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a recipe for gluten-free coconut chocolate chip muffins | from Mary Fran Wiley

Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins

My kitchen and I have been at odds lately. A place that has been a sanctuary my entire life suddenly started to fill me with dread. I let my brain fill itself with a healthy dose of imposter syndrome and I let the prospect of a pile of dishes convince me it wasn’t worth the effort.

But then Mammacakes had summer break and she started texting me pictures of all the things she was baking for my dad. Muffins. Pies. Cakes. More pies. Quick breads. All the things she taught me how to make. The things we used to bake together from the time I was old enough to stand on a chair and peer into a mixer.

The longing to be back to the whir of Old Faithful and the desire to fill my apartment with the scent of fresh-baked goodness crashed over me like a wave. (Having a nearly too-ripe bunch of bananas was also a bit of an incentive…)

I thought I’d end my baking hiatus with some muffins. Decadent, tasty muffins. Dessert for breakfast.

do you know the muffin man?

Muffins. Simple food. Easy to bake, no mixer required. Infinite possibilities.

the muffin man? - gif from Shrek

They really are a blank slate – ok, and an excuse to make a dessert-like breakfast. (From what I remember of regular, gluten-full muffins, even bran muffins were a sweet treat…although that was 10 years ago…).

gluten-free banana muffins in tray

Scrounging around my kitchen (as one does at 9pm when they decide to bake), I gathered up bananas, coconut flakes and chocolate chips. I was well on my way to some epic cupcakes gluten-free muffins. Except, I was out of sugar. And butter.

I needed muffins. I needed to bake. I had to figure it out and you know they say necessity is the mother of invention. Another perusal of my pantry led me to honey and canola oil. These muffins would not have been such a success had I used the butter and granulated sugar. Can we call it fate? I think so.

Experimenting with coconut banana chocolate chip muffins. Dairy & refined sugar free. #bakefaster

A photo posted by Mary Fran Wiley (@frannycakes) on Jun 14, 2015 at 5:19pm PDT

The unofficial muffin taster gave these muffins high praise (both in person and on the insta).

The recipe makes a dozen muffins and they freeze well, so you can wrap them individually and defrost them any time you need a perfectly decadent breakfast or a breakfast on the run.

a recipe for gluten-free coconut chocolate chip muffins | from Mary Fran Wiley

Gluten-Free Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Feel free to swap out the mix-ins or add to them, but you want to keep the volume about the same. too many more ingredients can cause the muffins to fall apart.
  • 280 grams (2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup (120ml) honey
  • 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature**
  • 1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk***
  • 30 grams (⅓ cup) sweetened coconut flakes, plus some to sprinkle on top
  • 45-55 grams (¼-⅓ cup) chocolate chips****
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). Line on 12-muffin or 2 6-muffin tins with papers or grease the pans. (I always use papers – they make cleaning up easier)
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, honey and eggs. Make sure you beat it well. Mix in the mashed bananas, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with a large spoon until just combined. Stir in your coconut, chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you are using.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between all the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full (I like using a squeezable ice cream scoop to keep things even and clean). Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little spare coconut. Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  6. When the muffins are done baking, set the pan on a wire rack and let them cool for 15 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow to finish cooling on the rack (or eat a few warm…) These will keep for several days in a sealed container or up to 6 weeks in the freezer.
*I use Cup4Cup gluten-free flour for nearly all my home baking. These muffins will work with the original flour or up to a 50/50 blend of their original flour and wholesome flour blend. If your blend does not include Xanthan gum, add half a teaspoon xanthan gum and half a teaspoon of ground flax.[br]**If you want to make this recipe vegan, a flax or chia egg should work. The result will be a denser muffin that would benefit from letting the batter rest an hour before baking.[br]***I only keep unsweetened almond milk on hand, but any unsweetened non-dairy milk or regular 2% or skim milk will work.[br]****Double check your chocolate chips as not all brands are gluten-free. I always use Enjoy Life chocolate chips to be certain what I am making is safe.


Love with Food Gluten-Free Box

Thinking inside the box: A giveaway from Love with Food (Sponsored Post)

! I was provided a box for free for both myself and as a giveaway. KC from G-Free Foodie / Love With Food also happens to be a dear friend – however, I would not post and share about it if I did not fully support her and think these boxes are awesome. There are also referral links in this post – all those are marked with an asterisk!

I love surprises. I have a subscription box addiction. And I love delicious food. So naturally, I would love a box with gourmet treats finding its way to me every month.

Subscription boxes have really started to take off – I get makeup, workout gear*, razors and even shoes* delivered monthly. And I have wanted a food box in the worst way. My friends get these snazzy boxes of gourmet treats from a variety of sources. Packages of snack food, global treats and gourmet ingredients. For way too long, I had no (or few) options for a truly safe gourmet box.

June Box from Love with Food

Sure, you can get TasteGuru or Send Me Gluten Free if you need safe options. Those are great services that I wish existed when I went gluten-free nearly 10 years ago. These days, those boxes don’t fit what I’m looking for. Those are full of snacks and cooking mixes that would have saved me money on thrown away food. Introduced me to snacks I might never have bought. But the food in them is always safe.  They are a great way to sample all those foods. But that’s what they are. I found them to be filled with foods I knew about or had tried and nothing that embraced my love of cooking.

That’s where the Gluten-Free Box from Love With Food comes in. KC Pomering of G-Free Foodie started a subscription box to fill this need – gluten-free boxes filled with artisanal / gourmet treats. It was a thoroughly awesome box when it started, but now that the box comes from Love With Food, it is even better. I get the same awesome box curated by KC and a meal gets donated. I’d say that’s a win.

Cecelia the Cat is jealous of my Love with Food box!

What comes in the boxes?

I’ve received everything from spice blends and fancy pants tomato paste to spice rubs, pasta and gourmet push pops. I’ve started keeping the tomato and umami paste in my kitchen all the time and using an alcohol free vanilla in my smoothies.

Oh, and you can win a box!

Just leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on June 30,2015 at 11am central time. (You do have to live in the US to win).

gluten-free chicken chorizo "paella"

Chicken & Chorizo “Paella”

Somehow, adulting* is taking all of my time these days. There seems to be something to do every night. Ballet. Yoga sculpt. Barre. Dance Cardio. Tap. French conversation group. Coffee dates with best friends. Museum dates with mom. Doctors appointments. Lots of doctor’s appointments. Being responsible and doing things like paying bills and negotiating better rates. Fitting in a day job.

*adulting: the tasks and duties of being a grown-up.

These days, there’s not always a whole lot of time to cook special dinners every night. Pasta and jarred sauce or boxed mac & cheese aren’t meals that I should keep as fixtures on my dinner rotation and lunches out add up pretty quickly. So what’s a girl on a budget with high food standards and a crazy schedule to do?

Hint, the answer isn’t decide chocolate is a food group and eat it for dinner. (I keep trying to make it happen, but I fear that its fate is the same as “fetch”…never going to happen).

stop trying to make fetch happen | mean girls

Answer: Maximize cooking productivity

It takes almost the same amount of time to cook a 2 serving batch of a dish like this as it does to cook a 6 serving batch. (It can also be a help for budget cooking – you aren’t wasting half used bunches of herbs). I’m not saying go all once a month cooking crazy (there’s not enough room in a shared apartment freezer for that to be possible), just make a couple extra servings.

Big batch cooking takes the pressure off of busy week nights and even frees you up for impromptu plans because you have backup meals in the freezer. (As a single lady, a big batch of meals to me is a normal-sized batch for a family).

The worst part of big batch cooking is if you eat the same dish for lunch and dinner 3 days in a row. If you can pay attention to your meal inventory, you can make sure that you never run out of options in the freezer and could have 2 or 3 different dishes tucked away at any one time.

“Paella” with chicken & chorizo and not a single creature from the sea. #singleladysupper #foodallergies

A photo posted by Mary Fran Wiley (@frannycakes) on Feb 4, 2015 at 8:40pm PST

One of the meals I keep coming back to (I probably make a big batch every 6 weeks) is a chicken & chorizo paella that I have adapted from Save with Jamie. Now, all that’s “paella” about it is the method and possibly the pan, but it is still darn delicious. The chorizo and paprika give a spicy depth to the dish while the peppers and carrots round out the flavors with a little inherent sweetness. Parsley and a squeeze of lemon brighten the dish.

ingredients in gluten-free chicken & chorizo paella

The dish is pretty fluid and adaptable. Don’t have carrots? Add more peppers. Only 2 chicken thighs? I hear shrimp is good (it isn’t in my version of this dish due to my shellfish allergy).Want more veggies? Double the peas or serve it on a bed of a spicy green like arugula. No arborio rice? Short grain brown rice can be used as well. No parsley? Use chives or scallions in place of the stalks and skip the leaves.

gluten-free chicken chorizo "paella"

I could even see experimenting with different flavor profiles within the framework of this dish. You could easily swap out the chorizo for a different kind of fresh/uncooked sausage (the new Whole Foods in my neighborhood has a variety of fresh sausages) and changing the seasoning and veggies to match.

Chicken & Chorizo “Paella”
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings
This dish is great for making a big ol’ batch and portioning it in the freezer for easy grab & go meals or an excellent (and affordable) dish to be the centerpiece of a laid back potluck with friends. Adapted from one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots
  • 15 g f(4-5 stalks worth) fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 70 g (2.5 ounces) raw chorizo (or 1/4 of a package of Mexican chorizo
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about a pound or 450 grams)
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 3 1/4 cups (750 ml) water
  • 1 large red bell pepper or sweet red pepper. You can also use 6-8 mini sweet peppers
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste*
  • 1 cube chicken stock
  • 300 g (1 1/2 cups) arborio rice
  • 100 g frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  1. Prepare a mise en place (Gather up and measure out each ingredient, set up your cutting board, knives and pans).
  2. Peel and mince the garlic. Next, peel and roughly chop the onion and carrot.
  3. Remove the leaves from the parsley and set aside. Finely chop the parsley stalks.
  4. Roughly chop the chorizo (you still need to break up the chorizo a little bit if it is the raw mexican kind so that it disperses evenly into the dish) and chicken thighs.
  5. Put a lug of oil into a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat. Now, add in the garlic, onion, carrot, parsley stalks, chorizo, chicken and paprika. Cook all this for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. In a tea kettle or pot over high heat, boil your water.
  7. While it is cooking, deseed and chop the pepper, then add to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the tomato paste and crumble in the stock cube over everything.
  9. Then add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes -this will help all those flavors permeate the rice.
  10. Pour in your boiling water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  11. Pop the lid on and cook until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat so your liquid is at a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. (If it looks like it is about to dry up before the rice is cooked, you can add a splash more water.
  12. If you like peas (or happen to have some hanging out in the freezer from the last time you made mushy peas and need a reason to use them), stir them through (from frozen is fine). Cook for about 5 minutes more – you just want ever
  13. Season to perfection, then chop the parsley leaves, scatter them over the paella, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.
a recipe for gluten-free buttermilk cupcakes

Gluten-free Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

Have you missed me? I’ve missed you.

I’ve been busy galavanting around, hiding from my roommate, writing magazine articles and taking ballet. You know, important life stuffs.

(Seriously, go grab a copy of the Spring 2015 issue of Allergic Living, I’ll wait.)

But even more than missing you, I’ve been missing baking. The sweet magic that happens when I spend some time with “Old Faithful” in the kitchen.

I might have a little bit of a love of cupcakes. Delicious, little, personal treats. (I even made a tshirt about it, which you should order).

Frannycakes <3's cupcakes

(Or, sometimes giant ones).

But these cupcakes.

Oh, these cupcakes.

gluten free lemon buttermilk cupcakes

Tender buttermilk cakes. Tangy lemon buttercream clouds. A burst of intense lemon curd at the center. Dainty little bites of sunshine.

That’s a tall order for any cupcake…much less a gluten-free one, but I assure you that these are amazing. So amazing your gluten-eating friends won’t notice that you left it out and your gluten-free comrades will be singing your praises for the best cupcake they have had in ages.

a recipe for gluten-free buttermilk cupcakes

Gluten-free Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 24
The cake part of this recipe is adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker.
  • For the cake
  • 560 grams (4 cups) gluten-free flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • For the Lemon Swiss Merengue Buttercream
  • 8 large egg whites (30g each–total 225g, or 1 cup)**
  • 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • The peel of 1 lemon
  • 560 grams (5 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon curd
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Optional
  • Lemon curd to use as filling
  • Sprinkles or lemon zest to decorate
Make the cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake tins with papers. (This recipe makes 24 cupcakes)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together your gluten-free flour, xantham gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (it will take 3-4 mins with softened butter)
  4. Add your eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined and scraping the bowl after each addition.
  5. Next add half of your flour mixture and mix at medium speed until just combined.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk in a slow, steady stream. Raise your speed to medium once all your buttermilk is in and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of your bowl.
  7. Add your remaining flour mixture and mix on medium until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat your eggs (it will toughen your cakes).
  8. Fill cupcake pan wells 2/3 full and bake for 16-20 minutes. Cakes are done when the top springs back after a gentle tap.
Make the buttercream
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar and lemon peel in a small pot until they reach 140 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Transfer this mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Using the whisk attachment, beat until light and fluffy (soft peaks) and the temperature is neutral – the bowl should not be warm to the touch.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter one chunk at a time until it is all combined.
  5. It might look like it is starting to curdle, don’t panic! It should all smooth out by the time you add the last bit of butter. If it is getting too loose, you can pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes to help it set up.
  1. You can use a cupcake corer or a paring knife to cut out a small amount of the center of the cakes, preserving the top of what you take out.
  2. Fill the wells with lemon curd (if using), and replace the tops on the filled holes.
  3. Use a large decorating tip for simple, beautiful swirls. Top with your favorite gluten-free sprinkles or even a bit of lemon zest.
*I like working with Cup4Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose flour but you can use your favorite blend, as long as it is an all-purpose blend (not bean-based and not a baking or pancake mix). If your blend contains xantham gum, you should omit it.[br]**You can use cartons of egg whites (I do it all the time) but your merengue might not be quite as fluffy because these are pasteurized.

I don’t accept advertising on FrannyCakes and rarely accept product from brands, so if you enjoy my recipes, please consider supporting FrannyCakes by purchasing a “Cupcakes are my therapy” tshirt.

5 gluten-free/food magazines I’m loving right now

I have a problem. Well, maybe it isn’t so much a problem as it is a deep love. You see, to me, words on a printed page are special. They’re not fleeting like the words on a screen – words that are quickly replaced by newer, shinier versions of themselves. Magazines are for perusing, without the heft of a book and with the promise of even more content on the way. (Oh yeah, and each new issue feels like a little surprise.

Right now, I am falling in love with the artisan/luxe feeling food magazines where the designs of the page are as important as the words and images.

Jamie Magazine ($9.95/issue or $122/year, iPad version available)


Jamie Oliver’s magazine has been a favorite of mine since I discovered it on a shelf at a Barnes & Nobel several years ago and was one of the first magazines I ever bought where the pages were a higher quality paper rather than the flimsy glossy pages of most other magazines. And while the content in this magazine isn’t gluten-free specific, the majority of the recipes are usually gluten-free or easily adaptable. As a bonus, this magazine is from the UK, so there are weight measurements for all the recipes which makes conversions and adaptations of baked goods to be gluten-free easy. The best part of this magazine, however are the ideas for simple weeknight meals. Even though I love to cook, during the week life makes spending an hour making dinner feel like an onerous undertaking and the ideas for quick, simple & delicious meals are always appreciated.

GFF Magazine, $15/issue or $50/year (plus shipping, digital versions available)


This magazine is brand new on the scene with only 2 issues under its belt, but it is quickly becoming a favorite read each month. The aesthetics of the magazine are those of a high-end food publication and all the food just happens to be gluten-free. Fans of magazines like Kinfolk, Sweet Paul and Lucky Peach will find this magazine feels like a member of that high-end food club with content that just happens to be gluten-free. There’s not a single recipe that wouldn’t be a hit with a gluten-full crowd. I love that this magazine is just about the food, in the crowded gluten-free magazine space that makes this magazine stand out. The subscriber version of the latest magazine looks so good on my coffee table, I am seriously considering buying a print of it to go in my kitchen. Plus, it is a small business run by a couple of uber talented women. What’s not to love?

Cherry Bombe, $20/issue or $38/year


Another high-end magazine I am currently loving- this one is about women in food. Again, the magazine is printed on high-end paper and almost feels like a book. It is published twice a year and the pages are filled with women doing amazing things in food. I don’t remember quite when I discovered this, but it was after the second issue came out. Because it is published twice a year, the magazine is the longest on the list (which more than justifies its premium price tag). This magazine hits all the right notes when talking about women in food and is significantly less blogger-centric than “Where Women Cook”.

Allergic Living, 19.99/year


Ok, before I go any farther, I have a vested interest in this magazine succeeding because they are the first publication to publish my writing since high school. My article on food allergies & dating is going to be in their spring 2015 issue, so go on and subscribe. Now that that is out of the way, we can get on to the goods. This magazine covers a whole spectrum of food allergy concerns, which I appreciate as a food allergy sufferer. There are articles on treatments, issues and advocacy as well as recipes. There is a little more family-oriented content here, but I learn something new from each issue I read.

Gluten-Free & More (formerly Living Without), $8/issue or $23/year


This was the first magazine I read when I went gluten-free and has been a staple in my house for years. Gluten-free diets and living with Celiac disease are the main focus of the magazine, but there is a lot of food allergy content as well. The content does feel a bit more geared towards families, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable and informative read. They rebranded recently from Living Without to Gluten-Free and More, which is a more descriptive title (and also not something that could be thought of as negative).

What is your favorite gluten-free or food-centric magazine? (I want to know if I am missing any must-reads!)


gluten-free chicken tikka masala recipe from frannycakes

Homemade take-out: Chicken Tikka Masala

I am regularly told by friends that they are impressed that I cook myself dinner every night. And every time someone brings it up, I am still surprised. If you don’t make yourself dinner, how do you eat?

I mean, there are nights when I make toast and pile it high with whatever I can rustle up, then I call it a tartine and pretend it is extra fancy. Or I roast some veg and put it on top of leftover rice or quinoa and call it a “whole grain bowl”. What I am really saying is that not every night is a big production – it just feels better to say I made something like that then when I cave and pull out a box of gluten-free macaroni and cheese.

gf chicken tikka masala for #singleladysupper

But some days, I do go all out. I make a dish with multiple parts that I want seconds (or even thirds) of. Like Chicken Tikka Masala – the non-Indian Indian dish that everyone loves (my last roommate Helen informed me it was a Scottish invention).

gluten-free chicken tikka masala for #singleladysupper

This creamy, spicy tomato dish is always a hit when I make it – even if it isn’t the most resolution-friendly dinner. (You can always balance it with a big salad or some extra kale in your smoothie). This isn’t an old family recipe or something that tastes like childhood. It is simply a good dish that despite its multiple parts is actually pretty easy to put together – easy enough to make after a full day of work.

gluten-free chicken tikka masala recipe from frannycakes

Gluten-Free Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings
Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite dishes (even if it isn’t totally authentic). Because I don’t have an old family recipe for this treat, I have adapted one by [url href=”http://www.foodnetwork.com/chefs/aarti-sequeira.html”]Aarti Sequeira from Food Network[/url] For best results, marinate the chicken starting the night before. If you decide at 6pm that this is what you want for dinner, you can get away with only marinating the chicken for half an hour,
  • For the chicken
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger*
  • 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks
  • For the sauce
  • Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic*
  • 2-inch thumb ginger peeled and minced*
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced and seeds removed (if you like your food spicy, you can leave the seeds in)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 2 14-ounce cans)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Oil, for grilling
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Cooked basmati rice
Marinate the chicken
  1. You are going to whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper into a smooth sauce. Add the chicken to the mix and seal in a large ziploc or plastic container. Leave in the fridge overnight or at least 30 minutes before starting the sauce.
Make the sauce
  1. (If you need to make rice, I start it in a rice cooker before I make the sauce.)
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, ginger and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges.
  4. Next, add the tomato paste to the skillet. Cook it until it starts to darken in color (about 3 minutes).
  5. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute to draw out the flavors from the spices.
  6. Once they get aromatic (about a minute), add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup of water.
  7. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened a bit, about 20 minutes.
Cook the chicken
  1. While the sauce simmers, heat a grill pan or cast iron griddle. Once it is hot, lightly brush it with oil.
  2. Place your chicken pieces on the grill – but make sure you shake of some of the excess marinade (too much gets a little messy)
  3. Cook the chicken until it starts to char -about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will be purposefully undercooked because it finishes cooking in the sauce.
Finish the dish
  1. The sauce is currently a bit chunky, and we want a smooth, dreamy sauce. If you are using a deep enough skillet and have an immersion blender, feel free to use it. If not, pour your sauce into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour your sauce back into the skillet and bring it back to a boil.
  3. Add the chicken, bring the sauce down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cream.
  5. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
*I like to keep garlic and ginger pastes in my kitchen for occasions such as the desire to make this dish. You can find them in squeeze tubes in the produce section, and most often, I buy the ones from [url href=”http://www.gourmetgarden.com/en”]Gourmet Garden[/url]



gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova

Sometimes the classics really are the best.

Pride & Prejudice. Chanel No. 5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Roast Chicken. The Beatles. Tootsie Rolls.

White Christmas. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Macarons.

Ballet flats. Herbes de Provence. Berries and cream.

Classics. Things that never truly go out of style. Flavors that just work.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Friends, meet the Pavlova.

The Pavlova is a dessert that was invented in the 1920’s to honor famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova in New Zealand. The meringue is crispy on the outside and fluffy like a marshmallow on the inside. Traditionally it is topped with cream and fresh fruit – making it a blank canvas ready to be explored.

If you’ve never made one of these classics for yourself, you should add it to your list.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Let’s be real. It’s the gingers that have the most fun.

So it would make sense that a little bit of ginger could spice up this classic. It might seem a little fussy, but it is really pretty simple to make and once you get all the components together, you have an impressive dessert.

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6 servings
The meringue base and coulis can be made several days in advance and the cream whipped shortly before assembly. The moisture from the whipped cream and the coulis will be absorbed by the merengue and the mix of soft and crunchy textures will be lost.
  • For the meringue base
  • 150 grams egg whites (this is about 5 large whites)
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) sugar, preferably super fine
  • For the coulis
  • 2 6-ounce packages fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup [url href=”http://frannycakes.com/recipes/baking-basics-simple-syrup” title=”Baking Basics: Simple Syrup”]Simple Syrup[/url]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch, arrowroot or cornstarch
  • For the whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • To finish it off
  • 1 6-ounce package (about 1 cup) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Make the meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and if it will help, trace a 9″ circle and then turn it over so the marked side is down – you should still be able to see the line through the paper.
  2. In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I wipe mine out with a wee bit of vinegar or lemon juice to make sure there is no grease or oil residue), add the egg whites.
  3. Starting on low and slowly raising the speed when bubbles cover the surface, raise the speed to high and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the sugar slowly – about 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure that you get back to stiff peaks after each addition.
  5. Dab a small amount of merengue under each corner of the parchment to hold it in place on the sheet.
  6. Scoop your merengue mixture into the circle and use an offset spatula to create a slight well.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The merengue is done when it lifts away from the parchment easily. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Make the coulis
  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the raspberries, simple syrup, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Over medium heat, bring the ingredients to a boil and cook until the raspberries soften.
  2. Sprinkle the starch over 1 tablespoon of water and stir to remove any lumps. Add this to the raspberry mixture and cook the sauce until it starts to thicken (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh sieve and allow to cool.
Whip the cream
  1. Either by hand, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream and tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form.
Assemble the pavlova
  1. Immediately before serving, spread the whipped cream over the top of the merengue.
  2. Gently pour the coulis over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with the fresh raspberries and sliced almonds and serve immediately.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

jellied cranberries | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries

This might get me in trouble, but I could do without the turkey on Thanksgiving.

It’s not that I don’t like turkey, quite the opposite actually. But it takes up valuable space on my Thanksgiving plate that can be used for something better. Like apple & sage gluten-free stuffing. Or my mom’s famous white jello (she won’t give me the recipe for that one no matter how many times I ask). Or mashed potatoes. Or cranberry sauce.

jellied cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Oh sweet cranberries.

Not cranberry chutney. Not cranberry relish. Those are too tart. Sophisticated even. What I want on my plate is cranberry sauce. The one that reminds me of my childhood and cranberries out of a can that you could slice.

A dish that balances sweet and tart. A dish with texture that isn’t crunchy. Something that reminds me of all the Thanksgivings growing up, but doesn’t contain any additives or high-fructose something or other. Cranberries with seasonal spices to perk them up and just enough sugar to temper their tart bite.

Let’s jelly these babies

Gelatin gives the sauce shape and structure, whole cranberries give it texture and some spices and apple cider bring back those childhood memories.

gluten-free cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries
Recipe Type: Side
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Izard’s Canned Cranberry Sauce recipe. It has a similar consistency to the sauce I remember from my childhood, but there is balance between the sweetness and the natural tartness of the fruit – rather than the all-sweet store-bought kind.
  • 680 grams (1 ½ pounds/ 2 12-ounce bags) fresh cranberries
  • 450 grams (2 1/4 cups) sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) gelatin powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. In a small pot add cranberries, sugar, cider vinegar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Over medium heat, cook it until cranberries have burst and mix is fully combined, about 10
  3. minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. While the cooked cranberries cool, sprinkle the gelatin over the apple cider in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. When the 5 minutes is up, add the cider mixture to the cranberries and stir well.
  6. Pour into an 8×8 dish (I used a clear pyrex) and let sit in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving.


Baking Basics: Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is one of those things that I keep around the house at all times because of just how handy it can be.

I used to just make it as I needed it – and avoided recipes that called for it. But then I was watching a Rick Bayless cooking demo and he talked about how great it is to have simple syrup on hand for making cocktails was. If it’s already made, you can whip yourself up a cocktail that is just a wee bit fancier than whiskey and Coke or your gin and tonic.

Its usefulness extends outside of just cocktails. You can brush sponge cake layers with it to keep them moist and help seal in crumbs. If you want to sweeten iced tea or iced coffee simple syrup dissolves more easily than sugar.

You can even flavor your syrup by adding ingredients like herbs, ginger or citrus peels to the hot syrup and straining them out once it cools.

simple syrup

Baking Basics: Simple Syrup
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1 cup
Simple syrup can be made plain, or you can add flavors like herbs or ginger by steeping those ingredients in the hot syrup and then straining the liquid once it cools.
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and liquid becomes clear.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat and let cool.


Gluten-Free Cassoulet

Single Lady Supper: Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet

It’s no secret that my baking chops beat out my cooking skills in just about every way. From the flavors I prefer to the certainty and precision that a cake requires, baking is something that I just sort of get. Although that probably has more to do with the fact that I would rather eat a cupcake than a steak.

It’s too bad you can’t live on cupcakes.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

But that’s why there are things like stew. Or in this case, cassoulet – which really is just a specific type of stew that includes white beans and usually pork or duck.

You see, you don’t really need a recipe for stew (or cassoulet). You just need to know what order to cook the ingredients. And you need to let it be.

You start with a dutch oven and get it nice and hot.

You cook some bacon or sausage to get things going.

You sear your meat.

You sauté your aromatics.

You deglaze.

You add your other ingredients and get them all cooking.

You top it off with some herbs, cover it, put ‘er in the oven…

And you wait.

You don’t rush. You don’t stir the pot. You don’t increase the heat.

You let your kitchen warm up and fill your house with the scent of a hearty dinner.

You congratulate yourself for a grown-up dinner that is healthy, hearty and perfect for this unseasonably cold weather that has come our way.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

This recipe makes a small batch of stew. It fed me for one dinner and two lunches, although I did add some cooked sorghum to stretch it when I brought it in for lunch. If you want to make this for a family, simply double just about everything. If you hate cannellini beans, use chickpeas. If you hate rosemary, use tarragon. No red wine? Give up and make macaroni and cheese and then get your butt to the store. Just use stock. No dutch oven? Cook your meat in a skillet, but once you deglaze it, add all your ingredients to an oven-safe dish.

The rules for dishes like cassoulet (and any stew for that matter) aren’t quite as rigid as those for something like a macaron. So go ahead and make one – I promise it is worth the wait.

Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet
Recipe Type: Stew
Cuisine: French
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
Serves: 2-4 servings
The trick to a great stew is caramelizing the meat and deglazing the pan before letting that baby cook for a few hours. Cassoulet is traditionally made with pork and sausage for the meat, but I went with ingredients that I had on hand. We can call it traditional-ish.
  • 1/2 lb beef (most stores sell packages labeled for stew already diced, but any tougher cut of beef will work)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (an all purpose blend, corn starch, sorghum or potato starch would be best)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (about half a can)
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (about half a can)
  • Assorted fresh herbs for a bouquet garni – I used Thyme, rosemary, parsley and a bay leaf tied with cotton string
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Enough stock or water to cover the meat and other ingredients
  • Salt & pepper to taste (How much salt you need will be determined by what liquid you use and if it already contains salt. Start with a generous pinch if you use water or salt-free broth)
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Toss your beef with the flour and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Prep your other ingredients: chop your bacon into 1/2″ pieces, dice your beef into 2″ cubes, mince your garlic and peel and dice your onion.
  4. Tie your herbs together into a bouquet
  5. Add the olive oil to a small dutch oven over medium heat and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Brown the beef on all sides. You don’t need to cook it through (in fact you don’t want to), you just want to caramelize the outside of the meat.
  7. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
  8. Sautee your garlic and onions until the onions become translucent.
  9. Pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze all those lovely bits of meat clinging to the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the beef and bacon back to the pan along with the carrot, tomatoes and cannellini beans.
  11. Pour in the stock until the ingredients are covered and bring to a boil.
  12. Add the bouquet garni and cover the dutch oven.
  13. Place it in the oven and cook for 2 hours.


NaBloPoMo November 2014