Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I wanted a flavorful, rich, classic pumpkin pie, nothing too custardy; this is what I came up with. I was pleased, and I hope you will be too! This is a wholesome, natural holiday classic, done gluten- and sugar-free, chock-full of healthy fats and easy on the blood sugar. (Pictures will be added whenever I make this next-- or if you make it, I'll be glad to post one of your pictures here!)

Classic Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 12 drops stevia extract, to taste
  • 1/4 c. erythritol, powdered
  • 1 c. almond flour (or very fine meal)
  • 3 T. coconut flour
  • 1/8 t. xanthan or guar gum
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
In a 9" glass pie pan, combine oil and butter; melt. Add stevia. Combine dry ingredients seperately in a small bowl, then dump them into the pie dish, mix well, and press into bottom and sides evenly. Bake at 350F for 11-14min. or until set and very lightly browned. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 c. cooked, pureed pumpkin (approx. 15oz. can)
  • 1.5 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. cloves
  • 1/8 t. cardamom
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. molasses
  • 1/4 t. stevia extract (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. erythritol
  • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 t. xanthan gum
Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or etc, together with xanthan gum. I've found this helps keep the gum from clumping up.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sweeteners, and spices. Add pumpkin, cream, and cheese. Combine thoroughly, but try not to incorporate too much air. Pour into cooled crust, and bake at 350F for 40-60min. or until set in the center.

Input, please! :)

Well, here we are, heading into spring, and oh, have I ever been naughty about posting. I'm working on streamlining my posting technique, but right now, its taking me almost two hours to put up a recipe, and that's AFTER I've photographed it/made it, and I just have not been making the time for it successfully. Anyhow, here are the updates:

Both the pumpkin pie (which turned out yummy!) and the spice cake (which was liked, but not exactly what I wanted) that I promised back in November were swiftly devoured before I could snap any pictures of them. However, I have since remade the cake (with appropriate tweaks, only sans fancy layers, ready for your personal favorite fillings, etc), photographed it (though humbly) and will shortly be posting it as Spanish Almond Torte.

However, I haven't really been in the mood for Classic Pumpkin Pie again since the holidays are over, so... Either I can post the recipe without pictures, and perhaps one of you can submit pics of your own implementations (which I would LOVE to see!!!), or I can wait to post it till I make it again-- which, knowing myself, I assume won't be until the weather goes Autumn-ish again. Leave me your comments, let me know what you think! (Update: I posted it, sans pictures. I'm sure I'll make it again next fall!)

The Tom Khar Kai I posted today, and I have pictures languishing on my hard drive for the Eggplant Lasagna (which we've been making far too often, and ought to be ashamed of our gluttonous ways).

I've been toying with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting recently, which had all the body and flavor that I was hoping for; yet, due to the erythritol, had an unpleasant grittiness and a harsh aftertaste that I'm not happy with yet, so no progress on that front. If I can manage it, I'll be a happy camper. (Update: As of May '09, still not happy with my experiments. Still trying!)

Also, I have been baking with carob, and have hatched a glorious, darkest-chocolate cake. Details to follow. (Update: made this bad boy for Easter Sunday. Took pictures. Oh man.)

In parting, Easter is nearing again, and that means lemon bars. If anyone has any recipes I can get started with, I'd be greatly obliged to them! :D (Update: Made Lemon Curd Tart instead!)

Hope you're having a beautiful week!

Tom Khar Kai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

When you're sick with winter sniffles, chicken soup might be the most comforting of foods. But sometimes, when I'm really clogged up and sore of throat, old-fashioned grandmotherly chicken soup just doesn't register with my dulled senses. That's when I pull out the big guns-- punchy lime, spicy fresh garlic, tangy-hot fresh ginger, and red curry paste that packs a sinus-clearing wallop.

That's right-- Thai. Its good for what ails you! Garlic, citrus, ginger, onion-- all chock full of antioxidants, and supportive to an immune system under duress. But don't wait for the flu to make this wonderful soup-- its awesome any time of year, and although there are a few ingredients that might send you hunting the aisles, once you have them on hand, its easy to throw together. We make this soup at least once a month, and more during the snuffly-sniffly days of late winter and early spring.

This is one recipe where I'm going to exhort you not to swap out dried ingredients for the fresh ones specified, and BEG you not to skip the garnishes. This soup is not complicated, but it is a sum of vital parts, and if you leave anything out, it suffers. Have someone keep you company while you chop and mince; stick a bunch of cilantro in their hands and enjoy a quiet chat while the luscious smells mingle together and waft up from your knife and cutting board to tantalize you. Breathe deeply. This is food the way it was meant to be.

Tom Khar Kai
Serves 6
Garnish: 2 limes, cut into wedges; 1/2 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and plucked.
  • 1/4 c. minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. minced ginger (I throw these both into my mini food processor together.)
  • 2 T. red curry paste (Adjust to taste-- this amount would be mild by my estimation.)
  • 1 lg. sweet onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/4 c. of coconut oil (or vegetable or peanut oil)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 - 2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced (Traditionally straw mushrooms, but I've used many types and been pleased! Cremini or white are my favorites, and more readily available than straw.)
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, cut diagonally into 1" chunks (I cheated and used lemongrass paste here-- not the best option, but fresh was out of stock.)
  • 1/4 c. chicken soup stock base (I use paste-type bouillion)
  • 2 - 14 oz. cans of coconut milk (plus 7 c. water, or 4 - 14 oz. cans' worth)
  • 1 t. sea salt, to taste
  • 2 T. fish sauce (nam pla), to taste
Prepare and set aside all ingredients (except garnish, which can be prepared during the simmer stage). Like all Thai curries, this goes together in a rush, so have everything ready and waiting at hand. I can't overemphasize this step.

Heat coconut oil in large, heavy bottomed pot over as high heat as you are comfortable with. I work over pretty high heat, but the first time you may want to start lower, until you get a feel for this process.

When oil is hot, add curry paste; smush with a rubber spatula, stir-frying till bubbly and spread into a thin layer.

Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry, keeping it moving constantly, scraping the pan, till amalgamated and garlic is softening slightly.

Add onions, stir well to coat; then stir in stock paste. Continue stirring and scraping till onions are starting to soften and become translucent.

Add chicken, and salt; stir-fry. If pan is sticking, go ahead and add coconut milk at this point. Otherwise, wait till the chicken is white on the outside, then add coconut milk, lemongrass, and 4 cans of water.

Bring this to a boil; then add mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer about 10 minutes, or till chicken is fully cooked in the center and mushrooms are softened slightly. Add fish sauce, adjust to taste.

I usually add 1/4 c. or more fresh lime juice after I take the soup off the heat, but I'll leave that up to you; certain times of year, limes are more readily available and less expensive than others!)Either way, garnish with lots of cilantro and fresh lime wedges for squeezing.

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