20 July 2011

gluten-free gluttons

One of my favorite things to do is entertain.  I love to prepare a big feast and have a bunch of friends over to eat and drink and chat and be merry, maybe watch a movie or a football game, play some music or bust out the karaoke machine.  The only issues I ever encounter when hosting these dinner parties (other than running out of food or booze) are dietary restrictions.  A lot of folks these days are on special diets; but whether they're vegan or vegetarian, low carb, gluten-free, or diabetic, they deserve to eat as many tasty and delicious meals as anyone else!  So when I hosted a ladies night last night, I took all that into consideration and came up with a pretty tasty and festive feast - 

I whipped up a tasty south of the border fiesta, perfect for a sweltering summer evening.  With my famous summer squash slaw, overloaded tacos fille
d with brea
d an
d unbrea
d fish or spicy, pulle
d chicken, fiesta corn, chips & salsa, an
d enough guacamole to last a lifetime (or an evening with four hungry la
dies!) we were nearly stuffed and certainly satisfied. 

sneaking tastes before we even sit down

barefoot in the kitchen

can't get enough of that summer squash!

But one very important thing was missing - dessert.  As you've noticed from my previous posts, I rely pretty heavily on the old flour, butter, sugar combo.  In other words, not friendly for the gluten-free crowd.  But if I was going to create a confection worthy of my gal pals, I had to make a few substitutions.  And is there a better fill-in for flour than ground almonds?  I think not!  Well, unless you have a nut allergy but fortunately, none of these gals suffer from that unfortunate fate.  To match our Mexicali cena, I devised an awesomely rich, sweet, savory and spicy cake deserving of this very post.  

my gluten-free goddess

flourless mexican chocolate cake with cherries and almonds
1 c halved pitted cherries
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter at room temp
4 eggs
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c finely ground almonds
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp cayenne or chipotle pepper
dash of course salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Blend butter, sugar, cocoa powder and spices together until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  On a low speed, blend in ground almonds 1/2 c at a time.
2. In a small saucepan on a low heat, melt chocolate chips.  Stir melted chocolate into the batter very well.  Pour batter into a greased 8" pan.  Stir in halved cherries.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve with fresh cherries and salted caramel sauce.

cherry challenge part dos?

mmm salted caramel


Now, the specifics of my delish new dish may not be exact because I'm quite certain I was suffering from heat exhaustion (or too much white wine consumption) while I was baking, so just make sure the pre-baked result looks like a proper cake batter.  But whatever I did, it was a total success and my ladies loved it.  And I love my ladies!  Thanks for an amazing night Paula, Isabelle and Victoria... you gals are beyond amazeballs and I love the heck out of each and every one of you!  I anticipate many more ladies nights in the future.

a sweaty and satisfied chef

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