The Gluten-Free Cookbook

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I made these yummy chocolate almond butter cups yesterday with no intention of putting them here on the blog (the recipe is based on Practical Paleo's primal fudge recipe) but I posted a picture to Instagram and received a lot of interest.

Halloween is tomorrow and I am that mom who doesn't take her children out to trick or treat, so I thought I should make something delicious for them that resembles one of my favorite candies, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So here's a paleo version that's healthy enough for breakfast. What? No, of course I didn't feed it to them for breakfast this morning. Psshhh.

yields one dozen
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup creamy almond butter, divided
1/4 cup honey 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  1. Pour the coconut oil, 1/2 cup of almond butter, and the honey into a blender. Pulse to combine. 
  2. Add the cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt. Blend until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide about half of the mixture between 12 lined muffin cups. An easy way to do this is to use measuring spoons to dole out about 2 tablespoons per cup. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm slightly. 
  4. Divide the remaining almond butter between each of the chocolate cups. If you use a measuring spoon, it will be about 2 teaspoons. Sprinkle each with a small pinch of sea salt, then pour the remaining chocolate over the top. 
  5. Refrigerate until set, about 30 more minutes. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oolong Tea with Maple Syrup and Almond Milk

Although you wouldn’t know it here in Los Angeles, being in San Francisco over the weekend reminded me that it is in fact fall. This comforting drink is perfect in the afternoon when you want less caffeine than coffee and less sugar than cocoa but are inspired by the crisp sweater weather to drink something hot. 

Until fall does finally descend on Southern California, I'm enjoying this drink iced, which is how I first tried it thanks to my best friend Marcella. It's delicious either way! 

yields four 6-ounce servings

2 oolong tea bags
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and allow to steep for about three minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir in the maple syrup. 
  2. If serving hot, warm the almond milk before adding it to the tea. Otherwise, combine them and refrigerate until read to serve. 

Meal Planning with gatheredtable

When my first son was born, I discovered that he couldn't tolerate many of the foods in my diet, particularly dairy, wheat and soy. With virtually no support from his doctor and very little knowledge about cooking around these dietary restrictions, I gave up breastfeeding.

Three years later, I was pregnant with my second child. I planned menus ahead of time so I could avoid the ingredients that had triggered my oldest child. But in those first few weeks of chaos, I set the menus aside. That's when I discovered the joys of colic. Again, his doctor said the problem couldn't possibly be my diet, but with the support of a lactation consultant, I decided to eliminate the allergenic foods. Not surprisingly, the endless crying ceased. The baby slept. He felt so much more peaceful and relaxed in my arms. It was clear to me that these foods were not agreeable to him!

But there I was, with a whole family to feed and only a couple weeks of menus with no grocery lists. Rich offered to drive to the store, but I didn't even know what to suggest he buy. So, I cooked a lot of separate meals and, well, we got by. I wished we had had a meal planning or delivery service and even thought about starting something that would help new moms.

Recently, I learned about a company that's doing just that. It's called gatheredtable and while its concept is broader than mine had been, it would have been perfect for us as we navigated tricky dietary restrictions.

I learned about gatheredtable when the company contacted me to serve as a recipe contributor to its paleo recipes library. What an exciting opportunity with a vision so close to my heart!

Here is a sneak peek of some of the exciting features of gatheredtable. The website is simple, easy to use and has a beautiful modern aesthetic and you can choose which kinds of foods you want to enjoy and how often:

Gatheredtable will build a menu for you, or you can select recipes from its library or import your own. Here's one featured on the site now that I just added to my library:

If you want to add your own recipes from websites, it's surprisingly easy. You simply drag and drop gatheredtable's cabbage into your bookmarks bar and then click on it whenever you're on another site that features a recipe you like (yes, just like Pinterest). The system automatically imports all of the ingredients and instructions and calculates the prep time. Here's one I brought from my site. It took just minutes.

Right now, gatheredtable is offering six months of its menu planning service for FREE without even having to enter your credit card. So, check it out! I'm eager to hear what you think. They also offer grocery delivery in select cities, so all you have to do is unpack the ingredients and get cooking!

By the way, no one paid me to say this. I'm just super excited to participate in this new venture and empower more people to enjoy meals together, especially those who are working with special diets! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paleo Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Cinnamon Compote

I have heard it said that a pancake is a pancake, regardless of the ingredients. I understand the spirit behind this stance; if you try to recreate all of your favorite baked goods with paleo ingredients, you're missing the point, not to mention the myriad benefits, of embracing the lifestyle.

I get it, really, I do.

But, the statement rubs me the wrong way. First, pancakes made with almond flour and loaded with pastured eggs knock the socks off anything Bisquick could come up with. Just because they're poured in a skillet doesn't send your blood sugar skyrocketing and double you over with gut pain. (Now that would be some kitchen alchemy!)

Second, a primal lifestyle is not a list of rules but a framework, or as Mark Sisson calls it, a "blueprint."

Whatever, I'm going for it.

These pancakes are so fantastic as a weekend breakfast (I should know, we eat them every weekend) and they easily serve the four of us, though last weekend, I also cooked up a few pieces of bacon. I think the boys are growing... yeah, like for the next 15 years.

serves 4

2 ripe bananas
6 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt 
2 tablespoons potato starch*
1/2 cup blueberries
2-4 tablespoons palm shortening, coconut oil or ghee 
  1. Combine the bananas and eggs in a blender. Add the almond flour, soda, salt, and potato starch. Pulse a few times, then scrape down the sides and blend again.  
  2. Stir in the blueberries.  
  3. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Melt a teaspoon or two of fat in the pan, enough to coat. 
  4. Pour about 1/4-cup of the pancake batter into the pan. 
  5. Cook until small bubbles form, then using a thin metal spatula, carefully flip them. It will get easier with subsequent batches. 
 *Potato starch is a good source of resistant starch, but if you prefer to avoid it or don't have it in your pantry, you can use about 1 tablespoon of coconut flour.

Blueberry Cinnamon Compote
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or honey 
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until thick and fragrant.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Caper Raisin Gremolata

We love salmon and enjoy it at least once a week, so I'm always looking for creative ways to prepare and serve it. This gremolata provides a bright, interesting flavor combinations. The sweetness of the raisins and grilled lemon marries perfectly with the briny capers and grassy parsley.

If grilling season has passed in your region, you can certainly still make this dish by cooking it under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes (this will depend on the thickness of your fillet and how close the oven rack is to the element). Broiling may actually intensify the flavors of the gremolata, though you'll lose the smokiness imparted by grill. Enjoy it with glass of semi-chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

serves 2 
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon capers
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces wild salmon
1 lemon, halved 

1. Soak the raisins in hot water until softened. Drain and mince.
2. Combine the raisins, parsley, lemon zest, shallots, and oil in a small ramekin. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Dry the salmon gently with paper towels. If it has skin, plan to put it skin side down on the grill. If not, place it on a sheet of aluminum foil.
4. Schmear the gremolata on the salmon with your hands.

5. Place the salmon and the lemon halves on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The salmon is done when it is still dark in the middle but flakes with a fork. It will continue cooking after being removed from the heat, so be careful not to overcook it.
6. Serve with a lemon half and squeeze over each fillet.
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