Showing posts with label dairy free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dairy free. Show all posts

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Truffles in an HOUR. No excuses...

truffles should be considered a luxury item...


not anymore
not in this house.
i whipped these up in about an hour.

now i'm in big trouble !
we have a permanent container of truffles in the fridge.

cute little truffle blocks...

who says truffles need to be round ?

they might look like a simple square of chocolate, but it's actually smooth creamy dark chocolate ganache flavored with a hint of cinnamon, a punch of espresso and a warm smoky kick from adobo and chipotle.

NOTE...these flavors are my signature "go-to".  everybody LOVES these.  BUT this recipe will work with many flavor combinations.  i will be experimenting more with the "truffles in an hour" so stay tuned for more flavors and shapes.

Dark Chocolate Truffles in about an HOUR...
i have done this recipe in an hour, but the first time might take an hour 20 minutes
dairy free with coconut milk, but can use heavy cream.
makes about 24 squares/rectangles


9.7 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped very fine
Guittard 61% coverture discs work best for me)
3/4 tsp cinnamon (sprinkle over chocolate)
put this in a glass bowl and set aside.  put a kitchen towel around the bottom of the bowl to keep the chocolate nice and cozy when you are ready.

line a small square or rectangular pan, dish or  tupperware with heavy saran or aluminum foil.  i use an 8 x 5 inch plastic container.   if you lightly spray the container with oil the saran will  cling to the sides and  it makes removal much easier.

1 cup full fat coconut milk's easier to heat a full cup of milk and measure out what you need.  that's why i put 1 cup in the recipe amount.
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of chipotle in adobo(canned)...use 1 minced small chipotle pepper with the seeds removed before chopping and adobo sauce to make the 1 1/2 TBSP.
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste.
1/2 tsp espresso powder

slowly bring the milk mixture to a soft boil.  remove from heat and strain out 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp.  add this straight away into and over the chocolate.

very gently use a fork or skewer to disperse the hot milk into the chocolate.  do not stir at this point.  just gently prod around to remove any pockets of chocolate that might be stuck together or the bottom of the bowl.  let sit for a minute.  now begin to stir from the middle.  the ganache should start to come together from the middle.  start to incorporate the whole thing.  do not stir vigorously "YET" (see note #2 below).  just gently stir around and through until combined.  when it looks like all the chocolate lumps have melted you can break out the whisk.  the whisk is OK for truffles, not straight "pourable glossy ganache" that you would use on a cake.  do this by hand, not a stand mixer.  whisk until fully emulsified.  the ganache will thicken ever so slightly.  pour into prepared dish/tupperware.  tap the container on the counter a few times to even it all out.  put this in the fridge and it should be ready in about 25-35 minutes.

above is an example using tin foil in an 8" x  5" tupperware...i now prefer using heavy saran.  also, this looks grainy on top because i sprinkled this batch with flaked sea salt before it was almost set.

the whole block should lift out of the container.  remove the saran or aluminum and cut into squares or desired shape.  you might want to clean the knife between slices.  have a small bowl of cocoa powder and coat all sides.....DONE
these are room temperature stable, but should be stored in the refrigerator. not fret if there are a few teeny tiny pieces of chocolate that did not melt.  you can strain these out (more to clean up) or leave them alone.  my chef friend Lauren, who studied chocolates, says it is better to have a few tiny lumps than risk breaking the ganache.

IMPORTANT NOTE #2...sometimes when i use coconut milk  with Valrhona or Scharffenberger, my ganache "breaks"...this means it is not absolutely smooth and glossy after it is combined and will result in a grainy truffle DO NOT want this.  i can now recognise it right away.  i believe this means the two fats did not make friends in the heating/melting process.  give it a little more whisking if you notice it before pouring.   if you don't notice it until after it has set, don't worry...they will no longer be "truffles in an hour", BUT......just cut block into small squares and reheat over a double boiler until melted...then whisk until fully emulsified and pour into another prepared lined dish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pandan Honeycomb Cake. A Vietnamese treat..Banh Bo Nuong

Pandan Honeycomb cake

i had no intention, but...
 this has Holiday Springtime written all over it.

is this cool?...or what?!

this is a might say..."unique cake".
a little difficult to make, but totally out of the ordinary, interesting and fun.  something different to amaze your foodie friends for the holiday parties.
straight out of the oven it looks like a normal cake with a lovely crisp outer shell, but when you cut into it the bright green is a shocker and the honeycomb is fascinating.  the tapioca flour gives it a slightly chewy texture and the pandan smells of fresh baked vanilla...or something from the vanilla family.
friends and family were amazed with the bright green, the different texture and the subtle flavor of pandan.   "what is pandan? and why is this so green?  but i like it!"
the green color is from the pandan extract.  it's found in quite a few Asian desserts. Green?...i suppose to imitate the color of the pandan leaves.  flavor?...i couldn't really tell you what the flavor of "pandan" is, but the cake tastes like it has vanilla in it...and low and behold?...i read HERE that it is sometimes referred to as the "Asian vanilla".
the honeycomb effect is created by using single acting baking powder...did you know there was such a thing?...or that it makes a difference?  this sounds elementary, but... single acting works once.  it activates only with the wet ingredients.  double acting works twice...once with the wet and again with the heat of baking.  don't quote me.  i'm not a chef or a scientist.  i'm just passing on information i came across.

i would just about call this one a success.  i DID have a horrible failure (lovely photo at the bottom) on the first attempt, but with perseverance i conquered the Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake.
well, at least it looks as though i did.  i know i could do better and i will try again.  as you can see it fell a little bit on the bottom,...

but when i sliced this puppy open? ...SHAZAMMM! 
i sure did get the honeycomb effect.  that's what i was looking for...


aka Banh Bo Nuong
many thanks to Pinkie Food blog with step by step photos

200ml thick coconut milk (1/2 can)
150g sugar
6 eggs
200g tapioca starch/flour
5-6 drops pandan extract/paste.  i used 1/2 tsp plus a few drops

preheat oven to 350F degrees
in a small sauce pan heat coconut milk, sugar and extract until the sugar dissolves.  set aside to cool completely
in a separate bowl, mix the tapioca starch and baking powder.
in another separate bowl, lightly beat the do not want bubbles or foam.  i have read in many other recipes you should beat just until they look mixed.  one tip is to keep your whisk touching the bottom of the bowl while gently mixing.
pour cooled coconut mixture into eggs and gently combine well.
***at this time put your greased/sprayed cooking vessel (bundt pan) into the oven to preheat***
gradually add the tapioca mixture to the egg/coconut mixture and quickly, but gently, beat until just dissolved/combined.  
NOTE...i have found that tapioca starch is a hard one to combine.  i sifted it in and quickly, but gently whisked until very few lumps were left.  then, when i strained the batter into the pan i pushed through the remaining lumps.
remove hot baking pan from the oven.  strain batter through sieve into the hot baking pan and put in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  i let mine sit in the budnt pan for about 10-15 minutes...then turned it over.  i read that might help it from falling.  i was anxious and removed the cake from the pan after about 20-25 minutes with a little tap on the counter.  YAY, no sticking. 

in conclusion...there are so many different recipes and methods for this cake.  i have tried 2 so far and this one seems to work well.  i'll let you know if i find a new easy one.

but for now...i'm very pleased with this unique Vietnamese treat!

as you can see, i opted for the heavy Nordic Ware bundt pan.  this would be my suggestion for a first try.  i think i'll try the 9 inch cake pan next time with this same recipe.

above is my first encounter with Bahn Bo Nuong that i purchased in Little Saigon a few weeks ago.
i had never seen anything like it.  i was fascinated.  i did a little research and gave it a go...
the first try ? obvious failure....the middle was...let's just say...gummy bear-ish?  i am not a quitter, so i gave it another try.  HONEYCOMB !  YAY !

Friday, March 8, 2013

Country Pate with Gluten and Dairy Free Panade




one of the most satisfying foods i love/hate to make.  every time i make it, i curse at myself for the time and detail i go into and how i can make this one even better than the last one, BUT when it's time to unveil and i get that first perfect slice.  OR hear someone say, "did you really make this?"  oh, there's nothing like it....
pure satisfaction of the beautiful specimen set in front of me...and "I" made it.

i must say, when it comes right down to it, there is no exact your Mom's meatloaf probably doesn't have an exact recipe...she just knows how to throw it together and it always comes out right.  every pate is just a little bit different, but the general ingredients and instructions tend to stay the same.

for this pate i will give you my measurements that fit perfectly in a "Pullman's"loaf tin.  these measurements are not set in stone.  you can work them a little bit to suit your taste.  as for the size?  you want to properly fill one loaf tin and if you have a little left over? what.   make little patties and enjoy right away because you will be waiting for the pate for a few days.

fits in 9"x4"x4" pullman's loaf tin.

879g pork shoulder, cut into i-2 inch pieces (3 to 3.25 lb.)
232g ground pork (1/2lb.)
62g raw chicken liver trimmed (2 1/4 oz)
50g shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp quatre epices (recipe below)
1 lrg. tsp dried rosemary, crushed or chopped fine
approx 1/8-1/4 cup minced parsley

ADD-INS...5 cooked, sauteed chicken livers chopped into small pieces
1/3-1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2-3 oz of smoked ham steak cut into long thick slices

2 EGGS, slightly beaten

CAUL FAT or BACON SLICES for the exterior
i have done the bacon wrap many times and it makes for a great presentation, although the bacon does not crisp...just to let you know.  Bacon wrapped Pate shown HERE
BUT...this time i found "caul fat" and had so much fun.  it was a bit difficult hunting it down, but when i finally got to work with it i fell in love with it's weirdness.  i like the presentation and flavor better than the bacon...can you believe i just said "better than bacon"?

put the pork shoulder, the ground pork and the raw liver in a bowl.  take 2/3 and process it in a food processor until chunky.  remove from processor and put in the other 1/3 mixture.  process this a little more than the first batch.  mix the two batches of meat with the shallot, garlic, salt, quatre epices and dried rosemary.
saute your chicken livers and set aside.  when cool give them a little chop and set aside.
in separate bowl, mix together your gluten free panade.
now mix the panade into the meat.
add in the cooked chopped chicken liver and minced parsley.
now comes the IMPORTANT part...TASTE TEST.  cook a small amount in a skillet and check for seasoning.  pates need a little extra salt so if the test is "well" seasoned your good to go.

preheat the oven to 325F.  place a few bay leaves on the bottom of a slightly buttered loaf tin or pate mold of choice.  line the bottom and sides with caul fat or bacon slices or you can just use heavy plastic wrap.   make sure you have enough over-hang to cover the top.
note...put some water on the stove to heat for a bain marie.
pack the mixture into your desired vessel.  put the meat in, pressing down so there are no air pockets.  don't forget to put the long thin slices of ham and the pistachios intermittently throughout the pate mixture...don't over do it.  you just want it to be seen.  smooth the top and tap it on the counter to solidify and get rid of air pockets.  cover top with "over-hang" of caul fat, bacon or plastic wrap.  put a small piece of parchment on the top and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
place the pate loaf tin/dish into a larger heatproof baking dish and add enough hot water to come 1/2 way up the sides of the pate. put in preheated 325F oven for approx. 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until the pate reaches an internal temperature of 160F degrees.  juices should be clear.
remove from oven and water bath.  let rest for about 30 minutes, then place some weights on top.  i keep a tinfoil covered brick on hand or 2 heavy cans of something will work with a flat piece of aluminum covered cardboard to fit on top of the meat.  when it is room temp. place in fridge (with weights) overnight or another day is even better.  the weights can come off after a few hours when the pate is good and cold and set.

serve room temperature or chilled with baguette, cornichons and dijon.
OR my favorite...slice and sear in skillet to add to a burger, serve with a poached egg for a decadent brunch or make Pate Paninis with melted brie and sliced pear or apple...YUM !

1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chocolate Espresso Quinoa Pudding


just the kind of breakfast treat i'm looking for.  topped with some vanilla greek yogurt, a few fresh cherries and you have a healthy fun dessert for breakfast.  make on a sunday morning and enjoy the rest throughout the week for a quick, fun, guilt-free breakfast treat.

my mother always says, "try the recipe as written, then you can put your spin on it..."
well, i wasn't listening in this case...
i had a problem.
i was lucky.  i knew how to fix it.

needless to say...i ran in to a few minor complications, explained below, but i really like the idea of quinoa because it's full of fiber, it's a complete protein and a little out of the ordinary for breakfast let alone a chocolate breakfast.
i always like to add a touch of espresso when using chocolate in any form and try to add a little protein powder to any of my breakfast treats.  these are, of course, optional.
as far as sweeteners go?  i like Zsweet and Stevia "cup for cup", but real sugar will work just fine.


1 cup quinoa
3 cups chocolate almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup maple syrup, i used sugar free
3-4 Tbsp good unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds, optional
1 scoop chocolate protein powder, optional (check for gluten if need)
3/4 tsp espresso powder
1/4 cup Stevia "cup for cup" sweetener...more or less to taste
or sweetener of taste

Alyssa's instructions...
add quinoa, milk, espresso powder, sweetener of choice, protein powder and maple syrup to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  reduce to a simmer and stir in cocoa powder.  cover with lid 3/4 of the way, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes, until the water has almost entirely been absorbed.  remove from the heat, stir in chia seeds, if using and serve.

what i did...
i followed the instructions, but my quinoa wasn't cooked all the way...maybe because i added protein powder ?  so... i added a little more than 1/2 cup almond milk, and cooked it the rest of the way in a bain marie (water bath) in the oven like a custard.  approx. another 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  i covered the baking dish with aluminum foil, not the whole bain marie, just the pudding.
after going the extra mile... i had fully cooked quinoa pudding...

in conclusion...please refer to the original recipe if you are not sure about it.  i'm not so sure the quinoa would have cooked all the way with or without the protein powder, but Alyssa IS "The Quinoa Queen" so  i would trust her recipe and instructions in her post.

nutrition facts (approx.)
according to my recipe with 8 servings
calories...135, protein...7, carbs...18, fat...3.8, fiber...3

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Coconut Key Lime Dark Chocolate Truffles


the perfect gift for any occasion.

really...ANY occasion.

i just so happen to have "those occasions" every day.

these little gems turned out unexpectedly delicious.
i questioned myself for a week, just wondering if lime would pair well with the deep dark chocolate.   a key lime pie would be delicious with a chocolate crust so why not a Key Lime truffle with a hint of coconut to seal the deal.

Roasted Coconut Chips...
with Pierre, our house-broken TRUFFLE PIG

for the rolling i used these fabulous new Roasted Coconut Chips i found at Trader Joe's.  they are like potato chips, but made with coconut shavings.  they're slightly salted crisp large coconut shavings.  i just love how the cocoa powdered rolled balls resemble a chocolate little chocolate tiles placed one by one.

makes about 23-25

250g dark chocolate...Valrhona 61%
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut milk...full fat
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp...Key lime zest
3/4 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp granulated sugar

chop the chocolate into small, even as possible, bits and set aside in a heat resistant bowl.
heat the coconut milk to almost boiling with 1/2 of the lime zest.  stir so it heats evenly and doesn't burn on the bottom.  it should be slightly bubbling around the sides.
pour hot coconut milk over chocolate and let sit for a minute or so.  begin stirring from the middle outward.  you will see the ganache come together.  when it is all incorporated add the coconut extract and the rest of the lime zest.  you should have a nice smooth glossy bowl of ganache.  do a taste test...more zest?...a touch more extract?   now,  let this sit to room temperature.  then put in the fridge...UNCOVERED.  you don't want condensation.  when it is fully set you can roll into balls.  use thin rubber gloves.  i have found this makes it A LOT easier.
roll in coconut shreds, chopped shavings, plain cocoa powder or dip in tempered chocolate if you want to go that extra mile.  i find that for some truffles the extra coating of chocolate takes away from the delicate ganache flavorings.  the slightly salted coconut chips were a definite bonus for texture, appearance and most of all flavor.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coco Mocha Truffles...Dairy Free

the chocolate lover's truffle...
one of my most favorite
plain and simple, yet decadent and complex.

these are dairy free, yet know one will know.  the creamy coconut milk does not effect the simple, straight up dark chocolate flavor profile.
the espresso accentuates the deep fruity flavors of the chocolate while the ancho chili leaves you with just a slight warm kick on the back end...not too much, but not too little.  for this one i used Valrhona 61%.  although i haven't been able to fully explore the chocolate world yet, i intend to do A LOT of research.

i guess chocolate is my new obsession
hmmmm...not such a bad thing...

FYI...if you live in So. California and haven't been to  SURFAS Culinary District, i suggest you high-tail it over there.  i found myself mesmerized in the chocolate section for over an hour...stuck between the massive amount of Valrhona and Callebaut chocolates of all shapes, %'s and sizes.

makes about 21-24 truffles

8.9 oz good DARK chocolate...i used a Valrhona bar 8.82 oz or 250g
3/4 cup coconut milk...full fat from the can.
3/4 tsp espresso powder
1/2 Tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp ancho ground chili powder, more or less, but optional
good cocoa powder for rolling
or tempered chocolate for dipping

chop chocolate in small, small pieces.  no large chunks...add vanilla to chopped chocolates...set aside in heat resistant bowl.
heat coconut milk in a small sauce pan.  add espresso powder and chili powder, if using.  bring to an almost boil, stirring to keep even heating...bubbling around the sides is a good sign.
add milk mixture to chocolate and let sit for a minute or two.  begin stirring from the middle and you will see it come together.  when mixture is fully incorporated, let it come to room temperature.  put it in the fridge, UNCOVERED until it is fully set.
when ready to roll...put on some thin rubber gloves.  trust me, the gloves are a must.  this can get messy and you don't want the chocolates in your hot little hands for long.  roll a few, then roll in cocoa powder.  you can re-roll for a good round ball after the powder is on...then powder again for that matte powder finish.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

COCO ADOBO Truffles...dairy free


when it comes to truffles...
the most important element is getting it from hand to mouth.
once you're in...the smooth dark chocolate ganache should
overwhelm any minor exterior imperfections.

flavor and texture is what it's all about.


about these imperfect little truffles...
deep dark chocolate, a hint of cinnamon and a smoky kick from adobo sauce...
AND dairy free you say ?
yes...i've been experimenting with coconut milk as a substitute for the heavy cream with fabulous results.


it will not affect your flavor profile.  my taste tester friends did not notice the difference in taste or texture.  i will probably use coconut milk for most of my truffles from here on out.  there's always a can in the pantry and a block of good chocolate somewhere in the house.  i highly recommend you stock the same for some impromptu late night truffle making.

should make about 25-28 truffles

12 oz good dark chocolate
(for this one i used Scharffenberger)
1 cup of coconut milk...canned, full fat
3 Tbsp adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle chilis)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp aged balsamic...optional
good cocoa powder for rolling

chop chocolate into very small pieces, no large chunks.  put in heat resistant bowl...set aside
in a small sauce pan add the coconut milk, adobo sauce, espresso powder cinnamon, brown sugar and balsamic (if using).  stir and bring to an almost boil...slowly so it doesn't over boil.  should be bubbling around the sides.
pour milk mixture through a strainer into chocolate bowl.  let sit a minute or two.  slowly begin stirring from the middle and watch the mixture come together.  as it comes together gently stir so it is well incorporated.  do a taste test...sometimes i add just a little more cinnamon or hot spice at this time.  let this come to room temp, then refrigerate, UNCOVERED, until it is very firm.
make into balls wearing thin rubber gloves...mine were approx. 18-20 grams each and i think i got about 25-28 truffles...give or take what was eaten at the time of said rolling.

NOTE...these were a fabulous smooth and creamy mouth texture, but DO need to be refrigerated...they get a bit soft  if you want them a bit more room temp stable just add a little less coconut milk....or dip them in tempered chocolate.

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