Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gluten Free Rocky Road

So maybe you don't have time to make a big fancy cheesecake but you're thinking to yourself; "Brian, I like chocolate and sugar, do you have something easy for me to whip up?" Funny you should ask. I have just the thing.
Gluten Free Rocky Road:
From Nestle- also known as Mile-High Squares
2 cups (12oz package) Semisweet chocolate chips
1-2/3 cups (11oz package) Butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
9 cups (16oz package) mini marshmallows
In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter. Microwave at 70% power for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the chips around. If they are not quite melted all the way, microwave for another 30 seconds.
Next, stir the peanuts into the melted chocolate/butterscotch/peanut butter.
Empty the package of mini marshmallows into a large bowl. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture. Coat the marshmallows thoroughly. Finally, line a 9x13 pan with tin foil. Pour the coated marshmallows into the pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting.
There is a little Christmas magic in every bite. These bars are so simple and have such a great combination of flavors. Make some up today, you won't be disappointed. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

For the last Holiday Food Fest post, I decided to go all out. Click the image above for some more great holiday recipes. If you read my previous post about making chocolate cookie wafers, then you were introduced to three friends; Chocolate, Butter, and Sugar. In the interest of time and my wife's sanity, I have decided to just tell you how to make the most indulgent, decadent cheesecake I have ever eaten. Maybe I will tell a story another time.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake
borrowed from Smitten Kitchen, modified to be GF
9 ounces of chocolate cookie wafers
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
5 Tbs butter, melted
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlua
3-8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbs GF flour mix
1-1/2 Tbs dark rum
2-1/2 Tbs instant espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp "mild" or light molasses
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Baking directions:
Bake cheesecake in a 350 degree F oven for 50-60 minutes. Add the topping and bake another 15 minutes.

Phew!!! Did you get all that? Start by lining the bottom of your spring form pan with parchment paper. Take the cookie wafers and pulse them in a food processor a couple times. Add the sugar and nutmeg and pulse again until mixed. While the food processor is running, pour in the melted butter. Try not to spill it all over like I did. Take the crust mixture and pour it into the pan. I used a flat bottom drinking glass to press the crust evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't worry if the crust doesn't go all the way up the side. Just try to make it even throughout.
To make the ganache, bring the cream to simmer in a large sauce pan. Remove from the heat; add the chopped chocolate and Kahlua. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Pour about a 1-1/2 cups of the ganache into the spring form pan over the bottom crust to make a nice fudgy layer. Place the spring form pan with the crust and ganache in the freezer for 30 minutes. Keep the remaining ganache at room temperature.
While the ganache is cooling in the freezer; let's throw the filling together. Now is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a stand mixer; beat together the cream cheese and sugar until thoroughly combined. Next beat in the gf flour. In a small bowl; combine the rum, instant espresso powder, vanilla, and molasses until the espresso powder dissolves. Pour the rum/espresso liquid into the cream cheese and beat until thoroughly mixed; scraping down the sides as necessary. Finally, beat in the eggs one at a time; scraping down the sides after each one.
Remove the spring form pan from the freezer. Pour the cheesecake mixture in, it will go almost all the way to the top. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the top puffs up and doesn't jiggle too much in the middle; about 50-60 minutes. (a little jiggle in the middle is OK) For the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. After the cheesecake has baked 50-60 minutes, pour the sour cream mix over the hot cheesecake and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Take a knife and run it along the edge of the pan to release the sides. Fill a pastry bag with some remaining ganache and decorate your little heart out. Top with a few well placed chocolate covered espresso beans for a little more kick. Refrigerate for at least 6 more hours before serving. It is definitely best to make this the day before you plan to serve it.
Go ahead, dig in. You only have a couple more weeks before those New Year's resolutions kick in. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Wafers

I have been writing this blog for just about a year now. I have seen the trends across the blogoshpere as the seasons change. Summer brings fresh fruit and vegetables recipes. As the cold creeps in, hearty, rustic dishes are profiled. Now in the throws of the holidays, desserts and comfort food appear. This can only bring me to one conclusion. After the holidays, the recipes that come next are going to be light and fresh to help shed all the holiday indulgence. This means you have exactly 16 days left in which to stuff yourself with rich, decadent, not so good for you food.
Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Wafers:
inspired by Smitten Kitchen modified to be GF.
1-1/2 cups gluten free flour mix
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 TBS whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Baking Directions:
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes

So today I bring you a little story. It is the story of Chocolate, Butter, and Sugar.
Once upon a time in a land far far away lived Chocolate and Sugar. Chocolate and Sugar were the best of friends. Chocolate had a bitter disposition but his sweet little friend Sugar always complimented him and made him feel special. Together, Chocolate and Sugar felt like they could take on the world. One day Chocolate and Sugar decided to hop in to a whirlpool to relax with a few friends. GF flour went in first followed by Xanthan Gum. Chocolate or "Cocoa" as some of his friends called him went in next. Sugar, Salt, and Baking Soda all joined the gang in the whirlpool. They took a spin around a couple times just until they were all dizzy and mixed up. They were having fun playing in the whirlpool but something just seemed to be missing.Everything got very quiet. Out of the corner of his eye, Chocolate saw this figure with the sun glistening off of her skin. "Whhoo...whoo are you?" Chocolate stammered. "My name is Butter," replied the mysterious figure. " I just moved here." "Can I join you in the whirlpool?" asked Butter. Before Chocolate could say a word, Sugar yelled out; "Sure, there's room for everyone!" Butter was very tall, about 14 tablespoons tall to be exact. She made her way over to the whirlpool. As the whirlpool swirled around, butter eased herself into the swirling mix 1 tablespoon at a time until she was all the way in. Milk and Vanilla were always running late. They showed up and jumped in at the last minute.
It was getting a bit late. Butter said that she should hurry back home before her family starts to worry. As Butter tried to get out of the whirlpool, she realized that she was stuck to all her new friends. All that spinning in the whirlpool had mixed them together. "It's OK." said Sugar. "Tell you what, we'll all just come back to your house to meet your family." So the whole gang got out of the whirlpool together and formed into a log about 12-14 inches long. They wrapped themselves in a parchment paper beach towel and went to Butter's house located in the Refrigerator District. The new friends stayed at Butter's house for about 1-2 hours. They lost track of time because they were having such fun.
It came time for everyone to go home but they were still stuck together. What a dilemma. "What if we slice this log into 1/8" - 1/4" pieces?" asked Sugar. "Great idea!" said Butter. "But I'm so cold" exclaimed Chocolate. "Here, let's lay down on a parchment lined pan and cruise into a 350 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes to warm up." said Sugar. So all the friends warmed up in the oven before going their separate ways. Something magical had happened that day. Butter, Sugar, and Chocolate realized that they would be best friends forever. Little did they know, they were about to meet some more new friends who would transform them into something even more special. To be continued..............
Yes, I know I'm a dork.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Giveaway Results

I know you are all dying to know how the great Fire and Salt Holiday Giveaway 2009 turned out. The random number picker sat ready as all the comment numbers were placed face down on the table and shuffled around. The drawing started slowly but.......
every winner got a little happy dance after their number was drawn.

I have sent emails out to all the winners. I won't go through the entire list as it's a bit lengthy. However, I'm sure you would like to know who won the two most popular prize choices. The 12 quart Le Creuset Stockpot went to Katrina at glutenfreegidget and the Shun Ultimate Chopping Knife went to Kim at glutenfreegreenmommy. Now I just have to get everything shipped out. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment and congratulations to all those who won.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Giveaway 2009 Update Part 3

The Fire and Salt Holiday Giveaway is coming to an end soon. If you haven't entered for a chance to win some great prizes yet, follow this link: Holiday Giveaway 2009. Remember to leave all entry comments on the original giveaway post.

Let's find out a little more about the remaining companies that have contributed to my giveaway.

Custom Choice Cereal was started by a couple students working on their MBA at the University of North Carolina. The idea is simple, the customer starts with a choice of base cereals. From there, the customer picks mix-in ingredients such as dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. The result is a custom blend of gluten free cereal. You can even create a name for your custom cereal mix. The cereal is blended and shipped directly to your door.

The Microplane story is an interesting one. Grace Manufacturing in Arkansas had 20 years of photochemical machining experience making parts for high-tech printers. In 1990, they experimented with making woodworking tools by etching holes in metal to make a rasp. In 1994, a hardware store owner's wife in Canada was making a dessert requiring orange zest. Frustrated by her dull grater, she ventured into the garage and retrieved her husband's Microplane woodworking tool. The Microplane Zester was born. Today, Microplane has a full line of woodworking, kitchen, and personal care products.

You made not have heard of Chef'n. You may even own one of their products and not know it. You see Chef'n is in the business of making kitchen tools and gadgets. We often think of kitchen tools in terms of their function (juicer, garlic press, spatula) rather than their brand. However, Chef'n products are cutting edge. For over 25 years this Seattle based company has created products with one simple mission in mind:"We want to make better tools so you can make better food." Chef'n currently holds over 250 product patents. One look at the Chef'n product line and you know you're not dealing with ordinary kitchen gadgets. Chef'n products are not only practical but they are vibrant, stylish, and designed to last.

Andrews McMeel Publishing began in 1970 as a small publishing company founded by Jim Andrews and John McMeel. Today, Andrews McMeel Publishing is a leading publisher of general nonfiction trade books, gift books and humor books, publishing as many as 300 new titles annually. Andrews McMeel Publishing has graciously donated a gluten free cookbook for my giveaway. The Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook was written by Chef Robert Landolphi. Chef Landolphi is a professional chef whose wife suffers from Celiac Disease. Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook is a great guide for aspiring gluten free cooks to make practical uncomplicated dishes to enjoy every day of the week. Follow this link to see two reviews I wrote about the cookbook a few months ago. Review part 1 and part 2.

Thanks again to all the great sponsors for my Holiday Giveaway. I encourage everyone to lend their support and business to these great companies. Remember, the giveaway ends Sunday night. Follow this link to enter before it's too late: Holiday Giveaway 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Giveaway 2009 Update Part 2

If you haven't checked out my Holiday Giveaway 2009, do it now! The giveaway ends this Sunday night. Please leave all comments for the giveaway on the original giveaway post. Follow the link above.

Let's talk about a few more companies that are supporting this great giveaway. I have received some great products that I'm really excited about sharing with you. The following three companies have a little extra special significance for me. All three are local to where I live. I believe that there are so many companies in our own communities that need our support to thrive, thus making our towns and cities stronger.

KAI USA is the parent company to several knife and cutlery brands such as Shun, Kershaw, and ZT knives. They are located in Tualatin, Oregon, just a short drive from my house. Shun knives, pronounced "Shoon," are known around the world for their strength, durability, and exceptional quality. You can read here about Shun's construction and comparison to German cutlery.

Laurel's Sweet Treats is a dedicated gluten free small business located in Tigard, Oregon. I first met the owner Laurel Hutton about 9 or 10 years ago when she was selling gluten free mixes and baked goods out of her home. Laurel was diagnosed with Celiac in 1995 and soon after began developing gluten free mixes to replace treats that she was no longer able to enjoy. Laurel has since moved the business out of her home and now sells her gluten free mixes online and in many local stores in the Portland area including New Seasons Market. Laurel also has a dedicated gluten free bakery at her shop in Tigard that bakes fresh cookies, cupcakes, and hamburger buns every Saturday.

Sea Salt Central is a Portland, Oregon based company specializing in retail and wholesale cooking and bath salts from around the world. Sea Salt Central carries over 250,000 pounds of salt ready to be shipped from their Portland location. Their mission is to bring the finest and healthiest sea salts from around the world and make them accessible and affordable for the average consumer. Please visit Sea Salt Central online and check out their impressive inventory.

I'll be back with profiles of the remaining companies participating in my giveaway. Don't forget to check out my original Holiday Giveaway post for a chance to win something great.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Giveaway 2009 Update

In my original Holiday Giveaway post I listed several companies that have generously donated products to help me share some good cheer with you. I want to take a moment to talk about some of the companies that are supporting my giveaway. If you have not yet entered for a chance to win some great prizes, please click on this link and follow the directions: Holiday Giveaway 2009. Please leave all comments for the giveaway on the original post.

I am excited to announce a late entry for my giveaway:
Le Creuset. Really, what more do I need to say? Anyone who has stepped foot into a kitchen has heard of Le Creuset. Le Creuset was founded in France in 1924 by two Belgian industrialists who together revolutionized enameled cast iron cookware. After production was disrupted by World War 2, Le Creuset picked up where they left off and haven't looked back. Le Creuset is truly a world class company, making extraordinary cookware. If you don't already own a piece of Le Creuset cookware, now is the time to change that.

In 1502 Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover chocolate. I'm pretty sure that a Guittard family member must have been on that expedition, that's how long they have been making incredible chocolates. The Guittard Chocolate Company is the oldest family owned and operated chocolate company in the US. In the 1850's Etienne Guittard made the journey from France to San Francisco. A few years later he started the Guittard Chocolate Company. Today, Etienne Guittard's descendants still own and operate the company and sell the E. Guittard line of chocolates as a tribute to the founder. Guittard's chocolates are rich, flavorful, and most importantly affordable without sacrificing exceptional quality. Please look for Guittard chocolate where you live or check them out online.

I will be back to profile a few more companies supporting the Fire and Salt Holiday Giveaway 2009. Please enter for a chance to win and please support these great companies. Thanks- Brian

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eggnog Milkshakes

The Holiday Food Fest this week is dedicated to cocktails, mocktails, and appetizers. I've been trying to think of a good drink to share but the more I thought about it the more I realize I don't drink many cocktails. Then about a week ago my family and I were at a little country diner not far from our house where they had eggnog milkshakes on the menu. My three year old daughter, who has never tried eggnog, was so excited that they had eggnog milkshakes. I must say they were very very good. By the way my daughter now calls the diner the "milkshake store" every time we drive by it. So today, I don't necessarily have some great recipe, just a little inspiration to keep the holiday vibes flowing around your house.
You know you want to try it. Just throw some eggnog and vanilla ice cream in a blender. It's so rich, creamy, and smooth. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gluten Free Chex Mix

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We did not host Thanksgiving at our house this year which meant that we traveled to various relatives' homes in the area over the holiday weekend. Although it was busy, we had a great time with everyone. This week at the the Gluten Free Homemaker, the theme is party food. I'm sure everyone out there has made Chex mix before, right? I usually whip up a batch around this time every year. In the past I've had to use faux Chex cereal that was gluten free. Now that Chex have officially gone GF, I can use the real thing. The original recipe calls for a blend of rice, corn, and wheat Chex. I just add more rice and corn Chex to make up for omitting the wheat ones. I also use gluten free pretzels from Glutino, we buy them at Whole Foods. Chex mix is so versatile. If you like it a little spicy, add some chili powder, cayenne, or even a bit of smoked paprika would be a good addition. I stuck with the original recipe.
Chex Mix:
modified to be GF
1-1/2 cups mixed nuts
1-1/2 cups pretzels
4-1/2 cups Rice Chex
4-1/2 cups Corn Chex
6 Tbs butter (melted)
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is GF)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 tsp onion powder
Baking Directions:
Spread on one or two baking pans and bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes.
9 cups of cereal looks and sounds like a lot but trust me you'll be glad you made the full recipe. In a large bowl, gently mix together the cereal, nuts, and pretzels. In a small bowl, melt the butter, then add the remaining ingredients. Pour the butter/seasoning mix over the cereal a little at a time. Mix the cereal around to coat it as evenly as possible.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Spread the Chex mix on to a large edged baking sheet, like a jelly roll pan. You may have to use two pans. Once the mix is spread out, I usually splash a little more Worcestershire sauce here and there on the mix for a little more flavor. Bake for 1 hour, turning the mix about every 20 minutes.
Chex mix is so good when it is warm and fresh out of the oven. After it cools, if there's any left, you can bag it up and take it to your party for everyone else to enjoy. Be on the look out next week, I've got a post coming soon that you won't want to miss.