Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and Seared Scallops and Balsamic Reduction. Gluten free / dairy free

Homemade Anniversary DinnerHaving severe food allergies is hard, especially when trying to dine out. I’m allergic to gluten and (cow milk) dairy, and both are hidden in the most unexpected places. Some broths and stocks contain whey, certain whiskey sour mixes contain whey, (what the heck?!) and tons of dressings and sauces contain wheat. Even if I tell a waiter or waitress that I have a dairy and gluten allergy, there’s no guarantee that I won’t be accidentally poisoned.

And I can’t blame them. Who would even THINK to look in beef broth for milk?

Anaphylaxis is nothing to mess around with. Instead of focusing on everything I can’t eat, I like to think of all the yummy things I get to make from scratch at home.

The following recipe was something I made for our anniversary dinner, and it was better than we could have hoped for. Dairy free, gluten free, and tasty beyond measure. Take THAT allergies. I hope you enjoy it!

Red wine braised short ribs and roasted garlic, goat cheese, and chive mashed potatoes, with seared scallops and balsamic reduction.

Braised short ribs:

1 onion, diced

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups red wine

2 cups chicken broth

Shake of rosemary

2 tbsp onion powder

2 tbsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Sear short ribs on all sides until brown (about 2 mins), then remove from pan and rest in oven safe baking dish. Sauté veggies in meat drippings with a hit of olive oil until soft. Add red wine and one cup of chicken broth, seasoning, then cover and cook for ten minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add veggies and second cup of chicken broth to meat, cover tightly with tinfoil, and cook for 1 hour at 350, then 375 for one more hour.


Roasted garlic mashed potatoes:

6 red potatoes (they’ve got a smaller starch content)

1 whole head of garlic

3 tbsps dried chives (or fresh if you’ve got them)

1/2 cup soy sour cream

4 tbsp soy-free butter (I like using the red earth balance brand, you don’t want to over do it with too much soy, so I change up ingredients for soy free when I can.)

2 tsps garlic powder

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt

Scrub potatoes and leave the skin on. Cut into inch or half inch chunks so they cook faster. Boil in salted water until you can stick them easily with a fork, then drain the water and add them to a bowl. I roast my garlic in the oven while the meat is cooking (about 45-50 mins while it’s set at 350), then carefully remove each clove and mash in a small bowl with chives.

Next I mash the potatoes and add butter, soy sour cream, and garlic powder. Once it’s the consistency I like, I mix the roasted garlic and chives in, making sure it’s mixed throughly. Finally, mix in goat cheese and taste. Adjust salt and sour cream as desired.


Seared scallops:

1 lb sea scallops

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Make sure your scallops are room temp to start with, then pat dry with paper towel on both sides. Add a nice amount of salt and pepper to cover the tops and bottoms. Heat your skillet to med-high and warm up just enough oil to keep your scallops from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add scallops to pan, being careful to not overcrowd the dish. Don’t turn more than once. (Let cook about 3 mins on each side to get that great sear.)


Balsamic reduction:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1.5 tbsp soy butter

Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small sauce pan, then lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 mins, or until desired consistency. Once its where you want it to be, stir in soy butter and remove from heat. Set aside until ready to serve. You can make this first – it doesn’t have to be served warm.

Post Revisions Pizza – Homemade Recipe

Hello my lovely blog friends! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve stopped in and said hello, but it’s been quite a year. I was balls deep with my new writing project, trying to keep myself occupied while on submission, and doing a BUNCH of research. I’m finally putting the final touches on my manuscript and it’s one of my favorite projects EVER. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more about it when it goes on submission this fall.

To make up for my silence, I’m going to share a fun recipe with you that’s been in our family for years and years. After writing all day it’s nice to take a break and cook up something quick and tasty.

Since I have a Sicilian background, I’m going to share a fast pizza recipe with you. Now don’t be scared…it’s MUCH easier to make dough than you might think.

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First you’ll need the following ingredients to make the dough:

2 cups warm water

1 pkg dry yeast (active dry)

2 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups unbleached flour

In a small bowl mix the dry yeast with the warm water, then let it sit aside.

In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. (You want all of your salt and sugar to be mixed evenly before you add the water/yeast).

Once you’ve done that, slowly add the water/yeast into the large bowl. I usually lightly move the mixture around with my hands to spread the water as far as possible without kneading it too much at first. After the water is mixed with the flour (as best as you can) start kneading the dough on a counter (make sure you sprinkle some flour on the surface to avoid the dough getting stuck prior to kneading it). It’s important to not over knead it, you basically just want your dough to be smooth at this point.

Divide the dough in half, making two round mounds (pictured below).

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Cover with a towel and let sit for about 30-40 minutes.

While your dough is rising, you can make some easy marinara sauce. (If you’re really fancy, you can make the sauce the night before and let it cook down longer.)

For the sauce you’ll need:

1 can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 medium can of Hunts sauce

2-3 cloves of garlic (based on taste preference)

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of oregano

3 tablespoons of dried basil (or enough to cover the top of your sauce)

In a food processor, chop the garlic and tomatoes until smooth. Add the tomatoes and garlic to a sauce pan, then combine the rest of the ingredients and cook over a medium heat for as long as possible. (The longer you let it cook, the more it’ll cook down and become nice and thick for your pizza.)

While your sauce is finishing up you can prep your toppings to save some time. We like making mozzarella, goat cheese, and prosciutto pizza, but nothing beats a classic margherita pie. For that you’ll just need to slice some fresh mozzarella, or buy some that’s already pre-sliced.

When you’re happy with your sauce’s consistency, you can begin rolling your dough out. I normally just hand roll it by pulling and stretching it until it’s roughly the size of our pizza pan or stone. After you’ve rolled your dough out, sprinkle some more flour on your pizza stone or pan then place your dough on top of it.

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Add sauce to your dough. The trick is to not add too much, just a few spoonfuls – you still want to be able to see the dough in spots. This will help ensure your dough doesn’t get soggy in the middle.

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Then top with cheese and whatever else you like. For mine I sprinkled a little bit of Pecorino Romano over the top then added sliced mozzarella. Pictured below:

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Stick it in a preheated oven (I set mine for 425) and let it cook for about 15 minutes. You may want to check yours around the 10 minute mark, depending on how hot your oven gets. The pizza is done when the crust is a nice golden brown.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Quick Dinner Tip: If you make your sauce the night before (or even defrost frozen sauce you’ve saved from previous meals), then this dinner is extra easy and fast. You can also pre-make your dough and keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge the night before. Then you’ll just have to set the dough out for a few minutes to get room temperature and roll it out. Total time for that would only be about 30 minutes for cooking and prep.

Braaaaains: The Best Halloween Cupcakes EVER

To get into the spirit of Halloween (pun intended) I’m sharing a great recipe from the FoodNetwork.com. 

(ALL CREDIT – INCLUDING PHOTO(S) – BELONGS TO THE FOODNETWORK.)

Please be sure to check out their site for more spooky treats to trick your guests with. Did I mention they’re red velvet (brain) cupcakes? YUM YUM YUM YUM. Okay, so here are the BEST ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE CUPCAKES EVER: <333333

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • Red and black food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners (preferably silver).

For the cupcakes: Crack the eggs into your mixer. Add the canola oil, buttermilk and vinegar. Drop in the food coloring and vanilla. Let it stir up until well mixed.

Put the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together until well mixed. Then sift this right onto a big piece of waxed paper, it makes it easy to transport to the mixer. Make sure there are no clumps.

Turn your mixture on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients as it’s mixing. Turn the mixer up just a bit and combine well. Stop and scrape down the bowl.

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly dish the batter out into the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.

Pop the cupcakes in the oven until a cake tester comes out nice and clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Add the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar and cream together in a mixer. Add the milk. Stop and scrape down the bowl, getting all the confectioners’ sugar incorporated. Add a couple drops of black food coloring and then some red food coloring. Mix in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Fill a pastry bag or snip the corner of a zip top bag. Fill with the frosting. (To fill the bag easily, wrap the bag around a cup and wrap the edges of the bag around the top to keep the bag open while filling with frosting.)

Frost the cupcakes, making a little squiggly line down the middle, and then filling in little swirls to look like the brain. Repeat on the other side and for the rest of the cupcakes.

Spiced, Spiced Baby

There’s a chill in the air, leaves are getting all crispy-like, and i’ve pulled out some sweaters. this can only mean one thing…

It’s SPICED Apple Cider time!!! Here’s a SIMPLE recipe I suggest you try out tonight. XO

Photo credit LoveToKnow.com

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
8 oz. Apple Cider

1 cinnamon stick for garnish (per drink, naturally)

Mix together, and ENJOY! Oh, and if you’re one of those “hot” apple cider folks, heat up the apple cider before you add the alcohol.

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Apple Crumb Cupcake (Cocktail)

Fall is almost upon us. WHERE, oh WHERE did the summer go? To (grudgingly) celebrate the cooling air, I decided to share a fall inspired cocktail recipe that is SUPER delicious. Enjoy! XO

(This recipe is taken directly from the Cupcake Vodka Website, be sure to check it out!)

Click on image for source

Ingredients
1.5 oz Cupcake Vodka Original
1.5 oz Apple Cider
One Very Small Piece of Fresh Skinned Ginger
1.5 oz Ginger Ale Lime Wedge & Green Apple Slice

Preparation
Muddle the ginger and Cupcake Original vodka in a mixing glass. Add the cider and shake with ice; strain over ice into a rocks glass and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a squeeze from the lime wedge and a green apple slice.

Let them eat cake!

Ever just have one of those weeks? Yeah, me too. My brain has left for tropical lands, my mood is lost in the frozen tundra, and my optimism is totally MIA. What do you do when the whole world feels like it’s upside down? You bake a freakin’ cake. Who says chocolate doesn’t make things better? 😉

 Directions

For the cake:

 Ingredients

Cooking spray

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1 1/2 cups lowfat yogurt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water

2 ounces good-quality dark chocolate

For the frosting:

 1 (8-ounce) bar Neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese), softened

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water

1 teaspoon coffee liqueur or vanilla

1 small square chocolate

Arrange rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk together flours, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl, then sift ingredients through a fine mesh strainer.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and oil. Add eggs and egg whites and whisk to incorporate. Fold in yogurt, vanilla, sugar and dissolved espresso powder. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 90 seconds or over a double boiler. Fold chocolate into batter.

Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated; do not overbeat. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cake has risen nicely and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

While cake is cooling, make the frosting:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until soft and creamy. Spread frosting evenly over cake and cut into squares. Finely grate one small square of chocolate. Sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the cake.

 This recipe is 100% credited to Ellie Krieger via the Food Network. Happy Wednesday everyone! 

Oh, and I was just kidding about my optimism being lost. I fully believe today is going to be the best day ever. Hope yours is filled with AMAZING news. And CAKE!

XO

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!! XOXOXOXO

Holy chipotle guacamole

There’s nothing I like better than a random fiesta. My sister started making the best guacamole on the planet, so if you’re in the mood for the BEST GUACAMOLE EVER, here’s the recipe:

Homemade Chipotle Guacamole Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies, or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 dash of tequilla to taste, then taste some more.

Directions

Mash together cubed avocado, lime juice, salsa, and adobo chipotle sauce in a bowl until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Then serve up some fresh margaritas, grab a bag of tortilla chips, and ENJOY!

 XOXO