Archive for July, 2012
I’ve been making lots of “goodies” and “treats” these days, and I’ve been slacking on posts that involve real food.
Thank goodness for this month’s Secret Recipe Club’s assignment, Kristy’s blog Gastronomical Sovereignty pulled me out of my sweets coma! I love Kristy’s blog, her writing and her passion and love for food (“…and wine…of course”, as she states.) The way she describes herself “as a pure, unadulterated, excitable, passionate, mad-lover of food and wine” appears to fit her to a T from the posts I’ve read!
I chose a delicious summery salad to make this month; the original recipe was a Dandelion Green, Bresaola & Grilled Peach Salad and I tweaked it just a bit based on the ingredients available. I searched multiple stores for both bresaola and dandelion greens without any luck (bummer!), so I substituted mixed greens with arugula, spinach and frisee for the dandelion greens and nitrate-free prosciutto for the bresaola. I added a small handful of chopped walnuts for a little texture and also sprinkled crushed red pepper for a little kick.
What an easy and yummy salad! The grilled peaches and mozzarella pair really well with the salty prosciutto and tang from the balsamic reduction. I could have reduced the homemade balsamic reduction further but I was getting hungry and I didn’t want to wait…oh but still delicious! While prosciutto isn’t my favorite to begin with (this was my fault for subbing), I would opt to leave this out altogether next time or substitute a few slices of well-cooked, crunchy turkey bacon for the salty addition…you might even make this a vegetarian salad by using julienned sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil for a different take! Mmmm, the combination options are plenty!
Overall, this was a summery success!
Grilled Peach, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad with Mixed Greens (adapted from Gastronomical Sovereignty)
2 Large Handfuls of Mixed Greens (or Dandelion Greens from Original Recipe)
100g Prosciutto (or Bresaola), paper thin
1 Ball Fresh Mozzarella (or Buffalo Mozzarella), cut or torn into pieces or cubes
2 Peaches, ripe, halved & pitted
Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
chopped walnuts (optional)
4 Tbsp Kristy’s Balsamic Reduction
1. Drain the mozzarella cheese. Place ball(s) in a colander to strain. Once most of the liquid has seeped out, cut into cubes (or tear into slightly larger than bite size pieces if you don’t want to use a knife). Set aside.
2. As your cheese drains, grill the peaches. Preheat your grill pan or BBQ grill to medium-high. As it heats, toss the peaches in a little olive oil and then place on hot grill. (Close the lid if using outdoor BBQ). Sear for about 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly. Chop into 1″ pieces. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, gently mix together the greens with mozzarella, chopped sweet Summer peaches, a small glug of good quality olive oil, and a pinch of coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper with your hands.
4. Lay a 2-3 pieces of the prosciutto on a plate and gently scoop a handful of the salad mixture on top. Finish off the salad with a drizzle of acidic balsamic reduction, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes and chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
Sweet, Miss Erin over at TexanErin Baking brought up the fact that I am lacking cookie recipes on this blog. This must be remedied! It’s funny because I’ve actually made quite a few batches of cookies but they somehow they don’t end up in my posts. I do apologize, dear readers, as cookies are critical in a baking repertoire and I do not intend on depriving you :)
While I did turn on the oven last week in the heat of the summer, these were worth it! I kept them in the fridge to keep the chocolate hard as I do not have air conditioning and these simply wouldn’t firm up at room temperature. It probably shouldn’t have been a recipe I tried on a 99F day but I was craving cookies and these hit the spot!
These little nutty bites have a slight crunch and are grain-free, easy and delicious! Any chopped dried fruit would be a great substitute for the currants if you prefer – I am thinking dried cherries and/or apricots would be a delightful add-in. The chocolate coating might be optional for some of you, but I thought they added that extra “oomph” to the cookie, though carob chips or white chocolate or a coconut butter coating would be lovely as well.
Chocolate-Dipped Walnut and Currant Cookies
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup pecans (or more walnuts)
1/2 cup almond flour (hazelnut flour might work here too)
6 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or other granulated sweetener
1/16 tsp pure stevia extract (or several more tablespoons of sugar)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup currants (or your favorite chopped dried fruit)
2 eggs, whisked
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For dipping: 4 oz of your favorite dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Optional: 4 Tbsp powdered xylitol or powdered sugar (I tried to dust my cookies with this and it barely showed up, this is only for looks)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and pecans until it resembles a meal. Keep pulsing until the mixture sticks together in clumps.
3. Add walnut-pecan “dough” to a medium mixing bowl along with the almond flour, sweetener, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
4. Stir in the whisked egg, currants and vanilla and combine until a dough forms.
5. Divide mixture into 40 round balls. Flatten each dough ball slightly (these cookies will not spread much) and bake for 13-15 minutes until golden on the edges and slightly firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. Heat chocolate and coconut oil in a double broiler until melted. Dip one side of cooled cookies into chocolate and placed on parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle with powdered xylitol/sugar if desired. Let firm at room temperature or put in refrigerator to harden. Enjoy!
Makes about 40 cookies
Fresh juicy berries scream summer. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – I love them all! I also love spotting a huge container of blueberries at Costco for $5.99…that makes me happy :)
I made this tart for Fourth of July. You can see I was going for the red, white and blue theme. Better late than never, right? While it’s a little late for the holiday, it is still a worthy summer dessert and a delicious addition to a BBQ or get together.
I came across a photo of Fresh Blackberry Tart over at The LowCarbist and couldn’t wait to make my own version! The crust is grain-free and the fruity filling is no-bake, dairy-free, simple and fresh. Yummmmm. Summer berry tart, yes please!
The burst of fresh raspberries and blueberries complemented the nutty almond crust well, which is crumbly like a graham cracker version but with the added bonus of staying-power from protein and good fats :) To top it off (no pun intended, ha), this tart would be extra scrumptious with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt…just saying :)
Care to join me for a slice?
1 1/2 cups almond flour (or meal)
3 Tbsp coconut flour
3-4 Tbsp powdered sweetener (palm sugar, xylitol, sucanat, etc)
pinch of pure stevia to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil, butter or Earth Balance, melted
For Berry Filling:
20 oz fresh blueberries
1/3 cup palm sugar, sucanat, xylitol or other granulated sweetener (or more for sweeter filling, depends on ripeness of berries and your taste)
1/8 tsp pure stevia or to taste
1/8 tsp sea salt
6 Tbsp almond milk (or other non-dairy milk or water)
3 tsp lemon juice (lime juice might be good too)
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest (lime might be good too)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare crust: In a mixing bowl, combine almond flour/meal, coconut flour,sweetener, stevia and salt and stir to combine. Stir in vanilla and coconut oil until mixture starts to hold together when pressed between your fingers. Add more coconut oil if necessary.
3.. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, covering the sides and the bottom evenly. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. Prepare filling: Wash the berries. Place half of the blueberries in a medium sauce pan on medium heat with milk/water, lemon juice, sweetener, stevia and salt. Let simmer for 5 or so minutes, until berries start to turn red and juice darkens.
5. Add gelatin while stirring mixture and continue stirring until powder is completely dissolved. Add zest, remaining blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and stir to coat evenly with juice, then pour into pie crust.
Tip: To avoid clumps, add gelatin a small amount at a time, stirring in each addition in fully before proceeding.
6. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until berries set and pie is cool throughout. Slice and enjoy!
Note: I made a 6 inch tart (pictured) and had leftover filling, so I adjusted the recipe for a standard 9-inch tart pan since that’s what most people have on hand.
I’d love to try this with agar agar for a vegetarian/vegan version…I’ll have to work on that!
I hope everyone is enjoying (or surviving) the summer heat!
It’s hot here. Plus, there’s no air conditioning in my apartment so I refuse to turn on the oven in the middle of the day. I would much rather stick my head in the fridge…that might have something to do with the fact that these little squares are waiting for me :)
No bake, quick and oh-so-delicious — these dense little blocks satisfy not only my craving for chocolate but any decadent dessert or after-meal treat. They can also stand in as a speedy afternoon pick-me-up when you need a little burst of energy and/or to quench a midday sweet tooth.
Did I mention they are chock-full of healthy fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants (you gotta give it up for raw cacao!).
The base of these fudgy bites are homemade coconut butter (though a store bought version works here too) and your favorite nut or seed butter. Tailor these filling squares to your liking with various extracts, nut/seed butters and add-ins. The addition of dried fruit would be delicious – cherries, raisins, apricots, cranberries, goji berries, banana or dates would be delicious!
Raw Cacao-Coconut Fudge Bites
12 oz unsweetened shredded coconut (or about 1 1/2 cups coconut butter)
1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter, or combo (I’ve used both almond and peanut butter)
1/3 – 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder but would not be raw or even carob powder for caffeine-free)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
3-4 Tbsp agave (honey or maple syrup can be subbed) and/or stevia or your favorite sweetener to taste
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds but can be subbed for your
2 Tbsp chia seeds
optional: for a protein boost, add 2 scoops of good-tasting chocolate or vanilla protein powder (be sure you like the flavor!)
optional add-ins: 1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped nuts and/or or dried fruit of choice
2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
1. Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside (Can use small or large pan for different thickness).
2. In a food processor, add coconut and process for about 10 minutes or until the coconut turns into a butter. See my post here on to make homemade coconut butter.
3. Add in nut butter through sweetener and process for another minute until smooth (the more liquid sweetener used will result in more of a fudgy texture)
4. Add in flaxseed meal, chia seeds and protein powder (if using) and process for 30 seconds. Stir in add-ins at this time, if using.
5. Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes. Cut into squares/blocks and enjoy!
Makes 20-30 squares (depending on size)
Tip: I put these in the freezer to harden and tried to cut them and they didn’t cut as easily. I think hardening in the refrigerator next time would be my preference, but I was impatient :)