Tag Archives: Fall

Wild Mushroom Soup – Dairy Free

wpid-wp-1424227428484.jpegI’m excited to share this recipe with you; I haven’t been coming up with much in the soup recipe department lately simply because I have so many great ones already that we rotate through regularly. I have however been meaning to work out a healthier version of the classic creamy mushroom soup and, in lieu of a bit of a mushroom kick I’ve been on lately, I finally have one to share!  This soup is so easy to prepare, you can use any mix of mushrooms you like and the creamy base is from cauliflower not cream.  Super healthy, very tasty and easy to prepare – perfect right?   As for the mushroom kick, I’m still feeling it, planning on going on a little wild mushroom picking course soon too so I’m sure another post-able mushroom recipe or two will come about.

Large heavy bottom soup pot
Butter and/or Oil
5          cups of water and broth
2          medium heads of Cauliflower, stemmed, broken into pieces
3          cloves Garlic, crushed
1          large Sweet Onion, chopped
2          teaspoons Onion Powder
2          tablespoons, fresh Thyme
6          cups mixed fresh Wild Mushrooms, (chanterelles, girolles, trompettes de mort, shiitake, oyster ect), clean, coarsely chopped
1          small bunch fresh Parsley, chopped
1          lemon, juiced
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
Truffle Oil *optional but worth it
Italian Mascarpone Cheese or Greek Goat Yogurt *optional

First step to this recipe is to boil the cauliflower, place the broken up pieces into your pot then add 2-3 cups of water, enough to just cover the cauliflower then boil with a lid on until the cauliflower is well cooked and very mushy.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend well.  Set aside.

In a fry pan, heat butter or oil and fry up the mushrooms with a little sea salt until they are browned.  Add chopped parsley, toss and set aside.

Rinse out the soup pot and return to the stove to medium-high heat, add some oil or butter and then sauté the garlic, onions and thyme until the onions are translucent.

Add onion powder, your broth (approximately one liter), the creamy cauliflower base and 1/3 to 1/2 of the sautéed mushroom mix, stir to combine and heat for 5 minutes to incorporate.

Return the soup to your blender or processor and blend until smooth.  At this point you can add a cup or two more water or broth to adjust thickness.

Return to pot, adjust sea salt and pepper, and add lemon juice.

To serve, ladle into bowls, pile some of your sautéed mushrooms on top and drizzle with truffle oil.

If dairy is not an issue for you it is nice to add a dollop of Mascarpone cheese or even a scoop of Greek Goat Yogurt but again, this is totally optional.

I also served this with a piece of crusty bread……so delicious.

Enjoy!

GF Pumpkin Millet Muffins with Cranberries

wpid-2014-08-31-10.17.00.jpg.jpegHere is my new healthier version of a very Fall favourite muffin. Millet and Pumpkin go so well together and with all the spices and lightly sweet coconut sugar these muffins are the perfect chilly morning with tea kind of treat.
I chose to use half almond flour and half prepared gluten free flour mix but you could go all almond flour or go the other way and swap out the almond flour completely to make these nut free (omit the pumpkin seeds too then of course). Might change the baking time slightly but just keep an eye on them as they near the 25 minute mark. You could also use organic wheat flour if you wish. I use a full fat Greek goat yogurt here but you could use a dairy version or even buttermilk if you wish but do your body a favour and stay with organic and do not try to use a light yogourt. Only other ingredient detail to mention I think would be the cranberries, I only have juice sweetened cranberries in my kitchen, if you haven’t tried them yet I suggest you do, they are SO much tastier and better for you than the oiled sugar, sulphonated ones. Whole Foods carries them in bulk or every health food store should stock them. Pumpkin seeds can be purchased already toasted but to toast the millet, heat on medium high in a pan, shaking often until you hear them start to crackle and pop then remove. This recipe makes two dozen smaller muffins, filling the cups almost ¾ full but you can fill a one dozen pan to make 12 larger ones.

Oven 350 degrees
2 Muffin pans, oiled

3     large Organic Eggs
1/2  cup Coconut Oil, melted
1     cup Greek Goat Yogurt
3/4  cup Coconut Sugar
1     teaspoon Vanilla
1     can Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/2  cup Oats
1/2  cup Millet, toasted
1/2  cup Pumpkin Seeds, toasted
1/2  cup Juice Sweetened Cranberries
1     cup Almond Flour
1     cup Gluten-free Flour
2     teaspoons Baking Power
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2  teaspoon Sea Salt
2     teaspoons Cinnamon
1     teaspoon Ginger
1     teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2  teaspoons ground Cardamom

Beat Eggs with Oil, Yogourt, Coconut Sugar and Vanilla. I use a food processor but you can hand mix if you like.

Add Pumpkin, mix,

Add Oats, toasted Millet and Pumpkin Seeds, mix,

Add Cranberries, mix,

Add remaining ingredients and mix or process well.

Spoon into greased or lined muffin pan then sprinkle with coconut sugar and a few more pumpkin seeds.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Chestnut, Parsnip and Fennel Soup

fennel parsnip soupHere is a little different soup perfect for Winter; I try to eat food that is local and in season so fennel and parsnips fit right into that rule and chestnuts are a staple in my kitchen this time of year, they pop up in the grocery store in the Fall but you can get canned ones all year round.  It’s fun to oven roast chestnuts to eat as a snack but kind of an extra step for making soup, I honestly went to Whole Foods and got an organic can of chestnuts for this soup (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with Water Chestnuts!).

chestnutsNutritionally this soup has it going on: Chestnuts, unlike other nuts and seeds, are relatively low in calories, contain less fat but are rich in minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients that benefit health, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin-C and folates, they are a good source of mono-unsaturated fats, and an excellent source of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, besides providing a very good amount of potassium and B-Complex Vitamins!   Parsnips are rich in several in Vitamin C, E and K, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin and B-6.  , Parsnips are also an excellent source of minerals such as copper, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.  Fennel is a super food, has many health benefits and aids in digestion.  Follow this LINK to see more in-depth breakdown of its value.

Medium-large heavy bottomed soup pot
2          tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1          Leek, thinly sliced (white and pale green only)
1          tablespoon Fennel Seeds, lightly crushed
1          Fennel Bulb, coarsely chopped
2          medium/large Parsnip, peeled and diced
1          cup Chestnut, cooked and peeled
6          cups Vegetable Broth

Sea Salt and Ground Pepper

Heat oil over medium/high heat and sauté the leek, fennel seeds and fennel until slightly softened.

Add Parsnips and chestnuts and pour in broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until the parsnips are soft.

Remove from heat and puree the soup until silky smooth.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cake

SONY DSCThis recipe is amazing.  I had never made a cheese cake before let alone attempted a goat cheese and gluten-free one and to be honest I was pretty nervous as botching it would mean wasting A LOT of pricey ingredients, not to mention I made it for my first try the night before a dinner party but since I am here posting it obviously it was a success!   I have had no issue in the past making traditional dairy recipes with coconut milk so I was confidently hopeful it would work here too and it did.  I made this one another time with goat yogurt and milk and it turned out great too! If using coconut milk I suggest full fat thick coconut milk and even draining off the separated liquid, you can find thickened coconut cream at some health food store which would work beautifully but it’s not necessary.  The only other detail worth mentioning is whether you decide to use a “water bath” or not.  I’ve now made this recipe both ways, the water bath method worked and the cake was very moist but the bake time was unbelievably lengthy, I honestly lost track but it was well over an hour and a half in my oven.  The cake turned out without a water bath too but it did crack.  Maybe do some further research yourself and decide which way you want to go. For the crust I bought one box of gluten-free Graham Crackers and one box of Mary’s Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps from Whole foods and combined at about a 2/3rds Graham to 1/3 Ginger Snap but honestly you can’t go wrong anyway here, use both or one or the other, doesn’t really matter.  My guests consisted of a man I planned to impress, a very dear friend and fellow health foodie, her partner, a cheese loving, health foodie skeptic and their young daughter who said “seriously I don’t even usually  like cheese cake but this one, with the pumpkin I love!”.  All thoroughly enjoyed this cake and they even took the left overs home with them.  I served it with a dollop of a vegan whipped topping mixed with cinnamon.  Seriously Delicious.

A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes
Large Sheet Tin Foil  (if doing a water bath *see below)
Second Large Baking Pan

Graham Cracker Pie Crust:
1.5          cups gluten-free Graham Cracker/Ginger Snap Crumbs, finely ground
1              tablespoon Coconut Sugar
5              tablespoons melted unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil, melted
Cake:
1.5          lbs or 24 ounces of un-ripened soft Goat Cheese, room temp
3/4         cup Coconut Sugar
1/4         Raw Cane Sugar
1              cup/can Pumpkin Puree (make your own or store-bought), room temp
1              cup full fat Coconut Milk, cold  (or 3/4 cup Greek Goat Yogurt and 1/4 cup Goat’s Milk, also cold)
5              large Eggs, room temp
1              teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1              teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4         teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2         teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4         teaspoon ground Clove
1/8         teaspoon ground All Spice
1/8         teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt

For the Crust

Oven 325 degrees. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan twice with aluminum foil (preferably heavy-duty). Take care to pull the foil all the way up the sides so that water cannot seep in from the water bath. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with coconut oil. Pulse the crackers (or crumbs) and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Dump the moistened crumbs into the prepared pan and, using a measuring cup or glass, press into an even layer. Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling

Bring about 2 litres of water to a simmer in a kettle (this will be used for the water bath). In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputter, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until thick, bronzed and shiny. Scrape the mixture into a large food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 1 minute.

With the motor running, add the cold coconut cream then the goat cheese (cut into chunks) and process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides if necessary, or until smoothly incorporated.

Add the eggs and process for about 5 seconds or just until incorporated (do not over mix!).

Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter into the cooled crust, and then pour enough boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about halfway up side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, about 1-1 1/2 hours. If it jiggles, it’s not done.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set on a wire rack. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil and set on a wire rack. Continue to cool at room temperature until barely warm, about 3-4 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

CHEESECAKE TIPS

1) A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes.

2) Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

3) For even marbling and the best distribution of added ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, do not over-soften or over-beat the cream cheese.

4) Avoid over-baking: Cheesecake baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.

5) Upon removal from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This allows the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools.

6) Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack away from drafts.

7) After a cheesecake has cooled completely, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the springform pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

8) Baked cheesecakes freeze well. Cool them completely and wrap them securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings.

PREVENTING SURFACE CRACKS

The most common complaint is cracking that develops through the middle of the cheesecake during or after baking.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath (instructions below) to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle.

Don’t overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Cheesecake will shrink as it cools. Generously greasing the sides of the baking pan before pouring in batter will allow the cake to pull away from the pan as it cools and shrinks instead of pulling apart from the middle.

Cheesecakes have a tendency to crack, but they don’t have to. This favorite American dessert can have a cracked surface for a number of reasons. One cause is air trapped inside the batter – a result of over-mixing. Once in the oven, the air bubble expands and wants to escape from the cake. As it finds its way out of the top of the cake, it creates a crack or crevice in the cake’s surface. Another cause of a cracked surface is a drastic temperature change.

How to avoid cracks then? Be sure to mix your cheesecake batter well, eliminating all possible lumps in the cream cheese BEFORE you add the eggs. It is the eggs that will hold air in the batter, so add them last, and mix as little as possible once they are in the mix.

Also, be sure to cook your cheesecake gently. Use a water bath – wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil and place it in a larger pan with water in it, just halfway up the outside of the springform pan. This will allow the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly.

Finally, cook your cheesecake slowly – at 325º F. After about 45 minutes, turn your oven off and leave the cheesecake inside the turned off oven for another hour. Cool at room temperature with a plate or cookie sheet inverted over the cheesecake to slow the cooling. Only then can you refrigerate the cake, which you will need to do for another 6 hours at least.

If after all this, you still have a crack, make a topping or a sauce for your cheesecake, and tell all your guests that you intentionally made a special crack in the top of the cake to hold more sauce!

ready-to-bake-in-water-bath” Water Bath ” For Baking Cheesecakes

A “water bath” is a method that will help keep your cheesecake from cracking while baking.

Instructions For Water Bath

First, take heavy aluminum foil, and wrap it around sides and bottom of your springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom. This prevents leakage while baking your cheesecake.

Place your springform pan or cheesecake pan (filled with cheesecake batter and crust) into a larger deep baking pan* that it will fit into easily.

*Note: The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth.

Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle filled with very hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake cheesecake as directed. When cheesecake is done, remove springform pan or cheesecake pan (if using) from “water bath” in oven. Carefully remove larger pan with water in it from oven. It will be very hot. Discard water when it has cooled.

Remove aluminim foil from sides and bottom of pan after your cheescake has cooled completely in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to release sides of springform pan, or remove cheesecake from a cheesecake pan with removable bottom (if using) and cheescake has cooled in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight; this is the best time to remove aluminum foil.

Gluten-free Plum Cake

20130830_124746Wow, pretty proud of this one, I very much enjoyed this cake.  I have a tree in my backyard that is loaded with tasty dark purple tart skinned but sweet fruit plums and I was trying to come up ideas on what to do with them all.  A dear friend of mine was visiting earlier this week and asked if he could have a bag to take to him Mom to make a plum cake, now, to be honest I have never tried or even heard of plum cake so naturally I was intrigued.  A few days later, I got to try his mom’s cake, and, it was good, really basic but…cringle…ingredients: oil, sugar, white flour and a few eggs… which in my head screams CHALLENGE!    Today a friend came over to have a cook day; we harvested the plums (also apples, recipes for those to follow) and made a bunch of fun stuff. 20130830_172730 I pretty much just wung it with the cake, I took Mom’s recipes into account and started swapping, we had so many plums we made two cakes right away, she took one home to bake and I baked mine a couple hours ago.  Nailed it.  Wouldn’t change a thing.  Love when that happens!  It’s super moist, fluffy, tarp and just the right amount of sweet.  I used coconut oil and only half a cup of raw cane sugar to health it up a bit too. Also, I made a gluten free flour blend for this one, usually I try to measure per recipe but since we were making two it just I’ve made sense for me.  It’s always good to have a good gluten free flour mix on hand anyway.  I didn’t use any of my previously posted blends simply because I was missing some ingredients, so, technically I wung it here too, ha. I’ve posted the blend below but you can obviously try a store bought blend if you prefer, just look at the ingredient list for something with a couple flours, a starch and xanthan gum.  Sometimes the blends already have baking powder in them and that would probably mess the recipe up.   Have fun and enjoy! x

Oven 350 degrees

8 inch glass baking pan, greased with coconut oil
2           cups Fresh Plums, chopped
Small bowl
1/2       cup organic Cane Sugar
1/2       cup Coconut Oil, melted
3            large Eggs
1/2       cup Coconut Milk, room temperature
2            teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract
Large Bowl
1 3/4    cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend*
1             teaspoon Baking powder
1/2        teaspoon Baking soda
1/2        teaspoon Sea Salt
10          fresh Plums for topping, cut in half (approx.)
1             tablespoon Coconut Sugar mixed with Cinnamon for Sprinkling 20130830_182314In your small bowl combine the sugar and melted coconut oil and mix.  Add eggs and hand beat until sugar is melted and slightly whipped. Add Coconut Milk and Vanilla and mix again.  Set Aside. Combine dry ingredients in the large bowl and stir.  Add wet to dry and mix well. Add chopped plums combine then pour into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Coconut Sugar and Cinnamon then completely cover the top of the cake with plum halves, open side down. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Let stand before serving. 20130830_202936

*Gluten Free Flour Blend

2              cups White Rice flour
2              cups Sweet Sorghum Flour
2              cups gluten free Oat Flour
1/2         cup Potato Starch
1/2         cup Arrowroot Flour
1              cup Tapioca Flour
4              teaspoons Xanthan Gum

Mix all the ingredients in either a glass container or large ziploc bag.  Sift together using a large wire whisk to really incorporate all of the flours.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cranberries and Dark Chocolate– Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free (Vegan)

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cranberries and Dark Chocolate– Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free (Vegan)

20101215-cookie-swap-oatmeal-610A lovely fellow health foodie and friend gave me some organic pumpkin from her father’s garden this week, so, I made my Pumpkin Scones (which worked egg free by the way) and these tasty little gems.  I used coconut sugar which I have been experimenting with with great results and food processor made oat flour and ground flax.  The flax acts like an egg replacer and stabilizer for this quite healthy cookie.  The recipe is vegan up until the chocolate chips, if you wish the recipe to be vegan just omit the chocolate or use a vegan chocolate chip of some sort.  These cookies are good with or without nuts, cranberries and chocolate chips.

350 degrees
Hand mixer
Large Bowl
3              cups Oat Flour
1               cup Rolled Oats
¾            teaspoon Baking Soda
¾            teaspoon Sea Salt
4              teaspoons Cinnamon
1               teaspoon ground Ginger
½            teaspoon ground Nutmeg
¼            cup Pumpkin Seeds
½            cup Apple Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries
½            cup Dark Chocolate Chips (Vegan if you like)
Medium bowl
1              cup softened Virgin Coconut Oil (or unsalted butter)
1 ½        cups Coconut Sugar
¼            cup ground Flax Seeds
1              cup Pumpkin Puree
1              tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Combine dry in a large bowl.  Combine wet in a medium bowl and blend using a hand mixer.  Combine wet and dry and let sit for 15 minutes.

Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges.  Allow to cool before serving.  Makes two dozen.

Miso Mustard Cabbage and Fennel Salad

Had a couple of ½ heads of cabbage and a fennel bulb to use in my fridge so I put this cole slaw like salad together tonight, it’s quite tasty now, looking forward to having some fully marinated for lunch tomorrow.  The fennel in this salad is key, fennel is crunchy, slightly sweet and refreshing and, it is a powerful antioxidant, has anti inflammatory properties and aids in digestion.  Fennel is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, Folate,  Potassium and high in fiber too.

Large bowl
1     tablespoon Miso Paste
2     tablespoons Grainy Dijon Mustard
1     tablespoon Honey
2        tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3        tablespoons Sunflower Oil
2        teaspoons Sesame Oil
1/2    teaspoon Crushed Red Chilies
1/2    teaspoon Sea Salt
6        cups Red and Green Cabbage, thinly sliced
1         small Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced
3        Carrots, grated
4        Green Onions, sliced
1/3    cup Toasted Sunflower Seeds
1/4   cup Sesame Seeds
Pepper to taste

Whisk sauce ingredients in a large bowl then add cabbage, fennel, carrot, green onion and toss to coat. Sprinkle with seeds, toss again then season with pepper to taste. Allow to marinade for at least a couple hours before serving.