Archives for posts with tag: Gluten-Free

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It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A warm, sunny, almost no humidity Saturday in Brooklyn.

Bike: check. Saddle bag: check. Sunglasses, money: check check. Recipe? No la tengo.

I usually head to the market with a pretty good idea of what I want to buy and cook.  Not this weekend. Inspired in part by the new cookbook I’m editing, where the author’s focus is on method and what’s fresh, what inspires—rather than following a recipe exactly—I set off for the market with open eyes.

I went in search of what looked good. What’s in season right now, this week. I heard a rumor cherries were in and was hoping I might snag some of those.

But I got to the market late. One stall had em, not many, but I asked if they sprayed and the guy said yes. I appreciated his honesty but walked on by. If I’m buying produce from a Greenmarket I try at least to buy spray-free if not organic, even though it does cost more.

There was only one organic stand at the entire Grand Army Plaza market, at least that I could see. And the poor guy isn’t even on the main stretch with the other vendors but set back from the fray. Willow Wisp Organic Farm from Damascus, Pennsylvania. He did not have cherries. But kohlrabi, a variety of bok choy, cilantro, dill, numerous types of lettuces and radishes, and squash. Lots of squash.

That got me thinking. I’d buy my first zucchini of the summer and make a faux pasta with it. I have lots of basil growing at home so that would make for a nice combination. I bought some of the garlic scapes from Willow Wisp too, thinking I’d mash them with the basil and some olive oil. I knew I also had olives and walnuts back home and thought they’d add some nice saltiness and crunch. A raw and vegan (and gluten-free, if you’re into that kind of thing) lunch that takes just moments to put together.

This is a kind of lazy man’s pesto with big payoff. And a recipe of sorts just begging to be messed with. Just start with the zucchini squash and you can add whatever looks good or in season.
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If you’ve never made “pasta” from zucchini before it’s simple. You can use a regular vegetable peeler and slice the squash lengthwise—you’ll end up with a big heap of zucchini strands that look remarkably like fettuccine. Garlic scapes are the long, curly stalks that jut out from garlic plants. You can chop the green curly scape and use it much like you would garlic; the flavor is milder but you will still end up with potent garlic breath.

There’s a blog I’ve been reading called This Rawsome Vegan Life and a while back I tried one of her recipes for a raw, vegan, zucchini pasta with sundried tomatoes. This is a kind of riff on that, so thank you Emily!

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Zucchini Pasta with Basil and Garlic Scapes
Raw, vegan & gluten free
Serves 2

1/4 c olive oil
Handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 garlic scape, diced (1-2 tbsp)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon (more or less to taste)
Red chili flakes, pinch
2 large zucchini or 3 medium
1/4 c walnuts, rough chop
1/4 c black olives, rough chop
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the olive oil, basil, scapes, lemon zest and juice, and chili flakes in a glass or jar and muddle, trying to extract flavor from the basil leaves. Set aside for at least 15 minutes and prepare the pasta.

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise until you end up with a heap of long strands. Place in a large bowl and toss with the basil oil. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes before eating, the zucchini will absorb more of the flavors. Add the walnuts and olives before serving. Salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe could be made with any number of substitutions or additions. Regular garlic (or none) instead of the scapes. Sundried tomatoes. Capers. Shallots. I think the most important part thing to get right is enough acidity, spice, and salt. Or fresh peas and ricotta or feta with mint instead of basil.

Miscellaneous…
The two bottom photos are of Rockaway Beach from this past weekend and an art show hosted in part by PS1 at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. My friend Shingo Francis’s work is the blue piece. I’m kind of regretting right now I didn’t stay for the Patti Smith – Michael Stipe – James Franco performance(s)!

And a final note on the World Cup: not pleased that Mexico lost to the Netherlands today, and not until the 88th minute or so. Looking forward to watching US-Belgium Tuesday.

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Yes. I. Did. I so went there. In my last post I solicited ideas for using the leftover almond pulp from making almond milk. And wouldn’t you know my friend Monica wrote in with a great recipe from the Wishful Chef blog. Thank god, because who wants to throw out a pound of perfectly good organic ground-up almonds? Not I. Also, thanks Moni for introducing me to this great blog by a fellow Brooklynite.

So, here goes. One reason I made this, in addition to wanting to use all the leftover almonds, I had all the other ingredients on hand. Flax seeds: check. Coconut oil, almond milk: check, check. I didn’t actually have the two dates called for, but improvised by using dried apricots instead. This is a fast and forgiving recipe—I didn’t even quite measure everything exactly. And feel free to substitute if you don’t have all the right ingredients. No vanilla sugar? Just use sugar and vanilla extract. No coconut oil? You could use walnut oil, grapeseed oil, canola, etc. No dates? Any dried fruit would do.

These are great for a not-so-sweet accompaniment to your late-afternoon tea/coffee run. (Full disclosure: I’ve been eating these for breakfast.) It’s sort of like having almond butter on toast. Sort of. And the dark cocoa powder satisfies chocolate cravings, sans dairy, flour, or eggs. Magic.

While I really like the way these turned out, I will not be bringing them to my grandmother’s on Sunday. I think these definitely fall in the “too scary” category for her taste. Also, they are barely sweet at all. Kiss of death. (More for me.)

Actually, you could add some agave syrup to the mixture to increase the sweetness factor if you want something more desserty, but I kind of like these just the way they are.

Coconut Almond Cookies
Adapted from The Wishful Chef

2 c almond pulp, leftover from making almond milk
2 dates (or apricots, prunes, etc.) chopped and soaked in 2 tbsp hot water, then mashed to a pulp
1/2 c dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1/3 c almond milk
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tbsp raw cane sugar plus 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave syrup, optional
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll mixture into balls using about 1 tbsp of dough. Flatten out with the back of a fork, and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

The blogosphere is well-stocked with food blogs. Mine is one of probably one million. I think one of the best is David Lebovitz’s Living the Sweet Life in Paris.

While many Parisians had taken off for August, Lebovitz kept on blogging, in part from San Francisco, where he was attending the 40th anniversary celebrations of Chez Panisse, where he was a cook and pastry chef from 1986 to 1999.

I haven’t been baking much this summer but these brownies on his blog caught my eye. They’re gluten-free, for one, and looked fudgy and amazing. (He must shoot with a Canon 7D and not an iPhone.) I don’t even really eat brownies anymore—I’m trying to eat less sugar and chocolate—but they were too darn pretty not to try. I figured I wouldn’t have too much trouble pawning them off on friends or my grandmother.

Instead of flour the recipe calls for corn starch and unsweetened cocoa powder which act as binders along with the eggs and provide a brownie-like consistency instead of just fudge. These brownies do get crumbly but are chocolately, dense, and moist. You need to mix these well and apparently that will achieve a less crumbly consistency. One of the keys here is to use the best quality ingredients you can find. Good cocoa powder for example, high-quality chocolate (upgrade from Baker’s, for instance), and good butter. And that’s basically all these brownies are. I used Valrhona cocoa powder, Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bars, and unsalted Kate’s Butter from Maine.

For a twist, I added a pinch of cayenne pepper and two pinches of Maldon sea salt. You could taste the heat just a little bit with each bite to make you wonder what was that flavor. I used a cup of toasted walnuts, but you could also use almonds or pecans.

Next time I make these I might try adding one more egg, to achieve just a little more cake-like consistency and less crumble; maple syrup instead of turbinado sugar (some of the crystals didn’t melt and integrate); cacao nibs for crunch, like Lebovitz does; and instead of lining my pan with wax paper, which just stuck like glue to the bottom of the brownies even though greased, I wouldn’t use any liner and just butter and flour the bottom of the glass pan well.

And the good news: you can serve these to your gluten-free friends! (But sadly, not to vegan friends because of the eggs.) They’ll be an almost universal crowd-pleaser.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 9 brownies

6 tbsp (85 g) butter, salted or unsalted (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
8 oz (225 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c (150 g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp (30 g) corn starch
optional: 1 c (135 g) nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
optional: pinch of cayenne

Grease an 8-inch (23 cm) square pan then lightly flour. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180C).

In a double boiler (or on very, very low heat) melt the butter and chocolate (and salt, if using) in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.

Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a bowl, stir, then add to the chocolate mixture. Beat the batter vigorously for at least one minute (no less!), until the batter is smooth and not grainy. Add the nuts, if using, and pour into your pan.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting or transferring to a plate.

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