Wild raspberries are just beginning to turn red this week. I wanted to get a jump on the industrious birds and pick at least a handful before they’re gone. These raspberries are not quite ripe and not hybridized, so they are pretty tart. Pairing them with sweeter fruit makes their tartness mellow enough to be full of flavor.
Growing up, I often made my own birthday cake. My mom encouraged my brother and I to cook, but mainly I enjoyed the process of creating this birthday treat myself. Back then, birthday cake came from a box, which is a one-80 from how I view food, prepare, cook, create, and eat today. Even though my kitchen skills started from a box, I am very thankful to my mother for encouraging me to get in the kitchen.
Due to my food intolerances and thus, enable myself to thoroughly enjoy my birthday cake, I will create it myself. This cake is almost dairy free (a little bit from butter, which lends a depth of flavor not available from coconut oil), egg free, and gluten free.
Here is the recipe, which also makes an excellent brownie sans frosting:
1 c. water 2 T. organic butter 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate 2 T. gelatin 1/4 c.unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 c. white sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 c. almond flour 1/2 c. rice flour 1/4 c. arrowroot powder 1/4 c. coconut flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 7 inch x 11 inch brownie pan with butter and place a piece of parchment on the bottom of pan. Heat 1 c. water over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Turn off heat. Sprinkle gelatin over the top of the water evenly and let it soak up the water. Once gelatin is dissolved, stir. If not all of the gelatin is dissolving, pick out any clumps, so these do not end up in the final product. Add butter and chocolate, stir until melted. Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour into the greased pan. Bake for 27-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
For the frosting, I was able to find an amazing tasting frosting in the store that was made with unrefined organic palm shortening (a healthy tropical fat) and cane sugar, called Dollop. It was creamy and luscious.
For decorating: remove the cake from it’s pan once completely cooled. Cut the entire cake in two equal pieces in order to make a layer cake. Put one half of the cake on a large plate and frost the top of this piece then place the other half of the cake on top of that. Continue to frost the top and sides.
I have to give credit to all of the cake decorators out there, this is a hard task, with making sure the frosting sticks without incorporating crumbs from the cake. It was not the prettiest cake I have ever seen, but it was soft and sweet, chocolatey and creamy. It was perfect for me and I wish I had more.
This cake serves about 8 people.
3-5 radishes, ends cut off, then cut in half
1 T. pastured, grass-fed butter
sea salt or fleur de sel
Place radishes on a plate, end side down, so that there is a larger surface area on the top where you will place the butter. Place a small slice of butter (maybe about 1/2 tsp) on top of each radish and sprinkle with sea salt. Eat each radish in one bite.
1 pear, cored and sliced thin 2 plums, cored and sliced thin 1/2 c. mixed nuts, some of the nuts coarsely chopped and some finely chopped (this nut blend includes walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and pistachios) 1/4 c. dark brown cane sugar 1/4 c. arrowroot powder 2 T. coconut oil 1/4 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a casserole dish or pie plate place pear and plum. Toss lightly with your fingers to combine them. In a separate, small bowl combine all other ingredients. Stir until the coconut oil is dispersed and the mixture is crumbly. It should hold together pretty easily when pressed into your palm. Sprinkle mixture over pears and plums pressing the mixture into palms and crumbling as you go to make some larger clumps and some smaller crumbly clumps. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Yield 4 people.
As an hor d’oeuvre, for lunch or snack, I love to put together a plateful of finger foods. It is completely satisfying to eat with my fingers; it is primal, instinctual, easy, and I find joy in licking my fingers after an especially delicious bite. So why not eat this way more often, slow down and savor each bite?
Take a medium sized plate (a salad plate so that you do not overindulge) and fill with a mixture of your favorite finger foods. Some ideas:
olives uncured, preservative free salami and deli meats sardines pickles (Bubbies are naturally fermented and contain probiotics) nori - drizzled with EVOO, sprinkled with sea salt and cut into small squares fruit cut to size plantain chips sweet potato chips roasted vegetables - leftovers from last night crudites' with hummus or pesto - carrot sticks, endive, sliced peppers, jicama cheese - goat, brie, sharp cheddar, Havarti whole nuts - almonds, Brazil, cashews, walnuts marinated artichokes or mushrooms stuffed grape leaves kale chips roasted chickpeas
1 zucchini cut into 1/2 inch rounds 1 T. coconut oil Sprinkling of Salt, Pepper, Garlic A few pinches of rosemary
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place coconut oil on a baking sheet and place pan in oven for a minute to melt the oil. Once the coconut oil is melted, remove pan and place zucchini into oil and toss to coat. Spread rounds, flat side down on pan. Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, Garlic seasoning blend and rosemary. As you sprinkle the rosemary, rub it between your fingers to break into smaller pieces and release some oils; this makes the rosemary more fragrant and delicious. Bake for 16-18 minutes. The zucchini is done when it is browned on the under side and fork tender.
I was in the mood for a cookie. We rarely keep packages of cookies in the house, so I had to make some. With the ingredients I had handy, this is what I came up with. They went down well.
1 tsp. chia seed
1/4 c. coconut flour
dash of sea salt
1 packet Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter (about 2 T)
1 T. water
In the trusted Vitamix place chia, dates, and coconut flour. Turn to medium-low speed. Allow these ingredients to turn into a sandy texture, which should only take about 30 seconds. This mixture will clump together when pinched with your fingers. Pour the sandy textured dough out into a small bowl and then add a packet of almond butter and water. Work the dough until everything is incorporated, it will be a tad dry, but still hold together well. Separate the final dough into 10-12 small balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and firmly press down to flatten into a cookie shape. Sprinkle with a touch of coarse sea salt for a nice salty-sweet combination. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. These cookies are caramel-ly, salty, sweet, and chewy.