Carob (or Chocolate) Ganache (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

If you want a quick and easy, but still very tasty, topping for ice cream or cake, here’s a simple carob ganache recipe.  If you like things a little sweeter, add a little more monk fruit powder.

Heat in a small saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice 

Put in a small bowl:

  • 1 cup unsweetened carob chips
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder

It only takes a minute to heat up the milk.  When it is hot, pour it over the chips.  Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes to melt the chips and incorporate the milk.  Add:

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Stir to combine.  Your ganache is ready.  Use quickly as it will harden up in just a few minutes.  To use as “Hot Fudge Sauce” simply increase the milk to 3/4 cup.

Gluten-Free Gravy (dairy-free, gluten-free)

In New England, gravy is a necessity with any roasted meat dinner.  Gravy is very easy to make with some boxed meat stock (or vegetable stock).  I’ve been known to make lumpy gravy but that’s easy to fix by putting it through a sieve.

In a small saucepan:

  • 1 1/2 cups of stock (be sure to use stock for the most flavorful gravy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons of brown rice flour mixed into 1/2 cup of cold stock or water (depending on how thick you like your gravy)

Whisk to mix and keep stirring until the gravy comes to a boil and thickens.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course, the best gravy is made from the pan drippings.  I often put some stock in the bottom of the pan when I roast a chicken or turkey and then after removing the bird from the roasting pan, I add more stock and bring the pan to a boil.  Once its boiled for a few minutes, scrape the bottom so that you get all those flavorful pan drippings and then you can pour it into a saucepan, let cool slightly and then pour it through your fat separator.  Put it back into your saucepan, measure out 2 cups (or increase the flour in proportion to the amount of liquid), heat the stock and follow above directions.

Cranberry Compote (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

Nothing goes better with a roasted chicken or turkey than some cranberry sauce.  Since I can no longer eat the canned kind, I’ve learned to make my own.  And its really quite easy to do.  Increase or decrease the sweetener to your taste.  I like mine a little tart but my husband likes his a little sweeter so I usually break the batch in half and add a little more sweetener to his.  Freezes quite well.

In a medium saucepan:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), cleaned [remove any cranberries that aren’t perfectly round and intact]
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (OR 1/2 cup honey OR 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder OR 2 teaspoons stevia)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I prefer allspice but if you don’t, feel free to use cinnamon, nutmeg, or even ground cloves)

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the berries burst and the compote begins to thicken.  This should take about 15 minutes.  Be sure to remove from the heat as soon as it thickens or you’ll lose the pectin and it won’t gel.  Once its cooled, you can grind it in your food processor or blender for a smooth sauce or leave it whole for a chunkier version.

Dry Rub

This is a rub that can be used on any kind of meat although, my love of pork ribs  pretty much uses up all my rub.  Easy to apply, simply put 10-12 chicken wings, or 4-5 chicken legs, or a half rack of ribs, or some pork chops, or even a couple of steaks, in a zip bag with a couple of tablespoons of this rub and shake.  Once the meat is coated, be sure to massage it (or rub) it in so that the meat absorbs the dry rub.

I use a pint jar to mix this in:

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons stevia
  • 4 tablespoons herb mixture such as Mrs. Dash, McCormicks, or something like Grill Mates
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder or cocoa

Cover and shake the jar vigorously in all directions to mix the ingredients.  This will stay fresh in the air tight jar for several months.