Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel which is sometimes confused with Anise, is one of the ingredients in this fresh salad.

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, that is documented as an herb, and all parts of the plant are eaten, were as with the Anise, only the seeds are used for consumption.

The fennel has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native plant to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Because of its highly aromatic smell and flavor, it has found its way, becoming naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Fennel has found its way into culinary dishes and the medicine cabinet, as it has medicinal uses as well.

The seeds are used whole or are ground into a powder and used in many culinary dishes of India, Pakistan, Ground fennel seedAfghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East.

Fennel seeds are the primary flavor component in Italian sausage.

Chinese Five Spice PowderThe Chinese also use the seed in their Five Spice Powder, which we personally use for our desserts that call for pumpkin pie spice.

Now for our featured recipe: Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, and here is what you will need.

4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens

4 cups basil, fresh

1 fennel, thinly sliced

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1 medium red onion, sliced

6 to 8 ounces goat cheese

1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked

Raw Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside. Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.

Wheat Berry cooking in olive oilToast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Building the Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese SaladStart building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.

illustration of chopping basilChop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air. It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time. As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil. The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad - close up

After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter. Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes

Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes

According to the Health News Library, you don’t have to wait for Autumn when pumpkins are normally harvested to enjoy their cancer fighting benefits. They write saying that research performed at Tufts University with pumpkins showed that 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin or fresh cooked pumpkin has five times the daily quota for beta-carotene (vitamin-A) per day.

If you were able to read our article Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup, and was able to prepare it, you would find yourself with some left over pumpkin. Well, no worries, as the 1/2 can of left over pumpkin can be used in our featured recipe: Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes.

Here is what you will need…

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes - close up3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pumpkin purée

2 large eggs

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

1 tbsp. coconut oil

4 to 5 strips crumbled cooked bacon

 

Whisk together in a large bowl the first 6 ingredients, and set aside.

In a separate medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, coconut sugar, and coconut oil.

Gently stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Heat a cast iron griddle coat with butter over medium heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto griddle to form a 3 to 4 inch pancake. Drop some of the crumbled cooked bacon. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes each side.

Plate and drizzle with real maple syrup.

Prevention magazine (October 2012 issue) says, to better absorb the beta-carotene in the pumpkin add a healthy fat to the recipe, and in this case it  is the coconut oil. If you choose, you can use olive oil. If you cannot get your hands on some coconut sugar, then you can substitute raw honey.

 

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Layered Pumpkin and Cranberry Parfaits

Layered Pumpkin and Cranberry Parfaits

Such a great combinations of flavors that complement each other. There’s pumpkin, cranberries, zest of an orange, and ginger syrup.

Cranberries fight urinary infections, cancer, and heart disease. The little red berries can promote weight loss, as well as emotional well-being. It also boosts and strengthens the immune system.

Pumpkin contains the antioxidants, vitamin C, and E, and several trace minerals. The squash also aides in weight loss and is high fiber content.

Fiber is valuable as it helps to curb appetite and slows down digestion. Pumpkin remains in the stomach for a longer period of time than low-fiber foods, and also slows the absorption of the sugar found in this recipe, therefore not spiking your blood glucose levels.

Now for the featured dessert, and here is what you will need.

The Pumpkin Layer

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

8 oz. cream cheese

6 oz. Greek yogurt

⅓ cup ginger syrup

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Whip the cream cheese in an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until creamed. Add pumpkin, yogurt, and mix until well combined and it has a silky smooth mixture. Add the syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and mix in till well incorporated.

Taste and see if it needs more syrup.

Put the pumpkin mixture in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate.

The Cranberry Layer

2 14 oz. cans whole cranberries

2 tsp. zest of an orange, minced fine

Pour cans of cranberries into a medium sauce pot over low heat. Warm cranberries and add zest, stirring in, and let simmer on low for 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

The Whipped Cream Layer

8 oz. heavy cream

½ cup powdered sugar

single dessert glass of Layered Pumpkin and Cranberry Parfaits Place whipping tongs and a medium metal bowl in freezer for about 5 minutes.

Remove bowl and whipping tongs from freezer and pour cream and powdered sugar into the cold bowl and whip with the cold tongs using an electric mixer, until cream is whipped with heavy peeks.

Using 8 ounce glass dessert cups (about 4) layer starting from the bottom spooning in pumpkin, then cream, next is cranberries, ending with another layer of pumpkin.

Top each dessert glass with whipped cream a few fresh cranberries and some almond or pecan bits. Enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Preparation for the muffins:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat bran

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

2/3 cup mashed pumpkin

1 cup whole milk

2 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

Preparation for the topping:

8 pecan halves, finely chopped

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar and baking powder, mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the pecan halves, butter, and remaining brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Mash with fork until crumbly.

Grease muffin pan or line with 12 paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle topping evenly on muffins. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also bake this as a coffee cake, by lining 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

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