Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tiramisu (GF)


Tiramisu (GF)
(9-12 servings)


Ingredients:

1 cup Heavy Cream, chilled
1 pkg. (8-ounce) Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 tub (8-ounce) Mascarpone, room temperature
¾ cup Powdered Sugar
½ cup Very Strong Brewed Coffee
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
18 (GF) Pecan Shortbread Cookies
2 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa
¼ cup Chocolate for Garnish, grated

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer about 4 minutes or until it holds shape and soft peaks form.  In a large bowl using the same beaters, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone and powdered sugar together until well combined.  With a spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.  Then carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream.  In a shallow bowl, combine coffee and vanilla.  Quickly and lightly dip the underside of the cookie in the mixture.  Do not saturate or cookies will fall apart.  Arrange cookies as you dip them into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been sprayed.  Use 9 cookies for bottom.  Then spoon half the cheese mixture over the cookies, smoothing with a wet spatula.  Repeat the process with the remaining cookies and cheese mixture.  Place cocoa in a fine-mesh sieve and gently dust over the cheese mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or better yet overnight.  Cut 3x3 or 3x4 and garnish each piece as you serve it with the grated chocolate.

Note:               The cookies used in this recipe are from “Pamela’s Products” at www.pamelasproducts.com

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cheesecake (GF)


 Cheesecake (GF)
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups GF Graham Crackers
2 tbsp. Sugar
4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted

Filling:

3 pkg. (8-ounce) Cream Cheese, room temperature
1½ cups Sour Cream, room temperature
¾ cup Sugar
5 large Fresh Eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.  In a food processor, combine graham crackers, sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined and finely ground.  Add butter and pulse a few times.  Remove blade and carefully stir mixture making sure butter is incorporated.  Turn mixture into prepared pan and press, using bottom of a glass, until smoothly and evenly pressed across the bottom and slightly up the sides of pan.  Crust should be solid.  Refrigerate crust for 15 minutes or up to 2 days.  When ready, place pan on a baking sheet and put in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  Cool slightly before adding filling.  To make filling, place cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in a large bowl.  Beat with stand or hand mixer until combined and smooth.  Crack eggs into a small bowl and add one at a time to cheese mixture.  Fully incorporate each egg before for adding the next.  Finally, add vanilla and beat for one minute, making sure mixture is smooth.  Pour filling into crust prepared pan still on a baking sheet taking care not to disturb crust.  Gently shake pan to settle filling and place in a pre-heated 300-degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly jiggly.  Turn oven off and slightly open oven door for a few seconds.  Close door and let cake sit in oven for 45 minutes more.  Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool completely before chilling.  If top begins to show signs of cracking, carefully run an offset spatula around the edge to loosen the cake.  Refrigerate at least 4-5 hours or better yet overnight.  To serve, loosen cake edges with an offset spatula and remove the collar.  Do the same to loosen bottom of pan from the crust.  Slide cake onto a serving platter.  Top with a fruit topping if desired and slice into 8 portions.

Note:               You can vary the crust flavor by using GF chocolate cookies instead of graham crackers.  If you do this, add 1 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa to them.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gluten-Free Desserts

This week I have a couple of classic desserts made Gluten-Free.  I’m not going to write a lot this week about GF desserts.  But I know at this time of the year, there are many special events that come up and people wish to have some fancier desserts available for guests with gluten-free issues.

So I picked two for this week that I think will meet the need.

Wednesday’s “Cheesecake (GF)” is just a classic baked cheesecake.  This time of the year, you can top it with a variety of fresh berries.  Or you could just use canned pie filling or frozen fruit of choice.

You could even leave it plain and just top it with whipped cream.

An Italian classic, “Tiramisu (GF)” is Thursday’s recipe.  It calls for using pecan shortbread cookies, but you could use another type of gluten-free cookie instead.  If you have a favorite, why not use it.

The hardest part of making GF desserts is usually the crust.  In 4 weeks, I will have a couple of recipes for different gluten-free crusts for you to test.

In the meantime, “Happy Cooking” and see you next week.  Don’t forget to share the link here for family, friends and co-workers.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cherry Berry-Berry Pie


Cherry Berry-Berry Pie
(6-8 servings)


Ingredients:

1 9-inch Unbacked Pie Crust
1½ cups Sugar, divided
¼ cup Cornstarch
4½ cups Unsweetened Pitted Tart Red Cherries
¾ cup Fresh Raspberries
¾ cup Fresh Blueberries
½ tsp. Lemon Zest
1 tsp. Lemon Fresh Juice
½ tsp. Almond Extract
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/8 tsp. Salt
¼ cup Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Directions:

Line a 9-inch pie pan with the crust.  Just trim any overhang to 1-inch, fold under and flute edges.  Place this in the freezer while you make the filling.  In a large saucepan, stir together 1 cup of sugar and the cornstarch.  Add the cherries and toss to coat.  Then cook over medium-heat until bubbly.  Now add the raspberries and blueberries and continue cooking until thickened and bubbly.  Cook a minute more and remove from heat.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and almond extract.  Set aside.  Prepare topping by using a medium bowl and stirring together flour, brown sugar, remaining ½ cup of sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.  Transfer cherry mixture to pastry lined pie pan.  Sprinkle the topping mixture over it.  Cover the pie crust edges with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Place the pie in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes and then remove foil.  Continue in oven for another 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crumb topping is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 2-hours before serving.

Note:               You can use frozen raspberries and blueberries for this pie.  Just thaw and drain before adding to cherry mixture.  The cherries can be fresh, canned or frozen too.  Again, just thaw an d drain before use.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rhubarb Meringue Pie


Rhubarb Meringue Pie
(6-8 servings)


Ingredients:

Crust:

¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Sugar
¼ cup Shortening
1 tbsp. Beaten Egg
¼ tsp. White Vinegar
3-4½ tsp. Cold Water

Filling:

3 cups Fresh Rhubarb, chopped
1 cup Sugar
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
pinch Salt
3 Egg Yolks
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Meringue:

4 tsp. plus 1/3 cup Sugar, divided
2 tsp. Cornstarch
1/3 cup Water
3 Egg Whites
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.  Cut in shortening until crumbly.  Combine egg and vinegar together and sprinkle over crumb mixture.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to fit a 9-inch pie pan.  Trim to a ½ inch beyond edge and flute edges.  Place rhubarb evenly in the crust.  Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks and cream.  Pour this mixture over the rhubarb.  Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  In a small saucepan, combine 4 tsp. sugar and cornstarch.  Gradually stir in water and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened and then cool to room temperature.  In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Add cornstarch mixture and beat on high until soft peaks form.  Spread evenly over hot filling sealing edges to crust.  Return to oven for 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 1-hour and serve.  Store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately or you have leftovers.

Note:               You can use frozen rhubarb in place of fresh.  Measure out  while frozen and then thaw, drain in a colander, not pressing liquid out.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Time for Pie

I believe everyone likes “Pie” but have their own favorites.  Which helps give us all the varieties of pies there are in the world.  My top four are cherry, pecan, pumpkin and any pie with rhubarb in it.  Now I’ll eat many other favors of pie but there are some I would pass on.  What are your top four favorites?

Now eating pies and making pies are quite different.  But making pies doesn’t have to be that difficult for you.  The first thing that scares most away is making a “pie crust” from scratch.  That’s easy to get around these days.  There are plenty of good ready-made crusts today.  That’s both refrigerated and frozen crusts.  So don’t let that stop you from making pies.

But if you would like to make your own pie crust, it’s not that hard.  There are plenty of recipes out there online or in cookbooks for you to try.  And you can find a lot of variations, so one should fit your need.

One of the basic ingredients in a pie crust is the one that pulls it all together.  However, you even have to make a choice here.  Butter, shortening and lard are the three main binders.  Personally, I prefer the lard to the others with butter second.  But that’s a choice everyone has to make for themselves.

A couple of key factors to remember if you make your own crust. Form your dough into a disc shape before refrigerating and rolling out.  It helps in rolling out the dough. Always refrigerate the dough for an hour or two before rolling it out.  Always use a floured surface to roll it out.  Flour your rolling pin before starting.  Then roll out from the center of the disc to the edges.  Turn the dough a quarter turn each time you roll out from center.  When done rolling out, dust it with a little flour and wrap around your rolling pin or fold in half to make transfer to the pie pan easier.  There will always be extra dough sticking over the sides of the pie pan when you lay it out.  Leave your self some for the crust edge but cut the rest away.  Find an edge or crimp you like for your pie crust and master it.  Not always, but many times a recipe will call for you to prick the crust with a fork.  These air holes help keep the crust from bubbling up on you.

I have several crust recipes in the tabs above.  So check them out or use another that you find and like.

It will be no surprise that the recipes this week include rhubarb and cherries.  Wednesday is “Rhubarb Meringue Pie” and then “Cherry Berry-Berry Pie” on Thursday.  Hope you like them and “Happy Cooking” until next week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara


Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

1 medium Spaghetti Squash
as needed Salt and Black Pepper
10 oz. thick-cut bacon, ½ inch dice
5 large Egg Yolks
1½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese plus

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Season squash with salt and pepper generously and place cut-side down on the parchment paper.  Place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.  Meanwhile, set a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon crisps (10-15 minutes).  Fill a medium pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer.  In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and Parmesan.  Mixture should be as thick as glue; add more cheese if needed.  Run the tines of a form through the cooked squash so flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands.  Carefully transfer strands to pan with bacon and gently stir to combine.  Transfer squash-bacon mixture to bowl with eggs and gently toss to combine, taking care to keep strands intact.  Set bowl over pot of simmering water and gently toss squash mixture until sauce thickens and coats strands (about 1 minute).  Season with salt and pepper, and add more cheese to taste.  Serve immediately.

Note:               You could add some red pepper flakes to give it a little heat, if you like.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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