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.