Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting get a gluten-free anti-inflammation make-over

I am a big fan of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.  Her food is delicious and I love how much she takes pleasure in the shopping, preparing, eating and sharing of food.  Ina just seems to have a beat on finding great American favorites and making them their very best. In fact, I just love everything about her.

However, we’re all about healthy eating here, preventing disease and managing inflammation.  Sometimes, Ina uses ingredients that are on our “avoid” list.  That does not stop us from using her delicious recipes and giving them a healing makeover. .  Like these tasty chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting--we love Ina’s version, but we’ve adapted it to make it healthier.  As always, our goal in making over any recipe is to create something that resembles the original as closely as possible.  We think we’ve got a pretty good approximation here.

We’ve used gluten-free flour, replaced the sugar with our favorite low-glycemic sweeteners and swapped out the inflammatory cow’s milk sour cream and buttermilk for yogurt.  In our version, we use home-made kefir from raw cow’s milk, but you can substitute goat, coconut or almond yogurt.  All these options are anti-inflammation.  By the way, there’s butter in the frosting, but many of the inflammatory agents are removed in making butter, which is mostly only milk fat, so go ahead and enjoy.  Just make sure you are using butter from pasture-raised cows so you get all the inflammation reducing omega-3s.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

16 tablespoons (or 2 sticks) unsalted organic butter from pasture-raised cows at room temperature*
1 cup coconut crystals
2 tablespoons powdered stevia (Trader Joe's powdered stevia)
2 extra-large eggs plus 1 egg yolk from pasture-raised chickens at room temperature*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup yogurt (use organic goats milk or homemade yogurt from raw milk)**
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup canned heavy coconut milk
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cup gluten-free multi-purpose flour by King Arthur
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup organic peanut butter smooth
5 tablespoons organic butter from pasture-raised cows at room temperature
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon stevia
1/4 cup coconut crystals
2 tablespoons yogurt (use organic goats milk or homemade yogurt from raw milk)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
chopped peanuts

1)  Make the cupcakes:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle blade, cream the butter, coconut crystals and steva.  Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is creamy.  In a separate bowl stir together the yogurt, almond milk, coconut milk and coffee.  In one more bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, xanthan, baking soda and sea salt.  On low speed, add the yogurt mixture and flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl beginning with the yogurt mixture.  Mix only until blended scraping sides with a rubber spatula to check that entire mixture is blended.

Divide the mixture between cupcake pans (using a standard rounded ice cream scoop filled full to the top but not overflowing).  Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for ten minutes and remove from pans.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

2)  Make the frosting:  In the bowl of a mixer, use a paddle blade to combine the peanut butter and butter.  Add in the vanilla, stevia, coconut crystals, yogurt and salt. Turn beater to high and whip for a minute until mixture is fluffy and creamy.

3) Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.

*pasture raised is higher in omega-3s which increases the anti-inflammatory properties
**these are anti-inflammatory dairy options

Friday, June 19, 2015

They're back! Farmer's Market Tomatoes

Small organic tomatoes I purchased yesterday.  

Yesterday I arrived at my local Tahoe City farmer's market just as it was closing.  I was delighted to see the first of the summer tomatoes were in.  They were small, but as it turned out later, tasty.  I grabbed a bagful and began planning dinner.

In a few weeks we'll have these! (Photo from last year's market.)  
And these!  (Also from last year.)

Chicken Penne Pasta with Sage Wine Sauce and Summer Tomatoes (Low Gluten)

1 large organic chicken breast with skin and bones
1-2 T olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 T butter from grass fed cows (anti-inflammatory when it's from grass fed cows)
2 T chopped shallots
2 T einkorn flour (low gluten)
1/3 c white wine
2 c chicken broth or more
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 8 oz. pkg. quinoa penne pasta (gluten-free--I used Ancient Harvest brand)
2 c chopped fresh summer tomatoes
1 T fresh sage minced
2 green onions sliced

1)  Roast the chicken:  Place the chicken on a baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees until just done, about 35 minutes.  When chicken is done, remove the chicken from the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces.

2)  Make the sauce:  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add in the shallots sauteing gently for a minute or two until the shallots are softening.  Stir in the einkorn flour and keep stirring for a minute while the mixture thickens.  Add in the wine and keep stirring.  Add in the chicken broth and keep stirring for several minutes.  If mixture is too thick, add additional broth.  Season with the white pepper, sea salt and dried sage.

3) Make the pasta:  Follow package directions to make the penne.  When penne is cooked, drain and pour into a serving bowl.  Stir in the chicken and the sauce.  Top with the tomatoes, fresh sage and green onions.