Friday, April 27, 2012


My good friend Greg, who is now proprietor of Cafe Tal in Guanajuato, and bee-tee-dubs makes the very best coffee on the whole planet, used to make an oh-so-clever pun when his quesadillas got a little burned: see, quemar means "to burn" in Spanish, so quemadillas are quesadillas, preferably in flour tortillas, which got a little burned on the outside. This makes them extra tasty, imo.

I recently decided to try Food for Life gluten-free brown rice flour tortillas, because I found them for a pretty reasonable price at my local Dave's. [Note: I am so not important enough to be getting any "promotional considerations" from any vendors. If I mention liking a product, it's because I actually like it.] I'm also a big fan of the gluten-free, vegan, soy chorizo from Trader Joe's, which tastes exactly like the stuff I used to buy in Mexico. I feel like I maybe mentioned this in an earlier post. Oh yep, there it is.

So, I was in the mood for quesadillas this afternoon, and this is what I knocked together:

For the guacamole, I mashed up 1/2 ripe avocado, added a few ounces of Stonewall Kitchen Salsa Verde Hot Sauce, a pinch of salt, juice of 1/8 lime, and some chopped fresh cilantro leaves, then mixed well.


1 small poblano pepper, roasted within an inch of its life over the flame of a gas stove. Just turn on the flame, place the washed pepper on the eye, and turn periodically until it's really well blackened all over. Then, wrap the hot pepper in a clean dish towel and let it cool. When it's cool enough to handle (or almost down to room temperature), it should be relatively doable to peel off the skin. Then, slit open the pepper, remove the seeds, and cut it into strips. I used about half of the strips in one quesadilla.

About 1 oz. soy chorizo, browned over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet until hot.

About 1 oz. cheese ("quesadilla" if you can find it, but mozzarella, oddly enough, works pretty well), grated coarsely.

Then, just heat up a tortilla until it's flexible, add all toppings carefully, making sure the cheese is well mixed in so that everything sticks closed. Fold the tortilla over and press down well, turning the whole thing over at least a couple of times until thoroughly hot.

Move to a cutting board, then cut into wedges. Serve with guacamole. ¡QuĂ© rico!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time to make the donuts ...

No, seriously, I made donuts!

Lent is over, Alleluia!, and I've been trying to find a sane balance between eating the kinds of healthy things that made me feel good during Lent and eating the kinds of sugary things I often enjoy. My solution has been to save at least four days a week as days when I don't eat any sugar at all, but allow myself a few days when I have some sweets. I'm finding that I don't crave sweets as much, and if I start to, I may have to cut sugar back to fewer days. It's probably just my personality, but I need some sort of absolute prohibition (even if it's only a day or two at a time) to keep myself from taking a flying leap off the wagon.

Meanwhile, I found some interesting recipes during Lent, and have been looking for opportunities to try them. One of those was Gluten-Free Maple Glazed Banana Donuts from Udi's Gluten Free Foods. I even bought myself a donut pan and everything! I used rice milk instead of almond milk, because it's what I had, but otherwise I tried to stay true to the recipe for this first attempt.

It went pretty well. I think the recipe is actually supposed to make 9-12 donuts (I couldn't find that info anywhere in the recipe, please tell me if you see it!), and I slightly over-filled the donut trenches before figuring that out. (I had some leftover batter, even so, and baked that in the bottoms of four cupcake cups.) The size of the finished product is totally reasonable, but I ended up baking them 14 minutes and I think they really needed longer.

Right after coming out of the oven
Also, I tried to get cute and dip the less-pretty side in the glaze, in hopes that the glaze would cover that and make the whole thing look pretty, but the glaze only soaked in. Possible that I should have waited longer before glazing, or that I should have just dipped the less-porous top side. [I should include a shout-out here to the Carlisle (MA) Tap-and-Sap Society. I bought a pint from their 2009 run at last year's Old Home Day, and have been rationing it carefully until I can get some more. But, I thought my first donut attempt was a worthy enough cause to use a few Tbs.]

Still, they do look like donuts!
The texture is basically like a soft sponge cake, light but too delicate to dunk into coffee or anything like that. They would probably be a little more solid with a few more minutes in the oven. They're also all kinds of sweet, which was barely mitigated by the cup of strong, black coffee I had alongside, but the banana and maple flavors were very tasty.

All in all, I would try this recipe again. I think I would either look for a way to make the glaze with less sugar or try to work the maple flavor into the donuts and skip the glaze altogether. One obvious idea would be to replace some or all of the sugar with maple syrup, and add some flour to balance; the liquid:ratio balance could also be maintained, potentially, by omitting the milk. (It was a coincidence that I had rice milk on-hand, incidentally. In the future I'm sure dairy milk would work fine for those, like myself, with no dairy issues.)

Final verdict: These were easy to make and the price of ingredients, which are things an average gluten free baker would have around, anyway, was way lower than a box of Kinnikinnick or Glutino donuts in my local supermarkets. Definitely worthwhile!

And now, I definitely have to get back out and run today ...