Japanese Cheesecake

 

Japanese cheesecake

If you are like me you may not have heard of Japanese cheesecake before.  I certainly had not discovered this little gem until recently.  I came across a recipe while scouring the internet looking for gluten-free desserts.  This cake is naturally gluten-free and is kind of like a cross between pound cake and cheesecake.  It’s a little effort to make, but it is totally worth it.  I made mine in a loaf pan, but you could also use a springform pan.  I had to convert all the measurements from the metric system , but it turned out very yummy.  This is best made one day ahead of time and then eaten on the second day.

Ingredients:

10.5 oz cream cheese

3.15 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1.5 Tablespoons of granulated sugar

2.5 tsp cornstarch

2/3 c milk

3 egg whites

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Cut some parchment paper slightly larger than the pan you are using and line your pan with it.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Put egg whites in the freezer so they just begin to freeze around the edges.  Sift the cornstarch.  If your cream cheese is not softened wrap in plastic wrap and microwave for 15 sec intervals until it is soft to the touch.  In a large bowl melt the butter over a double boiler and then add cream cheese.  Whisk well to combine.  In a second bowl combine egg yolks and 1.5 T sugar and then mix in the cornstarch.   Heat the milk so it comes to a boil and then slowly add to the egg yolk mixture until it thickens over the double boiler.  Add egg yolk mixture to cream cheese and combine well.

Add a small amount of remaining 4T of sugar to egg whites and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Gradually add remaining sugar to egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to your cream cheese mixture and combine.  Fold remaining meringue into cream cheese mixture and then fill pan.  Smooth the top of your cake mixture and put pan inside a roasting pan.  Add boiling water to roasting pan until it comes about a half inch up the loaf or springform pan you are using.  Bake for 15 minutes and then lower your oven temp to 320F and bake for 25 more minutes.  Turn off your oven and leave cake in oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour.  The top should be slightly browned.  Let cake cool in pan and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before removing from the pan.

I served mine with a blueberry sauce and some fresh whipped cream.

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Autumn Potato Gratin

Potato gratin

 

I continue to try out new side dishes recipes before Christmas and this one has definitely been added to the menu.  Autumn may be almost gone, but Rachel Ray’s potato dish is creamy, rich and mouthwatering.  I love using the baby potatoes and savory herbs to create this spud masterpiece.  We cleaned our plates in no time with this one…enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds mixed baby potatoes, such as Red Bliss, Peruvian Purples, and Fingerlings
  • 2 cups heavy cream, plus some to cover
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 sprigs each fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Halve the potatoes and toss them into a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, put the cream, butter, herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, to infuse the cream with flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the hot cream mixture through a strainer over the potatoes, (discard the herbs and garlic), if there is not enough cream to go 3/4 of the way up the potatoes then pour some additional cream on top to make up the difference. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and top begins to brown. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sauteed Carrots with Dill

 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We took a little trip to New York City so that our kids could experience the Macy’s Parade in person.  This was something I’ve had on my bucket list for a few years and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do it.  We did lots of touristy stuff while in the city, but I have to admit I did miss cooking all of the Thanksgiving goodies this year.  To make up for it I’ll be cooking up a storm for Christmas Day with ham, deep fried turkey and lots of side dishes and desserts.  I’m testing out some new side dish recipes before the big day and this one courtesy of  The Barefoot Contessa was easy and delicious so I thought I would share it with you.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 coin slices

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill (or you could use flat-leaf parsley also)

1/3 c water

In a large saute pan combine water, carrots, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over medium low heat for 7-8 minutes until carrots are tender.  Add the butter and saute for another minute until water has evaporated and butter has melted.  Toss in the dill and stir to combine.  Taste to see if any additional salt and pepper should be added.

 

Ham and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I’m a big fan of goat cheese.  It’s an acquired taste, but one that I happen to enjoy a lot.  I found a recipe online using country ham and goat cheese and then you stuffed that under crunchy chicken skin and I was sold.  You can use different herbs than what I used and if you don’t like goat cheese try a cream cheese or some other cheese and let me know how it turned out.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts with bone and skin

3 ounces of country ham, diced

1T chopped sage (you could also try thyme or rosemary)

2 T olive oil

4 oz softened goat cheese

1T lemon juice

salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.  Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add olive oil.  Saute diced ham for 4-5 minutes until brown.  Remove ham with a slotted spoon and drain.  Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and then brown in same olive oil on all sides.  Combine goat cheese and herbs in a small bowl and then add lemon juice.  Remove chicken from oil and drain.  Allow oil to cook for a few minutes and then add the oil and any brown bits in the pan to the goat cheese mixture.   Stir to combine and then add some pepper.  Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and stuff goat cheese mixture under the skin.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the temperature has reached 165F.

Beef Stroganoff


 

I really like beef stroganoff, but have yet to find any gluten-free egg noodles so I use gluten-free penne pasta for this dish.  This recipe has a little different sauce than what I’ve made in the past with the addition of tarragon and a little nutmeg.  I really liked the flavor and it’s one of those recipes that doesn’t take too long to throw everything together.  It helps to cut the thin strips of beef by freezing the meat for 20 minutes first.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 pound of top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry tarragon or 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup of sour cream at room temperature

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.

In the same pan, melt another 3 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.

Reduce the heat to low and add sour cream to the mushrooms.  You may want to add a tablespoon or two of beef broth or water to thin out your sauce slightly.  Mix the sour cream in thoroughly, but do not let it come to a simmer or a boil.  Stir in the beef and shallots.  Adjust salt and pepper to your taste and serve over pasta, potatoes or rice.

Peach Cardamom Crisp

Georgia is known for their peaches and I love using them in desserts.  When you can’t get them fresh you can always find sliced peaches in the frozen food section at your local grocery store.  This gluten-free dessert was super easy and tasted really yummy.  I also love any excuse I can get to use one of my favorite spices…..cardamom.

Filling Ingredients:

4 c sliced peaches (fresh or frozen) – if using frozen thaw them before using

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 T gluten-free all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:

1 c gluten-free all purpose flour or gluten-free baking mix

1 c gluten-free quick cook oats

1/2 c brown sugar

pinch of salt

12 T chilled unsalted butter, diced

Preheat your oven to 350F.   In a large bowl toss together the peach filling ingredients and mix well.  Pour the peaches in a 9X13 baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, mix the 1 c flour, oats, brown sugar and salt on low.  Add the cold butter and continue mixing until it begins to look like small pieces of dough.  Don’t overmix or you’ll be left with one big piece of dough.  Top the peaches with the dough mixture and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.  Let dessert cool slightly and then serve with cinnamon whipped cream or cinnamon ice cream.

Eggplant Rollatini

Occasionally I will try to make a meatless dinner for my family.  Sometimes this doesn’t go over well because my nine year old son dislikes most veggies and my husband and daughter are both cut from the same carnivore cloth, but I still give it the old college try.  Last week I made a dish that all of them seemed to enjoy….eggplant rollatini.  I’ll give you a word of warning, I started this dish about two hours before I wanted it to be ready because there are several steps to it, but the final dish was super yummy!

Ingredients:

3 medium eggplants, sliced lenghtwise 1/3 inch thick

2 T plus 2 tsp sea salt

28 oz can peeled plum tomatoes

2 red bell peppers, roasted

2 large basil sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 extra virgin olive oil

15 oz container of ricotta cheese

1/2 c mascarpone cheese

1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

1/2 c parmesan grated

 

Place eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle both sides with 2T of salt.  Allow slices to release bitterness (let set for 20-30 minutes).  Begin making your sauce by cutting tomatoes in large chunks, combine with peppers in a food processor and puree.  Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add tomato puree.  Add basil, garlic, oregano and 1 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and then simmer 15-20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil.  Wipe excess salt off eggplant and gently squeeze out any moisture using paper towels.  Transfer eggplant to cookie sheets and bake about 15 minutes.  Allow eggplant to cool.  In a large bowl combine ricotta, mascarpone, nutmeg and remaining salt.  Transfer half of tomato sauce to 9X13 baking dish.  place 2-3 T of cheese mixute onto each eggplant slice and roll up.  Lay eggplant seam side down in baking dish.  Spoon remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes in oven and then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Shrimp & Sausage Etouffee

I modified this Paula Deen recipe to include some smoked sausage.  I’ll warn you it is a little spicy so go less on the cayenne pepper and hot sauce if you like things really mild.  The clam juice adds a real good flavor to the sauce in this etouffe and the heat was just enough for me to feel it and not be overpowered.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can clam juice
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Salt (Cajun seasoning has salt already)
  • 2 pounds small or medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb beef smoked sausage, sliced and browned in a little oil or butter
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Rice, optional
  • Diced green onions, for garnish

 Make the roux, mix oil and flour in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the oil to form a paste. Continue cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes. To the roux, add the onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are limp. Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste.  Add 1 bottle of clam juice and the tomatoes with their juice, stir to blend. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sausage and shrimp and stir. It will take about 3 minutes for shrimp to cook, don’t overcook. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir; the heat from the dish will melt the butter. Transfer the etouffee to a tureen, serving bowl, or if you prefer, over rice. Garnish with the green onions

Mama Mia Meatball Lasagna

 

I decided to do a lasagna using veggies instead of noodles and then topping it with some savory meatballs.  The result was a yummy italian casserole and my kids didn’t even know there were veggies inside.  I also made some homemade ricotta to go inside which was fabulous!  I will share that recipe with you later.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 large zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch slices

salt and pepper

olive oil

2 c riccotta

1 c italian cheese, shredded

1lb mozzarella ball, shredded

1/4 c chopped italian parsley

1 jar of your favorite GF pasta sauce

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 egg beaten

1/2 tsp granulated sugar

3 medium baking potatoes peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch slices

1/4 c chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

granulated garlic

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

2 sliced of GF bread (process into breadcrumbs using food processor)

Lay eggplant and zucchini slices on a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let drain for 30 minutes.  Pat veggies dry and brush with olive oil and roast in 400F oven for 6-10 minutes until slightly golden.  Combine beef, pork, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a large bowl.  Form into meatballs and then brown in a large stockpot with some 2 T olive oil.  Once all sides are browned remove meatballs to plate to drain on papertowel.  Combine pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar and salt and pepper in saucepan.  Using hand blender puree until smooth and heat just until warm.  Combine ricotta with 1c of cheese, the mozzarella, parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine.  Lower oven to 400F and spread 1c of sauce in bottom of 9X12 baking dish.  Layer in eggplant and zucchini and then cover with some of ricotta mixture.  Layer with potatoes and then top with salt, pepper and half of the chopped herbs.  Repeat layers and then top with meatballs and some additional sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Taco Bell’s Chicken Cantina Bowl – **UPDATE – MAY CONTAIN GLUTEN**

Chef Lorena Garcia helped to create some healthier options at Taco Bell.  The Cantina bowl is one of those items and it happens to be listed as gluten-free.  The bowl contains citrus marinated grilled chicken, black beans, guacamole, cilantro rice, pico de gallo and a cilantro dressing.  This bowl was flavorful and really hit the spot.  You can also get this bowl served with steak or vegetarian style.  The chicken version has 560 calories, but this item does contain a lot of sodium so if you are watching your sodium intake you may want to skip this menu item.

Glad to see some fast food options that are trying to be on the healthier side!