Saturday, September 6, 2014

Caramel Frozen Yogurt

2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
a pinch of salt
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
1 quart plain, fat free Greek style yogurt

Place the brown sugar, salt and 1 cup of the milk in a large dutch oven and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and begins to bowl, boil about 3 minutes.   Remove from the heat.   While the caramel is cooking, place the remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over and allow to sit until the caramel is done.   When caramel is finished cooking, remove from the heat and pour the milk/gelatin mixture in it and stir until the gelatin is all dissolved and incorporated with the caramel, then stir in the vanilla.   Allow to cool a while longer, then gradually whisk in the yogurt.   When all is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, chill covered in the fridge about an hour.   Pour into the bowl of your freezer and freeze according to directions.   Remove from the freezer, place in a covered bowl and freeze in your fridge freezer at least a couple of hours.  

This is very very tasty, the texture is very smooth and velvety and the taste is a mixture of tangy and sweet that meshes very well.   I hope you will enjoy it!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Easy Summertime Frozen Treat

I am always looking for healthy treats to snack on.   I love my ice cream and other frozen delights, but they all tend to be very high in sugar and or fats.   While this one isn't exactly low carb or low fat, it is still a lot better than most.   Also, because it is mainly made of fruit, it also gives  you lots of fiber and nutrition as well.   And it is gluten and dairy free!  

Approximately 4 cups of frozen fruit  (use your imagination, but choose something that isn't too bulky or firm:   pineapple, bananas, berries, peaches, apricots or something like that.   mix and match according to what you like or have available)
1 cup coconut milk

Add all to a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.   Scrape down sides as needed.   Spoon into serving dishes and garnish as you please.   This should make enough for 3-5 people, depending on serving size.   Enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rhubarb Dump Cake


Rhubarb Dump Cake

1 pound rhubarb, cut into ¼ inch pieces (between 3 and 4 cups)
1 cup white sugar
1 (3 ounce package) strawberry jell-o
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup water
¼ cup butter, melted
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread the rhubarb evenly in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb, followed by the jell-o, and finally the cake mix. Pour the water and melted butter over the top. Do not stir. Bake for 45 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender

Spinach Feta Casserole

I love the Greek dish, spanakopita or spinach pie.  It is a delectable dish made with lots of melted butter, filo pastry and a rich spinach and feta cheese filling.   However, it is kind of a pain in the butt to make, with all the layers of filo leaves, each leaf brushed with lots of melted butter.  Because of all the melted butter, it is also quite rich.   Wonderful for a special treat, but not something you would want to eat all that often.  However, the actual spinach filling itself, is not all that rich and for me is the best part anyway.   So I took my favorite spanikopita recipe, changed it a bit to meet my tastes and baked it without the filo pastry.   I love it and it is a lot lighter.   If you use low fat feta, it would be even lighter.   Either way, this is a tasty side or even a main course.   I hope you will like it as much as I do. 

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Spinach Feta Casserole

3-4 eggs, beaten
12oz bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed or about  2 lbs. of fresh spinach, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled or diced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. dill (fresh or dried, if using fresh use only about 1 tbsp. finely chopped)
a small bunch of green onions, cleaned and chopped (in the original recipe, but I don’t use them)
½ cup chopped parsley (optional—in the original recipe, but I don’t use them)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.   Grease an 8x8 inch square pan and set aside (or use any other dish of approximately the same size).

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and cook the onion until it starts to brown a bit, then add the garlic.   Stir it around for a few minutes, then stir in the spinach.   Cook until the frozen spinach is heated or until the fresh spinach is very wilted.   Remove from heat and cool a bit.    Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, yogurt, pepper and dill, then stir in the feta.   Finally, add the cooled spinach and onions and mix well (if using, add the green onions and parsley now).  Spoon into the prepared pan and bake about 45-60 minutes.  I knife stuck in the center should come out clean and the edges should be starting to brown.   Cool slightly before serving. 

You could add some things to make this a bit different:  Some crumbled bacon or cubed ham (finely chopped prosciutto fried with the onion would be to die for!) added to the mixture.   Topping the casserole with some grated Parmesan before baking would be tasty.   Making a topping of buttered breadcrumbs and Parmesan would be tasty and pretty as well.  Also, there is no reason you should limit yourself to just spinach, any tender spring green would be very good in this.   Use you imagination!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Tasty Gluten Free Bread

I have friends who have celiac disease and are always looking for good gluten free bread.   I have often tasted the gluten free breads from the store and they usually had taste or texture issues and just didn't care much for them.   My friends have said the same thing.   So I've been trying to find a recipe for gluten free bread that is closer to regular wheat bread in taste or texture, this one fits that bill.  It is light, moist, not crumbly and tastes like a good whole wheat bread.    So here is the recipe.

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GLUTEN FREE BREAD RECIPE

1 3/4 cups gluten free all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup flax seed meal
2 ½ tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup water or milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. honey or molasses
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Mix the liquid ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.   Then combine all the dry ingredients in another bowl.    Beat the wet ingredients together until well combined, then add the dry and mix well, about 56 minutes.   Grease a loaf pan well and pour the dough into it, smoothing gently.   Cover with a dry towel and allow to rise about an hour and twenty minutes or so, it may not look like it is rising that much, but will expand a lot in the oven.    About half an hour before time to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.    Place the risen dough into the oven and bake about 40 minutes or until done.   To check with an instant read thermometer, the internal temp.  should be between  205-210 degrees.   Remove from the pan and cool on a rack. 

This can also be shaped into rolls.   To do that I dust a board with some sorghum flour empty the dough onto the floured board and then flour the top of the dough.    Flatten into a square and then cut into 9 pieces, like a tic-tac-toe design.   Take each piece and gently shape it into a round, then place on either a well greased baking sheet or on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.   Allow to raise as above, then bake in an oven heated to 375 degrees.   Bake until puffed up and well browned, about 20-30 minutes.   Remove from pan and cool on a rack.  


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coconut Pound Cake

I love a good coconut anything, just as long as the coconut flavoring isn't too strong.   I stumbled across the original of this recipe online and thought it would be a fun one to try.  I wasn't the least bit disappointed, either.   I made one last night and took it to work.  They all went nuts about it.  It has a delicate texture and delicious coconut flavor.   I think it would also be a fun one to play with as well.  


Coconut Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.    Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pain.  Set aside.

¾ cup softened butter
¾ cup coconut milk
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. shredded coconut
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.   Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.   Add the eggs and beat until well blended.   Beat in half of the coconut milk, then add half the flour mixture until well combined.   Add the rest of the coconut milk, blend well.   Finally add the last of the flour mixture and the coconut.   Spoon into the prepared bundt pan and smooth out the top.   Place in the oven and bake about 1 hour and 5 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.   Remove from the oven, allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan.   Carefully remove from the pan and allow to cool.      When cool drizzle a glaze made from ¼ cup coconut milk mixed with enough powdered sugar to make a thick cream.   Allow to set before cutting.   

I have a suspicion you could easily change the flavor of this cake by making a glaze with 2 tbsp. each of dark rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice and 4 tbsp. powdered sugar.   Once the cake comes out of the pan, gently poke small holes in the cake with a very thin skewer or toothpicks, then slowly dribble the glaze mix over the cakes, allowing it to soak into the holes.  

Another thing that might be good is to lightly toast the coconut and cool before adding to the cake batter.   And instead of flouring the greased pan, sprinkle shredded coconut in it instead.   It might also be good to bake in a sheet pan, when cooled spread with seedless raspberry jam or lemon curd, then top with whipped cream  or serve it with some fresh berries.   Use your imagination!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

I love chicken soup, with rice or noodles or thickened into a stew with dumplings on top.   It is all good.   But surprisingly enough, I've had never matzo balls.  I've read about them.  Often wondered what they taste like, but never eaten them.   Recently Aaron asked me to try making matzo ball soup and I agreed to do so.   I did some research, looking at various recipes and what it should be like.   I came across one recipe that looked easy to make, so I got the stuff to make it and gave it a try tonight.   Turned out very good too.   Aaron liked it as well.   So here is how I did it. 

4 eggs
2 tbsp.  melted chicken fat, oil or melted butter
1 cup matzo meal
1/4 cup water, chicken broth or seltzer water/club soda (all the tips I read say that soda water gives a lighter matzo ball and that was what I used)
salt and pepper to taste
about 2 quarts of chicken soup with your favorite vegetables (I kept it simple: onion, celery and carrots)

Stir the fat into the matzo meal and combine well.   Beat the eggs and the soda water together well, then stir into the matzo meal and add salt and pepper to taste.   Mix well and then chill for at least an hour.    After it is well chilled, heat the soup to a boil and then form the matzo mixture into small balls, about 12-14 for this amount of mixture.   Drop the balls into the hot soup, lower the heat to a simmer and then cover the pot.   Simmer for 30-45 minutes.   Eat!  

Some of the other tips I read said you can add some finely chopped herbs or onion to the matzo mixture or add some other spices.