Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dark Chocolate Power Pudding - Gluten and Sugar Free*

Topped with Joseph's no-sugar whipped cream
and frozen cherries and raspberries.
Joseph makes many variations on his chocolate breakfast puddings, but this one was a big hit with our nephew, Matthew. So here it is, just in time for his Christmas birthday! Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Remember that if you eat a little more than half of it, you’ve eaten a pretty good-sized breakfast, containing all your protein (3 eggs), carbohydrate (tapioca), and fruit (banana & raspberry), with a perfect portion left over for a breakfast companion--perhaps a lighter eater of the feminine gender and size? (Double the recipe if you invite one of your brothers to share and use two baking dishes.) 

Eat celery sticks with nut butter on the side for some fresh veggies and you’re good to go 'til lunch time. It’s gluten free, and we usually skip the honey to reduce the sugar hit. Either way, you won’t miss the white refined sugar at all!
Dark Chocolate Power Pudding

1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or cocoa butter
4 eggs + 2 yolks
12 oz. ripe organic banana (approx. 2–3)
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened (Ghiradelli brand preferred)
3 of the tiny scoops found inside a bottle of Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Organic Stevia Extract, approx. 1/64th plus 1/128th teaspoon*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Homemade is best but extract will work) or 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla beans
Optional: 1 Tablespoon honey or more to taste (Note: Omit if kicking a sugar habit)
1/2 cup Minute Tapioca, uncooked

Prepare a steam bath:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Choose a glass baking dish or pie plate that will fit inside a larger pan holding water, so that the water comes up about an inch along the sides. A large roasting pan works well. It's easiest to put the pans together, measure in the water, then remove your baking dish and place the water-holding pan in the oven to warm. (Choose a baking dish that will make your pudding about as deep as a pie, or you'll have to increase your baking time.)

Melt the ghee in the pie plate by placing it in the warming steam bath for a moment. Then carefully remove the baking dish from the steam bath and set it aside. (Leave the steam bath in the oven.)
Make pudding: 
Using a blender, add the banana, eggs, milk, and blend on low speed. While running, add the cocoa, stevia, and vanilla. If you wish and your eggs are very fresh, taste for sweetness and add optional honey (1 tablespoon to start). It should taste sweeter than you want the end product to taste. Otherwise, trust the recipe and add 1 T. honey. While blender is still running, add tapioca and pour immediately into baking dish, before the tapioca settles. Bake in steam bath for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Test by inserting knife in center; done when it comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold, with optional raspberry sauce. You can even cut it into little squares and serve as a light dessert to a crowd, serve fresh raspberries on the side, or top with stevia and vanilla sweetened dollops of whipped cream. 
*Back label says, “Stevia Rebaudiana, 45 mg. per scoop” – with NO ADDITIONAL SUGAR-DERIVED ADDITIVES, as you would find in nearly every other brand of stevia product. For more about using plant-derived stevia, read this.

Optional Raspberry Sauce

2 c. frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon Framboise raspberry liqueur
1/4 c. water
1 scoop stevia (as above, one tiny white scoop = 1/64th teaspoon)

Honey to taste

Place in small saucepan and simmer until thickened. Use cool, warm, or hot as topping. 
*(NOTE: Honey and liqueurs may have a sugar-like impact on your system, so vary this recipe according to your needs. If you're currently trying to kick a sugar habit, use stevia-sweetened whipping cream as a topping instead; it whips up just like cream with sugar would.)

You can see the transparent tapioca balls inside.

This creamy variation uses 16 oz. cooked taro root
in place of instant tapioca.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Fried Plantains

You know those weird things that look similar to but aren’t bananas, the plantains you sometimes find at the market? 

If you’ve never tried them, you’re in for a treat. Cooked right, they are delicious!

Secret: Buy them yellow if you must, but don't try to eat them until the peel displays many black areas and it looks like you should throw them away. THEN they're ripe. Don't eat raw! They must be cooked.

Joseph says, “I asked my friend Luis why the plantains in the Mexican market are labeled Macho Plantanos. "‘Because they are harder,’ he said," with the appropriate hand gesture.

Fried Plantains with Hazelnuts
Serves 2

1 ripe plantain (when it’s nearly all blackened)
2 Tablespoons goat butter
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons crushed roasted hazelnuts (optional)

Peel and slice plantain lengthwise into quarters, while heating butter and oil over medium heat in an iron skillet. Add plantains and fry for 8-10 minutes, checking every 3 minutes to turn as they brown. Make sure they don’t get too dark. When soft and browned all over, they’re done. Remove to serving dish and garnish with hazelnuts.

Note: We like to eat this starchy item with breakfast in place of toast, rice, or potatoes. For the breakfast pictured above, Joseph scrambled eggs in the plantain pan, using the same oil and butter mixture, and added baby carrots from our garden. Yum!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Magical Macadamia Nut Cookies

The beautiful thing about these cookies is the fact that they contain no sugar, use only a small amount of natural sweeteners, and have no gluten! Joseph asked me what I wanted for breakfast on a sleepy Easter morning and I mumbled, “Cookies with nuts.” So he invented these to suit all my stringent requirements! YUM!

Magical Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes 40 cookies

1 cup ghee (clarified butter)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Homemade Vanilla or 3/4 teaspoon ground vanilla beans
9 oz. ripe bananas (2 large)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
4 teensy scoops of Trader Joe's 100% pure stevia rebaudiana extract (that's white powdered stevia), or 1/16 teaspoon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
Parchment baking paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut parchment to fit two large cookie sheets. Set aside.

Mash ghee with bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey, maple syrup, and stevia. Use a hand-held mixer to complete the job, and don’t worry if you still have some visible bits and lumps of banana. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing smoothly. Add nuts and blend completely.

Drop by walnut-sized spoonfuls onto the parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes for the first batch; less for the second. (Don’t know why, but the second batch always cooks faster.) You can also chill the dough, roll it out, and cut shapes with a cookie-cutter, or roll it into a log, wrap, chill, and slice. If you used the chilled method, set your timer and check them after 10 minutes.

Makes 40 cookies.