Lemon Zest Parsley Popovers (Gluten Free optional)

The other day my good friend Jeanette gave me a big bunch of fresh parsley, and after using it on everything from chicken with mushrooms to pasta with clams… I still had some left over so I decided to make these beauties! Light, airy, citrusy popovers. Although the list of ingredients is ridiculously simple, there’s a couple of things you must know to get them light and airy like these ones: very little mixing and a very hot popover pan and oven, the rest is as simple as it gets.

Lemon parsley popovers

Here is what you’ll need to make 6 big ones:

1 cup all purpose flour of gluten free flour mix (I used Trader Joe’s blend)

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup of milk also at room temperature

1 tablespoon melted butter (plus another tablespoon extra for brushing the pan)

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste

lemon zest

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

lemon parsley popovers

Preheat oven and popover pan to 450 F. In a bowl, LIGHTLY whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, salt, black pepper, lemon zest and chopped parsley. Add flour and whist until just blended. Batter might be lumpy

lemon parsley popover

Carefully remove pan from the oven and quickly brush the cups with additional melted butter. Fill the cups 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR while they bake. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

lemon parsley popovers

If you want to make these ahead of time, they can be frozen in an airtight container and then warmed in a 325 F oven for 5-10 minutes. Delicious

Enjoy!

Wild Chives Picking Day

Simple and quick post on a rainy cloudy day… Drizzling here today in the Hudson Valley, so it’s a great day to go out there get a little wet and dirty too, the ground is soft so the first Allium Schoenoprasum of the season, wild chives that is…  are super easy to pull out of the ground.

wild chives

The whole thing is edible even their purple flowers, perfect for salads, (didn’t find any with flowers though… maybe next time) Very mild in flavor, delicious in soups…

wild chives

So go out there, get wet, get a little dirt under your nails, explore… Now, I cannot wait for the fiddle-head fern to come out… MMM delicious!

Wild chives

Enjoy!

Toasted Rolled Oats Almond Granola Bars (Vegan – Gluten Free)

Do you feel that no matter what kind of granola bar you buy is never the perfect one? They are either too sweet, or too high in fat, or not gluten free, or not vegan or not peanut free… Well these babies are just perfect, cause you can do so many with them, the sky is the limit! You can make them vegan, or not, use peanut butter, or sun flower butter, almond butter, substitute the almonds for pistachios or walnuts… Anything really! Whatever floats your boat :)

granola bars

The base to make them is four simple ingredients: rolled oats, nut butter of your choice, maple syrup (it can be substituted for honey or agave nectar) and  dates. Healthy, easy and delicious. Here is what I used to make these beauties:

oats cardamom almonds cinnamon

1 1/2 cups GF rolled oats (toasting them for 10 minutes optional)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon organic peanut butter

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon Grade B (less precessed and better for you) maple syrup

1 cup plump organic deglet dates

1 cup raw almonds

a pinch or two cardamom

2 tablespoons chia seeds

a hand full of pepitas

a pinch of cinnamon

pepitas

Place the dates in a food processor until they reach a “dough” like consistency. Then, place the rolled oats, almonds, dates, pepitas and spices in a deep bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile warm over very low heat maple syrup and peanut butter in a small sauce pan, stir to mix and pour over rolled oat mixture breaking up the date paste so it’s well distributed.

dates

Once it’s mixed, line an 8 x 8 pyrex dish with a big enough piece of saran wrap, place the mixture and with the excess saran wrap cover the whole thing. This way you’ll be able to use a small glass, rolling it all over it to make it even in thickness. Place in refrigerator for about half hour to allow it to set.

rolled oats granola bars

Once cooled remove from dish and cut into even pieces (about 10). You can store them in airtight container at room temperature for a few days if you have the will power to eat all of them in one day… LOL! They also freeze wonderfully.

Enjoy!

Cabin Fever Brownies (Vegan and Gluten Free)

First, let me clarify that these brownies are vegan and gluten free not by choice, but due to necessity or maybe laziness I should say…

I’ll explain… I had made homemade almond milk since I recently bought a masticating juicer (which btw I adore) and I had done some research on how to make almond meal and flour with the leftover pulp, so I decided to make almond flour, pretty easy, and using the pulp of a cup an a half of raw almonds I had used to make the milk, I had just enough (one tablespoon left) almond flour to make these decadent brownies. It came out a little coarser that the store bought stuff, but it made them super nutty anyway.

almond flour

So here I go with my freshly made almond flour surfing the net to find a  nice recipe to use it all. And I happened to find these delicious sounding recipe by the wannabechef, but as it turned out, I didn’t have any butter, or enough chocolate chips (I only had a handful of those), I had no eggs… well I did, but everything was down in my shop, where I make all the baked goods and truffles for my etsy shop, buuuuut… with over a foot of snow already piled up outside and more coming down, I didn’t want to make the 20 step trip to go there… (talking about being lazy and not wanting to go outside). So I had to work with what I had in hand and let me tell you the results were simply out of this world besides making this recipe, gluten free and vegan also ;) what’s not to like uh?

I swapped the butter for coconut oil, some chocolate chips for cacao nibs and the egg for ground flax seeds and water. Here is what came out of my lazyness:

Cabin fever brownies (vegan and gluten free)g

Pretty good looking and great tasting brownies!!!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (Makes 1 8 x 8 pan):

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (normally I would have used my lovely organic raw cacao powder but it was also in my shop so instead I used extra brut cacao Barry, super nice, rich and dark colored)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons ground flax seed added to 9 tablespoons of water (substitutes 3 large eggs) soaked for 5 minutes

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)

1/2 coconut oil (since I didn’t have any butter around)

4 oz 72% cocoa mass dark chocolate finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s brand)  or a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons cacao nibs (it added a crunchy, bitter, delicious chocolate flavor to them)

just a handful chocolate chips to sprinkle on top

cacao nibs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the almond flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl, melt together 4 ounces of chocolate or a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the coconut oil.

While the chocolate is melting, beat together the egg substitute, sugar, vanilla and coffee granules if using.

Slowly pour the melted chocolate and oil into the egg/sugar mixture while whisking until fully incorporated. If using eggs don’t go too fast so that the raw eggs don’t cook upon contact.

Add the chocolate mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix completely.

Pour the batter in an 8 x 8 pan.

Sprinkle the top with the handful of chocolate chocolate chips I had and gently press it into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let these cool completely before cutting in.

Gluten free Vegan almond flour brownies

 I have to confess I couldn’t wait, so I had a big piece with super cold milk…. Uuuuuuh! Cabin fever heaven on a plate! ;)

Also the coconut oil made them soooo yummy, you can really smell and taste a slight hint of coconut. Love it!

These really made this snowed in day a looooot better!

Almond flour brownies (vegan and gluten free)

Enjoy!

Popped Amaranth

Amaranth, Kiwicha, Ataco, Caraca… You may have heards some of these names, it’s all the same wonderful plant. Some say it is the most nutritional plant in the world! Super high in protein (17%, higher than wheat, rice, corn) calcium, folic acid, vitamin C, and it’s also celiac friendly. When toasted, the seeds, have even more protein. Also high in lysine, an essential amino acid,  double the amount found in wheat, triple the amount found in corn, and the same amount found in milk.

Amaranth

Although it’s flavor and texture when cooked may not appeal to everybody, I have to say that popped it’s simply delicious, super easy and quick to make. A fun pop corn substitute to make especially with kids, their faces are worth to be seen when the little grains turn into fun mini pop corn.

Simply take a small heavy bottomed pot with lid (of course, otherwise you’ll be wearing it, and it will be aaaaaaall over your kitchen ;)

amaranth

Heat it pretty high (no oil needed) and then add about a tablespoon of seeds, move the pot so they are evenly distributed and cover with lid. In about 10-15 seconds they’ll be ready to eat. Repeat until you make desired amount. Feel free to sprinkle salt, sugar, grated cheese, or any topping you might like, or eat them plain, they are simply delicious and nutty. My favorite is popped amaranth drizzled with dark chocolate… Nom, nom.

popped amaranth

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Almond Meltaway Rosquitas

I love meltaways… I mean… What’s not to like? Sweet, buttery and they really do melt in your mouth.

I really like Martha Stweart’s Lime Meltaways recipe, so I decided to use it here but changing a couple of ingredients ;) since we have this crazy cold weather I decided to use more cozy flavors, like orange, cinnamon and almonds. Also I just got a cute mini doughnut cookie cutter and I couldn’t help but use it! LOL. Here is what you’ll need to make 5 dozen.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plain all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

a handful roasted chopped almonds

Image

Place butter and 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the orange juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Using a fine mesh sieve, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt into a bowl; whisk together to combine well. Add to butter mixture along, add chopped almonds and beat on low speed until just combined.

Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper (about an inch thick) and placing it in a cookie sheet refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you want to make them the traditional way, divide dough in half. Place each log on an 20 by 30-cm (8 by 12-inch) sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to form a log 3-cm (1 1/4-inches) in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut into doughnut shape with cookie cutter. If going the Martha Stewart’s way, remove parchment from logs; cut into 6-mm (1/4-inch) thick rounds. Space rounds 2.5-cm (1-inch) apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until barely golden, about 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm,toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag.

Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Image

Delightful with a cup of tea!

Enjoy!

Easy Dulce de Leche (GF)

I’m back!!! Finally the holiday season has past and with it I get a little bit of free time. It’s the craziest time of the year for my etsy shop, swamped by orders! But thankfully it’s all gone. (Sigh of relief!)

So I here I come with a simple yet time consuming recipe, but also with an easy, effort free variation. Traditionally dulce de leche is very time consuming and although I think the amount of time required to make this recipe it’s a lot, I really, really, really think everybody should give it a try at least once in a life time. The results are awesome!!!

Home made dulce de leche 1

The list of ingredients is minimal, and almost everybody should have these three ingredients at hand at any time, here is what you’ll need:

4 cups whole milk

12 oz. sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (feel free to substitute with other flavorings like almond, maple…)

home made dulce de leche

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the milk, sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the baking soda and vanilla and stir. Let cook for about two hours (medium low heat), stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.

You’ll notice that as water from the milk evaporates, mixture will slowly thicken and color will change to a lovely caramel color.

Cooking time is approximate, since every stove is different. But keep in mind that the last hour (last hour low heat) is the most important, since you’ll have to stir it constantly to avoid lumps or the mixture getting stuck to the bottom of the pot.

dulce de leche

Remove from the heat when you get a light custard consistency to it. Keep stirring it for 5 to 10 minutes to help it cool down. You will notice that it will thicken even more. Pour into jars. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. You can also preserve them using your preferred canning technique.

I enjoyed mine right way as you can see in the pics in a very simple way, I toasted a sprouted grains slice of bread, cut some banana slices (used a heart shaped linzer cookie cutter insert for cuteness purposes ;) and drizzled the dulce the leche all over it. YUM!!!

dulce de leche

Note that this recipe is for a more drizzable dulce the leche.

Here is the less involved version and more spreadable also. You’ll need a can of condensed milk and a pot full of water, boil it for 3 hours and you are done!!! If you have a pressure cooker, boil the can for 40 minutes. In both cases wait for the can to cool before opening.

ENJOY!

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Vanilla Cinammon Bubble Tea with Almond Milk

I love vanilla, but what a difference it makes when you use the real thing!!! I love fresh vanilla beans… warm, sweet, tropical… and when a good Argentinian friend of mine gave me this lovely Vanilla Comodoro Harney and Sons tea I was a little skeptical about it being decaffeinated, but anyway I love tea and vanilla so I knew I was going to like this wonderful dessert tea. The tea leaves, liquor and  flavor are a little lighter due to the decaffeination process, it’s lovely mild and delicate. While I was looking for my cinnamon sticks I found some tapioca pearls (boba) and I decided to make this tea a bubble tea.

Vanilla Cinnamon Bubble tea

You will need:

1/4 cup boba tapioca pearls per person

1-2 Comodoro Vanilla Tea bags

Half a vanilla bean cut in half, seeds scraped

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

Almond milk

 First I cooked the tapioca pearls according to package instructions, If you cannot read them because the whole package is written in Chinese LOL, do the following: measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.

Turn the heat to medium and cook the pearls for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.

 While they are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once they are done. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Remove and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Vanilla Cinnamon Bubble tea

You can prepare your tea either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the bubble tea. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag, vanilla seeds and cinnamon stick. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Let steep for 15 minutes and chill.

Once the tapioca pearls are done cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl. Pour the sugar syrup over top until they are submerged. Let sit at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. They are better when used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. They will get hard and crunchy as they sit.

Vanilla Cinnamon Bubble Tea

 Now that you have everything you need, simply pour the vanilla tea into a tall glass and add the pearls. Add the almond milk for a creamy and nutty bubble tea. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup.

Enjoy!

Vanilla Cinnamon Bubble Tea

Gluten Free Shortbread Rosemary Cookies

Give me something I like and I’m done… It will be everywhere, I’ll use it everyday… wear it everyday… I can get pretty annoying… LOL, and that just happened to me with the almond flour, and gluten free mix that I got at Trader Joe’s. This is such a lovely recipe, buttery, nutty and then the fresh rosemary just  hits the spot. Here is what you’ll need:Rosemary Shortbread

Shortbread Dough

1 1/3 sticks unsalted room temperature butter cut into small pieces

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup almond flour

2/3 cup rice flour

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 325 F

Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, work it until soft and combined. Can also be done by hand.

Sift the almond flour and rice flour into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add rosemary

Using a fork or spatula, fold the ingredients lightly until a crumbly and a soft dough forms. Knead it just a minute with floured hands to form a ball.

You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, if you wish – or you can proceed to the next step. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before rolling out.

Place the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper, and sprinkle lightly with rice flour.

With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.

Lightly flour your cookie cutter

Remove the top paper and start cutting out your cookies. Transfer them to a cookie sheet.

Bake the shortbread until  lightly colored, 20 to 25 minutes. Ideally, shortbread should not even brown the slightest but I like mine a bit golden.

Gluten Free Rosemary Cookies

Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Shortbread will keep for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

rosemary cookies

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Chocolate Ganache Cookie Sandwiches

Fall is here full force… everywhere, out the window, in the stores… so I felt like baking a pumpkin pie with my son, and the recipe only called for a cup of pumpkin puree, so I needed to make something else with the remaining pumpkin puree. I had just got a brand spanking new bag of gluten free flour from Trader Joe’s so I decided to make these lovely, soft baked pumpkin cinnamon and sugar cookies gluten free which by the way are also egg free. Here is what you’ll need to make your house smell insanely good ;)
Gluten Free Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies (about 2 dozen)
 
2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
For the outer coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In a ramekin get ready the egg substitute, by mixing the ground flaxseed with the water, letting it sit for about 5 minutes or until it thickens.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients but the sugars and set aside. In an electric mixer bowl, beat the softened butter, sugar and brown sugar, medium speed for about 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add the pumpkin puree, egg substitute and vanilla, and beat until combined. With the mixer on the lowest speed slowly incorporate the flour mixture until well mixed. Cover the bowl with clear plastic film and refrigerate for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Make the coating for the cookies and scoop and roll the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls, roll them in the coating sugar mix and place them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Flatten them gently with your fingers and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Remove and place in a cooling rack.
Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache
Gluten Free Pumpkin cookie sandwiches
Chocolate Ganache
 
4 oz good quality dark chocolate finely chopped
1/3 heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon butter
Place chocolate in a small bowl, bring cream just to a simmer, pour over chocolate and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until smooth.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookie Sandwiches
Make the cookie sandwiches with desired amount of ganache making sure it’s at room temperature, add as much or as little as you want.
Decadent and sweet.
Enjoy!
gluten free mordisco