My friend, Joanna, has a gluten-free-of-the-month subscription. Her husband got it for her for Christmas. Sweet-huh?

Knowing that I blog mostly about food, she offered to share with me her latest “treat”.

Seaweed Love package

Seaweed? Really? Thanks.

Seaweed is supposed to be good for you. Okay, we’ll try it.

nutritional facts

It looked interesting enough.

roasted seaweed

thin sheets of seaweed

seaweed snack

That’s it!

That is the nicest thing I can say.

It actually reminded me of when my sister and I would play mud pies as kids. After a rain, there would be this slimy moss that we would call “spinach” in our mud pie cafe. When we set it on the man hole cover in the front yard to “cook”,  it would end up looking very similar to this roasted seaweed! Mmmm.

This was NASTY!

The Critics all agreed! I wish I had a picture or a video of all of us trying it. The faces were priceless! It would have been fun to see who kept it in their mouth the longest.

Thank goodness none of us put a whole sheet in our mouths! We each broke a piece off of one sheet.

It smelled like fish food. My guess is the taste was pretty close, too.

Joanna, thanks for sharing?

Critics’ Corner

Chip: This is the best seaweed I’ve ever eaten.

Megan: Only one word befits this thing that should not be considered food: disgusting.

Katie: Unused toilet paper tastes better than this (please don’t ask how I know).

 

Spring tart wih peas

 

Well, that’s pretty! huh?

I recently had the privilege of being part of a fund-raiser Tea. When I say “being part of” I mean “making the food for” the Tea. It was loads of fun! This was the second year for Top of the Rock to host a Spring Tea. You can read about last year’s tea here, here, here, here, here, and here. Last year was fabulous! However, I didn’t want to have exactly the same food this year.

It was so much fun to plan for the Tea. I have a Pinterest Tea Party board where I gather ideas. After planning for the first Tea, I was hooked on finding fun Tea Party ideas. My board has quite a bit on it. That really made it kind of difficult to figure out what we should have this year. There were too many choices!

I knew we would have three courses–savory, scone and sweet. The scones were so yummy last time. I decided not to reinvent the wheel on that course.

We used 6 1/2″ clear plastic plates over the fancy china. That made for easier clean up and service. The size of the plates helped determine what would go on them. It had to all fit!

savory tea food

At last year’s event, we had a couple of people on gluten-free diets. Gluten intolerance seems to be an issue for lots of people these days. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to have a few gluten-free selections at the Tea.

My friend, Susi, made her fabulous chicken salad. Instead of serving it in a puff pastry like before, the chicken salad was scooped onto a sliced apple and topped with a pecan half. It was different and GF! And it looked good, too.

tea sandwiches

Last year someone mentioned that they would have liked more savory than sweet at the Tea.

Well, to me, the dessert plate is THE BEST!

In the interest of being different, we had a little roast beef canapé. It was e-a-s-y to make. I bought loaves of French bread at the grocery. They sliced it for me at no extra charge. That was a great time-saver. Remember that for when you are fixing snacks for 100! Since my budget was slim, I bought prepared horseradish spread, store brand. I spread just a tiny amount on the toasted bread slices. I topped that with deli roast beef and a small piece of provolone cheese-then into the oven to melt the cheese. YUM! The little roast beef sandwiches were not GF, but folks sure raved about them.

tea party food

 

The Pea Tart was a bit of a risk. I found the recipe on Pinterest one day. The link led me to a beautiful website, Gourmande in the Kitchen. I was totally intrigued! Sylvie’s photography is just stunning. She has so many amazing sounding recipes.

I was unsure how I would like the beautiful recipe. Goat cheese was a bit of a stretch for me. I had to do a test run. (You may have noticed that the first picture on this post did not have a clear plastic plate. I’m glad I took pictures while I was testing. Making 100 tarts shells got a little intense. I didn’t take any pictures.)

individual pie pans from canning lids

Since I was making individual tarts, I needed tart pans. In lieu of spending lots of money on tart pans, I used canning lids and rings. The picture above, from my testing, shows two different sizes. I ended up using the smaller lids and rings. I did use a bit of parchment paper in the bottom. I  didn’t want the rubbery part of the ring to be an issue.

In my trial run, I discovered that the almond flour crust was very fragile. This had me terrified to try to make them for people. I determined that I probably made the test batch a little too thin. So, when I made the “for real” tarts, I actually did math! Sylvie’s tart serves about 8. I figured I could get 13-15 tarts out of one batch of dough. I filled a canning lid with a little more dough than I used for my test. Then, I weighed the dough. I weighed out 100 little dough balls and stuck them in the fridge until the next day. After a good night’s sleep, I was ready to look at the dough again. I spent that day pressing the dough balls into the canning lids. They baked up nicely. I only broke a couple of them.

Herbed Goat cheese spread

I waited as late as I could on the tea party day to spread the filling into the shells. Doesn’t that look fresh and inviting?! The combination of herbs and creamy stuff was delicious!

spring peas

 

The Pea Tarts looked pretty with just peas. Sylvie used micro greens to top off hers. My grocery only had spring greens, no micros. The lacy micro greens looked prettier. Nobody at the Tea saw the micro greens though. (Well, they might now.) Anyway, I used the spring greens and was pleased with the outcome.

Spring tart with herbed goat cheese

Compare this picture to the one above it. You will see a difference in the thickness of the crust.

Sylvie was sweet enough to let me share her recipe here. Be sure to go visit her beautiful blog. Thank you, Sylvie!

Pea and Herbed Goat Cheese Tart Recipe (Gluten Free and Grain Free)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

The tart features a creamy filling laced with fresh herbs, balanced with a layer of blanched peas and a handful of colorful micro greens.

Ingredients

For the Tart dough:
    • 2 cups (224g) almond flour
    • 3 Tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Tart filling:
  • 6 ounces (168g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56g) Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) frozen or shelled English peas
  • 1 cup of micro greens (for garnish)

Instructions

Make the Tart Shell:
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, butter, egg white, and salt and pulse until the mixtures starts to come together.
    2. Place dough in a well greased tart mold, pressing down firmly with your fingers up and around the edges to create an even layer. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Put the tart shell in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Place the frozen tart shell in the oven and bake until golden, about 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
    4. Allow to cool completely before unmolding and filling. (Placing the tart shell in the fridge will speed cooling and make unmolding easier)
For the Tart Filling and Assembly:
  1. In a food processor, blend together the goat cheese, Greek yogurt, fresh herbs, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse briefly to combine.
  2. Bring water to a boil. Blanch the peas for about 2 minutes, then shock them in a bowl of ice water and drain.
  3. When the tart shell has cooled, spread the herbed goat cheese filling evenly over the surface with an offset spatula, then cover the entire surface with a layer of peas. Top with the micro greens, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cut the tart into slices and serve.

 

We recently had some of our good friends over for dinner. Since the last time they were at our house, Joanna has discovered that she needs to stay away from gluten.

Well, that ruled out all the stand-by “company’s coming” recipes. This was going to be an adventure for sure.

You may have seen me begging for ideas on the Pork Chop Tuesday Facebook page. Thank you for your suggestions!

I really thought about a Mexican dish of some sort. I ended up going with Chicken Curry.

(I probably should have stuck with the Mexican food. My family loves Chicken Curry. I guess it was kinda risky to spring an exotic flavor like curry on guests.)

Chicken Curry

(This is my Mom’s recipe. I don’t know where she got it.)

2 Tbsp. butter

1 ½ cups apple, finely chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. flour (use corn starch for gluten-free)

2 ½ tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 small can tomato paste

2 cups chicken

Melt butter; add apple, onion, celery and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in flour (or corn starch), curry powder and salt. Slowly stir in chicken broth and tomato paste. Cook and stir until thick. Add chicken and heat thoroughly. Serve over rice.

Making Curry

Top with your choice of condiments:

Raisins

Shredded coconut

Chopped boiled egg

Crushed pineapple

Crumbled bacon

Chopped peanuts

Mango Chutney (Ok, I don’t ever use the chutney. Mom loves it. Since it is her recipe I felt like I had to put it in there.)

The condiments are really the best part. I remember when Mom would fix curry when I was a kid. I loved being in control of the “extras” that went on my plate.

Plus, they look pretty. I used a plastic tray I had saved that came with veggies and dip one time. I sat it on top of a gold charger on top of a Lazy Susan. The fake flower ended up in the middle rather than the chutney.

Curry Condiments | PorkChopTuesday

Condiments

The kids had their own set of condiments. They got to use this cute little set Mom got me for my birthday last year. I love the tiny spoons! The kids ate at the coffee table and sat on the couch cushions.

Color Serving cups

Here is the curry without any “extras”.

Chicken Curry from Pork Chop Tuesday

Whew! We made it through the main course gluten-free!

Dessert was a different animal altogether.

As I scoured the internet for GF recipes, everything called for specialty flours. I priced some at the health food store a while back. They are very expensive!

I didn’t have time or money to make a trip to the big city health food store. I had to find something that would work. By work I mean that I could buy ingredients in town they didn’t cost an arm and a leg!

I came across a recipe for Fudge Mountain Cake. Her cake was beautiful! Could it really taste good without flour?

Here is what mine looked like.

Flourless Chocolate Cake | Pork Chop Tuesday

Her recipe says that she actually made a double recipe and used milk chocolate in between the layers.

I opted for the single recipe with some of the ganache between layers. If I make this again, I will make a double recipe. The cakes rose up nice and tall in the oven. As they cooled, they shrank down and got compact.

Baking without flour is a little different from baking with flour.

My cakes fell apart. I had to “glue” them back together best I could.

messed up cake

The cake was very dense and rich.

The original post had fancy chocolate curls on top. I went with the whipped coconut milk. I had never had whipped coconut milk. I had pinned a recipe/how-to on Pinterest not too long ago.

That part was really easy. I just stuck a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. When I opened it up, I had whipped coconut milk. No shaking, stirring or mixing. You can add a little sweetener or even chocolate if you like. We went plain.

I was glad I added a strawberry along side of the cake. I really added it for looks. The strawberry actually helped to cut some of the richness of the cake.

Ok, the single piece of cake looks a little better than the whole thing. We will end with that.

Flourless Chocolate Cake | Pork Chop Tuesday

I didn’t have the Critics review the Chicken Curry. They have eaten that numerous times and love it every time.

Here’s what they had to say about the cake though.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Apparently flour just holds cake back. This was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.

Megan: Moist, rich, and c’mon: it’s chocolate cake.

Katie: Chocolate cake is a splendid treat for all ages. This cake sky-rocketed to the top of my cake list!