This summer has flown by–we have less than two weeks left in Aspen! I can’t believe it. We’ve made some amazing memories here and have been so blessed to have our families visit us. This past week we have been visiting with my sister-in-law, Rebekah. We were finally able to go up to the Maroon Bells, and we experienced them in the sunshine and through a hail storm. It definitely added some extra excitement. The beauty in God’s creation is amazing.
I haven’t written many posts lately, because Nathaniel and I have been cooking a few nights a week with Green Chef, a weekly food service. If you’ve heard of Blue Apron, it is the same thing, but Blue Apron does not deliver to Aspen–so sad. Any way, they have been a great experience! They make us try different combinations and flavors I would not have considered, and I try not to stray from the recipes. Some recent creations have included Chicken Bruschetta Pasta with lemon-basil pesto and Lime-Sole Gazpacho with cucumbers, tomatoes, and crostini. (Both of those were delicious by the way.) It has definitely been a treat and a blessing to have these fresh, organic ingredients delivered to us to create such delicious meals.
A very simple salad that I have been making recently involves baby arugula and jamón serrano–delicious right? Easy dressing (for 2): 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 garlic clove minced or microplaned, salt and pepper. Mix well, then toss with baby arugula, a few slices of shredded jamón, and top with grated parmesan cheese. Delish.
For Rebekah’s birthday, I had to do some research–gluten-free baking. I haven’t had much experience in gluten free baking, but I’m sure my repertoire will be expanding quickly! I didn’t trust myself to experiment by making a traditional cake using gluten free flour, so I turned to some gluten free blogging experts. I found a fabulous blog that is not strictly gluten free but she has a fabulous and extensive section of gluten free goodies. The blog is called Cannelle Vanille, which translated means Cinnamon Vanilla (www.cannellevanille.com). I found her recipe for an apricot and olive oil cake and it looked beautiful and did not seem too complicated.
Gluten-free baking can be a challenge–finding the perfect flour blends and making sure the product is moist and not too crumbly. This cake uses coconut milk and olive oil to help with the moist factor. The recipe also calls for gluten-free all-purpose flour and almond flour. I used a Natural Directions flour blend that includes a mix of ingredients but no bean flour.
I followed the recipe exactly as printed, but I do have a few notes. First, the apricots were completely enveloped by the cake during the baking process. The cake rose quite a bit, and I don’t know if it has to do with the high altitude at which I am baking or the fact that I am baking in a small toaster/convection oven. All this to say, the top of my cake did not have the pretty apricots on top like they are pictured on the original blog. My second note is more of a suggestion. To add to the moistness of the cake, I heated 1/4 cup of rum with 2 tbsp. of sugar until the sugar was melted, and I spooned the mixture over the top of the cake to soak in. (I did this before adding the chopped pistachios and powdered sugar.) Again, this is just an added step, but it definitely made for a delicious cake, and I think it helped lengthen the life of what could be a dry and crumbly, gluten-free cake. I will definitely make this again for my family when I have a real oven and I’m not fighting with the altitude:)
Here is the link to the original recipe: www.cannellevanille.com/gluten-free/apricot-and-olive-oil-cake
Moment of truth: I’m not a huge cake eater or sweets eater in general, but I do love to make cakes! I even love making my own birthday cake, if only so the people I love can enjoy it. So thank you Rebekah for visiting and giving me an excuse to try something yummy for you!