El Torito Restaurant’s Sweet Corn Cake garnish is one of my favorite things about this place. On nearly every entree, there is this little scoop of sweetness that just makes the meal. Check out the menu and you can see it on almost every dish. I have always eaten it not knowing whether it is entirely gluten free or not and I’ve never been able to get a straight answer about its gluten free status whenever I ask the servers. Most of the time they only hear the word flour, so they tell me they can’t guarantee the gluten free status.
Last week, as I was wandering through the grocery store on my lunch hour looking for new foods to try, I came across this new mix for Sweet Corn Cake. I usually avoid packaged foods because of the sodium and preservatives, but I found this new El Torito Sweet Corn Cake Mix and thought I’d give it a try. There are only 5 ingredients in the mix: Sugar, masa flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. To make the recipe, just add a can of cream style corn (I used the no salt added version), butter, and water. How easy is that?
The result is nearly identical in appearance and taste to what El Torito serves in its restaurant. This is a keeper, and I am sure there are many creative options to vary the recipe. The downside is that, like most treats, it is a little high in fat and sugar, and low in nutritional value. But as a garnish on a plate, it adds a nice touch and one small scoop is not too damaging to a healthy diet.
Here’s the original recipe. My microwave recently stopped working, so to make the recipe, I put the butter in the bowl of a 2-quart double boiler. The advantage of this was that I only used one bowl to mix everything. Once the butter was melted, I added everything to the same bowl, making less work to clean up.
My reason for maintaining this blog is to have a place to write about some of my favorite gluten free eating and baking adventures. Today I write to procrastinate a little, too, but also to get in the writing mode, too. I am writing my Eportfolio for San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science this semester and when I complete this, and pass all the competencies, I will have earned my MLIS. Yay! I am excited and anxious at the same time. Some of the comps seem to be a bit over my head since I have focused my education on one thing, the organization of information, so I don’t necessarily have much evidence to produce on the topic of intellectual freedom. However, these competency essays seem to be very massageable, so I am forging ahead. As of this weekend, I have submitted five and passed four. I have the outline for competency H in place and plan to get this submitted in the next day or two.
Meanwhile, as I need to think about how technology tools are affecting library services, I decided it was the perfict time to bake some cookies and do some thinking. I have not eaten oats for nearly ten years, but Trader Joe’s has recently started selling gluten free oats. I picked up a bag and made a batch of oatmeal cookies from Cybele Pascal’s cookbook. I varied the recipe by adding a few chopped dried cherries to the dough. I used both a nonstick Caphalon cookie sheet and a basic aluminum cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick coating to bake the cookies. Needless to say, I was very surprised to see the difference in the cookies as they came out of the oven. I will make a note in my cookbook to use the aluminum pans only next time. My aluminum cookie sheets seem to distribute the heat evenly and the cookies came out perfect. The cookies that baked on the Caphalon nonstick pan turned out okay, but very inconsistent, and some burned around the edges, while others (on the same cookie sheet) were not cooked through. These cookies taste great and the lucky recipients of this batch will be my work buddies as we have our monthly Monday morning meeting.
Two cupcake recipes were tried today: Vanilla Cupcakes (p. 92) and Golden Agave Cupcakes (p. 105), both from Cybele Pascal’s The Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook (2009). The Vanilla Cupcakes recipe absolutely lives up to its claim of tasting like a “vegan Twinkie.” The batter has a really fluffy consistency and was poured into a muffin tin lined with silicone cupcake liners. Super easy! I don’t think anyone will really notice or care that they are gluten free when I bring them to work tomorrow for a birthday potluck. I decorated them party style!
The second batch of cupcakes, the Golden Agave Cupcakes, were baked in a non-stick mini muffin tin. These are definitely a golden color and the agave sweetener gives them a honeylike taste. They are sweet, but not too sugary, and the agave nectar kind of settles to the bottom giving off a gradient color inside. These cupcakes are surprisingly moist for being gluten free/allergen free. Make this recipe when you want that special agave taste, which is kind of a cross between maple syrup and honey. They are good with a cream cheese frosting.
Usually when I buy a cookbook, there are a only few recipes that I like to use regularly. This cookbook stands out as one of the most useful and foolproof cookbooks ever. Every recipe turns out great and is easy enough for the most novice baker.