Gluten-free Girl's recipes

Total time: About 2 hours
Servings: 8 to 12
Note: Adapted from "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef" by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern. Almond, tapioca, sweet rice and superfine brown rice flour, as well as xanthan gum and guar gum can generally be found at health food stores and select well-stocked markets.

2 cups fresh carrot juice
Canola oil for oiling parchment paper
2/3 cup (2.6 ounces) almond flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) tapioca flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) sweet rice flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) superfine brown rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon guar gum
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature, divided
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, plus 2 separated eggs, divided
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Pinch cream of tartar
8 ounces cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the carrot juice to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Slowly reduce the juice, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to one-fourth cup and is darkened in color, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the base of a 9-inch cake pan. Grease both sides of the paper with oil and place it in the pan. Set aside.

3. Into a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, tapioca flour, sweet rice flour and brown rice flour. Sift in the xanthan gum, guar gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, one-half teaspoon ginger and cloves. Stir together the flour-and-spice mixture to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed and set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat 1 cup butter and the white and brown sugars until creamy and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the 4 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla, then the reduced carrot juice.

5. Slowly add the flour-and-spice mixture to the liquid until combined. Gently stir in the carrots, and walnuts and raisins (if using). The cake batter should be quite thick, but you should still be able to work a rubber spatula through it easily.

6. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat the 2 remaining egg whites with the cream of tartar with the hand mixer until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the cake batter until they are entirely incorporated.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and set aside for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto the rack, turn it right side up, and cool completely before frosting it.

8. Make the frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, remaining 1 cup butter, remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and cardamom with the hand mixer until smooth. Gently beat in 3 cups powdered sugar, then beat in more if you prefer the frosting thicker and sweeter. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake before slicing and serving.

Each of 12 servings: 668 calories; 7 grams protein; 69 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 43 grams fat; 24 grams saturated fat; 208 mg cholesterol; 55 grams sugar; 346 mg sodium.

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 4 to 8
Note: Adapted from "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef." Pumpkin seed oil is available at most cooking supply stores and select well-stocked markets.

1 5-pound sugar or pie pumpkin (such as Autumn Gold)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 large carrot, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 sweet potato (1-pound), quartered and medium-diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 small bay leaf
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil (if you can't find it, you can use olive oil)

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and quarter it. Remove the seeds and the guts and set aside the seeds. Toss the pumpkin quarters in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season each piece with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place the pieces in a baking dish. Bake the pumpkin until the flesh inside is soft enough to scoop out with a spoon, about 30 minutes. Allow it to come to room temperature, then scoop the flesh from the shell and discard the shell.

2. While the pumpkin is baking, toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and place them in the oven (on a separate rack from the pumpkin). Bake the seeds until they start to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside to garnish the final soup.

3. Set a medium stockpot over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and cook, stirring, until the sage is aromatic, about a minute.

4. Add the sweet potato to the stockpot with the sauteed vegetables. Add the nutmeg and bay leaf. Pour in the chicken broth and add the pumpkin flesh. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until you can run a knife through the sweet potato, about 15 minutes.

5. When the potato is softened, discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup using a blender (this may need to be done in batches), and strain into another pot. Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Stir in the cream and butter. Bring to a good simmer, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer to prevent burning, until the soup is reduced and thickened to your liking, about 10 minutes. This makes about 8 cups soup.

7. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with one-half teaspoon of the pumpkin seeds and one-half teaspoon pumpkin seed oil, or as desired.

Each of 8 servings: 282 calories; 6 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 28 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 606 mg sodium.

Total time: 2 1/2 hours
Servings: 4 to 8
Note: Adapted from "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef." Pork belly is available through most butchers; ask ahead.

1 quart chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh sage
4 square pieces fresh pork belly, about 6 ounces each
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon thinly sliced (chiffonade) fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices smoked bacon
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan heated over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then remove from heat. Set aside.

2. Place a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Place the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in the pan. Cook, stirring, until they are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, and add the tomato paste, rosemary and sage sprigs. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are coated and the herbs are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a casserole dish. Place the pork belly pieces on top of the vegetables. Pour in the chicken stock. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and slide it into the oven. Braise the pork belly until you can squeeze tongs easily into the meat, with little resistance, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven.

4. Make the sauce: Strain the broth and let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the fat to rise to the surface. Skim the fat off the stock and pour the stock into a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Add the butter, vinegar and sage. Taste the sauce and season it with salt and pepper accordingly. Let the sauce sit on the back of the stove or in a warm place while you finish the pork belly.

5. Place 3 slices of bacon per piece of pork belly on a plate, overlapping them like ribbons. Season each piece of pork belly with a pinch each of salt and pepper on both sides. Place each pork belly piece, skin side down, in the middle of the bacon. Fold the bottom part of the bacon ribbon up over the belly, and then bring the top down.

6. Pour the canola oil into a clean, oven-safe saute pan or baking dish. Put the bacon-wrapped pork belly, seam side down, into the pan. Slide the pan into the oven. Cook, turning halfway through, until the bacon is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Take care not to burn yourself, because the bacon fat will continue rendering, spitting hot fat. Carefully remove from the oven. To serve, spoon a bit of sauce over each piece of pork belly.

Each of 8 servings: 540 calories; 13 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 53 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 78 mg cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 590 mg sodium.

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