Zucchini Cupcakes

I think if I’m going to continue to post cupcake recipes, I need to buy a regular size muffin pan! Again, I just placed the cupcake papers in a rectangular pan and once again I have cupcakes of all shapes and sizes. But delicious cupcakes nonetheless. This is a very thick batter so the dry mixture will need to be combined with the wet using a spoon instead of a mixer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Makes 15-24 cupcakes depending on size so line appropriate number of muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl combine:

9 tablespoons ground flax

1 cup aquafaba (I use a powdered aquafaba which you can find on on-line so I used 1 tablespoon aquafaba powder and 1 cup of warm water)

Let sit until it forms flax gel, about 3-5 minutes. Add:

1 1/3 cup date sugar

1/2 cup oil (I used olive but any oil will work)

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix using a hand mixer until well combined. In a separate bowl stir together:

2 1/3 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Add the dry ingredients and the zucchini to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined. Depending on the amount of moisture in your zucchini, you might need to add a few tablespoons of water or flour but mixture should be very stiff. Fill the cupcake papers 2/3 full and smooth top if possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on size. Cool completely before frosting. I used carob ganache but 7 Minute Frosting would also be good if you want a very sweet frosting.

Carob Orange Tapioca Pudding

Used to love vanilla tapioca pudding as a child. Hadn’t thought of it in years. You know the kind, with the nutmeg on top, all creamy with the little balls of tapioca. There was a restaurant in Derry, New Hampshire, when my husband and I lived there that still served it. Don’t know if they’ve survived the pandemic. So anyway, I wondered about other possible flavors for tapioca pudding and happened upon a recipe for orange and changed it up a bit, obviously replacing the whole milk and white sugar. Pretty easy to make, but not something you can walk away from!

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil:

1 cup water

Stir in:

1/4 cup small tapioca pearls

Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the water is gone and the tapioca pearls are swollen and translucent. Add to the pot:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons unsweetened carob chips

the tapioca pearls just cooked

Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens (it will still be fairly loose), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in:

juice and zest from 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Let cool slightly before spooning into individual serving bowls or glasses. Cover and chill. Makes four servings. It can be eaten warm but is much better after it’s sits overnight and firms up.

Orange and Maple Grilled Salmon

This marinade smells wonderful! And what’s not to smell great with fresh orange juice and maple syrup along with some fresh grated ginger. Be sure to have your butcher scale the fish so that you can cut the skin into triangle cuts before cooking without serving scales, not very edible. Makes 2 servings.

Whisk in a small bowl:

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or you can use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)

Salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and just a shake of ground pepper

Pour the marinade into a gallon food storage bag and add the fish. Let the fish sit in the marinade for at least a half hour in the refrigerator. Remove from the marinade and dry the skin side lightly on a paper towel while heating, on medium high heat, a grill pan:

1 tablespoon oil wiped into the pan

Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down. Cook on medium high for 3-6 minutes depending on how thick the salmon filets are before turning them over (the salmon will release easily from the pan when its ready to turn over) to cook on the other side over medium heat for an additional 3-6 minutes (I usually cover the pan at this point for several minutes). And because I covered the pan to make sure the fish cooks inside, I usually turn it over onto the skin side again for a minute on high to crisp up the skin again. Ready to serve.

Orange Sauce

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour (all purpose or brown rice works best)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind

In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice and honey along with the vinegar, salt, orange rind and stock. 

Mix together the margarine and flour into a paste.   Add to the simmering sauce using a whisk so that you don’t get any lumps.  Continue cooking sauce until thickened, only a couple of minutes.  Its now ready to serve.

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.

Orange Chicken (dairy free, gluten free, soy free, egg free, sugar free)

I love Chinese food but since I’m allergic to soy I don’t get it very often. There’s a small Chinese restaurant in central New Hampshire that I visited frequently when I was there last year where they were willing to cook meals for me without any soybean oil or soy sauce. My selection was, of course, limited due to my other allergies but it made me hungry for more.

I recently found a recipe for Orange Chicken and decided I could adapt it if only I could find a substitute for soy sauce, such a staple in Chinese food. So, for those of you who can’t use soy, like me, I’ve got an alternative here for that as well. The recipe is a little complex but if you follow it step by step, its easy enough to make a great dish.

The soy substitute works well in this recipe and I’ll probably try it out on different dishes in the future. Make it ahead. It will freeze which is nice since most recipes call for only a little soy sauce at a time.

In a small saucepan mix:

1 1/2 cups bone broth – I used mushroom but beef would also work

3 teaspoons vinegar

1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses

2 teaspoons date sugar (or date syrup)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half. Cool.

For the orange chicken, to serve four:

3/4 chicken broth

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons diced garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle (use more if you like it hot)

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

5 teaspoons corn starch (if like me, you have trouble with too much corn, you can use arrowroot, tapioca or cassava here as well) mixed into 2 tablespoons water to make slurry

1 cup arrowroot, tapioca, or cassava flour

1 tablespoon aguafava powder mixed into 1/2 cool water (or you can use 3 egg whites)*

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups olive oil (or any oil you can use)

First, whisk the broth, grated orange zest and juice, the monk fruit powder, vinegar, soy sauce substitute, garlic, ginger, and chipotle in a large saucepan until thoroughly mixed. Transfer 3/4 of the mixture to a large zip-lock bag, add chicken, and toss to coat. Get the air out of the bag by sealing it most of the way and then pressing the bag. Finish sealing bag and refrigerate for at l hour.

While the chicken marinates, bring to a boil the rest of the sauce. When it comes to a boil, whisk into the sauce and continue whisking until the sauce is clear and thick. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven heat the oil to 350 degrees.

Beat the aguafava (or egg whites) until soft peaks, add cream of tartar.

Combine the arrowroot with the baking soda, salt and pepper in a large zip-lock bag.

Set up 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or paper towels on the bottom of the tray and put a cooling rack on top of the paper in one of the baking sheets. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. In parts, don’t try to do all the chicken at once, coat it with the beaten aguafava (or egg whites), then toss into the bag of flour and shake to coat. Remove chicken from the bag shaking off any excess flour. Place the chicken on the baking sheet without the rack.

Add the floured chicken one piece at a time to the oil and fry until golden brown 3-5 minutes, turning chicken as needed. You should be able to fry 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicken at a time. Transfer to the wire rack. Be sure to bring the oil back to 350 degrees between each batch of chicken.

Reheat sauce until simmering. Add chicken and serve immediately over rice. Some cut scallions add to the dish. You can also add to the sauce some sautéed onion and celery, water chestnuts, broccoli, bok choy, etc.

*You can buy aquafaba powder online. If you don’t have any simply use 1/2 cup aquafaba liquid.

Carob Fig “Truffles” (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I made filled chocolates for over fifty years until a few years ago when I realized that no one in my family or circle of friends could eat them anymore for one reason or another.  So now I cover different flavored Oreos with chocolate for my grandson and my great-nieces.  I have a friend, however, who asked me to please find a recipe for a candy that she can eat that’s healthy but still decadent enough to call candy.  Here’s what I came up with.  Don’t like figs?   Not a problem, use dates (don’t soak them) or prunes instead.  If you use dates, the mixture will be much sweeter.  If the figs or prunes aren’t sweet enough for your family’s taste buds, add a few dates to sweeten it up.

You’ll need:

  • 12 ounces of dried figs (or you can use fig paste or jam made with fresh figs in season; no need to soak those)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder (if you can have chocolate, feel free to use cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (or if you can have it any nut butter will work)
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • juice from 1/2 orange (around 2 tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, toasted sesame seeds, for rolling the truffles in
  • Remove the stems from the figs and put in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for around an hour.  Drain and put in a food processor along with the protein powder (start with 1/4 cup), carob powder, tahini, zest and juice, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  If mixture is too wet, add the remaining protein powder.

Scoop out tablespoons full and with wet hands, roll them into balls (I had a small bowl of water next to where I was working so that I could wet my hands as needed).  We want these the size for one to two bites so if a tablespoon is a little big, reduce the amount for each ball.  I would say I used around 2 teaspoons per ball.  Place them on parchment or waxed paper as you roll them out.  It should make between 16 and 24 balls.  Roll each ball in your choice of hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, or toasted sesame seeds.  Refrigerator for up to a week.  

I found these very dense and rich so I could only eat 2 at a time.  And, of course, oh so delicious and gooey.  A great substitute for candy with all that sugar.  Sweet and gooey without any sugar except the one naturally found in the fruit.  

Variations:

  • 12 ounces of prunes instead of figs — these don’t need to be soaked
  • 12 ounces of dried mango — cut into small pieces before soaking and don’t add any additional liquid to the food processor
  • 12 ounces of dried sweet dark cherries — again, no need to soak these but may need a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture (I covered these with chocolate ganache)
  • 12 ounces of dried dates, pitted of course — don’t soak them but again they may need a few tablespoons of water if too thick
  • 12 ounces of dried apricots — soak and again, don’t add any liquid to the mixture (I rolled these in ground almonds)

Duck L’Orange (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free)

I love duck, its my favorite poultry.  This Thanksgiving, now that I’m alone and this being my first holiday without my husband, I didn’t want to do the traditional Thanksgiving feast that would give me more leftovers than I could possible eat so I decided, when I saw them in Whole Foods the other day, to cook myself a whole duck.  I usually stick to duck breasts (see recipe under Entrees) but I’ve had duck l’orange several times and really enjoyed it but it’s so sweet the issue was how to do it without the sugar.  Here’s what I did. You’ll have to forgive me for not including an image; I got so excited about this that I cut it up before taking a photo!  And it was delicious – the skin was so crunchy and full of flavor thanks to the spice mix and the meat so juicy and flavorful.  I served it along with creamed onions and peas and a wild rice and quinoa stuffing which was really good with the orange sauce (see side dishes for both these recipes). Makes 2 generous servings.

You’ll need for the duck:

  • 4-6 pound duck
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1 large onion cut in eighths
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 1 cup stock, chicken or if you can find it, duck
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • a large baking pan, preferably with high sides to reduce fat spattering
  • gravy separator if you have one
  • meat thermometer

You’ll need for the orange sauce:

  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup stock
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour (all purpose or brown rice works best)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Prepare the duck by cleaning out the cavity and drying the skin.  Mix the salt, coriander, cumin, pepper and dry thyme.  Rub the outside of the duck with the spice mixture and sprinkle some inside as well.  Add 1/2 of the orange , 4 wedges of onion, the springs of thyme and marjoram to the cavity.  Place the cleaned celery, carrots and other 4 wedges of onion in the baking dish in a line so that they raise the duck off the bottom of the pan (we’re using them like a baking rack).  Put the duck in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes (you might want to be sure to turn on your overhead exhaust while you’re doing this to avoid the smoke alarm going off like it did in my house even though I didn’t see any smoke).  While the duck is searing, mix together the juice of the other 1/2 orange with the 1 cup of stock.  

After 20-30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and add the stock mixture to the bottom of the pan.  Continue to cook for approximately 1-1/2 hours until duck reaches 170 degrees internal temperature in one of the thighs using a meat thermometer.  Remove from oven and baking dish.  Be sure to tilt when removing from the dish so that the internal juices can run into the baking dish.  Carefully pour the baking dish juices into the gravy separator.  While the duck is cooking make the sauce.

In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice and honey along with the vinegar, salt, orange rind and stock.  Simmer until the duck is cooked.  Add duck juices drained from the baking dish without the fat.  If you don’t have a gravy separator, using a spoon, remove the fat from the top of the juices.  If the duck juices don’t equal 1 cup, add stock to make up the difference. 

Mix together the margarine and flour into a paste.   Add to the simmering sauce using a whisk so that you don’t get any lumps.  Continue cooking sauce until thickened, only a couple of minutes.  Its now ready to serve.