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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Recipes: Desserts & Sweets (51)

Friday
Oct072011

Marble Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Strawberry Jam (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

 

Do you the blog The Spunky Coconut? If you haven't visited yet, I suggest you do. Kelly creates wonderful recipes that are flavorful, unique, and easy to prepare, and I am consistently inspired by her positive attitude and creative vision. It was she that inspired this beautiful cake!

A few weeks ago I was in search of a recipe for a gluten-free cake for my cousin's birthday. When I landed upon Kelly's recipe for Marble Cake, I did a happy dance inside. Not only was the cake gluten-free, it was totally grain-free. A cake made of beans?! I had to try it. I found a chocolate frosting recipe in another post. Hoping for something a little more extravagant than a sheet cake, I decided to make a chocolate frosted marble layer cake, with my homemade strawberry-chocolate mint jam sandwiched between each layer.

Working with this cake and frosting was an absolute pleasure. Her cake recipes were easy to follow and simple to prepare. The cake was firm and moist, and came out of the pan easily. The frosting was also very simple to prepare, and the result was thick, sweet, and easy to spread. I was amazed; it actually behaved better than some conventional frostings I made in years past! As I sampled bits of cake scraps smeared with frosting and my strawberry jam, I knew this cake would be a winner, and smiled. I haven't made many layer cakes in the last few years, and I was having a blast.

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Friday
Jun172011

Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp

I am a night baker and a stress baker. As the sun goes down or my stress level rises, my immediate response is to reach for my apron, fire up the oven, and pull out the mixing bowls. 

Take last night, for example. I had a lot to do - laundry, starting the daunting process of packing my possessions for yet another move, answering emails, paying bills, the list goes on. But rather than attending to any number of tasks on my to-do list, I decided to bake. The fresh mangos and blueberries hanging out in my kitchen were calling my name, beckoning me to take part in their juicy sweetness. I heeded their call. Truly, I adore fruit desserts above almost all other desserts. Especially when those fruit desserts are grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

Really darlings, trust me, it's not hard to make a delicious dessert without grains or sugar. This easy crisp is a great example! I chose a combination of mango, blueberry, and grated fresh ginger for the filling, thickened with bit of arrowroot starch.  For the topping, I diverted from the expected rolled oat topping and chose a mixture of coconut, chopped cashews, and quinoa flakes. Since the fruit is so sweet already, I merely helped it along with a modest amount of stevia extract powder. Throw it in the oven and hooray, a sugar free crisp is born. And it's really good. My housemates both went in for hearty seconds. I somehow refrained to a single serving (?!?!), and relished in each sweet bite. And to top it off, the crisp looks really lovely: bright orange mango contrasting against the deep indigo-hued blueberries, covered in a flaky layer of spicy sweet golden coconut, toasted nuts, and crisp quinoa flakes. It's delicious on the eyes, right?

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Tuesday
Jun142011

A Farmers Market Demo with Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote (gluten-free, cane sugar free, vegan options)


Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote

On Saturday, June 11, I gave a rhubarb-themed cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market during their weekly Market Talk segment. This was my third cooking demonstration at the market, and as usual, it was an absolute blast. Market Talk host (and local food blogger) Emily Noble and I walked the crowd through a brief history of rhubarb, shared suggestions for selecting and storing rhubarb, and gave advice on how to care for plants of your own. Then I demonstrated how to prepare Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote, recipes that I had developed for the event. Despite the rather chilly temperature and high gusts of wind that nearly took away our tent a few times, it was very sunny and the market was hopping. 

As usual, I had a wonderful kitchen setup to work with, complete with large stainless tables, utensils, a gas-powered double burner, and a snazzy microphone headset. Emily shopped the market that morning for the freshest, most beautiful rhubarb, apples, ginger, local honey and maple syrup, and a few other ingredients. I came armed with everything else I needed, including one of my favorite vintage aprons. 

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple CompoteStirring the Rhubarb-Apple CompoteExplaining the process for making Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Pickles

The crowd was highly engaged and interested, asking lots of questions and offering up their favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. They even laughed at my jokes! My assistant (yes, I had an assistant!) passed out samples, which were quickly eaten up by the crowd and received enthusiastic smiles and thumbs-ups all around. And the retention rate was excellent, even though the demonstration went well over an hour.  

Curious about the recipes? The pickles are a sweet and sour pickle, heavily flavored with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in an apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup) brine. They celebrate the natural sourness of rhubarb rather than trying to cover it with lots of sugar. It's like they say, "I'm sour, love me for it!"  The compote was the sweet counterpoint to the pickles, an aromatic and flavorful mix of apples, rhubarb, raisins, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, cooked together with apple juice. The high amount of pectin in apples allows the compote to thicken considerably, creating a luscious fruit mixture that is ideal eaten on its own, over ice cream or yogurt, or with pancakes or waffles. 

I passed out a recipe booklet of some of my favorite rhubarb recipes from my kitchen and my family's kitchen, which included both the pickles and the compote. The recipe booklet was a hit with the crowd and I will share it with you here on the blog. But first, I need to scan my hand-illustrated cover and attach it to the Word document, then set the whole thing up in Google docs so you can have access to it or figure out how to load a PDF into this post. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!  

In the meantime, I want to share the recipes for the two recipes that I demonstrated that day. I hope you enjoy them. Happy rhubarb season!

Previous Farmers Market demonstration recaps and recipes:


IMG_2266.jpgIMG_2268.jpg 

Kim’s Sweet ‘n Sour Rhubarb Pickles 

By Kim Christensen

These pickles are inspired by cucumber bread and butter pickles. They are sour, sweet, and heavily spiced, and are a bold addition to a relish tray or served with Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African dishes. A fun and unexpected way to preserve the rhubarb harvest! I like this recipe because it celebrates the naturally tart, sour quality of rhubarb, rather than hiding it below lots of sugar. Rhubarb tends to be a bit fibrous and hard to bitd through, so you may opt to cut your stalks into shorter, bite-size pieces. 

Yield: 2 pints or 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I suggest using raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as those by Bragg's or Eden Organic)
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound rhubarb, thin stalks if possible (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 ½ inches peeled ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 dry chili peppers

Place vinegar, water, and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan over medium heat. While mixture heats, cut rhubarb stalks into lengths that fit inside the jar with approximately 1-inch headspace (about 4-inches long if using a pint jar). If your rhubarb stalks are much thicker, slice them in half or quarters so they are about 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch before cutting into 4-inch lengths. Set rhubarb aside.

Divide cloves, allspice, and fennel between the jars. Then place rhubarb stalks inside, tucking sliced ginger, chili peppers, and cinnamon sticks between the stalks.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over rhubarb until jars are full, leaving about ½-inch headspace and making sure rhubarb stalks are fully covered. If you have leftover brine, save to use for salad dressings or other pickling projects.  Screw on jar tops and let cool on kitchen counter until approximately room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator. For best flavor, let sit for 1-2 weeks before consuming. 

IMG_2255.jpgRhubarb Apple Compote served over organic yogurt is a wonderful breakfast or light dessert.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote 

By Kim Christensen

Sweet and aromatic, this compote is excellent served warm or chilled. For a simple fruit dessert, it can be served alone, or spooned over yogurt (as in photos above) or ice cream. It is also very good served over pancakes or waffles. For a savory twist, serve alongside grilled or roasted pork or chicken. The flavors of this dish are perfect for autumn, so freeze some of your rhubarb to use later on this year when the seasons change!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound rhubarb) - use either fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3 apples, quartered, cored, and chopped in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound apples)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (or more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare rhubarb and apples as directed. Place in a saucepan with raisins/currants, apple juice, and spices. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Replace cover and let sit for 3-5 more minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools. This is also excellent served chilled. 

Thursday
May122011

Raw Coconut Cacao Bites and a Tropical Traditions Giveaway

Updated on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by Registered CommenterKim @ Affairs of Living

Raw Coconut Cacao Fudge

 It's no secret I love everything from Tropical Traditions. Their coconut products are made from fresh organic coconuts, grown by dedicated family farms in the Phillipines. Everything is produced small batches and tested for quality, ensuring that we receive the freshest, highest quality coconut oil possible.  I feel confident that when I'm using their products, I'm supporting a good manufacturing practices and getting the most nutrition possible for my money.

One of my favorite products is their Coconut Cream Concentrate, a delightful product that goes by the name of coconut butter by other brands and in the blogosphere. I've made my own coconut butter before (shredded coconut + food processor + patience), but the texture is always a little gritty. While the dollar amount is much friendlier on homemade coconut butter, I really prefer the creamy smooth texture of the storebought. So, sometimes I splurge and buy a jar. Or, I agree to do a giveaway and take part in a little complimentary coconut goodness.

Coconut Cream Concentrate is made from the flesh and fat of raw coconuts. It is white, thick, and fragrant, full of coconut goodness. When chilled, it is very firm, almost like candy. When softened, it is creamy and smooth, like a delectable spread. It can also be mixed with hot water to create a natural coconut milk or used in soups, stews, and daals to create a wonderfully rich coconut broth. Because it is naturally sweet, Coconut Cream Concentrate is also the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth on a sugar-free diet. A little chunk on its own is a wonderfully satisfying treat, and it is brilliant included in sweet treats from pie to truffles, cookies to smoothies. Because it hardens at cool temperatures, it is great to use when you want a firm consistency in raw desserts.  

In addition to being delicious, Coconut Cream Concentrate offers all the awesome nutrition of raw coconut, including fiber, protein, medium-chain fatty acids, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and lauric acid (a naturally occurring acid with potentially antimicrobial and antiviral properties).

Please note that Coconut Cream Concentrate or coconut butter is different than coconut oil. Coconut Cream Concentrate contains fiber and fat, while coconut oil is just oil.  Since they have very different properties, the two cannot be used interchangeably. Coconut Cream Concentrate should never be used as a cooking oil, and cannot substitute coconut oil in any recipe.

Inspired by my love for Coconut Cream Concentrate, I made a recipe for you. It is kind of like fudge, kind of like candy, and totally delicious. Even better, I'm giving away a 32-oz. jar of Coconut Cream Concentrate to one lucky reader! 

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Tuesday
Mar152011

Sugar-Free Pear Berry Crisp (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

IMG_1080

I made this crisp to take along to a dinner with friends last weekend. In addition to sharing allergies, intolerances, restrictions, often waning energy levels, and pretty amazing cooking skills, we all share another thing: chronic illness. Lyme, Babesiosis, Bartonella, CFIDS, MCS, the list goes on. How we all manage to have so much fun discussing our symptoms, looking up lab tests and CPT codes online, and talking about our medications and supplements amazes me. It is a small group, just the right size, and the openness, honesty, and solidarity is refreshing. There's no drama, no judgement - just conversation and understanding. And despite it all, we laugh and joke and have a blast.  And don't be mistaken, we spend plenty of time talking about stuff other than Lyme. 

I feel blessed.  This group is just one slice of the community that I am proud to call my own, and I recognize how fortunate I am to have a support network.  Especially a support network that can cook!  :)

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