Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gluten Free Moroccan Vegetable Stew (Vegan)

Finally, a recipe that will satisfy my adventurous foodie friends as well my veggie/vegan, hemp-wearing, protest-of-the-week, if-it's-not-on-NPR-I-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about friends! Woohoo!

Additionally, I thought I'd throw out another reminder that all measurements are approximate. I know that pretty much every professional chef will cringe when I say this, but I love the spontaneity of just throwing in spices and seeing what comes out (also, I'm kind of lazy when it comes to cooking and measuring stuff would just mean more things to clean).

1 bag frozen white rice
1 can chickpeas, water drained out
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup veggie broth (or chicken broth if you're not into the whole vegan thing)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (your choice of color-I like orange and red, personally)
2 big handfuls baby spinach (or more if you really like spinach)
1 container firm tofu, cubed
3/4 cup dried apricots, diced
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp crushed ginger
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (adjust to your level of spiciness)
1 handful fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pan to medium, add a teeny bit of oil, and lightly fry the almonds until fragrant.
Put the almonds aside.
Saute the onions and peppers in the oil. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, broth, apricots and rice. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add all the spices and the almonds.
Simmer on low for 15 min or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Just before serving, mix in the honey, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gluten Free Honey-Infused Mascarpone Pot de Creme

I went to Baraka Cafe in Cambridge with my DH and some friends this past weekend. If you get the chance to go there, by all means DO. It's Algerian/Tunisian, with lovely authentic decor, in an intimate setting that is perfect for a date. And the food...OH. MA. GAWD. Soo good!

For dessert, we had the daily special: a honey-lavender infused mascarpone pot de creme that was simply amazing. It was lighter than regular cheesecake, with a wonderful creamy texture and a hint of honey flavor. This was truly unlike any cheesecake I've ever had, so I made it a challenge to try to recreate it as best I could. The result, while not an exact duplicate (I had no lavender), was probably about 85-90% of the way there. It is truly fabulous, and so easy to make!

1 8 oz tub mascarpone cheese
2 large egg + 1 egg white
1 8 oz container of honey flavor, Greek style yogurt (I got nonfat to keep it reasonably healthy)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp honey

Combine all the ingredients and pour into 6 slightly greased ramekins. Put the ramekins in a baking pan and fill with boiling water until the water level reaches about halfway up the side of the ramekin. Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes or until set. Run a knife around the circumference of each ramekin to loosen. Cool in the fridge until ready to serve.

The photo shows a pot de creme garnished with strawberry preserves and a sliced strawberry, but there are lots of options. Some suggestions:

poached figs or apricots
chocolate ganache
candied ginger
fresh mango
sweetened coconut milk and finely diced pineapple

Enjoy this delicious (and as far as desserts are concerned, relatively low-fat, low-cal) gluten free treat

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Cinnamon Rugelach

Happy belated Purim!
I was going to make hamentaschen, but then my friend Dena brought me some that she baked last night. They were awesome! So, I figured this was also fairly traditional. Perhaps my mom won't nag me as much now about my total lack of religious observance (I mean, as far as I'm concerned, most Jewish holidays basically amount to "they tried to kill us, they failed, let's eat", so making rugelach is kind of in line with that, right?)

1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 egg
1 brick cream cheese (I used lowfat Philadelphia)
1 stick butter
1 tbsp stevia (or sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 packet instant hot cocoa mix (no marshmallows!)
1/3 bag of very small chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life Foods)

Mix the flours, stevia and vanilla together in a food processor.
Divide the cream cheese brick in half, and cut one of the halves into 4-5 chunks.
Put the other half-brick aside.
Cut the butter into chunks. Add the cream cheese and butter to the food processor, pulse a couple of times, and then blitz the mixture until it looks like large lumps.

Take the mixture and form two medium-sized dough balls. Wrap the balls in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for about 2o minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining half brick of cream cheese, cinnamon and hot cocoa mix until thoroughly blended. Add the chocolate chips and thoroughly mix.

Take each dough ball out of the fridge and roll into a flat rectangle shape (or as close to a rectangle as you can get.) The dough should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Slather the filling (don't you just love the word slather?) onto the dough, leaving about an inch on each side, and carefully roll into a log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the two logs on a lined baking sheet, and brush them with an egg wash. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Wait until the logs are cool (or mostly cool) before slicing them into cookies.

Makes about a dozen rugelach.

Another filling variation is to use the preserves or jam of your choice. If you do this, I would thicken the jam with a little cornstarch, and go easy on the filling--otherwise it will have a tendency to ooze out while cooking, making it look more like rugel--uccch than rugelach.