Tropical Fruit & Rum Cookies!

Tropical Fruit Rum Cookies Recipe

(Makes 20-24 LARGE cookies)

3 cups mixed dried fruit*
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup amber rum **
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 lb. cashews, chopped

A day or two before baking the cookies, chop dried fruits into pieces, mix in rum, and cover.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat well with baking spray. Strain dried fruit mixture, leaving it in your sieve to drain while you prepare the rest of the cookie batter.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and zest, continue beating until eggs are fully incorporated and mixture is once again smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to the butter & sugar mixture, beat gently until well combined. Add strained fruit and cashews to the cookie batter, mix well.

Use a tablespoon, cookie scoop, or small ice cream scoop to drop rounded spoonfuls of the batter onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes or so, before gently transferring to baking racks to finish cooling.

Once cookies are cool, keep them stored in airtight containers.

* I used a combination of dried papaya, dried pineapple, some banana chips (I’d smashed them up a bit), and golden raisins.

** I prefer amber rum for this, but it would also work really well with spiced rum or dark rum!

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 Raspberry-Peach Bread Pudding

I’ve been really lazy DISTRACTED FROM blogging lately.

Two books off to the publisher this month, one debuting next month, working on a Kickstarter (A gluten free cook book WILL happen!), and then product development for something fun in the new year. WHEW!

Have a recipe 🙂 This one is particularly ridiculous and amazing.. yum!

Boozy Raspberry-Peach Bread Pudding
Makes 8-10 servings

1 Loaf of day old French or Italian bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup Peach schnapps
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
2-3 fresh peaches, sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 Egg
2/3 cup Chambord

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9″ x 12″ square baking pan with vegetable shortening or butter.

Rip bread into bite sized pieces (about 6 cups worth). Cover with melted butter and milk, stirring to coat the bread pieces. Allow all of the milk to soak in, then arrange into prepared baking pan.

Combine peach schnapps, beaten eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk until fully combined and smooth. Pour over bread, stirring lightly so that all of the bread is covered. Gently stir in peach slices and raspberries. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set. Edges should be golden, and easily pull away from the side of the pan.

Combine melted butter, sugar, and egg in a small saucepan, whisking until well blended. Whisk constantly, cooking over low heat until mixture thickens – do not allow mixture to come to a simmer. Whisk in Chambord, remove from heat – sauce should be smooth and creamy.

Serve bread pudding hot, with sauce poured over each serving. Best eaten the same day it is made.

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.

Basic Seafood Risotto Recipe

The other day, the awful midwest heat wave finally broke … and I was finally in the mood to cook again. Extreme heat just really does nothing for my desire to be in the kitchen!

My husband looked pretty ecstatic when I offered to make a seafood risotto for supper that night – not only was it the first time I’d cooked in a few days, but it was also the first time I’d made risotto since getting all kinds of risotto’ed out in Training for MasterChef last winter. I’d made so much risotto back then – it was something I hadn’t made before getting accepted for the show – that I was pretty sure I never wanted to make it again.

So, here’s what I whipped up: a great basic seafood risotto. I used what we had on hand, but there is plenty of room to adapt this recipe to your own tastes, or what YOU have on hand. Add some saffron, add some fresh or dried herbs of your choice, or add some clams or mussels… even crab. Yum!

This makes a fair amount of risotto, but it freezes pretty well – Porter loves to bring leftovers to work for lunches.

Enjoy!

Basic Seafood Risotto
Makes about 6 servings

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 lb arborio rice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups well seasoned chicken or seafood stock – simmering *
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
1 lb raw shrimp, shelled
1 lb bay scallops
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large pan, sweat onions in butter until translucent. Add garlic and rice, stir well.

Add half of the wine, stirring until wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat.

Add stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As rice absorbs one ladle of stock, add another and continue stirring.

Once rice is almost cooked stir in as much of the lemon zest as you want (we like it really lemony, and use all of it), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add scallops and shrimp along with one final scoop of simmering stock. Stir gently until seafood is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Stir in parmesan cheese and parsley, just until well incorporated and smooth. Serve hot, garnished with more parsley and parmesan.

* For seafood stock, I like to flavor basic chicken broth just before making the risotto. I’ll bring some standard chicken stock up to a simmer, and add shrimp shells, celery, some onion, etc and let it simmer. I like to save little baggies of raw shrimp shells in the freezer for when I need to make some seafood stock.

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.

Boozy Crème Brûlée

No breakfast or brunch today – I’m in the mood to share my crème brûlée recipe instead! Well… I suppose you could present crème brûlée for a brunch option…. 🙂

Crème brûlée is one of those desserts that is considered fancy, high end, and pretentious enough, that there is this assumption that it’s difficult or finicky to make… but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Crème brûlée is a very quick, simple custard that is baked at a moderate temperature to set it. It comes together in just minutes, in terms of actual labour… and it’s sure to impress!

This is my basic Boozy Crème Brûlée from The Spirited Baker. Like many desserts, this one adapts very well to use liqueur as a flavouring agent – in particular, cream liqueurs. This works well with *any* cream based liqueur, so go with what you love. My personal favourites are Amarula and Baja Rosa, and Bailey’s is always a popular option.

Whatever liqueur you choose, you’ll find this to be a very easy, go-to recipe when you want something a little more elegant for dessert. Be sure to order your copy of The Spirited Baker for more easy, interesting, and delicious desserts flavoured with various spirits and liqueurs!

Enjoy!

Basic Boozy Crème Brûlée Recipe

8 Egg yolks
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Cream liqueur of choice
1 1/2 cups Heavy cream
1/4 cup Sugar

Preheat oven to 325ºF (160°C)

Combine egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl, whisking until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. Add approximately half of the liqueur, whisking until incorporated and smooth.

In a small saucepan, combine remaining liqueur with heavy cream, heating to a simmer. Remove from heat. Slowly drizzle hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour into 6 ramekins or custard cups, and arrange in a large pan. Carefully add water to the large pan, till about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until custard is set, but wiggles in the middle – about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temperature, and then chill for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, sprinkle 2-3 tsp sugar evenly over each custard. Use a small, hand held kitchen torch to melt sugar.

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.

Fromage Fort, or “How to Make Garlic Cheese Bread like a BALLER”

Recently, I woke up from dreaming about Fromage Fort. Literally, I woke up to making a mental list of the bits of cheese that we had in the fridge, if we had any appropriate wine already open, etc.

To be fair, it HAD been a while since I’d made the stuff. It was just an odd thing to randomly wake up to, you know?

Anyway, for those not familiar with it, Fromage Fort (“Strong cheese”) is recycling at its finest. This is a ridiculously delicious cheese spread that you make from whatever odds and ends of leftover cheese you may have laying around in your fridge. Add some garlic, white wine, maybe some fresh herbs… yeah. Awesome stuff!

Our favorite use of the spread is to lightly toast some baguette slices in the oven, spread liberally with fromage fort, and then broil until it’s all melty and insane. That’s actually what my husband woke up to for breakfast, that morning! SO GOOD.

Like some of my other recipes, this is less a “recipe”, so much as “guidelines and suggestions”. This is very much a case of your final product being very much the result of what ingredients you have on hand, and your personal tastes!

The amounts of ingredients that you’ll use will vary, depending on a few factors.

– Generally speaking, for every 1/2 lb of cheese, I’ll use 1/-8-1/4 cup of white wine. This depends on how soft the cheese are that I start with, and how soft I want the final spread. More soft is great for a dip, less soft is great for spreading on a baguette and broiling.

– If I’m using a lot of hard cheeses, I’ll add a couple Tablespoons of butter for every 1/2 lb of cheese.

– I like to use a ton of garlic, maybe 2-3 cloves per half lb. Some people will use as little as ONE clove per POUND of cheese. Do what you like!

– Fresh herbs: Use whatever you like, in whatever amount you like. Start with a little, taste, and add more if desired.

Fromage Fort

Bits of leftover cheese
Butter
Fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
Dry white wine of choice
Fresh herbs, optional
Salt & pepper, optional

If any of your cheeses have a rind on it, trim the rind and discard it.

Place all of your cheese into a food processor, blitz it till it’s finely chopped. Add butter and garlic, continue blitzing until finely chopped and well combined.

Slowly stream in your wine, a bit at a time, until the cheese mixture reaches the consistency that you’re looking for. Taste, and add any herbs that you’ll be using, and blitz again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Cover spread tightly, chill for at least a day to allow flavors to mingle. (Assuming you have patience. We usually do NOT.)

Jalapeno Artichoke “Backfire” Dip

Recently, my friend Susi made a VERY quick trip to Minnesota. She moved away almost two years ago – on the DAY of our tornado, no less. Great timing on her part, but we’ve missed her ever since. As has become tradition, we met up at Psycho Suzi’s for drinks, nibbles, and great conversation.

While the dip itself is listed as gluten free, the normal accompaniment – baguette – is decidedly NOT… and I always had to order mine with corn chips. That night, I decided that the time had come to start making it at home. The dip is just far too good to reserve for the times when we’re willing to brave the loud, sensory-overload environment at the restaurant. I bought the ingredients the next morning, banged out a recipe, and … Wow.

I had decided to make my version creamier and cheesier than the source material, and added white wine and provolone. The end result is nothing short of spectacular. Definitely the best artichoke dip I’ve ever had!

This makes a fair amount of dip, so it’s great for parties. If you – like us – only have a couple of people to feed, never fear – it reheats well, and it’s just way too addictive to go to waste. You will plow through a batch in no time!

Jalepeno Artichoke Dip
Inspired by Psycho Suzi‘s “Backfire” Dip

2 cans artichoke hearts (Artichoke size doesn’t matter), drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped*
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 bricks (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz provolone cheese, shredded
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Heat broiler to high.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook artichoke hearts, peppers, olive oil, and garlic together for a few minutes, until peppers soften a little. Add white wine, cook for another minute.

Carefully mix in softened cream cheese, stirring gently until smooth and well incorporated. Continue heating, stirring frequently, until cheese starts to bubble.

Add in 1 cup of the Parmesan, all of the provolone, as well as the lemon zest and pepper. Stir constantly, until all cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Transfer mixture to an oven safe glass baking dish, such as Pyrex – we used a large Pyrex loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Broil for a few minutes, until the top of the dip is as browned as you’d like it. Serve hot, with sliced crusty baguette or veggies. Serving corn chips with it is a great option to keep it gluten free, if needed!

* You can remove the seeds and ribs if you’d like a more mild dip – we left it all in.

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.

Buffalo Chicken Buns

As you may know, I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy a few years ago. Not Celiac, mind you, just an inflammatory thing, secondary to my autoimmune hypothyoid. Big fun, made my life miserable, gave me fibromyalgia… and then everything cleared up once I went gluten free.

At the time, my Dr offered me a slight bit of hope: Go off gluten for a 2-3 years, things MAY heal themselves, and the allergy could clear up. MAYBE.

Flash forward a year and a half. I’d been really good, and only caved once, early on. (Got so violently ill, I swore off gluten for the rest of my sentence!). One day, I made a batch of bagels for my husband that looked and smelled SO good, I caved. I rationalized that it had been long enough. I mean, I tend to heal ridiculously fast, so odds were good, right? I rationalized that eating a bagel would be done “in the name of SCIENCE!”, and how would I know how things were progressing, if I didn’t test it?

I rationalized that any fallout from it would be worth it. I mean really, those suckers were loaded with toasted caraway! I ate one, with no problem. I savored it, angels sang, my world became more colorful in that instant, it was breathtaking.

So, I ate 3 more. Well… more like inhaled. I figured hey, if I am going to get sick, I am going to make it really worth my while! If I’m going to do the time… 😀

Well, I didn’t get sick. No pain, no fibro, absolutely no lingering evidence of the hell that gluten put me through just a couple years ago. WOO HOO!

I’ve been on the most ridiculously hedonistic gluten bender ever since. Bagels! Baguettes! A real doughnut! Loads of bread. I thought… “Oh yes, the goddess of gluten is back in full effect!”

Except not. BOO. Took a week or two, and then the problems set in again.

So, I’m back to gluten-free, but would love to share one of the very first things I baked after being sprung from “gluten free jail”: Buffalo Chicken Rolls. I developed this recipe a few years ago, and have been dreaming of it ever since! So ridiculously good.

Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

(Makes 6 giant buns)

1 1/2 cups warm – not hot! – water*
4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup (or more, to taste) hot sauce

2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese

* For a more complex and adult flavor, use a 12 oz bottle of beer in place of the water (We used a light tasting home brewed corn beer). Pour beer into a microwave safe bowl, heat til warm (not hot).

Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes.
(OR: mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes or so!)

Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, make your filling:

Freeze chicken breasts just long enough to firm them up a bit, maybe 10-15 minutes. Trim, chop into very small cubes.

In a large pan, saute onion and celery in vegetable oil, until vegetables are soft and translucent. Add chicken, garlic, and hot sauce, continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked. Set aside, allow to cool to room temperature.

Once dough has doubled in size and chicken mixture has cooled, roll dough out on a floured surface. Aim to make it a large rectangle, say 15 x 20″ or so.

Scatter half of the cheese across the rolled dough, avoiding the very edge of the rectangle.

Evenly scatter the chicken filling over the cheese, avoiding the edge of the dough.

Scatter the remaining cheese over the chicken mixture, once again avoiding the edge of the dough.

Starting with one of the shorter edges, tightly roll the dough up.


Generously grease or spray a 9x 13″ baking pan.

Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 6 even rounds. I recommend wiping your knife down between each slice, to keep them looking clean and pretty.

Carefully place each roll into the pan, spacing them evenly.

Cover pan with plastic wrap, allow to rise one more time – about 45 minutes. While waiting for the buns to rise, heat oven to 375F.

(This is what they looked like after the final rise!)

Once final rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, if you’re patient. Serve hot, preferably with a drizzle of ranch dressing! (Hey, the whole idea was themed around cinnamon buns, may as well continue that thought in serving them!)

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

Heads up! “Maize Craze: Spectacular Sweet Corn Recipes” is here! A complete, full-colour overhaul of my now-out-of-print “Sweet Corn Spectacular”, “Maize Craze” features additional recipes and photos for EVERY recipe! Order your copy now, here!

———————————-

Spring is on its way, but there is still time to take advantage of “soup season”! This recipe – from my upcoming corn cookbook – won’t disappoint: it’s thick, warm, rich, and satisfying!

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

2 large onions, chopped
1 lb bacon, chopped
2 lbs dry black beans
12 1/2 cups chicken stock
1-2 bottles of a light tasting beer, such as Corona
6 ears fresh corn, husks removed.
Juice and zest of 2 limes
6 ribs celery, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large, heavy pot, saute onions and bacon until bacon is cooked but not crispy. Add black beans, chicken stock, and beer, bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, stir it once, cover it with a lid, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 1 hour.

Once an hour has passed, bring pot to a boil once more. Reduce heat, simmer for one hour, stirring frequently.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels off the ears of corn, add to a pot along with lime juice/zest, celery, peppers, garlic, and seasonings. Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, or until beans and all vegetables are tender, and soup is THICK.

Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and /or crumbled bacon.

Note: water or chicken broth can be substituted for the beer, if so desired.

If you’re a fan of fresh sweet corn, you’ll LOVE Maize Craze: Spectacular Sweet Corn Recipes – A full colour overhaul of “Sweet Corn Spectacular” (out of print), now with more recipes, and photos for every recipe!

If you have ever looked at a corn farmer’s market stall and wondered what all you could do with a giant sack of fresh corn, this is the book for you! It features breakfasts, appetizers/side dishes, main dishes, desserts, condiments and beverage recipes, all utilizing fresh sweet corn as a centerpiece. You’d be surprised what all you can do with this versatile grain, and how easy it is to create unique dishes from it!

Order your copy 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.

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels

You know, for being married to someone who’s allergic to gluten, my husband still manages to be utterly spoiled in the breads department.

The other day, I decided to treat him to a batch of my homemade bagels. It’s been a while, I definitely haven’t made them since the tornado, so it’s probably been over two years. Wow!

From the smell of these, right from the raw dough making through to the finished product… I would think that they were very much worth the wait. Hell, I seriously debated whether I should just snarf one and accept the week or two of serious fibromyalgia that THAT would mean, to me. I didn’t… but OH so close! So close. Also, there are three of them left in the kitchen right now, and my husband is away at work… oh, willpower!

Anyway.

Bagel making is a little bit of effort, but *nothing* beats fresh, homemade bagels. These are traditional bagels – chewy, dense, and wonderful. As we’re big fans of the cheddar / jalapeno / beer, I created this recipe to encompass those flavors. Sigh. I miss bagels…

Says my husband:

“They’re SO good; no bagel from a store can compete with an oven fresh bagel bursting with flavor and that amazing texture.”

Anyway, I’m gonna go ahead and post this recipe, so I can move on to something else… maybe distract myself from the thought of those golden rounds of heaven on the kitchen counter.

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels

(Makes 6 giant bagels, or 10-12 regular bagels)

1 12 oz bottle of beer. (We used a light tasting home brewed corn beer)
4 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
6 oz cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped into small pieces.
1 egg

Pour beer into a microwave safe bowl, heat til warm (not hot). Stir in yeast and sugar, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Once dough is fully kneaded, add in cheese and jalapenos, knead to distribute. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out. We divided the mixture into 6 equally sized balls, for LARGE bagels – but you can make them smaller by dividing into 8 or 12 equal sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 350F, and bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you form the bagels.

There are two main ways of forming bagels – with roll each lump of dough into a thick “snake” and secure the ends together, or roll each lump into a smooth ball before poking a finger though. Once you have a hole made, stretch the ring of dough our a bit to enlarge the hole. Personally, I prefer the latter.

Once you have all of your bagels formed, set them on a baking sheet to rise for another 10 minutes.

Turn heat down a little, allowing water to simmer rather than boil. 2 or 3 at a time, drop your bagels into the simmering water, allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip each and allow to cook for another minute. Drain well, place on a greased cookie sheet.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each bagel. Bake for 35-37 minutes (small) or 40-45 mins (large), until golden brown.

Yum.

Gluten Free Beef Stroganoff

Recently, I was craving beef Stroganoff – and was a bit horrified when Porter told me that he’d never had it made from scratch. Yep, when you say “Stroganoff” to my husband, he would think “Hamburger Helper”. Eek!

Stroganoff was one of those things that I cooked fairly often when I was a bit younger and living alone. It’s one of those dishes that I’d just throw together, without a lot of thought as to measurements. THIS time, I made sure to measure as I went, so I could share the recipe with all of you!

Oh, and yeah… made this version gluten free!

Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups beef broth
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp dried parsley

Freeze sirloin for about 10 minutes, just long enough to make it easy to slice. Cut chilled beef into very thin slices.

Heat olive oil in a large pan, add beef and cook until well browned. Add onions and mushrooms to the pan, cook for about 3 minutes. Add broth, garlic, and Dijon mustard to the pan, stirring well to distribute.

Whisk together corn starch and white wine until smooth. Add corn starch mixture to the pan, along with sour cream and parsley, simmer till thickened.

Serve over rice, gluten free noodles of choice, or egg noodles (if you don’t need it to be gluten free).

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