Perfect Gluten Free Crust

*gluten free pie crust

So I used an all purpose GF flour that usually has a bitter taste to it- I am telling you- you can not tell that this is a GF crust- it is certainly not the same as a crust made with traditional pastry flour HOWEVER…this shit is BOMB. I mean, the taste was yummy, it was crunchy, it didn’t get gummy…I LOVED IT! Because there is no gluten in the dough, you don’t have to be so precious with it, don’t man handle it for Christ’s sake but you don’t have to worry about your dough toughening up if you over work it.

Perfect Gluten Free Crust

3T cold vegan butter

3T cold coconut oil

1-1/4c Bobs Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour, or your favorite GF mix.

1/4t pink salt

3T maple sugar

4-6T ice cold water

Sift the GF flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the cold butter and oil in 1T scoops and cut the oil into the flour using two knives or a pastry cutter. The end result should look like a sandy crumb or meal. There should not be any large chunks of oil, you want smallish bead sized bits of fat encased in the flour.

Add the ice water, 1T at a time using a wooden spoon to mix it in, grabbing the flour as you go. Only add as much water as you need to help it come together to form a ball. Don’t smash the dough, think of it more as collecting it into a ball.

Once a loose ball of dough is formed, transfer it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and work it gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap and chill for 15-20 minutes. If not using right away you can store it for a couple of days tighlty wrapped in plastic wrap. Let it warm back up a little before using but not quite to room temp. You don’t want it too warm or it can get too soft to handle.

To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two good size layers of wax paper (plastic wrap will work OK, but is a little more difficult to work with). Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of your pie pan. It will crack, don’t worry, you will mostly be pressing this into the pie plate with your hands- you just want to get the dough as even and thin as possible before hand. Any holes or cracks you can patch up with more dough with no problem.

To transfer the crust into your pie dish, remove the top layer of paper and gently lay it over the pie dish face down on top of the crust- use the support of the wax paper to quickly but carefully flip it as center as possible over the pie pan.

Once in the pan, it is mostly about evenly distributing the dough. Gently use your hands to form it into the pan, working the crust up along the sides. Try to get the pie up as uniformly as possible all around. You can leave a straight no fuss edge or I like to make a curve design by pressing my right knuckle in between the pie dough and my left pointer finger knuckle and thumb.

I uniformly press the hell out of it into the pie plate and then let it set for 10 minutes prior to filling.

For a pre-baked crust, put this into a 350 degree preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. If you are making a pie where the recipe calls to bake the crust and the filling together, pour the filling into pie crust and bake for anywhere from 30-40 minutes, depending on the filling.

Creamy Yukon Potato Salad

Creamy Yukon Potato Salad

Incredibly delicious. Yukon potatoes have a rich nutty taste on their own- and they abundant locally now in Western Mass. In this side dish they are showcased with the perfect amount of dressing that is sure to please all kinds of palettes. There is a perfect balance between sweet, salty and sharp- the lemon is not necessary but adds a brightness to the flavor.

This salad is a winner.

Creamy Yukon Potato Salad

8-10 Yukon potatoes, gently scrubbed and washed , about 2 pounds

1 small red onion, minced

1 leafy stalk of celery, minced (with the leaves)

1t maple syrup or agave

1/2c Veganaise or another type prepared vegan mayonnaise

3T olive oil

1/4c red vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1T fresh lemon juice *optional

2t stone ground mustard

1-1/2t salt

1/2t ground black pepper

2c water

1t salt

The Potatoes:

Place the cleaned potatoes into a medium sized pot. Cover ¾ the way with water and add 1T salt. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and cover and cook them partially covered for 10-15 minutes, until they are tender but they still maintain their shape. Make sure they are cooked all the way through.

Drain them from the water and allow them to cool slightly making them easier to handle, about 2-3 minutes.

The Dressing:

In a large mixing bowl, add the other ingredients together, the minced onion, celery, sweetener (I used raw agave), Veganaise, vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Coarsely slice the potatoes into the bowl- I like large chunks so I will quarter the potatoes depending on their size. Mindfully mix the potatoes into the dressing, trying not to smash the potatoes up to much. Adjust the seasoning before serving. Serve warm or chilled garnished with fresh parsley.

The Best Bowl Of Oatmeal

Best Bowl Of Oatmeal

The Best Sweet Oatmeal

This almost tastes like custard it is so creamy and delicious. For me it is all about the balance between sweet and salty. I like to cook a little bit of sweet and salt into the oats while they are cooking so any adjustments in the bowl are only for fine tuning. Taste your oats after they are done- before you steam them to the finish so you can adjust for your liking prior to serving- the add ins are just that.

I also like adding the sweet into the cooking oatmeal because I find it’s a bummer when the add ins brings the temperature of the oatmeal down- I like my oatmeal hot!

Oatmeal Prep

1c oatmeal

1 stick cinnamon* optional

3c water

1t lemon juice

1/2t pink salt

In a non reactive pot, add in the oats, salt, lemon juice and water and let stand overnight on the stove- no heat, just to soak or soak for at least 8 hours. The acid from the lemon helps to break down the phytic acid in the grain, making it easier to digest and absorb the nutrient content in the oats- this goes for all grains! You can cook in the soaking liquid. Soaking also substantially shortens cooking time for grains which is always a plus.

Oats after soaking, ready to be cooked!
Oats after soaking, ready to be cooked!

The Oatmeal

In addition to the ingredients already in the pot soaked, add:

1/4c coconut sugar or maple syrup or more to taste

2t cinnamon or more to taste

1T coconut oil

More water as needed during cooking.

Over medium heat, bring the contents of the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and allow to slowly cook until the desired creaminess is achieved about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add:

1/4c cashew or other nut milk

1T coconut oil

Let this steam on the stovetop off heat for 5 minutes- taste this then let steam. After 5 minutes or so mix well and taste again. In an individual bowl, you may add whatever mix ins you love, I add more coconut oil, and maple syrup with a sprinkling of more cinnamon, maybe a pinch of salt.

Steamed with nut milk, no heat
Steamed with nut milk, coconut oil, cinnamon- no heat

Other amazing add ins:

  • Fresh fruit, like bananas, berries of any kind
  • Dried fruit, could also be cooked in from the beginning, also added during the initial soak to soften up even more
  • Nuts for added protein, walnuts and pecans are particularly delicious.

Cheesy White-Bean Béchamel Sauce

Cheesy White-Bean Béchamel Sauce

I had just enough Red Sauce and Tofu Ricotta Filling left over for a personal sized lasagna and I also had cooked some Baby Lima Beans this weekend that I had made Escarole & Beans with hanging out in my fridge so I thought about experimenting with a white cheese sauce. White beans have such great creamy texture that it made making this delicious Béchamel style sauce easy and delicious to boot. I layered it in and topped it with sautéed kale and the whole beautiful party is in the oven. This sauce on its own over a bowl of pasta or noodles would be an exceptionally satisfying and protein filled dish.

Cheesy White-Bean Béchamel Sauce 

1c baby Lima or Canelini beans, cooked, drained

1/2c cashew nut milk

1T mellow white miso

2t brown rice vinegar

2t ume vinegar

2t Dijon mustard

1/4t pink salt

1/4t fresh black pepper

1T coconut oil

1T extra virgin olive oil

2T nutritional yeast

In a blender or vitamix, add all of the ingredients and blend until super smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasonings as neccesary.

BEAN LASAGNA

Broccoli Mushroom Onion Black Olive Red Pepper Tofu Ricotta Lasagna with Red Sauce

Broccoli Mushroom Onion Olive Red Pepper Tofu Ricotta Lasagna with Red Sauce

I love lasagna. I love it. I have my Nana’s small and large lasagna pan. Usually by the fall I am ready for some serious food- This. Is. Serious. Food. I created a twist on my favorite tofu ricotta with some little local beauty peppers, including a cherry bomb, my favorite of all peppers. It makes for a subtly spicy kick that is perfect with the creaminess of the lasagna. In all lasagnas, its about the components. The sauce, the filling (tofu cheese), the veggies. I make it so each component has a ton of flavor so when put together, they all make this symphony of flavors. You can use this recipe as a guide but it is so easy to change out the components to suit your taste.

I have used the Red Pepper Tofu Ricotta Filling and the basic Red Sauce recipe for two of the components. I will list the others in recipe below but feel free to create!!!

Components:

Putting it together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • ladle in about 1 cup of fresh sauce in the bottom of the baking dish
  • place down one layer of noodles
  • layer in the tofu filling
  • layer in broccoli
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in sauce- some vegan cheese if using
  • layer in mushroom filling
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in sauce
  • layer in tofu filling
  • layer in last layer of noodles
  • cover the top layer with fresh sauce
  • top with vegan cheese if using
  • Cover with tin foil and bake for 45-55 minutes.

Mushroom, Onion & Black Olive Filling

1 pound of Crimini or Button mushrooms, dry dusted, trimmed and cut into quarters or slices

1 medium onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can organic pitted black olives

2T mirin or white wine (mirin is sweet)

2T extra virgin olive oil

1/2t pink salt

1/4t fresh black pepper

1/4t red pepper flakes

Heat up a large cast iron pan or skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until golden and aromatic. Add in the mushrooms. Pan fry until the sear and get browned on all sides. Season with the salt and peppers. dd in the mirin and sauté off heat for a minute then resume back over the heat. Add in the olives, crushing them with your hand as you add them in. Cook until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Sautéed Broccoli with garlic

1 bunch broccoli, washed, trimmed, and cut into smaller size pieces

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4t cayenne pepper flakes

2T extra virgin olive oil

1/4t salt

In a large skillet (could be the same pan from above) heat up the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the garlic just until golden brown. Add the salt, red pepper, and then add the broccoli. With a fork or a pair of tongs, move the broccoli around the pan cooking until bright green and tender. Remove from the heat. When cooled, coarsely chop the broccoli and set aside.

Hearty Fall Vegetable Bean Soup with Greens

hearty fall veg soup

I broke into my stash of local corn I turned into frozen niblets this summer, mostly everything else is still available in abundance. SO MUCH YUM in a bowl. I used baby limas, I love their creamy mellow, nutty, flavor. You can use any kind of pasta you like or omit it completely- SO. GOOD. WITH.

Hearty Fall Bean Soup with Greens

Wheat-free * Gluten-free

1 medium onion, medium dice

1c tomato puree (I use the bottled glass tomato puree, not a fan of tomatoes in cans)

1 carrot, cut in moons

1 clove garlic, minced

2c baby Lima or cannelini beans, cooked and drained

1-1/2c potatoes, medium dice (about medium, or 4-5 small)

1c corn niblets

2c greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard) torn into bite size pieces

2t turmeric, fresh or 1t dried

2t hot red pepper flakes

1/4t black pepper

3T extra virgin olive oil

1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1/4c fresh basil *optional

2c cooked gluten free pasta- your choice- elbows, ziti, penne, fusili (I used GF elbows)

1t pink salt

6c boiling water

1t salt or to taste

Bring 6c of water to a boil.

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper, and turmeric until golden and soft. . Add the potatoes and the tomato puree and then the boiling water, then the bouillon cube (or powder).

Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Add the cooked beans. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the greens, fresh frozen corn, cooked pasta and the basil. Garnish with fresh basil and nutritional yeast.

Chickpea Chana Masala

*chana masala chickpea

Chana Masala

You can make this as spicy hot or mild as you prefer, I LOVE a good kick so I put a whole hot pepper into it- whole, so I can fish it out after cooking so as not to mistake it for a cooked tomato. You can use canned or jar tomatoes with this but with local tomatoes still abundant, I made this using fresh. If you do use canned or jarred, you may need to add a little bit of sugar (maple syrup, sucanat, agave) to offset the bitterness.

 3T coconut oil

2c-cooked chickpeas

1 onion, small dice

2 clove garlic, smashed and minced

1T ground cumin

2” fresh ginger, grated

1 hot pepper, sliced or chopped

2t mustard seeds

2t turmeric OR 1T Fresh grated

2t curry powder

2-3c fresh tomatoes, diced

2t pink salt

1t black pepper

2c water

4c fresh baby spinach- reserve until serving.

1c fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped- reserve until serving.

In a large pot over medium high heat, add the coconut oil, onions, garlic and spices and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and the chickpeas. Cover with about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and the let the mixture cook and mingle until the water has reduced and it looks more like a stew. Just before serving, add the spinach and the cilantro. Serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice.

Cream of Zucchini Soup

*cream of zucchini soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup

This is the perfect way to use them, showcasing their sweet summer flavor. Roasting the zucchini first enhances the entire flavor of the soup but it is also an additional step in the preparation and is not necessary for a delicious soup.

Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 large zucchini, chopped

1/4t chipotle powder *optional

3T coconut oil

6c boiling water

1 veg bouillon

1t salt or to taste

1/4c cashews

1/2-1 whole fresh jalapeño

large handful fresh parsley or basil *optional

___

Bring 6c of water to a boil.

In a large soup pot, add the oil and sauté the onions until golden and soft. Add the zucchini, salt, and black pepper. Continue to sauté until the zucchini softens and turns bright green.  Add the boiling water, the bouillon cube (or powder). Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

 —

In a blender or vitamix, add the zucchini mix, the cashews, and the jalapeño. Blend first at low speed and finally walking it up to full power. Let run for about 30 seconds.

Adjust the seasonings again after blending.

*Caution: blending hot liquids can be extremely dangerous. Fill the blender only half way and proceed in batches if necessary.

Hearty Summer Black Bean Soup with Greens

*Hearty Summer Black Bean Soup with Greens

Local greens, tomatoes, corn, onions and garlic- this soup is so satisfying and absolutely delicious.

Hearty Summer Black Bean Soup with Greens

Wheat-free * Gluten-free*

1 large onion, medium dice

2c fresh tomato medium dices or crushed tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

3c black beans, cooked and drained or 2 cans

1 medium sweet potato, medium dice- I Japanese yams which are less sweet than orange

1 medium white potato, medium dice

2c fresh corn niblets

2c greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard)

2t smoked chipotle powder

2t cumin

1t turmeric

2t chili powder

1/4t black pepper

1/4t cayenne pepper

3T extra virgin olive oil

1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1/4c fresh parsley *optional

1t-smoked salt

6c boiling water

1t salt or to taste

Bring 6c of water to a boil.

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic with until golden and soft. Add in the cleaned greens and sauté until wilted. Remove just the greens from the pan and set aside, reserving for later. Add the beans, spices, salt, black and red pepper, and sautéing for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and both the sweet and regular potatoes, then the boiling water, and the bullion cube (or powder). Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the sautéed greens and the fresh parsley. Garnish with fresh parsley and nutritional yeast.

Black & White Bean Soup with Greens

*Black & White Bean Soup with Greens

Black & White Bean Soup with Greens

This soup is wonderfully hearty and delicious. The rice can be substituted with gluten free pasta or another grain of your choosing. Adding in a mix of greens would be amazing but I am partial to kale.

Wheat-free Gluten-free

1 large onion, medium dice

1c tomato puree or crushed tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1c cannellini beans, cooked and drained

1c cooked brown rice

1c black beans

2c greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard)

2t smoked chipotle powder

1/4t black pepper

1/4t cayenne pepper

3T extra virgin olive oil

1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1/4c fresh basil *optional

1t-smoked salt

6c boiling water

1t salt or to taste

Bring 6c of water to a boil.

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic with until golden and soft. Add in the cleaned greens and sauté until wilted. Remove just the greens from the pan and set aside, reserving for later. Add the beans, rice, salt, black and red pepper, and sautéing for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes then the boiling water, the bullion cube (or powder), smoke flavor if using. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the sautéed greens and the fresh basil. Garnish with fresh basil and nutritional yeast.