Category Archives: raisins

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

5-Minute Lunch


This took all of five minutes to make, and it’s so yummy I can’t stop eating it -but I will ‘cuz I want to save some for later.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and cooking for yourself today is probably not high on your priority what with cooking for 20 tomorrow? I’m not cooking for everyone for the first time in 15 years and instead we’re taking veggies to my niece’s place for dinner. Yes, there’s a big turkey on the table (and a ham) but we’re bringing a Quorn roast for ourselves and there are plenty of veggies.

But for today, it’s veggie time. We picked up our CSA bag and it was full of golden beets and rainbow chard-Yipee-my favorites. Every Wednesday is like Christmas as we open the bag and see what’s inside. I never keep the cilantro (I know, but I don’t like it) and I always keep the beets. So for lunch today, after splitting the goods with my BFF, I had 5 stalks of rainbow chard left and I went to town. Count it-five minutes.

5-minute Rainbow Chard Lunch
4-5 stalks of rainbow chard, cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tsp chopped garlic
Olive oil
1 Tbs Romano cheese (optional)

1. Add chard to a large saute pan with olive oil (about a Tbs) and cook down. It will cook down to about half it’s size, just like spinach.
2. While the chard is cooking, throw the pine nuts in the oven at about 350 for about 2 minutes or until they get slightly brown. (You can use a toaster oven or put them under the broiler on low, just watch closely since they burn quickly.)
3. Add garlic to chard and stir.
4. Add pine nuts, raisins and a pinch of salt to chard. Let cook for another minute.

Voila! it’s done. I like to add a pinch of Romano cheese (grated) on top for a bite-but that’s optional. The pine nuts give his a great texture and flavor and the raisins add just a bit of sweetness. My favorite part is the crunchiness of the chard, it’s so refreshing and comforting. Dive in dear chef and have fun. Tomorrow you stuff yourself but today you can eat light and comforting.

Enjoy!

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Filed under gluten free, pine nuts, raisins, Swiss Chard

Veggie Feast

I decided to use a few fresh, organic veggies and do it up right. I love the strong, earthy bite of kale and have never really cooked with it before. And my new-favorite veggie these days is chard, with it’s beautiful color and kick of flavor. I used to use escarole more often, but I like chard’s distinct flavor and texture. Either one would work in place of the other, in my opinion. Enough garlic and everything tastes great.

I’ve made two dishes today and put them in the fridge (after sneeking a bunch for myself). I’ll save them for dinner/lunches in the next few days. One dish is a variation on the last post I did using a red chard this time and white bean. The other is something of a variation on a dish I saw at Whole Foods that had steamed kale and soy sauce, sesame oil, etc., except theirs is not GF and therefore I can’t have it. So I just made my own version.

Both are simply delicious. Make enough to save and snack on later, I can’t stop picking at them when I open the fridge. Somebody stop me…

Red Chard with White Beans
1 bunch of red chard, cleaned and chopped
1.5 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 can white cannelini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup marinara sauce
salt/pepper

Simple dish…
1. Place chard in a hot saute pan with the oil over medium heat. Toss in the pan until it’s wilted
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix, simmer 10 minutes and voila. Next!

The flavors are even better the next day since they have time to infuse. The stems are still crisp, just the way I like them. I think I’ll make some GF rolls to eat with them. Yum…


Steamed Kale with Golden Raisins
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
1/4 C golden raisins
salt/pepper

sauce:
2 TBS GF tamari sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 dash cayenne
1 tsp chopped parsely
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar

1. Steam kale leaves in a saute pan with a 2 TBS water on the bottom. Cover until wilted but still crisp (water should be about gone).
2. While kale is steaming, mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and tweak it to your liking, add more soy, more sesame, etc. until you have it just right.
3. Pour sauce, salt, pepper and raisins into pan, toss and turn off heat and let it sit for a few moments for the flavors to marry.

I like to server this one cold. Let it cool in the fridge before serving. The bite of the kale with the sweetness of the raisins is so satisfying.

Feel free, dear chef, to experiment with adding almonds, different greens, different beans, etc. These are so flavorful they would make a great side dish, or stand alone on their own.

Enjoy!

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Filed under beans, gluten free, kale, raisins, Swiss Chard, vegetarian