Monday, January 15, 2018

Simple Sesame Cookies

As you can see, I like them a little toasty
I'm putting this recipe up here for my friend, Jen.
I took these to her the last time we visited, as an example of a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, cookie that was really, really, good, and when she liked them I promised her the recipe.

Sorry it took so long Jen!

These are basically a short bread cookie w/ nuts and seeds added

Simple Sesame Cookies

2 cups softened butter or margarine*
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour *
1 cup sesame seeds
2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 sliced or chopped almonds

Cream butter (or margarine) until light
Add sugar gradually
Beat until fluffy
Add flour, mix
Stir in sesame seeds, coconut and almonds

Roll dough into logs*
Freeze until very firm
Slice into ~1/4" cookies
Lay on unreleased cookie sheet (will spread a little)
Bake at 300 degrees ( or 280 degrees for convection oven) for 25-30 minutes

Take off pan while still warm to cool on rack or paper towl

These will crisp on cooling, shouldn't be allowed to brown (unless you like it a little extra toasty)

Notes and Modifications

* flour can be all purpose wheat, whole wheat pastry, or gluten free

My favorite gluten free flour for 1:1 replacement is Better Batter Flour.  It's nutritionally as bad as white flour but, for anything except yeast breads, it's hands down the best tasting best textured replacement.  So long as it's not an every day thing, I think it's safe not to worry about the lack of nutrition and fiber.

* My favorite butter replacement for cookies is Earth Balance margarine

*I like to shape the rolls so that when you cut them they are rectangles, but this batch was made by Fire Lord, and anything I didn't have to make myself is perfect just the way it is.

I haven't tried switching out the nuts and seeds, but I think it might be interesting to try to make pecan sandies using this recipe as a base

Monday, November 21, 2016

April's version of Deb's friend Stacy's Sweet Potato Casserole

That's how it goes doesn't it?  Sharing recipes is a little like sharing folk songs, things get changed as we pass them on.   My version is a little bigger than Deb's, and a little less sweet, but the idea is still the same.  Total deliciousness.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3.5-4 lbs canned yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter
4 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together and pour into ~9x13 pan


1/2 cup butter (cold)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 chopped pecans

mix or cut w/ pastry blender sprinkle on sweet potato mixture

Bake at 350 for ~ 50-60 minutes.

Top should be crispy, but not very browned.

Notes and Modifications:

You can half the recipe if you don't have many people to fill.  But think about it, because the leftovers make a pretty good breakfast. 

I've substituted coconut oil for half the butter and it was just as yummy.

We're gluten free here, so I used Better Batter Flour instead of wheat flour. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sometimes I just need a chocolate cake.  Especially if it's my birthday.

Since going gluten free I've discovered a flour I like (Better Batter) and I can make just about any regular recipe using that flour.

But, when you want a really rich decadent chocolate cake, a flourless chocolate cake can't be beat. 
So, here's a recipe I've been using for a couple of years, taken from the internet, but tweaked until it's just right for me.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Put in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until it's smooth and creamy:

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil if you're dairy free)

Meanwhile beat 3 eggs (sorry, this just can't be made egg free)
 beat into the eggs:
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Mix chocolate/butter mixture into egg mixture.

Line bottom of a small spring form pan, or small cake pan (~8" or less) with parchment paper
Pour cake batter into lined pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Let cool, use dull blade to detach edges of cake and pop it out of the pan.

 Notes and Modifications:

If I'm feelling a little guilty about all this decadence I sometimes mix in 1-3 tablespoons flax seed, doesn't change the taste, just adds a bit of texture

A double boiler can be used if you don't have a microwave

This is lovely as is, but you if you want a fancier cake or an even bigger indulgence, you can put chocolate ganache  on top.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter (or coconut oil, or cream)
adjust fat/cream to get texture you want
(optional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, rum, or other flavor)

Put in microwave-safe bowl, heat in microwave 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time until smooth.  Pour on top of cooled cake, smooth, put in fridge so ganache firms up.  Serve at room temperature

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Greek Salad Dressing

This one is for Tia, so she can have it anytime, on anything.

Greek Salad Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
5 T  red wine vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 T oregano
2-4 garlic cloves
1-2 t soy lecithin
salt and pepper to taste

I put it all in a blender.  The lecithin helps thicken it, and keeps it from separating so easily.

We like it on Greek salad, but it's also nice on sauteed veggies,  pasta, etc..

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Frozen Treat on a Frozen Day

Brrr!  It's literally freezing here.  I'm talking negative numbers. -22 F when I got up this morning, it was up to -6 when I left to run our morning errands at 10 am.

You'd think it'd be a good time to cook and bake, and you'd be right, but it's also apparently a good time to make gelato.  We've been having this treat at least once a week for a couple of weeks now.  Perhaps it's because we never get our fill.  This recipe makes just a quart, which is barely enough to give everyone in our family of 5 a small bowlful.  Perhaps it's because it's just down right yummy, and easy enough to make often, even if you're 9 years old, like Hot Dog.

Basic Gelato Recipe

3 eggs
1/2 cup cream
2 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
2 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the 3 eggs in a pot until homogeneous
Add milk and cream, whisk again
Add sugar and salt, whisk again

Heat on medium or medium low heat whisking occasionally until thick and starting to bubble.  Cool in fridge (or outside on a freezing day) for 2 + hours (or a couple of days, if like me you get busy and forget about it)

When cool add vanilla, whisk one last time, and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions.

Notes and Modifications

The other thing that's been making this addictive is that I finally learned how best to add chocolate chips - heat the oven on low (~200 F) put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and put ~1/2 cup of chocolate chips on the wax paper and set in warm oven until chocolate is soft and gooey.  Pull it out and scrape liquid chocolate into the cold gelato, whisk, then freeze according to instructions.  The chocolate hardens in ribbons that are lovely in the finished product.

You can vary the flavor - use almond extract, mint extract, orange extract etc... instead of vanilla
I want to try chocolate sometime, oooh, or maybe chocolate orange w/ bits of orange zest in it.   Yea, that would be good.  If I could ever not make the basic chocolate chip that we all keep craving.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Super Easy Pizza Dough

Easiest Pizza Dough Ever

1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon bread machine yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (kosher if you have it)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)

Throw it all in the bread machine on the dough cycle.  You don't have to wait for the whole cycle, when it gets to the "rise" mode you can take it out and shape it.

Pre-heat oven to 500

Roll thin (~1/4")  and top as desired.

Notes and modifications:

One trick we learned is to bake it with just the sauce on it for ~3 min. then put the cheese  and other toppings on and finish it.  That cooks the crust a little bit more.
Also I like to sprinkle some extra pizza spice on the sauce, and minced garlic on top of the cheese.

Monday, May 27, 2013


On our sabbatical trip to the Caribbean we tried local cuisine whenever we could. In the British Virgin Islands one dish that was on many menus was "Roti".  Our experience with Roti was that it was a curry mix wrapped up in a tortilla.  Today we had a "Caribbean" party and I wanted to serve Roti, so I tried to google a recipe.  It turns out "Roti" is a naan like bread.  In the Caribbean it's filled with a savory curry and served as a ready to eat sandwich,colloquially called Roti, but not really the Indian Roti.

No matter how much I love them, I wasn't up to making individually shaped bread for 30 people.  I settled for making 2 curries and letting folks fill a tortilla with them.  Being me, I didn't follow a recipe, although I looked a few for inspiration.  Here's what I  made.

Beef Coconut Curry

 one beef roast, ~3lbs, whatever is on sale this week
Put in slow cooker with a jar of salsa and cook on low for 6-8 hrs.

You could stop here because that roast beef is pretty good just like this. Pull off bones and fat.  Eat it strait, or shred it and put a little vinegar on it, put it on a bun, and called it a pulled beef sandwich.

If you still want curry, chop or shred the beef and read on.

3 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks (~1.5 in)
 Put in pot, cover with water, salt if desired
Boil to not quite crunchy anymore, but not yet soft.

1 large onion coarsely chopped
4-8 cloves minced garlic
Fry onion and garlic in olive oil or butter
Add curry spice - ~3-5 teaspoons - it should taste good, but stronger than you want the curry to be
 I used Sunny Caribbee's Madras Curry, but just use what you have/like.

Put chopped beef, drained par boiled potatoes, and onion/garlic/curry mixture in crock pot.  Pour one can of coconut milk over the top. Stir it together and taste test.  If you want more spice add it, add salt and peppter to taste.  If you accidentally made your curry to spicy, add extra coconut milk.

Cook on low for a couple of hours.  Serve wrapped in tortillas, or in real Roti if you had the time to make some.

Vegetable Curry

 3 lbs chunked par boiled potatoes

2 cans of cooked beans, or equivalent amount of cooked dry beans, drained

1 large onion coarsely chopped
4-8 cloves minced garlic
Fry onion and garlic in olive oil or butter
Add curry spice - ~3-5 teaspoons - it should taste good, but stronger than you want the curry to be
 I used Sunny Caribbee's Madras Curry, but just use what you have/like

1 large can (2.5 lbs) yams, drained and chopped

1 jar salsa

Combine all ingredients into crock pot heat on low for 2-4 hours, serve wrapped in tortilla.

Notes and modifications

This looks ugly.  I know.  It tastes great though.  Wrap it up and you won't have to look at it.

I made up the pots of curry the night before, put them in the fridge overnight, and then just turned on the crock pots in the morning.

I used beans to add protein to the vegetable curry.  Lentils would have been more authentic, but I was out.

Both crock pots need water after a while, as they started to get a bit dry.  That was after cooking for most of the day, so for a normal meal I don't know that extra water would be needed.

Pumpkin instead of, or in addition to, yams would have been good, as well as authentic.

I think cooked carrots would be good in either curry. ( I don't know if that would be authentic.)

I used salsa because it was easy, and I have a lot of jars  from last years canning.  You could also use fresh onion, pepper, and tomato if that's what you have.

I think the secret to this curry is par boiled potatoes and fried onions/garlic with curry.  After that you can add whatever you fancy, or what left overs you have in the fridge, and it will probably be pretty good.

I have a few curry mixes I use, and I think any would have worked here.  It's just what you prefer.

I'm going to try freezing my leftovers, some pre-wrapped so I can just pop it in the microwave for a quick lunch, and some in a big tub for a family meal.