Strawberry Shortcake

June 19, 2011

Perfect treat for Father’s Day- I’ve just picked 4 quarts of organic strawberries at McEnroe’s Farm up in Amenia, NY. Tough picking because they’ve let the weeds grow up- so there were thistles to wrestle with (ouch) and slim pickings because this is only their first week of picking. So I was a bit early. Hope my dear friend, T, will go with me later in the week or even next week. No matter, I’ve frozen 3 quarts (for sorbet and the winter) and will use the rest for shortcake topping and for snacking. They are very sweet!

I have tried a new vanilla muffin recipe from food.com. It only makes 9 (really, I tried to stretch it but 9 it is) muffins/cupcakes so you might like to make more, these are going to go fast in my house. I also used a gluten free flour mix instead of all the separate flours. 22 minutes in the oven was perfect time. The recipe also has chocolate frosting. I am not going to make that. I will make strawberry topping, see below.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Serves: 9, Yield: 9 Cupcakes

Ingredients

◦                                  2/3 cup soymilk

◦                                  1/4 cup canola oil

◦                                  3/4 cup agave nectar

◦                                  2 teaspoons vanilla extract

◦                                  1/4 teaspoon almond extract

◦                                  1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

◦                                  1 teaspoon baking powder

◦                                  1/2 teaspoon baking soda

◦                                  1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions (adapted from food.com):

Preheat oven to 325°F;

Line muffin pan with 9 Liners and fill 3 remaining muffin cups with a little bit of water.

 Mix together soy milk, canola oil, vanilla and almond extract and agave nectar.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt one by one and mix for 1-2 minutes. Mixture will be thin.

Fill 9 muffin cups approximately 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 1 hour to allow agave to set.

Serve with 2 cups strawberries halved and cooked with 1 T maple syrup or honey, 1 cup water and 2 T arrowroot powder on low flame, stir until thickened;

Garnish with fresh berries and whipped tofu cream topping (1/2 cake organic tofu, 2 T tahini, 1 T agave syrup (or to desired sweetness) , pinch salt, 2 T grapeseed oil blend until smooth and creamy.

Mango Pico de Gallo

June 7, 2011

My dear friend, T, invited me over for a fish taco dinner party on Sunday night. I asked if I could bring something and she requested Pico de gallo. I don’t know what it is, even- but gather that it’s what I call salsa and it goes on the fish. Pico de gallo in Spanish means rooster’s beak–whatever–and can be made as a fruit salad with chili and other spices sprinkled on the top, or as a raw condiment like a chutney made with vegetables. In the US we think of salsa as a chutney of diced tomatoes, maybe avocado, peppers, definitely a spicy jalapeno, lime juice, salt and often my unfavorite green, cilantro, sprinkled in so I cannot pick it out. I’ve had salsa made from peaches and also mangos as well as watermelon! I decided to be creative and make it up.

I had a few very ripe mangos on hand, went down to the store and bought 1 plum tomato, 1 red pepper and a green jalapeno, 1 lime. I also had a few little red onions left from last year and lots of fresh parsley in my garden, so I set about to make up a simple but yummy Pico de Gallo for our fish tacos.

Dice small 1/4 cup red onion

Dice 1/2 red pepper (remove the seeds and extra skin inside, first)

Dice 1 small plum tomato

Chop very fine- 1 small hot pepper of your choice (keep 1/2 T aside in case it is a very hot pepper or people want something like the beak of a rooster pico….)

Peel and Dice 1/2 cup ripe mango

Chop large handful of parsley  very fine

Toss all the vegetables along with

1/2-1 t seasalt to taste

Add juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)

I garnished with chive flowers (you can see on at the top of photo, above) I broke up a few flowers and sprinkled in the salsa, too. It was very yummy.

The dinner also included watermelon gazpacho, fresh picked garden salad with oil and salt dressing, sweet and spicy beans and rice, guacamole (with the dreaded cilantro), spicy tilapia, rice and corn tacos, my Pico de G and T’s special gluten-free banana cake. Delish.

Here it is before the parsley was added. Still beautiful!

 

Gluten-free Tamari on-the-go

February 28, 2011

This is a good quality product. We use this brand in our home. And now you can take it on the road without the bottle spilling in your handbag! I haven’t seen this in store but you can order online-of course.

San-J manufactures Tamari soy sauce and quality Asian-inspired products. The San-Jirushi Corporation of Mie, Japan, began selling Tamari in the United States in 1978 as an importer to natural food and industrial food markets. San-Jirushi decided to build a plant to brew Tamari in North America. In addition to the production facilities, San-J’s administration, research and development and sales and marketing departments are headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

Available: amazon, dealnay (both with decent discount but you have to 240 packets, that’s alot of dinners out…buy with a friend or two)

 

Hat Tip: Josh

Thank you to Greta for this great site where I have found something that I think my dear friend, Teresa will want to bake for her Southern family! Check out this Pecan Pie recipe from Gluten-Dairy-Free.com.

 

I am up to my ears with information about chemicals in shampoos. You need a degree in chemistry to even read the ingredients let alone understand the list. Not only the ingredients, there is the plastic bottle quandary, too.

BUT, wait a minute, shampoo is soap. There are natural soap companies all over. Soap making is an leasy local business.

It is easier than you think to buy shampoo without:

  • detergents
  • sulfates
  • petroleum products
  • parabens
  • pthalates
  • synthetic preservatives
  • artificial colors
  • artificial fragrances
  • foam boosters
  • propylene glycol

You can use a shampoo bar and that is just what I’ve been doing. So, unbeknownst to my bestest friend, T, I have quietly become a fan of shampoo bars- I like the Liggett’s brand, there are countless others and now I have decided that I am going to make some.

Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft is an all natural soap company. Their site explains much about the soap making process.

The great thing about soap is that there are many small companies spread out through our communities. Here in Litchfield County we have GoatBoy Soaps. You can buy their hand made soaps at many retail stores as well as at the Litchfield Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

I think this is a great idea for a business. T was thinking of starting a gluten-free cupcake company called “Cuppies”. But after eating beaucoup de cupcakes all last winter she seems to have changed her mind. At least she isn’t talking about it much. Well, you can’t eat soap. Whaddaya think, T? we could call it “Shampoo on a Rope”, or “Bar of ‘poo”. Only kidding.

Carried Away With Caraway

February 25, 2010

I’m in love with the flavor of caraway seeds. It’s why I love(d) rye bread (avoiding rye due to gluten sensitivity for now). I also love caraway in sauerkraut. Recently I made a soup recipe from  The Angelica Home Kitchen, a wonderful organic, vegan cookbook by Leslie McEachern, the owner of Angelica Kitchen Restaurant in NYC.

I adapted Leslie’s recipe for Creamy Carrot-Sweet Potato soup- by using onions, carrots and leaving out the sweet potatoes. Her recipe calls for 1 T each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds and coriander seeds ground to a fine powder. What a concept, I’ve never really used spices in soup seasoning. Just grinding the caraway seeds  (in the coffee grinder) releases a glorious uplifting scent and the soup smells heavenly. Now I am sprinkling the leftover powder on everything. It’s fabulous!

Caraway is said to have been used in Europe longer than any other condiment. Holland is known as the principle source of commercial caraway although it is also grown in Europe, the United States and Russia today. Each seed is actually one half of the fruit from the plant known botanically as Carum carvi, a member of the parsley family. The seed is common to German, Russian, Indian, Indonesian and Scandinavian cooking. Although caraway has an affinity for cabbage, you can use it in savory or sweet dishes.

Yummy!

Gluten-Free Bakery in NYC

January 12, 2010

If you can’t visit Babycakes in SOHO, then you can ask them to deliver or fedex some yummy cupcakes. Babycakes bakes gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and mostly agave-sweetened delectable desserts. Founder and baker Erin McKenna has written a cookbook available from Amazon.com called, yep, you guessed it, Babycakes.

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

November 20, 2009

I love this super simple but yummy recipe from Elana’sPantry.com. My only caution is that because these are mostly air and eggs, be careful about opening the oven and checking them too much. 22 minutes is 22 minutes. They will puff up and be gorgeous if you give them a chance. Note the coconut flour it’s new to me and maybe you, too. Bob’s Red Mill makes a good product, easy to find or mail order. Grapeseed oil- use organic, I like the oil from Salut Sante.

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup dagoba cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

¼ cup grapeseed oil

½ cup agave syrup (more or less to taste, this can be too sweet, too)

In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda

In a large bowl, blend together eggs, oil and agave, whisk this well!

Blend  ingredients

Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and scoop a scant 1/4 cup into each

Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!  THE MUFFINS WILL FALL

Cool and cover with your favorite frosting or a scoop of coconut milk ice cream

Makes 12 cupcakes

 

(Happy Birthday to Greta, a wonderful baker!)

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Asheville is surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Everywhere you look are gentle, round mountains and in late October the colors are warm, vibrant and delicious. Even the trees in town are beautiful.

When I visit a new place I like to get a feel of what it is like to live there. I am not so into being a tourist, although I did some touristy things. I am interested in the food stores, the farming, the organic restaurants even the yoga classes. Here are some stores I visited last week.

Greenlife Grocery (where they now bake organic bagels) has a delicious hot bar, and is well-stocked particularly with local products and produce. I bought a jar of local sauerkraut- totally delicious, made by Viable Cultures who also manufacture kombucha and tempeh. EarthFare is another large store with all imaginable products. Their conscious philosphy is inspiring:

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I want to mention The French Broad Food Coop which has been around for almost 35 years, having started as a group of families buying cooperatively and now a busy and large store. “The French Broad Food Co-op is a store owned by the people who shop here, and we work hard to satisfy your shopping needs in a courteous and conscientious way. Shares are fully refundable.” You can also subscribe to a discounted group health insurance program.

Last but most exciting to me are the Farmer’s and Tailgate Markets which you can access at over 25 locations from early spring until late fall.

The Asheville area has much to offer for the health conscious person. Next post: where to stay!

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I have been lucky enough to eat at a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Spain: Akelare. What a treat- an amazing voyage in taste sensations. But even more of a treat was the Gluten-Free and Vegan Tiramisu that Greta made for New Year’s Eve and again for Bill’s birthday party.  She has finally revealed her recipe on www.gretaguide.com, thanks, Greta; and here it is:

First we make the “lady fingers”.

Preheat the oven to 350. Measure out all the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder) in a large bowl. Create a small hallowed “bowl” in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from around the outside of this hollowed bowl, until everything is evenly mixed in. Using a rubber spatula, transfer into a greased (with grapeseed oil) glass baking dish (9 x 13 inches) and place in the middle of the oven on the center rack. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, place on a cooling rack and loosen the edges. After it has cooled for about 15 minutes flip the cake over onto a cutting board and like a grid cut into one inch by three inch pieces. And you have lady fingers!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup brown rice flour
  2. 1 cup tapioca flour
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1/2 cup agave
  6. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  7. 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  8. 1/3 cup apple sauce
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  10. 3/4- 1 cup soy milk (unsweetened)

For the tofu cream, it is very important that you have either a food processor or blender to make sure it is mixed thoroughly. Drain the tofu and wrapping it in paper towel, squeeze off the excess moisture. Break into chunks and place it in the food processor. Whip until it is perfectly smooth- stopping and scrapping the sides occasionally. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, agave, vanilla, salt and coconut milk. Process again until it is smooth.

In a small sauce pan, dissolve the arrowroot in soy milk and over medium heat bring up in temperature until it begins to coagulate. (note: dissolve the arrowroot completely before putting it over the heat) Whisk the mixture continuously for 3-4 minutes until thick. Scrap into the tofu mixture in the food processor and process for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the tofu cream to a container to store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (overnight is best).

Ingredients:

  1. 4 teaspoons arrowroot
  2. 6 tablespoons soy milk
  3. 2 containers of extra firm silken tofu
  4. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  5. 1/3 cup almond butter
  6. 1/3 maple syrup
  7. 1/3 cup agave
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. pinch of sea salt

Now for the non-alcoholic and non- caffeinated sauce! I concocted a sort of spiced tea to soak the lady fingers in. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring water to a boil with 3 bags of HoneyBush tea, fresh cloves and fresh ground nutmeg. Add in a bit of agave to make it sweeter if you like. Turn down and let simmer for about 15- 20 minutes on a low heat to really release the flavours. Strain through a fine strainer into a wide and shallow bowl. Set aside.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 tea bags of Numi HoneyBush tea
  2. 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  3. 1/2 teaspoon whole nutmeg crushed slightly to release the flavour
  4. 2 1/2 cups water (add more if it evaporates too quickly)
  5. Cinnamon- you can add in just a dash or two of cinnamon if you like
  6. 2 teaspoons agave
  7. coco powder- try to find a dark coco mix that is sugar free (reserve this for the final dusting of the cake!)

Assembly! I never said this was an easy dessert to make- but it is so worth all of your loving energy! Use the same glass baking dish to create your tiramisu. Dip the lady fingers into the sweet tea sauce and let it soak up the moisture for a couple of seconds. Layer these in the bottom of the dish until the entire base is covered. Take your tofu cream, and using a rubber spatula spread the mixture evenly over the lady finger base. Next use that fine strainer to tap and shake coco powder over the top- completely covering it with a 1/4 inch layer.

There you have it- the most delicious healthy dessert you have ever made! You can garnish with fresh pansies in the summer to make it a little special. 😉