Oatmeal and Pear Cookies

This are very easy to put together and tastes delicious. Per usual, I can’t eat apples, peaches, nectarines, etc., but if you can, this cookie would work with any of those fruits, probably cherries as well. Just be sure that the fruit is not overripe or the mixture will be too wet.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

1/3 cup aquafaba

Whisk and let sit for at least 5 minutes then add:

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or coconut oil)

1/2 cup agave or honey (or date syrup)

1/2 cup diced pears (or other fresh fruit)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine and add:

1 cup quick gluten-free oats

3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed into the wet. Set aside and let sit for 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper (or a silicone mat). Scoop by tablespoon the cookie dough placing cookies at least 1 inch apart (they don’t spread). Bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Upside Down Cake with Fruit

One of my mother’s favorite cakes was pineapple upside down cake. Since I can’t eat pineapple anymore, I used a different fruit for my upside down cake – pears. Turned out quite delicious and moist since pears are full of liquid which drained pineapple doesn’t have. Any fruit can be used for this cake and can be arranged decoratively – I just tossed mine in the bottom of the spring form pan but feel free to make one that’s prettier.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup aquafaba

Let sit while you get the baking pan ready. Using a 10″ spring form pan, or if authenticity is desired, a cast iron Dutch oven, spray the bottom with non-stick spray and add a round to fit of parchment paper. In a small sauce pan melt:

1/4 cup vegan margarine

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup fine date sugar (the courser sugar doesn’t work as well here – you could use the date syrup squeeze bottle to squeeze 1/2 cup of syrup over the melted margarine instead)

Peel (if desired) 2 large pears, 2-3 apples. Also could use 1 1/2 cups mixed berries or pineapple rings. I also shaved a fresh piece of ginger and grated about 2 teaspoons on top of the pears. Cinnamon or allspice could also be sprinkled over the fruit in the pan.

Arrange the fruit on top of this mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl mix:

1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

In the smaller bowl, add to the flax gel:

3/4 cup date sugar

1 cup dairy free milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk until well mixed and then add to the flour mixture and either mix with a hand mixer or a spoon until combined. Do not over mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring over the fruit (or pour over the fruit and let sit). Bake for 30-40 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before removing from pan onto plate. Remove parchment paper.

Easy Pear Ginger Sauce (dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

A very easy thing to do with fruit that is getting too ripe and has to be used is to make a sauce with it. I had two pears that were getting over-ripe yesterday and decided to make some pear sauce. I had a small piece of ginger left over from the gingerbread waffles so I grated that into the sauce as well. Great idea, added to the taste as well as giving the sauce a little tang. And tastes great on top of the gingerbread waffles!

I used pears but any fruit would work with this recipe, with or without the ginger. If I hadn’t added the ginger, I would have used some cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, or cardamom. And it easily adjusts to the number of pieces of fruit that are ripe.

To make about 1 cup of sauce, use:

2 medium ripe pears

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or any other spice your family likes)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash, core, peel,* and dice the pears into a small saucepan. Add the spice and salt, cover and simmer over medium low heat until the pears are soft, about 10 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium to boil off excess liquid, cook for about 5 minutes or until there’s no longer any visual excess liquid. Remove from heat and using a potato masher or just a fork, mash into a sauce like consistency. If making a larger batch, use an immersion blender. Serve hot or cold. The sauce also freezes very well.

If the fruit isn’t sweet enough for your taste, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup to sweeten.

*In the case of pears, if they are organic, I don’t bother to peel them because that’s where most of the fiber is in pears. But other fruits such as peaches definitely peel.

Seared Sea Bass with Pears (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

Food bloggers, even those like me, buy a lot of cookbooks. I found one this past week, Cooking Whole30, by Melissa Urban which had some interesting recipes, many those of us with allergies can use without modification. One, probably because it’s my favorite fish, struck my fancy except it used butter and peaches, two things I can’t eat. However, it’s been my experience that pears can often be substituted for other fruits so I thought it was worth a try. Here’s the result, DELICIOUS!

For 2 servings:

4 teaspoons avocado oil

2 sea bass fillets (cod, halibut or other dense fish could be used instead of the sea bass)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium pear sliced

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of Wasabi powder

In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons avocado oil then add the fish (dry it with a paper towel first so it doesn’t splatter the oil). Use medium heat and brown well on the skin side first then turn and cover to cook the meat of the fish for several minutes. Turn back to the skin side to finish cooking. This should take less than 10 minutes.

Remove the fish from the pan, salt and pepper to taste, and cover to keep warm while you sauté the pears. Add the pears directly to the fish skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, turning them once to brown on both sides. Add 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and cook for another minute. Add 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder to the remaining avocado oil and whisk to combine.

Plate the fish, spoon the pieces of pear equally over both pieces of fish. Then drizzle the wasabi oil over each piece of fish. Add some salad to the plates and serve.

While the fish is cooking, core (and peel if you want but that gets rid of the fiber and the skin will be tender when the dish is finished). Also make a salad to accompany the fish:

For the salad:

Baby red romaine (or use any lettuce your family likes)

3 inches of an English cucumber sliced

2-3 of the pear slices, cut into pieces

Non-dairy cheese crumbles

Nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin seeds) (Optional)

Light Italian Dressing: In a small 1 cup jar, add 1/2 cup avocado oil, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon Italian herb blend. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for several minutes.

Quick and Easy Orange Spice Coffee Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free, nut-free, vegan)

It’s difficult to find recipes for desserts that are delicious along with being allergy free. Here’s a light, delicious cake that’s quick to mix and bake. Takes longer to get all the ingredients together than to make. And nobody will believe you that it is gluten-free or egg-free, never mind that there’s no refined cane sugar in it. I used a “Honey Bee Glaze” topping but it would also work well with the standard coffee cake streusel topping. The honey bee glaze made a gooey sticky cake best served hot while the caramel like goo is still pliant. And would work well with any kind of non-dairy frozen vanilla or orange “cream”.

I’m allergic to nuts so I used hemp hulls in the topping but any nut if you can have them would work, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds would even work well.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Generously grease an 8×8″ baking dish. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:

In a 2-cup bowl mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon aquafaba powder and 2 tablespoons water

Let sit several minutes while you,

Mix in a medium mixing bowl:

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2/3 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (feel free to substitute the cinnamon and allspice for whatever spices your family likes such as nutmeg, mace, ginger, or cloves)

Mix until combined.

Now back to the smaller bowl add:

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil because of its light flavor but any oil would work)

1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (my 5.5 ounce container was exactly a 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons grated rind (rind from one large orange)

1 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, currents, etc. (Optional)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t worry if there are dry spots but you don’t want too many. The batter is like a biscuit or scone batter when combined.

Spread the batter in the greased pan and top with Honey Bee Glaze or coffee cake streusel (the cinnamon mixture used in the Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread would work here, just double the recipe). Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Here’s the recipe for Honey Bee Glaze adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey or date syrup

1/2 cup crushed nuts, seeds, or hemp hulls

Pour over coffee cake batter before baking.

Braised Cabbage (dairy-free, gluten-free)

My mother loved braised cabbage; this was her go-to winter vegetable when she was tired of peas, carrots, green beans or corn.  She always used red cabbage but any cabbage will work.  The onion adds a little tang and the bacon a smoky flavor.  I add pear; my mother always used apple.  Either will add some sweetness to the dish and, when combined with the fat from the olive oil and bacon, give it a full-bodied richness.  Prepare the onion, bacon, and cabbage ahead of time and this takes around 15 minutes to cook.  And it can be a vegan dish if you leave out the bacon.  Makes 4 servings using a 3-4 inch cabbage.

In a large saute pan, add:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped uncooked bacon (whatever bacon your family likes works fine) — IF your bacon is very fatty, don’t use the olive oil

Cook until bacon is browned.  If you have more than a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan, drain some off. Add to the pan:

  • 1 cup chopped onion

Cook until onion is softened.  Add:

  • 4-5 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (any vinegar works but if white is used, a little less vinegar would probably be good unless your family really loves the taste of vinegar)

Cover and braise 5-7 minutes until cabbage is softened, stir once or twice during cooking.

Add 1 diced apple or pear and cook another minute or two until fruit is soft (the apple may take a few minutes more than the pear).  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and serve.

You can also add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.

Quinoa and Rice Cereal with Fruit (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I grew up in New Hampshire and my mother was always very frustrated with me in the winter because I absolutely refused to eat any type of hot cereal.  I remember distinctly back in the 1950s and 1960s that Maypo was the go to hot cereal along, of course, with oatmeal.  Not for me!  I hated hot cereal, it was always so slimy in my mouth.  Probably the way my mother cooked it.  My mother would be so upset with me now to see how much hot cereal I eat during the winter.  This is one of my favorites.  I used to buy expensive quinoa and rice cereal already premade, just add the liquid and cook it.  Now I make my own; so easy and it can be done with the new overnight refrigerator technique.  I give you the stovetop version here.  Makes two servings.

In a medium saucepot:

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa
  • 1 small pear diced
  • 8-10 blackberries or raspberries (blackberries don’t break up as much as raspberries so I usually use those and its fine to take them out of the freezer and add them into the pot frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash or two of salt

In a blender, blend until mainly smooth:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cold water

Add this to the pot, cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.  This will thicken   quickly because of the fruit so be sure to stir often.  Keeping it covered insures that the quinoa cooks.  When the quinoa looses its white sheen, its cooked.  If its too wet, cook uncovered for a few more minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup if the fruit hasn’t gotten it sweet enough.  You can also feel free to add a tablespoon of ground flax, some chia seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.  Or substitute an apple for the pear.

To use the overnight refrigerator technique, put all the ingredients into a large mason jar, shake to mix (or stir), and refrigerate overnight.  Heat up in the morning and enjoy.

Gluten-free Waffles (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

One of the most difficult recipes to adapt, in my opinion, has been waffles and pancakes.  If they taste great, they’re gummy.  Not these — light and fluffy and at the same time very crispy and oh so good.  And I learned a great tip for cleaning my waffle iron (that doesn’t come apart to wash) — after you’re done cooking your waffles and the iron is still hot, place a flat wet paper towel inside the iron and close the lid and it will steam clean your waffle iron.  In my 4-waffle iron, this batter made 8 waffles.

In a small bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl place:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir dry ingredients to mix.  In another bowl (4-cup capacity), beat on medium:

  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat until stiff peaks form and then increase speed and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until they become marshmallow like.  Increase to highest speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit puree
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Add the milk mixture and combine until well mixed.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Grease your waffle iron and make sure it is hot.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter (per waffle) into your waffle iron and cook.  You may need a little more than a 1/4 cup — as you can see from the picture, mine could have taken a little more batter to completely fill the waffle iron.  Add syrup and enjoy!

Peach Melba Cobbler (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

One of my father’s favorite desserts was cobbler, didn’t matter what fruit we used, he loved it with some vanilla ice cream on top.  Its a fairly easy, quick recipe that appeals to those who like to think their dessert is also good for them.  This one has the classic combination of peaches and raspberries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease an 5×8″ baking dish.

Combine:

  • 2 cups sliced peaches
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour whisked with 1/2 cup cold water

I spread the peaches and raspberries in the baking dish, then sprinkled them with the cinnamon and stevia and then drizzled the flour mixture over the top.

In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 date sugar

Cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or a fork:

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy margarine

When the margarine is combined and you have a crumbly mixture, stir in:

  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the fruit (its okay if not all of the fruit gets totally covered), being sure that the cobbler dough is even so that you don’t have an inch of it in one place and only a 1/2 inch somewhere else so that the cobbler will cook evenly.

Bake 20-25 minutes and cool slightly before serving.  Best served warm.  Serves 6-8.

Apple Blueberry Muffins (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan)

Blueberry muffins are a summer family tradition in my family that I’ve had to forgo for many years now.   I can remember in my youth, the whole family going to the Meader farm to pick blueberries after supper and then we’d go to the lake for a swim to cool off.  The next day, along with freezing most of the berries, my mother would make blueberry muffins to go with a cold salad (like the salmon salad on this blog) for supper that night.  It would probably also be accompanied by some sliced tomatoes.  This is a simple, quick recipe that makes light and moist muffins.  The tapioca flour gives the outside a nice crunch.

Preheat oven to 375 degree and grease  6 large or 12 small muffin tins.

In a large bowl combine:

  • 1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice, unflavored
  • 1 cup of chunky applesauce, unsweetened (or pear sauce to make pear & blueberry muffins)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries dredged in 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Mix until all the ingredients are well combined; gluten-free baked goods often need a little more mixing than their gluten counterparts.  The mixture should bubble up while you’re mixing it when the vinegar hits the baking soda.  If its too thick (should be the consistency of mashed potatoes), add a little more milk by tablespoons.

Spoon into the greased muffin tins making sure all the muffins have equal amounts of batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Best enjoyed warm.