Chicken Shawarma – AIP, Paleo, Dairy Free, and Gluten Free!

As I’ve mentioned before … one of the best things about Hamilton is also one of the most difficult things, when it comes to being on a restrictive diet. There is amazing food EVERYWHERE – every ethnicity you can think of is represented, and then some.

As part of that, there’s a shawarma place pretty much every three blocks – and I honestly don’t know how much of an exaggeration that is. There are shawarma-specific places, shawarma on combined focus menus, many pizza places even offer shawarma pizza.

Anyway, I digress. With shawarma everywhere, I knew I’d have to come up with a reasonable facsimile to serve at home. I’d proud to say that I managed to do just that – this is amazingly accurate for something that has no dairy or nightshades – and really hits the spot!

We’ve been making this almost every week since developing the recipe. The chicken leftovers reheat well, and also make a great salad:

AIp Chicken Shawarma Salad

Some of the prep work can be done beforehand. Toum can be done several days ahead, same with the pickles. You can marinate the chicken overnight … really, the seasoned tortillas and actually cooking the chicken are the only tasks that really should be done right before serving.

As far as the chicken goes, the recipe reflects the quickest and easiest way to cook it – sauteeing on the stove top. Alternatively, you could bake it or charcoal grill it (which has THE most authentic flavour, imho) – in either of these cases, marinate whole chicken breasts, cook them, then slice them up for service.

Enjoy!







Spinach Feta Salmon Burgers Recipe

Today’s recipe is one of those things I threw together once, made some notes on – after the fact – and kept on making. Rather than actual directions, it was basically vague measurements like “two big handfuls of spinach” and “some fresh dill”. Everything was eyeballed.

At some point, I posted my “non-recipe recipe” on my Facebook page, but the time has come to actually do it up as a proper recipe and share with you.

Now, as you can tell by the genesis of this recipe, there’s a lot of room for variation. Add more dill and/or green onions if you like – or skip it, whatever. You can add a little or a lot of spinach – I’ve made it everywhere from about 1 cup, to – as pictured – 2 cups of spinach. I prefer it a bit closer to the 1 cup mark, my husband prefers it at 2 cups. Chacun son goût.

If you can’t find shredded Feta, you can use crumbled – just drain it really well, measure about ½ cup (it’s far more salty than shredded, for some reason!), and crumble it finely.

Usually, I like to add a lot of stuff to a burger, as you could probably tell by some of my past recipes, like my Vegetarian Chorizo Burger with Grilled Poblano and Cilantro Pesto, Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burger with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets, Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger with Mango, Paneer “Indian Cheeseburgers”, and my
Apple Chicken Burgers with Basil and Gouda.

… For this one, though, I tend to eat it pretty plain – just a little mayo or lemon aioli, maybe a bit of lettuce.

It’s packed with delicate flavours, and too much in the way of topping – even just onion slices – will overpower it.

Enjoy!








Spinach Pies Recipe

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!







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.




Excuse the crappy cell phone photo! I’m still shocked how proper it looks!




With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

For MOST recipes that aren’t inherently gluten-free, high quality GF versions will be included.

Reuben Buns – Recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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






Vegetarian Chorizo Burger with Grilled Poblano & Cilantro Pesto

My husband’s recent inability to handle eating pork or beef has certainly been a learning experience for both of us – new ingredients to work with, figuring out how to use them, how they differ from meat based counterparts, etc.

Recently, I was in the mood for a chorizo burger. I had some fun ideas, and didn’t want him to feel left out. So… we came up with a vegetarian chorizo burger for him.

I wasn’t able to actually try these – on account of my own dietary issues – but he was THRILLED with them. He loved the taste and texture, and even preferred it to the real thing. He especially loved all of the contrasts and complimentary flavours / textures in the overall burger.

If you don’t have smoked serrano powder, you can skip it if you would like- it’s good for a little extra kick, but isn’t absolutely necessary!

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chorizo Burgers with Grilled Poblano and Cilantro Pesto






Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets

The other day, I posted a recipe that was the indirect result of my husband’s recent business trip to Ireland: Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mango. Insane!

Today I’m posting the first “inspired by that trip” recipe I actually made – the day after he got back. Yes, tired, jetlagged, and just happy to be home, I dragged his ass to the grocery store to get ingredients for it. To be fair, he shouldn’t have shown me his photo and told me about what was in it. He knows what I’m like 🙂

This was developed based on the burger he actually ordered at G Counter, whereas the Tandoori one was based entirely upon a menu description. What he was attracted to about this burger in Ireland was that it’s SO different from anything he’s ever seen locally. Also: he’s addicted to beets.

We made this up as 2 giant burgers, and were full all day. It would definitely work as smaller burgers – 3 or 4 of them. Actually, I bet these would be super cute and elegant if done up as a tray of sliders!

This has many layers of flavour, all of which complement each other without being overwhelming. It’s a very satisfying burger! Additionally, this can be made gluten-free with the appropriate choice of bun (or exclusion of the bun, which is how I had it!)

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets






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.

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger with Mango

My husband recently got back from a work trip to Ireland. As I have him trained well (if he’s dining without me, he takes photos of EVERYTHING that he wants me to replicate… including the menu info. Good man!), that meant some fun with creating in the kitchen after he got back.

As I was getting set to make my own version of a lamb burger he had at The G Counter Deli, I happened across a menu item that sounded amazing: “Tandoori spiced chicken burger with mango & lime mayo”. What a great idea! I would have to make my own.

So, I started with a Tandoori marinated chicken breast, as I prefer that to actual ground chicken burgers. I used mango slices, rather than in the mayo… and did a mint, cilantro, and lime mayo – I just can’t bring myself to serve an Indian inspired dish without some sort of nod to cilantro-mint chutney. I may be an addict. Anyway… I also added some red onion for colour and crunch, and cucumber for texture, and as a nod to raita – the creamy dip served with many Indian dishes.

… what an utterly mind blowing sandwich! So many colours, flavours, and textures that both stand out from, and complement each other. The coolness of the cucumber, sweetness of the mango, and the bright green flavour from the mayo spread really work well against the spicyness of the chicken. It all comes together for this amazing, complex, and really well balanced sandwich.

Pretty sure I could live on these… SO good! (Even without a bun, for me!)

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger with Cilantro-Mint Mayo and Mango Slices






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 Sauerkraut Buns Recipe (Pyrizhky)

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns (Pyrizhky)
Makes about 35 buns

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

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

Melted butter

Prepare the dough:

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

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

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

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

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

Assemble the sauerkraut balls:

Note: I like to wear latex gloves for assembly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to make Peameal Bacon and Back Bacon

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the annoying things about living away from my homeland is the lack of availability of many of the grocery basics, treats, and general comfort foods of home. For the most part, they’re easy enough to make, once I put my mind to developing a recipe (Tiger Tail Ice Cream, or Honey Garlic Cooking Sauce, for instance!)

Recently, I was disappointed with a purchase of “Canadian bacon” (we don’t call it that – it’s back bacon!). I lamented the lack of availability of not only GOOD back bacon, but also peameal bacon. My husband had never even heard of peameal bacon, and had only ever had “Canadian Bacon” as they sell it here in the USA… anemic, flavourless, very blah ham product. This was a situation that needed to be rectified!

So, I did some research on recipes and techniques, and created a recipe of my own, using the flavours I wanted. I ordered a few necessary items – including Prague Powder, which I’d never even heard of – and then called my husband to let him know that I was taking up a new hobby – curing meat. You know you’ve married well when such a declaration isn’t met with some variation of “WTF? Because we don’t have enough hobbies?”, but with “Awesome! I’ve been meaning to take up smoking meats! We can do both!”!

Anyway, both back bacon and peameal bacon start out the same – soaking in a flavourful brine for a few days – and then veer off in different directions from there:

Peameal Bacon is then rolled in cornmeal (Back in the day it was crushed up dried peas), wrapped, and chilled. It’s then cut into thick slices and fried up as needed, usually served in sandwiches. So far as I can tell, peameal sandwiches are mostly a Toronto thing… I have no idea why. They’re fantastic!

Back Bacon skips the cornmeal, and gets smoked until fully cooked. You can serve it as-is, though it’s usually reheated in some form: fried as part of breakfast or in a sandwich, or thinly sliced and used to make pizza. I promise you, making a pizza with this will wreck you for all other pizzas. I made a spicy Hawaiian one the other day – back bacon, pineapple, thinly sliced jalapenos, and a drizzle of sriracha.. spectacular!

Says Porter: “It has a better texture than the stuff I’ve had – firm but not stringy or chewy. Much better flavor, more character. I definitely see a big difference, and I’m not going back”

While back bacon requires smoking – usually requiring special equipment / technique – peameal bacon is ridiculously easy to make, and requires no special skill or equipment. I was really kicking myself for not having done it sooner!

Note: This site is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for the site to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. While I’ll only ever link to items that I, personally, wholeheartedly recommend, I do need to put that disclosure out there!






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.