Tag Archives: Dairy Free

Harvest Risotto

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The autumnal equinox has officially passed, and we are now experiencing the evening hours growing darker and the air growing more crisp. I’m more accustomed to the Indian Summers of Texas, so this more iconic autumn weather here in Virginia is a refreshing change of pace.

Along with the shift in temperatures come a shift in palate. Instead of seafood and endless summer squash, I’m craving heartier roasts and roots. “Storage” crops like winter squash in whimsical varieties also grace the store shelves, and they make a delicious addition to this classic, comforting dish.

 

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Rice has a contentious role within the “paleosphere.” Being that it is a grain, it is not included in paleo canon, but has found neutral favor in many circles (such as here, here, and here) for those who tolerate it. Some have even purported specific benefits.

Until we discovered Isaac’s dairy intolerance, I had been waking up with him several times a night between his 7th and 13th month of age. These perpetual sleep interruptions paired with an accidental gluten ingestion over Memorial Day led to the most significant adrenal crash I’ve had since before I went gluten free. After spending most of June and all of July sick with never-ending respiratory infections, I’ve been working to specifically bring my adrenal function back to baseline health. A vital part of adrenal recovery is moderating glucose, as too much of a glucose load stresses out the adrenals, but without sufficient cortisol, my body isn’t efficient at gluconeogenesis (manufacturing necessary glucose in the absence of dietary carbohydrates). It’s a balancing act, and including rice in my diet (in addition to starchy vegetables like squashes, parsnips, plantains, and all manner of potato) keeps my carb intake from dipping too low while keeping my sugar cravings at bay. It also makes my trips to the local Thai restaurant more frequent, but that’s beside the point.

Rice is made particularly flavor-full and nutrient-dense in this risotto with the inclusion of not only seasonal squashes and seeds, but mineral-and-collagen-rich chicken stock. I’ve used my own home brew in this recipe, but store-bought broth will work in a pinch (Pacific Natural is gluten-free), and I imagine mushroom stock would be particularly delicious!

 

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Harvest Risotto
{gluten free, dairy free-optional, vegan-optional}
Serves 6-8

4 cups (1 quart) chicken, vegetable, or mushroom stock
3 cups water
1-2 tbsp ghee, butter, or coconut oil
2 leeks, green and white parts sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cup arborio rice
1 cup hard cider, dry preferably (substitute fresh apple cider for non-alcoholic)
1 lb of butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (about 1 small squash)
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1-1.5 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste
raisins for garnish (optional)

Make sure you have all your ingredients chopped/minced/sliced ahead of time.

Pour the stock and water together in a large saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. You will maintain this simmer for the duration of the recipe.

Set a separate, large saute pan over medium heat and add the butter/ghee/coconut oil. Once the fat is melted and shimmery (but not burning), add the leeks. Gently saute until soft, usually 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add the garlic and dry rice and saute together until the rice is gently toasted, about 5 more minutes. Add the hard cider and continue to stir frequently until the cider has been fully absorbed into the rice and there is none pooling in the pan.

Now, add a ladle-full of stock to the rice. In similar fashion to the cider, stir frequently while the rice absorbs the stock. Be careful not to let the pan get so hot that the stock evaporates instead of absorbing into the rice. Once each ladle-full of stock is absorbed, add another ladle-full, continuing on with the stirring-absorbing-and-adding-more-stock. This is a great time to turn on some music and sip the rest of that cider you have.

Once you have used about half of the stock, stir in the butternut squash and pepitas. Continue ladling-and-stirring the stock into the rice until both the butternut squash and the rice are soft and cooked-through. The rice will be sticky and creamy.

Stir in the sage, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Serve warm, topped with raisins, if desired.

Coconut Latte Ice Cream

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It’s been a scorcher.

With several days of triple digit temps, and no sign of relief in the forecast for some time (September, maybe?), we’ve been forced to cope in our own ways.

In our case, we’ve had ice cream more times in the past few weeks than we care to admit. In fact, my dinner last night consisted of a Reese’s Sonic Blast. That’s it.

But there is a better way!

Rather than wasting our money day after day on some sort of iced confection, I’ve found that it’s better to produce a more wholesome variation at home. But surely not less tasty.

I chose a coffee flavor because coffee is my favorite flavor in dessert. It even beats out chocolate.

Heresy!

I know.

And to add insult to injury, I made this entirely dairy free and sweetened only with honey.

I have no philosophical problem with the moderate consumption of dairy or even processed sugar. But my tummy sometimes does. This is a kinder, gentler version.

This is not your grandma’s homemade ice cream. But it’s creamy enough, sweet enough, decadent enough, that grandma will love it too.

 

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Coconut Latte Ice Cream
Makes 1 pint

1/2 cup coconut cream (the cream top off chilled, full-fat canned coconut milk. I recommend Thai Kitchen brand. It’s 3/4 solid when chilled!)
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (use as much of the cream top as possible)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup extra-strong coffee
1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

Whisk together the coconut cream, milk, and honey in small saucepan over medium heat until fully combined, smooth, and honey is dissolved.

Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in the coffee and vanilla extract.

Allow cool COMPLETELY in the fridge. Warm liquid in cold ice cream maker makes for big, nasty ice crystals. Patience, young padawan!

Once chilled, pour liquid into ice cream maker and process per manufacturers instructions.

Once finished, transfer the ice cream into a separate bowl or container and place back into the freezer for a few hours or until desired firmness.

Enjoy!

 

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What’s your favorite thing to eat/drink to beat the heat?

Summer Fruit Tart

About two weeks ago, I ate nectarines and plums for the very first time. This may seem a shocker for some, but here in Texas, peaches are the “big deal” fruit of the season. However, most peaches around these parts aren’t really ready until July. But the nectarines, plums, and apricots, however, are ready for the picking.

When Edgar first ate a nectarine (same time I did), he confessed that he may like nectarines more than peaches! (To that I responded that it wasn’t peach season yet, so he couldn’t really make that assessment. Winking smile )

When I first ate on, I realized that I needed to turn nectarines into dessert! Stat!

When the sun comes out every year as the mercury rises, I think we all tend to stash away our chocolate desserts and reach for the fresh fruits of the seasons. Since many people I know disliked cooked fruit, I came up with this fruit tart that is only about 2/3 cooked. And given my recent efforts toward simplicity in cooking and baking, I decided to make the crust with almond meal and sweeten the entire dessert with only honey and fruit. Thus, this dessert is grain-free and wholesome. And given the simple construction of this confection, you can easily swap out portions to cater to your own tastes! Red current jam or whipped cream instead of lemon curd? Berries instead of stone fruits? Go ahead and experiment!

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Summer Fruit Tart

8 oz (about 2 cups) almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 oz (1/4 c) solid coconut oil
1 egg
1 T honey

1 full recipe Lemon curd (I followed this recipe exactly. In the interest of respect for other food bloggers, I’m not listing the recipe here. Follow the link and you’ll find the original recipe!)

About 3 each nectarines and plums, pitted and cut into wedges
About 1 tbsp honey. If too thick to spread with a basting brush, thin only SLIGHTLY with warm water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, salt, and cinnamon until integrated. Then add the coconut oil, in pieces, and cut it into the almond meal mixture with a fork until the mix resembles a very coarse meal. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the egg and honey. Then add the egg mix to the almond meal mix and combine until the dough is one well-integrated ball. Set aside.

Line an 8.5×11 baking pan with parchment paper (or omit this step entirely and use a tart pan! In hindsight I think the recipe would be even better this way). You may have to cut the paper narrow to fit inside the pan. This will be used like a sling to help lift the tart out of the pan later. Take the dough and press it into the bottom of the pan on top of the parchment paper. It will be a thin crust and you may have to use a spoon to spread it.

Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes until firm and just barely turning brown on the edges. Allow the crust to cool on a cooling rack for an hour.

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Once cooled, apply the full lemon curd recipe on top of the crust. It will be a little runny. It’s okay. Call it rustic and lick the curd off your fingers when nobody is looking.

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Arrange the nectarine and plum wedges in a pretty pattern on top of the curd. Then brush honey on top of the fruit to glisten!

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Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: Gingerbread Truffles

This recipe requires a little somethin’ special.

So turn on some Christmas music (October, Schmocktober).

Put on a frilly apron (heels optional).

Pour yourself a glass of wine? tea? coffee? cider? any choice beverage.

Pretend it’s cold outside. (It’s 80 degrees here)

And light the fire (or a candle) if it really is!

This recipe, while remarkable and completely delicious in its own right, loves a little ambiance.

And while Christmas may still be a little more than two months away, you can consider this practice for a low-stress, high-love holiday season.

Friends, we’re making gingerbread cookie dough truffles.

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I first made “cookie dough bites” about a year ago. My original recipes were basically a traditional cookie dough recipe with a few changes to make them safe to eat raw and then refrigerated until firm. This wasn’t a problem until I made a chocolate chip variety and they got really soft sitting in the warm dining room at a Christmas party. And shuffling them back and forth from the fridge to keep the right texture was far too much of a hassle.

So I changed up my recipe! Instead of depending on butter to be the stabilizer, I used dates!

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I played around with the food processor until I found the combination of ingredients I liked.

And drizzled them with sweet icing!

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Unlike the butter-based varieties, these stay at the same relative texture at room temperature. Sure, they do firm in the fridge, but they do not become the rocks that the butter kind did, nor do they become sloppy and droopy in a warm room. And this is a major plus, because who wants to babysit the dough balls and the fridge during a party? No one!

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Another plus for these is that despite being drizzled in icing, these are not cloyingly sweet like the original cookie dough recipe. I think they have the right balance of spice, sweet, crunch, and chew without leaving you with a toothache. Smile

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Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Truffles

Makes 20 truffles

12 pitted dates
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Grind the oats as best you can in a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder and pour it into a separate bowl. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the pecans until you get a coarse meal, but be careful not to blend is so much that it turns into pecan butter. That’s another show! Winking smile Add the pecan meal to the bowl with the oat flour.

In the food processor, chop the dates as finely as possible. Then add the oats, flax, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, sugar, and salt and process until well-incorporated. It will look pretty dry.

Add the molasses and vanilla and process again until well mixed. The mixture should be a little sticky but not wet. If you squeeze a bit of “dough” in your grip, it should stick together without leaving a molasses-y streak all over your palm.

Using a disher or a spoon, roll the mixture into 1/2-ounce balls and line on parchment paper. Can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled! Or drizzled in icing!!

Simple Icing

1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk-type drink of your preference (I used unsweetened plain coconut milk)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Mix the vanilla and “milk” until well combined. Gradually mix in the sifted powdered sugar until smooth. This will take time. And don’t forget to sift or you’ll get clumps that look like curdled milk. Yum.

Check out the other awesome recipes for this week’s blog hop!


What is your favorite flavor of cookie?

Buckwheat Crepes

 

Ever since my 3-week elimination diet, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with various flours. Gluten-free cooking can seem intimidating to many, especially considering the abundance of overly-complicated gluten-free recipes floating around on the interweb. Tapioca starch? Xanthan gum? Gelatin? Sure, all these ingredient can have their place, but is it really necessary in recipes that never require gluten in the first place?

One of these grain-based dishes that requires no gluten is crepes.

Basically they’re really thin pancakes with a greater ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. Ever recall being told not to over-stir your pancakes? That’s because you don’t want to activate the gluten. For pancakes (and crepes), gluten=bad.

Which makes gluten-free crepe-making a cinch.

Did you know most baking recipes can be broken down into ratios? I’ve been experimenting with Michael Rulhman’s ratios for baking, substituting different flours and liquids in my recipes. And every recipe I’ve developed based on these ratios has turned out far better than the original, individual recipes I’ve found! The basic ratio for a crepe is 2 parts liquid, 2 parts egg, and 1 part flour (ALL BY WEIGHT. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS OR YOUR RECIPES WILL SUFFER A HORRIFIC AND GROTESQUE DEATH). Additional stuff (vanilla, salt, etc.) added at whim over and above the initial ratio.

I decided to experiment with buckwheat crepes.

I started off by grinding (in a coffee grinder) 2 ounces of raw buckwheat groats into flour. Do not use pre-ground buckwheat flour. Usually that stuff is pre-toasted and has this really intense earthy (read: dirt) taste that overwhelms the palette. I usually find recipes that include it cut the total flour with regular wheat flour. We aren’t using wheat because we don’t need it. Right? RIGHT!?

 

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I then mixed in two eggs (eggs are about two ounces each), 4 ounces of rice milk, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

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Mix until smooth. You don’t have to worry about over-mixing since it’s gluten free!

Now here’s the trick for crepes. You need to allow the flours to soak. Let the batter sit for a good 30 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded with a silky batter.

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Rub a non-stick skillet with oil and heat to about medium-heat.

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Ladle about 3-4 oz of batter into the middle of the pan and QUICKLY tilt the pan all around so the batter spreads to the edges of the pan. It will set quickly, so this must be done with haste.

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When the bottom is set (you should be able to lift the crepe off the bottom of the pan with a spatula), carefully flip with a spatula, taking care not to tear the crepe. Let it cook on the other side for about a minute.

 

I filled my crepe with Nutella, sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and called it good. But I imagine these would taste pretty awesome filled with herbed goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

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Ooh la la…

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Have you ever eaten a crepe? I had a banana-Nutella crepe in Prague. OMG.

A New Challenge

I must tell you what has happened since my last post.

I told you that I was making vegan muffins for my office party.

This did not happen. It did not happen for two reasons:

1) my vegan coworker happened to be on vacation in MACEDONIA. I had no idea.

2) my doctor, who I decided to consult due to some endocrine/GI/allergy issues, has since put me on a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and corn-free elimination diet for the next three weeks.

WHAT.

Yes.

And since I’m going to Santa Fe in a few weeks on vacation, the last thing I wanted to do was have to forgo dairy and corn. One cannot go to Santa Fe on a quasi-foodie trip and not eat corn. It’s just not possible.

So I had to get this thing rolling as soon as possible. Before the office party.

So I brought the cluster of bananas I had sitting on my counter.

Dyoo yew vuhnder wvhut eet hawz been layke nawt eeteng glewt’n deez pahwst fyew dahyz?

Aye vuhl tyell yew.

Eet hahz beeen a toht’l drahg.

Ah cohmpleet buhzkeel.

(Mmkay. Yeah. I’ve been listened to too much Fiddler on the Roof)

Anyway.

It really hasn’t been too terrible.

Several of my lunches last week have simply turned from this…

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(Homemade Texas Caviar and avocado on homemade tortilla chips)

To this…

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(Homemade Texas Caviar, avocado, and arugula with black quinoa)

No big deal.

But eating out has been a big deal. I have to be THAT person and order the most pitiful salad ever invented. Or even worse, discover that they don’t have HAVE an allergy menu, and try to make as many substitutions as possible (on ANOTHER salad!), and still manage to get sick.

I have a new respect for people who live like this every day.

My baking is going to get… interesting, especially since for a long time I’ve been baking the majority of my bready goods at home. But after an alarmingly expensive grocery bill, and four attempts at gluten-free baked goods, I can say that I’m getting better! I’ll share more as this time progresses!

Every day I find myself reshaping everything I thought about gluten free baking (which was honestly not much to begin with). Today I found a blog that has also reshaped everything I ever thought about baking in general, gluten or no gluten! It’s Gluten Free Girl (or Gluten Free Girl and the Chef). I love that she approaches cooking with the same scientific detail of Alton Brown but the great passion and delight of a true culinary artist. She even challenges the use of gums and excessive starches and approaches gluten free baking with some consciousness and dedication of a true baker. I’m so excited to try her recipes!

Any other allergy-free tips out there? Smile

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