the egg, parsley, and basil into the chicken mixture. Fold in the mozzarella to the chicken. If the mixture still looks a little soupy, add additional flour about ½ tsp.

In the center of each zucchini slice, place a small golf ball-sized amount of the chicken filling and carefully roll the slice so that the ends of the zucchini are tucked round and under the filling. Place the zucchini rolls end side down in a 9×9 inch square pan (or larger) until the pan is full. Bake the zucchini rolls at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Top rolls with your favorite sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella or Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired.