Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Gluten-Free Dumplings

This weekend, I’m finally getting around to doing belated American Thanksgiving. We’d actually taken a trip up to Winnipeg a couple weeks ago, so didn’t do anything really Thanksgiving-y at the time.

As with any time I roast a turkey, part of the grocery planning involves what do to with the leftovers – and that generally involves me making bone broth off the carcass. One of my favourite things to do with homemade broth is to make this soup, originally published in my first gluten-free cookbook, Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking. This is definitely a favourite at our house – rich, thick, hearty, and one of the ultimate comfort foods.

While the recipe was originally designed to be used with fresh chicken breast – for speed and ease – it’s easy to make this with leftover turkey. Skip the initial browning of the meat, and simply toss in chopped up roasted turkey breast leftovers with the wild rice, broth, and potatoes.

It’s very customizable, even beyond choice of poultry. Sometimes I’ll skip the dumplings, sometimes I’ll add some parsnip with the carrots, and sometimes I’ll toss a couple handfuls of frozen peas in, right near the end.

Whichever way you do it, enjoy!

Gluten-Free Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Dumplings

2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
3.5-4 lbs Chicken breast, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, pressed
3 Carrots, sliced
5 Celery ribs, sliced
1 1/2 cups Uncooked wild rice
10 cups Chicken broth
2 lbs Red potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Brown rice flour
1 cup White wine
3 cups Heavy cream
1 Tbsp Dried savoury
Salt and pepper

In a large, heavy pot, cook onions in olive oil until just starting to go translucent. Add chicken breast, cook until outside browns slightly. Add garlic, carrots, and celery, cook for one minute. Add wild rice, broth, and potatoes, bring to a boil. Set a timer for 35 minutes.

While soup is boiling, make your roux:

Melt butter in a medium sized pot. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to turn slightly golden. Add wine, whisk until smooth. Add cream, continue whisking until smooth. Turn heat down to lowest setting, keep warm, while making the dumplings:

1 cup Light buckwheat flour
3/4 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Potato flour
1 Tbsp Parsley or savoury flakes
2 tsp Tapioca starch
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Shortening or butter
1 1/4 cup Milk or buttermilk

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flours, parsley or savoury flakes, tapioca starch, baking powder,and salt. Measure shortening/butter into the same bowl, and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork(s). The idea is to work it in until it’s evenly distributed throughout, in very small pieces.

Add milk/buttermilk, stir just until dough comes together. Don’t over stir or beat it. If dough is too crumbly, add a small amount of extra milk. If the dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour.

When the timer goes off, add the roux mixture to the main soup pot, stirring to combine well. Add savoury, season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop rounded tablespoons worth of dough into boiling soup. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes WITHOUT LIFTING THE LID. Serve hot.

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.

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.

Creamy Creole Pasta … Gluten-Free!

This weekend, amidst dealing with ALL OF THE PEPPERS (more on that later this week!), I had a weird craving.

I really wanted creole food… but then I also really wanted pasta. I think the change in weather lately just put me right in the mood for pasta, for something creamy… but also loaded with the flavours of southern cuisine. So, I decided to freestyle it, and came up with this dish.

Oh MAN… I think it may now be my favourite pasta dish ever. Total comfort food, elevated a bit – I could live on this. The flavours and textures were perfect. and everything worked SO well together.

While it’s traditional to chop celery to roughly the same size as the onion and green peppers in Creole – or Cajun, for that matter – cooking, I decided that I wanted to “Star Trek” my celery. (Slice at an angle, making little celery Star Trek insignias!), for a bit more crunch, and a prettier dish.

Also, a note: While I would normally use Andouille sausage for this – and it would be FANTASTIC – we used a smoked turkey sausage. Beef and pork haven’t really been agreeing with my husband lately… so poultry it is!

Creole Pasta
Makes about 4 servings

1 lb gluten free pasta
1 lb Andouille or smoked sausage of choice, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 green Pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 brown rice flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Plan to strain pasta when it’s JUST about tender enough, but in the meantime:

In a large saucepan, brown sausage. Add celery, onion, and green pepper; saute until tender. Remove from pan, set aside.

Add butter to pan, stir until melted. Sprinkle rice flour over melted butter; cook – stirring frequently – until the flour paste (roux) turns a golden brown. (Go darker if you’re comfortable with making roux!).

Carefully add white wine to pot – it will steam violently – and whisk until smooth. Add chicken broth, milk, cayenne powder and herbs, continue whisking until once again smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add sausage and vegetable mix to the pot, along with strained pasta. Cook over medium heat until some of the liquid is absorbed by the pasta, and it is as tender as you like it. Add shrimp, stir, and heat just until shrimp is cooked through.

Serve hot, sprinkled with green onions.

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.

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Braid with Balsamic Glaze

A couple weeks ago, one of my friends shared a post from the local renaissance festival. The post described a fancy dinner they were having, which included a description of a mushroom puff pastry thing. I made a comment about how I was pretty meh on most of it, but would like to spend some quality time with that mushroom pastry.

She replied in kind, and we both kind of got… whatever the food equivalent of “lecherous” is … about it. We decided that we would have to finally make some time to get together, and make one of them.

This weekend was the big day.. and she and her husband came down with a virus. BOO!

So, to not let the ingredients go to waste, I went ahead and made one for my husband. I took inspiration from my mushroom turnovers, and the filling was *SO* good. I really have to figure out how to make a gluten-free puff pastry… Hmmm.

Anyway, we glazed and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. We had a bottle of fancy, expensive stuff that I’ve been afraid to even open – oh, it was good stuff! I’m still a little afraid / hoarding it, but at least I took the first step and used it once!

Enjoy!

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Braid
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer

1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup+ crumbled goat cheese
1 egg
1 Tbsp+ nice quality balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pan, saute mushrooms, onion, and garlic in olive oil, until the liquid comes out and mushrooms are very soft. Add wine, continue to cook until all wine has boiled off. Stir in thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Unfold thawed pastry sheet onto parchment lined pan. Roll out a little to elongate it slightly in both directions.

Use a sharp knife to make cut 1″ wide strips (like a fringe) along the two long edges, ending 1/3 of the way towards the center, like this:

Evenly spread filling over the center 1/3 of the dough, sprinkle with goat cheese.

Take one of the end strips and fold it across the filling, at a slight diagonal. Take the top edge strip from the other side, and fold it across the filling, ending just over top of the first one. Continue, alternating sides, until the whole thing is “braided”.

Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, use a pastry brush to liberally spread it over the whole braid.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown.

Remove from heat, drizzle with more balsamic vinegar if you like. Serve hot!

The One CHEESE Ring!

Recently, I had to make something to bring to a Lord of the Rings themed potluck. I wasn’t in the mood to make my Lembas, and didn’t have time to order the Elderflower syrup to make my Miruvor.

I was on a big cheese kick (as always!), with a lot of cheese in the fridge. We started with the idea of somehow making a LOTR cheese ball (??), and that idea quickly spawned the final plan: We would make The One Cheese Ring.

I like to make cheese balls in the same way I make my Fromage Fort: See what we have in the fridge, use a bit of everything. What can I say, I like adventure! For the less adventurous / those without a ridiculous amount of cheese sitting around, you can always go with a mix of cheddars, goudas, etc – it’s all good!

When it comes to the black speech piped on the side, I decided to use Sun dried tomato paste, which you can buy in a tube. Really, you can flavour the cream cheese with anything you like, and tint it any colour you like. Dijon mustard, horse radish, pesto paste, etc. If using pesto paste, use one without nut chunks in it, or it will be hard to pipe. You can get basil paste in the produce section of many grocery stores.

Once you’ve piped the Black Speech onto the cheese ring, you may feel an overwhelming desire to keep THE PRECIOUS all to yourself … but you should probably share this with friends. 2 1/2 lbs of cheese is a lot, even for the tricksiest of Hobbits.

We’ll definitely have to serve one of these at Tol-Con – A new Middle Earth Fan Convention happening here locally in November!

The One Cheese Ring
Makes 2.5 lbs of cheese ring

1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 lb cream cheese, softened
Splash dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs cheese of choice, grated
Salt, pepper
~ 1.5 cups finely chopped pecans

4 oz softened cream cheese
Flavour paste of choice – we used sun dried tomato paste, pesto is available, etc.
Food colouring, optional

Place onion and garlic into food processor, blitz until finely chopped. Add mustard, cream cheese, and white wine, blitz until very smooth. Add cheese, blitz once more until mixture reaches desired texture. Taste, season with salt and pepper if desired.

Line a large plate with parchment paper, and wrap a wring of parchment paper around a large round can – large can of tomatoes works well, we used a can of mango pulp.

Center can on prepared plate, mound cheese mixture around the can evenly. Using very clean hands (we wear gloves), sculpt the cheese mixture into a rounded ring shape. Once you’re happy with the ring, chill for 2 hours or so.

With your final display plate nearby, carefully remove the can and the parchment paper from the center of the ring, and carefully turn the cheee ring over onto another plate, or your hand. Transfer (flipping in the process) to the display plate.

Using a hot wet knife, clean up any imperfections in your ring, if desired. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to warm up slightly.

Carefully press chopped pecans into all exposed surfaces of the ring, including in the center. Brush away excess nut pieces, chill ring.

In a small food processor, blitz cream cheese and flavouring paste together until very smooth. If using food colouring, tint to desired colour.

Transfer flavoured cream cheese to a pastry bag, pipe Black Speech around outside of ring.

PRECIOUSSSSSS.


Lorien, of The Feral Fellowship

***

Tolkien Fan? Be sure to check out these other posts:

How to make a Hobbit Hole Cat Shelter
Caturday: Tolkien edition
How I Made that: Dwarf Wig
So I’m Dressing My Husband up as Thranduil…
The Two Week Thorin Costume!
Thorin Costume!
How to make Thranduil’s Crown
Smaug the Terrible… I mean, Terribly AWESOME.
I am Fire, I am FRUITY – Smaug Fruit Bowl
Smaug Costume
Doing the Elf Meme Thing…
Gandalf the Fabulous

***

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.

Canadian Election Cocktails

This Canadian election has been the craziest I have ever seen in my entire life.

In my experience (up til 9 years ago when I moved, anyway).. our elections are usually pretty boring compared to the USA. We don’t really get big sex scandals, or many of the “OMG DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE/SHE SAID!?” kind of moments. Everyone is usually pretty middle of the road, election season is usually quite short, and then we move on.

Then we got Stevie, and everything started to change. The tone of elections got a little darker. Ads started to be a little more nasty. This election season is officially the longest we’ve ever had. Stevie and company have just gone WAY off the deep end with unabashed bigotry.

The backlash has been amazing to watch. As I’m writing this, just YESTERDAY ALONE, I’ve heard about Sluts Against Harper, a marijuana dispensary offering weed as an incentive to vote, and Niqabs of/du Canada. Oh, and Danny Williams telling people of his own (former, as he retired) political party to not vote for Stevie, and to not vote at ALL if they can’t bring themselves to vote for another party. (Danny for PM!)

I want my CBC. Curse geo-blocking, I bet This Hour has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Report are PARTICULARLY fruitful and fantastic, this go around.

As soon as this election was announced, I knew I would need to be well stocked on alcohol to get through the actual election day, along with all of my Canadian expat friends. It sucks, having our hands tied like this!

So, rather than just make a few gallons of Rum Runners, I thought it would be fun to come up with themed cocktails for the event.

I swear, when I had the idea a few weeks ago, it was with the absolute best intentions. I have a lovely cucumber vodka that I thought would work well for the Green Party cocktail, for instance.

Brainstorming for them, however, took me way off into snarkland.

It’s always fun to describe Canadian politics to my American husband. The parties, what they stand for, how they came to be, key players… things like how minority governments work, what a coalition government is, etc. I don’t know what they teach about Canadian politics, here… but I get the feeling there’s an assumption that it’s basically the same system. NOPE.

As he learned more and more about the whole deal, he failed to hold me back on my snark, and instead egged me on. It was the night we photographed (and subsequently drank!) our Boozy Sparkling Cider Floats recipe, so that didn’t help keep things polite, either 🙂

So… I’m not sure if I should apologize in advance for these recipes (as a Canadian!), or proudly present them as the obvious and necessary result of such an insane election. I mean really: at this point in the Canadian election, is it even reasonable to expect that a post about election themed cocktails would be anything other than really snarky?

Probably not.

So, here we go!

A Note on ingredients: As an expat, these cocktails are made with ingredients that are readily available in Minneapolis, where I live. I have no idea what’s available where in Canada. Really, if I have to watch this shit show FASCINATING election from afar – with my hands tied – I’m going to use what I can to get through it 🙂

Liberal Party

In designing a cocktail for the Liberal party, the obvious starting point was “Red”. From there, I decided that it should have some heat to it, because… well, Trudeau is so PRETTY. I’m not honestly that shallow, but if you look at the history of Prime Ministers in my lifetime… he does stand out!

Additionally, they’re leading the poll I just read, as I write this… so we’re going to go sparkling, and in a champagne glass, to make it celebratory.

1 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
Sparkling Wine

Pour Cinnamon Schapps into a tulip glass, top with sparking wine.

If you’re less concerned about staying on theme with “heat” and want a drink that doesn’t taste like mouthwash, use something like “Pom” Pomegranate liqueur instead of the cinnamon schnapps. Ick!

NDP Party

I really do want to like the NDP, and I tend to… but Mulclair has eyes that remind me of the demons on “Supernatural”. That really throws me off… especially when you consider that the very first reason I disliked Harper, waaay in the beginning, was that his eyes really creeped me out. I digress.

Growing up, I had Gary Doer as a premier, and he was a good guy. Also, I got choked up with Jack Layton feels as I discussed the NDP with my (American) husband. I told him a bit about their evolution as a party, general stances, etc. I told him that I remembered them being a bit more leftist back in the day, and that it seems like they’re moving more centrist – that they’re basically the Liberal Party with a different leader, at times. I brought up the concern about vote splitting.

To make: Squeeze a little yellow food colouring into a glass. Pour half of the Liberal cocktail into the glass, stir to turn orange.

Conservative Party

Oh boy. Initially, I wanted to just do a rocks glass full of Everclear… with the idea of “this is what we’ll need if Stevie gets in again…”. My husband quipped “Plenty of spirit, no SOUL!”… and we were off.

This cocktail retains the base Everclear, because really. I decided – to my husband’s horror – that what it really needed was some Budweiser. Also: bitters.

The bitters is mostly me projecting, as I AM bitter about what that party has become. I’ve voted Progressive Conservative before, and never regretted it. I would vote that way again, in different circumstances (Again: Danny Williams for PM!!)… but I am truly disgusted with what the current iteration of the federal party has done to my country.

To make: Measure about 2 oz Everclear into a tall mug. Add several drops of bitters of choice, stir well. Top with Budweiser. Might wanna chase it with Aspirin, especially if things go poorly in a week and a half.

Honestly, I have no idea how this tastes, there’s no way I’m going to drink it.

Green Party

I’ve never really thought much of the Green Party. Back in the day when I was a young voter, they were VERY far off and unknown, and seemed way too hippie for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by Elizabeth May during one of the early debates. She wasn’t at all what I pictured from the Green Party I’d known of when I was still in Canada, and pretty much came off as the best choice of all of them, based solely on that debate. My husband and I agreed that it was a shame they had no chance in hell of getting in.

So, we decided to go with something greenish, vegetal, and refreshing. The Prairie Cucumber Vodka we used was “certified organic”, so that seemed pretty appropriate too!

To make: Place 2 thin slices of honeydew melon and 3-4 fresh mint leaves in a tall glass. Measure 2 oz cucumber flavoured vodka, a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, and 3 mint leaves into a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 15 seconds or so, strain liquid into prepared glass. Top with sprite.

This one was actually REALLY good. Will totally make it again – definitely a summery drink though!

Bloc Quebecois

Bien que la moitié de ma famille est originaire de Québec , et vit là-bas , je ne l’ai jamais vécu un endroit avec un membre du Bloc québécois se présenter aux élections . Mon exposition au parti a toujours été de loin.

Si je suis notamment un cocktail pour le Parti vert , il semble juste de faire un pour le Bloc ! Ils sont , après tout, en avance sur les Verts dans le sondage actuel que je lis.*

To Make: Pour about 1 oz of maple liqueur into a flute glass. Top with champagne.

If you don’t have maple liqueur, use a splash of maple syrup instead. Or, you know, add maple syrup anyway. MMMMM maple syrup…

* Thank you, Shirley, for providing the translation! (As I mentioned to Shirley… I’ve only managed to retain the ruder bits of French that I’ve learned over the years. Whoops)

Canadian Flag

Finally, let’s do a layered shot in honour of the Canadian flag, while we still have one!

First, you’ll want to read my post on doing layered shots, Shot Tectonics: The Science of Layered Shooters.

For the bottom layer, use grenadine.

For the middle layer, use Rumchata

For the top layer, we used Cinnamon schnapps.

Really, again… unless you like that mouthwash taste, find some other kind of high proof, red coloured booze. Go for tasty!

Note: This will turn out nicer if you make it early in the evening, if you know what I mean. Doing layered shots after an evening of developing and photographing cocktail recipes isn’t necessarily the best plan.

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!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

Last year while at Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Porter and I tried sparkling apple cider floats for the first time.

It was nice… refreshing while still being “seasonal”. The bright flavour from the sparkling cider constrasted the rich creaminess of the ice cream well.

So of course we went home and made our own. A little less G-rated, our home version was made with our Homemade Hard Apple Cider. SO good!

This year we did it again, but played with the ingredients a little. Instead of using hard apple cider, we used a complimentary liqueur. Very tasty, and a really fun take on a childhood tradition of rootbeer floats… as my husband pointed out:

“Like growing up on hamburgers, and then having an Apple Chicken Burger with Basil and Gouda… really similar base, and has that nostalgia … but wow this is cool and different. I’m trying not to say ‘it tastes like fall in a glass’, because I think I could easily overuse that phrase, and it kind of makes me want to punch myself in the face.”

Enjoy!

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

2 oz Apple or Maple flavoured Crown Royal*
Sparkling apple juice / apple cider
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream**

Pour Crown Royal into a tall mug. Add sparkling juice/cider, filling the glass a little more than 2/3 full. Stir gently.

Add ice cream scoop, serve immediately

* Not a fan of whiskey? You can use other alcohol here too! Sour Apple pucker, butterscotch schnapps, cinnamon schnapps, Whipped Cream Flavoured vodka… if it’s a flavour that’ll taste good with apples, go ahead and do it! Or, skip this ingredient and just use hard apple cider.

** We tend to use a good quality French vanilla ice cream, but have fun with it. Cinnamon, caramel, salted caramel…

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Hoppy Citrus French Macaron Recipe

Today’s post is a great example of how unbelievably spoiled my husband is at times 🙂

Last week, I was craving macarons. As there was nothing open / nearby, I decided to just make my own. I find that commercially made ones don’t have enough flavour, anyway.

So as I was deciding what kind of macarons I wanted to make, somehow the subject of cooking / baking with hops came up. I hadn’t done any hop recipe development in a while – the Hoppy Citrus IPA Glazed Wings and Hoppy IPA BBQ Sauce recipes were the last I’d done up, and that was during the harvest last fall – our current hop growth is already starting to threaten our entire side yard, this season!

Anyway, I ended up developing two separate hop flavoured macaron recipes yesterday. These were especially made for my hop head husband, who really believes that “The more bitter, the better!”. Hops, chocolate, whatever – that’s his thing.

This first recipe uses Centennial hops, known for their citrussy notes. Cascade hops would also work well, especially if you’re less into the bitterness – Cascade has all the flavour of Centennial hops, but with less bitterness.

If SUPER hoppy IPAs aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to cut back the hops to about 1 Tbsp worth. I’m not a huge fan of hops on their own, and these are only slightly too bitter for me – the filling really balances it out. The bitterness builds and leaves a nice aftertaste.

As a final note, I recommend you read my first post about making macarons if you are at ALL intimidated by the idea of making these: The Easy Way to Make Macarons. The only change I’ve made since then, is that I sifted the ingredients together, on account of the hop leaves. They turned out perfectly!

Oh, and I did eventually get to put on a batch of macarons for ME, after all of this hop macaron craziness 🙂

Enjoy!

Hoppy Citrus Macarons Recipe
(Makes 20-24 cookies)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds *
2 Tbsp finely ground dried hop leaves – Centennial or Cascade**
3 large egg whites
4 tbsp white sugar
Green gel food coloring, if desired

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Mix together powdered sugar, ground almond meal, and hop powder. Sift through a wire strainer, discarding any large pieces. set aside.

Mix egg whites and sugar in a *very clean* metal mixer bowl. It is very important that not only is the bowl and whisk attachment VERY clean, but that no specks of egg yolk are included with the egg white. The presence of any egg yolk or grease on your bowl or whisk will prevent the egg whites from properly whipping up. This is the only “rule” you really need to be concerned about!

Affix your bowl to the mixer, and whip eggs on high until stiff peaks form. The whites will be pillowy, thick, and marshmallowy. When you remove the whisk from the meringue, it should leave a very definite “peak” – if the tip flips over a little, that’s ok. Add a small amount food coloring, if desired, whisk in.

Dump bowl of dry ingredients into the meringue. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently stir the mixture until everything is well incorporated and very thick.

Once mixture is fairly uniform, beat it until it’s still thick, but oozes a bit. You don’t want to beat it till it’s fully RUNNY, but you’d like it to settle back into place if you remove some and drop it back into the mix. It’s better to under-beat it than to over-beat it.

Spoon macaron batter into a pastry / frosting bag with a 1/4″ or so opening – whether a metal tip, or just the end cut off the bag.

Pipe ~ 1.25″ – 1.5″ rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If the batter isn’t running all over the place, there’s no real worry about placing them close together – I’ll leave an inch or so between the rounds.

Pick up the sheet of piped cookies, and rap it against the counter a couple of times to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes, or until they lift easily from the parchment. (Undercooked macarons will stick). Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and prepare the filling.

Orange-Lemon Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tbsp Orange zest – about 1 orange worth
1 tsp lemon zest – about 1 small lemon worth
1 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 cups powdered sugar

Whip butter until smooth. Add zests and orange juice and mix until incorporated.

Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar a bit at a time, until incorporated completely. If mixture seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, continuing to mix until thick (but spreadable!) and smooth.

To assemble Macarons

Spoon or pipe about a Tablespoon worth of filling onto the flat underside of one cookie. Top with the underside of another cookie. (Rounded sides facing out). Holding cookies by the edge, twist gently to force frosting out almost to the edge.

* Finely ground almonds may be referred to as almond meal” or “almond flour”, depending on where you find them.

** I like to use a spice / coffee grinder to get dried hop leaves down to a fine powder – even my mini food processor doesn’t work so well, just blowing the leaves around in the bowl. Blitz to a fine powder, then measure.

Fan of hops? You’ll LOVE my latest cookbook, Hedonistic Hops!

Hops are prized for their ability to impart varied, complex flavours to beer… but did you know they can also be used culinarily? While hops may seem like a bizarre or exotic item to cook with, it’s the same as using other herbs and spices in your kitchen… you just have to know what to do with them. Appetizers, main dishes, beverages.. even desserts can be uplifted with hops!

Even those who are not fans of beer will love the unique flavours that various types of hops can bring to their plate. Floral, earthy, peppery, citrusy… Cooking with hops is a great way to expand your seasoning arsenal!

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

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.

Gluten-Free Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Ginger-Orange Sauce

SO it’s been almost two months since I’ve blogged. Whoops!

It’s been insanely busy here. First, we took advantage of a local spay and neuter promotion – free surgeries for the month of April! – to get 60% of our backyard feral colony fixed. Then a week or so later, we found out we were a little too late – we discovered 3 kittens! We’ve been raising them ever since – checkout the colony’s Facebook page for all kinds of ridiculously cute photos!

Aside from that, I’ve been working on cosplay costume orders, and getting ready to promote my cookbook at a Gluten-Free expo this past weekend. Gave the most awkward demonstrations ever, sold some books, met some cool people – was great!

One thing to come from the weekend was a request for a Coconut Shrimp recipe, so we decided to splurge a little and do one up… using LARGE shrimp.

We’re usually pretty frugal with food, so snarfing $25 worth of shrimp in a sitting was a BIG treat… but hey, cheaper than going out, right? 🙂

This recipe came together quickly, easily, and tastes GREAT! I’m especially a fan of the dipping sauce I worked up, using ingredients we happened to have on hand. Demonstrating my Sesame Chicken recipe this weekend still had me in the mood for ginger/spicy, and telling people about my Spicy Orange Chicken had me craving something like THAT. Decided to combine the two cravings and come up with something to scratch both itches.

We like to use a lot of ginger, and go with 1 Tbsp… but you can use as little as 1 tsp if you want.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Ginger-Orange Sauce
Makes 4 servings

Oil for deep frying – we used vegetable oil

2 lbs medium to large peeled, tail on shrimp
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup white rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup gluten-free beer (or chicken broth)

2/3 – 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

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

If shrimp has peel on, remove it. For straight lengths of shrimp tempera, make a series of small cuts along the inside curve of the shrimp. Be careful not to cut all the way through! Season with a little salt and pepper, tossing to coat.

In a large bowl, combine flours, corn starch, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs and beer/broth, whisk to form a medium-thick batter. All batter to sit for 5-10 minutes, to soften the bean and rice flours.

Place remaining bean flour in a separate bowl, and the coconut in a third bowl.

Dredge shrimp in reserved garbanzo flour, shake off any excess flour, then dredge in rested batter. Allow excess batter to drip off before rolling shrimp in coconut. Place prepared shrimp on a baking sheet, repeat battering steps with remaining shrimp. Once all shrimp is battered, chill for 15 minutes.

Carefully transfer chilled shrimp to the preheated oil, cooking in batches. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer fried shrimp to paper towels.

Serve hot!

Spicy Ginger-Orange Sauce:

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
Pinch of salt
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes

Whisk together all ingredients in a small saucepan, until smooth. Bring mixture just to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat, serve warm or cool.

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.

Miruvor Recipe

Well, this is fun. As I started to blog this recipe, I realized that I probably need an “Elvish” category. 🙂 I nested it under my Ethnic Foods category, LOL!

Anyway. A couple months ago, I started work on a recipe for as-legit-as-possible Miruvor. I’d seen recipes out there for cocktails called Miruvor, but nothing that seemed really canon. So…

Miruvor (or Miruvórë) is an elvish drink, from Tolkien’s writings. “Miruvor” was mentioned in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as “Cordial of Imladris”. Made by the Rivendell elves, its purpose in the stories is to revive those who drink it… sort of an elvish energy drink.

“As soon as Frodo had swallowed a little of the warm and fragrant liquor he felt a new strength of heart, and the heavy drowsiness left his limbs. The others also revived and found fresh hope and vigor.” – Fellowship of the Ring

Elrond gave it to Gandalf, who shared it with the Fellowship – in small doses – explaining it to be precious.

Miruvor was based, in-world, on Miruvórë – a drink created and imbibed by the Valar, in Valinor. Miruvórë was made from flowers grown in Yavanna’s gardens, and has been referred to as “A kind of nectar” by Tolkien, and as a sweet mead by Galadriel. So, enough information to use and build on, but still fairly vague.

While my *serious* Miruvor is indeed a mead recipe, next week’s “One Last Party” seemed like an ideal occasion to break out a bottle of Miruvor… but my brewing batch will not be ready for several more months. I decided to do a “quick” version: liqueur, rather than mead. So… Miruvor, rather than Miruvórë. As with the in-world beverages, my Miruvor will similarly be inspired by my upcoming Miruvórë 🙂

So, as I do not personally have access to flowers from Yavanna’s gardens in Valinor – and because pretty much no information was ever created in terms of the actual FLAVOUR of said flowers, I had to get imaginative. In my mind, it would be a light floral flavour, almost fruity. I didn’t picture it as anything heavy, like rose or lavender, for instance.

In running through my knowledge of edible flowers that were also readily accessible, and deciding whether any were suitable as what I was picturing, it hit me: ELDERFLOWERS. Not only is their flavour pretty much exactly what I was picturing, the name is perfect. Elder flowers… Eldar flowers!

Ok, yeah, Rivendell elves aren’t technically “Eldar” elves, but Elrond WAS captured and raised by Maedhros and Maglor, who WERE Noldor, and therefore “Eldar”, so … Whatever, it’s headcanon now. Elderflowers = elvish.

For this recipe, I decided to use elderflower syrup, as it’s available year round and just a few clicks away on Amazon. You can use IKEA’s Elderflower syrup for a budget version, but I find the D’Arbo White Elderflower Syrup to be vastly superior in taste. Plus, you know… it’s SUPPOSED to be a precious drink, go ahead and spend the extra money to get the really good stuff!

Miruvor

500 ml Elderflower syrup (IKEA or D’Arbo)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Peel of 1/2 lemon
peel of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean, split
Pinch salt
2-3 cups (500-750 ml) GOOD vodka

In a large pot, combine Elderflower syrup, honey, water, citrus peels, vanilla bean, and salt, whisking until well combined. Bring JUST to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Stir about 2 cups of vodka into the cooled syrup mixture, and taste. Continue adding vodka, to taste, until desired flavour / alcohol level is reached.

Strain through fine cheesecloth or a coffee filter, discarding peels. Funnel into clean wine or liqueur bottles.

After bottling, you should let it age for about a week in a cool place before drinking it – IF you have that kind of patience! Aging results in a smoother, more mellow flavor.