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Gluten Free Zucchini Chocolate Dream Bread

23 Feb

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After a long hiatus, I am back to cooking again.

My love of baking has not subsided!  I have experimented with many types of gluten free flour . I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to blend flours together to try and achieve the same consistency found in regular yummy bready things. Keep in mind it will never be the same. It just can’t. Once you make peace with that, the door into a yummy gluten free baking world will open!

So I had these ‘meh’ looking zucchini’s hanging out in my fridge as well as huge bag of dark chocolate chips. Combine that with a huge hankering for something sweet and voila its time to bake up a storm. I searched the web and found many recipes and took the best of the best each and came up with this.

Ingredients

Dry:

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix ( 1 part chickpea/fava bean flour, 1 cup of arrowroot or cornstarch and 1 part tapioca starch)

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp of salt

Wet:

2/3 cups of light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/4 grapeseed oil or coconut oil

1/2 applesauce

Other:

2 medium small zucchini shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

1, Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Grease large loaf pan

3. Mix sugar and oil

4.Combine the rest of wet ingredients in a large bowl with mixer or by hand

5.Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients

6. Fold shredded zucchini into mixture

7. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour

The loaf should be nice and moist and just plain yummy. The recipe makes about 12 servings or 10 generous slices. I would suggest pairing this with some nice mate green tea, or even some nice chamomile if your having a late night snack. Or if your feeling very decadent with an amazing hot chocolate.

Happy eats!

Midnight Salad in the Garden of Blueberry

7 Feb

I don’t usually recommend late night snacking… however, last week after an unusually long day a tasty little salad did not seem too much of guilty pleasure. Late night snacks have their downfalls, the main one is that sometimes the ingredients necessary to make that perfect recipe are just not in your fridge or pantry. This recipe was the result of such a situation. Sometimes food made from scratch just tastes great!


Midnight Blueberry Salad

Ingredients
I package of baby spinach (about 4-5 cups)
1 cup of Blueberries
1 cup of crushed walnuts
1 cup of crisp bacon bits
2 TBS of apple cider vinegar
1 TBS of Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
lemon zest

Directions
1. On medium low heat cook bacon, until crisp on the edges;
2. While bacon cooks, in a large salad bowl combine blueberries and spinach;
3. In a small mixing bowl mix the pressed garlic, mustard and apple cider;
4. Once the bacon is cooked, remove and place on a separate plate (DO NOT THROW OUT DRIPPINGS!!);
5. Cut the bacon into small pieces and then add the garlic to the remaining bacon fat;
6. Let it cook for about 2 minutes or until you can smell the apple cider;
7. Toast crushed walnuts in oven at about 350 F until you can smell them – about 2 minutes;
8. Add bacon, walnuts and dressing to spinach and blueberries…and VOILA!

You can definitely change this recipe to your liking. This is one of the reasons it is so great. Varying a couple of ingredients keeps your taste buds happy. For example, if you don’t like mustard you can leave it out. This will make the taste of the dressing milder. Or if you prefer almonds throw some in. The flavors that make this interesting are the blueberries, the bacon and the tart flavor of the apple cider and garlic. Anything else can be switched… maybe some fresh blackberries? Mmmm sounds good!

If you have any questions drop me a line. In the meantime enjoy my Midnight Salad in the Garden of Blueberry .

Shrimp, Shrimp, the magical food….

2 Feb

I love shrimp! I love the way they look and I love the way they taste. Shrimp are extremely versatile, not to mention you can add them to any recipe and all of a sudden, it seems exotic to your taste buds and above all yummy! I usually like preparing a bunch of shrimp and saving some for later. I add them to salads or even in my morning omelet. It’s great if you’re in a rush and feels like you don’t have time to eat healthily.

The other thing that I love is how great they are for you! Shrimps are full of minerals and omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12. So in essence this is a great combo! Good to eat and yummy too. Who would have thought they were packed with such good healthy stuff. What’s great about this Easy Tiger Shrimp Recipe, is how easy it is. I will give you a little intro on how to de-shell shrimp after that you should be set. Are you ready for some shrimp?

Easy Tiger Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of shrimp (uncooked and shells removed)
2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
1/3 cup of dry white wine
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
1 tsp of butter or coconut oil
salt and peppers to taste

Instructions
1. If frozen soak your shrimp in water at room temperature;
2. Once fully thawed, de-shell them by finding the spine of your shrimp, where the shell meets and creates a gap;
3. Pull the shell off but leave the tail on;
4. Set pan to medium heat add oil/butter;
5. Add chili flakes and garlic to pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic is golden;
6. Add shrimp and spread evenly on pan surface;
7. When shrimp begin to get pink turn up the heat to medium and add the wine;
8. When most of the wine is gone it is a good sign because your done!

I like placing the tiger shrimp on a bed of curried quinoa. The best thing about them is that they are great to have in your fridge because they are ready for any occasion! Healthy and yummy this early preparation will take off added stress of the “what to have for dinner” factor… or at least it will give you something to munch on while you make dinner. So try this easy flavorful shrimp recipe!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

The Big Chill is Coming— How about some Bison Chili ?

5 Nov

With the cool temperatures of fall nibbling at your ears and winter around the corner, comfort food seems to be in order. I personally like to be able to cozy up with a bowl of soup or something even heartier and watch a movie. I miss being able to have a classic chili with beans and other ingredients that make my tummy hurt. So as per usual I have been experimenting in making a chili that is healthy and yummy! In the process I discovered how great bison meat is. Bison is a great alternative meat to the classic beef chili recipe and its healthy and rich in omega 3. So do you want to give my Bison Chili a try?

Bison Chili

Ingredients
500 grams of ground Bison meat (approximately 4 cups)
2 cans of canned diced tomatoes
2 medium/large shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 TBS of bacon lard
1 TBS of tomato paste
1 large carrot
1 large celery stalk
red chili peppers flakes
capers (optional)
diced sun dried tomatoes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. In a pot heat up bacon fat minced shallots, garlic and chili peppers
2. When the shallots start to wilt add both minced carrots and minced celery
3. Cook for about 8-12 minutes on a medium heat
4. Add bison meat and break it up with a fork
5. Let meat cook on medium heat
6. Add canned tomatoes
7. Add capers and diced sun dried tomatoes (optional)
8. Cook for about 1-2 hours on low heat

*If you don’t have bacon fat you can always use some coconut oil or butter. I recommend keeping bacon fat on hand for recipes like these.

While the chili cooks I like to taste it and see what it may be missing. If you are using canned tomatoes that seem watery I would add some tomato paste and maybe drain some of the water before adding it to the chili. Once the chili starts to thicken I either steam some spinach or prepare some quinoa. This chili is nice on it own or it can double as a sauce. Personally I think both work and give the chili a different taste every time. So try my Bison Chili and Enjoy!

If you have any questions drop me a line!


Cinnamon Raisin Coconut Flour Scones

18 Oct

As the weather begins to change and things begin to get cooler, my palette craves warm comfort food. There is something about the cool weather and soft sweet smelling baked good that seems to warm me up! Combine this with the fact that I love baking and it equals the perfect recipe. However there is one giant footnote, gluten makes me feels ill. The enjoyment baked offer just doesn’t seem worth it compared to how they actually make me feel. In have for the past months been experimenting with some of my favorite recipes but instead of regular flour I have been using coconut flour. So now to compliment my coffee and the chilly fall mornings I can have a cinnamon raisin coconut flour scones. Yummy in my tummy and I know for a fact that my tummy will indeed love it!

Cinnamon Raisin Coconut Flour Scones

Ingredients
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs raw honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
3/4 cup of sifted coconut flour
1 cup of raisin ( add more to your liking)
6 eggs room temperature.

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Grease pan with coconut oil
3. In small bowl, mix wet ingredients honey, oil, vanilla and eggs with a whisk
3. Mix all the dry in ingredient in a large bowl, cinnamon, baking powder and sifted flour
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients with a spatula till well blended ( dough should be sticking together not stiff)*
5. Place fist size portion of mixed ingredients on greased pan.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes

* If your dough is stiff add 1-2 TBS of water as needed.

Coconut flour has a very different texture then regular wheat flour. However if you have gluten issues it is a great choice a nice way to be nice to your belly! I also like to use raw honey or maple syrup in my baking recipes to stick to natural sources of sweetness, that are full of vitamins and mineral ….. try my cinnamon raisin coconut flour and
Enjoy!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Black Tomato Fennel Cucumber Medley

10 Aug

As a child I wasn’t a big fan of fennel. With a sensitive child’s palette, the taste of fennel was strong and reminded me too much of black licorice. However with the added years I have also acquired a more adventurous and mature palette. Fennel is fun and fresh great for a summer salad or as a bed to your favorite meat of choice. I like to have this Black Tomato Fennel Cucumber Medley with some white wine garlic shrimp!
Yummy all around!

Ingredients
8 black tomatoes
5 medium sized cucumbers
2 small fennel bulbs
1 celery stalk
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
3 small purple pearl onion
a pinch of rock salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1.Peel and seed the cucumber
2. Remove stalks from fennel, keep the bulb and the tender parts
3. Cut both fennel, cucumber, black tomatoes and celery into similar bite size pieces
4. Mince parsley and onion
5.Toss vegetables with salt and pepper
6. Guess what your done!

I like to mix some olive oil separately with some apple cider vinegar and add that to the medley. It keeps the fresh taste of the vegetables present and strong to the taste but adds a nice sweet taste. The medley is good on its own for a nice vegan treat, especially with the special taste of the black tomatoes! Optionally for the meat lover you can cook some shrimp in coconut oil with tons of garlic, as things heat up add some white wine and watch it all sizzle. Take those shrimp and toss them over the medley and voilà. That is my personal favorite, though I think a nice piece of steak would be tasty as well! Until then you can use this as a main course or a bed for your savory meats and main dishes….Enjoy!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Vegan Style Medley

Yummy Shrimp Medley

Holy C***, Bring On The Duck Fat!

3 Aug

I keep getting turnips in my organic vegetable basket. I am going to be honest here and say; I am impartial to turnips. Being impartial results in being unmoved by these root vegetables generally I am at odds with how to include them into my diet.

Luckily for me, I have been trying to keep with a paleo/primal way of eating since the new year. This means that some of my favorites things, like hummus and mashed potatoes are a no go. So what to do with a bunch of turnips a hankering for mashed potatoes and some left over tahini? Bring on the Duck Fat!

Bring On The Duck Fat, Turnip Mash

For this recipe you will need

Ingredients
A bunch of turnips (6 medium sized to small)
2 Tbs of Duck Fat
2 Tbs of Tahini
3 small chives
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. After peeling unwanted parts cut turnips
2. Place turnips in pot and boil until you can put a fork through them
3. Place turnips into desired container
3. Add duck fat, tahini and chives.
4. Beat with hand blender until desired consistency is achieved.

I think this recipe would also taste great if made with bacon fat and garlic, instead of duck fat and chives. The taste of the turnips is strong but delicious when served with a nice piece of grass fed beef. What makes me happy is that I can keep adding different ingredients to this turnips mash much like I use to do with hummus. Until then be adventurous and try something new like I did. You may be pleasantly surprised.

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake & My Glorious Disaster of an Experiment.

25 Jun

A couple of months back at the behest of a friend and for the sheer challenge of it, I decided to follow the paleolithic diet. After 30 days, I realized I felt great, I was sleeping better and feeling less cranky. This made me want to continue. In order to do so I decided to follow the primal blueprint. I really love food! This love of food began for me as a child in the kitchen, more notably it began with baking. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ is a lifestyle that makes baking hard if not a challenge. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ promotes many things, but two that I find very important. One, eat what is most nutritious and beneficial for your body, and two, eliminate sugar. Clearly baking does not fit with these two guidelines. Broken hearted, I found substitutes such as almond flour and coconut flour, both nutritious flours but harder to bake with, especially when trying to eliminate/replace both refined sugar and vegetable shortening or oil. All in all, baking is a complicated equation, most of the times everything balances out, as soon as you start to replace and/or eliminate elements in the equation, the end result does not add up.

Yesterday was the fateful day I attempted on of my childhood favorites. Cake. I took the easiest classic recipe from my Grandmother’s cooking bible.Instead of regular flour, vegetable shortening and the 2 cups of sugar the recipe called for, I used coconut flour, agave and good old classic butter. I have to confess my utter failure. The cake was edible but there is a lot of tweaking that needs to be made. I am adamant that I will be able to master this recipe. I will make the cake of my childhood memories for the present healthy adult in me. It’s okay to indulge sometimes, 80% of the time I’m on target with my health goals, though I aim to follow those goals a 100 percent of the time. Here is my indulgent suggestion for you…

Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
I cup of shortening
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoon baking powder
I cup of milk
4 stiff beaten egg whites (beat till they form peaks)

Directions
1. Cream shortening and add sugar
2. add egg yolks and vanilla
3. beat WELL
4. add sifted dry ingredients ( flour, salt, baking powder) alternatively with milk and fold in egg whites
5.pour batter into 3 8-inch pans
6. place in oven at 350 degrees Celsius
7. leave baking for 30 minutes (check cakes at the 25 mark)

*use a toothpick to see if the batter is still raw, if the toothpick comes out clean your cake is done!

Lemon Frosting

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients

1 3/4 icing sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 3/4 icing sugar

Directions
1. combine sugar with butter lemon juice, cream and lemon peel.
2. beat until smooth
3. add 1 3/4 cup of icing sugar
4. beat until frosting has a ‘spreading’ consistency
5. If the icing is too thing then add more sugar
( I also added some toasted coconut flakes and some coconut shreds to the top layer for decorative purposes!)

*for this cake I used double the amount of frosting to cover the whole cake and the in between layers.

So there you have it! An indulgence of the most decadent kind. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, a cake like this is great to make because you can see how much sugar goes into baking. If this is how much you put into your cakes, imagine what is the ones you buy in stores! So invite some friends over and have some nice Earl Grey tea or herbal tea and make of an afternoon of it! Enjoy treating yourself! So next time around I hope to have prefect my coconut flour version of this cake, without gluten without sugar, and definitely without icing… once perfected I’ll be happy to indulge more often with a nice slice of coconut flour cake! In the meantime have a slice of Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington and enjoy eating it too!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

P.s. Best priced coconut flour in Montreal can be found at Les Douchers du Marche in the Atwater Market.

Grandma knows best, atleast her cookbook does.

15 Jun

This is ‘the’ cookbook of my childhood cake dreams. My grandmother received a copy of Better Homes and Gardens when she graduated highschool in 1949. My memories of this cookbook, are my grandmother taking it out for special occasions, usually birthdays and making delightful cakes (which to me seemed to be 6 layers in height). In the next couple of weeks I am going to try to make some of these recipes with gluten, primal and paleo concerns in mind. In the meantime check this out.

Nicaraguan guacamole vs. the mainstream stuff

9 Jun

When I first arrived in Montreal, I was about 6. There was a lot of adjusting to be done, however it didn’t take long. Children are resilient in that way. One of the hardest things to adjust to was the food available. The change in produce required a change in diet. Needless to say when I discovered that avocados were sold here and so was guacamole, things didn’t seem so grim. However the guacamole that is popular in here by no means resembled my guacamole salad I had growing in Nicaragua. The texture seemed to be totally different and it was. The puree consistency of the North American version contrasts with the chunky Nicaraguan version. For these reasons I wanted to share two traditional Nicaraguan guacamole salad recipes, one that I grew up with Doña Petrona’s, and one found in 50 Años en la Cocina.

Doña Petrona’s Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
4 small avocados cubed
2 hard boiled eggs cubed
firm cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup of onions cubed
1 lime juiced

Directions
1. Toss all the ingredients a bit if you like. The salad is supposed to remain chunky
2. Dry crumbly feta can be added as a garnish!

Traditional Nicaraguan Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
3 large ( 6 small) avocados in pieces
2 tomatoes skinned and seeded in pieces
1 small onion cubed
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of chopped cilantro

Directions
1.Delicately toss all the ingredients

Both these salads are a variation on a party classic. Sometimes I like to put these two salads on a bed a baby spinach. My preferred one and childhood favorite is Doña Petrona’s. I grew up with this lady who would help my mother out with some cooking here and there when my mother was at work back in Managua. I am pretty sure my love of cooking is partly due to her! So this is a nod to Doña Petrona! So until then, enjoy the salads as much as I!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

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