Chocolate Cloud Pie…Oh My!

I have a fantastic cookbook, all pies, nothing else. By Farm Journal, published in 1981 but it has the vibe of the 1950’s. Lots of interesting combo fruit pies and chiffon pies like you never heard of. If you are tired of the same old pie for Thanksgiving try this recipe: a chocolate cloud pie. The pre-made cookie crust would sub in for a traditional pie crust which the original recipe called for. I had all the ingredients except the crust ….but I thought it sounded tasty and worth a trip to the grocery store for the crust cookies, gluten free of course! And it works well with a premade graham cracker crust. My guy actually liked it better that way. I especially loved the version I made once with a mixture of chocolate cookies and ginger snaps. Do any crust you like.

chocolate pudding

It is not hard to make either. I throw it together in three easy steps. It was one of those recipes where the sum of the ingredients is far tastier than the components would lead one to believe. The first time I made it everyone devoured their slice. some took slices home. My mom was eager to keep a second slice….for tomorrow. This enthusiastic audience caused me to mention it on facebook. I got all these likes and a few hungry comments. The buzz of happy responses led me to decide to share my version of chocolate rum pie. I have renamed it Chocolate Cloud Pie. That was six years ago….

The name came from the fact that it is as light as a fluffy cloud and from my love for my older sister who died over seven years ago. Margie’s love of pie was renown in our family and I am absolutely sure she would have adored this pie. Whip some up this week and woo your family with chocolaty goodness that should please everyone. choco cloud pie slice (2)

Notes: I used french brandy instead of rum as I was out of dark rum. I think cognac would be nice too. I have used bourbon too; works fine! I used 3/4 cup almonds as that’s all I had; worked great; I put 2 Tbsp. aside for topping and rest went on top of the baked cookie crust. You can just buy a crust.

I originally osted this back in the spring of 2014 and hadn’t made it for a while; a matter of just forgetting how amazing it tastes.  Like eating a chocolate cloud….with puffs of cream and the crunch of toasted almonds. I used a hybrid crust when I made it a couple of years ago; I was tired of my gf oreos; so I scraped out and discarded the filling and crunched up the cookies, I thought I was a bit short on cookies so I added 7-8 gingersnaps I still had from my last cookie crust. Crunched up and mixed with butter, baked into what became a flavor delight of a cookie crust! One of the best pies I have ever made. And I make a lot of pies….

Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie

Ingredients
1 pre-made chocolate cookie crumb crust, GF
1 pkg chocolate pudding, the kind you have to cook
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp dark rum
1 cup slivered almonds, divided
1 1/3 cup heavy cream, divided

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Pour the almonds into a frying pan, no oil and toast them, stirring constantly. Alternately you could do this in the oven at a low temperature but I prefer the frying pan. Stop when they are medium brown, try not to let them get black on the sides.

Cook the filling; put 2 cups whole milk into a medium sized and heavy sauce pan, Then add the dry pudding mix, the corn starch and the cocoa. Stir with a whisk as it heats. Once the mixture is bubbling all over the surface turn off the heat and add the rum. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until cooled. Take ½ cup heavy cream and whip. Add this to the pudding and whisk until blended. Take 4 tbsp of almonds and set aside for garnishing the pie later. Sprinkle the rest of the toasted almonds over the chocolate pie crust Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell on top of the toasted almonds. Chill at least 2 hours until set and cold. Whip the rest of the heavy cream in a chilled bowl, adding the sugar near the end of the whipping. Gently put dollops of it all over the pie top. Sprinkle the reserved almonds on top. Enjoy!

choc cloud pie

Originally posted March 2014. No changes to recipe.

Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

We love fresh pasta especially stuffed pasta. The usual choice is ravioli although I sometimes make cannelloni; those long tube-shaped ones that I stuff with this same filling and bake with tomato sauce and mott cheese.  This time I made puffy ravioli well stuffed with a simple ricotta and parmesan cheese filling. The sauce was my homemade wild mushroom and cream sauce. Links of country sausage was added as a protein as well as a hearty side of steamed homegrown Romano green beans. It was a great meal. We enjoyed an excellent Riesling from Boundary Breaks Vineyard in the Finger Lakes of New York State with this meal; used some in the sauce too.

I have decided to share with you today both the pasta recipe, it’s filling and the sauce I served. This pasta dough can be formed into wide ribbons like fettuccini if you prefer.  The pasta dough is based on one from my favorite cookbook; Annalise Robert’s Classic GF cookbook: “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”. In the back she has a few items that are not so much baking but are essential recipes including this one. I upped it by half.

The sauce is a simple cream sauce. You could use baby Bella mushrooms or even plain white mushrooms. Do not use canned ones; this is definitely a recipe where the shrooms shine and canned is just unacceptable.  I used whole cream but I suppose you could use something lighter like half and half or whole milk. Nope on the skim milk folks!

Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Pasta:

1 ½ cups King Arthur basic flour blend

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

3 eggs

Put flour and gum in stand mixer bowl; blend. Add eggs. Blend 1-2 minutes until a fully formed and smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic if you aren’t using it immediately.  Roll out in thirds, keeping rest wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. I had to hand roll this batch as my pasta machine is just acting up. I made a long thin band about 4 inches wide. Due to my machine I lost nearly a quarter of the dough; you should get 4 long bands. I ended up with 15 ravioli; if you use all the dough  you should get 20.

Cheese Filling:

5/.6 of the container of whole milk ricotta

1 large egg

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  – Mix  the ingredients in a bowl.

I put out a bowl of water to dip my finger in. I dollop about a Tbsp. of filling every 4 inches. My favorite tool for ravioli making is a wheel that cuts zigzag points. It seals the edges perfectly. So I cut between the filing bloops and fold over the dough for each after wetting the edges with my fingertips making sure to press out from the filling to get the air out of the ravioli . Press and then recut all around except the fold using your knife or ravioli roller. You could cut the fourth edge if you like. Be sure  to have a sheet pan sprinkled liberally with flour ready to receive the ravs. Put them about an inch or two apart on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. 

Mushroom Sauce:

Ingredients

½-1 lb. wild or baby Bella mushrooms sliced medium wide. Not thick or thin

½ a large onion or a whole smaller one, diced small

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup dry white wine; Riesling works well

½ cup veggie or chicken broth

1 big sprig or 2 smaller ones of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water

2/3 cup heavy cream

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat butter in big frying pan, add mushrooms and let them cook a few minutes; once they have shrunk a bit in size add the onion.  Cook a few more minutes until mushrooms and onion are softened. Add garlic; cook another minute. Add wine, cook 2-3 minute, add broth, cream and thyme. Simmer 5-6 minutes, do not boil or the cream may curdle. Should get thicker by half. Add cornstarch slurry and mix well. Let cook 1-2 minutes to thicken sauce.  Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta and enjoy!

Cupboard Supper: Seafood Spaghetti

Spring is the season for asparagus, spring onions and peas. I love them all served together with spaghetti and garlic and lots of butter. This recipe can be made from stuff in your pantry other than the scallions. You could use red onion or shallots in place of the green onion but it wouldn’t be the same.

This is the only seafood and pasta dish where I grate cheese on top; normally taboo – considered not a good combination but it works fantastically in this fast to throw together entrée.  This meal is visually appealing with the greens and the white.  I have been making variations of it for many years.  This is one of my favorite versions.  Great flavor and so speedy to make; how fast can you get the water boiling and cook the pasta?  That is how long it takes to create a great meal in one fantastic dish.

Yes, I make it with gf pasta.  Use the brand you love, don’t overcook it; barely done is best.  I made it for years and years with regular pasta before I had to go gluten free.  The original recipe didn’t have the asparagus and peas; my addition.  Good no matter what veggies you add; just don’t take away any of the basic ingredients.

Try to use tuna packed in olive oil; makes all the difference, especially for Italian dishes, much better flavor than any other kind of tuna. Giant carries it as does Wegmans. If you totally hate tuna you could use half a pound of small cooked shrimp. Ditto on using real butter, margarine will ruin the flavor for sure.  And I really love the greens; especially the onions; buy scallions if you can’t find spring onions.  I always cook the white parts a few minutes but the green tops can be close to raw. Better that way than overcooked. Last but not least by any means, use the real deal for your parmesan cheese, that shreddy stuff in the jar is not gf a lot of the time and the flavor is sad when compared to a chunk you just grated on your pasta. You can thank me after you taste this masterpiece!

Seafood Spaghetti with Greens

Ingredients

1 package of gf spaghetti

½ stick of butter

6-10 spears of asparagus

½ cup fresh snap peas, cut in half (frozen oetite peas are fine)

1 can light tuna packed in olive oil

1 can diced clams

1 bundle scallions or spring onions

1 big garlic clove

Directions: Boil a big pot of salted water, add the entire box of spaghetti; usually 12 oz size in gf.  Cook stirring often until barely done.  Drain.  While it cooks make the rest of the dish.

Veggie Prep: I like to snap the asparagus into manageable lengths; like 1 ½ inches long.  Ditch the tough ends. Cut the peas in half, cut the spring onions into ¼ inch rounds. If using frozen peas add in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a big saucepan.  I use my mini wok. Add the veggies, cook a minute, and add the garlic pressed or minced.  Stir and cook another minute.  Throw in the white part of the onions; add the tuna and clams with ALL the juices and olive oil in the tuna can.  Stir gently and cook a minute.  Toss in the green parts of the scallions and the cooked hot pasta.  Stir a bit.  Add 1 tbsp. more butter if you dare and up to a quarter cup of pasta water to moisten the pasta.  It is really not a wet sauce; the stuff should cling to the strands of spaghetti.

Serve and top each portion with a healthy amount of finely grated real parmesan cheese.   Should serve four but if you are piggy only serves 3! seafood spagetti on plate

+++++++++++++ Variation for those with a garden +++++++++++++

Yes, you can eat kale flower buds, a lot like broccolini.  I sometimes blanch them in hot water before sauteing with olive oil and garlic.

pasta 012pasta 010pasta 013pasta 017pasta 018

These pictures above show my latest and quite yummy variation: I quick sizzled unopened kale flower buds from my last year’s plants and topped the finished pasta dish with it; really nice and I am guessing this kale option is quite good for your health

Originally posted May 2015.

Comfort Food; A Few Suggestions

I don’t know about you but I am craving comfort foods right now. So, this will be a list you can easily pull up recipes from.
Today I made my favorite guilty pleasure; creamy rice pudding; here is the link to it. https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2015/02/21/not-grandmas-rice-pudding/
Another comfort treat is bread pudding; make it with leftover cookies or fancy gf bread if you have some: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/01/02/holiday-bread-pudding/
coconut cookies baked
How about a great cookie recipe?
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/02/14/brownies-to-love/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2015/11/30/peanut-butter-beauties/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/01/17/chocolate-chippers-that-please-everyone/ as well as http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe.
https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-oatmeal-peanut-butter chocolate-chip-cookies/

Quick and Delish Muffins: pear muffins
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2016/05/31/banana-muffins-tried-and-true/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/04/02/kitchen-sink-muffin-2-0-version/
Pie/Tarts:
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/12/01/banana-custard-pie-2-0/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/03/12/shoo-fly-pie-shoe-fly-pie-at-my-house/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/12/06/alsatian-apple-tart-deliciously-creamy/
Soup/Stew: roasty chicken soup
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/01/30/roasty-chicken-soup/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/09/30/chunky-mushroom-soup/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/03/21/noreaster-lentil-stew/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/01/08/stormy-day-bean-soup/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2015/01/24/pasta-e-fagioli-meaning-pasta-and-bean-soup-fantastico/
Easy Entrees:
Beef: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2016/03/31/corned-beef-hash/
Casserole:
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/04/06/hearty-shepherds-pie-cause-it-still-be-like-winter/
Chinese food:
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/04/18/chinese-chicken-with-broccoli/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/03/14/sweet-and-sour-pork-stir-fry/
Chicken: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2019/03/25/chicken-tenders-crunchy-meal-treat/
Fish: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2014/06/23/fabulous-fish-fry/
Shrimp: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/04/15/shrimp-risotto-made-easy/
And a few salads for those who prefer something light.
Salads:

papaya salad, Easter eggs 004

Papaya and fennel salad…healthy and yummy


https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2017/02/20/fun-winter-salads/
https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2016/04/14/super-spring-salads/

I hope you found something comforting to make from my list. Enjoy!!

Spicy Chicken Meatball Stir-Fry

My fixation on tiny chicken meatballs continues. These ones are made of ground chicken thigh meat; far juicier than breast meat. I buy this freshly made at Valley Farm Markets. Great meats, poultry and produce. Plus decent prices.

Actually; these meatballs are sort of medium-small sized. They are simple to mix up in a mixing bowl, glop out with a big dinner spoon and bake on a big rimmed pan lined in parchment paper. Baking is so simple and time saving compared to frying while turning them constantly. Easy clean up if you do the parchment paper.

Meanwhile, I make a somewhat spicy sauce and then cut up veggies and saute for a mini stir fry. Blend it all together… Delish! You can alter it to make it spicier or even milder; add more or less hot sauce.

meatball stir fry 2

meatball stirfry 1

Chicken Meatball Stir fry

Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken; preferably thigh meat
1 egg; beaten a bit
1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1/3-2/3 cup gf breadcrumbs

Mix all in big bowl. Line rimed sheet with parchment paper. Glop on the meatballs with a dinner spoon; mine are about 1 1/3 inch in diameter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
What they bake make a sauce
Mix in a heavy bottomed saucepan
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mild olive oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar; packed
1 big garlic clove minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes; scant for me; 8 year old doesn’t like spicy
1/4 to 1 tsp. hot sauce; I used 1/4 tsp., decent heat level for a delicate tummy
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½-3/4 tsp. fresh ground ginger root (I keep mine in the freezer)

Cook 2-4 minutes on medium

Heat pot of water; make half a box of gf spaghetti.

Veggie Stir-fry

Ingredients
3 stalks celery sliced in ¼-1/3 slices
½ small red onion cut in inch long thin strips
1 large garlic clove minced
½ can of bamboo shoots
2-3 stalks kale torn off ribs
2 large or 4 smaller radishes, 6 if tiny; sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 Tbsp olive oil

Melt oil in mini wok or fry pan. Add celery; cook a minute, add onion, cook another 1-2 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add kale and radish slices, cook 1-2 minutes, stirring add bamboo shoots and then stir. You want a bit of crunch still in the radishes and celery. Add the sauce, stir well, add half- 2/3 of the meatballs, stir around well. Add cooked spaghetti and stir. Serve hot. Enjoy. Now that’s a spicy meataball!

PS: I used the rest of the meatballs to make Italian Wedding Soup; Manga!