Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zucchini Cake Waffles

My friend, Gena -- brilliant vegan food blogger, busy post-baccalaureate pre-med student, and all-around awesome person came over this morning. And I decided to treat her to some dessert for breakfast.  Inspired by a pancake recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen, I decided to health up the "zucchinni cake for breakfast concept" a bit by veganizing it and using non-gluten flours. And then I made it a waffle instead, which doesn't make it healthier, but I just happen to prefer waffles.   

As a relative newcomer to gluten-free baking/cooking, I was apprehensive to experiment my way into a recipe.  I've had some extremely dense and horribly bland gluten-free baked goods, and it sometimes feel inordinately complicated to substitute for gluten (the protein in wheat flour that gives baked goods their structure) because you're mixing a bunch of different, unfamiliar flours with a little bit of hope.  But I know that Gena would be a pretty forgiving audience and I could just feed her a kale sald if the waffles turned out horribly, So, I decided to try out Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour because I've heard it's pretty good, and Bob does all the mixing for you.  I'm happy to say that the waffles turned out extremely well.  Sweet and fluffy on the inside, crispy and crunchy on the outside.  Maybe someday I'll get the courage to try something more challenging, like a cookie. 

For her part, Gena brought an amazing avocado, tomato, mango salad as a side.  She also whipped up a cherry sauce and brought some almond milk yogurt for toppings.  

Zucchini Bread Waffles (or Pancakes) 

1 large zucchini, grated
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 T olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup "soured" almond milk (to sour, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the measuring cup, then add almond milk to measure 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener to taste
1 - 11/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1/4-3/8 teaspoon xanthan gum -- according to how much flour you use
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Coconut oil spray for waffle machine or griddle

Heat up waffle machine or griddle.  Mix dry ingredients into large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into smaller bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Spray the griddle or waffle maker. Cook waffles according to the manufacturer instructions or scoop batter onto griddle in 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup sized dollops -- depending on how large you want your pancakes.  

Slather with whatever toppings you fancy and enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pesto Kale Salad

Pesto pasta salad is one of my favorite summer treats. Kale is one of the staples of my diet. On Saturday, my favorite summer treat informed one of my dietary staples, almost entirely by accident. I went to the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's market on Saturday morning, where some of the most awesome summer produce (I.e., peaches, basil, melons, tomatoes) was in full swing.  I also picked up some curly kale.  

Then I proceeded to have a kind of lazy Saturday.

When dinner rolled around, I was tempted to stay with the lazy Saturday theme and order in, but decided to tap into kitchen intuition instead.  I started with a marinated kale salad base, added a nutritional yeast and walnut based pesto, sprinkled on some tomatoes, and a truly fantastic meal of a salad resulted. Take advantage of the in-season basil right now, and make this salad. 

Pesto Kale Salad

1 large bunch of kale
2 T olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
1 handful of walnuts
1 large fistful of fresh basil
Garlic to taste
Heirloom tomatoes, chopped

Rip the kale off the stems into small pieces. Massage kale with olive oil and sea salt. Set aside.  Put remaining ingredients, save the tomatoes, into a mini-food processor and process until pesto-like.  Put the sauce, which might have the texture of a nut pate depending on how many walnuts you use, on top of the kale salad along with the chopped tomatoes. Try to savor instead of inhale.

(Oh, and the brown liquid isn't scotch whiskey. It's home brewed kombucha, which I will post about later, I promise!)