This is one of my favorite times of year in New York. For me, everything right now has to be creamy, warm and filled with ginger. That doesn’t mean I don’t still drink green smoothies and kale salads, but when it comes to dessert, it has to be fruit-filled and warm.
I became obsessed with all the mini pears I saw around the greenmarkets. Anyone who reads this knows I have an affinity for anything miniature or especially tiny in size. This may be because I relate to them, being barely 5’1 myself. The little guys have to be recognized sometimes, so I thought I’d treat these little pears just as if they were big ones, and poach them. It resulted in a creamy, sweet and Autumn dessert with just enough of a napoleon complex to be big & bold in flavor.
The first time I tried macarons was at the Macaron Café in Midtown, Manhattan. I had seen many photos of them prior to that and always wondered if they were as tasty as they were pretty. And were they ever. Those macarons melted in my mouth and made my eyes close with pleasure. Even today, whenever I am in the area, I indulge and buy a box of six.
Since preparing healthier alternatives to old favourites is what I love, I decided it was time to conquer the macarons. And what better time to do it than the winter holidays? They are sweet, colourful, and overall cheerful – a wonderful treat and a nice gift. For the flavours, I went with seasonal fruits like persimmon and pomegranate and two powders I had on hand – matcha and blueberry. Each created a beautiful colour, no artificial dye required.
We decorated our tree yesterday. It’s a beauty and fills the home with the smell of pine. Paloma was thrilled when she came home from day care and found the tree all lit up in our living room. She couldn’t stop singing this song, which is a traditional Russian jingle about the New Year’s tree.
The macarons were a success, everyone in the family enjoyed them with a hot cup of tea or two. The persimmon kind were voted the popular favourite.
It’s challenging to find fresh organic fruit in the dead of winter. This, of course depends on where you are located in the world. As for me, all the organic berries I find in the markets of New York, are not only extremely expensive but they all seem to be coming from far away places. And so, I decided to go with a couple of bags of frozen organic berries. Those berries were my inspiration for this gluten free berry crisp dessert. It just goes to show you, you never know from where or from what something delicious will be born!
This is a decadently delicious wheat free cake. The chestnut flour adds a divine depth and a touch of nuttiness and has quickly become on of my favorite gluten free flours to bake with. Serve this cake alone, with cashew cream or some homemade Ice Cream and you and your guest will never think this is vegan. Oh and your chocolate fix will be…ummmm…fixed.
This recipe was inspired by pastry chef extraordinaire, Will Goldfarb. I read this in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago and then altered and adapted it to become gluten and dairy free. Sometimes adaptions work and sometimes they are a bust. This time, I am extremely happy to report, it is f***ing brilliant. Yes, I am tooting my own horn. And so will you after you make this incredible dessert. It’s that good.
Much to my surprise, some of my family members have recently become vegan. This holiday season, lots of traditions had to be adapted for the new dietary habits that aren’t just mine anymore. I took on the challenge of re-creating our Christmas morning treat of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. I always figure, if i’m going to adapt a recipe for whatever reason, I might as well make it gluten-free, too. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I baked something with normal flour–it has been years.
I did a little research to see what recipes already existed for such a thing like vegan and gluten-free cinnamon rolls, when I found a blog called Cooking with Dia. She makes amazing comfort food, and cooks mostly (if not all) gluten-free and vegan. I took a look at her recipe, and the wonderful photos, and I barely adapted a thing. The recipe was amazing as is, and my family loved it, too.
I LOVE finding new foodie things at shee shee gourmet food shops. I immediately pop the item into my basket, full of excited inspiration and quickly get my ass into the kitchen to start experimenting! This time, I found a box of gluten free Sweet Potato Flour. I had never seen this kind of flour before. Wow! Not to mention sweet potatoes happen to be one of my favorite foods. The bread came out moist and delicious with the subtly sweetness that only sweet potatoes naturally ensue. My BF used it to make a savory sandwich with kale, black olives, tomatoes, sea salt and olive oil. I poo pooed his creation at first, thinking the flavors wouldn’t work together. But boy oh boy was I wrong!
The brownie universe isn’t exactly full of surprises. The combination of sugar, butter, flour, chocolate, eggs, a few extraneous ingredients, plus a little oven time, inevitably leads to some form of brownie action. Of course, the resulting degree of deliciousness is all in the details — just talk to the adamant nut-adders, the chocolate chip enthusiasts, or the “fudgy” versus “cakey” people that can seemingly never agree. Yet, by and large, the language of brownies is pretty much the same: delicious chocolate squares that just about everyone loves. Including me.
But I have a secret. With the exception of chocolate (which can be profoundly beneficial in its unprocessed form), I don’t use any of the “conventional” ingredients in my homemade brownies. In fact, I don’t even bake them. (I know — what a rebel.) Instead, by using exclusively natural, whole foods, the inherently gorgeous flavor of each healthy ingredient does all the sweet singing — without needing the crutch of sugar or butter. Undercover health benefits like antioxidants, good omega fats, potassium, magnesium (and more) nutritionally rank this dessert as more of an energy bar than an “extra 20 minutes on the treadmill indulgence.” Best of all, five ingredients plus five minutes is all it takes to go from zero to brownie.
Today I’ve got a tasty ice cream dessert recipe to share, which has the added benefit of the medicial chaga mushroom (although it’s optional). I did a post on chaga last year and included a Chaga Maple Frosty recipe in addition to mentioning some of it’s benefits. I’m fortunate to live in an area where chaga grows in abundance all year around.
I made this ice cream last week, since a friend was over for dinner and I wanted to do a little something special. What to do with a few young coconuts, some ripe mushy persimmons, fresh ginger, and a bunch of soaked irish moss?! Here’s what I came up with. It would also be great with a chocolate sauce, or orange segments in place in place of the persimmon jelly. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
The pumpkin pictured below, Is that not the purtiest, most perfect pumpkin you’ve ever laid your eyes on?! Now I’m not normally one to brag, but I growed that big beauty up there and man, I am proud! It’s my first successful squash, my garden’s inaugural gourd. The primary pumpkin! And apparently when I get excited, I alliterate!
I was so enamored of this precious pumpkin. I knew I had to do it justice, to create something really special. Lucky for me, a pumpkin goes a long way! I spent the whole weekend carving, chopping, blending, juicing, and otherwise altering the darling orb into all manner of delightful delicacies. But first things first, the prep work:
The heavy melon was washed and halved, the innards removed. The seeds were cleaned and set aside for roasty toasty. From there, it’s a blank canvas . . .
T’was a yummy morning. T’was. The dawn a breakin’, the bird’s a flyin’, the dog a wagin’, the fire a crackin’, the very ripe bananas a smellin’…love was in the air…All the elements were in place for the inspiration and creation of this recipe. A recipe I would never make if I were not visiting a special someone. A special someone, who happens to love his bananas. Me, I can’t stand em’. I know. I am in the minority. But I never liked them. As a kid maybe. My mom, who never cooked anything except her occasional overly steamed vegetables, baked potatoes and chicken soup when I was sick (Sorry Ma!), would make me mashed bananas with sour cream and honey. I know. Sounds nasty but as I kid I would crave it. Haven’t touched it since though. Not sure if I could stomach it now. No idea why I liked that mush so much. But at the time, it was Eureka. Now, I am just not a banana gal. Well, not until this morning.
About 15 minutes after I popped this thang in the oven the house started smelling and feeling like a warm, cozy embrace…of, well, bananas.
I found myself and my taste buds unexpectedly excited to taste it. Unfortunately, his oven sucks and the temperature doesn’t ever stay consistent so the bread got burned along the edges and the bottom a wee bit charred. That is why I cut it up into these cute little individual bite size pieces. A handy trick I learned from the Queen Bee Martha Stewart. Cause let me tell you honey — this moist, delicious banana bread tastes divine. Wouldn’t wanna throw it away cause it didn’t come out perfect. Yep. Another reminder of how there is no such thing as perfection and how imperfection can be perfect…
Our friend Brendan Brazier, the vegan tri-athlete, author and formulator of the Vega food products, stopped by to show Sarah and Boise how to make a raw energy bar. This is one of the first products Brendan created during his early days of training.