04 November 2012

Gluten Free Syrniki (Сырники) Russian Cheese Cakes

Just got back from a trip to Moscow where we had these wonderful little cheese cakes at the breakfast buffet at the Moscow Marriott Tverskaya.  I was doing a gluten challenge at the time, but have gone back to my gluten-free life since returning.  More about that later...

We loved the cheese cakes so much that I found a recipe online and made them this morning with Jules' All Purpose Gluten Free flour.  They tasted just like the ones we had in Moscow.  It's like having cheesecake for breakfast.  You serve them with powdered sugar and sour cream.  The cheese inside is slightly sweetened tvorog ( a soft cheese like Farmer's Cheese).  You can get the real thing at international markets.  The one I used was salt-free and unsweetened.  I added sugar to make the cakes.  Recipe follows.  The name Syrniki comes from the Russian word for cheese "Syr' (Сырь)".


500 g Tvorog or Farmer's Cheese
3 egg yolks or two whole eggs
4-5 Tablespoons sugar (to taste, I used 4 T and a pinch more)
1 tsp vanilla (original recipe called for 1 tsp vanilla sugar)
100 g flour ( I used an all-purpose gluten free flour)
mixture of Canola oil and butter (about a tsp of each for frying)
pinch of salt

Stir the cheese well with a fork or use a blender or stand mixer.  Add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt and mix.  Sift the flour and add to the mixture and mix again.  WIth a spoon dipped in water, spoon out tablespoons of dough, roll them in flour and form into patties.  Heat oil and butter in a non-stick skillet and add syrniki when oil/butter starts to bubble.  Cook over medium heat until browned on both sides.  Remove and place on a platter.  Serve with powdered sugar and sour cream.

Karen, herself

30 May 2012

Gluten Free Toll House Cookie Trial

First off, I have to confess that I haven't blogged in awhile because I have either been too busy unpacking, working, or trying to stay away from gluten-free goodies.  The chaos of our move and downsizing had the effect of putting the weight back on I lost after my jaw surgery.  But over Memorial Weekend I had the worst chocolate craving and I happened to have a package of Nestlé's Chocolate Morsels in the pantry.  I decided to try making the Toll House Cookie recipe with Jules' GF flour.  After all, I have substituted her flour in all my other baked goods without a hitch.  Until now.  Gluten free disaster.  Well, not total disaster.  The taste was heavenly.  It was a disaster in every other sense.

First of all, they spread until there wasn't any definition between them, just a cookie sheet of massive, thin, crumbling, soft mess.  Maybe I put too much dough on the sheet per cookie.  Maybe we didn't wait long enough to try one (and had to peel them off the cookie sheet as they fell apart).  Maybe it was the silpat (so I tried some on an ungreased sheet like the directions said (big head slap here!).  No difference.  Bottom line is that after they completely cooled, they weren't too bad, except for the crumbling.  But I am still disappointed. Jules! I had so much faith in you.  What happened?

Anyone else had this experience?  I did some quick perusal of the topic on Google and found that other people bumped up the flour by a half cup in the recipe to get it right.  Maybe that's it.  Or maybe I should just go back to making the oatmeal-teff chocolate chip cookies that always turn out well.  They still made a great photo.  Love my Nikon D5000.

Karen, herself

14 February 2012

Red Robin Serves Udi's Gluten-Free Bun

Hamburger on Udi's Whole Grain GF Bun
The hamburger chain Red Robin has been a favorite of mine for years.  They are one of the big chain restaurants that have a gluten-free menu.  It is not so much a special menu as a road map of how to eat there without consuming gluten.  They cook their fries in a dedicated fryer, so no cross-contamination.  Reason enough to give it a try.

Before going gluten-free I loved their salads with the crispy tortilla strips on top.  Since going gluten-free my go-to menu choice has been the lettuce wrapped burger.  It comes with a salad with balsamic dressing.  Lately, my "gluten anger" mood (being angry because I can't eat what I want) drove me to substitute seasoning-free fries instead of the salad.  Also, I can't really chew lettuce well right now since my jaw surgery, so giving in to the fries was more of a survival thing.  A girl's gotta eat some carbs, right?

Anyway, to my great surprise, the last time we were there the server asked if I wanted a gluten-free bun with my burger.  I was so shocked that I was speechless for a moment.  The funny thing is that I didn't really want the bun.  I have been trying to lose weight and with my jaws still unable to bite into a hamburger with bun, it was better to choose the lettuce wrap with fries.  But, I could not resist trying the bun and I always try to encourage stores and restaurants that make the effort to provide as normal an eating experience as possible for the gluten-free.  So I ordered the hamburger on the GF bun. I could have nixed the fries to keep my carb count down, but what fun is that?  I had to cut the burger with bun into small pieces to chew it, but it was good. It was darn good.  It was also somehow familiar.  When I got home I did some research online and discovered that it was an Udi's Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bun.  Needless to say, Red Robin is still one of my favorite lunch spots. And a big thanks to Udi's, while we're at it.

Karen, herself