Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ruby Red Peach Reduction

So we got married. It was fantastic, and everything I thought it'd be. Oddly, I feel the same, and I love it. He's my husband, and I'm his wife. It's simple, and right. I don't feel like writing any more on it quite yet, so maybe later? 

We also just drove along the entire coast of California, from LA where saw the beautificous L and stayed with T's lovely aunt P and her wonderful husband V, they were such wonderful hosts. I left them with the Raspberry White Balsamic Fruit Tart, which I hope they enjoy. Going to LA made me realize how much I love it, it's such a diverse city, you've got everything there. It reminded me a little bit of Boston actually, except much more spread out, with WICKED awful traffic on the 405. 

Anyways, there is not an ugly spot up the coast of California, it's gorgeous...with tons of beach everywhere. My new husband and I had a picnic on a pretty secluded beach while our puppy got very excited about peeing on everything. 

Husband :-) 

Now on to the good stuff. I made a tasty gluten free dessert, without even meaning to make a gluten free dessert. Freaky, no? 
T's parents A and D got tasty Ruby Red peaches from their farmers market, and we had this awesome stuff called goats milk butter, so I figure hey, why not try mixing them?
If you haven't had goats milk butter, well, you're not alone, I had it for the first time last week, and it's great! It has a light, nutty flavor to it, kind of like goats milk, which if you also haven't had straight up, hit up your local Whole Foods and do it up, it's great! 
Anyways, this Ruby Red Peach Reduction as we decided to call it, is a wonderful topping for ice cream or soy ice cream. Even better, take a plain rice cake, top it with this, then add a dollop of creme fraishe or mascarpone and it'll make a wonderful dessert! Or just eat it plain...

...the opportunities are endless...enjoy!

Ruby Red Peach Reduction

1-2 fresh, sweet peaches, sliced
2.5 tbsp. goats milk butter
1.5 tbsp. brown sugar

**Really you can play around with the amount of stuff, adding more or less depending on how you like it** 

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, melt the butter. When it's melted and starting to bubble, add the brown sugar in and whisk it together. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 30-45 more seconds. Add in the peach slices, and cook for 1-1.5 min. Then turn off and leave in the pan for another minute. Serve hot!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chocolate Walnut Cookies (Gluten Free!)

As promised, here's what to do with the whites left over from the Raspberry White Balsamic Fruit Tart: make some gluten free cookies!
I have always been raised to not waste things.

Peeling Potatoes and carrots? Use the skins to make a tasty veggie broth! 
Really hungry? Don't load up your plate, go for seconds!
Spilled something? Use a napkin you can wash instead of throw away!
Have a banana that's about to go bad? Freeze it and make banana bread eventually! 

Part of it stems from the fact that my parents were immigrants and they literally came to this country with nothing. They worked their butts off, faced culture shock, racism, poverty, and more. So they have always had this mind set of don't waste. 

This isn't exclusive to immigrants of course. I would argue that my best friend is the same way. I think the mindset really comes from growing up and not always being able to get something when you want it, usually because you can't afford it. I appreciate that my parents have instilled in me the value of not wasting, and most importantly, how hard it is to earn and save a dollar. 

This is why I didn't have the heart to throw away those egg whites. 

So I decided, since I made a not-gluten free friendly dessert that was AMAZing, I would make a tasty gluten-free dessert for dear ol' Maa. 
Ergo, chocolate walnut cookies. These are...very chocolate-y. Seriously. You have almost no structural integrity when coming out of the oven, but they will after they cool. They're crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, and super easy to prepare. 

Feel free to vary it a little, add some oats, or dried tart cherries, or ohhh, even some almond extract (maybe 0.25 tsp?). Make them, your GF loved one will LOVE you, and non-GF friends won't even know there is no flour in it! 

Chocolate Walnut Cookies
modified from

3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips 
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (dutch processed)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites
0.25 tsp. salt
0.5 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven it 320 degrees. 

In a bowl or in a food processor, mix together the powdered sugar, the cocoa powder, and salt. Then stir in the chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts. Stir in the egg whites, and vanilla extract. 

It's wicked easy if you have a food processor to make this, but it's also quick in a bowl as well. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, scoop out cookies into 2 inch mounds, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Let them cool for 15 minutes out of the oven, and nom on them! 

Raspberry White Balsamic Fruit Tart

The wedding in is 6 days. Sometimes it's hard for me to feel excited about this, and I was scared this would be one of those things. It's not. I'm crazy excited for the wedding. I'm crazy excited to be tied to T- in a legal and love way. 

We have been through so much together over the past 4.6 years. Meeting in college, visiting parents, arguments, cape cod, friends, birthdays, love, happiness, sadness, anger, beauty, weirdness, and overall awesome-ness. I have learned so much, grown so much as a person, and have been very happy. 

I don't think it's going to be a perfect road in any way. I have my problems, T- has his problems, like anyone. But we fit each other well. 

And I'm happy. That's important.
Speaking of things that fit well together, Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar in fruit tart. It's surprisingly good. I got this recipe from, and it's amazing. I modified it a little bit, and I really liked it. 

You'd be surprised how easy and how good this is...I made it in 1.8 short hours. And also managed to make some gluten free chocolate cookies as well (recipe to come!) 

Don't be frightened away by the Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar requirement. You can make it with regular vinegar also, but in the italian food section of your grocery store, they'll probably have flavored balsamic vinegars. My regular grocery store had rosemary, raspberry, regular, sage, and a few others. Be adventurous! Try rosemary and tell me how it goes. Anyways, I got the this huge bottle for $4.99, so it's not too pricy :-) 

The tartness of the balsamic vinegar blends so well with the creaminess of the custard. Perfection is reached with the texture of the crumbly crust, and the sweetness of the fruit. It's really good. I made it for T-'s parents for this week before the wedding, and I'm reluctant to give it to him. I believe he will steal it out of my fridge though, therefore I must finish this post and guard my fridge...

Raspberry White Balsamic Fruit Tart
modified from
Pie Crust

1.25 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 cups (1 stick) of butter, chilled and cubed
0.75 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1 large egg yellow

Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar Filling

1.5 tbsp corn starch
4 egg yolks **Reserve the whites for some cookies I'll be posting later**
2 eggs
0.5 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
0.5 cup raspberry white balsamic vinegar
0.75 cup water
0.75 cup sugar
1 stick + 1 tbsp butter (little over 0.5 cup)
Fresh mixed berries for the top

First, turn on some music and have some fun baking. 

Now lets get to the real stuff, preheat oven for 375 degrees to bake the pie crust. In a food processor or a regular bowl if you don't have a food processor, mix together the flour, the salt, and sugar for the crust. Then mix in the butter, until it's tiny little lumps in the flour. Then mix in the vanilla extract, the yolk, and the whipping cream. When it's ready, it should start pulling away from the bowl, or food processor bowl. If it's too dry, add a little more whipping cream, and if it's too wet, then add flour. 

Press it into a tart tin or a pie tin, I did it in a pie tin, so it'll work either way. Then prick it all over with a fork. This is to prevent the formation of bubbles. Refrigerate it for a minimum of 20 minutes, and then toss it into the oven for 15 minutes, and it should turn golden brown. Pull it out and let it cool.

For the custard, whisk together the corn starch and the heavy whipping cream until there are no lumps (you don't want to do it too much otherwise the whipping cream will start to clump...forming well, whipping cream). Then add in the two eggs, mixing until they're just combined, then add in the 4 yolks. Add in the vanilla, then let it sit. 

While its sitting, in a medium saucepan heat the vinegar until its reduced from 0.5 cups to 0.25 cups approximately. Then add in the sugar, and water, and mix it together and allow it to come to a boil. Then pull it off the heat and let it sit for 1 minute off the heat. 

The slowly whisk in the vinegar mixture into the cream mixture. Make sure you add it slowly and you are whisking the whole time. This will prevent the eggs in the cream mixture from cooking. Mix it well, then run it through a sieve/strainer.

Straining it takes away any of the eggs that may have scrambled. Then allow it to sit for about an hour. 

When everything is cool, pour the custard into the pie crust, and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set up. Then top in a pretty pattern with fresh berries! Chill for 2 hours, then serve!

Friday, July 8, 2011

No-Bake Cheesecake (Gluten Free!)

Seriously. This is amazing. I usually don't eat my desserts, I give them away.

Um, I ate this one. All of it. Well, no, I shared it with my mom. Kind was so tasty. 

And oh my...the almond crust was so much better than any regular crust. 

I am really trying to do a low-gluten diet. Partially because I'm at home and mom's gluten free, but also because it's generally healthy from what I've read.
Yeah...we ate it before we remembered to take the picture

And now it's gone :-( I made this pie to take with us on a five-day trip. Yeah, it half gone before we left, then in two days it was gone. 

So I decided I must share this recipe with you--please please make this, you will NOT regret it. It's a great summer recipe, since its no-bake, and takes about 20 minutes to make. 

Side note--you can also make a tasty dessert if you just make the crust, put it out on a flat cookie sheet, let it sit for half an hour, and then cut it up into cubes! 

No-Bake Cheesecake with an Almond Crust
modified from

Almond Meal Crust

1.5 cups almond meal
2 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. melted butter

No-Bake Filling

8 oz. cream cheese
slightly less than 0.25 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (you can also flavor it with other extracts, hazelnut maybe)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl, mix together the almond meal, sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a pie pan. 

Then in another mixing bowl, mix together the vanilla, the sugar, and cream cheese. In a separate bowl, either by hand, or with a mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until there are soft peaks. Then fold it into cream cheese gently. Spread the whole mixture into crust, and cool it in the fridge for at least 3-6 hours, overnight is best. 

Then serve! Maybe with some cherry pie filling? Or even by itself is amazing :-) Enjoy! 

Besan (Indian Chickpea Curry, Gluten Free)

So the great thing about being home--amazing Indian food. There's nothing like what Mom makes. No Indian restaurant can compare...although that makes sense since most Indian restaurants are have north Indian cuisine. 

Actually it's really interesting--the different regions of India have lots of different types of cuisine. The ones represented in restaurants are usually north indian (Naan, Palak Paneer, Curries, etc) or south indian (Dosa, Idli, Masala Dosa, Sambar, etc.). I eat none of that at home usually. My family is Gujurati and Jain, so we eat only vegetarian food, usually consisting of RDBS...Roti, Dahl, Baat (Rice), Shak (vegetables). 

Today I had a really strong urge for Besan, it's a super quick, super easy chickpea dish that is actually quite healthy, and versatile. 

As vegetarians, we have to think about protein a lot, and this is a GREAT dish for that. Chickpeas have tons of protein in them and some carbs, so you can get a complete meal! 

Feel free to add in any veggies you want to as well...bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, corn, cilantro, and cooked potato cubes! 
Besan Flour-Water-Spices Mix
Oil in the pot with mustard seeds!
Cooked Besan! 
Indian Besan a la Maa
0.75 cup chickpea or Gram flour (Besan flour if you get it from an Indian store) 
3 cups water (the rule of thumb is 4x as much water as there is flour) 
0.25 tsp sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
0.75 tsp salt
0.25 tsp turmeric powder (Hulthur if you get it from an Indian store)
0.25 tsp Asafoetida powder (Hing if you get it from an Indian store)
0.75 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp canola oil
0.5 tsp mustard seeds
Any veggies you want, chopped 

In a bowl, whisk together the Besan flour and the water, make sure there are no clumps! Add in the salt, sugar, lemon, and turmeric powder. Add in the grated ginger after that, and let it sit for a minute or two. 

In a medium sized sauce pan, add in the oil and the mustard seeds over medium-high heat. When the mustard seeds starts popping, the oil is ready. Add in the Asafoetida powder, and then quickly add in the besan flour mixture. It will start to cook right away, so make sure you're stirring constantly for the first two minutes. After that it should start to slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl, so turn down the heat to medium-low. Add in the veggies you want, mix well. Cover for about a minute. Taste for seasoning, add whatever you think you need, and it should be done! 

Eat over a bed of brown rice! 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free!)

So we are on vacation. It’s wonderful. I love it. I love the air here, I love the rooms, I love that its nice and cool, I love that I have to wear a sweater and its summer, I love it.
I brought a tasty gluten free dessert with us, a cheesecake with an almond crust, but I underestimated how tasty it was…and its almost gone. Recipe for that soon to come.
So in our somewhat barren vacation kitchen, I was grappling with what to make that is gluten free, easy, and won’t make too much of a mess and my little eye spied a jar of peanut butter. 
And magically, an hour later I had 2.5 dozen tiny cookies. These cookies tasted awesome. I would not have guessed they were gluten free if I hadn’t made them. Oh yeah, and mom loved them :-)

Peanut Butter Cookies
modified from
1 cup peanut butter, creamy
0.75 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
0.25 tsp. salt
1 egg
Some sugar and cinnamon for rolling

Preheat 350F
Cream together the sugar, peanut butter, and salt. The mix in the baking powder and then the egg. Then we want to make little balls for the cookie. The smaller the balls, the better they’ll hold together. The mixture will be quite sticky, but more fun that way! 
Anyways, I used a melon baller to make tiny cookies. Then I rolled them in cinnamon sugar. Put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper, bake for 10 minutes. Right when they come out of the oven, use a times of a fork to make the peanut-butter cookie indentations.