Tag Archives: chef renee marton

Gluten-Free Almond Spice Banana Cake Recipe

Photo: by Great British Chefs via Flickr.

Chef Renee had a group of gluten-intolerant friends come for dinner a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m not really a gluten-free baker,” she told me, but being the professional that she is, she set to work to create this banana bread for her friends. 

Everyone loved it, she reports.

“There were also some folks there who do eat gluten, but they loved the GF cake, so everyone ended up eating it and not eating the chocolate spice cake I had made with wheat flour for the regular eaters,” she recalls.

To add some pizazz to this dessert, slice off the top of the cake and spread it with strained yogurt which has thickened or with softened tofu cream cheese.  You can sweeten either of these toppings with a little brown sugar or honey to taste.

To amp things up further, serve the cake with a shot of your very best bourbon.

Gluten-Free Almond Spice Banana Cake

© Renee Marton

Preheat oven to 350F.

Liberally butter or spray loaf pans—I recommend 2 or 3 disposable small loaf pans, rather than the traditional loaf pan, which is too wide.


1 ripe banana

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 cup almond flour

½ cup sweet butter, very soft or melted

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon bourbon

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons xanthum gum

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt


Step 1

Mix both flours together with xanthum gum, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.  Make sure there are no lumps (push through a strainer, or process briefly in a food processor).

Step 2

This step, as well as step 3, is easier to follow if you use a standing mixer, but you can also use a hand held mixer, or even mix by hand using a wooden spoon. Blend the banana, butter, bourbon and sugar together until everything is well blended and somewhat soupy. There should be no lumps.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.

Step 3

If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.  If using a hand held mixer, use the beaters, and if mixing by hand, use a wooden spoon supplemented by a whisk.  Slowly add the flour mixture until completely incorporated.  The batter will be thinner than a batter using wheat flour.

Step 4

Pour the batter into the two loaf pans, about ¾ of the way up.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, on the center shelf.  Use a toothpick to make sure the cake is fully baked.

Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.  Unmold and finish cooling on a plate.



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Recipe: Spiced Holiday Walnuts

Cinnamon Spiced Walnuts

Photo: By Family O’Abé via Flickr.

These dressed-up walnuts from Chef Renee Marton are great for the holidays, or any time of year for that matter.

Spiced Holiday Walnuts


2 pounds walnut halves

2 egg whites

½ cup granulated sugar

1.5 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

zest of one orange


Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line two baking trays (with sides) with parchment paper or foil.

Whisk egg whites until very frothy and fold in spices. Toss walnuts gently with mixture until coating is evenly spread throughout the nuts.

Spread on baking sheets evenly, keeping walnuts flat.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until toasted and medium brown.

Cool on baking sheets for 30 minutes, then remove walnuts by “peeling” then off the paper.

Store in a closed container—will stay fresh for about a week. These nuts can be frozen.




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Thanksgiving Recipe: Sweet Potatoes But Hold the Marshmallows Please

Photo: By Sifu Renka via flickr.

Sweet Potatoes, a New Way for Thanksgiving

by Chef Renee Marton

I’ve never been a fan of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, although I know many people love them.

Here’s a sweet potato recipe that might just  make you dump that bag of marshmallows. It’s adapted from a recipe by June restaurant’s Chef Vuoc Long in Seattle. This recipe yields about 4 to 6 servings. It is a little more work than the traditional dish, but really worth the effort.

3 to 4 sweet potatoes (2 pounds after cooking)

2 eggs

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 to 5 cups flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons minced shallot

2 to 2 1/2 cups brown chicken or turkey stock

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen pearl onions

½ cup butter

1/4 cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped mint

Boil potatoes in salty water until tender. Peel them. While still warm, mash them with salt and pepper, eggs, cheese, and enough flour to make pliable dough, which you roll out into a long cylindrical strip, about 1 inch in diameter.

Cut the strip into one inch pieces and blanch them in salted water until they float to the surface. Reserve them on a plate until you have finished blanching all the pieces of sweet potato dough.

In the meantime, melt the butter and olive oil in a wide saucepan. When butter is sizzling, add shallots. After one minute, add garlic and stir together. Then add dumplings and crisp them a little in the butter/oil mixture, shaking the pan so all sides heat up and crisp. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add pearl onions and peas. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the stock and create a “sauce.” When ready to serve, add parsley and mint. Taste for salt and pepper.

You can add strips of Parmesan sprinkled on top.




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Black Cat Halloween Cookies

 While researching Halloween, Chef Renee Marton came across these Black Cat Cookies, a very easy way to make cookie with a black cat design.

For Candy C0rn Halloween Cupcake recipe, click here.

Black Cat Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cook Book
for Boys and Girls, 1957


1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

flat bottomed glass or small rolling pin
chocolate peppermint wafers
- round
semisweet chocolate chips


Thoroughly mix first 5 ingredients. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together and then add to mixture. Blend all together, but don’t overmix. Chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheet. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place on cookie sheet. Dip bottom of glass in flour. Use bottom to flatten cookies. Bake for about 8 minutes.

As soon as cookies are removed from oven, place a peppermint wafer slightly off center of each cookie (this will become the main body of the cat). Place two chips close together next to top edge of mint wafer and one at the center of the bottom edge of wafer. With toothpick, using a circular motion, stir the two top chips—one at a time—and drag the toothpick upwards to form the point of the cat’s ear. Repeat. On the bottom chip, with toothpick, shape the melted chocolate into a long tail by pulling the chocolate down and to angle.

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Three Great Recipes for An All-Tomato Dinner

Heirloom Tomatoes. Photo: Laura B. Weiss


At this time of year, there’s no such thing as too many tomatoes. Try these Chef Renee Marton’s recipes that celebrate that luscious summer fruit.

Make each dish individually.

Or go wild and have an all-tomato dinner!  Why not?  Summer will be over soon and we’ll all be struggling through a tomato drought until summer rolls around again next year.


Summer Tomato Dinner

Serves 4

1.  Tomato Rum Punch

2.  Tomato, Corn and Flowers Salad with Tomato Toast

3  Tomato Upside Down Cake with Tomato Jam Filling


1. Tomato Rum Punch

This recipe is a riff on lassi- the Indian fruit and yogurt drink—but with an alcohol kick.

4 round tomatoes, cored and peeled (after coring, briefly dunk tomatoes in boiling water.  Then remove skin and discard it. Squeeze tomatoes to remove seeds)

4 large basil leaves

juice of two limes

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup rice milk

1 cup dark rum

1 chili pepper—if you like it hot.

Blend everything except the rum in a blender (not a food processor) until well mixed and pourable.  If it is thicker than you want, add a little more rice milk. Don’t forget that the rum will thin it down.

4 highball glasses filled with ice.

Divide the rum between the 4 glasses.

Fill with tomato punch and stir.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.


2. Tomatoes and Corn, Chives and Nasturtiums, with Tomato Toast 

4 red round tomatoes, cored and sliced thickly

2 large shallots or 4 scallions, finely diced, rinsed off under cold water

2 ears of sweet white or yellow corn, shucked

½ cup excellent olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

big handful of chopped chives, including flowers

big handful of nasturtium leaves and flowers

Lay tomatoes on a platter and sprinkle salt over them.Mix everything else together, and place over tomatoes. Leave at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve at room temperature with toast.

 Tomato Toast

1 baguette, sliced in half lengthwise, toasted

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 tomatoes cut in half crosswise

Salt and olive oil to taste

Rub a cut clove of garlic over each half of baguette until it is mostly gone.  Then rub each piece of bread with a tomato half, cut side down, so the juice and some of the pulp drench the bread.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with the tomato and corn salad.


3.  Tomato Upside Down Cake

Recipe by Patricia Eddy, adapted by Renee Marton

1 firm, ripe tomato

2 ounces butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup tomato jam (recipe below)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼  tsp salt

4 ounces butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Slice the tomato into 1/8th inch slices.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Melt 2 ounces of butter in a small pan, add the brown sugar and heat until it is all melted and mixed together. Pour into a 9-inch cake pan or pie plate.

Lay the tomato slices on top of sugar/butter mixture so the slices are touching, but not overlapping. They should fill up most of the space. Gently spread 1 cup of the jam over the tomatoes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl with a hand-held mixer), beat the 4 ounces of butter and ½ cup sugar for five minutes, until creamy and light colored. Beat in eggs, one at a time alternating with half of flour mixture Beat gently until just blended.  A couple of lumps are okay. Scrape the batter down from the sides of the bowl and beat again until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the tomatoes and jam. This will be a little tricky, but place small dollops spaced evenly and spread them out flattened a bit.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then place a plate on top of the pan and invert cake onto the plate.  Do this quickly oR there will be drips.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tomato Jam

 1 quart cherry or plum tomatoes, coarsely diced

1 thin-skinned lemon, seeds removed and very thinly sliced.  (If you can’t find a thin-skinned lemon, remove the peel with a peeler and chop finely, eliminate the white pith, and slice the pulp—keep as much juice as possible).

1/2  cup brown sugar

1/2  cup granulated sugar

1/2  cup water

 Combine everything in a medium saucepan- not an aluminum pan. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once in a while, Continue simmering until thickened.  Remember that the mixture will thicken more, as it cools.  Cool before using in cake recipe.




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