Friday, July 25, 2014

Quick Kitchen Tip: How to Make a Simple Salad Dressing

La Recette:


1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
scant 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch seasoned salt


Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Medium bowl
Cutting board
Chef's knife


Combine all ingredients and whisk together for 10-15 seconds.

*There are a few mistakes in the video. Unfortunately, I could only do one take because I had to pick Gabby up from camp, but I think the message gets across. For reference, it's not a tablespoon of shallots, it's one teaspoon and it's not Dijon dressing but Dijon mustard.
*A special thanks to my friend Natalie for being a great camera person:)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This dairy free, gluten free chocolate chip cookie cake is so good!  And I love it for a casual dessert in the summer.  It's really quick and all you need is a round spring form pan and basic ingredients for chocolate chip cookies.  My kids absolutely love it and the drizzle of dark chocolate really makes it perfect.  It travels really well, so it's great for picnics and you would never know it's missing dairy and gluten.   My son Mason even took a piece in his lunch when he went to football camp last week.  It's also peanut and tree nut free which is another bonus!  We are all going to an outdoor Bruno Mars concert this week, so I am going to pack a picnic dinner and make this for dessert!  I hope everyone is enjoying their summer nights :)  

Ready to cut and eat!

La Recette:

8 oz. Earth Balance Vegan Sticks* (2 sticks), room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups gluten free baking mix*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups dark chocolate chips - I love the Enjoy Life brand
Canola Oil spray for the spring form pan
4 oz. dark chocolate for the chocolate drizzle on top, melted

2 medium bowls
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Stand or hand mixer
10 inch round spring form pan
Small sauce pan
Small mixing spoon
Plastic squeeze bottle, optional (for the drizzle)

-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
-Spray the spring form pan with the canola oil spray (preferably non-GMO) ;)
-With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy - about a minute.  
-Slowly add in the sugar and beat until smooth and incorporated, about 2 additional minutes.  
-Add the eggs in one at time.  Then the vanilla.  Beat until everything is incorporated, scrape down the sides and the bottom with a spatula half way through,  mixture should be smooth.  
-In the meantime, combine the gluten free baking mix, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon.  Mix a few times to combine.
-Next toss in the chocolate chips.  Make sure the flour mixture is coating the chips.  This will help to hold their place in the dough.
-With the mixer running, gradually pour in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  
-Turn the dough a few times with a spatula to make sure everything is mixed throughly on the bottom.
-Pour the dough into the spring form pan and place on the middle rack of the oven.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes.  The top should be a nice caramel color.
-Remove from the oven and let the cake cool until you can handle the pan.  
-Run a knife paring knife between the cake and pan and gently remove the outer ring.  Also run a knife under the base of the cake and transfer to a serving plate.
-While the cake is cooling set up a double broiler.  Fill the sauce pan about 1/4 full of water.  Place a medium sized bowl on top and put in the 4 oz. of dark chocolate.  
-Bring the water to a boil, and then quickly turn the burner off and let the chocolate melt.
-Make sure the bowl is not touching the water.  Mix with a spoon a few times and then drizzle onto the cake or transfer to the squeeze bottle and decorate as desired.  

*If you don't need dairy free you can substitute butter and if you don't need gluten free you can substitute all purpose flour.
**Serves 8-10

Friday, July 4, 2014

Holy Guacamole

Happy Fourth of July!  I love guacamole.  For me, it is definitely a summer staple and I really only make  it from Cinco de Mayo through Labor Day.  I could make it year round but I prefer to keep it as a special treat for summer time.  You can get avocados all year long from South America but California avocados peak in the summer so it's really the perfect time for guacamole.  I know everyone has a guacamole recipe that they love, but I happen to think that this particular combination of ingredients is a real winner.  If you are making guacamole today for your BBQ, try this recipe.  I think you'll love it!  The combination of lime and lemon juice gives it a really nice zing and sea salt brings in a saltier/brinier flavor.  If you are making guacamole for a group, my suggestion is one 1/2 -1 avocado/person.  Another tip is using flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro.  I happen to love cilantro but a lot of people don't.  I find you either love it or hate it so to make sure that everyone enjoys your guacamole, I use flat leaf parsley.  You can always have some chopped cilantro on the side.  I love the smell of both herbs and this truly is the perfect hors d'oeuvre.  It's vegan, nut free, gluten free, and super healthy.  Everyone can enjoy!  Have a wonderful Fourth of July with your family and friends!

Ready to serve!

Hass Avacados

Les ingrédients...

My guacamole man…love him!

La Recette:

4 Hass avacados
1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, diced**
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons jalepeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 medium bowls - one for mixing, one for serving
Cutting board
Chefs knife
Paring knife
Measuring cups and spoons

-Cut each avocado in half and pit each one.  Make horizontal and vertical slices in the avocado so that you have little grid with cubes (about 1/2 inch wide) and spoon out the avocado into the bowl.
-After you have prepared the onion, tomato, jalepeño and garlic, put them into the bowl with the avocado. 
-Add the parsley, lemon juice, lime juice, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
-Using the pairing knife make cuts into the avocado to break the bigger pieces down.  I never mash my guacamole.  I like it chunky so just use a knife to cut the bigger avocado pieces and then give it a couple of good mixes with a spoon.
-Garnish with parsley and serve with your favorite chip.

*Serves 4.  If you need to make a bigger batch remember the rule of 1/2 -1 avocado/person and increase each ingredient by a quarter except with the salt and pepper.  Add that in to taste.  
**When you are preparing a tomato, I cut around the seeds in the middle.  Just use the outside flesh.  This way you leave out the seedier/ more watery section.  You can reserve this part for vegetable stock or another use…

-This recipe is being featured as part of the Fourth of July Fun Blog.  If you need to purchase a gift card or sell an unwanted gift card, check out: for a great selection of discounted gift cards. can help you save money on ingredients for this recipe or other summer recipes that you have.

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