Valentine’s Day is all about pink! And red, of course. I suppose purple is also a legit Valentine’s color. Crimson maybe too. Anything in the reddish zone really… although reddish-yellow, like peachy, is pushing it…
With the color of love in mind, celebrate the holiday with this very Valentine’s Day fitting — at least color-wise — recipe (an adaptation from one I came across in Alive Magazine): Gluten- and sugar-free beet pancakes varnished in a ruby (another color!) cherry sauce.
The pancakes’ gluten-freeness is largely due to the use of quinoa flour. Which is cheap and foolproof to make — in fact, it’s identical to making your own oat flour: get the grain, and blend it!
Besides being very healthy (after all, these pancakes are made from beets, and we know nothing beats beets), these guys look and taste delightful! Quinoa flour makes them pillow-light, the pureed beets and bananas give them a Latkes-like texture, while the cherry-cocoa syrup is, well, a real cherry on top.
Although conventionally a breakfast-ish sort of a food, I actually had these velvety treats for dinner (like beer for breakfast I guess, fine as long as you don’t pair it with cereal) — so indulge!
Is there a Valentine’s Day-coloured recipe you’d recommend I’d try?
- 3 (250g) medium beets, peeled, and chopped
- 1 banana
- 1 cup (250 mL) gluten-free quinoa flour
- 3 free range eggs
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ - ¾ cup (60-120 mL) water
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups (500mL) frozen pitted cherries
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60mL) thyme tea, steeped, and strained
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- Place beets in steamer basket and steam until tender. Cool.
- Purée beets with banana.
- Combine the beet and banana purée with flour.
- Whip eggs with baking powder until stiff. Fold into batter.
- Add water to achieve desired consistency.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Add coconut oil and let it melt.
- Pour 2-4 tbsp of batter onto skillet per pancake. Cook for 2 min. Flip, and cook additional 2 min. (If not cooked through, increase cooking time.)
- Transfer cooked pancakes onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven to 200°F (93°C) to keep warm.
- In a medium saucepan bring cherries, maple syrup, lemon zest, cinnamon, cocoa, and thyme tea to a simmer.
- After 10 min, purée cherries.
- Mix dissolved cornstarch and vanilla extract into cherry mixture.
- Simmer until slightly thickened (about 2 min).
- Cover pancakes with cherry sauce and enjoy!
Winter came extra early this year, bummer, especially that there is still one more official month of fall left. My antidote for the too early passed autumn is baking with apples. The aura of flavor and scent of fall-imbued dishes actually takes one, I believe, physically to the time and place of fall.
Pinch of Yum’s recipe for apple cinnamon muffins does just that sort of wild time traveling magic. These guys are made using brown sugar, which in fact is not a whole lot better from white sugar — white being 99.9 percent pure sucrose; brown 97 — so instead I wholeheartedly recommend using the immensely more healthy unpasteurized buckwheat honey to sweeten them up — just know, you’ll need to bake the muffins a touch longer, at a temperature 25 degrees F lower.
The number of health benefits offered by raw apples (not muffins exactly) is super high, they, for example, whiten your teeth, help avoid Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, as well as many types of cancers, they reduce cholesterol levels, benefit the health of your heart, your bowels, liver, all the while regulating your weight and boosting your immune system. In other words, they’re phenomenal!
Reincarnate a tangible essence of fall with muffins made from the raw apples you didn’t eat! Did you try the recipe? What do you think? Send me photos and tell me about it!
- 1½ cups (375 ml) finely chopped apples (with peels!)
- ⅓ cup (75 ml) coconut oil
- 1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk (or milk + 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
- ⅓ cup (75 ml) buckwheat honey
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup (250 ml) all purpose flour
- 1½ (375 ml) cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- Liquify coconut oil by heating. Bring buttermilk to room temperature, for buttermilk substitute add vinegar or lemon juice to milk, let sit for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 F (163 C). In a large bowl, whisk the coconut oil, buttermilk, buckwheat honey, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Stir until lightly combined. Fold in the apples. Fill the mixture into a greased muffin tin of desired shape and size.
- Depending on their size, bake muffins for around 15 minutes. The muffins should be golden brown with springy, memory foam-like tops.
My girlfriend came up with the idea, not just to try eating granola for breakfast (with homemade almond milk), but to make it, from scratch that is, which, being a student at the time, was a great solution for my meagre (lack of an) income.
Mind you, besides the price there’s nothing cheap about this concoction: oats, almonds, pecans, cranberries — all there guys are organic by the way, and bought at Toronto’s grocery gem called Karma Co-op — raw honey, and maple syrup. Not exactly student food.
One thing which stuck with me most is the magic of how granola becomes crunchy. My wild guess was that you dry it (a somewhat short-circuited assumption, like thinking that anything spicy must have been set on fire). So, to my genuine surprise, I discovered that what makes the oats crunchy is the crystalized gooeyness of the honey, which you smothered the little guys in and bake till they turn golden brown.
Beware, the smell of this thing when its baking might bewilder you. It is no-hold-back nutty!
- 3 cups (710ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cups (60ml) wheat bran
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 cup (235ml) almonds, chopped
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
- ¼ cup (60ml) raw honey
- ¼ (cup (60ml) maple syrup
- ¼ cup (60ml) cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300 F/145C.
- Combine oats, wheat bran, sesame seeds, almonds, pecans and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well.
- In a small sauce pan over low heat stir in olive oil, honey and maple syrup.
- Stir until liquids start to combine.
- Pour over dry ingredients and stir well.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cranberries.
- Let sit on a rack and cool. The granola becomes crunchy as it cools.
- Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.