Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chocolate Chewies

Have had these at bakeries and bought them at Whole Foods, but never tried to make them until now. They were surprisingly easy and very good!

4 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup chocolate chips (minis would work well for these)

1. Preheat oven to 350, whisk egg whites in mixer on medium until white and foamy (but not peaked). Fold in vanilla extract.

2. Stir in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt until just combined. Use spatula to stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

3. Use small scoop to drop onto lined baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes. Cool for about 3-5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Grilled Asparagus with Tomato and Feta

We can't get enough of the new grill! Tonight I made a side of chopped asparagus and tomatoes with feta, lemon juice, sea salt, garlic, and pepper. It cooked about 15 minutes and I plan on taking the rest tomorrow for lunch (on top of some quinoa). It's starting to feel like summer is truly on the way!

Cookie S'mores

Okay, this is a total hack because there is no cooking involved. Tate's gluten free chocolate chip cookies + one square of super dark chocolate + one marshmallow = microwave for 10 seconds, top with second cookie and prepare for ooey gooey deliciousness. Tate's are perfect because they are crisp and hold up in the microwave plus they have a great taste for GF.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Get Your Grill On

We got a new grill! And it's finally getting warm enough to use it regularly. We test drove it with some delicious fish, veggies, and steak for the husband. I also love these little foil trays that hold a perfect meal or side with no mess. My fish sat on some chopped asparagus, red pepper, shallot, garlic, salt, and olive oil. The fish was topped with a pat of butter, some Mrs. Dash, and everything got a nice squeeze of lemon. The broccoli was just tossed in olive oil, sea salt, and lemon juice. So simple and so delicious! Looking forward to throwing our CSA veggies on here soon.

Blue Cheese Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet potatoes + shallot + garlic + olive oil + salt = tossed and baked at 425 for about 25 minutes. Top with balsamic vinegar and crumbled blue cheese, bake about 2 more minutes. Serve warm.


Cabbage pancakes are my hands down favorite at Xiao Bao Biscuit. They are made with flour so I thought I'd try to recreate them at home with GF flour. They were AMAZING! And messy, but not all that difficult. I pulled from several different recipes and the only things I might do differently next time are maybe adding some shredded kale or spinach. Finely chopped broccoli would be good too.

It's nearly two packages of pre-shredded cabbage with four eggs, a chopped bunch of scallions, a few tablespoons of GF soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, a cup of defrosted peas and carrots, salt, pepper, garlic paste, a large handful of shredded basil, and about 1/3 cup of GF flour. Coconut oil is really good for frying because of the high smoke point. You just fry 'em up and then top with a little sauce (mayo + soy sauce + Sriracha). Also added a big side of stir fried veggies in soy sauce and butter (mmmm).

Monday, March 24, 2014

U.S. National Whitewater Center

After venturing up to Charlotte for my husband's Spartan Race, we spent the evening wandering around and getting hibachi, discounted books, and ice cream. The next morning was dedicated to scoping out the U.S. Whitewater Center, where we had a blast zip lining and jumping off 50 ft. platforms. Wheeeeeeee!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Sometimes you just miss the really bad for you stuff. Like homemade mac and cheese. I made a small dish of really gooey, indulgent, cheesy noodles and enjoyed every bite. Standard cream sauce (heavy cream + garlic + butter + salt + shredded cheddar) mixed with cooked quinoa pasta, with more shredded cheese mixed in and layered on top. Baked at 425 for about 15 minutes, until slightly brown and melty.

Herbs and Kale Chips

Another trip to the Johns Island Farmer's Market yielding excellent results. I came home this time with some fresh herbs (rosemary, cilantro, thyme, lavendar), kale, and brussel sprouts.

The kale immediately got torn into pieces and drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and a little Parmesan, then baked about 15 minutes (or until crispy). These things are like crack cocaine. You can't stop eating them.

Butternut Squash Pizza

I saw a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust come through my Facebook feed from Against All Grain and I had to try it. It took some time but was pretty straight forward and easily the most tasty gluten-free crust I've tried so far. The crust is cheesy so you really don't need a lot on top. I did an olive oil base with sauteed butternut squash, onions, goat cheese, and arugula. Try it for yourself!

Seared Tilapia

Tonight was saffron rice (cheap and easy), brussel sprouts shredded and sauteed in olive oil/garlic/lemon juice and zest/red pepper flakes, and a tilapia fillet. I defrosted the fish, patted it dry with paper towels, seasoned it with Mrs. Dash, then rolled it in gluten free flour. After heating up a skillet, I put in a heaping spoonful of ghee (clarified butter, which has a higher smoke point than regular butter) and quickly seared the fish on each side for about 3 minutes until it was flaky and cooked all the way through. It had a nice crisp on the outside and lots of flavor.

Creamed Spinach

I've never actually made this before, but it was pretty easy and tasted great. I way underestimated how much spinach was needed and had to throw in a big bowl of (defrosted) frozen spinach to help keep it from being soup. Basic cream sauce (heavy cream + garlic paste + salt + gruyere) in one pot, sauteed an entire bag of fresh spinach (stems trimmed) in ghee (clarified butter) with half a diced onion until just wilted, then mixed together. Would definitely do less sauce next time or just use more spinach so the ratio is right, but overall good stuff!

Broccoli and Cheese Frittata

All the usual suspects here...8 eggs, heavy cream, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. This time mixed with some chopped broccoli, fresh spinach, cheddar cheese and chives. Breakfast for the week--check!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ethiopian Food

I was super pumped to find out a new Ethiopian restaurant opened just minutes from our office. I had never had Ethiopian food but always heard great things, and a few gals from work were game to try it with me. It was so good! You tear off pieces of injera (gluten free bread, kind of like a crepe) and then scoop up bites of food and eat with your fingers. Some bites were spicy and others mild. Messy but delicious!

Lowcountry Views

I'm house/kitty sitting this week and loving the view from the backyard dock!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Extraordinary Art Show

For the last decade or so, my parents have organized an art show for special needs students through the local Artist Guild. With my dad no longer here, my sister and I have been helping my mom and brainstorming ways to make it even better next year. Seeing the kids, parents, and teachers gratitude and recognizing a group of kids that often gets overlooked is really important (and rewarding).

Vegan, Gluten Free Indian Dal

Another recipe from the Indian cooking class...maybe not the most beautiful dish but it's warm and yummy and packed with flavor (seriously, it's good!). Not as time consuming as the curry, so it could probably be made on a weeknight or in large batches to freeze/eat during the week.

2-3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 onion, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 cups veggie broth
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.) 
3 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 lemon
Sea salt

1. Toss cauliflower and carrots in olive oil and sea salt, then roast on a baking sheet at 425 until slightly brown on top and tender (about 25 minutes). Measure out all of your other ingredients while you wait.

2. In a large saute pan, add ghee and onion, cook until translucent (about 4 minutes).

3. Add garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook about 1 minute.

4. Add broth, tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

5. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in roasted carrots and cauliflower.

Chai Tea Spice Cake

From the Indian cooking class, this was even better at home and turned out great with GF flour! Almost like a coffee cake with really interesting spices and sweetness...even the haters are going to love it. In class we made it in cupcakes (makes 12) but the bundt pan worked really well and it sliced really easily.

Cake Ingredients
1 1/4 cup flour (I used gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh if you've got it!)
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Glaze Ingredients
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 325 and spray cups or pan. Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and spices).

2. In mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and salt. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Combine buttermilk and vinegar. Add dry mixture a third at a time until just combined, alternating with half of the buttermilk/vinegar (ending with dry).

4. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes. Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl and whisk. Cool slightly before inverting and topping with glaze.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kale Frittata

Regular frittata recipe, this time with sliced potatoes, Gruyere, and lots of sauteed kale. Greens never tasted so good!

Shrimp Curry

Using a gift card I got for Christmas, my neighbor Kristen and I went to an Indian cooking class at Charleston Cooks, where we learned to make all sorts of fun dishes (see a sampling above). The true test, of course, is whether you can recreate it at home or not. First attempt was the shrimp curry!

1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons tumeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 inches ginger, peeled and grated
8 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 lbs. peeled, deveined shrimp
Canola or olive oil
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
One large potato diced (or several smaller potatoes)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

1. Combine garam masala, tumeric, paprika, jalepeno, ginger, and half of garlic so it makes a paste. Divide in half.

2. Take one half of the mixture and add half of yogurt, shrimp, and two pinches of sea salt. Let marinate 10 minutes. Heat grill over medium high heat and add oil. Cook shrimp on one side until nearly cooked, just a few minutes. Return to marinade bowl.

3. Add ghee to large saute pan. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, coriander, and cumin and cook 1 minute. Add remaining garlic paste mixture and cook 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes and water. Simmer 5 minutes.

5. Add heavy cream and remaining yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and serve.

Beer Me

My friend Laura had a free tasting coupon for Holy City Brewing, so we headed over with her siblings and significant others to check it out! Turns out there was a festival going on, so we instead of a tour we enjoyed some live music with many, many samplings of their brews.

Oh My Gorgonzola Pasta

My brilliant husband picked up a wedge of Gorgonzola cheese from Trader Joe's and the first thing that popped in to my head was pasta. Yummy, gooey, creamy pasta. This was to die for.

Gluten free pasta (corn and quinoa seem to be the sturdiest)
Roasted red peppers (jarred, chopped)
Fresh spinach (several handfuls, stems removed)
Sundried tomatoes (handful, chopped)
Roasted garlic (8 or so chopped cloves)
Cream sauce (3 cups heavy cream + 1 container shredded Parmesan + salt + 1/2 stick butter + gorgonzola)
Gorgonzola crumbled on top, then mixed in
Salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Black Bean

Was feeling quite virtuous after a workout at the local high school track with my husband, so while running errands I stopped at Black Bean for a salad. I got the 'Spring Street' which was pretty good and consisted of cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, tofu, hummus, greens, and Green Goddess dressing. Felt good after eating it.