First, the unadorned version:
I have a fondness for cake. Gingerbread has always been one of my favorites, as is carrot cake. There's just something about the sweet and spicy all in one bite that I find hard to resist.
Back over the holidays, I spotted a bottle of molasses at Aldi, and ever since I bought it I've been wanting to make my favorite gingerbread, which is based on an old Cooking Light recipe. I don't often have eggs around, and since both siblings are no longer eating gluten, I wound up veganizing these and making them gluten free (no one will ever know if you don't tell them). A couple of notes--I like these as muffins because they are portioned out and easy to grab. And, really, who doesn't love the extra crust? These are just fine, too, without powdered sugar on top or you could go wild and frost them as you wish. Also, I didn't bother with the cloves and threw in a dash of Vietnamese Cinnamon, but that's just me.
Makes 8 robust muffins
1/4 c. hot water
1 T. (heaping) of flax meal
1/4 cup coconut oil (or you can use whatever oil or shortening you like)
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup plant milk (I used vanilla soy)
1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour mix
1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Powdered sugar (optional)
My cooking has been a bit different of late because of a few factors, including travel and lots of holiday visits (Thanksgiving at my mom's house, Christmas at D's dad's house). Another change here has been that I finally decided that though it seems like a luxury I would try out KC Organics Door-to-Door. So, a lot of the cooking I've been doing has been dictated by what I get in the box. If you live in KC, Chicago, Colorado, Michigan, or Milwaukee, you might give this service a try. Here's why:
So, what seemed like a luxury at first has turned out to be pretty cost effective, really. I have yet to price things out, but I don't think I could buy non-organic and get the variety I get in a box and spend less. Check out the site and you'll see some samples of what the different boxes contain.
As a result, I've been letting the box dictate what I cook in a way. That led to Sicilian Chard over Quinoa and Spinach Potato Tacos this week. Both of these recipes are keepers. I will admit that I made a few adjustments in the chard recipe--I used a bunch of chard and a bunch of Lacinato kale because that's what was in my fridge. The kale also helped cut the earthy taste of the chard (which I like, but it can be overwhelming). I would think kale alone would be fine if you don't like chard. Also, dark raisins were what I have and I used walnuts for the pine nuts. Because my preserved lemons were done and this dish is very tagine-like (olives, dried fruit, quinoa is very couscous like), I decided to chop one up and use it. Incredibly tasty!
The Spinach-Potato Tacos are from the folks at Forks Over Knives and they are quite tasty. I didn't have any cilantro, but I did have a jar of green salsa that went well with these. I also can recommend the FoK app for your phone. It's great if you are in the store and need to figure out what to cook for dinner so you can grab the ingredients. They add new recipes every week, too, so if you balk at the $4.99 price tag just know the app will grow over time.
A guest post today from my sister Debbie, who is working on cleaning gluten out of her diet. You can see her blog here. Enjoy! --Angel
Recently, my husband was told he might be a Celiac. Looking at the laundry list of symptoms, I came to realize I actually seem to have a lot more of the symptoms than he does. Adding to that, I am the one who cooks and largely shops for the kitchen. I would much rather just adapt to living gluten-free than have to fix food for each of us, and I have been tinkering around with some gluten-free ("GF") cooking--mainly trying to bake breads. I haven't had what I consider much success. The breads are dense and sometimes come out wet in the middle and well-done on the outside.
We donated unopened gluten-containing food items to the local Salvation Army food kitchen and distributed partially used items to friends and family who don't have any problems. It was a LOT of stuff. When you start thinking of cutting gluten from your diet, it becomes clear just how ubiquitous gluten is in our foodstuffs. Before this latest transition, we had been following a largely plant-based diet for the past two years. Getting rid of gluten cuts quite a range of vegetarian meat replacements out of one's diet. But not to fret, we will endure this as well.
Anway, I was commiserating with my spouse about the lost joys of pizza, french bread...you get the idea. I was searching the internet for recipes and came across one for Farinata Genovese on www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com. The recipe is an adaptation from one of Mark Bittman's recipes. Farinata is a Ligurian (province of Italy) flatbread made with chickpea flour. It's very simple as you basically mix a little chickpea flour with water, salt, and olive oil and let it rest for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. I'm thinking that since I loved the recipe letting it sit for an hour, I wonder what letting it sit for 12 will do for it. Ok, on with the cooking!
Farinata Genovese with Eggplant, Squash, and Peppers
1 cup Chickpea Flour
1-3/4 cup Water
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt or 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
1 teaspoon, ground Black Pepper
At least 5 tablespoons Olive oil, divided (I used my garlic-infused olive oil)
1/2 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary
1 eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced
1 yellow crookneck squash, sliced
3-5 small brightly colored sweet peppers, sliced
smoked mozzarella cheese (or cheese/vegan cheese of choice)
1. Mix the chickpea flour with the salt. While whisking, add 2 TBS of the oil and then slowly add the water. Once mixed, cover and let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour up to 12.
2. While the chickpea mixture is resting, prepare your mise en place. Wash and discard the ends of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Lay the eggplant onto a platter and lightly salt the tops of each layer when building the platter. Treat the squash the same way as you did the eggplant but add some garlic powder as well as salt.
3. Heat about 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet and spread it around. When the skillet is hot, add one layer of squash to the skillet and saute about 1 minute. Flip the squash and cook another minute. You are looking for a nice sear on each piece. Place the cooked squash on a clean platter. Proceed in this manner until all the squash is cooked. You may have to add 1 TBS of olive oil between each batch.
4. Cook the eggplant in the same manner as the squash until all the eggplant is cooked.
5. Preheat the oven to 400°F for at least 8 minutes.
6. Add about 3 TBS of olive oil to the skillet and saute the thinly sliced onion until brown and caramelized but not burnt, about 1-2 minutes. Spread the onions evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
7. Stir the chickpea mixture and add directly over the onions in the skillet and swirl to make sure it covers the entire bottom of the skillet.
8. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and the center is cooked.
10. Bring the skillet out and sprinkle the ground black pepper and rosemary over the baked farinata. Drizzle olive oil over the base. Layer the seared eggplant over the base. Layer the squash over the eggplant. Spread the cut peppers over the squash. Grate enough smoked mozzarella cheese to make a thin covering over all the vegetables.
11. Return to the oven and bake an additional 8 minutes at 400°.
12. Cut the finished farinata and serve in wedges while hot.
4-8 servings; serve with a crisp green salad with a lovely balsamic vinegarette. Buon appetito!
Angel lives in Camden, Arkansas where she writes stuff and sometimes sends it out to other people to read. She used to grade papers, but not anymore. Check out her main site to see what she's up to lately.