Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Gluten-Free Dumplings

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

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

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

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

Whichever way you do it, enjoy!

Gluten-Free Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Dumplings

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

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

While soup is boiling, make your roux:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free Chicken Mushroom Tourtière

Thanksgiving was a couple days ago… for Canadians like me!

My husband is always happy to celebrate both – twice the turkey! Twice the pumpkin pie! – but this year, he presented me with a challenge: He can’t handle eating pork or beef anymore. You know, the two main ingredients of my traditional tourtière!

There was NO way I was going to forgo a tourtière, so I decided to try for a workaround: I would develop a tourtière recipe that didn’t have the pork or beef, but still tasted proper.

Starting with the meat, I went with ground chicken: he prefers it to turkey. I decided to add a TON of mushrooms to it, both for taste and texture. I was originally going to get really weird with it and add a sweet potato, but decided against that at the last minute.

… it turned out amazing! I was actually a bit disappointed that it didn’t actually taste like mushrooms. I figured the mushrooms would be my consolation for not having beef or pork, and was actually looking forward to a mushroomy pie. In the end, though, it just tasted like my normal tourtière!

The mushrooms provided the right texture and umami that I would normally be getting from the pork and beef, while the use of the vegetables and seasonings worked together to camouflage what was actually in it. It’s hard to be too disappointed in the lack of mushroom flavour, when confronted with that kind of … sorcery … in accuracy.

Not only was it great fresh out of the oven (and, let’s get real here, with all of the filling that disappeared to “quality control” before making it into the pie), it reheats very well as leftovers.

So, yeah. Not going to stress out about dietary issues getting in the way of tradition again – super happy with how it turned out.

Enjoy!

Chicken-Mushroom Tourtière
Serves about 8 as meal, or more as a small part of Thanksgiving feast

Crust:
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg

Filling:
1 1/2 lbs sliced crimini / baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ~ 1/3″ cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp dried savory
2-3 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

1 egg
1 Tbsp cold water

Measure flours, starches, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Finely chop mushrooms – I like to use a food processor, in batches. Combine mushrooms, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and seasonings together in a large pan or pot. Break up ground chicken into, stir until everything is relatively uniform. Add the milk and the broth, stirring once again.

Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer – stirring often – until the liquid has cooked off, and the meat has broken down almost to a paste. This should take about an hour, give or take. Once it’s ready, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 F

Divide dough into 2 parts – one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger section out, use it to line a large and/or deep-dish pie pan – carefully working it into the corners. Fill pie pan with meat filling, spreading it into the corners and mounding it in the center, packing it down as you go.

Roll out the second part of dough, cover the pie filling. Crimp the edges as desired, poke a couple of slits in it. If desired, roll any extra dough very thin, cut into shapes, and apply to the crust for decoration.

Whisk the remaining egg together with water, use a pastry brush to coat the entire crust with a thin wash of this glaze.

Bake at 20 minutes, turn heat down to 375 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Serve warm or cold.

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.

Gluten-Free Roasted Beet Gnocchi

Today, we announced that preordering is open for Beyond Flour 2, so what better way to mark the occasion, than to share a great gluten-free recipe?

This recipe almost made it into the book. We had this one and an amazing sweet potato gnocchi. Loved them both, but the photos for the sweet potato ones looked more book-worthy!

While potatoes are obviously traditional for gnocchi, don’t overlook using other root veggies – they pack a ton of great flavour. Also, by roasting these beets, we avoid one of the big problem areas of making traditional gnocchi – boiling potatoes. Being roasted, rather than boiled prevents the beets from being waterlogged – so heavy, doughy, waterlogged dumplings aren’t likely to happen!

As with traditional gnocchi though, you’ll want to handle every stage of mixing with a light hand – keep it as fluffy and loose as possible up to the point of rolling. Handling everything gently will ensure that you’ll end up with soft, pillowy gnocchi.The texture on these is great – actual gnocchi. No gumminess or sandyness, they were easy to work with and held together well.

We love the rich, earthy flavour of the beets… and that is complimented perfectly by the tartness of the goat cheese, and bright flavour of the basil and a little lemon juice.

As pictured, we doubled the recipe, making one batch out of red beets, and another batch out of golden beets. Fussy, yes – but pretty!

Gluten-free Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Goat Cheese and BasilMakes about 4 servings

2 1/2-3 lbs beets (Red or golden)
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup Sweet rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 Large eggs, beaten
Potato starch for rolling
Salt
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup Fresh basil leaves, packed
2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Goat cheese

Wash beets, pat dry. Place beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, folding edges up to create a pouch around the them. Roast at 375 for about 1 hour, or until beets are quite tender.

Allow to cool slightly, then rub the skins off the beets with some paper towels (or your bare hands – expect some staining!).

In a food processor, blitz roasted beets until smooth. Measure 2 cups of puree into a large bowl, reserving the rest for a future use (can be frozen.) Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, starch, salt, and xanthan gum to combine well. Add flour mixture to cooled beet puree, gently fold to combine. Add eggs, once again gently folding to combine. Cover tightly with plastic film, Chill for 1 hour.

Generously dust your work surface with potato starch. Dump gnocchi dough out, knead gently to bring together into a soft ball. If the dough is sticky, add a little potato starch until it’s workable.

Divide dough into 8-10 roughly equal pieces. One at a time, roll each out into long “snakes”, each about the thickness of a thumb. Cut each roll into bite-sized pieces, about 3/4″- 1″ long.

If you’re feeling lazy, you can cook these up as-is. Otherwise, you can roll them over a fork to produce the traditional ridged gnocchi shape. There are many possible ways to do this, and you may want to play with it a bit until you find your own groove. For me, I gently (but firmly!) roll each gnocchi over the back of the fork, aiming towards the pointed ends of the tines. As I roll, the gnocchi will curl over itself into a slight “c” shape. Practice, experiment, and if necessary – Youtube has great tutorials for a variety of methods.

Start a pot of boiling water, and salt it well. Bring it to a gentle, not rolling boil, and cook your gnocchi in batches. As they float to the top, allow them to cook another minute or so before using a slotted spoon to remove them, transferring to a clean bowl or plate.

In a large nonstick pan, melt butter. Chop basil leaves, add to pan along with lemon juice, stir well. Cook for a few minutes, until butter starts to brown. Add cooked gnocchi to the pan, toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve hot, sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese

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

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

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

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

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Braid with Balsamic Glaze

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The One CHEESE Ring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The One Cheese Ring
Makes 2.5 lbs of cheese ring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRECIOUSSSSSS.


Lorien, of The Feral Fellowship

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Festive Easy Fudge

The other day, I posted the instructions for how I make Candied Orange Slices, inspired by a Canadian Living recipe for a unique chocolate bark. I used my orange slices to make their bark, and it was fantastic, but….

I’m not a bark person, for the most part. I’m not really big on chocolate in general, and when I am, I prefer it not to be hard. Chocolate sauce on ice cream, fondue, fudge. It’s a texture/sensory issue, for me.

So, I decided that I would take the same ingredients that intrigued me about their recipe, and incorporate it into my basic recipe for quick fudge. I’ve always liked dried cranberries in it – hell, it’s been over 5 years since I posted my Easy Blood Orange Cranberry Dark Chocolate Fudge recipe!

… and it worked SO well. The semi sweet chocolate contrasts well with the sweetness from the candied orange and ginger, the crunch of the nuts contrast well with the chew of those two items and the cranberries. The bright flavour of the orange and heat of the ginger pops through in various proportions, with every bite of fudge tasting different from the last.

Also: it’s pretty! The yellow ginger, orange slices, green pistachios and red cranberries make this a very festive fudge – great to serve or GIVE for the holidays!

Enjoy!

Festive Fudge

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup chopped candied orange slices
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/3-1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Pinch of salt
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (about a bag and a half)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Before getting started, line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, or grease generously with butter. Set aside.

Combine ginger, orange slices, dried cranberries, pistachios and salt, mix well, set aside.

Combine semi sweet chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, combine in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth)

Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Spread into prepared pan, chill until set.

To serve, use a very sharp knife to cut into squares.

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

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

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

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

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

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

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

Add ice cream scoop, serve immediately

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Next-Level Scalloped Potatoes

Today’s recipe has a bit of a weird inspiration/backstory – it all started with a Boxing Day trip to Walmart to snag cheapo gift sets for an upcoming party and gift swap.

It was early enough that the store was blissfully empty and quiet, but we were in a rush to get home and get to work. We decided to pick up a couple food items needed for the coming days. En route to pick up the cheapest, smelliest tuna they had (the cats prefer it that way!), I noticed something from the corner of my eye: Jalapeno cheddar instant scalloped potatoes. It kinda stopped me dead in my tracks- why hadn’t I ever thought to put jalapeno in scalloped potatoes. It was an epiphany!

We ALMOST bought it, but (at least!) one too many childhood experiences with dehydrated “Hamburger Helper” type potato products got in the way. Besides, we had potatoes and almost a litre of heavy whipping cream at home left over from other recipes, I’d just make my own from scratch.

After adding everything I wanted to it – beer, because I LOVE beer as an ingredient when it comes to cheese (even if I won’t drink beer as a beverage!), onions, garlic… it was amazing. The sauce almost didn’t make it to the potatoes, from uh.. “quality control”. 🙂

The smell coming out of the oven was maddening. Why is it that the recipes that put out the most tantalizing smells seem to start doing so the earliest in their cook times, and have the LONGEST cook times? I was very frustrated, and was pretty ravenous by the time it finished cooking – maybe not the best thing to make first thing in the morning, for breakfast!

Actually, I lie. It WAS the best thing to make for breakfast. SO GOOD. I love potatoes almost any way you could come up with making them (Yes, I live up to most stereotypes for my Irish heritage!), but this was WAY beyond any scalloped potatoes I’d ever had/made before. Hey, let me ask my husband for a 6 am, getting ready for work, several days after the fact food review!

“Well, they’re obviously much better than anything I’ve had from a box, all fancy and shit. I liked the little bit of zip from the 2 large jalapenos – it was great heat level for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, I like this a little more spicy so would add more jalapenos.”

So there you have it. “All fancy and shit”. 🙂

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Scalloped Potatoes
Makes ~ 8 servings

2-3 large jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup white rice flour*
1 cup gluten-free beer*
3 cups heavy cream **
1 cup grated Monteray Jack cheese
Salt and pepper
4 lbs red potatoes, washed
Pan spray
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F

In a medium or large saucepan, combine jalapenos, onion, garlic, and butter. Sautee for a few minutes, until onion and peppers soften up a little. Add rice flour, whisk until well distributed and free of clumps.

Add beer, whisking well until smooth. Add heavy cream, continuing to whisk, until smooth. Bring to a boil. As mixture starts to boil, add shredded jack cheese, continue stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Peel potatoes if you like – we don’t bother, we like the skins! – and slice VERY thinly. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish, and layer about a third of the potatoes in there. Pour a third of the sauce over it, tilting the pan to let it seep through the layers.

Layer another third of the potatoes, pouring another third of the sauce over it. Repeat one more time, using up the remaining potatoes and sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, return to oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, scatter cheddar cheese evenly over the top, and return to the pven for another 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serve hot!

* You can use regular flour and/or beer if you don’t need this to be gluten-free

** You can use Half and half or milk, if you prefer.

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No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe (Gluten-Free)

I love quinoa. The taste is decent, and it’s a fun texture to eat. When I first started eating it like a decade ago, it was mostly in soups, as a healthier (and more fun!) alternative to noodles or rice. Sometimes I’d serve it on its own, almost like a rice… but it was only a few years ago that I started using it in what’s now my favourite application for quinoa: tabbouleh!

Even before discovering that I need to be gluten-free, I found that I actually preferred the taste and texture of quinoa to the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh.

Beyond being inherently gluten-free, this recipe was created with another need in mind – my husband’s utter hatred of tomatoes. I wanted a tabbouleh I could share with him, rather than hoard for myself. So: red peppers.

Usually, I’d consider this more of a summer thing, but I’ve been craving it lately, so did up a batch yesterday. Sitting here on Christmas eve munching on some… it has green, red, and mint involvement. I’m officially declaring it holiday canon.

So say we all?

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons (1/3-1/2 cup fresh juice)
1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups hot water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Stir well, remove from heat, and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool a bit.

After 10-15 minutes, toss to fluff. Add peppers, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, mint, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingedients, whisking to combine well. Pour over salad, toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours 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.