Sweet Cranberry Wine Sauce – gluten free + vegan

Ingredients:

1 bag cranberries (12-16 ounces)
1 750ml bottle of sweet wine (*See note*)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
pinch salt

Directions:

In a medium stock pot add your sugar. Turn your burner onto medium high. Wash your cranberries well under warm running water, shake most the water off. Add your cranberries to the pot and stir well to mix with the sugar. After about 60 seconds of stirring, lift your pot off the burner and away from the flame and slowly add some of your wine. Adding only a little at a time will help prevent boil over, when working with alcohol this is important as a boil over could produce flame (never good!). Once you get enough in the pan to coat the bottom of the pan with at-least a 1/4 inch or about a centimeter, you can return the pan to the stove and add the remaining wine. Save that wine bottle though as its a great way to serve your sauce that’ll have your guests wondering!

Bring to a boil while stirring. You want to stir your sauce mixture until all the sugar is dissolved and you no longer feel the sugar at the bottom of the pot.

Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer or just a little higher. You will want to reduce your sauce down depending on how thick you want your final product. If you want something closer to a jelly or jam, reduce it down by half. If you want something more like a slightly thickened sauce, 1/3 – 1/4 will do just fine. (I reduced by 1/4) Just make a mental note where the sauce started, so you know when you get there. Let it cook uncovered until your desired thickness, make sure to stir every 2-5 minutes just in case, other than that it doesn’t require much effort.

After your sauce is your desired consistency, use an immersion blender or transfer tinto a blender continer. Blend on high until the sauce is a very fine puree, you can optionally strain the sauce if you want.

As this sauce cools down it will thicken up a good bit due to the pectin in the cranberries, so keep this in mind while making it. If kept in a tight fitting glass container this sauce will keep up to 2 – 3 weeks. (photo was taken after sauce was 2 weeks old!)

*NOTE* Make sure you ONLY use a wine you would drink plain. Cooking this wine concentrates the flavor, so if you don’t like the wine to start with, this won’t make it better. I suggest a sweet white wine like a moscato d’asti or a riesling. A sweet red like a rose wine would also go amazingly with this.

CAUTION: If you’re making this for someone who is gluten intolerant or a vegan. Please make sure that the wine you’re using is gluten free and contains no animal products. Most wines are finished with isinglass, this is a concentrated substance from the bladder of fish. Some wines are made with wheat and wheat like products. When it doubt call the producer of this wine or choose a different brand.

Multigrain Vegan Flour Tortillas

Tortillas are one of those things most people never make homemade and that’s a shame, because nothing completes a taco better than a warm freshly made tortilla. This recipe takes the plain wheat tortilla to the next level by adding rye and spelt for extra nutritional benefit as well as great flavor. Combined with sesame oil and extra spices of seasoning, this recipe will win anyone over, vegan or otherwise. Most healthy tortillas (not fully of chemicals or preservatives) are about 40¢ ea which is what I calculated this out to be if divided into 12, so you don’t really save any money, however it’s worth it. Oh and if you’re saying that you can buy a package of tortillas for 2 dollars and you get 10 so that’s 20¢ each, I invite you to read the labels. Chances are the ingredients look like this:

Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil And/Or Palm Oil), Contains 2% Or Less of: Sugar, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate), Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Calcium Carbonate, Antioxidants (Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid), Cellulose Gum, Calcium Propionate And Sorbic Acid (to Preserve Freshness), Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite And/Or Mono- And Diglycerides). Contains: Wheat.

This is the actual ingredients list of a well known brand of “wheat” tortillas. (click here to see the brand and where I’m talking about) I’ll stick to my simple ingredients. With the exception of the Mrs. Dash and the sesame oil, everything in my recipe was organicly purchased so take that into consideration when inspecting the price.

Ingredients:

1/2 – 2 cups warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour, finely ground works best
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup rye flour3 tablespoons oil *see note*
1/4 teaspoon salt **see note**
optional:
3 tablespoons oil *see note*
seasonings (I used chipotle powder and Mrs. Dash)
1 teaspoon yeast (gives great flavor)

Also suggested for this recipe is a cast iron griddle, this gives it lots of extra flavor.

Directions:

In a large sized bowl add your flours, yeast, salt, seasonings, and oil. Stir with a spoon until the oil starts to clump and you mix the flours well. Slowly mix in your hot water, you may need more or less depending on the types of flours you use. I used 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons. The trick is to get a nice dough consistency, without making it too moist. In this case, less water is better. When your dough just starts to come together and it still kind of crumbly, turn the dough out onto a flat surface. You can do the kneading in a bowl, however it makes it more difficult, in my opinion.

With dry hands, knead the dough. Push down the dough with the bottoms of your palms, then raise the dough back up and turn sideways 90 degrees. Repeat this process until your dough is your desired consistency. For chewy and soft pliable dough like what you’d buy in the store, I suggest kneading vigorously for at-least 10 minutes. You will know your dough is ready for rolling when you can press your finger into the dough and it partly holds it shape, but mostly bounces back at you. The dough will also be very smooth and soft looking. For me it took about 16 minutes of average speed kneading. Technically, you don’t have to knead at all, but the consistency won’t be the same and since these are multigrain they might be a bit tough.

Divide your dough into equal sized portions. I decided to make 12 pieces out of this recipe, and they yeilded 8 inch tortillas, you make divide them into smaller or larger pieces to suit your needs. Roll out each ball into the desired size.

Heat your cast iron griddle over medium high heat, until a drop of water will dance on the skillet for 2 seconds before evaporating. Turn down your heat to just below medium, and add your dough. Pay attention not to let the dough fold over the edges, so it cooks evenly. Cooking time is about 30-60 seconds per side, depending on if you use a cast iron skillet or not. Add your rolled dough sheet onto the griddle and do NOT move it until you start to see bubbles appear on-top of the dough. Flip and wait another 30 seconds, then check your dough. If the other side is browned slightly, then it is done. Repeat this until all your tortillas are cooked and Enjoy!

Heres a great tip: Take a skillet with a lid and place a towel or cloth into the bottom. Place your tortillas in this pot once cooked and replace the lid. The towel prevents the steam collecting and turning your tortillas soggy, while keeping the tortillas nice and soft.

To reheat these you can slightly warm in an unoiled skillet or place however many you need on a place, cover with a dampened paper towel and place into the microwave for 30-60 seconds or til heated through. (I do not endorse the use of microwaves, however I know some people use them)

*note: I like using 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 1 tablespoon neutral oil like grape-seed to give extra flavor to the tortillas, however you may use any kind you want, or you may omit it all together. However, oil helps keep the tortillas pliable.
**note: If you are using a seasoning mix that contains salt, do NOT add the additional salt.

Nutritional Information is based off 12 servings (as shown in video) and assumes you used the same ingredients I used. Yours may vary.

Sesame Soy Asian Inspired Vinaigrette

This is my go to dressing. This recipe can be vegan friendly if maple syrup or another liquid sweetener like agave is used. It can also be a raw dressing depending on your ingredients. If making this for someone with gluten issues, please insure you use gluten free tamari/soy sauce, AND gluten free vinegar.

Ingredients:

1 cup grape-seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sesame seed oil*
2 1/2 tablespoons whole sesame seeds
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 – 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground is best
2-4 tablespoons honey or liquid sweetener of choice**(see notes)
Ginger***(see notes)
Directions:

In a large bowl (high sided works best), add in your vinegar, soy sauce, and honey or other sweetener. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of oil. This should take 1-2 minutes of vigorous whisking. The trick is to make a dressing and not oily vinegar, there is a difference. Once you have 1/2 cup of oil in, try your sauce and if desired add the rest of the oil. At this point if you’re using it, whisk in the sesame oil as well. Once all your oil is whisked in, add your extra flavors or extra sweetener if desired. I used whole sesame seeds and black peppers. Stir in and you are done!

To store this dressing use a mason jar or repurposed glass jar with a tight fitting lid OR use a VERY well cleaned salad dressing bottle, I like the ones with the caps on the lid that restricts the amount that comes out at one time. In the fridge this will last for weeks, maybe a month or so I have never tried it that long. Before using, shake really well to re-emulsify and you’re ready to go.

*If you do not want to use or don’t have access to sesame oil, you can substitute it with regular oil or leave out entirely.

**If you are vegan or simply do not use honey, feel free to use maple syrup or agave. If neither appeal to you, try making a simple syrup by boiling 1/4 cup water with 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk well to ensure no grainy texture. Once cooled, substitute this in for honey. Start with 1 tablespoon and try it from there as this changes the flavor.

***If you want to add a ginger flare to this dish, use a microplane or fine tooth grater and grate some ginger into the bowl. I would suggest 1/2 – 1 tablespoon. Whisk this in with the sesame seeds. Optionally you can add other flavors such as fresh garlic or chili flakes to change the flavor.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you are making this and/or cooking for someone with gluten allergies or celiacs disease. Make sure to purchase ingredients that are certified gluten free, and clean your utensils very well. Better safe than sorry.

Nutritional information is per tablespoon, Thanks!

Quick pizza or pasta sauce from scratch

Ingredients:

2 lbs Roma tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil or grape-seed oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
1 1/2 tablespoons oregano
1 heavy pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
pinch salt or to taste
optionally to thicken: 1 – 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds or half that amount in psyllium husk or ground chia seeds

Directions:

To start out you need to prep your tomatoes by coring them. The best way to do this is to use an apple corer or you can cut the tomatoes in half and use a V cut to remove the core. Then you need to scrape the seeds out using your fingers. While not required, it helps to remove extra liquid and makes the cooking time faster. (don’t throw the liquid and core out, I ate it with a little tabasco as a virgin bloody Mary shot (lol) however you can add this to a salad dressing for extra nutrition or in your morning juice)

In a larger sized skillet add 1 tablespoon grape-seed or olive oil and swirl it coat. Heat on medium high until hot. You can test the heat by adding a few pieces and waiting for them to sizzle. Once hot, slowly add all your tomatoes in as to not splash the oil. Now add your seasoning. I prefer Italian seasoning blend, freshly ground black pepper, and extra oregano with a pinch of hot pepper flakes however you can change these to your specific tastes. Optionally you can add 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, mined finely. I used a pre-minced version although 5-6 garlic cloves will equal the same amount. Now carefully stir the seasoning. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, still on medium high, without opening the lid.

After 5-6 minutes remove the lid and stir. At this point your tomatoes should be basically falling apart and super tender. If you have a stick blender you can whizz this up in a pan otherwise transfer to a blender container. Pulse blend for literally 5-10 seconds. Now optionally you can add a thickener like I chose to. I did this so the sauce would “feel” better on the pizza. Add 1-2 tablespoons flax meal to the blender WHILE RUNNING. If you just add this while not running you could just end up with a large ball of thickener. This is also the time to add any salt if desired. If you want you can use psyllium seed or ground chia seeds, however, I would half the amount of thickener as they set foods up faster.

At this point your sauce is ready for use on pasta, a sauce to dip your bread sticks into, or spread onto your pizza crust for amazing homemade pizza!

*Note* the thickener is not required however I find you get a better sauce with it added as most store bought sauces have some form of thickening agent. If you choose not to use it, you will need to cook for 2-3 times as long to get the same consistency OR your sauce is just thinner. It’s your choice, ENJOY! ^.^

Nutritional information is for 1 cup serving. Full recipe makes about 4 1/2 cups:

Non-Traditional Bruschetta – Vegan (with directions for Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

2lb ripe tomatoes (I used two HUGE beefsteak tomatoes)
1 regular size French style baguette
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/4 cup grape seed or olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 medium onion,sweet yellow or red
half bunch Italian parsley, minced VERY fine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch salt or to taste
few cracks black pepper or to taste

Directions:

Start by turning your broiler on. If using an electric stove like myself, move your racks to the middle, doing this step ensures your bread will toast evenly.

With a sharp, serrated knife slice on the diagonal down your baguette about 1/4 inch slices. You will get about 20-24 slices depending on size. Place these on a tray in a flat even layer and set aside. Take a small pan and add 1/4 cup grape-seed oil (you may use extra virgin olive oil also), along with 1 tablespoon of your finely minced garlic, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dried basil. Put the heat on low and just let slowly heat up, DO NOT rush this. The object of this is to perfume and flavor the oil, not to cook the dried herbs. If you rush this, you will burn the basil and your bread will taste terrible.

Cut your tomatoes into cubes less than 1/4 inch in size. The easiest way to do this is to put the tomato in half, then make 1/4 slices around the tomato. Take those slices onto your board then make long slices, turn those slices then cut long slices again, this will produce cubes. You NEED a sharp knife, if you do not have a sharp knife, you will mush the tomatoes (you could also harm yourself).

Cut your onion into small pieces. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half the long way then cut off the top bit. Now hold the onion vertical and slice 3 cuts into the onion SLOWLY, so you don’t cut yourself, almost all the way to the root but leave a little uncut. This makes layers, now set your onion flat on your board and cut vertical strips along the onion. Follow the natural lines, as this will help. Finally, turn the onion and cut it up and down. Your end result are small pieces of onion. If you cannot do this properly, or don’t like this method. Simply slice the onion thinly and rock your blade around your board until the pieces are small OR use a food processor to pulse the pieces small, NOT puree.

Prepare your fresh Italian parsley (not regular parsley) by washing and drying the herbs. Cut thin slices all along the leaves until you get to the roots (we will not be using the roots however save them in a freezer bag for the next time you make broth/stock, adds amazing flavor). Rock and chop in all directions until your parsley is small pieces, you don’t want large pieces stuck in your teeth. You may have to pile the herb back up to help cut it.

By this time your oil and basil mixture should be starting to sizzle or bubble. Turn off the heat and let it naturally cool down just until it stops bubbling. In the mean time, add all your tomatoes, onions, and parsley into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (see video if using pre-minced garlic from a jar) and approximately 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Stir well, making sure not to squish the tomatoes though. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt or vinegar if needed. However keep in mind it’s not suppose to be super salty or sour, just a subtle hint of each.

Once your oil cools down, take a spoon (obviously metal so it doesn’t melt) and spoon a SMALL amount of oil on each piece and spread it around. Repeat for all the bread slices. Once all the slices are done, scrap off any LARGE clumps of garlic and basil. If you fail to do this step they will burn in the oven, which is not tasty. You also only need to oil one side of the bread. Once all the pieces have been oiled and scraped, stick them in your oven on high broil in the middle racks for about 60 seconds. You will need to watch these very closely. The point is not to brown the bread, but to lightly toast them so they do not go soggy with the addition of the topping. Once the tops are lightly toasted or JUST starting to brown around the edges, flip them all over with a heat proof tongs and replace in oven. At this point I like to turn off the broiler as the remaining heat is enough to finish the job. Leave them in there another 30-90 seconds or until they just start to get crispy. The way you tell is to lightly scrape your tongs or a fork against the top, if you hear a dry sound, they are done. Remove from oven.

RIGHT before serving (do not do this ahead of time) spoon on a couple tablespoons of your tomato mixture (be sure to stir first). Try not to get a lot of juice on the bread. Enjoy! A red wine goes great with this dish or these are great served before pasta dishes. To be honest with you, I just ate a ton of these by themselves for dinner and I was happy! ^.^

For a gluten free version, make sure to use a gluten free baguette or bread. For bread slices, cut them into triangles for a neat design. Toast as mentioned above and be careful you use gluten free vinegar. This recipe is naturally vegan friendly (always check bread ingredients though as some companies use milk).

For nutritional information, its for non-gluten free with 20 servings.