Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Time for my Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe!

As you may remember from a few days ago, I finally got around to “replicating” a couple of funky spiced caramel popcorns that we bought in early 2018, from stale old bags of expired popcorn. Glad I did finally get around to it, though, as both recipes turned out fantastically! I posted the Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn already, and now it’s time for the “Moroccan Twist” flavour.

A while back, I posted a big, detailed account of how I can replicate recipes two ways – straight from taste, and from reverse engineering. In the case of my Honey Garlic Sauce, it was pretty much straight up “reverse engineering” – Going on the presented ingredients and nutritional information to ballpark a pretty accurate base, then customize it for home use by swapping some commercial ingredients out for more readily available items that would do the same things. Finally, I tweak it for taste.

In some cases, replication takes a more multi pronged approach – some info from the label, some food memory, and some just straight from taste. The three information sources come together really well, usually. When the source material is something you’ve only had once, AND it’s 2 years old – expired by over a year – it gets a bit more problematic. You have to rely on information to fill in the bits that are missing from corrupted taste/smell/memory.

… It’s always fun when manufacturers list “Spices” as an ingredient… especially alongside other spices. You have like 90% of the information you need RIGHT there, then have to figure out the last 10%. You know, lots of fun when the smell and taste are … not there. Anyway, where “spices” is listed – in relation to other ingredients – can sometimes be a clue. If it comes after an ingredient, it has less of it than that ingredient. If before, more. How many spices are involved in “spices”, though? What proportion? Combined, the spices have to be less than the ingredient before, and more than the ingredient that comes after. Problem solving! I love it.

In this case, things were a bit weird – either it was labelled incorrectly (likely), or age does some weird things to the potency of ingredients (usually the more likely case, but not this time). You see, fennel was the dominant smell and taste, but was not a listed ingredient – it would have been under “spices”, and in a smaller amount than some other ingredients.

Long story short(er), I had to go off label and wing it to produce something similar to what I was smelling, tasting, and remembering, even though all 3 were corrupted bits of information. The result was fantastic, though I have no idea how accurate it is, at this point.

My Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn is sweet, savoury, and a little spicy. The seasonings – including garlic, cardamom, and fennel! – may seem a bit weird for a caramel corn, but it WORKS.

Enjoy!

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!

Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn

Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn

Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn

Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn!

Right before moving from Minnesota, we were at a gluten-free trade show. There were all kinds of fun things to try, but one that stood out was a popcorn. Two popcorns, actually – both salted caramel, but one was “Sweet Heat”, and the other was “Moroccan Twist”. They were SO good – but apparently unavailable in Canada.

So, I did what anyone with a “replicate from taste” superpower would do – I bought an extra bag of each and put them aside to replicate once we had a new house and were settled in. Well, that was in May of 2018. I finally got it in my head that maybe I should do that… 2 full years later. You know, when both bags were expired by well over a year.

Whoops.

I shook the bags, and was happy to hear that it sounded like the popcorn was all separated and dry. That meant little chance of mold… but no idea how it would taste. I was really relying on the source material being intact, as I’d only had it once, and hadn’t developed any real kind of taste memory for it, 2 years later.

Well, it smelled like … old. Not mildew, not really dusty, just.. old. Staleness. Crap. I smelled it several times over a few minutes, trying to work past that additional smell, to be able to pick out the actual scents present. Eventually I was able to, and also got brave/stupid enough to lick one. It.. wasn’t very good, but there was enough remnant of flavour to be able to trigger a little bit of taste memory.

Brains are weird.

Anyway.

The degradation of both source material and taste memory for it means that I likely didn’t end up with a perfect replica, but I DID end up with an amazing popcorn, so I’m considering it a win anyway. This is sweet and spicy with a complexity that comes from a few seasonings that you don’t normally see in a caramel popcorn.

It disappears fast… fast enough that you shouldn’t have any worries about eating stale, 2 year old caramel popcorn 🙂

Enjoy!

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!

Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn

Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn

Halifax Meat Paste Egg Rolls

Halifax Meat Paste Egg Rolls!

Egg rolls are a funny thing in Canada – they vary wildly based on region. In most places, they’re wrapped the way described here, rather than the burrito-style wrapping that is common elsewhere.

In Ottawa, they’re cylindrical and mostly meat. One end is left open, and the meat spilling out gets very brown – those “burnt end” eggrolls are hugely popular!

In Halifax, it’s all about the meat paste egg rolls. Sure, there’s a small amount of vegetable matter in there… but it’s dwarfed and enveloped by the star of the show – meat!

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!

Halifax Meat Paste Egg Rolls

Halifax Meat Paste Egg Rolls

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.

Easy Smooth Hummus Recipe

Easy, Smooth Hummus Recipe

I know, if you’ve made hummus before, you’re probably thinking that “easy” and “smooth” probably can’t apply to the same recipe. Either it’s easy and not smooth – canned, dumped into a food processor – or it’s NOT easy, but smooth – peeling the chickpeas, maybe even soaking and cooking dried ones along with the peeling!

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for over 7 years now… whoops. Have been meaning to blog it the whole time, just kept getting distracted.

Back in the early days of my gluten free cooking, I ended up buying a fair amount of garbanzo bean flour. I very quickly decided that the only thing I really liked it for was battering / deep frying… which I don’t do a ton of. I had a lot of chickpea flour, and not much to do with it!

One night, I was making hummus as I normally do – from canned beans. I’ve never really been happy with the texture with that method, but hey – it’s quick, easy, and provides instant gratification.

I was thinking about how nice it would be to make a smooth hummus, and thought of that flour. I wondered if it would be possible to reconstitute the flour – finely ground beans – with hot water, to create a smooth hummus.

It worked beautifully, and it’s been pretty much the only way I’ve made hummus, since. Sorry for holding out on you all this time!

Enjoy!

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!

Easy, Smooth Hummus Recipe

Easy, Smooth Hummus Recipe

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 Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

These Gluten-Free Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies came about in sort of a roundabout manner.

My husband mentioned seeing a post about strawberry Oatmeal cookies. That sounded awesome to me, so I started working on a recipe to make something like that.

At the same time, we had some bananas that were extremely ripe, and begging to be baked into something. Banana bread sounded really good, but I’d already had my mind set on cookies.

… So I split the difference, and now we have a tasty batch of banana oatmeal cookies!

As with all of my gluten-free cookies, these have a fantastic texture – soft and chewy, with a bit of bite from the oats. They’re great for the whole family / friends – no one would ever guess they’re gluten-free. I’m not a big fan of the “gluten-free cookies are punishment” thing, which is why I use a blend of flours specific to each recipe. The textures and flavours work together to make a fantastic cookie.

Enjoy!

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!

Gluten-Free Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

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. “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, and 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.

Honey Jeow Glazed Cashews

Let me present my latest creation: Honey Jeow Glazed Cashews!

You’ve probably tried honey glazed cashews at some point, but have you tried spicy honey glazed cashews? I’ve been making Sriracha Glazed Cashews forever. The honey and hot sauce work so well together as a glaze, and I love the sweet / spicy / crunchy combination. It comes together quickly, and disappears even more quickly.

The other day, though, I was wandering around Instagram and saw a post where someone was dipping something – stuffed tofu skin, I think? – in a dipping sauce that looked Ah. Maze. Ing. They called it “Jeow”, a Laotian dip.

A quick Google led me to find Jeow Hot Sauce, a company based right here in Hamilton! Because I have absolutely no impulse control at all, I HAD to have some. The company wasn’t set up for online ordering, but could take an order over social media and deliver it right to my door. Somehow, I went from “I need this” to “I have this” in 2 hours!

Let me tell you, that first taste of it probably ruined me for sriracha forever. This sauce is far more complex – and potent! It has fish sauce, a few kinds of hot peppers, lime, mushroom powder, and more. It’s SUPER spicy, but also complex and almost roasty/smoky flavoured. My husband and I were immediately looking forward to using it for SOMETHING.

The person from Jeow who sold me the sauce told me:

“Originally designed to be used as a dipping sauce. The sauce is very versatile. It goes well with all different types of protein. Anything that comes out of the oven or from the grill or from stove top. Chicken wings. Steaks. Fish. You name it. Try it on all things. We hope you enjoy it!”

… but I immediately started thinking of my sriracha glazed cashews, and how amazing this Jeow sauce would be swapped in. I immediately ordered some cashews, whipped up a batch, and here we are.

Oh, I was SO right. This makes incredible glazed cashews!

As a heads up, while you can use either sauce in this recipe, they don’t really swap 1 to 1. Jeow is a lot more potent, so adjustments should be made:

For Honey Jeow Glazed Cashews, use 1 Tbsp of sauce for a mild taste, kind of in the realm of sweet thai chili sauce. It has a bit of heat that builds, but won’t scare anyone. 2 Tbsp makes quite a hot glaze, while 3 … would be a bit much.

For Honey Sriracha Glazed Cashews, I generally use 3 Tbsp of sauce in the glaze. It’s not “burn your face off” hot – definitely not enough to prevent someone from snarfing the whole batch in a sitting – but has some kick. Use a bit more if you want serious fire, a bit less if you want it mild. 1 Tbsp wouldn’t really be enough to bother with, IMHO.

Either way, these are super addictive: Sweet with a nice crunch, and almost too easy to make.

To get your own jar of Jeow, you’ll have to message the company on any of their social media accounts: Instagram, or Facebook, and they’ll give you details on shipping.

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!

Honey Jeow Glazed Cashews

Honey Jeow Glazed Cashews

Smoked Cheese Balls

Today is National Cheeseball Day, so I figure it’s about time to share our recipe for smoked cheese balls! Cheeseballs are great… but SMOKED cheese balls are a whole other level of fantastic, after all.

My recipe is very basic, for a couple reasons:

1. I’m not a fan of chunky textures in a cheese ball, so I don’t include dried fruits, meats, etc.

2. For this specific type of cheese ball… even if I did like chunky textures, I don’t think the fruits, etc would work as well with the smoking. I think it would just be too much going on. Also, the “wet” texture of the cheese filling soaks up the smoke nicely!

So, it’s a nice, simple, but flavourful base that works well with smoke, without competing with it.

In terms of the cheeses used, you’ll want cheeses that grate well, not wet or crumbly ones. Also, I wouldn’t bother using smoked cheeses, as this provides plenty of smoked flavour on its own. Personally, I like using cheeses that you don’t normally see smoked – Mozzarella, Asiago, Parm, Edam, Swiss … either alone or in combination. Cheese balls – much like Fromage Fort – are a great way to use up odds and ends of cheese in your fridge!

Please note: This recipe requires a smoker that’s set up to do cold smoking. The cold smoking aspect is important, as your cheese balls will just melt if you don’t have a cold smoker attachment. I suppose this could work in a traditional smoker if you leave out the final smoking, though.

As with many of my recipes, part of this one is pretty open ended: “Stuff to roll them in”.

Nuts are common: Usually chopped pecans or thinly sliced almonds (as pictured). Fresh herbs are another option – one of these were rolled in fresh basil. For a nut free option, you can do crushed potato or corn chips, pretzels, or corn flakes. Sesame, sunflower, and/or pumpkin seeds! Finely chopped bacon – cooked crisp and drained well – is another great option, whether on its own, or in combination with nuts or herbs. Whatever you end up choosing to use, just be sure to have it very finely chopped.

In addition to the base toppings, you can add extra flavouring or texture if you’d like – a bit of citrus zest, some coarse ground black pepper, poppy seeds, and/or a small amount of dried pepper flakes.

Basically, just have fun with it!

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!

Smoked Cheese Balls

Smoked Cheese Balls

Riceless Stuffed Grape Leaves – Dolmades – AIP & Paleo

Riceless stuffed grape leaves! I LOVE stuffed grape leaves, and not even just as a vector for my toum addiction.

When I was low carbing – and eventually going onto the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) – they were off the table, unless tweaked. Rice is carby, and it’s also not compliant for AIP.

Enter: Celery Root.

I got into celery root a couple years ago, as a nice substitute for rice. Peel it, run it through a food processor, and you’re good to go. I’d use it for Fried “rice”, as a base for Buffalo Chicken meatballs, in cabbage rolls, etc. When I started making toum at home, I had to see if it would work for dolmades. I’m happy to report that YES, it does.

These have all the flavour – as well as the appropriate texture – as the traditional, rice-filled dish. This is actually one of the top two AIP dishes we make here, along with my AIP Fish Tacos. My husband may not be following the AIP diet himself, but he would happily live on these two dishes alone!

Now, I’d originally written the recipe out and scheduled this before COVID was a big thing, so I’d like to add some info here, for those looking to make it in the next few months.

1. Up until recently, we’ve made these with fresh dill and mint. Given the current grocery situation, we recently made a batch using dried mint and dill.  I’m happy to say that it worked beautifully! Just sub 2 Tbsp each of dried dill and dried mint – to start – cook it up, taste, and add a bit more if you like.

2. Once the filling is cooked up, it can be cooled, put in freezer bags, and frozen. We made up a big batch at the beginning of this, divided it up, and froze them. To use, we allow them to thaw, and just continue rolling it up from there. I haven’t tried freezing fully assembled dolmades, so no idea how that would work.

However you end up doing up these riceless stuffed grape leaves – fresh, dried, frozen, whatever – just be sure to try them. WITH lots of toum, of course!

Enjoy!

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!

AIP Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolmades - AIP and Paleo

AIP Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolmades - AIP and Paleo

Tart Cherry & Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies – “Gouties”!

Tart Cherry & Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Recently, I got into making gummy candies.

Having moved home to Canada, I have access to SO many amazing gummy candies. I have no idea why they’re better here than back in the USA, but they just are – a fact that wasn’t lost on friends back in MN… I used to buy 40+ lbs of gummies every time I’d visit home – I love Bulk Barn! – mix them up and divvy them between friends who’d placed “orders” for however many lbs they wanted. I got a lot of weird looks from border guards, LOL.

… but, as I’m coming to realize… traditional gummies are an awful gout trigger for me. Boo. It was fun while it lasted!

So, now I make my own, with fruit or fruit juices (and some other, more wild ingredients… stay tuned!), honey, and gelatin. It’s super easy to do, taking less than 10 minutes of work, and super satisfying. I’m particularly fond of the gummy worms, it’s just such a fun texture and wriggle.

In the case of these – which I’ve nicknamed “Goutie Bears” – or just “gouties” – I basically just gelatinized 2 ingredients that gout sufferers are supposed to consume frequently – tart cherry juice, and apple cider vinegar. Not the worst thing in the world, but gets boring to drink every day – gummies are much more fun!

Aside from gout, apple cider vinegar and tart cherry juice – separate or together – are supposed to have all sorts of other health benefits. They’re regularly touted as anti inflammatory agents, tart cherry juice is supposed to help you with sleep, etc. I honestly don’t know much about any of that, I’m just dutifully trying to stave off any further gout attacks (two years since the last one, woot!), and it does seem to help.

Not a gout sufferer? No worries, I’ll be posting more gummy recipes in the new future. It’s such a fun and easy thing to do, requiring minimal equipment – something very important, these days! Gummy candy making has definitely been a fun – and tasty – way to spend some self isolation time, and I’d imagine it would be a great project for kids to do. It’s certainly easy enough for kids to do, even with minimal supervison.

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!

In terms of the molds, I like using silicone molds that are specifically meant for gummies – it just feels more “legit”, IMHO. I’m not stuck on them being bears or worms, though. As pictured, THIS is the set I used for the photo. I also used THIS set, though those ones aren’t pictured here. The molds for that second set are a lot larger, so they fill up a lot quicker. They’re super cute cartoonish dinosaurs… which is important, when you’re talking about gout remedies, right? 🙂

I wish My Fruit Shack DIY Fruit Snacks Set – 4 BPA-Free LFGB/FDA Grade Silicone Molds (Makes 184 Gummies Total), 2 Droppers and 1 Basic Recipe Page“>THIS set was available in Canada, because it’s super cute. Maybe when the borders open up, I’ll order it and send it to a friend in Buffalo… I just have no idea when I’ll next see them.

There are a ton of different kinds of gummy molds available – fruit, stars, hearts, dinosaurs, etc. Just have fun with it!

Enjoy the Tart Cherry & Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Tart Cherry and Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Tart Cherry and Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Mango Salsa For Fish Tacos – AIP, Paleo

Mango Salsa for Fish Tacos

Well, it’s certainly been a wild few weeks, hasn’t it? I hope you guys are all doing well. We’ve been settling into the new normal here: Not knowing what day of the week it is, actually having time for chores, my husband actually being around all the time, instead of commuting 1 hour each way for a full course load at school, etc.

The cats are LOVING it, btw. Very spoiled, those kitties.

As introverts, we’re enjoying the peace and slow pace, though we see how hard some of our friends are taking it. I’m surprised at how many extroverts I know! Be sure to check in on your extroverts and give them some (LONG DISTANCE) fussings if needed!

Anyway! Food!

Since starting on the AIP diet back in January, fish tacos quickly became a favourite around here. It works up quickly and easily, has great colour and flavour, and tastes amazing – it may be a very restrictive diet, but you wouldn’t know it with this meal! The salsa in particular really makes the dish sing – it’s got a great combo of sweetness and tartness, textures, and a great combination of flavours that work well together.

It also tastes – and looks – so bright and sunny, I figured it would be a good one to share today, as we could all use a little brightness and colour right now. (Especially while we still have access to the ingredients!)

Stay healthy, and enjoy this Mango Salsa for Fish Tacos!

Mango Salsa for Fish Taco

Mango Salsa for Fish Tacos