Sweet Potato Scones

I love scones. I think they’re among my favorite indulgences, as they’re one of the less sweet desserts out there, but also a very viable breakfast option. I also think I like just about anything that goes well with a cup of coffee, and I’ve never met a scone that didn’t.

It took me three tries to make these. They turned out well the first time, actually. But I stupidly measured the oil over my bowl, and as it went pouring over and into my flour mixture. From there I knew I was dooomed to guess exactly how much oil had actually made it in. My first guess (and second batch of scones) came out quite oily. The third was just right — and to my mom’s delight, as I think she is already quite over me dirtying up her kitchen and waving baked goods under her nose every weekend.

While I used agave in these, I was very gentle with it — only 1/4 cup. Therefore, these scones are not too sweet. Just how I like them. You’ll have to excuse my choppy writing, but I’ve had residual headaches ever since my migraine on Friday night and putting together a sentence is a little much for me at the moment. I think it’s time for winter to be over!

Sweet Potato Scones:

2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup liquified coconut oil, plus more for brushing

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup agave nectar

zest of one orange (optional)

1/2 cup fruit sweetened dried cranberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in oil, sweet potato, agave, vanilla and orange zest until combined into a workable dough. Fold in cranberries.

3. Form dough into a large ball and place on floured counter. Roll into an 8×8″ disk using dusted rolling pin, smoothing out edges with hands. Make slices in dough, cutting into quarters and then eighths (alternately, roll into two smaller disks for 16 small scones). Gently remove to parchment-lined or silpat-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining oil.

4. Bake scones in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden. Let cool before serving.

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Mediterranean Millet Risotto

I got the idea for a millet risotto recipe from this site for “clean” recipes, which I discovered through GOOP. I pretty much wanted to try every recipe on there (or a vegetarian version of those that had meat), but was particularly intrigued by the sound of a millet risotto.

Risotto is one of my weaknesses. It’s the carb-lover in me that can’t get enough of the often creamy, rich and delicate rice dish. On the other hand, a good rice risotto often requires arborio or another starchy, white rice. As a result, I try to limit my intake as much as possible. I like even my favorite guilty pleasures to have at least some nutritional value (thanks, guacamole, for coming in handy in that department).

Whole Grain Millet, on the other hand, is a good source of fiber and protien. I bought some awhile ago and was stumped with what to do with it (I was thinking a sweet pudding-type dish) until I saw a recipe for artichoke risotto in the clean, elimation diet recipe guide. I tried to vary the flavors a bit with some nutritional yeast, kalamata olives and parsley. If you’re so inclined, you might even want to add some white wine from the start as well. Like risotto, this dish does require a bit of stirring and attention. Still, the preparation is otherwise quite simple. Great for a week night when you’re tired but don’t want to give up on the hope of a nice, healthy and luxurious dinner (story of my life these days).

Makes: 4 servings

Mediterranean Millet Risotto:

1/2 red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced

1 cup millet

1 cup water

4 cups vegetable broth

1 can or jar artichoke hearts, drained (look for ones that are oil and additive free) and roughly chopped

20 kalamata olives, drained and chopped

1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add oil, onion and garlic. Saute until onion is transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add millet and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate, small pot, heat vegetable broth. Add 1/2 cup heated broth to millet once millet has absorbed most, but not all, of the water. Stir until liquid is again mostly absorbed, then add another 1/2 cup of broth. Keep repeating this process until there is no more broth, about 25 minutes.

3. After you have added your last 1/2 cup of broth and risotto is still somewhat soupy, add remaining ingredients. Stir until risotto is desired texture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Toasted Coconut Macaroons

Hey, everyone. I feel like it’s been forever, though in reality it’s not even been a week since my last post. There have been so many developments and changes in my life, I don’t know where to start! As far as news goes, I did manage to get a job that I really love. The bad news is that it might take us out of New York… But, more on that later; we’re still working out some of the details. Although I should clarify that I’m not necessarily looking at it as “bad” news — it’s more of a bittersweet feeling. A bright future; a bright city to leave behind.

Well, as you might imagine, I’ve been a bit busier in the past week than I was when I was unemployed. Remember my whole rant about being a “night owl/morning person” a few weeks back? Well, I’m no longer either. I both go to bed early and hate waking up to an alarm clock in the mornings. Other than that, though, (and again, I will provide more details in the months ahead), I have the opportunity to do something I’ve only dreamed was possible: feeling wholly fulfilled in my career. The downside (aside from my alarm clock in the morning) is that all of my energy goes into doing well at work, and I have little left over when I get home to cook anything, let alone write posts.

That doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about recipes all the time, though. I actually made these coocnut macaroons last week. My mom has implored me not to make them again because she liked them “too much” (oh, yeah, I’m living with my parents temporarily, too. But more on that later as well. Don’t worry; all is well with the hubs! …I told you there were a lot of changes going on!) I wanted to make a lower-carb, grain-free recipe for awhile and this one certainly fits that description (plus, they’re vegan, obviously). Although these are not low in fat, if you make them into small clusters as I did, you won’t have to feel too guilty about enjoying one or two (if you have the willpower to resist going for more).

Coconut Macaroons:

1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder/flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

¼ cup light coconut milk

½ cup agave nectar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until combined and sticky. Form into small mounds using a rounded tablespoon measure and lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet (if mixture is too dry and falls apart, add a bit more coconut milk. If it’s too wet add a bit more coconut).

2. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.

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Chili Sweet Potato Fries

When my friend Krystal told me she was excited to eat sweet potatoes over the holiday because they’re “not something (she) eats normally,” I knew I had to remedy this situation. Don’t normally eat sweet potatoes? I couldn’t think of a shopping trip where I hadn’t brought at least a pound of them home from the market, mostly to make my favorite dish: baked sweet potato fries (though I think the type she was looking forward to over the holidays was more of the sweet, buttery, marshmallowly variety). I told Krystal how I made these healthy alternatives to fries at home all the time — baked in the oven, making them not only healthy but also oh-so-easy. Then when I considered how often I made them, actually, it struck me as odd that I’d never posted the recipe here. In all honesty, it might have something to do with my pervasive fear that such a simple recipe will at best not impress and at worst insult my readers’ culinary abilities. Then again, I know many people (cough ***my husband*** cough) who need consultation on even the most basic kitchen tasks, and who could use a little gentle coaxing into some easy recipes in the kithen (cough*** my husband*** cough). On top of that, I’ve made it a New Years resolution to showcase more naturally gluten-free, low-maintenance recipes here. Even I, the self-proclaimed cooking enthusiast, could use a break at times from any complication in the kitchen. And to make things less comlicated for all of you, I present to you this recipe — one of my all-time faves — in picture.

Baked Chili Sweet Potato Fries:

1. Start by washing and drying 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes. Then slice them one at a time like this:

2. Make sure to tuck your fingers in like this when slicing, so as not to cut yourself if your knife slips:

3. Then cut your slices into fries by stacking your potato slices (you may want to remove the rounded bottom and slice that separately for better support) and cutting them into sticks like this:

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with remaining sweet potatoes. When you’re done slicing, toss your sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt until evenly coated. Lay flat on a baking sheet.

5. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Toss and lay flat again, then bake for another 15 minutes. If a really crispy fry is desired, you can turn your oven to a high broil for the last five minutes and broil, with your oven door slightly ajar, until sweet potatoes are crispy on top. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.

ENJOY!

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Chestnut Pancakes

I have a dilemma. It’s one that has plagued me all my life, or at least since I was old enough to appreciate the joy that a simple cup of coffee and a few moments of quiet and solitude in the morning can bring. Here’s the dilemma: I’m a morning person. Of course, this is not a dilemma on its own. Considering, however, that I’m also something of a night owl, this creates a bit of an inner turmoil. Add the fact that I am one of those people who just can’t function on less than 8 hours of sleep a night, and you see how I might struggle to reconcile my incompatible preferences.

I love the morning because of the solitude, the smell of coffee brewing, watching Woodley (most decidedly not a morning dog) continue to dream as he flinches and flaps his paws in his deep state of sleep. I love getting a head start on my emails, the morning headlines, the daily news shows. I love that I have a whole day left ahead of me once I’ve done all of these things.

I love the nighttime for many of the same reasons. After a hectic day, I can slow back down to catch up on emails, to return to my news shows (among other shows, mostly of the type found on Bravo). I love that Gennaro — a definite night owl — and I can sit and unwind to our favorite shows, after the dog is walked, the dishes done, the bills paid. And even those nights when we don’t have our shows, and I don’t have so many emails, and when I’m not lost in a good book, I somehow feel like I’m missing out on something if I go to bed too early. I’m like the kid who resists her nap for fear of missing out on all the fun while she’s asleep.

My need for 8 hours of sleep usually makes the night-owl side of me, by default, the winner. If I’m up too late, which I usually am, it’s hard for me to wake up early in the morning.  I’ve been lucky enough to be in school for the last seven years of my life, so I learned not to schedule any early morning classes. Though when I did have the rare unavoidably early class to attend, and forced myself to go to bed early and get a good night sleep, I learned that I had a special place in my heart for mornings as well.

Every once-in-awhile, just for the fun of it, I do wake up early on the weekends. If anything, it’s just to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and some morning baking. Pancakes, of course, are the perfect compliment to these lazy, early Saturdays. Last Saturday (New Year’s Day, in fact), was one of those, and I decided to forgo my usual weekend breakfast fare for something really special and unique. My mom sent me back to New York after Christmas with a package of chestnut flour, challenging me to find something to make with it. This delirious-smelling flour is something of an enigma. It’s like coconut flour in its ability to absorb massive amounts of liquid — so much so that you keep adding more and more until you have a batter that bears some modicum of familiarity. Which is what I did, of course. I added more and more liquid to what was intended to be an all-chestnut flour batter until I finally thought it at least resembled a pancake batter, then discovered, to my dismay, that this rendered my “pancakes” unreconizable gooey blobs once in the pan. So I tried again, this time using the chestnut flour as a compliment to a brown rice flour-based batter. Much better.

The moisture of chestnut flour makes this version slightly less “cakey” than most pancakes. But they’re too good (in my opinion) in their own right not to share at all, at the risk of offending those pancake purists who have one thing in mind and won’t accept any variations. They’re especially good drizzled with some cinnamon-laced agave nectar. Now that I have this recipe down, I have a new thing to add to my list of things I love about the mornings. Then again, pancakes make a wonderful late-night snack as well…

Yield: about 15 pancakes

Chestnut Pancakes:

½ cup chestnut flour (mine came from here)

1 cup brown rice flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons flax seed meal

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ cup water

¼ cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for brushing pan

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt and flaxseed meal. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until incorporated. Let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Brush a cast iron skillet or pancake griddle with oil. Heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until hot (to test: drop a teaspoon of batter onto the skillet and see if it sizzles). Drop scant 1/4 cups of batter onto hot skillet, a few inches apart, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on the first side, until golden brown on the bottom and bubbly on top. Slip and cook second side for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove pancakes to a plate.

3. Repeat step 2 as necessary with remaining batter.

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Winter Rice Bake

Well, I’m a delinquent blogger. While my fellow, more disciplined, blogging buddies have likely supplied their readers with things like year-end lists of their favorite recipes or healthy detox recipes for those ready to start the new year off on a healthy foot, here I am, presenting an everyday recipe — a simple, no-frills baked rice dish. Sure, it’s quite healthy in its own right; brown rice, leafy greens, low-fat Cannellini beans, butternut squash. But it’s not necessarily a detox-friendly dish (unless you’re on a detox that allows for processed foods, and I’ve not heard of any of those myself).

Still, after contemplating my own list of favorite recipes (after awhile I felt like a bad parent, not wanting to make any of the other recipes feel bad) and reminding myself that I’m not a person who likes the all-or-nothing resolution diet attitude (I prefer a year-round, more balanced approach), I reassured myself that there are at least some out there who are open to an easy, comforting winter dish. As many of you gear-up for a return to the 5 day work week and cold months ahead, consider this one antidote to all of that work and cold, and presumably, tiredness.

Oh, and in keeping with my New Years delinquincy, I am writing this post while I should be paying attention to the Michigan bowl game. However, the performance on the field is such an atrocity, I can find comfort only in writing to all of you. Let’s hope 2011 is a better year for my Wolverines. Maybe someone should tell them to eat some black-eyed peas…

Serves: 4-6

Winter Rice Bake:

3 cups butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cups swiss chard, chopped into short ribbons

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Daiya vegan mozzarella-style shreds

a pinch of salt to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and lay flat on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until soft.

3. Reduce oven heat to 350. Meanwhile, toss together butternut squash with remaining ingredients. Taste for salt. Spread into a baking dish and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes, or until edges are golden. Serve.

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Caramel Corn

I based this recipe off of a “crazy corn” recipe my aunt made over the holidays. Hers was sticky and sweet and utterly addicting — this version is crisp and crunchy, but just as dangerously good. Seriously, don’t make this unless you have loads of friends over to help you finish it off, or serious willpower (alas, I most definitely do not possess the latter).

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was spent in Michigan, where Woodley spent the first extended period of his life outside of New York since he was born, and was thoroughly excited to play in a real backyard and run through an actual home (not an apartment). We hosted Christmas Eve at my parents’ house. It was as all-vegetarian affair (vegan if not for a Greek salad with feta, which I admittedly cheated on). I took a picture of my cousin’s plate at her request, which only includes about half of what we had to offer. There was also crushed lentil soup, quinoa tabbouli, and vegan spinach dip.

I could really go on all night about our Christmas Eve menu (seriously, I could…) but we are heading back to New York tomorrow and have 10 hours of driving ahead of us, which means I should probably sleep at some point tonight. Therefore, without further ado, here’s the recipe for my new favorite addicting treat. This recipe is anti-candida diet friendly, if you’re on a diet that allows corn products. While the yacon can be quite expensive, I think it’s worth it here in terms of taste and texture.

Caramel Corn:

2/3 cup yacon syrup

4 1/2 tablespoons Sweetleaf Stevia Plus powder*

5 tablespoons soy-free Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 quarts popped popcorn

3/4 cup pecan pieces (optional)

Directions:

1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Drizzle over popcorn and pecans and toss to combine until popcorn is evenly coated.

2. Lay popcorn flat on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes. Let cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving, or until popcorn is crisp.

* Note that this amount will need to be adjusted if you’re using a different brand. See comments.

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Red Lentil Kibbeh

Growing up in Metro Detroit, I took for granted that I was living next to a national resource: Dearborn, Michigan, which boasts one of the largest Arab populations outside of the Middle East. It was only when I moved out to New York that I realized not all cities — not even what many consider the greatest food city in the world — are home to a plethora of Middle Eastern restaurants like Dearborn is, all lined up, one after the other, like a virtual Vegas buffet of Middle Eastern dining options. Perhaps I also took for granted the fact that kibbeh — a popular Lebanese dish — was a staple when we ate out; I’m surprise to find it on virtually zero menus here in NYC. Growing up, I remember it well: a baked dish made with lamb and cracked wheat and pine nuts. I thought it was delicious, and equally so when I occasionally ordered a vegetarian version (what it consisted of, I have no idea), or — eek — the infamous raw stuff: a blend of raw ground meat, cracked wheat and spices.

With Thanksgiving looming last week, I was eager to find a main dish that would make me wonder why turkey was ever the preferred option. I thought about a lentil loaf, and tested a few recipes for that. Never a meatloaf lover in the first place, I keep thinking there must be a better option, which is when I considered revamping my lentil loaf into a lentil something else. And that’s when my years of kibbeh experience came into play (as I consider kibbeh to be a meatloaf of sorts), and how I ended up having a kibbeh Thanksgiving.

Not to worry: turkey was not totally forgotten this holiday season. I “adopted” a rescued (formerly slaughter-bound) turkey named Jordan through Farm Sanctuary. His favorite foods are carrots and kale (some kind of a health nut, this Jordan) and he’s “youthful and kind.” It’s funny. This time last year I was researching brining techniques, brainstroming recipes for turkey leftovers and sneaking bites of the dark meat as my dad did the carving. This year, I’m saving turkeys from becoming food. What a difference a year makes, indeed!

Jordan

Luckily, this lentil kibbeh is not nearly as seasonal as most Thanksgiving fare. It’s a  versatile dish that can be enjoyed any time of year, and in many ways. While Gennaro enjoyed some wrapped in a whole wheat flatbread, I had mine with salad and some tahini dressing. And while this version is baked in croquettes (a popular traditional kibbeh preparation), the “batter” can also be spread into a square baking dish and baked into a casserole for an additional ten or so minutes, then cut into squares. If you’ve never had kibbeh before , think a moist, tomato-ey version of baked falafel.

Red Lentil Kibbeh:

Note: 2 hours of inactive prep time

Yield: 30-35 croquettes

I used Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Farina hot cereal in this recipe to mimic the traditional cracked wheat. I imagine — for those without allergies or intolerances to gluten or wheat — that a dry cream of wheat would also work here, though I’m not entirely sure (it’s been so long since I’ve had the stuff!) I also used a no salt added tomato paste here, though if you can’t find any, reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon instead of 1 1/2. I think this kibbeh is best drizzled with tahini dressing.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for spraying or drizzling

2 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 1/2 cups water

1 cup dry Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Farina

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup no salt added tomato paste (if using regular tomato paste, reduce salt)

Directions:

1. Saute onions over medium-high heat in olive oil until they begin to soften and become transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Set aside.

2. To a medium-sized pot, add red lentils and water. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for five minutes. Add brown rice farina and stir to combine. Turn off heat.

3. Stir onions and garlic into the lentil mixture. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine, lightly mashing lentils with the back of your spoon. Set aside to cool. When cooled, refrigerate mixture for 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 400. Remove mixture from refrigerator and begin to scoop out using 2 large soup spoons. Use spoons to shape kibbeh into oval-shaped croquettes. Lay croquettes onto a pre-greased flat baking sheet. Spray or drizzle tops of kibbeh with olive oil (I used olive oil spray to get an even coating). Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (check for browning after about 20 minutes), or until bottom of kibbeh is browned and tops are crisp. Enjoy hot and crisp, at room temperature or refrigerated.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

This will be my first Thanksgiving sans turkey. And while I’m not exactly sad about it, it did get me thinking about ideas for how to create a delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving. My family has always taken a pretty traditional approach to Thanksgiving. We’ve never been a sage-in-the stuffing, skin-on “smashed” potatoes kind of crew. But I’ve always appreciated a good Thanksgiving-inspired recipe that colors outside the lines a little.

I also recently noticed that the ubiquitous fall ingredient — butternut squash — has been noticeably absent around these parts. My friend Liz sent me a great recipe for butternut squash soup with a curried apple chutney. But every time I had the squash, I didn’t have apples. When I had apples, I had no squash. When I had vegetable stock, I had neither squash nor apples. Then today, I found myself with squash, lasagna noodles, some Daiya cheese (I know, it’s about time I seek help for my affinity for fake cheese), and all the ingredients I needed for my pine nut ricotta. I’m sure you can figure out where this is leading. And while my family will likely be celebrating Thanksgiving with the expected mashed potatoes and stuffing, I’m thinking this will make a great vegan side for a large, adventurous group, or even a main course for a small family.

This Thanksgiving, I will be SO THANKFUL for passing the NY Bar Exam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I figure it’s only fair to share my joy here, where I’ve also lamented for months about my stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and endless studying. Thanks, all, for your support and well-wishes during a trying but ultimately rewarding time.

Butternut Squash Lasagna:

3/4 cup raw pinenuts, soaked for 4 hours, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 box Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice noodles

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 18 oz.)

3 tablespoons sage leaves, roughly chopped

1 cup Daiya vegan mozzarella, plus more for top

Directions:

1. Prepare filling: in a blender or food processor, add soaked pine nuts, lemon juice, water and salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside (keep in food processor).

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of hot water to a boil. Add butternut squash and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from pot (leave hot water for noodles) and drain. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions, undercooking by a few minutes. Drain and rinse.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Rinse squash with cold water and add squash to food processor. Process until squash pieces are small and mixture is relatively smooth. Stir in sage leaves.

4. Assemble lasagna: add a layer of 3 noodles flat to the bottom of a baking dish. Spread about 3/4 of the squash-ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles and sprinkle 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup cheese over the squash mixture. Repeat 2x. Place remaining noodles on top and sprinkle with additional cheese.

5. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

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Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

These biscuits are awesome. And if there’s any doubt that that last statement is just a result of my I-haven’t-had-a-biscuit-in-years brain talking, my husband ate seven of these last night along with his meal.

Ever since I discovered Daiya cheese, I’ve had this idea that I wanted to make cheddar-scallion biscuits. It was sort of one of those recipes that lingered in the back of my mind, but one I never tried to execute for one reason or another. Maybe I was out of an ingredient. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was watching my calories and didn’t really feel like testing batches of biscuits for days. Whatever the reason, the gluten-free, vegan cheddar-scallion biscuit was, for a long time, a figment of my imagination — a recipe that seemed destined to live forever in my head.

One advantage of being unemployed (always have to look for a silver lining, right?) is that all of the recipes that have made homes in my imagination have actually been given an opportunity to come to life. The best part about this one is that it’s even easier to make in reality than it was in my head. While the first batch I made contained xanthan gum, I found that the Daiya cheese held everything together nicely enough, and the addition of gum only served to make these chewier and gummier; less flaky.

Serve these with chili or soup. I think they’re the perfect addition to a fall evening. I don’t even think the picture does justice, because it struck me that these appear sort of dry-ish and heavy in the picture, and they are actually quite light and flaky and soft inside. While I thought the addition of garbanzo bean flour lightened up the batter and made the final product even flakier, you could use 1 cup of brown rice flour if that’s all you have on hand. The final product will be slightly more dense, but still good.

On that note, I’m off to apply to do more job applications and maybe make some more recipes while I’m at it. I’m curious: what recipes have you conjured-up in your head but never actually got around to trying?

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cheddar Scallion Biscuits:

The reason I’ve listed the brands I’ve used here is that I’ve noticed a stark contrast between results with different brands of flours — especially when it comes to brown rice flour. Feel free to use whichever brand you have on hand, but keep in mind that the results might vary.

3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour

1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean (chickpea) Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

5 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Shortening

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon light coconut milk, plus more for brushing

1 tablespoon agave nectar

3/4 cup Daiya vegan cheddar cheese

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add shortening and, using your hands, crumble into the flour mixture. Add in agave and coconut milk and stir until everything just comes together. You can use a little more (about a tablespoon) coconut milk if necessary but try to stick with the 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (the more liquid, the more dense and chewy these will be). Add Daiya and scallions and knead into the dough using your hands until evenly distributed.

3. Drop batter by packed 1/4 cup onto a pre-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, a few inches apart. Press down slightly on each biscuit with the bottom of measuring cup to flatten. Brush tops with coconut milk.

4. Bake biscuits in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Eat while still warm or let cool on a rack until ready to eat.

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