Friday, May 27, 2011

Roasted Chile Hamburger with Chipotle Aoili

I  never post twice in one day, but I wanted to get this posted before the weekend. This hamburger is perfect for your holiday weekend. The inspiration came from a local place called Ruth's Diner. My sister ordered the Roasted Chile Hamburger. I sat there and watched as see ate and moaned and groaned about how it was the best burger she has ever had.

Later that night I decided to recreate it. My mom had bought some Udi's Gluten Free Hamburger Buns, so we were set! This really is the best burger I have ever had!

Roasted Chili Hamburger with Chipotle Aoili
Serves 4

You will need:
4 Hamburger Buns (I used Udi's GF Hamburger Buns
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers
1 can roasted green chiles
1 small purple onion, slices
1 large tomato, sliced
pickle slices
smoked gouda, optional
Chipotle Aoili, recipe follows

1. Prepare the Chipotle Aoili. Divide the ground beef into four patties. Season with salt and pepper. Prepare your favorite way; grill, bake, pan-fry, etc. Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat the green chiles over medium heat. Spread aoili over both sides of the bun. Assemble burgers and enjoy!

Chipotle Aoili
8 TB mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves, very finely minced
2 TB fresh lime juice
1 TB chopped cilantro
1/2 -3/4 tsp chipotle flakes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk until well combined. Set aside.

*This recipe is linked to Fresh Bites Friday and Allergy Friendly Friday.

Gingerbread Pudding - GF, DF

The other day I made a loaf of bread from Bob's Red Mill Wonderful GF Bread mix. I think I must have let it rise too long, it was huge! and misshapen. I made these tea sandwiches with it, so I had to cut off not only the crust, but a lot of the bread to make them square. I didn't want to waste all those scraps, so I saved them and made bread pudding last night

I don't know what got into me, but I made Gingerbread Pudding or Ginger Bread Pudding....or Gingerbread Bread Pudding. Ha! I am not quite sure how to title it. I know gingerbread is usually a holiday dessert, but it sounded good for some reason. :)

Gingerbread Pudding - Gluten and Dairy Free
Makes 1 - 8x8 pan

5 cups 1" cubed bread, best if left out to dry for 3-4 hours
2 cups coconut milk (about 1 1/4 cans)
2 whole eggs
5 egg yolks (Save the whites, I have a recipe coming soon using those!)
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tsp dried ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread in a 8 x 8 pan. In a medium bowl whisk the remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over the bread and let sit for 10 minutes, pressing on the bread occasionally to help it soak up the custard.

2. Place the pan inside a larger one. Place on the middle rack of the oven. Fill the larger pan with 1" water. Tent the larger pan with aluminum foil with a few holes poked it it. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the custard has set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm with whipped coconut cream, if desired. Most bread puddings are also good cold.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Radish Mint Tea Sandwiches - GF

When I found out that this month's Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free event was Garden Tea Parties I knew right away that I wanted to share this tea sandwich. It is not my recipe, and I do not know where the recipe originated, but I had to share it nonetheless.

I know it sounds strange. Radish and Mint Sandwiches?!? Let me tell you; you have never tasted anything so truly addictive. The refreshing mint and crisp radish, with just a little bite, and a fresh lemon mayonnaise.....oh man! I promise you cannot stop at just one.

Radish Mint Tea Sandwiches
Make 24 tea sandwiches

1 cup mayonnaise
1 TB freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

24 very thin slices gluten free bread (I made Bob's Red Mill bread mix, cut them into 1/2" slices and then rolled them to about 1/4" so the bread was a little more compacted)

1 cup mint leaves (from about 1 large bunch)
16 radishes, trimmed and sliced paper thin (a mandolin come in handy here)

1. In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, zest, mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Spread bread generously with lemon mayonnaise. Top half of slices with a layer of mint and top mint with overlapping rows of radish. Top radish with remaining bread and press together gently (pictured open-faced for aesthetics purposes).

3. Trim crusts and cut sandwiches in half diagonally. Sandwiches may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Darkly Decadent Chocolate Pudding

I LOVE pudding! It has been quite awhile since the last time I had any, so I decided it was time to change that. This pudding is thick and rich and decadent....and only for the dark chocolate lover.

This recipe is gluten, egg and dairy free....and you would never know it!

*This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent TuesdayReal Food Wednesday, Gluten Free WednesdaysPennywise Platter Thursday and Real Food Weekly. Go check out the other yummy recipes!

Darkly Decadent Chocolate Pudding
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 cups milk/dairy alternative (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk, arrowroot, cacao powder, palm sugar and salt.

2. Place on a burner over medium heat. Bring to a slight boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into individual bowls and cover with plastic wrap. Serve warm or refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Savory Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Crepes - GF

This post took me awhile to get written because I have been distracted by all the beautiful birds outside my window. They must be migrating because in the last two days we have seen some amazing birds that we don't normally see.

By now you know I made a lot of crepe shells the other day. :) I decided I better make a savory recipe to use up the last of them. I have had too many sweet treats lately. The challenge was making a gluten and dairy free sauce. I think I succeeded beautifully. The tarragon and thyme in the sauce adds just the perfect flavor!

Savory Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Crepes

8 Crepe Shells (I used THIS gluten and dairy free recipe)

8 slices of  bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 oz fresh spinach
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

Cream Sauce
2 TB butter or non-hydrogenated alternative
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk/dairy alternative (if desired, you can use more to thin the sauce)
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp thyme
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 TB arrowroot powder or cornstarch powder

1. In a large skillet cook the bacon until just crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the drippings. Set the bacon aside. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Add the spinach and mushrooms and cook until tender. Lower heat to medium-low.

2. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the broth, milk and spices. Whisk in the arrowroot and simmer until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Add half of the sauce to the vegetables and stir to combine. Return the rest of the sauce to the burner. Turn off the heat.

3. Lay a crepe shell on a plate. Spread 1/4 cup filling on one side of the crepe (not in the middle). Fold that side over, rolling the crepe. Drizzle some of the reserved sauce over the top and serve immediately.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Strawberry Ginger Rhubarb Crisp - GF

I know, I know. You have been seeing strawberry and rhubarb recipes all over the place. There is a reason for that. Strawberry + Rhubard = Yumminess. :) I did want to throw a little twist in there to make my recipe different, so I added some ginger. Perfection!

*This recipe is linked to Real Food Weekly, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate ThursdayAllergy Friendly Friday and Seasonal Sunday. Check out the awesome recipes others have shared.

Gluten Free Strawberry Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups strawberries, stemmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 cup rhubarb, cut half lengthwise, and then into 1" pieces
2 TB turbanado or coconut palm sugar
2 TB chia seeds + 2 TB water (optional)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh grated ginger

For the Topping:

1 cup pecan and walnuts, chopped
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (GF certified if needed)
1/2 cup coconut flour (almond, quinoa or oat flour would also work)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup turbanado or coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the fruit filling. Toss until well combined. Place a greased 8 x 8 dish.

2. In a medium bowl combine the topping ingredients and stir until well combined. Spread over the fruit filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the fruit is tender and the top is brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Banana CocoNutella Crepes - GF

Almost three years ago I spent a month in Europe. One of the most amazing adventures of my life. Full of fun, education and good food! In England we have Pasties (oddly enough Curry Pasties are everywhere). In Switzerland we had Muesli. In Italy we had Pizza and Gelato. In Spain we had Paella. In Paris we had CREPES. I ate so many crepes....I couldn't stop. Sweet ones and savory didn't matter. They were all amazing! My favorite was the Banana Nutella crepe. And I do not care what anyone says, the Nutella in Europe is better than the one in the U.S. It doesn't even compare.

Yesterday I made THESE whole grain gluten free crepes by Cafe Janae. Last night I had them for dinner with berries, bananas and whipped coconut cream. Indescribable! Today I had a hankering for a Banana Nutella Crepe. Nutella is not very healthy, nor is it dairy free, so I had to make my own version.

I didn't have any hazelnuts, or any other nut that would get "creamy" enough. What to do....what to do? Then it hit me! I have been meaning to make my own coconut butter. This is different than coconut oil because it has all the "meat" from the coconut as well as the oil. I haven't ever tried coconut butter before, but everyone raves about it. They describe it as a spread, so I thought "Hey, that might just work for the base of my Nutella." It turned out amazing! I haven't had Nutella in awhile, so I can't really remember the exact taste, but with this new CocoNutella I won't even miss the real thing.

*This recipe is linked to Real Food WednesdayGluten-Free WednesdaysPennywise Platter Thursday and Allergy Friendly Friday. Go peek at the other yummy recipes and helpful info.

Banana CocoNutella Crepes

You will need:

-Batter for 8 Crepes (You can find the gluten and dairy free crepe recipe I used HERE. This recipe makes 8  8" crepes)
-CocoNutella Spread
-4 ripes bananas, sliced

1. Prepare the CocoNutella Spread. Recipe follows. Set aside.

2. Prepare the crepes. The batter is really runny, so don't worry. After you flip the crepe spread the CocoNutella on half of the crepe and place banana slices on top. Fold the crepe in half, over the spread and bananas, and then in half again. Remove to a plate and serve warm. If desired top with additional CocoNutella, bananas and Whipped Cream (recipes follow).

CocoNutella Spread
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
6 TB unsweetened cacao powder
4-6 TB milk/dairy alternative
4 TB raw honey
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt

1. In a high-speed blender process the shredded coconut for 5 minutes, or until it becomes liquid and there are no detectable coconut shreds left. It should not be gritty, but a smooth liquid. Alternatively you can use a food processor, but you will need to process for 10 or more minutes. Be sure not to overheat your processor.

*At this point you have plain coconut butter. It will set up after about an hour. You can spread it on your toast, waffles, pancakes, etc. It does not need to be refrigerated. In fact if you do, it becomes too hard to use.

2. Add the cacao powder, honey, vanilla and salt. Turn the blender on and slowly add the milk until it reaches your desired consistency.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Note: This would also make a great fudge sauce or dipping chocolate.

Agave Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup raw agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat the cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the agave and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.

Agave Sweetened Whipped Coconut Cream (Dairy Free)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon raw agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for 1 hour. Do not shake or jostle the can, you do not want the cream to mix with the milk. Open the can from the bottom. Pour off the liquid "milk" and then the cream will be at the bottom. Put the cream in a medium bowl or stand mixer bowl. Reserve the coconut milk to use in your smoothies or shakes.

2. Whip the coconut cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the agave and vanilla and whip until just combined. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dairy Free Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing (or Death by Salad Dressing)

On Sunday my family got together at my Grandma's house with my aunt and her family. My mom made carne asade so we could make our own salads or burritos. She had forgotten to buy/make some sort of Southwestern dressing so she asked if I had anything. I didn't, but I just happened to be soaking some cashews so I decided to make something. When soaked cashews are blended they make a creamy sauce. I decided to use this as my base for the dressing. I threw a bunch of things in my blender and made a delicious Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.

As my Grandma's house everyone dug in and were chomping away when about 2 minutes later my cousin started having problems. He told his mom that something he ate he was allergic to. His face started turning red and his throat starting closing off. Well come to find out, he is allergic to cashews! That's right. I almost killed my cousin! No, not really. They had some medications and after about half an hour he was fine, but it was scary. From now on, I know that if I use cashews (or watermelon, come to find out) I will announce it to everyone!

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing - Dairy Free
Makes 3 cups

3/4 cup raw cashews (not roasted), soaked in filtered water for at least 6 hours
1 cup cilantro, washed
1/2 cup nut or rice milk
1/2 avocado, peel removed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed and cut in half (if you do not like spicy you can remove the seeds and membrane)
3 TB fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 garlic cloves, skin removed

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Avocado Energy Shake

When I was in college I had a few friends that served church missions in Brazil. They always talked about avocado shakes and how delicious they were. I always thought they were crazy. Avocados in a sweet shake? Insanity! They insisted it was delicious. You see, in Brazil avocados are really considered a fruit. They do not eat them in savory dishes, always sweet.

Fast forward 10 years to Oahu, Hawaii. My siblings and I are walking through Chinatown and I see a vendor selling avocado shakes. Well, now was the time to prove them wrong about avocado shakes. I ordered one Avocado Shake with Black Pearls (HUGE black tapioca pearls). After my first sip I was hooked! They are creamy, vanilla-ey, goodness. I tried a few times to replicate it while in Hawaii, but didn't have too much success. I could never get it quite right, probably because I wasn't using ice cream.

Well I am happy to say that I not only perfected it, but I made a healthy avocado shake. The egg adds protein and good fats. The avocado and coconut cream add more good fats. The chia seeds add more protein, Omega 3 fats, and a whole list of other things. Don't let the idea of an avocado shake keep you from trying it for 10 years like me!

Avocado Energy Shake
Serves 1

1 cup milk/dairy free alternative
1/2 perfectly ripe avocado (firm, but give slightly when pressed)
1-2 raw whole pastured eggs (or a scoop of protein powder)
1 TB coconut cream or milk
1 TB chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
stevia to taste
3 ice cubes

1. Combine all ingredients except ice and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the ice and blend until ice is crushed and shake is thick.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Baked BBQ Chicken

Last week I made this Baked Chicken with Peppers from Saveur magazine. I highly recommend it. I thought that this baked chicken idea could be a starting point for many variations. My first variation experiment was a Baked BBQ Chicken. It was so good! I am not really a fan of BBQ either. :)

Baked BBQ Chicken

*Adapted from Saveur Magazine

4-6 bone-in chicken thighs

salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2" thick slices

2 cups BBQ Sauce (I made my own based loosely on this recipe)

1 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat chicken dry using paper towels. Season liberally with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil on the stove in a 4-5 quart cast-iron dutch oven. Place chicken skin side down and cook until skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and put on a plate. Set aside.

2. Add the onions to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the barbeque sauce. Let cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and mix in. Place the chicken back in the pot and using a large spoon, spoon some of the BBQ sauce over the chicken. Place the dutch-oven, uncovered, in the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pear Ginger Cake - GF

Years ago I bought this little cookbook from the craft store for $2.99. It is Cookshelf Italian by Penny Stephens. It has a lot of amazing looking recipes in it. The only recipe I have tried is the Pear Ginger Cake, and that I have made 4-5 times. It is beyond words! After I started eating healthier and eating gluten free I stopped making it. About a year ago I tried making it gluten free. That was a failure. Now that I know more about gluten free baking I decided to give it another shot. The result? Fantabulous Pear Ginger Cake. It is so moist! The ginger is surprising, but oh so perfect with the sweet warm pears.

* This recipe is linked to Allergy Friendly Friday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Check out the other amazing allergen friendly recipes.

Gluten Free Pear Ginger Cake
Adapted from Cookshelf Italian by Penny Stephens
Makes 1 - 8" round cake

3/4 C oat flour (you can grind your own from old-fashioned rolled oats)
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/4 C almond flour
1 C + 1 TB coconut palm sugar
3 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
12 TB + 2 TB butter, softened (or non-hydrogenated dairy free substitute such as Earth Balance)
3 eggs, beaten
1 lb pear (2-3 pears), peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together flours, 1 cup sugar, ginger and xanthan gum. In a separate bowl whisk 12 tablespoons butter and eggs until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.

2. Pour the batter into a greased 8" round cake pan. Arrange the pear slices over the batter in a circular patter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and dot with the remaining butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve the cake warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if you wish.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Horchata (Mexican Rice Drink)

I wanted to post this morning so you could all try this delicious beverage, but my internet was not working until now!

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday only celebrated in the U.S. They don’t even celebrate this holiday in Mexico! I think it is just an excuse for us Americans to eat lots of yummy Mexican food. I love Mexican food…everything Mexican is delicious, unless it has tamarind in it. I DO NOT like tamarind. My favorite Mexican beverage is Horchata. A rice and cinnamon drink. Every time I go to a Mexican restaurant I order Horchata; most of the time I am disappointed, but every now and then I find a really good Horchata. In honor of Cindo de Mayo I decided to make homemade Horchata. It is so easy, but does take some time. It is refreshing and soooo good.

*This recipe is linked to Real Food Weekly.

Homemade Horchata (Mexican Rice Drink)

1 cup uncooked brown rice

½ cup raw almonds

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cups filtered water

1 vanilla bean (or alternatively 1 tsp vanilla extract)

2-3 TB raw agave

1. In a high-speed blender grind the rice and almonds until they become a fine meal. Add the cinnamon sticks and blend until the cinnamon is broken until large chunks. Add the water and vanilla bean. Let this mixture sit for at least 5 hours, overnight if possible, shaking occasionally.

2. Remove the vanilla bean pod and blend for 4-5 minutes until well combined. Using 3 layers of soaked cheesecloth, or a tightly woven cotton cloth, strain the liquid into a pitcher. Stir in the agave. Serve chilled or over ice.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Polenta Skillet Pizza - GF

This was amazing! I have been craving pizza lately. The gluten free crust isn't a problem, there are some great GF ready-made crusts and recipes out there. It is the cheese that I couldn't figure out how to replace. I have tried several of the cheese alternatives out there and my tummy does not like them. I decided I would just need to create some sort of thick, creamy sauce instead. Remember the gigantic red pepper I roasted yesterday? I still have half of it left. I whipped it up into a flavorful, creamy "cheese" sauce. It does not taste like cheese, but it replaces that gooey, creamy texture.

You can use any topping you would like. I did zucchini, spinach and red onion.

*This recipe is linked to Fresh Bites Friday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Check out the other real food recipes.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Polenta Skillet Pizza

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup filtered water
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Using the S blade process until smooth. This may take 2-3 minutes, just let it run for awhile. Adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside.

Polenta Pizza Crust
1/2 cup fine corn meal/polenta
1/4 cup all-purpose flour/GF flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp basil
1 egg, beaten (or chia seed gel replacer, recipe follows)
1/2 cup water

2 TB extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the batter into the pan. Spread to edges and smooth with a spatula. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the bottom is just brown. Place the skillet in the hot oven and bake for 5 minutes.

3. Remove the skillet and spread half of the red pepper sauce on the crust. Top with raw vegetables and add remaining sauce. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the skillet and using a wide spatula remove the pizza. Cut and serve immediately.

Chia Seed Gel Egg Replacer
Equals 1 Egg

3 TB filtered water
1 TB chia seed meal (grind chia seeds in coffee or spice grinder)

1. Whisk the chia seed meal into the water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until is becomes a gooey gel.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This is how my morning went. I look in the fridge and see I a gigantic organic red bell pepper in my fridge that needs to be used. What should I do with it? Roasted red peppers are easy and delicious. I roast the pepper. Okay, now what should I do with the roasted red pepper? Hmm....soup sounds good. I have never made soup with roasted red peppers before, but how hard can it be? I throw a bunch of things in my VitaMix blender and heat it up. Voila! I have delicious Roasted Red Pepper Soup for lunch today.

I would do a few things differently next time, which I have written into the recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Makes 2-3 servings

2 large organic red bell peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup milk or dairy alternative
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn the oven to broil. Adjust the rack 6-8 inches from the top of the oven. Cut the red peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers, cut side down, on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Broil for 15-20 minutes until the skins are BLACK and the peppers are soft. Place the hot peppers in a paper bag, or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Once the peppers are cool, use your fingers to peel the blackened skins. Set aside. This can be done a day ahead of time.

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent.

3. In the blender combine the peppers, onions, garlic, broth, milk, thyme and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth and silky. Pour this mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add more broth. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegan Strawberry Glazed Pie - GF

I got a great deal on fresh organic strawberries the other day. I also got a bee in my bonnet to make a strawberry glazed pie. I haven't had a strawberry glazed pie in years, but they used to be one of my favorites!

Since I have started eating healthier, I try to avoid gelatin and starches. Most strawberry glazed pie recipes call for one or both. I recently bought some agar agar flakes which are a sea vegetable, which means it is also vegan. When heated with liquids and then cooled, it acts just like gelatin. I have been mulling over the idea of using this agar to make a strawberry glazed pie. The results? Success! It worked perfectly.

*This recipe is linked to Seasonal Sunday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Friendly Friday and Fight Back Friday. Go check out the amazing round-up of recipes.

Vegan Gluten Free Strawberry Glazed Pie
Makes 1 - 9" pie

"Graham Cracker" Crust
1 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (any nut will work, but macadamias are delicious)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 tablespoons raw agave
3 tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients and process in the food processor with the S blade until it resembles a crumbly, but moist dough. Press into the bottom and on the sides of a 9" pie pan. Set aside.

6 cups fresh whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons raw agave
1 teaspoon agar powder or ground flakes (can be found in asian markets or the asian section of the health food store)

1. Mash 1 cup of the strawberries. In a small saucepan combine the mashed strawberries, water, agave and agar. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup of the strawberry mixture and pour into the prepared pie pan. Arrange the remaining fresh strawberries in the pie pan. Pour the remaining strawberry mixture over the strawberries. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with fresh whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, recipes follow. Pie is best served the day it's made.

Agave Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup raw agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat the cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the agave and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.

Agave Sweetened Whipped Coconut Cream (Dairy Free)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon raw agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for 1 hour. Do not shake or jostle the can, you do not want the cream to mix with the milk. Carefully open the can and using a spoon skim off the cream. You should be able to get about 1/2 a can of cream. Be careful not to get any of the coconut milk into the cream. Put the cream in a medium bowl or stand mixer bowl. Reserve the coconut milk to use in your smoothies or shakes.

2. Whip the coconut cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the agave and vanilla and whip until just combined. Serve immediately.