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Posts tagged as gluten-free

Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan, Delicious)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:10pm

Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartHi! I’m still here! I’m still working on Twin Cities Chef’s Table, which has meant no blogging for me. Because I didn’t have enough going on – writing a book, getting a divorce, dealing with this seriously fucked up winter – I also decided to spend the next 60 days on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which is in effect an elimination diet to weed out food sensitivities. Long story short: It’s not just gluten, baby. With the stress of above, other food sensitivities that I’ve suspected all along but kind of gotten away with are no longer cooperating with me. Also, I took the opportunity of seclusion and cooking only for myself to undertake an experiment, adding a few things back into my diet that I had avoided when I gave up gluten almost 4 years ago – time flies! – namely corn, rice, potatoes, dairy, some starches like tapioca and arrowroot starch. My body said: HELL NO, STEPHANIE. Bloating, abdominal pain, joint pain, puffy eyes, fatigue, hair loss, low body temperature, basically all the inflammation/hypothyroid symptoms I had before I gave up gluten.

Scary and disappointing.Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartAnd so, back to the drawing board. I’d been meaning to do it eventually anyhow. I really, really want to know the foods that cause damage to my gut and my immune system to attack my thyroid. Rebirth is the order of the day. Spring will be upon us soon enough and I’m ready to be my rock-n-roll self again, even if it means eliminating for the next several weeks:

All grains & grain-like substances (including chia, hemp, millet, oats, etc.)
All nuts, seeds, and their oils
Nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, chiles/peppers, eggplants)
Legumes
Eggs
Dairy
Yeast
Alcohol
Coffee
Sugar

Yup. I made the commitment to myself last week, cried for about 20 minutes, made a grocery list, and hit the store. I can totally do this. It’s not even that far off from how I already eat. And in fact, it’s totally spurred my creativity – helped by the fact that I feel so much better already, now that I’ve gotten past two days of coffee fog. Also: immediately glowing skin. It really is so powerful what eating a nutrient-dense (and inflammation-free, because I’ve eaten a nutrient-dense diet for years) diet does for skin. I also credit adding bone broths to my routine a few months ago – eat collagen to make collagen. I definitely see the difference.

I’m not going to over-exaggerate, eating this way is not simple. First of all, it requires a lot of prep and cooking, which I enjoy thoroughly, but I know many don’t. Also, I’m feeding one or two people, none of whom are picky and small. The biggest loss for me, given my lifestyle and career, is eating out. All restaurants cook with canola oil, which I wish they didn’t because it’s terrible for everyone, but it’s cheap and vegetarian, so there it is. Also, if you think about it for a minute, almost all seasoning involves nightshades or seeds: chiles, cumin, caraway, coriander, on and on.

Please follow me on Instagram or follow Fresh Tart’s Facebook page (links on the right) for the daily meals I’ve been rather merrily preparing for myself. At the end of the 60 days, I’ll reintroduce the eliminated foods one by one, one week at a time, and gauge my reaction to them. And then I’ll know. Once and for all. I might be sad to know, but it’s better than suffering ill health.

If you’re interested in the protocol yourself, please read everything on The Paleo Mom’s amazing website and buy her new book, The Paleo Approach, which will explain the scientific, food-related causes of autoimmune disease and how to address it. Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartAnd in the interim, Paleo Tortillas! I first made The Paleo Mom’s plantain crackers, because having something salty/crunchy to snack on was the first loss I really felt. They are fantastic. Then I started poking around for plantain “bread” of some sort and came upon a modified version of the crackers, turned into a pizza crust. I thought, I’d bet this process would make killer tortilla/wraps so I played around with the recipe I found on the blog Simple & Merry and tada! Absolutely delicious. Soft, chewy, mildly sweet, wonderful stuffed with beef, avocado, and a zippy garnish of lime and cabbage. I’m totally making fish tacos with these – plantains and fish are marvelous together. And as I mention below, I can imagine leaving out the garlic and serving these filled with berries and a drizzle of coconut cream, mmm. Plantains…who knew? (I know, millions of people, just not native Midwesterners, ha.) See what you think.

Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan)
Adapted from a pizza crust recipe on Simple & Merry
Makes 12 tortillas

1 pound peeled, cubed large green plantains (I’ve found they can be at various stages of ripeness, anywhere from bright green to yellow-ish; I suspect super-ripe/blackened plantains would be delicious if you left out the garlic and ate them with warm fruit for breakfast or dessert)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil; avocado oil is more neutral tasting and takes high heat better)
water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange racks in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add ingredients to the bowl of a blender (a Vitamix is wonderful for making these). Add 1/3 cup of water to the blender, cover, and puree on lowest setting for a minute or two. Gradually turn speed up, adding a bit more water if needed, to form a thick, smooth puree, similar to smooth hummus.

With a spoon, smooth batter into 12 equal tortillas onto the two baking sheets, approximately 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches across. Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until puffed and browning in spots.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Or, cool to room temperature and store in airtight container for up to 3 days. Can be gently reheated before serving.

Winter Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage (gluten-free, grain-free)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 11, 2013 at 9:20pm

Winter Squash Gnocchi (gluten-free, grain-free) | Fresh Tart‘Tis the season for comfort food, I say, what with frozen pipes, spin outs, wipe outs, and frost bite. When it’s this cold outside, baby, head thee to the kitchen and boil a pot of  water to warm your frozen soul. And to cook these chewy, tender pillows of cheer, bathed in brown butter, topped with crispy sage, and gluten-free to boot.Winter Squash Gnocchi with Browned Butter & Sage (gluten-free, grain-free) | Fresh TartInstead of wheat flour, the binder here is potato starch. It works beautifully! The recipe includes all sorts of instructions for working ahead, but I cooked the gnocchi pictured right after cutting them and they were fantastic. Then again, making a batch on the weekend is a sweet way to come home to a quick dinner of gnocchi on a week night.

Recipe for Winter Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Fudgiest Brownies (Gluten-Free)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 3, 2013 at 11:47am

Fudgy Browndies (Gluten-Free) | Fresh TartThe beauty of Alice Medrich’s fabulously decadent cocoa brownie recipe is that flour plays such a minor role in flavor and texture, that it matters not a whit what type you use. Use wheat flour, as the recipe was originally written, and you’ll be thrilled. Or, substitute gluten-free AP flour and be equally thrilled, because by my memory, they taste exactly the same. That’s because these brownies are about good cocoa, butter, and eggs, melted and stirred and whisked in just such a way (in one bowl, no less!) to deliver a shiny, crusty top with a fudgy (not cakey) interior.Fudgiest Brownies (Gluten-Free) | Fresh TartI’ll even go so far as to say that I think you could make these grain-free, by using tapioca starch or potato starch as the flour. I haven’t done it yet, but I will, and I’ll let you know how they turn out. I suspect: mighty damn fine.

No matter how you bind them, these are brownies that beg for a glass of milk, particularly restorative after holiday shopping, gift-wrapping, or tree-trimming. Not that those things aren’t fun, it’s just that…chocolate makes them more fun.

Heh.

Recipe for Fudgiest Brownies (Gluten-Free) at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Nathan and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at my dad and stepmom Susanna’s home south of Bozeman, Montana. My sister Stacey and her son Cooper were there too, as well as my brother David and sister Etta, both in from NYC. We had a long, restorative weekend catching up, cooking, hiking, and relaxing. Just what the doctor ordered for all of us!Jake | Fresh TartDad picked us all up at the airport, with Jake in tow. He makes an adorable front-seat companion.Sun West Ranch | Fresh TartSo good to pull up to this view. I hadn’t been in a year and a half, too long.Against All Grain Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies | Fresh TartWe were very, very happily greeted by Against All Grain paleo chocolate chip cookies, made by Susanna and Etta. These are winners of the highest order. Make them. Gah so good.Sun West Ranch | Fresh TartI’ve never been to the house in the winter…so lovely to see the setting sun against the snow-capped Madison range. Hi Etta!Gluten-Free Waffles with Chokecherry Syrup | Fresh TartMy dad made gluten-free waffles with Pamela’s mix/recipe. Perfection. That’s chokecherry syrup, made by Susanna from chokecherries she picked this summer at the ranch. Absolutely delicious. DuJour Magazine | Fresh TartI was delighted to page through the latest issue of DuJour Magazine while I ate breakfast, sipped coffee. My sister Etta is the photo editor. Seriously, how stunning is that cover?!Sun West Ranch | Fresh TartThere was pre-feast hiking and sledding. Lovely in every way.Sun West Ranch Sledding | Fresh TartGo Susanna! Sun West Ranch Sledding | Fresh TartGo Nathan and Coop!Thanksgiving Table | Fresh TartMy sister Stacey set a gorgeous table.Turkey! | Fresh TartSusanna’s sister Margie made a perfect, deconstructed turkey, all juicy, all crispy.Thanksgiving Sides | Fresh TartThe rest of the meal: roasted squash, gluten-free and gluten-full gravies, gluten-free sausage chestnut dressing, green beans with lemon-garlic butter & walnuts, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Colorful, flavorful, not over-the-top rich. In my book: perfection. Charlie (the pup) agreed.Pumpkin Cheesecake | Fresh TartMargie also made my aunt Marge’s pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce. There was oohing, aahing, sighing, groaning, and the licking of forks and perhaps even plates.Leftovers | Fresh TartLeftovers Part I was breakfast the next day: fried stuffing topped with green beans and…a poached egg, of course. Killah.Sun West Ranch | Fresh TartSun West Ranch | Fresh TartWe attempted to offset gluttony with another good, long hike, which even included crossing a creek on a fallen log. I wish it were as hard as it looked…but it was actually pretty easy. My brother David makes it look badass, however.

The rest of the meals? I stopped taking pictures, which means I relaxed into my vacation, and that was…so unbelievably nice. Home now, which feels lovely too, jamming on Twin Cites Chef’s Table. I spent the day writing and cooking, filling my fridge with roasted beets and squash, kale chips, hard-cooked eggs, grassfed beef bone broth, jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk, and braised beef short ribs. I’m stocking up for the cold, snowy, insanely busy days ahead, days when I want to eat fresh, nutritious, delicious meals on the fly.

The view out the window at home today:Snow | Fresh TartHey winter. Hey.

Spiced Fresh Cranberry Relish Mold

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 26, 2013 at 1:12pm

Spiced Fresh Cranberry MoldPoor cranberries. No one really ever eats them, despite tradition, even when made from scratch. I think it’s because Americans are unaccustomed to the delights of chutney-eque condiments. Which is a shame, given the palate-cleansing powers of a tangy, acidic punch on a plate of buttery, rich foods.Spiced Fresh Cranberry Mold | Fresh TartThis recipe is as old school as I possess. My mom’s been surprising guests with her famous cranberry relish mold forever. Why surprising? Well, much like my mom, it’s got a spicy kick that sneaks up on you, in this case a surprising zing of horseradish that eliminates all worries of cloying sweetness. Think mostarda and you’ll have exactly the right idea.Spiced Fresh Cranberry Mold | Fresh TartAs a bonus, the mold is stunning on a holiday buffet table. My mom’s original recipe calls for raspberry Jello and canned cranberries, so I reworked it a bit to include fresh cranberries and fruit juice. The end result has more texture, and a fresher taste, without losing the surprising spicy kick. Pretty perfect, I think.

I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Recipe for Spiced Fresh Cranberry Relish Mold at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Teff & Oat Flour Yogurt Pancakes (gluten-free)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:04pm

Teff & Oat Flour Yogurt Pancakes | Fresh Tart (gluten-free)Some of the tastiest gluten-free baked items I’ve sampled include teff flour, so I finally picked up a bag a last week (at The Wedge) and started playing around with it here at home. My first attempt was popovers, which I renamed as pffffts. Quite delicious, but flat as pancakes.Teff & Oat Flour Yogurt Pancakes | Fresh Tart (gluten-free)So next I tried pancakes! Given teff’s soft texture, I had suspected for awhile it would make lovely pancakes and it indeed does. I borrowed a little pancake magic from my favorite Orange Yogurt Pancakes recipe and created a tender, fluffy, wonderfully flavorful stack. If you’ve got gluten-free (or not!) guests headed your way for the Thanksgiving holiday, these would make a terrific breakfast. Alongside bacon of course, with plenty of hot coffee (or tea). You can’t tell, but there are blueberries scattered into them as well. I thought blueberries were a pancake abomination when I was a kid, but man, nowadays I consider their warm juiciness essential.

Recipe for Teff & Oat Flour Yogurt Pancakes at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 12, 2013 at 4:24pm

Kimchi Fried Rice | Fresh TartLet me introduce you to your new late night (or morning after?) go-to dish. You can’t argue with the restorative powers of kimchi – spicy fermented vegetables – especially when tossed with rice, sesame oil, and spicy chili paste. Go for Korean gochujang because it’s incredible (spicy-sweet with just a hint of funky, in the best possible way), or reach for sriracha because you’re already addicted and stocked up. I add tamari, which is not traditional, but the mellow saltiness plays so nicely with tangy kimchi. This is fusion cooking the way it’s meant to be – fast, flavorful, and plucking all of your favorite notes, preferably straight from your fridge.Kimchi Fried Rice | Fresh TartThere are lots of options here – skip the pork and egg for a vegan dish. Skip just the pork for a vegetarian dish. It’s also not traditional, but if you skip the pork, coconut oil is a lovely addition, and so nourishing that I’m always trying to find tasty places to sneak it in.Fulton Beer | Fresh TartI got the idea for this dish last week, while chatting with Brian Hoffman of Fulton Beer. The whole Fulton gang hosted a little gathering at their newly-leased, currently-under-construction production facility. Because I can’t actually drink their beer (gluten), I held a pint of the evening’s brew and smelled it, touched my lips to it, and basically tortured myself while chatting with Brian about all of the beautiful, spicy foods that would be marvelous with such a hoppy, fruity, fragrant beer.

Sigh. Fulton Beer | Fresh TartI distracted myself from self-pity by enjoying the crew’s signature hospitality. Every time we get together I’m impressed all over again by the four couples’ collective friendship, talent, good humor, good taste, enthusiasm, and charm. What can I say? I adore them all, even though I can’t drink their beer. I was giddy on their behalf, scanning the abyss that is their new Northeast Minneapolis facility (for the moment called AFB, as in Another Fulton Brewery), imagining the shiny new tanks and thousands of bottles of deliciousness that will be leaving through the giant loading dock by late 2014, making its way into your belly but not mine. (Worry not, tasting room fans, the original North Loop Fulton brewery – aka 414 – remains in operation.)

That’s a long way of saying that Brian suggests, “With the fried rice, I would go with The Ringer or Batch 300. As we talked about, hoppy and spicy are a match made in heaven, and both of these beers deliver on that note. Both are also light enough in malt character and body to not overpower the kimchi, rice, or the egg.” So there you go. Fulton forth and tell me how much you enjoyed it so I can live vicariously through you.

Recipe for Kimchi Fried Rice at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 11, 2013 at 4:26pm

Salisbury Steak | Fresh TartWhen my sister Stacey and I were little girls in Lakefield, Minnesota, Friday nights were pretty special. Our beautiful mom would get dressed up, with glamorous make-up, hair, and perfume, and she and our dad would head out for a supper club dinner. The next morning they would tell us stories about how “Splash” the waiter could flawlessly pour water back-handed from several feet away and how the Chateaubriand they shared was butter-knife tender. I loved all of it, including the handful of cool-girl babysitters who would shower us with attention and make us TV dinners. I didn’t want to admit it, but the only one I really liked was the Salisbury steak dinner (although I used to cross my fingers there would be no stray peas in the apple cobbler). I felt like a grown-up eating “steak” plus I loved the smooth mashed potatoes and salty gravy.Salisbury Steak | Fresh TartI skip the packaged dinners these days, opting to make Salisbury steak from scratch, from wholesome ingredients, blowing the peas off the frozen version, as it were. This is kid food, and grandparents food, and hungry teen food all wrapped up in one nostalgic dish, making it the perfect comfort food dinner. As a bonus: it’s a one-skillet superstar, prepared on the stove top, and ready in less than an hour.

If your kids don’t like mushrooms? Skip them. To keep the dish gluten-free, use GF bread (I did, worked like a charm). You could easily make the dish grain-free as well: skip the bread and milk, and thicken the gravy with a bit of tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. I stir a few spoonfuls of fermented sauerkraut into the finished pan sauce – seriously good, give it a go. However you opt to customize, serve over mashed potatoes, boiled egg noodles, or hearty toast; or skip the starch and snuggle the steaks up next to roasted Brussels, cauliflower, or broccoli. #XElab

Don’t forget that if you have your own favorite comfort food recipe, click through to #XElab’s Facebook page and share it! Not only might you win a $250 gift certificate to Home Depot, but your recipe will be featured on the #XElab page alongside other comfort food recipes. Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy | Fresh TartStay warm, friends!

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Serves 6

4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 large onion, sliced thin
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 slices bread, processed into coarse bread crumbs
1/3 c. whole milk
1 large egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
few gratings of fresh nutmeg
few dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 lbs. meatloaf mix (ground beef and pork)
4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced thin
2 c. beef broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice, or hearty toast for serving

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to the pan and saute, stirring frequently, until onions wilt and then slowly brown. Continue sauteing the onions until very soft and deeply browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a small bowl; set skillet aside while you mix and form the steaks.

While the onions brown, add bread crumbs to a large bowl. Cover with milk and let soak for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, and Worcestershire sauce. When the onions are done, add half of them to the mixture (reserve the other half for the gravy, below). Add the ground beef/pork to the bowl, sprinkle with 2 tsp. of salt and several grinds of black pepper, and use your hands to gently combine. Form the mixture into 6 oblong patties.

Return skillet to medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of butter and when melted and hot, fry 3 of the steaks until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes/side. Transfer steaks to a warm platter and fry the remaining steaks. Keep steaks warm while you make the gravy.

If there’s not much fat in the pan, add 1 Tbsp. of butter and when melted, add the mushrooms along with a generous pinch of salt. Saute the mushrooms, stirring up browned bits, until wilted and lightly browned.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch and beef broth together until there are no lumps, then slowly whisk the broth mixture into the mushrooms. Stir the gravy until hot, clear, and thickened. Add the remaining caramelized onions to the gravy. Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Spoon hot gravy over steaks and serve immediately.

Crispy Crushed Potatoes with Preserved Lemon

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 5, 2013 at 11:29am

Crispy Crushed Potatoes with Preserved Lemon | Fresh TartApparently potatoes are the most-consumed vegetable in the US, thanks to fast food French fries. I’d put fries in my top five most favorite foods, but that statistic still depresses the starch out of me. As someone who spent my teen years eating more than my fair share of McDonald’s fries, I’m glad to say I’ve spent my adult years eating enough good potatoes to conclude that….fast food fries kind of suck. It’s pretty hard to beat a fresh, potato-y potato, roasted crunchy on a crispy fall evening, perfumed with garlic and preserved lemons. You could have just these potatoes for dinner, topped with dollops of Greek yogurt, with olives and good pickled things and a cool salad alongside.

I lucked into this particular batch of freshly dug taters courtesy of the Bossy Acres ladies. I drove out to their farm, near Northfield, Minnesota, to photograph them for the book I’m writing. Because they are as generous and gracious in person as they are on Facebook and Twitter, they sent me off with a CSA box of gorgeous bounty: kale, radishes, candy-sweet carrots, leeks, peppers, and microgreens. What a gift! And oh my gosh the potatoes, fresh and sweet and just perfect for crushing. (If you’d like your own Bossy CSA box come spring, sign up!)Crispy Crushed Potatoes with Preserved Lemon | Fresh Tart PDespite the chill and what sounds like our first kiss of snow later this very day, I know there are still freshly dug potatoes at the big farmers markets. Grab as many as you can and get roasting (boiling, mashing, crisping, etc.).

Recipe for Crispy Crushed Potatoes with Preserved Lemon at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Ham, Bean & Sauerkraut Soup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 29, 2013 at 3:31pm

Ham, Bean & Sauerkraut Soup | Fresh TartIt’s hard to beat the rib-stickin’ comfort of a bowl of ham & bean soup. I prefer it brothier than the version I grew up eating, and like many soups, it’s made even better with the tang of sauerkraut.Beef Tostada with Sauerkraut | Fresh TartIn fact, sauerkraut’s salty acidity elevates many savory dishes, far beyond the typical brats-n-beer pairing (which is, of course, delicious). Go for traditional lacto-fermented kraut, for best flavor and nutrition, then start adding it where pickled things taste best: tostadas (that’s my din last night pictured above, beyond good), burgers, salads, soups, egg salad, stir-fries, stroganoff (one of my faves), alongside cheese, and on anything pork. Anything. Pork.

(Recommendation: Bubbies Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut, widely available at grocery stores and co-ops. Or…make your own! This recipe via The Kitchn is a terrific read. Also, for a scrumptious sauerkraut dish, you must see this recipe for Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, & Beef Galette over at Relishing It. Holy yum.)Ham, Bean & Sauerkraut Soup | Fresh TartI employed a couple of other tricks to boost the taste and nutrition of this soup: 1) I sprouted the beans before cooking them (which makes them easier to digest, which makes you more popular at work and at home), and 2) I included not just ham, but ham bones, for the broth. That ham bone you froze after Easter dinner? Now’s the time to pull it out and get simmering.Ham, Bean & Sauerkraut Soup | Fresh TartRecipe for Ham, Bean & Sauerkraut Soup at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.Birchwood Cafe Kickstarter FundAnd for you fans of Good Real Food, and neighborhood cafes that elevate their neighbors as well as the entire community, and causes with clear and excellent goals, I gently encourage you to support the Birchwood Cafe’s Kickstarter Fund, launched on their 18th (!) anniversary. It takes just a second, and as little as a dollar, but feels like a million bucks. #GoBirchwoodGo!

Coconut Rice Pudding with Apples & Cinnamon

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 20, 2013 at 2:31pm

Coconut Rice Pudding with Apples & Cinnamon | Fresh TartI’ve been having a blast submitting comfort food recipes for Xcel Energy’s #XElab Facebook page. In typical Minnesota fashion, we’ve gone from warm to brrr in the blink of an eye and everyone is heading to the kitchen to make soups, stews, roasts, gratins, and warm desserts. In the spirit of #XElab’s goal to share easy, fun ways to save energy, I came up with this stovetop rice pudding. Given leftover rice – I saved rice from a recent Chinese restaurant takeout feast – this creamy, dreamy pudding is ready in 20 minutes. I added apples and cinnamon for maximum cozy comfort.Coconut Rice Pudding with Apples & Cinnamon | Fresh TartYou can serve the pudding warm and no one will complain, but I like it best when it’s cold. You decide. You could also add raisins, of course, a rice pudding classic. Or toasted coconut. Or toasted nuts.

xcelbuttonIf you have your own favorite comfort food recipe, make sure to click through to #XElab’s page and share it! Not only might you win a $250 gift certificate to Home Depot, but you’ll also finds lots of comfort food inspiration as well as energy efficiency tips. ‘Tis the season, friends, to cook, bake, and stay warm!

Coconut Rice Pudding with Apples & Cinnamon
Stephanie Meyer | Fresh Tart
Serves 4

Note: This dish can easily be made dairy-free. Use 2 1/2 c. of coconut milk.

1 1/2 c. cooked white rice
1 apple, peeled, cored, cut into small dice
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. coconut milk (from a can, not from a carton)
1/4 c. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and stirring frequently, bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and continue simmering, and stirring frequently, until pudding is nicely thick, about 15 minutes.

Divide pudding among 4 bowls. Serve warm, or cover with plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours until cold.