Archive for Gluten Free

Brazilian Tapioca Crepes {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

My life has been blessed with many Brazilians. There’s my dear friend Lili, and then there’s the hordes of Brazilian students I have in my classes right now.

They are lovely people; friendly and upbeat, and their cuisine is pretty spectacular. If you’ve never had a Brigadeiro (a kind of chocolate truffle), well, you’re missing out.

I recently got turned on to a new-to-me ingredient that is popular in Brazil. This followed on the heels of me watching the episode of Chef’s Table that featured Brazilian Chef, Alex Atala. In his episode, he talks quite extensively about manioc.

manioca brazilian tapioca

Manioc is known by many names. It’s often called tapicoa, yucca or cassava. It’s a starchy root, similar to a potato. Up until now, my only experience with this particular ingredient was eating it sliced thinly and deep fried as yucca chips, which was delicious.

But it turns out you can make a flour out of manioc as well, and this flour happens to be gluten-free. Now, I’m always looking for new (read: better) gluten-free ingredients. Most of them out there are pretty disappointing. Manioc has some interesting potential.

Daiya, for example, a vegan cheese, is made from tapioca. What makes it interesting is that the tapioca has a kind of natural elasticity to it, that makes it stretchy, like cheese. I’m experimenting currently with vegan cheese recipes using tapioca flour.

In Brazil, this flour is often made into a kind of pancake or crepe. It’s often eaten for breakfast, or you can buy it as street food with various fillings.

Here in Vancouver, it’s challenging to find, but a new company, Manoica Vancouver, has started to manufacture it. This stuff is ready-to-use, as opposed to other kinds, that require soaking and straining.

The texture is denser than a French crepe, more robust, less delicate. It’s filling and hearty.

I made two versions; one with cheese (you can also use vegan cheese) and one with Nutella and blueberries. I wanted to try both savory and sweet options. The cheese one was my favorite, but they were both pretty good.

brazilian tapioca crepes

Brazilian Tapioca Crepes {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Ingredients (for each crepe):

  • 1/2 cup manioca flour
  • generous pinch of salt
  • crepe fillings: butter, grated cheese, fruit

Method:

  1. Place a sieve over top of a bowl, and measure 1/2 cup of manoica flour into the sieve. Push it through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Add a generous pinch of salt and stir.
  2. While you’re doing that, heat up a flat (ideally, crepe) pan over medium heat. You don’t need any butter or oil for this.
  3. When the pan is pre-heated sprinkle the manoica flour all over the pan so it’s evenly distributed. Now, using the back of your spoon, push it down to flatten and even out the layer. As it cooks, it will bind together to make a crepe.
  4. After about 30 seconds, flip it and cook it briefly (20 seconds) on the other side.
  5. Remove to the side, and brush with butter and sprinkle with cheese. Roll up the crepe and put it back in the pan briefly, just to melt the cheese. Eat while hot.

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Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Carpaccio.

Normally, it refers to raw, thinly sliced meats that are then “cured” with some kind of acid; usually a lemon juice or a vinegar. Generally speaking, this kind of dish is served in high-end restaurants, often as an appetizer. It’s akin to ceviche (which is made with fish).

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

I’m not a big meat-eater, so I thought I’d do a vegetarian version of this dish. For me, the appeal of a carpaccio is its beauty. Thin slices, artfully arranged… it’s a gorgeous dish.

I made mine with radishes, which are very much in season right now. To make this even prettier, see if you can find watermelon radishes. They have a beautiful colour and striation all the way through, instead of being solid white in the middle like traditional radishes.

In an ideal world, you would use a mandoline to slice your vegetables. This ensures a consistent thickness (or thinness, depending on how you look at it!), and honestly, is a lot easier than trying to cut paper-thin slices of radishes with a knife!

The dressing on this is a simple oil-and-vinegar. This is a very simple dish, but I love it because nothing distracts from the beautiful fresh radishes and cucumbers. This would make an elegant dish to serve at an afternoon tea party, or as a starter at a fancy vegan dinner.

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Ingredients:

  • One medium-sized cucumber, about 1-1½” in diameter. You could use a few Japanese cucumbers instead, as they are thinner in diameter.
  • 6 radishes
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice the cucumbers and radishes thinly on the diameter, and arrange prettily on a serving platter.
  2. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. In a small dish, combine the oil and vinegar, and add a pinch of salt and white pepper. Stir well.
  4. Drizzle the dressing evenly all over the salad.
  5. Chiffonade the mint leaves and sprinkle on top.

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