Sugar-Free Crème Brûlée

This sugar-free diet is becoming easier as I discover better ingredients and learn new methods of baking and cooking. After many attempts in making sweet treats that are keto-friendly, I have finally discovered and now praise Swerve sweetener.

Truvia and Stevia have a terrible aftertaste and Splenda (sucralose) is straight up rat poison. Not to mention, things like xylitol, sucralose, and aspartame all just cause you to crave more sweets. The whole point of this diet is to strictly limit food intake and to cut cravings.

Swerve sweetener is erythritol, which has a glycemic index of zero. Therefore, it does not cause insulin spikes nor cravings after consuming it. My favorite part of using this sweetener is that it tastes amazing and measures just like sugar, though I prefer to use a little less than the recommended sugar measurements.

Amazingly, Swerve sweetener crystalizes like sugar. After accidentally making this discovery, I decided that sugar-free crème brûlée was a must.

To make this recipe happen, be sure you have six-8 ounce ramekins and a torch.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with pulp scraped out
  • 1 cup granulated Swerve sweetener
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • hot water

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add the cream, vanilla bean, and pulp.
  • Once it starts to boil, remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with (just under) 1/2 a cup of Swerve sweetener.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Then add the cream to the eggs a little at a time, continually stirring.
  • Pour the liquid into six-8 ounce ramekins.
  • Line the ramekins in a glass baking pan and add the hot water half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the mixture sets.
  • Remove from the baking pan, and refrigerate for at least two hours (no more than 3 days).
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, add about a tablespoon of sweetener and distribute evenly on top of the crème brûlée, torch the sweetener until light brown.
  • Put it back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 25 minutes.
  • Then, enjoy! It’s amazing how the top resembles real torched sugar.

IMG_7845Before Torching

Gustoception and Chocolate Mousse

Back in April, I participated in an art show at The Museum of Human Achievement here in Austin, Texas. The art exhibit was called “In The Dark”, which was a multi-sensory exhibit minus the visuals. Basically, people were blindfolded and led through the museum in groups of four to experience pieces ranging from audioception to even thermoception.

In March, one of my best friends from Victoria called me and asked if I was interested in participating in this art exhibit at a new museum he was opening up with some friends. I was asked to write a proposal for the “gustoception” (taste) piece. As soon as I learned that I would get to feed blindfolded people, I was very intrigued. Immediately, I had so many ideas going through my head. I decided to go with a chocolate mousse with pop rocks as garnish. I wanted the bite to be tasty, yet surprising.

Needless to say, they happily accepted me into their exhibit and it was such a great experience. As the groups came to my station, I read this piece of prose (pictured below) to them, fed them, and they were on their way. The best part of all of this was seeing the look on everyone’s faces after they were spoon fed by yours truly. Some people really liked it, some people had squinty faces, and others had big smiles after they discovered the pop rocks.

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I had a couple of good friends come to the exhibit and listening to their experience after the fact was awesome. To be blindfolded and led through a building that you are unfamiliar with, with people that you have never seen before, will leave the imagination to so many things.

I recreated the recipe, wrote it down, and made it for my roommate’s birthday back in August, which is what you see photographed here. Mousse is super rich and decadent, so it’s not something I do very often, but I thought I would share this recipe anyway. The recipe here doesn’t use pop rocks, since that was just a garnish that I used for the purpose of the art exhibit.

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If you happen to find yourself interested, please feel free to read MOHA’s “In The Dark” showcase program.

Mousse(Click on the image to enlarge the recipe.) 

Photo Taking and Impulsive Baking

So far this year, my life has been pretty crazy.  The first half of the year came with many changes and misfortunes. The good news is that things are really starting to look up for me in some magical ways.

I haven’t blogged since March, isn’t that wild? Back in April, I was a part of an art exhibit where people were blindfolded and led through the museum in groups of four. I was the “gustoception” (taste) piece. I am going to dedicate my next blog to talking about that experience, because it was really interesting. The following weekend in April, my dad passed away. As a result, April was unexpectedly a busy month for me.

In May, I took my first photography course to learn my camera a little better and I’m so glad I did. The quality of my photos has improved tremendously. The class has already paid off and it has made me even more excited about my trips to Colorado and Europe. I plan on doing another food porn blog when I return from Europe in September. I just know I am going to consume lots of yummy food and wine.

I spent most of June helping my new boyfriend find a place/get settled in Austin. Now it’s July and it’s getting really hot in Texas. Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday month, but I have been baking a lot lately: cheesecake, blueberry muffins, cherry cobbler, cookies (of many varieties) and even a lemon blueberry cake.

Though I am not posting a new recipe here, I wanted to share a couple of photos from my photography class and re-blog the cookie recipe. During the first class, the instructor (Carlos Austin of Austin Photography) and I made a deal — if I brought food to the last class, he would show me how to photograph it. I showed him my post from the loaded oatmeal cookies that I like to make on the regular, and we both agreed that I needed better photos. Practice makes perfect, right?

photo

This is a photo of what we did to set up our station. I took this photo on my phone, so please don’t judge the quality. My real camera is the one you see on the tripod.

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This is the final product with my crazy cloth.  

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This is the final product on a black cloth, with interesting lighting techniques.

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This is a photo of the lemon blueberry cake I made for a birthday. Thank you, Carlos, for the mad skills.

Those are candied lemon peels that I made for the garnish. I am thinking about posting this recipe, because it was super deLIZcious. I wish I would have taken a photo of it when it was sliced. That just might be a reason good enough to make it again. We’ll see, because blueberries are rocking right now.

My next post will be about the art exhibit that I was a part of back in April. I have already started it, just need to get my chocolate mousse recipe together. Chances are, you will see that post from me sometime in August. I am heading to Colorado this Saturday with my new boyfriend for a week. Should be back in full swing and hopefully posting monthly again when I return. Cheers and happy eating!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

If you happen to be a fan of carrot cake and have some leftover (fresh) pumpkin, you are definitely going to enjoy this recipe. The only thing that I would do different to this, is add some big golden raisins to it. I opted out of raisins, because I have a friend that is not a fan.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble until you wobble.

IMG_2086[Photo Credit: Roy Peña Photography]

Recipe

Pumpkin Dip

When I first discovered pumpkin dip, it changed my life. Of course when I had it for the first time, the pumpkin came from a can, which I did not approve of. Though the dip was tasty, I knew it would be so much better if I used freshly cooked pumpkin. Also, when I had this dip in the past, it was prepared with cool whip. Since I am also not a fan of cool whip, I use the real stuff. Therefore, this recipe is simply a pumpkin whipped cream.

Like all of my other pumpkin recipes, I follow the Pumpkin Basics to cook the fairytale pumpkin (my favorite). The color of the pumpkin meat is a bright orange and the flavor is so delectable. This recipe is so easy, that it only took about 10 minutes to prepare it for a party (that is, if your pumpkin meat is already cooked).

Once you whip this pumpkin dip up, serve it with graham crackers. It is definitely a crowd pleaser. Happy pumpkin eating!

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Pumpkin Dip Recipe

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[I borrowed this photo from another website, since I forgot to take a photo with the graham crackers. For the photo & another version of this recipe, please click here.]

Pumpkin & Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin season is in full swing and I couldn’t be more excited. This season, I promised a few recipes, including pumpkin whipped cream, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. I plan on getting to all of them, but when I had the idea to do this pumpkin & rum raisin bread pudding it was at the top of my list. I just knew it would be amazing and had to try it.

This recipe calls for 1 cup of cooked pumpkin. Take a look at my Pumpkin Basics blog post for instructions on cooking your own pumpkin. Also, I am biased to the fairytale pumpkin. Try it if you haven’t yet, it’s definitely a tasty pumpkin.

Since I knew the pumpkin would make for extra moisture, I used a little more bread than usual. It helped the bread pudding set beautifully. I am afraid that if I would have used less bread, I would have had a really mushy bread pudding. This recipe worked well for me and I hope it works for you too! In the words of Alton Brown, “I bid you good eating!”

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Bread Pudding [Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

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Almond & Banana Pudding Cake

As promised from the NYC Food Porn post, I made my very own version of a Banana Pudding Cake. When I started to think about how I wanted to do it, I knew that I would use a banana nut cake. Banana nut bread is one of my favorites, but too dense to be a cake. I decided to make some modifications and came up with something delicious.

My big brother, Lawrence, had his birthday on April 12th. Lawrence’s favorite dessert happens to be banana pudding. In fact, right after I ate a piece of the Banana Pudding Cake in Harlem, NY, I texted him and told him how amazing it was. I just so happened to be going to Victoria on the 13th (this past Saturday). So, my excuse to make the cake was well planned out. I made the cakes and icing, put them on ice and traveled to my hometown ready to build it.

When I asked Lawrence if he preferred walnuts or pecans, he responded, “almonds.”  When I thought about how the almonds would crunch inside of the cake, it didn’t go well in my head. I guess because almonds can go stale, it’s not the same as baking in pecans or walnuts. Therefore, I decided to use almond meal in place of some flour and almonds for garnish instead of crushed up vanilla wafers. Thus, I present the Almond & Banana Pudding Cake by Dutch Lovin’.

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Cake[Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

icing and garnish

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 Kyle and I made this much smaller version on Friday night and shared it with my little brother and friend. I still have some, come and get it!

Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries

It’s that time of year again, when you walk through the grocery store and there is a station for fresh hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. They smell great, they look great, you can’t help yourself because you know they are going to be amazing.

However amazing they are, they can get quite expensive! Let’s face it, 4 might not be enough, especially if you have to share. The steps of making these hand-dipped, decadent goodies are very simple, much less expensive than purchasing some, and can be a treat to more than 2 people.

These are great for parties or work well as gifts for family and friends. I also like to do these around Mother’s Day, as Moms are usually suckers for chocolate and strawberries. The upside of knowing how to do this is that you can have them year-round and not just for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions.

pretzels and strawberries

As pictured, you can do this same thing with pretzels. I prefer to use honey wheat pretzels.

Chocolate Strawberries

A similar version of this was originally posted by Sous Me Alchemy on 2/19/2012.

Pumpkin Empanadas

This recipe is strictly a baking empanada. There are other recipes for fried empanadas and they usually come filled with meat, cheese or veggies. Kyle and I have done fried empanadas before and I am sure we will post a recipe for those sometime in the near future.

The great thing about empanadas is that there are so many varieties. I have had them before with different kinds of filling, including: sweet potatoes, pineapple, cherries and apples. However, I have only made the kind that I prefer the most and those are pumpkin empanadas. You can pretty much fill your empanadas with any same filling that you do for pie.

I had someone just tell me the other day that she tried making empanadas and her dough didn’t come out the way she anticipated. I assure you, if you use this dough recipe and follow the directions, your empanadas will come out great. Remember to egg wash them so they will come out golden brown. You may not be able to do these with fresh pumpkin until next year, but you can certainly try them with any other kind of filling.

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Empanadas Recipe

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Pumpkin Cake

As promised, here is another one of the many goodies that I did for pumpkin season. I have done a pumpkin bread before and it came out a little too dense for my liking. I decided to do a cake because I like how moist, airy and fluffy it is compared to bread.

Also, this is the recipe that I used for the pumpkin Halloween Cake Balls. For those, you can just follow the same directions as the Eyeball Cake Balls. I decorated the pumpkins with orange-colored white bark and green-colored white bark for the stems. Make sure that you add the food dye to the bark before you melt it down though.

This pumpkin cake is going to become a tradition for me during pumpkin season now. These cakes were made with the Fairytale pumpkin. I wish I had some right now; they were so delicious.

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Pumpkin Cake

Don’t forget that you can click on the image to enlarge it.

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