Gluten-free, Vegan Oat Bread

I find that eating a lot of wheat makes me completely inflamed (I look like the Michelin tire man after a few days) and, after several days of consumption, I’m dead tired every time I eat it. I’m not gonna lie. I love bread. I love pasta. I love pastries; namely chocolate croissants! And the truth is, no matter how much better the quality gets as the years pass, none of these culinary staples will ever taste as good in the gluten-free version. BUT! They can taste delicious in their own right. It’s like Dominos. It’s NOT pizza. But it really serves its purpose when you’re in your 20s, in a loft in TriBeCA, stoned off your ass and suffering from the munchies. Anyway, you get me.

So back to the bread. OhEmGEEEEEE! It is really good. I mean, REALLY good. The key is the coconut milk and, believe it or not, the apple cider vinegar. The ACV helps with the rising of the dough.

The beauty of gluten-free breads is there really is no need to knead. Your dough should be somewhat wet. Thicker than muffin batter but wetter than cookie dough. You’ll be amazed at how simple this is. Go for it!

Dry Ingredients

2c Gluten-free Oat Flour
3/4c White Rice Flour
1/2c Tapioca Starch
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
Some rolled oats to sprinkle on top (optional)

Wet Ingredients

2c Coconut Milk (heated to lukewarm)
1/2c Warm Water
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Place yeast, maple syrup, and warm water in small bowl and let sit for a few minutes.

Mix together all other dry ingredients. Make sure your flours are room temperature if you keep them in the refrigerator (which you should do with flours if you don’t use them often).

Add the coconut milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated.

Grease a standard loaf pan or 8 x 8 baking dish and add a sheet of parchment across the bottom and up the sides on only two sides. Fold the edges over the sides of the pan. This will help lift the loaf right out of the pan when out of the oven. Pour your batter into the pan. Use a wet spatula to spread the batter without it sticking. Cover and let rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. I usually heat my oven for a few minutes on the lowest heat and place the covered dish in the warm oven. Don’t let it get too hot otherwise you’ll ruin your bread. You should be able to comfortably touch the racks. Make sure the dough doesn’t rise beyond the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with oats, if you desire, and gently press them down into the dough.

Heat oven to 350º and place a dish of hot water in the bottom rock.

Place your pan on the middle rack and bake for 45 - 50 minutes. The bread is ready when you can smell it wafting through your kitchen and the top is nice and browned.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Lift your bread by the parchment and place on a cooling rack. Smother it with whatever you fancy; savory or sweet. Ahhhhhh! You are most welcome!

Ridiculously Delicious Vegan Chocolate Pots de Creme

I posted a picture of these desserts on my IG page and several people asked for the recipe. I didn't take a lot of pics when making it because I wasn't planning on blogging about it. Here's the quick version!

Ingredients - all are organic and vegan

Chocolate Pots de Creme

1 c raw cashews, soaked for a minimum of 6 hours and rinsed
2/3 c almond milk (recipe here)
2 tbsp or more agave nectar (or maple syrup if you like the flavor it imparts)
1/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips (make sure there is no dairy in the ingredients)
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream

1 can coconut milk (Buy a brand that doesn't have any gums added. Thrive Market has a great one.) Refrigerate the can for several hours before using.
2 or more tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup if you like the flavor it imparts)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Pots de Creme
After soaking the cashews for at least 6 hours, rinse and place them in a high powered blender (My Vitamix is used daily in my kitchen. A big initial expense but I've had it for many years.) Add the almond milk, agave to your taste (I prefer the bitterness of the chocolate so I don't add too much), cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Whiz it up on high speed until it comes to a thick cream. You may need to use the tamper to have it blend evenly. If it is too thick and not blending, add more almond milk, but only a small amount at a time. 

Melt the coconut oil on a low flame and add the chocolate chips when completely melted. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk until the mixture forms a ganache. Remove the lid plug (or a flip lid, depending on what blender you're using) and turn the blender on a medium speed. Slowly pour the ganache into the mixture until it is fully incorporated. 

Scoop the mixture into bowls, ramekins or fancy classes, cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

For the Whipped Cream

Open the coconut milk can and scoop out about 1/2 of the cream that has separate and hardened on top. (If, for some reason, it is not solid, pour the cream in a bowl and place back into the refrigerated until it hardens and separates.) Add the agave and vanilla and whisk all ingredients together. If necessary, add more agave to desired sweetness. Save the rest of the coconut milk for another recipe (like Thai peanut sauce!)

Serve your Pots de Creme with a dollop (or more!) of the whipped cream and dust lightly with cocoa powder. This is a dessert that will no doubt impress your guests! Enjoy! 

Vegan Chocolate Pots de Creme

Vegan Chocolate Pots de Creme with Coconut Whipped Cream

Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Hash

It is the first day of the July Challenge, so I headed to the market and went crazy gluten-free, veggie shopping. I must admit that it was quite fun having to look at labels and question what I was ingesting. Those who know me are used to my peculiar interpretation of fun. Though I have been a vegetarian for 28 years, vegan on and off throughout that time and gluten-free on many occasions, I had forgotten how much garbage is in packaged food, even when it says "organic", "non-GMO" or "gluten-free". I remember being at the salad bar at Whole Foods in Venice years ago and overhearing two women conversing about the ingredients in one of the pre-made items. "For crying out loud, this is WHOLE FOODS! Nothing should have corn syrup in it!" Alas, even at the sacred WF, there is that pesky ingredient that you never thought would have been used in what you believe is whole food. Read labels. You'll be surprised what they're putting in your next meal. Anyway, I digress. Here's a recipe for you that's easy to make and you can be certain doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup; a savory dish, just mildly sweetened naturally by the ingredients. 

I hope you enjoy this simple, hearty meal. For those of you eating fish and meat, have this be your side dish. Dairy eaters can add a cheese of your choice. Everyone else, enjoy it as is. 

1 small butternut squash diced into 1/2" cubes (approximately 2 cups)
1 medium sized sweet potato diced into 1/2" cubes (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves of garlic (use a press, otherwise chop finely)
4 large sage leaves (chiffonade)
2 small shallots (cut in half and sliced thinly)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400º.

In a large baking dish, combine squash, potatoes, garlic, sage and salt and pepper. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil over the mix and toss all ingredients, completely coating with oil. Place pan in center rack of the oven and bake for 30 mins, tossing again halfway through. After 30 mins, increase the heat to 450º and bake for another 5 minutes or until the tops start to brown. 

While your dish is baking, place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add the shallots and sauté on medium heat until they begin to brown. Turn heat to low and let cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove your dish from the oven when browned to your liking and stir in the shallots. Add another dash of salt, allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve. Enjoy!