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Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Chips and Espresso

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Yes, I have been away for QUITE some time. This year has started off with a bang or two and so I have been trying to stabilize my schedule, and my life. I’m slowly starting to get back into the swing of things, but in terms of cooking and baking, well, I’ve been going out more. Mostly because it’s fun, and it kills time, and also because it’s been so damn hot in Los Angeles lately that I can’t turn my oven on even for five minutes without the A/C yelling at me at making its’ job easier. 

Onto why I am finally writing after all this time. I stumbled upon this gluten free brownie recipe a week ago. Today was the day that I just had to try it out. I will be bringing it to work to determine if others liked it as much as I did, but I have no doubts. I didn’t taste like anything I’ve ever tried that has been “modified”, or anything less than fluffy, gooey goodness. 

What I found really interesting is that this recipe calls for some ground coffee, instant. Although I added instant espresso, I thought that it added a deeper richness, that most brownies don’t have. It wasn’t overly sweet, and the cocoa powder and semi-sweet chips add just the right balance so you’re not trying to drown yourself in milk after just one bite.

Overall, I’d say this is a keeper and then some. 

 

Also, wordpress has informed me that over 9 days ago it was my blog anniversary. Who knew!? I guess chocolate brownies were just the thing to post, in celebration. Happy Belated Breakfast Socks!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Coffee Brownies

Taken from Snixy Kitchen

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ chocolate extract (if you don’t have this, just double the vanilla extract measure).
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (I used instant caramel latte mix because that’s what I had!)
  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted using a double broiler
  • ½ cup almond flour (or almond meal)
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish with parchment paper (or grease & flour with brown rice flour).

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and coffee granules. Add the melted chocolate chips and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until completely combined.

Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the dark chocolate chips evenly on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or only with a few crumbs.

Let cool for about a half an hour before serving to prevent them from crumbling (I cut mine into rectangular pieces, and got 6, the bigger the better).

 

Enjoy!

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My Pasta Rosa

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I’ve been looking up recipes online and through pinterest for quite some time now. And something just dawned on me. I need to stop. I have maybe 20+ cookbooks that are just sitting in the bookcase, and they are screaming at me to be used. My last cookbook purchase was Nigella Lawson’s new book, Nigellissima. Almost every recipe that I open this cookbook to, is a keeper. The one that I’ve been eyeing the most is Nigella’s Pasta Rosa.

I didn’t quite have the ingredients for her version, but I will admit I was heavily influenced by her recipe when making my own.

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Pasta Rosa

  • 2 oz (or whatever single serving of pasta you prefer) of spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup small, cooked shrimp
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • milk, to texture (I used almond milk, but you can use coconut, whole or part fat milks)
  • 2 tbsp or so of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on stove and heat to a rolling boil. Salt the water heavily, and add the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes or so, depending on if you’re using thin or regular spaghetti.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Heat through, about 5 minutes or so, turning occasionally. Add creme fraiche, horseradish, and paprika to the pan. Let everything melt together, creating a sort of thick sauce. Add a little bit of milk to get the desired consistency you like.

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When the pasta is done use a pasta spoon or tongs to remove from the water, and allow to drain excess liquid while holding over the pot, very minimally. The starchy water helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.

Before serving sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately, and eat greedily.

On A Side Note

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Stuff has gone down in the last few months (well, more like last two months really). Not to go into details, let’s just say that a lot has changed in my life, and rather quickly. First off, work has me running around back and fourth, and although I’m flattered that I’m getting so much work, I’m also a little (a lot) bummed out that I won’t be getting much of a summer break. I’m scared I’ll be too burned out when LAUSD starts back up and I’ll be working 100% full capacity.

 

School is almost over (for the summer). I have one more class this coming Tuesday, and then I have a break for about three weeks before my next class. I know that my horrid oral exams are also coming up and I have not cracked a book to study due to personal reasons, and that alone is enough to keep me up at night. 

Due to the lack of time, and overall hot weather later, I haven’t been cooking, and instead relying on going out, or making quick pasta with canned sauce for sustenance. Long story short, I will be attempting cooking sometime this weekend, I hope, and perhaps you’ll see a lasagna, or ribs, or some sort of stew in your future. 

 

Till then!

Chocolate Chip Cookies of a Lifetime

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Going along with this weeks earlier post on tea time and scones, morning coffee is not the same without something sweet to munch on. Sure I can go with drinking a cup of coffee after I’m done with my cereal, but a nice bit of sugar right before I leave the door sometimes gets me through the harder times of the day. These cookies are perfect for that. Chewy and gooey and made in less than an hour, I couldn’t ask for me.

Granted, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies before, however, I’m still searching for the perfect, and the best recipe possible. The one that should be my go-to recipe for birthdays and potlucks and lonely Saturday nights, and I think this might be it.

Cookies taken directly from The Little White Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or hard margarine), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 2 eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla (i love vanilla)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (you can also add nuts, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I n a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until fluffy (making sure your butter is room temperature really helps the process go smoothly). Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix in your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix together your flour, salt and baking soda. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls (about 3 inches apart) onto your cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheets, but feel free to use parchment paper if you don’t like to wash pans afterwards).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies and whether or not you like them well done)
on the center rack of your oven.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks (do not try to remove the cookies at this point or you’ll end up with a gooey mess).

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Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies whenever you need a pick me up, or the world gets you down.

An English Tea Deserves Scones

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Now that LAUSD is out of session– yay summer– and I have a fairly regular working schedule that’s keeping me busy, yet open enough to do anything and everything in the mornings and afternoons, I decided instead of eating a very late lunch (after 3pm), I’d instead have a decent tea to hold me over till dinner.

I know 3 pm is also too late for a “traditional” tea, but I’m at work during the regular hours. An hour late won’t hurt, right? I love tea, I love clotted cream, jam, cookies and scones so why not? Firstly, I need scones. The ones in this post were a little dry, partly because of the oven temperature, however, the second batch was a lot better. Below is the adjusted temperature for the lovely muffins. Note that I also subbed in orange zest for lemon, and omitted the use of the glaze. I really don’t need it in presence of syrup and clotted cream. That’s enough calories for me, thank you.

Strictly Based on The Messy Baker scones.

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Blueberry Orange Scones

  • 2½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1¼ cups fat-free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (do not thaw frozen blueberries)
For the Glaze- I omitted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3½ tbs. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles very coarse sand (the mixture will still be a bit dry).

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In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet using a large ice cream scoop.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the scones are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Drizzle the glaze onto the slightly warm scones or slice open and serve with clotted cream, jam, and or syrup or honey.

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Glaze
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice until smooth.

2013 Has A lot to Answer For

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Happy New Year one and all!

I must say that I’m excited to say goodbye to 2012. It started off great and held a lot of promise, what with a promotion, getting into (and starting) grad school, getting straight A’s (yup, I’m a smarty pants), and getting to go apple picking, however there were a few major dark days that I couldn’t overlook and turned the overall 2012 into a nightmare.

However, I had friends and loved one carry me through it, and I couldn’t be happier for my current support system.

In any case, 2013 has a lot to answer for. I’m expecting great things, and although I wont’ make resolutions I guess my new mantra will have to be “be better, be your best, and don’t be lazy”.

So far I’ve made myself dinner for the next few days and planned out a menu for the next few weekends when I’ll be feeding not only myself but Boyfriend as well. 2013 has started off with a great anniversary (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!) and a lovely dinner at The Melthing Pot, a fancy-shmancy fondue restaurant. Not to mention a gorgeous kitty necklace. It’s gold and shiny and just the right length and I’ll never take it off. Never.

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I’ve already named it Daphne. That’s right, the cat pendant is Daphne. Say “Hello”, everyone.

But I digress. Going back to the expectations I have for the new year: I expect myself to be disciplined enough to save up for at least three vacation trips, regardless of the season, where I have to stay overnight. I expect myself to not be lazy (as stated above) when it comes to working out, and cooking; I do love to cook but sometimes I just feel like getting Taco Bell instead, and that’s something that’s gotta stop. Seriously.

In terms of fancy, I expect myself to save up enough money that I can buy a set of undies and a bra from Agent Provocateur.  Best lingerie in the world, in my opinion and in a few other peoples.

So far, my lust is this set:

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It’s not so much the fancy factor that is played to my liking here, although that certainly helps, but it’s a way of self indulgence that I think everyone is entitled to, at least once a year, regardless of it’s it a pair of $500 shoes, or a pair of lingerie that costs half your rent.

Personally I don’t have room for shoes at the moment, so the latter will have to do. And it does, beautifully.

So far, 2013 has been good and considering it’s only the second day of the year, I’m ever hopeful.

Good night!

Mushroom Soup and a Long Week Behind Me

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This past week has been a little too crazy for my liking. I had to prepare my entire apartment for the bug people coming (I do not have bugs, however the new owners of the building insisted on putting everyone out, having them loose a day of work, and making everyone very angry on a weekday), and then put it all back together. On. A. Weekday.

Apparently, last time this happened it occurred Saturday morning and they had three guys for the whole building, not one. I survived the ordeal, and overall it was a little bit worth it. I was able to toss out a bunch of kitchen items that I didn’t need, and I was able to re organize my spices.

Not to mention, during the cleaning process I found a few sets of China I completely forgot I owned!

Prior to this nonsense, on Tuesday I had made the greatest mushroom soup. It’s my first, and only mushroom soup really, but the statement still stands.  I got the idea from this recipe, but when first reading over it it seemed a little too complex, what with the coring and peeling of an apple and the use of an immersion blender (I knew what was in store for me later that week so I was in no mood to do extra work, not even for food).

My version, if I do say so myself, it quite better!

Aside from the soup I was able to accomplish a bit of decorating for the holidays. Sadly, I couldn’t get a good image of my nutcracker, however, the rest of the rooms are coming along nicely. I’m not sure if’ll I be hosting any parties because of my busy and tiring schedule in December, but in any case there’s no harm in decorating just for oneself.

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Those pine cones there are the same ones I picked about a week ago with Boyfriend out in… NATURE! I baked them for about 23 minutes in 200 degree oven. The sap got a lovely sheen and gave the pine cones an almost lacquered effect.

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Lastly, my crochet project (Boyfriend’s mom’s Christmas present) is moving along nicely. I’m at a steady pace today, and I’m hoping (with determination), to get through half of it.

 

Now, without delay, the recipe for amazing soup. ENJOY

Mushroom and Garlic Soup

  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 heads of garlic mashed, chopped, or otherwise pulverized (to your liking)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb mushrooms (I used baby bellas, but button work, too), thinly sliced
  • 1 can of chicken stock (roughly 2 cups)
  • 1 can of coconut milk, shaken in can before opening (to get it all mixed well)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, fresh if possible
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp bourbon sea salt (I found this at Williams Sonoma- if you don’t have it, course sea salt is good as well)
  • 3 fresh sprigs of dill

In a large pot, heat the oil and butter. Add the onions and garlic. Salt a bit so the juices are released. Cover and let cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally on low heat; careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

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Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Add more salt (not the flavored salt), pepper, spices, rosemary stock, chicken stock, and coconut milk. Stir, and raise the temperature to medium-high. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

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Make sure it’s not bubbling too much, and after 10 minutes uncover, and let cook on medium heat (bubbling away) for 20 minutes. Add the bourbon salt and half the dill (I didn’t chop it up, just ripped it up with my hands).  Take out the sprig of rosemary, and slowly stir for about 3 more minutes to thicken the soup a bit.

Add more dill when serving soup.

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