My Cookbook Site: Paula’s Kitchen Alchemy

alchemy_mast

Announcing my A.A.S. Web Technologies Degree Capstone website, which is my cookbook in progress! A bit better organized than this blog (but still needing some tweaks, of course), Paula’s Kitchen Alchemy is my own custom coded (with the help of the Laravel framework) PHP/SQL database driven cookbook website. One of the requirements for the project was to have a visitor view that was more limited than a full member view, so viewers need to sign up (which is free) in order to see the recipes–but a visitor can see what recipes there are, along with thumbnails and descriptions. I need to add a print css stylesheet at some point, but perhaps more important, I need to use Javascript to organize the results returned on the “All Recipes” page.

In the meantime, however, now that I’ve graduated (and have more time finally–I’ve certainly neglected this blog because of the crunch!), I need to find a job, and right now, that takes precedence. But I definitely intend to keep adding to the cookbook, and have some things on there that are on this blog. I have many more things to add to the cookbook that I’ve already typed up, even, but it’s so satisfying to post pictures, too, that I’m having to go through and make them and take pictures–it reminds me of that movie about the blogger working her way through Julia Child’s cookbook!

Hope you enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Baguette

gluten-free baguette pieces

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Brown rice flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill because it’s so fine)

1/2 cups Millet flour

1/3 cup  Tapioca starch or flour (or Cassava flour)

1/3 cup  Potato starch (not potato flour)

1/3 cup Arrowroot flour

3 1/2 tsp Guar gum (can substitute flax seeds by grinding 3.5 tsp with 3.5 tsp warm water and let soak)                

1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup  Coconut Sugar    

1/4 oz /1 packet Dry yeast   (1.5 tsp of instant yeast if you have it loose)       

1 3/4 cup Milk         

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 tsp Apple cider vinegar

3 Eggs (room temperature if possible)

For baguettes you will need a special baguette pan…otherwise, you can use a loaf pan as long as you grease it well, or use a silicone pan.

Directions

In a large mixing bowl (preferably your stand mixer bowl) combine the flour blend, salt, and sugar. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly. Make a small depression in the center of the flour mix and pour the yeast packet into it.

Warm milk to 100F – 110F (or whatever temperature yeast calls for). Pour warm milk gently over the flour and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. If it does not foam up, something’s wrong–find a different yeast and try again…

Add the oil, vinegar, and eggs and mix well until smooth and free of lumps, preferably using the stand mixer. The mixture will be sticky and the consistency of thick cake batter, not firm like wheat bread dough. It will quickly try to climb the sides because of the gumminess of the millet, so be sure to watch it! You may need to keep putting some of it back in with a spatula (preferably silicone).

First %22shaped%22

While it’s embarrassing to admit this, I only took pictures the first time I made this, and after I tried shaping the loaves on the baguette pan sprayed with oil and having them partially “drip” through the bottom. I now recommend (having great success with this–just didn’t take pics) LINING THE PAN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER–just cut a piece and drape it across all 2 or 3 (this is kind of a “mini” baguette pan) hollows. Spread out the dough as best you can to shape–a silicone spatula works well for this, dip it in water if you need to.

after 30 min rise

Allow to rise for 30 minutes. As you can see, the dough will rise, but not double in size–it will gain some volume in the oven potentially. Preheat the oven to 375F. Once it’s up to temperature, pop them into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. (Again, these are slightly smaller loaves, so if you have a larger baguette pan that only makes two, you may need to play it by ear).

baked

They will turn out pretty browned and, as you can see, gain some more volume in the oven! These can cool in the pan (again, on the parchment paper!).

If you use a loaf pan, you will want to bake them a bit longer, like 35 minutes, and you’ll need to remove them from the loaf pan after they’ve cooled 15 minutes or so to turn upside down and release more moisture from the bottom.

Either bread is really nice sliced, toasted, and served with butter. Enjoy! I usually store them in ziplock bags, but the baguettes don’t stay around long enough to spoil–they get eaten up pretty quick.

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Banana bread loaf

It’s been a while since I posted–I’ve been super-busy with school, and having to keep up a technical blog for that (which I update more regularly, lol), but here, since we’re snowed in today, I created a new experiment. It turned out well, if a bit delicate, but really delicious. It has to bake quite a while, though, and my recipe below will be for muffins, which I originally planned to make, but then I wanted to try out these new silicone bread molds (see photo above) that my mother got me for Christmas. So, the baking estimate for the muffins is a guess–I can update the blog when I actually make them, or if someone else makes them, please comment and let me know how long it took, thanks! As for the loaf, though, it took a full hour and 25 minutes.

Grain-free chocolate chip banana muffins

yields 12 muffins or one loaf

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
2 extra-large eggs (if using large, use 3)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (melt or cut up fine)
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with papers or grease loaf pan. Mix wet ingredients first (starting with eggs–I used a stand mixer on medium and just left it running much of the time! Adding ingredients one by one as I gathered them). You can mix the dry ingredients (except chips and nuts) in a separate bowl and add them to the wet OR simply add dry ingredients one by one to the running mixer filled with the wet mix. Make sure to add the baking soda last, however. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts with a spatula (as the mixer may be straining at this point).

Pour into muffin cups or a bread mold and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes (?) or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Loaves of bread will take longer, 1 hour and 25 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan and cutting.

Enjoy!

P1050800

Chocolate Coconut Milk Fudgesicles

First bite of fudgesicle

Want something rich and chocolatey, but vegan and dairy-free? Have I got the thing for you…and oh, so simple, too!

Sugar-free Vegan Chocolate Fudgesicles

1 14oz can organic coconut milk

1/4 cup xylitol (or sweetener of your choice–could use maple syrup, erythritol, etc)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used dutched Valhrona cocoa)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract (or other flavoring, such as peppermint extract)

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on gentle heat to mix, like making hot cocoa (you might need to whisk it smooth). Set aside and let cool.

%22Hot chocolate%22

Line a small tupperware container with plastic wrap or tinfoil that goes over the edge. (I used tinfoil this time, because I’ve read such terrible things about the hormone-disrupting attributes of plastic wrap, especially with leeching into warm things…) Pour the cooled mixture into this and let it freeze overnight.

Lined container

The next morning, take it out of the freezer and carefully lift it out of the container. It should be a frozen block, like this.

Frozen block

It should be somewhat easy to cut up into pieces, and then put them in a Cuisinart or Vitamix, and beat it until it resembles frozen yogurt.

before blending

You may need to “tamp” it, if using a Vitamix or blender. The end result should be a somewhat wet purée, as shown below.

Pureed

Here’s where you get your pop/fudgesicle molds (you can find them in kitchen stores, and occasionally at Dollar stores). It’s really better, the more runny the mixture is, to get it into the molds. Here I didn’t have it quite runny enough (until the very end), and was sloppily ladling it in with a spoon (if it’s runny enough, I prefer to use a funnel). Also, if it’s less runny, it has more of a tendency to form air bubbles, necessitating poking it with a chopstick to break the bubbles and “tamp” the mixture more firmly into the mold.

Filling molds

Now, fudgesicles take time–they will need to chill at least another day to be barely firm enough to eat. If you need more instant gratification (and you don’t have molds), you can always just pour it back into the container (minus the liner) to store in freezer, and it will be ready to eat (soft serve) after letting chill 30 minutes.

If making fudgesicles, don’t forget to put in popsicles sticks! These molds hold around 2.5 oz each, so this recipe made 6 fudgesicles, overall.

Filled with sticks

It does get firmer after a few days, and after several days it has the PERFECT fudgesicle consistency. Makes 6 fudgesicles. (Note, this picture is after slightly less than a day, so it is still on the soft side). (If you made just a sorbet in the container, you can still stick a spoon in for a couple of days, and after that, “cut” it with a strong spoon, to eat it.)

Fudgesicle

As I noted in the ingredients, too, you can flavor these however you like–I happen to love almond and chocolate. But you could just use vanilla, or use peppermint, orange extract, you-name-it. Enjoy!

Paleo Fried Avocado Slices

bite

Why would anyone fry avocado slices? You may ask. Well, I was curious. A friend at the grocery store, when comparing notes on diet, said he’d “fried avocado” recently in coconut oil and that it was “awesome,” so, being hungry and wanting something quick, I decided to try it. I’d recently battered and fried eggplant slices for eggplant parmesean, so I knew it would work.

avocado setup

Battering and frying is generally a three stage/dip process. Flour–egg–bread crumbs. But, of course, the paleo diet precludes grains, so instead I chose coconut flour–egg–mix of flax, sunflower, and almonds ground into a meal (this mixture is from Dr. Cabot’s liver cleanse book–though Dr. Cabot would never EVER endorse frying anything like this!). I happened to have that mixture on hand, but one could easily use coarse almond flour or pecan meal instead. I also ground some salt and pepper and mixed it into the “breading.” Note that very little flour is needed, whereas more breading is needed–this was close, but I had to add a little bit more for the last couple of slices.

easing out of shell

After cutting the avocado in half and chopping lightly into the seed to twist and take it out, I sliced each side of the avocado into 4 slices while still in the shell, then gingerly “scooped” it out with a medium-sized spoon.

coconut flour

Unlike slices of eggplant, avocado slices are nice and moist, and coat easily with the coconut flour.

dipping in egg

Next comes the egg wash (this just one egg lightly beaten with a fork). In retrospect, I think I would beat the egg more thoroughly than just with a fork, as the egg white did NOT want to separate from slices. I ended up pinching off the egg white with my fingers each time.

battering

And, finally, the “breading”–I usually plop the egg-laden slice right in the middle and use a spoon to scoop mixture on top and on the sides, until it’s dry enough to pick up and make sure it is all covered.

frying second side

I used coconut oil, in a cast iron pan, and had a good 2mm or so of oil to start (around 2 tablespoons), and made sure to give it some time to heat up before I put the slices in. This is after they’ve already been turned once.

finished!

And then, voila! Put them on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil, and let them cool down before trying to bite into them.

bite

Tasty–tastes like avocado, of course! Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

Homemade Dried Cranberries Sweetened with Apple Juice

Since it’s getting harder to find dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice rather than sugar, I decided to delve into making them from scratch. I’d bought some fresh ones around Thanksgiving–around a pound, I think, and froze them till I could figure out what to do with them. I decided to try an experiment with the frozen cranberries and a 12oz can of frozen apple juice concentrate.

Dried Cranberries
12oz – 1 lb of frozen or fresh cranberries
12oz frozen apple juice concentrate

First I opened the can of apple juice concentrate and let it melt into a medium saucepan. Then I added the frozen cranberries and kicked the heat up to medium-high.

It wasn’t too long–maybe 5-10 minutes–before the ice had melted and they had simmered enough in the juice concentrate to start popping open. It’s important to get them to pop (and you can squash them open, too) because otherwise the skin will seal in the juices and keep them from drying (knowing this from an experience of drying blueberries and grapes in the past–it just made hot, juicy fruit).

So I removed it from heat when they started popping to let them cool down a bit before putting them in the dehydrator.

Then, using a slotted spoon, I carefully transferred them into the dehydrator trays lined with a mesh called “clean-a-screen” to help get them off later (because it’s flexible and the trays are NOT) and have something easier to clean.

I was careful to try to separate them as much as possible–where they clump and dry together, they become more like “fruit leather.” The big manufacturers just mist them with oil, but I didn’t want anything that could become rancid later. Then I put the lid on the Nesco Dehydrator and set it to 110F (more than that for long periods of time seems to warp the trays, so I just do them low–but you could also dehydrate them on baking sheets in the oven at 150 or warm overnight or for several hours, too).

Meanwhile, while those started drying, I decided to do something with the “juice” leftover, which now had cranberry seeds and juice in it, as well.

I measured it out, and it was exactly a cup. How perfect! Figuring that I would need to add more than just a cup of water, I found a glass jar with a lid that is 750ml (just under a quart).

I got some filtered water, and used the first cup of that to wash out the measuring cup from having the concentrate in it. After adding two cups of water, it tasted perfect (to me, that is–I don’t like juice very concentrated–you might want to taste it after adding one cup of water, and go from there!), and so as a leftover, I now had 3 cups of apple cranberry juice, too!

So, back to the dried cranberries. They were not quite dry enough the next morning, so let them go further, until early afternoon, and then finally stopped them.

So this was after roughly 18 hours or so of drying at 110F, so I’m thinking at 150F in the oven would take less time, perhaps just overnight. Even so, some of the berries had a little plumpness to them, so I’ll store them in the fridge instead of at room temperature. I’m sure Sherman will eat them up fast enough 😉 They are not quite as sweet as the store-bought ones, but probably more sweet than they would have been otherwise.

Not all Tahinis are created equal…

Since my last post on making tahini halvah, I’ve done some further experimentation and have discovered that it is not only the temperature of the syrup that determines hardness of the final candy (ie, the higher the temperature, the harder and more brittle the candy), but the type–or rather density–of tahini effects this nearly as much, if not more so! In the first chocolate tahini recipe, I used a mixture of Cedar halvah (from Isreal) that was kept cold, as well as some in bulk at Earthfare. Both were made from nothing but roasted sesame seeds, and somewhat runny. The Joyva tahini, on the other hand, that I used in the maple halvah recipe that turned out so hard, was much thicker and denser, poured much slower, and had to be scraped from the side of the container (all this in addition to its tasting like peanut butter). I used a mixture of Cedar and Joyva tahinis in my fresh batch last night of chocolate halvah, and stopped the syrup at around 115C/240F, hoping to have a slightly softer halvah, but instead, today, upon cutting it, it is much much harder than the original, that had the syrup hotter, simply because of the tahini I used.

I know some people love and swear by Joyva tahini, but from now on, I’m going to use Cedar’s, because a. its’ cheaper and b. it’s softer and the flavor tastes more like sesame seeds to me.

Making Halvah

Recently I encountered a sesame seed paste “lotus cookie” at a Chinese restaurant in Doraville, Ga that made me yearn for halvah, which I discovered is hard to find in Asheville. Luckily, it seems to be pretty quick and easy to make! And the halvah I hanker after is that crunchy, crumbly “jewish” kind that you can sometimes find on the table at seders…the kind that I first tasted in grade school when Ela Tarjan gave a presentation on Jerusalem to our class after returning from a visit there. At the age of around 10, I was hooked!

What I really wanted was chocolate halvah, but I couldn’t find a good recipe for one, so I decided to adapt one I found for using sugar and water and added the cocoa to the tahini part.

Chocolate tahini halvah (vegan)
Preparation time: 1/2 hour
Yield: 17oz/500gr (approx)

Ingredients:
1 cup tahini
250gm coconut sugar (or one cup if you find it granulated)*
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water

*You could also use regular cane sugar here, but I like coconut sugar because of its more interesting, rich flavor, and because it is a crystallizing sugar with a low glycemic index of 35. I can normally find it in round blocks at the local asian foods store, as the variety I particularly like is very dark and comes in cylinders from Indonesia.

You will need: candy thermometer, a baking pan lined with wax paper, and two saucepans

First, prepare a loaf pan lined with wax paper, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut sugar (grated [shown here], chopped, or granulated) with the water and turn the heat to medium. Tack on the candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan so that it does not touch the bottom but is still immersed enough in the liquid to get a reading. Your ultimate goal is to dissolve the sugar and get the solution up to 238 – 248F/115 – 121C, which is just a little past the soft ball stage. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar and keep it from burning. You will need to stir slightly more at the beginning and at the end of this process, as it will get thicker around soft ball stage, and more likely to burn.

Meanwhile, in the middle, when you don’t have to stir as much (OR you can do this before doing the syrup), measure out the tahini and the cocoa powder, and put in a small saucepan near where you’re working on the syrup.

As soon as the syrup reaches 238 – 248F/115 – 121C (take it off when it starts to feel like it’s just about to burn, after it’s thickened!), move it from the heat and put the tahini/cocoa mix on the hot eye instead, transferring the candy thermometer from the syrup pot to the tahini pot, and start stirring. The temperature will quickly drop down once in the new substance, but also quickly reach your desired temperature of 120F/50C. As soon as it does, turn off the eye, and add the tahini chocolate mixture to the syrup.

This is the part that is like making fudge–you have to work quickly, because the tahini mixture will start cooling the syrup down, and you have to beat them together pretty quick. As it incorporates, the mixture will start pulling away from the sides of the pan and start forming a mass/ball in the middle, but will be really sticky.

When it gets to this point, plop/scrape it into the prepared loaf pan and pat it down with the spoon. Cover and refrigerate. Most of the recipes I read online said that it took 2 days for it to properly crystalize, but mine had the right, crunchy texture the next day (guess who couldn’t wait!). It’s best to store in the fridge, though. I like to slice off what I want as I eat it. My husband said that the taste and texture reminded him of butterfingers.

The taste was also very strongly influenced by the coconut sugar, which, besides having a glycemic index of 35, has a lovely molasses-like flavor. Reading all the recipes that used honey, though, I got the idea to do a recipe using maple syrup as the sweetener, but without chocolate this time, and so, Voila! I lucked out some years ago and found maple syrup at a Go Grocery Outlet for $1 an 8oz bottle (that works out to $16 a gallon!) and searched my basement until I found this bottle to use in this experiment:

Maple halvah (vegan)
Preparation time: 1/2 hour
Yield: 17oz/500gr

Ingredients:
1 cup tahini
1 cup cup water

You will need: candy thermometer, a baking pan lined with wax paper, and two saucepans

First, prepare a loaf pan lined with wax paper, and set aside.

Pour the syrup into a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Tack on the candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan so that it does not touch the bottom but is still immersed enough in the liquid to get a reading. Heat to 248F/121C, which is just a little past the soft ball stage. You will need to stir slightly more at the end of this process, as it will get thicker around soft ball stage, and more likely to burn.

Meanwhile, in the middle, when you don’t have to stir as much (OR you can do this before doing the syrup), measure out the tahini into a small saucepan near where you’re working on the syrup.

As soon as the syrup reaches 248F/121C, move it from the heat and put the tahini on the hot eye instead, transferring the candy thermometer from the syrup pot to the tahini pot, and start stirring. The temperature will quickly drop down once in the new substance, but also quickly reach your desired temperature of 120F/50C. As soon as it does, turn off the eye, and add the warmed tahini to the syrup.

This is the part that is like making fudge–you have to work quickly, because the tahini will start cooling the syrup down, and you have to beat them together pretty quick. As it incorporates, the mixture will start pulling away from the sides of the pan and start forming a mass/ball in the middle, but is fairly easy to work with, and will easily drop right into your prepared loaf pan, where you can mash it down smooth with a spoon.

Cover and refrigerate. I just did this one tonight, so will know in the next day or two how it turns out!

Update next morning:

It tastes like peanut butter candy–argh! My husband says it reminds him of Mary Janes. I was hoping for more maple flavor… The texture is quite brittle and crumbly. I think I like the chocolate halvah better–it tastes more like halvah. Though maybe it was the brand of tahini I used. The first one was made with some leftover I had in the fridge, Cedar from Israel, whereas this second was a brand new container of Joyva,which DID smell remarkably like peanut butter when I opened it.

Making chocolates with kratom

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is something I’ve only recently come across–it is a medicinal leaf from a tree indigenous to southeast Asia. It’s similar to kava in it’s muscle-relaxing and mind-relaxing effects, but is not reverse-tolerant (so you can get an effect as a newbie) and also seems to be a sort of analgesic. Having too much can quickly induce nausea, however, so it’s best to start small, as I do with these chocolates. It can give a lovely euphoric feeling, though, that lasts for hours while not interfering with being productive.

In fact, in some cases, it can increase productivity–I think it all depends on the variety you try and the amount. I certainly stayed up much later than I expected after writing this blog and eating two different cups to “test” them!

It was so confusing, starting out, because after I tried it the first time (mixed in some tea which didn’t really disguise it), researching kratom let me to a whole slew of various websites, all of whom said theirs was the best and all sorts of varieties that all said they were “very strong.” I finally settled on Kratom Therapy, whom I found through Twitter (which just proves that social media works for marketing, after all). Visiting their site, I found five varieties, all of which were clearly explained, and the benefits explained. Being a designer, too, I was drawn to it as a well-designed site, clean and easy-to-navigate, with nice graphics, and not cheesy like some sites I’d seen. Plus, their customer service is awesome, and they are really friendly and prompt.

People who are familiar with kratom will probably know what their tolerance is, but I’d say, if you’re new to it, start out with 1/4 tsp and if you feel nothing, try another 1/4 tsp. Eating it makes it take a little longer for the effects to be felt, and usually it takes over a half an hour for me to feel anything. Be sure to drink some water, too, because I think it has a slight diuretic effect which can lead to a dehydration headache if you’re not careful. It can also be addicting, on a regular basis, on the same level as caffeine in coffee.

I came up with two recipes–both with chocolate (of course!)–one with peanut butter and the other with mint. Both are Vegan (and gluten-free, lol!) if you use pure, dark bittersweet or even semisweet chocolate. I like to use chocolate that is at least 70% dark or darker. I was really pleased with how they came out–they are both really tasty, and one cannot really taste the kratom (which has a mild, slightly bitter flavor), but rather the other ingredients.

First, make the chocolate shells

First I melted chocolate. I tend to have extra chocolate around, so I wanted to use that up (so I didn’t measure out a certain amount). If you have couverture (melting chocolate), that is the best, but even chocolate chips would work–just keep in mind that chocolate chips keep their shape at 350F when baking cookies for a reason, and they are hard to make melt smoothly and will be harder to work with. I added a little cocoa butter to my chocolate, so that it would be more like a coating, so even while I plan to keep them refrigerated, if they sit out for a while, they will not bloom right away. (If you use chocolate chips, try adding a little oil, which will do the same thing–but you will still need to store these in the fridge long term). If you’re really hard-core, you can temper the chocolate, which is an exacting science which I will not address here…

I used petit-fours cup papers, but you could use any size, even cupcake liner papers–those would be bigger. I am interested in doing smaller cups because I’m thinking of having them at a party, and I don’t want anyone to overdo it! In the pic above, I’ve just put a teaspoon of chocolate into the cup, and then I take the spoon and run the tip up the sides, “scooping” the chocolate in the bottom up the sides to fill the ridges and coat the sides (it may take more than a tsp of melted chocolate, depending on what size cup you use. I put mine on a plate and stuck it in the fridge to chill.

While those harden up, start the fillings!

Kratom Krunch Kups

The picture at the top shows the finished product, and the peanuts make it crunchy (if you use crunchy peanut butter). I used the “real” peanut butter fresh-ground at my local healthfood store.

I started small, but all recipes are scalable–I find them to be easier to scale up than down, so I’ll put down what I did to fill four of those petit-fours cups:

Ingredients

2 tsp peanut butter (“heaping”)
.5 -1 tsp raw agave (how much depends on how wet your peanut butter is)
a dash of cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp kratom (level)

First mix the ingredients together as best you can (if you’re doing bigger batches of this, I’d say just toss the ingredients into a food processor), adding agave if necessary to add some “wet” (you can use maple syrup, too, but I would NOT advise using water unless you’re eating these right away, as water might cause it spoil quicker).

It will be a dry consistency, but hold together well enough. Be sure to get the kratom mixed in as evenly as possible.

Put the filling into cups a bit at a time, pressing down as you go. You’d be surprised at how much you can press into them! I generally use a smaller spoon for this.

Then you can top off the filled shells with chocolate, being careful not to drip any over the sides (as I had to “overfill” these to make 4 cups).

Put the finished cups in the fridge for the top chocolate to set up. When the chocolate is hard, you can unwrap and enjoy!

And the next recipe–

Coconut Mint Kratom Cups

Ingredients (for 8 petit-fours size cups)

1 heaping Tbl coconut oil (while solid)
1/2 tsp green stevia
2 tsp kratom (level)
a few drops mint oil

This has a lower glycemic index, using stevia instead of agave. The coconut oil is plenty wet all on its own, once it’s melted.

First I started out with two (heaping!) spoons of coconut oil, which I’ll guess is closer to 1 heaping tablespoon–it’s harder to gauge, because coconut oil, when it’s solid, can be really hard and a bit difficult to chip out a measured amount. Then I added around 1/2 tsp of green stevia leaf powder (I added a little more than what’s in the photo here). Then I put the bowl over a pot of water on medium heat, double-boiler method, and melted the coconut oil, mixing them together.

Then I added the kratom, one teaspoon at a time, and a few drops of mint oil, mixing it all together.

I had to keep mixing it, so that the kratom would stay suspended, but it was really easy to pour into cups. I made sure to under fill the cups, so that they would be easier to top off, since melted chocolate could potentially melt the coconut oil, unlike the peanut butter. Set the filled cups into the fridge to chill. This will take a little while (I think 15-30 min). If you’re in a hurry, you can stick them in the freezer instead.

They really change appearance once they’ve hardened and the coconut oil has solidified. the kratom and the stevia both contribute to the nice, green color which goes along with mint.

These are easy to top off, too. You can just pour the chocolate on top and spread it around quickly before the coconut oil melts, and stick them back in the fridge.

After trying one of each, I think I like the mint the best! And it’s the easier one to make 😉 I did not take a picture of the finished one with a bite out of it, however, as I’d already loaded up the pictures from the camera. Maybe next time…Enjoy!

Homemade potato flour

Jars of finished potato flour: cooked on left, raw on right

My farmer friend dropped off a case of potatoes at my house a couple months ago, and after giving a good quantity of them away, and making stuff with potatoes, I thought, ‘How can I make these potatoes last a long time? Could I dehydrate some?” and then I had the idea to make potato flour. I researched it a bit first, and other blogs I found said that it really didn’t matter if the potatoes were cooked or not before making flour out of them.

Well, of course I had to find out for myself.

First, the cooked potato flour:

So I took potatoes (a combination of yukon gold and russett, I believe, all organic), chopped them up and put them with just enough water in the pressure cooker and cooked them (I think it was 3 minutes at pressure) and basically made unsalted, no fat mashed potatoes. Then I spread them into the dehydrator on “fruit rollup” trays and dehydrated them overnight (and into the next day) at 135F, a bit warmer than I usually use, but hey, they were already cooked.

That might have been a mistake–after they were done, my dehydrator looked a bit more warped than I remember…and the layers didn’t fit together quite as well… What I got resembled a hard cracker, and smelled like potato chips.

I broke it into pieces and put it in the Vitamix…

And reduced it to powder, which I poured through a strainer into a jar.

The cracker was so tough, even the Vitamix couldn’t pulverize all of it, so I was left with some hard crumbs that I just composted (heh, let the worms break them down!). the flour smelled nice, though–like those “potato sticks” we had as kids, and had a golden hue.

Next, the uncooked (raw) potato flour:

I started out with the food processor on the grater blade, and ran the potatoes through whole (they were small), coming up very quickly with a full bowl of grated potatoes.

Then, for good measure (because I read Sally Fallon), I soaked them overnight in warm water with some whey added. Then it was an easy matter to drain and add them to the dehydrator–straight on the trays–without even needing to wring them out, because the dehydrator would do that for me, and this way they spread out easier. These finished overnight at 110F very easily.

The dehydrated grated potato was very light and airy, and while it nearly filled up a blender…

…it reduced down to nearly nothing!

The resulting flour from the raw potatoes looked more grey–not as appetizing–and smelled exactly like raw potatoes (I bet you’ll go smell a potato now, to find out what that smells like 😉 But it is a finer powder than the cooked flour, so might be better for making breads, etc, thickening soups.

So I haven’t actually used the flours yet, so I’m not sure yet what I’ll use them for (except to go into a veggie sunburger recipe of mine, which calls for instant mashed potatoes, but I don’t like the artificial stuff they put in mashed potatoes, so I use potato flour instead, which is usually darned expensive, and now I know why). The cooked potato flour might be more appropriate to sprinkle on top of casseroles to help finish them off, as well as for thickening soups, and adding to veggie burgers, whereas the finer raw flour might have more baking uses.