Flashback: Fancy Dessert Made Easy – Sweet Plantain Custard [RECIPE]

Today’s plantain custard recipe is more of an amalgam than a flashback, although it’s most definitely inspired by a Panamanian adventure. About 4 years ago, Loren and I went on a vacation to Panama. We landed in Panama City and drove across the whole country, stopping along the way in a beach town, a mountain town, and the scariest place I’ve ever been before launching out to the islands of Bocas del Toro — Caribbean paradise. The trip, which we called our “Engage-moon,” lasted two glorious weeks. It was our post-engagement vacation designed and timed to escape as soon as we were engaged in order to curtail the answering of wedding planning questions the second we got engaged. (Believe me, questions were asked that very night until my dad intervened and told me to hang up the phone!) Anyway, I digress.

coconut sweet plantain custard recipe

The view from our first lunch stop in Bocas del Toro

Plantains and Coconuts

Our trip to Panama was fabulous and filled with two things: plantains and coconuts. When we arrived in Bocas Del Toro, the groundskeeper of our BnB brought us freshly shucked coconut. He had skinned and sliced the top off of two coconuts with his machete, and we drank the coconut water before biting right in. It was heaven — and extremely impressive that he didn’t lose a hand in the process.

coconut sweet plantain custard recipe

So good! We were in Coconut Heaven!

coconut sweet plantain custard recipe

Not a soul in site. We had this whole beach to ourselves!

Like most people with functioning taste buds, I love sweet plantains, but what really got me on this trip were the patacones — unripe (green) plantains smashed and fried and heavenly. While today isn’t the day to share that recipe, that day will eventually come — you can count on it (possibly sooner than later because now I’m craving them). Today, however, is a sweet treat featuring very ripe plantains, coconut milk, and (you guessed it) maple syrup. 

>>>Want to read other “Flashback” posts? You can find them HERE.<<<

Second Chances!

To be perfectly honest, this recipe is the result of me buying green plantains with the intention of making patacones, waiting too long, and having to go the sweet route instead. The beauty of the plantain is that you get a second chance! coconut sweet plantain custard recipe

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Sweet Plantain Custard
Serves 4
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 egg yolks
  2. 2 very ripe plantains
  3. 1 cup coconut milk + 1 tbs
  4. 2 tbs maple syrup
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp REAL salt
Instructions
  1. Start with the two peeled plantains and 1 tbs coconut milk in the blender
  2. Once the plantains start to loosen up and get mushy, add in the egg yolks
  3. Pulse enough to incorporate all ingredients
  4. In a double boiler, heat 1 cup coconut milk and maple syrup until you achieve a low simmer
  5. Once the coconut milk is warmed, slowly pour it into the blender pitcher, stirring/ whisking, or running the blender on its lowest setting until all ingredients are well-mixed
  6. Pour the whole mixture back into the double boiler and simmer until it thickens, about 10 minutes
Notes
  1. Be careful not to overcook this one. The plantains are pretty thick, so if you allow it all to spend too much time on the stove top, you'll end up with something thick and baby-food like, and no one wants that.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Celery Root Soup with Fried Sage [RECIPE]

I’ve been sick twice in the last month (including right this moment), and I’m super bummed about it. After starting my bone broth regimen in January of last year, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been sick, and two of them just happened this month (the other two were horrific food poisoning). As a result, I’m sitting at home surrounded by balled up tissue, binge watching Nurse Jackie while I drink my bone broth and kombucha

We were out of town this weekend and didn’t get in until yesterday (yes, sick on vacation), so I’ve lost track of what day it is and almost forgot to post this recipe today! I’m sure you would have forgiven me, but I’ve been really excited to share this celery root soup recipe with you — I made it for an impromptu dinner party last week, and it got rave reviews. I started with a huge celery root, so it ended up being quite a bit of soup. It freezes well, but if you don’t want to make as big of a batch for yourself, just use smaller root veggies and less broth.

celery root soup with fried sage

I took this picture when I made my buttery sage celery root recipe, but I just had to use it again for this post. She’s too cute for words. (Click the picture to check out that recipe)

Kitchen Tools 

I learned with my blended beet borscht recipe that sometimes an immersion blender just doesn’t cut it to get the consistency you want in a pureed soup. I learned this again with the recipe I’m about to share — once I dumped my cooked soup into my (BRAND NEW!!) NutriBullet Rx, this soup went from good to great.

If you don’t have some form of Nutribullet in your life, I really suggest you consider it. Their top of the line model is half the price of a Vitamix (the gold standard for blenders), and I can personally vouch that it works just as well. And while the link I just shared is an affiliate link, no one asked me to say that. (Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled if they paid me to share my love of their products, but for the record, they didn’t. Maybe some day they will…)

Celery Root Soup 

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Celery Root Soup with Fried Sage
Serves 10
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole large celery root, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 whole parsnip, chopped
  3. 1/2 large fennel bulb or 1 small one, chopped
  4. 1 large leek, sliced (the white part only)
  5. 2 tbs chopped fresh sage + more whole leaves for frying
  6. 1 tbs REAL salt (CWB Favorite Pick)
  7. 1/2 tsp cracked red pepper (use 1/4 if you prefer a milder heat. I was shocked at how much impact this amount had on the final product)
  8. 2500 mL chicken or vegetable broth (I used homemade bone broth -- if you have it on hand, go for it, but it's not necessary to use homemade for this to be delicious)
  9. 2 tbs full fat coconut milk (CWB Favorite Pick)
  10. 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Instructions
  1. In a large, deep pot, place celery root, parsnip, fennel, leek, and chicken broth
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until a fork runs through the root veggies easily (about 10 minutes)
  3. Lower the fire to a simmer and add salt, sage, cracked red pepper, and coconut milk
  4. Let simmer another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to incorporate
  5. Turn off the fire and allow to cool under oven vent for about 10 minutes
  6. Stir in 1 tbs EVOO
  7. Blend ingredients in a high speed blender (like the Nutribullet Rx) until completely smooth -- it will need to be done in batches
  8. When you're ready to serve your soup, heat a skillet and add remaining two tbs of EVOO
  9. place whole sage leaves into hot oil and fry on each side for 20 to 30 seconds until crisp, taking care not to burn them
  10. Serve soup warm topped with three fried sage leaves and an extra drizzle of EVOO
Notes
  1. The soup doesn't have to cool to room temperature to be placed in the blender, it just needs to not be piping hot to avoid damaging the blender.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Dairy-Free Persimmon Pudding [Recipe]

-Editor’s note added 1/18/15

This simple persimmon pudding recipe is the result of a desire not to waste one totally overripe persimmon a friend gave me from her tree. I’m not a huge fan of persimmons, but Loren loves them, so I took a few home for him. He ate a couple and then left one lonely fruit sitting on the counter until the skin became dark orange and translucent and the fruit was soft to the touch.

(As a side note, this could be fodder for some other blog post one day: How to get your husband or housemate to stop leaving small amounts of food in the fridge to be forgotten forever. I think I’ve successfully shamed Loren out of leaving 3 green beans in the bag and cooking the rest, but we both have a problem with eating fruit before it goes. It can sometimes make for interesting science experiments in the fridge …)

ANYWAY, there was this one persimmon. I had used a mushy persimmon before in a couple of other sweet syrupy recipes, but they weren’t good enough to share with you. This time however, I think I might have outdone myself. This is by far my very favorite way to consume a persimmon, and my persimmon-loving husband agreed — he said he liked it even better than the pumpkin custard recipe in my latest eBook.

Both recipes use coconut milk instead of regular cow’s milk, which some might think would pose a thickening problem. It doesn’t. It thickens right up; you just need a little time and patience (barely even any patience in the case of this small batch!). And at the end of the day, you have a dessert that doesn’t bother a lactose-intolerant belly and is full of the healthy fats from the coconut milk and the pastured egg yolks. What more could you ask of a dessert that already includes a bright orange fruit full of carotenoids? 

The “Single Guy Recipe”

I considered sharing a larger version of this recipe — perhaps one that serves 4 to 6 people — but after listening to an old episode of Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast where he laments the absence of “single guy” recipes in cookbooks after making 24 cupcakes and only wanting to eat 1, I decided to leave this recipe exactly as it was on my first try. This recipe serves two, and honestly, with just the two of us at home, it’s nice to be able to make a dessert that doesn’t linger in the fridge calling my name every night until it’s devoured.

Two is good.

As with other pudding/custard recipes, the more you make, the longer it takes to thicken, so anticipate some time adjustments if you decide to make a double or triple batch* of this scrumptious silky persimmon pudding.

*Editor’s note: I’ve since made a larger batch of this and didn’t simply double everything — which would have possibly yielded more but taken FOREVER. To make six 4-ounce servings like the ones pictured below, I used 4 persimmons, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, and 3 cups coconut milk. The directions remain the same.

dairy-free persimmon pudding

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Dairy-free Persimmon Pudding
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Ingredients
  1. 1 overly ripe, pulpy fuyu persimmon, skin removed (scrape the pulp off with a spoon if necessary)
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  4. 1 cup coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler, heat coconut milk and maple syrup until you achieve a low simmer
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and persimmon pulp
  3. Very slowly pour the warm coconut mixture to the persimmon and egg yolks, whisking thoroughly until completely incorporated
  4. Pour everything back into the double boiler and simmer until it thickens, about 15 minutes
  5. Whisk throughout to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or clump up
  6. Pour into 2 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving
Notes
  1. See editor's note above in this post for how to triple this recipe.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Best Stuffed Squash Blossom Recipe Ever

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

This year we decided to plant pumpkins in our newly created front yard edible landscape, and as a result, we’ve had a boon of squash blossoms to eat (on the left in the picture above). In years past, I’ve seen tiny baskets of squash blossoms in booths at the farmers’ market and been curious as to how people eat them. Every time I’d ask a farmer, the answer would be, “stuff ’em with cheese, bread ’em, fry ’em.”

MMMM, healthy! (sounded like gas and pain to me)

As a result, we never bothered buying them, but once we found ourselves with a front yard full of squash blossoms, I decided to experiment. The first batch I picked ended up getting chopped up and thrown into scrambled eggs, because I never found the time to do anything with them before they started to shrivel. Little did I know, squash blossom petals are like little magical yellow silky spider webs — much stronger and stickier than you’d imagine, which means they are great for stuffing, even if they shrivel a little bit. The eggs were good, but I wouldn’t say the blossoms added much to them besides color.

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

I was prepared for the next round I picked, which I used for this recipe, and which will undoubtedly redefine what you think of a gluten-free, grain-free, vegan ANYTHING, much less a version of something that’s typically stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried.

Seriously.

I’m talking about stuffing squash blossoms with vegan cheese and coating them with grain-free batter. This is a vegan, gluten-free squash blossom recipe that will have you pinching yourself in disbelief. One bite of these little nuggets of joy and you’ll be singing the praises of vegans and “glutards” (a new term I just learned that completely cracks me up and apparently describes me) everywhere! Maybe you won’t be singing their praises, but you might be singing mine for sharing this with you. This recipe is not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free, lending itself to an even greater audience of restricted eaters.

 

While I’m not the most humble of people among us, I don’t generally endorse the singing of my own praises, but with Loren as my witness, these things are THE BOMB, and you won’t regret making a special trip to the grocery store for garbanzo bean flour to make them. That’s a promise.

A word on which squash blossoms to eat

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain-free

example using a zucchini plant

There are two kinds of blossoms you’ll find in your garden if you’re growing squash of any kind. Some of the blooms are male and some are female. The male ones just look like a regular flower with a regular stem. Those are the ones you want to pick for a recipe like this one. The female ones have a little mini-fruit at the base of the blossom. Check out this article for more photographic examples and some great info on squash gardening. The take-home message is that you shouldn’t pick the female flowers because you will likely be preventing the fruit from forming. The bees move the pollen from the males to the females, and that “insemination” gets the fruit going. If you take the flower off before that happens, the fruit won’t mature. 

Squash Blossoms(1)

Gluten-free Vegan Squash Blossom Heaven

Ingredients:
  • 20 male squash blossoms
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

    vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

    basil herbalea super globe in my garden

  • 1 cup water (you want the mixture to be pasty — thinner than hummus, thicker than soup)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt to go in the batter + a little extra to sprinkle right after they come out of the oil
  • Cashew cheese (I left out the cilantro this time. Linked recipe makes more than is needed for 20 squash blossoms)
  • Fresh basil (any kind will work — typically smaller leaves are sweeter. I used basil herbalea super globe from the garden.)
  • Sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil for frying (you want about half an inch of oil in your fry pan)
 Directions:
  1. Make the cashew cheese following the instructions this recipe leaving out the cilantro
  2. Carefully open each squash blossom to stuff the cashew cheese and small basil leaf into the blossom and twist it shut (the petals just stick together like magic yellow mesh)
  3. In a wide shallow bowl, mix the garbanzo flour and salt and slowly incorporate about a cup of water, until you get the desired consistency — not too thick, not too runny
  4. Heat your skillet before adding the oil, then add 1/2 an inch and heat to 330F
  5. Dip the blossoms into the batter, covering completely, and then place into the oil
  6. Cook each side until golden brown
  7. Salt immediately
  8. Drain on some paper towels and allow them to cool before devouring

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

 

 

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup

cauliflowersoupcwb1

‘Tis the season for fresh veggies and light fare. As the days get longer and warmer, we can stow away our crock pots, press the pause button on our heavy sauces and stews, and pull out our salad spinners and steamers. Now’s the time for fresh salads and light soups, lean meats and fresh seafood. It’s spring!

This recipe replaces the heavy starchy potato with the fresh and light cauliflower — but not just any cauliflower, the ORANGE cauliflower. This awesome, vibrant orangey-yellow breed of cauliflower makes for a beautiful bright yellow soup rich with extra micronutrients like carotenoids, vitamin C and selenium.

Of course, you can make this soup with regular cauliflower, but I make no promise that it will be as beautiful upon completion. (I bet it will still be delicious though!)cauliflowersoupcwb

The Fresh Herb Quandary

One of the best things about having a small herb garden is that you only pull what you need for your meal, leaving the rest to grow and flourish until your next visit. I used to waste herbs all the time before I started my garden. I’d buy fresh herbs, use them for one recipe, and then forget about them until I found them in a nasty soupy plastic bag in my produce drawer three weeks later. I’ve found a solution to get them to last at least a bit longer, which helps a ton in those months when cilantro and basil won’t grow.

herbs

I say all this because I chose the herbs in this soup not only for flavor, but because I had an abundance in my garden. If you don’t have an herb garden or other recipes planned for the week to use up the herbs I call for in this recipe, don’t sweat it.

Be creative.

Use a combination of dried herbs instead, or use only sage and see what you think. (Sage keeps for a pretty long time in the fridge too.) OR, even better, plan your week around using the rest of these yummy herbs in your meals. (I’d recommend trying a parsley pesto — you’ll use the rest of that bunch right up and it will keep much longer.)

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow cauliflower
  • 2 to 3 cups veggie broth, water, or chicken broth
  • 1.5-2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp EVO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • OPTIONAL: butter or ghee
  • 1 whole medium yellow onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley, sage, and oregano
  • 1/2 tbs REAL salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions:cauliflowersoupcwb2

  1. Gently warm a large pot on the stove
  2. Add EVO, keeping heat below smoking point
  3. Add chopped onion and garlic (if using dried herbs instead of fresh, add them here as well)
  4. Lightly saute until soft and onions are translucent
  5. Add in chopped cauliflower and saute 3 minutes more, adding in small amounts of broth or water to make sure nothing burns
  6. When the cauliflower is almost soft, add in the rest of the broth the salt, the apple cider vinegar and the pepper — here’s where you add the fresh herbs if you use those
  7. Let simmer for a good 10 to 15 minutes
  8. Add in coconut milk and optional butter or ghee and turn off the fire
  9. Using an immersion blender, blend until completely smooth (you could also pour the whole thing into a blender, but that can get messy if you’re not careful — make sure you have someone holding the blender still, especially if your pot is heavy!)
  10. Serve in a shallow bowl and garnish with fresh parsley and a swirl of EVOcauliflowersoup1

 

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