Monday, August 11, 2014

Gluten-Free Lemon Zested Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I am in love with this cheesecake. It was very therapeutic to create, with such pure and straightforward ingredients: the creaminess meeting the lemon zest, served with another level of deliciousness by the homemade caramel sauce being poured over the tender cake. I also love eating a cool dessert in the middle of a hot summer, and up the ice cream factor by freezing it first then serving. Give it a try. You will be wishing you made a double batch. 

Oh yeah, I've been getting serious about making gluten-free food because one of my new roommates is a highly sensitive celiac. I will be getting edits from them and I am so appreciative to get to learn from them first hand about gluten-free baking. 

Of course if you are not gluten sensitive, sub in regular graham crackers or ginger snaps. This dessert is best served the day after it's evening chill, and by day two freeze it or eat it (which shouldn't be a problem). Enjoy. 

Gluten-Free Lemon Zested Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
ADAPTED FROM JOY THE BAKER. DOUBLE CHECK ALL INGREDIENTS. A LOT OF GLUTEN FREE FLOUR PRE-MIXES CONTAIN SOY FLOUR. PREP TIME: 1.15 HR BAKE TIME: 1 HR CHILL TIME: OVERNIGHT OR 4 HOURS GLUTEN FREE | SOY FREE

Ginger Snap Crust:
2 cups ginger snap cookies, gluten-free and soy-free
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt, Himalayan

Lemon Zested Cheesecake:
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract, gluten-free check the type of alcohol used
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
zest from one lemon

Caramel Drizzle:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp filtered water
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt

Special Equipment:
Food Processor
6-inch Spring Form Cake Pan
9-inch pan, or one big enough to fit the 6-inch pan

How To:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 6-inch spring-form cake pan (one with about 4 inch-high sides). Place a large sheet of foil beneath pan and wrap up around the base to protect any moisture from seeping in from the water bath. Wrap foil around the outside and along the edges without going into the  inside of the pan.

2. Prepare the Ginger Snap Crust: In a food processor add ginger snap cookies, brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process for a couple minutes until the mixture is well blended and moist. Pour mixture into the cake pan and press the mixture down and up the edges a little bit. Tamp down with the back of a glass or tight (yet gentle!) fist. Place crust in oven to brown a little bit, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Turn oven down to 325ºF. Boil about 4 cups of water for the water bath. Set aside.

4. Prepare the cheesecake filling: Beat the cream cheese and sugar for about 3 - 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in salt, vanilla, and one egg. Once mixed, add the other egg. Continue to beat until very smooth, for about another couple minutes, add in cream. Beat until smooth and thick. Add lemon zest, stir to incorporate. Pour into the prepared crust.

5. Place the 6-inch prepared cheesecake pan into the empty 9-inch pan. Place both pans into the oven. Carefully pour the prepared boiled water into the 9-inch pan on the bottom, trying not to splash into the cheesecake.

6. Bake for an hour or until cheesecake is browned and puffed. You may need to check it ten minutes early, or keep baking it for 10 - 15 minutes more, depending on elevation. Turn off oven and crack the door allowing the cheesecake to cool slowly without cracking due to excessive temperature changes. Let rest in oven for an hour. Remove from oven and set on counter. Let it continue to cool for another hour or more at room temperature. Set in fridge to cool overnight (or four hours).

7. Make the Caramel: In a medium saucepan, add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Turn to medium heat and allow mixture to boil. Stir occasionally. Once sugar has slightly browned, without being burned, take pan off of heat and add cream and butter. Stir until incorporated. Add salt. Pour mixture into a lidded container. Let cool overnight (or four hours) with cheesecake.

8. The next day, run a knife around the circumference of the cheesecake, gently remove from pan and plate. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cheesecake. Garnish with the salt and a few lemon slices if you so desire for presentation. Good luck, and most of all, good eats!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vegetarian Curry with Chickpeas and Sweet Potato


Vegetarian Curry with Chickpeas and Sweet Potato
ORIGINAL RECIPE. VEGAN / VEGETARIAN: USE VEGETABLE BROTH INSTEAD OF CHICKEN BROTH.
TIME: 30 MIN SERVES: 2 - 4 GLUTEN FREE / SOY FREE | VEGAN OPTION

Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp curry powder
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, julienned
1/4 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1, 15 oz coconut milk, divided
1 can chickpeas (garbonzo), drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt, or more to taste
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Jasmine Rice for serving

How To:
1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add sweet potato and sauté for two or three minutes.

2. Add garlic and ginger. Continue to cook potatoes until they begin to fry about 5 or 6 minutes.

3. Add curry powder. Cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, carrots and onion. Stir until liquid is mostly evaporated.

4. Add chicken broth and coconut milk (reserve about 1/8 cup for serving). Simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chickpeas and salt. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until tender to your preference. Taste for seasoning and serve.

5. Serve over rice and sprinkle with cilantro. Pour remaining coconut milk over dish right before serving.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Green Tea Noodle Salad


This meal is very rewarding. That being said, rewarding because it is a lot of work. If you want to enjoy a fancy salad on a hot summer day you have got to try this. Billy and I loved it. This meal is also for someone who is adventurous in the kitchen as well, because it does contain some ingredients not common in the American kitchen. Such as daikon, kombu, and choy sum. A radish, sea kelp, and Chinese cabbage.

The source for this recipe has become one of my beloved cook books that I frequently turn to for ideas and meal planning inspiration. It's perfect for someone who is gluten free, who want to have more vegetables in their diet, and loves Asian food already. The book does contain a lot of Ramen recipes which is delicious, but it is a bit more pricey to buy the gluten free, 100% buckwheat soba.

Wagamama's Green Tea Noodle Salad
ADAPTED FROM WAGAMAMA. GLUTEN FREE IF THE 100% BUCKWHEAT SOBA NOODLES ARE USED, OR USE BROWN RICE PASTA VERMICELLI
TIME: 45 MIN - 1 HR SERVES: 2 - 3 GLUTEN FREE OPTION | VEGAN

Ingredients:
4 inch piece, daikon radish, peeled, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
6 oz buckwheat soba noodles (100% buckwheat for Gluten-Free)
2 sachets of green tea, or 2 tsp loose leaf, preferably organic
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red chile, finely sliced, taste for heat
3/4 ounce kombu (kelp seaweed), soaked in cold water, squeezed dry, sliced
2-3 tablespoons wagamama salad dressing, recipe follows
1 tsp himalayan pink salt
-
1 bunch of asparagus, woody stems discarded, cut in half
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup choy sum (flowering Chinese cabbage), chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Wagamama Dressing:
2 tsp finely chopped shallot
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, peeled, grated
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp water
very scant 1/2 cup oil (olive, vegetable, or coconut)
3 tbsp soy sauce, less sodium, organic preferred

How To:
1. Place shredded daikon and carrot in a bowl with water and ice. Place in fridge for 30 minutes up to an hour.

2. In a large pot add water till 3/4 full. Add green tea. Boil water over high heat. Add soba noodles. Cook for four minutes or until al dente. Drain and refresh under cool water. If using sachets, remove and discard. Set aside.

3. Drain daikon and carrot. In a large bowl mix together, the drained daikon, carrot, noodles, red bell pepper, chile, kombu, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the wagamama dressing. Add salt, and toss. Divide between two plates.

4. Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy duty pan over high heat. Once pan is smoking add asparagus. Add oil. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add choy sum. Cook for another 30 seconds and turn off heat. Top the cold salad with the cooked asparagus and choy sum. Garnish with cilantro.

5. Serve with dressing, in case you need more of this delicious sauce!
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