Blog - gluten-free
I really enjoy having granola bars on hand because they are, in many ways, the perfect snack food. They are packed full of nutrients and an important source of carbohydrates to boost your energy reserves. Unfortunately, many store-bought granola bars are filled with fats and other mysterious ingredients to promote long shelf lives, and I’m just not willing to ingest these ingredients.
So, I make my own – and they are surprisingly simple to make!
I came across this original recipe from my friend Dawn, co-founder and content guru at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. The recipe itself is quite simple to prepare and it uses only natural and healthy ingredients. You can also make the entire recipe gluten-free if that is important to you by making sure you use certified gluten-free oats.
The base of these granola bars are dates, and here it is important to get off to a good start. Always make sure your dates do not have any pits in them before beginning. Be sure to soak the dates in warm water until they soften – usually no more than an hour, unless of course, your dates are already quite soft. Process the dates quite well in a food processor until they begin to ball up. I don’t like using a high speed blender for this task because I think the dates become too soft and mushy. They should have a bit of texture, but also completely processed.
Once the dates are complete, it is really only a matter of combining the remaining ingredients…and here there is a great deal of flexibility. For instance, try using cashew butter instead of almond butter for a lighter version. Add some raisins to the mix as well. For a crunchier version, try adding a handful of GM-free soy flakes. Dried ginger gives the bars a bit of punch…and cinnamon is an excellent addition, especially if you are adding some chopped dried apples.
Paula Wolfert’s wonderful book, Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco, describes Byesar as the North African cousin to the Middle Eastern hummus made of chickpeas. This is high praise indeed as hummus is one of the world’s greatest food contributions. So I was…well, slightly skeptical. But after tasting one spoonful of the freshly made warm fava bean puree, I was more than convinced. This recipe is one of the most exciting finds I have found this year!
I grew up eating many special foods from Morocco, but I never had the opportunity to taste this beloved dish. It is made with split fava beans (broad beans for those of you who are more familiar with this name), fruity olive oil, a hint of garlic, cumin and lemon. That’s it – just some humble ingredients put together in your food processor.
It doesn’t take very much time these days to search for and find soup recipes made in a pressure cooker. In fact, you can even search within this blog from just a few months ago and locate my marvelous Caramelized Carrot and Ginger Soup, adapted from “The Modernist Cuisine.”
So why is there a sudden spike in popularity amongst soup enthusiasts in using pressure cookers? Well, I think the answer is simple; pressure cookers cook soups quickly and create unmatched flavors. That’s the bottom line…and that’s all that should matter.
My two newest soups this fall are based on a couple of regulars: Curried Pumpkin and Orange and Creamy Pumpkin and Chestnut.
Rhubarb crumble is one of the very first desserts of spring using fresh ingredients. It is so delicious that I think everyone should eat this dessert at the beginning of April. Unfortunately for many, making a crumble is off limits. Gluten is often included in recipes to create the tasty browned flakes. Additionally, butter and eggs are also frequently used to bind everything together and help the browning and crisping of the crumble. But is it really necessary to include gluten and use eggs or dairy products in this recipe?
I set out to create a crumble which has no gluten and is otherwise completely free of eggs and dairy products. The end result is quite satisfying…and I don’t think I will ever attempt to make another crumble with dairy or gluten.
As a variation, add sliced strawberries to this recipe…preferably waiting until the local strawberries appear. I also think I will try apricots, blackberries and apples as the season changes.