Pumpkin Seed Corn Bread

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I made this recipe a few weeks ago for a dinner party I went to and it was delicious! The recipe is adapted from Sue Shepherd’s Low FODMAP Diet book.

I love the zucchini and carrots I used in this recipe because they help to make it stay more moist and the herbed butter is a great addition.

Ingredients:

1 cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used the one from Costco with buckwheat and rice)
1 1/4 cups Potato Flour
1/2 cup Spelt Flour (use soy flour if you need it to be gluten free)
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 small zucchini, grated and drained in paper towel
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup plus 2TBSP soy milk, if you don’t need it to be lactose free you can use regular milk
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp  black pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or with oil
2. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper into a mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, zucchini, salt and pepper, carrot and pumpkin seeds.
3. Warm the soy milk with olive oil
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the warmed milk and oil mixture
5. Bring the dough together and knead with cornstarch until smooth. Form into 2 balls. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
6. Bake 20-25min
I like it better served warm with herbed butter or toasted the next day.

For the Herbed butter: Mix together salted butter with chopped herbs (I used basil but parsley or any other fresh herb would work too).

Enjoy

Note: make sure you drain the zucchini, I missed this step the second time I made it and the bread was too moist and didn’t properly bake in the middle

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To Die For Chocolate Nut Pie

For his birthday dessert, my fiancee asked for a pie, and as you may already know pies are NOT my forte, but alas I trudged ahead because birthday boys get their way.

To add to my bravery I also thought I would trial a new pecan pie recipe from Joy of Baking.

I forgot to preplan my ingredients and I thought I had enough in my pantry but when I got home from getting all of the other ingredients I needed I measured the pecans and I only had 1/2 a cup (recipe calls for 1.5 cups) (Fail!). Luckily I had a full bag of hazelnuts that I got at my last Costco trip and well who doesn’t love chocolate and hazelnuts?

So here is the recipe for my chocolate nut pie adapted from the Joy of Baking Chocolate Pecan Pie. My pie turned out delicious and I think the hazelnuts were an even better touch 🙂

I hope you enjoy it!

pecan pie

Ingredients

Short Crust Pastry:

1 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/8 – 1/4 cup ice water

Chocolate Nut Filling:

1/2 cup whole pecan halves
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 bar of Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate
3 Eggs
1 cup corn syrup (I think light would be best but I used golden syrup and it was fine just a bit sweeter)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp salt

Method:

Short Crust Pastry:

  1. Place the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and process just until combined
  2. Add the butter and process until it looks like coarse meal (15 seconds), add the water slowly (1/8 cup first) and process until the dough holds together when pinched adding little bits of water as needed, I ended up using just less than the full 1/4 cup
  3. Wrap in a ball in saran wrap and place in the fridge for about 30min to 1hr
  4. When chilled roll out onto a lightly floured board and transfer into a 9inch pie plate, fold the crust in around itself (not around the pie plate) and make a pretty design around the boarder if you wish (I thought it was good enough I was making a pie so there was no fancy crust edge on mine)
  5. Place back into fridge while you make the filling

Pie Filling: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Toast the pecans and the hazelnuts, peal the skin off the hazelnuts and chop them, leave the pecans whole
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and set aside to cool
  4. In a large bowl whisk the eggs then whisk in the corn syrup, sugar, oil, vanilla extract and oil
  5. Slowly stream in the melted chocolate whisking together
  6. Fill the pie crust with the pecans and hazelnuts trying to place the pecans on top of the hazelnuts, pour the chocolate filling over the nuts
  7. Bake on the bottom third of the oven for 50-60min or until the filling has puffed but is still wobbly when shaken.
  8. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

 pecan pie2

Kuri Squash Curry

As you might know from reading some of my other posts I was living in Prince George. Well I’ve recently moved back to Vancouver and I’m loving the abundance of farmers markets that are still full of fall produce and locally made foods. With it being squash season I thought I would try cooking with a squash that was new to me. This time I tried Kuri Squash!

Not only is squash a tasty vegetable that is easy to prepare but it is also loaded with antioxidants like beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory properties. Squash are also filled with seeds that can be roasted to make a delicious and healthy snack. As a tip coat your seeds with your favourite toppings like salt, curry powder or garlic salt and roast on low heat like 250F for 20-25min to minimize loss of nutrients from heat.

This week I bought Kuri squash, It has a buttery chestnutty flavour that adds a great texture to curry.

This squash is really tasty and the curry I made below is very dense and filling perfect for a cold fall night. The only issue I have with this squash is that it is incredibly difficult to peal and cut, I would recommend having someone do this part for you as I enlisted my fiancees help in this process. What I might try next is keeping the skin on and see if the texture is soft enough to eat. Feel free to try this and post your results.

kuri squash

I modified this recipe from Carpe Season.

Thai Green Kuri Squash

Ingredients:

1 TBSP Coconut Oil
1 Yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 TBSP Green curry paste
2 TBSP curry powder
1 Can of Coconut milk, I used low fat coconut milk
2.5 TBSP Soy Sauce, I used lite soy sauce (it’s lower in sodium)
2 TBSP Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Kuri Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
Juice of Half a lime
1/4 cup of water or chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
1 head of broccoli, florets
1 Can Chickpeas
Garnish with: Chopped green onions and cilantro

Serve on Brown Basmati rice

Method:

1. Heat a large pot on medium heat and melt the coconut oil, sautee the ginger, garlic and onions until the onions are translucent
2. Add the curry paste and curry powder and cook a few more minutes
3. Add the kuri squash, coconut milk, water, sugar, lime juice, soy sauce and chili paste, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the squash is just about done, about 15 minutes
4. Add the broccoli, peppers and chickpeas, cook for about 5 minutes more until the vegetables are tender crisp
5. Pour over cooked rice and top with chopped green onions, cilantro and some fresh squeezed lime juice

Socca (Chickpea Flour Pancakes)

English: Socca, just coming out of the oven an...

 Socca, just coming out of the oven and served hot, in the old town of Nice (Vieux-Nice), on the French Riviera (Alpes-Maritimes, France).

I was looking through my cupboards on Saturday looking for some inspiration for what to make for the wine and appy potluck I was invited to when I stumbled across the chickpea flour I had bought a few months ago.

Chickpea flour is wheat and gluten free and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in many recipes. It adds a nutty flavour to dishes and is great in indian inspired recipes like pakora.

Beacause chickpea flour is made of dried or roasted chickpeas pulvarized into a flour it is a great source of protein and fibre with 1cup containing 21g of protein, 10g of fibre and 25% of your Daily Value (DV) of iron, compared to white flour wich has about 9g of protein, 4g of fibre and only 3%DV of iron per 1 cup.

My good friend and fellow blogger, Melissa, is the one who first introduced me to a tasty flatbread called socca that is made with chickpea flour, and I used her recipe from UpBeet. You can make socca plain or add fixings of your choice; I used cumin, sundried tomatoes and salt and pepper. The ratio is one to one for flour to water, but feel free to use less water if you want a thicker flatbread, the one to one ratio makes it like a hybrid between a pancake and crepe thickness.

After some research I learned that Socca is actually a dish traditional to France (I would have guessed something African or Indian) baked in a wood fire oven and served as street food. It can be made in a number of different ways depending on your mood. I chose to make mine like a flat pancake that I cut into quarters and served with dip (tzatziki) but you can also use it as a wrap, a pizza crust, or make it thicker and top with some greens.

Although this dish requires some waiting after all mixed together, it’s super easy to make and would make a great weeknight dinner when you’re looking for something quick to put together.

Socca

Ingredients

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup warm water
1.5 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper
Add ins of your choice: cheese, sundried tomatoes, cumin, basil, oregano, spinach…

Method:

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix well with water, olive oil and any fixings. Let rest covered for 1hr or more
2. Preheat greased griddle on medium heat and cook socca until a light golden brown on bottom side then place under the broiler until it starts to blister and brown, alternately you can preheat a cast-iron or non stick oven proof pan under the broiler then place your socca in the pan and cook under the broiler until it’s blistered and brown
3. Take out, sprinkle with good olive oil and salt or your favourite topings

Enjoy!

Hearty Kale Soup

The weather is slowly starting to cool down and you can tell that fall is in the air. Let me start off saying that fall is my favourite time of year. The weather is a bit cooler, the leaves start changing colours, pumpkin lattes are back at Starbucks and I can finally start making some of my favourite comfort foods including soups. As I mentioned in my last post I am an avid Farmers market shopper and this week was no exception. I picked up some kale, potatoes, tomatoes and yellow beans all perfect for making my Hearty Kale Soup.

Although I’m not a fan of labelling a food as super food, if you are so inclined I would definitely classify kale as a superfood. Not only is kale delicous (if cooked right), but it has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as cancer fighting properties not to mention it is packed full with vitamin K, vitamin C, betacarotene and calcium. You should only avoid large quantities of kale if you are on blood thinners (warfarin) as the vitamin K content can affect how well warfarin works and your pharmacist might want to adjust your dose.

There are so many ways to cook and prepare kale like cutting off the stems and sauteeing it with tahini (sesame paste), or baking it in the oven into kale chips, adding it to breakfast smoothies or cooking it into a soup (like I did).

I actually got this soup recipe from one of my good friends Rilla who made it after buying kale at the farmers market last week.

Again as usual I will post the ingredients and you can use as much or as little of each as you like.

kale soup2

Hearty Kale Soup

Ingredients:

Stock: (I like ot make my own or you can just use your favourite store variety

Chicken bones
Celery
Onion
Tomato
Carrots
Bay Leaves
Garlic
Salt
Pepper Corns

Soup:

Kale, stemed and chopped
Carrots, Chopped
Onions, Diced
Yellow Beans, chopped
Chickpeas or white beans
Fingerling or red new potatoes
Curry Powder
Chili powder
Curry Paste
Coconut oil or other oil/butter

Method:

For the Stock:
1. Place all ingredients for the stock in a large pot and cover with water
2. Simmer covered for 30-45min
3. Strain and set the borth aside for the stock
4. Meanwhile, sautee onions in a large soup pot, add carrots, and beans and sautee for a few minutes5. Add curry paste, chilli poweder, curry poweder, salt and pepper and any of your other favourite spices, cook for 1 minute
6. Add potatoes and stir to coat in the spice, add the  stock and simmer on low until the carrots, potatoes and beans are cooked, about 20 min, add the chickpeas and kale and cook for another 15 minutes until the kale is cooked and the flavours start to blend together

This soup is harty enough to be served on its own but if you have a larger appetite you may want to make a sandwich on the side.

Enjoy!

Fresh From the Farmers Market

Currently I live in Prince George, BC. For those of you who don’t know anything about this town, it is a small town in the northern interior of British Columbia. Needless to say the growing season up here is quite short and the treck for produce travelling from Vancouver or Edmonton to Prince George (about 800km) is not a short one.

Earlier I blogged about the whoe’s of living in a town where good fresh produce is scarce and how I’ve started to increase my frozen produce consumption. Now I come to you fresh from the farmers market.

I am not trying to preach here but shopping at a farmers market is the best way to decrease your ecological foot print, help support local growers and producers and lets face it, food that is picked when perfectly ripe because it doesn’t have to travel far is way tastier!

Every Saturday in Prince George local vendors line up inside and outside (in the summer) to show off locally grown and made food and crafts. Now that September is here the local produce at the farmers market will start to dwindle and the outdoor vendors will be closed for the season but while the farmers market is still open in PG (and in your local community), you should take advantage of some of the best fresh produce you will get all year.

And take advantage I did! My excersion ended with a large bunch of kale, a huge bag of mixed coloured carrots, a big bag of yellow beans, some tomatoes, zucchini, beets, lots of okanagen fresh fruit (not so local but as close as it comes to PG), farm fresh eggs, onions, a fresh baked loaf of bread (it was still hot), fresh salsa and even four fresh cut steaks.

I’ve made a number of recipes with these items but I wanted to share with you one of my favourite recipes for yellow wax beans.

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I will just post the ingredients I used, you feel free to choose the amounts based on how much you’re making and experiement with different spices.

Yellow Wax Beans

Ingredients:

A few carrots, diced
Lots of Yellow Wax Beans, cleaned and cut into quarters
1/2 – 1 onion, diced
1tbsp coconut oil, or any oil or butter
Chilli Powder
Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper
1 Tomato (fresh, canned or paste), diced
1/4-1/2 cup water

Method:

1. In a medium saucepan melt the coconut oil and sautee the onion until translucent
2. Add the chopped carrots and sautee a few minutes more
3. Add the wax beans, tomatoe, chilli powder, dill, and salt and pepper and saute a few minutes just to blend all the flavours together, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (you want a bit of juice at the end),
4. Cover and cook for about 20-25min or until the wax beans are cooked, you may need to add more water during the cooking process

Sprinkle with crumbled feta and serve with a fried egg and a piece of toast with tomatoes.

It’s Blueberry Season!

English:

Today I went to the local farmers market here in Prince George, and among other fresh and locally grown produce I bought 2lb of blueberries. I’ve already snacked on almost half the container….

Did you know that blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America? They are also in season in BC from July until early October. And word on the street is this is one of the best of the blueberry seasons.

Honestly I think blueberries are a totally underpresented fruit. They just don’t get the same hype as other berries like strawberries and cherries but they are packed with nutrition and great taste. For example, did you know that blueberries are the most antioxidant rich food in the world??! It’s true! The antioxidant properties in blueberries, (and other antioxidant rich foods) help to stave off aging, reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer and increases HDL (good) cholesterol which can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Blueberries also contain tanins that can help to prevent against urinary tract infections.  Although blueberries are not part of the “Dirty Dozen” (foods you should purchase organic according to the Environmental Working Group), studies have found that organically grown blueberries have higher concentrations of antioxidants than conventional blueberries. This being said, as with all the fruits and vegetables, if you can’t find or can’t afford organic it’s best to buy locally grown produce. And blueberries are packed full with antioxidants regardless so just buy local grown berries from the farm stand or grocery store.

Some new research is suggesting that blueberries help with cognition and brain function. One such study found that older adults who consumed 2-2.5lb of blueberries in the form of juice, had improved cognitive function including improved memory. Keep in mind that this is a new study and that the participants were drinking juice which I would not recommend because you lose some of the fibre and other health benefits of blueberries by juicing them (for more informaiton see my post on juicing). I still think it’s worth it to note that blueberries may have an impact on brain function and even if they don’t it does’t hurt to eat lots of them 🙂

Blueberries and other berries are also great for your waist line as they are low on the glycemic index and also low in calories and fat (like most fruit and vegetables) so pick them for your dessert instead of the cheesecake.

What I’m really trying to get at here is that blueberries are delicious and they are in season now so go to your local fruit stand and buy a whole bunch! A great idea would be to stock up on blueberries now and freeze them so that you can keep the health benefits of blueberries and can enjoy them all year long.

Here are some other ideas for ways to enjoy blueberries this summer:

  • by the handful on their own, they would make a great snack for your next movie (and no micorwave popping or loud chewing required)
  • topped on plain low fat greek yogurt with a sprinkle of chia seeds, hemp seeds and a small handfull of bran buds or low fat granola
  • tossed in your morning cereal or oatmeal
  • tossed in your ice cream
  • blended into a smoothie with plain yogurt, milk, a banana and spinach
  • blueberry bran muffins (recipe to come)
  • add to pancake batter (make sure to place into batter once already in the frying pan not just add to the batter in the bowl, it will turn your pancakes blue…)

While i recommend eating blueberries in their raw form and not baked into cookies and cakes to get their best health value, the BC Blueberry Council does have some great recipes listed that I might have to try out.

Stay tuned for a post or two from the recipes I try.