Mocha Brownies for Passover

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As the sun sets, I would like to wish you all a Happy Passover! I know that many of you are busy  preparing for the holiday and festivities. I hope that your seder dinner goes well and you have a great time!  Though I am not Jewish, my husband is following the traditions and that means food for him has to be Kosher for Passover. So, for something sweet to enjoy, I made Mocha Nut Brownies for Passover.

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Carrot and Hazelnut Muffins…with a hidden ingredient

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“The rule is flavor, and flavor rules.”

-Master Breadmaker Peter Reinhart

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense, the hidden ingredient to these carrot and hazelnut muffins is…butternut squash! These muffins have another secret too…they are gluten-free! But they taste really good! That’s no secret 🙂 A year ago I never thought that I would cook gluten-free foods. I’m not on a gluten-free diet, but I love the challenge of cooking gluten-free, especially in baking, where baked goods usually depend on the chemistry of gluten. I enjoy science, and gluten-free baking is like a science experiment for me, in addition to cooking in general. I realized that even if dishes are gluten-free–if it tastes good and makes you feel good, what’s the harm in that? Thus, I wholeheartedly subscribe to Peter Reinhart’s “Flavor Rule” where flavor determines what I enjoy in a dish, not labels–whether gluten-free or otherwise.

Now, back to the muffins. These butternut squash, carrot and hazelnut muffins were inspired by a recipe I found in Whole Living magazine. It is a great all-around muffin recipe with a nice soft and moist texture. They taste even better the next day, or days later. Makes for a great post-workout snack, after-work/school snack, or even as part of a quick breakfast (though I prefer more savory foods in the morning). I decided to use carrot instead of apple in the original recipe and it was definitely yummy. I think you can pretty much sub or add in ingredients like you would in a normal muffin or quick-bread recipe. Zucchini, banana, and chocolate, you’re next!

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Eggnog Tea Cakes

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After making Swedish-style Meatballs with Eggnog last week, I still had some eggnog leftover. I should have made a double batch of them, but was also curious on what would happen if I baked with it. So, to appease my curiosity, last Friday I baked some Eggnog Tea Cakes. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Quinoa Flour Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti is one of my mom’s favorite cookies. Actually, probably a favorite of my whole family as it is often requested, especially during the holidays. Now that I am doing more gluten-free cooking, biscotti has been on my gluten-free baking list.

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Pão de queijo (cheese buns), a cheesy gluten-free bread

Pão de queijo is a popular cheese bun in Brazil. It’s made from tapioca (cassava) flour so it is a gluten-free bread. Not that I am on a gluten-free diet, but I think it is good to know. My husband wants to eat healthier foods nowadays. I’ve had some tasty gluten-free foods and it’s fun to experiment with it. I’ll be posting my gluten-free recipe experiments pretty soon.

A couple of years ago, I encountered pão de queijo at Fogo de Chao, a Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse) in Beverly Hills. We were celebrating my grandparents-in-law anniversary and their birthdays. For many of us in the family, it was our first time at a churrascaria. After discovering the cheese balls that were almost hidden in the cloth-lined basket, I ate quite of few of them. So did my mom. The parade of meat  and the sides were great, but I really enjoyed the cheese buns probably more than anything that I tasted there. Chewy, light and densely cheesy. So addictive! Continue reading

Baked Brains and Halloween Bread

Happy Halloween! How are you celebrating Halloween? I don’t normally celebrate it too much and haven’t pranced around in a costume to do some trick or treating since I was a teenager. Nowadays I go out to eat, or like this year, decided to cook something spooky and traditional. This year I made Irish Halloween Bread (Barm Brack) from WineBarrelGourmet and Baked Brie Brains from Macheesmo. Head to their blogs for the recipes.

I was hoping to get some trick-or-treaters at my place so that I could give away the candy I bought, but we are left with a bag of Hershey’s miniature mix and a bag of fun-size pretzel M&Ms. Do any of you want them?

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