Filed under: cooking, food, food photography, Italian food, winter Tagged: dinner, food photography, fresh pasta, Italian food, mushrooms, squash, tagliatelle, winter
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All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!
--Charles M. Schulz
Which is why I have for you today the ultimate vegan Valentine: these scrumptious Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Bars. And they are gluten-free.
Now everyone knows that chocolate is pretty much the ultimate aphrodisiac-- not to mention the ultimate food. And the great thing about chocolate is that it's not just good, it's good for you. In fact, it's great for you. That's not a free pass to go and guzzle down a dozen candy bars because there are other things mixed in with candy-- like milk and fat and sugar-- that are not doing your body any favors. But pure dark chocolate, the kind you can bite a corner off and savor for hours, is packed with life-giving antioxidants that nurture your health and heart.
I made these brownie bars gluten-free and without any added fat because I wanted to keep these very healthy and as guilt-free as could be. A majority of the recipes I post at Holy Cow! are incidentally gluten-free, but when it comes to baking I must confess that I tend to rely a lot on wheat. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Gluten, a protein found in bread that acts as a building block in baked goods, is not a friend to people with celiac disease, a disorder that afflicts around 1 percent of the U.S. population. The rest of us can eat it without worrying about getting sick, although using whole wheat instead of refined is always a healthier option.
But the discussion about going gluten-free, whether or not you have a medical reason to do so, is growing louder by the day. Those in the gluten-free camp claim humans don't fully digest wheat, that wheat is a major allergen, and that there are many more people with celiac than are being diagnosed right now. Those in the anti-gluten-free (or is it pro-gluten?) camp counter this is just a fad for the most part and that wheat is good for you, the way you always thought it was. After all, cultures around the world have thrived on wheat for centuries.
Last week the New York Times' Well blog weighed in with a lengthy post tellingly headlined, Gluten-Free, Whether You Need it or Not. I read through it because, well, I read anything on this blog and also because without trying I've noticed a creep of gluten-free in my diet. I've already bought gluten-free pasta and cooked it, picked up gluten-free baked goods off the shelf, and started substituting barley, oat, and rice flours in my pancake and waffle recipes because these flours are readily available now and I like the idea of adding multiple grains to my diet. Last week, on a trip to Whole Foods, I was so taken by the vast lineup of gluten-free flours in the baking aisle that I picked up a bag despite the heftier-than-wheat price tag.
I couldn't wait too long to try my hand at some gluten-free baking. And I wanted it to be something really special, like these bars.
There are some thumb rules to follow when you bake gluten-free. For one, your baked goods are not going to rise the way they do with wheat (the building block is absent, remember?) One way to get around this (somewhat) is to use guar gum or xanthan gum, which gives your baked good more structure. Some gluten-free flours already contain one of these-- the one I bought did.
Second, don't expect gluten-free baked goods to taste exactly like their wheat counterparts. They don't taste worse, just different. Most gluten-free mixes use robust, wholegrain flours like sorghum flower, brown rice flour, and arrowroot flour and include starches like tapioca to neutralize the strong flavors of the flours.
These brownie bars turned out to be quite delicious, especially with the added flavors of raspberry and walnuts. They were also dense and chewy and just a tad gooey with the raspberry preserves, giving them the perfect mouthfeel.
I may not be switching over to gluten-free baking only any time in the near future, but I know I will be emptying that bag of flour I bought pretty fast.
Hope you have all enjoyed this Valentine's Day series of heart-healthy and aphrodisiac foods. I know I have enjoyed cooking them for you. Many thanks to Samantha and Kristen for inspiring me to post these recipes. And a very happy Valentine's Day to all of you -- because I love you all with all of my heart.
Gluten-Free Raspberry Brownie Bars
1 cup raspberries + 1 tbsp sugar. Place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook, stirring and mashing with the back of your spoon, until the water has mostly evaporated and you have something that resembles preserves. It is important to get the moisture out of the raspberries.
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (if you want a cakier, fluffier brownie and are not worried about the gluten, use whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground chocolate or cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl mix together:
The cooled raspberry preserves
2 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together until well mixed. Add:
2 tbsp flax meal plus 4 tbsp water, whisked together
Add the flour-cocoa mixture to this in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition using a ladle or spatula.
Stir in 1/2 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
Prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil. Leave an overhang on each side of the pan so you can easily lift the brownies out after they are baked. Spray some non-stick cooking spray on the foil.
Pour the batter in and, using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread evenly in the pan.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
After five minutes, lift out using the foil overhang as handles and place on a rack to cool thoroughly. Cut into squares.
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.
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It's very peaceful...listening to the water trickle down into the gutters as the snow on our roof melts. Today it was 40°F and the bright sunshine filled my Computer/ Sewing room as I was typing. Yesterday, my hubby used our Snow Rake to remove snow from the edges of our roof. We are not looking for a repeat of the winter of 2011! The water moving downward is a welcoming sound today.
After a weekend of shoveling and digging out from under 27 inches of snow (thank you Nemo), our kids were more than happy to dig into our latest recipe for Super Strawberry Pudding. Janice’s daughter, Leah, loved it so much and told us, “This is the best thing you’ve ever made!” Tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast for details on the epic snowstorm of 2013 and for two Valentine recipes: Super Strawberry Pudding and Chocolate Bean Valentine Brownies.
Our homemade pudding calls for frozen strawberries, Greek yogurt, and low-fat milk, and with a sliced strawberry on top, it’s the perfect treat for the valentines in your life.
Makes 6 Servings
Why turn to store-bought pudding when you can make it from scratch in a matter of minutes? This recipe is so simple that the kids can easily help.
1. Place the milk and strawberries in a blender, and blend until completely pureed. Set aside.
2. Place the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size saucepan and whisk until combined. Gradually whisk in the milk/strawberry mixture. Add the vanilla extract.
3. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Continue stirring gently to break up any bubbles that may have appeared on the top. Spoon the mixture into 6 individual bowls and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Garnish with shaved chocolate and berries as desired.
Liz’s Instagram obsession continues. She used it to give this photo an old-fashioned flare. If you’re on Instagram, click here to follow Liz.
Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow. After Nemo, it was a winter wonderland. The photo on the left shows what the roads looked like before the plows came through. Snowshoes anyone?
This recipe for wraps is very easy and tasty. The secret ingredient for the yummiest wrap is guacamole! All you need to do is to mash the avocado with a fork in a bowl, then spread the tortilla or flatbread with the mashed avocado, then add sliced turkey, cheese and lettuce and roll into a wrap. Cut the wrap in half and bite into the yummy filling – the avocado makes this wrap so good! If you are tried of eating sandwiches for lunch, try the wraps. Wraps are very portable – to pack the wrap for lunch, just put the plastic wrap around it so it says rolled. Wraps are also usually healthier than sandwiches because the thin tortillas or flatbreads tend to have fewer calories and carbs than bread slices. Recipe For Wraps With Turkey, Cheese, Guacamole and Lettuce Wrap Ingredients 1 flour tortilla or flatbread 1/2 avocado 2 slices of cheese 6 slices of turkey A handful of lettuce leaves 1 tsp Italian dressing Instructions How To Make Wraps Mash the avocado with a fork in a bowl, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. Spread the avocado on a tortilla. Put the slices of cheese [...]
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This recipe features alot of ancient Greek ingredients: chick peas…this was the starch of the day before potatoes and rice. Then we have shrimp – fish and seafood were prominent in the ancient Greek diet and they still are a big part of the[...]
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Valentines Day is almost upon us. I know for some folks it's a romantic holiday filled with flowers and candy and candlelit dinners, for us it's just another day in February.
I know that probably doesn't sound very nice to those of you who do celebrate, but that's just how it is. Keeping it real.
As I've said before, I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who makes every day of my life better by just being in it. He's romantic a whole lotta days during the year, not just February 14th. It's true. We don't need no stinkin' holiday!
Now that's as mushy as I'm going to get dammit!
On to hand pies! yum!
I stumbled upon a blog called FOLK and talking about LOVE.....I'm in love with this blog and it's magazine. It's everything I love rolled into one....beautiful photographs, delciious recipes, rustic inspiration....well this is what they'll tell you about themselves.....
FOLK magazine is devoted to presenting a fresh and youthful interpretation of simple country lifestyles, while focusing on the stories that make America our collective home sweet home. This down to Earth magazine fills a unique niche in the shelter publication landscape: content is part lifestyle, part editorial, all heart.
See everything I love! I subscribed to the magazine and I can't wait to get my first copy!
I saw their recipe for Nutella Blackberry Hand Pies and I feel head over heels! Since I didn't have blackberries on hand, I subsituted strawberries. I think the red was very Valentiney don't you?
I don't need to tell most of you about my BIG LOVE for Nutella.
Nutella Strawberry and flakey pie crust...can it get any better??
Strawberry Nutella Hand Pies
1 Package pre-made package refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1 Container Nutella
1 Cup fresh or frozen (thawed) berries of your choice
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Egg yolk
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Combine your berries with the sugar and flour bringing to a simmer. Slightly crush the berries with potato masher or fork leaving some still whole. Allow to thicken and then cool.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out 1 pie dough crust until about 1/8th inch thick. Using a large round cookie cutter or large coffee mug or cup, cut approximately 6 circles out of the pie dough. I used a 4 inch soup mug for my circles. I did re-roll the dough twice to get the last 2 circles.
Place dough circles onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Top each circle in center with a heaping tablespoon of Nutella and then a heaping tablespoon of cooled berry mixture.
Roll out 2nd pie dough crust until about 1/8th inch thick. Cut circles and using small heart shaped cookie cutter cut out hearts in center of each circle. I didn't have a cutter that small so I just cut the little hearts in the middle out by hand.
Top bottom circles with top circles, pressing edges together. Crimp edges with fork. Whisk together yolk and heavy cream. Brush egg mixture on each pie. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes on middle rack. The original recipe called for 20 minutes, but when I checked at 12 minutes, mine were done. Allow to cool before serving.
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After driving back from Disneyland, we decided to drive somewhere for dinner instead of getting room service. We actually drove by Pelly’s Fish Market on Christmas Eve but they were closing up as we were walking in; luckily, they were open on the 29th so we stopped in for dinner: The cafe is on the [...]
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I have a small family of three so I have to get creative with recipes and make the correct sizes that I know will actually get eaten. The chocolate cake is probably one of my favorite desserts to have so I shrunk my recipe down to make the perfect 8×8 cake also known as my [...]