Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin ~ The Lighter Flare

I love french inspired food, using the familiar and making it your own.  The beauty of living in the melted pot, is we get to learn from each other and infuse our cultures. The brilliance of doing this,  we create new experiences and new traditions for our families.

This french inspired gratin dish is for my vegetarians out there. You can easy make it vegan, by using olive oil, non dairy cream and vegan meltable cheese.

My memories of this dish, is my mom’s super cheesy version of her own take of potato gratin.  It almost reminded me of her macaroni and cheese, It was one of my favorite dishes. She would make it in the Fall, as soon as the weather got a little nippy. I thought about her today and with the weather changing, I decided to make a gratin in honor of her. However, I like to take dishes that are familiar and put my own signature on them. I made mines with crispy green apples, onions, garlic and white cheddar cheese. I seasoned the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper. I think my southern mama, would have approved and told me, I should have went heavier on the cinnamon, the butter and of course the cream. LOL. 🙂  The recipe is a little tart, sweet and cheesy.  It is not your typical heavy, creamy potato gratin, but  I believe it will become one of your favorite alternatives. Bon a petit!

Enjoy and Set the Table with Love. 

Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin
Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin

Ingredients:

3 tbsp unsalted butter,  a little extra for the mini dutch oven

1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

3 med. green apples, slice with a madoline or knife, thin round slices

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

A few thyme leaves and dried fennels ( optional)

Fine sea salt and black pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream, if vegan, canned coconut milk will work

1/4 cup bread crumbs, gluten free bread crumbs for those with gluten allergies

3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Few  fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter the mini dutch oven, ramekin or small baking dish.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Add green apples slices. Do not use the top or the bottom part of the apple slices, just he ones that are not covered with the peel. Add the seasonings and the fennel. Stir gently to incorporate all the flavors. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer half of the mixture into the baking dish. Add half of the grated white cheddar cheese and add the rest of the mixture. Pour the cream over top. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, thyme leaves,  and cheese on top. Dot the remaining 1 tbsp butter on top.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately, add the fresh thyme leaves on top as garnish.

Greens with Garlic Herb Sauteed Chick peas, Green Apples, and Vegan Cheese ( homemade)

This weekend was amazing! I renewed my vows to the love of my life, 20 years and counting. The house was bursting with cheer, family and friends all weekend. It was a blast! Honestly, we both felt this wedding was more exciting and very powerful than our first one. I guess that has to do with 20 years, of experiences, struggles, victories and so much wonderful growth in us both. Well, everyone is gone home. The cajun food, themed reception we had, with Mardi gras mask and all, are all put away and everything is eaten, accept a little jambalaya my husband and son has devoured.  Now back to my food and sharing Set the Table with Love recipes with you guys.  I love this salad, I made today,  because it is made with one of my favorite food brands, Go RAW foods. I used their watermelon seeds, that are loaded with 11 grams of vegan protein, to make my vegan cheese. I added some garlic herb seasonings to it and you have vegan cheese. The watermelon seeds made the cheese very buttery and nutty. It’s a winner, plus loaded with protein and only 4 grams of carbohydrates. YES!!!!

This recipe has 22 carbs and 20 grams vegan protein.  I ate the whole big bowl. Off to my walk.

Well here’s the recipes.

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Ingredients:

SALAD

2 cups chopped kale

1 cup romain, bibb, or any other leafy green, you prefer. I used Bibb lettuce.

Few leaves of your favorite herbs. I used cilantro, from the garden

1 large green apple, chopped

1/2 cup chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 tsp McCormick No Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning

VEGAN CHEESE:

2 tbsp Go Raw watermelon seeds

1 tbsp McCormick No Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of sea salt

TIP: I added a few of my sautéed chick peas to the food processor to give it more flavor and depth. That will also increase the protein factor.

Directions: 

Wash, gently pat dry and mix the greens, apples and herbs in a large bowl. Set aside. In a sauté pan on medium heat, add enough olive oil to cover the pan, add in the chick peas and the seasoning. Stir. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the seasonings have browned just a little. Remove from heat. Allow the chick peas to cool, so they do not wilt the greens.

Add the watermelon seeds into a food processor. Process, until you get a small, fine crumbles. Add in the seasons, and gently pulse again, until the seasonings are incorporate into the seeds.

Assemble.  Add the cool chick peas ( with the sautéed spices) and vegan cheese mixture into the salad and gently toss.

Drizzle with a little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple and Potato Tart

This tart says, Fall. Apples. Lentils. Potatoes. Comfort Food. It’s hard and so very delicious. I love the sweetness the apples brings to this recipe. The crust is flaky and it’s vegan. I used coconut oil in this recipe, instead of butter. The coconut oil must be solid and not melted. So put it the fridge, the cold water will keep it solidified. If you do not want to go Gluten Free or Vegan you can easily buy pre made bake pie crust pastry dough.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

THE TOPPINGS

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling over the tart

2 large organic red apples, cored and diced

3 small red potatoes, washed and diced

1 cup french lentils,  cleaned, soaked over night and drained

1 /2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fennels

1 tbsp dried parsley

sea salt and black pepper

Gluten Free herb bread crumbs ( optional )

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Directions:

Cook lentils according to directions on your packaging. I soaked mines overnight it makes the cooking time shorter.  Once cooked, set aside.

In a sauté pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Sauté your onions and garlic, until soften. Add your diced potatoes and cooked until soften. Add your diced apples. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add your cooked lentils to the sauté pan. Stir everything together. Next, add your seasonings, parsley and fennel. Stir everything together and set aside.

THE CRUST

6 tbsp. chilled coconut oil, MUST BE CHILLED, YOU CAN ALSO USE VEGAN BUTTER, BUT I AM ALLERGIC TO PALM OIL 🙂
1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill, 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4-6 tbsp ice cold water

DIRECTIONS:

To prepare crust, add gluten free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Add in the cold coconut oil, one dollop at a time. Work gently with a fork. Don’t overwork your dough, just get the coconut butter incorporated in the flour.
Next add ice cold water a little at a time. I like using a wooden spoon to stir my water into the dough.  You are adding enough water to allow the dough to come together.
When the dough as come together, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap it firmly and place it in the  refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. When you are ready to use the dough, allow it to get a little of the chill off of it, so you can work with it, easily.  Do not let it get soft, because it will be hard to work and the coconut oil will start to make it oily. If it is dry, add more cold water, a little at at time.

To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of a rectangle, press the sides up so you can have a wall border about haIf an inch high. This will allow your filling to not fall off. If the dough cracks some, just use your fingers to pull it back together and reform it. Be gentle, using taps to pull cracks back together. Poked holes in the pie crust with a fork, so it will not rise.  I also pressed some of the gluten free crumbs on the side of the crust, to get an extra crunch once baked.

Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Line the pie crust with foil (not heavy-duty) and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven. In another pan, sauté the gluten free bread crumbs in a little olive oil over a medium heat, until  golden brown. Set aside. Once the crust is done, brush the crust with olive oil.  Add the vegetable and bean topping and add your sautéed gluten free crumbs.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Soy Free Gluten Free Vegan Sausage, Avocado Scramble and Peaches

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My 20 year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. My husband and I have decided to do a wedding renewal ceremony.  I am very excited, because I did not think I we would have made 20 years. I had kidney disease when we meet and kidney failures 7 years after we had our first son together. I was on dialysis for 3 months in 2008, when we found out he was my perfect match. My second chance at life happen on June 18th, 2008. One month before our son’s birthday, which is July 18th. It’s amazing how God works. We knew bringing our son into the world, could jeopardize my well being or kill me. So, how God to allow my husband to give me that life back, that was compromise by giving life to our son. It blows me away every time I think about it

This recipe is inspired to help me drop a few pounds to get in my wedding renewal dress and blow his socks off when I walk down that aisle one more time. The recipe I want to share today is my Avocado Scramble. it’s very simple and loaded with nutrition.

Avocado Scramble

Ingredients

1 large avocado

1/4 teaspoon turmeric ( this gives it that yellow color)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup of red bell peppers

handful of basil leaves, gently torn apart.

Instructions:

In a bowl mash the avocado with the turmeric, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. Add the peppers and basil and gently stir. I like to live a little basil and peppers on the side to use as a garnish.

This is great on gluten free toast, as well.

The sausage recipe will be in my new cook book, Set the Table with Love Take 2 ~Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian recipes for looking and feeling great.