Not gonna lie- - - I love me some banana bread. But around the third bite I'm usually getting bored, and by halfway into the slice, I'm totally over it. Why? Because the strong and distinctive taste of banana quickly overwhelms the taste buds, making it hard for the flavor profile to read anything but one-note. Add gluten-free into the equation and you can add too sweet and depressingly dry to the list of cons. But, that's where the beauty of this loaf comes in to play. I've added orange zest and cinnamon to balance the flavor of the banana, cut the sugar and added just the right amount of sweetness and moisture with honey and applesauce. And the result? A trifecta! That's Kentucky speak for big-time-winner. In fact, I'd be willing to bet it would take down any basic wheat based recipe in a blind taste test. Try it for yourself... and don't forget to come back and let me know what you think!
3 bananas, smashed
6 tablespoons butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup honey
¼ cup apple sauce, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 ½ cups Bob Red Mill 1-1 Baking Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8 x 4 loaf pan and fit bottom with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, smash bananas. In a small bowl, beat the egg and add to the larger bowl, along with the butter, honey, applesauce, vanilla extract and orange zest. Stir well. Add all dry ingredients to bowl and stir until ingredients are well mixed.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 55 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Slice with serrated knife, and serve warm.
Yield: 1 loaf, about 8 slices
Diet: Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And in our house, that means crab cakes. Why? Because you can take the girl out of Maryland, but not the Maryland out of the girl, I guess. But also, because they cover all the bases… they’re quick, easy, delicious and in my humble opinion, as romantic as a main course can get. What’s more is you will be hard pressed to find a tastier entree item in any over-booked and slammed restaurant in town. So why bust the budget on a sub-par, limited-menu, packaged dinner-for-two deal, and fight the crowds, when you can just stay home… get cozy with the one you love… have your cake… and eat it too.
1 pound crab meat
3 tablespoons homemade mayo, recipe below
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes hot sauce (or to taste)
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon carrot, very finely diced
1 tablespoon red pepper, very finely diced
2 teaspoons chives, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
3 tablespoons avocado oil (plus more if necessary)
Whether using fresh or canned crab meat, pick through the meat, discarding all cartilage and shell pieces. Additionally, if using canned meat, drain well and pat dry with a paper towel. (Too much remaining moisture will prevent cakes from staying together when frying.)
Prepare ingredients. Note: when chopping the carrot and pepper pay close attention to size. Unless these are very finely diced, they will not have adequate time to cook and will remain crunchy.
Add crab meat to a large bowl followed by all other ingredients (except oil). Being careful not to over mix, turn ingredients into meat just until well mixed and pat out into 5 patties.
Add oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium. Once the oil is hot, add the cakes to the pan, allowing them plenty of room in the pan.
It is important to note that since these cakes are gluten free (and missing the glue-like binder of traditional cakes including wheat derived breadcrumbs) and are mostly crab meat, they are going to be delicate. The important thing is making sure they are nicely cooked on the first side before you attempt to flip them (and a smaller spatula helps too). You will know they are ready to turn when there is a nice golden brown edge around the cake, which takes about 6-8 minutes. Carefully flip and cook another 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown color is achieved.
Yield: 5 Crab Cakes
Diet: Gluten Free
1 egg yolk, pasteurized
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup avocado oil
Pulse together the yolk, lemon juice, ground mustard and sea salt in a food processor. Very slowly… add in the oil (a few tablespoons at a time) until well emulsified. (Hint: This can also be achieved without a food processor. All you need is a bowl, a whisk, a dream, and plenty of arm power.)
Store remainder in a small glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and use on everything from sandwiches to baked chicken to add that little pop of wow.
One of our favorite restaurants in Lexington is Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen. Dave and I just love the chicken salad there, and this is my take on that recipe. If you find yourself standing in line at Vinaigrette craving the perfect combination of savory and sweet, might I suggest you give the chicken salad a try? Just don’t forget to ask for extra strawberries. But if you decide to give making this at home a whirl, don’t forget to use the homemade mayo recipe below. It’s the secret ingredient that takes this recipe from pretty darned good to absolutely fabulous... and is well worth the added effort.
3 cups pulled chicken, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup honey crisp apple, chopped small (about 1 medium)
1/3 cup homemade mayo (recipe follows)
1/3 cup Bulgarian whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Spring mix or baby spinach for serving
Salt & pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 lemon, juiced
Prepare mayo and set aside. Toast pine nuts to golden brown and cool. Prepare apple and soak in juice of half lemon and water to prevent browning. Drain apple and pat dry. Add all ingredients up to paprika into a large bowl. Stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Serve over a bed of spring mix or baby spinach and garnish with lots of fresh strawberries. Drizzle with high quality olive oil and serve.
Don't have any pine nuts on hand? No worries. Pecans or slivered almonds are also delicious in this salad!
Yield: 6 Servings
Diets: Gluten Free
1 egg yolk, pasteurized
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup avocado oil
Pulse together the yolk, lemon juice, mustard and sea salt in a food processor. Very slowly… add in the oil (a few tablespoons at a time) until all is well emulsified. (Hint: This can also be achieved without a food processor. In that case, all you need is a bowl, a whisk, a dream, and plenty of arm power.)
Store remainder in a small glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and use on everything from sandwiches to baked chicken to add a that little pop of wow.
The only thing better than these orang-elicious pancakes, is the energy they give you to power through the morning. In fact, they were filling enough to power four kids between the ages of 1 and 5 all over the Atlanta Aquarium one day until the late afternoon when (thanks to a snafu involving off-the-chain traffic and a failed GPS) we were finally able get lunch (that could technically be considered dinner) without the first hangry outburst. They’re hearty, healthy, and like all dump recipes, super quick to prepare and cleanup. But the best news is, they’re naturally gluten free. So go ahead and give them a try. You know you want to. And once you do, be sure to let me know what you think in the comment section below.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup almond flour
5.3 oz. organic whole milk cottage cheese or ½ cup slightly heaping (I use 1 Good Culture Single)
1/3 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed or highest quality store-bought such as Uncle Matt’s)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Organic olive oil nonstick spray
Preheat griddle to 350 degrees (or medium high heat.
Starting with wet ingredients, add all to a blender or Vitamix and blend just until smooth (being careful not to over-blend, which can lead to rubbery results).
Let batter rest 5 minutes, spray griddle lightly with nonstick spray, and disperse in rounds using a level 1/3 cup measure. Cook until bubbles form and cake is nicely browned on bottom (3 - 4 minutes); flip and cook topside (2 – 3 minutes).
Serve topped with organic pure maple syrup and a side of turkey bacon for that perfect salty-sweet flavor combination.
These reheat surprisingly well. Store refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to two days.
Yield: 8 Pancakes
Diet: Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Dave and I were fortunate enough to honeymoon in Italy, and eat our way through Tuscany, Portofino, and Rome. And the first thing we did when we got back to the States was try to recreate the most delectable eggplant dish we had both ever eaten in our lives (while sitting on an outdoor patio with aluminum awning that was only big enough for the two of us). This, my friends, comes pretty darned close. The trick to this recipe (and all simple recipes) is to choose only the highest quality ingredients possible. And, to keep the cheese at a minimum so that the eggplant and olive oil flavors really shine. It’s earthy and nutty and seriously smooth as buttah, baby!
4 small graffiti eggplants, thinly sliced (no more than 3 inches in diameter)
1/4 cup premium extra virgin olive oil (quality counts)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
Sea salt, to taste
Organic extra virgin olive oil nonstick spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat electric griddle or large frying pan to medium heat. Spray with nonstick oil and cook eggplant working in batches. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook for 5-6 minutes. Spray the topside of the eggplant with additional olive oil spray, flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare four oven-safe ramekins with a drizzle of olive oil. Grate cheese using a microplane grater to achieve finest grate possible, and set aside.
Using prongs, layer cooked eggplant into ramekins, spreading to cover the entire diameter. Between each layer of eggplant, alternate Parmesan, mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, and repeat until all eggplant is utilized.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Using a butter knife, edge each ramekin to release eggplant from the sides. Place a plate on the top of the ramekin and turn it over, allowing the stacker to fall onto the plate. Top with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve.
Yield: 4 Stackers
Diet: Vegetarian, Gluten Free
These slightly sweet crackers are a favorite in our house. Whether in the morning with a cup of coffee, the afternoon with a few slices of apple, or late night with a thin spread of almond butter, they really can’t be beat for a quick, tasty and healthy snack. What’s more, is baking them provides the perfect opportunity to whip up a delicious batch of homemade mayo with the remaining yolks.
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon gelatin
4 egg whites
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup organic ghee (melted)
1/2 cup honey (raw & organic)
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, or bowl of stand-mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add wet ingredients, followed by dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down dough with spatula to take shape of a round mound. Split dough in half and roll each out between 2 pieces of parchment paper until about ¼ inch thick. (Hint: Dough will feel a little loose, moist and sticky--- and that’s what you want here.) Use pizza cutter to cut into individual pieces 1 1/2 x 3 inches wide (or preferred size). Stack and slide papers containing dough onto a cutting board and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fit two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Remove crackers from refrigerator and work quickly to break apart and place on baking sheet. Cook 12 minutes. Flip crackers and cook another 8 minutes or until well browned, watching not to burn. (Hint: When flipping, I have found it’s best to give them a second to cool, and use my fingers to flip as they are very delicate at this stage, and even the smallest spatula can cause breakage.)
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days… if they last that long.
*Can be made Vegetarian by omitting gelatin.
Yield: 25 - 30 Honey Grahams (depending on size)
Diet: Paleo, *Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Recipes by J.C