W is for Waffles- Quinoa Cocoa

We eat waffles often at our house. But rarely for breakfast. Too much fuss, too early in the bleary a.m. It is breakfast for dinner, or lunch. The waffles might be amaranth, buckwheat, corn, Montina, teff, or simply Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. I use whatever I have. I started all of this long ago, with a buttermilk wheat recipe and experimented with every single gluten free flour I could get my hands on. It has also proven to be a nice way to use up bits of leftover flour, all mixed up. Every combo, of this and that, has been eagerly eaten.

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photo by vsimon

The latest batches have gluten free and dairy free. Amazake works nicely, but it is expensive and hard to come by. Apple juice is a convenient and inexpensive solution. Gluten free, dairy free, both, any way, it is always a treat. Waffles with fruit and nuts is one of my very favorite meals.

Tuesday lunch in the garden

It was sunny and warm. Perfect for Quinoa Cocoa Waffles with chocolate syrup and raspberries picked from the back of our yard.

Sometimes I feel claustrophobic walking through our garden. The berry patch is huge, 30 feet by 15 feet. The canes reach to my shoulder and you must be careful not to inhale the clouds of mosquitoes that reside there. The amaranth is to my chin, just starting to bud. The pole bean tee-pees are seven feet tall and the vines are twirling together over the tops. Looking out over this lushness makes me feel rich. And peaceful. We have plenty, more than enough.

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pole-bean-tee-pees photo by vsimon

So the simple waffles just enhanced my contentment. A light crispy crunch, rich chocolate syrup, bright tangy berries. Chocolate for lunch, overlooking abundance, what could be better?

Quinoa Cocoa Waffles

serves 2 metric measures
2 tablespoons cocoa 12 g
7/8 cup quinoa flour 110 g
1 tablespoon sugar 15 g
1 teaspoon baking powder 4 g
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3 g
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apple juice
3 g
180 ml
1 egg 50 g
2 tablespoons oil 30 ml

Preheat waffle maker.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Put 2 tablespoons cocoa in a 1 cup dry measuring cup. Add quinoa flour to the top and level with a knife. You’ll have 7/8 of a cup of quinoa flour. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine well.

In a small bowl, whisk together apple juice, egg and oil.

Add juice mixture to quinoa flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Pour into the waffle maker and bake until the steam stops. Remove waffle from the maker and place right on the oven rack to keep crispy while the second waffle cooks.

Serve with your favorite chocolate syrup. I simply microwaved semisweet chocolate with some oil until it melted, for a super rich and low carb sauce.

These would be equally lovely with a peach sauce. What kind of waffles and sauce do you like best?

We are happy to submit this post to Andrea’s Recipes Grow Your Own recipe round up. GYO celebrates home grown foods, something we can all be proud of. Thanks Andrea for hosting!

U is for Upside Down Cake

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nectarine-red-plum-cornmeal-upside-down-cake photo by vsimon

There are not a lot of choices for food related words that start with the letter U. Utensil works, but upside down cake is more satisfying.

Today we stray from the classic pineapple and use stone fruits that are in season. Nectarine and Red Plum Cornmeal Upside Down Cake fits the bill.

Upside side down cake can be tricky. There is a moment of truth when you hope, hope, hope that the fruit will dislodge from the pan.

On my first try, every piece of fruit stuck in the pan. It was lovely, but it was in the pan, not on the cake. Frustrated, I peeled as much as I could off and replaced in on the cake. It looked rumpled instead of well groomed.

My husband suggested we make an upside up cake. That would sure be simpler. But I worried the fruit would shrivel and dry while the cake baked. I suggested parchment on the bottom of the pan. He suggested two pieces of parchment. Brilliant!

One piece stays in the pan, the other stays on top of the fruit, on top (what was the bottom) of the cake. It is easily peeled off and every bit of fruit stays neatly in its proper place.

This tip, my friend, is worth the price of admission. Which of course is free. Still, it is a lifesaver. You can use this technique with all kinds of upside down cake. Apple gingerbread, cherry almond, cranberry orange, pear walnut, whatever you like.

As a bonus, this cornmeal cake uses inexpensive ingredients, easily found in the regular grocery store.

Oh, and a bit of xanthan. You need to have that in your pantry anyway if you do any gluten free baking. It is not cheap to buy, but it is cheap to use. A little goes a long, long way.

This sunny cake has corn flour, not cornstarch. You can substitute masa harina with equal success. Cornmeal gives it a rustic feel and a bit of crunch. It is tender, but not crumbly. And not too sweet. You can increase the sugar if you prefer your treats quite sweet.

It also works as a gluten free, dairy free dessert. Apple juice works great and adds a bit more sweetness. Or use milk if you prefer it.

Nectarine and Red Plum Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

Make this cake while dinner cooks and enjoy it warm for dessert.

serves 12 metric measures
1-1/2 cups corn flour or masa harina     275 grams
1/2 cup cornmeal                              90 grams
2/3 cup sugar, divided use 150 grams
2 tsp baking powder 6 grams
1 tsp salt 6 grams
1/2 tsp xanthan 2 grams
2 eggs 100 grams
1-1/4 cups apple juice or milk 300 ml
1/2 cup oil 120 ml
2 firm nectarines 375 grams
1 firm red plum 50 grams
1 tablespoon of lemon juice 15 ml

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, blend corn flour, cornmeal, ½ cup of sugar (115 grams), baking powder, salt, and xanthan.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, apple juice or milk, and oil.

Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until all the lumps disappear. Set aside.

Put a 9” cake pan on a piece of parchment and trace a pencil around the bottom. Cut inside the line so the parchment just fits inside the bottom of the pan. Repeat so you have two pieces. Lay them both on the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, slice the nectarines and plums. Drizzle with the lemon juice and the remaining sugar. Artfully arrange the fruit on top of the parchment. Or put it in a jumble if you like it really rustic.

Pour the batter over the fruit and level with a knife.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

Inserting a cake tester or thin knife into the cake is not a reliable way to see if this cake is done. Uncooked batter may not cling to them. The cake is done when it is a bit golden on the top and there are small cracks in the middle as well as around the edges.

I have given a pretty wide range of cooking times. Since we cook many homes, I know many ovens do not reach the temperature on the dial. Some are hotter, some are cooler. Check the cake at 45 minutes and let it go longer if needed. After you make this once or twice, you will have a better feel for how long it takes in your oven.

Allow the cake to stand for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan. Put a platter over the top of the pan and turn the whole assemblage  upside down. Never fear, it will come out intact!! With all the fruit in its place, on the cake. That is enough to make anyone smile. 🙂

Simply peel off the parchment paper and serve.

What is your families favorite kind of upside down cake?

11/24/2009 Would you take an upside down cake to a party? I think this one would be a beautiful holiday addition with cranberries in the center. So I submitted it to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s weekly event called, “What Can I Eat that is Gluten Free?”   This week’s theme is, you guessed it, party food. There are sure to be many tasty dishes you’ll like.

M is for Millet- Muffins Two Ways

It looks like birdseed, heck, it is birdseed. Other than being gluten free, what is so great about millet? It makes great crunchy muffins for one thing. Today we do two, one with buttermilk, one vegan.

I started with a wheat flour and whole grain millet recipe from Cooking Light. Imagine millet in a mainstream magazine like Cooking Light. They were delicious, so I had to experiment. Both versions of these whole grain gluten free muffins are equally tasty.

You can substitute only millet flour for the wheat flour. Or use a gluten free flour blend. The straight up millet flour version has more whole grain flavor. The blend is milder. Do not omit the millet seeds though. They give the muffins the fun crunch.

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buttermilk-millet-muffins photo by vsimon

Buttermilk Millet Muffins Yield 12                                                             Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 cup oil

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ cup millet flour or gluten free flour blend

2/3 cup millet seeds

2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal

1 ½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small boil, whisk the wet ingredients well. That is the buttermilk, egg, oil and dark brown sugar. Sugar, any sugar, is considered a wet ingredient in baking. Weird, I know. Brown sugar does mix better with the wet ingredients than the dry ones.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients. That is everything else.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until completely mixed.

Mixing ingredients like this, wet into dry, is called the muffin method. I learned that in 7th grade Home Economics.

Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes. The xanthan gum and the ground flax seed will hydrate, or soak up some liquid. The batter will get thicker and the muffins will rise better. That is newer knowledge, I did not learn that in 7th grade Home Ec.

Put 12 muffin papers in muffin pans. Fill the papers about ¾ full. Sprinkle tops with raw sugar crystals if desired. They are big and sparkly, a nice touch. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


millet-seed-heads photo by Shi_Yali

Did you say you wanted those muffins dairy free, egg free, vegan? Can do.    I have recently discovered Amazake, a fermented rice beverage. During fermentation, the starch of the rice is broken down into sugar, naturally sweetening the drink. These muffins are a bit sweeter than the buttermilk version. Personally, I could reduce the sugar here to 2/3 cup. But my husband likes them with the ¾ cup amount.

Amazake is as thick as buttermilk. It might be a bit hard to find, and it is more pricy than buttermilk. Still, it is a great ingredient.

To replace the egg, I increased the ground flax seed meal. This adds structure just like xanthan. The first trial of these muffins, I left the xanthan in. Wow, that batter could stand alone. I cooked it anyway. The muffins were certainly edible, but they sure did not need the xanthan.

The second batch is xanthan free. Worked like a charm. And since there is no buttermilk, there is no need for baking soda either.

Also, I think this is funny, our cats LOVE these vegan muffins. One is very big and will eat any dairy, or anything with dairy, that she can get at. The other is very small and it seems she rarely eats anything. To our surprise, both cats want these muffins. They want more than just crumbs. These are just simply good, as good as the dairy version.

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dairy-free-egg-free-soy-free-millet-muffin  photo by vsimon

Dairy Free, Egg Free Millet Muffins  yield 12                                            Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 cup amazake

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1 ½ cup millet flour or gluten free blend

2/3 cup millet seeds

½ cup ground flax seed meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mix amazake, dark brown sugar, and oil.

In a large bowl, mix everything else. Let this batter sit for 5 minutes too, it will thicken. Fill muffin papers ¾ full. Top with raw sugar if you like. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention, nutritionally, millet is rich in the B vitamins, niacin, B6 and folic acid. And it is a good source of fiber.

Please let us know how you use millet. Or if you are familiar with Amazake.

10-21-09 This post is submitted to the GF Lifestyle Blog Carnival for November, host by Sustaining Health Holistically, a gluten free, vegan, raw blog.