Fallen Chocolate Cake

We don’t eat too many desserts at our house, but every once in awhile, a special occasion calls for a sweet treat.  We were at my parent’s lake house this weekend and I got put on dessert duty for our Father’s Day meal.  Most of my extended family eats gluten free so when I found this recipe on Heather Christo’s website, I knew I had to try it.  Not only is it gluten free, but it also has absolutely no flour!  I was a little skeptical the first time I tried it, but it is truly amazing.   It is not dense like a traditional flourless chocolate cake, but it still has an intense rich chocolate flavor.  It has a wonderful texture and most people that have tried it can hardly believe there is no flour in the recipe.

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This cake batter comes together pretty quickly and has three basic components.  The first is a mixture of chocolate, butter and oil that is melted over a double boiler.  The second is a mixture of egg yolks, cocoa powder, coconut, salt and vanilla that is then stirred into the chocolate mixture.   Lastly, a mixture of egg whites and sugar are beaten until they reach stiff peaks.  They should look something like this.

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The egg whites are then gently folded into the chocolate, egg yolk mixture.Image

The cake bakes at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and can either be served warm or at room temperature.   Both ways are equally delicious.  We ate it over the weekend with fresh whipped cream and homemade strawberry ice cream and everyone raved about it.  Who needs flour anyways?

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Fallen Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

12 oz dark chocolate pieces (I used 72% dark chocolate)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

6 eggs

2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (note: if you had a strong aversion to coconut, you could actually leave this out, but the you can hardly taste the coconut and it gives the cake a bit more body)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10″ springform pan and coat with 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Melt the chocolate, butter and vegetable oil over a double boiler until almost melted and then remove from the heat.  Allow everything to finish melting, stirring until smooth.

While the chocolate cools slightly, separate the 6 eggs into two separate bowls.   Mix the cocoa, vanilla, coconut and salt in with the yolks and then stir it into the chocolate mixture.

Whip the 6 egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl until they have formed stiff peaks and then gently fold them in three batches into the chocolate, egg yolk mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes and then remove it from the pan.  The cake can be served warm or at room temperature with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

Simple Kale Salad

So…kale.  Loved by few, hated by many.   It’s one of those health foods that we choke down because it’s “good for us.”  Now, I’m one of those weird people who actually likes kale, but I realize that many people need alittle (or alot) of something extra to make it palatable.  A good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and it’s my new favorite quick fix for a dinner side salad.

The real star of this salad is the walnut dressing you toss it in.  It’s quick and delicious and adds a nutty balance to the kale.   Give a couple of ingredients a quick whirl in a blender and its done.

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While you could stop with the walnut dressing, the salad is really enhanced my a small drizzle of balsamic glaze.  It adds just the right amount of sweetness to make this salad even more delicious.  Try this salad and you may just change your mind about kale.

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Simple Kale Salad

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

1 c walnuts

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp tamari

1/4- 1/2 c water

store bought or homemade balsamic glaze

Directions:

Combine walnuts, garlic and tamari and add 1/4 c water.  Blend with a hand blender or machine blender until smooth.  If desired, add more water for a thinner texture.  Toss with the kale and serve with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Greek Summer Salad

There is something about summer that makes me crave salads.  We like to eat outside in the summer so a salad is the perfect cool accompaniment to the warm weather.   So, when I found the recipe for this salad over at Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to try it.  I made a couple of changes and added a few things to make it more of a complete meal and it was awesome!  The hubs even gave me the thumbs up without me fishing for compliments.

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I really love the vibrant colors in this salad and the feta cheese adds just the right amount of tang and creaminess.  The best part of this salad is that it can be made to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions by simply adjusting or omitting ingredients.

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Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken (serves 2)

Ingredients:

Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 lemon juiced

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Salad

1 english cucumber, diced

1/2 red onion thinly sliced

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 c kalamata olives, pitted and halved

5 mini bell peppers, sliced

6-7 asparagus spears

1-2 oz Feta cheese (I used the kind seasoned with Mediterranean herbs)

1/2 cup hummus of your choice

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tblsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

   For the chicken, combine all ingredients in a shallow dish or plastic bag and allow to marinate at least 2 hours before serving.  Preheat grill to high and cook chicken for about 10 minutes per side, depending on the size of the breast.

While chicken is cooking, toss the asparagus spears in 1 Tblsp of olive oil.  Place on the grill and cook for about 10 min, rotating at least once.

Combine remaining vegetables in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, wisk together lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.  Once finished, slice the asparagus spears and add them to the salad.

To serve, place 1/4 c hummus on each plate and spoon the vegetables over the top.  Sprinkle as much feta cheese as you would like on the vegetables.  Slice the chicken breast and serve on the side.