Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Made This Gluten-Free Apple Pie With Coconut Milk Whipped Cream Because I Am Awesome

Gluten-Free Apple Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

I probably haven't mentioned yet that the Man of Science and I have a new, excellent roommate. (Our new house has a basement "suite" with its own nice bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette.) Like everyone who realizes how much money they're paying for their new house, we thought it would be prudent to rent out space in our home to someone we know and trust. Which is how we ended up with the incomparable Meghan Dailey as our brand new roommate/hairdresser-on-demand/expert-baby-holder.

GF crust
















Meghan doesn't eat any gluten or dairy, and she's a really "clean" eater in general, so when I wanted to make her a treat this weekend, I started doing a bit of research about gluten-free pie. I didn't want to get into the whole xantham gum zone, so I went with a nut crust. Pecans to be exact. The crust was super-easy to make and stood up very well in the long run.

crust binder

















The pie itself was sweetened only with maple syrup, and so it fit well with Meghan's clean eatin' lifestyle. The Man of Science, Meghan, and I sat down to a nice dinner tonight (with a baby blissfully napping for exactly how long it took us to get through a plate of food) and for the first time in a long time I felt like a Normal Human Adult Person. We take it where we can get it.

Speaking of dinner and babies, a few people have asked me how I manage to still cook dinner every night when caring for an infant. Here's how:

ready to bake
















Milo really likes this sling, and I can get a few good hours of cooking accomplished if I just wear him. It's a bit hard on my body if I do it for too long, but I love the freedom it gives me to get things done with both hands. I was thinking today that when he's a rambunctious toddler I'll probably long for the days when I could just pop him in the sling and do some chores. Or make a pie.

peeling

Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Crust:

21/2 cups whole pecans
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tbsp Earth Balance coconut spread, melted
1 tsp maple syrup

Process the pecans, baking soda, and salt in a food processor until the nuts are very crumbly, then mix in the other ingredients.

Press the crust evenly into a regular sized pie plate or tart pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Filling:

Six apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp agar agar

In a medium bowl, mix the chopped apples with all other ingredients until everything is evenly mixed.

Pour apple filling into crust, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes-1 hour or until apples are tender.

gluten free apple pie














Oh, and maybe you're wondering about that superb looking vegan whipped cream? It's actually the best vegan whipped cream recipe I've ever eaten and it was also the easiest to make. The recipe is from the Oh She Glows blog and you just need to read this post and do everything Angela tells you to. I was doubtful at first but I am now a zealous convert. This stuff is amazing.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

I should end with a piece of useful information or a witty joke, but it's 9:30 PM which means I need to put that baby to bed and get to bed myself so I can be a functioning person tomorrow. You can go enjoy your pie without me.

J.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Leftover Mashed Potatoes, For The Win

potato pancakes and kale

Perhaps, like me, you have someone in your house who really loves mashed potatoes. In my case, the Man of Science will basically eat mashed potatoes until he explodes. So when I make mashed potatoes, I tend to make a lot of them. This means that if the MoS manages to reign in his enthusiastic eating of said potatoes, we end up with leftovers. And what's the best thing to make with those leftovers if it's a Saturday morning and you want to have a big, weekend breakfast? Mashed potato pancakes. They aren't hard to make at all. Here, I'll give you some tips:

First, attempt to distract any small humans who might demand your attention and interrupt your cooking.

distractions

Then mix two parts mashed potatoes with one part flour (I used spelt) and add one flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds plus three tbsp warm water) for every cup of flour. It will look like a pasty, gloppy mess, but press on! If you don't mind getting a little gucky, you can mix this with your bare hands. Otherwise a rubber spatula or wooden spoon will work. You'll end up with a mixture that resembles bread dough, not a pourable batter like conventional pancakes. 

batter

Heat up a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Maybe you have an awesome new stove that you'd like to use? Maybe it has big red knobs and gas burners and is the greatest non-human, non-pet thing you've ever lived with. Ahem. Pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Use a neutral oil, like safflower or canola. 

knobs

Distraction techniques have failed. Put that baby in a sling so you can keep both hands free for cooking. It's just like a womb. He'll fall asleep immediately. Heat your oven to 200 degrees if you aren't going to eat the potato pancakes right away. Also, lay two layers of paper towel or one thick tea towel out on the counter so you can drain some of the oil from the finished pancakes. 

sling

Roll the dough into 2 tbsp balls with your hands (wet them first if you don't want the dough to stick) and flatten them into pancakes. Drop these into the oil and fry for approximately three minutes on each side, until they are golden and crispy. For some reason it helps if you stab a chopstick through the middle of each pancake while it's cooking. I have no idea why, it just makes for a more appealing texture for the whole thing. When they've finished cooking, let them sit on the paper towel for a minute or two to get rid of excess oil. 

potato pancakes

If you want to take additional time to make a (sadly mediocre) hash of kale and tempeh bacon to accompany your pancakes, just spread them out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put them in your 200 degree oven to keep them warm. This should also keep them from getting soggy before you can eat them. Season with salt and pepper before you serve. And if that baby woke you up three times last night, you'll probably want to serve this meal with lots of caffeinated beverages. 

potato pancakes and kale

I used two cups of mashed potatoes and one cup of flour for this, and ended up with a dozen pancakes. You can vary the quantities of the ingredients and also the size of the individual pancakes if you like. Smaller pancakes are bound to end up crispier, which is how I like them. But if you like yours all soft inside, go ahead a make bigger ones. 

Then eat! Then go do something fun with your weekend! It's beautiful weather here, meant to be enjoyed. As all those creepy people on Game of Thrones say, "Winter is coming." 

J.