Chocolate Ginger Feel-Good Granola, Gluten Free and Vegan

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Fairy tales often deal with the issue of temptation, wanting what is bad for us or what we shouldn’t have. Snow White almost dies for a bite of apple, and Rapunzel’s mother loses her own child for a taste of bitter greens. For those of us with IBS, given into a craving often means physical punishment. This is true for both heavy fatty food and bright fresh ones. Feel good food sometimes feels like an oxymoron. The foods we associate with emotional comfort often stress our digestive systems.

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I created this granola for those times when you’re feeling tempted but don’t want to upset your digestive system. Ginger calms irritable bellies, while chocolate does away with irritable moods. It’s lower in sugar than most granola recipes, FODMAP friendly, gluten free, and vegan. This is a treat you can feel good about: tempting, nourishing and easy to digest.

I’ve found that many granola recipes contain as much fat and sugar as cookie dough, but you can achieve sweet and crunchy granola perfection with way less. I chose molasses as my sweetener for this recipe. It has a lovely dark color and rich flavor that complement the ginger and chocolate.

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Chocolate Ginger Feel-Good Granola

 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup crystalized ginger, minced
1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Heat oven to 325°.

In a large bowl combine oats, seeds, nuts, and spice. Toss to combine.

Place oil and molasses in a small bowl and microwave 30-45 seconds, until coconut oil is fully melted. Stir to combine and pour over dry ingredients, tossing thoroughly until granola is evenly coated.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide granola between them, spreading in a thin even layer.

Bake 20 minutes, with baking sheets in the top and bottom third of the oven, switching and rotating trays after 10 minutes. Do not stir; you’ll end up with bigger clumps of granola.

Remove granola to wire racks and sprinkle with chocolate chips and crystalized ginger. Cool completely before eating or storing.

 

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Girl Food: Fennel Carrot Soup

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I’m sure there are plenty of men who love salads and women who would pick a steak over a brownie, but I don’t know any of them. There are certain foods that seem to appeal only to women: Buddha bowls, taco salads, and soup. Men categorically dislike soup. I have no idea why. I could eat soup every day from October through April, and all the women in my life seem to feel the same way. This particular soup has a rich caramelized flavor that comes from oven roasting the vegetables before adding them to the pot.

 

Adapted from the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine, this recipe epitomizes what I loved about that publication: it’s easy to make, has a short ingredient list, and yet it’s impressive enough that I’ve made it for dozens of special occasions, the most recent of which was a holiday lunch with my mom, aunt and sister. My sister and I both have IBS, but our symptoms and problem foods are almost opposite. This soup, however, works for both of us.

 

The original recipe, which appeared in the November 2008 issue of Gourmet calls for an onion, which I’ve replaced with a handful of scallion tops, because I don’t tolerate onion well. I also microwave the fennel oil because it intensifies the flavor and aroma. I make this soup with an immersion blender which produces a chunkier texture that I love. If you want a silky smooth puree a traditional blender is best.

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Fennel Carrot Soup

2 large fennel bulbs with fronds
1 lb. carrots, broken into 2” pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch scallions (green onions), white bulbs removed and discarded
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fennel seed
sea salt

Heat oven to 425° with rack in the bottom third of the oven. Slice fennel bulbs 1/4” thick and spread on a rimmed baking sheet along with carrots and garlic. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, and about 1/2 tsp. salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. After 20 minutes, add the scallion.

Meanwhile, chop about 1 tablespoon fennel fronds and set aside, discarding remaining fronds and stems. Grind the fennel seed in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Mix with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl and microwave 30 seconds, until fragrant.

When vegetables are caramelized and tender, transfer to a soup pot and add stock. Use an immersion blender to puree to desired consistence. Season with additional salt to taste and heat for 5 minutes or so on stovetop. Serve in wide bowls garnished with fronds and fennel oil.

 

 

Surprising Harmony: Radish and Corn Salad

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This salad, like a good fairy tale romance, is a surprising union. The alliance of sweet corn and spicy radish is no less surprising or delightful than the marriage of human and beast, god and mortal, royal and peasant. Unlikely partners delight us by making the improbable possible. Sweet corn kernels and spicy radish slivers balance and contrast each other. Tart lime and fresh cayenne pepper add depth and harmony to the vegetable’s bright flavors.

I recently realized that in my excitement over gluten free challenges like bagels and macarons and I have seriously neglected anything resembling an actual meal. This dish is a little light to constitute dinner, but topped with a crumble of goat cheese and a handful of toasted pepitas it is easily elevated to an entrée. You can also scoop it up with tortilla chips, use it as a toping on tacos, or add it to a spicy Latin soup like pozole.

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Radish and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

4 c. fresh corn (from 4 ears)

10 small radishes, julienned

1/2 lime, zested and juiced

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 fresh purple cayenne (or serrano) thinly sliced

1 tsp. chopped, fresh oregano (preferable Zorba Red)

1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves

Mix all ingredients and toss. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Enjoy!