Posts from April 2014

Classic Cream Puffs the Gluten Free Way from Sweet Cravings by Kyra Bussanich

After Chile Lime Coconut Macaroons from Sweet Cravings50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Kyra Bussanich (Ten Speed Press, © 2013), here's a more standard tune.

Classic Cream Puffs


Makes 36 cream puffs

I got the idea for gluten-free cream puffs from my friend and mentor Laura Russell, who writes the gluten-free column for the Oregonian. She came up with a tapioca-based recipe for Brazilian cheese puffs, and the dough base reminded me of the pâté à choux used for traditional cream puffs, except that it’s much easier to make. The pastry cream can be made up to 5 days in advance: simply keep in an airtight container or wrap well with plastic wrap directly on the cream to keep a skin from forming. The puffs can be baked up to a week ahead and frozen in an airtight container. Make sure you poke the hole in the bottom, sticking your pinky in to clear the way for the filling, before you freeze them. Then, just reheat the puffs at 350°F for 6 to 10 minutes. The assembled puffs can also be frozen in an airtight container, but they will soften quite a bit. Thaw them at room temperature for about 2 hours before you plan to serve them.

Pastry Cream

2 cups / 454 ml whole milk
1/2 cup / 113 g sugar
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup / 51 g cornstarch
2 tablespoons / 28 g butter
2 teaspoons / 10 g vanilla bean paste or extract

Puff Dough

2 cups / 454 ml whole milk
2/3 cup / 147 g canola oil
4 cups / 521 g tapioca starch
6 eggs
1 tablespoon / 14 g vanilla extract
Pinch / .5 g salt

Chocolate Glaze

1 1/2 cups / 263 g best-quality dark chocolate
1/4 cup / 57 g butter
1/4 cup / 59 g heavy cream

CRAV Classic Cream Puffs image p 110

To make the pastry cream, line a baking pan with heatproof plastic wrap and set aside. Place the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a saucepan and scald the milk (heat to the point where it is steaming and the edges look like it is about to boil but is not yet bubbling). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until smooth. Once the milk is scalded, whisk the egg mixture vigorously while very slowly pouring in the milk in a steady stream. Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-high heat. Whisk constantly while heating to ensure that no lumps form. Bring to a boil and, whisking constantly, continue to let boil for 90 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste until well blended.

Pour the pastry cream into the plastic wrap–lined pan and cover the entire surface of the cream with additional plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill 30 to 60 minutes.

To make the puff dough, preheat the oven to 350°F. Set aside two mini muffin pans and leave them ungreased.

Pour the milk and oil into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, put the tapioca starch in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. When the milk mixture comes to a boil, turn the mixer on medium speed and slowly pour the milk into the tapioca. Turn to high and add the eggs, one at a time, and blend thoroughly, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla and salt.

Evenly fill 36 muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake until puffed and golden brown and hard to the touch, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the plastic wrap from the pastry cream and place the cream in a bowl. Whisk to soften and smooth the texture. Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a #802 round piping tip. (Normally, I advocate using a ziplock bag if you don’t have a pastry bag, but in this instance, the ziplock is likely to split along the seam.) Then refrigerate. Once cool to the touch, pop the puffs out of the pan. (If you can’t get the puffs to easily pop out, or if they begin deflating as they cool, put them back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes so they finish baking and crisp up.) Take a pointed paring knife and carefully cut a small round hole in the bottom of each puff. To fill the cream puffs, insert the piping tip of the bag of pastry cream partway into the bottom of each puff and gently squeeze. 

To make the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl. If using the microwave, heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Stir the butter and cream into the melted chocolate until well blended.

Dip the top of each cream puff in the chocolate glaze, turn right side up, and place directly on a serving platter. 


To cut down on preparation time, you can use a gluten-free vanilla pudding mix, cooked according to directions. Please do not use an instant mix: the scalded milk is an important flavor enhancer and tastes so much better!

(* Reprinted with permission from Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Kyra Bussanich -Ten Speed Press, © 2013- Photo Credit: Leela Cyd)

Pensive Virginie Blanchet Holds Chateau Malescasse Haut Medoc 2011 to Camera

Pensive Virginie Blanchet delicately holds Chateau Malescasse (Haut Medoc) 2011 to the camera.

Jancis Robinson called the 2009 vintage 'lively and flirtatious'. 50% Merlot.


Photographed at Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux tasting in New York (April 10, 2014)...

Zesty Citrus and Light Anise Flavors, Orange Fennel Seed Ice Cream from Smashing Plates by Maria Elia

Follow-up to Ouzo Mayonnaise Shrimp Cocktail from Smashing Plates(Kyle Books USA, April 2014) by Maria Elia brings together citrus and anise flavors for dessert.

Orange and Fennel Seed Ice Cream

The flavor of anise features quite heavily in Greek cuisine. Here I’ve used fennel seeds, which have a
light anise/licorice flavor and balance perfectly with the zesty orange. The ice cream is delicious served
with my Chocolate, Orange, and Anise Tart (page 186).

Serves 4–6 as a dessert, or 12 as an accompaniment to the Chocolate, Orange, and Anise Tart

1 3/4 cups heavy cream
zest of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
6 free-range egg yolks
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup whole milk


Heat the cream, orange zest, and fennel seeds in a saucepan until almost boiling. Turn off the heat and let infuse for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Reheat the infused cream,
adding the milk over medium heat until almost boiling. Slowly whisk the cream into the egg mixture until combined.

Return the mixture to the pan and stir continuously over low heat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Strain into a bowl placed over a pan filled with ice and stir occasionally until cool. Churn in an ice-cream
machine following the manufacturer’s instructions.

(* Recipe excerpted from Smashing Plates by Maria Elia -Kyle Books USA, April 2014- Photography by Jenny Zarins, all right reserved)

Cuvee Luke, Saralee's Vineyard in Guy Davis Right Hand, Roussanne-Marsanne-Viognier

With warmer months ahead of us, Cuvee Luke, Saralee's Vineyard (Sierra Foothills) from Davis Family Vineyards will be a great addition to anyone's wine selection.


Guy Davis is holding it in his right hand (left of picture, above). In Guy's left hand is his Zinfandel, Old Vines (planted in 1896) also from Russian River Valley.

I tasted both wines (and took this picture) at Sonoma in the City wine tasting on April 1, 2014 in New York.

Cuvee Luke is a sunny Rhone style white wine, blend of Roussanne-Marsanne-Viognier, and comes from vines planted at 2500 feet in the Sierra Foothills.

Get 1st Pull Off Hog at Martin's, Ice Hockey with Nashville Predators, Jackalope Brews...Nashville 10 do's and don'ts by Matt Bolus

After Vibrant, Young, Proud and Loud, 10 Do's and Don'ts of Tel Aviv by Gili Brenner we land in Nashville for 10 Do's and Don'ts of the city by Matt Bolus, chef of The 404 Kitchen (housed in a former shipping container).

Nashville 10 Do's and Don'ts by Matt Bolus:


1.  Hot chicken:
     Hattie B's consistent flavor plus local beer
     Bolton's chicken plus fish
     Prince's, why not, they got a Beard Award

Princes hot chicken

2.  Parthenon:
     Where else can you see an exact replica of a Greek temple?  Especially in the south or mid west?

3.  The Ryman:
      Everyone wants to play there.

4.  The Grand Ole Opry:

5.  Broadway:
     Honky Tonks, you have to go to Roberts Western World first and foremost (Brazilbilly?)


6.  Restaurants:
     The 404 Kitchen, everything
     Rolf and Daughters, the octopus
     Lockeland Table, community kitchen and bar, for the chicken liver pate
     City House, everything, Sunday supper, pizzas
     Catbird Seat, try to get in, 20 bar seats surround U-shaped kitchen, you meal is prepared as you watch 
     Pinewood Social, the Italian Soda, Pork Belly Sandwich


7.  Meat and three:
     Arnold's, first and foremost
     The Copper Kettle, putting the South in your mouth
     Wendell Smith's

8.  Ethnic food:
     Las Americas, El Salvadorian cuisine, specializes in pupusas
     Guantanamera, Cuban cuisine
     Ethiopian restaurants
     Middle Eastern bakeries
     Back to Cuba, Cuban cuisine

9.  BBQ:
     Martin's: try to get there by noon on Saturday to get the first pull off the hog.
     Peg Leg Porker
     Hog Heaven, since 1986

10.  Catch a great game:
     The Tennessee Titans, football
     Nashville Predators, hockey
     Nashville Sounds, baseball


1.  Take Taxis:
     Worst in all of the entire world.  You will have a better time on a scooter in Rome, Italy during rush hour than you will in most Nashville cabs. Take Uber Cab!

2.  Rent a car:
     The interstates around Nashville are some of the hardest to figure out. Plus Nashville is home to some of the worst drivers in the world. Stick to Uber Cab. But if you just have to rent a car consider Music City Dream Cars were you can rent the most exotic cars one can think of. Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Bently, Lamborghini, etc are all available for your city driving pleasure

3.  Think Nashville is all about country music:
     The Kings of Leon, Jack White, The Black Keys, Shelly Colvin, Courtney Jaye, etc all live, work, and record in Nashville.

4.  Come early in the week if you want to visit the Local Breweries or Distilleries:
     Jackalope Brewing Co (founded 2010)
     Yahoo Brewing Co (since 2003)
     Corsair Distillery (Gin, Red Absinthe, Pumpkin Spice Moonshine...)
     Collier and McKeel (Tennessee Whiskey)
     Belle Meade Bourbon at Nelson's GreenBrier Distillery

Corsair tasting room

5.  Miss these live music venues:
     The Station Inn
     The 5 Spot Live, Alabama Shakes private concert
     90 seats Blue Bird Cafe, Steven Tyler show, Willie Nelson and Khris Kristoferson show

6.  Miss the food and wine events:
     Pairings (2014 edition took place in February)
     L' ete du vin (July 31-August 2)
     Music City Eats (September 20-21, 2014)
     Nourish Nashville benefiting Nashville Food Project
     Iron Fork (April 16, 2014)

7.  Don't forget about all the local farmers markets and artisan stores (not just food):
     Nashville Farmers Market
     Franklin Farmers Market (offering Spring Seedlings and Noble Springs Dairy goat cheeses)
     East Nashville Farmers Market (every Wednesday from May 14 to Oct 29, 3:30 to 7 PM)
     12th South Farmers Market (Tuesdays, May through October, 3:30 to 6:30 PM)

     Lazzaroli Pasta Shop (Handmade pasta and ravioli)

     Legato Gelato (today's Featured Flavors: Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter and Honey, Coconut, Mango)

     The Bloomy Rind, Artisanal Cheese ( Located inside Porter Road Butcher)

     Crema Coffee (Sean and Winston, Roasters, recently competed in the proclaimed “Olympics of Coffee” and brought home a prestigious Brewers Cup third place finish.)
     The Barista Parlor (established 2011)

     Imogene and Willie (Clothing and accessories)

Barista parlor

8.  Pass on touring the country music hall of fame.  I know I said that Nashville isn't all about country, and it's not, it just happens to be the home of one of the best halls of fame in the world.

9.  Miss fall in Nashville. The weather is perfect, the leaves are beautiful, the food and drinks are flowing, and there's great sporting events and concerts. All around it's the perfect time to be here.

10.  Leave with out planning your next trip to Nashville!

(* Photo credits (top to bottom): Prince's Hot Chicken Shack from their Facebook page, Roberts Western World from Facebook page, Lockeland Table from their Facebook page, Martin's BBQ Joint from Facebook page, Corsair Distillery 'Tasting Room' from Facebook page, Barista Parlor from Facebook page)

Bake Bread this Week-End with No Knead Grain and Seed Loaf from Amazing Grains

Bake Bread this Week-End with No Knead Grain and Seed Loaf from Amazing Grains (Kyle Books, US edition, February 2014) by Ghillie James.

The “No knead” grain and seed loaf

Bar a few good Aussie bakeries dotted around, the bread in Singapore (where I live) is not massively interesting or healthy, so it’s great to have a recipe for a cheat’s loaf up your sleeve. This one is my Swedish friend Anna’s creation, but adapted slightly to suit my family’s likes. It’s quite a dense bread, but certainly less dense and softer than darker pumpernickel-style breads, and uses whole grain spelt and whole meal flour rather than rye flour, which is commonly used in Scandinavian and German breads. It’s the perfect bread to quickly rustle up too, as it takes half the time a normal loaf takes to make, and it’s a great accompaniment to a bowl of soup, a smear of thick-set honey, or some smoked salmon,
chopped dill, and lemon.

Makes 2 x 2lb loaves

3 tablespoons light olive or vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing
51/2 cups stoneground whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour
4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons flaxseeds, preferably ground
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
2 and 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Amazing Grains pp.48-9

First, grease two large 2lb loaf pans with oil.

Mix the flour, spelt flour, seeds, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 3½ cups warm water and the oil. Mix well with a spoon or your hand (it will be quite a wet mixture compared to normal bread dough).

Divide between the two greased loaf pans. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or an upturned mixing bowl and then leave in a warm place for 1–1½ hours until it has nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Uncover the loaves and bake for 40 minutes until golden and risen. Tip the bread out of the pans and return to the oven rack for another 10–15 minutes— then test by tapping the base to hear if it sounds hollow. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes or until done. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Alternative to spelt flour: instant oatmeal or use all stoneground whole wheat flour.

(* Recipe from 'Amazing Grains'from classic to contemporary, wholesome recipes for every day by Ghillie James -Kyle Books, US edition, March 2014- Photographs by Jonathan Gregson- all rights reserved)

Primeurs 2013, 2010, 2011 Vintages at Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux Tasting, New York, April 9

I will get a glimpse of what 2013 vintage has to offer at Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux tasting in New York on Wednesday, April 9.

"38 top winemakers from the famed Left and Right Banks of Bordeaux, will treat Sommeliers, Wine Buyers and Wine Journalists to an exclusive unveiling of their most prized possessions, ranging from the 2013 “en primeur” vintage (“wine futures”) to the most widely celebrated 2010 and 2011 varietals."


Among those present are Grand Enclos du Chateau de Cerons featuring Graves Red, White and golden Cerons (vineyard pictured above).

Full List of participating wineries:


Château Brande-Bergère Cuvée o’Byrne

Château Dalem 
Château Moulin Haut Laroque 
Château Les Trois Croix 
Château La Vieille Cure

Château Vray Croix de Gay

Château Siaurac

Château Croix Cardinale 
Château Godeau 
Château Magrez Fombrauge
Château Mondorion 
Château du Parc 
Château Pindefleurs 
Château Trianon

Château Fleur Cardinale 
Château Fombrauge 
Château de Pressac 
Château Le Prieuré 
Château Yon-Figeac

Château Faizeau 


Château La Cardonne
Château Greysac
Château Grivière
Château Haut Condissas  
Château Patache d’Aux 
Château Ramafort
Château Rollan de By
Château Tour Séran 

Château Liversan
Château Malescasse
The Winemaker’s collection 

Château Cap Léon Veyrin

Château d’Arsac 

Grand Enclos du Château de Cérons

Château Haut Bacalan 
Château Haut Lagrange

Château de Myrat
Château Raymond Lafon 

"The Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux came into existence thanks to the aim of Alain Raynaud, its president and founder, to bring together in one entity the wines of the Right and Left Banks.

With almost 200 wines, the Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux  presents, during its trips abroad, a showcase of Bordeaux wines selected for their high quality.  Its vocation is to prove that in Bordeaux there are superb, top-of-the-range and reasonably priced wines!"


Another week, another Wednesday tasting...

Vietnam Exquis, Cuisine between Sky and Earth, by Linh Le, published today, April 3

You might have read 10 do's and don'ts of Saigon (August 2011) by Linh Le when we shared them.

Today, April 3, 2014, marks the official publication in France of her book VIETNAM EXQUIS une cuisine entre ciel et terre (Exquisite Vietnam-a cuisine between sky and earth, Editions de la Martiniere) with photos by Isabelle Rozenbaum...


More than a cookbook, it's an exploration of the country that gave birth to this food and people who create it and keep traditions alive.

'Vietnam Exquis' is only available in French edition at this time.

You can find more of Linh Le's writing at Baguettes et Traditions...

Ana Keller Proudly Holds her Rotie, Theresa Heredia smiles with Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir

Two ladies from Sonoma left their mark on me at Sonoma in the City 2014 wine tasting in New York (April 2) at City Winery.

Theresa Heredia smiles with Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011.


She did not have a hand in making it since her first vintage as a winemaker at Gary Farrell was 2012.

Ana Keller knows how to win an audience.


She proudly holds Rotie, Keller Estate 'Rhone style' creation.