S’more Creme Brulee

s'more creme brulee

I found this recipe on Pinterest and just had to try it.  Who doesn’t like s’mores and any chance to use my kitchen blow torch is always welcome.  Of course, you’ll have to find some gluten-free graham crackers or make your own to make this dish completely gluten free.

CHOCOLATE CRÈME BRÛLÉE

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 4 oz  semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , finely chopped (I used good quality semi sweet mini chips)

MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE

  • 4  large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TO FINISH

  • extra sugar for bruleeing
  • gluten free graham crackers if you can find them (or a similiar flavor gluten free cookie)

FOR THE CRÈME BRÛLÉE:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Set out six ramekins and a roasting pan that will fit all the ramekins comfortably.
  • Combine cream and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on the stove.
  • Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and remaining tablespoon of sugar together in a medium bowl.
  • When the cream has just come to a boil, add chocolate to the saucepan and stir until chocolate is fully melted and combined with the cream.
  • Slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent eggs from cooking. Strain mixture into a bowl or measuring cup.
  • Divide custard mixture evenly among prepared ramekins. The mixture should come up just a little shy of the rim of the ramekins. Tap the ramekins lightly on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • Place ramekins in roasting pan so they are not touching the sides. Fill the pan with hot water about halfway up the height of the ramekins.
  • Carefully place roasting pan in oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the custard appears set but still jiggly. If you are using wide, shallow ramekins (like the ones in my photos), it will take closer to 25 minutes. If you are using smaller, deeper ramekins, it may take a little longer to set.
  • Remove from oven and carefully take out ramekins from roasting pan. Let cool until you can touch the ramekins, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

FOR THE MERINGUE:

  • Combine the sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water.
  • Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
  • Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
  • You can now scrape the meringue into a piping bag to pipe, or if you want to keep it simple you can just dollop it on top of your dessert.

TO ASSEMBLE:

  • Sprinkle top of each ramekin with about a tablespoon of sugar. Use a kitchen torch or broiler to caramelize the sugar.
  • Pipe or spoon the meringue over the top of the ramekin. Use a kitchen torch or broiler to lightly toast the meringue.
  • Insert a few graham cracker pieces or cookie pieces into the brûlée and serve immediately.

Mild Lipstick Mandarin Cocktail

Heat

 

I saw Trisha Yearwood make this Lipstick Mandarin cocktail using serrano chiles, but I wasn’t sure if my crew could handle that kind of heat so I tweaked the recipe a bit.  Even this cocktail was too spicy for my Mom, but my husband and I enjoyed the mild heat you get after each lovely sip.  You can also add more orange flavor by adding the peel of one orange to your simple syrup and let it steep for 15-20 minutes and then pull out the orange peel.

 

Ingredients:
1 lemon, cut in half
Extra fine sugar, to rim glasses
4 small slices jalapeno pepper, plus more for garnish
4 ounces mandarin or clementine vodka
4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces Simple Syrup
Ice

Directions:
Chill 4 martini glasses.  Rim each with a lemon half and then dip in sugar.  Squeeze into a shaker the lemon juice from the halves you used to rim the glasses.  Place the pepper pieces in the shaker and muddle.  Add to the shaker: mandarin or clementine vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and simple syrup. Top with some ice, shake and strain into the glasses. Garnish each with a small slice of jalapeno pepper.

Simple Syrup:
Combine the sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Ode to Elvis – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding with Bananas

Choc Peanut

This is a simple homemade pudding that even the King himself would be proud of.  I used a Hershey bar for the chopped chocolate and garnished with some fresh sliced bananas.  As you let the pudding cool in the pan before you put in serving dishes cover the pudding with plastic wrap sitting right on top of the pudding to avoid the dreaded “pudding skin” from forming.  Once it was cool enough I divided mine among four serving dishes and let it chill for about an hour. Now, Don’t Be Cruel and make yourself a batch. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk. Whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 1 minute or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/3 cup pudding into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 teaspoon peanuts.

 

Roasted Chickpea Salad with Barbecue Dressing

BBQ-Chickpea-Salad-2We like to do meatless meals at my house on occasion.  I found this recipe online courtesy of kitchensimplicity.com  and tried it recently.  OMG!  Both my carnivore husband and I were scarfing this down like there was no tomorrow.  This salad is packed with flavor so if you are vegetarian and want a great 4th of July option make sure you try it out.  I felt good eating this healthy meal and it was very easy to prepare.  I roasted my chickpeas a day in advance and then kept them in a sealed container and heated them for a few minutes in the oven after the salad was ready.

Ingredients:

  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped or wedged
  • 1 cup spice-roasted chickpeas (recipe below)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ jalapeño, sliced (seeds removed)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Barbecue Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good quality ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Instructions

  1. Arrange lettuce in one large, or two medium, salad bowls (or plates). Top with remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing just before serving. Toss to coat.

Barbecue Dressing

  1. Place all ingredients in a small jar. Screw lid on. Shake until evenly combined. Store, covered, in the fridge. (alternatively you can mix this in a small bowl with a whisk)

Roasted Chickpeas

Makes: approximately 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 (19 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Spread the chickpeas out on a clean kitchen towel. Fold towel over and rub gently to dry. Transfer the chickpeas to a medium sized bowl, removing any skins that have been rubbed off. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and toss to coat.
  2. Spread chickpeas out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 40 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring once in the middle. Let cool completely before covering, in a sealed container. Store at room temperature for a few days or freeze for longer storage.  If you freeze them pop them in the oven under a broiler to crisp them back up.

 

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies

 

I made these cookies over the weekend and they were so easy and tasted so good.  They were great warm out of the oven or a few days later.  They stayed soft and slightly chewy and that little hint of coarse sea salt was devine.

 

Ingredients:
2 cups natural peanut butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until well combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

Bake until golden around the edges, about 10 minutes, switching the position of the sheets halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Makes about 26 cookies.

Aldi Gluten Free Products

Aldi Live Gfree

I’ve shopped at Aldi a few times over the course of the last few years, but this week’s ad featuring tons of gluten free products brought me back in the store.  I purchased some brownie soft-baked cookies, strawberry breakfast bars, crackers, blueberry frozen pancakes, and corn fusilli pasta.  These are only a few examples of the products available and they are at much better prices than you will find at other stores.  If you’ve never been to Aldi before be prepared to spend some money on renting a grocery cart ($.25 gets you a cart and you get it back when you return the cart), you’ll also need to be prepared to pay for bags or else bring your own bags.  You will bag your own groceries too…..all these things keep the prices low at Aldi stores.

If you are looking for some bargain gluten-free products to try definitely check our ALDI.

 

Chicago Deep Dish Gluten Free

Chicago Deep Dish

 

My kids love pizza and recently we were talking about Chicago Style Pizza.  They had never tried it before so I decided to take a shot at making some gluten free.  I reviewed lots of recipes online, but decided on a simple one using the Betty Crocker gluten free rice flour blend.  Although my crust didn’t rise too much (I only gave it an hour so next time I’ll try it longer) the result was one of the best gluten free pizzas we’ve had as a family.  The kids and everyone in attendance loved it.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/4 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons canola (or other neutral) oil
3/4 cup warm water (about 100° F)
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions

  •  In a medium-size bowl or the bowl of your food processor, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt and stir or pulse to combine.
  •  To the flour mixture, add the 4 tablespoons of canola oil and the water in a steady stream, either pulsing in a food processor or mixing with a spoon or fork to combine. If you are using a food processor, pulse while streaming in the water, until a ball begins to form. Otherwise, stir constantly while streaming in the water and continue stirring until the mixture begins to come together. If the dough seems super sticky, add some more flour a tablespoon at a time, and stir or pulse to combine. Press the dough into a disk.
  •  Place the dough in another medium-size bowl and drizzle it with the olive oil. Turn the dough to coat it with oil. This will prevent a crust from forming on the dough while it is rising. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, draft-free area to rise until it is about 1 1/2 times its original volume (about 1 hour or more).
  •  After the dough has risen, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  •  When you are ready to make the pizza, preheat your oven to 425° F. Grease well with canola oil a 12 inch round baking dish or a cast iron skillet if you have it.
  • Press the pizza dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides, leaving a small clean edge toward the top of the pan so there aren’t exposed edges that can burn easily during baking. The corn meal will have made the pizza dough much less smooth and pliable than ideal, but it is worth it for the taste in the final product. Trust me.
  •  To assemble the pizza, use whatever ingredients you like. Slather the bottom and sides of the crust with softened unsalted butter. This will give the crust a nice buttery taste.  Then layer in slices of cheese of provolone cheese then whatever else you like (I used cooked italian bulk sausage, pepperoni, fresh basil, bacon fresh sliced tomatoes, & mozzarella cheese), cover with tomato sauce and a thin layer of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
  •  Tent the pan with aluminum foil, and place it in the center of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, uncover, and bake again until the sauce and cheese are bubbling and the crust is nicely browned (about another 10 minutes).
  • Cool in the pan for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Serve right away.

I made a homemade pizza sauce for my pie using these ingredients:

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 medium white onion diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 T dried italian seasoning

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake

pinch of sugar

1/2 c water

Put everything in the pot and simmer for a good hour for the sauce.

 

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

 

You remember those yummy biscuits they serve at Red Lobster?  You know the ones that tasted so yummy you could make a meal out of just those, well I found a good gluten free recipe that tastes very close to the real deal.  Try them at home and let me know your thoughts.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick

5 tablespoons cold diced unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Old bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. First step is the wet ingredients for the biscuits. Mix eggs and heavy cream together, stirring until eggs are broken and everything is well blended. In a separate bowl add your 2 cups of Gluten Free Bisquick and add in cold butter using a pastry cutter or I used a large fork. Blend together until you have a coarse crumbly mixture and the butter is not visible. Add cheese into the dry mixture then add your wet ingredients until a soft dough forms.

Now make the seasoned butter which makes these taste so much like the Red Lobster version. In a new bowl blend melted butter, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder and parsley, set aside to use later.

Drop the biscuits onto a cookie sheet and round the edges I used a regular spoon. Bake for about 12 minutes then take the biscuits out and brush on  a thick layer of the seasoned butter then bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Biscuits should be a light golden brown color. This made about 22 biscuits. These are best served immediately but also delicious the next day.

Gluten Free Empanadas

 

Empanadas

We took a trip to Puerto Rico this weekend in our kitchen with beef empanadas, beans and rice and a plantain puree.  The food was really delicious.  I was especially pleased with how well this gluten-free dough held together.  The dough is made with a little white wine, but don’t worry the alcohol cooks out before you make the dough.   I can see this dough recipe being used to make apple cinnamon empanadas in the future.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry white wine (e.g., Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not, nondairy substitute is fine)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, place the wine, water, butter and shortening and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is simmering (about 3 to 4 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and dump in the flour and xanthan gum. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together (it will happen quickly). Add the milk/cream by the tablespoonful, and knead into the dough until it is smooth.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead until fairly smooth. Do NOT flour the kneading surface.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for an hour. This is an important step.
  4. After the dough has rested, roll until it is about ⅛-inch thick (the width of a nickel), and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or smaller or larger, if you prefer) to cut into rounds.

Notes

Bean flour blends are not true all-purpose gluten-free flours. Pamela’s baking mix and Pamela’s bread mix are not all-purpose gluten-free flours, nor were they meant to be. They have all sorts of additional ingredients, like baking powder, baking soda and sugar, and then yeast and sugar, respectively. Yes, you really do need the wine for flavor. It’s worth opening a bottle.

Fill with your favorite filling.  Our beef filling recipe is below.

Empanada Filling
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Oil or shortening, for frying

Aioli Dip:
1/2 cup real mayonnaise, such as Kraft
1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce
Juice of 1/4 lime

For the empanada filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and garlic salt and cook until the beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and set the beef aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, seasoned salt, garlic, bell peppers and onions. Cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beef and let them love each other with fire over low heat for about 5 more minutes. The mixture should be moist but not dripping wet. Now you are ready to fill the empanadas.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

For the aioli dip: Mix together the mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lime juice. (The flavor will enhance if it sits in the refrigerator.)

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread

I made this butter slightly salty shortbread cookies over the weekend and I was really pleased with how they turned out.  The key to making these cookies stay really pretty is chilling the dough before rolling it out and chilling the cookies for a few minutes before baking them in the oven.  You could add finely chopped pecans, lemon zest, finely ground lavender or a host of other flavorings to this dough so be creative.

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/3 ounces (1 1/3 cups) white rice flour
  • 2.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (this prevents the cookies from spreading)
  • 7 ounces (14 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In small bowl, whisk together white rice flour, sweet rice flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together, on medium-low speed, until a thick paste forms, about 30 seconds. Shut off stand mixer. Add dry ingredients. Turn on mixer and mix until a dough forms, about three minutes.

Lightly white rice flour your countertop. Turn dough out onto counter and shape dough into a disk or log shape. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Once chilled use a rolling pin to roll dough out, about 1/4-inch thick. Make sure you measure this.  I though I had rolled it out to this thickness, but when comparing it to a ruler my dough was 1/8 inch thick.  Cut using a cookie cutter dusted with flour and place cookies on prepared baking sheet, about two inches apart. Chill cut cookies for 5-10 minutes before baking.  Bake until cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges and aromatic, about 20-25 minutes.