Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce and Pecan Tuile Cookie


Each term of school I take either one or two culinary labs. This term I took a culinary lab called Designing Healthy Desserts. This course is broken up in to six groups with three students each. Each group chooses a dietary restriction from the following list: Gluten-Free/Celiac, Strict Diabetic, Pre-Diabetic/Celiac, Vegan, Vegetarian-Lacto, and Lactose Intolerant. I was asked to not be in the Gluten-Free/Celiac group because lets face that it would have been rather easy to do seeing as I live it on a daily basis so we created the Pre-Diabetic/Celiac group instead. Each class we were assigned a subject matter and had to create a dish with five components (main item, two sauces, crunch factor, and garnish). We were asked to use or create recipes that did not meet our dietary restrictions and then recreate them so they would meet our guidelines.

My group consisted of two other members, Lauren (who is AMAZING and her father is diabetic), and Peter (again he is AMAZING, and also has Celiac!). I loved working with the two of them. Probably the best group I have worked with since being in school. We all were on the same page and just had so much fun, wish we could have all the same labs for the rest of our time here (which is only a year!!!).

Below is one of my favorite recipes that we created. It is a poached peach recipe in a delicious raspberry sauce and served with a pecan tuile cookie. Seeing as our group had to incorporate not only gluten-free components but also had to be suitable for a pre-diabetic so we came up with a flour blend that worked very well in the cookie recipe we found, and instead of sugar we used xylitol. We didn’t want to use splenda in any of our creations so we used mostly xylitol and frutose which worked out very well for what we were trying to achieve.

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~Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce!

Adapted from “Poached Peaches with Raspberries.” Poached Peaches with Raspberries. Yummly, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

These peaches are poached in a flavorful blend of white wine and spices, which is then reduced to a sauce.  The sugar is substituted with xylitol, making it a low sugar dessert.

Yield: 8 servings                                                                      Serving Size: 5 ounces

Ingredients:                                                                             U.S. Standard

  • Water                                                                                       1 1/3 cup
  • Xylitol                                                                                     7/8 cup
  • White wine                                                                               ½ cup
  • Salt                                                                                           1/6 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick                                                                        1 each
  • Lemon zest                                                                              1 lemon
  • Peppercorns                                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Peaches                                                                                    4 peaches
  • Raspberries                                                                              4 ounces
  • Mint leaf                                                                                  8 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Put all of the ingredients except the peaches and raspberries into a large pot.
  2. Halve the peaches and remove the pit.
  3. Add the peaches and bring the pot to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot with parchment paper and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the peaches in poaching liquid for 7-10 minutes (time depends on the ripeness of the peaches.)
  5. Take the peaches out of the cooking liquid.
  6. Add half of the raspberries to the cooked peaches.
  7. Add the remaining raspberries to the pot and bring it back to a boil.  Reduce the cooking liquid to about half.
  8. Strain the poaching liquid.
  9. Pour the poaching liquid over the peaches and raspberries. 

~Pecan Tuile Cookies~

Adapted from “Pleasant House.” Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies. Pleasant House, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

These cookies can be used to add a crunch to a dessert that might otherwise be lacking.  They are made with xylitol, making them suitable for diabetics.

Yield: 8 servings                                                                              Serving Size: ½ ounce

Ingredients:                                                                                       U.S. Standard

  • Unsalted butter                                                                                    2 tablespoons
  • Milk, 2%                                                                                              1 tablespoon
  • Bourbon                                                                                               ½ tablespoon
  • Pecans, very finely ground                                                                  3/8 cup
  • Brown rice flour                                                                                   1 teaspoon
  • Potato starch                                                                                        1 teaspoon
  • Tapioca starch                                                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Xylitol                                                                                                 ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.  In a saucepan, combine the butter, milk, and bourbon over low heat.  In a small bowl, combine the ground pecans, flour, and Xylitol.  Once the butter is melted, add in the dry ingredients all at once.  Cook until gently bubbling.  Remove saucepan from heat but keep warm
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of the batter onto the lined sheet pan, leaving at least two inches between each cookie as cookies will spread.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove cookies from oven and cool on sheet pan slightly until cookies can be lifted off the pan and hold their shape but are malleable.  Cook cookies on a cookie rack, or mold into desired shape and cool until set.

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

This recipe is actually from my dad.  So all the credit for this delicious dish goes to him. Last weekend I spent it up at my dads house planting our garden and doing some fly fishing. He found a great spot in Connecticut for catch and release fly fishing only. It was beautiful and peaceful and the best part I could to finally test out my beautiful custom 9 foot 4 weight green fly rod that he built for me (I’m in the process of setting up a blog for him to showcase his beautiful work. Check it out HERE it is a work in progress.)

I love being able to spend time with my dad, something that I missed for the five years that I lived in California. He is one of my best friends and we always have a great time together. Last year we got into canning and this summer we plan to put up as many jars of pickles that we possibly can (no pun intended!), and also try our hand at canning sauce. Another thing we love to do together is cook…we are self-proclaimed foodies. Last Saturday we had his boss Bobby over who helped till our garden for us, so in return dad and I cooked up a pretty scrumptious dinner of molasses brined pork chops, salt potatoes, and Cesar salad = yummm (recipe to follow soon). The next day we headed to the river for some fly fishing and after a long day on the river we decided on a light, quick, and delicious dinner of Grilled Tilapia with Oranges.

This recipe uses two…maybe three ingredients, no lie. I even asked my dad several times to make sure because the flavor was so good. It is perfect for a summer day, light and refreshing. For sides you could serve just about anything you wanted; steamed or grilled vegetables, rice, quinoa, etc. I’m actually making this tonight and serving it with some steamed edamame.

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

4 oz of Tilapia per person

1 large orange sliced about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt – to taste if desired

Aluminum foil

Heat grill to medium heat.

Place each fillet of Tilapia in aluminum foil, place two – three slices of orange on the fish and if you would like to add salt, be sure to season the fish and the oranges a little – this is optional, Dad made it with no salt and it was quite flavorful.

Seal foil package tightly and grill with the orange side down first. This helps release the juices from the orange, steam the fish and infused the flavor into the fish.

Cook for three minutes, flip carefully and repeat on the other side. This time may differ based on the thickness of your fillets.

Remove from grill, let packets sit for two minutes, cut open and serve with side(s) of you choice.

Thanks dad for this delicious dinner and for letting me share it on here.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

As you have probably gathered from reading my blog, we love Asian food. We often say to each other that we could live on Asian, Mexican, and Italian food…but mostly Asian. Bryan said the other day, I could eat Chinese food for breakfast lunch and dinner…I have and it was awesome. I lived in China for a little while in 2003, while I was a Program Liaison between two colleges/universities – one located in Worcester, MA where I was employed and our partner Beijing Geely University located in the Changping District.

My time spent there was right in the middle of the SARS epidemic so traveling outside of Beijing was out of the question. I did however get to spend quite a bit of time doing the “tourist” thing by visiting places such as The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more.

While I didn’t get to travel much, I ate some of the most amazing food. Most of my meals in the beginning of my stay were supplied by the on campus dining rooms – all of which were really great. We (my Chinese colleagues and I) would venture out to local restaurants to try some more delicious and local dishes. My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng) (I am working on a gluten-free recipe for these, stay tuned), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou) which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

So I have lived solely on Chinese food and would do it again in a heart beat. Thankfully Bryan loves the same styles of food that I do. Many of our meals are Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. We venture out but always come back to our love of Asian food.

Below is a recipe that is inspired by the P.F. Chang’s Gluten Free Lettuce Wraps – it is not a copycat recipe like my Beef a la Sichuan is but just inspired by it. We were at P.F. Chang’s last night to celebrate Bryan’s birthday (a little early, but we wanted to go before school started up for the both of us again). Since I was making lettuce wraps tonight we opted for our other favorite appetizer, their Shanghai Cucumbers.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

3 large chicken breasts* – diced into small pieces

3 large celery stalks – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 8oz can water chestnuts – chopped (divided)

1 8oz can bamboo shoots – chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger – peeled and grated (I use a microplane)

1 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili garlic paste

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J low sodium if you have it)

2 tbs hoisin sauce (I use the Dynasty brand)

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients according to the above directions.
  2. In a crockpot (mine is 7qts…you can use a smaller size too) add the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Brown Sugar, Garlic Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Bamboo Shoots, 1/2 of the Water Chestnuts, Celery, and Mushrooms.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Add the chopped chicken and mix until evenly coated.
  5. Cover the crockpot and turn it on low.
  6. Cook for 5 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir about half way through to incorporate everything and break up some of the larger pieces of chicken.
  8. Add the remaining water chestnuts, mix well, cover, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. To serve: Peel the leaves off of a head of iceberg lettuce, butter/boston lettuce, or use romaine hearts. Scoop about 1/4 -1/2 cup into each leave, “roll up” and enjoy. You can top these with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. We’ll be serving ours with a side of steamed edamame.

Notes: Many recipes out there call for ground chicken, which is completely acceptable, however I wanted a more hearty version so I choose to use chicken breasts and dice them instead.

You can also add all the water chestnuts at once, they will retain their crunch, but I wanted a bit more crunch so I added half of the can in the beginning and half towards the end.

Vegetarian version – instead of chicken increase the amount of mushrooms and celery, add zucchini, yellow summer squash, baby bok choy, etc.

Non-Onion Free version – replace the celery with 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced white onion.

Hope you enjoy this crockpot dish – I dished out a little bit to take a photo and then I couldn’t put it back sooo I ate it…its delicious!

(The chopsticks in the photo were sent to me from a dear friend, Shiho whose family runs one of my favorite little sushi places, Ocean Sushi in Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA. If you are in the area stop on by – they have gluten-free soy sauce!! Thanks Shiho, these get quite a bit of use!)