Monthly Archives: March 2013

Brussels Sprouts, Sausage and White Bean Soup – Gluten Free


So I’m standing in my kitchen, looking out the back door, it’s the first full day of spring and snowflakes are falling in Virginia Beach!

I thought it seemed like a good day for soup!

This is a hearty, satisfying soup that you can whip up in minutes on a chilly weeknight. The sausage choice is up to you, I have used Andouille, Chorizo, Italian and a Basil-Garlic with equally wonderful results. I have also used fully cooked and fresh sausage, just a slight change in cooking time. I will say I slightly prefer a fresh sausage in this.

GLUTEN FREE notes: If you are new to gluten free cooking and eating, you may find it odd that I would label a soup recipe gluten free. Gluten lurks in all kinds of unexpected places, such as chicken broth and sausage! Read, read, read those labels. Beware of “natural flavorings” and even if there appears to be no sign of gluten in the ingredients, check the fine print about the facility it was processed in, you know the note where it says processed in a facility that processes nuts, soy, wheat, etc. Or it may go so far as to say may contain traces of nuts, wheat, dairy. While this may not seem like a big deal if you are eating gluten free by choice, those traces are a very big deal to someone with celiac disease.

Enjoy and stay warm!

1 lb Brussels sprouts

½ to ¾  pound sausage

2 cans Cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1-2 TB olive oil

1 teas carraway seeds

2 fresh bay leaves

1/2 teas red pepper flakes, optional

4 cups gluten free chicken broth

salt to taste

Remove stems and cut Brussels sprouts in half, I quarter the larger ones. I was even lucky enough to find purple ones once and used a combination, which made for a very pretty soup!

Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces. If using fresh sausage, remove casing and break sausage into pieces. Heat Dutch oven or large stock pot over med-high heat. Add 1-2 TB olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add sausage. Cook fresh sausage until cooked through, lightly brown pre-cooked sausage.

Add caraway seeds, bay leaves and red-pepper flakes, cook for a minute – NOTE: if using a spicy sausage you may want to omit the red pepper flakes, for me I put them in everything!

Add Brussels sprouts, HALF the beans and the broth. Heat to simmer, partially cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are just tender.

Before serving, in a blender or bowl using an immersion blender, puree remaining beans with some of the broth. Add to soup and heat through. Add salt to taste.

You can also omit this step, using all beans whole, or puree fewer of them. The more beans you puree, the thicker the soup will be.

Top with shards of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.


Gluten Free Maple Buttermilk Pudding Cake


Last Sunday  – the 10th – was my birthday and I used that as an excuse to experiment and play around in the kitchen making a couple of decadent sweet treats when normally I wouldn’t do such a thing!

Ha! let’s be real, I create something sweet on a pretty regular basis, I admit it, but I do try to limit it to one treat per weekend.

Anyway, during my search for a chocolate cake recipe that I had seen in my inbox, but not filed properly and thus had me frantically searching the websites of the food emails I get on an hourly basis, I came across this maple cake recipe at I love, love, love maple, use it in place of honey whenever I can.  And I am talking about the real stuff, the good stuff. Sorry folks Mrs.Butterworth’s and Log Cabin pancake syrup do not qualify!

And I love, love, love cake! All I had to do was tweak it to make it gluten free and I would have the perfect dessert for Day 1 of my birthday weekend!

I used almond flour for half of the flour (King Arthur GF All-Purpose for the other half), which I used to do a lot even before I went gluten free. It adds phenomenal texture to cakes, but not usually much almond flavor. With this cake, perhaps because of the maple, the almond flavor was enhanced and was a terrific complement to the maple.

This house smelled amazing while this was baking and we were so excited to eat it after dinner that I forgot to take pictures before we dug into our plates. Fortunately I remembered to take some shots the next day when I had a piece in the afternoon. This turned out to be especially fortunate because on Sunday our hounds decided to polish it off for us!


I don’t generally have to worry too much about food being on the counter with my two beagles. However, we also have a third dog, a beagle mix, who is just a bit taller, a whole lot lankier and has a tremendous reach once she gets her front paws on the counter. A reach that is even better than I thought. I had the maple cake, what was left of it, covered with foil and pushed back up against the wall at what I thought was a beagle-proof distance.

Leonard watching me cook

Leonard watching me cook

Well it was beagle proof, but it wasn’t Daisy proof!

Meet sweet Daisy - aka Crazy Daisy!

Meet sweet Daisy – aka Crazy Daisy!

When I walked into the kitchen, a dish towel and two pieces of foil lay in the middle of the floor. It took several seconds for the significance of this to resonate with me. There had indeed been an extra scrap of foil on top of the cake pan, and my brain was keyed in on that one. When I saw the other one, not destroyed, but still retaining the handle impressions of the Pyrex pan it had been hugging, I very slowly realized what happened…the counter where the cake had been was empty, nothing else was disturbed. Where was the pan? Eventually the clear pan, which had camouflaged itself on the linoleum, appeared by the fridge.

Daisy had already gone to one of the chairs in the living room to look guilty and insanely cute. The boys we oblivious until I exclaimed very loudly OH MY GOD!!!!!

Luckily there was no chocolate, no toxic nuts or any other lethal-to-dogs ingredient in this cake and Jolly and I had put a big hurtin’ on it, so only about 1/4 of the cake remained.

Knowing our dogs very well, this is how I’m guessing it played out. Petey was in the dog bed by the couch in the living room. Leonard was curled up on a dog bed in the office or on the bed in the bedroom, both areas where he can be the first to hear the car pull into the driveway. Daisy was on the prowl in the kitchen. When the Pyrex pan hit the floor – remaining in one very solid piece! Phew! – Petey freaked out and ran away from the noise to the office. Leonard most likely came running to the noise and thus helped Daisy eat cake. By the time Petey made it back to the kitchen he probably only had maple syrup drippings to lick off the floor.

Petey Do

Petey Do

I promise to give Petey a bite next I make it…



1 1/3 cup real maple syrup

3 TB butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)

2 teas baking powder

1/2 teas salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 teas real vanilla

Butter an 8×8 pan

Preheat oven to 350

In a small saucepan heat maple syrup to boiling, boil until reduced to a cup – about 6-7 minutes. This does not need to be exact, so don’t worry about remeasuring. Remove from heat, add butter, stir until melted. Pour into prepared pan.

NOTE: the original recipe said to line the bottom of the pan with parchment, butter the parchment, pour syrup over that. I did this, but it floated up into the cake in the center during cooking, so I think it can be made without parchment.

In a small bowl whisk flours, baking powder and salt together.

In another bowl whisk egg, egg yolk, buttermilk and vanilla together.

In large bowl or stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fluffy, 2 minutes. Then add dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with wet ingredients, mixing well after each.

Using a large spoon, dollop batter onto syrup. It will completely fill the pan, but doing it in dollops rather than pouring the batter in helps create more bread pudding type texture.

Bake 35 minutes, until golden brown and wooden pick comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with creme fraiche or UNSWEETENED whipped cream. This cake is wonderfully sweet. The tang of the creme fraiche is a great balance, as is plain whipped cream.

You can make this ahead and serve at room temperature or warm slightly before serving – yummy both ways. The dogs obviously had no problem with the room temperature version!

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