Advertisements

Blog Archives

Nutella Brownies

Nutella browniesSerendipity was afoot last week. I had read a recipe for Nutella flourless brownies and promptly went to the store to buy a jar and make them. Turns out, on that same day, the creator of Nutella died at 89.

The brownies are pretty good and one of those recipes that taste much better the next day. The process is very similar to my Chocolate Flourless Cake, recipe here.

I prefer the chocolate cake, but the Nutella brownies were a good second. If I make them again, I will add toasted hazelnut pieces (they should be chopped fine so they don’t all sink to the bottom of the batter).

Both recipes are super easy and a make for a very moist chocolate treat. And gluten-free as an added bonus.

Nutella Brownies

  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups Nutella
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting

8×8 baking dish or springform pan, oiled and lined on the bottom with parchment cut to fit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat eggs on high for 5 to 7 minutes until they have tripled in size. Beat in Nutella on low until fully incorporated*. Pour into the baking dish. Tap the dish on the counter firmly to remove any bubbles and then bake for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a just few crumbs, no batter. Mine actually took about 40 minutes, but I forgot to preheat.

Cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar, cutting and serving. I found it tasted best the next day. Also it freezes very well.

*some recipes call for you to microwave the nutella, but since the jar specifically says, DO NOT MICROWAVE, I just used a spatula to scoop out most of a 13 oz jar.

slide_332297_3299258_free

====================================

 

Advertisements

Product Review: Shirataki Noodles

Orange Chicken and Noodles

These noodles won’t be for everyone, but I wanted to highlight them because if you’re avoiding gluten or on a low carb diet, these are a great addition to a meal. They can satisfy that pesky carb craving. They’re unusual in the fact that they are made from white yam flour (non-GMO), packed in water and refrigerated.

shirataki-noodles1

When you open the package, you’re struck with a strong fishy aroma – think end of the day at a fish market. There is nothing pleasant about it, in my opinion, but it does not flavor the noodles. To prepare them, you drain the water (holding your nose if you’re me) and rinse them for a full minute (I set a timer) with cold water. Then you boil them for 15 minutes. I rinse them for another full minute in cool water after cooking.

Noodles

I like their texture, but it may not be for everyone. Regardless of how long you cook them, they have an al dente (to the tooth) texture and are chewy. They can be used in any dish you would use rice or rice noodles, I especially like them in soups because they don’t get mushy. They don’t have any real flavor of their own, but take on the flavor of whatever added to. I’ve never tried them in dishes that would normally use a pasta or macaroni. For those dishes, I stick with brown rice pasta if I need the dish to be gluten free.

I usually cook up two bags at a time, since they’re a bit labor intensive to prepare. They store well in the refrigerator for a week. I add them to sauce or soup and let them heat back up.

So if you need to satisfy your carb craving when you’re counting carbs, these just might do the trick. Gluten free, no soy and only 1g of carbs per serving.

They’re available at most Natural Food type grocers.

======================================

 

Holiday Cookies: Peanut Butter (Bonus – Gluten Free)

Peanutbutter cookie 6

UPDATED: I changed up a few ingredients when I made the second batch. Changes are in blue. The second batch I also threw some whole peanuts in and omitted the chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes 18)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg

baking sheet

Cream ingredients together and drop by spoonful onto a baking sheet. Dip a fork in sugar and press down dough. Bake at 300 degree F for 10-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool ON the baking sheet.

I added chocolate chips to a few after I flattened them on the baking sheet. They were good, but it did make the cookie more fragile and they broke apart as I transferred them to the plate.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake1

I ordered a DSLR camera today, on a whim. Probably mostly because I was stressed, coffee and sleep deprived. I’ve been looking for one, this was a great price and had good ratings, so I suppose it wasn’t a totally bad decision.

Harley is home and getting better…he’s just not himself yet, so I’m still guarded on his prognosis.

There was no time to put together a recipe exchange today, between work issues and worrying about the cat, but I did have the cake recipe in the back of my head and figured I should post it.

I was staring at a can of pumpkin, thinking I should make another batch of pumpkin bars, when instead it seemed time to try a recipe that had been bouncing around in my head for a while. Taking the basics for the gluten free torte that I’ve made with different flavors (chocolatefruit, clementinechocolate-raspberry) I wondered if pumpkin would work or if the moisture content would be too high to create a good cake.

In the end, it is more like the Clementine cake than the chocolate cakes, moister and denser. But the flavor was excellent and while it won’t replace pumpkin bars for me, if you need gluten free, it’s a nice alternative.

Pumpkin Torte

  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

In a blender or with a mixer, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add pumpkin and melted, cooled butter, blending slowly until combined. Add spices, mixing well and then add the baking powder, mix until just combined. Pour into springform pan, tap pan on the counter to release air bubbles. 

Bake for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  I always bake on a baking sheet to avoid any spillage. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

=============================

Friday Recipe Exchange: Gluten Free Goodies

Lasagna snap3

This is going to be a quick one. I didn’t want to leave you hanging a second week, especially since I’m going to be travelling next week and there probably won’t be  any recipes.

I asked earlier in the summer  for gluten free recipe ideas. There was lots of input, as always you guys rock. One thing I noticed about  recipes for bread substitutes the ingredient list is daunting. I thought mixes might be a better route for these items. I wanted to test out some mixes for pizza crust, rolls and bread, but I just haven’t found the time.

If you’ve had success with mixes and would like to recommend some, let us know in the comments. I could use some direction and I’m probably not the only one. Share any other gluten free recipes I may have missed in the first go round. And of course talk about any other recipes you’d like to share.

First up, the links that came from various commenters:

Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Alton Brown, here.

Almond Butter Blondies, from Eat Well, here.

Too easy to believe, Chocolate-Walnut Cookies, recipe here.

Then there is my favorite gluten free cake recipe. I love this cake because not only is it gluten free, but you can change up the ingredients to a variety of fruits including cranberry, clementine oranges, and of course chocolate and mocha

And if I had to pick a blog, I like Gluten Free Girl, because she emphasizes foods that are naturally gluten free as a place to start, click here to see her journey and great recipes.

I am not gluten sensitive, but years ago realized that wheat flour, among other things, exacerbated my joint pain, so I cut way back. When my friend LFern went gluten free, she recommended a brown rice pasta that I love. It has great flavor and excellent texture, I’ve used it for all kinds of things, including tonight’s featured recipe, I rarely recommend specific products, but this is my exception, it’s Tinkyada Rice Pasta, link here to products, pricey, but worth it.

So that’s a start. I’m sure you have many more I haven’t even thought of and I look forward to hearing about them.

Tonight’s featured recipe I’ve posted before, but not with the gluten free alternative. I wanted to use it tonight because I wanted to show gluten free doesn’t mean it can’t be yummy.

Gluten Free Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg Tinkyada or other gluten free lasagna noodles (16 oz)* – boiled and cooled.
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

*I’ve boiled these and also baked them dry. I prefer the dry method, you’ll need to increase baking time by 30 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it). Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Okay, this was all done on the fly, so if I missed something or messed something up, let me know, I’ll fix.  – TaMara

===============================================

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Chocolate-Walnut Flourless Cookies

nom nom nom

First off, I am still in denial that Thanksgiving is next week. I’ve done a test turkey and JeffreyW has done a test duck. I may use his orange glaze recipe for my next turkey, which I’ll stuff with sliced oranges and spices. And that reminds me, there will be no recipe exchange next Thursday. I did make some excellent turkey soup from my test turkey leftovers, I’ll try and post that recipe sometime next week so you’ll have it if you’re looking for something to do with your leftovers.

For tonight, we’re going to chocolate heaven. I’ve had these on my list to try for months and finally decided it was time. They did not disappoint and were very easy and quite addictive. The original recipe (here: François Payard’s Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies) was suggested to me by fellow blogger Glutenvygirl ages ago. I looked over the original recipe and a couple of similar recipes and then tweaked this one just enough to suit my own tastes.

Fair warning, this recipe is a little messy. Or maybe it’s just me. Cocoa powder and powdered sugar are preternaturally attracted to me. By the time I was done cooking, my Laura Petrie inspired black-kick-around-the-house-outfit looked like there’d been an assassination attempt on it by a snowman and his cooler ninja brother. Although, I should have known better after that disastrous visit to Café De Monde in New Orleans while wearing a black t-shirt and dark blue jeans. C’est la vie.

Next time I try this recipe there will be an apron.

Now I have a challenge for you. Because of various recipes, I have egg yolks and about 14 oz of pumpkin puree leftover in my refrigerator that I need to use up before they go bad. Anyone have any good ideas that aren’t pumpkin pie? Heck, I’d even take a pumpkin pie recipe if it is out of the ordinary.

What’s for Thanksgiving Dinner this year? Staying home or going to grandma’s house (or equivalent)? Anyone trying something new and daring?

Okay, tonight’s featured recipe, which by the way is gluten-free:

Notes: To separate eggs, the easiest way I’ve found is the Nigella Lawson method of using your hand. It is quick and easy. The original recipe called for regular cocoa and 3 cups of powdered sugar, that sounded much too sweet, so I reduced that first thing and since I love dark chocolate I used 1/2 dark and 1/2 regular cocoa. Next time I think I would go full dark chocolate. It was still very sweet, but I’d be afraid of reducing the sugar more because I think you need the volume. That doesn’t mean I won’t give it try sometime. You need to let them cool completely otherwise they stick to the parchment. They were still warm when I pulled the first one off, and it left crumbs and wasn’t as structurally sound as the completely cooled ones ended up being. You’ll need parchment paper for this recipe or a silpat.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Walnut Cookies

  • 2 cups walnut halves or pieces
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Bowl, baking sheet, parchment, wire cooking rack

Toast walnuts for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, cool and rough chop. Reduce oven temperature to 320 degrees.

While walnuts are cooling, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt until well mixed. Add walnuts and mix well. Add vanilla and then egg whites one at a time. Whisk to combine, but do not over mix. You want the batter to be about brownie mixture consistency. A bit moister than regular cookie dough, but not too moist, like cake batter (is that helpful?). Three egg whites might be the perfect, or may need to add one more. Drop mixture by the spoonful on parchment paper and bake at 320 degrees for 14 minutes. Move PARCHMENT paper AND cookies to a wire rack to cool. Do not remove until cooled completely. Makes 2 doz.

Another Birthday Cake Request

The Chocolate Torte revisited:

Thursday Night Menu: Dinner Guest Edition

Chocolate Pecan Torte

A few weeks ago, LFern and Mr. Fern made dinner for me.  I thought I should return the favor.  The menu is filled with my favorites.  Nothing new here, just some surefire good food.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pasta Caprese
  2. Caesar Salad
  3. Chocolate Pecan* Torte

Pasta Caprese

From August 2010:

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccine
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, mix remaining ingredients together. Drain pasta completely (dab with paper towels, if necessary) then add to tomato mixture. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend. Serve warm or you can refrigerate and serve cold. Add a nice loaf of bread for a complete dinner.

I use a fairly expensive mozzarella for this dish because it’s softer, tastier and absorbs more flavors. Any locally produced mozzarella would work. Also, my local farmers’ market has a pasta vendor, who hand-makes many flavors of pasta. This dish works very well with flavored pastas – fire roasted chili, lemon pepper, tomato basil, red bell pepper – the list goes on. You can also change-up the cheese to a Queso Blanco (again, use a fairly expensive or locally produced one), use cilantro instead of basil and use a chili flavored pasta for a whole new dish. The possibilities are endless.

Caesar Salad – would you think less of me if I told you I bought a ‘salad kit’ so I could focus on the rest of the meal?

This is becoming my favorite chocolate cake.

From January 2011:

Chocolate Hazelnut*Torte

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts*
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, milk and butter together over low heat until a smooth mixture forms. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool.

In a blender, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add the Frangelino and gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, blending slowly until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and nuts; mix until just combined.

Bake for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

*I had to make do with pecans because there was not a hazelnut to be found at the grocery store today.  Was there a shortage?  embargo?  and I missed it?

One last note:  This entire meal (minus croutons) was gluten free for LFern.  The pasta is Tinkyada Rice Pasta, you’d never know the difference, it’s good stuff.

Cake and Cookies

Last night was spent baking.  Dark Chocolate Cookies are pretty simple:

Dark Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

(this is a half-batch)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1 cup walnut halves

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake

Nigella Lawson’s Clementine cake came out well.  It’s very crumbly and moist, as you’ll see in the next picture.  It is so easy to make and everyone thinks it must be some difficult gourmet cake because of the texture.  They couldn’t believe it had no flour and no butter or shortening.  Which also gives it the added bonus of being gluten-free.

I took that picture a few minutes ago at the office.  I don’t think there is going to be any left when I go back to the kitchen.

I have no idea what tonight’s menu is going to be, but hopefully I’ll see you back here tonight for the Thursday Night Menu.  Until then….

Welcome LFern

I know I’ve been a little lax in the postings lately.  I’ll do better, promise.  But to pick up the slack, we have a new poster who will join us this week.  A dear friend of mine, one I always enjoy cooking with and having her cook for me, not to mention our many girls’ days out, where lunch and really good coffee are always the prerequisite.

A little bit about her – she’s a mom, she recently finished up her master’s degree and a brief stint as teacher, she has lots of fun interests, none of which are gardening, which I hope she may share with you as time goes on.  She and her husband provided us with the wonderful yogurt making slideshow, Mr. Fern being the photographer – maybe she can convince him to illustrate some of her entries with his photos (he is very good, I have one of his hawk photos on my desk).

Anyway, I asked/conjoled/begged LF to become a contributor because recently she decided to try a gluten-free diet and I felt her journey was an important to share.   I’m hoping that will be just the beginning of what she’ll write about…

Welcome LFern!  Glad you’re here.