Friday, May 22, 2015

Seafood Pasta Salad

Seafood Pasta Salad












Aren’t potlucks are a fantastic way to entertain. 

Everyone pitches in and at the end of the day there's a bounty of beautiful dishes without the host feeling entirely overworked.  

Being gluten free, I particularly love a potluck.  

For me it is the perfect opportunity to bring a dish that I’m sure I can eat without the risk of becoming ill.

When choosing what I might bring to  the party I like to carry along two dishes, a dessert and something savory.  For the latter I lean towards something that can serve almost as an entire meal in itself.  By doing this, even if no one else brings a gluten free dish, I know I can comfortably enjoy the gathering without starving.

This seafood pasta salad delivers in spades.  The pasta covers the starch in my meal and since I don’t skimp on the seafood, the protein is covered too.  Maybe someone will bring a crudité tray and my veggies requirement will be satisfied.  Or maybe next time I can add a few more veggies right to the salad.

This dish was actually developed as part of a Youtube collaboration done with some other fantastic cooking shows.  Each channel did a dish that would be perfect for Memorial day.

You can check out further details on their dishes at the end of the Youtube Video tutorial posted on this blog.

Seafood Pasta Salad
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Servings:  6

Ingredients

  • 8 oz fusilli (I used a gluten free variety)
  • 8 oz imitation crab (Trans Ocean brand is gluten free)
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp old bay
  • 1 tssp olive oil
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 ribs diced celery
  • 5 chopped scallions
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tbsp diced hot cherry peppers
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Video Tutorial: 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boston Cream Cheesecake

Boston Cream Cheesecake












Have you tried Betty Crocker’s gluten free cake mixes yet? 

I've tried both their devil’s food and yellow cake varieties and feel that the latter leaves much to be desired.  Compared to most basic yellow cake mixes from my days prior to being gluten free, this cake mix is a bit on the heavy side with a texture almost reminiscent of cornbread.  Their gluten free devil’s food mix doesn't share these negative textural traits and gets much higher marks.

Now here’s where both varieties fail in my book.  Each mix costs approximately 2-3 times the price of a regular cake mix but they each only make a single 8-9” layer or a dozen cupcakes. 

That’s a travesty in my book.  A single layer cake isn't going to impress anyone.  Can't we have a full sized cake after paying so much more?   

Between the single cake layer situation and mediocre mix itself which I had previously tested as basic cupcakes, I tried to make a dessert that would raise this mediocre mix to epic heights of deliciousness.

And so the Boston Cream Cheesecake was born.

And it doesn't get any simpler than using a cake mix on the bottom layer then topping it with a thick rich no-bake cheesecake before crowning the whole thing with a two ingredient chocolate ganache.   

The end result was delicious indeed. 

Note to self …  I gotta do a basic yellow cake for my readers.

Boston Cream Cheesecake
Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 40-40 min
Servings: 8-12

Ingredients
  • 1 box Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix (prepared with instructions on the box)
  • For the mix you’ll need: 2/3 cup water, 1 stick butter, 2 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs
  • (3) 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, very well softened
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • (2) 3.4 oz boxes of instant French vanilla pudding
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 6 oz of mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz of heavy cream

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C) and line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cake for 5 minutes, remove the sides of the pan and insert strips of parchment around the edges of the cake that come up about an inch higher than the pan edges then put the collar back onto the pan.
  4. For the vanilla cheesecake layer, mix or beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well combined and smooth.
  5. In another bowl whisk together the milk and pudding mix until well combined and smooth then add it to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and mix or beat until you have a well combined homogenous mixture.  Use a rubber spatula periodically to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl ensuring that it is well mixed.
  6. Add the cheesecake mixture on top of the yellow cake and use the back of a spoon or spatula to carefully spread it to the edges of the pan without disrupting the parchment.
  7. Chill for 2 hours, remove from the pan and peel away the parchment.
  8. To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl combine the semisweet chocolate and heavy cream then microwave in 30 second increments stirring after each session until you've got a smooth glossy ganache.
  9. Let the ganache cool for a few minutes before pouring into the center of the cake then use the back of a spoon or spatula spread it to the edges of the cake.  Serve immediately or return to the fridge for two hours for a more solidified ganache layer.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger












This had to be the best burger I've had in a while. 

The key is the bacon. 

Well actually it’s not the bacon it’s the bacon cooking technique.  Have you ever had basket weaved bacon.  It does incredible things for any sandwich.  Think about it.  Instead of just sticking strips of bacon into your burger willy-nilly this technique weaves three strips of bacon into a perfect interlocked square that covers every inch of the burger. 

Actually every bite has a double layer of bacon.  And that bacon stays in place.  Forget the days where you take a bite of your sandwich and have pieces of bacon falling out onto the plate.  This is a winner.  If my instructions seem confusing just watch the video tutorial.

And don’t forget to toast your burger bun for maximum flavor.  I actually used a Glutino English muffin for my bun.  It worked incredibly well against the huge burger and all those  delicious toppings.

The only drawback to this one is the calorie count.  With this burger coming in at almost 850 calories, it’s not something you can eat every day.  That being said, sometimes you just have to put your healthy eating plan on the back burner for the love of an epic burger. 

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 1

Ingredients
  • 3 strips of bacon, halved
  • 6 oz hamburger (I used ground chuck and sirloin)
  • 1 gluten free hamburger bun (I used a Glutino English muffin)
  • salt and pepper
  • fried onions
  • sautéed spinach or kale
  • crumbled blue cheese

Video Tutorial: 



Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425°F or 218 °C and line a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. To make the basket weave bacon plank, line up three half strips of bacon parallel to one another on the prepared baking sheet sprayed.
  3. Fold back the center strip by 1/3 and lay down a slice perpendicular to the first three slices.  Move to the opposite end and fold back the two end slices then place a slice right next slice you just placed.  Fold those pieces back down and fold back the middle slice before putting the last piece in place. 
  4. Bake it for 15-20 minutes flipping it over after 10 minutes then drain on paper towels.
  5. Season the burger with salt and pepper then place it onto a very hot dry cast iron skillet and cook it for 2 minutes on the first side then flip the burger and cook it for 1 ½ minutes on the second side.  Flip it again and cook for just over another minute per side for a medium rare burger. 
  6. Toast the bun for 1-2 minutes per side in a dry skillet.
  7. To build the burger, layer on the fried onions, add the burger, top with the bacon, sautéed spinach or kale and add the crumbled blue cheese and serve.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gluten Free Egg McMuffin

Egg McMuffin Gluten Free Copycat












When was the last time you had an actual Egg McMuffin? 

If you've been on a gluten free diet for any length of time I’m sure it’s been a while.  I used to love those little breakfast sandwiches.  They were so easy to grab and clocked it at only about 300 calories which for me was worth it for a pretty nutritious and delicious breakfast sandwich. 

And I was definitely missing my little breakfast buddy when I happened to stumble upon Glutino’s English muffins at my supermarket.  I was definitely daydreaming about the good old days.  Then when the kitchen gadget isle also happened to have those little silicone egg rings that I knew would make it easy to do the egg part the fate of this little endeavor was sealed. 

Sometimes recipes just happen to be inspired by what you stumble upon.

It was indeed high time to do an Egg McMuffin copycat. 

Gluten Free Egg McMuffin
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min
Servings: 1

Ingredients:
  • 1 gluten free English muffin (I used glutino)
  • 1 slice of yellow American cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 piece of Canadian bacon
  • butter (enough to fry the egg)


Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. Toast the English muffin for about a minute per side in a dry skillet then place one slice of cheese on the bottom half of the muffin.
  2. Heat the Canadian bacon in a skillet for about two minutes per side or until it has a little color on each side. 
  3. Place a silicone egg ring into a cast iron or nonstick skillet heated to medium then melt a small pat of butter in the ring and add the egg, break the yolk, cover with a lid and cook for a minute. Then to keep the bottom from getting too overdone, lift the lid, splash in about a tablespoon of water around the outside of the ring and let the egg steam under the lid for another minute and it’s done
  4. Add the egg to the sandwich on top of the cheese then add the Canadian bacon before adding the top of the English muffin then serve while still warm.    

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