Rawtella “Cheesecake” Brownies {37Cooks}

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I love being a part of 37Cooks – even with my beyond busy schedule this year and turning a few submissions in late (sorry guys!), challenges like this help keep me on my toes and my creativity flowing. This challenge wasn’t for a sponsor but instead a fun little “Surprise Food Exchange” between the bloggers. We were asked to some something(s) from our state…I was chosen to send items from RI (or close by) to Donna of Cookistry. Sadly however her first box is M.I.A. so I sent her a second one which I hope was equally as good. I received some awesome gluten-free goodies from Linda…seriously these items were perfect and right up my alley. I received two bottles of Ginger People Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce and a jar of Rawtella.

Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce

(Image: ]http://gingerpeople.com/gluten-free-products/hot-ginger-jalapeno-spicy-dip.html)                                                        (Image:https://www.facebook.com/Rawtella/photos_stream)

Our challenge was to come up with a recipe using at least one of the products we received. At first I was pretty torn on which one to use. I had made a delicious burger with a bit of the Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce mixed into the meat, and topped with a Hot Ginger Jalapeno Aoli and avocado, and don’t get me wrong…it was delicious, however I forgot to actually get a good picture of it. Seeing as money is, lets say…tight right now I couldn’t actually recreate the recipe just yet so I went through my pantry to see what I had on hand. Turns out I had everything to make some delicious brownies…using a box mix of course. I have a great recipe for homemade brownies but I had a box of the Stonewall Kitchen Gluten-Free Brownie Mix, which I LOVE. It has such a great flavor (which is thanks to the coffee that is in it!). I’m not a huge chocolate person…I like it a lot better when it is mixed with something else, like nuts. I knew that I was going to use the Rawtella (obviously!) in this recipe but I was trying to think of something to break up all the chocolate. When walking through the grocery store this morning I saw some beautiful brownies with cream cheese swirls running through them and a light bulb went off, “I have that at home too!!”.

I have to say these are pretty easy and quick to make, especially if you are using a box mix. However, you do not have to…use whatever your favorite recipe is and even though the Rawtell is vegan, this recipe is not. I couldn’t afford to buy the alternative ingredients to make it that way so if you want to make it vegan, simply follow your favorite vegan brownie recipe, use the Rawtella and then use a vegan cream cheese. If anyone tries this…please let me know how it turns out.

Thank you Linda for the awesome, delicious ingredients to play around with. Hope you all enjoy the recipe!

Rawtella “Cheesecake” Brownies

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Brownies

  • 1 package of gluten-free brownie mix, prepared according to package or your favorite homemade gluten-free brownie recipe

Topping

  • 4 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg (separated)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup Rawtella

Method of Preparation

  1. Pre-heat oven according to package or recipe
  2. Prepare brownie mix according to package or recipe
  3. Pour prepared brownie batter into an 8×8 baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper or to make individual brownies use the Good Cook Dessert Bar Pan
  4. In a small bowl add the softened 1/3 fat cream cheese and the yolk from the egg.
  5. Mix with a spoon until completely incorporated and there are no lumps.
  6. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix well.
  7. In a second small bowl combine the Rawtella and egg white, mix until evenly incorporated.
  8. Place 1-2 teaspoons each of the cream cheese mixture and the Rawtella mixture of top of each brownie (if using the dessert pan) or evenly distribute globs of each on top of the brownie mixture in the 8×8 pan.
  9. With either a toothpick or knife, swirl the cream cheese and Rawtella mixtures together.
  10. Bake according to package or recipe.
  11. Cool completely, remove from pan and serve with fresh strawberries.

 

 

 

 

Ratatouille

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The second 37 Cooks challenged that I participated in was for Sciabica Olive Oil. Sciabica Olive Oil is a family run business which prepares their olive oil in the Italian tradition of old-world quality and they say that their oils are “California Sunshine in A Bottle”. Sciabica proves that you do not need to go to Italy or Spain to get good quality and fantastic tasting olive oil. Sciabica generously provided each of the 37 Cooks with two bottles of their choice. I chose the Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest and the Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Both of which were simply delicious. I always like to taste my olive oils by themselves before using them in either cooking or baking – this helps me get an idea of what I want to use them for and what flavors I think would go well together.

For this challenge we were asked to again prepare two dishes with the olive oils that we choose. Below is my first recipe and I can’t even count how many recipes I made after this which made it difficult to choose my second one (will be posted soon). This olive oil was so delicious and I’m happy but surprised I have any left!

Please check out 37 Cooks (here is a link to my bio) and Sciabica Olive Oil.

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Ratatouille – Serves 4
Ingredients:

Sciabica Garlic Olive Oil*                       3 tablespoons, divided

Eggplant, 3/4 inch dice                           1 cup

Onion*, White, 3/4 inch dice                     1/2 cup

Garlic, Minced                                         2-3 large cloves (1-2 tablespoons)

Red Pepper Flakes                                 1/4-1/2 teaspoons

Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered         1 cup

Bell Pepper, Yellow, 3/4 inch dice           1/2 cup

Bell Pepper, Orange, 3/4 inch dice         1/2 cup

Zucchini, 3/4 inch dice                           1/2 Cup

Tomatoes, Roma, 1/2 inch dice             4-6 each

      or pasta sauce of your choice         1/2 – 1 cup

Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated        To taste

Salt, Kosher                                          To taste

Pepper                                                  To taste

Gluten-free pasta – we use corn or brown rice pasta.

Method of Preparation:
  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Trim ends from eggplant. Cut eggplant into  ¾ inch dice. Sprinkle with kosher salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Cut mushrooms in halves or quarters and set aside
  4. Cut onions, peppers and zucchini in to ¾ inch dice and set aside.
  5. Cut Roma tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice, remove seeds and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until translucent.
  7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil the eggplant and sauté until lightly browned.
  8. Add all other vegetables.  Season generously and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in basil chiffonade.
  9. Stir in tomatoes or tomato sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve as is or over pasta.
  12. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*B was out-of-town so that is why there are onions in this dish, but if you are cooking for someone who suffers from onion allergy like B does then just omit those and add some additional vegetables. You can also use regular olive oil if you can not find the garlic olive oil.

Popeye Risotto {Marx Foods Blogger Challenge)

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Voting is now open! Click HERE to vote

Voting begins today, Tuesday February 12 and ends at 11:30pm PST on Thursday February 14th. Two winners will be chosen, one by popular vote and one from internal votes. Winners will be awarded $100.00 credit to Marx Foods each! And I could really really use some vanilla beans😉 Thanks!

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in another Marx Foods Challenge. This one was called “Its Easy Being Green” and for those who know me really well I’m a bit obsessed with green. Some have been known to call me Kermit. In addition to my love of all things green (which includes my favorite animal, turtles) I love my green veggies: broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans…well almost all – I truly despise peas, except for in my homemade fried rice.  I received samples of bamboo rice, dill pollen, green eston lentils, whole cardamom and mint herb crystals from Marx Foods and was asked to create a dish using at least two of the above ingredients.

Life has been a bit hectic the past few weeks with school, my first chef’s table, and of course blizzard Nemo where go figure we lost power! We seem to lose power on Aquidneck Island when the wind blows but the past few days have been miserable, with loosing food (again), and no heat (we have electric everything), so my original recipe idea for this was scratched and today I made a very green inspired risotto using the bamboo rice, cardamom, and some spinach.

You may have noticed on Creative Cooking Gluten Free that I also love risotto because it’s a blank canvas and you can do so much with it. This one is packed with flavor and color! This is also a great way to get that extra serving of vegetables (especially the leafy greens) that you may be lacking in your diet. Highlighted below are the two ingredients I choose – you could even add a little of the dill pollen to this as well.

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Popeye Risotto

Spinach Stock

  • Olive oil                                         2 teaspoon
  • Garlic                                             2 tablespoons
  • Baby Spinach                                 9 oz (1 Bag)
  • Grey Salt                                        1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper                                  1/8 teaspoon
  • White Wine                                      1/4 cup
  • Cardamom                                      2 Whole – crushed and seeds removed
  • Vegetable Stock                               2 1/2 cups

Risotto

  • Olive Oil                                            1 tablespoon
  • Butter                                                 1 tablespoon
  • Bamboo Rice                                    1 cup
  • Ground Ginger                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated                 1/4 cup

Method of Preparation:

  1.  Gather all ingredients and equipment.

  2.  Peel garlic and rough chop it, set aside.

  3.  In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat.

  4.  Add chopped garlic and saute for 1 minute.

  5. Add cardamom seeds and baby spinach.

  6. Cook over medium heat until spinach has wilted.

  7. Add white wine and cook for an additional minute.

  8. Season with salt and pepper

  9. In the pitcher of a blender add 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock and spinach mixture.

  10. Blend on high-speed until well blended.

  11. Add spinach stock to a medium sauce pan and keep warm over low heat.

  12. In the same skillet as before add remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat.

  13. Once the butter has melted add the bamboo rice and stir until well coated.

  14. Sprinkle ground ginger and stir well.

  15. Stir in 1 cup of spinach stock – just enough to cover the rice.

  16. Stir well and continue to stir until the rice has almost completely absorbed the stock.

  17. Continue this until all stock has been added to rice and absorbed. This should take about 20-30 minutes.

  18. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

  19. To serve top with grated lemon zest and pine nuts (optional)

Chef Notes:You can use arborio rice instead of the bamboo rice, it will have the same texture and consistency. I have made a similar recipe with the arborio rice and it is very delicious and flavorful.

It is easy being green…and delicious too!

O Olive Oil {A Naked Tasting}

A naked tasting?? Before all of your minds start going in the wrong direction let me clarify the title of this blog for all of you. There are so many great benefits of being a food blogger – networking with fantastic companies, sampling new products, and being invited to partake in tastings and challenges.

Recently I was selected to participate in erecipecards.com O Olive Oil contest. Each blogger selected to participate received a complimentary box from O Olive Oil that included one of their olive oils and one of their vinegars. The bloggers are then requested to write two posts – a review and the second a recipe. I received the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar! O Olive Oils are pressed and NOT infused as some might think. The pressing gives the oil a deeper and richer flavor profile.

O Olive Oil is the original maker of organic citrus-crushed olive oils since 1995 and premium barrel-aged wine vinegars since 1997.

For the review I chose to do a tasting.  I really wanted to taste the oil and vinegar for what they are. I started by simply tasting them naked…with no bread or anything, just took a small spoon and tasted each one just as it was.  I had to refrain myself from continuing to “taste” (aka drink them – they are that good!) like this, so I heated up some gluten-free ciabatta bread (from Schar) and tried each individually then a combination of them.

Let me start with the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil  – Oh. My. Goodness. that pretty much sums it up but I’ll elaborate a little bit for you. This is beyond delicious and I wasn’t joking when I said I would have drank this. I’m a sucker for olive oil, especially really good olive oil. The hint of Meyer lemon in this oil is just perfect. It has a slight sweetness that balances out the slight acidity of the oil its self. To me it tastes just how the lemon smells.

Next up was the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar. This also deserves an Oh. My. Goodness. Their wine vinegars are barrel aged (just like wine)When I first read about these they sounded great. Pinot Noir is my favorite grape varietal, however I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sounding great and tasting great are two different things. I was so thrilled that these exceeded my expectations. As I tasted this vinegar, my mind started racing on what I wanted my recipe to be.  My taste-buds were going crazy when I tried this both naked and with the bread.

These oils have a higher sugar content than most olive oils and have a lower burn temperature so keep that in mind when you go to use them. With that said they are not intended to be used for frying and most cooking methods, however they are great as a finishing oil and used in vinaigrettes!

Have you visited erecipecards.com yet? If not head on over there – this website is a great resource for recipes and you can find plenty of gluten-free ones there too! While you checking it out, why not sign up and submit your recipes!

Thank you erecipecards.com and O Olive Oil for letting me participate in this review and contest.

Below are some photos that I took for the tasting…

The “naked” tasting – Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Tasting with gluten-free bread

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil tasting with gluten-free bread

Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar tasting with gluten-free bread

Check out my recipes here!!

Disclosure: All reviews on Creative Cooking Gluten Free are 100% honest and completely my own opinions

Samoa Inspired Rice Pudding {Integrale Rice Risotto Challenge}

Thank you all for voting for my Savory Lobster Risotto in the first round of the Integrale Rice Risotto Challenge from MarxFoods.com. I was one of the lucky 10 bloggers who received the most votes and with that I moved on to round two…sweet risotto or rice pudding. This was definitely a challenge for me as I have only made rice pudding once!

I have been thinking about this for a while now on what to make. Did I want to make a “tropical” inspired rice pudding with pineapple and mango?  Then I thought oh maybe a hazelnut rice pudding would be good, but I’m pretty sure that has been done a bunch of times. I looked around my pantry and pulled out the following ingredients: chocolate hazelnut milk, cocoa powder, sugar, shredded coconut, and I also had some left over homemade salted caramel sauce. If you add up all these ingredients what do you get?? Well with the addition of flour you would be able to make some homemade samoa cookies. Why not try that combination and make rice pudding?? I don’t know about you but that is one of my favorite girl scout cookies and since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease I have missed these very much.

For this recipe I had some leftover homemade salted caramel sauce. You could make your own or use whatever you normally use or have on hand.

Please visit my first post for the Intgrale Rice Risotto Challenge to read more about this fantastic rice. Not only did it work well and taste delicious in the Lobster Risotto but it is fantastic when making rice pudding!

Seeing as this makes 4 servings and it is just me right now I figured I would share and not be a pig and eat this all myself. So I shared this with neighbor Lisa whose other half is also away for a bit. She ate half of it right there, and then decided that she should probably stop and actually eat some dinner first. I hope you enjoy this as much as my neighbor did!

Samoa Rice Pudding (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup Integrale Rice

3 cups water

1/4 cup sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners)

1  cup chocolate hazelnut milk (I use Pacific Natural Foods)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 cup toasted coconut + 2 Tablespoons (divided)

1/4 cup caramel sauce + 2 Tablespoons (divided)

pinch of salt

Method Of Preparation:

1. Do NOT rinse the rice. You want the starch to remain, it will help thicken when the milk is added

2. In a medium sized pot add the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of Integrale Rice – bring to a boil

3. Reduce heat to medium, cook until water is absorbed (time varies so keep an eye on it and stir often to prevent sticking)

4. In a small pot add chocolate hazelnut milk, cocoa powder, sugar, 1/4 cup toasted coconut, and 1/4 cup caramel sauce, heat over medium heat

5. Once the rice has absorbed the water, add the warm chocolate hazelnut milk mixture

6. Stir and cook until liquid is mostly absorbed

7. In a small bowl add the remaining toasted coconut and caramel sauce

8. Mix well and set aside

9. Once pudding is finished serve either warm or cool – garnish with the coconut and caramel mixture and drizzle with a little caramel sauce as a garnish

Good luck to the other 9 bloggers! The DelGrosso Food Blog,ChezWhat?, The Upstart Kitchen, The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, Food for Thought, Oh Cake, Great Outdoors Cooking, Discojing, Cookistry

(I was provided a box of Integral Rice free of charge from MarxFoods.com to try and review)