Have a Peaceful Universe

Peaceful universe

Realize that our perceptions are temporary and subjective

Free your mind, to see the objective reality around you

…. Without striving toward or lusting for any of it

…. Without withdrawing in aversion

Acting with compassion and lovingkindness

And your Universe will be peaceful


Friday Inspiration: The Science of Happiness

I love this infographic, published by http://www.highexistence.com, and originally created by http://www.happify.com:

SciHappiness_Happify-709x8649


Gluten Free Apple Cake Tarte Tatin style

GF Apple Cake

I love Tarte Tatin, and have previously written a blog about Tarte Tatin making that with Julia Child’s caramelized apples, and Emeril’s pastry crust.  This year, because my wife is eating gluten free, I thought, why not make this into a cake, but with the caramelized apples that would typically top a Tarte Tatin.  It worked!

My guests had 4 desserts before them, and most said the apple cake was the best, gluten or not.

The caramelized apples are the way Julia Child would make them for Tarte Tatin.  This year I used Honey Crisp Apples, but you can use Golden Delicious, or whatever you would normally choose for a pie or any cooked apple dessert.

9 Large Honey Crisp Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 16 slices (Quarter it, then slice each quarter 4 more times)

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp cinnamon

1 stick (1/2 cup unsalted butter)

2 cups sugar, divided

Peel, core, slice apples and toss in juice of 1 lemon.  Then sprinkle on 1 cup sugar.  Set aside in bowl.

Melt butter in 12” cast iron pan on medium-high heat, then add remaining 1 cup sugar and WATCH IT, stirring almost constantly, until sugar caramelizes.  Don’t let it burn.  You are looking for a velvety smooth medium brown texture.  When it reaches this state, take it off the heat.  Drain the apples in a colander, then arrange the apple slices in a pattern in the caramel.  Be careful, the pan stays very hot.  I use a pinwheel design, starting at the outer edge, then creating 2 rows.  Pile any extra apple slices on top, and make it level.  Put pan back on low heat and let apples simmer in the caramel about 10 minutes.  Press down  lightly on apples to ensure that all get some caramel on them.

Meanwhile make the cake.  Preheat oven to 350.

Cake ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup heavy cream

2 eggs

1 ½ cups gluten free flour (I used a mix that has tapioca, rice flour, potato starch, found at Whole Foods)

1 cup almond flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Cake batter:

Sift together dry ingredients:  GF flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.  Soften the butter.  Cream butter and sugars with mixer until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, with mixer on.  Add oil.  Add vanilla.  Alternate adding flour mixture and cream, scraping down bowl regularly, and finishing with flour.

After the apples have cooked in the caramel about 10 minutes, take them off the heat, and sprinkle lemon zest over apples.  Sprinkle 1 tsp cinnamon over apples.  Put batter over apples.  It will barely cover, so deposit it all around, then very gently smooth over with spatula.

 

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until cake tester comes out almost dry (this is a moist cake, and it is also absorbing liquids from the apples).  When done, place pan on cooling rack (ideally in front of a window) for 5-6 minutes.  Run a knife around outside edge.  Invert cake plate over pan and hold firmly, turning the pan upside down.  Tap if needed for cake to land on plate.  If some of your apples stayed in pan, don’t worry, just use a fork to gently lift them out and replace them in the pattern on what is now the top of the cake.  Let cool at room temperature until ready to serve.  Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms (Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe) – NEW EASIER VERSION

stuffed-mushrooms

THIS IS A NEW, EVEN EASIER VERSION OF MY CLASSIC STUFFING STUFFED MUSHROOMS.

We do “Gourmet Leftover Day Dinner” a few days after Thanksgiving, and I enjoy preparing these more unusual foods even more than T-Day itself.  This first one requires that you’ve made a nice and greasy cornbread sausage stuffing.  The rest is easy!  On Thanksgiving, we use a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for Sausage Cornbread Stuffing.

As an appetizer, 3 per person.  I served alongside a green salad with orange vinaigrette.

30 large white mushrooms, about 2” in diameter

3 cups cornbread sausage stuffing (cooked)

1 tbsp Olive oil or Chicken broth (only if needed to moisten)

4 oz. shredded provolone cheese (or shredded Italian cheese blend)

4 oz + 3 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese (works better than grated)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Clean mushroom with damp cloth.  Trim out stems, gills,  and if needed, widen the bottom opening with a paring knife, going around in a circle.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Toss mushroom caps gently  in 2 tbsp olive oil.  Place upside down (curved side up) on cookie sheets and season with salt & pepper.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes (watch for when they begin to turn brown) and remove and set aside.

Dice the leftover stuffing to small bits, and put in large bowl.  Mix in cheeses (reserve 3 tbsp parmesan for top).  Mixture should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when compressed.  If needed, add broth or a bit of olive oil (just a tablespoon or two) to achieve slightly moist consistency.

Flip over the caps, and stuff generously with filling.  Place filling side up on cookie sheets.  Sprinkle a bit more parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

 

P.S.  If you are curious what makes this recipe even easier than the original, see the original posting here.  In the original, I cook the mushroom stems and add them into the stuffing mix.  But I have found that just the stuffing and cheese is really good!


Friday Inspiration – Embrace Imperfection

embrace imperfection

 

 

Embrace IMPERFECTION

In Yourself and Others

And suddenly….

Life is More Beautiful

People are More Beautiful

The World is More Perfect


Friday Inspiration – A True Friend

True friend picture

A TRUE FRIEND knows how and when to LISTEN …. even when you aren’t yet  SPEAKING


Friday Inspiration: Beauty and Love

beauty is reality

 

BEAUTY is Simply Reality, Seen Through the Eyes of LOVE.

Painting:  Blue Dancers, Edgar Degas, 1893