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.

- 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

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.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Quinoa Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes

I haven't made pancakes for years, although I have wonderful memories of making light, fluffy pancakes (actually my memories are of eating the pancakes).  And I remember that they were easy to make - so why has it been so long?  And I think I may have issues about cooking in the morning.  So, pancakes for supper is the solution. 

Today, I won't be making the same pancakes as years ago, they need to be vegan (eggs and dairy are the biggest bad guys in our house) and we try to stay away from gluten when we can.  So, I could have made pancakes with wheat flour - but I get a kick out of using gluten-free flours, its an interesting challenge and flours other then wheat flour taste wonderful.

These pancakes are an adaptation of a recipe on Irwin Lin's blog Eat the Love  his Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes.  I veganized his recipe and left out the lemon and also his yummy sounding Rosemary infused Maple Syrup - I wanted a simple pancake.  I love the combination of quinoa and corn - so for my first gluten-free pancake, I tried this.  And, these pancakes were incredible!  First bite - heaven...

Flax Meal Slurry:
4 tablespoon golden flax meal
6 tablespoon coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons quinoa flour 
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons corn meal
1/4 cup play 2 tablespoons corn starch (non-GMO)
1/4 cup play 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons oat flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons coconut oil (melt before measuring) or olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey

Mix together the flax meal 6 tablespoons coconut milk in a small bowl and let sit (this is the substitute for 2 eggs).

Mix together the 1 cup of coconut milk and vinegar and let sit for a few minutes. 

Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. 

In a larger bowl, mix together the flax meal slurry, milk and vinegar mixture, and the remaining wet ingredients.

Heat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat.  Film with oil.  When the pan is hot enough, add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix thoroughly.  When the wet and the dry ingredients are mixed together, the baking soda will immediately start reacting with the vinegar  - so get your griddle hot first.

Scoop batter up with a 1/4 cup measure and pour onto the griddle.  Cook until the sides begin to dry out (there may be bubbles on the top) and the bottom side is golden brown.  Flip the pancake over and brown on the other side.  Hold in a warm oven (150 - 200 degrees) until all of the pancakes have been cooked.

(Note: when I made these again, I think I will add a bit more coconut milk to the batter, so that its easier to pour and makes a thinner pancake.)

Serve with a pat of earth balance buttery stick and maple syrup. 


Friday, April 8, 2011

Saute of Potatoes, White Beans and Cabbage

Another recipe from Heidi Swanson's new cookbook 'Super Natural Every Day' - this concoction is pictured on the front of the book - .  I made this one pretty much as is. 

A few days ago, I wondering what to make for a side with a turkey meatloaf, Heidi's book had just arrived and this sounds easy and I had all of the ingredients (usually my major consideration when decided what to cook...) so I gave it a try, not really expecting much.  I mean, none of these ingredients is an attention grabber individually.

But, when put together in this oh so simple manner - it is heavenly (and I don't really like potatoes much).  The textures are very interested: the creaminess of the beans, the little bits of crunchy potato, and the lingering crispness of the cabbage - its so good! 

Since these ingredients and the preparation is so simple, I think its very important to use a good quality sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (in fact, this is always important!).

It was so easy to put together and we all loved it.  True comfort food. 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into tiny cubes
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 large shallot, minced
2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained)
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat, add potatoes and a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Toss potatoes to coat with oil then cover.  Cook potatoes, tossing every few minutes until they are cooked through (8 - 10 minutes).  By sure to pick of the beautiful brown bits off the bottom of the pan as you toss.  Add shallots and beans, let everything brown a bit, scape the bottom of the pan to pick up all of the brown bits. Cook until everything is nicely browned.  Stir in cabbage, toss and cook a few more minutes until the cabbage just begins to break down (the cabbage should still be somewhat crunchy). 

Saute on a high enough heat that you get lots of brown bits; incorporating the browned crispy goodness through-out the dish is key.

Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan if desired.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saffron Soup

I received Heidi Swanson's new cookbook (Super Natural Every Day) a few days ago.  Part of the wonder of this book is the beautiful photos (which she takes herself) but the other part is the wonderful, creative vegetarian food she creates.  Her books are a great place to get inspired when I feel out of ideas.  (her previous book Super Natural is wonderful also.)  Also, both of these cookbooks are about food any home cook can accomplish, no chefy nonsense.

This recipe is my take on Heidi's Chickpea Stew (hers has eggs and dairy, so I had to change it up a bit)

Saffron is an investment (runs about $15 for a gram).  Granted, I'm kind of a food nerd, by from my perspective there is no substitute for saffron and its worth the price because the taste is fabulous (and the fragrance also).  (Note:  I just saw saffron on from pretty cheap to extremely expensive - I might try amazon next time I need it - they have anything!)  Saffron lends a touch of the exotic, its quite common in Moroccan and Spanish cooking. 

Saffron is very labor intensive to grow and harvest click here for the wikipedia entry for saffron.  Its got a very long and interesting history.

This soup has a very delicate flavor and the saffron really shines.

This recipe has been shared at Slight Indulgent Tuesdays at Amy Green's blog Simple Sugar and Gluten Free.

1 - 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 large shallots, minced 
salt to taste
2 - 4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
pinch of saffron
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
head of cauliflower (cut into quite small flowerettes - to nearly match the size of the chickpeas)
1 13.6 oz can full-fat organic coconut milk
handful of cilantro, cleaned and chopped

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  Add shallots and a pinch of salt, saute until shallots begin to take on some color. 

Meanwhile, heat the broth (or water) and drop in the saffron.  Let this sit for a few minutes to allow the saffron to 'bloom'.

Add minced garlic to the shallots and saute a few minutes more.  Add cauliflower and drained chickpeas and continue to saute a few minutes.

Add broth.  Bring soup to a gentle simmer.

Open the can of coconut milk and spoon the solid part into your soup (you can use the whole can, including the more watery part - depending on how you like you soup), stir to incorporate.  Taste and add more salt if desired.  (can also add red pepper flake if you like spicy)

Turn off heat and add cilantro, stir into soup.  Serve

- use yogurt or sour cream in place of coconut milk
- If not using saffron, substitute a bit of curry paste or curry powder (add this to the shallots and garlic and allow to saute for a few minutes)
- use any other combination of vegetable and beans you like (for instance: cannelini beans and broccoli or kidney beans and zucchini)
- don't like cilantro?  add something else green: spinach, dandelion greens, finely chopped kale...
- of course, cooked chicken breast can be added
- white fish would be great here also, just place the portion sized pieces in the gently simmering broth and allow to cook thru - should take 10 - 15 minutes.

And - for an asian take on this soup:
- in place of saffron, season with small amounts of fresh minced ginger, tamari, fish sauce, red pepper flake
- gently warm cubed firm tofu in the soup and add chopped bok choy, napa cabbage, and cilantro at the very end so the greens will stay a bit crisp

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

almond joy gluten free muffins (vegan too!)

The more I learn about almond flour, the more there is to love.  Most importantly, it tastes sweet and rich.  The richness comes from the beautiful healthy oils of the almond and it's quite high in protein and fiber.  If you are interested in exploring almond flour further, check out Elana Amsterdam's web site ( or her book 'the Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook'.  She has a lot to say about it.

I was looking around web for ideas when I came across a recipe for Banana Bread with an Almond Joy Twist at  I loved the idea of the Almond Joy combination (almonds, coconut, and chocolate) and thought it would be interesting to try with almond flour.  I took apart Jamie's recipe and put it back together, in the process removing the gluten and veganizing it (the bananas did not make the cut...). 

I was so fascinated last month reading the posts for the pancake ratio rally.  What a fun idea!  Because of my cookbook compulsion, I had purchased Michael Ruhlman's book (Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking) when it was published...  but had not put it to use.  (note: see a link to this book in my I Love Cookbooks to the right...)

I got Ruhlman's book because I loved the idea of understanding the hidden mechanics underlying the process of how food happens.   However, all of his baking ratios are based on weight rather than volume measurements - this means using a scale to weigh the ingredients.  The idea of getting a scale and measuring by weight seemed unnecessarily complicated to me at the time. 

Then I'd gotten seriously side-tracked about a year ago when I had to start baking gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free because of David's newly discovered food sensitivities. 

Gluten-free baking has the best chance of success with a combination of flours & starches.  Different flours and starches having the same volume, may not have the same weight.  Because of moisture content and other factors, a specific weight in my kitchen may not be the same in yours - although the volume is the same.  I have had pretty good success baking gluten-free using the old measuring by volume - but now that I've gotten used to the scale - its seems easier then my Mother's way of measuring.  Plus fewer things to clean up.  The Gluten-Free Girl's says it all much better in her post 'why we don't use cups in our recipes'


(beautiful logo designed by Anile Prakash)

Welcome to the gluten free ratio rally, a monthly collaborative blog party!  To find all of the offerings in this month's collaboration focused on Quick Breads and Muffins - visit Silvana's Kitchen.

Please make a point of visiting all the g-free blogs participating in this month's Ratio Rally. You will no doubt make many new discoveries.  And also take time to visit  Silvana's Kitchen, who is our host this month - she has posted a round-up of the whole shee-bang.

Mrs. R of honey from flinty rocks made Lemon Lavender Muffins with Lavender Sugar
Alisha Austin of gfmostlyvegetarian made Sweet Potato Breakfast Loaf
Amanda Schaefer of Gluten Free Maui made Classic Banana, Oat, Pecan Bread
Amie Valpone of  The Healthy Apple made Gluten-Free Agave Apricot Quick Bread
Britt Hodges of GF In The City made Date & Walnut Bread
Brooke Lippy of Bell Wookie made Double Chocolate Cherry Muffin
Caleigh of Gluten Free[k] made Cardamom Banana Bread
Caroline Karasik of The G Spot Revolution made Orange Spice Bread with a Vanilla Glaze
Claire Berman of Gluten Freedom made PiƱa Colada Muffins with Coconut-Rum Glaze and Toasted Coconut
Danna Owens of Sweet Dees Gluten Free made Blood Orange Cardamom Muffins
Erin Block of Mysteries Internal made Strawberry Yogurt Muffins
Erin Swing of The Sensitive Epicure made Chocolate Chip Walnut Muffins with Streusel
Flo of Makanaibio made 2 Recettes de Muffins ou de Gateau Rapides
Gretchen of kumquat made Gingerbread Fig Loaf
Irvin of Eat The Love made Gluten Free Glazed Meyer Lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine made Chestnut and Chocolate Quickbread
Karen Robertson of Cooking Gluten Free made Muffins
Kate Brabon of Kate Alice Cookbook made Raspberry Banana Crumble-Top Muffins
Kate Chan of Gluten Free Gobsmacked made Mocha + Chocolate Chip Muffins/Quickbread
Lauren McMillan of Celiac Teen made Cocoa Quickbread
Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen made Almond Cherry Berry Banana Muffins, Gluten Free
Lisa of With Style and Grace made Rosemary Lemon Quick Bread
Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking made Strawberry Snack Cakes
Mary Frances of Gluten Free Cooking School made Cranberry Orange Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
Meaghan Cassidy of The Wicked Good Vegan made Vegan Gluten-Free Apricot-Orange Bread
Nannette Minley of Nannette Raw made Chai Muffins
Robyn of Chocswirl made Brown Butter Apple Spice Muffins with Pecan Nut Streusel
Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made Lemon Poppyseed Bread with Ginger Glaze
Silvana of Silvana's Kitchen made Chocolate-Coated Marshmallow-Topped Vanilla Cupcakes
Danna at Sweet Dees Gluten Free made Blood Orange Cardamom Muffins
Tara of A Baking Life made Carmelized Banana Bread with Pecan Streusel
Wendy Kirby of La Phemme Phoodie made Cheesy Apple Butter Bread with Garlic Powder
Winnie Abramson of Healthy Green Kitchen made Brown Butter Banana Bread

... back to the scale. 

Just a week before reading about the pancake rally, I had purchased an OXO scale because I wanted to try a recipe for gluten-free pizza crust which was in ounces.  See my lovely OXO scale above (note:  I read many many reviews of several different scales on amazon - the OXO had the best reviews and more of them). 

So, I was excited that the ratio rally was happening at the exact moment that I felt ready (emotionally ready and hardware ready).
Here’s the quick bread / muffin ratio from Ruhlman’s book  (2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg, 1 part fat).  Which for my purposes here translates roughly to the following:

8 oz flour
4 oz sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
8 oz milk
4 oz eggs (2 large)
4 oz butter, melted

So, here's my recipe for:

Almond Joy Muffins - gluten-free, sugar-free & vegan
(inspired by Jamie at

Flax Meal Slurry (sub for 2 eggs):
4 tablespoons golden flax meal
6 tablespoons coconut milk

Dry Ingredients:
4 oz blanched almond flour (finely ground)
2 oz tapioca flour
2 oz quinoa flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients:
4 oz coconut oil, melted (or olive oil)
4 oz agave
4 oz flax meal slurry    
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz coconut milk, warmed to room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ cup bittersweet chocolate, shaved (or dark chocolate chips)
½ cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with 12 muffin papers. 

Mix golden flax meal and 6 tablespoons coconut milk with a fork to make the slurry.  This mixture needs to sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. 

In a larger bowl, combine oil (the coconut oil needs to be mostly liquid to measure - I just warm up the jar in the microwave) and agave with a whisk, add 4 oz of the flax meal slurry.  Add vanilla and coconut milk (the coconut oil will begin to solidify as it comes in contact with the cold coconut oil – it will work just fine as long as the clumps of coconut oil are small - to avoid this issue, warm the coconut milk slightly)  Add vinegar.  Whisk vigorously to blend the wet ingredients completely. 

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in 3 additions, mixing well after each.  Gently fold in chocolate chips, coconut, and almonds.

Do not let this batter sit around, the vinegar will immediately start to react with baking soda causing bubbles - which is exactly what you want, but you will want it to be in the oven as its doing so.

Distribute batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups (the cups will be full to the top - don't worry about that, the batter will rise a bit, but not much).  Bake about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway thru (in my oven, these muffins bake exactly 30 minutes).  Bake until muffins are deeply golden brown (almond flour batters brown beautifully!) and a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5 - 10 minutes before removing (carefully) to a wire rack to cool.

confession:  I originally intended this as a loaf, which I tried, but the high percentage of almond flour meant the cooked full-sized loaf was a bit fragile, especially warm - so the whole loaf fell apart!  We ate it anyway, just breaking off big chunks - because it was so good!  If you try this recipe as a loaf, be sure to let it cool, before attempting the de-pan maneuver.  If allowed to cool to room temperature, the coconut oil will hold the whole loaf together.  If you have mini-loaf pans, that would be fun also.

- substitute butter (room temperature) for the coconut oil
- substitute 2 eggs for the flax meal slurry
- substitute any other non-dairy milk for the coconut milk (wouldn't almond milk be nice?)
- if you like the original idea of banana - substitute mashed banana for flax meal slurry
- for the tapioca flour, you can substitute arrowroot, cornstarch, or potato starch
- for the quinoa flour, substitute millet or sorghum flour
- substitute honey or maple syrup for the agave