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Friday, July 6, 2012

fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding w/ crispy rice topping - gluten free + dairy free

and i'm back. in full swing, that is. i got back from germany a few weeks ago and am wrapping up last minute stuff for my companies annual sales kickoff meeting next week. things have been ultra hectic, so i've neglected to get a post up in some time now. sorry! chances are it might be a lil while til you see another post - i guarantee nothing next week - and the following week my girl, joanna, is heading out here from boston - so you might not see anything then either. but i promise, her and i will be dining out and cooking dinner together so i should have something the following week :)

so here goes nothing, i'm going to dive right into my showcase recipe - fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding. its a mouthful for a dessert name - but it describes this spot on. its a salty, caramelly, coconutty pudding that goes down a little too easily. 



you may remember a few posts ago, i posted about the salted butterscotch pudding that i had for dessert at linger restaurant in denver. mind expanding, tastebud blowing - gluten and dairy free coconut pudding. a few of my girlfriends and i are heading back to linger for happy hour this week and ive got my heart set on ordering it again. fingers crossed the dessert menu hasn't changed yet. anyhow, i felt inspired and wanted to recreate the dessert on my own. my rendition is definitely not the same, by a long shot. instead of having a butterscotch flavor - caramel and coconut notes stand out. i also borrowed the linger pastry chef's idea on a crunchy topping to add texture to the pudding - pretty good.



fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding
  • 1 can light coconut milk (1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tbsp earth balance or dairy free margarine of your choice
in a medium saucepan (not over heat) whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. add in 1/2 cup coconut milk and whisk until completely combined - be sure that there are no lumps of cornstarch remaining. turn burner onto high and continue to whisk - stir in remaining coconut milk. continuing stirring until mixture comes to a boil then turn down until it begins to thicken. remove from heat and stir in  margarine and vanilla until completely combine. divide mixture between four ramekins and cover with plastic wrap (if you mind the pudding forming a skin - i just placed mine uncovered in the fridge) - place in refrigerator 2-4 hours until completely cooled and set.
crispy rice topping
  • 1/2 cup puffed rice
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
heat oven to 350. spray baking sheet with canola oil then sprinkle 1/2 cup of puffed rice evenly on sheet.  place in oven ~5 minutes - watch carefully these will burn quickly if you dont keep an eye on them. remove from oven when golden and crispy and drizzle with honey or agave nectar.


Friday, June 15, 2012

chicken cherry mole - gluten free + dairy free

hello from (somewhat) sunny germany! i'm here til next friday - so this is likely the only post you'll see from me for the next two weeks or so. i'll be sure to recap some of my culinary adventures with you once i return...

i recently started reintroducing corn back into my diet. score! i cant tell you how much i've missed corn chips, eating mexican/latin food, making homemade corn bread. best part of it all - if i eat it in moderation (and organic whenever possible) ive been able to tolerate it.

that said, i've been hitting up taco joints like its no-ones business. my absolute drop dead favorite is picas taqueria in boulder. this small restaurant is tucked away in a tiny shopping center east of downtown boulder on arapahoe ave. pica's offers up a mean a la carte taco selection. my fav's thus far include the chicken al carbon, tacos al pastor, and grilled mahi. their corn tortillas are served up warm and  toasty i suggest ordering them up with 1/2 + 1/2 - an order of guacamole and pico de gallo. my go-to dish on the menu is the chopped salad. yep. a salad. its romaine lettuce with jicama, corn, tortilla (corn) squares, grilled red + poblano peppers, avocado and onion. it comes standard with a cumin vinaigrette, however, i'm hooked on their puya chile vinaigrette - its sweet, spicy and tangy - so i always opt for that instead. i add grilled chicken to the salad and ta-da. complete meal. i've got a serious restaurant crush on this place and i'm there at least once a week. thank god its only a quick drive from the office. 

mole! mole! mole!
one of my favorite latin haunts is centro. i used to frequent this place, but since my office moved to the outskirts of boulder - i'm there less often. after a huge night on the town a few of us were aching for food so we headed over early saturday morning. their happy hour runs from 9-1030am and includes a good selection breakfast dishes and brunch cocktails - mimosas and bloodys. thinking that the measly $2-$3 plates would be small we ordered way too many of them. the portions were generous to say the least - best part - our waitress advised me that almost everything could be make gluten + dairy free. chocolate chip pancakes with blueberry tequila syrup - yep they come gluten free by default - thanks to lillabee gf pancake mix. hangover heaven.

centro brunch happy hour = brilliant
like i mentioned previously i recently visited a new mexican restaurant in louisville, co - la revolucion. i havent had mole in a while, so when i saw it on their menu i knew i needed to at least get a side of it. their version was pretty tasty, but a bit too sweet for me. i've never made mole, so i decided to take challenge myself with coming up with my own version. as soon as i got home i started experimenting with different variations of mole and settled on a chicken mole with cherries - i used them in place of raisins that are traditionally used to make mole. i'm a huge fan of chocolove chocolate based in boulder, co and keep a stockpile of their chocolate bars in my pantry. i decided to use their dark chocolate with chilies + cherries in my mole.



chicken cherry mole
  • 6 cups cooked chicken breast - shredded (i used six chicken breasts previously grilled)
  • 1 14oz canned whole tomatoes (including 1/2 of the liquid) - i used muir glen - bpa free! 
  • 1/2 large sweet onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chili - rinsed, patted dry and de-stemmed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1 tbsp of adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 chocolove chilies and cherries bar or 1.5oz of your fav dark chocolate - broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries - dont use tart cherries
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/6 tsp ground cinnamon
  • fresh chopped cilantro - to garnish + add a tad of extra flavor
  • salt + pepper
place all ingredients (except pre-cooked shredded chicken) into a blender. blend until completely smooth. pour mole into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer - be careful to watch this and keep stirring - you dont want to burn the chocolate. once it just starts to bubble turn down to low, continuing to stir periodically around 45 minutes to an hour. once your mole has cooked pour over shredded chicken then serve on top of white rice, on a salad as i did above or on top of fresh pressed corn tortillas. sprinkle chopped cilantro on top to brighten up the sweet/savory mole.

FYI i DID NOT cook all 6 chicken breasts at the same time - if its just two of you eating this - i'd recommend doing the same. this recipe yields a healthy bit of food. mark and i were able to squeeze 3 meals out of it. we only used the necessary amount of mole to coat our chicken, then froze remaining sauce. we then defrosted the mole, cooked up more chicken and used it again. NOTE: this was KILLER the 2nd and 3rd go round. KILLER. the flavors were so much more intense. on the 2nd and 3rd go we also topped off the mole/chicken with pico de gallo and avocado. wonderfully delicious. i plan on making this frequently and definitely for guests next go round. hope you love it as much as we do.

my version of mole is a bit thicker than ones i've had in the past - if you like yours to be a runny consistency i suggest adding in either chicken or vegetable stock.