Date Syrup and Date Paste

Date syrup is made by simmering the dates in water until the liquid reduces and thickens. Since there's only one ingredient needed, this is more about the method than the recipe. The measurements below will yield about 3/4 – 1 cup of syrup but the recipe is easy to double or triple. Date paste is a delicious and addictive condiment! Swirl a little in your morning oatmeal, use it to fill cookies, spread it on toast, or add it to a sandwich for an interesting combination of sweet and salty flavours, or use it in sugar free recipes. Yum! By the way, if you have never tried a sandwich combining date paste and tahini together, please do – the flavour is a bit similar to natural peanut butter and jam!

Fried Polenta with Tomato Coulis

In this recipe, the cooked cornmeal mixture is chilled in a loaf pan and cut into 1/2–inch slices before 'frying'. No oil or butter is needed to fry the polenta slices – they are simply placed in a preheated non-stick frying pan until they turn a rich golden brown on both sides. Polenta’s creamy texture comes from the gelatinization of starch in the grain. However, the texture may not be completely homogeneous if the grain is cut too coarsely. No brand endorsements here, but I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free, 100% Stone Ground Coarse Grind Cornmeal and it was perfect.

Millet with Pine Nuts, Currants and Fresh Herbs, served with Exotic Carrots

The flavours and textures in this recipe are reminiscent of a Moroccan couscous. Millet takes longer to cook than couscous but I highly recommend becoming familiar with cooking this gluten-free as it is easily digested and considered an alkaline food. It one of the least allergenic grains available. In this post, I am serving the carrots and millet together because the flavours compliment each other so well and this is generally how I eat them. But they can each be served as a sides dish to accompany other main courses. They can also be made ahead and served at room temperature, which makes them ideal for picnics and potlucks.

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Cumin

This low-calorie fruit (yah, I thought it was a vegetable too!) is full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins, including Vitamin C, B6, potassium and manganese. Spaghetti squash is less sweet than other varieties of winter squash. It's benign flavour is the reason it replaces wheat-based pastas in gluten-free circles, and also why it pairs so well with sauces and seasonings that would typically accompany pasta.

Garlic, cumin, and fresh herbs take this otherwise bland vegetable in a whole new direction! This is definitely one of my favourite ways to eat spaghetti squash. Delicious!

Raw Jicama Noodle Bowl

This is an incredibly popular salad. It is always a hit at potlucks and picnics. If you don’t have a gadget that will “noodle-ize” vegetables for you, you can slice or chop the jicama into any shape you wish. I use a benriner - one of my favourite kitchen gadgets make vegetable noodles.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

The filling in these tartlets calls for raw cocoa powder instead of chocolate which results in a deep, rich chocolate flavour. Cocoa powder generally contains about 5 times less cocoa butter than pure unsweetened chocolate, which means that cocoa powder packs a bigger punch of chocolatey flavor because you’re getting more cocoa solids and less cocoa butter.

Beet and Blueberry Soup

This is a versatile little recipe to have! Seriously, the favour will blow you away! Totally nourishing and very simple. The inspiration came from a smoothie recipe on the website. The first time I made this, I was snacking on honeydew melon, and dipped a bite-sized chunk of melon into the puree – talk about sublime! It instantly became a new favourite fruit combination! So refreshing and energizing! So, I am categorizing this as a soup, but it makes a great sauce or dip too.

Parsnip Soup

Who would have thought such depth of flavor could come from just a few ingredients? This very elegant soup is a perfect one for entertaining but is easy enough for a weekday lunch or dinner too. It has a silky smooth texture and and velvety rich consistency. Delicious! Since parsnips can vary in size, you may want to add more or less stock to get the consistency you like.

Zucchini Hummus

Having lived in the Middle East for several years, I appreciate a good hummus recipe. This one calls for zucchini instead of chickpeas and it is absolutely outstanding! The recipe was inspired by a similar one in Matt Amsden’s book RAWvolution, Gourmet Living Cuisine.

Pine Needle Tea?

Pine needle tea is said to contain as much as four to five times the amount of Vitamin C found in a lemon or in one glass of orange juice. And did you know that Native Americans have used pine needle tea in a variety of healing remedies for centuries? A word of caution though; there are over 100 different varieties of pine, of which three are toxic and should be avoided: the Ponderosa, the Norfolk Island and Yew.

According to one source, the age of the needles will influence the taste of the tea: young, light green spruce tips will yield a light, slightly lemony flavor, while mature needles harvested during the winter will create a stronger, slightly more bitter tea. Spruce needles are very aromatic and also have antimicrobial and immune stimulating properties. This tea was made from the Spruce outside my house - I wish you could smell the photos!