Rhubarb and Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia seeds and coconut make a perfect combination for a pudding. The fresh rhubarb we found at the Green City Market inspired this not too sweet dessert.

Very easy to make. Simply plan ahead as it needs resting time.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 7oz unsweetened organic creamed coconut “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 3 stalks rhubarb
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Zest of 1/2 organic lemon
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Pinch of salt


Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks so there’s no green leaves. Discard the leaves it any. Cut the stalks in small even sized pieces. 


Cut the vanilla bean in half, and split each half so you can scrape the seeds. 


Place the rhubarb, honey and half a vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan on low heat and cover for about 10 minutes. 


Meanwhile place the creamed coconut in a large bowl. 


Add the hot water and the other half of the vanilla bean.


Whisk thoroughly to combine. 


Add the coconut flakes, salt and chia seeds. Mix well, cover and refrigerate about one hour or so.


Uncover the saucepan with the rhubarb and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover and continue to cook on low heat for another ten minutes. 


Transfer to a bowl, add the lemon zest, mix well, cover and refrigerate. 


Remove the bowls from the refrigerator when the chia seeds have set in the coconut mixture. 


Fill small jars by alternating chia/coconut preparation with the cooled rhubarb/honey/lemon mixture.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later tasting. 

Note: the longer you refrigerate the pudding, the  more set it will become. 

Advertisements

Truffled Scrambled Eggs with Grits and Arugula

Farm fresh organic eggs from our CSA delivery, Tomato Mountain, WI, and whole grain stone milled non-GMO yellow dent corn grits from Severson Farms, IL are a perfect match for indulging in the aromas of a black truffle for a leisurely breakfast. 

 The perfectly moist texture of the scrambled eggs is achieved by continuously whisking the eggs over very low heat.   
Ingredients:

For two servings

  • 4 farm fresh organic eggs
  • 1 small black truffle
  • 1/2 cup organic non-GMO yellow corn grits
  • Organic arugula
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper

Equipment: egg topper, truffle mandolin

 To cut a clean opening to top off the egg, the best tool is a spring egg topper. 
Sit the egg pointy side up in an egg holder.  Place the egg topper over the egg and pull the spring top, letting it snap back firmly.   The egg will have a clean cut all the way around. 

 If the sides do not come apart easily, you can insert the tip of a knife to gently separate both ends. 
   Be sure to open the egg over a bowl as the raw contents will pour out into the bowl. 
Continue the same procedure for all the eggs.  
Rinse the shells thoroughly and let dry on a towel.    Meanwhile, using the truffle mandolin, shave part of the black truffle onto the eggs. Grind some salt and pepper as well. 
  Whisk thoroughly until slightly foamy and set aside to let the truffle infuse its aromas into the egg mixture. Place corn and 1 1/2 cups of cold water into a saucepan. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer about 15-20 mixing occasionally. Contrary to package instructions, I typically obtain best results, without lumps, by mixing initially with cold water rather than hot. 

 
Heat a bit of olive oil in a copper pan, pour the egg mixture and start whisking immediately.   Continuously whisk the eggs until almost settled. They should be slightly runny, as they’ll finish cooking and remain soft once served. 
 Place the egg mixture back into each egg shell. Top with extra truffle shavings and serve at once with the grits and a bit of arugula drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Homemade almond milk

This is the purest way to enjoy nondairy milk. Raw almonds and water. That’s it. None of the other ingredients added to commercial almond milk. It also tastes the best. Truly like almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2812.jpgThe task might sound intimidating at first, but with the right tools, it is quite simple. I make a batch every two weeks and it takes about one hour. Very much worth it. Taste-wise and health-wise. Please, do try for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2623.jpgIngredients:
500 g raw almonds (about 4 cups)
8 cups filtered water + for soaking

Special equipment:
Food processor fitted with a steel blade
Chinois and pestle (or fine sieve)
Cheese cloth

Plan the day before.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2627.jpgPlace the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2641.jpgThe almonds will plump and the water will become cloudy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2643.jpgDrain the almonds.
Now there are two ways to proceed. You can peel the almonds to obtain a pure white milk, a very lengthy process, or simply not peel them and use them as is. I will show both ways.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2647.jpgPeeling the almonds is not complicated, just time consuming. If you have help in the kitchen, it can be a fun task to do together around the kitchen table/counter and enjoy sharing time this way. You can use a paring knife, or simply your fingertips. Whichever works best for you. You may want to add a little water in the unpeeled almond bowl to keep them moist, as they dehydrate quickly and are easier to peel when fully hydrated.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2654.jpgI’ve peeled half of my almonds to show you both ways. Same process, slightly different results.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2657.jpgPlace the almonds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may want to do this in separate batches so the bowl doesn’t overflow when adding the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2664.jpgFirst, grind the almonds alone.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2671.jpgThen add about 1 cup of filtered water for 1 cup of almonds slowly through the feeder while processing.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2684.jpgYou will obtain a creamy milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2686.jpgSet out your chinois (or sieve) for straining the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2692.jpgPour the milk through the chinois, over a tall container where the milk can drain.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2698.jpgMix the pulp around with the pestle until all the milk has been extracted.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2708.jpgScrape the sides of the chinois with a spatula.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2710.jpgPlace the pulp back in the food processor for a second round. Process by adding the same volume of water as the first time around.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2719.jpgPlace through the chinois again to extract the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2729.jpgScrape the pulp from the sides of the chinois onto a baking sheet so you can dehydrate it to transform it into almond meal. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2742.jpgDrape a cheesecloth over another container and pour the almond milk through it to remove the finer almond grains remaining.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2760.jpgPull up the cheesecloth to let the almond milk drip.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2764.jpgSqueeze the milk out of the pulp inside the cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2771.jpgOpen the cheesecloth to remove the fine pulp and combine it with the previous pulp onto the baking sheet. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2780.jpgPour the milk into a bottle with a tight cap. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Shake the bottle before using as the particles will separate while refrigerated.
Now for the unpeeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2786.jpgPlace the unpeeled almonds directly in the food processor, and proceed as for the peeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2784.jpgGrind them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2785.jpgAdd the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2789.jpgExtract the milk through a chinois.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2790.jpgWhen the pulp remains, place back in the food processor for a second round. Pour through a cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2796.jpgAnd finally put the remaining pulp onto a baking sheet.
To make the almond meal, I place the baking sheet in the oven on the proof setting for a few hours. Sift the almonds when dry enough. Place back on the baking sheet and back into the oven, on proof setting, for another few hours until completely dehydrated. If you have a dehydrator, that would work very well as well. Then store in your pantry and use in your baking or cooking recipes as you would store-bought almond meal.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2800.jpgHere is the difference between the two milks. Purely visual. Taste wise, no noticeable difference. Either way, I wish you to enjoy it in your coffee, hot chocolate or in your baking and cooking recipes.
Delicious for your taste buds and your body!

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Delicious, moist, tasty and healthy muffins that are gluten-free and dairy free. This recipe is adapted from mon amour’s sister, Catherine, who made these the last time she visited us. What a treat! Merci.
IMG_1570.JPGSharing this family recipe with all of you to enjoy.
IMG_1468.JPGIngredients:
2 cups almond flour
1 cup sweet potato, baked and mashed
2 bananas
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup honey
raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts as you wish

Preheat the oven at 350F.
IMG_1469.JPGPlace the dry ingredients in a bowl: almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix together thoroughly.

IMG_1472.JPGAdd the walnuts, dried fruits and chia seeds.

IMG_1475.JPGMix well together.

IMG_1479.JPGPeel the baked sweet potato and reserve the flesh.

IMG_1481.JPGPlace the bananas and sweet potato in a separate bowl and mash them with a fork.

IMG_1487.JPGAdd the mashed sweet potato and banana to the mixture.

IMG_1488.JPGMix thoroughly…

IMG_1492.JPG…until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

IMG_1496.JPGPlace the oil and honey together in another separate bowl.

IMG_1497.JPGWhisk until fully combined.  The mixture should be filled with little bubbles.

IMG_1508.JPGAdd the honey and oil to the previous mixture.

IMG_1512.JPGMix well until fully incorporated.

IMG_1513.JPGOil the bottom and sides of medium size muffin pans.

IMG_1517.JPGFill the muffin pans close to the top.

IMG_1531.JPGBake for about 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Homemade Granola

As much as I grew up starting the day with a bowl of Chocolate Chaud and Tartines of French bread (not toasted) with butter and lavender honey or homemade jams, I love my American breakfast: granola.20140523-154704-56824770.jpgI particularly enjoy making it because I only include the ingredients I want, and none of the ones I do not want, such as considerable amounts of sugar and oil which are present in most store bought, packaged or bulk, granola. I typically make it with gluten free oats, gluten free old fashioned rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill, but you can use regular rolled oats if gluten is not an issue for you.  Just be sure they are not instant or quick cooking oats. Finally, I serve mine with almond milk.  Be sure to select the unflavored, original kind that is unsweetened. Whenever ingredients include ‘natural flavor’ or ‘natural flavoring’, often to impart a vanilla flavor, that is synonymous of ‘castoreum’ (animal product), which is not one I want to be putting in my body.

20140528-164541-60341298.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 dates
  • 12 dried figs
  • 8 prunes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

20140523-160954-58194566.jpg

Start by chopping the almonds and walnuts or pecans into smaller bites.20140523-160954-58194907.jpgCombine the oats, almonds, walnuts or pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.

20140523-160955-58195263.jpgThe blackstrap molasses, honey, cinnamon and vanilla quantities are given as a guide.  Please adjust to your preference.
20140523-160955-58195624.jpg
Add the honey, blackstrap molasses, vanilla and cinnamon to the oat, nut and seed mixture.
20140523-162354-59034391.jpg
Mix thoroughly until well combined and not lumps remain.
20140523-162354-59034723.jpg
Spread on two cookie sheets so that the layer is not too thick, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
20140523-162355-59035035.jpg
Spread the sesame seeds and dried coconut on separate cookie sheets and bake the sesame seeds in the 350F oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
After the granola has been in the oven for 10 minutes, lower the oven to 225F, toss the granola on the cookie sheets and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Repeat tossing the granola every 10 minutes 4 or 5 times until the granola has reach your desired golden brown color.
Meanwhile, place the coconut in the 225F oven for 5 minutes, and toss every 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes.
20140523-162356-59036046.jpg
Personally I like the sesame seeds and coconut lightly golden. You can keep baking them darker to exude a more intense flavor.
20140523-162355-59035349.jpg
You can use a bit more, or less ground flax seeds and chia seeds depending on your preference.
20140523-162355-59035683.jpg
Slice the dried figs, dates and prunes into small pieces.
20140523-175903-64743093.jpg
When the granola has baked to your desired golden color, set the cookie sheets on a cooling rack or trivet.
20140523-175903-64743447.jpg
Spread the dried fruits over the granola.
20140523-175903-64743858.jpgAdd the chia and ground flax seeds and mix to combine thoroughly.
20140523-175904-64744218.jpg
Place in a glass jar with a top and keep in a dark dry place (kitchen cupboard or pantry).
20140523-175904-64744610.jpg
Enjoy!

Best croissant in Chicago

My favorite croissant in Chicago!

20140503-104702.jpgBoth taste and texture reminded me of the best croissants from Provence bakeries. Of course, I ate it peeling the layers which to me it the most delicious way to savor every bite. Delectable!

20140503-111511.jpgFlaky, tender and crunchy. They import the butter from Europe for making these. I hope you make the trip to Cellar Door Provisions (CDP) on West Diversey. And while you are there, pick up a loaf of bread, and if you have a chance enjoy they soft boiled egg salad too!

20140503-112025.jpgAll delicious. Hope you enjoy too.

Pampadelle from Ardèche

It has been a little while since my last post. I started a few other endeavors which have been absorbing a great part of my time. Luckily all in the culinary world. More on my developing ‘cuisine’ ventures soon.
This morning, while making breakfast, I decided to take the time to snap a few photos so I could share an old tradition my grandmother used to make for me: pampadelle.

20140320-220211.jpgI don’t believe anyone in France would know what Pampadelle is unless they are actually from Ardèche. It is simply a type of crêpe or flat pancake made with an egg, a little flour and some water or milk. Here’s the new version I prepared to rediscover my origins.

20140321-162817.jpg
Ingredients:
1 fresh farm egg
1 Tbsp amaranth flour (or all purpose)
1 Tbsp buckwheat flour (or all purpose)
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
3 Tbsp coconut milk
A few drops vanilla
A little maple syrup
A little grape seed oil

20140321-234521.jpgWhisk the egg with a few drops of vanilla until completely mixed.

20140321-234613.jpg
Add 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and thoroughly mix.

20140321-234659.jpgAdd the Amaranth and Buckwheat flours. Continue to mix.

20140321-234806.jpgAdd a generous tablespoon of sliced almonds and mix together.

20140321-234924.jpg
Heat a little grapeseed oil in a heavy bottom pan and pour the mixture, swirling the pan to make sure the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan.

20140321-235018.jpgCook on medium heat until the sides lift, or detach from the pan.

20140321-235152.jpg
Flip it to cook the other side briefly.

20140321-235300.jpgServe and top with a few additional sliced almonds and a little maple syrup.

Enjoy!