Category Archives: dairy free

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

Fantastic GF Pistachio Cookies


We visited the Desert Botanical Gardens here in Phoenix this week and I just had to share. This is part of the Chihuly exhibit going on until May. It’s simply incredible. The glass work is amazing, and it’s such a sight to see when everything at the garden is blooming. Quite a tremendous sight. I urge anyone in the area to see it, and when his exhibit comes to your town, don’t miss it. Now on to the food.

Thanks to my good friend Sherri, I now have a wonderful new cookie. I made these in just about 30 minutes and brought them to book club tonight. Everyone raved and I don’t blame them, they are wonderful, simple and very delish! I did add a little vanilla, a little agave, and white chocolate garnish to the recipe, but I think everything tastes better with a little chocolate, don’t you? But you’re welcome to leave it out if you’re not a chocolate fan. And I made a few with semi-sweet chocolate also, even though they are not in the photo. Those went over pretty big. They’re a cinch to make and so tasty. Give them a try.

GF Pistachio Cookies
3 cups of pistachios, ground up in a food processor (but not to a paste, just coarsely ground)
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1 tsp gf vanilla extract
1 tsp agave nectar
1 cup gf white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Grind nuts, leaving a few out if you don’t have extra to stick on the top of each cookie.
3. Add sugar, vanilla, agave and egg whites to nuts and mix thoroughly.
4. Put mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes, or freezer for 20. You can even leave them overnight if you want, but you just want it cold and easy to handle.
5. Shape mixture into small balls and roll in a little sugar (optional) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. This is important cuz’ these will stick without the paper.
6. Press the cookies down flat, poke a pistachio in the center.
7. Bake 12-15 minutes, depending on how big they are. You’ll see the edged looking pretty brown.
8. Let them cool as you melt the chocolate in the microwave. Nuke for 20 seconds, then stir. Nuke another 20 seconds and stir again. This should be enough time to melt it all. I put the chocolate in a small, resealable plastic bag, cut the tip off and use it to pipe onto the cookies.
9. You can place the cookies in the fridge to firm up the chocolate. I had to do this to make it to book club on time, but I’m sure they cool on their own in time.

Enjoy!

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Filed under cookies, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, nuts

Crispy Tofu and Squash

While trying to limit carbs, I’m also trying to improve taste. That’s not easy being on a gluten-free, vegetarian, mostly dairy-free diet. Making that low carb can put a crimp in what’s left to eat. But I’m learning to adapt. Last night I decided to stir fry up some tofu and some beautiful baby zucchini from Trader Joe’s. Yum. My daughter decided she wanted fried rice, so we combined the two for a wonderful two-way dinner.

Using a little nutritional yeast is the key. It gives flavor and crispiness to the tofu. Don’t be afraid of it, I had never heard of it before last year and I was pretty nervous about trying it, but it’s really great. I found it in the bulk section of Whole Foods. You only need a small handful to last a long time.

Crispy Tofu and Squash
8 oz. Extra firm tofu
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
7 baby zucchini
1 yellow squash, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1.5 cups Jasmine rice
splash of wheat-free tamari
splash of sesame oil

Take about one cup of cubed firm tofu, drained and pressed to get out most of the liquid. Let that sit and drain while cutting the baby zucchini and yellow squash in small pieces. Stir fry squash and zucchini in a little olive oil and wheat-free tamari. Add a few tablespoons of water to steam after a few moments, then let them brown for a moment.

Take out zucchini, add olive oil to the pan and add tofu (I like to add a little butter also, it helps to brown the tofu). Sprinkle tofu with about 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Stir fry until tofu gets crispy and browned on all sides. It doesn’t take long, shake the pan often to loosen tofu and brown it.

When tofu is done, add zucchini to the pan. At this point, I add a little garlic and salt and I’m good to go. Daughter wanted her rice, so to the pan (after I had taken my half out) we added two scrambled egg whites (or whole eggs) cooked earlier and broken into small pieces and one and a half cups of jasmine rice, precooked (Trader Joe’s). Stir fry this for a few moments, adding a little more tamari and a small splash of sesame oil.

Tofu with added rice and eggs

Either way, it’s beautiful. Without the rice, this is a high-protein meal with low carbs. You can also add the eggs in with the tofu and zucchini for an even bigger protein boost. With the rice, it’s a great, filling meal with lots of protein and veggies.

Enjoy!

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Filed under dairy free, gluten free, low carb, rice, squash, tofu, zucchini