Posted in Dinner, Food, For Kids/Parent, Recipes

Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken

Fried chicken

My gluten free husband hasn’t had real fried chicken in AGES. I’ve made breaded chicken but using almond meal instead of breadcrumbs. It’s surprisingly good, but it’s not fried chicken. And flavoring just the breaking doesn’t do the trick because then your meat isn’t flavorful.

Enter this recipe which is a take off Ina Garten’s. I’ve made some changes with flavoring and measurements. And you’ll notice I use only dark meat. They cook up juicer and is much more forgiving in terms of cooking time. If you choose to use white meat, don’t use boneless meat and remove from the oven about 5-10 minutes sooner.

Its crispy, crunchy, juicy, flavorful fried chicken goodness. Whether you’re gluten free or not, this is the best oven fried chicken recipe I’ve ever made. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

6 chicken legs, separated thighs and legs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup brown mustard

2 cups gluten free breadcrumbs
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 385F degrees on convection roast, or 400F.

Mix buttermilk and mustard together in a large bowl and submerge all the chicken pieces, including under the skin. Marinade at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Mix all remaining dry ingredients in a shallow dish or loaf pan. Dip chicken pieces in the dry mixture and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake 25 mins, then flip the pan and bake another 20 mins.

Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 mins. Serve. Makes enough for 5-6 people.

Posted in Dessert, Food, For Kids/Parent, Recipes

Gluten-Free Lemon Pudding Cake

Gluten Free Lemon Pudding Cake (photo by VirgoBlue)
Gluten Free Lemon Pudding Cake (photo by VirgoBlue)

You know the story: Someone gives you a bunch of lemons from their meyer lemon tree in the backyard (since they have more than they know what to do with), and next thing you know you’re digging around for some lemony recipes that go beyond the typical lemonade or lemon bars. Or maybe I’m just lucky that I know folks who will give me their lemons :).

I’m thrilled to get people’s homegrown surplus produce. It gives me a chance to experiment with the freshest fruits and veggies that haven’t been tainted by traveling cross-country in the back of a huge truck.

Meyer lemons are a favorite. They’re less tart (but still sour, of course) and have this flowery, perfumey, quality to them. They’re also more orange than they typical yellow lemon, and have a softer, thinner skin and fragrant zest.

I found this recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures that I adapted slightly to include some of the perfumey zest from the meyer lemons. It seemed like a waste not to. I also added less sugar, and gave it a little extra time in the oven to set a bit more. Let me know how it turns out. Ours was a big hit.

  • 2 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8×8 baking pan or casserole dish.
  3. Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and mix well.
  4. Add the rice flour, cornstarch, and beat until combined.
  5. Add the lemon juice and milk and beat until incorporated. Set aside.
  6. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in a separate bowl. Fold them into the other mixture.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Then, to create a water bath, place the dish in a larger baking pan and add enough boiling water to the outer pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the inner dish.
  8. Bake until the top is golden and the center springs back when gently pressed, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely.
Posted in Dinner, East Bay, Food, For Kids/Parent, Lunch

Vegans, Vegetarians and Carnivores Dine Together at Gather

Can vegans, vegetarians and carnivores really share a foodie-worthy meal at the same table? They certainly can at Gather in Berkeley. And that’s just the way Esquire Magazine’s 2010 Chef of the Year, and Gather’s Executive Chef, Sean Baker, likes it.

“We want to show the same enthusiasm for every dietary preference, whether it’s lactose intolerance, gluten-free, or veganism. We want to make sure they all get to have the same experience.”

Chef Baker may be a classically trained chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, but he’s always been personally interested in being meat-free, even becoming vegan for a time, before he went to culinary school. Now with his fiancee being vegan, he’s even more personally invested in making dishes everyone can enjoy.

“It’s frustrating,” he says. “We eat out a lot and sometimes she can’t have the same experience that I can. Veganism is not an eating style that is embraced by a lot of culinary folks.” Fortunately, Chef Baker says that thinking of a 50/50 vegan/meat menu comes to him quite naturally these days. Must be from his previous stints at Millennium Restaurant, San Francisco’s premier high-end vegan restaurant, and Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, where he oversaw a meat-heavy menu that sometimes offered offal options.

Chef Baker says, “I read obsessively, eat out obsessively, and I cook obsessively. I love what I do. It’s never a struggle to come up with menus that appeal to everyone.”

But that doesn’t mean it requires less work.

He says, “Vegan food is much more labor intensive in the kitchen, but you can do a lot of great culinary techniques when preparing it. We spend hours and hours doing vegetable stocks. We smoke our tomatoes and caramelize our onions until they can’t be caramelized anymore. We blanch our cardoons and then sous vide them for six hours until they come out perfect. We’re always messing around with things to improve the flavor of food and improve our craft.”

Chef Baker believes in offering comfort food in unpretentious surroundings that are not only beautiful, but eco-friendly. For example, they filter all of the water in the restaurant themselves, used recycled pickle barrels to create the back bar and cabinetry in the open kitchen, and even re-used old leather belts to make the seat cushions in the banquettes.

But this is no tree-hugging, alfalfa-loving hippy eatery. The menu here is inventive, surprising, and worthy of a four-star chef.

On a recent visit for brunch with some friends, we had the Egg Sandwich with bacon and mushrooms; the Acme Walnut French Toast with blood orange confit, cranberries and walnut sauce; and the Burrata salad with chicories, walnuts, anchovy and bruschetta.

We loved the Egg Sandwich with its fresh torpedo Acme roll, smoky salty bacon and those fabulous braised Portobello mushrooms! Apparently they’d been cooked with red onions, smoked chopped tomatoes, their own veggie stock and something they call “tomato condiment” which is like a housemade ketchup. It’s the basis for many dishes and the Chef was nice enough to offer up the recipe below.

We also ordered two pizzas for the table, including the vegan Spicy Tomato with capers, olives, cashew garlic puree and herbs; and the Farm Egg Pizza with bacon and caramelized onions.

The vegan Spicy Tomato pie was the highlight of our entire meal, and I say that surprisingly because we were a table of hearty meat-eaters. We were skeptical that any vegan dish could satisfy, let alone surprise us, the way this pizza did. The flavor combination of the salty capers and olives with the zesty sauce and creamy nut puree made for a winning combination. And texturally, the crust on both pizzas was stellar. It was thin and crispy on the bottom, and the dough around the edges was soft and tender, like the perfect breadstick.

Each and every plate was fresh, bright and alive with flavor, thanks to all the fresh produce from the folks at Lindencroft Farms. And it’s not just high quality ingredients we tasted, it’s the obvious care in preparation.

“I don’t want the vegetarians to know they’re eating vegetarian food. I want you to feel like you’re eating something that tastes like steak,” says Chef Baker. “My goal when cooking is for people to try a whole new array of flavors every time they come in and make it fun for everyone at the table.”

Tomato Condiment
(Yields 9 quarts so scale down!)

12 qts red onion (1/4 inch dice)
3 qt apple cider vinegar
6 cups tomato paste
5 cups Sucanat (or natural cane sugar)
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. ground clove
2 Tbsp. ground allspice
1 Tbsp. cayenne
6 oz pure olive oil
1.5 cups Tamari/Dark Soy Sauce
3 qts Water

Caramelize the onions and then fry the tomato paste. Add all other ingredients and reduce to slightly looser than ketchup consistency.

You can use this as a basis for braising vegetables and meats or as a condiment.

Gather on Urbanspoon

*This piece is cross-posted on KQED’s Bay Area Bites.