Tag Archives: gluten-free

Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes

We just returned from a family getaway.  Ben had planned a surprise adventure for our family for the earlier part of January.  Unfortunately for us, we needed to reschedule to do a bit of a tornado hitting his work staff all at once, leaving Ben to tend to work.  We stayed on Discovery Bay between Sequim & Port Townsend.   The place we stayed had a kitchen, so it made meals so much easier and healthy.  There was also an indoor pool, which Tayers thought was the “big adventure,” and whenever we drove somewhere she would cry out, “I want to go on the big adventure!”

Our family time was relaxed, filled with laughter, reflection, and many joyful moments.  It was the probably the best family vacation we’ve ever been on (and I hope many follow suit).  We also experienced some breathtaking sunrises (the kind you wake up just to make sure you don’t miss it). 

I played my guitar, read, and wrote a personal mission statement, as well.  This little break helped clear my head, refocus and evaluate who I am and what I, Kamille, am called to do in this life.  It was good, so very good and yet so simple too.  It’s kind of like these Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  They aren’t fussy, pretty straightforward and simplistic.  Yet, sure to dance on your palate in such a way, which leaves you looking forward to the next time you get to eat them.  I have some great things in store for Evangitality this year and I hope you will continue to join me or better yet, add to the discussion:)

A Year Ago: Banana Macadamia Praline Scones

Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes (printable recipe)

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed & peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment and put the sweet potatoes in an even layer on top. Add the coconut oil and thoroughly coat, using your hands, the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, combine lime juice, lime zest, additional 1/2 tsp salt & cilantro. Once sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a serving bowl and pour the lime/cilantro mixture over them while hot. Gently mix to combine and serve.


Coconut Lime Macaroons

So I mentioned to save those six egg whites from the Sour Cherry Grand Marnier Creme Brulee, but it’s taken a while to post a recipe.  But that seems to be life.  I’ve been in a post New Year’s state making lists of what I value, writing up a personal mission statement and embracing how life is so good.  In July I was dredging through the seas of anxiety & fear, while September came and it was more like wading.  Fear has plagued me in the past(I’m probably not the only one), and it crept up its little head again.

What I have been embracing is the present.

Looking at the little things that bring joy into my life.  Those little things when you add them all up they are exponentially greater than any fear trying to budge its way into your heart & mind.

Little things…infectious laughter of my two year old, the smile on my four year old when I pick her up from the bus, the warmth of Ben’s hand on my back, special snapshot moments with friends that remind me of heaven and sharing these little macaroons with friends while watching Anne of Green Gables.  What little things remind you of joy in this present?

A Year Ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf Cake & Palace Temple & Hospitality

Coconut Lime Macaroons (printable recipe)

These little gems are perfect after you finished making the sour cherry creme brûlée, due to the leftover egg whites.  I love limes and I love coconut, so they are pretty much a great combination.  Plus, they’re a non-fuss sort of treat.

Ingredients:

6 egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup agave nectar, or raw honey

2 cups almond flour

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

zest of one lime

1/4 tsp lime oil

Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

zest of 1/2 lime

juice of 1/2 lime

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until the egg whites are medium peaks.  Add the agave nectar or honey and salt and whip again until stiff peaks.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, unsweetened coconut, lime zest & lime oil.  Combine.  Pour 1/3 of dry ingredients into whipped egg whites and fold it into the egg whites.  Continue with remaining 2/3 (in 1/3 portions) until the wet & dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using a cookie scoop (about 2 Tb), scoop dough and place on the lined baking sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake for 15 minutes (look for slightly browned parts on the top, but overall white).  Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Make the frosting: Sift the powdered sugar.  Add in the butter and blend it all together using a fork.  Add the lime juice & zest.  Mix until it’s creamed together.  Taste.  If you need a bit more lime taste, then add a bit more zest.

Frost the tops of cooled macaroons.  Serve and eat!

If you want to opt out with the frosting, then up the agave or honey to 3/4 cup in the macaroons.

Sour Cherry with Grand Marnier Creme Brulee

I recall having a traditional creme brûlée years ago and not liking it. I don’t remember where, just that this raved upon dessert tasted a bit like an eggy mess.  It turned me off completely.  Then, one Valentine’s Day, six years ago my dear sweet friend and old neighbor Allison brought Valentine desserts over to Ben and me.  Allison has this knack of having mismatched, yet whimsical, plates, bowls & cups and other trinkets in her home.  She converted me to forgoing paper napkins, due to her assortment of linen napkins I would find her using with her lunch, or serving me with a cookie on it.

There she was with two little black foiled containers filled with creme brulee sitting on one eclectic small plate; along with a cut out paper heart placed on those white paper doilies.  Allison and I shared the love of eating fine food and here she was sharing this delectable creamy treat with us. As she stood there describing her love of these specific creme brulees (from a local bakery), I stood there smiling with a very thankful heart.  What I didn’t tell her was what I was thinking, which was, “Oh, how incredibly thoughtful, but I don’t like creme brulee.  I won’t let Allison know.”  I placed the plate on the table and gave Allison a big thankful hug and said goodbye.

After I shut the door I said, “Ben, Allison brought over some dessert for us for Valentine’s Day,” to which he replied, “that’s nice.”  “Yes, it was, but do you know what she brought? (because Ben knew I wasn’t fond of creme brulee),” I said, “Creme Brulee!”  I recall Ben laughing at my predicament and then asked, “well, are you going to try it?”  Like any good foodie, regardless if past experience went awry, I responded with an astounding “Yes!”

I got two spoons and dipped my spoon to remove just a little bit.  And what I tasted was nothing like scrambled eggs mixed in cream.  It was simply heavenly.  All Ben heard was, “MMM, OHH!  Ben! (another bite) This is amazing!  You have to try this! (another bite) I could eat yours if you want!”  I was transformed.  So when my dear friend Talia was coming over for a little birthday celebration, I knew I needed to make her creme brulee.  Except, I wanted to put a spin on it by adding the sour cherry with Grand Marnier filling on the bottom.  I recommend ensuring that the creme is very cold while the brulee is warm when you serve–it’s the best way to eat it in my opinion (plus, did you know sweet is more pronounced when it is warmed up, so the cold creme doesn’t allow the sugar to become overbearing).  You’ll be sure to win over even the biggest anti-creme brulee person with this dessert.

A Year Ago: Spicy Caramel Popcorn

Sour Cherry Creme Brulee with Grand Marnier (printable recipe)

Keep the egg whites to use for another recipe. And if you stay tuned, I’ll share a Coconut Lime Macaroon recipe to utilize them.  If you don’t have a blow torch, then put your cooked & chilled creme brulee ramekins in 9×13 pan (or roasting pan) and fill it with ice, in order to keep the custards VERY cold.  Turn your broiler on and put your ramekins (with the sugar on top) sitting in the ice bath directly under the broiler for only 30 seconds.  Check the sugar (brulee) to ensure it doesn’t get too burnt.  If you need it to cook a bit more, then put it back in for another 15 seconds and continue until it reaches your desired burnt sugar liking.

Sour Cherry Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh/frozen sour cherries ( I used frozen sour cherries that were fresh in the summer)
  • 1-2 Tb raw honey
  • 1 Tb arrowroot powder
  • 2-4 Tb Grand Marnier

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 egg yolks, large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar for brulee part

Sour Cherry Filling:

Put all of the cherries, along with the juices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (ensure there are no seeds in the cherries). Turn the heat to medium. If your cherries are frozen, wait before adding any of the other ingredients until the cherries are completely thawed. If your cherries are thawed or fresh, add 1 Tb of honey and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally. Keep it in this stage for about 10 minutes. You are working towards a nice filling consistency.

Sprinkle the arrowroot over the cherries and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is bubbling rapidly, turn the heat down, in order to avoid burning. You want it to simmer/bubble. The filling should start to set as you stir occasionally. Taste throughout to see where the filling sweetness is at. If you feel that the filling needs another tablespoon of honey, add it now. Once the filling has thickened (dip a metal spoon in the filling and it should coat it), add two tablespoon of Grand Marnier (I used 2 Tb). Adding more than two tablespoons will make the filling taste more boozy; however, once the filling is added to the ramekins and cooked with the creme, the Grand Marnier burns off a bit with just two tablespoons. Cook on stove top for an additional minute, then remove from heat to cool.

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point. Set aside to steep until it cools down.

Preheat oven to 300 F, and adjust a rack slightly lower than center.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks & optional 1 tsp of Grand Marnier briefly. Add the cream mixture very slowly into the yolks, whisking well with each addition. Once blended, strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Put cherry filling into 8 or 9 (4-ounce) shallow ramekins (about 2 inches high) to cover bottom (about 2 tsp), then pour the custard mixture on top of the cherry filling, and bake them in a water bath for 35 to 45 minutes, until centers are softly set. “Remove from oven and cool in water bath until comfortable to handle. Cover the dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours. These can be stored for 1 or 2 days before serving.

To serve, sprinkle each top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brulee sugar and torch to caramelize. For thicker caramelized crunch, use more sugar.


Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Does anyone else feel like there is something altogether wonderful & magical about snow falling in the middle of the night, creating a quiet peace that is incomparable to any other? I wasn’t acquainted with this mystery in the deserts of Arizona. It wasn’t until I visited a high school friend during my freshman year Spring break in Providence, RI. It was a Friday, and all the students on the campus had left for their Spring break. Not only
was the campus and surrounding area quiet, but we soon found ourselves inside looking out to what would seem a snow globe world. Picturesque.

It reminds me of Arizona’s desert night sky. When you look up at the open clear sky, all you see is the infinite expanse of stars. Or what I refer to as “the stars beyond the stars.” Snow falling and covering the world at night creates the silence of peace beyond the silence. It reminds me of how finite I am amidst the vast accompaniment of sound. That’s a bit how I feel with every birthday celebrated, especially my kids’ birthday. This finite person, gets to relish in these moments of seeing the stars beyond the stars. Yet I get distracted or overwhelmed by the greatness of it all…the mystery. I would rather spend my time marveling and rejoicing over the unknown, the stillness of the fallen snow, or simply being given the pleasure to be still with the moment.

These moments, these treasures that I wish I could put in a locket and wear around my neck to serve as a reminder that life is worth living to its fullest.  When I see my daughters laugh and hug one another, when I see the white flag of humility waving, or when I see Veronica’s progress developmentally and she isn’t even aware she has a delay (because she sees the stars beyond the stars).  Oh how wonderful it is to look at the world like that.  I think having Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes also makes it easier for a four years old (or 30, 40, 50 yrs).

A Year Ago: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, Split Pea Soup, & Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe has been adapted from my non-GF recipe.  Both are wonderful and they are a sure hit at kid’s parties and the adults like to eat them too.  A note about measuring almond flour.  I use a blanched almond flour and I scoop it out with a spoon and put it in my measuring cup.  I encourage you to use a scale, which will get the most accurate results; however, I know that is not always an option.  Do NOT scoop out with your measuring cup, because it will yield a higher weight than what my recipe requires.

Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (180 g) almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (65 g) light agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (170 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) multi-colored confetti sprinkles
  • 12 cupcake GF sugar wafer cones

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 Tb light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the wafer cones in the muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter & sugar until well blended.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until light.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the almond flour mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the flour mixture until well blended.  Fold in the confetti sprinkles into the batter.  Using a small ice cream scooper/cookie dough scooper, divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cones.
  • Bake the cupcake cones for 20-25 minutes.  When you press lightly in the middle of the cone, they should spring back.  Let them cool on a cooling rack until they’re completely cooled.
  • While the cupcakes are in the oven.  Put your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer.  Allow them to get cold (about 15 minutes).  Remove the bowl & whisk attachment.  Add cold heavy whipping cream to the bowl.  Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add the agave nectar & vanilla and beat on low speed a bit more, just until they are mixed throughout the whipped cream.  If you want to add a color to it, do so now and fold it in with a rubber spatula.
  • Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Twist the bag right above the tip and push it gently inside the tip, in order to avoid the frosting from coming out.  Turn down the opened end of the bag one inch down.  Place the pastry bag, tip side down, into a glass.  Using a rubber spatula, fill the bag with the whipped cream frosting.  Twist the bag, in order to keep the frosting from squeezing out.  Pipe the whipped cream frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with additional confetti sprinkles.

Tasty Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was in the children section at a bookstore with my friend Tina.  We were recalling some of our favorite childhood books.  I pulled out Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with nostalgic fondness.  I remember thinking how amazing it would be if meatballs fell from the sky, and as a child I daydreamed about it.  Then, there was Stone Soup, another favorite with ingredients like carrots, beef, potatoes & barley.  I never had barley at that time, but it sounded wonderful.  As I continued to pull out books there was a common theme Tina pointed out…FOOD.  She said, “Kamille, you’ve always been a foodie.”

Never gave it much thought, but I guess she’s right.  I still have my first cookbook from age 7, Mickey Mouse Cookbook with little notes inside.  One of my favorite treats is checking out cookbooks from the library.  When Tayers was born, I seriously had at least 10 cookbooks from the library (you know to read while nursing, etc).  And what is it with the fascination with Food magazines.  How many recipes does one truly need for Chocolate Cake, brownies, or apple pie?  And if you look through my recipes you’ll see that I have three different chocolate chip cookie recipes available.  So you might wonder why I’m offering you another one.  Well, I haven’t done much baking lately and I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat flour from our diet; however, I wanted to make a special New Year’s Day treat, which could be made fairly quickly.  I adapted my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with this one to make it a paleofied version.  As Ben said after eating one, “these are good and not just Paleo good,” meaning they don’t taste like they’re a second rate version.

A Year Ago: Quicky Sticky Biscuits

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable recipe)

I love my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookies and these ones are even more moist, and possibly better.  This is the first time I have used coconut sugar.  It didn’t make the cookies taste like coconut either.

Ingredients:

3 1/3 cups (8 3/4 ounces) almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

10 Tb unsalted butter

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

4 ounces Valhrona chocolate (82% cacao), chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla sea salt, or flaked sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.  Measure almond flour & baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

On medium heat, melt 8 Tb of butter in a pan, constantly swirling until the butter is browned and smells like yummy toasted nuts (about 3 -4 minutes).  Pour the melted butter into a metal bowl, while trying to leave the bits in the pan.  Add the remainder 2 Tb of butter to melted butter and stir till it’s all melted.  Add the sugar, vanilla & salt and thoroughly combine.  Add the egg & egg yolk and mix for 30 seconds then allow it to rest for 1 minute.  Continue to mix for 30 seconds again, then rest for 1 minute and repeat one more time.

Add the almond flour & baking soda to the wet mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the chopped chocolate & pecans and mix throughout.  Place 2 Tb of dough onto the parchment paper, spaced 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle vanilla salt or flaked sea salt on top of dough.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool completely on pan and then remove.


Healthy Fish Tacos (but good)

Have you ever gone without sugar (refined sugar) for a while to see what hold it has over your life?  Yes, but only during Lent?  Or to lose weight?  Well, I was beginning to see a trend in my life of treating myself daily, sometimes little things like a mocha I made at the 1:00 hour (sound familiar to anyone else?).  And other times a bit bigger like making these to eat a couple, hopefully give the majority away and then, post them here.  Monday morning came and I felt old.  Maybe it’s the bed (it is a bit), but I think it had stronger correlations with sugar.

So that evening I said to God, “Okay God–I’m making this covenant, or vow or whatever we call it, to abstain from sugar until Ben and I go on our weekend trip.  I think this is the only way I’ll stick to this no sugar thing.  I’m starting tomorrow morning.”  Tuesday morning came and it was fine, but I’ve abstained from sugar before and it isn’t until day 3 that you really lose it.  It’s more mental than physical at that point.  You think thoughts, “how can I celebrate if I can’t have a cookie…or…man, this whole love of baking really isn’t working for me right now…or…could I bake something, post it on my blog even if I never tasted it, but had someone I trust tell me their thoughts?”  The good news is I didn’t surrender fruit or all breads..simply limiting my bread/starch intake.

The other good news is I’ve taken on cooking as my creative outlet this week, which makes my family happy come dinner time.  I took a couple pictures of my guacamole & tacos tonight before the feast fest began.  Unfortunately, our beloved camera that I was actually feeling wasn’t great has departed.  Now, I mourn it and realize how good I had it.  When I ventured on the blogging scene+food blogging scene in particular, I soon was amazed at the velocity of food photos foodie bloggers create.  Most have cameras that are a bit more expensive than what I can shell out.  Yet, their cameras were whispering discontented words on my little Canon that served me well.  Wouldn’t you know that our little Canon was misplaced in La Jolla back in April.  We know it was left in the rental car (to which I called multiple times and no camera to no avail) and the rest is history.  Someone in San Diego has some pictures of the beach, probably my food and definitely our kids.

**What to do now?  Well, I have an old digital camera.  It’s ancient in digital years, but still a digital camera.  I feel like I can’t complain with so many bigger things in life and at least we have a camera–right?!  But can I say this to get it off my chest.  It’s video capacity is only 20 seconds long with no sound (can’t capture my kids).  The macro setting captures like far zoom with complete blur (which makes for horrible food pictures).  We got it the year we were married (we’re celebrating 8 years on the 14th), so you do understand that digital life ages like dog years–right!

So please forgive me of the one picture I have of these fish tacos.  It was the only good one I had to post.  It doesn’t do it justice.  They were really great and you knew they were healthy, but I didn’t care, because it had that fresh, satisfying–fish taco not fried to death feeling at the end of the meal.

Healthy & Nummy Fish Tacos (printable recipe)

Make sure you only marinate for 20 minutes.  Fish is so delicate that the acid from the lime will start to eat it.  Have fresh limes on hand to bring out the real lime flavor.  You can top with chopped cabbage.  Use a comal or cast iron skillet to warm up your corn tortillas for a better flavor all around.

Taco Ingredients:
2 limes, squeezed of juice
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1 pound halibut
Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped

Guacamole Ingredients:
4 radishes, diced
1/4 cup diced red onions
1 lime, squeezed
kosher salt
2 ripe avocados
1 jalapeno, chopped or Tapatio Sauce (however much until it hits your heat intensity)
1 Tb fresh cilantro, chopped
Mango Topping:
2 mangoes, cubed
1-2 Tb red onions
1/2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
pinch of salt
Corn tortillas, warmed
extra lime wedges
chopped cabbage would be nice too
Directions: Marinade the halibut with the juice of two limes, kosher salt & pepper for ONLY 20 minutes.  Grill on medium heat until halibut is no longer clear (about 6-7 minutes on both sides).  Flake or cut apart with your hands to the desired size. Garnish with cilantro and a touch more of salt if desired.
While the halibut is marinading, make guacamole & mango topping.  Add avocado to a medium bowl, along with onions & radishes.  Mash up the avocado, while leaving a bit of chunks intact.  Add lime juice from 1/2 a lime and taste.  Add more lime juice if need be.  Add kosher salt (about 1 – 1 1/2 tsp), cilantro & jalapeno or Tapatio sauce.
Cut mangoes and put in a bowl.  Add the onion, cilantro & pinch of salt. Combine the ingredients.
Take your warmed tortilla, put about 1/4 cup of halibut on top, 1-2 Tb guacamole & just a bit of mango.  When it’s all together it’s a dance party in your mouth.

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

If you’re a chocolate lover then proceed.  If you’re not, well I’m sorry, but maybe you will be a chocolate liker after trying these.  I made well over 200 of these Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes for my friend’s wedding (Jason & Tina) while I was 7 months pregnant.  I realized two things after that baking extravaganza of ’08.  One is no matter how much I love someone, never again will I say yes to baking all the desserts for a large party while that pregnant and carrying for a 20 month old.  Two, is how easy these are to make–no one will know otherwise.

I think I can get these out in 40 minutes, which is pretty excellent for a sophisticated dessert.  They are also very adaptable with your chocolate liking.  You could use all bittersweet (typically 60%), semisweet, or milk chocolate.  You can mix different varieties as well.  You can make them gluten-free.  You can make them in big muffin tins or miniature ones.  If you want to add a bit of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor even more–then do it.  I love these for all those reasons.  And I can’t understand why I haven’t shared them until now.

Before we go onto the recipe, I should share a bit about my gluten-intolerant friend Tina who these were intended for and I’ve written about before.  We met through one of her ex-boyfriends and I knew we were kindred spirits.  She has a quiet reserve about her (at least when compared to her husband), but she is full of life with joy emanating from her.  Although she seems to fill administrative jobs, which she’s wonderfully gifted at, her heart is passionate for women fulfilling their God given talents & calling.  We have spent many hours talking about our dreams of what we will become when we grow up and I can depend upon her to watch very cheesy movies together.  I can always count on her to be supportive, honest & spontaneous with me.  So when she found out she was gluten-intolerant, I knew my job was set to bake GF treats for her.

Double Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes (printable recipe)

Recipe is inspired from Martha Stewart. This is also the time to use good quality chocolate, since it is the star ingredient.  However, don’t let that stop you if you only have chocolate chips on hand.  I’ve used semi-sweet chocolate chips before and they turn out great.

Ingredients:

5 Tb unsalted butter

7 ounces milk chocolate chopped, Belcolade

7 ounces 71% cacao dark bittersweet chopped, Valhrona

1 Tb sugar

1 Tb brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

Butter & extra flour for muffin tins

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter & flour a 6 slot large muffin tin & set aside. Set a heat proof bowl over a pot with simmering water.  Add the butter & chocolate.  Stir to melt and combine.  Remove from heat.

Add the eggs & sugar to a food processor & process for 2 minutes until light in color & foamy.  Add flour & salt, process to combine (10 seconds).  Add about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate to eggs & process till combined.  Continue with 1/4 cup until all of the melted chocolate is mixed with the egg mixture.

Evenly distribute chocolate mixture to the prepared muffin tin.  Gently pat down tops with the back of silver spoon.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Loosen with a knife around the edges and serve.

**12 cup regular muffin tin bake for 13-15 minutes.

**24 cup miniature muffin tin bake for 10-12 minutes.

Great topped with sliced strawberries, fresh raspberries, a raspberry puree, or ice cream.

 


Poached Rhubarb

There are times when all you need is simple but good, fancy but easy, fresh but cheap.  That would be poached rhubarb.  Yes, I’m a little obsessed with this vegetable turned fruit; but, seriously, is there anything more wonderful than seeing these green & red stalks at the Farmer’s Market or gardens whispering, “yes–summer is coming!”  You haven’t even begun to see the many uses I’ve made with this humble stalk.

I needed to make desserts for a banquet of 80+ people this past Saturday.  I knew rhubarb would be the star.  However, when given full range of what I could make for a dessert is like telling a child they can have any toy in a toy store, but just one.  Seriously!  Only one of the many calling my name.  Options are limitless (well, not quite–there was a budget & time constraints, but you understand–right?!)!  I ended up making a deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake with gingersnap crust topped with poached rhubarb.

There are a couple things I love about this poached rhubarb:

  1. It holds its lovely shape, not being cooked down to mush.
  2. It’s lightly sweetened maintaining that perfect tang we know as rhubarb.
  3. You can dress it up or down (reminds me of the sales lady at the Gap telling me why the boot cut jean was perfect for the same reasons).
  4. You can eat it for breakfast & dessert and no one will ever bat an eye.
  5. It doesn’t take that long to make.

Poached Rhubarb (printable recipe)

This recipe was inspired by Tartelette.  I am in awe of her photography, many variations of macarons & desserts I salivate over.  It’s an art form.  I have found serving directly on top of plain yogurt to be completely satisfying.

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced rhubarb, 1/2 inch slices

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Directions: Place water, lemon juice & honey over medium-high heat.  Stir to dissolve honey.  Once it boils, add rhubarb.  Stir around and allow rhubarb to poach for about 4 minutes.  You’ll want to be near the stove to keep an eye on it.  Don’t allow it to cook too long.  Once the red parts turn pale and a fork can pierce through (but not mushy through), remove rhubarb from liquid and place in bowl.  It will cook a bit longer.

Add demerara sugar to liquid and cook liquid down to a syrup if you’d like, or simply until the sugar dissolves.  I think I prefer it to be less syrupy.  Top on ice cream, yogurt, cheesecake, or by itself.


A No Fuss Sausage Soup

In my life as a blogger I have realized a couple things.  One is that I rarely document actual meals.  I’m more of a baked treat sort of gal.  You know, mama by day renegade baker by night–sort of thing.  Two is that I tend to throw out a lot of posts in one week and then sit back the next couple.  But I find I’m really fine with that.  Well, in fact, I’m fine with both number one & two.

I think the other reason I don’t document many main dishes or side dishes is because they’re finicky.  They require a person, say a mama of two small kids, to actually think out how to get the food to the table by the only source of light on the main floor for a picture (we live in a cave of a condo), while corralling in the children (get utensils, plates, & whiny one year old who should have eaten like 20 minutes before the photo shoot) to eat said food and remember all the ingredients & steps, which went into making the dish.  That’s too much folks.  I don’t get paid for this gig & baking is so much easier (& for me–so much more fun).

But, I have actually taken pictures of a couple food items outside of the “flour, sugar, butter” category and feel like it might be as good a time as any to showcase them.  Here’s how I make dinner.  I’m not a planner really.  I have flops along with the successes.  My kids are not relatively picky, but if I served them an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet, they would never mind.  Some vegetables are hit and miss, but I never stop serving them.  My oldest enjoyed broccoli till 10 months then rejected it every single time until recently.  I give them way out clauses written into dinner, because there are foods I might love most of the time, but at a certain moment it just doesn’t sound too good.

The most planning I have when it comes to a meal is making sure I’ve taken the meat out of the deep freezer the night (or two) beforehand or making dough a couple hours before baking.  I enjoy cooking from scratch.  I love being able to know all the ingredients by name that I’m putting into my families’ bodies.  And that’s why I love to bake as well.  Sure, eating only baked goods isn’t healthy alone or done in excess, but when it’s me doing the baking (instead of say Nabisco) than I know the ingredient list is something I recognize.

Okay, I feel like I’m ranting at this point.  Sorry, I’m done at this point and time.  Maybe it’s because I watched Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and read Animal Vegetable Miracle on my vacation.  Both encouraging us to know where our food is coming from, getting back into the kitchen & using fresh/local ingredients.  I have been encouraged to post more recipes that are relatively easy to get those of you who don’t really like to cook–to get in the kitchen and enjoy it more.  So I thought I would post this wonderful soup, which is seriously only like six or seven ingredients.  It’s hearty and not fussy.  And more importantly, my family ate it all up.  Soups are always a sure win in our house for the girls and I hope it is the same for your house.

Italian Sausage Kale-Potato Soup (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.  I buy Isernio’s sausage & freeze it.  When dinner was coming up quickly, I simply defrosted the chicken sausage & it was cooked in the pot 10 minutes later.  I love Isernio’s sausage.  Also, I keep a bottle of Chardonnay in my fridge with a good cap sealer for cooking.  It’s not the freshest, but I know in most recipes that call for a dry white wine, it is usually at most using 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tb olive oil
  • 13.3 ounces Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage
  • 3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes or yukon, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups thinly sliced trimmed kale leaves (about 3/4 of medium bunch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Remove casing from sausages & crumble the sausage into the heated pot.  Sauté sausage until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, sliced potatoes and white wine and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Add kale and fennel seeds to soup. Simmer soup uncovered until potatoes and kale are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.  Top with Parmesan cheese.


Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Cupcakes

I have been reading this cookbook, The Flavor Bible.  It’s inspiring for anyone who takes their cooking or baking skills seriously.  My copy is on loan from the library, but I would recommend this one to your home library archives.  The author made a point how food is not only for sustenance, because if it were, we would eat the same thing 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.  Rather, food is about the flavor profiles, which are the taste, mouth feel, aroma & X factor.  All of these being great, but I think the X factor stood out the most.  It is the stories, the total experience, the nostalgia, which comes to mind after eating a specific food.

We all have these.  And quite honestly, it’s what makes certain foods disgusting to some, while to another their “last supper.”  It’s no wonder Jesus chose to perform his first miracle at a wedding feast and through the fruit of the vine.  He wove the spiritual with the senses, creating this amazing story of his complete love & provision.

So as I was making these souffle chocolate cupcakes yesterday, I didn’t have any idea what they would be like. Nor did I realize that they would stir the X factor up.  You see, after my oldest was born and people graciously dropped off meals every night, one night someone dropped off a roasted chicken, salad, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Ice Cream.  I personally am a ‘every but the..’ sort of girl.  However, the melding of the brownie chunks, vanilla & raspberry swirled made for quite the addiction.

Oh so back to these cupcakes.  Well, I have been salivating over these for a while.  Not only that, but they are gluten-free, which made me think of my friend Tina (she works with Ben & I feel bad when I only bring in gluten treats).  However, Tina loves raspberry & chocolate, so I changed it up a bit.  Then, when I bit into one, it took me back to our old apartment with my week old baby and a still, quiet moment, that everything would be okay in my insane, postpartum state.  I’m not promising that this will create quite the same X factor for you, but maybe you should make some for yourself and some new mother to create one for her.

Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownie Cupcakes

(printable recipe)

This recipe has been adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes, which had a mint topping and used espresso powder instead of the actual espresso I used in mine.  You should do as Deb over at Smitten Kitchen says, “eat at once,” because the coolness of the Raspberry Cream enhances the dessert.

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tb fresh espresso
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Raspberry Cream
2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup (76 grams) frozen raspberries + 1 tsp water

Get the white chocolate cream ready for later: Put the white chocolate in a small bowl.  Then, bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate.  Let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate, then whisk well. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream. Chill until very cold, about two hours.

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners.  Put the butter, chocolate & espresso in a saucepan.  Place over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted.  Remove from heat.  Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture.  Since I used my one Kitchenaid bowl for the whole process, I poured the chocolate-egg yolk contents into another bowl.  Clean the bowl & use the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, sugar & salt until medium-firm peaks form.  Using a spatula, fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack.  Once they are cool, add the raspberry cream.

Make Raspberry Puree:Over low heat, add the frozen raspberries and 1 tsp water to a small saucepan.  Allow the raspberries to slowly melt down into a mush.  This will take about 5-7 minutes.  Place a sieve above a small bowl, then dump the raspberry contents into the sieve.  Take a spatula and begin to push the raspberries through the sieve (you are getting the puree while the sieve will catch the seeds).  You will get about 2 Tbs of puree.  Set aside to add to your white chocolate cream.

Putting it altogether: Beat white chocolate cream with electric beaters until medium peaks form. Slowly add the raspberry puree.  The cream might curdle a bit, but don’t over beat.  If you find that the cream isn’t the right consistency, then put the cream in a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag and place in fridge for a bit.  Cut the end and squeeze out about 1 Tb on top of each cupcake.  Eat immediately to gain the full experience of the cold raspberry cream with the delicate crumb of the brownie.