Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Curried Pumpkin Soup

This vegan, gluten-free soup is delicious on a chilly autumn or winter day.  It is a beautiful bright orange color!  Loaded with antioxidants and fiber, pumpkin is a “super food” — that is, if it isn’t weighed down with sugar and fat (but a small slice of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner is OK!).  This soup is easy to make and has a bright snappy taste thanks to the addition of fresh ginger.  The apples give it a nice sweetness without needing to add any sugar.  Hope you try it for yourself.

Note, this recipe does contain soy.  If you are allergic or want to avoid soy, simply omit the tofu.  The soup will still be delicious and creamy.  You could add a bit of almond, hazelnut, rice, oat or hemp milk to adjust the texture at the end.  The silken tofu gives it a velvety texture that is quite pleasant.

 

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 apples, coarsely chopped — I used Fuji apples because that is what I had at home.  I like the sweetness they provide.  You could certainly use Granny Smith, or whatever variety of apple you prefer.

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 can organic pumpkin puree — NOT pumpkin pie blend.  You can, of course, use fresh pumpkin as well.  That would be 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree.  Instructions for preparing that are at the end of this recipe.

1 Tbsp curry powder

2 c vegetable stock

1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 pkg silken tofu (optional, see note in introduction)

1 tsp freshly grated ginger root, more to taste

sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until shallots are soft and translucent.

Add the chopped apples and cook for five minutes.

Add orange juice, pumpkin puree, curry powder, silken tofu (if using).  Stir to mix.

Add vegetable stock and fresh ginger.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Puree (use a regular blender, Vitamix, or stick blender) – being careful not to burn yourself with the very hot soup — then season to taste with salt and pepper.  You might want to add more fresh ginger as well.

Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds (if they are salted, take that into account when you are seasoning the soup) and fresh cilantro.

 

 

Preparing fresh pumpkin (and roasting your own seeds!)

Choose a small pie pumpkin.  Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds, reserving them for roasting.

Place the pumpkin, cut side down onto a foil or parchment paper-ed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork.  This will take up to 40 minutes.  Check it at 20 minutes.

Wrap the baked pumpkin in foil and the steam will allow the flesh to fall away from the rind.  Alternatively you can scoop out the flesh after it has been baked.

To roast the seeds, rinse them and pat dry.  Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until they puff up a bit and begin to brown slightly.  Once roasted you can toss with sea salt, pepper, or tamari to taste.

Tasty Tuesday, November 15, 2011 — Moroccan Inspired Lentil Soup

Vegan, gluten-free, and delicious!  Lentils are so wonderful — like their legume cousins, they are low in fat, high in fiber and protein — and they cook very quickly.  There is no need to soak them overnight or do any extra cooking to get them recipe-ready.  We will be having lentils in another dish next week as well, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, this is a delicious, easy and inexpensive soup.  You don’t have to buy lentil soup in a can!  Make a big pot of this soup over the weekend, and you will have easy lunches or dinners ready for reheating during the week.

The spices in this soup are great for warming the stomach, and reducing inflammation in the body.  It is a wonderful soup for a chilly fall or winter day.  You will like the kick the lemon juice gives it too.

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped (reserve leaves for garnish)

1 cup carrots, finely chopped

1 tsp dried, ground  turmeric

1 tsp dried, ground ginger (you could grate fresh ginger into the soup if you like, but use a little less as it is quite pungent)

1 tsp dried, ground cumin

4 to 6 cups of water or vegetable broth (I used Imagine brand “No-Chickn Broth” in today’s soup)

1 1/4 cups green or brown lentils (the flat variety), well washed and picked over (beware of little pebbles mixed in!)

Sea salt to taste

For garnish — chopped fresh celery leaves, cilantro, mint and parsley.  I recommend making a mixture of these to sprinkle over your soup before serving.  Also, serve this soup with lemon wedges.

 

As always, I recommend doing all of your chopping ahead of time.  Set all of the ingredients out in bowls so that you are ready to add each item into your soup pot as directed.  I also like to wash my lentils ahead of time so they are ready to go as well, but you can do that while the veggies are cooking.

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium.  Add the onions and cook until they start to soften – about 5 minutes.  Do not let them get brown or burned.  You can turn the heat down a bit if they are cooking too fast.

2.  Add the celery and carrots, and cook for about 8 minutes.  The vegetables should be getting softer.

3.  Stir in your garlic, turmeric, ginger and cumin and cook for a minute more.

4.  Add the washed lentils and the water or stock.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked — about 20 minutes.

5.  Season to taste with salt, and serve with chopped herb garnish and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

 

Tasty Tuesday, November 8, 2011, Fig & Shallot Spread

Figs are a naturally sweet source of dietary fiber and minerals (potassium and calcium).  This spread is easy to make, keeps well, and would be delicious as a snack, an appetizer for a party, sandwich spread or pizza topping.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup of dried figs (I used Calmyrna, but you can use any variety you like), finely chopped

2 cups of water

4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (I used a mini food processor to get them into very small pieces)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1 Tbsp fresh orange zest (from 1 whole orange)

Juice of 1 whole orange

Sea Salt and fresh pepper

***Note:  please be certain to use an organic orange and ginger root, and wash them well with soap and water or vegetable detergent before grating into your recipe***

 

Place figs into a small saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup and the figs are nice and soft.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Do not drain.

Heat olive oil and saute shallots over medium-low heat until they are very soft and translucent.  This should take about 15 minutes.  It is important to watch the heat — you don’t want to burn them.  Add extra oil in very small amounts (1/4 tsp at a time) if the shallots appear to be drying out.  Once soft, add to the figs.

Stir in the fresh ginger, orange and orange juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If the spread seems too chunky, you can puree about half of it.  I prefer mine to be chunky, so I did not puree it today.  Experiment with it and see what you like!  You could use lemon instead of orange, add capers instead of ginger, etc.

This spread works best if it is made one day ahead of eating.

Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Cranberry Nut Bread

This is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.  It does contain nuts (almond flour and walnut pieces), so adjust accordingly if you have a nut allergy.

Ingredients:

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup almond meal/flour (you could substitute millet or amaranth or oat flour here)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

3/4  cup “Just Like Sugar”

1 cup applesauce

1/8 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 -2 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest

1/3 cup canola oil

Energ-G egg replacer for 1 egg (to equal about 1/8 cup of liquid)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh cranberries (see notes below), chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a loaf pan — it is best to use a glass or ceramic pan, because a metal pan will cause the outside of the bread to get overdone, while the inside will not be cooked enough.  The easiest way to prepare the pan is to line it with a large sheet of parchment paper.  Leave some extra hanging over the edges so that when the bread is done, you can grab onto the edges and simply lift the bread up out of the loaf pan to cool on a wire rack.  It works really well, and there is no need to oil the pan or worry about sticking.

Mix together dry ingredients – through the “Just Like Sugar”.  I like to do this in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, and mix on a low speed to combine and to get rid of any lumps.

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.  You can also combine the cranberries and walnuts in a separate bowl to have them ready to mix in.

With the mixer on a low speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until you get a smooth batter.  If it is too dry, add a splash of orange juice or apple cider.

Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.  For those with nut allergies, just leave out the walnuts.  It still tastes great without them.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 55- 70 minutes.  The baking time depends on the type of pan you use and how hot your oven is.  I start checking mine at 45 minutes, but find that it usually takes 65 minutes to get truly done.  Done-ness is determined by sticking in a wooden skewer and having it come out clean.  Once done, remove the pan from the oven and lift your loaf out of the pan to let it cool on a wire rack.  The parchment paper will slip right off.

A note on cranberries:  the first time I made this bread, I used dried cranberries (“Craisins”) and didn’t add any sugar.  It turned out fantastically well.  The loaf was thoroughly cooked through and had a nice crumb.  You would hardly know it was a gluten-free product!  Today I used fresh cranberries, roughly chopped, and the loaf is much denser and moister than last time.  I would not recommend using frozen cranberries in this recipe unless you have thawed them and they are at room temperature when you mix them into your batter.  If they are cold, they will cause your loaf to take a much longer time to bake.

 

Tasty Tuesday, Part Two: Tofu-Ginger-Cilantro Soup

This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s very wonderful cookbook:  Vegetable Soups.  I highly recommend adding this book to your kitchen.

This particular recipe is wonderful for a damp, chilly fall or winter day.  It is a clear broth soup, so it is not too heavy.  It also has ginger and jalapeno peppers — very warming for the digestion!  It makes about 6 cups of soup.

To make it more of a meal, you could serve it with cooked rice noodles.  This soup is Gluten-free and Vegan, but does have soy in it, for those of you with allergies or sensitivities.

 

Ingredients:

6 dried shitake mushrooms (these are commonly found in markets now.  Locally, MOM carries them)

1 1/2 Tbsp peanut oil — best to get organic, unrefined oils

2 – 6 slices fresh ginger, about 1 1/2″ wide, smashed — I like a LOT of ginger in mine, so I use 4 to 6 slices

Sea Salt

2 – 4 tsp finely diced jalapeno pepper — if you like some heat, use more.  If not, go with 2 tsp.  It will have a nice tang, but will not be spicy

2 tsp minced fresh garlic

1/3 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped

2 bunches scallions, including 3″ of the greens, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely diced

8 to 10 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into small dice

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tsp wheat-free soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, plus more for serving

Toasted Sesame Oil, for serving

 

This soup is very quick to make if you are very organized — I strongly urge you to wash and chop all of the ingredients and have them ready to go before you turn on the stove.  Once you’ve done that, it is 15 minutes or so to the table!  You will also want a fine-mesh strainer and possibly some cheesecloth.

Cover the mushrooms with 5 cups of boiling water and set aside to rest while you are dicing your vegetables .  I also like to allow the ginger slices to rest in the oil at the bottom of my wok while I am dicing my vegetables.  It infuses into the oil.

Once you’ve done the preparation work, heat the oil over medium high heat (with ginger in it) and add 1/2 tsp of salt while you stir fry for a few seconds.  Add the jalapeno and garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes, adding the cilantro stems for the last 20 seconds or so.

Lower the heat to medium and add the scallions.  Cook for 3 minutes, until they turn bright green.  Then add the celery and 1/4 tsp of salt.

Now, strain the liquid from your dried mushrooms through the fine mesh strainer (you can use cheesecloth in the strainer if you like), squeezing the now plump mushrooms to get all of the liquid out.  Add this liquid to your soup pot.

Now, slice up your mushrooms and add to the soup.  Add in the tofu as well, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Right before serving, add in your chopped cilantro leaves and the soy sauce/tamari/Bragg’s.

Dress up each bowl with a bit more soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.  Enjoy!

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: October 25, 2011 Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Icing

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free and sugar free.  For those of you with allergies or sensitivities, it DOES contain almonds and soy.  Adapted from the Gluten Free Goddess.

 

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup “Just Like Sugar” — sugar substitute

3/4 cup tapioca starch

5 Tbsp. fructose

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp. each:  xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and cinnamon

1 /2 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup organic coconut oil (solid at room temp)

1 cup organic canned pumpkin (or fresh, if you have it!)

Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Icing:

1 1/2 cups “Just Like Sugar”

1/4 cup chilled vegan cream cheese

2 – 4 Tbsp organic maple syrup, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.  I used a ‘mini-bite’ pan for today.  You can use a mini, regular or jumbo pan.  Keep in mind the baking time is for a standard sized cupcake, and for a recipe made with cane sugar.  The sugar substitutes can change baking times, so you may want to keep an eye on things.  This recipe makes 12 standard cupcakes.

Mix together all of the dry ingredients using a whisk, or the whisk attachment to your stand mixer.  Cut in the coconut oil in pieces and combine until the mixture looks like sand.

Add in the wet ingredients — pumpkin, egg replacer and vanilla.  Beat on medium high until the batter is smooth and stretchy.

Spoon into your prepared cupcake tins.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  Remember to keep an eye on things!  Check for doneness by pressing on the top.  The cupcake should be springy when pressed, and a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.

Cool briefly in the pan on a wire rack, then remove each cupcake from the rack and let them cool on the rack in their papers for one hour before icing.

While the cupcakes are cooling, you can make your icing, as it should be refrigerated a bit before you ice the cupcakes.

Put your sugar substitute into your mixing bowl using the paddle attachment.  Add the cream cheese and start beating to combine.  Add in the maple syrup one tablespoon at a time, just enough for the desired consistency.  The frosting will look almost like a glaze.

Once cupcakes have cooled, frost and enjoy!

New Feature! Tasty Tuesdays ….

Introducing a new feature of the website (and here in the office) — “Tasty Tuesdays”.  Each Tuesday afternoon (we open at noon), we will have something tasty to try here in the office.  Generally, these foods will be gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian.  If you are here for an appointment, you will have the opportunity to try something new and delicious.  The recipes will be posted here on the website.  Check back with us each week to see what’s cookin’!