Thursday, August 14, 2014

Show Stopping Gluten Free Strawberry Mascarpone Almond Cake, that's a mouthful

Gluten Free Strawberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Cream

I make a lot of gluten free desserts, but for the most part, I'm not a fan of the whole GF flours, rice is grainy, bean based ones that taste like beans, corn is something I avoid more than wheat. I'm just not happy with a lot of them, so looking back on the good old paleo diet days, I like the nut based ones, and although I have used hazelnut and cashew, I like almond the most. I can buy the meal from TJs, and it doesn't need lesser known additives to work. (Having said that I do use arrowroot for savory applications.)

Gluten Free Strawberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Cream

I know some people insist on almond flour instead of meal, but the truth is really difference is moisture, meal is larger and therefore more moist, instead of light and fluffy. I'm cool with more moist, I prefer my cakes on the coffee cake side over the spongy and in my opinion less flavorful.

Gluten Free Strawberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Cream

I like my interior strawberries chopped, it makes for easier slicing, just separate the berries into pretty and eh, and chop the eh.

Gluten Free Strawberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Cream


2 pints strawberries

2 cups almond meal
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites

16 oz. mascarpone
3 cups cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Sliced almonds for decoration

Draw three different eight inch circles on parchment paper. Turn paper upside down. Cut to fit onto trays. Spray top with a little oil spray.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, slowly add in vanilla and 3 tbsp sugar. Continue whipping until stiff but not dry peaks form.

Mix together remaining sugar and almond extract.

Carefully fold in almond mixture. Try and keep as much body as possible.

Place 1/3 of the mixture on each circle. Spread towards the edges.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until mostly firm and slightly browned. My slow oven took close to 40 minutes.

Cool cakes.

Make cream.

Combine cream, mascarpone, cream, vanilla, and sugar. Whip a little and taste to see if you need more cream, I tend to like my creams less sweet.

Whip until stiff, this cream needs to hold up a lot of cake.

Separate strawberries by half into pretty and less pretty. I like to save the smaller ones.  Chop up the less pretty and slice most of the pretty.

Start layering cake with cake,

Then a little cream.

Fill center with half of chopped strawberries.  Leave a little cream rim on the edge.

Top with more cake.

More cream.

Then the rest of the chopped berries.

The last cake layer. Cream the top and sides.

Top cake with strawberries in an amusing pattern.

Cover sides with almond slices.


Monday, July 14, 2014

The best kind of Pasta Salad: Roasted Veg and Feta Penne Salad, For people who find pasta salads bland

Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Pasta Salad

I don't like most pasta salads, for such a delicious food, there are so many cold loveless cousins. One if the few exceptions is well frankly the old spinach orzo feta salad, the other is this that features roasted veg, more feta and pinenuts.

1 eggplant, 1 inch pieces
2 bell peppers, 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, large chop
olive oil

1 lb Pasta of choice, this is gluten free rice penne, but anything works

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup feta
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
chilli flakes

Turn oven onto 375
Line baking sheet with foil, top with eggplant, peppers, red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Pasta Salad

Roast for 30 minutes, or until edges are brown. Toss a couple of times while cooking.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli flakes for dressing.

Cook pasta according to package direction. After draining, pour dressing on hot pasta.

Add in roasted veg.

Top with scallions, broken up feta, and pine nuts.

Serve warm, room temp, cold, anything goes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

That last bit of Leftover Jam, Raspberry Limeade

Leftover Jam Raspberry limeade

No matter how much we scrape, that last bit of jam is almost impossible to get at. Which is fine most of the time, but some jam is expensive, or really great, or just home-made. That's what this was, a little bit of leftover raspberry jam I didn't want the drain to have.
I also dont make simple syrup, I know it's simple, but i've always just dissolved the sugar in the water, it takes a while, and doesn't always work perfectly, but I just can't be bother to cook sugar and water together. Annoys me, always seems to recrystallize. This recipe pleases the other kind of person as well, this is syrup. Only premade.

Leftover jam
Lime juice

So here's the jam

Here's the lime.

Juice them directly into the jam jar. Put on the lid and shake.

Add water to taste, it will depend on the sweetness and amount of jam of course. Toss in a couple ice cubes, and serve one. (I find trimming the straw prevents it falling out.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Icebox Chocolate Mosaic Cake, Pretty and Easy

Chocolate Mosaic Icebox Cake

I have been looking for this recipe for years, literally. Problem was the name I had for it didn't match anything out there in English. Turns out it's originally made more by Turks than Greek often under a completely different name.
Chocolate Mosaic Icebox Cake

I have a particular love of refrigerator cakes, but this like many others involves some raw egg. Which is rather taboo in the US, If you're a little worried, buy pasteurised eggs. If you're really worried, try subbing out some canned concentrated milk instead, and of course don't add additional sugar.


1 packet buttery cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 tbsp cocoa
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp orange juice (or orange liquor of choice)

The cookies should be like Petit Beurres, but something similar works, like what I used.

Break them up a bit, you will be making smallish slices so nothing big will be served, and nothing is worse than lots of little crumbs.

Mix eggs and sugar together until light in color.

Add in butter, cocoa, and orange juice.

Add in cookies, mix by hand.

Pour into plastic wrapped lined dishes. Make sure the plastic wrap is long enough to wrap around the entire thing.

Push down to flatten bottom and make sure it's filled everywhere.

Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Unwrap the bottom. Place serving dish upside down on top. Holding mold and plate, flip.

Remove mold and plastic wrap.

Chocolate Mosaic Icebox Cake
Chocolate Mosaic Icebox Cake 

Trim the end to have the pretty side view.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This is not a French Omelettle: the wrong way to make a good Omelettes with Gruyère and chives

This is not a French Omelette with gruyere and cheese

For such a simple dish there are so many strong opinions when it comes to omelettes. Mine are in many opinions, very wrong.

Here's how

I barely beat my eggs, I want eggy flavor, not foamy flavor, foam'a place at breakfast is the coffee

I lighten my eggs not with milk or water, but egg whites. It improves the fluffiness with extra protein.

I cook my omelette on both sides. I personally like my whites cooked through, So be it, everyone is getting cooked.

I like a bit of color. If I'm cooking through, I might as well get the flavor of browning.

I serve folded over once. Ok so the three fold is probably more preference than anything else, but I like the even distribution of cheese the single fold seems to do better with.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Quick bites: Kidney beans with dill

Sometimes you want something warm and comforting and easy and quick, and once in a while not cheesy. This fits the bill, this started it's life as my mom's replacement for the Persian dish ghormeh sabzi, which is green stew with lots of herbs, some meat and kidneys, it's all about time and chopping. It doesn't have that sour/bitterness though, so it's really fair to call it a mock version.

Quick kidney beans with dill

You do have to like dill, quite a lot actually, but assuming you do, most the work comes from chopping an onion and opening a can,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Veggie Gratin using up what's hanging out at home

Vegetable Gratin with Eggplant, Zucchini, Potato, and Ricotta Sauce

So sometimes I'm a vegetarian, not always, I do like meat, for the most part, there exceptions, but sometimes the whole environmental impact of a meat based diet gets to me and I go off it. It's fine for the first few weeks, but eventually I'll start thinking about something meaty. Sometimes it means the end of vegetarianism, and sometimes it means creating a meat-free version. This was supposed to be meatless moussaka, but white sauce is actual work and ricotta based toppings are not, so, here we are, a great way of using up veggies. Sub out anything that does well precooked in oven.


1 eggplant, sliced thin
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
Olive oil

1 cup Tomato sauce
1/2 cup Shredded Gruyere cheese mix


1 cup ricotta
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup parmesan

Extra parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 400

Lay eggplant and zucchini out on a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, flip and cook for 10 more minutes.
Lay evenly in a baking pan.

Top with tomato sauce

Lay potatoes on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, flip over and cook ten more minutes, Lay on the Eggplant and zucchini. Reduce oven to 350.

Sprinkle with gruyere.

Mix together white sauce ingredients, spread on top of gruyere. Top with a little extra parm.

Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes or until nicely browned,