Tag Archives: grain-free

Maple Poached Pears

Maple Poached Pears

I discovered this recipe thanks to a post on Kitchen Stewardship. (It’s from a cookbook called The Nourished Kitchen Cookbook.) And it has transformed my life.

Do you know how wonderful a mouthful of soft, creamy pears, hot and drizzled with a spiced, mapley, buttery syrup is? I mean, really?!? It’s so simple, but absolutely amazing. My children especially like it with a scoop of ice cream, and for Christmas dessert I made some cinnamon ice cream using maple syrup as a sweetener that went with it perfectly! But it’s also good all by itself, or perhaps even drizzled with some cream!

This recipe is pretty much just like the one on Kitchen Stewardship, but I’ve upped the butter and maple syrup because I didn’t think there was enough sauce in the original recipe. I also did mine in a cast iron skillet, and they were perfect!

Peel about 4 ripe pears and cut them in half. Then, take a spoon and scoop out the seeded center and the fibrous stem part.

Maple Poached Pears Maple Poached Pears

Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pan, melt 4 Tbsp of butter .

Maple Poached Pears

Add in about 1/4 cup of maple syrup, preferably grade B, and the spices.

Maple Poached Pears

Let it cook until bubbly.

Maple Poached Pears

Then place the pears in, face-down.

Maple Poached Pears

Let it cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to caramelize the bottoms of the pears, and then place the entire pan in the oven for 45 minutes or until a fork pokes through them easily.

Maple Poached Pears

Serve drizzled with the sauce. If desired, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

Maple Poached Pears

Pure deliciousness!

NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can still make these but the bottoms won’t caramelize as nicely. You can start the pears on the stove top, and then transfer the pears and sauce to an oven-safe baking dish to do the baking part. 

Maple Poached Pears
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
If you don't have a cast iron or other oven-safe skillet, you can start them on the stove top and then transfer them to a baking dish instead. They won't caramelize as nicely but will still turn out yummy! Don't forget to scrape all the sauce into the baking dish with the pears.
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe pears
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel the pears, slice them in half, and scoop out the seeded center and tough stemmy parts with a spoon.
  3. Meanwhile, in a cast iron skillet melt the butter and add in the syrup. Let cook until bubbly, and then stir in the spices and vanilla.
  4. Place the pears, sliced side down, in the skillet and let cook on medium for 3-5 minutes to caramelize the bottoms
  5. Place the whole pan in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork pierces the pears easily.
  6. Serve hot, drizzled with the sauce. If desired, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

 

hunter's chicken

Hunter’s Chicken

This is one of those childhood dishes that I remember eating my whole life, and is one of my favorites. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it on the blog! It’s one I pull out for company because it seems impressive while being really simple, so I’m not stressed out for my guests.

It starts out with 1 pound of chicken. I prefer to use thighs because they fall apart really nicely in the sauce, but you could use whatever chicken parts you want. I believe this dish originally called for a whole, cut-up chicken. You can make it that way too, but then the chicken parts stay whole instead of breaking up into the sauce. Still perfectly good, just a different variation!

So, take your chicken thighs, or whatever you’re using, and dredge them in tapioca flour or arrowroot flour.

hunter's chicken hunter's chicken

Then place the chicken in the bottom of a very hot pot coated with some oil. (coconut oil, palm shortening, lard, ghee, or olive oil.)

hunter's chicken

Sautee for a few minutes until browned and crispy, and then flip them over.

hunter's chicken

Add in some chopped onions and minced garlic.

hunter's chicken

And then add in 3/4 cup of white wine, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 small can of tomato paste, and the spices: bay leaf, basil, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Stir it all together!

hunter's chicken

Simmer for 45 minutes, then add sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for another half hour. (If your family rebels at the suggestion of mushrooms, as mine does, you can leave them out. But they’re delicious!) At the end, if you’re using boneless chicken thighs you should take your spoon and break them apart.

hunter's chicken

Serve over pasta. We usually use a brown rice and quinoa spiral pasta from Trader Joes which is really good!

hunter's chicken

And that’s it. This is one of those good simple recipes to have in your everyday-recipe-that’s-good-enough-for-company arsenal!!

Hunter's Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
I use boneless thighs in this recipe, since they break up nicely in the sauce. However, you could use whatever chicken parts you wish, even whole, bone-in parts. The recipe will be slightly different in texture depending on what you choose, but will taste the same!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken parts (I prefer boneless thighs)
  • tapioca or arrowroot flour (enough to dredge the chicken in)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • small can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Dredge the chicken parts in arrowroot or tapioca flour until completely covered.
  2. Put enough oil to cover the bottom of a wide pot or dutch oven, and heat over medium-high until very hot. Place the chicken parts in the pot and sautee for a few minutes, then flip to the other side.
  3. Add in the onions, garlic, wine, chicken stock, tomato paste, and spices and stir.
  4. Turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. After 45 minutes, add in the mushrooms and cook for another ½ hour.
  6. Serve over pasta.

 

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie

Okay, this recipe has been a long time coming. I’ve been meaning to share it since Thanksgiving! Oh, well. It’s a little late for the holidays, but, really, is it EVER a bad time to eat pumpkin pie? I mean, why do we need to wait for November to have some of this deliciousness? It’s made with a winter squash (pumpkin or butternut squash), so in my book that makes it fair game at least until April. And if I’m really craving it, then it’s fair game any time of year.

This pie is a really easy one to make without refined sweeteners because of all the spicy flavors in it. However, there is a comparatively large amount of sweeteners in the recipe, so this isn’t something to eat if you’re sensitive to them or are recovering from inflammatory symptoms. However, it is a really good real-food version of a classic favorite!

First, prepare a pie crust. I explain how to make a spelt crust in my quiche recipe. Basically do the same thing, but if you want you could add some stevia or some other sweetener to the dough. (If you can’t eat grain/gluten, or just don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out and turn it into a custard! I explain more below.)

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh is good, but canned is fine too), 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cup palm sugar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and the spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt.

pumpkin pie

Pour the mixture into the uncooked pie crust and cover the edges of the crust with tin foil or a crust guard to prevent it from burning.

pumpkin pie

Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes. The center should be slightly jiggly, but set, when finished. When you shake it, it should act a little like jello.

pumpkin pie

And that’s it! Is that simple, or what? And delicious!

NOTE: If you don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out! Instead, turn this into pumpkin custard. Instead of pouring the mixture into a pie shell, pour it into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Place the baking dish inside a 9×13 baking dish. Put it in the oven, and then fill the 9×13 dish with boiling water. (See my fruit custard recipe for pictures if you’re confused about that.) Bake as usual. 

Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Don't feel like making a crust? Leave it out! It's perfectly good that way! Instead, prepare the custard and pour it into a buttered 8x8 dish. Place the 8x8 dish inside a 9x13 dish and fill the 9x13 dish with boiling water. Bake as instructed.
Ingredients
  • Prepared pie crust for 9 inch pie (I have a spelt crust on my quiche recipe on the blog if you need one)
  • 1½ cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (or canned)
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie shell.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is jiggly but set, kind of like jello when shaken.
  4. Slice and top with heavy cream that's been whipped and sweetened with maple syrup.

 

custard

Baked Fruit Custard

When I was little, my mother would often make baked custards. They were perfect little creamy desserts, topped with nutmeg. They were especially wonderful when we weren’t feeling well – nutritious, comforting, and easily digestible. So as an adult I learned to make them for myself, and anytime I had a little cold coming on and didn’t like eating too much, I’d whip up a batch of them and be transported back to the comfort of childhood and being taken care of by my mother and these custards!

Then, I changed my diet. I dropped sugar. And for a couple years I didn’t eat custards anymore, because I didn’t think I  could make them the same without sugar.

Well, I’m very pleased to say that I was completely wrong about that! I can make custards without sugar! All it takes is adding in a bunch of fruit to make up for the missing sugar. I’ve been playing around with proportions of ingredients for a while until I found the perfect combination. The result is something that’s different (being packed with fruit) but also very familiar. The custard is light and sweet and smooth and comforting, just like I remember. So now custard is back on the menu!

This recipe has 1/4 cup of maple syrup in it, but you could reduce that or even eliminate if you needed to. (The custard won’t be as sweet, but the fruit should compensate for it). I use mashed bananas to add sweetness to the custard, but for some reason these DON’T taste very banana-y. I swear! So don’t let that scare you off!

This dish makes a nice dessert, but also a great breakfast. Or, if you’re feeling unwell and can’t stomach heavier meals, an anytime-food! The fat from the milk, protein from the eggs, and nutrients from the fruit make this a great nourishing dish! 

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strawberry sherbet

Frozen Strawberries and Cream (Sherbet)

I have the perfect “it’s-been-a-long-winter-and-it’s-finally-spring-and-I-want-to-completely-forget-the-frozen-horror-that-was-the-past-4-months” recipe for you. It has to do with strawberries and cream and sweet frozen creamy goodness. Interested?

Basically, we’re talking strawberry sherbet. But the best strawberry sherbet you’ve ever eaten. My family went nuts over it. NUTS. And since sherbet is mostly fruit it has very little added sweetener in it, which makes this something you can eat guilt-free!

This particular sherbet strongly reminds me of an Italian Water Ice “cream ice.” (My fellow Pennsylvanians will know what I mean by that. For the rest of you…sorry.) Fruity yet creamy at the same time. And just like water ice, when you freeze the leftovers it freezes HARD – not like ice cream that can be easily scooped back out again. So let leftovers sit in the fridge for a bit to soften up before eating!

Unlike ice cream, no advance prep of cooking and cooling a custard is necessary. You can start it and have it in the ice cream maker in 5-10 minutes. Twenty minutes later you have dessert!

Take about 2.5 pounds of cleaned strawberries and stick them in your blender. You might need to add a little apple juice or something to get them going, but you shouldn’t need much. (Even my cheapo Oster blender did it no problem). Blend on the highest speed until it’s completely smooth and pureed. You should end up with 5 1/2 cups of strawberry puree.

strawberry sherbet

Taste, and add sweetener as necessary. Use honey, maple syrup, or pure liquid stevia extract. The amount of sweetener you need completely depends on how sweet your berries are, and your particular tastes. I added 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 2 droppers full of liquid stevia. Just taste until it seems sweet enough to you!

Pour it into your ice cream canister along with 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.

strawberry sherbet

And make it according to the ice cream maker’s instructions. Twenty minutes later you have this!

strawberry sherbet

And a very happy family.

Store left-overs in the freezer in an air-tight container. It’ll be frozen hard later, so you’ll want to let it soften a little before eating.

Frozen Strawberries and Cream (Sherbet)
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 5½ cups strawberry puree (about 2.5 pounds whole strawberries, pureed in the blender)
  • 1½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼-1/2 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste (will depend on sweetness of berries)
  • optional +/- 30 drops pure liquid stevia, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the strawberry puree and taste it for sweetness. Add sweetener as necessary. You'll probably need at least ¼ cup of honey or maple syrup, but maybe more. The amount will totally depend on how sweet your berries are and your personal tastes!
  2. If you want to boost the sweetness a little without adding more honey or maple syrup, add some liquid stevia.
  3. Pour it into your ice cream canister and stir in the cream.
  4. Make according to the ice cream maker instructions.
  5. Leftovers will freeze hard in the freezer, so let it soften a bit before eating after it's been in the freezer!

 

Shared on Fight Back Friday  and Real Food Wednesday

 

 

kale chips

The Ubiquitous Kale Chip

There’s a nice restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland called “The Ubiquitous Chip.” Or at least there was when I lived there in 1996. I had no idea what “ubiquitous” meant before I ate there, but I looked it up and it’s been a regular part of my vocabulary ever since.  Such a great word! I mean, it just feels good in your mouth, you know? Ubickwituuuuuussss.

Ubiquitous – adj (yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs) – seeming to be seen everywhere

So, the restaurant name referred to the fact that chippy (or french fry, to us Americans) shops are found EVERYWHERE in Britain, but this restaurant was something different.

When I thought about doing a post about my experience with trying kale chips, of course “The Ubiquitous Kale Chip” is the immediate and only title that came to mind – because, like British chippy shops they are everywhere. If life was a B rated horror movie they’d be some sort of alien plan to infiltrate the world, they’re that common. Do a simple Google search for “kale chips” and you get 7,800,000 hits. Seven MILLION!

So, yeah. This post is not exactly earth shattering innovation or anything. You can find this just about anywhere. But this blog isn’t intended to be about innovative culinary discoveries, but a resource of food ideas for people trying to figure out how to eat on diets like this, so I figured it would be good to include it.

First, let me say that I don’t really like vegetables. With the exception of Sauteed Asparagus I mostly simply tolerate vegetables because I know they’re good for me, rather than that I actually enjoy eating them. So I didn’t really have high hopes for kale chips.

But since I kept reading about them, and since I’d gotten an enormous bunch of kale from my CSA, I decided to try.

The verdict: Kale chips are very edible and enjoyable…when they’re cooked right! Added bonus: My kids LOVED them. Like, scarfed-them-down-and-couldn’t-stop loved them.

They are not an exact replacement for potato chips. But they have a nice saltiness and kind of fall apart in a melty way in your mouth that I find somewhat addictive. However…if you overcook them even a little they’re very bitter, and if you undercook them they’re chewy and very kale-ish! As I mentioned above, my kids were going to town on these things…until they got to some overcooked ones and they immediately ran to the trash and spit them out!

So, cooking time with these is very important. They make all the difference between, “Hey, I actually kind of like these!” and “These are disgusting and gross!”

No one wants disgusting and gross. So watch your time!

For the one or two people out there who might have never heard how to make these things, this is the process.

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Hot Cranberry Cider Swizzle

Hot Cranberry Cider Swizzle

Apple cider. And fresh cranberries. And fresh-squeezed lemon and orange juices. And spices. And honey. All together, hot and steaming and delicious, on my stove. This is one of my favorite wintertime drinks, and as soon as I start to see cranberries arrive in my grocery store I begin to think about it. “Yay!” I say to myself. “It’s Swizzle time of year!”

I have made this drink for many different groups of people over the years (because it’s a great sort of “special company” drink), and I have never yet encountered anyone who didn’t like it. People who say they don’t like hot cider like it. People who say they don’t like cranberries like it. I don’t know what it is, but it’s some sort of magical combination of ingredients that makes it universally loved. So odds are that you’ll love it too!

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