If only there was a recipe for “baking” social media.

I wish I didn’t need social media, but I do and it’s a part of my business that I do not enjoy.  Maybe, I’ll learn to like it.  However, I love building up my gluten-free culinary business & website: www.CountryKitchenCenter.com.    The business touches on many things that I love: baking, cooking, talking food, teaching food and planning classes and lessons.

Right now, I have a bread in the oven.  I proofed it- let it rise – next to the warm, wood oven and the dough formed such a beautiful dome that it already looked baked.  I’m so excited to learn more about baking gluten-free yeast breads.  I may be a culinary teacher; but I wanted to develop a better  technique for making yeast breads.  I took a course at the Institute of Culinary Education “ICE” in New York City.  The instructor, Michelle, was a “teacher’s teacher”.  I got so much from attending her class about delivering instruction and baking myriad gluten-free bread products.  I aim to provide the same level of instruction – but in a smaller, country kitchen setting. Yes, you can see why I named my blog and business as I did.  I can’t wait for more of you to come experience this pastoral scenery when you come to take classes and tour the area.

I just wish there was a quick way for me to get up to speed on using social media to build my business.  I know how it important it is and I need to use it on a regular basis.  Many of you will say that’s “a piece of cake”!  However, I prefer real face-to-face contact, a good asset for a teacher.  I like to converse in person, I like to have a phone call rather than text and when I’m in a restaurant enjoying good food and company, I am not on my smart phone.

I’m writing this post now to share my feelings about using social media.  I know that it’s important to get on it on a regular basis and share my thoughts, experiences and photos.  Soooooo, please help me out by  sending me your comments to this blog Country Kitchen Chaos and going to my FaceBook/Country Kitchen Center page and my website: www.countrykitchencenter.com  Please send me your thoughts and suggestions on increasing my “social media” awareness & ability to reach out to a larger audience.

The bread is in the oven and I just turned the bread to help it bake evenly.  It smells wonderful, just like a bread from an old-fashioned bakery.

A yeast bread class will be on the fall schedule.  

I look forward to hearing from you.  Please share this post here, and share my FB/CKC page.  Help increase my “hits” and following!

 

 

As good as it gets, gluten-free buttermilk pancakes!


Country Kitchen Ch
aos focuses on two topics, close to my heart and daily life: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and gluten intolerance and gluten allergies.  Someone might say it is a lot to deal with, but it has given me challenges that make the best of my life. As a person with ADD, I am always dealing time and organizational issues.  When I cook, I must be organized and specific with my cooking instructions.  If I want to double a recipe, then I write down the new amounts, otherwise I will make a mistake.  Mostly, I write the new amounts in a column, to the right of the one in the cookbook or on a printed computer page and put a 2X above the new amounts. If my eyes are straying to the single batch column, then I place a paper over it.   I doubled this pancake recipe since one batch is not enough for any pancake loving person. You can freeze any extra pancakes and have a tasty fast weekday breakfast.  You certainly won’t get gluten-free pancakes at any fast-food restaurant!

This weekend, I made amazing gluten-free fluffy buttermilk pancakes.  They fit my credo:  as good as regular-gluten food. I had a bottle of my favorite brand, “Kate’s Creamery – Real Buttermilk” and wanted to make a breakfast dish using it.  If you haven’t tried it, do so…it is the best thing to making it yourself!  I tweaked a pancake recipe from 1000 Gluten-Free Cookbook by Carol Fenster.  You can use her sorghum based flour blend or another all-purpose gluten-free flour mix. In either case, keep a gluten-free flour mix on hand for quick breakfasts and other baked recipes.

Here’s my method for making these pancakes, which are sure to be a family favorite.  Mix & blend well the dry ingredients.  In a separate large, liquid measuring cup, mix well the wet ingredients.  I added a little more buttermilk since the batter was too thick, but you may need to adjust it each time you make it.  It should be thick, but still pour slowly from the measure cup. I added two yellow organic, sliced bananas (save the really ripe one for your baked goods).  I also added 1/2 cup small pecans pieces; which increases the protein content. I gave it a spice boost with a bit of cinnamon.  Pancakes give you lots of room to play with your favorite flavor palette.

I mostly cook with cast iron pots & pans.  I have a griddle pan that covers two burners and can cook a small bunch – about 2 to 4 at a time.  Cast iron can over-heat quickly; keep a close eye on the heat level and even your first pancakes will be good ones.  When you make the pancakes, have some butter or oil melted and ready to brush your griddle. I use a silicone brush, one of my favorite tools.  Fill a scant 1/4 cup with batter and slowly pour it onto the hot griddle.  Cook until top side bubbles, then use two metal spatulas to flip the pancake.  Lift with one spatula and keep it from sliding as you turn it.  The second side will brown very quickly.  In no time, you will be enjoying a wonderful, hardy breakfast.  I serve the pancakes with real maple syrup and a touch of sour cream.  I get my syrup from local maple producers, one of the perks of living in upstate New York.  It’s also where I base my gluten-free cooking school, Country Kitchen Center.  Check out my website for details.  If you would like to schedule a class, check out my website: www.countrykitchencenter.com  and/or email me at ckc@countrykitchencenter.com.  I’ll be glad to touch base with you and assist with your gluten-free questions.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups  all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
1/4 cup  sugar
2 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup  buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
2  large eggs
2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2  bananas, sliced
1/2 cup  pecans, small pieces
Additional butter or oil, melted, for cooking

In a medium mixing bowl, measure & mix the dry ingredients, from flour mix to xanthan gum. In a 4 cup liquid measure cup, whisk wet ingredients until smooth.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Gently incorporate the bananas and pecans using a large wooden spoon.  Make sure all the flour is well mixed.  Let stand at least 5 minutes.
Heat griddle, lightly brush with melted butter or oil. Dip greased 1/4 cup into batter, level and quickly pour onto griddle.  When bubbles appear on top side, about 2-3 minutes, use 2 spatulas to turn and cook until bottom is brown, about 1 minute.  Continue until pancakes are done.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Tips for making pancakes
Have your ingredients all prepped and the workspace ready.
Use cast iron pans and two spatulas for a better technique.
Pre-set your table.  Warm your food plates in a 200 degrees oven and keep cooked pancakes warm too.

 

A plumb of a gluten-free torte!

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Plum torte recipe at the bottom of this post. 
Notice in the close-up that some of the cake is shaped like a valentine.
Too bad, Italian plumbs are not in season around Valentine’s Day.

Country Kitchen Chaos has largely been a blog in name only.  I seldom published my blogs, but I accumulated many unpublished blogs and food photos.  This can be typical behavior for a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  You start something and you don’t finish it.  The “chaos” in my title refers to ADD.  I needed a bigger incentive to blog.  I’ve got that incentive now.  I have launched a business, Country Kitchen Center (CKCtr). It’s a gluten-free culinary center that offers cooking classes, workshops, baking and catering as well as consultation services.  I will be linking my blog to my website www.countrykitchencenter.com   I call them kissing cousin sites.  I also am using my CKC Facebook page to share information.  If you wish to receive information or chat about gluten-free issues, please contact me.

When I moved to the country from New York city, I opened Buttercup Bakery.  I produced home-style baked good and English-style tea events.  I had to close this business when I finally realized I was gluten-intolerant and had to stop eating or baking with gluten flours.  But, I missed baking and I missed eating baked goods. So, I learned to bake with gluten-free flours and grains.  Finally, I was making baked goods that I missed in my gluten life, such as muffins, cookies & bread.  My bench mark for good gluten-free baking is that the products should taste like those made with gluten flours.

OK, here is the recipe for the Plum Torte.  Italian plums are in season in the fall.  So, make sure you keep this recipe until next fall.  They are the type that are shaped like tiny footballs.  I like to call it a cake; but it’s baked in a spring form pan and technically it’s a torte.  I got this recipe over 10 years ago, in the New York Times.  This is the first time I made a gluten-free version. I decided to use a one-to-one flour, as it only called for a small amount of flour and this makes it a quick, go-to recipe.  I think anyone can bake this torte; just be sure to grease the pan well.  The finished torte was so good that I ate two pieces while it was still warm. You couldn’t tell the difference from the wheat flour version! The taste is a perfect balance of a simple home-style cake and the brilliant sweet and tart flavor of the baked plums.  You may find yourself baking this often as it can be prepped and baked quickly. If you make the whipped cream; don’t leave the mixer while it is mixingit  or you can end up with butter.  You will have extra cream, but what’s the downside of that.

You will get 8 slices that will disappear faster thanyou can count to eight!

 

Gluten-Free Plum Torte

Inspired by Marion Burros, The New York Times

Prep time: 25 minutes; Bake time: 40 to 50 minutes

Servings: 8 regular slices or 16 just a slive-size slices

Ingredients

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine:

1 cup gluten-free 1 to 1 flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 eggs, at room temperature, stirred slightly

24 halves pitted purple plums

¼ teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Coconut Oil or Organic Canola Cooking Spray

Optional:  1 Cup whipped Heavy Cream.

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9″ spring form pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.

Cream softened butter & sugar in stand mixer. Start on low and increase to medium speed.

Add dry ingredients: 1 to 1 gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, salt.  Add eggs.  Beat until well-combined.

Use a rubber spatula to transfer batter into pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, turning pan 1/2 through baking.  Remove and cool.  Serve with dollop of whipped cream.

Note:  This is really an Autumn dish, when plums are in season; but you can prep extra plums and freeze them.

 

 

A new chapter begins for Country Kitchen Chaos.

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Welcome to the cousin of my blog Country Kitchen Chaos.  The “country-cousin” is a gluten-free culinary business and website called Country Kitchen Center.  I will be addressing gluten-free related topics and concerns. I became familiar with all things gluten-free (GF) when I realized that I had a gluten intolerance. I’ve talked to a lot of  GF people who have gone through their own version of discovering that gluten was making them ill. I had had symptoms for a long time, such as blotted belly, fatigue and brain fog; but when I had to retreat to my bed, every afternoon with utter exhaustion, I knew I had to try cutting out gluten.  I stopped eating all gluten products and within a month, I was a changed person.  This helped one problem, but caused another one – I had a growing baking business.  Eventually, I phased out my regular flour baking business, Buttercup Bakery and Culinary Center.  I learned to cook and bake with out using gluten and that was a steep learning curve.  However, how glorious to eat foods such as pancakes, not get brain fog and need a nap!!

Happily, I started a food business suited to my new life-style.  I am using this blog and my Facebook pages: Andrea Skolnick and Country Kitchen Center to communicate and post information until I am able to put my website on-line. You can also use my gmail address until my business email is active on my website.  One major focus of my new endeavor will be teaching students how to live well with a mandatory gluten-free life-style.  And, I’m including their family and friends, who want to be able to accommodate the gluten-free needs of their loved ones.  My CKCenter makes a great transition from selling baked goods to holding hands-on baking and cooking classes.  Classes begin this fall and my schedule is below.  I can’t wait to hear from the big and growing gluten-free community with questions, comments etc.

By the way, I will continue to use CKBlog to post cooking and recipe information.  Stay tuned for one on an Autumn Plum Torte.  It’s one of my favorite desserts and I’ve modified it to being gluten-free.

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                                                            COUNTRY KITCHEN CENTER
“Where you can learn to love your gluten-free life”.

1299 County Rd. 35, PO Box 214, Guilford, NY 13780

amskolnick@gmail.com; #646-670-769

 

                             2016 Fall Schedule – Prices: $95.00 each class*, early-bird discounts available.

Sept. 17, 18*                10:00am – 1:00pm       Homestyle Baking– Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Sept. 24, 25*                10:00am – 1:00pm      Breakfast Is Back – It’s a new game with gluten-free grains. Batter up for Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes & Muffins. Learn the technique for Egg Frittatas.

Oct. 1, 2*                      10:00am – 1:00pm      Pasta Mamma mia! Demystify GF dried pasta grains. Cook correct sauces with matching pasta shapes.

Oct. 22, 23*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Pizza, Pizza – Bring happiness back in your life…develop a repertoire of GF Doughs and Toppings.

Oct. 29, 30*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Halloween Treats – with none of the tricks. Oh my! Candy, Cookies & Cupcakes. Homemade Caramel Apples.

Nov. 5, 6*           10:00am – 1:00pm                Homestyle Baking – Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Nov. 12, 13, 19, 20* 10:00am – 1:00pm                    Thanksgiving Baking – Let’s Give thanks for GF Baking. Homemade Pies, Fruit Crisps, Tea Breads & Rolls.

Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11*         10:00am – 1:00pm      Holiday Cookie Basket – Fill your own gift basket with classic, seasonal favorites. Decorated Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread Men, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
*        Each date is for a separate class.