The Sunday Recipe: Vanilla and Peach Coconut Custard

Vanilla and Peach Coconut Custard

This is a simple custard with just a few ingredients that comes together quickly and is gentle on the stomach.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of full fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 peach slices, frozen or canned, for each ramekin, diced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the four ramekins in a square baking dish, metal or glass work.
  3. Put one layer of chopped peaches in the bottom of the dishes.
  4. Heat 2 cups of water for a water bath.
  5. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or bowl and mix thoroughly. (I used a bullet blender.)
  6. Pour batter slowly over fruit.
  7. Pour hot water into pan around ramekins. (Be careful, the pan can now become quite hot.)
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and remove ramekins from pan to a towel using tongs.
  10. Allow to cool then refrigerate for several hours.
  11. Enjoy!

Totally Coconut Cake

Totally Coconut Cake

When I was growing up my mother would buy a fresh coconut, use the coconut water in a white cake mix, frost with an Italian meringue frosting, called White Mountain Frosting by Betty Crocker, then grate the fresh coconut onto the cake. The Italian meringue frosting would hold the fresh grated coconut quite well.

Mom decorated the cakes in a number of ways over the years. I remember her cutting up layers and putting them together so it looked like a rabbit one year. But one of my favorites was when she put jelly beans on the fresh coconut and the color bled into the coconut just a little. It was very pretty and festive for Easter.

Today, it’s so much easier to get coconut products and I like to stay as gluten free as possible for myself. I also like to sweeten with maple syrup instead of regular sugar so this cake was perfect for us. With just the three of us for Easter this year, one layer was perfect too.

I wasn’t able to get fresh coconut this year, but I know from past cupcakes I’ve made that using coconut oil, coconut flour, and coconut milk will pack plenty of coconut flavor in.

I’m not big on sugar based candies like jelly beans, but who could resist the beautiful, bright color they bring to the mostly white background of the cake. Perfect for Spring!

This year I used the recipe from Savory Lotus at  https://www.savorylotus.com/simple-coconut-flour-cake/ because it was fairly similar to a cupcake recipe I’ve used before that we loved. I was a little disappointed that the cake turned out so flat, maybe three-quarters of an inch thick, and that’s with beating the egg whites then folding them in AND using a slightly smaller pan than called for. I sure hope it tastes good.

I picked a frosting from a different cake recipe at Well Plated to use – https://www.wellplated.com/coconut-flour-cake/ Mostly because it used coconut milk in the frosting and I thought that would give it an extra flavor boost.

Maybe I’ll stick to my favorite coconut flour cupcakes from Treasured Tips next time, though I do use maple syrup instead of honey in them. You can find that recipe at https://www.treasuredtips.com/vanilla-paleo-cupcakes-recipe/

I’ll update with how the cake tasted after we eat it. 🙂

ETA: Husband liked it but I will definitely stick to the cupcake recipe in the future. C’est la vie.

The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice

The ultra-simple ways to make healthy food taste delicious – isn’t that what we’re all looking for? This one goes down easy with my family. If you want to stay vegetarian with this recipe, simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 4 teaspoons low sodium chicken bouillon powder plus 2 cups water OR  2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of brown rice

Directions

  1. Prepare a medium-large pot with non-stick cooking spray or just the olive oil and heat over medium low heat.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. (I use a plunger chopper with multiple blades to make this part go very quickly.)
  3. Sauté veggies in pot for a few minutes until softened.
  4. While they are cooking, in a fine mesh strainer rinse your rice until the water runs clear, leave to drain. (Because our water is not drinkable, I pour the rice into a small bowl, cover with water, stir until water is cloudy and drain off then repeat two more times.)
  5. Add the bouillon and water or chicken broth with the brown rice to the pot, and salt if using.
  6. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce heat to lowest setting.
  7. Cover and allow to cook for 50 minutes.
  8. After 50 minutes, remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 10 more minutes.
  9. Stir the rice and serve.  

The Sunday Recipe: Non-Traditional Irish Soda Bread Muffins

This is definitely not what you would call a “traditional” Irish soda bread.

I started out with a muffin recipe from A Spicy Perspective, which can be found here – ttps://www.aspicyperspective.com/irish-soda-bread-muffins/ – if you want a recipe that uses regular flour.

Then I started making my substitutions to create something gluten free and a little more friendly for me. Here’s what I came up with. It’s similar, in some ways, but also different. However, my husband and I agreed that it was delicious – buttery, sweet, and tender. (I actually think he liked it better than regular Irish soda bread.)

If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.

Paleo Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, gently melted
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted to break up clumps
  • 1 cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained (I used golden raisins.)

Directions

  1. Plump your raisins in hot water for 20 minutes then drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Prep 18 muffin wells with cooking spray or paper liners. (I have a 12 cup and two 6 cup tins so I used one large and one small.)
  4. Cut up the butter and warm it gently in the microwave, stirring to melt every minute or so. Set aside.
  5. Whisk the egg with the maple syrup.
  6. Add in the buttermilk.
  7. Add the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  8. Stir in the melted butter.
  9. Add the coconut flour and raisins last, folding to combine quickly but gently. (Coconut flour has a tendency to stiffen dough quickly.)
  10. You will have a fluffy dough. Spoon gently into the prepared tins. (This won’t puff a lot when baking so you don’t want to deflate the air you have in there.)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

I don’t remember having this dish when I was growing up but my daughter saw it online and wanted to give it a try. We’ve made it half a dozen times since then and customized it to fit our tastes, cobbling together a couple recipes into something we really enjoy. It is the ultimate comfort food.

This version is not vegetarian but I could easily see making it vegetarian by using mushroom gravy and either tofu or seitan in place of the meat.

One thing that makes a huge difference, I have found, is the quality of the Worcestershire sauce. We were using the standard grocery store sauce, and it was good, but then I ran out and grabbed a bottle of organic at our local farm store. It was amazing – the flavor was so much more complex and rich.

The other thing that makes a big difference to me is how finely minced the ground beef is, the trick is to keep the meat moving with a wood spoon or spatula as it browns. This produces a finer mince than you would get if you just turn it a few times during this step. It allows the sauce to fully incorporate and makes it so much better.

We have tried adding no peas, a cup of frozen peas, or a whole package before putting it in the pan and putting the mashed potatoes on top. Personally, I prefer to either leave the peas out or put a cup in and just serve the rest on the side. I think it dilutes the flavor of the casserole just a bit.

We’ve also added a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes, but it really isn’t necessary, this is so rich and flavorful on its own. 

One of the hardest bits to me is getting the consistency right of the beef and gravy so that the mashed potatoes don’t sink in, and also spooning the potatoes on evenly so they don’t sink in. Last time I used a cookie scoop to drop them on and that worked pretty well.

This time I was impatient and didn’t simmer the gravy for five minutes, so it was a bit soupy. It was still delicious. This serves our family of three for two meals.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots or two handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (optional)

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Peel potatoes and cut into half-inch pieces. Rinse, if needed, then place in a pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes boil, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook the meat filling, directions as follows.
  5. Mix together the starch with a couple tablespoons of cold water, set aside.
  6. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
  7. Add olive oil and chopped carrots and onions, and minced garlic if using.
  8. Saute a few minutes.
  9. Add the ground beef and keep it moving until it is thoroughly browned and broken up into a fine mince.
  10. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder if using.
  11. Salt and pepper as desired.
  12. Stir in the broth and bring it to a gentle bubble. Let it go for 5 minutes to reduce.
  13. Stir in the starch slurry.
  14. Allow to cook for a minute then remove from heat.
  15. Stir in a cup of frozen peas if using.
  16. When the potatoes have simmered for 20 minutes, drain and mash with butter, milk, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  17. Pour the meat and vegetable filling into a prepared 9 by 13 casserole dish.
  18. Dip the mashed potatoes over onto the filling.
  19. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  20. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. (This comes out piping hot!)
  21. Serve with additional vegetable, peas are particularly good with it.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

I asked my husband if the peanut butter flavor was TOO light in these but we agreed that if it were stronger, it would quickly overpower. With this amount, you can taste it but easily eat the cup and kind of wish you had more.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature. Some people can remember to take things out ahead, I just grab everything and nuke it on low power. Except the egg. That I warm up in hot tap water for a few minutes.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey or sugar)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  4. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  5. Microwave on medium power for one to two minutes, until it stirs easily with a wire whisk.
  6. Whisk together gently, side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps.
  7. Stir in the room temp peanut butter, sour cream, and heavy cream.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  11. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  12. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  13. Carefully place in the oven.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  16. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  17. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  18. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  19. To make the chocolate ganache topping, place 1/3 cup of chocolate chips in a measuring cup.
  20. Pour just enough cream over the chocolate chips to bring it level with the top of the chocolate chips.
  21. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute.
  22. Stir gently with a small whisk or fork until it comes together, this can take a few minutes.
  23. Divide over the chilled peanut butter cheesecakes, shake and turn to smooth to the edges.
  24. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Cheese Sauce for Cauliflower and/or Pasta #glutenfree

Gluten Free Cheese Sauce for Cauliflower and/or Pasta

I based this simple cheese sauce on Betty Crocker’s old-fashioned Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Something about the lack of the flour requires some extra flavor boost from an increase in mustard and Worcestershire sauce. I’ve used it several different ways since then. The first time I steamed a head of cauliflower in the microwave and mixed it with the prepared sauce then baked. That was a delicious side dish. The next time I prepared some gluten free pasta and combined the pasta with the cheese sauce and a steamer bag of frozen riced cauliflower that had been cooked in the microwave. I just stirred it all together and served my daughter for a thumbs up.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tapioca or corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups whole milk + ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken up and steamed (optional)
  • 1 bag of riced frozen cauliflower, steamed (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (al dente) (optional)

Directions

  1. Shred the cheese into a bowl or on a plate.
  2. Combine the starch with the ¼ cup of milk.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter to melt and add the milk.
  4. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Continue stirring gently until the milk begins to steam and small bubbles appear around the edge.
  6. Put the cheese in a handful at a time while stirring to melt.
  7. Give the starch and milk mixture a little stir and pour into the cheese and milk mixture.
  8. Continue stirring for a minute while it thickens then remove from heat.
  9. For baked cheese cauliflower – prepare a baking dish with cooking spray or butter and arrange the steamed cauliflower then pour the cheese sauce over it and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  10. For creamy mac and cauliflower – simply stir in the steamed riced cauliflower and cooked pasta then serve.

The Sunday Recipe: Potato Pancakes

Also known as potato latkes, these are a traditional meatless Lenten meal I grew up with. I’ve used every type of potato but yellow or white probably work best. I’ve tried using several other things than flour to thicken and it just doesn’t work as well. Tapioca flour is okay, but it doesn’t hold together as well as the wheat flour. The baking powder isn’t traditional but I like what it does for them. I typically serve these with cottage cheese and applesauce on the side, but I’ve also used sour cream with them. They would also make nice breakfast hash browns. I cover the bottom of the cast iron frying pan with a puddle of refined olive oil then add a bit more between batches. The hot frying pan heats it to a good temp almost instantly.

Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Extra light olive oil for frying

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the three eggs.
  2. Chop or grate the onion into the bowl and stir it into the eggs.
  3. Peel and grate the potatoes over the eggs and onion. (Food processor also works okay for this but I like to hand grate them on a large hole grater.).
  4. Get the pan heating on medium high.
  5. Dump the flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder into the bowl with the potato mixture and stir vigorously.
  6. Check whether the pan is ready by dropping just a little mix into the oil and seeing if it sizzles.
  7. Carefully place potato batter into hot frying pan. You can use a big spoon or a quarter cup measure. Pat down the mound of potato batter in the frying pan to spread it out.
  8. After 4 minutes, turn over using two spatulas, one to flip and one to hold and ease the pancake down so it doesn’t splash the oil.
  9. I can get three pancakes into my ten-inch skillet at a time. This recipe makes 12 large pancakes if you use a quarter cup measure.
  10. You may need to add some more flour to the batter as the potatoes release moisture.
  11. Enjoy!

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

We love cheesecake, but I prefer to make it without flour or cane sugar, and I like to make individual serving size cups too. To that end, I present you lovely little cheesecake cups in ramekins. If you have the old Pyrex fluted ½ cup ramekins, those work great too. Whatever you use needs to be oven proof.

For juice, I like Minute Maid frozen lemon juice but any other kind will work, fresh too. The flavor may just be a tiny bit more subtle. For the lime, I use key lime juice that I buy in a 16-ounce bottle in the grocery aisle. NOT sweetened. It’s shelf stable until opened then must be refrigerated. I freeze the whole bottle and take it out when I want to use some.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature or a little warm. It’s easy to get this with a microwave, but that doesn’t work for an egg. What to do? When I was learning to make macarons, I came across a simple tip. Place an egg from the fridge into a bowl of hot tap water for ten minutes. Voila, a room temp egg.

You can make this in just three ramekins for an extra-large portion. You can also place a good cookie, such as a butter short bread, in the bottom of each ramekin for a crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon or key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of tapioca flour, or cornstarch

Directions

  1. If you can remember, get your ingredients out a couple hours in advance.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  5. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  6. Microwave on medium power for one minute.
  7. Whisk together gently. Side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps works best.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese and maple syrup.
  9. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
  10. Whisk in the tapioca flour or cornstarch.
  11. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  12. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  13. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  14. Carefully place in the oven.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  17. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  18. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  19. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  20. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is the best pound cake recipe I have ever found. (I copied it down 30 plus years ago so if anyone knows who deserves credit, let me know.) It makes a nice crust that is just delicious. I tried to make it gluten free and refined sugar free, with varying results, none of them fantastic. The first time it was just a bit stodgy, using rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, and maple syrup. The second time I added an extra egg and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder but only had salted butter. The butter separated out and smoked the kitchen to high heaven. If you can stand a little flour occasionally, I highly recommend making this the old-fashioned way. If I ever do come up with a good gluten free recipe, I’ll be sure to share it.

Pound Loaf Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease, then flour, or create a parchment paper sling, for a medium sized loaf pan. (About 8 by 5 inches.)
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and blend well after each addition.
  5. Add sour cream and flavorings.
  6. Sift flour and baking soda in, then mix together.
  7. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.
  8. Cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. I like to serve this with some blueberry or cherry pie filling, but it is fantastic on its own.

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