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Sunday, December 18, 2011

chocolate crackle cookies -- gluten free and dairy free

as you have likely noticed, i took another blog sabbatical. unfortunately, it was unplanned and not for the most desirable of reasons. i've been dealing with some family health issues and have directed my energies toward that lately. boy, the holidays are stressful. honestly, for me, baking and cooking are forms of therapy. getting into the kitchen is so therapeutic to me. i love creating goods that people enjoy eating and i derive such pleasure when people like my food. so i finally have a new recipe AND a giveaway (see below).

i was recently home in boston for an event - and wound up taking care of family matters while i was there. to keep spirits up my mom and i exchanged our love of christmas cookies and she mentioned chocolate crackle cookies - she always knew them as brownie cookies. these moist, delicious chocolately cookies are rolled in powdered sugar before being baked off in the oven. this sparked some ideas in my mind - knowing that my mom and brother were heading out to colorado for christmas i started writing up some recipes to test (obviously, gluten and dairy free). 
nana's (revised) chocolate crackle cookies

my first attempt at these cookies was a miserable failure. they fell flat and didn't get that brownie-like consistency that i remember from my childhood. destined to make these work i went out and bought new baking power and baking soda to see if that could have potentially cause the lake of rise in the cookies. i dropped sugar content and decided to eliminate the small amount of almond flour that i had supplemented my flour blend with. the second go-round worked like a charm. they key to successfully getting these cookies to the right consistency is letting the batter mellow in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking.

two weeks ago my friends hosted an appetizer party and i brought my flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as well as my chocolate crackle cookies - which were both well received.

fortunately, i was able to perfect this recipe just in time for christmas - and made a massive batch with my mom when she arrived in colorado. we refrigerated the dough and baked up 5 dozen of these delicious cookies the day before christmas eve. my mom thoroughly enjoyed them, as did my boyfriends nieces and nephews (which to me was a true testament that they were actually edible). i hope that everyone has had a safe and enjoyable holiday season thus far - and above all i'm wishing everyone health and peace in the new year.

rudi's gluten free swag-bag giveaway!
to enter my giveaway - let me know what your favorite holiday cookie is by commenting on this post! please be sure to include your email address so i can email you if youre picked as the winner!

chocolate crackle cookies
8 oz dairy free bittersweet chocolate chips - melted then cooled
1 1/4 c king arthur a/p gluten free flour blend (sans xanthan or guar gum)
1/2 c cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1/4 tsp sea salt
8 tbsp palm or vegetable shortening - at room temp
1 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract - gluten free
1/3 cup of milk alternative (i used tempt unsweetened vanilla hemp milk)
1 c confectioners sugar (i used whole foods 365 brand with tapioca starch)

place bittersweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until chips are melted, stirring between increments. place aside and let cool. in a separate bowl combine and sift together flour, salt, cocoa, baking powder, guar gum. using a hand or stand-mixer beat shortening and brown sugar together until well combined. add in eggs and vanilla until combined, then add in melted chocolate. lastly add in flour and milk alternating between the two until just combined. created four equal dough balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm - i let them rest for 2 days in the fridge.

preheat oven to 325. dust a clean counter top with confectioners sugar and roll our each dough ball into a log around 12 inches long ~ 1 inch diameter. then transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate another 20 minutes. remove from fridge and cut each log into 1 inch pieces - in a bowl full of confectioners sugar toss each cookie until completely coated in sugar then roll into balls in your hands - if necessary toss in sugar again. place each cookie on a parchment lined baking sheet - 2 inches apart from one another. bake until cookies start to crack open and chocolate fissures appear around ~12 minutes. remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack ~5 minutes. remove cookies from pan and let cool completely on cooling rack.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

pumpkin custard -- gluten free + dairy free

wow, time certainly can fly by. i had expected to make a few more pumpkin posts before thanksgiving, but it seems like that chance passed! i don't know about you - but my pantry is still stocked - bursting at the seams with canned pumpkin. i was at whole foods a few days ago and their canned 365 pumpkin was on sale for $1.00 a can. slamming deal. i stocked up. in the event of nuclear war - i will survive. on pumpkin. i'm not sure how i'm not sick of it yet - and am on the fast track to turning even more orange in hue (i have carotenosis and have a orange-fake tan tint to me - from eating so much pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot). i must admit - that while i've been at home i've been making my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins on a bi-weekly basis.

before i dive into my post - i wanted to extend my thanks to you - all of you. all of my friends, family, readers whom i don't know. thanks for supporting my photography, recipe creation and for being there for me. i appreciate every single one of you and hope that you have a safe, happy thanksgiving. theres a lot to give thanks for. i hope that you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and that you were able to share it with the ones you love.

quick custard
a little over a week ago i was in seattle for work - visited for the first time ever and absolutely loved it. i could certainly see myself living there. everyone is super friendly and its green, damp and beautiful. i got some time to get out and check out the sights. one morning i woke at 4am - worked out, showered, dressed, jumped on a local bus and journeyed to Fremont to visit the gluten free/vegan flying apron bakery. i enjoyed a hemp milk cappuccino with a smooth, silky lemon poppyseed muffin - admittedly the best gluten/dairy free version i've eaten yet (i will attempt to re-create in the near future).

i also ate at local 360 - a great joint that boasts foods and drink sourced from with 360 miles of the restaurant. i enjoyed local oysters, a beet salad, amazing french fries all washed down with willamette pinot noir.

local, organic goodness fresh from homegrown

on my last day in town i finally ventured into capital hill and had my sights set on eating at sitka + spruce - an adorable venue that serves locally sourced foods. i walked around - looked for the restaurant and finally gave up and landed outside of homegrown - another restaurant i had scouted before heading to seattle - one that also serves local, organic foods - as well as gluten free and dairy free items. to my amazement - i walked in and realized that i had entered a small marketplace - melrose market and that BOTH homegrown AND sitka + spruce are co-located there.

forgive me chelsea market, but this market might just take the cake for my favorite market. ever

fremont, wa - pikes place market - space needle
seattle was breathtaking and i fell in love with the city. it has that big city feel without any of the associate negatives. its strewn with amazing shops, impeccable dining, friendly inhabitants and beautiful surroundings. i can't wait to get back!

spiced pumpkin custard
  • 3/4 can of pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 c hemp milk
  • 1/2 c grade b maple syrup (or honey or agave)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
preheat oven to 350. in a large mixing bowl combine above ingredients and whisk together until completely combined. pour batter into 4 - 3/4c ramekins (or similar oven-safe baking vessels). place ramekins into a large baking pan and pour warm water into baking pan until it reaches 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins (this is known as a water bath). place in oven and bake 50-55 minutes. remove from oven, and place ramekins on cooling rack. serve warm, cold, or however you fancy em. they are tasty regardless!

check out these great blogs!

Monday, November 7, 2011

chocolate chip pumpkin muffins -- gluten free + dairy free

and so my pumpkin quest continues. i swear by this stuff - its simply amazing. i've been able to omit oil and fat by substituting pumpkin puree in lots of recipes.  oh yeah - i've got at least two more pumpkin recipes up my sleeve...are you sick of pumpkin yet?

i was sitting around and was craving pumpkin bread, but didn't want to wait for a full loaf to bake up. and so i ventured to my spiced pumpkin bread recipe that i concocted this past april and have been adapting it over the past couple weeks into chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. i've finally perfected the recipe and am ultra happy with the end result. the pumpkin puree in these dairy free/gluten free muffins keeps them extremely moist and lends them their fall appeal.

i want pumpkin.
i swapped a few things around from my original recipe and really suggest using a gluten free all-purpose flour that doesn't already include guar or xanthan gum. ultimately, the consistency of your muffins depends on the ratio of gum to the flour being used. on my 3rd attempt making these i used an ap blend that already had guar gum and they just didn't turn out well - they were really chewy and didn't cook properly.

okay - before i share my recipe with you - i wanted to share a recent find in denver. mark and i were shopping and decided to grab a bite before heading home. we wound up in highland - a hip section of denver with loads of great restaurants. we ended up at a deli - i ate salad - meh. and mark ate a reuben with cheddar beer soup - i turned green with envy. feeling un-satiated i moped around after we left and protested that i wanted something good to eat. and then i looked up. a HUGE milk canister towered above me - taunting me.
looks can be deceiving.
little man ice cream was scribed upon the gigantic canister. exactly what i needed - to have more dairy deliciousness waved in front of me. to my surprise - i looked at the menu and there was vegan chocolate ice cream! score! i asked about the ingredients and the gal working there told me they tested many recipes and decided on a soy/coconut blend for the best texture/flavor combo. they did good. real good. the gal behind the counter asked what type of cone i wanted - i explained no cone, because i'm gluten free. she wheeled around - not saying anything to me and pulled out a box from the counter below. gluten free waffle cones. i shit you not. seriously. i teared up with joy. i can't tell you the last time i REALLY enjoyed ice cream. i'll be returning - and soon. apparently they have a vegan vanilla as well as a vegan green tea ice cream. can't wait to try both of them out!

long time coming...

chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
  • 1.5 c all-purpose gluten free flour (without guar or xanthan gum) - i used king arthurs ap gf flour
  • 1/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1/4 c brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c brown sugar - packed
  • 1 16oz can pureed pumpkin (no spices included)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk or milk alternative
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (or more) chocolate chips - i tend to use more ;)
preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners - i've been using tin liners for these muffins - they work very well. to begin combine all dry ingredients - not including the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined. in a separate bowl - combine all wet ingredients - including the brown sugar and whisk until well combined. pour wet ingredients on top of dry  ingredients and gently stir until combined. pour in chocolate chips and gently stir until chips are dispersed in batter. using an ice cream scoop (great investment - makes scooping muffins/cupcakes SOOOO easy) place a heaping scoop into each cupcake liner. i've found that this mix yields around 14-16 muffins depending on the generosity level of your scoops. bake 25-27 minutes - rotating the pan 1/2 way thru the baking time. test for doneness with a toothpick - when inserted it should come out clean. remove muffins from tin and cool completely on a cooling rack.

one note - try and use restraint with these. i've had issues with getting a batch to last more than a day. IE - i eat all of the muffins and then wind up in the gym for hours due to the sheer guilt. hey - at least there's no refined sugar / oil in them - right?!?!?!

nourishing treasures
little brick ranch

Saturday, November 5, 2011

trip to NYC -- gluten free + dairy free

i love NYC. yes, i really do. yes, i could totally see myself living there. yes, the city is an incredible place and yes, i've only seen a fraction of what it has to offer. this post is going to be a recount of my fabulous trip there a few weekends back...

my friend liz - author of the beautiful blog once upon a tomato joined me toward the end of my work trip and we stayed on over the weekend. it was a fun trip filled with drinking, shopping, eating. and then more and more eating.

after the business portion of my trip was over liz and i moseyed over to chelsea market. i had heard amazing things about it and knew that it was supposed to be a foodies heaven - it certainly didn't disappoint. the market is full of bakeries, restaurants, and artisanal food shops. liz and i stopped by each shop in the market  and spent a good duration of the day there ~4-5 hours. we walked around looking for gluten + dairy free muffins - i was craving one. to no avail we decided that protein was a better choice and we stopped into friedmans lunch to grab real sustenance.

friedmans lunch - chelsea market
i had heard about this joint on some food network program before making the trip to NYC and decided it would be worthwhile to stop in. the service was impeccable and the food was even better. i informed our waiter about my food allergies. he was super attentive and spoke with me about the way the cooked everything that i ordered. to start liz and i  ordered sweet potato fries....freaking delish.

sweet potatoes - friedmans lunch
next up, for the entree...i ordered an edamame 'studded' brown rice bowl with asian veggies and grilled organic chicken. it wassssss goooood. and not super healthy good. it had a decent amount of oil in and it wasn't lacking in the taste department by any means. 

edamame studded brown rice bowl w/ chicken - friedmans lunch
liz ordered herself a whopping plate of fish you can see, the portions at friedmans lunch aren't for the birds. 

fish tacos - friedmans lunch

we continued on, shopping the market - and visited the filling station, a cute little shop that sells infused olive oil, vinegars and salt with different flavors. visitors are encouraged to sample each infusion - a great marketing tactic -which only complicated my final purchasing decision. everything that i tried was incredible and it was hard to walk away without purchasing one of each. chocolate balsamic vinegar, mango white balsamic, blueberry balsamic, butternut squash olive oil, merlot sea salt....the list goes on. i ended up being a good girl and only buying mango and blueberry balsamics - along with a spanish rosemary infused sea salt. thank god one can place orders on their website...i'll 100% be purchasing stuff from them online - i've since almost finished off the blueberry balsamic vinegar and rosemary sea salt.

the filling station - chelsea market

after our trip to chelsea market i was still craving something sweet. hence a trip to baby cakes was in order. my first encounter with baby cakes was this time last year. my friend came out with me to NYC for the same trip and happened upon baby cakes while she was searching gluten + dairy free options in the city. while i was at work one day she made the trek over to the kitchy-retro bakery in the lower east side. she brought me back the most amazing chocolate chip cookie sandwich that i've ever had (never mind that it was gf + df). full on heaven in your mouth good - this no holds bar cookie sandwich is straight up bad-ass.

babycakes - i love you

i finally got myself there this trip - and LOVED it. it was totally worth getting soaked to the bone in the rain while hungover. worth every second of the long trek to make it there.  the girls that work there are beauties and made me yearn to have my own bakery/restaurant one day. btw - everything on the menu is allergy friendly. if you are in the area - with food allergies. this place, above all is a must visit.
spring street natural
later in the day, after much shopping we ended up at a restaurant that liz suggested...spring street natural. this place is a must visit - all natural food - tantalizing menu. we shared the antipasti plate - which included house made hummus (yum), roasted beets, eggplant caponata and marinated olives. liz downed a delicious bloody mary and i swigged pinot noir. twas the perfect treat.

bouchon bakery - rockefeller
my biggest downfall the entire trip - macaron. no, not coconut macaroons, i'm talking about the real-deal french (likely made italian method) macaron. i remember seeing these things and thinking they would have the consistency of a meringue cookie - brittle, hard, crunchy. boy was i wrong. these pillows of heaven were so light - and as you bite into them they become softer and creamy (thanks for the amazing ganache center).

chocolate macaron - bouchon bakery
i stumbled upon these at the bouchon bakery in rockefeller - and habitually ate 'lunch' there everyday while i was there for work. if you didn't catch my drift - macaroons constituted lunch for me each day. if you're in NYC please do stop by and check this place out - its adorable - the chocolate macaron (they boast many macaron flavors) and homemade peppermint patties were the only things on the bakery list that were both gluten and dairy free - however, that was enough to keep me going back. they also sport adorable lunches - like create sandwiches, soups and beautiful salads. fyi - they also have soy milk - so it was quite the treat to enjoy a baked good and nice warm latte. expect to see some macaron recipes on everything reconsidered in the near future - i'm fully addicted.

all in all, my trip to NYC was nothing short of mind-blowing. i enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to get back there...i've got a few more trips coming up before the year ends - later next week i'm heading to seattle, wa for 7 days. i'm pretty excited, and have already scouted at least 5 vegan/gluten free bakeries/restaurants that i can safely eat at. after that i'm home for thanksgiving and then heading to boston for an event. this is the first time my job has brought me back to my home state. i'll be sure to recount my food adventures during my travels.

and not to fear - i promise my next post will be a recipe. and a good one at that.

last but not least - my friend, allison, just got her blog up and running Coup d' Cuisine - she features 'fully loaded' recipes that don heavy hi-fat ingredients and 'coups' them - by substituting healthier ingredients sans losing the flavor - wicked smaaaart.

other inspiring blogs to check out...

boulder locavore
once upon a tomato

Friday, October 21, 2011

pumpkin bread pudding -- gluten free + dairy free

as you are all well aware, fall has made an appearance. the leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter and shorter. i love this. absolutely, love this. i love wearing fall clothing, plaids, warm sweaters, corduroys and boots...i especially love winter squash and hearty, home cooked meals. i crave this time of year during the spring and summer months. 

i've been experimenting with lots of pumpkin baked goods lately and this is my first of three. stay tuned for flourless pumpkin brownies and pumpkin custard. i'm still perfecting the recipes and plan to have them down shortly! i've been craving something bready and this seemed very appropriate. i can't recall the last time i made a bread pudding - wait, yes i can. and i can remember how damn good it was. i made it in high school. with brioche and heavy cream and mixed berries. it was madness - i remember gorging on it - and i remember feeling sick as a dog afterward - yet i ate on. so, this time i decided to attempt an allergy/intolerance friendly version - using udi's gluten free bread and living harvest tempt unsweetened vanilla hemp milk. to be honest, this is waaaaay better than the 'allergen loaded' version that i ate over a decade ago. needless to say, i'll be abusing over the next few months and it will definitely find itself on the thanksgiving table.

to my surprise, mark ate lots of it and asked me to make it again. if its got his seal of approval, i consider my recipe is pretty decent. hope that you enjoy this! 

things here have been ultra hectic with work - i got back last weekend from a trip to NYC - and will be sharing my food adventures with you later this week / next weekend - so stay tuned... 

pumpkin bread pudding
  • 6 slices gluten free bread (i used udi's brand) cut into 1/2in squares
  • 2 c of canned pumpkin (1 15oz can)
  • 1.5 c unsweetened vanilla hemp milk (i used living harvest tempt brand)
  • 1/2 c grade b maple syrup
  • 3 eggs - lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
recipe continues below....

in a bowl combine all above ingredients (expect for bread cubes) with a whisk. after combined, carefully stir in bread cubes. pour contents into an 8x8 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil then refrigerate for 30mins to 1hour. preheat oven to 350. place aluminium foil covered 8x8 baking dish into a 9 x13 baking pan and pour 1 inch of boiling water into the 9 x 13 pan (creating a water bath). cook for 75 minutes then remove foil and continue to cook another 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean. if the top begins to get too browned, cover again with aluminum foil.

want to find more recipes and DIY ideas? visit the following blogs for inspiration!

nourishing treasures

Friday, October 7, 2011

vegetable bake -- gluten free + dairy free

and so the summer is slowly slipping away (or may have already done so depending on where you live). my CSA (community supported agriculture) share ended and i've sunk into a vegetable depression. i can't believe i'm no longer going to have a bundle of veggies waiting for me each weekend at the farm. i'm going to miss all of the fresh, organic deliciousness and am dreading shopping in a grocery store again. yuck. fortunately, a few local farms will continue to share their abundance though out the year - thankfully - due to the fact they have greenhouses onsite. to name a few (lucky me - both are within minutes of my office) - jay hill farm and cure organic farm.

it may sound as though that i'm a summer fanatic - don't get me wrong - i love, love, love the fall. its perhaps my favorite season. and some of the fall time yummies like winter squash are not to be scoffed at - but i'm going to miss fresh tomatoes and summer squash. i bid them adieu with this homage to summer - a vegetable bake. over the course of the past few months i made it at least once a week - in an effort to use up all of the vegetables that i received in my share. the colors are captivating and the taste - unreal. this dish is extremely versatile, and i often substituted different vegetables, depending on what was included in my share.

cutting board of color
before i delve into the recipe - a side note on what i'm up to - i'm getting ready to pack my bags this weekend and head to NYC for a conference next week. i'm excited to get back there. its my favorite city in the world and i'm going to get to see my best friend, liz, author of once upon a tomato. the conference ends on friday and her and i are staying on the following weekend to hang out in the city. our grandiose plans include shopping, going to museums, walking, talking, perusing chelsea market, drinking good coffee and OF COURSE eating, eating, eating. i've already got a plethora of gluten free + dairy free restaurants/bakeries on our list of places to visit. i'll be sure to take some pics and recount the trip in the upcoming weeks.

bake of summer beauty

vegetable bake

  • 2-3 large tomatoes - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 3 small-medium potatoes - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 yellow summer squash - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 zucchini squash - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 medium onion -  cut into 1/4 inch rings
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
preheat oven to 375 degrees. meanwhile heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat - add in onion rings and cook 6-8 minutes, or until they are translucent and beginning to brown. transfer onions to bottom of a 9x9 oven safe baking dish. arrange sliced tomatoes, potatoes, summer squash and zucchini in alternating rows on top of onions. drizzle with remaining olive oil - then scatter fresh topped herbs on top and season with salt and pepper. cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. remove aluminum foil and bake another 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked thoroughly.

don't have the above ingredients? don't worry. substitute in various types of veggies! i often add in eggplant instead of zucchini. get create and customize this one to your liking.

the tasty alternative

Sunday, September 25, 2011

roasted beets -- gluten free + dairy free

i'm a bad, bad blogger. i know i've broken the blog code of ethics. i've neglected everything reconsidered for a while now. things have been crazy at home and with work. i've been planning tons of events and have been cherishing any weekend time that i have. i promise i will post more frequently - at least once every two weeks. 

its time for a really, really simple recipe. something reminiscent of the end summer and the transition into the cooler fall months. beautiful crops are abound and beets are making a big appearance. roasting vegetables imparts wonderful flavors and in particular, roasted beets are wonderful. roasting beets draws out their inherent sweet undertones - you simply cannot achieve this cooking them stovetop. the best part about roasting is that its maintenance free – all you have to do is chop up your preferred vegetable, mix with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper (and any herbs that you fancy) place in the oven and let the heat do its work.

i’m a huge fan of beets – i eat them on a daily basis, not kidding. red beets, yellow beets. i love eating them served over quinoa salad, or just by themselves as a snack. they are great straight out of the oven, or post refrigeration. 

i belong to a local CSA and have been receiving a boat-load of beets and other root veggies in my share. the best part about belonging to a csa is not knowing what i’m going to get – it creates a great food challenge for me. i’ve been getting lots of toy box squash lately, as well as cukes – and i’ve started experimenting with putting them up. i've yet to try tradition canning – but recently ventured into making refrigerator pickles (not shelf stable). my next venture will include pickling beets – which will require utilizing traditional canning procedure – IE boiling the jars until they self seal. it seems to me that there is tendency for people to over sweeten pickled beets – i find that to be a huge mistake. beets naturally contain a ton of sugar and to dump table sugar into them is an atrocity. i’ve been scouting the internet to find some variations on typical beet pickling recipes and have decided that i’ll use honey to sweeten the beets.

roasted beets

3-4 beets quartered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
herbs – if preferred –to taste

preheat oven to 375 - line a baking pan (glass or metal) with aluminum foil. clean beets, remove skin (not necessary - i eat mine skin on) and half or quarter them depending on their size. toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. to amp things up a bit add some fresh chopped herbs to the mix. i used fresh dill since i have an over abundance of it. place beets in lined baking pan and roast in the center of the oven around an hour, or until soft - it will be easy to insert a fork into the beets when they are completely cooked. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

chocolate mousse-- gluten free + dairy free

ive been on a chocolate kick lately. well, thats a lie, i think i've been on a chocolate kick since the day i was born. not a day passes that chocolate doesnt pass my lips. after a visit to a great restaurant last friday my stamina for creating sweet recipes kicked into full gear again.

i've been meaning to eat at watercourse restaurant for long time. i finally happened last weekend.  if youre in the colorado area and you have any type of food restrictions or are looking for a new place to check out - get yourself there. watercourse is a vegetarian joint that caters to vegetarians, vegans and to the food allergy unfortunates. they even have their own dedicated offsite bakery that creates all vegan desserts  (some of which are gluten free - HOOORAH!). i initially wanted to go in to pickup baked goods, but ended up at the bar eating a whopping plate of delicious sweet potato + black bean tacos - which were served red cabbage, peppers,  guacamole + pico di gallo. they were nothing short of heavenly.

shortly after i crammed the tacos down my throat i found myself peering down into a heavenly glow that was the baked goods display counter. i relished over several; not one, not two, but three dessert choices in front of me. there was gf df banana cream pie that looked sinful,  gf df chocolate chip cookies (which i simply couldnt resist) and finally scout cookies. scout cookies. scout cookies. the dude working behind the counter suggested that i not leave without trying one. boy was he right. these things are f%$#ing incredible. made with succunat, sweet potato, walnuts and vegan chocolate. best part of it all - each of the ginormous scouts (reminiscent of a hockey puck drizzled with chocolate) weighs around 1/4 lb. and yes, i demolished two of them by the time i got home. oh yeah, i polished off half of the wicked tasty chocolate chip cookie too. cookie coma. needless to say - i will be frequenting this joint and i cannot wait to get back there.

back to my chocolate kick. since my visit to watercourse i've been craving sweets. in particular chocolate mousse. its all i've been able to think about. i havent had it in years. i hoped into the kitchen and decided it was too hot to turn on the stove and so i came up with a no bake gf df version.  to my amazement i put together a recipe in no time that tastes very much so like the real deal. puddin.

chocolate mousse

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips - dairy free 
  • 12 oz box of silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp grade b maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until melted. combine melted chocolate, silken tofu, cocoa powder, maple syrup, honey, vanilla extract and kosher salt in a food processor until well combined. divide pudding amongst cute cups or bowls and place in fridge around an hour (or until chilled). 

note - if you dont have a food processor you are insane. GO GET ONE!

stop by these blogs. NOW.

Friday, August 12, 2011

dilled carrot soup -- gluten free + dairy free

i'm a slacker.

yes, i know its been quite some time since my last post. life is zipping by and my weekends have been extremely busy as of late - this is my first weekend at home in a while and i know i'm really overdue for a new post.

i've been eating, cooking, eating, baking, eating and eating a ton lately. i recently flew home to boston for a few days of vaca and ate, drank, visited with friends and family and had an amazing time. i had fresh seafood, great fruit and vegetables and drank superb wine. on the east coast its not uncommon to find a farm stand on every corner - something i adore and miss much. i must had visited at least a dozen during my trip and often left with drool running down my chin after gawking at enticing baked goods - all of which i couldnt eat. finding gluten/dairy free freshly baked goods was next to impossible - both in the outskirts of boston and in boston proper. i did however, find a few stores that had prepackaged gluten/dairy free foods both within close proximity of my moms place in podunk lancaster, ma. the first, the ever adorable harvard general store in harvard, ma. and the second, to my utter amazement, only an 1/8 of a mile from my moms house - the atlantic union college bookstore - which boasts a TON of healthy/allergy friendly foods - i about died when i walked in the door.

whats the dilly-yo? beautiful mug by liz benotti
back to the present - since i've been home the csa that i belong to has been pumping out a decent variety of vegetables and last weekend i got my first bunch of carrots. typically i'm not one for carrots, however, as of late - i simply cant get enough of them. the sheer plethora of them inspired me to start thinking about recipes and i've wanted to make a chilled soup all summer, but havent had the time to get around to making one. i'm a big fan of dill and have a bunch growing on the balcony so i decided to put together a chilled/dilled carrot soup!

dilled carrot soup

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion - chopped
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 large carrots - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 medium potato - i used a yukon gold
  • 1 can diced tomatoes - undrained
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill - i used dill that i air dried from my plant
  • salt and pepper
in a large sauce pot over medium heat cook onions and garlic until translucent in olive oil - around 5 minutes. stir in vegetable stock, carrots, potato, and tomatoes with their liquid. bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. cook around 15-20 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are soft. stir in lemon juice, dried dill and season with salt and pepper. using a food processor or an emersion blender blend until smooth (use caution if you plan to blend this while the soup is still hot). serve warm or for a delicious summer soup refrigerate and serve chilled. 

this is yummy served with a slice of grilled gluten free bread! 


check these bad-ass bloggers out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

honey + pecan tomato mint salad -- gluten free + dairy free

wow. its been a while - and i must apologize. it looks like i'm going to be posting every couple of weeks for the time being - vs on a weekly basis. work has been extremely busy and every weekend for the remainder of the summer is booked up for me. i must say - i do enjoy keeping busy - i dont do well sitting around.

this recipe was inspired by a dish that i ate at the med in boulder. the flavors are absolutely perfect with one another. at the restaurant this was served this with creamy, tangy goat cheese (which of course, i asked for them to leave off).  its a perfect summer salad and right now tomatoes have wonderful flavor.  quite the minimalist recipe - this dish includes 4 main ingredients - plus salt and pepper.

conveniently enough, i have a plethora of fresh mint from my CSA. i decided it was time to take a departure from making mojitos and use the mint in a dish - and viola - here you have it -

honey + pecan tomato mint salad
  • 1 pint organic grape tomatoes
  • 10-12 mint leaves julienned
  • 1.5 tbsp organic honey - local if possible!
  • 1/4 cup organic pecans roughly chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
cut grape tomatoes in half, lenghwise. combine tomatoes, mint, pecans and honey - season with salt and pepper.

wasnt that easy? yeah - forget turning on the oven - stay cool, eat raw. want to make this vegan - substitute in light agave nectar instead of honey.

craving more? check out these blogs for food/DIY ideas!

allergy free wednesdays

Saturday, July 2, 2011

cranberry + pistachio quinoa crisps -- gluten free + dairy free

happy fourth of july weekend! i hope that everyone has a great long weekend and that you take time to celebrate with friends + family + good drink + good food. i'm somewhat back on a sweets binge and made up my first batch of cranberry + pistachio quinoa crisps last weekend - they turned out pretty tasty. i made so many that i've got a bunch stored in the freezer. considering what they are - they are really good when eaten cold. 

no matter how you pronounce it (i go with KEEN-wah some others pronounce it KIN-oh-ah) - quinoa is ultra healthy. it contains two times more protein than rice and also boasts all 9 essential amino acids - making it a 'complete protein'. quinoa is actually a seed to a plant related to spinach, it isnt actually a grain. 

try out these power packed sweet crisps - they'd be perfect to serve up at any 4th celebration (or anywhere else at anytime for that matter). 

cranberry + pistachio quinoa crisps
  • 1.5 c white quinoa
  • 1/2 c shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lrg eggs + 1 lrg egg white - whisked together
  • cooking spray

preheat oven to 350. rinse quinoa well. on stove top bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. add rinsed quinoa, stir, then cover. reduce to simmer and cook until most of the water is absorbed around 12-13 minutes. the quinoa will not be cooked thoroughly. remove from stove top. 

pour quinoa out onto a baking sheet and spread evenly - place in oven and fluff with a fork every few minutes for around 30-35 minutes, or until quinoa has become golden in color. remove from oven and pour quinoa into a bowl - let cool. reduce oven temp to 275. 

once quinoa is cooled stir sugar, salt, pistachios and dried cranberries into the bowl with it.  in a separate bowl whisk together, honey, vanilla, canola oil and egg mixture - then pour over the quinoa mixture and stir combine. 

line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray. spoon 1/4 cup portions onto the baking sheet - leaving at least 3 inches between each 'crisp'. pat down each crisp so that they are not more than 1/4 inch in thickness. place into oven and bake 25 minutes, rotating half way through. 

before you get to grilling and drinking stop by these great blogs and get inspired!