September 19, 2016
I won a copy of Allyson Kramer's newest cookbook, Naturally Lean, on Cakemaker to the Stars, way back in early August, and finally got around to trying it out this past weekend. We had the family over for our son's birthday, and I made the GF chocolate brownie cake from Allyson's cookbook. To be completely honest, I never thought it was going to turn out okay because the ingredients were so unusual, but it worked perfectly. It rose well, had a great texture and tasted delicious. Not to mention it was a snap to make.
I only minimally changed the recipe — I added a flax egg made from a tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with three tablespoons of water taken from the cup in the recipe. I beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with an electric hand mixer, and I doubled the vanilla. The flour mixture contained only teff flour and chickpea flour — no starches or weird gums, and the cake contains no oils or fats. It has banana and applesauce, but you can't taste them. The only thing I would suggest is if you like your cake on the sweet side, you might want to add a bit of additional sugar. I loved it as it was. Here's a link to the original recipe.
For the frosting, I was lazy, and sprinkled the hot cake with one-half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. After a minute or two, I spread the melted chips on the cake and added Sprinklz. In my original review of Sprinklz, I said they were kind of pale in color, but I take it back; they add a festive touch. (By the way, the chocolate chips won't look melted. You have to take a knife to them to find out when they are soft enough to spread. If you wait too long, they'll harden again! If your chips are hard to melt or you're impatient, you can pop the cake back into the turned-off oven for a minute and that should do the trick.)
I also made insanely addictive queso from the same cookbook. I added some granulated garlic and onion, and used half chipotle chili powder and half regular chili powder for a little heat. It's a basic, but incredibly fast and easy, cashew cheese sauce, that I whipped up in my blender to use as a topping for polenta and pinto beans.
The polenta, by the way, was cooked in our Instant Pot, which has become an indispensable piece of kitchen equipment. I cook polenta for about eight minutes on the 'porridge' setting. When the polenta is finished cooking and resting for 10 minutes, I whisk it to remove any lumps which may have formed, and we have creamy, delicious, practically effortless polenta. The recipe proportions I use for polenta are 1 cup of corn meal (polenta), 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I doubled the amount for five adults and three children, and had a lot left over, which was what we wanted. We cooked the beans in the Instant Pot, too. (I previously wrote about my new Instant Pot here, and here.)
The polenta and beans were topped with queso, avocado, salsa, and green onions. We also had shredded cabbage and carrot salad with homemade, oil-free ranch-style dressing. The dressing was made by adding unmeasured things to the blender, but I plan to measure and write down the ingredients soon.
Plumbing news (bathroom not human)
I know this is a food blog, not a handywoman blog. I could if I wanted to, draw a connection between food and, you know, the toilet, but let's keep those two ideas separate for now. I want to share something I just learned about toilet handles, that could potentially come in handy if you encounter the same problem I did.
The toilet handle was extremely loose, and flapping around — only flushing about half the time. The rest of the time the lift chain that raises the flush valve would fall into the tank, and we'd have to take the tank top off, reach into the water, fish the chain out, and reattach it. I tried to tighten the nut (white plastic part at larger arrow) but it just spun around uselessly, and I finally came to the conclusion it was stripped. I was about to remove the screw that attaches the metal arm to the handle bolt (small arrow) to get the nut off for replacement, but first, I turned to youtube! I mean, what can't you learn on youtube? What I learned is the rule of 'lefty loosey righty tighty' doesn't apply to the toilet handle nut. Seriously, it must be some sort of plumbing joke. I felt stupid that I hadn't figured it out myself, but duh, I went back to the toilet tank, turned the &*%$@ nut counter clockwise, and it tightened right up, attaching the handle good as new. Now you know. In plumbing as in life, there's an exception to every rule.