My sister called the other day to tell me Rosie wants to grow up to be "a chef like Grandma and Uncle Jim". Now I know she's only 4 and her career plans are hardly set in stone, but I have to admit, it made me a more than a little happy when she told me this. So when I went home last weekend, one of the things I looked forward to most was being Chef Rosie's sous chef while she made my birthday cake.
This iconic Hispanic dessert is typically made with three types of milk (evaporated, condensed and whole milk). Making this dairy-free turned out to be easier than I thought and I actually like it better than the original. By using coconut milk, cream of coconut and almond milk I was able to add a lot more flavor than you typically see in this dessert.
Although you may be tempted to eat this cake the same day you make it, you really need to let it sit overnight in the refrigerator in order for the three milks to fully absorb into the cake. If you don't you'll end up with the outside edges of the cake very soggy while the interior is still dry. Trust me, it's worth the wait.
Feeling adventurous? This dish is also easy to customize to your particular taste. Don't like apricot? Substitute orange marmalade. Don't have red wine vinegar? Use balsamic or apple cider vinegar. You don't want to buy a big piece of ginger and have it all leftover? No problem, use minced garlic instead.
I'm not saying every combination will be a masterpiece but part of cooking is learning to trust your taste and your gut. You know what flavors you like together so start there but remember to not be limited to just what you know. Try things that may be a little out of the ordinary.
In other words, let your creativity flow. Then let me know what worked and more importantly, what didn't. If you want to bounce an idea by me, just type your question in the comment section.
One of the hardest things about going dairy-free is you end up constantly comparing what you're eating with it's dairy counterpart. Sometimes it's better than the original while other times you end up being disappointed.
Tofu-based puddings always fell in the disappointment category for me. I've tried a number of versions and not one of them was even remotely close to dairy-based puddings. My solution...stop comparing the two.
If you haven't tried chipotle peppers this is a great dish to get you acquainted with them. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers and are most commonly found canned in a spicy tomato sauce. They can be pretty spicy so start out with half of one first. To help reduce the heat a bit scrape out all the seeds.
If you can’t find the canned variety substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried ground chipotle pepper found in the spice section.
A few years ago the US Potato Board came to the magazine I was working for and showed us new techniques for baking, mashing and roasting potatoes in the microwave. I'll be honest, I was surprised the techniques worked as well as they did but the one that stood out for me was the mashed version. They went against "common sense" and didn't poke holes in them before nuking them. When they demoed it I just sat back trying to figure out who was going to clean the splattered bits of potato out of the microwave.