It’s fall and that means German food is at the top of my cravings list. We’re celebrating Oktoberfest this Thursday (late, I know, but it takes time to sour meat) with the kids and one of the traditional sides with Bratwurst is sp?tzle. Like most family comfort foods there are endless variations on sp?tzle, but here is the Cline family version.


3 cups sifted AP flour
1 tsp salt
4 room temperature large eggs, beaten
3/4 c milk

Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt then make a well in the center and deposit the beaten eggs. Stir to combine while gradually adding milk. Dough is very stiff. Let rest while you bring a large pot (at least 6 quarts, please) of salted water to a rolling boil.

Put 1/2 c dough into sp?tzle press or use colander and spatula to extrude dough into boiling water. Remove sp?tzle as soon as it floats to surface of pot and drain. Do not rinse!


Brown 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Grate in whole nutmeg (maybe an 8th of a teaspoon) to bloom the flavor. Add sp?tzle and toss to coat well. Cook 6-7 minutes.


Feeds 4-6 as a side dish. If you must be a foodie sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Fall Festivities

It’s been an interesting fall so far, and I thought I’d share at least the feel of it with a few videos:

There have been snakes:

Fire (from an earlier event but similar):


and Horns:

I’ve got at least 40 tabs open to things I wanted to share with you, so here is a sneak peek into a few of the things I’m thinking about:

Dave wants to know when do you have enough money. He starts with Bill Simmons and it only gets better from there. I have been thinking about this a lot lately – as presidential campaigns heat up I will have some hard choices to make about where I spend my time.

In the same vein, being poor (or with limited resources) is expensive. I’m getting a first hand look at that right now and I can’t believe the hidden fees on things I take for granted. Women are disproportionally poor.

Gina’s whole post is a must read (and it sounds as though xoxo should be on my radar) but this line kicks a$$:

Somehow, some way, your worst moments feed your best work, and it might well take a decade to see it.

Sadly, being female online continues to be a problem for men.

That makes me hesitant to tell stories in public and brings me back around to why I enjoy Folk Festival and First Friday so much. I have a lot of respect for people fearless enough to perform for an audience. More on that soon!

Pretzel Classes

Just in time for your fall feasts and cooler weather!
Just in time for your fall feasts and cooler weather!

I’m teaching Homemade Pretzels twice next week, on Monday, October 6th and Wednesday, October 8th. Both classes run 3:45 – 5:45 pm. If you are interested in attending just download the class registration form and drop it off at the Good Shepherd school office.

Mushroom Goug?re (Gluten, Dairy Free)

I do a lot of gluten and dairy free cooking, both at school and home due to food allergies and sensitivities.

One of the staff & student’s favorite dishes is a medley of mushrooms served within a savory Goug?re ring of pastry. Because choux pastry uses very little flour it was easy enough to convert it to a GF version – stripping out the dairy was a little harder but this solution worked nicely. If you can tolerate it, the Earth Balance soy free sticks (use the equivalent of 4T) works well also.

This is a very versatile staple as the Goug?re ring can be filled (as in the images shown) with anything that contains at least 1/2 to 2/3 c of liquid after preparation. I’ve done this version with carmelized onions, mushrooms, chicken, venison and mixed vegetables and it’s always a reliable hit. Just make sure to get as little liquid as possible on the choux as it will prevent it rising to its full potential.

Gluten, Dairy Free Mushroom Goug?re


Choux Pastry

1/2 c flour mix provided
2/3 c water
4 T fat (canola oil, bacon fat, coconut oil, etc)
2 eggs
3 oz nutritional yeast


1m onion finely diced
8-12 oz mixed mushrooms (fresh or frozen sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T gf flour or cornstarch to thicken (I’d use cornstarch, it’ll work better)
2/3 c stock (mushroom, vegetable, chicken – use what you have)
3/4 c chopped walnuts
salt & pepper to taste

Put water and fat onto stove, heat until fat is melted but NOT BOILING. Once fully melted, add flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mix is smooth and silky looking. Cook while stirring about 1 more minute to lightly dry mixture. Remove from stove and let cool, 10-15 minutes.

Beat in eggs one at a time, being sure to completely incorporate them into the mix. The last egg will not want to go in, stir vigorously. Mixture will be smooth and glossy at this point.

Add cheese after 2nd egg is completely worked in, stir well to distribute.

Spread all around the diameter of a greased 8 or 9″ round oven safe dish. You can use a pie plate, tart pan, etc, just don’t exceed 9″. Spoon dough out in dollops and spread to create continuous ring around pan with hole in center.


Set aside and cook filling.

Saute onions in Eevo until soft, 3-4 min. Add garlic and mushrooms, season and cook until mushrooms are browning. Keep stirring! Sprinkle with flour or cornstarch and stir to incorporate. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes, then gradually add stock and bring to boil. Stir constantly 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens.


Remove from heat and stir in all but 3 T of walnuts. Pour into open center of choux pastry and garnish with remaining walnuts.


Bake 35-40 minutes in 400 degree oven until pastry rises and is light golden in color. Rest 10 minutes before serving or cutting!


Baby Steps

A chicken goug?re but imagine this filled with mushrooms, instead! Same theory :)
A chicken goug?re but imagine this filled with mushrooms, instead! Same theory 🙂

Some days it seems as though it’s all I can do to maintain forward momentum. I have to remind myself that sometimes things come in baby steps and what’s critical is getting something done even if it isn’t precisely what I thought I’d get done.

That’s sort of why I’m blogging again, actually. Kim got me hooked on the concept of showing your work over the summer and it got me to thinking about how very little of my work (and life) I was actually showing. And oh well hey, I’ve got a blog for just that sort of thing!

Work today was not the soaring joy I’d like for most days. Instead it’s the grind of emailing paypal about the GSES account (in old staff hands, not current) so I can get the new event system I built for them working and move forward on the donation system for their annual fund. There is 1/4″ of emails and notes about the state of this account – I’m not hopeful I can fix it in time to use for cooking classes, so I’m falling back on my old friend paper, which thankfully is still fashionable with school ages. Oh and building forms on publisher – joyful!

I’m also trying to fix the weird jQuery theme dependency on the FHNA site. For some reason the theme developer has the theme using its own jquery file (v1.6.1), instead of the one installed in WordPress (v1.11.0) so of course it’s throwing off bizarre javascript errors. Bug hunt!

School today was awesome, though. The lunch program has grown (again) and today I fed 60 and a bonus parent. I had 2 helpers today, 1 experienced, 1 a middle school student doing community service hours. The menu was baked Parmesan & Herb Chicken Tenders, Italian roast potatoes, maple glazed julienned yellow, white, purple and orange carrots and a gluten free, dairy free mushroom goug?re as entrees with sliced peaches and grapes for our fresh finish.

Yesterday I realized 4th, 5th & 6th graders are getting ready or going through a growth spurt so I over-prepped today thinking if kids were hungry we’d have plenty. We breaded 16# of hand cut tenders, roasted 18# of potatoes and 8# of carrots. That fed all 61 and I had 2# of chicken and 1# of potatoes left which will go into some potato & leek soup tomorrow. I also made a gallon of chicken tortellini soup and have a cup or two of the broth left for starting the potato soup off. We snacked today on D’s banana bread – it was delicious and I’ll try to get recipes up soon!

More steps, now!

Benny Drops

Just a heads up that we’ve begun updating client sites to WordPress 4.0 or the “Benny” release.

As usual I’m all late and wrong about updating the site itself here, but I can confirm 4.0 is nifty and squashes some nasty bugs so it was worth the time to load it all up.

Something fun for my print buddies –

New work:

Fresh face for Kim at KimOvitt.com.

Fresh face for Good Shepherd Episcopal. Still in progress but all up in production. One of these days I’ll update my sidebars 😉

In progress:

Learning management module for online courses (still need a beta tester, email me if you’re interested) and Event Scheduling tools.


Creating a Link in WordPress

To create a link, select the text that you want as a link anchor by highlighting it with your mouse.


Click the icon that looks like a paperclip (next to the left justify icon in the visual editor) and you’ll see a box like this:


Enter the address of the web page you want to link to after the http://. For example, the proper URL formation of the FHNA website is: http://foresthillneighborhood.com. It is no longer necessary to use the www before the domain name in creating a hyperlink. You do not need to enter anything into the Title field, and you can check the box to have the link open in a new window so that the FHNA site remains open in the background.

Also, this video may be helpful –

[wpmudev-video video=”hyperlinks”]

Meringue Cookies


Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup regular or superfine sugar (I use a bit less ? 1/2 cup ? they?re plenty sweet)
6 ounces chocolate chips, miniature chips or finely diced semi or bittersweet chocolate
1/4 chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted first is even tastier

Preheat oven to 300?F.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar and vanilla, and beat mixture again until it holds soft peaks. Add the sugar, gradually, beating the batter until it is stiff. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes. Undersides of cookies should be golden or lightly tanned.

Note: There are two approaches to baking meringues. This shorter cooking time at a higher temperature yields a cookie with a crackly, crumbly exterior and an almost hollow center. A more traditional approach is a longer baking time, 200 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours. Take the longer-baked version out when they are slightly golden and firm to the touch. They will be more soft and fluffy, like miniature pavlovas.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cups of super fine sugar (if you don?t have it, put regular sugar in a blender for 10-15 seconds until a fine powder forms)
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer (standing or hand-held) with the whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites. When they start to foam, add the cream of tartar and beat until loose peaks form with the meringue.

Add the extract and sugar in small amounts and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You can either spoon meringue onto cookie sheet or, for a more uniform look, you can put meringue into a pastry bag and pipe using a round tip into 2 inch wide by 1 inch tall circles.

Bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours at 200. Open the oven a crack and let come to a cool slowly. It will take about 2 hours. Do NOT use higher temperature method with citrus flavors unless you want a chewy cookie.


Dairy & Gluten Free Krumkake Cookies
Dairy & Gluten Free Krumkake Cookies

Another of my favorite dairy and gluten free recipe adaptations this holiday season were spicy Krumkake cookies. These are shown unfilled/undipped, although I also did jam filled and chocolate dipped versions.

1 C (200g) granulated sugar (I used the natural turbinado sugar pulsed 4 times in the food processor)
1/2 C (1 stick; 4 oz; 115g) earth balance, softened
2 large or extra large eggs
1 C (235ml) coconut milk (the full fat kind)
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom toasted until fragrant stirred into flour mix (below)
1 1/2 C (210g) King Arthur Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the almond extract and stir until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Beginning and ending with the flour, add the flour and the milk, alternating between the two. Beat until mixture is smooth?a few seconds.

Preheat the krumkake iron. If you have an electric iron, preheat it. You may or may not have to oil your irons for this – depends on how well seasoned yours is.

When iron is ready (i.e. really hot), place a heaping tablespoon of batter in the middle and close top. Let cook for 60-70 seconds. You will need to make a few in order to find out the best cooking time for your iron. Remember, this gets shorter the longer you’re doing these. Once cooked, remove the cookie from iron onto a plate or cookie sheet and quickly roll around roller cone. Let sit for a minute or two until the cookie has cooled into the cone shape. Remove cone. No cone no problem – you can roll the cookies individually so long as you do it quickly once they’re removed.

Repeat process with the rest of the batter. Let the cookies cool completely?they will crisp as they cool.

Immediately before serving, fill with your choice of filling. Keep it DF/GF by using jam or coconut cream ganache.

No cardamom? Substitute 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg. If you’re out of nutmeg, you can substitute powdered ginger instead of nutmeg. Regardless, toast your spices in a skillet until fragrant!

Basier Brunsli

Dairy & Gluten Free Basier Brunsli Cookies
Dairy & Gluten Free Basier Brunsli Cookies

These rich and crunchy cookies were the highlight of my cookie trays this year. In addition to being delicious, they’re naturally gluten and dairy free:

Basier Brunsli (Chocolate Spice Cookies)


196g slivered almonds, toasted (~1.75 c)
4 oz 10x sugar (1 cup)
4 oz 60% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
50g turbinado sugar (1/4 c) plus equivalent for coating
18g unsweetened cocoa powder (if using DP use 15g)
5g cinnamon, toasted
heavy pinch kosher salt
heavy pinch cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites at room temperature
6g almond extract


Preheat oven to 325 with racks in center of oven 4″ apart. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Toast almonds and cinnamon in skillet until fragrant, 2-4 minutes.

Process almonds, cinnamon and 10x sugar in food processor until almonds are finely ground, approximately 30 pulses (~45 seconds).

Add chocolate, sugar, cocoa, salt & cayenne. Process by pulsing until chocolate is finely ground and incorporated, roughly 20 pulses (~30 seconds).

Add egg whites and almond extract. Pulse 10-15 times until it forms a doughy consistency.

Transfer dough to clean sheet of parchment or silpat. Kneed gently until dough is less sticky, roughly 10 minutes. Do NOT handle aggressively – fold and re-fold using the parchment.

Top dough with clean sheet of parchment and roll 1/4″ thick. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes or until you’re ready to bake.

Spread the remaining 50g sugar in shallow bowl. Remove dough and stamp out 2″ shapes, coating both sides in sugar and placing on parchment lined sheets 1″ apart.

Bake 13-15 minutes in 325 oven (9 for convection) or until cookies have puffed and slightly cracked but centers are still soft. Rotate sheets halfway through baking for best outcome.

Let cookies cool on sheets 15 minutes before removing to wire racks. Let baking sheets cool completely before re-loading. Store unused dough in fridge for best results.