Gluten-Free Asparagus + Goat Cheese Tart

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Sometimes the hardest part of the market is talking about food all day………

This is true. Five in the morning is too early to eat for me. By noon, when the market ends, however, I cannot seem to get food fast enough. The struggle is real to be surrounded by food. All morning I’ll eye people carrying a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to that, that my neighbor has gorgeous asparagus. And you know it’s good because he sells out by 10:30 every weekend.

All morning my brain races with dishes I want to make. I am constantly conceptualizing. And talking with people who stop by my booth, typically leads to more food conversations (I am a baker, this should be expected). I am talking and creating at the same time. My excitement for a new recipe grows as the day goes.

When I was brainstorming Easter recipes I had thought asparagus tart.

And every Saturday as I sit next to my neighbor I think: asparagus tart.

Finally we bought some asparagus. And finally I have made a tart.

There are some vegetables, which are so good, I could eat them all the time. One woman claimed that by the end of asparagus season, she is over asparagus. Blasphemous.

I could eat asparagus every day.

I could eat cabbage every day. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Asparagus + Goat Cheese Tart”

Adventures in Kombucha

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Sometimes I think it is essential to look the part, to play the part. No?

My rad friends got me this, “But First Kombucha” shirt for Christmas. They’re awesome and totally get me.

So when I wanted to learn the ropes of kombucha, I had to wear the shirt.

This post is about human connection and community as much as it is about kombucha.

I remember when I first met my friend Kate at the market. She had on this cool hat, awesome socks, she was pretty much cool. I could tell right away she was like an earthy soul sister and all around good person. I came to her booth and we went to compliment each other at the same time (me on her general look, and her about my baby pink hair). She was there selling cheese for a farmer, but some how we got talking about kombucha. This was a while ago. Fast forward to me joining the market and Kate carrying kombucha at the market. It was sooooo good. Cherry was favorite because that’s my favorite food. But the market let me not only interact with Kate on a regular basis, but I got to try loads of different flavors. There was strawberry mint and one with turmeric and so many more, I can’t think of all the kinds I’ve tried over the years.

I’ll note that this was before kombucha was easy to find at the store.

But Kate stopped doing the market at the end of the summer………………..

And I moved to Champaign……………………

I didn’t want to pay a small fortune for a bottle of kombucha at the store. Plus I am very much one of those self-sufficient types and I have wanted (even before my first encounter with Kate) to make kombucha.

I was intimidated to make it, though, because reading on the internet makes it scary, I feel, and there can be a lot of horror stories.

And I always had Kate, but then I was on my own, and the time was right to learn for myself. Because why not learn from someone who’s been doing it for a long time, with no troubles? So I messaged Kate and scheduled something. I also invited my girl Crystal from church, because we talked about kombucha, farming and more the first time we met. I knew she would love it.

So we set off with our glass jars, ready to learn and see for ourselves.

I cannot even put into words our little adventures. It is more than kombucha. There is a reason I love farmer’s markets. Why I’ve visited farms in the past. Why it’s an integral part of the future I see myself in.

Kate and Jason live on a little slice of heaven. We pull up and they have grass-fed dairy cows chilling in their front yard. You can see all of Jason’s hives in the back yard. Further away their are chickens. And in the woods are hundreds of logs ready to grow mushroom. We drove for miles surrounded by traditional corn and wheat fields to this oasis of life. There are gardens. There are trees. It’s quiet and peaceful and perfect.

Besides this, however, are the people. I love markets because of the connection factor. Not just making a connection to my food (okay this is the person growing, baking, making, etc. my food), but the person behind it. That is something in this society. In a society, where frankly I think we are distracted and numb to our own lives, I think this matters. In a time of technology, where you see sad photos of us stooped over our phones. Of a family or friends sitting in the same room, utterly engrossed in another reality.

So true human connection matters to me. It should matter to us all. Having conversations, real ones with eye contact, interaction, listening, engagement, is beautiful. I get a high leaving the markets in the summer after meeting and interacting with new people all morning. Continue reading “Adventures in Kombucha”

Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana

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Lesson yesterday: don’t make assumptions or let anticipation hold you back.

My lesson of course comes from food, it’s part of my self-expression.

I’ve told myself for a long time I don’t like meringue. And although I was excited to make these pavlovas today, it was not because I wanted to eat one but because I thought they were beautiful.

My anticipation was that I wasn’t going to like them. How often do we do this? Judge something/someone/an experience before we try it? I can think of countless instances in my life where I’ve done this, where I have held off on something because of my anticaption of how something was going to taste or feel or how a conversation may go. It is very often self inflicted and limiting.

Because these were delicious and my anticipating thoughts would have denied me of trying and enjoying this. Just as anticipating thoughts can hold us back from our dreams and potential. Or we deny ourselves friendships and connections because we are quick to judge or have a pre-conceived notion of how someone might be.

Sometimes we just have to stop anticipating and step fully into and embrace what is happening.

What made these so good?

I think the texture, I can’t even fully describe it, plus the flavor of the maple sugar, it all was just amazing.

IMAG4118Have fun. Play around. Try out different flavor profiles. Like:

Lemon Curd + Fresh Blueberries

Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Cherries + Toasted Almond Slivers

Caramel Apple

Lavender Blackberry

Get Creative!

Paleo Pavlovas

Pavlovas

  • 5 oz. egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping: 

  • Mango Curd (click the link for recipe) +
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (bake @ 350 for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Honey Fried Bananas (cook in a skillet, drizzle with honey, brown) +
  • Paleo Caramel

IMAG4114Let’s Make it happen: 

Separate eggs while cold, then allow them to hang out until they reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites on high. Once peaks start to form, slowly add in the maple sugar, a little at a time. Keep beating until it is glossy and the meringue doesn’t feel gritty to the touch. Add the vanilla and tapioca flour. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.

Lay a piece of parchment down on a baking sheet. I used an angled spatula to make four different meringues. I smoothed each into a circle. Then put another layer on top and smooth it out, as well as building it up on the sides to make a well in the center (so the topping could fit in). I repeated this with all four.

Place in the oven and bake at 225 for an hour and a half. Turn the oven off. Leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool down.

While they were baking I made the whip. Simply remove the solids from the coconut milk and beat with vanilla and honey.

Make the mango curd. Toast some coconut.

Fry up the bananas. Make caramel.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Dollop whip cream into the center of each. On two of them, smear mango curd and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. On the remaining two, drizzle caramel, layer on bananas, drizzle a little more caramel.

Just like that you’re ready! Eat and enjoy! Have fun

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Continue reading “Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana”

Gluten-Free Mango Curd Tart

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I have been loving some fruit curd lately!

If you’ll recall, last week I featured a Gluten-Free Grapefruit Meringue Pie.

That same day I also made a Mango Curd Tart.

Lately I have also been loving some mango and I am always down for some tropical flavor profiles. So I but some big, beautiful coconut flakes on the top.

Delicious!

It’s amazing how my husband and I work, though. I instantly gravitated towards the mango, whereas he claimed the grapefruit. Just like today I made pavlovas. Again I leaned into the mango and he Claimed the banana caramel for himself.

I think I like the refreshing quality the mango curd provides.

What is nice about this recipe, is that you may choose to break it up. You may want to top it differently. Add coconut into your pie crust dough.

OR

You can just use the mango curd in different things.

Fill a cupcake with it…………

Smear it on a bagel…………………

Put it on your pancakes ………………..

Use it on a fruit pizza……………………….

Put it on a pavlova (more on this later this week)……………

Use it to top your ice cream (I am thinking a Blueberry Goat Cheese- something I’ve conceptualized, which I will eventually make)…………………………………………

Get creative. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Mango Curd Tart”

Gluten-Free Grapefruit Tarts

IMAG4034.jpgGrowing up one of my favorite things to have for breakfast was grapefruit.

My mother would cut one in half. Sprinkle some sugar on each half. cut around the outside and each individual wedge, and microwave or broil each half. One half for Cliff. One for me. And the wedges just popped out.

I have seen several grapefruit tarts, which have been stunning and beautiful. It’s been on my Must Make list for probably about a year now.

Today I had some extra pie crust, plus I already already bought a grapefruit, so I determined that this would be the week I tried it. If I like it, maybe I can take it to the market as part of my POW (Pie of the Week).

Here is the good and the bad of how they turned out:

  • They grapefruit curd was absolutely delicious. Like most other curds (such as lemon and lime), I could sit and sneak little bites maybe all day.
  • Meringue on top? Why not! It’s citrus, just like lemon, why not use some meringue to dress it up
  • Color, this is my only negative. The color was not what I was wanting. This could be 1. Because I used honey and that added to the darker color 2. Many of the recipes I saw used red dye to add to the rubiness of their tarts, but I’m not about that artificial coloring life, so the natural had to do

IMAG4030Gluten-Free Grapefruit Mini Pie Continue reading “Gluten-Free Grapefruit Tarts”

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice

IMAG3936.jpgI love coconut.

I think I have started each post this week with a food that I love (or have loved previously, as with potatoes). But I really do love coconut, which I have found in my years of baking, is a hit or miss. Often people love it or they hate it.

But I do a pretty good job of using different coconut products with turning people off. Because I bake with a lot of different coconut products: coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut cream, and shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut. Usually the flaked and shredded are the ones I get the most feedback for, although I do with coconut flour sometimes. But I’ll confess I like the nutritional value of coconut flour more than almond flour, but it is tricky to work with. It can get chalky or dense. I have found it lends itself well towards cakes.

This last year I have done a decent amount of coating chicken in different flavors. I’ve made chicken tenders. Parmesan chicken. And my personal favorite, buffalo chicken strips.

So why not make a coconut chicken?

What pairs better with coconut than lime?

I’ve been wanting to play with making some jicama rice for awhile now. Why not now? Why not add some lime zest and juice? Maybe a little cilantro…..

Granted I ate this one solo, my husband is a trooper in my recipe experiments (I can’t tell you all the ways I am blessed to have such a man by my side), but there are certain things he doesn’t like. Coconut is one, he’s not a big fan. So I can respect that. Buffalo for him, coconut for me.

This was AWESOME. I loved the flavor combination. The crispiness of the coconut. It was pretty easy to make. And it was filling.

I will definitely be playing with this jicama rice more in the future as well! Continue reading “Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice”

Gluten-Free Kale Wraps

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I know was a real big thing for a while. And I do believe eating a variety of greens is important. I think I tried making my first batch of kale chips some 8 + years ago.

Truth: I wasn’t sold.

I am a cabbage girl. I could eat it everyday. And cabbage chips are my favorite vegetable chip (click the link for the recipe). So kale could never hold a candle to my beloved cabbage (which I could/can eat everyday).

I tried sauteing the kale. Nope. Worse there, the chips at least had a nice crunch.

So kale blew-up with catchy kale shirts popping up and a plethora of jokes made their round. It gotten trendy and I was really over it then.

But the hype has died down. And I have had enough time. Enough time to give kale another chance.

My favorite quicky recipe are lettuce wraps. When I’m having a lazy day or I’ve done a ton of baking, I frankly don’t want to spend a bunch of time prepping food or cutting vegetables (although there are many days when I love this). So lettuce wraps are light, refreshing and easy to slap together.

I feel bad sometimes, however, for my dear husband who doesn’t really complain, but who does enjoy a tortilla wrap for lunch.

In the past I’ve made spinach wraps (again click the link for the recipe). They were really freaking good. So I resolved to switch things up this time around. Kale. Now was the time, that I was ready to give kale a third trial.

The verdict?

SOOOOOOO delicious! Make a batch, freeze some for future lazy days.

Explore filling it with different options. I did lettuce and bacon here (no BLT’s for me, I do not do raw tomatoes, it’s a texture thing).

However you could do: chicken salad (or egg or tuna). You could maybe make some spin on fajitas. Pulled pork. Kale inside kale with sweet potatoes and pork strips.

You have options when it comes to wraps. Loads of options that are customizable to your own taste. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Kale Wraps”