Canada Day Playlist – Canadian Dance Music!

As you may have noticed, I’m a HUGE fan of dance music – 90’s-ish dance, in particular. I tend to just label most of it “Eurodance” by default, but a lot of what gets lumped in as Euro is actually Canadian!

There were a ton of great Canadian dance music artists back in the day. I’d listen to them on Chris Sheppard’s radio shows (and Canadians of a certain age now know exactly where “Celebration Generation” came from!), I’d watch them on Electric Circus, and – after moving to the GTA – I’d even hear them on top 40 radio, via Z103.5. Z has a heavy focus on dance music even to this day – It’s my favourite radio station ever, as a result!

So, with Canada Day coming up, I figure I’ll use the big party as an excuse to blog a Canadian Dance Music Playlist. It is out 150th, after all… so I’ll take any excuse to mark the occasion 🙂

To keep this reasonable, I’m only going to embed one song per group, though many featured have several / many great songs. If you hear something you like, I encourage you to look more into them. I love the high energy, uplifting nature of dance music, and love to share it with all of you!

In no particular order..

Laya – All My Dreams

This is one of my all time favourites, and gets played pretty much any time I’m in the truck or in front of the computer.. usually on repeat. LOVE.

Beatman – Nadia

This is one song I first heard through Z, and it’s a classic. High earworm potential, btw.

Roxxy – I’ll Never Stop

I love the speed and energy on this one, it was always great to play during skating practice or for workouts.

Jet Fuel – Hang on Here We Go

This song has a special place in my heart, as someone who was basically addicted to Electric Circus in my early-late teens – this song was the theme for the show Every Friday night, I would plan to watch, and usually record it. Living in Winnipeg – and being too young to go to clubs – it was the most readily accessible dance music, and it was fabulous. They’d open the Much Music studios and basically turn it into a club. The dancers wore bright colours, metallic fabrics.. spandex and feathers everywhere. LOVED. IT.

Capital Sound – Desire

Capital Sound was based out of Ottawa, and had a bunch of great songs. It was hard to narrow it down for the purposes of this list – so many good ones to choose from! I think “In The Night” was probably their biggest hit, but don’t quote me on that. “Higher Love” was right up there, too. “Feel the Rhythm” is probably tied for my favourite, but for my embed, I’m going with “Desire”. I don’t think it got as much love, in general… but I <3 it so.

Bif Naked – Spaceman

Now, I love me some Bif Naked at times, but she wasn’t really known for her dance music. I still find it a bit hilarious that she put out a dance remix of her “Spaceman“… but I’m certainly not complaining! I am firmly of the belief that dance music makes everything better.

Emjay – We All Need Love

I think “In Your Arms was my first exposure to Emjay, and it was DEFINITELY on Electric Circus; she performed live on the show at least once, and they played this video often. She had quite a few great songs, like “Fascinated“, “Flying to the Moon“, “Sound of my Heartbeat“, and “Point of No Return“. For the purposes of this list, though.. I’m picking “We All Need Love”. The video is so spectacularly 90s, and I just don’t hear this song get as much play as the others.

BKS – Living in Ecstasy

BKS was one of Chris Sheppard’s projects – featuring Simone Denny, who I adore – and they put out a lot of great music. Astroplane, Dreamcatcher, Take Control – which was, IMHO, the best song on Much Dance ’95…

I happened to be listening to the Astroplane album when I was trying to come up with a name for my business. It was during their cover of Swamp Thing, when inspiration struck. Chris Sheppard yelled “Celebration Generation, you know who you are!” – “The Celebration Generation” being his name for his fans – and in that moment, I just thought “Yes, I do!”. It stuck.

For this playlist, though, I figured I’d go old school and highlight my current favourite of theirs, “Living in Ecstasy”

Love Inc

Love Inc was another Chris Sheppard project, also featuring Simone Denny. Broken Bones was their first hit, and remains a favourite of mine today. You’re a Superstar is an amazing, feel-good anthem – one I load up on regularly, and make a point of sharing when someone needs it. Here Comes the Sunshine, Who Do You Love?, and more – all great.

Their song “Into the Night” didn’t get the same amount of play as some of the others ones, but it’s just such a gorgeous song, I had to include it here!

O.O.P featuring Simone Denny – You Make Me Feel Like a Star

Ok, this is probably my last Simone Denny song in here, I swear! So far as I can tell, I don’t actually know any other songs by this group, but this one – on the BeatClub CD – is definitely a favourite of mine.

Dion – Maybe

This is one of those songs that just really perks me up when it comes on the radio. Love it!

Ivan – Open Your Eyes

I never cease to be amazed at how obscure Ivan’s solo dance music seems to be. I do love to see the shock on friend’s faces when I point out that Ivan is Ivan Doroschuk, from Men Without Hats. Remember Safety Dance? Yep – that’s Canadian too!

Anyway, he put out an album in the mid 90’s – “The Spell”. This, and “SuperBadGirls” were my favourites from that album.

Temperance – Lost in Love

Temperance was a Toronto based group that had a couple of hits – A great cover of “Forever Young“, and Lost in Love, which was my favourite of the two.

Yakoo Boyz – Pipe Dreamz

Techno version of “Scotland the Brave” – what else can I say? This one has a special place in my heart, as I used to skate to the instrumental version. I thought my coach would kill me when I cut the music, choreographed it, and showed up to a competition with it, without telling him. The skirt was neon plaid, the bodice was made of 4 way stretch black PVC with metal zippers and rivets – looked like a stylized biker vest. I had my tattoo showing (a no-no for figure skaters back then!), a blue stripe in my hair… and I had FUN. This song makes me smile, just remembering all that nonsense 🙂

YBZ – Now That I Found You

Yakoo Boyz teamed up with Cleo-Patra,became YBZ (the code for a Toronto airport), and put out this song. Love it!

Outta Control – Tonight It’s Party Time

OK, I was wrong, this is another Simone Denny song. Whoops. This one was the first song on one of the compilation dance music cassettes I had way back in the day. Can’t remember which one, but I wore it out over this song. 🙂

Joee – Feel it in the Air

Joee is another one that had a bunch of great songs, making it difficult to pick one for this. Angel, Almost Suicide, Died in Your Arms, Arriba, etc

IN the end, I’ve gotta go with “Feel it in the Air” as my fav (“Almost Suicide” is a close second!)

Boomtang Boys – Dancing with Myself

Boomtang Boys are a group of producers/remix artists. Yep, they were the ones behind HamsterDance(and Hamster Dance 2.0)… but are much better known/respected for their work on other’s remixes (see “Spaceman”, above), and their own singles, Squeezetoy and Pictures (which had a memorably disturbing video!), and Both Sides Now, and – my favourite – Bang a Gong. (Which seems to be blocked in the USA, boo!)

My second favourite is their version of “Dancing with Myself”… even if I find the video – full of kids bouncing around – to be a completely bizarre choice, given the song’s rumoured (Though disproven) subject matter!

Prozzak – Omobolashire

I enjoy The Philosopher Kings, but I LOVE Prozzak – a project started by two of their members. Yes, the songs are cheesy, and the videos are corny, and the fake British accent is ridiculous.. but I LOVE it all. Judge all you want! 😀 Sucks to be You, www.nevergetoveryou, Europa, Strange Disease, the uplifting Be as… it’s all great for listening while sewing. My favourite, though, is the first song of theirs that I’d ever heard, Omoboloshire.

Jefferson Project – All I need is the Night

I don’t know much about this group, other than that I first saw them on Electric Circus back in the day. Love the song though!

Shauna Davis – Get Away

This song is a classic… and the singer is fascinating. Shauna Davis is Stéphane Moraille, who went on to sing for Bran Van 3000 (“Drinking in LA” is one of my favourite songs ever!), before becoming a lawyer and politician in Quebec!

…. this list is getting long! I’ll wrap it up with:

Solina – I Wanna Know

So. Yes. Canadians do Dance Music well! 🙂

Cold Smoked Potato Salad Recipe

Last week, I happened across “smoked potato salad” at a specialty food store. Given that my husband is a sucker for anything smoked, I picked some up. It was ok – good even – but the smoked flavour only came from the mayo.

Of course, we discussed how we would have done it – smoking both the mayo and the potatoes. We discussed the other ingredients we’d use, and before I knew it, we were grocery shopping to make it happen.

Part of our discussion involved the various ways we could tackle the smoking. We could hot smoke the potatoes from raw, or we could pre-cook and cold smoke them. In the end, we decided to cold smoke them after boiling. It gave us more control over the finished texture, for one.

Secondly, I just prefer the texture of boiled potato salad, to roasted potato salad – and hot smoked potatoes would be closer to the texture of roasted.

Now, I’ve already got a great boiled potato salad recipe – my Grandma’s Potato Salad – which I believe to be the *best* potato salad ever… but this comes very, very close to that #1 spot for me, now.

Gramma’s will always have the nostalgia, but this one has a really great flavour, and it’s unique. This turned out fantastic, with a really great smoked flavour throughout! I think we’re going to have to smoke mayo on its own, just for use as a condiment on its own – it would be amazing on burgers and sandwiches.

Enjoy!

Cold Smoked Potato Salad

5 lbs small red potatoes
3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 ears corn, shucked(optional)
5 ribs celery, thinkly sliced
3 Green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced in half, seeded, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
6 hardboiled eggs – cooled, peeled, and sliced

Wash potatoes, chop into 1″ cubes. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, cool to room temp.

Prepare your smoker for cold smoking, based on your smoker’s instructions. Get smoke going!

Whisk together mayo, sour cream, and mustard. Spread on a small, rimmed cookie pan or baking dish. Fill another, larger (but small enough to fit in your smoker!) pan with ice. Place mayo pan on the ice.

Place stacked pans in smoker, along with cooled potatoes, and corn (if using). Cold smoke for 10 minutes.

Remove mayo mix pans from the smoker, allowing corn and potatoes to continue smoking. Stir the mayo mix, replace ice if melted. Return to smoker, continue to smoke for 10 more minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together potatoes, celery, green onions, and jalapeno. If using corn, use a sharp knife to remove kernels from ear, stir kernels into potato mix.

Add about half of the mayo mix to the bowl of vegetables, mix well. Add more mayo mix, to taste. Season with salt and pepper, before gently stirring in sliced eggs.

Chill for an hour or two before serving.

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How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Cosplay Tutorial – Handmaid’s Tale Bonnet / Cap

So, as I’ve mentioned on my Facebook Page, I’m in a Handmaid’s Tale cosplay group for Convergence 2017. With Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic – Canadian, btw! – novel being SO great, we just have to! I was originally going to do it with just my husband (who wants to be “Janine”/”Ofwarren”), then with a friend or two, and then we ended up joining up with a group of strangers. Adventure!

I offered to pattern up some of the elements, and here we are. Because many of our group are novice seamstresses, I’ve done this tutorial so that even beginners can make them. Yes, there are cleaner, fussier, more accurate ways of doing it… but this looks legit, and is easy to make. So, here we are!

You’re going to want about 1/2 yard of a natural, white fabric. I used a linen-look fabric from JoAnn (Here), for budget reasons. Actual linen or cotton would work, also.

Additionally: White thread, a bit of elastic (I like 3/8″ braided elastic), a sewing machine, a serger (if you have it), a cord threader or safety pin, and a hand sewing needle. For pattern making, some tissue, craft, or medical examination table paper, a ruler, and a pen.

Let’s get to it!

Part 1: Patterning

Measure from the middle, top of your head, down the side of your head, to the bottom of your ear. For most adults, this should be about 10″ – we’ll be using 10″ as the measurement for this tutorial.

On your patterning paper, draw 2 lines that are perpendicular to the edge of the paper, and this measurement (10″) apart. Have at least 15″ of paper extending out to the left.

On one of the lines, mark a spot that is 2.5″ from the edge of the paper. (left side, as pictured). On the other line, mark a spot 3.5″ from the edge of the picture. Using a ruler, join these two spots.

On the edge of the paper, mark a spot that is 2.5″ away from the line marked at 3.5″ – in this case, the line on the right. Use a ruler to join this new spot, to the 3.5″ mark

Mark a seam allowance out from the line you just drew. I like to use a 1/4″ seam allowance. So, I marked 1/4″ out at both ends, and joined those two spots to form a line 1/4″ out from the original line, parallel to it.

Fold the paper at the 2.5″ line, lining up long edges. Cut out pattern piece.

This is what your pattern piece should look like.

On another piece of paper, use a ruler to draw a line perpendicular to the edge of the paper. Mark it at the measurement you came up with earlier (10″, in this case).

Along the edge of the paper, you need to mark a spot that will become the length of the “bag” of the cap. For a larger bag (lots of hair), I like to use 14″. For a smaller bag (not much hair to hide), you can go 11-12″.

For this tutorial, I used 12″. I marked 12″ away from the original line.

Fold the edge of the paper to meet the line you drew, and press to form a sharp crease. This will show you the halfway point.

Unfold pattern. Mark a spot along the fold, that is the difference between your two measurements. As I was using 10″ and 12″, this means I marked a spot 11″ from the edge of the paper, measured along the fold.

Draw a curved line that smoothly and evenly connects your 3 measurement points.

Draw a second curved line 1″ outside of that line. This will be your seam allowance.

Cut out your pattern pieces. I like to add arrows pointing to the original paper edge on both pattern pieces, as pictured – this is where the fold of the fabric will be.

Part 2: Cutting


Fold your fabric, place arrow-marked edges of the pattern pieces on the folds, cut through both layers of fabric.

These are the two pieces that will make up your cap.

Part 3: Sewing


With right sides together (if applicable) – folded lengthwise – sew or serge the pointed ends together, as shows.

Clip the very tip off each point, without cutting the seam.

Carefully turn the points right-side out. Use a chopstick or other pointy instrument (closed tip of scissors works, just be careful!) on the inside, to push the very point out as much as possible.

While I didn’t bother, using a hot iron to press sharp creases into the fold/ pointed ends can make things easier for you.

(not pictured) Serge or zig-zag the rounded edge of the “bag” piece.

Your pieces.

With the right side (if applicable) facing down, fold up and sew a 1″ seam around the curved edge of the bag. Sew close to the serged/zig zagged edge, leaving a nice big tunnel, clear.

As you sew, gently gather in the excess fabric that needs to be worked into the seam. Don’t worry, this doesn’t need to be pretty.

The bag, with the tunnel sewn.

Measure the back of your head, from behind one ear, straight across to the other. Add 2″ to this measurement, for the length of elastic to cut. 8″ is what we get, so I cut a 10″ long piece of elastic.

Thread the elastic into your cord threader, or attach a safety pin to one end.

Thread your elastic through the tunnel you made, being sure not to lose the end of the elastic.

Leave 1″ of elastic hanging out the side you started threading through.

Sew across the opening of the tunnel, securing the elastic. This seam should be done very close to the opening.

Pull the cord threader or safety pin out the other side of the tunnel. Allow 2″ of elastic to stick out, hold it securely!.

Sew the second tunnel opening closed, as you did the first.

Trim excess elastic from both ends (It was just for ease in working with it). This will leave you with a length of gathered elastic that is 1″ shorter than your measurement – this is what we want. (it will be too big, otherwise.)

With the right side of your “bag” facing up (ie, the edge seam/tunnel underneath)Line up the raw edge of your brim piece with / on top of the raw edge of your bag piece, as pictured.

Sew or serge the brim piece to the bag. make sure to keep the brim piece folded and lined up with itself the whole time – you can pin it, if needed.

If you find that you didn’t do so well with cutting, or with maintaining the seam allowance measurements, you may find one piece slightly bigger than the other, as you approach the end. Feel free to just fold and tuck extra fabric to match the seam ends up, within the last 2-3″, if needed. This will be hidden by the folded point.

What it should look like at this point.

While not necessary, I like to tack the joining seam backwards against the elastic, just for an inch or so at each edge, as pictured. It just makes it look cleaner when wearing it – You can do this by hand or machine.

The end tack, from the right side.

Fold one point backwards to meet the joining seam, as pictured. Press with a hot iron, if desired.

Thread a hand sewing needle with white thread, and knot the end. Bring the needle up from the under/inside of the cap, right under where the point will touch the seam. Make a few stitches to secure it to the seam, bring needle back down to the wrong side of the cap, and finish off with another knot. Trim excess thread, and repeat with the second point.

The secured point.



And that’s it! If you’d like a video walk through of how to make them, I’ve now got one uploaded to youtube, here.

If you’d like to make the “Wings” – the large bonnet that the Handmaids wear outdoors, Click here to go to my Etsy listing for the pattern and tutorial!

Gluten-Free Fried Brie Recipe

Sometimes, inspiration comes from the weirdest places.

My husband and I used to play Ingress. One night, we were hanging out in one of the Ingress chat rooms, and the subject of poutine randomly came up. Myself and one other player were adamant about the fact that you *cannot* get legit poutine anywhere in Minneapolis, while some other players asked for details about what poutine even IS.

One guy asked if it used cheddar curds, or if it was something else. My husband was feeling troll-y, so he replied “Brie curds”, knowing full well that such a thing could never even exist, technically. Well, one thing led to another, and we decided engage in some sacrilege – battering and deep frying brie. Rather than a normal beer batter, I decided that this needed a white wine batter, with a little garlic.

Oh, these were *fantastic*. So much so, that they ended up in my cookbook, Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking

The first time we made this, we used the cheapest brie we could find – we were feeling a bit guilty about what we were about to do to it! It turned out so well, we tried it again with a name brand, mid grade brie. We definitely recommend going with a nicer brie, rather than the cheapest you can find. It really did make a difference, and the finished product is SO good, I don’t think it ended up counting as sacrilege.

Try to use a pretty fresh brie – you want it relatively firm. Once the center starts liquifying, it would be very difficult to work with.

Not gluten free? You can make this with gluten, just use 1 cup of all purpose flour in place of the garbanzo and rice flours. It won’t have quite as nice of a flavour, but it will definitely taste great!

Gluten-Free Fried Brie

Serves 4

Frying oil

1/2 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup white wine
1 lb Brie

1/2 cup corn starch, for dredging

Apricot preserves for serving

Start heating your oil to 350F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add egg and wine, stir well to form a thick batter. All batter to sit for 15 minutes or so, to soften the flours.

Carefully cut the rind off the brie – freezing it for a few minutes can make this easier. Slice into small wedges.

Gently dredge cheese wedges in corn starch, shaking excess flour back into the bowl. One piece at a time, dip into batter, allowing excess batter to drip back into bowl for a few seconds, before carefully transferring to heated oil.

Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer fried cheese to paper towels. Allow oil to come back up to temperature between batches.

Serve hot, with apricot preserves.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Autism Awareness Month: On “Passing”, and NT Gaslighting.

With Autism Awareness/ Acceptance month more than half over (WHEW!), I’d like to take the opportunity to spread a little more awareness.

Autistic people face an infuriating Catch-22 situation, and I’m not entirely sure that neurotypicals are even aware of it – even the well-meaning allies. So, consider this a PSA of sorts.

People who meet the neurotypical definition of “autistic enough” – maybe they’re nonverbal, don’t withhold their stimming, and/or need assistance of some sort – are seen as being less than human. .. And less than capable of speaking up for themselves.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people written off as “stupid”, just because they don’t communicate verbally. (Not talking is not the same as not thinking… it’s not even the same thing as “not communicating”)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen autistic self-advocacy written off because, essentially, autistic opinions aren’t “human” enough to matter.

Autistic people are under immense pressure from society to conform, and to present as neurotypical as possible. “Until every piece fits“, after all. Even beyond the ridiculously offensive idea of “curing” us, most “therapies”, etc are about bullying us (torture, in some cases – ABA, for instance) into submission, and appearing more NT. It’s not about helping us with things like over-stimulation, it’s more about goals of forcing autistic people to not flap their hands, etc. Parents and teachers telling autistic kids “Quiet hands!!”- when a child is stimming – is actually a thing.

(Don’t get me started on the whole issue of parents being upset about a lack of (verbal) “communication”, while actively working to silence actual, non-verbal communication by autistics. Words aren’t the only way to communicate, and for a society that is so hung up on body language… many neurotypical people sure go out of their way to ignore/squash Autistic body language!)

… but when you spend your life observing, mimicking, putting yourself through horrible discomfort, watching your every word and movement, etc… you know what your reward is for finally reaching that ability to “pass”?

It’s being told that you’re not autistic enough.

Autistic people who “pass” are frequently told that they’re not autistic enough, or just plain aren’t autistic. This usually happens when an autistic person speaks up for autistic rights, etc. I just read a tweet where the woman “came out” in a college class, was told she shouldn’t say “autistic”, she should say “person with autism”. When she said “I am autistic, and I disagree”, she was shut down with the “not autistic enough” nonsense.

This is not only completely illogical behaviour from neurotypicals, I’m pretty sure it’s related to gaslighting – if not actual gaslighting. The idea that we lack agency to talk for ourselves if “autistic enough”, and then lose agency to speak as autistic people if we DO try conforming is cruel and abusive.

I want to discuss something I don’t usually talk about. I don’t know if it’s a personal taboo or more of a community culture thing, but I don’t tend to talk about how much effort goes into “passing”. Like many other things in life, I suppose… the key to “passing” is to make it seem natural, and for people to not actually realize the effort that went into it. (I think I just made a makeup metaphor. Lord. All that work on “passing” is corrupting me!)

As a kid, I chewed shirt collars… all the time, all through elementary school. I’d chew them until my chin was red and irritated. It was just a source of comfort – stimming – during the constant stress I was put through at school and at home. I had no peace, and I had to be constantly on alert.

Through behavioural counseling at school and eventually moving in with my grandmother (and away from major stressors), that particular stim went away – but not without a lot of work. I had to be constantly conscious of it, until it was just habit to not do it anymore.

It wasn’t the only way I trained myself to pass. I spent YEARS watching faces, making note of patterns, and even studying facial expressions. I put myself in super uncomfortable social situations, to learn. I observed other kids interacting, and worked on mimicking. It was a lot of hard work, resulted in a lot of discomfort, and even more bullying.

These days, I can get along with neurotypicals, even if they’re not always the most logical creatures on the planet. I still have to watch everything I say (NT people are big on filtered speech, however inefficient that restriction may be), keep the rocking and flapping to a minimum, etc. When I’m out running errands, I have to endure incredible pain from high pitched electronic noises that you may not even hear… simply because wearing noise canceling headphones would be seen as “weird”. My eyes hurt from too-bright florescent light in stores, because wearing sunglasses inside is similarly seen as weird. I could be so much more comfortable, if I wasn’t so focused on passing.

You may see someone who passes as one of you, but what you don’t see is how much brainpower and energy is being wasted in trying to live up to a NT standard, or the physical pain I can be in. Because you don’t see that, it can be easy to write me off as “not autistic” or “not autistic enough”… and that is incredibly frustrating.

The thing is, living as an autistic in a neurotypical world feels a lot like an abusive relationship. We bend over backwards, and our efforts are rarely – if ever – reciprocated. Rather than being met halfway, we’re expected to do all of the changing. We have to understand NT facial expressions, but NT people aren’t expected to figure out autistic body language. We have to go through sensory hell, rather than expect stores to just tone down the brightness and noise. Let’s be real, NO ONE needs things that bright and noisy!

Because of this lack of reciprocity – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this – I often fantasize about just NOT trying to “pass” anymore. It’s a delicious fantasy – just being as comfortable as possible, no longer concerned about trying to live up to the NT “standard”.

I don’t really have the guts – or means (No longer passing would definitely affect my income!) – to drop my efforts entirely. The other day I felt a bit ballsy and wore my sunglasses inside – it felt completely subversive.

Maybe someday I’ll invest in noise cancelling headphones to wear while running groceries. It certainly would be nice to drown out all of the high pitched electronic nonsense that’s *everywhere*, but again… the beaten-in desire to “pass” prevents me from doing so, even though I’d be FAR more comfortable.

I guess the awareness I’d like to raise, through this post, is that you never can tell what someone else is going through, to present neurotypical. I wish people would think about this when trying to silence autistic voices.

PS Here are some of my previous posts on Autism.

Symbols Matter, Words Matter

Explaining Autism: Interoception, and Something Other Than Pain

Autism Awareness Day – A Few Thoughts from My Spot on the Spectrum

Autism Speaks Does Not Speak for Me

Interacting with Autistic Children: A Guide for Charity Appearances

Aspergers: You Can’t Cure “Awesome”

Vegetarian Donairs / Vegan Donair Meat

Last May, I started dabbling in the creation of vegetarian meat substitutes – you may remember the entry on Boneless, Meatless Ribs, or the Vegetarian Chorizo Burger with Grilled Poblano and Cilantro Pesto.

Well, I was working on Donairs for More Than Poutine this week, and I was feeling a bit guilty that my husband wouldn’t get to try them. He’s never had a Donair, so that wasn’t helping things – he’s ALL about trying new foods.

So, as my own loaf of tasty tasty donair meat was almost ready to go in the oven, I decided I’d play around with my seitan recipe, and come up with a vegan donair meat for him. It was done completely as a surprise for him, he had no idea what I was up to. Frankly, I didn’t want to disappoint him if it didn’t turn out.

Well, I guess I was overly cautious, because it turned out amazing. I was kind of shocked at how much it looked, smelled, and felt like the real thing. I was actually able to taste a bite (I’m gluttening for the next week or so), and… damn. I could absolutely be tricked by it in a sandwich, had I not made the thing. Completely bizarre!

Anyway, he LOVED his first Donair ever, and joked that it should be called a “DON’Tair”, along the lines of food names being changed a bit to denote their vegetarian status. We also used red pepper instead of tomato, as he hates tomatoes.

While the Donair “meat” here is vegan, the sandwich itself is vegetarian. As he doesn’t have to be dairy free, I just haven’t played with the alternatives enough to have the first clue on how to make vegan donair sauce.

Vegetarian Donair Recipe
Makes enough for 4-6 Donairs

1 1/2 cups hot water
3 “Beef” flavoured vegetarian bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
2 1/2 tsp Onion powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Cayenne powder
2 Tbsp Almond butter

1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder

4-6 pitas
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes (or, in his case, red pepper), chopped

Preheat oven to 325, grease a glass loaf pan (4″ x 8″ or similar size)

Dissolve “beef” bouillon cubes into hot water, set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.

In a separate bowl, whisk together almond butter and 1 cup of the “beef” bouillon mix – a little at a time – until relatively smooth.

Once wet ingredients are well whisked, pour into dry ingredients and stir to form a lumpy dough. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and knead for at LEAST two minutes. This is important – if you don’t knead it enough, it’ll turn out puffy, and more like a baked good than a “meat” substitute. It won’t really look any different as you go, you just have to trust in your timing.

If you have a stand mixer, you can beat it in there on medium speed for a couple minutes, instead of kneading.

Press dough evenly into prepared loaf pan, bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Excuse the crappy cell phone photo! I’m still shocked how proper it looks!

For sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, and garlic powder.

Use a whisk to mix together the sauce ingredients until well combined and thick. Transfer to a covered container, chill until use.

To Assemble:

Brush pitas with a little water, heat in a hot frying pan until warmed through.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan. Slice vegan donair meat into 1/4″ thick slices (or however thick/thin you prefer!), add to pan and reheat until desired texture (If you like the crispy edges, cook a little longer than you would if you don’t!)

Pile reheated “meat” on warm pita, drizzle generously with sauce, top with onions and tomatoes. Wrap in wax paper, parchment paper, or foil to hold it together while eating, serve immediately.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

For MOST recipes that aren’t inherently gluten-free, high quality GF versions will be included.

Potluck DIY Sushi Party!

A few times over the past 8 years, we’ve hosted a – what we EVER so classily refer to as – “All You Can Stuff Sushi Potluck Party”. Twice, it’s been as my husband’s birthday party, and each time, I think to myself that I should blog this.

My husband’s birthday was this past week, which was a reminder that I was planning to blog his sushi party a YEAR ago. Whoops. At least I kept the information all this time … even if we once again forgot to take pictures as it was all happening. Again… whoops.

Anyway, apparently sushi rolling parties are actually becoming a THING now… though it was a new, unique idea back when we started. Boo, missed opportunity to be trend setters!

This party is a lot of fun to do, assuming you’re good with logistics. There’s a lot to juggle, but when it all comes together, it’s super rewarding.

First Off: Decide the Basics

We’ve now done this party a few different ways, and which way you plan to do it depends a lot on your friends, your finances, etc. Personally, I prefer one of the potluck methods … it just feels more social. Only you know your friends and what would work best for you, though!

1 – Guests Bring Items:

For this method, I do up a wish list of items, and divide it out among the people attending. I try to keep it even, that people are all bringing about the same value of items (Don’t stick one friend with bringing expensive fish, and ask for a single cucumber from another!). One thing to keep in mind when dividing out the list is who you are asking to bring what. Some people, I trust to know what a good avocado looks like, others… not so much! Another consideration is “Who lives near one of the few places to sell trustworthy sashimi grade fish?”.

2 – Guests Bring Items OR Contribute Money:

If you have a lot of friends that you may not trust so much to pick up certain items, this can be a good option. Some people get excited about showing up with a beautiful piece of salmon, for instance… while others would much rather just Paypal you a few bucks and have you do it.

3 – Guests Chip in Money:

The most recent time we hosted a sushi potluck party, we asked everyone which way they’d like to do this, and everyone decided that they’d like to just chip in. It was just before a busy con season, so it just ended up more efficient to have me do the shopping for it. Fair enough – everyone sent $10 per person via Paypal ahead of time.

4 – Not Potluck

You can, of course, always just straight up host the dinner, rather than do it as a potluck.

Next: Finalize a Guest List

Due to the nature of the party, it’s really important to have a solid guest count before you start shopping and prep work. In Minnesota, that can be pretty difficult with the popularity of the “Minnesota Decline” – putting a “Maybe” instead of a “no” when a guest knows they won’t be able to make it.

It’s important to give a deadline for RSVP, and request a solid Yes or No – Maybes should be counted as no. A lot of cost and planning goes into this, and you don’t want to be stuck doing extra work and/or extra purchasing if you don’t have to. Also, sushi leftovers do not exactly keep well!

Plan The Menu

No matter which way you’re doing the potluck, it’s best to wait until you have your guest list before actually planning your menu. The more people you have, the more selections you can add.

Additionally, consider your guests. Are some not sushi fans? You can add tempura vegetables, gyoza, chicken satay, etc as options. Are some vegetarians? Be sure to have extra veg options for filling the sushi. Anyone gluten-free? Be sure to have a bottle of GF soy sauce on hand.

As an example, our most recent Sushi Party menu was:

Appetizers:

Edamame
Gyoza
Chicken Satay

Sauces & Garnishes

Mango Sauce
Dynamite Sauce
Eel Sauce
Soy Sauce
Ponzu Sauce
Sesame Seeds
Black Sesame Seeds
Wasabi
Pickled Ginger

Beverage

Green Iced Tea with Lychee and Mandarin Orange

Dessert

Matcha Pavlova with Matcha Whipped Cream,
Honeydew, Lychee, and Mandarin Orange

Sushi Fixings

Nori
5 colours of Soy wrappers
Sushi Rice

Tuna
Salmon
Hamachi (Yellowtail)
Roasted Eel
Ebi (Shrimp)
“Crab” sticks

Spicy Salmon
Spicy “Crab”
Spicy Tuna

Tobiko
Masago

Cucumber
Avocado
Green Onions
Zucchini
Jalapeno
Sweet Potato
Mango

Recipe Links

Chicken Satay
Gyoza
Matcha Pavlova
Spicy Tuna Filling(Can be used with Salmon, etc)
Sushi Rice
Sushi Sauces – Dynamite, Eel, and Mango

Do Your Shopping List

Once you have your menu designed, go through and see what needs to be purchased as-is (the vegetables, which sauces, etc), and which you will be making at home.

Do up a list for the stand alone items, as well as the ingredients needed to make the other items. Also, make a list of non-food items you’ll need – party cups, paper plates, LOTS of chopsticks, little sauce cups for wasabi/soy sauce, napkins, etc.

Get a few sushi knives. They don’t have to be expensive – I bought a few of this one, on Amazon. Love it! (Cosplayers: It is GREAT for carving foam!)

You’re more than likely going to need to go to more than one place, so I like to divide the list out by the stores I’m going to. IN this case, it was one normal grocery store, one Asian specialty store, and a fish monger.

If you are having some or all of your guests bring items, let them know what they’re bringing about a week ahead of time.

Plan Your Time Line For Food Prep

Take a good look at your menu, and list out what needs to be done, and when. It’s best to do as much as you can ahead of time, but you also have to take into account that some items need certain timing. For instance, don’t buy your fish more than a day ahead of time, avocados will brown if you cut them up too early.

As an example, here is the time line for our most recent party (which started at lunch time):

Me Porter
2 Days Before Buy everything except fish
Make gyoza, freeze
The Day Before Make sushi sauces
Make gyoza sauce
Make satay dipping sauce
Marinate chicken satays
Buy fish
Bake the Pavlova
Tidy front and back yard
Hose down the outside tables
Morning of the Party Make sushi rice (How many batches?)
Cut green onions, jalapenos, cucumber, mango, zucchini
Slice fish, prepare “spicy” fillings, chill
Peel and slice sweet potato, cook, chill.
Strain off cans of Mandarin Oranges and Lychee, use strained syrup for making iced tea.
Put the table cloths out
Dishes
Wipe off countertops in kitchen
Set out: Wasabi, soy sauce, plates, chopsticks, cups, pickled ginger, nori
As People Are Arriving Cook gyozas
Steam edamame
Heat satay sauce
Prepare sushi wrappers
Cut avocado
Set out remaining sushi items
Grill Satays
During Party Make whipped cream
Cut up fruit, assemble pavlova
Enjoy yourself, birthday boy 🙂

Set Up

Set up will depend a lot on your home layout, and how many people are going to be making sushi with you.

For us, we set up two 8′ long banquet tables, with a couple chairs at each. Each place gets a sushi rolling station – sheets of parchment paper for rolling, nori, soy paper. In between each two seats gets a big bowl of sushi rice, with a measuring cup or scoop. Along the back of the table is where the ingredients get set up. Due to the number of ingredients used, it’s a cooperative effort – lots of passing involved! Each table also gets a couple little bowls of water, a cutting board, and a couple sushi knives.

How the ingredients are presented depends on the ingredient. Stable ingredients are out on plates. Raw fish is on plates, covered in plastic while not in use, resting on a big bowl of ice. Only a small amount of fish is out at any given time, and the plates are exchanged for fresh ones with new fish as they run out. Avocado is also served up a little at a time, to prevent browning.

In addition to the rolling tables, a counter in the kitchen is designated as the garnishing station. There, the sauces (dynamite sauce is in an ice bowl), wasabi, sesame seeds, etc are laid out, as well as plates, chop sticks, etc. Once done rolling and slicing their sushi, guests go to the kitchen to finish their sushi off. Plate in hand, they usually head out to the patio to mingle and eat, as the next round of guests sit down to roll their sushi.

Throughout the party, we refresh ingredient plates, etc, as guests roll more sushi as they’re ready. Eventually everyone gives up as the sushi coma sets in!

Sushi Rolling

I like to have pieces of parchment paper (you can use wax paper, if you prefer) on hand for rolling, rather than bamboo sheets. Logistically, it’s great for clean up, and I also find it easier for sushi beginners to work with.

A VERY early post (ie: excuse the poor photography!) on this blog – Spicy Tuna Maki – shows more or less how I roll sushi. We’ve since taken to having the rice go slightly over the far long edge of the nori, to form a bit of a lip to overlap the starting edge of the roll, if that makes sense.

How your guests roll their sushi will depend on their own experience/preference, the type of roll they’re making (rice in, or rice out), and the amount of ingredients they’re trying to cram in there. You will likely have some epic failures, so forks can come in handy!

It’s also a good idea to have at least one person on hand who knows what they’re doing, who can demonstrate and/or assist beginners.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

3 Sushi Sauce Recipes – Dynamite, Eel, and Mango

3 recipes posted in as many days! I’m on a roll!

In truth, the recipes I’m posting this week are all in lead-up to a big post I plan to make next week, which will be referring back to all of them. It’ll be a fun one! Anyway, *this* post is all about sushi sauce.

We love making sushi at home. While we do tend to stick to a certain few items (Tuna and/or salmon, usually with avocados, cucumber, and/or mango), sometimes we like to branch out and have a bit more fun with it – especially if we’re feeding more than just us.

These sauces are super quick and easy to make, and can make the spread a little more polished and impressive, when entertaining. While each has a roll or two that they’re traditionally served with, it can be fun to play around with, finding new roll combinations that taste amazing.

The Dynamite and Mango sauces are gluten free by default, to make gluten-free eel sauce, just be sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce.

Dynamite Sauce

This is a very versatile sauce. It’s a great drizzle for “spicy” rolls (and can be used to mix in with fish to make spicy filling), but is also great to give a kick to any roll

½ cup mayonnaise
2+ tbsp Sriracha hot sauce

Whisk together ingredients until well combined and uniform. Taste, add more Sriracha if you like. Chill until you’re ready to use it.

To serve, spoon sauce into a pastry bag or a sauce bottle (pictured). Cut the tip off the pastry bag (if applicable), squeeze sauce over prepared sushi, as desired.

*****

Mango Sauce

We love this one over tuna based rolls and vegetable based rolls in particular

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large ripe mango
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

In a small saucepan, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Peel and seed the mango. Chop mango flesh into chunks, place into a blender with cooled vinegar-sugar mixture and vegetable oil. Blitz until very smooth, chill until you’re ready to use it.

To serve, spoon sauce into a pastry bag or a sauce bottle (pictured). Cut the tip off the pastry bag (if applicable), squeeze sauce over prepared sushi, as desired.

*****

Eel sauce

Traditionally used for eel rolls, this sauce is great on any roll that has a robust or complex flavour. For big fans of eel sauce, it works on almost anything – but can overpower the flavour on rolls with more mild fish

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)

Combine all three ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, and simmer gently until sauce volume has reduced to about 3/4 cup. (If you boil it hard, you will end up with a caramel, not a sauce!)

Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer to fridge and chill until you’re ready to use it.

To serve, spoon sauce into a pastry bag or a sauce bottle (pictured). Cut the tip off the pastry bag (if applicable), squeeze sauce over prepared sushi, as desired.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Chicken Satay Recipe – Gluten Free

Chicken Satay is one of those dishes that is SO close to being gluten-free… but isn’t.

The soy sauce included in both marinade and dipping sauce renders restaurant satay inedible to most with gluten issues. It’s such a small thing, yet ends up meaning that most restaurant-made satay is off limits.

So, if you’ve got to make it at home, best start with an amazing recipe! This is one of the recipes from Beyond Flour 2.

“The chicken stays nice, tender, and juicy from this marinade, and the dipping sauce is perfect for it – It compliments the chicken so well, and is amazing on its own – I feel like I could just take a spoon and eat it by itself. I could live on this.” – my husband’s view on it.

The sauce can be made ahead, or just as you’re grilling the chicken. I like to serve the sauce hot, but it can also be served cool if you like – you’ll just want to thin it with a little extra chicken stock, as it thickens when cold.

Chicken Satay

Serves 2-4 people

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

Marinade:

1 cup Coconut milk
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp Gluten-free soy sauce
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1 Tbsp Light brown sugar, packed
2 Garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp Curry powder
Salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 cup Coconut milk
1/2 cup Peanut butter
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1 Tbsp Lime juice
2 Tbsp Light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp Curry powder
2 tsp Gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp Fish sauce
1 tsp Pepper flakes
1 Garlic clove, pressed or minced

Cut chicken breasts into relatively uniform strips, about 1.5″ across. Place in a bowl for marinating (Ideally with a lid), set aside.

Whisk together all marinade ingredients except salt and pepper, taste. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Pour marinade over chicken strips, gently turning to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Bring just to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Soak wooden skewers in hot water for 30 minutes, before threading with chicken strips. Spray grill with nonstick spray, grill until cooked through- juices should run clear. Serve hot, with sauce

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gyoza / Potstickers Recipe

Gyoza… what is there to say about gyoza?

Done right, these are supremely addictive. Yes, they’re supposed to be an appetizer, usually served 3-5 pieces per person… but I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve made a meal of them. (No, I’m not admitting to how many constitute a “meal”, either!). They’re ingredient-intensive and a bit of work, but SO worth it!

I love gyoza with a ton of flavour, so I developed this recipe with that in mind. The filling can be made a day ahead, just keep it well chilled. Finished gyoza can be frozen before frying/steaming – just be sure to allow them to thaw completely before cooking.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free recipe for Gyoza, look no further than my first gluten-free cookbook, Beyond Flour.

(Fun fact: The photos you’re looking at in this blog entry are actually of the gluten-free ones!).

Homemade Gyoza
Makes about 40

1/2 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
1-2 Tbsp grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed chilies
1/2 tsp tsp sugar
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped/shredded
Gyoza/potsticker wrappers (about 40)
Sesame, olive, or vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage and salt, stirring to evenly distribute the salt. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes – this will draw the moisture out of the cabbage. Once time is up, squeeze as much water out of the cabbage as you can, discarding the water. Place the squeezed cabbage back into the mixing bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients – aside from the wrappers and oil – to the bowl, and mix thoroughly. I like to use my hands for this – does a much better job of distributing everything than any mixing spoon will!

Cover and chill until ready to use.

To Assemble and Cook:

Roll filling into tight 1″ balls, placing one in the middle of each wrapper.

Use a finger/pastry brush dipped in water to moisten the edges of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling, creating a half circle. As you do this, try to push out as much of the air from the inside as possible – excess air can cause them to burst.

If you have a dumpling press, use it to seal and crimp the edges, or pleat the edges like this:



If you don’t have a dumpling press, you can fold and crimp the edges freehand. (It’s fussy though!)

Heat up 2 Tbsp vegetable, olive, or sesame oil in a frying pan – I prefer to use nonstick for this – and arrange a single layer of gyoza in the pan – not touching each other, frill side facing up. Cook until bottom side is nicely browned.

Alternatively: If you like your gyoza extra crispy, arrange them on their sides in the pan. Cook until the first side is nicely browned, flip and brown the other side before proceeding.

Once the bottom is browned to your liking, pour 1/3 cup of warm water into the pan, and quickly cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes without removing the lid.

After 2-3 minutes, remove the lid and allow Gyoza to continue cooking until all of the water has cooked off. Repeat in batches, as necessary.

Serve hot, with Gyoza sauce

Gyoza Sauce

1/2 cup Gyoza sauce
1/4 cup Rice vinegar
1 tsp crushed chilies

Stir ingredients together, refrigerate til serving.

Extra crispy – fried on both sides

Traditional – Fried on bottom