Monday, March 02, 2009

Living High on Gluten-Free Foods!

Check...out...this...cake! Are you drooling yet? I wish I could say I made this masterpiece, but alas, I did not. Our UU Fellowship recently held it's Gourmet Gala, a pledging/fundraising event, and boy, did I luck out! I was at a vegan/gluten-free table (not that I didn't have to see broiled chickens, trussed up and all, paraded by my face on their way to other tables) and my table's theme was Mediterranean (it was potluck). This vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake was the envy of those that passed by our table, however! And yes, it was as good to taste as it was to look at (despite my no-sugar resolution, I did allow myself one tiny nibble so that I could blog about it here - you're welcome!).

However, I did make this: Pistachio-Chocolate Halvah, a traditional Turkish dessert featuring lots of tahini. This recipe was from Vegan World Fusion, a fantastic cookbook. The halvah was sooo easy to make, too! Just melt the chocolate (in the microwave), and mix with the tahini, some agave nectar, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla, (oh, and the chopped pistachios) and chill! It was thick and rich and had just a hint of tahini flavor (which not everyone could tell). Four stars! ****Oh, and yes, I did have a nibble of this while cutting it up - this resolution stuff is hard!
Here is our beautiful table. Homemade hummus and Mary's Gone Crackers got us started off.











This Greek Salad, made by our hosts, was amazing.













Of course, I got tapped to bring dessert. Luckily, I had just gotten the Mediterranean Vegan cookbook with some gift card money, and this Greek Currant Cake ("before" picture) was perfect! It includes an entire box of currants, 3/4 cup of olive oil, and 2 tsp of brandy - woohoo! I brought a trial version to my workplace and got rave reviews. However, when I used gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill) later that week for the real event, it had a hard time cooking. The first one was underdone, the second was overdone. Oh well, - it was certainly edible. I'll give it ***1/2 stars as an average! Moist, with a crunchy crust and studded throughout with tiny, yummy currants.
Here is the "after" shot, although I later cut it into triangular wedges and sifted confectioner's sugar on top.











The next night was my husband's and my weekly meal together (we typically cook separately throughout the week - and not just because he's an omni, but because we have such varied food preferences!) This Three Bean Chili from Vegan Planet, was almost perfect, but I had to add some sauteed kale and some cooked barley to the finished product, to up my whole-grain and green veggie count for the day. I think this made the chili even better! Otherwise, it was just a mess o' beans. Three stars *** before, Three and a half, after ;)
The chili was so easy to put together, I had time to whip up this Almond Apricot Loaf from Vive Le Vegan! while the chili simmered. I've been meaning to make this for a long time, and as usual, I wish I had made it sooner! The toasted almonds within and on top made this a real winner. Three and a half ***1/2 stars!






Backing up a little...as the week trudged on, I found a way to use up this little butternut squash I had kicking around. Tanya's Curried Squash Soup from Vegan A Go-Go! by Sarah Kramer, used so many veggies! Leek, sweet potato, regular potato (I found I could leave the skin on both - yay!), onion, garlic, cauliflower, butternut squash...the list went on and on! Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. It wasn't spicy or salty enough. I blended it halfway, so there were some nice chunks among the smoothness, but it still could have used a little something. I think cilantro or parsley would have helped as well. Two stars **.

But then, after all my hoping and dreaming about spring, what happens but we get hit by a snowstorm! We haven't had snow since January (and it was hardly anything even then) and have had the driest February on record, but last night we got over half a foot! That's a lot for Virginia, although I know my 82 year-old grandmother has been shoveling record snows back in New England. We are such wusses now...

Anyhow, it was a good morning to make something hot and different...





Hot quinoa! I bought quinoa flakes a while back and was excited to try them. However, they were so blah...They had a funny odor to them, and even with dried fruit and black strap molasses (both have iron!), I didn't care for them. I think it was too watery, so next time I could probably make it with less H2O, but frankly, I'd rather save them for baking with. At any rate, lots of gluten-free foods this week are certainly good for my digestion :)


1 comment:

VeggieGirl said...

HELL YES FOR GLUTEN-FREE!!!!!!! :-D