|The front is all cleaned up and ready to enjoy (and my lettuces are coming up in the raised bed)|
After an honest day's work we decided to fire up the grill for the first time this season though we most certainly aren't the first on the block to heat up the coals. Our southern side neighbor has been grilling for at least a month now. In fact, I think he made their Easter ham on the grill last weekend because I was subjected to the absolutely mouth-watering aroma of what I assumed was some sort of sweet, smoked pork for at least two hours. (Cue the Homer Simpson drool sound effect.) We kept it simple this evening with our homemade brats and potato salad. I love potato salad and could eat it year round warm or cold, but have had to adapt my recipes to exclude mayonnaise or dairy-based dressings. Tonight I may have found another winner--creamy yet sans cream. If I haven't said it already, this is the time of year when eating locally can get really tough--last season's supply is just about gone, but it's a bit too early to have much sustenance from outdoors. Fortunately, I still have potatoes on my cellar rack, blanched green beans in the freezer, and other odds and ends I can use to make a decent side dish.
I used blanched frozen green beans, but one could certainly save this recipe for later in the season and use fresh blanched beans. I froze 1/4 c. chunks of cauliflower puree last fall to deceptively mix into some of Vera's foods without altering the color/flavor too much to let her know it had veggies. This puree was one key--along with slightly overcooking the potatoes--to making a creamy salad. It's slightly sweet from the apple juice concentrate, but well balanced with saltiness and piquancy from the seasonings.
4 c. potatoes, washed, skins in tact, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 lb. blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 large onion or one small onion
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 c. fresh parsley, stems removed (and reserved for stock)
1/2 c. cauliflower puree
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. apple juice concentrate
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t. fish sauce (or soy sauce if you use it)
1/2 t. dry dill (or 1 t. fresh dill)
1/2 t. celery seed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Boil potato chunks in well-salted water until just beyond done (as mentioned, extra cooking time will add to the creaminess.) Drain and spread on a sheet pan to cool more quickly. Thaw green beans if frozen and blot on paper or cloth towel. In the meantime, combine remaining ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth. When potatoes are cool, add to a mixing bowl along with green beans. Add dressing from processor and combine. Adjust seasoning as needed.
To back up a bit, we kick-started our day of planned work with a vegan "lumberjack" breakfast--my favorite gluten-free pancake recipe and a quick fruit "sauce." We try to make pancakes at least once per weekend. When we do I'm always thankful that we don't have to work as hard as Jack in one of Vera's favorite books Pancakes, Pancakes! Though it's not a bad idea for her to consider where each of the ingredients came from, I'm not going to make her milk the cow, winnow the wheat, churn the butter, and collect the eggs beforehand--at least not yet as the homestead is still in its infancy (wink.) Ben is always amazed at how quickly I can whip up some pancake batter, but I tell him that if you have everything on hand and especially if you make them nearly every weekend, it becomes a snap.
Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Pancakes
Makes 6-8 pancakes
Though the name of this recipe may make it sound like "well what in the world IS in it?" I promise these have an excellent fluffy texture and can be jazzed up with different fruits, nuts, even granola.
|This morning we added vegan/GF choc. chips to the batter|
3 T. tapioca flour
1/3 c. potato starch
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 T. egg replacer
1/4 c. water
3 T. olive or grapeseed oil
1 c. almond or rice milk (or whatever kind of milk you prefer)
Dash of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, or whatever "warm" spices you wish
1/4-1/2 c. granola, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, nuts (optional)--if you add one of these options, increase the milk content for the right consistency
In a bowl, mix together rice flour, tapioca, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum. Stir in egg replacer, water, oil, milk and spices until well-blended and few lumps remain. Stir in optional fillings. Heat a large, well-oiled skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spoon batter onto skillet and cook until bubbles begin to form. Flip, and continue cooking until golden brown on bottom. Serve immediately with condiments of your choice.
Quick Fruit Topping for Pancakes
Makes 2-3 c.
2-3 c. of fresh or home-canned or fresh fruits such as peaches, bananas, plums, apples, etc.
2 T. maple syrup
Dash ground ginger (optional)
Combine all ingredients and let sit until ready to use.
Of course I can't let this household go too many days without having something sweet on hand. No matter what kind of limited diet I'm on, I have to get my fix. This weekend I decided to make some cupcakes just for fun and was very happy with the results. I've reminded Ben that we are "adapting our expectations of sweetness" lately, but I believe these treats satisfied his equally intense sweet tooth regardless.
Chocolate Glazed Coconut Macaroon Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen
3/4 c. sorghum flour
1/3 c. plus 1 1/2 t. cornstarch
1/3 c. plus 1 1/2 t. tapioca flour
1 c. granulated xylitol
1 1/2 t. guar gum
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. (plus a dash) salt
1/2 c. coconut oil, room temp.
2 T. egg replacer diluted in 5 T. water
1/2 c. coconut "buttermilk" (1 1/2 t. white vinegar in a meas. cup, topped off to 1/2 c. w/ coconut milk)
2 T. coconut water (or coconut juice)
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. almond extract
1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with silicone or paper liners, or grease and use without liners. In stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine all dry ingredients and mix on low to blend. Add coconut oil and beat on low until lumps are no longer visible. Add diluted egg replacer and beat for 30 seconds. Add coconut "buttermilk," coconut water/juice, and extracts and gradually increase speed to high to prevent splashing. Mix for 1 1/2 min. or until smooth. Scrape down bowl as necessary. Fold in shredded coconut. Using ice cream scoop or spoon, fill each prepared cup with batter. Bake 20 min. or until cakes are set--test center for doneness because color will not be an indicator. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely. Glaze with Chocolate Glaze, sprinkle with a hint of sea salt and let rest so glaze can set. Enjoy!
|Ready for the savoring (or gobbling)|
This is the same recipe I used for the Very Vanilla Cupcakes I posted in early April though I call it a "glaze" here instead of frosting. After some thought, I find this name more fitting.
1 c. vegan, soy-free chocolate chips
1/2 c. coconut oil (or grapeseed oil)
2 T. honey (or agave nectar)
1 T. vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Additional sea salt, for decorating
In a medium saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate with oil until smooth. Stir in the honey, vanilla, and salt. Place in the freezer 10-15 min. until cooled. Remove and whip with a mixer until thick and fluffy, 1-2 min. Spoon a very small amount of frosting over the top of each cake and spread gently so it doesn't go over the edge. Carefully add more as needed. (Alternatively, dip the cupcake tops in the glaze.) Sprinkle with just a bit of salt to complement the sweetness. Store in a glass container, keeps a week or so.