Remember the other day when I talked about doing a cooking demonstration at the local Gluten Intolerance Group meeting? Because it was a busy day, I felt a little discombobulated and spazzy. Not my best presentation ever.
But a good bit of my discombobulation was from being a bit nervous, due to a guest who showed up at said meeting. A chef. A “real” chef, one with years of experience specializing in gluten free cooking. (Although I have formal training, I shy away from the “chef” moniker because of my lack of restaurant experience.)
He was gracious, not correcting me when he probably should have, and chiming in gently when I asked for his input. Only later did we find out he was Executive Sous Chef at the Pleasant Valley Country Club and former chef of the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness.
After the meeting, we also learned that this chef, James Harris, was holding a gluten free cooking class of his own at Eggshells Kitchen Co. the next Monday (yesterday). I had heard about this and meant to look into it further. Now I HAD to go!
I walked in the door of Eggshells, and lo and behold, a fellow culinary student was also in attendance. Ashley is now a pastry chef, working at one of the major bakeries in town. I visited with Chef Harris, joking about our earlier meeting and my less-than-stellar demo. He graciously blamed it on the low table I was using.
Somehow, during Chef Harris’ demonstration, I ended up cooking the risotto while he worked on other parts of the demonstration. Maybe it was me wildly waving my hand in the air, saying, “Ooh, ooh, ooh, let me help!” when he lamented not having an assistant. Ashley ended up helping later on — probably due to my hollering “ASHLEY WANTS TO HELP ICE THE CUPCAKES” — with the vegan, sugar free, gluten free dessert we enjoyed. They used some great fruit and veg suppliers and it was really good. (No, really; it was good!) Culinarians can be a rowdy bunch.
Chef Harris’ risotto recipe, using shallots, mushrooms and asparagus, was an excellent example of how delicious naturally gluten-free meals can be. He also demonstrated cooking scallops and (cough) gave us a recipe for gluten-free pasta. Let’s just say live demos don’t always work out. Oh, how I know.
Here’s the recipe for the cupcakes. This would be great for getting a “sweet fix” while on an elimination diet, or for those with multiple allergies or sensitivities. Heck, they were just good, just because. And I didn’t sugar crash after eating one. Okay, two. Sheesh.
Wanna see photos of the other food and fun? Keep scrollin’ on down, beneath the recipes.
Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free)
Recipe provided by Chef James Harris
- 1 1/2 c. gluten-free flour (recommended: Cup 4 Cup)
- 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. gluten-free baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 avocado
- 1 c. maple syrup (pure)
- 1/3 c. coconut oil
- 1 c. almond milk
- 1/3 c. coconut milk
- 2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Puree avocado in a food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, almond milk, coconut milk, oil and vanilla and blend until creamy.
Whisk avocado mixture into the flour mixture and combine until smooth.
Spoon batter into muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick that is inserted into center comes out clean.
Allow to cool before icing.
Chocolate Mousse Icing
Recipe provided by Chef James Harris
Icing for 10 cupcakes
- 1 c. raw cashews
- 1/4 c. coconut milk
- 1/4 c. cocoa powder
- 1/3 c. dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 T. maple syrup (pure)
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend together until very smooth. If it is too thick, add more coconut milk to thin it slightly.