Thursday, June 5, 2014

raw chocolate coconut "brownie"

one last recipe for today. i can't believe i haven't shared this before now, but i can't find it so must not have. i was probably too busy eating. and then too busy working out to counteract all the eating. i digress...

i'm a sucker for good, dark chocolate. add in just enough sea salt and you have found my kryptonite. add in coconut and i'm as good as done. these raw brownies have all that and more. i must avoid making them to save myself from eating the whole pan. the. WHOLE. pan. i could go on and on, but i'm just getting hungry so will just give you the recipe. ;)

raw chocolate coconut "brownie"

1 1/2 C almond butter
4 1/2 C unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 C raw cacao powder
3/4 C raw honey
1/4 t sea salt
1 t vanilla

mix all ingredients in a large food processor or stand mixer (i have found my 11 C kitchen aid food processor freezes up with this large an amount, so i always use my stand mixer now). press into a 9x13 pan and refrigerate. allow to come to room temperature for easier cutting. ENJOY!

flourless chocolate cake

do a google search for "flourless chocolate cake" and you will come across many options...most laden with white or powdered sugar. do a search for "grain-free brownie" or "grain-free chocolate cake" and, i'm not going to lie, you will find many results, but, perhaps like me, be disappointed by the resulting taste and texture. i love an ooey-gooey brownie as much as (possibly more than) the next person. other paleo, grain-free brownies i have tried have been a let down...too much coconut flour leaves them chalky, too much almond flour leaves them overly moist, too much tapioca starch leaves them higher on the glycemic impact than i prefer. one major thing i have learned over the last couple years is the mix of alternative flours you use is very important. this recipe, however, uses NO alternative almond flour, no coconut flour, no tapioca starch. skeptical would be a kind word to describe how i was feeling when i found and made this recipe, but i had just made almond butter and my food processor was already dirty so, why not? once i tasted the batter i was feeling more hopeful. i have, however, in the past had delicious grain-free batters that turned into disappointing baked goods, so i held my breath and final judgements until the end.

oh. my. goodness. JOY. when this rich, chocolate pan cooled off i found myself in cake heaven. light and airy, not eggy, not overly sweet. a near mary poppins of baked confections. extra bonus? the ingredients aren't hard to find/make. i made this recipe three times while visiting friends in oregon over spring break. that's three times in ONE week. when you find a good thing you must share it, right?! ;)

this recipe is originally from the healthy home economist and is called a brownie. the picture they posted is most likely cut from the middle of the pan. i have found if you want more of a brownie texture, cook it less. for a lighter, less gooey cake texture, mix the liquid ingredients more and bake longer. for my oven this means 24 minutes leaves a gooey center (will have a little wiggle in the middle when you take it out) and by 28 minutes the whole pan raises to cake stature (still a little give, but more solid). do NOT over bake. the recipe also works wonderfully baked in individual ramekins (baking time 15-20 minutes, depending on the size you use). i have changed very little...i use less maple syrup than the original recipe, found honey works fine as a substitute, and omit the chocolate chips, but otherwise have stuck to the above linked recipe.

flourless chocolate cake

1 C almond butter
6 eggs
2/3 C grade B maple syrup or honey
1 T vanilla
1 C raw cacao powder (organic cocoa powder is also fine)
1/4 t sea salt (originally called for 1/2 t salt, but my almond butter is already salted)
1 t baking soda

blend almond butter, eggs, sweetener, and vanilla in your food processor. add cacao powder, salt, and baking soda and blend again, scraping sides down to be sure everything incorporates well. spray or oil a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 24-28 minutes. allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

this is delicious on its own, served with a scoop of your preferred ice cream, or with fresh fruit (think raspberries or strawberries). it is also very tasty with dark chocolate chips/chunks and walnut pieces scattered on top before baking...sprinkle with a little sea salt after removing from the oven (oh man, that last one was gooOd).

lamb gyro burgers

i love a good gyro. it was one of the first things i consumed when i traveled to NYC with my two youngest sisters a few christmases back. after 11pm, food cart in midtown...i could have inhaled two or three.

nowadays, i haven't had a real gyro in what seems like forever. the wonderfully soft, delicious, wheat-laden flatbread has kept me away. a couple months ago, i found ground lamb for a really good price and decided to experiment. i could capture all the flavors i love in a burger, i was just sure of it. the result was wonderful that i have made it two weeks in a row. the second time *could* have been because we inhaled the first batch so quickly i never got a picture... ;)

when lamb is raised properly and cooked right, the taste and health benefits can't be beat. look for grass-fed lamb. this high protein and vitamin B-12, omega-3 rich meat option should be making a regular round in your menu.

lamb gyro burger


2 lbs ground lamb
1 red onion, diced
2-3 oz feta cheese, crumbled (avoid the extra chemicals and always buy the block, crumbling what you need)
2 eggs
1 1/2 t dried oregano
salt and pepper

mix all ingredients, form into patties, fry in a large skillet with olive oil. allow to rest at least 5-7 minutes before serving with tzatziki and fresh tomato slices.

tzatziki sauce

1 C plain yogurt
1/2 english cucumber, diced
4 sprigs fresh dill, minced
salt and pepper

stir all ingredients together. chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

can't have dairy? you can get by with leaving out the feta in the burger and use a coconut or almond milk yogurt or non-dairy sour cream substitute for the tzatziki (though i never suggest using a soy alternative).