Adults-Only Chocolate Orange Sauce

As a “grown up”, I’ve gotten used to the fact that some things I could get away with eating as a kid would raise more than a few eyebrows if I tried it now. Spoonfuls of Nutella and/or peanut butter out of the jar, frozen McDonalds french fries (don’t know why my mom used to freeze them but they were so good), corn syrup on toast and tubes of raw cookie dough shared amongst my closest friend all come to mind – along with the reminder that there was a reason I topped 200 pounds in my early teen years. Moderation was preached at home, but when left to my own teenage devices it left the building entirely. 

Adults - Only Chocolate Sauce

One of the other goodies I used to be able to get regularly at the local Tim Hortons was cups of chocolate milk – we’re talking the fountain-drink cups here, with a Large running at 24oz of cold, rich tasting, sweet dairy. With the evolution of the menu (and inevitable price increases for “real” food and skilled labour), the fountain-style chocolate milk disappeared and was replaced with the cartons, just as “freshly made” doughnuts transformed into pre-baked, frozen pucks that are reheated and glazed on site. While carton-style chocolate milk wasn’t the worst thing in the world (and was certainly better than Quik powder), it didn’t quit have the same indulgent feel going for it. When I stopped being able to drink “regular” milk, I started experimenting with a few variations of chocolate pastes, syrups and sauces added to various non-dairy milks – partially to cover up any off flavours and/or textures (looking at you, off-label soy milk and most rice milks) and partially to see if I could get anything to taste similar to what I remembered, dairy or non. 

Luckily, adulthood brought with it the freedom to experiment with extra flavour options, and I took a leaf out of my mom’s “chocolate-orange love” book when I came up with this beauty. The first and foremost flavour in this just-thick-enough syrup is definitely bittersweet chocolate – so much so that the milk chocoholics out there will probably shy away from licking the spoon (more for us!). However, a lingering, ever-so-subtle whisper of orange creeps in afterwards thanks to a hint of Grand Marnier. It’s not cooked out, hence the “adults only” moniker, but it is definitely a throwback to after-school snacks as a kid. The syrup is just thick enough to make for an artistic drizzle over cake, ice cream or fruit, but my personal favourite is to add a shot to a (cashew milk) caffe latte for a wicked twist on a hot mocha. I’ve yet to test it out on the heavier drinkers here making cocktails though – let me know what your favourite would be!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Adults-Only Chocolate Orange Sauce
Makes ~12 fl. oz, 12 (1 fl. oz) servings
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp amber agave (or honey, if not vegan)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch salt
½ tbsp Clear Jel
2 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine the water, sugars, agave, cocoa and salt in a pot over medium heat, whisking to combine.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the Clear Jel and cold water and add to the simmering mixture. 
  4. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat, stir in the Grand Marnier and vanilla and pour into a jar or bottle.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 44.3
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.2 mg
Total Carbs: 11.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 0.3 g

Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam Toast Topper #69

Strawberry and rhubarb jam has, I believe, become my new favourite flavour of Toast Topper. I’m not an overly sweet person when it comes to fruit (I love tart cherries and raspberries, for example), especially in the summer when it’s a billion degrees out. Luckily, our garden is bursting with rhubarb, which tempers the saccharine nature of the perfect local berries finally making it to market. 

Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam

Of course, it is jam we’re talking about, and when I make preserves for holiday gift giving, the sugar does play a certain role in that respect. Most pectin demands sugar to work, and while I’m always playing with low-sugar options like Pomona’s and Ball’s, but sometimes having the convenience of perfectly proportioned ingredients trumps fancy-dancy fine tooling. Since I can a lot of things at a time to conserve energy (water bath canners take forever to heat up!), by jam #4 I’m getting ready to call it a day. Not willing to toss the ingredients into the freezer for another day, thereby admitting defeat, I pulled out one of my fail-safe jamming secrets when time is short – sugar with pectin already added and mixed in. Using the bag of that set up a ton of strawberries and rhubarb, and thanks to the natural thickening properties of rhubarb, the mix gelled more than the directions say it will (meaning less sugar per serving!). 

Since it still seemed a bit too sweet for my taste, and mom loves the combination of strawberries and black pepper, I chopped up a handful of my beautiful, zippy homegrown nasturtium blossoms and tossed them in with a dash of white pepper for interest! The floral peppery-ness really amps up the fresh flavours of the berries, and is definitely something I will continue to do!

Are you a fan of savoury and sweet combinations (like pepper and strawberries)?

Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam
Makes 8 cups, 64 2-tbsp servings
600g (~4.2 cups) fresh or frozen whole strawberries, thawed if frozen
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup chopped nasturtium blossoms, plus 8 whole ones
1 full bag (1 kg / 5.218 cups) Redpath’s QuickSet for Jam (or another jelling sugar, around here it’s either Redpath or Lantic)

  1. Combine the berries, rhubarb, water, lemon juice and pepper in a large pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook, mashing berries and rhubarb to a chunky pulp, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped nasturtium blossoms and Quickset and bring to a full boil.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
  5. Ladle into sterilized jars and top each with a whole nasturtium flower.
  6. Seal and process in a waterbath for 10 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 69.2
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 17.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam: Toast Topper #68

Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. Around here, especially in the height of summer, our table sings with the bounty of both our backyard and the local farms that sell on the market days. It’s a time that flies by way too fast in my opinion, since it seems like only yesterday I was hauling my first load of rhubarb from and planting my tomato seedlings in the garden, and now we’re halfway through July!

Anyways, my latest foray into the farmer’s market netted me with two boxes of wild Ontario blueberries, which (after careful taste testing!) were carefully stashed away from prying fingers. I had picked up a bag of frozen Ontario raspberries the week before, and had been grabbing the occasional handful right out of the freezer after a few hours in the 35C heat in our backyard, and it occurred to me to combine the two fruits in a lightly sweetened, lightning-fast Toast Topper. After all, we had a fresh loaf of Pain au Levain to gild!

Blue-Raspberry Chia Jam

I’m not kidding, either, when I say this recipe is an exercise in simplicity – or frugality. It can be as easily made in the dead of winter with frozen berries as in the height of summer with fresh, and doesn’t contain any added sugar – the minimal boost in sweetness for this batch came from a boiled apple syrup I cooked down from fresh juice and tempered with added lemon juice and zest. To thicken the medley of berries, a dose of chia seeds went to work, making for a spread that is not so stiff that you have to cut through it with a knife (yech!) but thick enough not to run off your bagel in the morning. While the mixture is less alien today than a year or two ago when the chia craze first hit, I’ve still yet to find many people (outside of my Home Ec classes!) that have truly tasted it like this. Hopefully this recipe will spark another group of eager eaters!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam
Makes 2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tbsp Boiled Apple Cider Syrup (I made my own but you can use this too)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp raw sugar (optional, I didn’t use any)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp chia seeds

  1. Combine berries, syrup, zest and sugar (if using) in a medium pot and bring to a simmer, mashing the berries slightly. Cook 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and chia seeds.
  3. Process in a waterbath for 25 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.8
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.4 mg
Total Carbs: 3.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.4 g

Kheer #SundaySupper

Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of rice pudding? While the bulk of my experiences with the grainy dessert growing up were the result of opening and dumping a can into a couple bowls, dad and I were suckers for the stuff (nobody else, by the way, even remotely likes it here). Today, if you were to ask me to name what I crave in times of stress, you’d hear me wax poetic about the thick, creamy pudding warmed up in the microwave and shoveled down as fast as I could. Heck, even cold, a spoonful from the fridge could cure wonders.

I wanted to bring the great memories of sharing rice pudding to my Home Ec class this past year, and since we were working on a “food around the world” theme, I turned to the only other country with a rice pudding that I knew of – India. Kheer, as it’s called, is not always 100% rice based though – recipes vary from using wheat, tapioca, or vermicelli noodles as the starch and anything from cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, nuts and sesame seeds to flavour it. The version I made for class was culled from one of my old college professors and was what was served at her son’s first birthday – leftover cooked rice elevated by re-cooking it in thickened milk, coconut milk, saffron and sweet spices before being garnished with softened raisins and dates. It sounded absolutely incredible – even to someone allergic to coconut such as me!

Making this exotic comfort food is even easier than making rice (to me, anyways… I’m stovetop-rice challenged). The kids – from 6 to 8 years old – all had at least one heaping spoonful, and some even took extras home after polishing off thirds! What made it home with me was eagerly purloined by my dad to rave reviews (probably a good thing, otherwise I’d be making ice cream with the thick, custardy mixture and trying to figure out what to do with it then!). If you and your family can tolerate dairy and coconut, I really wouldn’t worry about the leftovers sticking around too long though!

A #bowlful of #Coconut #Raisin Kheer (rice pudding ) for a #glutenfree #snacktime

You know what else uses a lot of coconut? Piña Coladas! National Piña Colada Day is today, and those in the know are toasting the combination of coconut, pineapple and rum with their own libations. To our credit, the #SundaySupper gang is sharing over 40 coconut recipes today, with both sweet and savory dishes, breakfasts and drinks, almost anything you could think of! Check out our offerings below and don’t forget to leave a comment telling me your favourite coconut dish!

Great Starts

Dive in with Sides and Appetizers

Coco-Nutty Main Dishes

“Col-lots-a” Desserts

Sweet to Sip Beverages

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Kheer
serves 8

1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup whole milk powder
pinch saffron (optional)
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
¾ cup full-fat, canned coconut milk
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅓ cup raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
¼ cup chopped soft dates (soak with the raisins if they’re too dry)
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the milk, milk powder, saffron (if using) and cooked rice, whisking well.
  2. Heat until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture begins to thicken – about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the coconut milk, coconut sugar, cardamom and cinnamon.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. When mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and dates.
  6. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled – if chilling, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to avoid forming a “skin”.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 148.0
Total Fat: 5.3 g
Cholesterol: 8.5 mg
Sodium: 39.5 mg
Total Carbs: 22.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 3.7 g

Orange Tofu Noodles

It has been ages since I’ve had good old-fashioned Chinese (Canadian) food. Since becoming the Italian-centric blended family we are, the household’s general eating out attention has been on Canadian “bar and grill”, pizza or burger joints. In fact, aside from my 2-3 sushi restaurant trips a year, Americanized European fare is as “exotic” as we get. That said, Mom and I, in particular, adore Asian-style cuisine, and when it has the balanced flavours of the culture with a ton of veggies as well, we’re in like dirty shirts! While she’s retired now, I still make Mom her lunches (and bread) for the week so she can grab-and-go something slightly more nutritious than a can of soup or a deli-meat sandwich. 

This time around, I had a mission in mind – an (almost) vegan, gluten free noodle bowl packed with all sorts of goodies from the garden and local farms. I started with a hearty mixture of carrots, broccoli and onions that I had prepped and frozen last year, fleshing it out with greenhouse zucchini and Ontario sweet potato that I spiralized for extra bulk. The noodles themselves were spaghetti from the new Barilla Gluten Free line of pastas, that I cooked in vegetable broth for extra “oomph” – and that I’m excited to say not only hold their shape better than most “normal” noodles but taste identical (I just wish they were whole grain, but small miracles!). 

Cooking up #glutenfree yummies with #sanj and #barilla #cooking #healthyfood #foodie #vegan #vegetarian #instafood #yum

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Protein wise, I turned to my ever-present stockpile of various tofu, opting for Vitasoy Organic Black Soybean TofuPlus, one of my all time favourites, marinated in a bottle of San-J Orange Sauce amped up with ginger, garlic and extra sweet, sour and salty flavours. The sauce contains honey (the reason this is “almost vegan”) but generally is more fruity than syrupy, adding a decadent flavour to the tofu and blanketing the noodles and veggies perfectly. The finished dish was delicious hot (right out of the pot… shhh!), but equally delicious cold the next day – just like stereotypical Chinese take out, with none of the “mystery” ingredients, excess fat or crazy sodium levels!

Orange Tofu Noodles

 Shared with Gluten Free Fridays


Orange Tofu Noodles
Makes 8 generous servings

800g (2 blocks) Vitasoy Organic Black Soybean TofuPlus (or your favourite firm tofu), frozen, thawed, drained and pressed
200 ml (just over ¾ cup) San-J Orange Sauce
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp low sodium tamari
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 large sweet potato
1 large zucchini
4 cups gluten free vegetable broth
1 box (12 oz) Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced into half moons
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup chopped broccoli
¼ cup minced cilantro
  1. Cube the tofu and place in a shallow casserole dish.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the Orange Sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar, tamari and rice syrup.
  3. Pour 3/4 of the sauce mixture over the tofu and stir gently to coat all sides. Cover and let stand while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Reserve remaining sauce.
  4. Using a spiralizer, julienne peeler or sharp knife, cut sweet potato and zucchini into “spaghetti” strands. Place into different bowls and set aside.
  5. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot and add the spaghetti. Cook for 8 minutes, then add sweet potato and cook 2 minutes.
  6. Reserve 2 cups of broth and add to the reserved sauce mixture, then drain pasta mixture and set aside.
  7. In the same pot, heat sesame oil over medium high.
  8. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened.
  9. Add the broccoli, tofu and spiralized zucchini. Cook until broccoli begins to soften and turn bright green.
  10. Add the pasta mixture and reserved sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are combined and the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  11. Fold in cilantro and serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 362.7
Total Fat: 7.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 624.5 mg
Total Carbs: 60.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 13.2 g

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Are you a “chunky” type of chocolate chipper? Growing up, you’d never catch me with chunks of anything other than chocolate in my cookies – raisins, chopped nuts and seeds, granola were verboten by us kids, and my poor chocolate chip-pecan-oatmeal cookie loving mom obliged year after year, batch after batch. Eventually I started to come around to the “heartier” side of things, but I never really liked the semi-bitter flavour that walnuts and pecans brought to the sweet party, not to mention I could barely bring “nutted” goodies anywhere anyway, after the explosion of allergies in schools, camps and even some offices.

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Luckily, as years passed and I started paying attention to alternative options, I devised a recipe that had all the texture my mom (and many others) desired, but was allergy-friendly too. In the end, the basic formula switched extremes in a way – from being packed with nuts, eggs, dairy, refined sugar and gluten to lacking every single one of those. My secret was a blend of sorghum flour, ground chufa nuts (AKA Tigernuts) and sunflower seed flour for the base “dough” – making for a sweet and earthy cookie – then adding chopped Tigernuts for texture and a stevia/agave mix for sweetening. A few batches in and I was starting to get requests for them – leading to a bag of them in everyone’s Christmas boxes last year!

A note, which applies to almost all gluten free baking and certainly good chocolate chip cookie manufacturing: let the dough rest. In this case, it’s not to relax the gluten (there isn’t any!) but to allow the dough to hydrate – no sandy gluten free cookies!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays (#200!)

Chufa Chocolate Chippers
Makes 24
¼ cup canola oil
¼ tsp stevia extract powder
½ tsp vanilla
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp agave nectar
100g tigernut flour
50g sunflower seed flour
50g sorghum flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ tsp guar gum
pinch nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ cup miniature chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped tigernuts (optional)

  1. In a bowl, beat together the oil, stevia, vanilla, water and corn syrup until blended.
  2. Beat in the flours, flaxseed, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips and tigernuts.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop 1 tbsp balls of dough and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool on the sheet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 85.9
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 9.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 2.3 g

Beerinara for a Father’s Day #SundaySupper

If I had any doubt that Father’s day was coming close, I’d only have to look at the tables, shelves and cubbies of our school classrooms to wipe it away. Just from Home Ec alone, 75 glass jars have floated in and out of the building, filled with everything from candied pretzels to BBQ sauce, flavoured salt and a KFC style chicken coating. The goodies, being made by kids, are of course all “child friendly” and nut-free – things like beer cozies and spiced nuts are pretty much verboten, not to mention a good chunk of our student body’s parentage does not touch a drop of alcohol.

That said, at home, my dad loves a good beer on a hot Summer day, not to mention he (like his daughter!) adores his garlic. Really, it’s a wonder that both of us have hypertension given she sheer amount we consume, but genetics does weird and wonderful things (at least I know I belong to my parents, who both have genetic hypertension!). But I digress. I found a bagful of tomatoes roasted and frozen from last year’s crop when cleaning out the deep freezer a month or so ago and knew I needed to do something with it, as well as some of the zillion tons of zucchini I had shredded and individually frozen for baking but never used. Inspired by The Beeroness, I took a quick trip to the store which netted me a lovely Quebec-made gluten free ale and some fat heads of garlic begging to be roasted. A hint of homemade, salt-free lemon pepper added just the right amount of zip without the extra salinity, and the whole works canned like a dream for enjoyment both now and down the road. In fact, I can’t wait for my July tomatoes to start coming in just so I can try this out with other beers! 

This #SundaySupper is celebrating dads! Does your dad love to cook or would he rather leave that to someone else? What is his favorite recipe he likes to make or have made for him? Is your dad the king of the grill (or not!)? Let’s share stories about dads/father figures and all the delicious foods they loved to eat or make!

Appetizers & Snacks:

Beverage:

Breakfast:

Condiments & Sauces:

Desserts:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Plus What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Beerinara
Makes ~ 9 cups, 36 (1/4 cup) servings
2 large heads of garlic, papery overcoat removed but unpeeled
3 lbs tomatoes (ideally plum or other meaty variety), halved
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
3 cups shredded zucchini
12 ounces gluten free ale or IPA
6 oz tomato paste
¼ cup fresh basil, divided
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp salt-free lemon pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut a small amount of the tip off the head of the garlic heads to expose the cloves and place on two small pieces of aluminum foil. Fold the foil tightly around the garlic, place on a baking sheet.
  3. Add the tomatoes (cut side down) to the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the tomatoes and the garlic for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Allow to cool.
  5. Pass tomatoes through a food mill into a bowl, set aside.
  6. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.
  7. Add the onion and cook until golden.
  8. Stir in the carrot and zucchini (along with any zucchini liquid) and cook until carrots begin to soften.
  9. Add the beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, half the basil, thyme and paprika.
  10. Squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves the cloves into the sauce.
  11. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and cook 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavours blend.
  12. Stir in remaining basil, salt and lemon pepper.
  13. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree until smooth.
  14. Can in a waterbath for 35 minutes

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 27.1
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 108.1 mg
Total Carbs: 4.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 0.9 g

Graham-Like Crackers

I loved deconstructing my s’mores as a kid. I know it’s totally sacreligious to the camping set (of which I am decidedly not a member), but to me, there was nothing better than devouring a slightly charred, ooey marshmallow before licking the chocolate off the cracker and finally biting through the base. I ate my Viva Puffs the same way – nuke them for about 10 seconds, eat the marshmallow, then chocolate, then cookie. The cracker was always the best part of the s’more for me, the perfect light sweetness that just so slightly softened when you bit into it (especially if chocolate had melted onto it!). These days for me, graham crackers and I aren’t the best of friends – but I’m loathe to shell out at the health food store for allergy-friendlier ones (although these ones are delicious!). When my classes were making batches of Key Lime Truffles for mother’s day, the one other celiac in the school tugged on my heartstrings, and I decided that I’d try my hand at concocting my own, gluten free and (almost) vegan version.

Graham-Like Crackers

I started with a solidly awesome recipe from Cara (Fork & Beans) and switched up a handful of things based on what I had around. My modifications resulted in slightly thicker crackers, needing slightly longer cooking time, but they were beyond worth it for the flavour (not to mention the solidity for double-stuffing smores… just sayin’). While they were completely nut free (a rarity I found with GF cracker recipes), the crispy treats were made with a rich-tasting blend of whole grain flours and ground flax for that “toasty, nutty” flavour. Sweetened with decadent honey and molasses, they’re delicious on their own, in s’mores (or camperless ones!) and absolutely perfect for making crumbs!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Graham-Like Crackers
Makes ~40
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup teff flour
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fancy molasses
2 tbsp honey
⅓ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used quinoa / rice)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients together (flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar) in a medium bowl.
  3. With a pastry blender or fork, incorporate the shortening into flour until the mixture has coarse crumbs.
  4. Add the vanilla, molasses, honey and milk and mix to make a workable dough.
  5. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough to no thicker than ¼'”. Place on a baking sheet and peel off the top paper
  6. Using a pizza cutter make cuts to form squares or rectangles.
  7. Dock each cracker 2-3 times with a fork.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until browned.
  9. Cool in the oven for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature on the pan.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 62.4
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.8 g

Aquafaba Meringues

I know it’s coming around to the Summer “bikini season” when the treats in our staff room start getting less rich and more on the “pseudo-virtuous” side of things. While nothing that appears in our small haven away from the children could truly be classified as a nutritious choice (except the veggie tray which appeared – once – and was subsequently ignored), lighter tasting treats like raspberry coffee cake and “low fat” biscotti are cropping up to tempt our palates. With the seasonal change, it was the perfect time for me to try out a recipe that I’ve had saved away for a while now – vegan meringues.

Now, a few years ago, the concept of a “vegan meringue” was only contemplated by molecular gastronomes, if not considered outright laughable. However, a combination of genius, science and experimentation by several people eventually resulted in the Aquafaba (literally, “Bean Water”) Meringue recipe. Since then (early 2015), subsequent other uses for the starchy cooking liquid have been tried and shared on the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook page – including a spiced Bundt cake that I’ll be sharing soon!

Whether it’s the (minimal) protein content, the starch, magic or a combination of all the above, the liquid you normally drain away from canned chickpeas and other beans whips up perfectly into a light and fluffy foam that stiffens into glossy meringue with the addition of cream of tartar and sugar – resulting in light-as air, fat free, gluten free, vegan cookies. In my opinion, using aquafaba is actually easier than using egg whites (you don’t have to be as uber-careful about fat, and it’s impossible to overwhip them), not to mention any “common” allergy issues would be null as well.
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“Cake Batter” Flavoured Funfetti Meringues

The question I first asked when thinking about using aquafaba was whether or not the finished meringues, etc would taste like beans. Well, thankfully, nothing I’ve made with it (regardless of the bean type) has tasted remotely of the legume it surrounded – if anything, it’s exceptionally bland, taking on any and all flavourings like a sponge. The first time I whipped up AF meringues, I used the standard chickpea brine, adding pure vanilla and mint extracts and vanilla sugar, while the “cake batter” variety got a pinch of nutmeg and sprinkles with the flavour extract. Black bean aquafaba made its way into brownies (not unlike the ones from this book) and the liquid left over from cooking up some Tongues of Fire beans made a perfect carrot loaf cake. I can’t wait to play some more!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 
 

Aquafaba Meringues
Vanilla-Mint Meringues


Aquafaba Meringues
Makes ~45
2/3 cup aquafaba*
¼ tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp (150 g) superfine sugar
flavouring / colouring of choice
coloured sprinkles (optional, for “funfetti” meringues)

  1. Heat the oven to 215F (190F convection).
  2. Combine the aquafaba and cream of tartar in a stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form – about 15 minutes.
  3. Slowly beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating at least 10 seconds between additions.
  4. When all the grittiness is gone, add 1 tsp of your flavouring of choice (I’ve used vanilla, mint, and even “Cake Batter”) and colouring (if using) and whip to incorporate.
  5. If using sprinkles, fold in by hand.
  6. Drop or pipe the foam onto a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (I don’t recommend SilPat for meringue, it deflates it for some reason).
  7. Bake for 2 hours. Do not open the oven door during this time.
  8. Turn off the oven and cool inside for 30 minutes, then crack the door and let meringues cool to room temperature.
  9. Store the completed meringues in an airtight container.

* Have more or less than 2/3 cup of aquafaba on hand? Use the ratio of 1 part AF : 1 1/3 parts superfine sugar, plus ¼ tsp cream of tartar for every 2/3 cup AF

More info: http://aquafaba.com/

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 13.9
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Tunisian Garlic Chickpea Soup #SundaySupper

While the weather is definitely starting to warm up (albeit slowly!), around here we’re still in the throes of ever variable climate conditions day to day. This past week, for example, I went from wearing a fuzzy winter jacket, mittens and hat to a light sweater and back to a spring coat – and inside vs. outside temperature is even more variable due to the heating / cooling systems in different buildings.

Even if it was consistently hot and sunny outside, it’s almost guaranteed that soup will play a role in our weekly menu at home. For me, it’s often a quick-fix dinner after a full day of work or a busy weekend of lesson planning or prep work. My mom, though, savours the pleasure of a warm potage at lunch (with homemade bread, of course!), and is as eager to travel the world via tasting as I am through cooking. Soup is perfect for taming even the most savage of beasts (hunger or otherwise), and I love this one in particular because it’s a filling, protein and fibre-rich, flavourful blend with a built-in antibacterial forcefield from the hefty doses of herbs, spices and garlic!

While the ingredient list seems long, a lot of it is spices that are fairly commonplace. The starch I chose – sorghum – is one of my favourites in the flour world, and when I found a bag of the raw grain at my local Asian grocery I snapped it up and fell in love. The slightly sweet, buttery, nutty flavour the sorghum has pairs perfectly with the mellowed garlic and onions, while its texture reminds me of Israeli couscous or tapioca. That said, brown rice (especially a short grain variety) would play just as well here and regardless the whole thing is basically an excuse to eat a bowl of hummus for dinner!
 

Tunisian Garlic and Chickpea Soup

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#SundaySupper is focused on “Spice is Nice & Some Like it Hot” this week – if you love spicy food of any kind (not just the “hot” spices), this event is one to check out! This week’s host is Sarah of The Chef Next Door

Aromatic Appetizers

 
Distinctive Drinks
 
Daring Desserts
 
Masterful Mains
 
Seasoned Sides

Plus Homemade Ginger Ale and Spice is Nice Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

 

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tunisian Garlic Chickpea Soup
Makes 10 servings
2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
1 large, sweet onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
25 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp paprika
½ tsp red pepper flakes
Zest of 2 Meyer or 1 regular lemon
7 cups vegetable broth
½ cup sorghum grain or short-grain brown rice
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (or 2 tbsp regular lemon juice)
⅓ cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp minced lemon thyme (or regular thyme + ½ tbsp extra lemon zest)

  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the garlic oil over medium until shimmering.
  2. Stir in the onion, celery and carrots. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, until onion is beginning to turn golden.
  3. Add the garlic and spices. Cook 2 minutes longer, until fragrant.
  4. Add the broth, sorghum (or rice) and chickpeas and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. With an immersion blender, partially puree the soup, leaving some whole chickpeas and vegetables (alternatively, remove 2 cups of the soup and puree, then return to the pot).
  6. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and lemon thyme (or thyme / zest combination). Serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 151.5
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 379.2 mg
Total Carbs: 26.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Protein: 5.3 g