Here we are at the end of the shortest but longest month of the year … February. (No exclamation mark, no smiley face, no hurrah.) If you live in Canada or anywhere in the Northern hemisphere for that matter (yes, it was even chilly in L.A. at the Oscar’s this year) you are ready for the windy month of March to usher in Spring and with it dreams of fresh salad greens, grown in your own garden perhaps?!
Meanwhile, if you are craving dark leafy greens as I am, try making this easy nutritious Kale salad to satisfy your cravings. The Kale in the grocery stores is beautiful right now!
1 Bunch leafy green Kale – washed, de-stemmed, chopped, and spun dry (or wrapped in a tea towel).
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup “real” aged parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)
1 seedless orange peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (or 3 Tbsp lemon juice).
2 Tablespoons liquid honey
1/4 cup oil (we use either Grape Seed Oil, OR Extra Virgin Olive Oil, OR Avocado Oil).
2 Tablespoons finely diced fresh sweet onion
1 Tablespoon real mayonnaise (we use the kind made with olive oil).
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or himalayan pink salt)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground blended pepper
Place the Kale (washed, stemmed, dried, and chopped) into a good sized salad bowl. Gently “KNEED” the Kale with your clean hands (squeezing and releasing in handfuls back into the bowl) to soften it as store-bought winter Kale tends to be ‘tougher’ than what you would grow in your own garden.
Place the rest of the salad ingredients into the bowl with the Kale.
Mix dressing ingredients together well with a fork or a small whisk, and pour around the inside edge of the salad bowl (around the salad).
Toss and serve.
Leftovers keep well for lunch the next day!
with joy over anything GREEN in February!
Diana E. Natalie
(Note: Organic apple juice-sweetened cranberries are available at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St. Peterborough, ON, along with the various salad oils, salts, and peppers mentioned above, and the raw sunflower seeds and lovely grated aged parmesan cheese).
The back-story to making this pie, is that thirty years ago (our first year of marriage) I attempted to make a chocolate cream pie for my hubby Bryan, and it was a major fail (ran all over the plate and tasted awful). This is my first re-attempt at a chocolate cream pie – or any cream pie for that matter!
So many thanks to Jill over at The Prairie Homestead for this perfect February chocolate treat! Bryan loved it! And so did the ‘dairy-free, grain-free’ friends we shared it with on Valentine’s Day.
We followed the recipe as exactly as we could and pictured here is our result even after a little trouble with the crust during baking ~ don’t worry, we’ve altered the original recipe ever-so-slightly to remedy any glitches, and explained things in detail to ensure a satisfying pie-making experience if you try it yourself!
Grain-free, Dairy free, and ‘almost refined sugar free’, the hit of chocolate and silky smooth texture of this pie is unforgettable. One question we were asked was, “Does it taste ‘coconuty’ with all the coconut milk, coconut oil, and addition of coconut flour in the crust?” The answer is, “not really! ~ all we could taste was CHOCOLATE. Yumm!”
This is a THINK AHEAD recipe! If you want to serve it one day, you need to make it the day before, or at least the morning of, if you’re serving it that evening! It needs all day or overnight to ‘set’ in the refrigerator.
1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
3 Tablespoons unsweetened dark Dutch Process cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 Tablespoons organic coconut oil ‘shortening’. (Note: coconut oil will liquify just above room temperature – for this recipe it works better if it’s firm not liquid).
3 Tablespoons liquid unpasteurized honey (we used clover honey).
Chocolate Cream Filling:
2 3/4 cups canned coconut milk (= 1 1/2 14 oz. cans) We used 1 can regular and 1/2 can ‘Lite’.
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin
4 large egg yolks (TIP: when you separate the eggs, save the whites – they will keep in the fridge for a few days and you can use them in other baking).
1/3 cup liquid unpasteurized honey (we used clover honey).
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (we used a pure bourbon vanilla)
2/3 cup semi-sweet (dairy free) mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons unsweetened dark Dutch Process cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
OPTIONAL: Whipping Cream, or Whipped (dairy free) Coconut Cream made from full fat coconut milk, for topping when serving pie.
Prepare the piecrust first. In a food processor, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, gelatine, and sea salt. Pulse in the coconut oil and add the honey, pulsing until a dough ball forms.
Remove the dough from the processor bowl and shape into a disk, on plastic wrap, wrap it up and place in fridge to chill for a half hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate. (We used a Le Creuset clay dish).
Once dough is chilled press it evenly from the centre of pie plate moving it outward and up the sides to the rim (laying plastic wrap over top of the dough while you press it in seems to make the process easier and keeps your fingers clean).
Poke the bottom of crust a few times with a fork, and bake 12 to 14 minutes until crust is looking done. We have a convection oven, so extended baking time to 2o minutes, during which time we removed it from the oven once to ‘coax’ the crust back up the sides of the pie plate with the rounded bottom of a measuring cup, as it had slid down a bit during baking. We returned it to the oven and it held its shape for the rest of the baking process.
Carefully remove piecrust from oven and allow it to cool completely.
Prepare Chocolate Cream Filling. Place coconut milk into a medium saucepan (pot), and sprinkle gelatin over top of the milk. Allow the gelatin to “bloom” about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.
Once gelatin has softened, place saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the milk and gelatin are well combined and the milk is warmed. Once the milk is very warm (not boiling) slowly whisk 1/2 cup of the very warm milk into the yolk mixture – whisking constantly to combine. (This is known as ‘tempering the egg’). Slowly and in a small stream, whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and keep whisking thoroughly.
Add the chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and sea salt, whisking well to combine. Bring the filling mixture to a gentle simmer and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens. Pour this ‘custard’ filling through a fine mesh strainer into a shallow bowl or dish to cool. (Ours wasn’t too shallow so it took longer to cool – see photo above).
Once cooled, pour the filling into the cooled piecrust. Place in refrigerator to set (for at least 6 to 8 hours, or overnight).
When ready to serve, slice carefully, lift out and serve topped with fresh whipped cream or if you’re dairy free make coconut cream. Add chocolate shavings if desired.
Pie can be refrigerated up to 24 hours.
with double chocolate joy,
Diana E. Natalie
The technical name for this loaf would read something like ‘Gluten-Free Chocolate-Banana-Loaf with Teff and Almond Flour’. But it’s actually quite simple to put together once you have all of your ingredients ready to go. The secret to Gluten Free Valentine success could just be serving up slices of this delectable loaf with cherry jam or spread slathered on top!
No matter what you call it, I am lovestruck, enamoured with the chocolatey scent wafting through my kitchen, and no longer fear baking with Teff flour. I purchased some Teff flour a while back at my local bulk whole foods store and it ended up lost in my cupboard until today, when I pulled it out and decided it needed to be baked into something chocolatey, perhaps because of it’s natural cocoa-like appearance.
An Aside About Teff:
Teff (also spelled Tef) is the staple grain of Ethiopia. Packed with protein, calcium, and iron, tef is also one of the gluten-free grains, along with amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. Teff is nutrient rich because most of the grain is made up of the bran and germ. A cup of cooked Teff provides the recommended daily iron intake for adults. The whole grain, smaller than a poppy seed, and redish-brown in colour, is made into a fine, light flour. It takes 150 Teff grains to equal the weight of a single grain of wheat. The name “Teff”, in Amharic, means ”lost”, perhaps because each individual grain of tef is so tiny that if dropped on the floor you would hardly be able to find it.
Teff was exclusively grown in Ethiopia for thousands of years, but after the death of Haile Selassie, in 1974, the socialist military government insisted that the farmers grow less labor-intensive crops, such as wheat, to export to other countries and make more money for the state. Teff farming was beginning to die out, but an American from Idaho, Wayne Carlson, who was working as an aid worker in Ethiopia in the 1970s, took some of the teff seeds home to Caldwell, Idaho, and began growing and selling it to the Ethiopian communities in US cities. Today, The Teff Company, continues to supply Ethiopian communities with American-grown Maskal Teff.
(all ingredients except bananas are available at The Main Ingredient, Peterborough, Ontario – Facebook page).
1 cup Teff flour
1/2 cup purchased Gluten free Flour Blend of your choice, OR make up this one.
1/2 cup almond flour (blanched almond meal)
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/4 cup florida organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 heaping Tablespoons dark ‘Dutch process’ Cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup Liberte Greek Yogurt (vanilla or plain)
2 eggs + 1 eggwhite
2 ripe bananas, mashed
6 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Grease a 5″X9″ or larger loaf pan with butter or coconut oil, and line with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and move rack to the lower half of the oven (just below the centre) so the top of the loaf doesn’t get too dark during baking.
Place all dry ingredients (flours, sugar, soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon) into a bowl, blending together as you add each one. Set aside.
‘Puree’ bananas using hand mixer or wire whisk in stand mixer bowl. OR, mash bananas on a plate with a fork and place into a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and eggwhite, and beat in lightly.
Add yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts, and melted butter, mixing until completely blended together.
Add dry ingredients to bowl and fold in just until mixed (Do not over mix).
Scrape the batter evenly into your pan. It is rather thick and ‘doughy’ so pat it down a little on the top to even out the surface. If desired, place a row of walnut halves and/or chocolate chips down the middle of the loaf top and press in slightly. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes (40 for regular oven, 45 or 50 for convection). Insert wooden skewer into centre of loaf to check for doneness (if it comes out fairly clean you’re all done!) Take it out and using the back of a spoon, squish and spread the melty chocolate chips on top around a little bit…then let it cool…
…Let the bread sit in the pan for ten or fifteen minutes, then lift it out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, or cool. Spread with cream cheese or cherry jam…or both! Mmmm…
Makes one larger loaf…serving 10 to 15. (Wrap in wax paper and plastic wrap, or seal in freezer bag and freeze for later if you’re not serving it within a couple of days, so it doesn’t dry out).
Happy Valentines Day,
with love from Diana E. Natalie
Those who have followed us here at ‘Stand In My Kitchen’ for a while, know that we love to play with traditional ingredients and tweak them just a bit (and sometimes a lot) to amp up the nutritional potential of our recipes.
If you love cake donuts but avoid them because they’re high fat and sugar, lacking fibre and nutrients, here is a ‘healthy revamp’ to suit your taste buds and your waist line. Hello SCONE-NUTS! Perfect for Sunday Brunch, or any time you would normally pump yourself full of OATS like I do most mornings before heading to work.
The addition of walnuts and pumpkin puree provides additional beneficial essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
SEE TIPS BELOW FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE DAIRY FREE.
2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (we use a blend of 1/2 large flake & 1/2 quick cook rolled oats)
2 cups flour:
We used 1/2 cup unbleached All-Purpose wheat flour + 1 cup Spelt flour (whole or light) + 1/2 cup Buckwheat flour.
1/2 cup brown sugar OR Sucanat
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (try grating whole nutmeg! once you’ve tried it you may never use pre-ground nutmeg again…it’s that good.)
1/2 cup creamery butter, chilled
1/2 cup Buttermilk (OR to ‘fake’ buttermilk whisk together a scant 1/2 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt).
1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree (Tip: when you don’t use a full can, freeze the rest in an ice cube tray for later use).
1 large egg + 1 egg white separated
1/3 cup raw walnut halves
1/8 cup cinnamon sugar (blend 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar – we use ‘Florida Organic Sugar‘)
NOTE: To make dairy free, replace buttermilk with Almond, Soy, or Coconut milk, and use a vegan butter substitute, or coconut oil.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In food processor, combine oats, flour, sugar or Sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and walnuts. Pulse to blend.
Grate 1/2 cup cold butter into processor bowl (or cut butter into small cubes and drop into bowl). Pulse until coarse crumbs are forming.
Whisk ‘buttermilk’, eggs, and pumpkin puree together in a separate bowl.
With food processor running, add milk/egg/pumpkin mixture, pulsing until dough forms.
Scoop ‘SconeNut’ dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto parchment paper lined large cookie sheet (or ungreased cookie sheet).
Sprinkle each ‘blob’ with cinnamon sugar, flatten slightly to form a 2 1/2 – 3 inch round.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden (check after 12 minutes, especially if you are using a convection oven).
Serve warm with your favourite jams or jelly.
with joy over Sundays ~ days of rest ~ and attentiveness to the nutritional value of what we consume in 2015,
Diana E. Natalie.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.
Winter has officially arrived in Ontario. As we count down to Christmas, roasting squash, or any vegetable for that matter, is such a simple way to prepare a side dish. Here is a recipe which pumps up the flavour of your favourite squash with shallots and Canadian maple syrup. Shallots are a member of the allium family like onions and garlic, but have a sweeter richer flavour and pretty white and purple flesh. Prepare this recipe using any type of squash. Cut squash crosswise or lengthways, whichever you prefer, or whichever fits your baking dish or pan. Pictured is a spaghetti squash, because that’s what was sitting on my counter, but I would probably prefer a butternut or acorn squash using this recipe.
1 squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti, or variety of choice), cut in half, pulp & seeds removed.
3 to 4 Tablespoons Extra virgin Olive Oil
3 ro 4 shallots, peeled & slivered [Note: to peel shallots, cut a tiny bit off each end, slice in half lengthwise, and peel off the shiny brown skin and outermost layer of each shallot].
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked or coarse ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup raisins (Sultana or Thompson)
1/2 cup boiling water
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 C). Prepare fresh squash as directed above. Place in oven proof roasting pan or baking dish.
Boil water in kettle. Pour hot water over raisins in separate bowl and set aside.
Brush inside flesh of squash with olive oil, not the outer rind. Reserve 1 teaspoon of olive oil (set aside).
Drain soaked raisins. Sprinkle squash with slivered shallots, salt, celery salt, cloves, pepper, and softened raisins. Mix maple syrup with leftover teaspoon of olive oil. Drizzle syrup mixture over squash.
Cover with lid, or cover lightly with tinfoil. Place in oven ~ and forget about it for an hour. If baking in cast iron check after 40 minutes. Remember to set a timer, but you’ll smell it when it’s done ~ so you can’t really ruin this dish!
If liquid accumulates in the squash halves while baking, this is a good thing! When you remove the squash from the oven, spoon the liquid out of the squash halves into the bottom of the pan to deglaze some of the caramelized drippings, and spoon these tasty drippings back over top of the squash to finish.
Serve hot as a side dish. Compliments pork, ham, lamb, or poultry.
Number of servings depends on size of squash. Average squash serves 4 to 6 people. Larger varieties serve 8 to 10.
with joy of the season year around,
Diana E. Natalie
All ingredients except squash & shallots, and including fresh local maple syrup are available at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON.
Happy Thanksgiving 2014 from http://www.standinmykitchen.com
This is our 70th post! You may be surprised we chose something simple and ‘non-dinner-menu’ like…granola?! After recent posts of wild duck, peach pie, and seafood cannelloni, it’s time to bring things down to earth. We hope you enjoy this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in community and with thankful hearts. “Gather the people you love around your table and feed them with love and honesty and creativity”, writes Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine: A Love Letter To Life Around The Table, with recipes. “If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating centre, the sustainer of life and health.”
There is this huge shallow drawer in our refrigerator beneath the crisper drawers. I think it may have been designed for deli meats and cheese, but in our kitchen it’s used for nuts, seeds, and dried fruits of all kinds. A lot of odds & ends accumulate in there, and a good way for me to clean out the drawer and use them up on this rainy autumn day, was to concoct a delicious granola which could be doled out to family and friends this Thanksgiving, for the famine-after-the-feast, you know, as well as nutritious breakfast or bedtime backup for yours truly.
I revamped a recipe which I originally had published in October 1998 in a compilation cookbook, What’s Cooking In The Neighbourhood! Substituting coconut oil for half of the butter in that recipe, and adding extra spices, this new version takes it’s name mostly because of the flavour, as each of the pumpkin pie spices were combined with the customary cinnamon in the mix. In my mind the chopped apricots substitute for dried apple which I didn’t have on hand, and pretend to be tiny pumpkins. The only part of a pumpkin actually present in the granola is the noble pepita, or pumpkin seed.
A half cup of Chopped dried apple would have been a nice addition to this super nutritious, high fibre, low sugar PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA, so it’s listed in the recipe as ‘optional’. You may wish to use a food processor to make your coconut finer, or to chop the apricots, almonds, or apple. I prefer to buy fine unsweetened coconut to start with, and chop the other things by hand, because I like bigger bits and chunks in my granola.
TIP: when you chop the dried apricots, sprinkle them with some of the measured sprouted ground flax seed to keep the bits from sticking together.
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup fine (unsweetened) coconut
1/2 cup sprouted ground flax seed
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (raw pepitas)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 whole flax seeds (brown or golden)
1/4 cup whole chia seeds (white or black)
1/3 cup chopped almonds (skins on: roasted no salt, or raw natural)
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup liquid honey (buy local if possible)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup raisins (we used Thompson)
Combine the first ten dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the spices into the coconut sugar or sucanat with a fork or small whisk. Add sugar & spice mixture to the rest, stirring well to distribute the spices throughout the batch.
In a heavy bottom pot on stovetop over low heat, combine butter, coconut oil, liquid honey, water, salt, vanilla and almond extracts. Increase heat until bubbling, stir well, and shut burner off / remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 F. (325 F. for convection oven).
Pour liquid mixture slowly over the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir in thoroughly. (It’s easiest if you do this in 3 parts, mixing thoroughly into the batch between each addition.)
Dump enough of the mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet so that it will spread thinly and evenly (no more than 1/2 inch thickness on your cookie sheet). Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn over with spatula – return to oven and bake another 5 minutes. Oats should be crisp and browned. Coconut or other ingredients should not be burned.
Repeat 3X to complete the batches, dumping each sheet of baked granola into a large bowl to cool.
Stir in raisins, cool thoroughly, and place in Mason jars or airtight containers and store in refrigerator.
with joy and THANKFULNESS for YOU, for life around the table and for all God’s grace and bounty in the big and small and leftover things.
Diana E. Natalie.