Skillet Cornbread with Corn and Polenta

gluten-free dairy-free cornbread polenta fresh cornI literally cannot tell you how I came to have cornbread in my oven this weekend. I had some half-baked idea about lunches and bringing black beans to work for lunch, then I had this idea about stuffing, and then I don’t know, all of a sudden I was rummaging through the freezer looking for frozen corn and pulling out the polenta. 

This recipe combines two things I couldn’t find otherwise: cornbread that includes frozen corn kernels as well as polenta, that coarser-ground cornmeal that’s used both for grits and in Italian cooking as a pasta alternative. It also has a delicious, crispy bottom and sides from being baked in a cast-iron skillet.

I added a drizzle of honey to my cornbread; that’s not strictly Southern, so if you prefer, you can omit it. You might also try making this with almond flour and a tablespoon or so of coconut flour, or your favorite gluten-free flour instead of the blend I used.

Whatever way you choose to make it, it would make a great side to your Thanksgiving feast — or, better yet, as the centerpiece in a batch of cornbread stuffing. 

Skillet Cornbread
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Serves: 8
A delicious gluten-free and dairy-free cornbread that combines polenta and fresh corn.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups polenta or grits
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 Tbsp honey, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour oil into a cast-iron skillet. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the oil is sizzling.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add the egg, almond milk, corn and honey. Allow to set for a few moments or until it thickens slightly.
  3. Remove skillet from oven and immediately pour the hot oil into the batter. Stir until well-combined, then pour the batter into the hot skillet.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges look brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm, with butter and maybe a little extra drizzle of something sweet.
 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, all —

Thanksgiving is the most food-centric holiday of the year. To that end, there’s a lot of stressing about food — what to make, how traditional should everything be, and what do you do about Great-Aunt Mabel who refuses to eat anything you have to chew, because her dentures don’t fit correctly?

I can’t promise to have all of the answers to these questions, but I do have a pretty large collection of Thanksgiving recipes that are gluten-free, mostly Paleo, and even a few that are vegan. I’m sure you’ll find something to suit everyone in the following list, including Great-Aunt Mabel.

(I do apologize for the quality of some of these pictures! They are pretty old, and I hadn’t yet grasped the importance of natural light and, you know, attractive food photos. I am in the process of trying to replace many of these.)

Appetizers:

Spicy Bar Nuts

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (with fresh veggies)

Roasted Chickpeas

Salad:

Kale and Wild Rice Salad

Butternut Squash, Kale and Quinoa Salad

Sides:

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Potatoes with Onion and Apple

Cauliflower Apple Mash

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Thyme-Roasted Vegetables

Grain-free Stuffing

Turkey Gravy

Dessert:

Paleo Pumpkin Custard

Paleo Pecan Pie

 

Paleo Pumpkin Custard

paleo pumpkin pie 1

Folks, I have to apologize. That right there in the photo above is not a pretty-looking dessert. It’s actually a really ugly dessert, and my limited food styling skills were not enough to save it. 

But you know what? You should make it anyway. You should pretty much make these right now, especially if you are Paleo and you have been craving pumpkin pie. Heck, even if you’re not Paleo, you should put these in your Thanksgiving rotation because they are just. That. Good.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is based off of a recipe of my mother-in-law’s. My husband actually made these for Thanksgiving the first year we were dating, and he’s very proud of his version. It’s essentially a crustless pumpkin pie, which is perfect because crust is like the least exciting part of pumpkin pie, in my opinion.

Anyway. His version is great, but I knew I could make these Paleo with just a few adjustments. The original version was actually gluten-free, so all I needed to do was use honey for sweetener and coconut milk instead of cream, and I was in business. These changes meant the custard took longer to set up, but a few adjustments there fixed that, too.

So here you are! A pumpkin pie with basically no excuses not to eat it. Enjoy!

Paleo Pumpkin Custard
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Serves: 6
A delicious Paleo pumpkin pie — kind of. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk (not quite a can)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin a large pot of boiling water, either in a tea kettle or a saucepan, for your hot water bath.
  2. Beat eggs and honey in a stand mixer until well blended. Add pumpkin and spices and stir to combine, then beat in vanilla and coconut milk until the mixture looks exactly like the inside of a pumpkin pie.
  3. Distribute batter among six ramekins, putting about 3/4 of a cup in each one. Place ramekins in a 9″x13″ glass baking pan, then carefully pour an inch of boiling water into the large pan around the ramekins. If you like, you can take one of the ramekins out of the pan first to make the pouring easier, then replace it.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the batter stops jiggling and a knife inserted in the center of one of the ramekins comes out clean. Serve, or place in the fridge for later.
 

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

gluten free sweet potato gnocchi 1
Welcome to Comfort Food Week! This week, I have three recipes designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even though it might be cold and sad and disgusting outside. Part one is here

It’s sort of an unspoken secret in the food world that, on a basic level, food that chefs make is better in part because they have the balls not to go light on the fat.

Let me back up. Flavor is essentially made up of three components: fat, salt and acid. There’s an umami factor too, like the flavor found in dried mushrooms, but those are the building blocks. If you dish seems a little tepid, probably something is off in the fat/salt/acid balance — and that’s why adding butter to salty, acidic tomato sauce is a genius call.

The theory here is that home cooks rarely have the temerity to throw a stick of butter into a pan and fry something in it. A chef does, because she knows that extra fat is going to make all of the difference to her dish.

At least, that’s what I told myself when I melted half a stick of butter in a pan to make this dish. There’s nothing wrong with butter, I told myself. Nothing wrong with butter. Fat is good for your brain. And your soul. Clearly.

The gnocchi turned out perfectly, of course, beautiful little pillows of slightly sweet gluten-free pasta with a perfectly crunchy golden outside. The slightly astringent note from the rosemary kept everything from getting too heavy, and the salt in the dough and in the Parmesan cheese balanced everything nicely.

Speaking of which, maybe a little fat will bring balance to your life and diet this week. Winter means not being afraid to stock up a little for the cold times ahead, so long as you’re feeding your body good, nourishing food. So embrace the butter, my friends.

I know it’s cheating a little to use a gluten-free flour mix here, but I intended this recipe to be easy to throw together. Feel free to experiment with other flours if you have the time and inclination. You can also sub in wheat flour if you are not gluten free.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Serves: 4 servings
A quick and easy gnocchi recipe ready to make you feel good about winter. Don’t skimp on the butter — you’ll regret it, I promise.
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • I large egg
  • 1 Tbsp freshly minced rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4-1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Parmesan cheese and thyme for serving
Instructions
  1. Microwave or roast the sweet potato until it is very tender. This will take about six or seven minutes in a microwave, or about an hour to an hour and a half in a 325 degree oven. Once cooked, let cool, then remove from skin and mash very well.
  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine the sweet potatoes with the egg and beat until well-combined. Add rosemary and salt. Stir in flour, starting with the lesser amount and adding more just until the dough is not sticky.
  4. Dump dough out onto a countertop. Divide into eight equal pieces and roll each piece into ropes of dough that are about 1 inch in diameter. Cut ropes into little pieces approximately one inch in length. Press each piece with the tines of a fork.
  5. By now, your water is probably boiling. Drop gnocchi in in batches. Cook for two to three minutes, or for about a minute and a half after they start floating. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain. If they seem to be very, very sticky, then rinse a bit with cold water. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
  6. When all gnocchi are cooked, melt that butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring, until both sides are golden brown.
  7. Serve with Parmesan cheese and a little fresh thyme sprinkled over the top. Winter is coming.
 

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

vegan gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake 2

Guess what? It’s finally — finally — pumpkin season for real. The leaves are changing, the nights are freezing (in Idaho, anyway) and the grocery stores are full of giant winter squashes. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte the other day. ‘Tis the season.

I know you guys are excited, too — and that’s why I’m posting two weeks of sweet and savory pumpkin recipes! Because when it’s pumpkin season, I fully believe you should take advantage of that. Throw that stuff in everything. I am.

vegan gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake 1

This vegan cheesecake recipe is not just another pumpkin post, though. This is the vegan cheesecake that made me realize that regular cheesecake is not my favorite. Why would anyone ever eat an overly rich and super-sweet slice of modified cream cheese when they could be eating this incredible goodness? 

I finally worked out the kinks in my vegan cheesecake recipe and technique, and the result is a beautifully light (but still substantial) whipped filling made mostly of coconut milk, cashews, and pumpkin with the perfect amount of honey and spices. I actually made an audible oh my god this is so good noise when I ate my first bite of this. And with the pecan-date crust giving that delicious nuttiness with a touch of caramel flavor? Forget about it. 

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
 
Author: Kate Wutz
The vegan cheesecake to end all cheesecakes — the one that makes you realize all other cheesecakes, non-vegan as they are, are kind of crap. Enjoy this taste of pure fall.
Ingredients
  • 25 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 10 mins, then drained
  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey, if you’re not vegan)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup of cream from the top of a can of coconut milk
  • pinch allspice
Instructions
  1. Make your crust: Process dates, pecans and vanilla in a food processor until it begins to come together. Press into a springform pan, and place in freezer.
  2. Make the filling: Process cashews, pumpkin, and sweetener in a food processor until about as smooth as you can get it, but before it turns into nut butter.
  3. Add vanilla and spices and pulse a few times to combine. Add in coconut cream and process until smooth, whipped, and the texture of, well, cheesecake. It will be a tiny bit grainy, but it’s not noticeable as you’re eating it.
  4. Pour filling over prepared crust. Freeze to solidify, then store covered in the fridge for up to a week. Yum.
 
Notes
* To get the cream from the top of a coconut milk can, first find a can of coconut milk that doesn’t make a noise when you shake it. Then, flip the can over and open from the bottom. Carefully drain off the thinner liquid, then scoop the white cream out. You should have about a half cup of cream. Use the extra in coffee 🙂

 

 

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

butternut squash kale quinoa salad

I’m ready to concede that summer is over. The light down jacket is out, the leaves are turning, and now I find myself craving pumpkin with a strength that cannot be denied. But as I refuse to post about pumpkin stuff yet, as it’s still September and I am a valiant defender of keeping holidays within their respective months, I’ve had to wrack my brain to come up with something to post.

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

brussels sprouts with bacon paleo gluten-free
Sometimes, you just want a meal with an off-the-charts comfort factor. Whether your energy is low, you’ve had a bad day or you just feel kind of blah, we’ve all has those moments where we want something easy, we want something delicious, and we want that thing right now

Enter — these sprouts. Believe me when I tell you, this dish makes me happier than almost anything in the entire world. It’s gluten-free and paleo, but also so easy, so simple, and totally a complete meal. The only hard part is that it uses two frying pans, not one — generally one more than I would like to clean at the end of a long day.

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