Bacon & Broccoli Rice Bowl

bacon

I made this simple asian style rice bowl a few weeks ago and now I’m addicted.  What’s better than rice, broccoli and bacon all combined into a delicious bowl topped with an fried egg over easy?  Not much in my book.  This dish is quick to put together and makes a great lunch or dinner option for those days when you need something easy.

Ingredients
2 cups white rice
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 head broccoli, florets cut into pieces, stems peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 large eggs
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos

 
Directions
Place the rice in a medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook 12 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots. Add 3/4 cup water and simmer until the broccoli is crisp-tender and only a few tablespoons of water remain, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Divide the rice and broccoli among bowls and drizzle with the pan juices.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, season with salt and fry as desired. Place an egg in each bowl and top with the bacon, cilantro, scallions and pickled jalapenos.  Serve with additional soy sauce as needed.

Advertisements

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.

Berry Merry Christmas Cocktail

Berry Merry Xmas2

I’ve been trying out various holiday cocktail recipes and this one was the winner in our household.  It is slightly sweet, tart and the kind of drink where you don’t really notice there is liquor in it until you’ve had a few.  I garnished mine with a few frozen cranberries and pomegranate seeds in the martini glasses.  I think when I serve them for Christmas I will rim the glasses with something green so they look really festive.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ingredients:

1 oz pomegranate juice

1/2 oz vodka or vanilla vodka

1/2 oz triple sec

1/2 oz peach schnapps

1 oz cranberry juice

 

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and serve on the rocks or make a big pitcher.

 

 

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.

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.

Monster Burgers

 

Treat your kids to something spooky for dinner…….a monster burger!  I saw this in a magazine and just had to try it.  My kids had a great time gobbling up their monster burgers.  It was fun to watch them create their own monster masterpiece. 

Ingredients:

Hamburger buns (we usedEner-G  gluten-free tapioca dinner rolls)

fully cooked hambuger patty (I made patties using ground sirloin and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder)

cheese slices (cut into jagged teeth)

tomato slices

deli ham slices

ketchup

To assemble top hamburger patty with your favorite condiments, ham slice folded like a tongue, cheese slices and then tomato.  Top with bun and then add your pickle eyes.  Feel free to get creative  with this.  Maybe an olive nose toothpicked on the bun  or some shredded lettuce on top for hair.  Go for it!

Hammock Trading Co Restaurant (Sandy Springs, GA)

Recently our company took us to a new local restaurant located on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  There were hammocks hanging from the ceilings and Jimmy Buffet music was playing in the background.  There’s a great bar with large HD TVs if you want to hang out and watch your favorite game.

There were lots of delicious seafood goodies on the menu along with their famous watermelon mojito.  I was blown away by their good food.  We later learned the chef of Hammock has worked at the Bellagio in Vegas and at Bones in Atlanta.  The dedication to his craft really shows in his food.

On Tuesdays they have $2 street tacos so I called them up to inquire a bit more about them.  They are served on charred corn tortillas and you today could have them stuffed with either brisket or shrimp.  The shrimp also features radish, onion and cilantro.  The brisket has a kick of jalepeno coupled with tomat, onion and cilantro.  I decided to order three tacos and give them a try.   I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chef had decided to treat me to four tacos at no extra charge.  The fresh shrimp was juicy and you could taste some chili sauce.  The brisket has a great kick to it and is really flavorful.

On my first visit I had the oysters rockefeller and some homemade bbq chips with a blue cheese sauce, scallions and bacon.  Did I mention the watermelon mojito? 

This place rocks!  Please overlook the fact that they are situated next to Happy Hocker Pawn and get over to the Hammock to treat yourself to some seriously good eats.  Your taste buds will thank me!

Hammocks Trading Company on Urbanspoon

Gluten Free Cupcakes in Roswell, GA

 

When this gluten-free bakery opened several months ago I was thrilled to try one of their cupcake creations.  My Aunt is currently visiting us from out of town and today is her birthday.  She suffers, like many others, from celiac disease so she cannot have anything with gluten in it.  I decided to pay another visit to Gluten Free Cutie and pick up a dozen cupcakes to celebrate her birthday.  I decided on two flavors:  The Devil Went Down to Georgia and Papas Banana Fosters.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia is a chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache center and chocolate frosting.  The Papas Banana Fosters is a vanilla bean rum cake with a carmlized banana center and a vanilla faux buttercream frosting.

This bakery also offers cake pops, round cakes, whoopie pies and some ice box desserts like banana pudding.  Not only is this bakery gluten-free, but they are also peanut, soy, egg and artificial dye free and most items are dairy free and vegan.  For those that have dietary restrictions this bakery gives you lots of yummy options to try. 

They also have a club card so for each $5.00 you spend you get one hole punched and after 10 punches you get two free cake pops or two free cupcakes.

So, what are you waiting for?  Hightail it over to Gluten Free Cutie and grab a cupcake or twelve like I did!

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Okay….so I’ve been away on vacation, but now I’m getting back into the swing of things.  I enjoyed lots of sand, sun and family time while away.  It is great to unplug and just be with those you love once in a while.  With 4th of July fast approaching I wanted to pass along this awsome drink recipe I found in Rachel Ray’s magazine.  This drink is fruity, refreshing and filled with summer flavors.  I made it this weekend and I thought it was fantastic.  One of my friends told me they think watermelon is God’s perfect fruit and I think they might be on to something.

Ingredients:

8 c seedless watermelon cubed (this equated to about half of a seedless watermelon for me)

6 T agave nectar (or honey)

1/3 c freshly squeezed lime juice

1 sliced lime

3 sprigs of fresh mint

1 c water

ice cubes

 

Puree watermelon in a blender and strain in a bowl usine a fine mesh sieve.  Stir in honey and lime juice.  Transfer to a pitcher and add 1c water, lime slices and mint.  Chill and serve over ice.  Makes about 6 servings.