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Simply delicious: Late fall recipes

Nov 1st, 2016 | Category: Cooking

by Corina Sahlin

Many people associate late fall and the holiday season with eating lots of food, feeling overly stuffed, children hyped up by sugary treats and gaining weight. And there’s the problem of friends and relatives visiting who might eat a gluten free or sugar free diet, and what, pray tell, are you supposed to do about dessert for them?

Grain Free Sweet Potato Ginger Cake. Photo by Corina Sahlin

Grain Free Sweet Potato Ginger Cake. Photo by Corina Sahlin

Considering that I have lots of friends with gluten sensitivities, and that my house is usually filled with children (my own three and their friends), and I don’t want them to bounce off the walls after eating sugar, I rely on our favorite recipes that are incredibly satisfying, taste like real dessert, but don’t have any refined sugar or gluten in them.

I don’t know about you, but I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. I feel like my life centers around food: growing vegetables, weeding, watering and nurturing the plants, harvesting them, fermenting, canning, freezing or drying the harvest, and finally, cooking it. Raising goats for milk and cheese, chickens and ducks for eggs and meat, pigs for delicious bacon and ham.

Even if you don’t raise as much food as we do, you still have to cook. Sometimes, it’s fun to pull out all the stops and create a fancy meal for friends and family, but most days, you just have to put food on the table, and wouldn’t it be nice it it didn’t take hours and lots of pots and pans?

Fall is a perfect time for simple cooking, without too many ingredients, complicated directions or time commitment. Root vegetables should be featured now, warming the belly and nurturing the body with earthy flavors and important nutrients.

Here are some healthy recipes that are simple to make and taste delicious.

Corina Sahlin homesteads in Marblemount with her family and offers online courses through her website. For more information, see www.marblemounthomestead.com.

 

Grain Free Sweet Potato Ginger Cake

Ingredients 

1 cup coconut oil

3 cups baked sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)

8 dates

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups almond flour (or finely ground almonds)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Directions

Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch slices and bake at 350 degrees until they’re tender, about 30 minutes. It’s fine if they get a little caramelized – in fact, that adds a nice touch!

Mix almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and coconut oil in a separate bowl.

Puree the baked sweet potatoes in a blender or cuisinart until smooth, then add dates and puree some more.

Add this mixture to the egg and oil bowl and mix well.

Then mix dry and wet ingredients and put in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Smooth the top with a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

 

Optional: Serve with whipping cream sweetened with a little maple syrup.

Note: If you don’t have almond flour, grind the same amount of almonds in a cuisinart until they are finely chopped. The cake’s texture won’t be as cake-like as it would be with almond flour, but it’s more crunchy, which is lovely as well.  I made this cake with pecans instead of almonds, and it tastes great.

 

Raw Chocolate Superfood Truffles

After over two years of not eating any refined sugar, my friend shared her recipe for raw chocolate truffles. They are divine, healthy, and consist entirely of superfoods.  I am in love.  Although I confess to being the biggest sugar junkie this side of the Cascade Mountains, and although I NEVER thought I could survive without the addictive white stuff, these two years without sugar have proven to be very healing for me.

Healing, but boring because I love the taste of chocolate. I now make one batch a week. I have declared these truffles my special medicine, and therefore I don’t share them with my family (let them eat Snicker Bars). Just kidding. Maybe.

 

Ingredients 

6 Tablespoons raw organic cacao powder

4 Tablespoons melted organic coconut oil

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla, non-alcohol

¼ cup cashews, ground

¼ cup brazil nuts, ground

¼ cup ground goji berries or raisins

1 pinch sea salt

 

Directions

Put nuts and berries in a Cuisinart and chop them finely.

Make a double boiler by placing  coconut oil in 16 oz measuring cup. Place cup into a larger bowl and add boiling water to bowl, just enough to reach the bottom 2 inches of measuring cup. Stir coconut oil until melted. Add cacao powder, sweetener, vanilla, ground nuts, goji berries, and salt. Mix well.

Slowly pour into silicone ice cube trays. Pat the top of each heart to release air bubbles.

Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Store in the fridge. Good luck trying to store them. You will wanna eat them all. Now.

 

Butternut Squash and Feta Galette

The delicious Butternut Squash and Feta Galette. Photo by Corina Sahlin

The delicious Butternut Squash and Feta Galette. Photo by Corina Sahlin

Now for a main dish. I make this when I want to impress people, which is kind of cheating because this galette is not hard to make at all, but looks like it is. It’s a perfect fall course, because it features squash and leeks. And since I’m a cheese maker, I always am looking for ways to use up feta.

 

Ingredients 

Dough:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon sage leaves (I often don’t have them around, but they do add a nice warm spiciness if you have them)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 to 6 Tablespoons cold water

1 egg, beaten

 

Filling:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds taken out, cut into 2- by 1/4-inch slices (about 4 cups worth)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, thinly sliced (or use onions if you don’t have leeks)

6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

 

Directions

Make the dough:

I love the cuisinart (food processor) for that. Pulse flour, butter, sage and salt until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Drizzle ice water in and pulse until it forms a ball, but don’t overprocess it, otherwise the dough becomes tough.

Press the dough into a disk, wrap it into plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for an hour.

 

Make filling: 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the middle.

Bake squash after drizzling olive oil and salt over it, until it’s golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Take squash out of oven and let cool slightly. Turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook leeks in some olive oil with a pinch of salt until tender, about 10 minutes. Put this into a bowl to let it cool a little. Add baked squash, crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss gently.

 

Make galette:

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch disk.

Arrange filling in an even layer in the center of the dough disk, leaving  a 2-inch border.

Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary.

Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake until crust is golden on the edges, around 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool it for 10 minutes before serving.

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