Monday, July 26, 2010

Earth Cafe Vegan Cheesecake Heaven

Already eaten Earth Cafe-It's just that good!

This post is long overdue!  And I apologize for not posting this goodie goodness sooner, I have just been keeping this all to myself, he he he.  My apologies to Craig from Earth Cafe! As It has been a very busy summer.

Now, to the more important part of this post.  Vegan Cheesecake.  You know I have never had anything Vegan until I tried Tu Lu's formally known as Tully's GF Vegan Chocolate Brownie.  After that I was turned.  Turned to Vegan and gluten free goodness!  Earth Cafe found me on twitter.  From there I was sent six delicious cheesecakes with flavors like Cherry Dream, Rockin Raspberry, Strawberry Fields Forever, Blueberry Thrill, Lemon, and Sweet Potato Pie.  Earth Cafe has other flavors too! (Coconut cream, banana cream and peach).  Did I mention they are Dairy-Free too?!! You must wonder how can this cheesecake be free of so much and still taste GREAT!  Well, Earth Cafe has accomplished this in their refreshing cheesecake concoctions.  

Upon getting these delicious babies in the mail, packaged very nicely I might add, I immediately brought them into work for a taste test.  Now I work in Fashion, so you can see how a taste test in the middle of the day could be exciting.  Something different.  In the room I had myself, GF, 1 co-worker who is DF, another who has a GF family, another who's hubby has a wheat allergy and another co-worker who didn't have any intolerances.  So we have some "allergy" people here who can appreciate a "free of most" product.

I had a lot of feedback both negative and positive from my group.  One said no matter what she would not purchase this on her own.  Another one who felt they all tasted the same, and another who loved them.  I had two others who felt indifferent.  Here's my vote.  I thought they were GOOD.  They were tasty and had a nice mousse consistency.  It tasted more like whipped Mousse then "cheesecake like" however I would certainly have them served at a party.  I however would not call this dessert cheesecake.  I would call it Earth Cafe Mousse.  My favorite was the Sweet Potato Pie.  It had a kick and some spice to it.  The mousse is made from fresh ingredients like Sweet potato and fresh raspberries.

The crust was made from soaked nuts like cashews, walnuts and pecans.  Other ingredients are Agave Nectar, vanilla bean extract, cinnamon, coconut butter, and sea salt.  Fresh ingredients.  That's the kinda product I like to hear about!

I took a ton of pics of these little cakes, but sadly I took the pictures halfway through eating them, and well, the pics didn't come out looking so nice.  I would post them, but all you would see is pink cake with fork and bite marks.  Not too attractive.  After we had all devoured them, I remembered I needed to take pics to blog with.  Oh well.  I missed that bandwagon.  Sorry!  Here is what I salvaged on Photoshop.  I squared in on the areas that didn't have fork cut-outs.

To find a heavenly slice of Earth Cafe near you click HERE

To shop Earth Cafe's Online Store click HERE

Add Earth Cafe to your cart NOW

xoxo Julie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Parmesan Dip

**found in Sept. 2005 Bon Appetit

Pair with GF Focaccia or a GF Crusty Baguette (Try Katz Gluten Free) or (Mr. Ritz-link located on side bar of blog under bakeries)
If you can't find gluten-free bread, try a crispy gf rice or nut cracker (Blue Diamond)

Makes about 2 cups
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh italian parsley
2 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 garlic clove minced
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl to blend.  Serve at room temp.


xoxo Julie

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip

**found in Sept. 2005 Bon Appetit

GF Pita triangles or rice crackers are best for this spread!

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

4 red bell peppers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Char peppers directly over a gas flame or in a broiler until blackened on all sides.  Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes.  Peel, seed, and quarter peppers.  Puree peppers, oil, garlic, and cheese in processor.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

xoxo Julie

Honeydew and Prosciutto

**found in Bon Appetit 2005

Prep: 10 minutes; Total: 10 minutes

1 tbsp sherry wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or melted Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp aniseed
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cups (packed) mixed baby greens (about 3 oz)
4 honeydew melon wedges, peeled
6 thin slices of prosciutto

Whisk first 3 ingredients and 1 tbsp mint in small bowl; whisk in oil.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss greens with 2 tbsp dressing in medium bowl; divide between 2 plates.  Place melon next to greens; drape prosciutto over melon.  Drizzle remaining dressing over prosciutto and melon.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp mint and freshly ground pepper and serve.

*Each plate gets 2 pieces of melon and 2 pieces of prosciutto.

xoxo Julie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mushroom Scallop Skewers

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Start To Finish: 25 minutes  14 Apps total
Found in Easy Recipes 2002

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
14 bay scallops (1/4 to 1/3 lb)
14 baby portabella mushrooms ( 1 1/2 to 2 inches), stems removed
14 slices packaged precooked bacon (from 2.1-oz package)
fresh orange curls, if desired

1. Heat over to 425F.  Line 15x10x1-inch pan with cooking parchment paper.  In medium bowl, mix orange juice, brown sugar, orange peel, ginger and garlic.  Add scallops; toss to coat.

2. Place 1 scallop in each mushroom cap.  Wrap each with 1 bacon slice, enclosing scallop.  Secure with toothpick.  Dip in orange juice mixture; place in pan.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and scallops are opaque.  If desired, replace each toothpick with 4-inch wooden skewer.

Per appetizer: calories: 40; total fat 2g; sodium 85mg; dietary fiber 0g

xoxo Julie

Summertime Strawberry Jam

**found on 2004 Cooking Light

Balsamic Strawberry Jam

Stirring the strawberries into the warm syrup at the end helps them keep their shape.  Serve over low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream.

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 cups sliced strawberries

1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir in sliced strawberries, and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Yield: 7 servings (serving size 1/4 cup).

(Calories: 34 (8% from fat) fat: .3g (sat 0g, mono 0g, poly .1g) protein: .5g, carb 8.2g; fiber 1.6g; chol 0mg; iron .4mg; sodium 3mg; calc 14mg)

Mushrooms Stuffed w/ Artichoke Puree

**Found in 2002 InStyle Magazine

Makes 36

1 can (13.75 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp seasoned GLUTEN FREE bread crumbs ( Aleia's) or (Gillian's)
1 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
36 medium-size mushroom caps (about 1lb)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 375F.  In a bowl of food proccessor puree until smooth 2 artichoke hearts, mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Coarsely chop 3 artichoke hearts.  Heat olive oil in a small saucempan over medium heat.  Saute garlic and chopped artichoke until heated through.  Stir in parsley.  In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and cheese.  Spoon artichoke puree into mushroom caps.  Top with chopped artichoke mixture and sprinkle with bread-crumb mixture.  Place in glass baking dish, and dot with butter.  Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


xoxo Julie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kyle MacLaclan's Guacamole

**found in InStyle Magazine circa 2000

Nothing beats a celeb's super fantastic Guac recipe and just in time for the heart of the summer!  Especially when this hot celeb is from the original cast of Sex and The City!  Charlotte's ex. hubby might not be her match on the show, but he sure cooks up a spicy guacamole.

1/3 cup minced onion
1 small plum tomato, seeded and chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, combine onion, tomato and jalapeno.  Cut each avocado in  half, remove pit, and scoop into separate bowl.  Then mash avocados lightly with a fork.  Add the tomato and onion mixture and mix well.  Be careful to not cream your guacamole too much (unless you like it that way).  Stir in cilantro, lime juice and salt.  Do you like heat? Add more jalapenos to spice it up.  Spoon the mixture into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.


xoxo Julie

Smoked Salmon Caviar Blini's

**found in INStyle Magazine circa 2000

(makes 60 blinis)

1 package gf pancakes mix ( Try Bob's Red Mill)
2 tbsp milk
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4-1/3 lb. smoked salmon
2-2 1/2 oz. caviar
chopped chives for garnish

Prepare pancake mix, per package instructions, adding an additional 2 tbsp. milk to thin batter.  Lightly grease a griddle or large skillet with Pam olive oil spray.  Pour 1 tsp. batter for each blini (2"-3" across) onto hot griddle, making a few at a time.  When surface is bubbly, flip and cook until golden.  Repeat until all batter is used.  Top each pancake with a spoonful of sour cream, some smoked salmon and a dollop of caviar.  Garnish with chives.

Enjoy a posh summer!

xoxo Julie

Monday, July 19, 2010

Frisee Apple Walnut Salad

I found this online at Bon Appetit.  What a great summer salad recipes!!

What you will need:

3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 (generous) dried tart cherries (one three ounce package)
1 large head of frisee, torn into bit size pieces (about six cups)
1 medium Gala apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts


Whisk first 4 ingredients in a small bowl to blend.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss frisee and applie slices in a large bowl.  Add cherry dressing and toss to coat.  Divide among 4 plates; sprinkle with walnuts and freshly grownd black pepper and serve.

xoxo Julie

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gluten-Free Watercooler-MacarOn Cafe

Where dreams become reality, this tiny cafe serves up the most delicious and colorful French Macarons that are quoted as out of this world by many including myself.  Most who are not gluten-free fancy these tasteful desserts, but now MacarOn Cafe has announced that this dessert is in fact gluten-free.  It even says so on their pink and white post card with their menu.  Sweet!


My boss has been hearing so much about gluten-free because of me, that she now notices what is and what isn't.  She hands me today this post card of their menu and asks me if I have ever had a Macaron (which is different from a Macaroon).  I say no, and she tells me they are gluten-free and that I must try one.  I take the post card and look up their website which is even more beautiful then their card.  The Macarons look so amazing it's hard to believe that they are gluten-free.  French macarons are a pastry that looks like two puffy and chewy meringue cookies sandwiched together with flavored cream custard.  The puff part of the cookie is also flavored and colored.  They differ from American Macaroons because these are made with Almond Flour and not with Coconut.  I am told not to go their during lunch because the line is out the door and around the block.  Upon my arrival the line was literally down the block and around the corner.  Wow! I am excited because they also do desserts for events, weddings and parties.

What's so great is that it's not just one flavor.  Usually when dealing with gluten-free there are never so many choices (at least in one place), but I can't even tell you how surprised I was upon visiting their website and cafe.  So many thoughts went through my head while viewing their Macaron flavor gallery.  Each pastry is made with sweet dedication and care.  These pastries are pretty, colorful, delicate, eye pleasing, taste pleasing and mouth watering.


This cafe serves flavors like Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, French Vanilla, Violette Flower, Rose, Litchee, Expresso, Pistaccio, Praline, Nutella, Coconut, Cassis, Lemon, Raspberry, Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Honey Lavender, Tahini Sesame, Apricot, Cappuchino, 4th Of July Special, Cassisviolette, Chestnut, Chocolate Passion Fruit, Coconut, Creme Brulee, Grapefruit, Expresso, dulche de leche, Jasmine, Lychee Rose, Lemon, Matcha Green Tea, Matcha Chestnut, Mango, Mocha, Orange Blossom, Pineapple, Pistachio, Raisin Rum and MORE!  The flavors are endless. 

I was able to get over to the Macaron Cafe later in the day and I was in heaven.  Even the work staff are french.  It makes me think I am in Paris rather then NYC.  Their employees all wear pretty floral frocks (dresses) and white doily like looking crowns.  It's so quaint!  I spoke to them about their cookies and I was told they are made with Almond Flour and completely gluten-free (I always like to double check).  Even in the later part of the day, they still have huge selection of treats in various flavors!  It's good to know that they don't run out of flavors as the day goes on, because their kitchen is directly above their store. 

                                         Honey Lavender-my favorite!!

Upon trying these delicious cookies I was surprised.  I didn't expect them to be chewy.  Their consistancy was of a chewy meringue with a custard like filling.  I tried the Honey Lavender, Creme Brulee, Coconut and the Dark Chocolate.  My favorite was the Honey Lavender and the Coconut.  Wow.  I can't even describe they way they taste.  You just have to try it for yourself!  It's worth it!  The second day that I went I tried the Orange Blossom, Rose Petal and again the Honey Lavender!  Each one is tastes so different and are so good!!

Individually they are each $1.95.  The price is steep, but they taste so good.  Could you put a price on Gluten-Free heaven?  I think not.

There are two bakery locations.  One is in the heart of the garment district near Macy's at 485 7th Avenue (Entrance on 36th Street Open M-Friday 7am-8pm and Saturday 10am-7pm) and the other is on 625 Madison Avenue. (Entrance is on 59th Street near Bloomingdales open M-Friday 7am-7pm, Saturdays 9am-7pm and Sundays 10am-6pm).

Check out their amazing website at:  MacarOn Cafe

or their Macaron Gallery for some visual eye candy on their parisian treats!

Have a party, wedding or event?  Or maybe you just want to view their amazing menu which also happens to have fantastic salads.  Sadly their amazing sandwiches and crepes are NOT gluten-free, but for those of you with husbands, boyfriends, friends and family members that are not gluten-free, there is something for them here too. Even more exciting you can order these beauties in box form for gifts.

Need a map or directions? Click HERE

I strongly recommend you popping over for some sweet pastries French style!  You won't be sorry!

xoxo Julie