Marie’s Pasta Salad Recipe

So I have a weird confession to make: Although I’m not a picky eater by ANY means, I’ve always hated pasta salad. Early on, the pasta salads I’d been exposed to were gross – way too sweet, or salty, or the pasta was too firm, or the sauce was too bland. Up until very recently, I’ve completely avoided pasta salad since I was probably about 12 years old or so.

Recently our friend Trevor (Who you may know as “Mr J” – and if you don’t, you probably should!) brought a tub of deli macaroni salad to one of our potluck parties. My first – completely internal, as I was NOT raised by wolves! – instinct was “blech.. macaroni salad!” (Sorry, Trevor!)… until I noticed that it had cubed cheese in it. I’d never seen that before. Curiosity piqued, I tried a bite.. and it was actually pretty good!

Flash forward a few weeks, to earlier this week. My “stress cooking” reflex was triggered, and I was right in the mood for more of that pasta salad. I decided to make pasta salad for the first time in my life… loosely based on that deli one, but tweaked to be a bit more to my tastes.

First off, I ditched the macaroni for Rotini, simply because it’s more fun to eat it. I couldn’t remember what all was in the salad, so I went with celery for crunch, red pepper for colour, and green onion because I love it.

I based the dressing off of my awesome coleslaw, making sure to not let it get too sweet. Oh, it was GOOD. We went through the whole batch embarrassingly quickly.

A few notes:

1. For the best pasta salad, you want the pasta to actually cook to soft, not just al dente – this allows the pasta to better absorb the flavours from the dressing.

2. Aside from the pasta, this recipe is gluten free. To make a gluten free pasta salad, I recommend using brown rice pasta, and carefully watching it as it cooks – don’t let it get to the point of falling apart!

3. My husband thinks it would be even better with peas added to it. I think that triggers my “macaroni salad is gross” instinct, but who knows… I’m not exactly a connoisseur of pasta salad! If it sounds good to you, go for it!

Enjoy!

Marie’s Pasta Salad Recipe

1 lb uncooked Rotini pasta*
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz mild cheddar cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups mayo
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
3/4+ tsp pepper (to taste)

Cook pasta according to package directions, but adding a few minutes to the boil time. Drain, and rinse well with cold water until cool. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine celery, green onion, pepper, and cheese, tossing to mix well and break up any cheese cubes that are stuck to each other. Add cooled pasta, gently toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except pepper. Pour over pasta salad, gently toss to completely coat. Season with pepper to taste.

Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

* This amount of dressing is perfect for Rotini, which has a lot more surface area than most pastas. If you’d like to use a different pasta, you’ll likely need less dressing. Start with about 2/3 of the dressing this makes, and add more if you like!

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

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

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

Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken Recipe

Saturday night, my laziness / beat-uppedness (That’s a word now. I say so.) ended up setting in motion the events that would soon result in the development of the BEST sesame chicken I’ve ever had in my whole life.

Chores, taking a friend for her VERY first experience at SR Harris (a local fabric warehouse… overwhelming experience!), writing, and a costumed appearance at a local comic & games store made for a very long day. When I finally got to sit down at the end of it all, my body and brain made a pact: I would NOT be getting up again in the forseeable future.

That made MAKING supper an impossibility. We decided to order in… which comes with its own set of issues, but hey… I didn’t even have to sit up. What I REALLY wanted was sesame chicken, but that wasn’t an option. Even if I could find a place that does it gluten-free, we don’t have anywhere GOOD in delivery range.

So, I “negotiated” with myself. Would settle for pizza, under the understanding that I’d MAKE sesame chicken the following day.

Unfortunately, I managed to wreck myself and my (non gluten-free) husband for all other sesame chicken, in the process. There are NO words for how much better this was, than anything we’ve ever had.

The sweetness and spice levels were perfect, the chicken was high quality and super juicy, and there wasn’t the “I think this may have been sitting for a few hours” texture.

SO good. If you’re a fan of sesame chicken, you need to make this ASAP. If you’re not GF yourself, you CAN substitute 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour for the flours and corn starch in this recipe… but you’ll miss out on the flavour and texture.

As my husband posted on Facebook:

“This is amazing sesame chicken. Seriously, the best I’ve had. Absolutely delicious! Oh yeah, it’s gluten-free, but whatever. By that I mean that I have no real need to be gluten free, but this is amazing whether you are gluten-free or not!”

In particular – beyond the ridiculous sauce – he loved the crispiness of the batter, saying that it was crisp , but not crumbly, and stuck well to the chicken.

Enjoy!

PS: While this recipe isn’t in my upcoming gluten-free cookbook, “Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking“, if you or anyone you love is interested in gluten-free recipes… you should probably buy the book! Pre-orders open up in early August, be sure to subscribe to our email list for a reminder when the date gets here! (Over on the right menu bar!)

Gluten Free Sesame Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings

Oil for deep frying – we used vegetable oil

Batter:
3/4 cup garbanzo flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup water or chicken broth

Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp dried chilies / pepper flakes

Chicken:
4 large chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into chunks
1/4 cup additional garbanzo bean flour

2 Tbsp Sesame seeds

Start heating your oil to 375F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sesame oil. Add water, stir well to form a thick batter. Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.

In a medium saucepan, whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth. Heat over medium, simmer until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat, set aside while you fry the chicken.

Toss chicken chunks with additional garbanzo flour, then dredge in the batter. Carefully transfer battered chicken pieces to the preheated oil, cooking in batches. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer fried chicken to paper towels.

Once all chicken is fried, toss with sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

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.

Roasted “Convention” Chili Recipe

It’s just a few short days til Marscon – our first convention of the year!

For some brilliant reason, I decided at the last minute that I should make a Klingon costume for the occasion. This was with a trip to Dallas looming, and – unknowbeknowst to us at the time – a bout of stomach flu on the way!

So much for having enough time – am racing like a madman to get everything done on time, which is NOT a common thing for me… being a logistics freak. I definitely prefer being prepared far in advance, and walking into a convention well rested for the weekend to come.

Part of the preparation for any convention we go to is figuring out the food situation, so we don’t end up paying a fortune for bad hotel food. This is especially important when one is under dietary restrictions for allergies.

As you may recall, last July we decided to create “Convention Sloppy Joes” as a way to ensure easy access to healthy proteins and veggies throughout the weekend.

It was perfect! Making it ahead and freezing it not only freed up time immediately before the convention, but also provided efficient “ice packs” for the cooler. We left it to simmer all day in a crockpot in our hotel room, so it was easy to go up and grab a bite to eat whenever we had a minute. (Well, realistically… whenever we started feeling gross from NOT eating, and could drag ourselves away from the fun!).

Best of all… it was the first convention we’ve been to where we did NOT get Con Crud. I’ve got to think that proper nutrition had a big hand in that!

We decided to go a bit of a different route this time, so I created a “Convention Chili” recipe. I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with crappy gluten-free buns, and really.. it’s been too long since I put on a pot of chili.

With this recipe, we decided to just go insane with the vitamin C. Red peppers are much higher in it than tomatoes are, after all. Sounds good, right? In reality, my husband just hates tomatoes, so red peppers are a great, healthy, and tasty way to make chili delicious for him, too. All that vitamin C can’t hurt, when facing down the possibility of con crud… especially during cold/flu season! The protein from the meats and beans, and all the fiber from the beans and veggies make this a really healthy food to live on for a weekend.

A few notes about this recipe:

– I created this recipe specifically to be made ahead and frozen, specifically for use in a slow cooker. See the end of the recipe for how to tweak this for immediate use – it would be great for a party!

– If you want to swap out types of pepper, swap the red peppers for tomatoes, add or subtract onion, etc… go nuts 🙂 It’s a very versatile recipe. Just try to keep the weights/volumes of substitution relatively similar to what it’s replacing.

– This is suitable for a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. It’s inherently gluten free, dairy free, etc.

– While you can peel the roasted peppers after broiling them if you want, we don’t. Too fussy, you lose some nutrition/flavour, and the texture isn’t noticeable in the final dish anyway.

– Red bell peppers can be expensive.. so we used canned. If you have access to a big-box discount store like Costco – you can get canned red peppers for much cheaper than fresh. Farmers markets can be another great option.

Roasted “Convention” Chili
Makes … a lot. Probably a gallon and a half?

2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced into large chunks
4 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced into large chunks
5 jalapenos, halved (seeded if you choose)
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
Olive oil
3 lbs lean ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
6 stalks celery, sliced
2 lbs sliced mushrooms
5 carrots, peeled and grated
3 cans (~30oz each) tomato sauce
2 cans (~15oz each) light red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (~15oz each) dark red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (~15oz each) black beans, drained
10 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed/minced
6 lbs red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp+ smoked serrano powder*

Drizzle a broiler-safe pan with some olive olive, and arrange your poblano, bell, and jalapeno peppers on it, along with the onions. (This may take more than one batch to do!). Drizzle with a little more olive oil and broil under high heat until peppers are nicely roasted and blistering. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a large pot, add ground beef and pork. Cook until browned, add celery and mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until celery is translucent and mushrooms have softened. Add carrots, tomato sauce, beans, garlic, and half of the red pepper. Stir well.

Puree remaining red peppers with beef broth, add to the pot. Continue cooking until everything is warmed up, season with salt, pepper, and smoked serrano powder, to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature, transfer to freezer safe containers, and freeze until use.

To use:

– Thaw out (At a convention, place it in your bathroom sink in the morning when you’re done with it, fill with cool water)

– Around noon, transfer mixture to Crock Pot (doesn’t need to be fully thawed), heat on high for a few hours, stirring every hour or so (Good to coordinate this with roomies!)

– Once mixture cooks down to a nice thick consistency, turn heat down to low until serving. If mixture gets too thick, see if a vending machine has a bottle of V8, add a little to thin it out.

For immediate, non-CrockPot use:

Rather than removing mixture from heat after seasoning, turn heat down to medium and simmer until sauce cooks down to a nice thick consistency.

* We buy smoke serrano powder from a local homebrew supply store – Midwest Supplies. You can order it from them online HERE, or find it in specialty spice shops. Great stuff!

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.

Baked Reuben Poppers


Taking a quick break from developing my next cookbook, to write a few quick blog entries. Time to go through a backlog of older recipes and photos!

Back a few years – damn, had to be about 6, now – I made deep fried Reuben rolls for my husband. Think egg rolls, but completely different filling. I’d had the idea after having some “Ham and Swiss” deep fried dough balls at a pub somewhere a few years earlier. With Porter being completely in love with Reubens, it was brilliant!

Several years later, though… being married to a cook/baker is taking its toll, and he’s trying to avoid excess fat and calories. So, I decided to make a baked version of this favourite of his. There’s still a bit of oil involved – it’s necessary to crisp up the wonton wrapper skin – but it’s not *bathed* in oil. So… much better for you, even if it’s still not exactly health food!

Says he: “The Reuben poppers are delicious pockets of yum. Crap, I’m not good with words. I love the crispy texture of the crust with the kraut and beef. I could eat way too many of them!”

Baked Reuben Poppers

Cooking oil or nonstick spray
8 egg roll wrappers
8 oz sauerkraut, well drained
8 oz corned beef deli meat
8 oz Swiss Cheese, grated
Caraway seeds (optional)

Thousand Island dressing, for dipping

Preheat your oven to 375F. Generously grease a baking sheet with cooking oil or spray, set aside.

Lay 1 egg roll wrapper flat on your workspace.

Spread about 1/8 of the corned beef in a single column, diagonally across the middle of the wrapper. Make sure to avoid about 2″ border around the edge of the wrapper.

On top of the corned, layer 1/8 of the sauerkraut, then top with 1/8 of the swiss cheese, again avoiding the border. Sprinkle with caraway seeds, if using.

Fold one corner of the wrapper across the filling layers, pressing down to the other side of the wrapper.

Use a pastry brush and some water to dampen the two side corners. Fold them in to the center, gently pressing excess air out from the filling as you go.

Apply a little water to dampen the remaining corner edges and roll the popper carefully towards that corner, sealing all filling in as you go.

Place your rolls on your well-greased cookie sheet, brush/spray with additional oil on top. Bake for 15 minutes, flip all of the rolls over, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing for dipping!

Biscuits and Gravy… MY Way!

Shortly after I moved to the US, I heard of “biscuits and gravy” for the first time. I have no idea if we have it back home or not, but it was the first time I’d ever been exposed to it.

We were watching TV, and whatever show it was was demonstrating it. The cook lobbed a big chunk of shortening into the pan for making the gravy, and at that point… I think it was the most disgusting breakfast idea I’d ever even heard of. It didn’t even really matter that I later found out that not all biscuit gravy is made like that, the idea of it was gross.

Even without that visual introduction, the idea of anything white being called gravy seemed – and still seems – really OFF to me. Gravy is supposed to be brown! Well… unless you’re Italian, apparently – two of my MasterChef friends schooled me on that one. I digress…

So, I recently decided to make biscuits and gravy for my husband, but with a proper brown gravy. In my personal opinion, if you’re using flour to thicken anything aside from a delicate white wine sauce, you should make a proper roux. Usually “the darker the better”, too!

You see, when it comes to food… browning is flavour. Whether it’s a meat, a crust, a cookie… browning your food is adding all kinds of wonderful flavours to it. Why go with a white gravy, when a brown one takes only a few minutes more? I don’t get it.

So, rather than just looking at the flour as a thickening agent alone, I look at it as a way to add flavour. When you cook the flour and butter together as a roux, it turns into a rich, toasty, almost nutty flavour – it’s the best way to start any gravy, really.

Now, most people recommend cooking your roux over medium or lower heat, and it can take a really long time. If you’re just starting out with rouxs, I’d say caution is probably a good idea… but just as an FYI, I usually cook them on high. As long as you’re careful, don’t stop stirring, and have your liquid pre-measured and ready to go… I find it pretty low risk.

You may find that you need more or less milk than called for here, partially out of personal taste (we like it pretty thick, you may not!), and partially because making a roux isn’t really an exact science, when it comes to thickening. As flour cooks and darkens, it loses some of its thickening power. When you first mix the butter and flour together, it will thicken a LOT more liquid than a smiliar amount of a really dark brown roux. Play around with it, and see where your preferences take you!

Biscuits and Gravy
Serves 3-4

1 recipe Baking Powder Biscuits
12 oz chub sausage of choice *
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1.5 cups+ milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven for biscuits. While it’s heating up, brown the sausage in a fry pan. Remove sausage from pan, set aside.

Put biscuits in the oven, make the gravy:

Melt butter in that same frying pan. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it’s as brown as you want it.

Slowly add in about half of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add the rest of the milk, stirring once again until smooth.

Add in the cooked sausage, stir well and bring up to a simmer – the gravy will thicken as it simmers. Add a little more milk if the gravy is too thick for your tastes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Keep gravy warm until biscuits come out of the oven. Split warm biscuits in half, smother with gravy.

Enjoy!

* I love using the Papa George’s brand of sausage. It’s about a million times better than anything else on the market, is perfectly seasoned and flavoured, and has almost no fat in it. We’ll use either the regular, hot, or sage flavoured sausage chubs in this recipe. Because this recipe was developed with that particular sausage, you may find yourself wanting to use less butter, if you use a fattier sausage.

Baking Powder Biscuits

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to my grandmother’s baking powder biscuits. We’d eat them with butter and lots of homemade jam, and life was good.

Her recipe eventually became the base for our breakfast pizza, and it’s been one I’ve carried with me in life. Odd, because I don’t tend to use recipes at all… and when I do, I usually tweak the crap out of them each time!

This is a recipe that doesn’t need tweaking, though. Sure, there are minor variations I’ll do – sometimes I’ll use milk (as she did), sometimes I’ll use buttermilk. If I don’t have shortening (as she used) or if I want a richer flavour, I’ll use butter instead. It’s all good!

As long as you don’t over-handle the dough, these biscuits bake up light and fluffy, and are easily split in half. This makes about 6 good sized biscuits, but is easily doubled.

Enjoy!

Baking Powder Biscuits
Makes 6 biscuits

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening or butter
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, 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.

Pull dough together into a ball, place on a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll dough out to about 3/4 – 1″ thick, and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. (I like to use about 3″ diameter).

Arrange biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Serve hot!

Fennel Chicken and Sausage Soup

Here we are, the final recipe to result from last weekend’s super making binge!

This one was actually inspired by a chicken bratwurst I tried one time, which involved apple and fennel. I thought it would be fun to build a soup around those flavours, and took it a step further with some sweet Italian sausage. Everything works together so well, producing a flavourful, unique soup… and it’s kind of pretty, too!

This soup is a stark contrast to my Beef Stew which is hearty and rustic, and my Roasted Cauliflower Soup which was quick and simple. Yep, it involves making chicken broth a day before making the actual soup.

It’s a little bit of extra work, but TOTALLY worth it – you don’t get this kind of flavour from a can! Stock making is a lost art, and really does give you great results for very little cost. It’s also healthier than canned stuff, and you get to have the extra pride that comes from really making your soup from scratch!

Enjoy!

Fennel Chicken and Sausage Soup Recipe

Chicken Broth:

1 chicken, cut up (~5 lbs)
2 onions
5 stalks celery
1 fennel bulb
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

The night before making the soup, prepare your chicken broth.

In a large pot cover all broth ingredients with a good amount of water – maybe 12 cups worth. Bring to a boil, turn heat down a bit, and simmer for a few hours, until stock is golden and richly flavoured.

Strain all ingredients out of the broth. Discard veggies, allow chicken to cool enough to handle. When cool, pick off all of the meat, chop into bite sized pieces and chill. Discard the bones.

Chill broth overnight.

The next day, remove fat from the surface of the broth.

Soup:

1 1/2 lbs fresh sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1″ lengths
2 Tbsp vegetable
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb (Chop the fennel fronds, reserve)
8 cups of chicken broth (above)
1 cup dry white wine
2 parsnips, peeled and grated
2-3 lbs red potatoes, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Reserved chicken from broth
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups heavy cream

In a large, heavy pot, brown sausage in vegetable oil. Add onion and fennel root, continue cooking until onions are translucent.

Add a little chicken broth, scrape down (deglaze) the bottom of the pan until any brown bits are nicely incorporated into the stock. Add rest of measured broth, wine, parsnips, potatoes, apples, garlic, and chopped chicken. Simmer until potatoes are tender, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk corn starch into heavy cream until smooth. Add to the soup – along with the fennel fronds, stirring until well incorporated.

Bring back up to a simmer, simmer for another 5 minutes. Check your seasonings, adjusting if necessary.

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.

Hearty Beef Stew Recipe

I haven’t made – or had – stew in a very long time… probably 7 years or so. I kind of wrecked myself for it, and nothing’s seemed good enough, since.

You see, I’ve always loved stew. My grandmother’s homemade stuff, the stew they’d sell at the Irish Pavilion at Folklorama every year.. hell, I’d even snarf the Puritan brand canned stuff. (Shh! I KNOW!)

Then, I moved out east and got into game meats. I discovered that I make *the best* moose stew, and life was good. So, SOOO good.

Eventually, I moved to Minnesota and found no way to get my hands on moose meat. One of these days, I WILL find a moose hunter to bribe… but I digress. Beef stew can never live up to that moose stew, so I just … haven’t had stew.

That ended this weekend, when I finally gave in and decided to make a beef stew. Ah… I missed this.

This is NOT high cuisine, it’s not in any way gourmet… just a good, solid, basic stew – probably pretty similar to what my grandmother used to make. It’s a bit lighter on the Brussels sprouts than I like, as a compromise for my husband. (He’s not as insane about them as I am.) This is hearty, root-y, thick and wonderful comfort food. Yum!

Enjoy!

PS: This makes a TON of stew. It freezes well, but I like to basically live off it for a week 🙂 Feel free to cut the recipe in half, though!

Hearty Beef Stew

4 lbs stewing beef, cut up into chunks
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped
12 cups beef broth
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
4 – 6 ribs celery
1 Tbsp+ dried savoury
1 Tbsp + black pepper
Salt
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
5 parsnips, peeled and sliced into large chunks
6 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, cut in large chunks
~ 3-4 lbs red potatoes, cut into large chunks
~ 2-3 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

In a very large, heavy pot, brown meat in oil. Add onions, continue to cook until translucent.

Add beef broth, red wine, celery, 1 Tbsp each of dried savoury and black pepper, and 2 tsp salt. Bring up to almost a boil, reduce heat and simmer – covered – for two hours.

Remove celery from the stew, discard. Add rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, and mushrooms, continue simmering for another hour.

Add potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Cover and simmer for another hour or so.

While the stew simmers, prepare your roux:

In a large heavy pot, combine vegetable oil and butter. Heat over medium until the butter melts, stir in the flour.

Without leaving your stove (Seriously!), stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it gets quite dark – I like to get it to a reddish brown colour. It’ll take time, but it’s worth it – this great flavour to the stew … just don’t burn it!

Stir a ladle worth of stew stock into the roux – it’ll boil up and steam, don’t worry. Whisk it till smooth, then add another ladle worth of stew liquid. Continue until you have a decent amount of smooth gravy.

Add the gravy into the stew, stirring well to fully distribute. Stir in fresh parsley, season with salt, pepper, and additional savoury to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Serrano Drizzle

This past weekend, we decided to attend the Minneapolis Farmers Market right after it opened at 6 am. It was still dark out, so the market was all lit up under the canopies – we didn’t even know they did that.. it was beautiful! The air was crisp and fresh, the moisture from the recent rain really carried the scent of the fresh produce through the air, and it wasn’t crowded or noisy at all. We were able to enjoy the feel and smell of the air, without the sensory overload of noise and crowd… By far my favourite farmers market experience to date!

Without having to rush to get away from noise, we were able to stroll the aisles, buying a TON of produce. I had it in my head that I wanted to go on a soup making binge, and we walked away WELL equipped for it!

The two soups and the stew I made this weekend were all fantastic, but this one stood out for its ease and simplicity.

This roasted cauliflower soup took very little effort – and not many ingredients – but became an instant favourite. I basically wanted to make a soup version of cauliflower mash, but roasted. Roasted onion and garlic adds flavour and complexity, and the white wine brings just a touch of acid and refinement to it. The thick, creamy texture of the soup is accented with a drizzle of smokey serrano pepper oil… oh, this is GOOD.

While it’s easy enough to make pepper oil by infusion, I wanted something quick and easy… and wanted to use what I had on hand.

I love, love, LOVE hot pepper powders! We pick them up at our local homebrew supply store – Midwest Supplies – who stocks them as part of their hot sauce supplies. My favourite lately has been their Smoked Serrano Powder, but I’ve always loved their jalapeno powder. (You may remember it from my husband’s “Epic Popcorn” recipe!). Seriously, pick up a few powders – they do mail order! – and have fun with them.

Anyway.

Stirring the powder into the oil is quick and easy, but’ll probably make purists cringe. Whatever.

This makes a fair amount of the oil, but it keeps well in the fridge – just stir well before use. You can drizzle as much or little of the oil as you want – pretty, kinda fun to be able to customize, AND the smokiness really works well with this soup.

Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Serrano Drizzle

2 heads cauliflower
1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken broth*
1 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp smoked serrano powder

Preheat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Remove any leaves from the cauliflower, chop into large florets. Peel and slice onion, peel garlic. Arrange cauliflower, onion, and garlic on baking sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 50 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes or so until golden brown.

Transfer roasted veggies and garlic to a large pot. Add chicken broth, milk, and white wine, mash lightly with a potato masher. Bring almost to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree soup mixture until smooth – you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor or blender. Transfer smooth puree back to the pot, add heavy cream and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir smoked serrano powder into oil, drizzle over individual servings of soup.

* We used this amount of chicken broth, knowing we like our soup THICK. If you’d like a thinner soup, just add a bit more chicken stock!

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Roasted Corn Chowder Recipe

With the weather (HOPEFULLY!) cooling down soon, it’s probably a good time to post some cooler-weather recipes!

This base recipe for corn chowder – from my book, “Sweet Corn Spectacular” – can be customized in many ways. It requires a little bit of effort, but it’s very much worth it. Roasting the corn before incorporating it into the chowder elevates the flavour in beautiful ways!

Roasted Corn Chowder
Serves 4

6–7 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups water, divided
2 ribs celery
1 small onion
4–5 red potatoes, cut into V-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
salt and pepper

Prepare grill. Brush 3–4 corn cobs with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and grill corn until as “done” as you like (I prefer some dark grill marks but not an overall char). Set aside to cool.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels off remaining ears of corn. Add kernels to a food processor or blender with 1 cup of the water. Puree until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

In a medium pot over medium heat, cook celery and onion in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring occasionally, until veggies are translucent and tender. Add corn puree, remaining cup of water, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Carefully cut kernels off roasted cobs of corn. Add kernels to a food processor or blender and puree with ½ cup heavy cream until somewhat smooth, about 30 seconds. Add roasted corn puree and remaining heavy cream to the pot, and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Variations

• Add some roasted red peppers along with the roasted corn puree.

• Add some fresh basil and Parmesan cheese with the roasted corn puree.

• Add a couple of roasted jalapeños, finely chopped, with the roasted corn puree.

• Add about 2 cups shredded cheese along with the roasted corn puree.

• Top with crumbled bacon.

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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!

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