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Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from November 1, 2009 - November 30, 2009


New Cookbook: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook


Thanks to the amazing generosity of Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition , I am now the proud owner of their The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.  They just published the second edition, and I received my copy from Ali in the mail today.  I am thrilled!  Everything is gluten free, and most recipes are also dairy free and egg free.  Normally I have to do a complete and total makeover on at least half the ingredients in each recipe in a cookbook - not this one!   With the exception of a handful of recipes that call for yeast, tofu/tempeh, or use one of my many many allergens as a base ingredient, nearly every recipe is fair game (a very rare thing).  Just a few small tweaks and substitutions here and there, and I'll be good to go. What a blessing!


Actually, reading through the recipes, I felt like I was reading through my own kitchen - so many recipes in the cookbook are similar to things I already make at home, have been tweaking and perfecting, or have been aspiring to try.  Great minds think alike, I guess!  I can't wait to try out these recipes, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.  Like usual, I immediately found the dessert and bread sections to see what delightful options were in store for me....

Jackpot!  I found Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with variations, Coconut Cashew Cookies,  Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins, Peachy Millet Flour Muffins, Lemon Teascake, and Quinoa Zucchini Bread, among many other tasty looking tarts and puddings and breads.  Oh, and the rest of the cookbook is chock full of amazing vegetable, legume, whole grain, and seafood and meat recipes.  Minty Green Smoothie, Split Pea Soup with Fresh  Vegetables and Herbs, Lentil and Rice Salad with Lemon and Olives, Cuban Black Bean and Yam Stew, Chicken Nuggets, Thai  Chicken Curry, the list goes on and on...

In addition to all those tasty recipes, they have tons of information about pantry items, how to transition to eating a whole foods diet, cooking techniques, the basics of legume and grain preparation, plans for a 28-day elimination and detox diet, and suggestions for feeding your baby a whole foods diet.  Awesome!

I'm hoping to start trying out some of these recipes this week, and expect a full review in the near future. Don't want to wait for my review?  Just go ahead and order the book - I think you'll be happy you did.  For anyone interested in a whole foods diet, it is a great resource and full of awesome information and inspiration.  All recipes are free gluten and most major allergens, and while cane sugar is used in some desserts, suggestions are given on how to substitute for other sweeteners.  Most recipes are vegan.  And since all the ingredients rely on whole foods, swapping out one thing for another looks like it will be very easy to do.  If you've ever visited the Whole Life Nutrition blog and tried their recipes,  you'll know you'll be in for something good.  And after all, Christmas and Hannukah are coming up; what better gift is there than the gift of health and nutrition?  You can order it through their website or through Amazon .

Hmn, so what to make first?  Some soup, some muffins, and maybe a batch of cookies this weekend.  I can't let go of the thought of chewy cookies...they are absolutely haunting my mind.

Stay tuned for my review, and in the meantime, happy cooking!



Allergy-Friendly Arame Salsa (tomato free, vinegar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan, ACD option)


Let's say you buy a new car.  A red car. And suddenly, all you ever see around town are red cars.  There are red cars on every street, in every parking lot.  You realize your neighbor has a red car.  That annoying co-worker has a red car.  The new guy you're dating has a red car (yours is better, but that's okay). Every other car you pass on the highway?  You guessed it.  RED.  Yes, now that you have a red car, suddenly the world is full of them - did they sprout up over night?  Where did all these red cars come from?

Contrary to what it seems, all those red cars have always been there, you're just noticing them now.  Instead of being just another car on the road, the red car now plays an integral role in your life.  You have become aware of the red car.  And once you are aware of anything, once something is on your radar, it changes how you view the world around you.

What do red cars have to do with food?  Well, nothing really.  But The Red Car Phenomenon - the fact that when you are aware of something, you just notice it more - applies to everything.  I've especially noticed it in the realm of cookery.  Now that I am rather well-versed in the world of whole foods, I can look through many of the books I've gathered along the way and suddenly see more recipes.  Why?  Put simply, I just know more about food these days.   Instead of glazing over a recipe because I am not familiar with the ingredients, I am drawn in, tempted by new combinations of familiar foods that are now on my radar.   There's no more "What's agar agar?" or "Where can I find that?" or "How do you say quinoa?".    Instead, those perplexed questions are replaced with a confident curiosity.  Inspiration replaces desperation.  And suddenly, you start getting a whole lot more out of those cookbooks.   It's like going to an art museum after taking your first art history survey class - suddenly, those paintings speak to you in a whole different way.

Yes, the more you know about food and preparation techniques, the more fun cooking becomes.  You can sink into the sensual rhythm of cooking, relishing in the rich colors and textures, the aromas, the subtlety of flavor.  It becomes fun.   It becomes addictive.  It can start to creep into your mind at all hours of the day, consuming your thoughts as you envision the wide palette of ingredients and possibilities.  Cooking is like a drug, and cookbooks are full of temptation.

Because of this, I have started finding much more excitement in all those cookbooks I have sitting in my bookshelf.  I will look through cookbooks I've had for years and find "new" recipes I've never even noticed.  Sometimes, I'll find even find recipes for foods that I've been trying to create recipes for (like when I found the perfect recipe inspiration for my epic gluten free, soy free, vegan pumpkin pie) or find recipes nearly identical to things I've already created.  Recipes using millet and amaranth and celery root and seaweeds are leaping off the page, surprising me at their presence.  "Why wasn't I making this sooner?!" I ask myself sometimes.  "I've been living with these recipes for YEARS and wasn't making them?! What the hell?"   Just goes to show that there is knowledge everywhere, if you know where to look and have your eyes open to what you find.

Anyway, rewind to last night, the end to a totally shitty day that tested my patience and faith in the Universe.  I wanted to do was disappear.  So, I put on some vintage Bollywood music, brewed a hot cup of Dandy Blend, and cozied up on the couch with a stack of cookbooks looking for inspiration for my Christmas menu.  As I was paging through The Voluptuous Vegan, I stumbled across a recipe I had never noticed before: Arame Salsa.  I was stunned - I've had this book for years and years, and I'd never noticed it.  Why?  Probably because arame  didn't enter my sphere of knowledge until about a year ago.  Yes, this was a case of The Red Car Phenomenon.  Anyway, after reading over the recipe, my mind had totally left Christmas menu research task.  I was now fully consumed in brainstorming what to eat with this radically delicious sounding - and totally tomato-free - salsa.

If your aren't familiar with arame, here's a little primer.   Arame is a sea vegetable a.k.a. seaweed that is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine.  It is sold dried in packages at Asian markets and natural food stores, and looks like long, thin black brittle threads.  Arame is especially high in calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A, as well as being a good dietary source forc many other minerals.  Like all seaweeds, arame is a good source of fiber and has naturally anti-microbial properties, as well as potentially curative properties for  inflammatory conditions, worms and parasites, and maybe even tumors.  Since arame has a mild flavor, it is a good introductory seaweed for sea vegetable newbies, and it can be prepared in a variety of ways, wonderful steamed, sauteed, added to soup, eaten in salads, or added to lacto-fermented vegetable mixtures.


I conveniently had all the necessary ingredients in my fridge and pantry, and decided to try it out tonight.  So, I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, put it all together, and tasted it. Holy smokes, was it good!  Tomato free salsa victory!  The arame is cooked in apple juice/cider, giving it an addictively sweet flavor that is delightful, especially when mixed with onion, scallion, and garlic. I spooned it into a hallowed out, cooked Delicata squash; it was totally delicious.

Still hungry after my salsa-stuffed squash, I started eating more salsa with a spoon right out of the bowl.  Seriously - awesome.  I can't wait to eat the leftovers; it would be great served over cooked grains, scooped inside a sweet potato, eaten with chips/crackers/flatbreads, or scooped up with crispy endive leaves or celery sticks.   I think that arame could be substituted with hijiki, another sea vegetable, if desired.  This recipe will find its way through my kitchen more on a regular basis from now on, and I am totally making it for the next party I have.  And not only is this salsa delicious, it is fat free, tomato free, vinegar free, and citrus free, unlike most other salsas out there!  Totally brilliant.

Arame Salsa

adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan (original recipe posted here )

1 c dry arame seaweed (1 oz)
1/2 medium cucumber, diced (1 cup)

1 tsp vitamin C crystals dissolved in 2 T water
2 scallions, finely sliced (1/4 c)
1 c apple juice/cider  - see note below for ACD friendly/low sugar options

1/2 c minced red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or 2 T dry
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch salt
optional: 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
optional: 1/2 inch piece ginger, grated


Soak the arame in water for 20 minutes.
Drain, then place in a medium skillet or saucepan with the apple cider.
Simmer, uncovered, until the cider has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the arame to a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  

For a lower sugar option, use a blend of 50/50 or 25/75 cider and water.  Or a totally ACD friendly solution, boil 1 1/4 c water with 1 T of apple juice/cider or 1 tsp agave nectar/maple syrup/brown rice syrup for 10 minutes, then add the seaweed and cook for an additional 10 minutes as directed, or until all liquid is absorbed.  According to The Candida Yeast Guidebook, sugars  that have been cooked for 20 minutes in a large amount of water do not affect the yeast; many recipes in that book use small amounts of sweetener cooked for extended periods of time in all stages of the ACD.  If this still seems too risky for you, make as directed in recipe above, but use 1 c water instead of juice with a little pinch of stevia for a slightly sweet flavor.





Gluten Free Holiday Recipes: Wild Lentil Loaf, Parsnip Gravy, Amazaké Pumpkin Custard with Apple Cider Gelée, Quinoa-Wild Rice Stuffing, and more!

Hooray for Thanksgiving!  Hooray for gluten free, allergy-friendly holiday food!

Holiday time is always the hardest for those of us with dietary restrictions, right?  Well, no fear.  Here are some of my favorite recipes that are just right for holiday get-togethers, from tasty goodies for the appetizer table to delicious gravy and to a sugar free, gluten free, vegan pumpkin pie.  A handful are new, but most are pulled from the archives.   Christmas will be big this year with a lot of family coming to Minneapolis, so expect Round 2 closer to Christmas!  In the meantime, enjoy these!

All recipes follow the following restrictions:
  • gluten free
  • soy free
  • corn free
  • egg free
  • dairy free (ghee may be used occasionally, sub oil of choice, and might be used yogurt used in a few older recipes)
  • cane sugar free
  • peanut free
  • yeast free
  • potato free
  • citrus free
  • tomato free
  • vegan/vegetarian (with exception of dairy)
Appetizers & Snacks
Wild Lentil Loaf  - NEW! see recipe below 
Vegetable Sides

Lacto-fermented vegetables 
These are perfect for a relish tray and help aid digestion of heavy meals.

Stuffing/Dressing a.k.a. CARB FEAST
Wild Rice & Quinoa Pilaf  - NEW! see recipe below
Waffle Stuffing: dice up waffles and use them like bread cubes in any traditional stuffing recipe! Sprouted Quinoa Millet Waffles,  Savory Wild Rice Millet Waffles with Garlic and Rosemar

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream
Amazaké Pumpkin Custard with Apple Cider Gelée - NEW! see recipe below
Apple Pear Streusal Cake
Plum Apricot Tart (substitute apples, pears, or cranberries instead of plums and apricots!)
Wild Lentil Loaf

Wild Lentil Loaf

yield 1 large pan, approx 6-8 servings

This looks like a lot of instructions, but it really is easy!  Rice and lentils can be made 1-2 days in advance if necessary.   Mixture can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.  A make-ahead miracle!  The texture is very moist, but is sliceable and delicious covered with parsnip gravy.  Leftovers are awesome hot or cold.
1 1/4 c dry red lentils
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c dry wild rice/brown rice mix, soaked 6-8 hours OR 2 cups cooked
1 c brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, GF oats, or GF bread crumbs (I used brown rice flakes)
1 handful brown rice flour + 2 T brown rice flour
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated (or one additional carrot)
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 T dry thyme
1 T dry rosemary
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 T flax seed meal + 1/3 c water
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
olive oil
a couple handfuls raw sunflower seeds, toasted
2 T brown rice flour or other GF flour for dusting
  1. Rinse rice and soak for 6-8 hours.  Rinse, then cook per desired method.   I used a pressure cooker (2 cups water for 20 minutes at 15 lbs pressure).  
  2. Pick through and rinse lentils.  Cook the lentils on a stove top with 2 1/2 c water, the bay leaf, and minced garlic for about 15 minutes, or until lentils are totally tender and water is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove bay leaf.  
  3. Preheat oven to 375* F.  Oil a 2.5-3 qt square or rectangular dish and dust with 2 T of rice flour.
  4. In a microwave or on the stovetop, heat water and flaxmeal until a thick and gooey gel forms (1-2 minutes).  Stir vigorously with a fork a few times, then let cool completely.
  5. Toast sunflower seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant.  Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
  6. Add olive oil to the saucepan, and heat over medium-high.  Add cumin seeds and sauté until fragrant, then add onion and celery, and saute for a few minutes. Then add carrot and parsnip and saute for an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and fully cooked.  Add a little broth or water and cover if you notice the mixture is getting dry or cooking slowly.  Remove from heat.
  7. Mix 2 cups of rice, the lentils, and flax goo in a large bowl until smooth. Put 1 cup of rice/lentil mixture and half the sauteed vegetables in a blender and puree until smooth, and return to the bowl.
  8. Add the rest of the vegetables and all the remaining ingredients and stir, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Mixture should be super thick.  
  9. Pack the mixture firmly into pan, and then sprinkle with sunflower seeds. At this point, you can bake immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.  If you let it sit, the flour and flakes absorb the moisture and the loaf sets very well.  
  10. Bake covered for about 45 minutes at 375* F, then uncover and let bake for about 15 minutes, until top is crisp and sunflower seeds are golden brown.  NOTE: if you had it in the fridge and it went in the oven very cold, it may take longer to bake and get warm.  

Parsnip Gravy

yield 3 cups

This gravy benefits from the rich flavor and velvety texture of pureed parsnip and onions.  Serve on lentil loaf, over cooked grains or veggies, or on top of mashed cauliflower or potatoes.

3 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3-4 c broth/stock or water, divided
2 T olive oil
2 T sweet rice flour, white rice flour, or millet flour
salt and pepper to taste
optional: itty bitty pinch of nutmeg
  1. Peel parsnips and thinly slice.  Steam until tender, then put in blender.
  2. While parsnips steam, saute onions in a saucepan with a little olive oil over medium heat until browned and tender.  Put in blender with steamed parsnips.  heat about 1/2 c broth in the saucepan until simmering, swirl around, and pour into blender.  Puree until smooth.
  3. Heat 2 T olive oil in the saucepan, warm over medium heat, then add flour and stir.  Cook until flour starts to brown and smells nutty, then gradually add about 2 c broth, whisking constantly.  Bring to a scald, then reduce heat.  Gravy should start to thicken.  Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning.   
  4. Add pureed parsnip mixture and whisk until smooth.   Simmer a couple of minutes, adding more broth as necessary to reach desired consistency and stirring often.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and if desired, just an itty bitty pinch of nutmeg.
  5. Serve warm drizzled over lentil loaf, or use on cooked grains, steamed vegetables, or anything else!

Wild rice and quinoa create a chewy, wonderful texture for a pilaf

Wild Rice & Quinoa Pilaf Stuffing

serves 8-10

This stuffing uses whole grains instead of bread, but is still full of all the same delicious flavor.  Stuff inside a bird, or serve on the side - either way, it is sure to satisfy.
3/4 c wild rice
3/4 c quinoa
water for soaking
water/broth for cooking
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c carrot, grated
3/4 c celery, thinly sliced
10 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 c fresh parsley, minced
1 T dry thyme
1 T dry rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
salt and pepper to taste
optional: handful toasted nuts/seeds
optional: handful dried fruit (apricots, currants, raisins)
optional: diced apple
optional: 1-2 T maple syrup
  1. Place quinoa and wild rice in separate bowls with 3x as much water as grain.  Soak for 6-12 hours. 
  2. Rinse grains (rub quinoa together while rinsing) and drain.  
  3. Cook wild rice: I like to cook wild rice in a rice cooker or pressure cooker.  If using a rice cooker,  cook as directed in your owner's manual.  If using a pressure cooker, follow directions for rice.  I cooked mine for 15 minutes at 5 lbs pressure, placing wild rice grains and 1 1/2 c water in an oiled pan, and placing the pan and 2 c water in the cooker. If cooking in a saucepan on the stovetop, add 2 c water and rice to pan, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until all water is absorbed and grains are tender.  Remove from heat and let steam about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  4. Cook quinoa: Place quinoa in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 c water/broth, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.  Turn off heat let sit covered for about 10 minutes.  Remove cover and fluff grains with a fork.
  5. Peel and grate carrot, thinly slice celery, and thinly slice scallion.  If using apple, peel, core, and finely chop.  
  6. Heat oil in a large saute pan.  Saute celery for 1-2  minutes, then add carrots, scallions, and chopped apple (if using), and saute until everything is tender.  Add spices and stir to coat.
  7. Add cooked grains to pan, stirring to mix, and heat mixture over medium heat until evenly warmed through.  Cover and add a little extra broth or water if mixture is getting dry.  
  8. Serve warm.  If desired, sprinkle with toasted nuts/seeds or a handful of dried fruit before serving. 

This dessert has a crystal clear layer of apple cider gelée - beautiful!

Pumpkin Amazaké Custard with Apple Cider Gelée

yield 1 9" round custard, approximately 8-12 servings

This dessert looks elegant, tastes amazing, and is incredibly easy to make.  As always, it is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and soy free, but there's also no added sugar and it is low in fat.   A layer of apple cider gelée adds a special twist, but the custard can be served just as well without, if desired.  The perfect allergy-friendly dessert that all your guests will enjoy!

1 c amazaké base + 1 c milk substitute OR 2 cups Grainnaissance Amazake Shake OR 2 cups grain puree (see NOTES below)
2 T arrowroot starch + 4 T milk substitute
2 tsp agar agar powder OR 4 T agar agar flakes
2 c cooked pumpkin or squash, packed (I used butternut!)
1/4-1/2 tsp stevia extract powder (start with less, then add more to taste if desired)
1 T coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or other light tasting oil
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped OR 1/4 tsp vanilla powder OR 1 tsp GF vanilla extract
1 T mesquite flour, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cardamom OR 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Cider Gelée (do not serve with gelée if on strict ACD)
1 1/2 c apple cider or apple juice
3/4 tsp agar agar powder OR 1 1/2 T agar agar flakes
Make the custard:
  1. Puree amazaké and milk/water in blender until totally smooth.  Strain mixture into a saucepan through a fine sieve to remove any unblended chunks, and set aside.
  2. Put 2 cups of cooked squash in the blender, along with oil, spices, salt, and vanilla, and set aside.
  3. Sprikle agar flakes/powder over amazaké in saucepan, and heat to a simmer over medium heat without stirring.  Then simmer for two minutes, stirring gently until agar is totally dissolved.  Dissolve the arrowroot in 4 T cold milk substitute, and add it to the amazaké mixture.  It will thicken immediately -simmer 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Mixture will be VERY thick.
  4. Immediately transfer amazaké mixture into blender, and puree all ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour into an 9" x 1 1/2" round tart/flan/cake pan with a drop bottom or a springform pan.  If your pan is not non-stick, lightly oil the sides of the pan before pouring it in.   Smooth top with a spoon or rubber spatula, and drop pan lightly on counter top a few times to remove air bubbles.  Let sit in a level place for about 30 minutes.  If serving custard without layer of gelée, transfer to refrigerator, let chill 4 hours, then serve.  If serving with gelée...
While it sets, make the gelée:
  1. Pour cider into a small saucepan and sprinkle agar agar powder/flakes over the top.  Heat to a simmer without stirring, then stir and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until agar is totally dissolved. 
  2. Add vanilla if using, and stir again to mix.  Pour into a cool bowl or measuring cup, and place in refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes.  Don't let sit too long, or it will start to set!
  3. Once it has cooled, gently pour cooled cider mixture over custard.  Let sit in level spot for about 20 minutes, then put in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
To serve, remove ring, place on serving platter, and slice into wedges just before serving.  If desired, top with a blob of something creamy (whipped cream/cashew cream/coconut cream/rice cream/some other creamy thing) of your choice. It is really tasty with Coconut Bliss Coconut Milk Ice Cream!  

  • If you do not have amazaké, make a grain puree:  blend 1 cup of very well cooked grain with 1 cup of milk substitute until totally smooth, straining to remove chunks.  I tried this recipe again with leftover mixed brown and wild rice blended with rice milk, and it worked great!  I would recommend using grain that has been cooked with a higher than usual amount of water so it is very soft and very well cooked.
  • If you do not have a drop bottom pan, you could make this in an pie tin, and just serve slices of it like pie.  
  • For individual servings, spoon mixture custard cups or molds and let set, and topping each serving with equal portions of cider gelée as desired.



Cumin-Kissed Kale (gluten free, vegan, ACD friendly)


I adore kale in all forms, and this is one of my favorite ways to eat it lately.  It is really really simple to make, and is ready in 10-15 minutes.  Kale is a super nutritious food, full of vitamin A, C, calcium, and fiber.  Cumin helps to stimulate digestion, helps the liver's detoxification processes, and has anti-carcinogenic effects. 


serves 4

1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp grapeseed, sunflower, coconut, ghee (not vegan), or other high temperature oil (not olive)
ume vinegar or salt to taste
1/4 c water or broth
optional: red pepper flakes

Heat oil over high heat in a saute pan until it reaches the smoking point.  Add cumin seeds, stir to coat with oil, and heat until they start to pop and smell fragrant.  Watch them closely to make sure they don't burn.
Add chopped kale and water/stock, stir to mix, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and recovering after 5 minutes.  After 10 minutes check the tenderness of the kale; if you want it less chewy, add a little more liquid and cook until desired tenderness has been reached.
Season with coriander, ume vinegar or salt, and optional red pepper flakes, and serve warm.



Millet Amazaké Muffins with Sesame and Anise (sugar free, gluten free, vegan, ACD)



Eager to try using some of my homemade amazaké in a baked good, I started doing a little online research to see what was already out in the blogosphere.  I came across a delightful sounding Millet Muffin recipe on Kitchen Therapy that called for amazaké, and it seemed like a great jumping off point - it was already gluten free, vegan, and xanthan free.  AWESOME!  So, I decided to tweak a few things, most notably adding a bit of toasted sesame oil and crushed anise seeds.  A couple tweaks turned into a lot of tweaks, and soon it seemed like a rather different muffin recipe all together.

They smelled very tasty as they baked, letting off a rich sesame aroma near they end.  I pulled them out, and they were dense and lovely, a beautiful golden color with nice cracks and a nubby texture.  Then I tasted one. Yum!  These muffins were moist and flavorful, with a hint of natural sweetness from the amazake, a subtle, nutty flavor from the sesame oil, and the wonderful fragrant quality of anise.  Millet flour is always a good base, and the whole millet seeds and and rice flakes add great texture.  I have my own recipe for millet carrot muffins that uses some whole millet thrown in, and I love the crunch!  On the topic of texture, these muffins were lacking a bit of definite crumb, and were quite dense - but that isn't terribly uncommon for GF baking without starches or binders or eggs.  A forgivable offense, in my opinion, and it doesn't detract from the greatness of the muffin.  They have a great body, and I really enjoy their unique flavor.  Amazaké muffins are awesome!  Not exactly falling within the realms of the ACD plan that I had intended, I'm falling off the wagon and need to get back on.  Culinary curiosity is killing my good intentions.

Thanks to the amazaké and millet, these muffins are bursting with B vitamins, niacin, thiamin, manganese, fiber, and healthy complex carbs.  Millet is a naturally alkaline grain, is high in protein, and it has anti-microbial qualities.  And all the added flaxmeal is full of healthy omega fatty acids and loads of fiber.  What does all this mean? These muffins are full of good stuff that can help regulate healthy gut flora and regulate digestion, all while providing healthy complex carbohydrates and other important nutrients.  There isn't any added sugar, which is awesome - but amazaké is higher in natural sugars than regular rice due to the fermentation process, so use your best judgement to decide if amazaké is right for you.

Any changes for next time?  My taste buds want orange zest in the mix, but sadly, I'm allergic to oranges and just not going there.  However, I think it would taste totally amazing, so I'm throwing it on as an optional add in.   I think that chopped dates would be quite decadent.  I didn't have any sesame seeds on hand, but they would be fun thrown in too, so I added some as an optional ingredient as well.  These aren't particularly sweet, so if you like a sweet muffin, feel free to add your sweetener of choice.  And finally, if you aren't into sesame or anise, feel free to omit them, adding your own spices and seasonings to the batter, or just leaving it naked.  You'll still end up with a delightful muffin, perfect for a breakfasts, a quick snack on the go, or to eat along a tasty bowl of soup.  I recommend freezing leftovers immediately; as with many GF vegan treats, these got a little dry after about 24 hours.  The frozen muffin thawed very well.

A note on amazaké:  
Amazaké is a naturally sweet traditional Japanese beverage made from rice fermented with koji culture.  I made my own batch of amazaké from scratch, but you can find amazaké rice shakes by Grainaissance in the freezer section of most co-ops and natural food markets.  In addition to a standard rice variety, they make a ton of different flavors.  Their shakes, however, contain xanthan gum, so if you avoid it, beware.   If you are in the U.K., I hear the company Clearspring makes rice and millet amazaké varieites that are both quite tasty and easy to find.

If you don't want to use amazaké, I think you could probably substitute 3/4 c cooked grain and blend with 3/4 c water.  It won't have the same sweetness as amazaké, but it would make a thick, creamy liquid base.



yield 12 muffins

3/4 c homemade amazaké base + 3/4 c water OR 1 1/2 c Grainaissance Amazake Rice Shake
1/3 c grapeseed oil or other light tasting oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 c millet flour
1/2 c brown rice flakes
1/4 c whole grain millet, toasted
1/2 c flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp anise seeds, toasted
1 c unsweetened non-dairy milk

optional: 2 tsp sesame seeds
optional: orange zest
optional: chopped dates
optional: stevia or a glug of agave or brown rice syrup - just reduce milk quantity by the same amount if using liquid sweetener

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F and prepare a muffin tin with muffin cups or oil/flour.
  2. In a small dry skillet, toast the whole millet grains and anise seeds over medium heat until they smell nutty and fragrant, stirring often.  Remove from heat.
  3. If using homemade amazake, blend amazake base and water together in blender until smooth. With blender on high, pour in grapeseed oil and sesame oil and run until blended. If using a store-bought amazake shake instead of homemade, you can whisk together all liquid ingredients in a bowl, or use a blender to mix, whichever you prefer.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together whole grain millet, anise seeds, and the remaining dry ingredients.  Once mixed, create a well in the center.  Pour in the amazake/oil mixture, and stir all ingredients together a few times to moisten.  Gradually add non-dairy milk in 3 or 4 batches, stirring gently between each pour.  If adding orange zest or chopped dates, add now. Mix until just evenly combined and milk is fully incorporated.
  5. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes so flour and flax absorb moisture; the batter will thicken.  
  6. Fill muffin cups ¾ full, then place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in cups for about 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on wire rack.  Chow down!  Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 1 day or freeze for longer storage.