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Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways!  I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

2 salads

Adapted from Donna Hay.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It's going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
  2. When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
  3. For the Salad:
  4. Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
  5. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
  6. Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
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Gluten Free Reuben Salad

Reuben Salad

Well, I am off on a trip today and I’m quite excited about it. Most might associate the Reuben Sandwich with New York City, but according to the internet, the Reuben originated in the wonderful city of Omaha, Nebraska, which is where I am off to! One of my best friends moved to Omaha last year and since I am always up for an adventure, I decided Nebraska would be the perfect spot for my spring break!

One of my favorite things about traveling, is trying the local cuisine and specialties. I am fairly certain I have never actually had a Reuben sandwich and since Rye bread is not gluten-free, I probably never will, but luckily you won’t even miss the bread in this salad. I was actually kind of surprised by how well this salad turned out. I was a bit wary of adding sauerkraut to a salad, but in the end I think it was my favorite part. I made my own Russian dressing as well and while it was very tasty, on its own it turned out a bit sweet for my taste. With the salad however, it did go quite well with the sauerkraut and pickles. Due to my prolong stint living in Eastern Europe, I have to absolutely love anything pickled and dill pickles and sauerkraut are two of my favorite foods. If you aren’t so big on those, this might not be the salad for you, but if you love a good Reuben sandwich this will be right up your alley.

Reuben Salad

Reuben Salad

Ingredients

    For the Russian Dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (I used half and half)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • For the Salad
  • 4 large handfuls lettuce or spring greens
  • 2 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 Tablespoon dill pickle relish (or chopped dill pickles)
  • 2 Tablespoons Russian Dressing
  • 3 ounces cooked corned beef chopped or shredded (leftover or deli meat will work)

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside or refrigerate until needed. Dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. Add lettuce to a large serving bowl or plate. Top with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
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Super Simple Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

 

 

 

This is by far the easiest gluten-free dessert I’ve ever made! Almost easier than opening a prepackaged mix. You only need two dishes to make this; a mixing bowl and a baking pan and you are ready to go. Start to finish, your cake will be ready in under 45 minutes!

I tried to cut down on the sugar since 1 cup seemed like a lot. I started adding it 1/4 cup at a time. I’m not sure if it was the cocoa powder or the gluten-free flour, but found that I definitely needed the whole cup. This cake is extremely rich and chocolatey. I ended up freezing about three-quarters of the loaf (I made mine in a loaf pan, not a cake pan). The slice I’ve defrosted since was just as good as the freshly baked. I think making this recipe into cupcakes, might make freezing a bit easier.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

 

Super Simple Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

From Food.com via FitSugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Better Batter.)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (only not included in GF flour mix)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add all liquid ingredients and mix well.
  4. Bake in greased and floured nine-inch square pan (or lined with waxed paper) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Serve as is or with some berries and cream for extra indulgence.
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Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

A little Monday evening aperitivo.

My girlfriend Kelly made this absolutely amazing asparagus appetizers (I love alliteration!) for our last book club meeting. They were delicious! And so simple. I made them at home for a little Monday evening aperitivo. These are definitely a great bite for a last-minute wine and cheese party and definitely worthy of sharing with guest. Next time I have a dinner party, these will be on the menu. I’m actually kind of looking for any excuse to make these again.

You can use any soft, spreadable cheese. I would avoid cream cheese, but any other soft cheese should work. I think Boursin would be amazing.

Making this appetizer into a side dish would be very easy to do. I would leave the prosciutto slice whole and wrap it around 3-5 pieces of asparagus and cook them the same way (maybe a minute or  two longer). I think it would make for a really tasty side dish, but I really like how the individual spears of asparagus and prosciutto get super crispy.

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients

  • Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
  • Soft goat cheese, at room temperature
  • Prosciutto, each slice cut into 3 pieces

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Spread the goat cheese on each slice of prosciutto.
  3. Wrap each asparagus spear in a 1/3 slice of prosciutto and goat cheese.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until warm and starting to crisp.
  5. Serve and become the hit of the party!
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Summer Fruit Pavlova

Summer Fruit Pavlova

I have to say successfully making this Pavlova was one of my finest moments in the kitchen. I remember thinking Pavlova was the fanciest dessert ever when I was growing up. But for as long as I can remember, the thought of making meringue has scared me. There are too many variables in meringue making and the fact that something can go wrong at any point in the process just stresses me out. I spent quite a bit of time reading old cookbooks and consulting the websites of chefs I trust for learning something new. The end result was a smashing success. I was so proud!

Summer Fruit Pavlova

I made this a bit earlier in the summer for my wonderful mother’s birthday, so depending on where you are peaches and cherries might not be at the peak. As far as  fruit selection goes, you can’t really go wrong. Personally, I would stick to berries and stone fruits, but there are endless combinations that would be delicious.

Summer Fruit Pavlova

Summer Fruit Pavlova

Ingredients

    For the Pavlova
  • 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine or distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Fruit Topping
  • 2-3 cups of mixed berries or fruits of choice.

Instructions

    For the Pavlova
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.
  2. Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)
  6. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)
  7. For the Whipped Cream
  8. Whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm. Be careful not to over-do it, or might end up with a bowl of sweet homemade butter.
  9. Assembling
  10. Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Spoon the fruit carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue.
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Homemade Frosty Paws (aka Doggie Ice Cream)

Homemade Frosty Paws!

So, I am meant to be galavanting around San Francisco at the moment, but I thought that getting strep throat and an ear infection sounded like a much better use of my time. I was put on antibiotics and instructed not to fly by my favorite Urgent Care doctor, so I am still home, suffering through coughing fits, runny noses and disgustingly hot weather. There is a small silver lining to being stuck at home; I get to celebrate my darling pups’ 12th birthday!

It is extremely hot and humid here at the moment. Heat is fairly normal for this time of year, but humidity is not. As much as I love my dogs, there was no chance I was turning on the oven to bake them pup cakes. Since I was suffering through the heat, I knew that the poor dogs were too, ice cream seemed like the perfect birthday treat. I have purchased Frosty Paws from one of the local fancy pants grocery stores in the past, but now I’m older, wiser, poorer, so making my own was the only way to go.

I will admit, I did sample the recipe before I put the treats in the freezer and the mix was fairly delicious. Another reason I like these homemade treats compared to store-bought, no strange ingredients or preservatives. I used Greek yogurt, local honey, bananas, and all natural (no salt or sugar added) peanut butter. If I liked bananas, I could definitely imagine eating this for breakfast.

And most importantly, these frozen treats get two paws up and some very excited tail wags from the birthday girls. I attempted to get these two brats to take a picture together, but it proved futile. I think they caught on to the fact that the less they cooperated, the more ice cream they would get in an attempt to bribe them. These two are now both old and wise; 12 should be a doozy of a year.

Homemade Frosty Paws!

Homemade Frosty Paws!

Homemade Frosty Paws (aka Doggie Ice Cream)

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana, ripe, mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Freeze in ice cube trays (highly recommend silicone/soft trays).
  2. When frozen solid, remove from ice cube trays and transfer to freezer storage bags and store in freezer.
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Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

My wonderful friend Zack sent me this recipe last week and told me to “stop what I was doing and make this”. Zack and I have fairly similar palates, so I had a feeling that I would like this salad. I didn’t just like this salad, I loved it. I have yet to find a combination of cilantro and lime that I dislike, so I might not be the most neutral judge, but this salad was pretty close to perfect. Chickpeas make a really great neutral base, which allows the other flavors to really shine through.

I ended up accidentally doubling recipe. I was trying to use up some use it or lose it spinach, which ended up being way more than the originally suggested four cups. It turned out to be a fortunate accident since I had leftovers for days. I upped the amount of garlic and took it easier on the olive oil. I also omitted the sugar the original recipe called for, but that’s just a personal preference. I never add sugar to any type of dressing.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 loosely packed cups fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped diced
  • juice from 8 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (about loosely packed cup)
  • 4 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Chop the spinach very finely (feel free to use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl.
  2. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Blend until it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 15 minutes on the counter (or overnight in the fridge) to let the flavors get friend.
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Gluten Free Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Peaches

Breakfast al fresco! #glutenfree Strawberry Ricotta Panakes with Sautéed Peaches!

I made these in an attempt to use up some summer fruits that were rapidly approaching their use or lose stage. There are endless summer fruit combinations you can use, so go wild. I think strawberries and peaches go together amazingly, but I could imagine raspberries, blueberries, pluots, apricots and all sorts of other fruits working perfectly.

These pancakes are perfect for brunch! If I was making these for a weekend brunch, I would definitely add a glug of bourbon to the pan when you add in the peaches, just to give it an extra decadent, boozy, brunchy feel.

I will say, I had a hard time getting these pancakes to cook through, hence the crispy looking edges. I think I was being slightly impatient with heating my pan (there really is only so long a girl can wait for breakfast after spin class…), so I had to sacrifice give a few utter failures to my official tasters (aka the pups). The crispy edges did not have a burnt flavor, which was lucky, just a different texture.

 

Gluten Free Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Peaches

Adapted from Gluten Free Scallywag.

Ingredients

    For the Pancakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (145g) full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 6-10 strawberries (depending on size)
  • For the Sautéed Peaches:
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large, fresh peaches, thinly sliced
  • A generous dash of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, oil and milk until smooth.
  2. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except for the strawberries, and mix until smooth.
  3. Gently fold the strawberries into the mixture until all are incorporated.
  4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add a small knob of butter (about 1/2 teaspoon) until quite hot. Pour a ladleful of pancake batter onto the pan and cook. Reduce the temperature to medium at this stage, you don't want crunchy pancakes! Once little bubbles begin to appear in the top of the pancake, it is ready to flip. Cook it until the pancake is firm through.
  5. Transfer to a warmed plate/oven. Repeat with remaining pancake mixture, re-buttering the pan every couple of pancakes.
  6. In the same pan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar.
  7. Add peaches and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and peaches are warmed through and coated, 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Put the pancakes onto the serving plates, top with peaches and serve immediately.
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