“Extreme” Caesar Salad Recipe (And Homemade Croutons!)

About a year or so ago, I happened across a post – maybe it was a tweet? – where someone mentioned using mayo as a base for Caesar dressing.

I hadn’t considered it before – it’s easy enough to make an emulsion with a stick blender or food processor after all – but it was actually kind of brilliant. Not only did it make things a lot easier, it gets rid of the worries associated with the use of raw eggs.

I decided to mess around with making a mayo based Caesar dressing to our tastes, and came up with this… monstrosity.

This dressing smells TERRIBLE. It burns to eat. The lemon in it makes my tongue feel like it’s ripped to shreds halfway through.

… and it is – far and away – the BEST Caesar salad I’ve ever had in my life.

The weird thing about this recipe is that almost every rave I have about it sounds completely negative! This isn’t about “burst of flavour”, it’s more like “punch you in the face with flavour”. This recipe is definitely geared towards garlic lovers, so keep that in mind!

If you’ve never worked with anchovies before, you may have a weird idea of what to expect. Though this recipe has a lot of anchovy in it, it doesn’t taste fishy at all. Anchovy doesn’t really taste like fish, it just has a rich, salty, complex flavour that adds a ton of character to whatever you put it in. You buy them in little jars, either by the canned meats, or in the fresh fish aisle, depending on your grocery store.

This dressing whips up in just minutes, and makes a SUPER potent dressing. A little goes a long way, so use less dressing than you think you’ll need – you can always mix more in if you want to kick it up a notch or ten!

Anyway.

Making homemade croutons is a good way to accent this dressing, because who wants crappy store bought croutons when you’re serving a special dressing? Not I! So, I’m including a non-recipe recipe for my croutons at the end of the dressing recipe. It only takes about 3 minutes to prepare, and 15 or so minutes to bake – totally worth the effort!

Enjoy!

Caesar Dressing

Makes just over 1 cup of dressing

6 Anchovy fillets
5-6 Cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Grated lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

In a small food processor or blender, combine anchovies, pressed garlic, and lemon juice, blitzing to create a smooth paste. Add zest, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, once again blitzing until combined and smooth. Add mayo and cheese, blitz once more to combine.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Homemade Croutons

Bread of choice*
Butter or oil**
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or don’t. It’s not really needed, but makes clean up easier!)

First, cut your bread into cubes of whatever size you like, and place in a bowl that’s big enough to stir them around easily. I like to cut fairly big pieces, so that they can get toasty and crisp on the outside, and stay tender inside. Your mileage may vary!

Next, melt your butter (if using). Drizzle some butter or oil over the bread pieces, tossing well to coat. You want them lightly coated, not drowning in butter. Eyeball it – you can always add more if you feel it needs it!

Once you have the bread lightly coated, sprinkle on the remaining ingredients, to suit your tastes. Taste as you go!

Once you’re happy with the flavour, spread the bread pieces out on your baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring a few times during the baking. If you’re happy with the colour of them at 15 minutes, remove and let cool slightly before adding to your salad. If not, let them bake a little while longer, keeping an eye on them.

* While many people use stale bread, I don’t. I like soft interiors to my croutons, so I just chill a few slices for a bit to make them easier to cut nicely. If you like very crunchy croutons, use stale bread. In terms of type, I like bread with a little character – this was a flax seed bread. You can use whatever bread you like, however – even gluten-free!

** If you want to be *Extra* about it, you can use melted bacon drippings in place of butter or oil!

Canadian Candy Bar Salad – “Fusion Salad”

So – It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog entry!

A LOT has happened – we packed up and sold our house in Minneapolis, got everything onto two shipping containers, and moved to Canada. Shortly before we sold the house, we moved into a small, 27′ motor home, and that’s been “home” right up until we closed on our new house a couple weeks ago. The kitchen didn’t really lend itself to creating blog worthy meals, and we’ve been very busy with getting settled, so.. no posts. We’re now mostly settled, so I can get back into posting from time to time.

For the first recipe being posted from within Canada, this one seems appropriate. We’ve been calling it “fusion salad”.

This weekend, we attended our first social event in Ontario – a potluck BBQ. We were fussing over what we should bring, and my husband joked that we should bring a Minnesota “salad” – basically a desserty item made with things like Cool Whip, fruit, pudding, etc. One thing led to another, and we ended up coming up with a “Minnesota-Canadian Fusion” version of Snickers Salad, which we brought to the event last night. (Along with my Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake, just in case our creation didn’t turn out well!)

We decided to use our 3 favourite Canadian candy bars, because neither of us wanted to actually choose. We decided to keep the Granny Smith apple, so the sour crunch could provide a good foil for all that chocolate.

For the fluff, we decided we would be adding maple syrup… because obviously we would. Knowing that, we decided on a cream cheese based fluff, so that the syrup wouldn’t be competing with pudding mix, nor would it be sickeningly sweet as a result.

What started as a joke ended up turning out really well! Once people got past the look of it (“What is THAT?”) and actually tried it, it seemed fairly popular. Definitely a conversation piece! The maple syrup in the fluff definitely elevated it from normal “salads” – it seemed to really tie everything together well. It just added a little something, without being overpowering.

If you are in the USA, these chocolate bars may be available in the international aisle of some grocery stores, and/or at World Market.

Also, as a tip: My $9 cheapie sushi knives that I bought off Amazon work REALLY well for cleanly cutting candy bars, as you can see with the garnish slice in the pic. (A Mr Big bar, sliced on an extreme diagonal!). You know, in addition to making sushi, carving foam, and everything else I use them for!

Enjoy!

Minnesota-Canada Fusion Candybar Salad
Makes about 8-10 cups worth

3 Wunderbars
2 Coffee Crisp bars
2 Mr Big bars
250 g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup icing / powdered sugar
1 L / 16 oz container Cool Whip, slightly softened
4 Granny Smith apples

Thinly slice all 7 candy bars, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and maple syrup together until smooth. Add icing sugar, continue mixing until well combined and smooth.

Gently fold in Cool Whip, until well combined. Add chocolate pieces, once again gently folding until well combined.

Chop Granny Smith apples into bit sized pieces, gently fold into mix.

Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. Top with reserved candy bar pieces, if you set some aside.

NB: The sugars in the Cool Whip and Maple Syrup will draw the juice from the apples, so if you let it sit TOO long – more than 12 hours or so – the fluffy will break and become runny.

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.

Crab Rangoon Pizza

A few weeks ago, a thread on a Facebook group – I don’t even remember what it was about – ended up drifting to the point where I learned something interesting: Crab Rangoon Pizza is a THING. I’d never heard of it, and had never considered the possibility, but all of a sudden I NEEDED IT.

I wanted it to be our own, so I brainstormed with my husband on what we would want “Crab Rangoon Pizza” to be. We decided no pizza sauce, using Rangoon filling as the sauce. I would do a higher proportion of crab to cream cheese than I normally do, to balance out the cheese that would top it. It would need a lot of green onions. The crust should be thin and crisp, as a stand in for the wontons.

Sweet chili sauce should be involved somehow. We debated this for a bit… Should we brush the crust with it before spreading the filling? (No, too messy). Should we drizzle it on before baking? After baking? Just use it as a pizza dip?

After some playing around with it, the clear winner was to drizzle it on after baking. Baking didn’t add anything to it, and it just looked nicer as a fresh, unbaked drizzle.

This was fantastic! A ton of flavour, a great alternative to traditional pizza flavours and textures. We made this gluten free, utilizing “Caulipower” crusts, but you can use any pre-made pizza crust or crust recipe that you like.

While I think thin crust works well with the idea of Rangoon, I think a thicker, softer crust would hit the comfort food feeling even more than this already did – I’m definitely going to try it that way in the future!

After we snarfed our pizza, we Googled to see how our creation compared to what was out there. Looks like we hit the same basic concept, had proportionately more crab (which it really needs!)… but the real stunner, for me, was that some people apparently make Crab Rangoon with fake crab? I had no idea – I’ve never had/seen if made with fake crab. Definitely use real crab if at all possible.

Anyway, enjoy!

Crab Rangoon Pizza
Makes enough “sauce” for 2 Medium pizzas or one extra large pizza

Sauce:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cans crabmeat (~6 oz each), well drained
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Assembly:

Pizza crust(s) of your choice
Thinly sliced green onions
Grated cheese – We like a mix of Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan for this.
Sweet chili sauce

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in crab meat, green onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and sesame oil, stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Following the baking directions for your pizza crust, assemble the pizza. (Some crusts/crust recipes want you to bake it for a bit before putting toppings on, some don’t. Do whatever is supposed to work for the crust you’re using.)

– Spread crust(s) with sauce.
– Sprinkle generously with sliced green onions, top with grated cheese.

Bake as directed. Remove from oven, drizzle with sweet chili sauce, 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.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Pirate Cookies, Do-Si-Dos)

As with many of the cookies in my gluten-free cookbooks (“Beyond Flour”, “Beyond Flour 2”, and “More Than Poutine”, which are available for purchase HERE), these are another example of a recipe that is actually better done as a gluten-free cookie, than the source material. As many GF flours have more flavour than regular/all-purpose flour, proper blending and use of them will result in a more rich, flavourful end result.

The recipe for these cookies began as a craving for an off-the-shelf cookie from back home – Pirate Cookies. My husband had never tried them, so I made a gluten-free version… and I was promptly informed that they were very much like a Girl Scout cookie he liked. (After some Googling, it appears he means Do-Si-Dos). Either way, they turned out amazing, and now disappear FAST whenever I make them. I aimed for a little softer and smoother of a cookie than the source material, because I’m not a fan of crispy cookies. If you prefer a crispy cookie, allow to bake for an extra minute or two.

If you are making these for someone who is gluten-free, be sure that they can handle oats. Also, be sure to only use oat flour that is certified to be gluten-free.

Makes about 30 2″ cookies

Oatmeal Cookies:

3/4 cup Gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Butter, softened
2/3 cup Granulated sugar
1 Large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Corn starch, for rolling

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 cups Icing (Powdered) sugar
2 Tbsp Water

For Cookies:

Whisk together dry ingredients (except sugar) until well combined, set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in egg, beat well. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Slowly add dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out rounds, place cookies 1″ apart on greased baking sheets. For added accuracy, use a fork to gently make a grid pattern on top of half of the cookie rounds, before using drinking straw to punch a small hole in the center of each of those marked rounds.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before filling, so make your filling now!

For Filling:

Whip peanut butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix until incorporated. Slowly add powdered sugar a bit at a time, until incorporated completely. Beat on high for 1 minute – mixture will be very, very thick.

Lower mixer speed to lowest setting, and slowly add water. Once incorporated, check for consistency. Add more water or powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

To fill:

Spoon prepared filling into a pastry bag. Cut the tip off and pipe about a small amount of filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Flip over, top with another cookie. (If you went for the accuracy with a straw, use the cookies with holes in them as the top in each cookie sandwich.)

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.

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.

Dill Pickle Cream Cheese Dip Recipe – and More Than Poutine Pre-orders!

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I’m happy to announce that the big day is finally here – pre-orders are now open for my upcoming book, “More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from My Home and Native Land!

If you’re new here, the basics: It’s a cookbook that is written from the point of view of a Canadian no longer living in Canada. Not only does it have great recipes for all of the well known, national favourites… it covers many regional specialties, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the foods that you can’t buy outside of Canada! It was a lot of fun to develop, and I’m so proud of it!

Anyway, to mark the occasion, I’m going to share one of the recipes that was MOST requested when I polled other expats for commercial foodstuffs that they miss: Dill Pickle Cream Cheese Dip.

There is a line of cream cheese dips back home that is very popular, but not really seen as a Canadian thing… until you leave. Amazingly enough, while the brand that produces them is widely available in the US, this particular product is not carried anywhere but in Canada.

For “More Than Poutine”, I developed VERY accurate replica recipes for all 6 flavours of this line – all of which are very quick and easy to make! Gluten-free, too!

The look and texture are bang-on, as-is the flavour… so long as you use the right pickles! The type of pickle you use will affect the overall taste in the end, so for maximum accuracy, go for a Kosher Dill or Garlic Dill pickle. If you’re not familiar with the source material, feel free to use whatever type of pickle you love to eat.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and the many others (120+!) in the book. Click here for more information on the book, and to place your preorder today!

Dill Pickle Cream Cheese Dip

Makes about 2 ½ cups

3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Pickle brine
2 tsp Corn starch
8 oz Cream cheese, softened (1 brick)
3/4 cup Finely chopped dill pickles
1/4 tsp Salt

In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, pickle brine, and corn starch.

Add cream cheese, carefully whisk until smooth. Add chopped pickles and salt, stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat, cool to room temperature before covering and chilling until cold.

Serve with chips or veggies.

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 preorder, 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.

Cold Smoked Potato Salad Recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cold Smoked Potato Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chill for an hour or two before serving.

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free Fried Brie Recipe

Sometimes, inspiration comes from the weirdest places.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free Fried Brie

Serves 4

Frying oil

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

1/2 cup corn starch, for dredging

Apricot preserves for serving

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

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

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

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

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

Serve hot, with apricot preserves.

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

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

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

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

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.

3 Sushi Sauce Recipes – Dynamite, Eel, and Mango

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

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

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

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

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

Dynamite Sauce

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

½ cup mayonnaise
2+ tbsp Sriracha hot sauce

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

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

*****

Mango Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

*****

Eel sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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