Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paleo Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the retaking and rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. Enough oil was found to light the menorah in the temple for a single day, but miraculously it lasted for 8.

The nice thing about Hanukkah is that, with 8 days of celebration, you have plenty of time for procrastination! I intended to try this last week, but, between Christmas prep and work, it didn't happen. But that's ok, because tonight is still Hanukkah.

Fried foods are traditional for Hanukkah. The first night we made latkes - fried pancakes traditionally made out of potato, but we used zucchini (I know, big shock there). You could use pretty much any shreddable vegetable if potatoes or zucchini aren't your thing - I've seen carrot and sweet potato versions.

Today we had sufganiyot - fried jelly donuts.

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups nut butter + oil if needed (See note)
  • 2-3 eggs (I used two jumbo eggs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (probably omittable. I don't think mine puffed up much at all)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce or omit if using salted nut butter, increase if you prefer)
  • A little sweetener if desired (I left it out)
  • Filling - jam, jelly, fruit, chocolate - whatever floats your boat. If you really want it PB&J like, put a dab of nut butter along with the jam, rather than just having it in the dough.
  • Oil for frying (see below)
Combine ingredients (other than filling) in food processor and process. Start with one cup coconut flour, and add more gradually until you get a stiff dough (mine was firm, but rather sticky).

Heat oil on the stove.

Make thin circles of the dough. Mine were around 3" in diameter. Place a dab of jelly in the center of half the circles, then place the other half of the circles on top, and press around the edges to seal. Toss them in the hot oil (actually, put them in gently), and fry until golden brown, flipping halfway through to get both sides cooked. Try to let them cool adequately before you munch them!

This made 8 small doughnuts for me.

Notes: I used almond butter made by food processing a bunch of almonds until relatively pasty. As such, it was rather crumbly, so I added a tablespoon of coconut oil. If you're using a more buttery nut-butter, you probably don't need to do this.

There is, of course, the question of what to fry these things in. Olive oil is traditional (that's what was used to light the menorah in the temple), but not heat-stable for frying, and I'm not sure how the flavor would work for jelly donuts. Vegetable oil is apparently common these days, but not paleo. We generally use lard for frying, but that's rather sacrilegious. Coconut oil, rendered bird fat (aka schmaltz), or ghee would probably be the most acceptable options from both a traditional and paleo standpoint.

I used jam for filling, because we had a jar on hand for reasons that are somewhat amusing, but not really my story to tell. Fresh fruit, crushed or chunked, would be more paleo.

These turned out rather dense, not light and fluffy like traditional donuts. More bread-y... like a peanut butter sandwich. But yummy! And, when I handed one to my housemate (who is Jewish-by-birth) without comment, she bit into it and said "Mmm, sufganiyot!" So I guess I got them close enough.

If you're not into celebrating Hanukkah, these would be great as an occasional treat for your paleo-kid (or paleo inner child!) who misses their PB&J - a gluten-free Uncrustable. I suspect you could bake them if frying isn't your thing, but I can't say how long they'd need to cook. I'd probably try 10 minutes at 350F, flip, and give it another 5 minutes or so.

(I also tried this with my Coconut Donut Holes recipe, but liked the PB&J version better. Just follow the recipe, but make circles and put jam in the middle as above.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Awesomesauce Gingerbread Cake. Also Goat Liver Cake

Oh gosh, I know this isn't the Awesomesauce Cake Blog, but this one turned out ridiculously delicious, and it's nice and seasonal.

Awesomesauce Gingerbread

  • Approximately 1/2 cup fat of choice (Anything at least semi-solid at room temp. I used lard this time. Butter oil/ghee is my favorite for baked goods. Coconut oil or plain old butter will work fine. You could even try avocado, which apparently works well in baking as a butter substitute.)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (or the equivalent in your preferred sweetener) 
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I didn't have any, so left it out)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup applesauce 
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 2 Teaspoons ginger (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or blackstrap molasses (you may wish to reduce added sweetener and add 1 tbsp coconut flour if using molasses)
  • Ground cloves, ground allspice, grated nutmeg, lemon zest, black pepper to taste (Approx. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp each. Pick and choose which you want depending on what is traditional for you and what you have on hand)
  • Optional - shredded carrot, zucchini, or apple, raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, candied ginger, chocolate chips. We added about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips left over from something else, and it was amazing.
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients separately, then gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Or just throw them all in the food processor like I did. Whatever floats your boat. Stir in any extra ingredients you want after you're done with the food processor, if you use one. Bake for about 30 minutes, until it doesn't jiggle and a fork stuck in the center comes out clean (It took me closer to an hour this time, but better to err on the side of caution and check frequently). Makes 1 8" diameter circular cake. 

Note about cocoa powder vs. molasses: I used cocoa powder in making this cake. I have nothing in particular against molasses. As far as sweeteners go, I think it's a comparatively healthy option, what with all the iron and trace minerals, and with a lower glycemic index than many sweeteners. And I certainly wouldn't say that cocoa powder is any less "neolithic" or processed. However, I didn't have any on hand, and cocoa powder provides a similar color and  deep, bitter flavor. 

Yesterday, I cooked up a goat liver pâté. It didn't turn out very pâté-like. More like meatloaf.

A little disappointing, but it turned out for the best.

LemurBoy isn't crazy about liver, but loves meatloaf. Especially "cheeseburger style" - on lettuce leaves, topped with cheese, mayo, and mustard.

LemurGirl likes liver in pretty much any context in which I've offered it, but hates meatloaf.

So, I called this pâté for LemurGirl, and meatloaf for LemurBoy, and they both enjoyed it.

LemurGirl's quote of the day: "A liver pâté is kind of like a cake except it doesn't taste like one!"