Posts tagged ‘gluten-free’

Vegetable and bean soup

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Happy Meatless Monday! Here is a very simple soup recipe – basically a half-finished minestrone soup. It was so (unexpectedly) popular with everyone here that I think I will be making it again and again.

If I had a TV show, it would be called “Cooking with Casey,” and it would feature recipes that can be completed with one hand while holding a baby/toddler. We have a budding chef on our hands, I’m sure, because he absolutely needs to be “up!” to see all chopping, stirring and especially mixing with the KitchenAid.

I intended to add pasta, lentils and various seasonings to this soup, but I learned that hungry babies are not interested in culinary musings when the basics are already ready. Our stove top taste test at what I thought was the halfway point resulted in a lot of vigorous “more!” signs, so we sat down to eat, and rightly so. This soup was substantial enough for dinner, but not too heavy – the broth is really nice and light.

If you save parmesan cheese rinds in the freezer to flavour soups and sauces like I do, this is a perfect place to use them. Or omit them and you will have a completely plant-based meal. The soup is delicious either way.

Vegetable and bean soup
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 large bay leaves
1 large (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
4 cups of water
Rind from parmesan, asiago or other hard cheese (optional)
2 cups cooked mixed beans (I used a combination of chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans)
1 cup finely minced kale
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in oil on medium heat until translucent; about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, tomatoes, water and cheese rind (if using). Cook until carrots soften; about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the beans and kale, season with salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes until heated through and tasting great, and then eat.

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February 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

Carrot and apple breakfast cookies

IMG_3373Here is my attempt at a healthy(ish) breakfast cookie. As much as I love a sit down breakfast, it’s just not possible some days. I usually gravitate toward muffins for a grab-and-go breakfast, but lately they have felt too heavy, too crumbly, and sadly, sometimes even two minutes of warming in the toaster oven is not realistic/desirable mixed in with all the morning things that need doing. There is also something about coffee and cookies that I can’t get enough of – a small indulgence to start the day.

These batter for these cookies will look a little gooey – the carrots and apple provide a lot of moisture. The result, though, is a lovely texture: a cross between a gingerbread cake and an oatmeal raisin cookie, which is exactly what I was hoping for when I started experimenting.

Try them on the run with a piece of fruit, or pack them for a mid-day treat. Or make them on a Saturday, like I did, and enjoy eating cookies for breakfast.

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Carrot and apple breakfast cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup spelt or whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 apple, finely chopped (I left the peel on for texture and colour)
1 carrot, grated

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter/coconut oil, brown sugar, molasses, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and stir into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake them for 12 to 14 minutes, taking them out when the edges are “done looking” edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. It’s a little tricky to tell because of the dark molasses colour – if they smell great and look almost done take them out (always better to undercook rather than overcook). Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

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February 6, 2016 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Almond pear cake

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I tore this recipe out of a magazine a few years ago. The increasingly tattered page has been stuck to the side of not one, but two fridges (the one in our Vancouver apartment, and then at our house in Victoria), and now it has earned a place of honour in the pine recipe box my grandfather made for me when I was about 15.

I made the cake early in December with some D’Anjou pears that took forever to ripen, and then got too ripe too quickly. It was amazing that such an elegant and delicious cake could emerge from those pears, which were mottled with brown spots and mushy parts. I planned to serve it for a dinner we were having with an old friend until I remembered his nut allergy, so I put it in the freezer and then brought it out on Christmas morning to munch on as “pre-breakfast” while we opened gifts.

Last summer we pre-ordered two pear trees from Fruit Trees and More, a nursery in North Saanich  (a truly inspiring place that deserves a post all on its own). This weekend’s project is to prepare space for them in our yard, so it seems like a fitting time to share the recipe for this lovely cake. It is perfect in so many ways: gluten free, so easy to make, stores well in the freezer, and it’s a little bit healthier than the average dessert thanks to almond meal and the fruit. I hope in a few years once our new pear trees are established that I’ll be able to go on a baking frenzy like I’ve done in the past the harvest from our other fruit trees, which gave us delicious plum cakes and apple pies.

Almond pear cake (adapted from Style at Home’s recipe for Almond Pear Tart)
Makes 1 cake (6-8 servings)

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups almond meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Zest of 2 lemons
3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
Raw sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Plain yogurt for serving

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a round springform pan. Cream the butter and sugar in a mix master until just combined. Add the eggs, almond meal, flour, baking powder and lemon zest and process until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the springform pan. Arrange the pears on top of the tart mixture and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the tart comes out clean. Sprinkle the tart with the raw sugar and cinnamon and allow to cool in the pan. Serve with yogurt.

January 21, 2016 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Cranberry spelt scones

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Here we are sneaking up on Christmas day. We have a full house, a full fridge and grandparents to watch our little wriggler – all of which means lots of cooking, which is my favourite way to spend the holidays.

I made these scones this morning and they were a hit with young and old alike. The recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I’ve been using for years. I wanted to lighten it up and make it a little healthier, so I used spelt flour and yogurt instead of white flour and cream, fresh cranberries instead of dried. We need to do something to compensate for the big batch of holiday baking that is sitting on the counter and singing its siren song…just one more gingersnap…

Cranberry spelt scones
Makes 8 scones

2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon each ginger and cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, coarsely grated
1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, halved
1/2 cup plain yogurt (we are loving Tree Island yogurt lately, made with milk from grass-fed cows (grass-fed = a better life for the animals, and it’s healthier for cows and people))

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices. Grate in cold butter and cranberries and stir to combine. Stir in yogurt until a soft dough forms. Pat the dough into an 8″ round and cut into 8 wedges. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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December 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Lovely plums, lovely cake

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It is plum season at our house. One of the great pleasures of our garden is the old, gnarly plum tree growing in the southwest corner of our yard. When we moved in to our house last summer the tree was bursting with fruit. We ate as many as we could (which was a lot – I was about 6 months pregnant then!) and several of our friends came over with plastic grocery bags to pick the fruit. I called the food bank to see if they wanted to harvest some. The wasps had a field day with everything that dropped to the ground.

I have a memory of standing out on our deck surrounded by the loud buzz-buzz-buzz of circling wasps, drunken on overripe, fermenting fruit. I remember thinking I should really do something about this, I should get out the hose and some soap and spray the whole thing down. Instead I ignored the mess and stood there eating plum after plum, with sticky juice streaming down my arm, realizing how happy I was to be in my new home with a little bambino kicking away inside me.

The tree is not quite as full of fruit as last year, but there is still more than enough. I’ve been taking baskets of plums with me wherever I go and I hope all of our friends and neighbours are enjoying the receiving as much as I am enjoying the sharing. It is such a proud feeling to show off the home-grown goods.

When I was in Vancouver last week I brought along some plums to share with a dear friend. We met up at the beach for a dinner-time picnic of salad, cheese and fruit, and while we were picnicking she described a recipe for plum cake. She is a great cook and a foodie extraordinaire, so I knew I had to try it. Sure enough, it was absolutely delicious.
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As you know, I can’t resist tinkering with recipes to suit my own tastes, so this is an adaptation on the famous plum cake recipe she sent me from the delightful smitten kitchen site – truly one of the best food blogs out there. I used our golden plums instead of purple ones, spelt flour instead of wheat flour to make it gluten-free, and some hemp hearts and a little less sugar to make it a tiny bit healthier (although not too little sugar – as I once learned, yellow plums turn quite sour when you bake them).

The only problem with the recipe is that the cake is gone in a flash. We enjoyed it the other night with my in-laws and everyone agrees it is already time to make more. I’ve got another one in the oven right now for our neighbourhood shindig later this afternoon and it smells so good.

Yellow plum cake
Serves 4-6

1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar (I used raw cane sugar), plus 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top of the cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
8-10 golden plums, pitted and halved (I’m sure any kind of plum would be delicious)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add in eggs and then dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into a 9″ springform pan and top with plums, skin side up. Sprinkle the cake with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, and bake for about 45 minutes. So easy, so delish!

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July 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Celery root, leek and white bean soup

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The return of soup – this is one of the reasons I love fall. I found this lovely, gnarly celery root at the Moss Street Market last weekend and was very excited to turn it into soup. I was also keen to try out this very simple soup-making method that uses just olive oil, veggies and water. It works great, especially for a soup like this where I think what you want most is to taste that fresh celery flavour.

In my quest for protein, I’ve discovered that white beans are a brilliant substitute for any recipe like this where you would normally use cream. They add a neutral, creamy texture and of course are so much better for you.

Enjoy!

Celery root, leek and white bean soup
Serves 4

1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, sliced (white and light green parts)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can white cannellini beans, drained
6 cups cups water
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saute celery root, leek and salt and pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft but not brown. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pot and cook on medium-low for about 15-20 minutes or until celery root is soft. Add beans and remaining water and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for about 15 minutes to let the soup cool before blending (and allow flavours to combine). Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and simmer until hot. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh pepper. We ate it with cheese and crackers and a veggie plate with carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market for a simple dinner in front of the fire last weekend and that was just perfect.

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October 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Long weekend waffles (vegan, gluten-free)

vegan waffles

New to my herb garden this year is a small pot of chocolate mint. It smells divine, as the name suggests, and it has been tempting me in the kitchen. Waffles were the first thing that came to mind. Waffles topped with a chocolate mint-spiked berry salad. Served with piping hot mint tea. Served with bourbon maple syrup – a gift from a friend that has been waiting patiently for an occasion like this – long weekend waffles.

More and more I am trying to move away eating animal products, especially with things that are so easy to make vegan – like waffles. I am not sure I will ever become a vegan – I still love things like fish and chips and mac and cheese too much. But where there is no sacrifice in taste I am all for change.

Smoke alarms have been ringing in our apartment building all weekend. Always in the morning, from about 9:30 to 11. People are cooking bacon. Which is fine. I know: people like bacon. I accept that people will always eat bacon, and I understand. I am as far away from eating bacon as I have ever been, but I get it – we all love our leisurely breakfast traditions.

Mine are flexible and changing to fit new values. Adapting old recipes into new vegan ones is a fun and satisfying challenge, and these waffles are actually much better than the ones I used to make with dairy and eggs. Almond milk and flour are nutty, coconut oil is delicious in anything, and flax eggs are amazing in this recipe. Just like the chocolate mint: so much better than the original.

chocolate mint

Waffles with mint-spiked berry salad (vegan & gluten-free)
Makes 6 waffles

3/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or vegan butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 flax eggs (combine 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons hot water; let sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup gluten-free flour (Cup4Cup or Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 orange

Berry salad
2 cups mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (I highly recommend growing your own and trying chocolate mint!)

Preheat waffle iron. Combine almond milk, melted oil or butter, vanilla, and flax eggs in a bowl. Mix together remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and stir. Add dry ingredients to almond milk mixture and stir until they make a batter. Spoon batter onto waffle iron and cook until waffles are golden and crispy. Mix berry salad ingredients together and serve with waffles and maple syrup. Any leftover waffles are good the next day heated up in the toaster oven.

May 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

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