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Monday, September 27, 2010

Gluten Free Gala - September 2010

My friend and I hosted a gluten free event this weekend at my house and we had quite a turnout. Our guests were kind enough to rate a review our recipes, and it was a lot of fun. It's a great way to test recipes on people and get some ideas for improvement. We made sure to invite a lot of people with "normal" diets without restrictions as they tend to be more critical of gluten free fare. The more critical the better! Bring it on, foodies ;)

I thought you may be interested in how the reviews went. I'm not altering the recipes as they exist on the site now, but it's good for people to know what to expect. It was amazing to see the array of opinions. One item received comments of too sweet, too salty, or too moist depending on who was leaving the comment.

Lemon Cake (recipe to be posted)

Lessons Learned: The frosting could use some work. Most people thought the cake was fabulous and had a good balance of flavor. Honey was recommended in the icing to help cut some of the sweetness, and I think it requires more zest.

"The Best. Fluffy."
"6 out of 10 - Actually a little too moist. Icing is great, cake needs more lemon flavor -- maybe lime to accent"
"7 out of 10. Cake texture is moist but not too chewy. Frosting is too sugary for me."
"The cake part is AMAZING. The frosting is a bit sweet for me, but compliments the cake nicely."
"10 out of 10! WOW! Yum! Perfect!"

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Lessons Learned: These cookies actually come together as they cool and are crumbly fresh out of the oven. They taste great raw according to my husband, and are great warm and melt-y, but after a bit in the refrigerator, they have a texture closer to what people normally expect. The coconut oil in them firms up in the fridge as the oil has a low melting point.

"5 out of 10 - Very tasty. Almost too soft for me. I missed a bit of crunch."
"Moist, excellent sweet/salty combo. Oats are yummy!"
"8 out of 10. Very good. Tastes like a good cookie. No need to add any qualities."
"Very soft. Very sweet. Wondering how it would be the next day."
"Awesome! Love the tastes and the texture."
"7 out of 10. Awesome flavor! A little too crumbly, but otherwise great balance in texture (could feel the oats)."
"8 out of 10. Great flavor, perfect chocolate chip concentration. Too soft for milk though -- any crisper?"
"8 out of 10. Great flavor, falls apart easily, could be a little more crispy."

Tumbprint Cookies

Lessons Learned: I am not going to mess with this recipe! It received varying reviews - people either liked them or loved them. I will look for more filling options as chocolate was requested a couple times. For those of you who don't like the graininess of turbinado sugar, I would recommend running through a blender briefly. I personally like the crunch it provides, but you'll see that opinions varied.

"5 out of 10. Salty. Good cookie consistency, raspberry jam is delicious but I need more."
"8 out of 10. Flaky, moist, buttery, very nice, fresh raspberry flavor."
"Amazingly Good!"
"Textures are good. You need to make a fudge one. Needs more "buttery" taste, but I liked it."
"Smelt buttery. Very good."
"7 out of 10. Delicious. Possibly slightly salty?"
"Awesome texture! Could eat every one of these on the plate!"
"6 out of 10. A touch grainy."

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Lessons Learned: This really isn't a proper snickerdoodle. It has a very sponge cake like texture. The flavors need to be enhanced a bit, but it's a good base and may lend well to other applications. Next time I am roasting a fresh pumpkin - which is what I always do for my pies. I wasn't thinking of the BPA's. Yuck.

"7 out of 10. More like a muffin top texture, but tasty."
"Very light, nice pumpkin flavor."
"Very sugary, in a good way. Fluffy! Little heavy on brown rice taste."
"Beautiful flavor. Love the texture, but maybe put into a bar shape. More cake-like than cookie."
"6 out of 10. VERY moist; almost too moist for a cookie (to me). Mellow pumpkin flavor."
"5 out of 10. Needs more pumpkin and crisper."

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Maple Frosting and Raspberry Filling

Lessons Learned: Well, I left these in the oven a little too long because the day before I had botched the recipe a bit and added too much oil, resulting in some really gooey cake. I didn't want to serve that cake, but it was brought out and people really enjoyed it. The cupcakes I did serve were a bit dry from oven time. I decided to pipe some extra raspberry filling from the thumbprint cookies into the center, and that went over really well (well, with almost everyone). Definitely use a broad tip though because the seeds will quickly clog the piping bag up. The alternative is to run the berries through the Vitamix prior to cooking to pulverize the seeds -- which I will try next time.

"6 out of 10. Frosting good, cake tasty overall, but again - a hint of a flavor that just didn't seem to belong."
"7 out of 10. GREAT chocolate flavor. More raspberry jam -- could be a little moister."
"6 out of 10. Really deep flavor. Maybe cake is a little too dry, but holds together well. Could use more raspberry."
"Good texture, good frosting. I hate raspberry goop."
"Good. Less fluffy than lemon. Nice frosting and Raspberry Filling."
"Last time these were a 10. I'm not sure what changed, but possibly too much zucchini? It was a bit bitter this time."
"Wonderful chocolately richness. The raspberry is perfect - the tart is great!"
"6.5 out of 10. Good, chocolaty - a tad grainy in texture."

Apple Muffins

Lessons Learned: Well, everyone has to have one dud, and I was a bit disappointed in how these came out. These were the last items to come out of the oven and I was busy getting the house ready. They were undercooked and I didn't take the time to get the spices quite right. One reviewer hit the nail on the head - since they did not bake long enough and I didn't spend a little more time on spices, some of the flour flavor came though and struck people as a bit odd.

"6 out of 10. OK. A little doughy."
"Nice apple falvor. A little heavy (dense) for me."
"9 out of 10. Delicious - even better fresh out of the oven."
"5 out of 10. Dense. Big chucks of apples. Too big. Funny aftertaste and leaves residue on fingers."
"4 out of 10. A bit doughy, needs more apple but spices are good."
"Gooey. I love apples. Sorghum or some flavor aftertaste."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband is a big fan of chocolate chips and big fan of oatmeal, but he's not such a big fan of raisin oatmeal cookies. I went ahead and indulged his request for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and my whole family loved them (even the non-celiacs).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sorghum
1/3 cup tapioca
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder (corn and gluten free)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Spectrum Shortening (palm oil)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Combine and whisk the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the shortening, cinnamon, applesauce, agave and coconut oil and then stir in the chocolate chips with the wet ingredients. I would recommend leaving the coconut oil by the stove for a little while to soften. Then combine both wet and dry ingredients.

I put a heaping tablespoon on the cookie sheet and they were done baking between 8 and 10 minutes at 350 F (I think our oven runs a little cold though).

Lance loved the dough almost as much as the cookies.

I may be taking a short break from posting recipes for a little while. I wanted to get a recipe base established in my first month of blogging, and I think I've got a good start. I need to take some time to focus on the basics - capturing better images, retesting recipes more, and just taking some time to come up with more original recipes. I have several recipes to post, but I want to make sure they are just right. I made some very delicious lemon loaf this weekend, but the consistency wasn't quite there.

This weekend I will be hosting a Gluten Free Gala at my house and my friend and I will be offering samples of our recipes. I'm excited to get feedback and hopefully some fresh ideas.

If you have feedback on any recipe or recommendations, please let me know. I'm happy to take any criticism and aim for improvement.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Teff Waffles

This weekend Lance and I celebrated our anniversary. We woke up Saturday morning and I got to work on breakfast. Lance had wanted waffles for a while, but the batters I had tried just weren't holding up well enough. I decided to try teff - which I had used in a bread recipe that just didn't go over well. The taste was still pleasant enough that I thought it would do well for breakfast.

Teff is a darker grain that has a bolder (but pleasant) flavor, so it's best paired with milder, sweeter grains. It is gluten free and nutrient rich.

Teff Waffles

1/2 cup Teff
1 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 TB Potato Starch
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup Agave
1 1/2 cup Water

I highly recommend purchasing a non-aerosol olive oil sprayer. Bed Bath and Beyond carries them for under $10 and they are very handy. I would use grape seed oil to spray the waffle pan prior to putting down the batter. Gluten free batter doesn't hold up quite as well because the gluten acts as a binder. If the batter continues to stick, put more oil in the batter.

These waffles are great with maple syrup or any kind of fruit topping.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies I

These cookies are vegan, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free and sugar free (processed cane sugar that is - the dates and agave have fructose and glucose). I am not calling these corn free because the manufacturer for Enjoy Life chocolate chips does not guarantee that the product is corn free. I think the chocolate liquor used in the chips may be corn based. Their distiller claims that all corn protein is removed in the process and it should not be an issue, but if you have a severe corn allergy, I wouldn't risk it. In fact, I don't risk it. These babies are all Lance's and he doesn't have to worry about me stealing a bite. I am in the process of finding a chocolate chip alternative and may write the manufacturer to double check.

Lance really enjoyed this cookie recipe. He's a fan of the texture of Chewy Tollhouse Cookies, so if you liked that texture, this recipe will be right up your alley. I'm personally a fan of home-made cookies that spread out and are crunchy around the edges and gooey in the center, so expect to see more Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes down the road.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

20 pitted deglet dates soaked in water for 45 minutes
3/4 cup date soak water
2 vanilla beans, scraped
1/3 cup agave
1 cup palm oil
1 cup white rice flour
2 1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 package Enjoy Life Foods Gluten, Soy, and Dairy Free Chocolate Chips

Blend the dates, soak water, agave, & vanilla. Get out your hand mixer and cream the palm oil and while pouring in the date mixture a little bit at a time. In a different bowl, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients and then fold the wet ingredients into the dry. I mixed in the chocolate chips last, but it may be a little easier to pour them in the wet mixture and them combine that with the dry ingredients.
The cookies did not spread much after baking them, so roll the dough into a 1" ball and pat down into a fairly thick cookie. These cookies stay nice and moist, and a little pale. Only cook them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees max. Our oven seems to run a little cold, so if you have a convection oven, you'll need to take them out after 7-8 minutes or you'll risk a slightly burned taste and dry cookie.

If you do not have an allergy to corn, I would recommend the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. They held up very well to baking.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saffron Stir Fry

Who says you need soy to have a delicious stir fry?? Every once in a while we have big drawer full of veggies and I don't feel like having another salad. When it's cold and rainy, a nice spicy stir fry sounds great. Any vegetables work, but here's what I used the other day:

Saffron Stir Fry
serves 4
2 "cloves" of shallots, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of saffron
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp salt
red pepper to taste
3 peeled carrots cut on the bias
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 head of broccoli, rough chop
2 baby bok choy, rough chop
1/4 lb of green beans, rough chop
Optional: Shitake Mushrooms, Daikon, Mung Bean Sprouts

I cut up the vegetables first and separate them into three groups: aromatics, roots & celery, and then the rest. I use a stove top wok pan set to Medium-High. Every stove top is different, so you want it a little warmer than medium, but you don't want anything to brown. I used peanut oil that day because of the high burn temperature, but you can certainly use coconut or grape-seed oil as they both hold up pretty well.

First throw in the shallots. Once they are a little translucent, add the garlic. Do not let the garlic brown, you just want to cook it for a few seconds, until the kitchen starts to smell delicious. Then throw in the root vegetables, celery, and spices. Once the root vegetables are no longer raw, throw in the rest of the vegetables and continue to stir frequently. This is great over any grain, but I usually enjoy it on its own.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

I really like the fall. The ingredients change and become warming with all of the ginger, cinnamon, and other spices that go so well with them. Cookies are new to me. I'm raw vegan so I haven't done a lot of baking in the last few years. My husband is a Cookie Monster (which I learned after making the thumbprint cookies), so I've been looking for new ways to keep the texture and flavor I look for in a cookie without resorting to the same classic (read occasionally boring) recipes.

This recipe is gluten free, soy free, egg free, sugar free (refined), dairy free, tree nut free, peanut free, and corn free. It's probably free of several other things too, but you get the point :)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup palm oil
1 tsp vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the pumpkin, maple syrup, and palm oil. Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them together. Slowly fold in the wet ingredients and combine thoroughly. Form generous 1 1/2 inch balls of dough in your fingers (it will be sticky!) and roll them in the well mixed ingredients below:

1/3 cup sugar (thanks Bitt! Coconut sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
pinch nutmeg

Gently press the cookies on a cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. They will spread a fair amount and retain a spongy/moist texture.

Sweet Carrot Muffins

Lance and I were on a gardening kick this year, and I splurged a little too much at the Seattle Tilth Sale and wasn't able to find room for several kinds of vegetables. My grandparents have a huge yard and my mom loves gardening, so the vegetable garden expanded into their yard. They had tons of carrots, but we had started them in a container instead of straight in the ground. The result were these strange little corkscrew carrots that spiraled from top to bottom. Needless to say, they were a little hard to peel!

Growing your own food is a great experience and I swear things taste so much better fresh picked. Getting food from the large chain grocery stores may mean weeks of travel and irradiation to keep the colors vibrant and food "fresh." My family has always reserved part of their land for food, so we should have known better than to plant the carrots in containers instead of straight into the ground, but our whether was very odd this year.

My family's carrots were fantastic juiced, so we washed a whole batch and Lance helped me juice many pounds worth. I put some of the juice aside for myself and made some fantastic raw vegan soup, and the other part was used in baking. We also reserved the shreds from the juicer and added them back into the baked goods as well.

Carrot Muffins
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup Bob Redmill's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1/2 cup tapioca
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup carrot grating
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all of the dry ingredients minus the spices (flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda). In another bowl, combine the liquids, spices and raisins. Let that sit for several minutes so the raisins become nice and plum. You don't need much sweetener because both the carrots and raisins will help the muffins' sweetness. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and put in muffin tins. This is a thick batter that will hold its form, so if you don't want lumpy topped carrot muffins, smooth the batter out. They will need to cook for about 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Sauteed Pea Pasta

My mom was over this weekend and helped tremendously around the house. To help make her feel welcome, I prepared meals and treats. This pasta salad was very simple, but full of great flavor.

Pea Sauté
2 cups baby peas (petit pois)
2 shallot "cloves"
1 large clove of garlic
handful fresh chopped basil
1 tsp dry tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil

My peas were frozen, so I threw them in the skillet as it warmed. After the skillet was warm and the peas had thawed, I threw in olive oil, the shallots, and garlic to sauté. Once the shallot was a bit translucent, I added the herbs and salt. It didn't take long at all to prepare.

I boiled some rice pasta for my mom and Lance, and I personally enjoyed the saute on kelp noodles. Macadamia Cheese is a great addition, although I enjoyed mine without.

Thumbprint Cookies - "Caramel Pecan" and Raspberry

These cookies flew off the cookie sheet. I could barely move them from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack before Lance and Mom started eating them. The first batch is gone, so I made a second tonight to double check the recipe.

These are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, and rice free. I've noticed more and more people with a rice intolerance, so I made a point of avoiding it with this recipe.

Thumprint Cookies
3/4 cup Potato Starch
1 1/2 cups Sorghum Flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup palm shortening + 2 TB

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then work in the palm oil. I use Spectrum Shortening (100% expeller pressed palm oil). This would probably work better in a stand mixer, but I don't have one at the moment and work in as much as I can with a fork and will do the rest with my hands. The dough will feel a little dry, but if you are having trouble forming the cookies, try adding a couple more tablespoons of oil. At room temperature, the shortening should be like butter. If the dough gets too warm and starts to glisten or feels slimy, put it in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes, or while you are getting the filling of your choice ready.

Take an 1" ball of dough and press lightly on the pan. Make a round indentation with your thumb filling. With filling, they will need to cook at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. They are very crumbly when they come out of the oven, so it is best to let them cool on the cookie sheet and try to move them to the cooling rack after they are cold to the touch. They are pretty sturdy when finished cooling completely.

Raspberry Filling
2 cups raspberries
1 Tb water
1 Tb tapioca starch
1/4 cup agave

Combine the raspberry ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until the color is translucent. Spoon a small amount onto each cookie indentation.

"Caramel" Pecan Filling
15 pitted Deglet dates (10 if they are Medjool) soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
1/2 cup of the soak water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch of salt

After you are done soaking the dates, spoon them into a high speed blender and add about 1/2 a cup of the date water. Add the other ingredients and then blend until smooth.

Spoon the date mixture onto the cookies and then put a pecan half on top.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pesto with Noodles: can't do rice? No problem.

My diet is primarily raw vegan. I am vegan, and that is why the vast majority of my recipes are as well. There are a few non-vegan recipes because my husband and nephew have food allergies and are not vegan, and I help them cook their meals. I go back and forth on whether or not to include non-vegan recipes, and I'm not sure where I'll end up.

Because I'm raw vegan, I'm used to flavors that are a bit different from cooked food. If cooked properly, garlic can be a bit sweet. Raw, it really packs a punch. They are completely different flavors to me. I'll explain how to prepare Pesto both ways, and then give you a pesto recipe with a twist. I haven't re-tested this recipe yet, so trust your instincts with proportions. I'll update the recipe very soon.

Pasta Pesto (cooked)
1/2 cup rough chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt
1 large garlic clove
2 TB olive oil

Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and lightly saute the garlic for less than a minute. You want to be able to smell the garlic, but you do not want it to brown at all. By then it is burned. Put the sauteed garlic and other ingredients in a food processor and let it run until everything is combined.

Raw Pesto
1/2 cup rough chop basil (not packed down)
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic

Because the garlic is not cooked, it has a much stronger flavor, but it goes well with noodles.

I am on a very low carbohydrate raw vegan diet because of some health issues, so instead of rice noodles, I put zucchini and yellow squash through the food processor grater and enjoy them with the pesto. Throw in a few Kalamata olives, and I am one happy camper.

Pesto with a Twist
1/4 cup rough chopped basil
1/4 cup rough chopped cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon or 1 lime, juiced
pinch salt
1 clove garlic (optional - taste the mix first)

My favorite Seattle restaurant, Chaco Canyon, serves a delicious cilantro pesto. I've never been able to copy it, but this recipe meets my craving when I don't have time to go out for dinner.

The perfect breakfast: Apple stuffed crepes with kreme cheeze glaze

I have to say I may have outdone myself this morning. A friend and coworker of mine challenged me to make gluten free, corn free, dairy free, soy free crepes, and I think I nailed it. My mom stopped by this morning just in time to get a plate handed to her and I know the food is good when she and Lance get really quiet. I brought some to my grandparents and they loved it - and they never thought they'd touch gluten free food!

Crepes are a bit of a process. The batter must sit for a minimum of 20 minutes so the flours can soak up the liquid. I used a normal ceramic skillet instead of a fancy crepe pan. I'm not used to making them yet, so a few were un-uniform and a little thick, but by the end they were coming out beautifully.

Sweet Crepe Batter
Makes 12 crepes
1 cup Bob Redmill's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup + water
1/4 cup agave

The batter has to be fairly runny, so you may have to play with the amount of water. Crepes should lay flat, so no vinegar is needed with this recipe to activate the baking soda. I combined all of the dry ingredients and whisked them to mix them well and then added in the liquid. After that was all combined, we took the dogs for a nice long walk to let the batter sit.

When we got back from our walk, I remixed the batter and found that you really need to have a ladle that will hold several tablespoons worth so you can pour the batter at once. I tried using a smaller spoon, and it was just making it more difficult to get the right thickness and shape. I preheated a ceramic skillet over medium heat and seasoned the pan with a bit of coconut oil on a paper towel.

Before each crepe, I added 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan and coated the pan bottom. It may not be necessary, but adds nice flavor. I lifted the pan up off the heat and shifted the pan around in a circular motion to spread the batter. It's a bit awkward, but after a few crepes I got the hang of it:
Here's an image of a crepe I did early on (obviously I hadn't gotten the hang of forming the crepe shape yet), to illustrate when to work the spatula under the crepe to flip it to the other side. These crepes become a beautiful golden color, and that color starts to become visible on the edge an bubbles form across the top of the crepe:
I had two plates I moved the crepes to. One plate held the most recently cooked crepe to allow it to cool. Once the next crepe in the pan was near ready, I moved the crepe from the cooling pan to the stack of crepes on another plate. I put a piece of wax paper between each crepe to keep them from sticking to each other:

Apple Maple Sauce
4 Apples, diced
2 TB water
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Put the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and stir occasionally. This sauce takes about 10-15 minutes to cook down.

Kreme Cheeze Glaze
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup water
3-4 TB Honey (more to taste)
1/2 a lemon, juiced
pinch of salt
3 TB palm oil

Put the cashews, water, honey, and lemon in a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. The mixture will heat up a bit in the blender. Add palm oil - the mixture should help melt the oil. The oil is intended to give the mixture a little more body.

Preparing the Crepes

Put a crepe on your serving plate and spoon the Apple Maple Sauce along the middle of the crepe:
Fold each side of the crepe over the top of the filling:
Pour the glaze over the top and enjoy!

Reading Labels: Corn

A while back I made my very first gluten, corn, egg, dairy, and soy free cake, and I was so excited I even had frosting! I got it all ready to serve and realized the frosting hadn't set well enough, so I was going to add more sugar. As an afterthought, I read the packaging. "Corn Starch" was clearly labeled under the ingredients but I didn't even think to look. I just thought sugar was sugar! My nephew is horribly allergic to corn, so the cake was served to others. I was so bummed out and reminded that it is so important to check labels.

Corn Allergies

Corn is in so many different products in different forms listed under different names.

Other names for corn:

* Popcorn
* Corn meal
* Maize
* High Fructose Corn Syrup
* Hominy
* Grits
* Polenta
* Cornstarch
* Cornflour

Ingredients that often/usually come from corn:
* Baking Powder
* Vegetable Oil
* Confectioners Sugar
* Fructose
* Glucose
* Maltodextrin
* Invert Sugars
* Dextrin
* Artificial Flavor/Sweetener
* Natural Flavor/Sweetener
* Starches
* Thickener
* Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
* Caramel Color
* Citric Acid
* Vanilla Extract (used to sweeten and color)

For a more extensive list of "may or may not contain corn" products, go here:

Corn is used widely as a sweetener, non-stick agent, and thickener. It's in many soups, syrups, sodas, chips, crackers, juices, and most baked goods. It's also in wasabi. I heard a statistic recently that nearly 70% of the processed (canned/premade foods in the grocery store have some form of corn in them. I can't find the quote, but find it believable after going through a lot of nutrition labels in my life.

Another great resource for both food and non-food products with corn:

A great article on how nearly all fast food is derived from corn and unsustainable:,8599,1859018,00.html

I would also encourage you to read up more on the prevalence of GMO corn in our markets and the potential side effects. Many think allergies are more prevalent and are unintended consequences of crossing genes with additional plant species.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Feta" and Walnut Pizza

The first time I made this it was a bit dry. I went too light on the feta and pesto. These are simple ingredients that go well together.

Spinach, "Feta", Walnut Pizza

Pizza Dough I, formed with a crust or lip around the edge to retain moisture
generous lathering of pesto (recipe below)
1/4 Red Onion, sliced thin
1 cup Spinach
1 cup "Feta"
1/2 cup Walnuts

1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 bunch Basil
2-3 cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine the Pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined.

1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4-1/3 cup water
pinch salt

Combine the "Feta" ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until combined. It should clump and not be too wet.

Peach Rasberry Pie

This pie is delicious and can be made in about 20 minutes. I do recommend you make the crust a bit ahead of time and put it in the fridge to firm up a bit. The pie was one of my first raw vegan creations. My sister in law literally licked her plate clean the first time she had this dish. The great thing about this desert is it isn't too terribly heavy with nuts and it leaves you feeling light and satisfied.

Peach Raspberry Pie

3 peaches cut into segments
2 cups of raspberries
3 TB agave
10 medjool dates
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 tsp salt
2 TB water

To make the crust, put the cashews, vanilla, salt, and coconut in the food processor and pulse with an S-blade until the cashew pieces are mostly broken up:

Add 8 pitted dates, one at a time. Once the dates are combined, add the 2 TB of water and mix until the "dough" forms a ball:

Sprinkle shredded coconut on the bottom of the pie pan and press in the pie crust. I recommend letting the crust set in the fridge for a good 30 minutes.

Peel and cut the peaches into nice sized wedges and arrange on the pie crust.

Put the raspberries in the food processor with an S-blade and combine with 2 dates and 3 TB of agave nectar. Alternatively, you can just combine the raspberries with 4 dates and have a thicker raspberry sauce. Pour the sauce over the peaches before serving.

Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes have a fantastic flavor and a lot of moisture. The trick to get that wonderful moist cake flavor is zucchini, which I promise you will not taste. My husband was a little skeptical when he saw me putting the batter together, but he kept making "yum" noises while he was eating the cake and didn't really realize it until I pointed it out. These cupcakes are great with Chocolate Maple Icing. I would recommend keeping them in cupcake form, because they do tend to crumble a bit much for a clean cake cut.

My mom and one of my foodie friends felt that this was one of my best desserts yet. The flavor is very rich.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (See the bottom of this post for Sugar Free instructions)
1 vanilla bean scraped
3/4 cup cacao, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups zucchini (do not drain the juice from the shredded zucchini - add it to the cake)
1/2 cup olive oil

Sift all of the dry ingredients together, then fold in the zucchini and oil. The batter will seem really dry and dense. Not the typical cake consistency. Do not let this worry you; the zucchini lets off moisture as it cooks and gives it a fabulous moistness to the cake after baking.

You can see small streaks of zucchini in the cake before it's frosted. I frosted a portion and sent it home with my mom, and my grandmother called me to thank me for the yummy treats (I also sent home some peach raspberry pie). She could not believe it was gluten free, vegan, and had zucchini! If she had told my grandfather that before he had eaten the cake and raved about it, he wouldn't have touched it!

I made it in cake form, which is shown here. I really recommend this with Chocolate Maple Icing.

To make this cake cane sugar free, soak 20 pitted deglet dates for a minimum of 45 minutes. Throw the dates and 3/4 cup soak water into a blender with the vanilla and a 1/4 cup of agave, then combine with the rest of the cake ingredients as instructed above after you add the oil and zucchini.

Chocolate Maple Icing

This is a really simple icing. The trick is to have the palm oil out at room temperature so the texture is similar to soft butter.

Chocolate Maple Icing

1/2 cup turbinado sugar put through a coffee grinder until powdered
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cacao powder, sifted
1/2 cup palm oil
pinch salt

You might want to play with the proportions a bit. I tend not to measure and still need to do a test batch with the recipe as is. I may come back and tweak this a bit. The batch I made would hold up well to piping over cupcakes or cake.


My grandma makes my nephew some gluten free pumpkin raisin scones that are pretty good, but I really wanted to find a way to make a plainer version that didn't have the "gluten free" taste. A plain scone can be dressed up so many different ways. I used to love mine with honey or strawberries and whipped cream. Scones have a harder texture I enjoy, but should melt away quickly when chewing. I've had some gluten scones that were so hard they were unpleasant, and sometimes they just resemble a really hard biscuit. I received the compliment from a foodie friend of mine that these scones outshone many of the gluten scones she had, and the recipe was definitely a keeper.

These will come out of the oven light and cake-y, so let them rest a while before removing them from a cookie sheet. As they cool, they become denser. I have to say they are fantastic warm if you don't mind a little crumble.


1 cups Bob's Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 cup Sorghum Flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp gluten and corn free baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup turbindao sugar (1/2 put through a coffee grinder for a finer texture)
1 tsp salt

1 cup palm oil
1 cup Macadamia Sour Cream (recipe to follow)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon

Thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients with a whisk:
Here's a look at the vanilla bean I purchase:

Cream the vanilla, sugar and palm oil:
Hand mix in the macadamia sour cream (you can substitute with dairy if you are allergic to tree nuts) and then stir all of the ingredients together.

Let this dough rest for a good 2 hours before you try to bake it. The palm oil will firm up, and your dough will raise nicely in the oven. I split the dough into 2 portions and then worked it into a circle that was about 2 inches high:

I cut that circle into triangles and arranged it on a cookie sheet and sprinkled a little cinnamon and turbinado sugar on top. I preheated the oven to 350 and baked them for about 25-30 minutes. Here's a before and after baking shot to give you an idea of how much they expand:

Macadamia Nut Sour Cream
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup + 2 TB Water
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pinch of salt

Combine all of these ingredients in a high speed blender until the desired consistency is reached. Very fast and easy! Mac Nuts firm up a bit when they are blended, and letting the mixture rest in the fridge helps as well. You'll note my example below has enough texture to maintain pour patterns.