Thursday, June 2, 2011

this blog has been moved!

I've converted this blog to word press and in the process changed the name to:

Saffron Crush

click on the link to open the new site - hope to see you there!

blessings, melanie

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chocolate Honey Cake




I've been feeling the pull for the past few weeks of chocolate cake.  There is a gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake which I have made many times (my friends know it well), but for two reasons, I've been dreaming of a new cake.  I've become bored with making the old stand-by and the old stand-by recipe has xanthum gum, which try to stay away from these days.  So, I've been keeping my eye out for something new to try...

I started with Nigella Lawson's recipe for Honey Bee Cake which I converted to gluten-free and veganized.  It is by no means health food - there is a great deal of sugar and fat.  But, it would be a lovely cake for a special occasion.  Its a dense, very rich, almost gooey cake with a beautiful chocolate taste and the floral notes of honey in the background.  I didn't want to change everything about her recipe the first time out, and I'm sure I'll be making this again and plan to try it with less fat and much less sugar, (I found it extremely sweet for my taste - although I'm sure some folks will like it super sweet).  I'd also like to try it with another liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup, which is wonderful with chocolate. 

And, this is an incredible easy cake to put together, especially in the food processor.

Nigella and her kids of use marzipan to make little bees, decorated with the chocolate glaze and sliced almonds - I suppose if one has kids about, this might be fun, I skipped it.

Cake:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons ground golden flaxmeal
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks earth balance buttery stick (room temperature) 
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour (ground superfine is best)
3/4 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and oil and line the bottom (with parchment paper) a 9-inch springform pan.  Also, because the batter is quiet liquid, I wrapped the pan with foil very tightly (although my pan did not leak at all).  Also, place the springform pan on a sheet tray (if there is some leakage, you don't want it all over your oven).

Combine ground flax meal and coconut milk and allow to sit for a few minutes (this is the substitute for 2 eggs).

Combine all dry ingredients: (sweet sorghum flour, brown rice flour, arrowroot flour, baking poweder and soda, salt, and cocoa)  and whisk until combined. 

In a food processor, beat together softened earth balance sticks and brown sugar until creamy, then add the honey and process another few seconds.  Add half of the flaxmeal & coconut milk mixture and about 1/2 of the dry ingredients.  Add remaining flaxmeal & coconut milk mixture and remaining dry ingredients.  Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and add vanilla and the boiling water. Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin.

(don't have a food processor?  Do the same as above in a large bowl with a hand held mixer)
Cook for up to 1 1/2 hours, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is getting too dark, cover the top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.

To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a simmer in a saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes, then whisk together. Add the powdered sugar through a sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Choose your plate or stand, and cut out 4 strips of parchment paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the springform pan and set the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the glaze over the cold cake; be sure a good deal of the glaze dribbles down the sides. The glaze takes awhile to harden, so give it least an hour before you plan on serving it.

Notes:

- this cake rose beautifully in the oven, but then fell a bit in the middle (this is common occurrence with gluten-free baked things) - it didn't bother me at all.

- this recipe would make a beautiful cupcakes and there would not be the issue of the middle falling.

- I found the addition of the glaze over the top for me.  Next time, I will try the cake (or cupcakes) with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  And, because the cake is so deeply chocolaty, I'd like to try it with raspberries or raspberry jam - now that's something I could get excited about.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gluten-Free Waffles



I love my new waffle maker!  Its a Black & Decker, with reversible non-stick plates (waffle on one side, smooth on the other).  We've made panini sandwiches several times with the smooth side, turns any sandwich into something special.  I've never owned a waffle iron before and initially became interested when I read somewhere of the idea of using waffles instead of bread for sandwiches and burgers - which I haven't tried yet, but what a great idea.  In the meantime, we are really enjoying waffles.

These waffles are so easy that we can be eating a lovely hot waffles in less then 30 minutes, which means waffles are possible almost any morning. 


I did some research on waffle irons before purchasing my Black & Decker.  I didn't want a  Belgium waffle maker and liked the idea of the reversible plates.  And I spent an evening reading all of the comments about waffle irons on amazon.com and based my decision mostly on what I read (I love amazon!). 

So, here's my recipe for a basic gluten-free waffle.  This is a very basic waffle, but you can top your waffles with anything you like.  You can also add flavor to the actual waffle, add vanilla or almond extract, add ground nuts (almond, hazelnut, etc) for part of the flour.  See other options at the end of this post. 

I've shared a link to this post at Slight Indulgent Tuesdays.

4 tablespoon ground flax meal
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
3/4 cup coconut milk yogurt
3 tablespoon melted coconut oil (or any other fat)
1 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra coconut milk to thin out batter (I usually need about 1/2 cup)

Lightly brush both waffle plates with oil (I used an extra virgin olive oil spray).  Close the iron and preheat to the waffle setting (follow the directions for heating your waffle iron).

In a medium sized bowl, stir together ground flax meal and coconut milk and let sit for a few minutes.  Add yogurt and melted coconut oil and whisk to combine.  All dry ingredients and stir strongly with a whisk to combine.  Add additional coconut milk until you have a nice thick batter.

When you waffle iron has come up to heat, add the recommended amount of batter for your iron (mine is about 1 cup of batter).  Close the iron and bake until done (usually about 5 minutes).

In my iron this makes 3 very large waffles.

Top with your favorite toppings: maple syrup, fresh fruit, your favorite jam, etc.

Options:
- use a purchased gluten-free flour mix (such as Bob's Red Mill, especially if you are new to gluten free cooking)
- use butter in place of the coconut oil
- use 2 eggs in place of the ground flax meal and 6 tablespoons coconut milk
- instead of the coconut milk yogurt, use any yogurt you like, or try sour cream
- also, instead of the yogurt, use mashed bananas, pureed pumpkin or sweet potatoes
- for a savory option, leave out the sugar and add a bit of finely grated cheese

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blackberry Pandowdy



What the heck is pandowdy?  - turns out it is a very easy and rustic fruit dessert with pastry on the top.  The the word pandowdy refers to breaking up the crust half-way thru the cooking time so that the fruit bubbles up between the pieces of the crust.  You end up with pieces of crisp crust and pieces of crust submerged in the fruit - just like a pie.

Breaking up the pastry immediately caught my attention - this means the pastry does not have to be perfect!  The word 'dowdy' brings to mind something unfashionable, without style...  Warm, sweet fruit with a yummy, whole-grain pastry on top and I'm there stylish or not.

We love berry pie around here - however, I've never been able to master pie crust, so I usually get away with berry crisp and cobblers.  I came across a recipe for Strawberry Pandowdy in the latest edition of Eating Well (June 2011). 

I used blackberries and converted the original recipe to gluten-free and vegan.  Use any fruit you want or combination of fruit.  You may want to adjust the amount of sugar depending on how naturally sweet your fruit is.  (some ideas: strawberry & rhubarb, peach & blackberry with cystalized ginger, apple & maple - the sky's the limit...) 

This reminds me of one of my favorite cookbooks, Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, which is filled with intriguing recipes for crumbles, buckles, cobblers, pandowdies, and lots more.

I shared a link to this post at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Crust:
3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoon earth balance buttery stick (or butter), cut into small pieces
2 - 3 tablespoon ice water

Berry Filling:
2 lbs fresh or frozen blackberries (about 6 cups)
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (use less if you like your berries tart!)
3 tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the crust:  place 3/4 cup flour mix, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add butter, 1 small piece at a time, pulsing continually.  Mixture should resemble coarse sand.  Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture begins to come together. 

(to make crust without a food processor: Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add pieces of butter and rub the into the dry ingredients with your fingers.  Stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture begins to form a ball.)

Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the berry filling and place in a 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

Roll the chilled dough out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  I've found that this dough does not  hold together like 'normal' pie crust dough, so I just place the dough on top of the filling in pieces, large and small so I end up with a patchwork - which looks interesting and very rustic.  If you've got just one big piece of pastry, cut a few slits for steam to escape.

  Tuck any overhanging dough into the edges of the baking dish. 

You may want to have a baking tray under your pandowdy to catch any drips - depending on how full your baking dish is.  Bake for about 30 mintues.

Remove from the oven and with a small, sharp knife, cut the partially baked crust into 2 inch squares.  Using a spoon or small spatula, press about half of the dough squares into the fruit until they are partially submerged.  This is called 'dowdying'.

(Note:  if your pastry looks 'beautiful' at this point, feel free to skip the step which breaks the pastry into pieces and submerges them into the fruit.) 

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 30 - 40 minutes more, until the crust is browned in places and the fruit is bubbly.  Allow to cool a bit.

Double the recipe (that's what I did!) and bake in a 13 x 9 inch pan.  We had it for breakfast with yogurt.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes, G-Free and Vegan


Yesterday was sunny, we worked in the garden, dug some weeds and planted a few things.  We took a lovely walk thru the neighborhood in the late afternoon and as we were on our way back home, we could sense that the weather was changing.  And, sure enough it started to sprinkle after we returned home.  We woke this morning to the kind of rain that will continue all day.  So we had pancakes for brunch!

I started with a recipe from the Gluten Free Girl's web site.  I used my own flour mix and veganized it.  As a substitute for the eggs, I used a banana, which acts as a binder.  Banana is not one of my favorite flavors, but it is quiet subtle.  The ground flaxseed also helps bind the mixture.

These pancakes are crispy at the edges with soft insides and quite light; not only do they taste good, but are made with lots of whole grains.  After eating 2 of these cakes, I felt warm and full, but absent was that heavy feeling that I always have after eating pancakes made from all-purpose flour. 

I shared a link to this post at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
7 oz flour mix (1 3/4 cups) see below
1 oz ground golden flaxseed (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 oz banana, mashed (1 large banana)
4 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (or butter)

Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat.  Have a solid piece of coconut oil handy to oil the griddle.

Mix together coconut milk and vinegar in a small cup and let sit. 

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour mix, ground flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 

Mix the mashed banana with the coconut milk / vinegar mixture, add melted coconut oil, mix until combined.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly. 

Oil hot griddle with coconut oil.  Pour batter onto hot, oiled griddle, about 1/4 cup for each   pancake.    When bubbles form and start to pop, flip the pancake over.  Cook for a few more minutes.

Makes about 6 4-inch pancakes.

Serve with warm maple syrup, earth balance buttery stick, jam, fresh fruit, etc.

Options:
- instead of the mashed banana, try applesauce, or pureed sweet potato

Whole Grain Flour Mix:
200 grams rice flour (ground superfine is best)
100 grams sorghum flour
200 grams quinoa flour
100 hazelnut flour
100 grams corn flour (non-GMO)
150 grams tapioca flour
150 grams arrowroot flour

This is a very nice high protein flour mix with a lovely taste because of the hazelnut flour.  For more information about making your own flour mix, see my post 'How to make your own gluten free flour mix'.  And, if you're just starting the gluten-free journey, start with a purchased mix (that's what I did...).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ginger Miso Soup with Tofu



Everyone is talking about the coldest, wettest Spring ever that we are having here in the Pacific Northwest.  But, the past few days, we've had some sun and temperatures have been in the middle 50's - so there was hope abroad in the land that at last Spring is here.  Alas, today steady rain and oh so cold.  So, I stuck my head in the frig to see what kind of soup I could put together in a jiff because I was so cold!   Here's what I came up with.

I shared a link to this post on Cybele Pascel's Allgery Friendly Friday.

1 quart vegetable stock
knob of ginger, finely minced (or use a micoplane)
pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
a squirt of Sriracha (or other hot sauce, or red pepper flakes)
handful of mushrooms
handful of snap peas
firm tofu cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons white miso
fresh herbs, such as cilantro or basil

Heat stock in a medium sized saucepan, add ginger, salt, pepper, and Srirahca.  Bring to a gentle simmer.  Add mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes.  Turn heat to low.  Add snap peas and tofu, heat for just a few minutes. 

Place the miso in a small bowl and add about 1/2 cup of the hot soup, stir with a spoon to disperse the miso completely.  Turn off heat under the soup and add the miso mixture back to the soup pot, stir gently (you do not want to boil the soup after adding the miso, the high temperature will destory some of the healthful properties of the miso).  Adjust for seasoning, add fresh herbs (I used cilantro). 

My goodness, did this ever hit the spot, I feel warm and cosy from the inside now.

Options:
- use chicken stock and add chucks of roasted or grilled chicken in place of the tofu
- Add whatever green stuff you have (chard, spinach, napa cabbage, etc.)
- add a bit of coconut milk at the end to add a bit of richness
- if you have more time, saute finely diced shallot, carrot. mushrooms in olive oil before continuing with the recipe

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese



I think you are gonna love this!  There is an entire head of cauliflower hiding in this Mac & Cheese.  When cooked very soft, the cauliflower makes a superb sauce which is has a beautiful creamy texture and very neutral in taste (in other words, does not taste like cauliflower).  This recipe is from Mark Bittman's 'The Food Matters Cookbook'.  If you don't have a food processor or blender, a potato masher can be used, the sauce will be a little chunkier, but it will still be very good.

You can use ordinary breadcrumbs for the topping (or leave it off entirely), but Panko crumbs are drier then other breadcrumbs and so make a crisper topping.  Just take a look at the beautifully brown, crispy bits in the photo above.

I can't remember the last time I ate Mac & Cheese.  And, I will admit to being a bit apprehensive about this.  While the cauliflower was cooking, there was an odor in the house, kind of like, well, over-cooked cauliflower.  Fortunately, there was only the lovely smell of warm cheese in the finished Mac & Cheese. 

I made this for Mother's Day because David's 2 year ago grandson, Taye was part of the party and I wanted to be sure there was something he would like.  Taye wasn't too interested in eating much of anything, but all of us adults loved it.  Taye did eat some ice cream later...

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a bit more for the baking pan
salt
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cauliflower, cored and separated into large pieces
1 lb ziti, elbow, or other cut pasta (whole wheat, rice, kamut, etc)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or to taste
a few grating of fresh nutmeg
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush a 9x13" baking pan (or equivalent) with olive oil. 

Cook the cauliflower in a large pot of salted boiling water until very tender (about 25 minutes).  Remove the cauliflower from the water to a food processor (or blender).  Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until half way to al dente.  Drain pasta and place in a very large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, process the cauliflower with 3/4 cup of the stock, 2 tablespoons olive oil, cheddar, mustard, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper until very smooth.  If using a blender, you may need to work this in a few batches.  If the sauce needs to be thinned out, add a bit more stock.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix.  Plunk the mixture into the prepared pan. 

Sprinkle the top with the shredded Parmesan.  Toss the Panko breadcrumbs with the melted butter and spread over top of the Parmesan.

Bake the pasta until casserole is bubbly and crumbs turn brown, 30 minutes or so.  (We baked this in a ceramic baking dish and the sides were deliciously crisp - yum, that was the best part)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spicy Roasted Nuts



We were looking at nuts a few weeks ago at the grocery store and didn't end up purchasing any because they were expensive and had entirely too much salt.  I got home and did a bit of experimenting and after a few tries, came up with something we like (well, okay, some of us love these...) 

olive oil
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 raw cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoon maple syrup
Optional seasonings:  black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom (let your imagination go wild!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a sheet try with foil and brush with olive oil.  Mix nuts with tamari, maple syrup, and seasonings (if using).  Spread mixture evenly on the tray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Remove tray and turn nuts over with a spatula.  Bake for another 5 - 10 minutes.  Depending on your oven, these nuts may take a few minutes less or more.  When you start to smell the nuts or the maple syrup, start checking them every 60 seconds or so - you do not want to let the nuts burn.

Remove from oven and stir again.  Stir every few minutes as the nuts cool - this makes it easier to remove from the tray.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sweet Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts



Luckily, no one in my family will even look at a beet much less eat one, because I had just 4 small beets.  And, I only have the beets because I forgot to swap them out of our farm box which we have delivered once a week.  I don't eat beets too often, but each time I do I am reminded how fabulous they taste and I ask myself, where are the beets?

And even those folks who do not like beets (yet!) - must agree that they make the most beautiful salad.

This recipe is for an individual servings (at least as far as I'm concerned), if you want a salad for 4, you will probably want to double or triple this. 

I shared a link to this recipe at Cybele's Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday.

4 beets, remove greens and save for another purpose (e.g. sauteed greens?)
walnut oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
handful of walnuts
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
a few springs of cilantro, leaves only

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, trim and clean beets and place in a small casserole dish with a splash of oil, toss beets to coat with oil.  Cover the dish either with a lid or foil.  Place in oven and cook for 45 - 60 minutes, until beets are fork tender (the flesh of the beets are easily pierced with a fork).  Remove from oven and uncover, let sit for a few minutes to cool.

When beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skin by rubbing with your fingers under cold running water.  The skin should very easily come up.  Slice beets into serving bowl and add a bit more oil and the vinegar. 

Heat a small saute pan over medium heat, add about 1 teaspoon of oil, walnuts, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Stir constantly for about 3 - 5 minutes, until walnuts are fragrant and sugar is melted.  The spices should adhere to the walnuts.  Add to the sliced beets, and cilantro, mix to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings, you might want a bit more vinegar also.

Options:
- I just happened to have walnut oil, a light olive oil would be just as yummy
- add any fresh herbs you like
- add globs of goat or feta cheese, the tangy softness of either of these cheeses is wonderful against the sweetness of the beets and the walnuts

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hazelnut Cream Scones with Blackberry Jam (g-free & vegan)



I had a bit of trouble with scones this month.  I've made plenty of biscuits, but never scones.  I've not eaten too many scones either, the only scones I remember eating are the orange cranberry scones at Starbucks (which are very delish).  After reading some history about scones, I wanted to make a simple scone with no added bits, no nuts, no fruit.  A more traditional scone.  Because, I was really interested in making jam (which I've never made before either). 




(beautiful logo designed by Anile Prakash)

The theme of this month's Ratio Rally was Scones - scroll down to the end of this post for a complete list of the offerings.  Lauren at Celiac Teen has done a bang-up job at hosting the whole event this month. 


EZ PZ, biscuits with a bit of sugar...

I made several version of scones that were just okay to awful, awful in the sense of very dry and crumbly (upon removing one batch from the oven, the whole thing fell to crumbs).  I did make a pretty good chocolate scone with dried cherries, but the texture was more like a brownie, which was yummy, but I just didn't like the sound of 'brownie scone'.  I almost gave up, except the blackberry jam was so fabulous! 

(By the way, these are a few pictures of my garden, Spring has finally appeared in the last few days.)

The garden's looking beautiful, but what's to be done about these darn scones?  In desperation, I tried the cream scone method, more liquid, more fat - could work.  Since I was trying to keep it vegan, I used coconut cream in place of the traditional heavy cream.  Finally!  The scones were fabulous, they smelled wonderful and were moist and flavorful and held together.  The hazelnut flour gives a subtle, sweet flavor which goes beautifully with the tartness of the blackberry jam.

In the end, the scones were very good, (definitely best the first day) but the jam was the luscious star of this combination.  I am planning my next batch of jam already.  And, I'm looking forward to trying some of the other gluten-free scones in the ratio rally.  My journey with scones had just began and there are untold mysteries in the baking of scones which still elude me. 

And, one of those mysteries (at least about these particular scones) is the ratio.  I know this recipe was developed for the 'Ratio Rally' - but to be honest, the ratio escaped me.  I think the ratio is close to 3-2-1 (flour, liquid, fat) - to get to this ratio, I counted the coconut cream as liquid, although it was in a solid form, more like a fat instead of a liquid.  Was this correct?  If anyone knows - please let me know! 

I shared a link to this recipe at Amy Greene's Slight Indulgent Tuesdays.

Hazelnut Cream Scones
2 tablespoon golden flax meal
4 tablespoon coconut milk

3 oz hazelnut flour (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz sweet sorghum flour (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz sweet rice flour (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz arrowroot flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
zest of 1 orange, very finely minced or use a microplane

2 oz cold earth balance buttery stick (4 tablespoons), cut into pieces

coconut cream from a 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk (just the solid part which sits on top when you open the can)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.

Combine flax meal and coconut milk in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Let this sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  With machine running, add pieces of the vegan butter one at a time.  The mixture should look a bit like sand at this point.  Add the coconut cream (just the solid part, do not add the liquid at the bottom of the can of coconut milk) and process until mixture starts coming away from the sides of the bowl.  If this does not happen in about 20 - 30 seconds or so, add a bit more sorghum flour.

Spoon dough out of the food processor onto the prepared sheet tray to form a circle about an inch thick.  I just use a spatula (and my fingers) to form the round shape about an inch thick.  With a very sharp pizza wheel (or knife), cut thru the dough from side to side,  making 8 wedges.  The wet dough will immediately come back together, but that's okay.  When baked, the scones will be scored and easier to pull or cut apart.  This dough is too wet to use a biscuit cutter.  You will end up with lovely soft sides, just crunchy on the top.  It seems most people like crunchy all around - I do not!  I'm all about the soft, moist, tender interior (well, there it is, now you know my big secret...). 




Blackberry Jam
4 pound blackberries (or a mix of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), fresh or frozen
1 pound sugar
2 tablespoon bourbon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
juice of 2 small lemons (or 1 large lemon)
1 teaspoon butter

Place a small plate in the freezer.

Place everything in a large dutch oven or saucepan (not aluminum).  Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon.  You can smash the fruit against the side of the pan with the spoon - but there's really no need, all of the fruit will brake down.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  If foam forms on the surface of the jam, skim it off.  After 30 minutes, the jam should have cooked down quiet a bit and be very thick and beautiful. 

Now, retrieve the small plate from the freezer (bet you were wondering about that!).  Use a small spoon to place a small amount of the jam on the plate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, the jam will thicken on the cold plate - if this is the consistency you want for your jam - you are done.  If you'd like it thicker, simmer gently a few more minutes

Rinse your jars in very hot water (or run thru the dishwasher).  Spoon hot jam in the jars and place lid on (I use jars with rubber seals and clamps, see photo).  Because the jam is hot, this will make a pretty good seal.  However, this jam needs to be stored in the refrigerator. 

You'll notice that I did not strain the seeds out and blackberries do have rather a large amount of seeds - I've eaten lots of blackberries in my life and I like the seeds, they are an integral part of the blackberry experience.  You can smash up the fruit and strain before you start the cooking - entirely too much trouble for me.  If the seeds are going to bother you, try strawberries and raspberries for your jam. 

Amie of The Healthy Apple - http://thehealthyapple.com/2011/05/04/gluten-free-rice-crispy-scones/
Britt of GF in the City - http://www.gfinthecity.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-scones.html
Brooke of B & the Boy - http://bellwookie.blogspot.com/2011/05/coconut-scones.html
Caleigh of Gluten-Free[k] - http://gluten-freek.blogspot.com/2011/05/jam-on-top-or-cream-on-top.html
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten-Free - http://mamameglutenfree.blogspot.com/2011/05/savory-jalapeno-cheese-scones.html
Caroline of The G-Spot - http://thegspotrevolution.com/?p=3228
Charissa of Zest Bakery - http://www.zestbakery.com/ingredient/almond/amaretto-soaked-cherry-and-almond-scones/
Claire of Gluten Freedom - http://www.thisglutenfreelife.org/2011/05/ratio-rally-strawberry-banana-scones.html
Erin of the Sensitive Epicure - http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/2011/05/millet-scones-gfree-rally.html
Gretchen of Kumquat - http://kumquat-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-maple-oat-nut.html
Irvin of Eat the Love - http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/05/spotlight-on-savory-green-garlic-bacon-thyme-scones-with-white-pepper-maple-glaze-gluten-free-ratio-rally
Jeanette of Jeanette's Healthy Living - http://www.jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2011/05/glutendairyegg-free-coconut-pineapple.html
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine - http://jenncuisine.com/2011/05/banana-apple-and-currant-scones-gluten-free
Karen of Cooking Gluten-Free - http://cookingglutenfree.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-oat-scones-with-currants/
Kate of Katealice Cookbook - http://katealicecookbook.com/2011/05/04/cinnamon-fruit-scones/ 

Lauren of Celiac Teen - http://www.celiacteen.com/2011/scones-ratio-rally/
Lisa of Gluten-Free Canteen - http://glutenfreecanteen.com/2011/05/03/gf-ratio-rally-bisconies-actually/

Lisa of With Style and Grace - http://withstyle.me/2011/05/04/gf-lavender-earl-grey-lemon-scones
Marla of Family Fresh Cooking - http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2011/05/02/avocado-scones-vegan-and-gluten-free-recipe/
Meaghan of Wicked Good Vegan - http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/2011/05/04/gf-scones/
Melanie of Mindful Food - http://mindfulfood.blogspot.com/2011/05/hazelnut-cream-scones-with-blackberry.html
Meredith of Gluten Free Betty - http://glutenfreebetty.blogspot.com/2011/05/cinnamon-raisin-scones-for-gluten-free.html


Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Lemon Pasta with Chard


So simple, this is hardly a recipe... 

I was hungry and needed something in a hurry for lunch, luckily I had some fresh pasta, which takes a few minutes to cook.  So, without much fore-thought, I just put together a simple sauce for the pasta based on what was close at hand.  I loved the combination of lemon and greens.

I didn't add much cheese to keep it light.  The cheese can be omitted entirely, just add an extra virgin olive oil that is green and fruity.   

1/2 pound fresh pasta
big glug of olive oil
a large shallot, finely minced
a bunch of rainbow chard, de-ribbed and chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flake
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 oz soft goat cheese

Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a simmer, turn the heat down a bit, but keep it simmering so the water is ready when you want to pop in the pasta.  (be sure to add a nice bit of salt to water before adding the pasta)

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan, add shallot and cook, stirring for a few minutes.  Add chopped chard, salt, pepper, and red pepper flake - stir from the bottom several times. 

Meanwhile add the fresh pasta to the simmering water and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes (or follow package directions). 

As the chard just begins to cook down and lose a bit of it's structure, add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.  Add the goat cheese in small pieces, stir into the mixture.

Drain pasta when its cooked (it will be cooked when its soft, but still has a bit of a 'bite' to it).  Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to incorporate.

Options:
- use any pasta you like (corn, quinoa, kamut, etc.)
- a chopped tomato would be nice, add at the end, so it is fresh, not cooked
- if using dried pasta, get the water boiling and add the pasta.  the sauce will probably be ready and waiting for the pasta to finish cooking
- add whatever veggies you like, roasted veggies would be especially nice
- add some fresh herbs, basil would be wonderful

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spicy Chicken with Mango and Cashews

I started out with a recipe for Black Pepper Chicken with Mango that I saw in the New York Times - but when the sauce started coming together, it wasn't very interesting.  So, I started adding spices to make it more curry-like.  I also added coconut butter (see note at the end of this post).  The coconut butter added an incredible richness that's hard to describe - but it was so yummy!  If you don't have coconut butter, coconut milk can be substituted.



Spicy Cashews:
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Chicken:
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
1.5 - 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger (I use a microplane)
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon coconut butter (* see Note below)
2 medium sized mangoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
half a bunch cilantro, chopped
prepared brown basmati rice

Prepare Spicy Cashews: Heat about 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add palm sugar, teaspoon pepper, cayenne, salt to the oil and stir, add cashews.  Cook nuts until golden, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Spoon nuts into a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoon coconut oil and allow to heat for a minute.  Add chicken (use a big enough pan so that the chicken fits all in one layer).  Add sea salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and cayenne and stir to cover the chicken.  Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is golden brown and nearly cooked through (10 - 12 minutes).  Add rum, ginger, garlic, and scallions, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until rum is nearly evaporated, about a minute.   

Add stock and coconut butter stir to incorporate, then simmer for a few minutes.  Add mango, vinegar, and cilantro.  Taste for seasoning and adjust.  Serve over brown basmati rice.

Options:
- substitute extra-firm tofu for the chicken, cut into large cubes
- use 1/2 cup coconut milk instead of coconut butter

*Note: coconut butter is a very new product for me.  Recommended by my friend Vasudha.  I used Artisana brand, made from 100% certified organic coconut, with no preservatives or other additives.  It is made from the whole coconut, not just oil.  You will find coconut butter in the grocery stores with all of the other nut butters.

Coconut butter is solid below about 80 degrees - set the jar in a bowl of hot tap water to soften.  Stir the contents of the jar and then dip the yummy goodness out with a spoon.  Add just a tablespoon at a time, to see if you like it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quinoa Cranberry Cookies

These cookies were inspired by a recipe on Amy Greene's blog, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free this morning, 'Quinoa Raisin Cookies' - I veganized the recipe by removing the egg, the dairy, cut down the sugar, used my own mix of flours, and used walnuts and cranberries in place of the raisins.  They taste so good!  David came home and said, "I don't like cranberries!",  (okay, at my age, its difficult to keep track of everything several people do not like, can't have, are allergic to... I need to start writing this stuff down), but after eating several of these cookies, he proclaimed that they were very good.  Too bad, I was secretly hoping to eat them all myself.



I shared linked this post to Slight Indulgent Tuesdays and at Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday.

Flax Meal Slurry:
2 tablespoons golden flax meal
3 tablespoons coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup earth balance buttery spread (or butter) room temperature
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar * (see note below)
1 - 2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut milk (or water)

Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/3 cup blanched almond flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries (not sugar sweetened)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 sheet trays with parchment paper.

Mix the ingredients for the flax meal slurry in a small bowl and set aside to thicken for a few minutes.

In a large bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer), cream the butter until light, add the coconut palm sugar and mix well.  Add thickened flax meal slurry, vanilla and 2 tablespoons coconut milk.

In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined.  Add quinoa flakes, walnuts, and cranberries.

Use a small scoop to drop cookies onto parchment lined sheet tray (the cookies do not need much space between them, they do not spread much).  Bake for 12 - 14 minutes (mine baked for exactly 14 minutes), until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges (do not over bake).  Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack.

My cookies were about 1 1/2 inches in size when baked and the recipe make 30 cookies.

Options:
- substitute raisins (or any kind of dried fruit) or chocolate chips for the cranberries
- use whatever nuts your like
- substitute gluten-free oatmeal for the quinoa flakes
- substitute 1 egg for the flax meal slurry
- if you do not have the flours I used, try 2/3 cup of any whole grain gluten-free flour (e.g. brown rice, millet, garbanzo bean/fava bean, quinoa, teff etc.), and 1/3 cup of some kind of starch (e.g. arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch)
- and, if you want to try this with a purchased flour mix (such as Pamela's, or Bob's Red Mill) - I bet it would taste great

*Note: coconut palm sugar (sometimes referred to as palm sugar) is very lightly processed, low glycemic index (35 GI - which is comparable to agave), and high in minerals.  This sugar is traditionally used in south Asian cooking.  It has a wonderful taste, similar to brown sugar.  Its becoming widely available.  (just for reference, the GI for table sugar is 80)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Roasted Broccoli Salad

I was reminded a few days ago how healthy broccoli is and vowed to pay even more of it to our meals.  Various phytochemicals and other components in broccoli have strong anti-cancer qualities.  Its a real miracle food (along with its cousins, cabbage, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi, and Swiss Chard) and is delish!     



I shared this at Cybele Pascal's Alergy Friendly Friday.


2 large heads of broccoli (or several smaller heads)
1 large red onion
4 - 6 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
2 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 or so tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flake to taste (optional)
(extra olive oil for roasting the broccoli and sauteing the onion)

Break down the broccoli into small florettes (cut larger ones in half).  Peel and trim broccoli stalks and cut into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces.  Place florettes and stalk pieces  on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or foil.  Drizzle broccoli with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and toss with your hands to coat the broccoli all over with the oil.  Place in a 425 degree oven on the middle rack and roast about 25 - 30 minutes.  Test with a fork, broccoli should have some caramelized spots, but still be somewhat crisp.

Meanwhile, dice the red onion and saute in a small amount of oil until caramelized (15 - 20 minutes) - stir frequently.

Let the broccoli and onion cool a bit before assembling the salad.

Place broccoli, red onion, chickpeas in a large bowl.  Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake (if desired).  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar - mix and taste.  Adjust the oil, vinegar and seasoning to your liking.

Options:
- add cooked quinoa, pasta, or brown rice for a more substantial salad
- add fresh herbs (such as basil, flat-leaf parsley...)
- use any other kind of beans (cannellini beans would be good)
- any vegatable can be roasted like this and used in a salad (califlower, squash, carrots...)
- add fresh greens, such as spinach, swiss chard, dandelion greens...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

David's Favorite Banana Bread



What is there to say about another banana bread recipe?  This one is gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free.  That's pretty special.  I can take or leave banana bread myself, but David keeps asking for it and I feel badly about pitching the old, spotty (or worse) bananas in the food waste bin - so I keep making it.  This is David's current favorite:

Flax Meal Slurry:
4 tablespoons golden flax meal
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or other liquid)

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup blanched almond flour (ground super fine is best)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
1/2 cup agave
4 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups diced bananas (approximately 3 large bananas)
handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
handful of vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare glass loaf pan by lining with parchment paper (or brush with oil).

Mix together flax meal and 6 tablespoons coconut milk and let sit. 

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  

In a second bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup coconut milk and the apple cider vinegar and let sit for a few minutes (this is a substitute for buttermilk).  Mix this mixture with the remaining wet ingredients and the flax meal slurry.  Whisk until thoroughly mixed.   Add the bananas, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. 

Bake for 50 - 60 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.

Note:  if you over do it with the bananas (which I usually do), your bread will be part cakey and part pudding-like (because there is so much banana) - it will be very moist.  And, David says its very good this way.