Tuesday, December 28, 2010

French Flourless Chocolate Cake

Although this is a bit fiddly it is well worth making for special occasions as this is a truly amazing cake.  It is based on a recipe from Cacaoweb.  It is rich and heavy and not too sweet.  Serve in small slices with homemade whipped cream and some good coffee.  The trick to make this outstanding is to use high end ingredients: organic butter, good quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli or Valrhona and caster sugar.  Also use a scale to measure the ingredients out rather than cup measures.  This is a far more accurate way of baking. 

makes one single layer 8 or 9" cake

200g 70% baking chocolate
200g sweet butter (salted)
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs separated

Springform cake tin
Parchment paper
Stand mixer
Double boiler or microwave dish

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.  This cake is very sticky so you can't turn it out of a regular cake tin intact.  The parchment paper and quick release sides guarantee that your cake will be presentable after getting it out of the baking tin.  For an added touch sprinkle cocoa powder on the parchment after buttering.
  3. Separate eggs into two different bowls: yolks in one, whites in the bowl for the stand mixer.
  4. Cut butter into chunks and break chocolate up into chucks.  Either place in top pan of a double boiler (NEVER melt chocolate on direct heat) and melt over boiling water or place in microwave dish and heat in 30 second intervals checking and stirring between heating cycles.  As soon as everything is melted remove from heat.  Do not boil.  Do not over heat.  If using a double boiler wipe water off bottom of pan so it doesn't drip into the cake mix.  Water and chocolate don't mix.
  5. Mix half of sugar into egg yokes and whisk together until a nice sunshine yellow color.
  6. Take a spoonful of chocolate mixture and stir into yolk mixture.  Don't dump it all in at once since it might cook the eggs.  Add chocolate by half cups and mix between each addition.
  7. In a stand mixer whip egg whites with rest of sugar until stiff peaks form.  If you stick a knife in and then remove it only the very tip of the peak should flop over.  Keep an eye on this process since the proper peak comes fast and it is possible to overbeat at which point everything collapses and you have to start over with fresh egg whites.  There is a way to recover over beaten whites but I can't remember the method.
  8. Gently fold egg whites by ladle fulls into chocolate mixture making sure the air stays in the mix.  This is easiest to do with a spatula.
  9. When batter is even in color gently pour into cake tin.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out slightly damp with no raw mix attached.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.  Cake will fall.  Don't worry this is normal.
  12. Cake can be served warm.  Gently open spring and remove cake tin side.  Gently remove cake tin bottom from underneath cake and place cake on serving plate.  I usually leave the parchment on  the bottom but just be aware that it is there and don't cut through it when serving.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 pint of whipping cream
1-2T caster sugar

Use an electric mixer and whip until desired consistency is obtained.  Hubby likes to almost turn it into butter.  I like it a bit runnier myself.

BTW, I have the little Salter mechanical scale so I can vouch for it.  It is a cheap easy scale to use but probably not the most accurate.  The Kintrex looks really cool though and it will probably be my next scale.  Farberware is good for this particular use but it isn't my favorite cookware in general.  The chocolate bars are all roughly 100g each so you will need two for the cake.  I have mixed chocolate brands in the past if that is what was in the cupboard at the time.  I have also used Callebaut chocolate but I dont' think it comes in 70% cocoa which is my preference.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Turkey In Gravy

What to do with those pesky leftovers?  My family actually likes this one which uses left over turkey and gravy.  It is super fast to make and can either be served over noodles or with left over mashed potatoes.

serves 2-3

One half medium onion sliced thin
Half a small carton of sliced mushrooms
2-3Tolive oil
2-3c diced cooked turkey
1/3c cooking sherry

  1. Heat oil in frying pan
  2. Add onion and mushroom and stir fry until soft and just starting to brown
  3. Add sherry and stir to deglaze the pan then cook until the sherry mostly boils off
  4. Add the turkey and gravy and heat until bubbly and the turkey is heated through
This could also be done with beef and beef gravy, just use red wine or Madeira instead of sherry to deglaze the pan.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Icky Tummy Soup

I invented this one when I first became ill and couldn't tolerate food.  I did however crave ginger.  Apparently it aids in digestion.  Garlic is also quite good for you.

Because this is for someone who is ill try to find organic ingedients and use filtered water to keep the chemicals to a minimum.  For vegetables I used the presliced vegetable packs from Whole Foods that included napa cabbage, bean sprouts, snowpeas and peppers.  I carefully picked out all of the peppers since they are in the nightshade family and can cause digestion problems in sensitive people or even allergic reactions.  If you are making the vegetables from scratch use a mandoline to cut them paper thin.

serves 2

1c chicken or mushroom stock
1c filtered water
1-2c thinly sliced vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage or carrots
a handfull of bean sprouts
a handfull of snowpeas
1c cubed tofu or shredded cooked chicken or shredded cooked salmon
Rice stick noodles
dash of Tamari
1t minced ginger
1/4t minced garlic

Place everything except the noodles in the pot and heat to boiling.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for five minutes to cook the vegetables through.  Add the rice stick noodles and continue to simmer until noodles are soft.  This will only take a minute or so.  Serve hot.  Left overs can be stored in fridge for a day or two. 
  1. If using raw chicken or salmon cut them into bite sized pieces and cook in stock first with the tamari, ginger and garlic.  Then add vegetables and finally rice sticks.
  2. If the person is haveing a very bad time with food omit the tofu or meat.
  3. You can also sub in rice for the rice stick noodles.

Double Boiled Rice

I learned this one from my acupuncturist.  When I first became ill I couldn't tolerate food.  Anything I ate made me feel sick.  This dish allowed me to eat and helped me mantain enough strength to get better.  It is easiest to make if you own a rice cooker.  I love mine and highly recomend getting one.  However, purchase one with a nonstick coating.  I own an old aluminum one and trying to clean it is a bear and I often wonder where the aluminum went that used to be in the pits in the bottom of the pan.  Rice with a side of Al anyone??

serves 1

1c rice white or brown
4c filtered water

1) Add rice and 2 cups water to cooker.  Turn it on and walk away.
2) When cooker is done.  Add remaining water.  Turn on cooker and walk away.

At first eat this plain.  When you can't stand the blandness anymore and feel like you can handle some food, you can add a dash of GF Tamari, or switch to a rice mix.  When you feel a bit better, add some plain boiled shredded chicken or a fish to the rice.  You can also add plain vegetables to it and/or tofu cubes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pizza Mod

An easy way to make a frozen pizza taste better.


a healthy pinch of oregano
garlic powder to taste
lots of shredded mozzarella
frozen cheese GF pizza ( I like Amy's)
Parmesan cheese

Take pizza out of wrapper.  While the oven is warming up sprinkle on the oregano making sure to crush it between your fingers.  Sprinkle on the garlic powder.  Top with cheese until you can't see the tomato sauce.  Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. You can add more toppings such as mushroom slices, thinly sliced onion (use a mandolin) or even pepperoni (yuck).  Bake according to directions.  You might have to add a few extra minutes to get the extra cheese to brown up.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cheesy Bread

A nice simple side dish.

serves 1

1 or 2 pieces of your favorite GF bread (thawed if frozen)
pinch garlic powder
1 slice mozzarella cheese

  1. Sprinkle garlic powder on bread
  2. Place cheese on slice
  3. Place on wire rack with a baking sheet or tin foil under it (this is messy and will drool all over the oven)
  4. Broil until cheese bubbles and just turns brown around the edges
  5. Serve hot

Cream of Chicken Soup

This is a crockpot recipe.  It makes a nice thick soup.  Serve with salad and Cheesy Bread.

When I made this I used Health Valley potato leak soup and Pacific Natural Foods Cream of Chicken and free range stock.

serves 4

1 can potato leak soup (condensed or regular)
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1-2c chicken stock
1/2c wild rice or any Lundburg rice mix
1/4c chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
1-2c frozen sliced carrots (or fresh)
1/4t poultry seasoning (sage works as a good substitute)
1/4-1/2t minced garlic (from the jar is easiest)
pinch of pepper
1-2lbs bone in chicken thighs (take skin off)
  1. Grease crockpot
  2. layer in rice, onion and carrot
  3. Place skinned thighs on top.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine both cans of soup and the stock.  If both soups are condensed use 2c broth.  If one is condensed then only use 1c stock.  If neither are condensed skip stock.
  5. Mix in garlic, poultry seasoning and pepper.
  6. Combine thoroughly and pour over chicken.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  8. Before serving remove chicken and shred meat into bite sized pieces.  Discard bones and put meat back in soup. 
  9. Adjust seasoning.  I found it needed some extra salt and pepper.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sausage Cheese Sauce for Pasta

Okay this recipe is mostly my own invention.  I based it on the sauce from the chef in the video below.  Of course I had to make substitutions since this was a spur of the moment thing and I didn't have the energy to go shopping for anything fancy.

Makes enough sauce to cover gnocchi for 3 servings

1-2T olive oil
2-3 shallots or 1/2 a small yellow onion chopped fine
1c coarsely sliced crimini mushrooms (baby portabellos)
~1/2 lb of sweet Italian sausage meat sans casing (I had one large link left over from Baked Ravioli)
1c peas
generous pinch salt
generous pinch pepper
1/2c white wine (Pinot Grigio according to chef but I use white cooking wine from the supermarket)
1c half and half
3/4 Gruyere cheese coarsely grated (chef used 3 fat tablespoons of Gorgonzola)
1/2 Parmesan cheese coarsely grated
3 large leaves of fresh sage coarsely chopped

  1. Saute onion and mushrooms in oil until soft
  2. Add sausage meat.  Break up into small pieces while cooking.  Saute until brown.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Add wine.  Deglaze pan.  Boil wine off.
  5. Add half and half, cheeses and sage.  Boil until thickened.
  6. Add pasta to heat through.
  7. Serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.

GF Gnocchi

Yesterday a wonderful friend and I made GF gnocchi, one batch of traditional potato and one batch of pumpkin.  Since then I've had numerous requests for the recipes so here they are.  Now I want to emphasise that these are NOT my recipes.   They are combinations of recipes from two books Delicious Simplicity by Anna Tourkakis and Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski. 

The nice thing about these recipes is that they can be done in stages.  I threw together the flour mixture the day before.  Wendy and I made the gnocchi yesterday.  Once boiled they store well in the fridge and freezer for later so you can do a sauce on a differnt day and just throw the gnocchi in to heat it up.  These recipes can be made with either regular flour or the GF mix from Artisanal GF. 

The potato gnocchi came out like the real deal.  This is why I purchased the Artisanal book; the authors are foodies and cooks so they were very careful coming up with recipes, that while GF, tasted good.  They also had a recipe for homemade GF ravioli that I have yet to try.  Considering the store bought GF ravioli, although yummy, costs roughly $1 per ravioli I was going to give it a try but then I got sick.  I've made ravioli before so the idea didn't at all intimidate me.  When I get a bit better and can deal with something that fussy it is on my list of things to do.

I do have a guilty confession to make: I was pretty toasted yesterday.  Not one of my good days so I had trouble following my recipe.  Wendy was doing the potato recipe (she owned the ricer) while I was doing the pumpkin gnocchi (I had the cookbook) which I totally screwed up.  This has happened to me several times now.  When I'm really brain fried I can't follow directions.  Ah well, the chronic life.....  There is always tomorrow and I haven't given up on the pumpkin gnocchi yet.  Mine came out like rubber balls but they tasted like pumpkin so quite yummy little rubber balls :-)  I can hardly wait to try them again.  This time I'll try to pay more attention.  Wendy's, of course, came out perfect!

Flour Recipe from Artisanal GF Cooking

1 1/4c brown rice flour
3/4c sorghum flour
2/3c cornstarch
1/4c potato starch
1T + 1t potato flour
1t xanthan gum

Mix well with a wire whisk or preferably run the ingrediants several times through a flour sifter.  Store in a airtight container.  Sift or whisk again before use.  Do not pack tightly when using.

Potato Gnocchi from Artisanal GF Cooking with a few modifications in italics

     2lbs starchy potatoes (we used Yukon Golds)
     2 eggs beaten
     1 to 1 1/2c flour mix
     pinch salt
     pinch nutmeg (while not in the original recipe Wendy and I decided that this would be a nice        addition)
  1. Peel potatoes, cut into chunks and boil in salted water until fork tender.  (the original recipe calls for baking the potatoes but in the interest of time we boiled them instead)
  2. Run under cool water (or scoop out baked potatoes and let meat cool)
  3. Press potato meat through a ricer or Foley mill for best result but can also be mashed
  4. The Italian thing to do is mound the potatoes on a counter and make a well in the middle for the eggs.  We used mixing bowls.
  5. Add 1c flour
  6. Mix.  We used our hands and got really messy.  Yay!
  7. Work the dough and add additional flour to make it smooth and firm but not sticky and stiff.  See video below.  It should feel/act like Playdough
  8. Set a large pot of salted water to boil
  9. Make 1/2" diameter dough snakes by rolling it out on a floured surface
  10. Chop snake up into 3/4" bits.  It is more important to make them the same size rather than an exact diameter.  The size will effect the cooking time.
  11. Roll bits over fork tines to make a well on the finger side and ridges on the fork side.  This gives the sauce places to stick to.
  12. Once the water is at a hard rolling boil drop in the dough balls about a dozen at a time into the liquid.  Make sure the water does NOT stop boiling.
  13. The gnocchi will sink and then when cooked float to the surface.  This is when they can be scooped out.  Once they float they should boil 2-3 minutes.  You can give them a gentle nudge during cooking to make sure they aren't sticking to each other or the bottom of the pot.  We discovered the hard way that you do have to use a large pot since you can't see for the bubbles if you use a smaller one.
  14. They can now either be cooled or popped into a pan with some sauce.

Pumpkin Gnocchi from Delicious Simplicity

     1c canned pumpkin puree
     1 3/4c flour
     1 egg
     1/2t salt
  1. In a bowl combine pumpkin, flour, egg and salt.
  2. Mix until thoroughly incorporated
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
  4. Use two teaspoons to shape dough into grape sized lumps
  5. Drop into boiling water.  They will sink.  Once they rise to the top they are done.  This should take roughly 2 minutes.  Again only drop in about a dozen and do not let the water stop boiling.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This isn't what you think and it is totally yummy!

for 1 person

Several handfuls of coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2-3 strips of precooked bacon (Oscar Mayer or Boars Head preferably thick cut)
GF croutons (GF Pantry has some nice ones)
Several handfuls of grape or cherry tomatoes
Your favorite Ranch dressing

Heat bacon according to package directions and then crumble.  Pile everything on a plate and eat!

BTW, according to the Boar's Head website all of their meats including the bacon is GF.  I can't find any information on the Oscar Mayer bacon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

Although this takes a half hour to cook, it is under five minute assembly. Wicked fast yummy food!

serves 1
1 Slice of mozzarella cheese
1 large Bell and Evans GF Chicken Tender
1 Against the Grain Rosemary Roll
Newman's Own Marinara Sauce
Throw the chicken tender in the toaster oven for 25 minutes.  Don't use the microwave cuz the breading gets soggy.  Go sit down for 15 minutes.  Come back and defrost the rosemary roll in 30 second intervals, flipping over each time until the center is really hot.  I suggest cutting in half after the first heating while it is still partially frozen.  Heat the sauce in the microwave until you hear popping 30-60 minutes.  Stir sauce.  As soon as tender is done assemble sandwich and enjoy.  Fast and yummy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Here is an easy peasy pork roast recipe that you can throw together and then walk away from for 5 hours. Wish it were my creation but here is the link to the Gluten Free Goddess.

Waldorf Sandwich

I just made this today. It was delicious. I've always loved Waldorf salad but I've never made the stuff at home. I've come up with a couple of short cuts. This is the no mixing version. I also used a mandolin slicer for the apple. It is much faster, easier and uses less energy than a regular knife. If you rinse it off right away there is also minimal cleanup.

A Mandoline Slicer by Oxo

serves 1

1/4 apple I like Braeburn or Fuji but use your fav
6-8 green grapes
1T chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 - 1/2c deli chicken salad ( I just used Willow Tree; it's not organic but it doesn't have any chemicals in it like the other deli salads)
GF tortilla wrap, bun or bread
1c of bagged spring lettuce mix

Mayo on the bread/wrap. Add lettuce. Layer on the chicken salad. Sprinkle on nuts. Cut gapes in half and press into salad. Slice apple with mandolin right onto sandwich. Break larger pieces in half if using a wrap. Roll up or add top piece of bread.

Variations on a theme:
You can also add raisins or crasins. Just sprinkle on before pressing the grapes in.

Just because the salad comes from the deli does NOT mean it is made there. Chain supermarkets order commercial ready made salad that comes in tubs and cartons and are loaded with all of the usual preservatives and chemicals. Always ask if the salads are made on the premises. You might be surprised to find out just how few delis make their own stuff.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

America's Test Kitchen Cookbook Sale

America't Test Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking resources, is having a clearance sale on cookbooks. Some of these as are low as $10 each. Woohoo!

click here

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homemade Ginger Ale

There are several things I love about this recipie: I can tinker with the sweetness, I can tinker with the ginger strength and there is NO high fructose corn syrup!! Yeah!! I've adapted it from Mark Bittman's Best Recipies in the World cookbook. I love his cookbooks. They have lots of delicious easy to make recipies with many variations that appeal to my experimental nature. Anyway, back to the ginger ale. Here is the original recipie:

2c water
3/4c sliced ginger (skin on is fine)
1c sugar

Combine in saucepan and boil for ten minutes. Let cool and strain. Can be stored in fridge for up to 2 weeks (I've gone longer).

To Use:
Mix 2T with a glass of fizzy water. Adjust mixture to taste.

Personally I use less sugar and use organic Sucanat instead of white sugar. It is dried sugar cane juice. The particular brand I buy is green; self sustaining processing plant, fair trade, sustainable farms. It is a one to one substitute for sugar.

You could easily substitute honey, agave nectar or stevia into the syrup. The substitution ratios are as follows:
While honey is roughly a one to one substitiution, I hesitate to recomend it for several reasons. It can NOT be given to infants. Honey often contains botulism spores (these are like bacteria seeds that haven't blossomed yet). Infants' digestive systems can not kill the spores so they can develope botulism poisoning which is potentially fatal. While honey is touted for its health benefits, there is evidence that our stomachs and digestive tracts are compromised when we have CFIDS. I have no idea if our systems can kill these spores even though we are adults. Personally I am no longer using honey just to be on the safe side.

Agave Nectar is slightly sweeter than sugar so use 2/3c of agave instead of 1c of sugar.

Stevia can be up to 300x sweeter than sugar so follow substitution directions for the particular brand that you purchase. I have to post another warning here. While stevia is touted for its health benefits there has been some controversy as to whether it is genotoxic or not. At present the FDA has it in the catagory of 'generally regarded as safe'. A catagory I myself don't have much faith in. Since my body isn't reacting to anything normally I am avoiding stevia as well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Grilled Asparagus

This is an excellent side dish to the turkey burgers. All you need is asparagus and Newman's Own Dressing or Marinade. I've used a variety of these all with excellent results. I think my favorites are Roasted Parmesan and Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar which comes in organic.

The directions are simple. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Drench in dressing. Grill over low or no heat until slightly charred. Beware which way you place them on the grill they are easy to loose between the grate. Tongs are best for handling them without too many getting dropped.

Turkey Burgers

This is one of my couple's dinners. I do the prep work and husband runs the grill. These are easy to make and really tasty. For buns I like Glutino's English Muffins, Udi's Wheat Bread or Against the Grain Plain Rolls.

Use roughly a quarter pound of meat per person. If you mix in some thigh meat there is a bit more fat in the burgers and therefore a bit more juicy. However, they taste fine with all white meat.

As always try to find organic ingredients or at least all natural. The fewer chemicals in the food the better. I have also found these taste better if the meat has never been frozen. I find that freezing meat dries it out and makes it tougher once cooked.

1/4lb per person ground turkey
Annie's Original BBQ sauce
cheddar or Swiss cheese slices 1 per burger
regular of gf buns

Dump about 1T of sauce per burger out on a plate. Slather on hands. Pick up the meat for the burger and start forming into a patty. Make it evenly thick with no gaps at the edges. Slather the outside with sauce. Grill until the center is no longer pink about 7 minutes per side. The juices will run clear when fully cooked. Add cheese slice. While burgers are cooking toast buns particularly if GF. Serve on buns with favorite organic condiments.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not Your Kids' Mac & Cheese

This is something I've invented. Make all the substitutions you like. Mostly I use frozen vegetables and dried herbs in this one since I tend to only make it when I am in a rush or too tired to deal.

Serves 1 or 2 depending how hungry you are you can stretch it to three if used as a side dish

1 box Annie's Rice Mac & Cheese
1-2 cups assorted frozen vegetables my preference is peas, carrots and corn mix
2t Mrs Dash original flavor
Fresh ground pepper
1T dried onion
pinches of herbs such as basil, marjoram, dill, parsley
2 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/4c milk
2T butter

Bring a medium pan of water to full boil. Add vegetables and bring to second boil. Add pasta, herbs and spices and cook according to box directions.

While that is cooking take cheese packet and mix up in a microwave safe dish according to package directions with milk and butter. Stir thoroughly. Tear up cheese slices and add to cheese mix. Put in microwave for one minute. Take out, stir and put back in for another minute. Rinse and repeat until until cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the mixture.

When pasta is done, drain and stir in cheese mix.

I have used this as a side dish with Bell and Evans GF chicken nuggets. Yummy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

GF Cookie Review

I discovered about five years ago that I have a wheat allergy. I tested negative for celiac so I'm not a fanatic about being totally gluten free. I miss cookies. When I first went wheat free there were few prepackaged items on the market. You had to bake everything from scratch to the point of having to mix up your own flour combinations before you even start cooking and even then they did't taste like the "real" thing. Thank goodness last year Betty Crocker came out with preboxed mixes. They are all fantastic and taste delicious, like the real thing. Unfortunately even these are now beyond my limited capability. But the goddess has smiled down upon us and there are now lots of packaged goodies to tempt us. Don't get me wrong I went through a lot of packaged cookies only to have most of them end up in the trash. Rice flour gets a gritty mouth feel about two days after baking so most packaged products have no shelf life. However, I've managed to find a few worth the extra dollars and calories for a nice treat.

I discovered nairn's oat cookies (biscuits) when I was on a trip to England (long before I got my illness). While they are wheat free they do not claim to be GF so celiacs beware. The things I like about these cookies are that they aren't too sweet,have no transfats, are made from wholegrain oats, have a low GI (glycemic index) and remind me of home (I'm English). My favorite ones are the mixed berries but they also come in plain and ginger.

I love two of their products. The cocoa waffers and hazlenut chocolate covered waffers. Both of these are a bit more decadant. No whole grain here just rice flour and chocolate. These are waffer cookies with great dark chocolate layers. Still not too sweet. The hazelnut chocolate covered one is reminicent of my hands down fav the Break Bar (discontinued due to a lawsuit from KitKat: Boo!!! It isn't like any of us can eat your stupid candy!).

This is a new discovery. I was craving almonds, found these in the store and fell in love. I do warn you that these are really sweet. I would love these even more if there was a little less sugar in them but the mouth feel is fantastic. There are only four ingrediants: almond paste, organic cane sugar, almonds and egg whites. They are soft and yummy and almondy.

Mrs. Crimbles
Almost forgot this one. This is another discovery I made in England and only recently found over here. The chocolate dipped macaroons are to die for. Yummy!