Category Archives: carrots

Gluten-free, vegan, buckwheat carrot muffins

I spent a glorious weekend in San Luis Obispo, CA with some dear friends and got back yesterday feeling like a child who had to leave Disney early. I wanted to stay and explore the farmers markets more, discover more hidden restaurants with lovely, knowledgeable servers and chefs who take care and creativity to new heights. These are just a few of the wonderful memories I have of this weekend, along with my dear friend who will now be the pastry chef at the Dolphin Bay Resort. (I know, pastry chef and me, go figure. She’s a fabulous chef and I’ve learned so much from her about cooking over the years.)

Spring Salad at Luna Red

We ate lunch at Luna Red in downtown San Luis Obispo and had a brilliant, light, crunchy salad that was perfect for a warm Spring day in California. With the Greekfest right next door, the music made our day even more festive. The salad was filled with pea shoots, blood orange segments, carrots, radish, mint, a light citrus vinaigrette and a sprinkle of goat cheese. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. A glass of rose and a table full of good friends made the afternoon complete. I highly recommend the restaurant.

The amazing selection of veggies at the farmers marke

One booth at the farmers market caught my eye, of course, with their big Gluten Free Goodies sign. I couldn’t resist and bought a GF carrot cake muffin made with buckwheat and a delicious quinoa salad I’ll be recreating later this week. (attempting I should say). It was filling and had a beautiful mix of savory and sweet with roasted veggies (yummy roasted carrots) and pepitas. I ate it cold right out of the container. Oh yeah!

But first up, after eating what was the best carrot cake muffin I’ve ever had (including my gluten-eating days), I decided to try and make it at home. Since Daughter has now eliminated eggs from her diet, that makes things a little more difficult, but not impossible. I do have vegan friends who I know will enjoy these also. The muffins in CA were not vegan, so this is just a small change and more of a challenge. I searched the Internet and found this recipe at She Let Them Eat Cake.com for buckwheat carrot muffins. These are already vegan, which is a plus.

I modified the recipe a bit to my own tastes, but I would encourage you to try her recipe also. And if you can’t have some of the things I’ve added, feel free to eliminate what you want. I added the almond flour and GF oats for flavor, and added the splash of juice just because it looked a little thick. This may change based on your altitude and ingredients. If you add molasses, you may not need any more liquid. But I do like the oats for texture and flavor.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Buckwheat Carrot Muffins

1 & 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup GF oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups grated / shredded carrot (you could use zucchini too)

3/4 cup agave
1 mashed banana
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp ground flax combined with 9 tbsp hot water (or 3 eggs)
Splash of orange juice to loosen up the mixture if you need it.
1/2 cup golden raisins

Eating these at my desk while I write this makes me very happy

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with liners or grease with olive oil.

2. In a large bowl combine the first eight ingredients (dry).

3. Add shredded carrot to the dry ingredients and combine. In a medium-sized bowl combine agave, mashed banana, olive oil, and flax-hot water mixture. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add raisins last.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch.

These are quite good, and amazingly fluffy and not too dense, considering there is no egg in it. I’ve never used flax and hot water before and I was quite amused at the egg-white-like texture it creates. The mixture is quite thick and gummy before baking and that must be due to the flax mixture. What a find. I will certainly be trying this with other dishes and baked goods. This is my first attempt at gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free baking. So far, so good.

In retrospect, these could use just a little more sweetness so I think a bit of molasses and honey, or an orange glaze on top will make them just a touch sweeter and tasty. A bit of Tofutti cream cheese will make them sing for me in the morning with my tea. Try them and let me know what you think.

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Filed under baking, breakfast, buckwheat, carrots, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, muffins, raisins, sugar free, vegan, vegetarian

Ice Cream Cake and Carrot Cake…Happy Birthday to Me!

My darling daughter bakes a cake, just for me!

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago, and I’ve been continuing the celebration ever since. Actually it’s been a birthday month for me. But more importantly, I gave myself permission to eat cake the entire month of July, with abandon. Good thing the month is almost up, I am going to need to lose a few pounds.

For the actual birthday, I made an ice cream cake similar to what my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. We would get to choose what kind of ice cream we wanted when it was our birthday, and then the celebration began. I wish there was a photo for you, but we ate it all so fast there wasn’t enough time. But let me spell it out for you and you’ll see why it didn’t last.

In the bottom layer of a springform pan, crush half a package of Kinnikinnik K-Toos (take the filling out of about half of them) and add about 2 Tbs of melted butter. Press into a pan you’ve sprayed with nonstick (GF) spray. Let your first ice cream soften on the counter for a few minutes (I used Baskin Robbins chocolate chip). Each layer took about a quart. Layer the ice cream evenly over the crust mixture and freeze at least an hour.

Layer the rest of the crushed cookies (without butter) on top of the ice cream layer. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips in there if you want. We used about a 1/4 cup of Enjoy Life mini chips. Freeze again for about 30 minutes. Spread the next layer of ice cream (Baskin Robbins Gold Medal Ribbon) and freeze again for about an hour. Finally, pour a jar of chocolate fudge topping over the top and freeze again till you’re ready to serve. And don’t forget the whipped cream. Oh, that was good….

The best carrot cake in the entire world

OK, cake number two I just had tonight. My daughter wanted to make me another cake before the month was out and who am I to protest? Using The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free once again, she made a carrot cake that is out of this world. I haven’t had carrot cake in years and even when I ate gluten, I couldn’t eat the nuts so I would have to pass on the cake wherever I went. I never made one myself. Now, I see what I was missing. This cake had just enough spice and flavor and the cream cheese frosting was sweet and tart. No nuts, and just the right amount of golden raisins and fresh carrots. I ate it while it was still warm, I couldn’t wait. My oldest daughter said, “It smells like Christmas in here,” as it was baking. It sure felt like Christmas to me!

I’d love to give you the recipe, but I don’t want to type it right out of her book. I urge you to get Anne Byrn’s book, you won’t regret it!

Enjoy!

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Filed under cake, carrots, dessert, gluten free, vegetarian

Roasted Carrot and Pine Nut Pasta


I bought a large, beautiful bag of sweet carrots from the farmers market, now what? I love eating raw carrots and I could eat them all day long. I whipped up some white-bean hummus and cut most of the carrots into sticks to dip. This was lovely and garlicky (I used a leftover head of roasted garlic in the hummus).

But there are still lots of carrots left. Daughter wanted pasta for dinner and I was hit with inspiration…roasted carrots in the pasta. The sweetness of the roasted carrots were divine and the nuttiness of the pine nuts offset the sweetness just enough. Daughter said, “I love these nuts, what are they?” Hmmm, something new.

Roasted Carrot and Pine Nut Pasta
1 bag Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Fusilli
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs grape seed oil
2 tsp dried parsley
salt/pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Place carrots on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp Celtic sea salt. Mix and put in oven for about 20 minutes or until brown and carmelized.
3. While carrots roast, cook pasta as instructed on package (about 12 minutes). Drain and rinse in cold water.
4. In a large saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil and grape seed oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook over medium heat, being careful not to brown the garlic. If you do, start over again since the garlic can become bitter very easily.
5. Remove carrots from the oven and add to saute pan.
6. Place pine nuts on the pan used for the carrots and place under the broiler for just about 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully, they brown quickly.
7. Add pine nuts and pasta to saute pan. Add parsley last and mix.
Enjoy.

The secret to this dish is that roasting vegetables doesn’t have to be a big job. Just throw whatever veggies you have onto the pan, mix with olive oil and salt and roast away. In the time it takes to make the pasta, your veggies are carmelized, sweet and browned. This is on my permanent list now.

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Filed under carrots, pasta, pine nuts, vegetarian