Thursday, January 3, 2013
The key to this cake is Yuca.
Also known as:Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called yuca, mogo, manioc, mandioca, and kamoteng kahoy.
A woody, starchy tuber. Less flavor then a potato a little sweeter. I was sold on using it more frequently when I read about it's anti inflammatory properties- a very good thing for Abby!
From Nutrition with Sonia-
Yuca (Cassava) Root is better than Potato
Posted in Food as Medicine, Fruits & Vegetables
I do know a lot of people who really enjoy this vegetable. It is a good source of B3 (helps to lower cholesterol), plus iron and calcium. Yuca is a root vegetable with a rough hard thick brown covering, a little like bark. The inside is hard, white and dense, it’s quite heavy. Similar to the potato in that it must be cooked before you eat it. It is quite a lot starchier than the potato and a tad sweeter.
This is not to be confused with the yucca plant – yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plantsin gardens or indoor house plants in cooler climates. Some will bear edible parts – like fruits, seeds, flowers, or stems, but not the edible roots we are talking about here. The yucca plant has long blade like leaves growing from a central point from the ground, similar in configuration as the aloe Vera plant (but with softer leaves). The yucca plant is like a small tree, with three medium oval shape blades on each small stem.
The yuca root contains high levels of a phyto-compound, called saponins which acts as a natural steroid. When the compound is extracted from the yuca it makes a perfect natural soap or shampoo.
How do these compounds affect our health when we consume them? These saponins are similar to steroids. They help to reduce inflammation of the joints particularly and in the body in general. Yuca is often included in formulas for inflammatory conditions like arthritic and rheumatoid conditions. It has been reported that yuca has the ability to break up mineral and inorganic deposits. What does this mean? It helps to break down or prevent the built up of calcification of kidney stones, gall bladder stones or calcification of joints. And due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can also help conditions like an inflamed prostate. However, no one plant should be seen as the be all and end all – it should be consumed along with a whole host of other plants.
Yuca has a positive effect on encouraging the action of the ‘good guys’ the friendly intestinal bacteria, which in turn aids the proper digestion of food and prevents the ‘bad guys’ from flourishing. In research it has been shown that the high content of saponins in this plant when ingested stay in the intestines and act on the intestinal flora helping to regulate the balance, stimulating the friendly normal flora and inhibiting others.
In the US much research is being carried out on the use of saponins from the yuca on its use in sewage treatment plants to breakdown organic wastes faster, also on farm and factory waste. This is due to saponins positive effect on the good bacteria speeding up the process naturally.
When we eat foods (beans and lentils) or herbs (alfalfa, fenugreek, garlic or tribulus) that are high in saponins they stimulate better absorption of vitamins and minerals and decrease the amount of toxins we absorb. This helps to put less of a strain on our already over worked detoxification organs. So with more nutrients absorbed, an increased action of anti-inflammation, improved immune system, better functioning organs – conditions like arthritis and other degenerative diseases improve. The saponins provide a more alkaline environment (most people’s systems are too acidic these days) aiding the digestive tract improving digestion, reducing incomplete digestion and decomposition in the colon which causes unpleasant smelling gases.
The common potato has the opposite effect to yuca, the potato is part of the Solanaceae family, and contains plant compounds that encourages pain and inflammation, another main member of this infamous family is the tomato! Many people have found their aches and pains have improved by eliminating tomatoes, along with eating healthier. The other attribute yuca has, is its rich source of absorb-able manganese, this helps in the process of repairing joints. Researchers have looked closely at this plants action and its affect on joints and cartilage, the amazing steroid like saponins strengthen the bowel flora of the intestines, breaking down organic body wastes like uric acid (which causes pain) and cleansing mineral deposits that might exist in the joints.
Native Americans used the soapy leaves from yuca for numerous conditions. Poultices or baths were used for skin sores and other diseases as well as for sprains. Certainly used in all sorts of inflammatory conditions.
I cut off the ends and peeled the the thick peel off.(The skin is often too thick for my peeler so I peel with a knife.)
Then I grate. I usually avoid the center of the root- it can be hard depending on how mature the yuca is, and though I have cooked with these a bit, I am still learning.
Flourless Carrot Cake
1/2 cup chopped black mission figs(our favorite.)
1/3 cup homemade vanilla extract(not as strong as vanilla extract and the vodka is a nice touch!)
1/2 pound (I grated roughly 1 1/2 cups loosely)peeled manioc root (with woody center removed)
2 cups fine grated coconut(I used the Nutiva macaroon fine grated)
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger(you may want to cut this in half, we like it strong)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak the figs in the vanilla potato vodka (overnight if possible you could use rum and raisins instead if you tolerate).
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Grease a 9 inch round cake pan, or 9 inch square brownie pan, and line bottom of pan with parchment.(I did not add greased parchment and wish I had)
Finely grate the manioc root (easily done in a food processor). Stir the coconut,grated carrot and grated manioc root together with the spices,salt,baking powder and sugars in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk.
Stir the liquid ingredients into the coconut mixture. Stir in the grapeseed oil. Stir in the figs and vodka(or raisins and rum).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown on top.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan while the cake is still warm, then let cool in the pan.
Cut into small squares or slices and serve. This cake is delicious warm or cold, with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or mix some coconut yogurt with lemon and powdered sugar- great topping! Or just a spoonful of pear sauce? Honestly, just a plain piece makes a delicious snack cake. I had some coconut sour cream(recipe on my blog)that I mixed with some powdered sugar- that easy.
NOTE: For all you cane sugar free folks, I am guessing Honey, agave,coconut sugar or maple syrup would work fine with this recipe. :-) You could also add chopped nuts, pineapple bits, really anything you want. We just created it for Abby's particular set of allergies and food intolerances. As always, use ingredients that are safe for you.