Archive for December, 2009
Monday, December 21st, 2009
Timtana Montana orange muffins. Made by Hannah Montana’s gluten-free sister. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Bear with me while I indulge in a little preamble ramble. I grew up in Colorado, but I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around the big sky state of Montana. My family had property on Whitefish Lake and in Paradise Valley. I’ve explored the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and had a show-down with a grizzly bear on my mountain bike in the Gallatin Range. Actually, he/she just gave me a bored look and ambled off, but still. I’ve camped on the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers, played in Flathead Lake, have ridden my bike over Logan Pass in Glacier National Park and have been serenaded late into the night by Dennis Quaid at Chico Hot Springs. Okay, so he was three sheets to the wind and wasn’t sure who he was serenading, but it was an interesting evening nonetheless (long story). My son went to the University of Montana, studied wildlife biology and is a part-time fly-fishing guide. My last name is McLean (without the “a”), as in “A River Runs Through It.”
I love Montana and its people. Those of you who’ve been following this blog know how I feel about my local farmers. I’m totally smitten with Andy Grant and the folks at Grant Family Farms in northern Colorado and feel a similar appreciation for my farmer and plant scientist friends in Montana.
Stick with me – there is a point to this post.
You may not know it, but some of the best gluten-free product development in the world is taking place in this laid-back, yet lively state. Belgrade, a small town nestled in the Gallatin Valley, is easy access to Bozeman, Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort, Bridger Bowl Ski Area and gluten-free food. This is my kind of place – rugged mountains, spring creeks, raging rivers, spacious valleys and hearty food. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
The Montana Gluten Free Processors make up a group of interesting characters (my favorite kind – quirky and off-beat) committed to nutritious, premium-quality, gluten-free food that also tastes good. They promote sustainable agriculture and have a dedicated gluten-free, state-of-the-art processing and packaging facility located in the foothills of the Bridger Mountains at the headwaters of the Missouri River. I’ve been experimenting with their products for a couple of years now and have found the hearty flavor and texture of the flours perfect for my kind of baking. As a nutritionist, I’m picky about what I eat and I’m not going to waste my calories on gluten-free flours that look like ground styrofoam, make squeaky sounds when you play with them and are devoid of nutrients. If I’m going to eat baked treats, I want them to be healthy.
Timtana is a great option for gluten-free baking. It has a wholesome, slightly sweet, nutty flavor. The color is rich, warm and sumptuous and it’s loaded with fiber and good quality protein.
Can you call a flour lusty?
If so, Timtana qualifies.
Timtana orange marmalade muffins
what you need
1 & 1/4 cup Timtana flour
3/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup raw cane sugar (I used demerara style, but brown sugar would work fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 cup orange marmalade *
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
what you do
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, soda, salt, xanthan gum and cinnamon and set aside. In a small bowl, combine rice milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
2. Cream Earth Balance, gradually add sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and eggs. Add orange marmalade, mix on low until all ingredients are well blended.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating with the rice milk/vinegar mixture.
4. Gently blend in pecans.
5. Spoon into paper lined muffin cups 2/3rds full and bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 to 24 minutes (depending on your oven). To insure even cooking, rotate the pans 180 degrees half-way through baking time. Store in the refrigerator.
* I used St. Dalfour Orange Marmalade, which is 100% fruit and sweetened with grape juice concentrate.
Makes 18 gorgeous, lusty, wild-west muffins.
Friday, December 11th, 2009
These brownies deserve double-black-diamond-dessert status. This is a warning to amateur chocolate eaters. Proceed at your own risk.
I better explain. First off, these little gems are gluten-free and vegan. Yeah! But there’s more to the story. They’re not sugar-free, bean-free, guilt-free, caffeine-free, or buzz-free. But look at them, aren’t they gorgeous? Holiday sweetness packed into one-inch-thick chocolatey goodness, my contribution to this week’s Gluten Free Progressive Dessert Party that Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting. (See below for links to a whole week’s worth of gluten-free goodies.)
This brownie recipe is from the cookbook, Babycakes NYC. I followed the recipe step by step, with two exceptions. Three if you count adding my own home-made frosting. I cut back on the vanilla as mine is fairly strong and I switched out the pan choice. I didn’t have mini-muffin tins or a square baking pan (how can that be), so I used a 15 x 10 x 1 inch shallow sheetcake pan. That worked fine, but I had to alter the baking time and the temperature. Once finished, the thin little brownies looked a bit whimpy, so I figured I’d dress them up. What’s a girl to do when something looks plain? Add more sweet, frilly stuff. Accessorize!
The girls at Babycakes have come up with some absolutely divine, health conscious treats and I thank Erin and Emily for the use of this brownie recipe. I’ve heard the mini-muffin tin versions they sell at the NYC bakery are nearly impossible to keep in the case. People love them. This is one of the few recipes in the cookbook that calls for sugar, most of the others are refined sugar-free. All are vegan and most are also gluten-free. If you have multiple food sensitivities, happen to find yourself in NYC and are craving a special treat, visit Babycakes. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to cupcake heaven.
what you need
1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the muffin tins or the sheet-cake pan
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used my own home-made version)
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (the Babycakes recipe calls for 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup hot water or coffee (I used coffee)
1 cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips
what you do for the my sheetcake version
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your sheet-cake pan with oil.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the 1/2 cup oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water or coffee to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
3. Pour and spread the batter evenly into the sheetcake pan.
4. Bake the brownies on the center rack, rotating the tray 180 degrees half-way through the baking time. I baked the sheet-cake version for a total of 22 minutes, rotating the pan after about 10 minutes.
5. Let cool and frost. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
* These are wonderful straight from the freezer. I tried to save myself from eating them, so I put them in the freezer. Much to my dismay, they were better frozen!
what you do for the Babycakes mini-muffin tin version
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini muffin tins with oil. Follow step #2 above. Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished brownie will have a firm edge with a soft center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Let the brownies stand in the pans for 10 minutes; they are best served warm.
what you need
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan “butter”
6 tablespoons light coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut flour (skip if you don’t have it)
1/2 cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips
what you do
1. Place Earth Balance, sugar, coconut flour and coconut milk in a medium sauce pan. Blend well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil (and stir) for 1 minute. Watch it carefully, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Gently stir until the chocolate chips have melted and are blended into the frosting. Pour over the sheet cake and spread evenly with a spatula. If you have room, put the sheet cake in the refrigerator. Once chilled, cut into small squares and serve or store in the freezer.
* I’m warning you, go easy on these! They are SO good, but think about what they’re made with before eating several in one sitting. Bean flour, sugar, chocolate, coffee – whoa, Nelly. You do want to sleep that night!
Monday, December 7th Baked Desserts with Shauna the Gluten Free Girl & The Chef, Alison at Sure Foods Living, and Ali from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.
Tuesday, December 8th Frozen or Chilled Desserts with Shirley at Gluten Free Easily and Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
Wednesday, December 9th Chocolate Desserts with Karen at Cook 4 Seasons and Ali from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.
Thursday, December 9th with Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
Friday, December 10th with Melissa at Gluten Free For Good.
Merry desserts everyone! Next week Melissa the nutritionist will be back with a little healthier fare. No groaning, I heard that.
Sunday, December 6th, 2009
I’ve been finding lots of carrots in my Grant Farms CSA delivery box this fall and have been adding shredded carrots to smoothies, chopping them up for soups and stews and I even made a big pot of carrot and ginger soup the other day. Delicious.
Before launching into next week’s sugar-laden, progressive dessert party that Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang is kindly hosting, I thought I’d slip in a carrot recipe. Just to remind myself and my readers that my “roots” are in nutrient-dense, whole foods. I’m a nutrition therapist. Remember that next week, okay? I’ll be on a short visit to planet sugar, not permanently relocating. If I end up staying past next week, someone come and save me (Ali, that might have to be you).
Carrots – think carrots. They’re sweet and full of natural sugar. Yeah, I know – that’s not quite the same as a double chocolate brownie dripping with frosting while decorating the Christmas tree.
Back to carrots.
honey-glazed spiced carrots
what you need
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
several organic carrots, scrubbed and chopped (I used about 3 to 4 cups)
1 cup vegetable broth (I use home-made or Imagine organic veggie broth; you could also use chicken broth)
2 – 3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
what you do
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth and stir in carrots. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 to 15 minutes. Carrots should be tender, but not over-cooked or mushy. Add the honey, salt and pepper and continue simmering until the sauce becomes syrupy. The honey can burn quickly, so stir often and watch closely. You may have to reduce the heat. Stir in nutmeg just before serving. Transfer to a platter and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Up next – holiday desserts! Stay tuned.
Peace, love and sweet veggies.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
What’s your version of comfort food?
Mac and cheese? Brownies and vanilla ice cream? Chips and salsa?
If you’re a brownies and vanilla ice cream person, stay tuned as Diane from The WHOLE Gang is hosting a progressive dessert party next week and that will be my contribution. Follow the link above for the delicious details.
In the meantime, one of my favorite comfort foods is old fashioned chicken noodle soup. The kind that looks a bit plain, tastes a bit salty, has simple veggies like onions, carrots and celery, and is swamped with wimpy, broken, spaghetti-style noodles. You know – the kind of soup that just slides down your throat with no effort. The kind that warms your soul. The kind that your mom made you when you were home sick from school (whether faking or for real).
This is the simple, healthy, home-made, organic version of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Perfect for a cold, snowy day. Or when you need some good, old-fashion comfort food.
chicken noodle soup
what you need
chicken stock (6 to 8 cups, homemade or store-bought) *
diced cooked chicken (about 2 cups)
Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta, spahetti style (I used half the 16 oz package)
4-5 carrots, washed and chopped
4-5 celery stalks, washed and chopped, good leaves included
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
olive oil for sautéing onions and garlic
what you do
Heat olive oil in a medium to large soup pot. Add onions, stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue stirring and cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes. Pour soup stock into pot and add carrots and celery. Let simmer on low for an hour or two until veggies are tender. I like my vegetables tender, but not overly cooked. Add the pasta about a half an hour before you’re ready to serve the soup. Break the noodles into 3 or 4-inch long pieces before adding to the pot. Stir periodically so the noodles don’t clump together. Season to your liking and serve with cornbread or crackers.
* I make my own broths a good part of the time, but when I’m out, I use Imagine organic broths.
This isn’t a fancy soup, but as a friend of mine often says, sometimes less is more. Or, sometimes it’s absolutely perfect.
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