Cooking

Gluten free = delicious

I'm not big on food hypes or random diets. But recently, after doing a little research, we decided to go "low gluten / gluten free" at home and the results have been great so far! (more energy, less stomach aches, no ulcers or hiccups...) One side effect of trying gluten free is learning to substitute snacks with alternatives. Pamela's baking mix has been awesome for this. The mix tastes amazing as cookies, pancakes, and waffles and will make a lovely pizza dough some night soon.

Tonight we gorged on delicious warm chocolate chip cookies (gluten free!), courtesy of Pamela's Baking Mix. Yum!

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: (Pamela's recipe)

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Mix ingredients and bake at 350 for approx. 15 minutes! Enjoy warm and gooey.

The Food Matters Project...

Member of The Food Matters Project

I love the blog-o-sphere.  Just joined up with The Food Matters Project and cannot wait to share and cook with some of the fabulous bloggers out there!

More from their website about the project:

"We hope to inspire, educate, and encourage as we cook our way through Mark Bittman’s book together. From vegans to pescetarians to those who love indulging in the semi-occasional (or frequent!) burger and fries, everyone is welcome to join!"

The entire concept was developed by other food bloggers and is based on Mark Bittman's idea of eating less processed foods and more healthy veggies and fruits to make ourselves healthier but to also have a positive impact on the world around us.  Dirty hippies rejoice!

 

 

DC flamenco festival + Picasso's Drawings

I can't wait for DC Flamenco week!  It looks like such an awesome event full of beautiful dancing and Spanish food.

And, at the National Gallery, there is an exhibition of Picasso's Drawings!  What a fun little Spanish day of adventure this could be!

Now all I can think about is sitting outside at a cafe drinking a cafecito and people watching.

Happy Monday.

M

 

 

Havana Road in Towson, MD

New restaurant alert! Havana Road in Towson is authentic, delicious and has sparkly twinkle lights wrapped in the rafters. Plus, everything there feels very like "home". In college I was able to study in Cuba for a couple of weeks and the trip to Havana Road brought back memories of dining in Havana's popular "paladares": restaurants literally run out of people's homes where you dine in their kitchen on the best croquetas, ropa vieja, picadillo, and mojo that you will ever eat!

See more about Towson's new "tesoro" here

Oh and another awesome thing about Havana Road....they have great recipes on their website for traditional Cuban dishes! Mi esposo cubano seria un hombre feliz :) croquetas de jamón

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Val's Masala Chai...

My friend Valerie brought homemade Chai tea to a little get together once and it was to-die-for! Recently, I got ahold of the recipe and cannot wait to try it out on one of these frigid January days.

Masala Chai Recipe: (serves 2)

1 1/2 c. water 1 inch cinnamon stick 8 cardamom pods 8 whole cloves 2/3 c. milk 6 teaspoons sugar 3 teaspoons loose black tea 1 inch +/-  fresh ginger (grated or sliced) (this is her secret addition, extra spice!)

Put 1 1/2 c. of water in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to a low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again. Throw in the tea leaves, cover and turn off the heat. After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Mac's Landing Cafe in Brooklyn...

Last weekend on a trip to visit friends in Brooklyn, NYC, we stumbled (thanks to Groupon) upon Mac's Landing in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood. It's a hidden treasure off the beaten path that is definitely worth seeing!

Reasons to love Mac's:

1. Amazing, fresh brunch dishes. I had a Mexican Omelet full of fresh veggies and chorizo...yum!

2. Delicious and creative hot drinks and a huge selection! I had a beautiful latte with the right pinch of cocoa on top...heaven.

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PS- There are crayons at every table. It was basically love at first sight!

3. Quirky, creative environment with a non-pretentious cafe vibe. And great music. And a lovely waitress / barrista. And nice patrons. And a picnic bench out front for a sunny day.

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4. A penny tiled threshold. I made a wish :)

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Their location: 305 Halsey St (between Tompkins Ave & Throop Ave) Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, NY 11216

Find out more on Facebook. Mac's Landing Cafe

Breast Cancer Awareness at Etsy

Yowzers thats a lot of Eggplant!

Tonight's mission: Figure out what to do with all of the eggplant in my fridge before its too late.

Recipe #1: Grilled Eggplant slices (for atop salads or sandwiches) (courtesy of Giada, love you girl!) 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch wide slices
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the olive oil over the slices of eggplant and toss to coat. Grill the eggplants until tender and grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the eggplants side-by-side on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, goat cheese, basil, and mint. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

 

Recipe #2: Baba ganoush (without tahini, no time for a trip to the supermarket!)

(courtesy of http://vegetarian.about.com/od/saucesdipsspreads/r/fatfreeganoush.htm)

This baba ganoush (eggplant dip) recipe has no oil and no tahini, making it a fat-free vegetarian and vegan appetizer or dip that you can enjoy any time! I like to spread a little baba ganoush on a flour tortilla with some lettuce and veggies for a quick and healthy low-fat vegetarian sandwich wrap.
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 cloves minced garlic, preferably roasted
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice eggplants in half and pierce with a fork in several places. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out inside of eggplant, leaving skin behind.

In a blender or food processor, process eggplant with remaining ingredients until smooth.

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip cookies...

Ina Garten, I heart you!  The other day something sweet needed to happen in our house so I googled this little number....and ohhh myyyy gosshhhh!!  These chocolate white chocolate chip cookies are AMAZING!

Recipe

(courtesy of foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup good unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds good white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well. Add the cocoa and mix again. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the chocolate with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Fold in the chopped white chocolate.
  3. Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, using a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly. Bake for exactly 15 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Still waiting...and making heavenly brownies!

Seriously people, you HAVE to try this recipe.  It is ridiculous. On the cooking and baking blog "Not Without Salt", I stumbled upon Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting and nearly died and went to heaven.  So, what better time than yesterday (yes, 40 weeks + 4 days preggo) to try it out in the kitchen.  THEY ARE DIVINE in an incredibly chocolatey-peanutbuttery way.  WOWzers!

Here is the link to her blog and the amazing recipe:

http://notwithoutsalt.com/2011/05/03/cocoa-brownie-with-salted-peanut-butter-frosting/#more-2530

 

Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting:

Makes approx. 16 brownies *you have to cut them into small bites, they are RICH!

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Prepare an 8 inch square pan - line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Spray the foil or parchment with pan spray.

Preheat your oven to 325.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a heat-proof bowl and place over a large pot of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should rest in the pot but not touch the water.  Stir occasionally. When the butter is just about melted, remove the bowl and let the residual heat continue to melt the butter. Stir until smooth. Carefully touch the cocoa mixture. It should feel warm, not hot. If hot, wait until warm to add the eggs.

Once the cocoa mixture is warm you can stir in the eggs, one at a time. Wait until each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next. Stir in the vanilla. Once the mixture looks cohesive and shiny stir in the flour.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes up with a few moist crumbs. This will take about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Once cool, frost with peanut butter frosting.

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Peanut Butter Frosting:

6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened butter

¾ cup peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

pinch of sea salt