Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Creamy Balsamic Mushroom Bacon Chicken

Contrary to what it may seem, given my last two posts, I do not spend my whole summer eating caramel. I make the occasional savory dish, too! Like this creamy balsamic mushroom bacon chicken. Okay, yes, it still calls for cream, but I never have it the rest of the year, so it balances out. This was delicious, by the way!

With 4 chicken breasts, it would seem that the yield should be 4 servings, but we had much more than that! I ended up freezing the leftovers. This is good served with potatoes and a green salad, for example.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
5 slices of bacon, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup lactose-free cream
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
chopped parsley, to garnish

In a large skillet, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden-brown and cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.

Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside on plate. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until tender. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Add the chicken broth, cream, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to the skillet. Whisk over medium high heat until it starts to thicken 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the sauce.
Add chicken to the skillet and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Top with crispy bacon and chopped parsley.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse

I couldn’t resist trying this salted butter caramel chocolate mousse recipe when I was in Canada. I think I first saw it on the White on Rice Couple’s blog, though it appears to have disappeared from the site now. A Google search turned it up again on Epicurious, and it turns out that the recipe is originally by David Lebovitz, from his book My Paris Kitchen. I didn’t bother using “butter” in the title because I didn’t really see the difference between good caramel that is salted and contains butter versus salted butter caramel, at least as far as taste goes. Besides, the lactose-free butter on the market is salted anyway, so there you go. This mousse was absolutely delicious; my mother found is very sweet, but I thought it was more rich than sweet. The kids loved it, obviously. I’ll have to make this one again!

½ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup lactose-free cream (coconut milk will do here)
6 oz. (170 g.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, separated
a rounded ¼ tsp. flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a wide saucepan (ideally not a dark one, as you’ll need to see the color of the caramel). Heat the sugar over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to very gently drag the liquefied sugar toward the center. Watch carefully, as once the edges start to darken, the sugar is in danger of burning. Continue to cook, stirring very gently, until all the sugar is melted and begins to caramelize. (The original recipe suggest taking it to the edge of burnt, and even letting it burn just a bit, but that usually tastes too bitter to me, so I stopped when the whole thing was a light amber color.)

Remove the caramel from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until melted. Gradually whisk in the cream and stir until the little bits of caramel are completely melted. (This can take a while; if all else fails, the mixture can be strained.)

When the caramel is smooth, add the chocolate, stirring gently until it’s melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s no longer warm, whisk in the egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold one-third of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture, sprinkling in the flaky salt. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites just until no streaks of white remain. Divide the mousse into serving glasses (I made 6 servings), or transfer it to a decorative serving bowl, and chill for at least 8 hours.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Salted Caramel Pound Cake

I came across this recipe over the summer and made it the very next week, which is incredibly fast in my world. But hey, it calls for whipped cream, and only Canada has lactose-free cream for the moment, so it was then or never. And wow, was it good! Great is more like it, really; we all loved it. The Little Prince even said it was the best cake I had ever made and even chose it over a Drumstick (which had become his favorite dessert ever the previous week). I’ll have to remember to make it every once in a while when we’re up there!

For the cake
12 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
¾ cup cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
¾ cup lactose-free cream

For the salted caramel glaze
½ cup packed dark-brown sugar
½ cup lactose-free cream
5 Tbsp. lactose-free butter
1 ¾ tsp. fleur de sel, divided (I used a total of 1 ¼ tsp.)
¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Place a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two long sides of the pan and overhang slightly. (This will make it easy to remove the pound cake from the pan after it is baked.) Butter the parchment paper and dust with flour; remove any excess flour.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar on high speed until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (I did this with a handheld electric mixer.) Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and beat for 10 seconds. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with an offset spatula, and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 55 to 65 minutes. (If top of cake begins to darken too much before it is done in the middle, tent pan with aluminum foil and continue baking.) Place pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Using a small knife or offset spatula, gently loosen cake from sides of the pan, pull up on parchment paper to lift cake out of pan, and place it directly on cooling rack.

For the salted caramel glaze
Stir together the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When butter is half melted, increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Whisking constantly, boil mixture for 1 ½ minutes. Remove from heat, whisk vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat, and add ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel. Let cool 5 minutes.

Sift in ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and whisk until combined. Continue adding confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is pourable and slightly thick (it will thicken more as it cools); you may not use all of the confectioners’ sugar.

Place cake on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment (to catch the excess caramel). Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes in cake. Pour warm caramel glaze over cake to cover. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (I only used ½ teaspoon). Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Ripple Frozen Yogurt

Here’s a recipe that would be best in early summer. Granted, we still have rhubarb in San Antonio, but the strawberries are not in season. I made this rhubarb and strawberry ripple frozen yogurt twice already, tweaking it a bit each time, and would have one more thing to add below.

The first time I made this, I hadn’t been able to find a lactose-free whole milk Greek yogurt at the store, so I added 4 tablespoons of maple syrup to the yogurt. This helped a bit with the taste, as it wouldn’t have been sweet enough for me otherwise, but it also helped make the frozen yogurt softer once it was frozen (both fat and sugar will do that, especially liquid sweeteners as opposed to granulated sugar). However, the frozen yogurt was still too hard for my taste.

Fast-forward a few years and I made the recipe again and increased the amount of sweetener a bit more. This time, I did have lactose-free whole-milk Greek yogurt, so I thought I’d be good, but it turns out it was still too hard for my taste – though the amount of sweetener was spot-on with seasonal Quebec strawberries. So in a last-ditch effort, do yourself a favor and add 2 tablespoons of vodka to this recipe, to make sure the yogurt isn’t rock-hard in the freezer.

½ lb. (225 g.) rhubarb, sliced
1 lb. (500 g.) strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (I used 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste)
¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) + ½ cup (8 Tbsp.) honey
2 cups lactose-free full-fat plain yogurt (Greek or Turkish style)
2 Tbsp. vodka

Place rhubarb, strawberries, vanilla pod and seeds, and 4 Tbsp. honey in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pod and use a fork or a stick blender to mash up the fruit. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until completely cool.

Combine yogurt, vodka, the rest of the honey and ¾ of the fruit compote. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, remove the ice cream paddle. Stir in the rest of the fruit compote carefully so you get a ripple effect. Pour the mixture into a freeze proof container. Leave in the freezer until firm, or as long as you like.