I wrote this recipe up for Basmati.com but it belongs here as well. Their site is full of good recipes, Ayurvedic advice, and inspiration for a cleaner, greener new year. Check it out! Here’s to January with its emphasis on self improvement, newness, and hope for a better future!
Is there anything better than Italian food? I mean think about it, how many other places in the world could you see Roman ruins, the beautiful relics of greats like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, the legendary canals of Venice and the Tuscan hills lined with vineyards and yet when people return from there all they can talk about is the food. How many times have you had this conversation: “How was your Italy trip?” “The food was amazing!” I know I’ve heard it countless times and I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying that there is something intrinsically right about how that country puts ingredients together…simply, efficiently, magically. It’s no wonder the Slow Food movement started there, or that pizza was invented there, or any number of spectacular combinations were first tried in that rich and fertile country by the sea. One combination that I can’t get enough of is pesto. I know people get all herbal-ly with nettle pesto or vegetable-y with parsley pesto but I personally like to stick to the basil kind. I add it to salads, sandwiches, pizza and a recent favorite, farinata. I always have to look up proportions though when making it, so I was thoroughly pleased to find this handy infographic by Delicious Living. I hope it makes your life a bit more bella too.
My friend gave me a zucchini the size of large 2 month old baby so I figured I’d switch my plan of making pumpkin scones to zucchini muffins. After looking for a recipe online that I could play with I realized there wasn’t much out there that had all our needs covered~ gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free, so the “playing’ part was pretty extensive. Anyone who believes that old adage “Baking is a science, cooking is an art” obviously never baked with food intolerances in mind. I can’t say it’s a perfect recipe as it was indeed my first go at it, but they didn’t crumble (and no xanthan gum!) and they taste pretty good. Plus we used that freaky zucchini so now my sons no longer have a prop pretending to be cave-men. It really did look like a primitive weapon. Here’s the recipe:
2 T flax meal + 5 T water (set aside at least 10 minutes)
2 C grated Zucchini
1/2 C apple sauce
1/4 C sunflower oil
1 t vanilla extract
1 C brown rice flour
3/4 C oat flour (make sure it’s gluten-free)
1/2 C millet flour
1/4 C tapioca flour
3/4 C brown sugar
2 t cinnamon (or more~ actually will do more next time, but it’s personal taste)
1 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. Prep muffin pan with oil, spray oil, or liners. Add the grated zucchini, apple sauce, oil, vanilla extract, and flax that has soaked in water all together and mix well. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together before blending the wet and dry together~ easily done with a spoon, no need to get your mixer dirty. Fill the muffin pan~ 12 regular sized muffins. Cook for 23-25 minutes.
These were good out of the pan but I did think a little more cinnamon would have made them better so I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top. I’m sure my boys won’t mind the extra sweetness although they’ll probably miss running through the kitchen yelling “Aaarrrgh” with the zucchini.
I made these to go with some chili but they were all eaten before the chili was even ready. Now I know to make a double batch, and intend to do so later today. For now I thought I’d share the recipe which is an adaptation of Annalise Roberts’ recipe in her book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics. I changed a few things to make it vegan, and changed the flours slightly, and also eliminated the xanthan gum because I always try to eliminate the gums that gluten-free recipes call for, and most of the time I find they perform well without them. Xanthan gum and guar gum are often added to gluten-free recipes without thought, but they are one of those food-like items (not a real actual food) that I try to avoid in my own baking. Some people react to the gums adversely, and although neither my boys nor I seem to have immediate reactions to them, why eat them if they are not needed…? Xanthan gum sounds like an opening band for Metallica, not something that I want to ingest on a regular basis. So, here’s the recipe:
1/4 cup oil (canola, sunflower, whatever is in your cabinet)
3/4 cup coconut milk or other milk alternative (or you can use regular old cow’s milk if you are from hearty Northern European stock and can digest the stuff)
1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 Tablespoons of warm water (mix these together in a separate bowl and let them sit a moment)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the ingredients until just mixed, no need to overdo it. Pour into muffin pans that have been sprayed with oil, or oiled in the old-fashioned way because if you happen to be avoiding soy you shouldn’t be spraying your oils. (There seems to be soy lecithin in every oil spray I can find which doesn’t really surprise me.) I used small muffin pans in the shape of owls and they held together excellently, but I imagine if you try to make big muffins they might be crumbly, so keep them on the smaller side. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The above recipe made 12 small muffins and 3 happy bellies.