Saturday, August 31, 2013

Peaches and Cream



The second bowl today. It is way too hot.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ham and Spinach Frittata



With half a red bell pepper and half a green bell pepper leftover from the Gazpacho Shrimp Saute plus some ham from the freezer, I figured I'd whip out a frittata.

Ham and Spinach Frittata
loosely based on Bacon-Potato Frittata with Greens and Gruyere
click to print

1 tbsp olive oil
half of small onion, diced
half a red bell pepper, diced
half a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 - 1 c ham, diced
half a bunch of spinach, coarsely chopped
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Heat oil over medium in 10" skillet until hot.


Saute onion and peppers until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.


Add ham and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes.


Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Press mixture over bottom of skillet.
 

Sprinkle with cheese and pour eggs over the mixture. Cook, covered, until bottom is set, about 4 minutes.


Broil until top is cooked and eggs are set, about 4 minutes. Let frittata stand 5 minutes, shake to loosen from pan, and transfer to serving dish.


I love frittatas, they are so straightforward and simple to make. And they're delicious! Most marvelous is that you can make them with vegetables and meats that might otherwise go unused. This frittata was literally made out of items that were destined to go out as worm food.

Cost:
  • olive oil: $0.06
  • onion: $0.15
  • red bell pepper: $0.46
  • green bell pepper: $0.40
  • ham: $3.59
  • spinach: $0.49
  • eggs: $1.50
  • Parmesan cheese: $0.54
Total: $7.19 or about $1.80 for each of four servings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Apple Pie Cheesecake, Gluten-Free



When I spied this recipe, I just about fell out of my chair. I had to try it, it's apple pie cheesecake, man! And since it called for gingersnaps instead of the traditional graham cracker crust, it was obvious to me to make this gluten-free so I could share with all my peeps at work.

Apple Pie Cheesecake, Gluten-Free
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

CRUST
2 c crushed gluten-free gingersnaps
6 tbsp butter, melted

FILLING
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 c whipping cream
2 tbsp gluten-free flour
1 tsp amaretto
2 medium firm tart apples, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

TOPPING
1/2 c gluten-free flour
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 c butter, melted

Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom of 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In small bowl, stir together all crust ingredients.


Press into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan; bake 5 to 7 minutes or until set.


Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth.



Beat in eggs, egg yolk, cream, 2 tablespoons flour and flavoring 1 minute or until blended.


In medium bowl, toss apples with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cinnamon until lightly coated.


Pour half of the filling into crust; arrange apples over filling, overlapping slightly.


Pour remaining filling over apples. Bake 40 minutes.


Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together all topping ingredients; sprinkle over cake.


Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and set 3 inches from edge.


Cool on wire rack to room temperature.


Refrigerate overnight. Store in refrigerator.


I wish I'd had the wherewithal to count how many cookies I used to yield the amount required for the crust. All I can tell you is that I was dangerously close to not having enough, those cookies are so freakishly good.

The cheesecake went over exceptionally well. I wish I'd thought to reserve a slice to image. It was very pretty. The only criticism I received was that the crust was "too hard". I really wasn't sure what to make of that. I think maybe I'd packed it into the pan too tightly?

Absolutely creamy with the flavors of apple pie, complete with a Dutch-apple streusel topping and nicely seasoned cookie crust. Winner.

Cost:
  • gluten-free gingersnaps: $2
  • butter: $0.70
  • cream cheese: $3.34
  • sugar: $0.47
  • eggs: $0.90
  • whipping cream: $0.24
  • gluten-free flour: $0.25
  • amaretto: $0.13
  • apples: $0.72
  • light brown sugar: $0.24
  • walnuts: $0.35
Total: $9.34 or about $0.78 for each of 12 servings.

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps


Kind of a goofy headliner picture but I wanted you to see how nice the bottoms look as well as the pretty sugared tops. These cookies are simply marvelous in every way.

On a quest to use the cream cheese and apples in the fridge, I came across a cheesecake recipe. The crust is made from gingersnaps. I'd never had a gingersnap before so figured I'd might as well just make some and while I'm at it could make them gluten-free. Finding a gingersnap recipe, I substituted the regular flour with Pamela's. It worked out real swell, almost too good.

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps
adapted from Chez Panisse Gingersnaps at David Lebovitz
click to print

2 c Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 c butter, at room temperature
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c mild molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
turbinado sugar, about 2 tbsp

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.


Beat the butter just until soft and fluffy.


Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.


Stir in the vanilla, molasses and egg.


Beat in the dry ingredients gradually until the dough is smooth. Scrape bowl down.


Divide the dough in two equal portions and roll each into a log on a lightly-floured surface until each is about 2-inches (5cm) around.

After seeing how goopy the dough was and how it smeared across the floured surface, I used WAY more flour for the second log. It was still annoying but not nearly as much. I'd consider chilling the dough a little before doing this part.

Wrap each in plastic wrap then roll them lightly on the counter to smooth them out. Refrigerate or freeze the cookie logs until firm.

I chose to refrigerate my logs overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice cookie dough into 1/4-inch (a scant 1 cm) rounds with a sharp knife. Dip one side and press firmly in a bowl of coarse sugar and place sugar-side up on baking sheet, evenly-spaced about 2 inches apart.


Bake for 10-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until deep-golden brown. Bake on the lower end of the range for softer cookies and more for snappier ones.

I baked toward the longer range thinking I wanted a graham cracker-like consistency for the cheesecake.

Cool cookies two minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.



I didn't know a cookie including ground black pepper existed. It is probably the second best thing to happen to a girl*. I've eaten a handful of the crispy rounds of goodness and wonder if there will be enough left for the cheesecake. I cannot stress how delicious these are. Sweet, but not crazy, molasses-flavored yet not overbearing, peppery but not ridiculous. Absolute winner! Because they are so flavorful, any hint of being gluten-free is completely masked. Pamela's is a perfect stand-in in this recipe. You'll have NO clue these are gluten-free. These cookies are just outstanding!

One super awesome thing is that, if you have a fairly well-stocked baking section in your kitchen pantry, you'll have everything you need to make these cookies 95% of the time. My molasses was ancient but this was a perfect way to use it.

While I chose to refrigerate my cookies overnight, the time it took to do work was 2 hours. I'll make the label 2.5 hours, assuming 30 minutes of chilling in the freezer.

Cost:
  • Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend: $1.93
  • butter: $0.75
  • sugar: $0.32
  • vanilla extract: $0.04
  • mild molasses: $0.25, SWAG
  • egg: $0.30
  • turbinado sugar: $0.09
Total: $3.68 and rounding up for spices, $4 making each of 45 cookies about $0.09 each.

*Invention of tampons will always be number one in my book.