This recipe was the result of trying to create a dessert that was allergen free and low inflammatory. This “cheesecake” is dairy free, refined sugar free, and gluten free. It is also insanely delicious and just a little bit is perfectly satisfying and indulgent!
Recipe testing is one of those things that can either go really well or really sideways, depending on the day and the experiment. Haha 🙂 Regardless, I really enjoy playing around with food and trying out new things. Sometimes I test recipes out of necessity for work, to clean out the cupboards, or sometimes for health. This recipe was the result of trying to create a dessert that was allergen free and low inflammatory. This “cheesecake” is dairy free, refined sugar free, soy free, and gluten free. It is also insanely delicious and just a little bit is perfectly satisfying and indulgent! It isn’t a difficult recipe, but has a lot of elements and does require some planning. Make sure you have everything started and the cashews soaking the day before you actually want to eat this delicious dessert! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy baking!
In a bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, flax seed meal, and unsweetened shredded coconut. Stir the ingredients together.
In a small microwave container melt the coconut oil.
Add the melted coconut oil to the bowl with the almond flour mixture. Using a fork stir everything together until just combined and resembling wet sand.
Using your hand, gently press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a pie pan.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool complete.
Once the crust is cooled, cover and set aside for use the next day once the filling is ready.
To Make the Meyer Lemon Curd
Begin by measuring out all your ingredients for the curd separately and setting them aside.
Set up a double boiler next. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat slightly. Place a bowl on top of the pot of water. It should be a nice fit and sit well on top of the pot of water trapping the steam in without being too wobbly.
Place the Meyer lemon juice, whole eggs, egg yolks, and honey into the bowl on top of the double boiler.
As the mixture heats, it will begin to thicken and cook the eggs through. Whisk mixture constantly or you will end up with scrambled eggs. It should be done gently with constant stirring until it reaches 135 degrees F. Safety first!
Turn off the pot of water and remove the bowl from the heat.
Add the pinch of salt and coconut oil. Gently whisk the mixture together until the coconut oil is thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
Place the bowl of lemon curd into the refrigerator to cool overnight.
To Make the Filling & Finish the “Cheesecake”
Measure raw cashews into a container. Make sure there is a little bit of extra room for the cashews to expand as they soak. Cover the raw cashews with your favorite almond milk. I like to use Almond Breeze’s Almond Coconut Blend Original Unsweetened. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator. You can also use water if you’d prefer, but I recommend using the opportunity to impart extra flavor whenever possible!
Soak the cashews overnight.
The next day remove cashews from the refrigerator. Pour off the little extra almond milk that didn’t get soaked up.
Combine coconut cream, vanilla, and honey with the soaked cashews. In a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender) puree the cashews and coconut cream until completely smooth.
Scrape down the sides and continue blending to make sure that the entire mixture is smooth.
Next, pour the “cheesecake” filling into the cooled crust and smooth out evenly.
Set “cheesecake” into refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
Once the “cheesecake” is slightly firm spread the lemon curd across the top and cover with fresh raspberries.
Return the finished “cheesecake” to the refrigerator to finish setting for at least another hour.
When thoroughly chilled and set, slice the “cheesecake” into pieces and enjoy!!!
My favorite thing about working with food is that there is always something new to discover; a new technique, fun fact, or new ingredient just waiting to peak the curiosity. On the weekends, I love to wander the local farmers market and see what is in season and if there is something new to work onto my dinner plate. This weekend did not disappoint as I discovered two new ingredients I hadn’t worked with before, pea shoots and pac choi (also seen as pak choy).
The tangled little bundles of pea vines on the table were so inviting and lured me in for a conversation with the farmer. Pea shoots are the young and tender vines of the pea plant available during spring and early summer season. A delicate green traditionally used in Asian cuisine that can be eaten fresh or cooked and could be used as a substitute for similar greens, like spinach. A little bundle was definitely coming home with me. Next I stumbled across what at first I thought was baby bok choy, a bunch of leafy greens with white stalks, but a tiny hand written chalk sign said different, pac choi. Another conversation starter as I tried to figure out what the difference between pac choi and bok choy was, as they looked identical. The differences are small as they are essentially the same plant, both Chinese cabbage, but as the farmer explained pac choi at full size is about the size of a baby bok choy. Intrigued and excited by my farmers market finds I went home with inspiration for my dinner in hand.
Ginger Molasses cookies are perfect! These cookies are quick, they taste of the season (and will make your house smell fantastic too), and requires very little effort or ingredients to make. Did I mention they also happen to be vegan?
I woke up this morning well before my alarm was due to go off and with a running list of things I needed to get done before Thanksgiving tomorrow, both for at work and at home. However, more than anything I had the urge to bake something. I wanted to bake something for my kitchen crew who come in each day with a smile on their face, work hard (particularly during these busy holiday weeks) and do it with all their heart. They are truly a great and passionate team and for that I am thankful. Seeing as Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude, this morning it was important to me let the “to do” lists wait and get something working for my crew. My favorite way to show my appreciation is with a lovingly baked food. Seeing that I have made 140 pies in the past week I wanted a change of pace…I am all pied out. Ginger Molasses cookies are perfect! These cookies are quick, they taste of the season (and will make your house smell fantastic too), and requires very little effort or ingredients to make. Did I mention they also happen to be vegan?
I hope you all find you are surrounded by love, laughter, and a metric ton of delicious eats this holiday! 🙂 Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Nightshades. A veritable slideshow flipped through my head of past meals enjoyed followed by pain; all those meals had contained eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes, the main members of the nightshade family. Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner? Well, nowhere to go but forward. I finally had a starting point and so began my adventures in nightshade free cooking. As a chef, you can imagine suddenly having to limit my food choices was sad, but ultimately a culinary challenge.
I have distinct memories of little me holding onto my chest and begging my mom for some of her TUMS after enjoying a slice or two (or three…) of pizza. We would eat it often and I loved it. The indigestion and heartburn were a normal part of pizza enjoyment, I thought, and obviously, well worth it. My quest to quell the burn was a routine and only delayed if pouting was necessary- if the TUMS weren’t my preferred flavor. I would routinely chomp up the chalky tablets and think no more about it.
Fast forward to my early twenties, after graduating culinary school, where the heartburn problems continued. I could no longer ignore the burning pain that felt like a million fiery suns in my chest. I sought medical advice and given gluten intolerances were on the rise the doctor tested me to see if I too was being affected. I was a chef who had never had to worry about food allergies and I absolutely loved baking and hoped to open a bakery café someday. The thought of putting limits on my skill set and my dream was absolutely crushing. I sat on the floor of my kitchen and cried, awaiting the news. The call held good news and bad news for me—it was not a gluten intolerance or allergy, but they didn’t know why my stomach was “so angry.” Probably stress. While I was frustrated and still in pain, I didn’t question it. It seemed logical as being a chef does come with many stresses. I carried on, trying to avoid stress and too much coffee, and most days it felt like I single handedly kept the antacid industry afloat.
It was nearly a decade more before I finally had a break through. I was thirty and running a kosher kitchen at a conservative Jewish summer camp making a particularly delicious batch of baba ghanoush when some of the roasted eggplant splattered on my arm. Instantly, my arm was red, itchy, and a little blister formed on the skin. What?! It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. Naturally, I wanted answers and once again sought medical advice, this time from my allergy and asthma doctor. Turns out still not technically “allergic” to eggplant, but if I reacted so strongly to it he suggested I should probably avoid it. And then he said something that made everything click…. “You are probably sensitive to nightshades.” The clouds parted and somewhere in the distance I swear I heard a chorus of heavenly voices. An epiphany!
Nightshades. A veritable slideshow flipped through my head of past meals enjoyed followed by pain; all those meals had contained eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes, the main members of the nightshade family. Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner? Well, nowhere to go but forward. I finally had a starting point and so began my adventures in nightshade free cooking. As a chef, you can imagine suddenly having to limit my food choices was sad, but ultimately a culinary challenge. I have the skill set to learn how to work around my new found dietary issues, sometimes I am successful and sometimes not. I am still learning and testing recipes and I am sure it will continue to be a process as I am continually finding out one of my beloved products has a surprise hidden nightshade in it. It proves to be one of the more challenging dietary restrictions I have encountered as a chef. I love me the nightshades and I miss them truly, but here I am, bound and determined to create some of my favorites without the pain.
Nightshade Free Chili is the first of these I feel I have mastered! It tastes and looks like chili without containing tomatoes, peppers, paprika, or even chili powder. Go ahead and give it a try one of these cold, dreary fall days and let me know what you think.
Canned Beans, drained 3 cans (I like a mix 1 black bean, 1 kidney, 1 pinto)
Gather all your ingredients. Prepare all the vegetables and measure all the spices out. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat oil on medium high heat. Once oil is hot, sauté the diced onions until translucent.
Add the minced garlic, grated parsnips and grated carrots to onions. Reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the grated beet and diced plums. Cook for about 5 additional minutes. These are what will give the chili its color (once it simmers—it will be bright pink at first! Do not worry!).
Once all the vegetables have softened, add the bone broth (I start with half and then add more as it simmers, if necessary). Next add all the spices and seasonings. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes to begin to develop flavor.
Remove pot from stove and set on a pot holder. Using an immersion blender, puree the cooked vegetables and broth mixture until smooth.
Add the cooked ground beef and drained beans to the smooth sauce. Mix together and return to stove to simmer for an additional half hour.
After simmer adjust seasonings, if needed.
Enjoy chili hot and topped with cheddar and sour cream (if you’d like). Perfect served with a slice of fresh cornbread!