Zucchini Bread

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 1 loaf and 12 muffins or 2 loaves or 24 muffins

3 flax eggs
1 cup (235 ml) olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 (350 grams) cups sugar
3.5 cups grated zucchini – water squeezed out
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
3 cups (375 grams) spelt flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt (I use sea salt which is saltier but I like my baked goods with that kick)
1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup (115 grams) dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans (8×4 or 9×5). Alternatively, you can grease one loaf pan and one muffin tray, or two muffin trays. I prefer to line them with silicone or paper liners. IKEA has great reusable silicone liners that you don’t need to grease up at all and muffins pop out easily.

Whisk flax eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt over wet ingredients and whisk them in well. Stir in zucchini. Add flour in batches, mixing only until flour disappears. Do not overmix! Stir in the nuts and/or dried fruit.

Divide between prepared pans and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake about 25 to 35 minutes depending on your oven. You can let them cool for 10 minutes on a rack before inverting and removing cakes from pans, or just let them cool completely in pans. Store it wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment at room temperature for up to 5 days. Can also store in the fridge if you’re worried about bacteria for a little one.

Loaves and muffins freeze well. I freeze by plastic wrap and then in a freezer Ziplock.

Notes (subbing with similar results, all tested by me)

*you can sub 125g of whole wheat and 250g white spelt

*you can sub 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup olive oil

*sub 1/3 coconut oil, 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 grapeseed oil

*sub 2 1/4 cup zucchini, 1 1/4 cup carrot

*1/2 cup fresh cranberries

*sub 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1 cup brown sugar

*sub flour 1:1 for GF flour mix (tapioca, brown & white rice flour, arrow root)

To make one batch half the recipe to fine results.

 

 

DYI Ritter Sport

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Adapted from: Ohsheglows.com

You can use any toppings you’d like – dried fruit, nuts, etc. It melts quickly so keep it in the freezer.

one 9×9 bar

FREEZE TIME
45 MINUTES

PREP TIME

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup  coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt (more if you want that salty bite)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a 9″ square pan or a small baking sheet with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. Set aside.
  2. Add hazelnuts and almonds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Place hazelnuts on a dishcloth and wrap them up. Rub them vigorously with the cloth and against each other  until the skins fall off. It’s ok if some skins don’t come off. Discard the skins.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla until smooth. Add cinnamon and sea salt. Stir in half of the almonds and hazelnuts.
  5. With a spatula, spoon the chocolate mixture onto the prepared parchment-lined pan or sheet and smooth out until it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle on the remaining nuts and all of the coconut flakes. Place into freezer on a flat surface for about 45 minutes, until frozen solid.
  6. Store in the freezer until ready to eat. Break off chunks. Eat immediately.

Homemade Nutella

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Yes, there is a such a thing as healthy Nutella and it is easy (but time intensive) to make. I attempted my own recipe yesterday after reading several blog posts about vegan and healthy homemade Nutella to incredible results. First, it is not as quick as these blog posts promise. But I find most food blogs always undermine the time it takes anything. Probably not to alienate their audience. Although this is a real issue on more mainstream publications, as Slate points out with a piece focused on caramelized onions. You can always read my true-to-time recipe here.

I love Nutella. How can you not? It is chocolate, sugar, and hazelnuts! And palm oil, shitty shitty palm oil. I’ve stopped eating it though because the fat content doesn’t sit well with my body and diet. Until yesterday morning, when I had the urge to try it because my sweet snack tempo has gone into overdrive the last few weeks of pregnancy. I am so glad I did. SO GLAD.

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A few things:

Peeling roasted hazelnuts takes a long time if you want to be fastidious, and you do, because the less skin the smoother and softer the taste.

If you have a stand mixer, blender, then you are golden. I had to do this in my small Kitchen Aid mixer which overheats unless I pulse. This means that this took forever. But what is the cost of homemade Nutella, really? I incorporated a few tricks to speed it up—milk and melted coconut oil.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Camino Dutch-processed cocoa powder)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I prefer organic and non-alcohol)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I prefer grade B)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher/sea salt
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice (I prefer organic 2% but I’m sure this would work very well vegan with an almond or coconut milk)
  • 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil

Makes about 500ml of Nutella.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Roast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a single row for 12-14 minutes. They should be darkened but not burnt. Let cool a little bit. Don’t leave it too long. The warmer the easier the skins peel. Place them on a tea towel and rub vigorously to loosen the skins. Then rub hazelnuts between your palms. This helps the tougher ones loosen. You will also want to rub the skins of the really stubborn ones between your thumb and index finger. There is no way you can peel all of the hazelnuts, but do your best!
  • Throw all the peeled hazelnuts into a mixer/blender and go. This will take a while. Do this until it turns into a butter.
  • Once your nuts are a butter, add the cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt. Pulse to incorporate loosely. Then add the milk and keep going. Then add the coconut oil. I like doing this in steps to see how much is incorporating. You can always add more milk and/or oil if you want it smoother and less thick. Using cocoa will never make it completely silky like using melted chocolate, but I couldn’t bother double boiling chocolate on top of all this.
  • At the point you think it’ll never get there, taste it, and it’s done.

Spread on EVERYTHING.

I made nalesniki (a Polish crepe) to be a vessel for this deliciousness. This morning, however, I spread it on a chocolate chip and pecan version of this gluten free banana bread.

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Gluten Free Banana Bread

bananabread (1 of 1)I made this for the first time two days ago and made it again this morning while my boyfriend was still sleeping. How we have missed banana bread in our home! It is so easy to make and only requires a whisk, some bowls, and the stove/oven. I am always searching for delicious baked goods that a) don’t require an all-purpose gluten free flour because I have yet to find one I love and making my own mixes is way too ambitious; b) don’t require my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I love using my mixer but I don’t love cleaning it up. If you are wheat or gluten free you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

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With the arrival of the baby we have also been eco-fying our house which includes throwing out old aluminum and non-stick scratched up pots and pans. After a lot of research, I chose the stainless steels pans from Norpro. They aren’t perfect but stainless steel is one of the least toxic materials for baking.

The recipe is only slighted adapted from the “Grain Free Banana Bread” recipe Shauna Ahern posted to food52.com several years ago and she knows what she’s doing. You can substitute the walnuts for hazelnuts or pecans, or even chocolate chips, or dried fruit. You can also use agave instead of maple syrup but you’d need less than 1/2 cup, so play with the consistency of the batter.

Continue reading Gluten Free Banana Bread

Caramelized Onions

june-1I remember the first time I attempted caramelized onions. It was only about two years ago. I had been afraid. It seemed like something reserved for obsessive cooks that have hours to tend to a stove. It also seemed out of my abilities. Like most things in the kitchen, caramelized onions couldn’t be easier to make, and add a flavour that no sauteeting with herbs will ever get you. Below is the ‘quickie’ recipe that home cooks can enjoy. The onions are just as delicious as the all-day method. 🙂

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It’s best to do this in large batches and refrigerate them because of the amount of time it takes. I have yet to make enough to have any leftovers but I always want to. The more onion the more its juices flow out to help flavour and consistency. The onions also shrink significantly as you can see in the photos.

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The basic formula

  • several onions (I prefer organic sweet yellow but any white/yellow will do because they will sweeten up)
  • balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • a smidgen of sea salt
  • water

Slice the onions thin but not for-salad thin. I like to cut across the whole onion horizontally. The longer the strands the better. Throw this into the widest stainless steel (ideal for health) pan you have that’s heated up over medium heat. Sprinkle a smidgen of salt.

Do not put any oil. You might be tempted but don’t. The first time I did this I did because I just couldn’t understand that all you need is water (hello, healthy!) With the oil, it didn’t have that taste we’re after, despite what some recipes online say.

With a silicone or wooden spatula move the onions around for a couple of minutes until they start sticking. Then add water and scrape the onions. Once the water has evaporated and the onions are starting to stick again, add more water. Keep doing this for about 45-90 minutes. This will depend on how impatient you are. Note that for the first 20-30 minutes it may look like they are never going to brown. They will. 🙂

About 30 minutes in, I like to lower the heat to medium-low and take more time cooking the onions out. You don’t have to keep a meticulous eye on the onions but try to be in the kitchen to listen for progress. 🙂 Once they start looking medium brown/brown and sweet to taste they are ready. It’s up to you how done you want them.

After about 30 minutes, you can also add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. I like to do this when I want a stronger punch to my onions.

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My favorite way to eat them is food truck style with a hot dog, mizeria (polish cucumber salad) and fries. The Les Farms Valens sausage ideal for my dietary restrictions. The sausage uses pork and beef raised without hormones and antibiotics. There are no nitrates or phosphates added and it’s gluten and lactose free. I also like that it’s pre-cooked so I don’t have to handle raw meat.  The gluten free hot dog buns were procured by my loving boyfriend in Toronto. They are crispy on the outside and soft inside. Best I’ve ever tasted.

Polish Spelt Pierogies

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Working on my PhD means I work from home most of my days. When I have an impending deadline & really need to procrastinate the kitchen turns into elaborate-meal time. This week it was pierogies. I have helped make pierogies as a child in Poland, watching the multistep day-long process. I have been craving pierogies for a long time and I assumed without regular flour they were inaccessible to me forever. I was SO WRONG! Luckily with my wheat allergy I am able to indulge in spelt on a rare basis without too much symptoms.

Spelt pierogies are delicious and unlike the other blogs out there complain, spelt isn’t as strong of a flavor as you think, especially with savory pierogies. It may seem like there is a lot of steps but they are truly easy to make. They’re also cheap. Your invited guests don’t need to know that. 🙂

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Makes about 16 pierogies

Continue reading Polish Spelt Pierogies

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

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Because it is going to be tomato season soon and because these are the best tomatoes you are ever going to have and the recipe is so easy it almost shouldn’t be a recipe at all. I tried this for the first time last summer —yes, it was about 30C and yes I did leave my oven on for nearly four hours. The reward is succulent  salty sweet tomatoes. Notice how there is no salt or pepper in the recipe below. Trust me on that. You will want to put some salt because salt potentiates flavour. Yes. Yes.  I was so tempted that on my first batch I did. They were too salty. Bad Magda. Leave it alone. This is not a sundried tomato, this is not an oven roasted tomato, this is a slow roasted tomato. food-1-25

The possibilities of usage are endless. I ate most of them out of a bowl soaked in olive oil. Above, they are served as a garnish to a candida-friendly fish and spinach lunch. I also added a bunch to my homemade tomato sauce I make every year to freeze for the winter. Continue reading Slow Roasted Tomatoes