Summary: Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren't necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries.

Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren’t necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries. We recently baked this dessert for a Memorial Day barbeque, and were delighted by the stellar results. Try it for yourself, and we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
scant cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond works best)
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pomegranate seeds for topping (optional)
Vegan whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing. Line the bottom of the pan with the pineapple chunks, making sure they are evenly distributed and not too lumpy. Melt the coconut oil, keeping a watchful eye so it won’t burn. Pour oil in a large bowl and add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and almond meal. Stir thoroughly, then add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well until the mixture is moist but not runny. Add additional flour if mixture is too moist, or milk if it’s too stiff. It should have a slightly fluffy texture.

Ladle the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly spread across the pineapple chunks. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You can employ the toothpick or fork-in-the-middle method to see whether it’s done. Remove your cake from the oven and set on your counter to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can flip the cake over onto a large plate. If you like, decorate your creation with a pomegranate seed garnish (or fresh, de-pitted cherries, if you prefer). Serve as is, or get fancy with some vegan whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 happy people with ease. This cake keeps well in your refrigerator, securely covered, for several days. We sincerely doubt that it will be around that long. It works well as a dessert, but certain individuals have been known to enjoy it as a breakfast food. We won’t reveal their names. Enjoy your cake, and welcome to summer. At last!

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Summary: It’s May already, which means the official beginning of barbeque season! Some of you might be catching whiffs of your neighbor’s meat-based cuisine and wondering what on earth you can cook that didn’t come from an animal. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with these delightful tofu/melon/pepper skewers! The marinade is light but zesty, due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, and the heat from your grill will impart a subtle crispiness to the tofu.

It’s May already, which means the official beginning of barbeque season! Some of you might be catching whiffs of your neighbor’s meat-based cuisine and wondering what on earth you can cook that didn’t come from an animal. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with these delightful tofu/melon/pepper skewers! The marinade is light but zesty, due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, and the heat from your grill will impart a subtle crispiness to the tofu. You won’t even miss the meat, and your carnivorous friends may even ask you for a bite or two. Make sure they ask nicely.

INGREDIENTS
I block (14 ounces) tofu
1 red, yellow, or green pepper
¼ melon of your choice
½ red onion
1 tablespoon tamari
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dash of sea salt

SWEET CHILI LIME DIPPING SAUCE
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of sea salt

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (For skewers)
Cherry tomatoes
Pineapple chunks
Tempeh pieces

INSTRUCTIONS
Cut tofu, pepper, onion and pepper (and other ingredients, if desired) into large, bite-sized chunks. Mix tamari, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a small bowl. Put tofu chunks in marinade and let them sit for approximately half an hour. Afterward, remove tofu from marinade and place on skewers, alternating with peppers, onion, melon, and any other vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle additional tamari mixture on top. Vegetables and tofu should be pressed together on skewer, but not too tightly.

Place skewers on grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently. Tofu should be slightly browned and a bit crispy around the edges. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Remove from grill and serve with dipping sauce. You can serve this tasty dish by itself, or with a small salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. We put ours on a bed of fresh arugula and served it with a dab of light, zesty lemon dressing, and it tasted great. We think you’ll agree.

Serves 2 hungry people, or 3-4 not-so-hungry people. We know from experience that the dish pairs exceptionally well with vegan, gluten-free beer. Hopefully you can enjoy this fun meal on a warm evening, while seated in your yard while the last rays of sunshine beam onto your plate. Bon appetit, and relax –it’s almost summer!

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Summary: The chilly autumnal temperatures may have you longing for a warmer climate. However, if you lack the time and/or money for an impromptu tropical vacation, this zesty dish is the next best thing. It’s exotic, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. Our sweet-and-sour ...

tempeh
The chilly autumnal temperatures may have you longing for a warmer climate. However, if you lack the time and/or money for an impromptu tropical vacation, this zesty dish is the next best thing. It’s exotic, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. Our sweet-and-sour recipe calls for diced tempeh, rather than meat. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Tempeh is packed with protein, calcium, and vitamins and has a subtly nutty flavor that will please your taste buds. The addition of coconut oil enhances the tropical flair. Here’s how to get the feel of the islands without leaving your kitchen:

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons tamari (not commercial soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup ketchup (get a good organic variety, and check label to make sure there’s no soy sauce)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
1 large green, red, or yellow pepper
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (not canned!)
5 cloves fresh garlic
½ red onion
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine tamari, cornstarch, rice vinegar, ketchup, turbinado sugar, and water in large bowl and stir briskly until thoroughly combined. If you like your dish sweet, add a little extra sugar. If you like it sour, add some extra rice vinegar. Set mixture aside.

Slice tempeh into thin strips, then quarter each one. Cut onion into thick strips and dice pepper and pineapple into chunks. Chop garlic cloves into small pieces. Place tempeh, onion, pepper, pineapple and garlic into large frying pan and fry in coconut oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Tempeh and vegetables should be slightly browned, but not burned. Add more coconut oil to pan if necessary.

Pour liquid mixture into the pan and combine with the other ingredients. Sautee for another 3-5 minutes, stirring thoroughly. Be careful not to overcook. Al dente is better than mushy. Your kitchen will be awash with the sweet aroma of the coconut oil. When tempeh, vegetables and pineapple are done, remove pan from stovetop. Serve your fragrant mixture over heated jasmine or basmati rice. Some gluten-free wine or beer goes great as an accompaniment.

This incredible dish serves 4-6 people, depending upon everyone’s appetites. It’s a crowd favorite. Your friends and family will clamor for more. If you have leftovers, they keep well in the refrigerator and can be served either cold or reheated. Enjoy!

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