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Thursday
Jul142011

This month, I’m keeping cool

In this month’s column, we talk about heat. And what to do about it. Turning on the oven and stove isn’t so inviting when just standing around makes you sweat, but when hunger strikes, what’s there to do?

It can be tempting to find shelter in the air-conditioned confines of your favorite restaurant, or pull a container of frozen yogurt from the freezer and call it a day. But when nutrition is top priority, as it is around my house, neither of these options fully satisfies. 

Which is why I wanted to create a menu that involves very little cooking, if at all, and can be served no matter what the temperature. Enjoy it inside, eat it by the pool, or even pack it for a picnic if a shady patch of grass is within reach. Minimal work, maximum nutrition.

See here for the article and other recipes. Below, quite possibly the best dessert I’ve made in a while.

Raspberry Oat Squares :: Makes 9

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp. water 3 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed 2 Tbsp. raw or Turbinado sugar 3 cups rolled oats 1/2 cup pecans pinch of sea salt 4 Tbsp. maple syrup 3 Tbsp. olive oil or melted coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375’. Stir water into ground flaxseeds and set aside.
  2. Place raspberries on a cutting board and sprinkle with raw sugar. Gently mash with a fork , leaving some pieces of fruit bigger than others. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup pecans, and sea salt. Pulse until mixture is coarsely ground. Add 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1 Tbsp. oil, and the flaxseed-water mixture. Pulse again to combine, until mixture forms a lightly moist dough. Add more water if necessary.
  4. Press dough evenly into an un-greased 8×8 pan. Pour raspberry mixture evenly over the top. 
  5. In a medium bowl, toss 1 cup rolled oats with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup and 2 Tbsp. oil. Once evenly coated, sprinkle mixture over the raspberries in the baking dish. 
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is toasted and raspberries are bubbling. Allow to cool completely, or else raspberries will not set. Once at room temperature, slice into squares and serve.
Sunday
Jun122011

Apricot + Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Was it Mark Twain who said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco? I’m certainly not the first to assert this, nor will I be the last. City dwellers unite in their general disdain for the months of June and July, holding their breath for the glory of September and October, when the leaves turn golden to match the late-to-emerge sun. 

Boots and puffy vests are standard attire for mid-June. Umbrella? Probably. You may even get away with wearing a scarf at some point. 

 

All of this to say, I made some ice cream a few weeks back to remind me that it was, indeed, summer time. Finals were done, I had a bit of a break between activities, and a warm-weather treat seemed appropriate despite the fact that the weather wasn’t really warm. At all. But it did the trick, and at once I felt the carefree, easy-breezy “summerness” of my childhood returning. So while the rest of you are laying by the pool and basking in the best of the season’s sun, I’ll be up here in the city, eating my ice cream, dreaming of warmer days. 

A bit about this ice cream: I don’t have a fancy-shmancy ice cream maker, but of course I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying a homemade frozen treat. It only means that making ice cream is an all-day activity. The trick is to check on it every two hours, breaking up the ice and whisking the mixture so it stays creamy. Your arms will get a workout, but hey, it only means you can get away with eating more.

Apricot + Coconut Milk Ice Cream :: Makes 1 loaf pan

2 cans full-fat coconut milk 1 Tablespoon coconut oil 3 Tablespoons raw honey 6 apricots, pitted and chopped

– Place a large loaf pan in the freezer to chill while you prepare the mixture – In a blender, puree all ingredients for about 1 minute – Pour into prepared pan and place back into the freezer (optional: first line the pan with parchment paper, so that you can invert the frozen cream to remove it and slice like a semifreddo)  – After 45 minutes, remove mixture from freezer and whisk vigorously to break up any ice that has formed; place back into the freezer – Every 90 to 120 minutes thereafter, remove ice cream from the freezer and whisk to break up the ice and keep it creamy. You may only need to repeat the process twice. – Once it’s completely frozen, allow it to sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before scooping and serving.