Spinach Pies Recipe

So, we’re at that point in the moving phase, where we’re starting to look at pre-move bucket lists : things we want to do here, before moving to Canada.

For me, that means spending time with friends when possible. For my husband – who grew up here – it’s more things like going to the State Fair, Valley Fair, etc one last time. Also: Have me create a great Spinach Pie recipe. There’s a great local Lebanese deli – Emily’s – that makes spinach pies that he adores.

While we’d usually go for a direct replica when it comes to something like this, he decided he preferred to have a bit of fun with it, developing a custom filling. So, if you’re looking for an Emily’s knockoff, this is not the recipe you’re looking for! (It is definitely in the same ballpark, though.)

To adjust it a bit more to my husband’s tastes, there is more filling than in the source material, as well as flavour additions like kalamata olives. Ours features an egg glaze, giving the outside of the crust a bit of sheen, and a bit of bite/crunch. For a softer finished crust, skip the egg glaze.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 large hand pies

1 cup warm – not hot – water
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, beaten

4 packets frozen chopped spinach (40 oz total), defrosted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 oz crumbled feta
3 Tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 oz pine nuts, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper

1 egg
1 Tbsp water

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

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl: combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Add sour cream, olive oil, and eggs; mix well to combine.

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

While dough is rising, make your filling:

Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach, set aside.

In a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add spinach and garlic, stir well to combine, cook over medium heat until liquid is completely gone. Remove from heat.

Stir in feta, olives, dill, pine nuts, lemon zest, and nutmeg, stirring until well combined. Add yogurt, stir until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

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

Preheat oven to 350 , line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stretch each dough ball into a round, approximately 8″ diameter. Scoop about 3/4 cup of filling into the center (1/2 cup, if making smaller ones), and fold the edges in to make a triangle, as shown below:

Gently flatten each pie out to about 1″ thick.

Once you have all of your pies formed, set them on lined baking sheets to rise for another 10 minutes.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each hand pie. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm or room temperature, with tzatziki dip, if desired. (I have a great recipe for it in More Than Poutine!). Wrap any unused pies in plastic and chill until use.

Gluten Free Beaver Tails Recipe

With More Than Poutine available for pre-order now, it time for me to get the word out!

So, for this blog entry, I’d love to share one of the HUGE requests I had for the cookbook, and talk a little bit about the gluten-free accommodations in the book.

More Than Poutine is probably the most ambitious concept I’ve taken on for a cookbook project. Not only was the scope pretty big – Canadian food! – I decided that I wanted to provide gluten-free versions for (almost) everything, as well.

The vast majority of the recipes are gluten-free by default. Many have a very easy swap, such as using a GF soy sauce instead of a regular soy sauce. Most of the rest have a note at the end with ingredient substitutions, etc to make a gluten-free version. I think only 2-3 of the 120+ recipes do not have a gluten-free version. It’s kinda hard to make a gluten free version of Winnipeg Style Rye bread, for instance, given that rye itself is glutenny!

For all of the recipes with alternate ingredients, I developed the GF versions the same way I developed Beyond Flour and Beyond Flour 2 – using custom combinations of alternate flours, specific to each recipe… rather than “all purpose” mixes. Doing it this way guarantees the best results, and tends to turn out a product that’s as good as the real thing, if not *completely* indistinguishable from the original.

Anyway!

These pastries are based on a well known, extremely popular pastry, widely available at festivals and fairs across Canada. Whole wheat dough is stretched out to long ovals and fried, then topped with a variety of goodies. You can go as basic as a brushing of melted butter and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, or go more wild.

On the “more wild” end, the pastries are usually spread with something sweet – Nutella, peanut butter, Jam, Maple butter, etc – before being sprinkled with candies, chopped nuts, sliced fruits, etc. You can even follow up with a drizzle of more sugar – chocolate sauce, caramel, etc!

When it came to making a gluten-free version, the challenge was twofold: Make a bread product that has a great texture (soft, not gummy or chalky!), AND replicates the taste of whole wheat.

Well, I’m proud to say I succeeded in both! This dough makes a very soft BeaverTail, with none of the “gluten-free” texture issues.

The use of rice bran and flax meal is a combination I came up with when developing Beyond Flour 2, when creating legitimate graham crackers… and it worked beautifully here to mimic the flavour and character of whole wheat flour.

So, whether the source material here is something you miss from pre-gluten-free days, or whether it’s something you’ve never been able to have – and always wanted to try – this recipe will serve you well!

Enjoy … and be sure to pre-order your copy of More Than Poutine, here!

Note: The photos in this blog entry are specifically the gluten-free version, NOT the full-gluten version. The gluten/original version is pictured in the actual book, though. As with all recipes based on a commercial source material, this recipe is named something else in the book!

Gluten-Free Beaver Tails

Makes 6 pastries

Warm milk 3/4 cup 175 ml
1/3 cup Brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tsp Active dry yeast
3/4 cup light buckwheat flour
½ cup rice bran
½ cup unflavoured whey protein powder
½ cup sweet rice flour
2 Tbsp flax meal
2 tsp Xanthan gum
3/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Canola oil
1 Large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Canola oil
Toppings*

Combine warm milk with brown sugar, stir until sugar is almost dissolved. Add yeast, stirring until incorporated. Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine flours, rice bran, protein powder, flax meal, xanthan gum, and salt. Add canola oil, stirring until well distributed. Pour in yeast/milk mixture, egg, and vanilla extract; stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until about doubled in size.

In a large, deep pot, heat 2-3″ of canola oil to 350 F (180 C). While oil is heating, divide dough into 6 equal sized pieces. Use clean, wet hands to flatten and shape each dough ball into a long, thin oval, about 1/4-1/2″ thick. Allow each to rest on a clean work surface as you form the rest.

Working with one pastry at a time, carefully transfer to the preheated oil. Allow to fry for 1-2 minutes , or until golden on the underside. Gently flip and repeat, cooking until evenly golden.

Transfer fried pastry to a baking sheet lined with paper towels, blot to remove excess oil. Spread and top as desired, serve immediately!

* Topping Suggestions:

Cinnamon Sugar: Mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Brush hot pastry with melted butter, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Squeeze fresh lemon slices on top for a traditional variation on this!

Spreads: Peanut butter, Nutella, maple butter, frosting, jam, pie filling, etc

Toppings: Small candies, crushed chocolate bars, crumbled gf cookies, sliced fruit, berries, chopped nuts, mini marshmallows, etc

Drizzles: Maple syrup, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, etc

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 are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, 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.

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.

Reuben Buns – Recipe

About a week ago, I decided to treat my husband to a batch of my Buffalo Chicken Buns. Cooking with wheat flour is a rare occasion in this house… partially because breathing it in makes me miserable for a day or two, and partially because the cleanup (allergens!) is such a pain.

This weekend, I took advantage of having procrastinated on that cleanup, to finally make a recipe I’d thought up for him, and hadn’t gotten around to actually *making*. Going on the theme of a cinnamon bun inspired savoury roll, this one is based on one of Porter’s favourite sandwiches: The Reuben.

The dough is flavoured like a rye bread, while still being soft enough to be appropriate for this application. The filling consists of traditional Reuben fillings: Corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, and the finished bun is drizzled with Thousand Island (our preference) or Russian (traditional) dressing.

As he’s not able to eat beef or pork anymore, I had to substitute fake pastrami from The Herbivorous Butcher, which worked well for his needs.

It’s a fun – and convenient – take on a sandwich. One batch of this made his work lunches for the week, all individually wrapped and ready to go. Unlike sandwiches made ahead, these do not get soggy, so long as you drain the sauerkraut well.

In other news, development and photography for More Than Poutine is coming along very well! We have just a little more than 3 weeks left in the campaign, and we’re working on our first stretch goal – adding more recipes. Be sure to check it out, back the campaign, and share it with your friends!

Reuben Rolls
Makes 6 giant buns

1 3/4 cups warm – not hot! – water
4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Rye flour
2 Tbsp Caraway seeds
2 tsp salt

2 cups finely shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 lb corned beef
1-2 cups WELL DRAINED sauerkraut

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

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, caraway seeds 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 in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Once dough has doubled in size, roll 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 layer corned beef over cheese, again avoiding the very edge. Scatter drained sauerkraut over meat, top with remaining cheese.

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

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

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 Thousand Island or Russian dressing! (Hey, the whole idea was themed around cinnamon buns, may as well continue that thought in serving them!)

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!

Boneless, Meatless “Ribs” in Asian Inspired Sauce

You know how Murphy’s Law rules my life?

Open a cake business… turn up with a gluten allergy

Buy a house.. gets hit by a tornado a couple months later.

Well, we can add a new one to the list.

My husband and I have been slowly coming to the conclusion that he needs to go vegetarian. I’ll spare the gory details, but just know that life will be better for both of us.

As someone who gets pretty sick if I go more than a few days without animal protein, my main concern was him getting enough protein on this new eating plan. We did a ton of research – decided that tempeh was better for him than tofu, for example – and went to a local “vegan butcher” to try some fake meats, which actually have a ton of protein.

The good news was that he loved fake ribs. The bad news? They cost more per pound than actual steak does!

More research turned up the fact that the “best” fake meats are made from vital wheat gluten. As a point of interest here, regular flour is about 12% gluten, vital wheat gluten is a “flour” made up of about 80% gluten.

So, you know… SUPER GLUTEN.

SO I figured, “whatever, I don’t have to eat it, we’ll just have to be extra careful in the kitchen”, and bought some to play with. Opening the first bag of it caused a big plume of gluten to blow up right in my face. I was sick for a few days and wanting to claw my own face off. Awesome.

We learned from that, and now keep a HEPA filter mask and gloves in the kitchen, for making these things.


The things I do for him…

ANYWAY. Now that I’ve bemoaned how awful the stuff is…

After a few trial batches,starting with what seems to be the default ingredients and method for making seitain – the wheat based fake meat – and adjusting from there, I turned out a batch that had him happily declaring that he likes the stuff MORE than actual meat.

… I have no idea how to take that.

To be fair, though, the Asian inspired sauce I came up was completely insane. As in, we’d totally do shots of it, had we not had actual food to cook with it *right there*. It was just a bit of this, “hey, do you want some ginger in here? OK…”. SO glad I wrote it all down as I went!

So, if you’re an actual carnivore like me, know that this sauce is amazing and would go well on basically any meat or vegetable. It’s great on beef, pork, and even fresh tuna.

I can’t speak to the taste of the ribs, myself, because I value my health. 🙂 I would imagine that moldy old gym shoes would taste amazing if marinated in this sauce, however, so I’m going to go ahead and believe Porter that they’re pretty decent!

Asian Inspired Rib Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

½ small onion, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Sriracha
3 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Add everything except sesame seeds to a blender or food processor, blitz until very smooth. Stir in sesame seeds, chill until ready to use.

Boneless, Meatless Ribs

Makes about 2 servings.

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp smoked serrano powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp Almond butter
1 Tbsp soy
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4 cup apple juice
3 drop liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350, grease a glass loaf pan (4″ x 8″ or similar size)

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

In a separate bowl, whisk together almond butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil until relatively smooth. Add a little apple juice at a time, whisking until 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.

Press dough evenly into prepared loaf pan, slice into 5-6 “ribs”. (They’ll bake together, you’re basically scoring them). Bake for 30 minutes.

Toss “ribs” with sauce, allow to sit in the sauce while you heat your grill up.

Grill until everything is nice and caramelized, basting a couple times with more sauce.

Serve hot. (We like to garnish with sliced green onions, but that’s optional)

Gluten-Free Bacon Poutine Pizza

I’m a stickler for tradition with poutine. In order for it to be poutine, it HAS to have:

1. Fries
2. Proper sauce
3. Actual, fresh, NOT DEEP FRIED cheese curds.

I’m ok with the addition of most items (I like to add bacon and green onion slices to mine), so long as it has the basics, and doesn’t go OVERBOARD with the additions. Toppings shouldn’t eclipse the base ingredients, just accent them!

The other day, my friend Karine Charlebois posted about “Poutizza” (in THIS mini comic), and I knew I’d have to make some. Not only is actual poutine NOT available in Minneapolis, but hey – I’m gluten-free on top of it.

I did have to make some tweaks to my go-to poutine recipe, though. I decided on oven fries, as baking deep fried fries would give them a gross texture. Also, not a ton of sense going to all the extra effort and fat of deep frying, when they’re going to end up baked on a pizza anyway.

Also, I played with the viscosity of my sauce, so it would act as both poutine sauce, AND “pizza sauce”. The mozzarella cheese is considered part of the pizza, and not part of the poutine… because if you put shredded cheese on “poutine”, you don’t deserve poutine anyway 🙂

Told you I was a stickler 🙂

The crust on this pizza is great – not dry, crumbly, or gummy at all, just a great, doughy pizza. My not-gluten-free husband loved it, and insists that no one would know it was gf – it really has a great taste and texture!

He would also like to add: “I like the gravy as pizza sauce, it has that nice seasoned saltiness you expect from a pizza sauce but yet it’s completely different. It’s fun and different, and really good!”

Anyway.

Before I get to the recipe, one final thought: today is launch day for my Beyond Flour 2 Kickstarter!

I’m so excited for this book to come out – I’m already over 2/3 the way through developing it, and there are some amazing recipes in there. I’ve perfected a gluten-free samosa that even tastes great as leftovers, AND there are flaky, tasty, easy to make cracker recipes – that don’t cost a fortune – among all kinds of other delicious things.

So, if you love great gluten-free recipes, be sure to check it out and back it ASAP! (please and thank you!) The first day of a campaign is critical to its success – having a popular campaign right off the bat brings all kinds of perks from Kickstarter, and definitely increases the chances that it will successfully fund! 🙂

Backers will receive their copies at least a month before the general release, AND will get them for about 20% off the cover price!

Now, on to the pizza … enjoy!

Gluten-Free Poutine Pizza

Makes a 13-14″ pizza

Crust:

1 1/2 cups Warm water
2 tbsp Liquid honey
2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups Light buckwheat flour
3/4 cup Brown rice flour
3/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/2 cup Potato starch (plus extra for rolling)
1 Tbsp Tapioca starch
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1/4 cup Olive oil

Poutine Sauce:

1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup Brown Rice Flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp+ ground black pepper
salt to taste

Toppings:

1/2 of a 26 oz bag Crispy oven fries
1/2 lb Bacon
1-2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 pack FRESH cheese curds (~12 oz)
Green onions, sliced

Add honey and salt to warm water, stir till well blended. Add yeast and stir again. Allow to sit (somewhere warm!) for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flours, starches, and xanthan gum. Add olive oil, mixing until evenly distributed. Add yeast mixture, mix well. Dough should ball up a bit, but be a bit sticky. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hour.

Preheat oven for the fries, make the sauce:

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add rice flour, stir well until fully incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until flour mixture becomes the color of peanut butter. This is called a roux, and cooking it to this level will impart a nice, somewhat nutty flavor to the sauce.

Once roux has obtained the right color, whisk in cornstarch, until smooth. Once cornstarch is incorporated, slowly add broth. It will steam like CRAZY, so be careful. Stir as you go, until sauce is smooth. Taste, season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer on medium heat for a few minutes, until slightly thickened. This is not supposed to be a super thick gravy! Once the sauce is a good consistency, remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare oven fries according to directions on package. Set aside.

Chop bacon into small pieces, fry until crisp. Set aside, reserving the drippings.

Preheat oven to 450F, if it’s not already at temperature from the fries. Line large pizza pan with parchment paper, if it’s not nonstick. Brush lightly with liquid bacon drippings.

Generously dust work surface with potato starch. Roll each dough into a large 13″ round. Transfer to pizza pan.

Using a pastry brush, spread a very thin coat of liquid bacon drippings over the entire top side of crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove crust from the oven. Spread some poutine sauce over prepared pizza crust. Scatter Mozzarella across the pizza, followed by fries, curds, and more sauce*. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until mozzarella is bubbly and starting to brown. Remove from oven, top with green onions, serve hot.

* For more authentic poutine involvement, scatter mozzarella on pizza, bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, top with fries, curds, and hot gravy, and serve immediately. This will prevent the curds from melting all over the pizza!

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 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.

Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns

Yesterday, I was supposed to post something Thankgiving-y… but got sidetracked in favour of a big political rant. So, with less than a week to go before Thanksgiving, here’s that post 🙂

We were up in Duluth this weekend, enjoying the fall colours, and photographing the Northern Lights for our first time ever. (My first time seeing it!).

All that crisp, clean air and warm autumn colours put me right in the mood for baking.

On a grocery stop, we passed a display of cinnamon buns, and my mind wandered. What about doing “pumpkin spice” buns? With actual pumpkin in the bread? Of course, I need to put maple syrup in it… and here we are!

I actually started with my Buffalo Chicken Buns recipe! I don’t make a ton of cinnamon buns, usually preferring savoury baking. A few tweaks, and these were AWESOME. Says my husband:

“It’s autumn in my mouth! I love the complexity of the flavours all together. It’s well balanced, with nothing overwhelming anything else. The soft bready texture with the creamy glaze, the stickiness from the filling, and the crunch of the walnuts all compliments and contrasts each other, and keeps it all interesting.”

Enjoy!

Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns

Makes 6 giant buns

1 1/2 cups warm – not hot! – water
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp brown sugar
5+ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling mix)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts

Extra butter or pan spray
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

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

In a large mixing bowl, combine about half the flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, pumpkin, and vanilla, stir well to combine. Add remaining flour, 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.

Once dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface. Aim to make it a large rectangle, say 20 x 12″ or so.

Combine melted butter and maple syrup, evenly brush over dough, leaving a 1″ border around the edge. Combine brown sugar and spices, sprinkle evenly over the butter/maple syrup mixture. Sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over sugar mixture. Starting with one of the shorter edges, tightly roll the dough up.

Generously grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan with extra butter or pan spray, sprinkle with sugar.

Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 6 even rounds. 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. Once final rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.

As buns are baking, make the glaze:

Maple Glaze:

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Whisk together maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth and well combined. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, whisking until smooth and well combined – glaze will be THICK. It should be only barely spreadable – think with a tsp or two of milk if needed.

Spread glaze onto buns while still hot.

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns Recipe (Pyrizhky)

Yikes, it’s been over a month since my last post! Sorry about that. We’ve been super busy with 3 conventions, Pi Day, AND a long road trip in that time. Back now, and it’s about a month til our next convention, so… here I am!

Growing up, I loved Sauerkraut buns… soft little bready balls of joy that would show up at family gatherings. Though we’re not Ukrainian ourselves, growing up in Winnipeg meant that many of the traditional foods from other cultures – Especially Ukrainian – were pretty… ubiquitous. Bacon, onion, and sauerkraut is a pretty genius filling, so it’s no wonder that these were super popular back home.

I’m kind of surprised that it seems like no one I know here in Minneapolis has ever heard of them!

While preparing for Pi Day, I decided that it was time to develop a recipe for a gluten-free version. These aren’t QUITE as soft as the original – and the technique is different for putting them together… but they are full of flavour, inside and out. The bread has a great texture, and they’re easy to make.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns (Pyrizhky)
Makes about 35 buns

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
1 1/2 cup+ Brown rice flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1/3 cup Potato starch
2 Tbsp Tapioca starch
3 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
1 lb bacon, chopped
1 bag saurkraut (about 19 oz), well drained
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Melted butter

Prepare the dough:

Gently mix together warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the brown rice flour, remaining flours, starches, xanthan gum and salt. Form a well in the middle, and pour oil, eggs, and sour cream into it. Mix well, then add the yeasty water. Mix until everything is well incorporated, then knead lightly for 1 minute – it will be a bit wet. Place dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise somewhere warm for 1 hour.

As you are waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling:

Cook bacon & onions until bacon is almost cooked, but not crispy. Add saurkraut to the pan, cook and stir well until bacon fat is absorbed and everything is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

One the hour rise is up, mix remaining 1/2 cup rice flour into the dough. Pinch off a walnut sized piece of dough, and work into a circle. If dough is too wet to work with, add a little more flour. You want it more wet than normal dough. Let stand for another 10 minutes.

Assemble the sauerkraut balls:

Note: I like to wear latex gloves for assembly:

Divide dough into a bunch of walnut sized pieces – about 35 of them.

One at a time, flatten a piece of dough into a circle approximately 3″ across – I like to do this in the palm of one hand. Place a 1 Tbsp mound of filling in the center of the circle. Carefully pull up the edge of the circle up and around the filling, sealing the filling in (like a drawstring bag). Roll around between your hands a bit to get a uniform spherical shape, and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling, leaving at least 2″ between dough balls.

Loosely cover cookie sheets with plastic wrap, and allow to rise another hour.

Heat oven to 375F. Remove pastic wrap from cookie sheets, bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and brush liberally with melted butter.

Great served hot, fresh out of the oven, cold, or even reheated. IF they last that long.

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 Lembas Recipe

With just a few short days til TheOneRing.Net‘s “One Last Party”, I decided that it was finally time to develop my own Lembas recipe. I think it would be fun to bring it along on our journey (along with our Miruvor!): Cheaper than airport food, healthier – especially in light of the travel, looong hours, etc we are about to subject ourselves to – and, you know.. themeatic. Also, it involved creative problem solving, so a good way to keep me distracted while waiting!

The facts are these…

Lembas is a type of Elvish bread / cake / biscuit from Tolkien’s writings. First made by Yavanna from a special Elvish corn, it was nutritious, and known to be ridiculously sustaining – that “One small bite will fill the stomach of a grown man”, etc. It’s generally theorized that Lembas was based on hard tack – a very dry and bland bread product used for military rations and some traditional Newfoundland cooking.

“”Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” – Fellowship of the Rings

“The food was mostly in the form of very thin cakes, made of meal that was baked a light brown on the outside, and inside was the colour of cream.” – Fellowship of the Ring

In the movies, Lembas was shown to be a crumbly white biscuit type food. Apparently they used an unsweetened shortbread that tasted awful. They were presented wrapped in leaves, and tied up with twine.

Tolkien has said that they contain honey, and the “fruit of the Mallorn tree”, which was described as ” Its fruit was a nut with a silver shale” in Unfinished Tales.

Oh, and as one other challenge to this little exercise? Half of our little fellowship is allergic to gluten.

So.. lots of random information to work with, in addition to my own assumptions… and nutritional goals for the finished product.

To me, I picture this as a sweet thing, but not a DESSERT thing. They straight up mention its sweetness, afterall. I picture some of the sweetness coming from the (canon!) honey, but also from dried fruit, which would contribute to the nutrition of it. I think dried apples would work best given the colour description of the interior, but I think apricots are more in line with the complexity of flavour I’m picturing. I decided that there should be a small amount of spice for complexity, and a pinch of herbs to bring it back from being too desserty. In terms of “fruit of the mallorn tree”, I am choosing to interpret that as almonds.

Now, in terms of the nutritious / sustenance properties of Lembas… I wouldn’t have used white flour even if we weren’t working around gluten issues. There’s just no real nutrition there. I decided to use a small amount of masa flour, due to the original Lembas being corn based. Because I have no elven magical corn, it’ll have to do 🙂 Also, I’m supplementing it with protein powder and ground flax to contribute to nutrition. Non-magical, non-valar corn is only slightly more nutritious than wheat flour, after all.

Gluten-Free Lembas
Makes about 8 3″ Lembas biscuits

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup masa flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour (can use millet instead)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder*
1/2 cup Sliced almonds
1/2 cup Thinly sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup Ground flax seed (flax meal)
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp Cardamom
1/4 Rosemary, finely crumbled/chopped

corn starch, for rolling

Mix butter and honey together just until combined – do not cream it or over beat it. Add milk, gently mix until combined amd smooth

In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add dry mix to butter and honey, mix until combined. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/2″ thick. Cut into 3″ squares, and carefully transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between each. Cut a shallow “X” into each cake, if desired.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow cakes (biscuits?) to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving, cool completely before serving.

If you want to get fancy with it, wrap them in leaves, and tie with twine. (I used collard greens). Oh, and be sure to “like” our Facebook page to see all of the crazy photos we’ll take when out in LA! Marie Porter, Cosplay Costumer!

* Choose your protein powder wisely! If it’s something you don’t like to drink, it’ll make the bread taste weird.

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.