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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gluten-Free Crustless Cranberry Pie

Being gluten-free, it can be difficult to make pies.  The dough recipes can be challenging to make without the crust falling apart during construction, and the store-bought crusts don't taste all that great.  I found a recipe last fall for a cranberry pie that didn't require a crust, and decided to try to make it gluten-free.  It's one of my most favorite pies, and everyone who's tried it loves it.

I got a lot of requests for this recipe last fall and winter, so I didn't want to miss out on posting it before cranberry season started.  Someone said the following about this pie at a party last year, "What did you put in this, angel tears?!"  You might want to try it out for yourself.  It's that good!

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, melted (if vegan, use a butter substitute)
2 eggs (if vegan, use an egg substitute, such as Ener-G or ground flax and water)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9 inch pie dish.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts, and toss to coat. 

Stir in the butter, beaten eggs, and almond extract. If you are using frozen cranberries, the mixture will be very thick. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.  In my oven, especially when using frozen cranberries, it took 45 minutes.

This pie is also great made with blueberries in place of cranberries.  I think you could probably try just about any type of berry, and it would be good.  Just adjust the sugar accordingly, as cranberries are tart and need a bit more sugar than other types of berries.

Raw Kale Crackers

Kale crackers at the grocery store are just ridiculously expensive.  And you get about one serving per bag!  I decided to make my own, because I'm not paying $7 for one bag of kale chips or crackers!  Here's how to make your own.

In a food processor add the following:

  • 1 bag of kale with large stem pieces removed
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce of you're not gluten-intolerant or Worcestershire sauce if you are soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Pulse in the food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides, until well combined. 

Spread out on two Paraflex sheets in a thin layer. Score into cracker-sized squares and sprinkle with sea or Himalayan salt and/or pepper, if desired.  

Dehydrate for 16-24 hours at 114 degrees. You may need to flip the crackers over about half-way through the dehydration process to get them completely crispy.  Store in air-tight containers when finished.

Vegan Cheese Sauce and Cream Substitutes

If you're vegan or lactose intolerant, it can be difficult to find dairy substitutes that taste good and are something you'd want to serve to friends and family without scaring them!  I have two favorite recipes that taste good and have fooled even non-vegans into thinking they were cheese or dairy!

Two ingredients you need for good cheese substitutes - nutritional yeast and raw cashews.  If you're allergic to nuts, sesame seeds work in place of the cashews for the cheez sauce.  I've also seen other recipes that use potatoes in place of nuts, where you boil and mash up the potatoes to add to the mix.  I've never made it myself, but it's an option to try if you have nut allergies.

This first recipe is for a savory cheezy-sauce.  I've used this to make a great mac and cheese, using brown rice pasta, so it was gluten-free as well!  I've also made eggplant and zucchini "parmesan" by layering eggplant or zucchini slices with kale or spinach, tomato sauce and drizzles of this cheez sauce.

Cheez Sauce

Soak 1 cup raw cashews in 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours
Drain cashews and add to blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender)

Add the following to the blender:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (not necessary, but give it a cheesy color)

Blend until smooth.  You may have to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.  This makes about 1 cup of cheez sauce.  Add to the recipe you're using and heat or refrigerate until you're ready to use.
The second recipe is for a cashew creme.  This can be used in place of whipped cream on berries, strawberry shortcake or anything you'd typically use whipped cream.  I make it ahead of time and then refrigerate it for at least 1 hours before serving.

Vanilla Creme

Soak 1 cup raw cashews in 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours.
Drain cashews and add to blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender)

Add the following to the blender:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend until smooth.  You may have to stop and scrape the sides of the blender a few times.  This makes about 1 cup of vanilla creme.  Keep refrigerated and it lasts about a week.

Raw Juicer Pulp Crackers

One day a few weeks ago, I did a LOT of juicing.  I had piles of juice pulp in bowls, and I didn't want to have to put in all into the compost bin.  It just seemed like such a waste to me.  Instead, I decided to experiment and make some juice pulp crackers.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well they tasted!

I did make an effort to separate out the pulp that I didn't think would work well in the crackers.  I removed the orange pulp and cucumber pulp, and I kept the beets, carrots, apples and kale, and just mixed them all together really well in a large bowl.

Here are my recipes (scale them up or down, depending upon how much pulp you have to use).  I made double recipes for everything I made, as I had so much pulp:

"Cheezy" Crackers
1 1/2 cups juicer pulp
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water

Cinnamon Spicy Crackers
2 cups juicer pulp
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (add as needed)

Add the ingredients into a food processor and process until well mixed.  Add as much water as needed to get a good, spreadable consistency.  You may need to stop the processor and scrape the sides a few times and continue processing.

Spread the mixture out onto Paraflex sheets into a thin layer and score into a grid of cracker-sized squares.  Sprinkle sea salt or pink Himalayan salt over the top and lightly press into the crackers (so it doesn't blow off once you put it in the dehydrator!)

Set dehydrator to 114 degrees and dehydrate for 16-24 hours, depending upon how wet the pulp is and how thick your crackers are.  When finished, break apart and store in air-tight containers.

They came out nice and crispy and were quite tasty!  I'm not sure which flavor I liked best, as they were both good.  You could also use sesame seeds in place of the chia seeds.  I did make one other recipe with sesame seeds, but I added some garbanzo bean flour to them, and they didn't come out as well (they were a bit "gritty").

These make a great, healthy snack.  They're nice and crispy and the chia seeds really fill you up!