Tag Archives: gluten-free

Coconut Macaroons

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I may have a new favorite cookie. (Well, okay, chocolate chip oatmeal pecan are pretty much always going to take the cake (so to speak)… but these are damn good).

The pros: Super fast to make (30 min?), gluten-free, dairy-free, pairs excellently with chocolate, good as dessert on their own or as an accompaniment to something else, could conceivably be eaten for breakfast, if you also have an orange or something…

The cons: Some people don’t like coconut? And coconut doesn’t grow in Maine yet, so… not local.

I tend to not like anything terribly sweet, so when my mother and I were playing around with these at Christmas (she’s always been my baking partner, even when we don’t live near each other anymore) we decided to mix unsweetened and sweetened coconut. It has the added benefit of changing up the texture a little.

I keep egg whites in the freezer, from whenever I use only the yolks (custard, hollandaise, molten lava cakes, etc), and can then just pull them out and defrost them before using. If you don’t have them on hand, I’ve heard you can freeze the unused yolks (never needed to try it first hand, though), or you could just whip up a quick batch of pudding—and actually these would be fabulous dipped in caramel pudding.

On another note, I try to keep up a bit on countries I’ve traveled to, and there is quite a bit of interest in Denmark’s food system, from cutting food waste to antibiotic use in animal raising. They also just opened the first food waste supermarket, to try to do even more to combat the problem.

And, if you are following the debates (as you should be—especially you single women out there, we’ve got lots of political power!), you may be curious about the candidates’ positions on food and farming. I don’t know much about the R side, if they even have thought about food (not that anyone seems to have a chance to discuss actual policy in those debates), but here’s a little about Sanders vs. Clinton.

Coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 oz chocolate, if desired (highly recommended)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Defrost egg whites, if using from the freezer. Otherwise, separate eggs, putting the whites in a large bowl and saving the yolks for another venture.

Toast the coconut (not required, but improves flavor). Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350ºF or so until just golden (it goes quickly once it starts turning, so watch carefully), about 5 minutes. Turn with a spatula halfway through. Cool.

Mix together egg whites and sugar until frothy. Stir in cooled coconut (you don’t want to cook the egg whites prematurely) and vanilla.

Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls with your hands and place on cookie sheet. They won’t spread out at all, so they can be closer together than other cookies—but do give them a couple inches in between balls for air flow, or they won’t get as evenly golden.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until evenly golden and crispy on the outside. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.

When cookies are at least mostly cool, melt chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in melted chocolate, then balance upside down on the cooling rack to cool. The chocolate will take a while to solidify completely (you can definitely eat them in the meantime, it’ll just be a little messy).

Excellent as trail nibbles on a late winter (early spring…?) hike.

Winter Lentil Salad

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Yum, food. As I was derelict in my previous post, I am now providing you with a lentil recipe. With winter vegetables, no less (and admittedly a few additions). But first I have a bunch of fun things to share, since I’m on all these mailing lists and come across a variety interesting articles that I think you’ll enjoy.

There has been a considerable interest lately in the increasing power of women in agriculture: globally in the face of climate change, in sustainable ag generally (something to do with a nurturing spirit? Although I reject the concept that that has to be a feminine trait), and overall in the food and farming sector. This is partly because women tend to be better at collaboration, which is increasingly important to the new economy, and especially in this emerging field. And partly because the world may be changing. Slowly. Go ladies!

Related to the new economy: can farms be a part of it (think Uber for farm storage)? And to new stuff in general: what about printing 3D crackers (although I don’t quite understand how this is different from making actual crackers).

More related to this recipe: if you need another incentive to eat less meat, here’s a fun video about water use in food, from Grist. And finally, a shoutout to Montana, and growing awesome heritage lentils. Lentils are great for ecology, since they fix nitrogen in the soil, but are also packed with protein. The article also includes a lentil recipe, so… get cooking!

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, paleo (I think? I don’t know much about paleo, to be honest), what have you… but the tahini keeps it nice and creamy. Fresh, interesting, filling, and tasty—do you need another reason?

Warm winter lentil salad (this makes a lot, so you have it for lunch)
2 cups cooked green lentils, or 1 cup dry
4 or more carrots
4 large beets, or more smaller ones
A head of garlic
Olive oil and salt
A leek or two, or an onion
Other greenery (bok choy, spinach, kale, etc)

Dressing:
Tahini (a large spoonful)
Olive oil (2 large spoonfuls)
Apple cider vinegar (a small spoon)
Coconut butter, if you have some (a small spoon)
Turmeric
Salt
Fresh orange juice, if you have it

Chop up carrots and beets—I pretty much quartered both of them (I like long carrot pieces). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast with garlic cloves until soft and getting caramelized, at least 30 min at 350ºF or so (turn over with a spatula a couple times). Watch the garlic cloves—they burn faster than the veggies. While the veggies are roasting, cook the lentils, if you haven’t already (cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, then simmer until soft. Drain as necessary). Chop up the leeks or onion (slice onion lengthwise to have it hold more body) and sauté briefly until soft. Chop up greens, if needed.

Stir together dressing ingredients (mine got a little curdled, but still tastes good, so don’t worry about it too much). Taste, adjust, and thin with water if needed. Toss lentils, carrots, beets, whole garlic cloves, greens, and leeks together, and then mix in dressing.

Best served slightly warm or room temperature, although it is also good cold.

Rutabaga Caponata

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So I had some deliberation on whether to use this title because caponata doesn’t mean much to most people. In fact I had a hard time remembering the term myself. But, we all need to learn new things, right?

Ordinarily, I now understand, caponata is an eggplant dish. Not having made the original version, I have nothing to compare this with. However, I can tell you that Wikipedia’s description is fairly apt, a sweet and sour vegetable dish that could be used as either a side or main. It’s pretty exciting and has interesting flavors that I would probably never think to put together on my own. Always looking for new rutabaga outlets, I came across this recipe from Saveur and I think it’s a keeper. It should end up sweet but hearty—the flavor of the rutabaga plays nicely with the array of spices.

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I’ll have to try the eggplant version sometime.

On another note, I broke ANOTHER paring knife. That one in the picture, actually. It’s got a good core but part of the stone piece fell off. I’ll have to find the right adhesive material. I guess maybe I am overusing them, because my larger knife feels a little flimsy and anyway mostly I’m just cooking for me, which doesn’t generally require too much knife power. Except that apparently it does. Ah, well.

Saveur's Rutabaga Caponata
2 rutabagas
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
A couple cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons currants (I didn't have these but they'd be good)
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (you keep them around now, right?)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or a little cayenne if you don't have them)
A small spoonful of honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
A tablespoon of cocoa

Start by roasting the rutabaga. Rutabaga is friendlier than squash to chop quickly, although it does have quite a thick peel that takes a little practice. Anyway, peel (with a knife) and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Drizzle with oil and bake in a hot oven (around 400ºF) for 30 or so minutes, turning over every once in a while, until soft but not mushy.

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Chop the rest of the veggies. Heat up oil in the pan and cook the onions first, then when they begin to soften add in garlic, shallots, currants, and raisins. Then add the vinegar, and scrape the pan (deglaze) to collect anything that might have gotten stuck. Add the pine nuts and spices, going easy on the honey and cocoa until you taste it, and adjust as necessary.

I ate it with some water buffalo sausage, because I felt like, but it’s also perfectly acceptable as a main course by itself.

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In other news, the just 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a new report detailing diet suggestions for the American populace. You can read the Executive Summary if you don’t want to get into the whole thing. Basically, though, we need to be eating more vegetables, less red meat, and considerably less sugar. If you are surprised by this, I’m glad you’re here, because you have some indoctrination in store. It’s getting harder in the winter, though. Hence the rutabagas.

If you have great (read: varied) recipes for winter vegetables (turnips, cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes), send them my way!