Grain Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble


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I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to come across rhubarb at my local Whole Foods the other day.  We used to have this growing in the backyard on the East Coast, but it is very rare in my experience to find fresh rhubarb anywhere in Houston.  My grandmother, Dot, who is my culinary idol and would be 99 years old this month, used to make strawberry rhubarb pie in the summer.  We would have a picnic under her carport nearly every Sunday, and her desserts were always the best part. I’m pretty sure the woman subsisted entirely on sugar for the last 10 years of her life, all 98 pounds of her!

Needless to say, I scooped up several pounds of the bright red stalks and the cashier looked at me, dumbfounded and had to look it up.  As soon as I got home, I got to work chopping the rhubarb into small pieces, freezing a good amount to stash away.  I’m not sure my grandmother would recognize the final product, or approve of the lack of actual sugar, but the idea is the same.  Tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries are a match made in heaven.  I jazz them up with a bit of lemon zest, red wine and black pepper and top it with an almond flour and pine nut crumble.  This dessert is best eaten warm with a scoop of ice cream (try this coconut milk version) and shared with friends.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

2 cups strawberries,  sliced

2 cup fresh rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

zest of one lemon

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 Tablespoons local honey

1 Tablespoon arrowroot

a splash or two of red wine

For the crumble: 

3/4 cup almond flour

3 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 Tablespoons local honey

1/4 cup grassfed butter (or coconut oil), softened

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pan or skillet.

Assemble the filling by combining strawberries through honey.  Mix the arrowroot with the red wine until it is completely dissolved.  Add into the filling mixture and toss to coat.  Set aside.

Make the crumble.  Combine the flours, nuts, salt and pepper.  Add the honey and the butter and use a fork to cut into the flour mixture until crumbs form.  Keep pressing together until you have a workable dough.

Pour the filling into the pan.  Crumble the topping over filling.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is browned and filling is bubbling.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Almond Flour Strawberry Shortcake

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I suppose this post might have been most useful pre-Valentine’s Day, but heck, I had leftover strawberries.  This dessert is simple and requires few ingredients, so its a cinch to whip up for a romantic dinner for two, with leftovers of course.  I really love the addition of black pepper, I think it adds a great layer to any strawberry dessert.  You can omit it, of course, if you’re feeling more traditional.

I used a heart cookie cutter to form the almond flour biscuits, but you could choose another shape or do a simple round biscuit by forming it in your hands.

What really makes this dessert is the homemade whipped cream, which is so simple that there’s no reason to every buy the storebought variety again.  You want a heavy whipping cream, full fat. Use a local, organic variety if at all possible. In Houston, I like Mill-King and it is readily available at Whole Foods.

Serves 4-6

For the biscuits:
2  cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the strawberry topping:
1 large container organic strawberries
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the fresh whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 Tablespoons
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt. Whisk together the honey and melted butter or coconut oil, then add in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Stir the wet mixture into the dry until incorporated.  Shape the dough into a ball and chill for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the whipped cream.  Add the first two tablespoons of heavy cream to the bowl of a standing mixer along with the honey and vanilla and blend on high speed.  Add in the remaining cup of cream and continue to mix on high until stiff peaks form.  Place in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

When the dough is chilled, take out of the fridge and divide into six parts.  Shape into balls and place each one on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then flatten to about an inch thick.  Or, if you prefer, roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool.

While biscuits are cooling, prepare the strawberry topping.  Stem and slice the strawberries and place in a bowl with the maple syrup, vanilla and black pepper.

Cut the biscuits in half, then layer with the fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  Enjoy!

Spiced Chocolate Avocado Mousse with Pomegranate and Cacao Nibs

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This past week I assisted my dear friend Ali Miller of Naturally Nourished with a Food-As-Medicine cooking class on Aphrodisiac Foods and Chocolate Avocado Mousse was on the menu.  Check out her version, a list of upcoming cooking classes, and her awesome practice, here.

If you’ve never had chocolate avocado mousse, or if you think it sounds weird, you absolutely must try it.  You also might have been living under a rock for the past couple years, because this is definitely a thing.  We served an early version on my menu at Roots Juice and I’ve tried a million different variations since then, all of them delightful.  And for Valentine’s Day, I quite frankly cannot think of anything sexier than creamy avocados, rich chocolate, spicy cayenne and tart pomegranate seeds!

Chocolate goes well with pretty much everything, avocados included.  Their creaminess lends an incredibly creamy mousse texture without any dairy added. This is the perfect recipe when you’ve got very ripe to overripe avocados, as the chocolate will camouflage any brown spots.  Do yourself a favor and use raw cacao powder in this recipe if you can, not cocoa powder, as it has a higher antioxidant load and is less processed .

I love a subtle spiciness with my chocolate, and the cayenne really revs up this dessert (as well as its eater).  You can certainly experiment with other spice combinations as well.

Serves 4
2 avocados, halved and pitted
1/3 cup raw cacao powder 
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch cinnamon
pinch cardamom
pinch cayenne
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk, as needed
pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs to garnish

Puree the avocado until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Add the cacao powder, sweetener of choice, vanilla and spices.  Blend until silky smooth, adding the milk one tablespoon at a time as needed.  Taste and adjust sweetness and spices.  Serve with pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs.