Pear Donuts (or fritters)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for either a fried fritter or baked donut with fruit. I used pears but apples, peaches, plums, or any berry would work just as well. Simply substitute the other fruit in place of the diced pear and use a coulee of the same fruit in place of the pear sauce. For most people that would be apple since applesauce is readily available although it’s fairly simple to make fruit sauces, or coulees, from other fruits. Simply wash, core, and slice the stone fruits (no need to peel), place in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water and cook until the fruit is soft, then puree. With the berries, it’s even easier because all you have to do is wash the fruit like blackberries or strawberries, and then cook them down (with a little water) before pureeing. Brown food again!

In a medium-size bowl add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)*

Stir to combine. Add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, such as oat or soy

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup pear sauce (or other fruit coulee)

Stir just until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet. Don’t overmix. In a 4-quart sauce pan or heavy, high-sided fry-pan, add:

2″ of oil (I used a combination of olive and avocado)

Heat to 375 degrees (use a cooking thermometer). For fritters, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the dough, form into a ball and flatten (use wet hands for this) before dropping into the hot fat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (for a dough circle about 1/2″ thick). Should be golden brown. Only cook one or two circles at a time in the pot, more in the frypan.

For baked donuts, grease two 6-donut baking pans and spoon in dough. Bake at 425 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until the donut bounces back when touched. Cool slightly before unmolding.

Serve plain or with a glaze.

Sweet and Sour Cole Slaw

Quick and easy, especially with pre-mixed cole slaw mix, this is a delicious, fat-free side dish that won’t spoil if left out because it has no mayonnaise.

I find it hard to believe that this is my 300th blog! How time flies and how the recipes just keep adding up. Hope you’re enjoying this adventure in cooking as much as I.

In a medium size bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 cup white vinegar

Whisk until the date sugar dissolves. Stir into the dressing:

1 1/2 cups pre-mixed cole slaw mix (green and red cabbage and carrot)

1/4 cup sliced scallion greens

Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 2-3.

Plum Cottage Pudding

Cottage pudding is a basic fruit pudding that’s often used to make fruit puddings. It’s a lot like my recipe for blackberry pudding. Very easy to make, the consistency of a muffin batter, it can be used to top a variety of fruits or can be baked on its own and served with sauce such as my mother’s hard vanilla sauce, or a fruit coulee. If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy to make dessert, a fruit cottage pudding is a good answer. Delicious with any kind of whipped topping, sauce, or frozen vanilla dessert. Serves 8.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of an 8″ cake pan, pour:

1/4 cup avocado oil or spread 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine

Spring the fat with:

1/4 cup date sugar

Line the pan with fruit slices. I used plums cut in half and then eighths to fit between the halves but all slices works just as well. Cut and place cut side down:

5 plums (be sure to remove the pits first!)

Sprinkle with:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Set the pan aside and make the pudding. In a small bowl make the flax gel by combining:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons hot water or aquafaba

Set aside for about 3-5 minutes. In a medium size bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (feel free to use more to your taste)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once dry ingredients are combined, add:

1/2 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

1 flax gel from above

Stir to combine until incorporated, batter should be the consistency of muffin batter. Spread over the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Korean Style Ground Turkey with Cabbage

Super quick and easy, especially if you buy the pre-shredded cole slaw mix at the supermarket. The only other thing that needs dicing is the small onion and that doesn’t take long. This dish is a little sweet, spicy and tangy and the ground turkey, unless you really overcook it of course!, stays moist and succulent in the sauce. I apologize for not sprinkling the finished dish with scallion as it should be but I didn’t have any in the house and wasn’t up to going to the store today. Excellent even without them! As usual, feel free to mellow or increase the spices to fit your family’s tastes.

First, in a deep skillet (3″ or so), heat over medium high heat:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot reduce heat to medium and add:

1 pound ground turkey breast

Break up the turkey and sauté for about 2 minutes before adding:

1 small onion, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage*

1/4 cup shredded carrots (in the cole slaw mix if you use that or most supermarkets now sell pre-shredded carrots)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 minced garlic cloves)

Stir to combine and cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes until the cabbage and onion are softened.

While the dish simmers make the sauce by combining in a small bowl:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute** (of course if your family can have soy, use regular soy sauce but reduce to 1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons date sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or 1 teaspoon siracha)

Whisk to combine. Remove cover from the turkey mixture and add in sauce, stirring constantly until it thickens which should be about 5-10 seconds. Remove from heat to a serving dish, top with toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

*If cabbage isn’t a favorite in your family, add a small can of sliced bamboo shoots and a can of sliced water chestnuts. Or some thinly sliced bok choy would also work.

**See recipe under sauces. I generally have several 1 cup jars of it in the freezer.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

It’s called a pudding but it’s more like a cake in consistency. Easy to make but takes a while to bake. The only suggestion I have is to be sure you have enough people to eat it before you make it or else you’ll end up eating the whole thing yourself, it’s that delicious! Sweet, moist, and very satisfying. If you can use coconut milk, do so for a more authentic flavor. And it calls for batata, purple skinned and white meat sweet potatoes. The original recipe notes that orange sweet potatoes (the ones we’re mostly use here in the U.S.) can also be used but double the flour (and I would decrease the sugar as well).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9-10″ cake pan (I used my 7″ casserole dish which also worked fine, just harder to slice). Peel and cut into chunks:

2 pounds batata sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized ones)

Place the chunks in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely grated. Put into a medium bowl and add:

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (coconut milk if possible, I used my oat milk)

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk, just add 2 tablespoons more of the coconut milk)

1 cup date sugar (or coconut if you can use it)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) – or cardamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional) – or coriander

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together to combine and then add:

1 cup brown rice flour

Stir in the flour and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. While it bakes in a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk)

1 tablespoon date sugar (or coconut sugar)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

dash of cinnamon (optional)

After 45 minutes, pour the above mixture over the pudding and continue to bake for another 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve hot for a softer pudding or cool for about 15-20 minutes for a firmer texture. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping if desired.

Mahogany Chicken

The CHICKEN BIBLE strikes again! Once more, I needed to make changes to the recipe but another delicious, succulent chicken. I was impressed on how moist the chicken stayed even though I think I cooked it about 10 minutes too long. I was also impressed that it didn’t come out as sweet as I thought. Not difficult, a fairly easy recipe to make, very little preparation time, less than an hour, beginning to end. This would also work great for turkey or even duck. I did find the sauce a little bland so I added a dash of hot sauce but some coriander would also work.

In a 12″ skillet (oven proof) combine:

1 cup water

1 cup soy sauce substitute (of course if you are able, you can use regular soy sauce)

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Whisk to combine and dissolve the sugar. Place in the sauce, skin side down:

4 chicken leg quarters (leave whole or cut between legs and thighs)*

2″ stick of fresh ginger, peeled and halved (lengthwise) then smashed

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

Bring to a boil and simmer over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. After 5 minutes place skillet in the oven uncovered and cook for 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over so that the skin side is now up and bake another 15-25 minutes or until chicken reaches 195 degrees. Remove from oven. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

At this point, pour the cooking liquid through a strainer to remove the bits of garlic and pieces of ginger. Strain into a fat separator if you have one and let sit for 5 minutes so the fat rises to the surface and can be removed.* Turn the oven to broil.

Add the strained and defatted liquid back into the skillet and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add:

Slurry made with 1 tablespoon arrowroot (or tapioca starch) mixed into 1/2 cup water (or chicken stock)

Whisk to combine and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place chicken, skin side up, back into the skillet and place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crispy and crackling. (I put my chicken pieces on a small baking sheet lined with parchment and broiled them while I made my sauce.) Serve with the sauce on the side. Makes 4 servings. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes. I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on mine after I served it with the sauce.

*I don’t have a fat separator so I didn’t do this step but there wasn’t a lot of fat in my pan because I trimmed the fat off the thighs before putting them in the skillet.

Empanadas

I know you’ll take one look at the picture and say, But Jean, empanadas aren’t round! I know, they’re supposed to be half-circles but this gluten-free dough is supposed to have an egg to bind it together and the flax egg just didn’t work as well so I made full-moons. They taste delicious, just don’t try to eat them with your hands! I used ground turkey in mine but any ground meat will work.

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons water or aquafaba

Let sit about 5 minutes until it sets then make the dough. In the bowl of the food processor put:

3 cups gluten-free flour (whatever blend you have works)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons date sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup vegan margarine, Earth Balance, or Spectrum shortening (put in around the food processor, not in just one spot)

Pulse until the mixture is a coarse meal. In a small bowl combine:

1 flax egg (that you made above) [OR if you can use it, 1 large egg)

1/2 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Add to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove from the processor into a food storage bag and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. While the dough chills, make the filling. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2-1 teaspoon paprika

1/2-1 teaspoon cumin

1-2 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat just until fragrant, about 30 seconds then add:

1 small onion diced

Cook to soften the onion, about 2 minutes and then add:

1 pound ground meat, like turkey, beef, or pork

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Cook, breaking the meat apart as it cooks, until the meat is done, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the skillet to a bowl. Add:

1/3 cup sugar-free ketchup mixed with 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce (hot sauce optional)

1 small can mild (or medium whichever your family likes) green chilies

1/2 cup non-dairy cheese shredded, whatever cheese you can eat (I used parmesan)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Stir to combine and let cool. Before the dough is chilled, line a 24×24″ space on a counter with plastic wrap and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough is ready, take out of the bag and cut the dough into two pieces. Put one half back into the bag and the refrigerator and put the other half on the counter with the plastic wrap. Press down on the dough to flatten slightly and then cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut in whatever size you desire (I used a bowl that’s about a 6″ circle). Use a spatula to pick up the dough and move to the lined cookie sheet. Place about 3/4 of a cup of the filling** in the center of the disk and cover with a second disk of dough. Seal the edges together, if necessary moisten the edge with water (I didn’t need any water with my dough).

Repeat, rerolling the dough until all the dough is used and the filling is gone. I was able to make 4 of the 6″ size. If you’re able to use the egg in the dough, you can probably fold over the dough to make the half-circles and therefore can make more empanadas. Use a small knife to cut air holes in the tops of the empanadas so steam can escape. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray or brush with oat milk or egg wash if you can use eggs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Makes four servings (6″ size). Serve with guacamole, salsa, or as I did, just slices of avocado.

**Of course, if you’re using a smaller circle to cut your empanadas, you’ll use less filling in each.

Pear Muffins

I’m allergic to apples so I often substitute pears for recipes that call for apples. This recipe also calls for apple sauce so I diced up a pear and stewed it for 5 minutes and voila! had pear sauce. Feel free to use apples instead, peaches would also work. Feel free to also vary the spices – if you prefer nutmeg to allspice, use it or ginger instead of cloves, etc. It’s a quick, easy dough to make and takes only 15-18 minutes in the oven depending on the size. If you make mini muffins, they’ll only take 10-12 minutes.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 12 or 24 (mini) muffin pan. The recipe should make exactly 12 or 24 muffins. In a small bowl (2 cup) combine:

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon avocado oil

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pear (or apple) sauce [I used chunky, I didn’t bother to blend it]

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a larger bowl (medium size 8 cups), combine:

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/3 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix until just combined, makes a thick dough. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

After mixing, sprinkle on the top of the muffins. Then let the muffins sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake muffins 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Spicy Plum Sauce Pork Chops

I have jars of jam in my freezer and since I don’t eat much toast or other things where jam would be good, I’ve been looking for recipes to use up these jams. Here’s one I found for my plum jam. If you do a search on my blog, you’ll find a recipe for strawberry jam (sugar-free of course) which you can use to make sugar free plum jam which is the base for the oriental spicy plum sauce for these pork chops. I served these chops with sauteed bok choy (find recipe under side dishes).

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees then make the plum sauce by combining in a small saucepan:

1 1/2 cups plum jam

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons date sugar

1 tablespoon dried onion (flakes or granules, both work)

1/2 teaspoon spicy chili sauce (or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium high heat. Once it boils, remove from heat.

In a 12″ skillet, over medium high heat, heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering, add:

4 pork chops, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness

Sear on all sides, including the outsides, until browned. Place in a 9×9″ baking dish (or whatever size fits your pork chops) and cover with the spicy plum sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork chops. Serves 4.

Sesame Turkey with Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

Here’s another recipe amended from the CHICKEN BIBLE, modified a little since I don’t like really hot and spicy foods. Once the vegetables and turkey are diced, the recipe is very fast and simple to put together. It only took me about 15 minutes to put together, after about 45 minutes of cutting and dicing! Be sure to follow the temperature instructions or it will take longer to cook and the turkey breast meat may get dried out.

In a small bowl (2 cup) combine the sauce ingredients:

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

5 teaspoons date sugar

1-4 teaspoons sriracha*

1 tablespoon soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon arrowroot, tapioca (or cornstarch)

1 minced garlic clove

Whisk to combine and set aside. In another small bowl (1/2 to 1 cup size), combine the garlic mixture:

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon grated (or minced) fresh ginger

Mix to combine and set aside. In a medium bowl (or I used a gallon food storage bag) combine the seasoning mixture:

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

3 teaspoons soy sauce substitute

1 teaspoon arrowroot, tapioca (or cornstarch)

Add:

1-2 turkey tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds), cut in bite size pieces

Mix to coat the turkey with the season mixture. In a 12″ (or larger) high sided skillet (or a wok if one if available), heat over medium heat:

2 teaspoons olive oil

When shimmering, add half the turkey and stirring constantly over HIGH heat, brown for 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel and repeat with the other half of the turkey, removing the second portion to the same bowl and recover with towel. Into the empty skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering (this will only take a second since the pan should already be sizzling hot from the turkey), add:

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1″ pieces

Cook, stirring constantly over medium high heat for a minute or two. Add:

8-10 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms

Stir constantly until mushrooms start to brown and beans are slightly crunchy. Move the beans and mushrooms to one side of the skillet and add the garlic mixture and heat until you can smell the garlic, about 30-45 seconds. Mix into the vegetables then add the turkey and any juices back into the skillet. Whisk the sauce mixture and pour it into the skillet. Stir constantly until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds if desired or sliced green scallions. Make 4 servings. Serve over rice or quinoa.

*Most Sriracha sauces contain cane sugar. If you, like me, wish to avoid cane sugar, I found one sriracha sauce at Whole Foods, YELLOWBIRD Blue Agave Sriracha Sauce which has no sugar in it but uses Blue Agave syrup instead. If like me, you prefer your food to be on the mild side with just a little spice, use 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce. It gave me just a hint of heat in the back of my throat. I might increase it just a little in the future, especially if I make the dish for my grandson who likes things, the hotter the better!