Cool as a Cucumber Chilled Soup

Quick to prepare and ever so cooling in the hot weather, this chilled soup belongs in every refrigerator. If you prefer a soup with more texture, don’t blend it as long. Using unpeeled cucumbers will give the soup a beautiful light green color.

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (leave unpeeled if using English/burpless/seedless)

¼ C plain yogurt- whole milk, low-fat or Greek

½ C buttermilk – whole milk or low-fat

1 T shallot, minced

1 t garlic, minced

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 t maple syrup

½  t ground cumin, cardamom or coriander

¼ t cayenne pepper (optional)

1 T fresh dill

Chopped fresh dill or chives – for garnish

Lay the cucumber slices on a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towel. Salt the cucumbers and let them “sweat” for 20 minutes to let them release moisture.

In a blender or food processor, process all the ingredients until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. Chill at least one hour or overnight. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs. Serves 3-4.


Peach Buttermilk Pudding

buttermilk-peach-pudding-sl-xTake the time to double sift the flour ingredients as directed in the recipe. The process of doing this will help the texture of the pudding. Folding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed butter will allow the fat particles to get around the flour, which actually reduces the amount of gluten molecules that release when dry meets wet ingredients. The end result is you’ll create more of a pudding texture rather than a cake texture.

1½ C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t salt
½ t nutmeg
½ t ground ginger
3½ peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1½ lb.)
1 C buttermilk
½ C butter, softened
1½ C sugar
3 large eggs
4 ripe peaches (about 2#), cut up into chunks
1 small peach, sliced, for garnish
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Sift together first 7 ingredients; sift again. Process chopped peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Yield should be 2 cups puree.) Stir in buttermilk. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add peach mixture, and beat until well blended. Layer chunked peaches in a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Fold flour mixture into butter mixture. Pour batter over sliced peaches in pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan, and add boiling water to roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Arrange sliced peaches in a circle in the middle. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or by itself.


Fig & Orange Muffins (GF)

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times

1 C dried black mission figs, chopped
1 C orange juice
1 C cornmeal or polenta (fine-ground cornmeal)
1 C Bob’s all-purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
¾ t xantham gum
¾ t sea salt
1 T baking powder
½ t baking soda
2 eggs
1¼ C buttermilk
¼ C honey
¼ C canola or safflower oil

Put the chopped figs in a bowl and pour in the orange juice; let steep for at least an hour, or overnight. Drain ¼ cup of the orange juice (this will probably be all that is left if you let the figs sit overnight), and add it to the buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 350̊F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

Sift together all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the buttermilk, orange juice, honey and oil. Working quickly, add the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the chopped figs. Don’t over mix, but be sure there isn’t any flour left in the bottom of the bowl. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill muffin cups to the top. Bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly brown and well risen. Allow the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin. Makes 12 muffins. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator, 2-3 days.  Muffins are best reheated in a toaster oven.


Cheddar & Mustard Whole Grain Muffins (GF)

Combining different grains and adding xantham gum results in a muffin that looks and tastes a lot like a wheat flour muffin. Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times

½ C amaranth or millet flour
½ C cornmeal or polenta (fine-ground cornmeal)
1 C Bob’s all-purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
¾ t xantham gum
½ t sea salt
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 eggs
2 T Dijon mustard
1¼ C buttermilk
1/3 C canola or safflower oil
1 C grated cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp)
½ C chopped walnuts – optional

Preheat the oven to 350̊F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

Sift together all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, mustard and oil. Working quickly, add the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the cheese and walnuts. Don’t over mix, but be sure there isn’t any flour left in the bottom of the bowl. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill muffin cups to the top. Bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly brown and well risen. Allow the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin. Makes 12 muffins. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator, 2-3 days.  Muffins are best reheated in a toaster oven.