Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

Making ice cream at home doesn't have to be complicated.  Even if you don't own an ice cream machine, you can still make premium ice cream using just a few simple ingredients.  This recipe rivals anything you can buy at the store.  

Actually, I don't even think you can buy this flavor.

Smooth creamy Oreo cheesecake ice cream is decadence indeed.  I just wish Nabisco would make real gluten free Oreos so that the gluten free community wouldn't be forced to use the knock-off brands.  If you feel the same way, please scroll past the recipe and see how you can help me out by signing my online petition.  

Is it too much to ask that Nabisco create real gluten free Oreos? 

Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream
Prep time: 10 min
Chill time: 8 hrs
Servings: (18) ½ cup servings

  • 8 oz cream cheese, very well softened
  • (1)14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 15 gluten free Oreo style cookies, chopped

Video Tutorial

  1. Chill your mixing bowl and beater to use when you are whipping the cream. 
  2. In another bowl, beat together the well softened cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until well combined and set it aside. 
  3. Whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. 
  4. Using a whisk, mix ¼ of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture very well to lighten the entire mixture before starting the folding process.
  5. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until almost combined then gently fold in the Oreo pieces. 
  6. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container with a lid.
  7. Freeze it for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Gluten Free Oreo Review

Earlier this week, over at my YouTube channel I uploaded a gluten free Oreo review.  If you missed it you can check it out below. 

If you share my sentiment that Nabisco should make real gluten free Oreos, please click HERE to sign the online petition I started asking them to do just that.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

If you've been looking for a decadently rich flourless chocolate cake to add to your repertoire, this chocolate almond cake is simply the best there is.  It is by far the most heavenly thing I've eaten all year. 

Almond flour and cocoa combined with butter, eggs and melted chocolate make a cake that is decadently dense and moist while still feeling light because of the fine crumb in the finished cake.  Almond spiked chocolate ganache crowns this masterpiece catapulting this one to new heights of luxury.   

And if you want your cake to look as spectacular as it tastes, be sure to check out my video tutorial below for decorating tips.

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake
Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 50-55 min
Servings: 12 Slices

Ingredients for the Cake      
  • 2 cups ground almonds  
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6 eggs 
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ - ½ tsp almond extract (depending on how strong you want the almond flavor)
  • 2 tbsp strong black coffee
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick chopped)
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup of sliced almonds (for the border)

Ingredients for the Ganache
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate 
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp of almond extract

Ingredients for the Writing Glaze
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Video Tutorial

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (or 163 °C) and spray a 9 inch nonstick cake pan with cooking spray then add a circle of parchment to the bottom of the pan and spray it again.
  2. For the batter, sift together the almond flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, almond extract and coffee until the egg mixture is completely smooth and starts to get a little lighter in color and set aside. 
  4. In a microwave safe bowl combine the semisweet chocolate and butter then microwave at 80% power, in 30 second increments, stirring after each session until you've got them both melted nicely and well combined. 
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into egg mixture and whisk until well combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until well combine being sure to scrape down  the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go.  
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan then tap the pan a few times on the table to level  out the batter.  Bake it for 50- 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.   (I baked it 52 minutes)
  8. Allow the cake to rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes then loosen the edges all the way around with a paring knife. 
  9. Place a cake plate or serving dish on top of the pan and invert the cake.  Peel off the parchment and let it cool for at least a half hour before topping.
  10. To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl combine the semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, and almond extract then microwave it at 80% power in 30 second increments stirring after each session until you've got a smooth glossy ganache. 
  11. Let the ganache cool for a few minutes then pour it in the center of the cooled cake.  Slowly rotate the cake letting the ganache get just to the edges at first, then begin to let it run over the edges a little all the way around.  Once it looks pretty even along the whole perimeter clean up the edges of the cake plate with a damp paper towel.
  12. To decorate the cake sprinkle about a 2 inch border of sliced almonds around the edge. 
  13. To decorate it further you’ll need to make the writing glaze by stirring together about ¾ of confectioner’s sugar with about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream until you have a pretty thick smooth glaze.
  14. Load it into a piping bag and snip off a tiny corner. 
  15. To draw on the almond blossom I started by going around the edge of the almond border 2-3 times for a look similar to a grape vine wreath.  With each pass around the cake you can compensate if the initial circle was off a little bit. 
  16. To draw on the five petaled, almond blossom I started slightly off to one side, picked a center point for the blossom then drew in the five petals with the first 2 petals running straight off into the border.
  17. Next I tried to define the center of the blossom a little with the five tiny pointed things characteristic of an almond blossom (one coming in between each petal) and I added a little more glaze to the center to help define it more.  To help balance out the design I added a small bud off to one side and a row of dots along the other edge.  (be sure to check out the video tutorial)
  18. Chill the cake for a few hours to set the ganache and serve.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Caprese Pasta Salad

Gluten Free Caprese Pasta Salad

Just wait until you see how delicious this gluten free Caprese pasta salad is.  Gluten free pastas have certainly come a long way.  There are so many good ones on the market now.  Most of them are pretty tasty at least in warm dishes.  Cold pasta is another story.  Many gluten free pastas still have a tendency to get hard after being refrigerated. This fact is not very conducive to making a good pasta salad.

Barilla gluten free pasta is different.  It doesn’t get hard the way most of the other pastas do. I don’t know why it's different since I don't work for the company.  Who knows what their trade secrets might be but I do know that the pasta is good.

When I first discovered that my leftover refrigerated gluten free barilla had a much nicer texture than what I was used to, I thought … This might just work in a pasta salad. 

And so the Caprese pasta salad was born.  You know it's summertime when the flavors of sweet fresh basil, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and succulent fresh mozzarella dance together on your fork.  

You can't beat the classics.   

What a winning combination.  

I’ll be making this one a lot.  

Caprese Pasta Salad
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Servings: 8-10

  • 12 oz pkg. Barilla gluten free rotini
  • ½ cup olive oil divided (¼c & ¼c)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1lb fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 jar of pitted gaeta or Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup fresh basil sliced into ribbons
  • 3-4 spring onions chopped
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain and add to a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil, then add some salt and pepper and using a micro-plane, grate in about ½ a clove of garlic then mix it all together to coat the pasta and set it aside. 
  3. Add the grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, scallions, olives, oregano, the other ¼ cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix it all together until everything is well combined then after checking to see if it needs additional seasonings, either serve immediately at room temperature or chill it for a few hours to allow all the flavors to marry and serve.    

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Black bean and avocado salad might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re dreaming up your summer side dishes.   For me it’s always pasta or potato salad that first pops into my head for a picnic or barbecue.  But when I saw my friend Karen over at the FoodJazz  channel create this delicious looking black bean and avocado salad with a cilantro lime dressing, I was intrigued.

Unfortunately I was also out of many of the ingredients she used.  Likewise I’ve reinvented her salad with a few simple pantry ingredients.  The result is a creamy spicy salad that’s off the beaten path. 

Let’s just say that mine never made it to the picnic.  Did I mention what a fantastic lunch this salad makes as the main course?  If you have time, you gotta check out the short video for Karen’s salad HERE.

Black Bean Avocado Salad
Prep time: 5 min
Servings: 4

  • 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium avocado
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Dice the avocado and toss it with the lemon juice to keep it from turning dark then add the black beans.
  2. For the dressing stir together the sour cream, salsa and spring onions then add it to the other ingredients.
  3. Stir to combine then transfer to a serving dish and garnish with a few more green onions a little paprika or cayenne.  

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