Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Around 2007 we had several exchange youths from the Lions Club stay with us. This was our second time having exchange youths. We did it three times and each time was a great and rewarding experience. That summer we had a three teens stay with us. Two were from the Czech Republic and one from Italy. The two from the Czech Republic made these awesome potato pancakes. I love potato pancakes, but even with a food processor they seem to take a lot of work for some reason. The girl from Italy made spaghetti alla carbonara for us. She even made it without dairy so I could have it. It was delicious. We’ve made it quite often since then. I’ve played with it a bit until I got it to be a little creamier. This simple dish with only a few ingredients: spaghetti, olive oil, pancetta (prosciutto or bacon), egg yolks, salt, and pepper. But don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you it is quite rich. I was unable to get pancetta once, so I substituted prosciutto and we found that we preferred the prosciutto to the pancetta. You could also use bacon if that is what you have on hand. Also, if you can have dairy, you can always add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as Mike likes to do from time to time.

1 lb box of spaghetti
1/3 lb sliced prosciutto (pancetta or bacon), cut into ¼-½ inch pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 egg yolks
¼ cup pasta water
salt and pepper to taste

·      Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (a pot large enough to hold a whole box of spaghetti).
·      Cut up prosciutto.
·      In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of extra v
irgin olive oil.
·      Add prosciutto and cook until crispy. Turn off burner until right before you add the spaghetti.

·      Mix the egg yolks and the 2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl.
·      Once the water is boiling, add the whole box of pasta to the pot. Set the timer for 6 minutes.
·      At minute 5 turn burner under the skillet back on to about medium.
·      After the time goes off, taste the pasta. It should be al dente.
·      Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water.
·      Transfer the pasta to the skillet.
·      Add the remaining olive oil to the pasta and toss with the prosciutto.
·      Cook for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
·      Turn off the heat and very slowly add a little bit of the egg yolk mixture at a time. Tossing in between each addition.
·      Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chocolate Chiffon Pie

I made my first test batch of thin mint cookies the other day. I ran into some issues with the melted chocolate then I ran out of the melted chocolate so I ended up with some leftover plain chocolate cookies. I decided to use them up by making a pie with a cookie crumb crust.  I went digging through my Mable Hoffman’s Chocolate Cookery cookbook for some inspiration. Here is my modified, dairy free version of her Chocolate Chiffon Pie (p. 206). This pie is light and airy, but still so very rich and creamy.

Pie Crust

1½ tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks, melted

·      Place the chocolate wafers and sugar into a food processor. Blitz until you get fine crumbs.
·      Add the melted margarine.
·      Mix just until combined.
·      Press cookie mixture into a 9-inch pie pan.
·      Refrigerate until the filling is ready.


1 pkg plain gelatin
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1¼ cups rice milk
6 oz. Scharffen Berger Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate*, broken into chunks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Kahlua (coffee flavored liqueur) or 1 tsp coffee extract
4 egg yolks
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

·      Combine gelatin, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
·      Gradually stir in the rice milk.
·      Add the chocolate pieces.
·      Stir over low heat until the chocolate melts.
·      Remove from the heat.
·      Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then whisk a small amount of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
·      Stir the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture.
·      Return to low heat.
·      Stir until thickened.
·      Stir in vanilla extract and Kahlua (coffee extract).
·      Cool mixture until it’s very thick.

·      In a mixing bowl, beat the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar.
·      Once the egg whites are foamy reduce the speed to medium and very slowly add the sugar.
·      Beat on high until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
·      Stir ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
·      Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
·      Pour into the piecrust.
·      Refrigerate.

*Most of their dark chocolates are dairy free. I’m saying most since I have not checked all of them.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dairy Free Chocolate Sauce

This a great dairy free chocolate sauce. It would be awesome on all sorts of desserts.

1 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coffee extract

·      Combine and whisk the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a pot.
·      Whisk in the water.
·      Bring to a boil and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.
·      Remove from the heat.
·      Stir in the vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Cool and store in an airtight container.

Homemade Dairy Free Bailey's Irish Cream

Kylemore Abbey
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Ireland is my favorite places that I have ever visited. It’s such a beautiful country. It was a strange experience to see so many redheads walking around, but Mike and I loved every moment we spent there and we hope to go back one day. Here a recipe for a rich and creamy dairy free Irish Cream liqueur. I’ll also include a link to the recipe for the dairy free chocolate sauce, which is quite delicious on its own.

26 oz  SO Delicious Coconut original creamer
2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1¼  cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp instant espresso (or coffee) granules
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup Irish whiskey (I used Jameson’s Irish Whiskey)

·      Add the cornstarch to the cold SO Delicious coconut creamer. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.
·      Combine the creamer and cornstarch mixture with the sugar, chocolate syrup, and instant espresso in a pot.
·      Bring to a boil.
·      Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens.
·      Remove from heat.
·      Add vanilla extract and whiskey.
·      Mix and enjoy.

A couple more pictures of our trip to Ireland.



Killary Fjord