Caprese Quinoa Bake

July 15, 2014

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Swampy summer is in full swing here in Virginia. Some folks were talking about a polar vortex showing up to cool things off a bit, but it must have taken a detour because it definitely has not whirled itself anywhere near here yet! It is Oppressive out there! I think my friend’s little girl described it best when she stepped outside and said “Feels like dog breath in my face.” Yup. That is pretty much it. So big heavy meals aren’t particularly appealing to me now. Light and fresh is what is called for and I think I’ve found just the thing. This Caprese Quinoa Bake with its roasted cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar drizzle practically screams summer. The good things about summer that is…not the dog breath things. I must admit, I’m a new comer to Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Sure I’ve seen it around and heard folks raving about it and could see it was quite the fad. But I was afraid it might be like kale (I. Hate. Kale.). You know, supposedly really good for you,but something you had to literally had to choke down, like cod liver oil. I avoided it and figured if I waited long enough, it would disappear from the group consciousness. But feeling a bit adventurous one day and desperately trying to find a new recipe for Meatless Monday, I decided to give it a go and I was quite pleasantly surprized by its fluffy texture and light and nutty taste. I really like it. Like I might like it more than rice. And come to find out, it not only tastes great but it is also really good for you. It has been grown in the Andes region as far back as 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. Technically it is not a grain, but a seed and is a closely related to spinach. This super food is gluten-free and protein packed, high in fiber, phosphorus and magnesium, a good source of calcium and has high levels of antioxidants and omega 3′s. Yay Quinoa! It is very easy to prepare and quite adaptable to a variety of dishes (quite a few more of which will be showing up here soon…what can I say? I’m smitten!) One thing you do want to remember is to rinse it before cooking. Quinoa naturally has a bitter coating on it. Most brands you purchase in the stores claim to be pre-washed, but just to be sure, place it in a fine mesh strainer and give it a 30 second shower before cooking.

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I can tell you not only will this dish be in high rotation this summer, but with all of it’s sweet, savoury fresh flavours, I think it will make it into the cooler months as well. It was a very satisfying meatless Monday main dish, would be equally brilliant as a side dish or if you found yourself catering for some serious carnivores it would also be quite tasty with the addition of some italian sausage or pancetta. (You definitely want to stay on the good side of those carnivores in my opinion. And it’s a bad idea to let them go hungry!) So don’t fear the Quinoa, embrace it. I’ve totally drank the kool aid and I’m not looking back!

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Caprese Quinoa Bake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Domesticate Me

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups petite Roma or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup of grated cheese)
  • 8 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4–inch rounds
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Ingredients:

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, place the halved tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes until they’re tender and the skins have started to burst.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When hot, add the minced shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
In a large bowl combine the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, cooked shallots and garlic, and basil. Stir in the grated mozzarella and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large skillet and smooth the top. (A round, square or rectangular baking dish is also just fine.)
Starting in the center, overlap slices of tomatoes and mozzarella in a small circle. Make a second circle of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella, covering the surface of the quinoa. (If you’re using a square or rectangular dish, just make two lines of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella and call it a day.)
Cover the skillet loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.
While your quinoa bake is in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Sprinkle your quinoa bake with freshly sliced basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Caprese Quinoa Bake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips

July 11, 2014

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Lord Have Mercy! Would you look at these irresistible little jars of veritable bliss! Silky Peanut Butter Mousse covered in fluffy marshmallow frosting and then topped with chopped candied bacon and all bundled up in an adorable and very portable little mason jar. Are. You. Kidding. Me. And…guess what guys? These little temptations are completely gluten and dairy free! What the what?!!

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So I just told you all about that unbelievable delectable Flourless Double Chocolate Cake that I made for the get-together my friend, who is gluten-free, was hosting. Turns out that cake was not only easy to make but was really delicious. It almost made me think for a second I could give up glutens (who am I kidding…truth be told I only thought about it for a quick moment what with my bread obsession.) Anyhoo…I was riding high on my gluten-free chocolate cake victory, but I might have done my celebratory dance (yes…I do have one) a bit too soon. Turns out my friend’s family is also dairy-free. That cake almost fit the double whammy gluten/dairy free bill. I had replaced the butter in it with coconut oil, so the cake was good to go. However, that chocolate ganache glaze had some cream in it. Wha-wha-wha…dairy-free failure! Not being one to turn away from a challenge, I set out to make a second dessert for the gathering that would be both gluten and dairy-free. Happily I found the recipe for these Fluffernutter Parfaits and they were just perfect, not only gluten and dairy-free but also wonderfully addictive. And did I mention they are topped with candied bacon?!! You just can’t go wrong with bacon.

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Now, I’ve got to let you in on a secret…I put some of the Fluffernutter Parfait on top of my Flourless Chocolate Cake and it was just nothing short of salty sweet perfection. Yup…I doubt I will ever make one of these desserts, without whipping up the other to go along with it. Deep, dark, rich chocolate and creamy, salty peanut butter. Get in my belly! Let the celebratory dancing begin in earnest!!!

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Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips

  • Servings: four 1/2 pint jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: The Bacon Princess

Ingredients:

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:

  • 1/2 can coconut cream, chilled
  • 4-5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, solid

For the Candied Bacon:

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Marshmallow topping:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 dashes cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mini Chocolate Chips for topping

Directions:

In the bowl of your standing mixer, whip chilled coconut cream for about one minute.
Add peanut butter, maple syrup, and one tablespoon of coconut oil at a time, continuing to mix for about one more minute.
Once all ingredients are fully incorporated, portion out into individual pint jars for serving, remembering to leave room for the marshmallow topping. Place in the fridge to set.
Dice bacon and add to a medium-sized frying pan over low heat.
Cook on low for about 5 minutes.
When the bacon is almost done cooking, drain as much grease as you can and add the brown sugar.
Cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until sugar has been melted and bubbles up a bit.
Remove bacon to a plate lined with parchment paper, so the caramelized bacon doesn’t stick.
Let cool until you’re ready to garnish.
Fill a small saucepan with an inch or two of water, and bring to a boil.
In the bowl of your standing mixer or another bowl that fits inside the saucepan, add the egg whites, brown sugar, and cream of tartar.
Place the bowl over the saucepan of boiling water, making sure the bowl and water are not in direct contact.
Stir vigorously until all the sugar has been absorbed into the egg white. Make sure you start stirring immediately or you will end up with scrambled eggs!
Remove from stove and immediately bring to standing mixer.
Whip on high for about 3-4 minutes, or until mixture stands in stiff peaks.
Add marshmallow on top of mousse, using a piping bag if necessary.
Garnish with chopped candied bacon and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips is brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Flourless Double Chocolate Cake

July 8, 2014

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All you gluten-free folks out there lookie what I got here…a luscious Double Chocolate Cake with nary a gluten to be found! And it doesn’t only look pretty…no indeed, this cake delivers on taste as well. Bittersweet chocolate chips and Dutch Process cocoa are combined in the cake which is then topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache glaze. The result is an incredible rich and deliciously decadent knockout of a dessert. And since this recipe is flour free, that means gluten-free folks can indulge without hesitation.

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Now you may be wondering how it is that I’ve suddenly come to be posting gluten-free recipes. I mean if you have followed my blog at all, you’ve surely noticed that the Runcible Kitchen is quite far from gluten-free…more like glutens-galore! (my husband says “It’s gluten-tootin!”) Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited over to a friend’s house for a little birthday celebration. I offered to bring the desserts and it wasn’t until after I’d offered that I remembered she was following a gluten-free diet for her Celiac Disease. She graciously told me not to worry about trying to make a gluten-free dessert, but I decided that it would be a great opportunity to find a delicious go-to gluten-free treat to keep in my recipe arsenal. Thank goodness for the folks over at King Arthur Flour, not only do I exclusively use their flours in all of my baking, but their website is chock-full of fabulous recipes and I was able to find this one in no time flat. This Double Chocolate Cake was really a winner. And I don’t mean that in a “oh, it was pretty good for a gluten-free cake” kind of a way. I mean this lush cake is really delectable. Glutens be damned! We don’t need no stinking glutens! Success!!!

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Flourless Double Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter or substitute in 1/2 cup coconut oil for a dairy-free cake
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-Process cocoa preferred

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

To decorate:

Candy Stars, or Fresh berries or Toasted Almond slices -your choice!

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake: Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary. You can also do this over a burner set at very low heat. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Espresso enhances chocolate’s flavor much as vanilla does; using 1 teaspoon will simply enhance the flavor, while 2 teaspoons will lend a hint of mocha to the cake.

Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust, and it should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center.

Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

Enjoy!

Flourless Double Chocolate Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 

 

 


Witches’ Froth

October 28, 2011

Oooooooo! Spooky, Spooky! That’s right, this is the dessert that is a favourite among all witches’ covens. Witches’ Froth is a baked apple mousse. Very light, apple-y and refreshing, especially so after we’ve been chowing down on all of those heavy Halloween chocolate goodies. I first came across this recipe all the way back in May on the blog, Girl Cooks World: Gluten Free Recipes from Around the Globe. Apparently this is a Hungarian dessert (Boszorkanyhab in that language…I think I’ll just stick with calling it “Witches’ Froth)

It has a bunch of stuff I love like apples and vanilla and booze (not Jack Daniels this time but Rum). I knew this would be a perfect and unique adult treat for Halloween and have been planning on whipping it up ever since. I was not disappointed. Very yummy and once the apples are done baking, it comes together in a snap. I served this treat a couple of different ways, in spooky fall tree glasses and as a cute mini dessert/taster  in little dark Belgian chocolate cordial & toasting cups topped with candy corn.

Witches’ Froth

Recipe from: Girl Cooks World

Yields: 4 servings in glasses and many little dessert cups

Ingredients:

  •  4 baking apples
  •  1 cup vanilla sugar
  •  2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  •  2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  •  whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and bake the apples for 50-60 minutes, until softened.  Let them cool, peel and core them, and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the egg whites and sugar and beat 10 minutes with an electric mixer, until fluffy and thick.  Add the rum and lemon juice and continue beating for another 5 minutes.

Spoon into individual serving glasses or bowls and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: This dessert uses raw egg whites, so please be aware that there is a small risk of salmonella contamination.


Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake – There really is whiskey in the jar!

June 13, 2011

Whack for my daddy-o

Whack for my daddy-o

There’s whiskey in the jar!

Ever since I saw the recipe for the Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake baked in little pint-sized jars, I just couldn’t get this Irish folk song out of my head. Now that I’ve probably managed to get it whirling around in your own noggin, let me tell you, the only thing that will stop it from being in heavy rotation in your brain is actually making these cakes.

Well….that might be a bit of a lie. These pint-sized flourless chocolate whiskey cakes are so utterly decadent and delicious, at the first taste you’ll stop thinking about the song and likely start singing the tune out loud and at the top of your lungs. Maybe it’s the Jack Daniel’s causing all this mayhem. Hmmm…Perhaps it is a contributing factor. I mean you have to sample your sour mash whiskey before adding it to any recipes…just to make sure it hasn’t gone off. Still, these cakes are nothing short of phenomenal. Being flourless, (gluten-free for anyone interested), they have a very fudgy, chewy texture as well as a thin crisp layer just at the top. The chocolate and the Jack Daniel’s are a wonderful match, nearly melting in your mouth. I frosted my cakes with a Jack Daniel’s Buttercream icing and then sprinkled mini chocolate chip morsels on top. YUM!

Strangely, we often think a “pint-sized” thing is small, but this is quite a hefty serving of this incredibly rich cake. You may want to consider making  8 smaller versions in 1/2 pint-sized jars. I think this serving size would be plenty, but then who am I to decide what too much of a good thing is? Yeah…when you need a bit of an indulgence, make these treats. In the big, honking pint sized jar. Good ol Jack will not disappoint!

Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake

recipe posted on The Family Kitchen from Angie McGowan at Eclectic Recipes

makes four pint jars of chocolatey, whiskey cake goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter ( 1 stick)
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s whiskey
  • nonstick spray

Frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Directions:

1. In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir well. Let cool.

2. Add butter and chocolate to a large mixing bowl with sugars. Mix until well combined. Add whiskey and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix well. Add salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix very well. .

3. Pour into 4 pint jars that have been sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or until cakes pass the toothpick test. (And they have risen and fell – and don’t freak out. These cakes rise way up out of the jars when baking. Just when you think there will be a baking catastrophe, they retreat back into the jar.)

For frosting:

1. Cream softened butter in stand mixer with wire attachment.

2. Add sugar. Mix on low until combined. Turn mixer to high. Add a little of the milk or whiskey at a time, until icing is light and fluffy.

3.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 4 large servings

Note: All the whiskey does NOT cook out of the cake, so it is NOT kiddie-friendly.


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