Gourmet chocolate french toast (gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hold on to your hat. This is going to blow your mind...
This is a french toast sandwich, filled with chocolate frosting. 
Decadence without guilt. Bring. It. On.

In recent months, I have made cupcakes for birthdays a few times. This is definitely my go-to recipe for icing/frosting and I highly recommend it- unless you have a party guest with a hidden cashew allergy. Then I'd say you'd be best to avoid it...like the plague...or head lice...

In any event, for those cashew-eating folks, this is an awesome recipe. It is inspired by the Spunky Coconut's Clementine frosting recipe. I recommend you start by making a half batch which will give you enough for several breakfasts...or you could make a whole batch and then bake a cake to use it on also- your call. :)

1) Make the frosting

Chocolate frosting (dairy, gluten and refined sugar free)
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw honey
2 mountainous tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use the spoon as a scoop)
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of your preferred milk (coconut, rice, almond, soy...)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid format-not hot)

Blend all ingredients on low in your blender. This will required patience and many "scrape-downs" of the sides of the container. You may even need a tiny extra splash of milk to get it moving.
Once you're done, pour it into a small glass jar. If you put it in the fridge, it will harden slightly (which is what makes it SO good on cake) but it will be difficult to spread so you'll need to put the jar into a warm water bath to loosen it up again if you're using it straight from the fridge.

2) Make the egg mixture
This morning, we made 10 slices of french toast. Here is the recipe:

French toast (gluten free, dairy free)
8 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
6 hefty shakes of cinnamon (I'm going to guess between 1-2 tsp)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup of your preferred milk (coconut, rice, almond, soy...)
Whisk together ingredients in a dish with a flat bottom suitable for dipping your bread (no sense in dirtying two dishes...). I used a giant mixing bowl.

3) Dip, flip and pan cook your french toast. I used Udi's bread for this one, but any gluten free bread will do. I also put a dollop of Earth's Balance spread in the pan for grease.

4) Assemble "sandwiches" with chocolate icing inside then cut into "dip-friendly" halves or strips. Serve with a small dish of maple syrup for dipping (this uses SO much less syrup than pouring over top).



Summer slips away

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our family has been on a bit of a whirlwind vacation over the last few weeks. We essentially did a big Ontario roadtrip which ended at the cottage for the last week or so. It was a really amazing few weeks. Here are a few highlights:

I wish I had better pics of this place, but it is a vegetarian restaurant called The Cornerstone, in Guelph Ontario. The meal was exquisite, they were well versed in gluten and other food intolerances, and it was super great. This is the latte I drank which would blow your mind. I had it with soy milk...it was a treat. :)

These are pictures from the Ontario Science centre. That floor is a projection from above, but still somehow knows where you step and makes waves on the floor as you do. Awesome.

 The kids loved their day there. So did the grown ups. :)

We found this great Gluten free bakery in Richmond Hill (north of Toronto) called Nate's Bagels. They had fresh pasta, a dozen or so varieties of frozen gnocchi, frozen loves (like the mock rye loaf below), the focaccia bread that forms the basis of the GF pizza at Il Fornello in Toronto, and fresh hot bagels right out of the oven that would make you CRY they are so good. Here are some of the pictures of our meal that night.

 Here's the wee lass as she experiences her first pedicure. We had so much fun. She sat like a statue for a long time before even asking when we were leaving. I gave her my phone to look at photos and listen to music. I wasn't watching but she found the emoticon keyboard I downloaded (yes, she's four and can totally ROCK an iPhone) and proceeded to spam her father with text messages for the next 30 minutes. Whoops. :)
I have a stubborn video of the pool at the Courtyard Marriot in Kingston and my kid barelling down the slide. The video won't seem to upload (thanks Blogger) but suffice it to say he's a total fish. He's never taken swim lessons but just decided this year that he could swim with no floaties. I'm super proud of him.

We also visited Fort Henry in Kingston. I thought this would be a bit of a bust but the kids loved it. We had a fantastic day there. They (not the kids :) even shot off the cannon which was definitely the highlight.

While in Kingston, we ate at The Silly Yack, which is essentially a sandwich place and entirely gluten free. I'm not a big bready sandwich eater but if you want a simple sandwich, soup, pizza etc. this is the place to go.

We also ate at Greco's. OMG. I cannot express how amazing the food was at this restaurant. The waiter knew exactly what to offer me, all the ingredients in each dish, and everything was incredible. He even asked if he could bring bread to the table and although I don't mind, I asked him not to because the kids fill up on it and don't eat their meals. He instead brought cucumber slices and taramasalata to dip in- which is mashed potato, lemon juice and zest, salmon roe and garlic. I wanted to drink the stuff it was so good.

Our other incredible dinner was at Chez Piggy. Again the waitress knew exactly what was in every dish and the food was mind blowing. The ambiance was also fantastic- it is such a lovely place to eat and the kids were welcome there.

We headed off to the cottage next for some R&R. Here is the cottage kitchen that we recently remodeled. It was all brown...and gross...before. Now I finally feel like I can cook/create in there.
Hammock time...
One of several rocking great meals. Caesar salad with grilled veg/chicken skewers. Recipe to follow in another post...

Poor tortured frog found at the beach
More torture
Baked apples with a mixture of ground nuts and Pamela's baking mix. Not sure...wasn't perfect. Must try again. :)
Sunset boat cruise

Children strangling loving each other

Totally fantastic time. I promise to be more diligent with the posts now that our slack summer is slipping away...can't say I like the fall but it does inspire a whole different set of recipes. I can smell cinnamon in the oven already. :)

Adopt a gluten free blogger: Aran of Cannelle et Vanille

Thursday, August 4, 2011

As you may already know, this is my first adoption during the monthly "adopt a gluten free blogger" round up. I'm super pumped to be participating and glad for the opportunity to adopt Aran Goyoaga's blog Cannelle et Vanille.

Aran’s blog looks like it's right out of Martha Stewart’s magazine (it’s no wonder they’re affiliated). The artistry is stunning- the layout, the rustic beauty, the lifelike intensity in every photo. It’s all just amazing. It’s how I would imagine a non-chaos version of myself and my own blog…in a dream…totally far away from reality…

I basically used this adoption as an excuse to take the time to poke around in Aran’s blog. I almost feel badly for dragging her recipe to my little corner of chaos... But then I remember that's why you're here. You already know about the chaos and disorder and you still come and visit. So all in all, I'm just glad for the company and your continued faith in me.  Now on to Aran's recipe.

I will admit to being slightly intimidated by some of her more complicated recipes. I love food, but I'm certainly not a chef. I combed through a zillion of her recipes and eventually settled on her Spring English Pea, Potato and Rice Soup. I will also admit to trying very hard to get this done amidst weekends away at the cottage and not much time for myself. But I did get it made last night, and it was simple and good. 
Note to self: I obviously have a very skewed idea of what a "small" potato is, because my pot became a veritable minefield of potatoes. next time, don't do that...

Here's a photo of my helper discovering fresh peas:

The beautiful produce I scored at the local market

Here is a photo of what I looked like when it was done:

Next time: makin’ it Dropsie style
So once I get a chance to try the recipe again (as I always futz around incessantly with everything) I think I would use a splash of lemon juice and maybe some red pepper flakes in the broth to make it more "me". I would also also use teeny baby potatoes - maybe even the purple ones - to avoid the mountain of potatoes I put in my pot. I love these fresh peas so much I think I'd probably double the amount and simmer for less time- maybe 15 minutes to keep them brighter green.

Thanks Aran for providing me with an excuse to take the time, sit down and feel like a guest in your beautiful kitchen. I look forward to visiting again (maybe in the fall when trips to the cottage are no longer my singular focus in life) and sinking my teeth into another one of your beautiful dishes. Bonne app├ętit!


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