Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos

For a really long time, I was hesitant to prepare stuffed poblanos for the sheer dread of having to go through the process of charring, peeling and seeding each and every one. How tedious! Imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered a large can of already prepared poblanos at Whole Foods one day. One problem: they tasted awful. It was immediately clear that the earthy, smoky poblano was just not meant to be canned. How shameful I am to admit I tried to take such an amateurish shortcut! The moral of the story is take the extra 15-20 minutes to prepare the poblanos from scratch. I have also stuffed them without the added steps, but they are much more easily digested and enjoyed after being roasted and peeled.

These stuffed poblanos are tasty, vegan, and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. You could prepare them in advance and refrigerate. Bake later for a dinner party that will unite the health-conscious with the taste-conscious. I especially love the interplay between the hot, smoky chipotle and the sweet and surprising pumpkin.

If you’re wondering what to do with the extra canned pumpkin you will have lying around after making this, here are a few ideas: blend with extra firm silken tofu, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg for a tasty pumpkin mousse; freeze in a zipper bag for later use; or, as Woodley would suggest, store it in the refrigerator for a few days and give to your dog with meals. It helps their digestion, and my — albeit very unpicky — dog loves it.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 poblano peppers

1 cup cooked quinoa

2/3 cup corn kernels (fresh if possible)

2/3 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup Spanish olives, sliced

1/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo, PLUS 1 chipotle pepper, minced (Casa Fiesta brand contains no added sugar)

3/4 teaspoon salt

Mashed avocado with lime juice and salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Rub poblanos in olive oil and broil in baking dish or flat baking sheet for a little over ten minutes, turning occasionally to char all sides evenly. Once poblanos have charred, place in a large dish or bowl and cover with cellophane to steam. Set aside.

2. Set oven to 350.

3. Prepare filling by mixing remaining ingredients, minus the optional avocado mixture. Taste a little and adjust salt to taste. You may also add more adobo sauce or chipotle if you like more spiciness. Keep in mind that the poblanos will add some spice as well. Make sure pumpkin is well combined. Set aside.

4. Remove cellophane and rub poblanos to remove skin. It’s o.k. to leave a little on, but the majority of the skin should be removed. Using a sharp knife, make a slit down the length of the poblano on one side. Using a spoon, gently remove seeds from inside. Generously stuff poblanos with quinoa mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes to heat through. Serve alongside avocado mashed with a little salt and lime juice, if desired.

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Raspberry Almond Muffins

food 035These are wonderfully light and nutty. The almond meal in this recipe adds a nice depth of flavor while lightening up the batter. Trader Joes’ almond meal is pretty reasonably priced and can be used in a variety of baked goods. I like to put it in my smoothies in the morning as well for some extra flavor and protein. The added step of running the flours through the food processor will make the flours less course. You may also use brown rice flour if you wish. 

Ingredients:

1 cup almond meal

1 cup  rice flour (either white or brown)

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon arrowroot

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup agave nectar

1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Place flours in a food processor and pulse 10 times. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and whisk with remaining dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat agave, canola oil, coconut milk, vanilla and zest on high until smooth. Change setting to low and slowly add flour until fully incorporated. Do not overmix. Finally, fold in the raspberries carefully using a spatula. Fill muffin tin with liners and place about a 1/4 cup mixture into each cup. Batter should make about 12 muffins. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean.

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Gluten Free Carrot Orange Cupcakes

006When I was younger, one of my favorite desserts was my grandma’s — which then became my mom’s — famous carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It was dense and sweet and tasty, yet incredibly loaded with vitamin packed carrots. My take on the dessert is a little less carrot-heavy, but the absence of sugar and butter and the addition of whole grains makes these cupcakes a not-so-guilty pleasure nonetheless.

I know it may seem like a lot of ingredients, but if you already do a lot of gluten-free cooking or baking, you will likely have many of the items already on hand. Plus, many of the ingredients for the cake are used in the frosting as well. As a final note, I really like to use Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour for baking because it tends to produce a less gritty final product. If you are working with what seems like a grittier flour, try throwing it in the food processor for about 30 seconds for a finer texture.

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp flax seed meal

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tsp orange zest

1 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water

1 medium apple, peeled and grated

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the orange juice and zest, agave nectar, canola oil and vanilla extract. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add the hot water. Fold in the apple, carrot and coconut. Do not overmix.

Line muffin tins with baking cups and fill each cup about halfway with the batter. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool. Then top with vanilla orange frosting. Recipe follows.

Vanilla orange frosting:

2/3 cup light coconut milk

1/4 cup white rice flour

2 tbsp orange juice

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup agave nectar

1 tbsp arrowroot

2 tsp orange zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Whisk rice flour and coconut milk and heat in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slowly stir until milk has thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend with remaining ingredients. If using coconut oil and your oil has hardened, place it in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes until it liquifies before adding to the blender. Chill for at least an hour.

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