11 September 2012

I'm Baaaack! With Coconut Cream Cheese Brownies!

My short hiatus turned into a year and a half long absence. In that time I started a graduate program in School Counseling which has taken up all of my extra time and writing energy. I also spent the last year and a half learning how to follow, improvise and create recipes. Much more of my free time has been spent cooking oppose to eating out as it did in the past and the better cook I became, the more I realized the joy and calm being in the kitchen brings to me. My goal in the last year of my program is to continue writing this blog as a creative outlet, cook to both feed my passion and stomach and check out new restaurants even though I don't have a dime of income coming my way ;) As this blog has been from the start and continues to be, a journal of sorts for me to document both my eating and cooking ventures.

This past week I played with a brownie recipe I adapted from The Baker Chic, to make both gluten free and much easier.

Coconut Cream Cheese Brownies 



*The Baker Chic
Ingredients:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (optional but VERY recommended)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1 package brownie mix (Gluten free or regular--Trader Joe's just came out with a new GF Brownie Mix that I used)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease an 8×8 baking pan

Instructions:
In a medium sized bowl combine the softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and coconut. Mix together using an electric mixer until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside and make the brownie batter as directed on the box.

 Pour half of the brownie batter into a prepared baking pan. Add the coconut filling in even spoonfuls and gently spread across the batter, and top with the rest of the brownie batter. 

*I had to use my hand to spread the batters across evenly. The GF mixture was much thicker then a typical brownie batter. 

Bake for the directed time on the brownie mix. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting. 

refrigerated the brownies after they cooled. The texture was incredible--gooey brownies, thick and crunchy filling with chunks of chocolate chips. If you've ever had Black Bottom Cupcakes, these taste very similar! The Trader Joe GF mix called for only 30 minutes of bake time and I would up that to about 35-40 next time around as they were a little too gooey (if that is even possible ). As if these weren't delicious enough by themselves, I put them atop vanilla frozen yogurt to make an even sweeter treat!


21 June 2011

Mangia has moved to tumblr

My hiatus has turned into a major blog lapse, but I recently became inspired to start a tumblr. 


Follow me over to tumblr . . .

MangiaPortland.tumblr

07 April 2011

Friday, April 1st, 2011: Clyde Commons

To say I needed a drink tonight would be an understatement. I've spent the past 8 days with teenagers and came back to the hell of planning a school wide assembly. Clyde Commons was exactly what I needed.

Via Unknown Source
 One greyhound in and the worries of my world were washed down, as did the fact I'm gluten intolerant. But on this Friday night, the rules went out the window. I will get drunk the night before wine tasting, I will eat gluten after a week of southern buffet bouncing and I will order dessert even though I gave it up for lent :) God understands that tonight is the exception. And whoever says food and alcohol can't solve your problems couldn't be more wrong. Let me tell you, I feel 95% better now.

We had the most delightful waiter who suggested blue cheese on my burger. Oh the burger . . . but why, when I told him it was incredible, did he have to tell me they hand grind the meat themselves daily, adding pork fat to it? Adding fat to fat isn't usually appetizing, but tonight I just smiled, loving the extra fat and feeling my face blow up two sizes. The burger was obviously perfectly cooked medium rare, because this is Clyde Commons and they know what they are doing--smoothly melted blue cheese, a perfect hint of pungent, without overshadowing the beef.

Via unknown source
 I also ordered their $3 happy hour salad of mixed greens with a berry vinaigrette. And they brought us a small plate of their salted foccacio bread, with olive oil and crushed pepper. Melted. In. Our. Mouths. The simplest of things at Clyde are extraordinary for some reason; I can't put my tongue on why.

I think our waiter was amused by our chatter--ranging from law school, how to pronounce the menu, dating men 20 years older, how many fun size candy bars make up a real bar and things of that nature--and so when I asked for the dessert menu and the girls all said no and I exclaimed, I've had the most stressful week of my life, I'm getting dessert, he promptly brought me over a class of champagne to go with my Baked Alaska. God bless his heart.

The champagne-buzz-dessert combination is what really erased the past 24 hours of my life, leaving me worry free and knowing that life's OK. The Baked Alaska: chocolate mouse, along side a chocolate cookie, topped with bruleed merengie. Here's the kicker, which makes Clyde Commons just so spectaculare, inside the merenge is bourbon ice cream!!!! And to the side, in an adorable miniture pot, are toffee crumbles. Ahhh its all too much; I love it so.



So my advice friends and enemies a like: know that life will never be so difficult that you can't eat and drink your way to a better understanding of your challenges.

21 March 2011

Salad Rollin'

I have a sick obsession with Thai salad rolls. I think about them more then I probably should. Recently I discovered that, what used to be Sweet Basil Thai--now Oasisba, has delicious salad rolls for $2.25 during happy hour!!! This steal is beyond spectacular. Now from 5:00-6:30 daily I'm haunted by my salad rolls.

Oasisba is a little "different" then your average Thai joint. Not only because they offer Thai infusion, but because their servers are men dressed as women doing stand-up karoke throughout the evening. Yes, its exactly what you are picturing: drag queens taking your order, but before placing it, jumping up on tiny 5x6 foot stage to sing some show tunes, Celine Diane and even some Florence in the Machine.


This makes for a tiny bit of awkwardness when I have to get my salad roll fix by my lonesome, as I'm doing now. Those passing by doing a double take and for the life of me I can't figure out if it's because I'm sitting alone in a drag queen restaurant or if they are thinking what I am thinking, which is damn he's really hot for a girl??!

So now I'm sitting here jealous that his legs are much nicer then mine and that I'm a loner eating salad rolls in a drag restaurant as people judge me. Let me reassure you though. . . I'm perfectly content: salad rolls, Willamette Weekly in hand and watching you stare at me, as we both wonder if "you're thinking what I'm thinking."


Oh and if you're wondering about anything else besides the salad rolls . . . I'm not too impressed. Its average Thai food, but the major perk is their entertainment. My roommates love their House Special Curry, which is a yummy peanut sauce curry. Their happy hour menu is large, but practically everything else is fried. My advice is to go for a pre-dinner/gym/yoga /after Oprah snack.

Oasisba on Urbanspoon

12 March 2011

Hiatus . . .

I'm sorry I've been away from you lately. It's not that I haven't been eating either--its just that I haven't been eating like I was. On these dark and rainy days I cook because putting on boots and running from car to restaurant gets oh so old. For that, I am sorry. Don't fret though, as soon as we get to spring, I'll be that full force restaurant goer you've grown to know.

Joy The Baker


And the only thing I want is this sweet sweet cinnamon pull apart bread from Joy The Baker. I took away dessert for lent. Jesus-please poke my eyes out. I wonder if its possible to make it sans gluten and sugar??!

08 February 2011

Dick's Portlandia Kitchen

I wondered over to SE Belmont tonight to try Dick's Kitchen and their gluten free burger . . . feeling much in need of some red meat.

I knew I was pretty close to Hawthorne, but really, Portlandia in full force at this joint. We were sat at a long community table, filled literally with 7 kiddlets. Feeling a bit like I had just entered child's happy hour, we ordered a few cokes and our wide eyed vegan waitress asked us if we'd like it sweetened with cane sugar, agave or honey . . . in which Bridget responded, "can you sweeten it with my ass?" Hmmm, "No, sorry." apparently they hadn't figured that one out yet.


Sustainable, local, grass fed, naturally sweetened, baked not fried; any other health conscience buzz words you can think of insert "here." Dick does it the healthy way. Which often isn't the case when you think of burgers, fries and milkshakes.

Chocolate Coconut Bliss Milkshake. Devine. There is NO dairy diarrhea happening from this shake! And guess what, it tastes identical, let me repeat that, identical to your everyday milkshake and yet, there is no dairy. If you don't like coconut, stay away though. For those who aren't familiar, Coconut Bliss is a dairy free ice cream created from coconut; its really amazing.

Their "Not Fries" are air baked (get it, not fried, hence the name). These also taste just like fries and yet are not fried. Wow, healthy can be fun and tasty! The one complaint here, as much as I appreciate house made sauces, I need some Heinz Ketchup when I'm eating a burger and fries--even if they're called "Not Fries." I'll bring some in my purse next time . . . the one sweetened with cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, of course.

The burger was lean and tasty. Make sure to slap on their housemade pickles and some whole grain mustard and the spicy garlic sauce.

If you're in the mood for a burger and don't want to feel guilty, head to Dick's. If you've already eaten 2-3 burgers in the span of a week, but need one more, head to Dick's. If you care about your health, head to Dick's. If you still believe in "au natural" head to Dick's.

Dick's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

31 January 2011

Nacho Sunday

Growing up my mom used to make giant Nachos. We would have Nacho Sunday's. I didn't appreciate these  as a kid. Shame on me. As a grown up and now one that avoids gluten, I'm pretty into Nachos, especially ones that cost a mere $4.00 and fill four people up.


Casa Del Matador is their name. Nachos are their game. Oh and tequila. I don't drink tequila, but I do eat nachos. Daily from 4:00-6:00 and again from 10:00-1:00, you can order up their piping hot nachos for four buckeroo's. You can also add steak, chicken or chorizo for an additional $2.00. I prefer the chicken. This reminds me . . . the Superbowl is this Sunday and although I don't remember who's playing, I do know that nachos must be present.


These Nachos as an appetizer and a bowl of their Roasted Tomato Chicken Soup, made with a house-made chicken stock and flavored with lime, garlic, cumin, cilantro, onion, tomatoes, polenta and avocado, was overly filling and appetizing beyond belief.

I'll be back very soon to try their Goat Cheese Overstuffed Jalapenos . . . which are stuffed with ummm . . . bacon. Yes, it's true.


**Matador has an online Gluten Free Menu for those in need. Lots of choices and many substitutions can be made.

Casa Del Matador on Urbanspoon

Casa Del Matador on Urbanspoon

19 January 2011

Bravo Toro!

Since I recently hit up Tasty N' Sons I decided it was about time I finally try the much talked about Toro Bravo. What took me so long? So on Sunday night I ventured over to the east side, in tow with an adorable date.

The wait was 45 minutes . . . this I knew to expect, but decided not to share with my Toro Bravo accomplice, in fear he may suggest going elsewhere. We went upstairs to Secret Society for a drink and appetizer. What I won't recommend is Secret Societies pickled deviled eggs (they taste like pickles dipped in mayonnaise--who pickles an egg anyways??).

Before we knew it the phone was ringing and I was running down the stairs for Toro!

They sat us, in what I think is always the best seat in the house, at the bar overlooking the open kitchen. There is something intimate and wondrous about sitting where you can see the chefs and sous chefs busy at work. It must be the smell of the dishes and heat from the ovens and stove tops. It's almost like you are a part of the cooking experience.

Toro Bravo's menu is extensive and as a first timer I have to say I was quite overwhelmed, even though I had looked up their menu countless times before arrival. How does anyone make a decision when everything sounds so intriguing?

We decided on the . . .
Orange Salad; blood oranges drizzled with olive oil and topped with an olive tapenade.


Potatoes Bravos; diced potatoes fried and smothered in a rich tomato sauce and topped with a creamy aioli.



Chicken and Clam Cataplana; baked chicken in a tomato sauce with steamed clams and chunks of jamon.


Ham Cocito; thick slices of ham, house made hotlinks, with a chickpea, onion and carrot stew.


Over all I was very pleased with Toro Bravo. Our order was a tad on the rich side, so next time I would mix it up, getting more greens involved and definitely add the polenta and dessert . . .

**Pardon the pictures, I was working with candlelight and one photography lesson on aperture. 

Toro Bravo on Urbanspoon

06 January 2011

So Tasty: Tasty N' Sons

Fair well 2010. Hello 2011. Many of my friends this year were ready for 2010 to be over. It was a year many lessons learned--some harder than others. It was a year of a lot change, some good, but some difficult to accept. As I wrapped up my page and half of new resolutions and looked back on those from last year, I realize I came out on top and am more ready then ever to take on this new year.


#11 on my NY resolutions 2011 list: Stop procrastinating and eat at restaurants that have been on your "To Do" list.

Perfect, Tasty N' Sons had been on my list since opening day. I braved the wait and loved every second of it.



Went with a good friend who's been out of town, which accomplished #5 on my NY resolutions 2011 list: Make quality time for your friends.

And so in one morning, I knocked off two resolutions and was off to a fabulous start.

Now for the meal . . . Tasty N' Sons carries its name because it is just that: TASTY.

Everything is delicious. The presentation, the maple glazed sweet potatoes, the use of spices, the variety, the cherry red bloody Mary's with a hunk of beef jerky on top.


It was hard to decide what to order though. Everything looked incredible. After a very promising recommendation I opted for the Polenta with Sausage Ragu, mozzarella and a fried egg, $8. I was in heaven. 2011 heaven.


The polenta was creamy and the sausage ragu rich and flavorful and the yolk from the egg saturated the entire dish, not allowing me to put my fork down for even a moment.


I'm someone who wants a bite of everything, so the 'shared meals' concept worked very well for me. My friend ordered their seasonal Vegetable Frittata with squash, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, rapini & feta ,$7. Can't wait to go back. My recommendation is to try for a weekday to avoid some of the rush.

Tasty and Sons on Urbanspoon

13 December 2010

Tis' the Season for Sugar

My absolute favorite part about Christmas are the Christmas cookies that come out of the woodwork during this time of year. I love Russian Tea Cakes, the peanut butter ones with the Hersey kiss in the middle, but my absolute favorite . . . sugar cookies!


I was overwhelmed by gluten free cookie recipes that included up to five different types of flours and a little thing called xanthan gum (what is this stuff??).



So when I stumbled upon Sugar Plum's Gluten Free Sugar Cookie, that didn't have a page list of ingredients, I jumped for joy! The secret . . . cream cheese. I know, it threw me too. I used Bob's Red Mill White Rice Flour, but any white or brown rice flour will work.



Be warned, the dough will be stickier then your typical sugar cookie dough. Use a hearty amount of flour when rolling them out. They will also be whiter and more fluffy than other recipes.



I was literally in shock when I compared these cookies to our flour filled ones. I liked them 10x better and I know you will too!!! I took a giant plate to work  today, mixed the GF with the regular and the teachers were totally tricked!



Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
By Emily, Sugar Plum Blog

1 1/2 cups white rice flour
2 teaspoons meringue powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

To make the cookies, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together white rice flour, meringue powder, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator, or until firm.

Sprinkle additional rice flour on a work surface, and roll out in batches, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes and place on cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden and set. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.