Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Yum

I have been a bad blogger.  Actually, I have been a bad chef.  My poor kitchen has been terribly neglected these past few months.  I'm almost embarrassed by the poor quality of my cooking, or more to the point, the poor level of enthusiasm I have had in the kitchen.  I need to step it up in a big way.  I think the holiday season is just what I need. 
I love holiday food.  There is something special about the traditional dishes that bring friends and families together.  I have had the opportuniy recently to cook for some friends.  Last weekend was Fakesgiving at my house.  I stuffed a turkey and mulled a couple bottles of wine.  I shall share the recipes soon, I promise.
For today I have a quick, yet delicious treat for you all.  Are you going to a party and need to contribute to the culinary spread?  Are you possitive that no one will have a dessert that is safe for your consumption?  Are you super short on time because, let's face it, the holidays are crazy?  Here is the recipe for you.
Pumpkin Pie in a Bowl
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 can pumpkin puree
brown sugar
pumpkin pie spice
Gluten Free ginger snaps
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and pumpkin puree until creamy and fluffy.  Add brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice to taste.  Serve in a bowl with ginger snaps for dipping. 

Easy and delicious!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eggplant Tacos

I seem to buy an eggplant, only to have it get mushy before I have a chance to eat it.  I always have big plans to make dip or some kind of pasta dish.  Yet time after time, those aubergine beauties go the way of the garbage can.  Not so today!  OK, today's specimen was on the verge of badness.  One more day and that sucker was mush.  I had to discard most of it, but there was just enough for tacos.  I'm not sure where the idea came from, but I figured I had nothing to lose trying it out.  I made them with ingredients that I had on hand, pantry spices and veggies in the crisper.  And the results?  Pretty darn good, if I may say so.  Alreay a whole slew of ideas for modification or embelishment are floating through my brain.

Eggplant Tacos

1-2 T oil (I used grapeseed due to it's neutral flavor)

1 clove garlic, minced (add more if you like)

1 t ground cumin

1/4 t cinnamon

1/4-1/2 t chipotle chili powder (or to taste)

1-2 cups diced eggplant, salted and sweated

1 small-medium sized yellow or red bell pepper


Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder, tossing in the oil to disperse flavor and toast the spices.  Add eggplant and bell peppers.  Saute until veggies are tender, approx 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt to taste.  Put filling in corn tortillas and top with sour cream and green onion. 

Other optional granishes:  fresh cilantro, diced tomato, shredded cheese

*This would also make an excellent filling for veggie burritos. 

This was such a simple recipe, but it can pack quite a punch.  It is easy to modify the spices to your own palate (mild all the way up to mouth burning goodness.)  The cinnamon gives the filling such a unique flavor.  The tacos by themselves are a great snack or a light meal.  For a full meal you can serve them with rice and beans.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sweet summer produce

As I sit here typing, a rich chocolaty aroma has begun to permeate my apartment. Yesterday as I was walking through Traders Joe's I was nearly felled by an intense craving for something chocolate and chewy. Brownies! I needs dem now!!!!! I was unable to assuage the cravings beast last night, so I am taking care of it this morning. Gluten Free Pantry Truffle Brownie mix, here I come.

Until these darlings come out of the oven, I will share with you my recent cooking adventure.

Summer is a wonderful time in my life. Summer vacation! No school. No responsibilities. Tons of time for reading. Tons of time for cooking. I have started hitting up the farmers markets in the city. Local produce and products just seem better. Although, sadly, not cheaper. Oy. About a week ago I snagged a small batch of asparagus and a jar of sun gold tomato preserves. That's correct, tomato jam. Sun Gold tomatoes are heirloom cherry tomatoes known for their incredibly sweet flavor. I have tried it on toast, crackers, tortillas. Then I tried it with veggies.

There is a local fruit and veggie market near my apartment. The produce is not usually local, but damn is it cheap! I was digging through my fridge last week and
realized that I still had potatoes and yellow bell peppers from the market. Hmmm... red potatoes, yellow bell peppers, and fresh asparagus. What to do? It was an uncommonly chilly summer day and just shy of July 4th. Since I was heading out of town for a wedding, and therefore would miss out on all the BBQs, I thought I would make some typical BBQ foods. Chicken sausage with chicken and Gouda. Oh my yum! Veggies, roasted to perfection.

Sun Gold Glazed Roasted Veggies

One small bunch of asparagus cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1-2 yellow/red/orange bell peppers, sliced
4 small-medium red potatoes cut into 1/4 inch slices
olive oil
salt & pepper
2-3 heaping teaspoons of Sun Gold preserves

Preheat over to 450 degrees. Put all chopped/sliced veggies into a large zip lock bag. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2-3 teaspoons of preserves. Seal the bag and shake to distribute. Spread veggies on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Roast in oven until veggies are soft.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

nom nom nom!!!

On Sunday night my mom and I made a little slice of heaven. Actually, we made an entire pie tin full of heaven. Key Lime Pie. Yum!!! The recipe is off of the bottle of key lime juice (Nelly & Joe's, I think). It is something ridiculously easy like 3 egg yolks, one can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 cup key lime juice. Mix it up, pour in crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes. Chill. So freaking simple.

We made a double batch. Mom used her evil premade gluten filled crust. I made a crust out of the Trader Joe's Gluten Free Ginger Snaps. Oh. My. God! It was so good! I definitely recommend using them for your graham cracker style pie crusts. I think I may try it for cheese cake topped with lemon curd. ::drool::

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I once again enter into the world of the living

School's out!!!!!!

That means I finally have time for...everything. I can start cooking again. Yay! The farmers markets have started up this month. I can spend hours trolling through my cookbooks for "must try" recipes. Fresh fruit and veggies can once again become a staple in my diet. (I have been eating horribly for the past month or two!)

Now that I have some time, and I am out at my parents' place where they have a great big kitchen, I decided to bake this morning. I had blueberries and wanted to use them. What to make? Blueberry-Cardamom Coffee Cake!

In theory this was a great idea. Juicy blueberries, spicy cardamom. Yum! The result? Not good. My idea was not the problem, the flour was. I decided to try the Trader Joes GF Pancake and Waffle mix. On the side of the bag is a recipe for coffee cake. Simple. I would just doctor it up a bit.

After this morning's efforts I have decided that Trader Joes needs to keep working on their baking mix formulas. I have now tried both of their mixes (the other being the brownie mix.) Both have resulted in extremely dense, oddly textured baked goods. I am not pleased. This makes me sad. I was really hopeful that these mixes would be good. Alas, not so much. Oh well, they have so many other great products. Guess I will just stick to Pamela's for a quick fix and Kinnikinnick pastry mix for other baking endeavors.

Live and learn, I guess.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Happy misfortune

On Friday I was all geared up to meet a couple of my girlfriends for happy hour with their co-workers. I have been adopted by the staff at her school since my co-workers are lame not interested in such an outing. After fighting traffic for an hour (yes, Chicago rush hour is HORRIBLE!), I arrived at the usual bar. It was empty. What the? Thank goodness for cell phones. I called up one of the gals and was informed she was hopping in the car and heading to Ohio for the weekend. Oh. She then told me my other friend was not going to happy hour AND it was being held at a different location this month. Well, gee, thanks for the heads up.

Oh, well.

I decided not to hop back on the Kennedy (Oy! The traffic.) and took side streets toward home. Since I was not going to indulge at happy hour, I thought I would indulge in some tea at my favorite tea place. I started chatting with the owner, Tanya, and... what's this? Your menu of crepes is gluten free? How did I not know this??!?!?!!? Oh, indulge, I did. One very large gluten free crepe filled with brie, green apples, caramel and brown sugar. Heaven!!! Tanya is a fellow gluten free eater, so the food is safe and delicious. Sweet crepes, savory crepes. All good enough that no one would know they are gluten free (it is not stated on the menu.) So for any of you who are in Chicago, head over to Tea Essence for some crepes and fabulous loose leaf tea. Try the Masala Chai latte made with Chocolate Almond milk. Yum!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

17 desserts for us!

A friend of mine, who is not GF but ultimately cool, just sent me a link to a food blog. The topic? Flourless desserts for Passover. Now, I am not Jewish, so the religious implications to not apply, but flourless? Oh yeah. Most of the recipes are truly GF. One or two just need slight modifications. Really, though, who needs to bother with the modifications when they can just stick with the Chocolate Walnut Cookies? Yum!