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Category Archives: gluten free recipes (pls note that all raw/vegan recipes are GF- these are predominantly cooked recipes)

My Blog Has Moved!

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My Blog Has Moved!

I’m not done blogging, but am doing so now from my new website, ArianeCooks.com.  You’ll find all the blogs I’ve already posted here, plus new video blogs I’ve begun making recently.  Also, there is lots of background on me as well as info about the chef services I offer.

I’ve already added two how-to video blogs: one on how to make homemade beet dye that will turn food INCREDIBLE colors naturally, and one on how you can superfood up smoothies in a tasty way.  Thanks for having followed BaringFruit, and I look forward to hearing from you at the ArianeCooks blog!

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Spring Roll Secrets

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For the entire year of 2007, the only album I listened to was Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine.”  This past fall, Mexicola avocados were in season for two months, and every day for breakfast and lunch I ate two small avo’s and a Hachiya persimmon (both from the same heaven-sent farmer).  When I get an obsession going, I tend to just ride it out, and eventually it wanes.  Thank heavens I don’t tend to get hooked on anything too expensive…

I’ve always been a fan of making fresh spring rolls, but ever since I created the almond-tamarind sauce I blogged about here, ALL I WANT TO EAT IS KALE SALAD SPRING ROLLS.  I limit myself to two meals a day of them max.  In the last month or so, I’ve made no less than 1-2 dozen batches of spring rolls– enough that I have acquired a few good tips about working with those daunting yet delicious rice paper circles.

1. Soaking the rice paper sheets in warm water will expedite the time needed for prep.  Sure, 1-2 minutes isn’t forever to wait per sheet, but if you’re making a big batch, extra down time can slow your process.  Once you get a rhythm going, you can place a new sheet in the water as soon as you pull the ready one out, and it will be ready when you’ve finished filling the first.  Conversely, if you find you just can’t keep up, soak them in cold water to give yourself at least 3-4 minutes to construct each roll.   Either way, you will streamline the procedure by placing a new sheet in the water directly upon taking out the old.

2. If one meal is not enough– and if you make them well, it won’t be!– it’s easier than you think to make extra and have them not dry out.  When you pull the rice paper out of the water, don’t dry it on a paper towel as is generally recommended.  For one, it will be easier to work with and less inclined to tear during folding, and for another, they will keep without drying out for at least two days because of the additional moisture in the paper.  Store them in an airtight container, and if they do dry out after a couple days, wet your hands with cool water and rub them gently; they’ll soften right back up.

3. Punch up flavor by dressing some of the ingredients.  You can add a simple sauce to one ingredient, making sure to drain it well, or dress all ingredients.  Marinating porous foods like mushrooms (yes, you can totally put mushrooms in spring rolls) beforehand will lend additional flavors to the overall product.

4. If presentation is key, of course you want all ingredients julienned and placed in the wrappers individually.  However, if you just want to eat something very yummy and perfectly decent looking, make a salad of your ingredients, and pack a few spoonfuls of it into the wrappers.  I’ve been making this salad and just tossing 1/2 cup or so of it into each wrapper, while using extra dressing as the dipping sauce.  You don’t need to julienne anything, but everything should be fairly small, and you do want to avoid any sharp edges that might tear the rice paper.

5. The ingredient options for spring rolls are fairly endless, but fresh herbs are key.  If you simply can’t get a hold of any because the urge to make rolls strikes when you can’t get to the store, get creative with greens.  When I wanted them but had no herbs on hand, I used carrot fronds, and it worked perfectly.

6. Think outside the Asian box.  The spring rolls I made with carrot fronds had a main filling of a salad that consisted of sprouted chickpeas, dried sour cherries, and grass fed Greek yogurt.  They were hearty and filling and in no way authentic, but one bite of a unique combo like that will have you proudly calling yourself a fusion chef.

7. There’s no need for noodles in my book (I’m not a huge fan of carb filled carbs: rice in a burrito is madness to me), but should you prefer your spring rolls with something stringy, kelp noodles make a wonderful healthy option.  Simply soak them beforehand according to package directions.

8. For an extra pretty punch, place a mint, parsely, or cilantro leaf inside as you’re wrapping it up.  Wrap it most of the way, center a leaf or two on it, then fold over the final edge.  Make sure that the leaf doesn’t reach the edge of the wrapper, or it won’t stick properly to itself.

A moderately traditional vegan set up: cucumbers, red carrots, spinach leaves, Dave’s Gourmet tempeh, kelp noodles, mint

Decidedly untraditional vegetarian rolls: sprouted chickpeas mixed w/dried sour cherries and grass fed Greek yogurt, roasted sweet potatoes, carrot fronds, and Belgian endive

My SuperSauce of the Moment

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When it comes to dressings and sauces, I typically maintain a close and strong relationship with mustard.  Any savory food + mustard = better tasting food, I feel, and I usually construct my salad dressings and dipping sauces around it.  However, just because I have monomaniacal tendencies doesn’t mean I’m a total bore, and lately I’ve been very into tamarind.  In the past I’ve bought whole dried beans and soaked them, but I’m often unsatisfied with the flavor and texture of that, so I tend to get jars of tamarind paste instead (which has no other ingredients, just the fruit).

Tamarind, in all its goodness, doesn’t particularly get along with mustard, so my sauce experiments of late have had different bases.  Through the trial and error of fridge and cupboard random ingredient exploration, I have come up with a salad dressing/dipping sauce/stir fry sauce, aka SuperSauce, that is rich, creamy, sour, sweet, salty and spicy.  The only thing we’re missing here is bitter, and I pretty much hate bitter, so this to me is a perfect combo of flavors that I have been using in everything from salad to spring rolls. It also works for basting veggies or proteins with before baking, or as a sauce for noodles (kelp, brown rice, soba, or if you’re totally retro, flour) or other grains, and can be thinned with water if desired.

Tamarind SuperSauce: (makes enough for 6-8 servings)
1/2 cup almond butter
3 tbls coconut nectar or honey
3 tbls tamari or nama shoyu
1 1/2 tbls tamarind paste
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
5-8 drops liquid stevia

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Ratios can be changed depending on your preference, though too much more tamarind will make it unpalatably sour.  (As is, the tamarind flavor is quite prominent.)  For a more typical Asian-sauce flavor, you could substitute almond butter with peanut butter.

Tamarind SuperSauce dressing a winter salad of dino kale, shaved carrots, apples, and radishes.

 

Blog-Worthy Beans (gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

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These beans were totally worth blogging about.

I’ve been out of the blog-habit lately; I hadn’t made any new and interesting food, my CO recovery hasn’t made any new leaps or bounds, and I’ve been outside enjoying the summer as much as I can.  My only news, really, is that I started swimming again after a many year hiatus, and within about three weeks, am just about up to a mile!  Monday I swam 1400 meters, and tomorrow I’m going for the full 1600.

I’ve also been still sticking to the Wahls’ Diet, which is why I haven’t made anything too terribly thrilling– I never thought I could get tired of vegetables, but my goodness, I am pretty damn veggied out!  That said, tonight I made some haricot verts that are AWESOME TASTING.  They are gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan, but not soy-free because I used Bragg’s liquid aminos.  You could switch out coconut aminos, which I have but didn’t use because I didn’t want to impart any sweet flavor.  The soy isn’t Wahls’ compliant, but with a daily consumption of nine cups of produce, you kinda have to let a condiment slide by here and there.   There are definitely more condiments in this dish than I’ve been using on my veggies lately, but these also taste better than any veggies I’ve made in weeks, so there is something to be said for that.

Fan-freaking-tastic Easy Stir Fried Green (or Purple) Beans
1 lb haricot verts or regular size beans; I had purple ones on hand from the market
4 cloves garlic
1/2-1 chopped jalapeno
1-2 tbls Braggs
2-3 tbls So Delicious plain coconut kefir
1 1/2 tbls chile powder; I used Frontier Herbs, which I think is the absolute tastiest
1/2-1 tbls oil (grapeseed, olive, etc.) Feel free to omit if you’re low-fat, and saute in water instead.

Take stems off beans. If using full-sized green beans, feel free to cut into manageable pieces. Heat a pan on medium high heat, and add oil, garlic and jalapeno. Saute for a minute or so, then add green/purple beans and chile powder. Stir frequently for about five minutes, then deglaze pan with Braggs. Cook another five minutes or less, until beans are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and stir in coconut kefir. Note that purple beans, which are a little sweeter and gorgeous when raw, will turn plain old greenish brown when cooked.

There’s no need for salt or pepper, seeing as Braggs is salty and jalapenos are spicy. The coconut kefir adds a richness to balance out the strong flavors of those, while also adding a unique tang.

Ridiculously Delicious Sweet Potatoes (Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan)

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Dessert has a different meaning in my world currently than it used to… though I ate a lot of raw and vegan desserts anyway, on the Wahls’ Diet (which I’ve been doing to heal from CO poisoning) there aren’t too many dessert-friendly ingredients allowed.  I’m still square with avocado pudding, thank heavens, and have eaten that pretty damn regularly, as evidenced by previous blogs.  However, before I also baked somewhat regularly, and even when I made gluten-free stuff there was usually some sort of grain SOMETHING involved.  When I decided to do the diet I did so fully (I went free of everything suggested), meaning that for now, with the exception of one small serving of a cheat food every 1-2 weeks, I am pretty much all Wahls-compliant food all the time.

And that means that in order to switch things up with the avocados, I’ve been rethinking sweet potatoes.  Though not normally allowed on a Paleo-based diet, Wahls allows both beets and sweet potatoes in the “brightly colored” category because of their high nutrient content.  Rather than a side dish, I’ve been treating them as dessert, and they work very well as one.  Inspired first by Erewhon’s deli-counter sweet potato puree with coconut milk and vanilla, then by a blog about using sweet potatoes as a basis for a peanut butter pie, I’ve come up with a pretty freaking tasty version of sweet potatoes.  There’s no butter, no sugar, no soy, and no need for any of it.  It’s rich, it’s decadent, and it will satisfy your dessert tooth, I promise.  Amounts given are basic guidelines so that you can make as small or large a batch as desired.

 

Ridiculously Delicious Everything-Free Sweet Potatoes:

Garnet sweet potatoes, aka yams, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices then rough chopped into 3/4 inch squares and triangles. I do enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, which is about half a dozen medium ones.
Put chopped sweet potatoes into a dish, and preheat oven to 375.

Add:
enough unsweetened coconut milk to go 1 inch up the pan– not so much that it will boil over.

Sprinkle liberally with:
Himalayan salt
cinnamon
ginger
a touch of cloves
vanilla

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, and adding more milk as needed– don’t let them dry out. They should take about an hour to bake.

Stir every few minutes as they cool, adding 1/2 cup coconut milk at a time until they stop absorbing it. I use at least 2 additional cups over what I used when they cooked.

Once cooled, throw the whole lot into a blender.

Add:
1-2 droppers each toffee and hazelnut stevia
1/3 cup (or more) almond butter
more salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and/or ginger to taste

Blend until mostly smooth, with some chunks remaining if you prefer (I do). Eat as is, or layer with additional almond butter, avo pudding, or anything else. The coconut milk is rich enough that you won’t even notice the lack of butter, but if you are used to super decadent sweet potatoes you could add some coconut oil, or more almond butter. The stevia alone makes them more than sweet enough, since they are very sweet to begin with.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Revisited: Fresh/Healthy Gluten-Free Vegan Fruit-and-Nut bars

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A couple of Thanksgivings ago I got hooked on my own adaptation of this recipe from Elana’s Pantry for cranberry bars.  I used  a crust that had coconut flour in addition to the nuts she uses, and saved some to sprinkle on top, which was an idea I got many years ago from America’s Test Kitchen, when they did an oatmeal-based recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars.  I love using one mixture for two different textures and purposes in a dish.  This past week my mom sent me a few new recipes from Elana’s site, including this one for Raspberry Streusel.  While I liked the idea of her recipe, it made me long for those old peanut butter and jelly bars, so I jumped ship from her basic recommendations and came up with a new version of that old favorite of mine.

Generally when baking for myself, I use either all stevia or a combo of raw buckwheat honey and stevia, but I wanted to make something that Ace would enjoy too, and she is a firm believer in desserts involving actual sugar.  Since I was already making this vegan and gluten-free, I decided to use coconut sugar as the sweetener, which is a good compromise because it has no bitter flavor like stevia, but is still moderately low-glycemic.  You could easily sub out the sugar for stevia, xylitol, or erythritol, but since these still have fruit in them they wouldn’t be completely sugar-free.

Strawberry-Cherry Almond Butter Streusel Bars:

Filling: (any other fruits could be substituted in same proportions)
16 oz strawberries, cut into halves or quartered depending on size
1/2 cup dried (unsweetened) tart cherries
3 dates, soaked for 10 minutes in hot water, then chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup date soak water
1/4 cup coconut sugar
Cook stovetop on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until strawberries are limp, cherries are plump, and dates have mostly dissipated.

Top Crumble and Bottom Crust:
1 cup nuts- I used 3/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup walnuts
Pulse in food processor until finely ground
Add:
1 cup almond flour or meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (Earth Balance or butter could be used if that flavor is preferred)
2 tbls coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pulse until a crumble forms, then place 2/3 of mix into a greased 9×7 or 8×8 baking dish.
Press crumble down firmly with hands until a uniform layer is formed.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Assembly:
Once crust has cooled slightly, gently spread 1/3 cup almond butter onto it. (You could, of course, use peanut butter instead- almond is just a healthier option.)
Add fruit filling to pan and spread to edges.
Drop remaining crumble on top, scattering about into randomly sized bits and pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then allow to cool before cutting.

These are the bars right out of the oven:

And this is how the layers look once cut:

If strawberries aren’t in season and you want to use apples, below is a similar cobbler/crumble/streusel I made with those, on its way into the oven.  Lining them up makes for a very pretty presentation.

Easy, From-Scratch Vegan Chili

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Beans from the bulk section of a grocery store are a staple for me, both for sprouting (plain sprouted garbanzos are on of my favorite snacks) and for making the occasional pressure cooker stew.  I have a strict no-cans policy for food; cooking your own beans is cheaper, chemical-free, and provided you take a moment in the morning to soak them in water, not nearly as time consuming as people fear.

Chili is one of my favorite things to make in the pressure cooker.  It’s under an hour start-to-finish, easy to customize for veggies and non-veggies alike, and super tasty.  My parents gave me a huge bag of Frontier chili powder blend last time we visited, and my father said it made some of the best chili he’s had.  I’ve used it in small doses in dishes lately, but nothing where it really got to shine; now that I’ve made chili out of it, I have to agree that it is pretty much the tastiest chili powder blend I’ve ever used.  It has a deep, dark, rich flavor, thanks to the addition of both allspice and cloves, with a mild heat.  Its ingredients can be viewed here.

Beyond the chili powder, my ingredient list for this is pretty standard.  I think what makes it so flavorful without any meat or fake meat is the method of cooking all aromatics first and the additions of cider vinegar and chipotle.

Super Tasty Vegan Chili:

1 1/2 cups each kidney and pinto beans OR
1 cup each kidney, pinto, and black beans
1 7 oz glass jar tomato paste like bionaturae organic (please don’t use cans! Canned tomatoes are the worst canned food of all, because the acid in tomatoes leeches all the chemicals from the can into the food.)
1 32 oz glass jar pureed tomatoes, also bionaturae organic or other organic, jarred brand (if it is spring or summer, you can puree enough tomatoes to make 32 oz.)
32 oz water or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, 1/4 separated
6 large cloves garlic, 2 cloves separated
3 jalapenos, 1 separated
1/3 cup chili blend
2 tbls oregano
2 tbls cumin
1 tbls garlic salt, or to taste
1 tsp chipotle powder
2 tbls apple cider vinegar
2 tbls grapeseed or other neutral oil

1. Soak beans in the morning in plenty of water. Drain, rinse.
2. Chop jalapenos, onion, and garlic into desired sizes; I do a moderately fine dice, and like to use both green and red chiles:

3. Saute chiles, onion, and garlic in grapeseed oil until lightly colored.
4. Add all spices, saute until fragrant.
5. Deglaze pot with cider vinegar.
6. Add tomato paste, cook until it darkens.
7. Add beans, water or broth, and pureed tomatoes.
8. Put top on pressure cooker and let cook for 35-45 minutes once pressurized. Alternately, cook in regular pot on medium-high for 50-70 minutes, until beans are tender.

Vegetable Blend:
You can use this as a side dish, add to chili afterwards to ensure that your veggies don’t get overcooked, or add it straight in to the pot. If adding directly into chili, add during last 10 minutes in pressure cooker, or last 20 minutes in a regular pot.

1 head broccoli
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch collard greens
reserved portions of garlic, jalapeno, onion
2 tbls chili powder
1 tbls grapeseed oil
1 tsp garlic salt
This is what I had on hand this week- you can change it up to any veggies of your choosing! I’ve made it with spinach, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.

1. Chop veggies into large bite size pieces.
2. Cook jalapeno, garlic, onion, till fragrant.
3. Add chili powder, saute briefly.
4. Add veggies, and stir frequently until tender-crisp, about ten minutes.

If you choose to instead cook the veggies into the chili, don’t reserve the garlic/onion/jalapenos, and add veggies raw.

Top with any chili toppings you prefer; I used almond cheddar cheese for mine.

It is thoroughly worth an hour of your time to have food you can enjoy for days and feel guilt-free about, knowing that you made it without convenience foods and chemicals.  The difference in taste alone makes it worth it!

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