I have done something unspeakable to almond butter: microwaved it in plastic.
I bought chunky almond butter in bulk and stored it an old soynut butter container. As I neared the bottom of the jar, since I hadn’t consistently stirred it before consumption, the butter at the bottom was dry. In order to make the muffins below, I microwaved the almond butter in order to make it stir-able, and I went thirty seconds too far. Oh well. The muffins suffered no ill effects, and my brother ate probably half the batch before and after the bike races in which he participated last weekend.
Buckwheat-Almond-Banana (BAB) Muffins
Modified from Laurie Sadowski, “Buckwheat and Almond Butter Muffins,” in The Allergy-free Cook Bakes Bread (Summertown: Book Publishing Company, 2011), 41.
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains GF blend
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used original-flavoured ricemilk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup almond butter (raw, roasted, chunky, creamy—up to your preference)
1 cup raisins
1 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-well muffin tin and set aside.
Place the almonds on a piece of foil and put in the preheating oven for about 8 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, combine the agave nectar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Mash in the bananas and almond butter with a potato masher or similar device (fork, pastry blender, wide-tined whisk) until combined (if you want banana chunks, leave it moderately chunky). You may need to heat your almond butter for 30 seconds in a microwave or a hot-water bath to make it liquid enough to mix, depending if you’re using shelf-stable or refrigerated almond butter. Add the wet to the dry, fold in the chunks, and mix until just combined. Transfer to the muffin tin, filling each well almost to the top. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the muffins pass the toothpick test and spring back when touched. Cool in the pan for five minutes then remove to a rack to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.
Sometimes I see a recipe or make something and have a conviction that it’s a dish for someone I know. Even if I’m not going to see him or her, I know that s/he will enjoy this dish. Sometimes it’s obvious based on people’s preferences (chocolate cookies for my chocolate-loving mother, pudding for my aunt), but sometimes it’s more obscure.
Green Juice Soup
16 ounce frozen peas, defrosted
2 cups baby carrots
5 cups water
1/2 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
2-inch piece lemon zest
2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced into half-moons
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground thyme
16 ounce bag frozen collard greens
2 cups shredded kale
2 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
In a food processor or blender, puree the peas, carrots, water, bouillon, lemon zest, and tahini until smooth. In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, stir, cover, and sweat until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few more minutes. Add the puree, collards, kale, and 2 cups water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes or until greens are cooked. Stir in the lemon juice, remove from the heat, and serve. Makes about 4 quarts.
Chocolate pizzelles have been on my list of “things to make” for months. I made a batch in 45 minutes to give to a friend for her birthday.
2 ounces chocolate, processed to a fine powder (small as you can get it)
3/4 cup pow-pow
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup KAF Ancient grains GF blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
3/4 cup soymilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions are the same as here. Preheat to 5, bake on 4. Makes about 2 dozen.
My parents gave me a Vitamix as a graduation present. I’ve been making kale-fruit-ginger juices for breakfast every morning and serving it in these crystal pilsner glasses I found under the bar in our basement. The Vitamix is so powerful (about 2 horsepower) that it makes juice, not smoothies, in under 30 seconds, while retaining all the fibre of the vegetables or fruit (not to sound like a sales pitch). Kale-watermelon juice is my favourite so far. I made my brother a kale-ginger-carrot juice to cure his summer cold last week, and it appeared to work since he sounded better the next day.
Using the Vitamix, my mom and I made the sunflower butter posted by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. Since we do not have an unlimited pantry staples budget, we used good ol’ McCormick vanilla extract in place of the crushed beans. It’s magic butter.
This is attempt number two at vegan, gluten-free challah. It was too sticky to shape, but it rose like, well, yeast!
Modified from http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=15403.0
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 (reduced from 1 1/4) cup warm water
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup teff flour
3/4 cup King Arthur Flour All-Purpose Gluten Free flour blend
3/4 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains Gluten Free flour blend
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup raisins
Grease a 9*4*4-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium measuring cup, mix yeast, water, and agave nectar and set aside for five minutes or until mixture has foamed. In a small measuring cup, mix together the flaxseed and water and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon. Add the oil and cider vinegar to the flax mixture. Pour the yeast mixture then the flax mixture on top of the flours. Mix well until combined. Fold in the raisins. Transfer to the pan and smooth out the top. Place pan in a warm place and let rise for 60-70 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven, carefully remove from the pan, and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Store wrapped in foil in the refrigerator.
Crafty activity of the week: sunpaint.
I use hankies, either cotton bandannas or cotton handkerchiefs that I paint using this Pebeo paint. It’s a Klutz Company kit that I’ve had for almost ten years. After soaking the handkerchiefs in cold water, I paint them, place rocks on them, and dry them outside. When the hankies are dry and I remove the rocks, pale spots appear, creating a tie-dye effect. Carrying around and using that which I made—or modified—with my own two hands is something I find deeply satisfying.