Porter’s Yogurt & Ice Cream Topping

True story: When I was a little kid – long before developing gluten problems – I used to love getting into my mom’s jar of wheat germ in the fridge. I’d sprinkle it on cereal, put it on yogurt, even top ice cream with it. I loved the texture, and the almost nutty flavour it added to things.

As an adult, I may not be able to have it anymore, but my husband can… and he’s someone obsessed with getting enough fiber. We’re old like that! 🙂

So, I created this yogurt topping for him. Not only does it have wheat germ, but also flax meal – one of his favourite things (OLD. I feel OLD typing that!). He’s also been getting into using chia seeds recently, so those are in there also. He keeps a canister of this at his desk at work, and some at home – right on hand, to spoon onto yogurt whenever he wants.

This is super easy to make, it whips up in just a few minutes. For a gluten free version, substitute gluten free oat bran for the wheat germ.

Healthy Flax & Wheat Germ Topping for Yogurt
Makes… however much you want!

1 part chia seeds
2 parts flax meal
2 parts wheat germ

Combine ingredients in a nonstick pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted.

Remove from heat, transfer to glass dish, allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Enjoy!

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.

Gluten-Free Lembas Recipe

With just a few short days til TheOneRing.Net‘s “One Last Party”, I decided that it was finally time to develop my own Lembas recipe. I think it would be fun to bring it along on our journey (along with our Miruvor!): Cheaper than airport food, healthier – especially in light of the travel, looong hours, etc we are about to subject ourselves to – and, you know.. themeatic. Also, it involved creative problem solving, so a good way to keep me distracted while waiting!

The facts are these…

Lembas is a type of Elvish bread / cake / biscuit from Tolkien’s writings. First made by Yavanna from a special Elvish corn, it was nutritious, and known to be ridiculously sustaining – that “One small bite will fill the stomach of a grown man”, etc. It’s generally theorized that Lembas was based on hard tack – a very dry and bland bread product used for military rations and some traditional Newfoundland cooking.

“”Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” – Fellowship of the Rings

“The food was mostly in the form of very thin cakes, made of meal that was baked a light brown on the outside, and inside was the colour of cream.” – Fellowship of the Ring

In the movies, Lembas was shown to be a crumbly white biscuit type food. Apparently they used an unsweetened shortbread that tasted awful. They were presented wrapped in leaves, and tied up with twine.

Tolkien has said that they contain honey, and the “fruit of the Mallorn tree”, which was described as ” Its fruit was a nut with a silver shale” in Unfinished Tales.

Oh, and as one other challenge to this little exercise? Half of our little fellowship is allergic to gluten.

So.. lots of random information to work with, in addition to my own assumptions… and nutritional goals for the finished product.

To me, I picture this as a sweet thing, but not a DESSERT thing. They straight up mention its sweetness, afterall. I picture some of the sweetness coming from the (canon!) honey, but also from dried fruit, which would contribute to the nutrition of it. I think dried apples would work best given the colour description of the interior, but I think apricots are more in line with the complexity of flavour I’m picturing. I decided that there should be a small amount of spice for complexity, and a pinch of herbs to bring it back from being too desserty. In terms of “fruit of the mallorn tree”, I am choosing to interpret that as almonds.

Now, in terms of the nutritious / sustenance properties of Lembas… I wouldn’t have used white flour even if we weren’t working around gluten issues. There’s just no real nutrition there. I decided to use a small amount of masa flour, due to the original Lembas being corn based. Because I have no elven magical corn, it’ll have to do 🙂 Also, I’m supplementing it with protein powder and ground flax to contribute to nutrition. Non-magical, non-valar corn is only slightly more nutritious than wheat flour, after all.

Gluten-Free Lembas
Makes about 8 3″ Lembas biscuits

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup masa flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour (can use millet instead)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder*
1/2 cup Sliced almonds
1/2 cup Thinly sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup Ground flax seed (flax meal)
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp Cardamom
1/4 Rosemary, finely crumbled/chopped

corn starch, for rolling

Mix butter and honey together just until combined – do not cream it or over beat it. Add milk, gently mix until combined amd smooth

In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add dry mix to butter and honey, mix until combined. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/2″ thick. Cut into 3″ squares, and carefully transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between each. Cut a shallow “X” into each cake, if desired.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow cakes (biscuits?) to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving, cool completely before serving.

If you want to get fancy with it, wrap them in leaves, and tie with twine. (I used collard greens). Oh, and be sure to “like” our Facebook page to see all of the crazy photos we’ll take when out in LA! Marie Porter, Cosplay Costumer!

* Choose your protein powder wisely! If it’s something you don’t like to drink, it’ll make the bread taste weird.

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.

Basil, Roasted Red Pepper, and Asiago Bread Braid

Late last week, the forecast for the weekend was looking great, so we decided to drop everything and catch up on some photo shoots. I had a few costume commissions I hadn’t had pro shots of yet, so we picked two locations and contacted everyone who had costumes suitable to them: one superheroes set, and one wintery location. It was a bunch of work to organize people, logistics, model releases, etc.. but the results were fantastic – I have some preview pics up on my Facebook page, here.

ANYWAY.

I have a “family discount” with my fabulously talented husband when it comes to his photography. This time, he asked to be paid in homemade bread. Bread that I can’t have, due to my gluten issues… so he’s been deprived of it for a while.

I decided to create a very special bread recipe just for him, utilizing a few of his favourite flavours… all done up in a visually stunning way. I made three different batches of dough, rolled, braided, and coiled them.. and it was a HUGE hit. The technique used for rolling the dough before braiding it results in almost a “pull apart bread”, and the garlic butter adds a great, complimentary flavour to all three doughs.

It’s a bit of effort and makes a ton of bread – 4 decent sized loaves! – but trust me when I say that it’s not hard to find some friends who are excited to take a loaf off your hands! This is totally worth the effort. This makes a soft, flavourful, and gorgeous bread… and with the red, white, and green colouring, it would be a pretty addition to any holiday table!

Excuse the crappy in-progress photography. I had to take cell phone pics, as my photographer was busy building my kitchen 🙂

Basil, Roasted Red Pepper, and Asiago Bread Braid
Makes 4 loaves

Asiago Dough

1 1/3 cup Warm water
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Yeast
4 cups Flour
1 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp Olive oil

Add honey to warm water, stir till well blended. Add yeast and stir again. Allow to sit (somewhere warm!) for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, and foamy yeast mixture. Mix on low speed till well blended, then turn speed up a bit and let it “lazy knead” for 5 minutes or so. Dough should ball easily – if it’s too wet, add a bit of flour. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl, add dough, flip over to coat. cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.

Basil Dough

1 1/4 cup Warm water
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Yeast
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
4 cups Flour

Add honey and salt to warm water, stir till well blended. Add yeast and stir again. Allow to sit (somewhere warm!) for 10 minutes.

While yeast is hydrating, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and the basil leaves in a food processor or blended, blitz until smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, basil olive oil, and foamy yeast mixture. Mix on low speed till well blended, then turn speed up a bit and let it “lazy knead” for 5 minutes or so. Dough should ball easily – if it’s too wet, add a bit of flour. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl, add dough, flip over to coat. cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.

Roasted Red Pepper Dough

1 cup Warm water
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Yeast
4 cups Flour
3 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
1/2 cup pureed roasted red peppers

Add honey and salt to warm water, stir till well blended. Add yeast and stir again. Allow to sit (somewhere warm!) for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, 2 Tbsp olive oil, red pepper puree, and foamy yeast mixture. Mix on low speed till well blended, then turn speed up a bit and let it “lazy knead” for 5 minutes or so. Dough should ball easily – if it’s too wet, add a bit of flour. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl, add dough, flip over to coat. cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.

————

Assembly

1 cup butter
1 Tbsp pressed or minced garlic

Put butter and garlic in a microwave safe cup or bowl. Heat until just melted.

Gently knead each of the doughs to deflate slightly, divide each into two equal sized balls. Work with one set of 3 different doughs, while leaving the other set covered with plastic wrap.

Roll one dough ball out to about 12″ x 15″ rectangle – I like to do this on a large piece of parchment paper. Brush with melted garlic butter, leaving a 1″ border unbuttered.

Roll one long side towards the other long side, taking care to keep it tightly rolled, and not just slidding in the butter as you go. Repeat with other two doughs in the set.

Use a sharp knife to cut each long in half, lengthwise. Be careful in handling – each 1/2 log consists of concentric semi-circles of dough now, and can be prone to sliding around. Also, be careful not to stretch them out of shape.

Working with one strip of each colour, secure the three strips together at one end and carefully braid them, taking care to have the cut sides facing up the whole way. Pinch strips together at the end.

Gently coil braid into a round loaf – I like to tuck the start of the coil under itself, to elevate the middle of the loaf a bit. Tuck the end of the coil under the load to secure.

Repeat braiding with rest of cut rolls, starting on a new piece of parchment.

Repeat rolling, buttering, cutting, braiding, and coiling on second set of dough, having each loaf on its own piece of parchment paper.

VERY LOOSELY cover each with plastic wrap. Start timing 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375 F.

Transfer each sheet of parchment / loaf to its own baking sheet. Don’t remove loaves from parchment!

Melt remaining garlic butter, gently brush over each loaf.

One or two loaves at a time, bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

A couple weeks ago, we bought a smoker. After having made proper back bacon, we just HAD TO.

That first day of smoking things, we went a little nuts: A couple kinds of sausage. Poblanos. Peanuts! A chicken (that one didn’t go so well, though). The big standout from the day? Smoked Jalapeno Poppers.

These happened as a bit of an evolution. My husband bought a little metal holder thing for smoking jalapenos upright, with the thought that we could use them in my cooking, or even just making salsa. Fair enough… but what if we stuffed them full of cheese before smoking? … better yet, what if we forget the stand, slice the peppers in half, wrap them in bacon, and smoke THAT? It has always been our preferred style of poppers *in the oven*, but smoking them could be really great, right?

So, we did. They were AMAZING – super addictive. I thought I was really a genius for coming up with them… until a friend on Facebook informed me that they were already a “thing” in the smoking community. Well, crap.

So, while I can’t take credit for actually inventing an original thing here, I HAVE to share our recipe. These take a little bit of prep work, but are SO worth it. Brave the snow and put some of these on to bring to your holiday potlucks, or just keep them in your fridge for quick snacks. Just be sure to make at least twice what you think you’ll need, because they go fast. (Understatement of the year!)

This recipe can be tweaked to suit personal taste: If you scrape out all of the seeds and ribs from the peppers, they have flavour without heat. If you leave some of the seeds/ribs in, you can get anywhere between a little heat, to scorching. They can be served cold, room temp, or hot – we prefer them reheated.

The amounts listed for cheeses and bacon are approximate: The amount of filling and bacon you need will depend on the size of your peppers, how full you pipe them, and the cut of your bacon. We recommend thin or regular cut bacon, as we didn’t like the texture thick cut left after being smoked.

Quick bit of advice: I highly recommend using nitrile/ latex/whatever gloves for preparing the poppers. You will come in contact with an insane amount of capsaicin, and it can burn!

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

5 lbs jalapeno peppers
~ 3.5 lbs cream cheese
1/2 – 1 lb shredded cheese of choice (we used a peppered blend)
~ 3.5 lbs bacon

Wood chips*
Gloves
About 5 disposable pastry bags

At least an hour before smoking – but ideally overnight – soak your wood chips in water.

Wearing gloves, cut the tops off the peppers, and cut each in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out as much or as little of the seeds and ribs as you’d like, set aside.

In a large bowl, microwave the cream cheese for 30-60 seconds at a time until it’s soft enough to stir well. Beat until creamy and with no lumps. Add shredded cheese, stir until well distributed.

Spoon all of the mixture into piping/frosting /pastry bags, trying to avoid creating air pockets as you go, and leaving enough room to twist the bag shut. (You can spoon the filling in, if you like… but piping it in is so much quicker, easier, and cleaner!)

Cut 3/4-1″ off the pointed end of the bag, carefully pipe filling into each of the pepper halves, as shown.

This is a good time to preheat your smoker (or charcoal grill) to about 200F

Next, wrap the poppers in bacon. Depending on the size of your poppers and the cut of your bacon, you’ll want between 1/2 – 1 strip of bacon per popper.

Leaving a little room between each, transfer the prepared poppers to your smoker racks.

Smoke for 1-2 hours, checking on them right around the 1 hour mark. For our smoker, we use 2 big handfuls of wood chips at a time, adding more chips after about 30-40 minutes.

You can also cook these on a normal charcoal grill: we’ll toss about 1 big handful of wood chips right on the coals, adding more about every 20 minutes.

With our smoker, one hour produces poppers that look like this (how *I* like them):

… and 1.5 – 2 hours produces poppers like THIS, how my husband prefers them:

… try to let them cool for at least a few minutes after they come out of the smoker, as they’ll be molten inside and burn your mouth. I have a hard time waiting, so I won’t judge if you park yourself next to the newly-removed poppers like a wild eyed vulture 🙂

* We like to use the “Jack Daniels” wood chips for this, which we purchase on Amazon.

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 Poptarts Recipe (Toaster Pastries)!

Poptarts are one of those things that satisfy some weird need for childhood comfort food every once in a while… even though they aren’t actually really that good. It’s funny how many people brought them up as one of the foods they miss most, when going gluten-free! This recipe actually prompted one of my favourite reviews for Beyond Flour:

When you find out you have celiacs you know you’re going to miss bread, but you soon find out you miss other things so much more. For me it was cinnamon PopTarts. Not that I had them all the time, but every time I had one it was a rush of happy childhood nostalgia. Flipping through the book I saw a recipe for toaster pastries and that was the first thing I made. I did it just for fun. But when I bit into it, after not having one for over a decade, I started crying. I can’t even express what a gift Marie has given me. All these things I had written off – like ravioli and biscuits and pita bread – I have it all back now. And the taste and texture and AFTER TASTE are perfect. Not pretty good or not too bad … dead on.

… this review made ME cry! Thank you, Cara!

I find these are actually BETTER than the original source material.. and far better for you. Firm but slightly chewy dough base, your choice of filling, and freshly made frosting. Garnish the top any way you want – even sprinkles – and just have fun with it.

One word of warning, though: Without the source material chemicals and stabilizers, the frosting on these ones is actually fairly heat sensitive, and will melt when toasted. So, use in a toaster oven rather than a traditional “pop up” style toaster… or turn your normal toast on it’s side, and toast them frosting-side up…Keeping an eye out for drippage!

Of course, if you love what you see here… you should consider ordering a copy of “Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking“e!

Thanks, and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Poptarts
Makes about 10

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour*
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, separated

1 batch filling (See below for recipes)
1 batch frosting (See below for recipes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients, except for one of the two eggs. Add wet ingredients to the dry, mix until a thick dough forms. Wrap in plastic, chill for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out to about slightly thinner than 1/4″ thick, cut into 3×5″ rectangles. Gather any scraps, needs to pull together, re roll and continue cutting into rectangles until all the dough is used up.

Carefully arrange half of the rectangles on the cookie sheet, spaced evenly. Evenly spread about 2 Tbsp of filling onto each of the rectangles on the cookie sheet, stopping about 1/2″ from the edges. Top each with one of the reserved rectangles, press the edges to seal. Use a fork to press edges down.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp cold water, brush over each pastry. Use a fork to prick a few small holes in the top of each pastry to allow steam to escape – this will help prevent filling from exploding out of the sides as they bake

Bake pastries for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool completely before removing from the cookie sheet.

Spread frosting of choice onto pastries, garnish with sprinkles if using. Allow frosting to dry fully, before transferring to containers or baggies. Serve hot or room temperature, use or freeze within a few days of baking.

* If even certified gluten-free oat flour is not an option for you, use 1/4 cup of additional sorghum flour instead.

Dough Flavour Variations:

Chocolate Dough: Reduce brown rice flour to 2/3 cup, add 1/4 cup cocoa powder.

Red Velvet Dough: Add 1 Tbsp cocoa powder to dry ingredients, use buttermilk instead of milk, tint dough with red food colouring.

“Gingerbread” Dough: Add 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of cloves to dry mix, and 1 Tbsp molasses to wet mix.

Fruit Filling

1 cup seedless jam of choice
1 Tbsp corn starch

Whisk jam and corn starch together until well combined.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1+ tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1+ tsp milk or water

Whisk together brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Mix in vanilla and milk/water, adding additional small amounts of liquid if necessary – you want a thick, spreadable paste. Taste, add more cinnamon if you like, to taste.

“Pumpkin Pie” Filling

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined and smooth

Cream Cheese Filling

6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined and smooth

Basic Frosting:

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring, if desired.

Whisk powdered sugar, water, and vanilla extract together – frosting will be THICK. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt, stir until smooth. Tint with food colouring, if desired.

Chocolate Frosting:

1 1/4- 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk powdered sugar, cocoa, water, and vanilla extract together – frosting will be THICK. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt, stir until smooth.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Whisk together brown sugar, hot water, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time – frosting will be THICK. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt, stir until smooth.

Strawberry Frosting

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp Strawberry Powder*
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring, if desired.

Whisk powdered sugar, berry powder water, and vanilla extract together – frosting will be THICK. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt, stir until smooth. Tint with food colouring, if desired.

* I buy my strawberry powder at Nuts Online, here’s a link to the product page. It’s a fine powder made from freeze dried strawberries – and it packs HUGE flavor. They also have Blueberry, and Pomegranate powders, which also work for this recipe.

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Roasted Salsa Verde for Canning

The fact that October is the busiest time of year for me in no way prevents me from taking on last minute, totally unnecessary personal projects… because sometimes I’m just dumb like that.

Recently – in the middle of stressing out about our to-do list – a neighbour was selling fresh tomatillos, straight from his garden. As is usually the case, we ended up “If-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie”-ing all the way from “well, we could buy a lb or so and put on a small batch of salsa” to “let’s buy 10 lbs and just make a batch for canning”, adding a trip to the farmer’s market, etc.

We had missed peak corn season, so my roasted corn and tomatillo salsa wasn’t looking like the best option.. so I developed a whole new recipe for it. This recipe was especially for my husband, who loves deep, dark, roasted / charred flavours. This is far more smokey than your average salsa verde, and it was perfect for him. Says he:

“I love the smokey pepper taste, the flavor is incredible. If I’m not careful I could end up having this as a meal. The thick, chunky texture helps it stay on a chip, and makes it easier to mix in with something like sour cream.”

So, if smokiness is your thing.. you should absolutely give this a try. Enjoy!

Roasted Salsa Verde for Canning
Makes about 14 pints

4 large red onions
5 lbs poblano peppers
12 green bell peppers
12-15 jalapeno peppers
10 lbs tomatillos
10 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups vinegar
3/4 lime juice (freshly squeezed, ideally!)
Zest of 3 limes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Heat your grill – I like to use charcoal for this, but propane is fine also.

While grill is heating, prepare your vegetables to roast:

– Slice onions into 1/2″ thick slices

– Slice poblano and bell peppers into large flat pieces, Cut jalapenos in half.*

Brush peppers with olive oil, then grill everything until as “done” as you would like – personally, I like some dark grill marks for this, but not an overall char. If you have wood chips to smoke/grill with, use them – we used applewood chips. Remove items as they are ready – the peppers will cook the fastest. Allow everything to cool.

Turn your (oven) broiler up to high.

Prepare a couple cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper. Remove husks from tomatillos, wash well and remove any that don’t look fresh/good. Slice each in half, arrange in a single layer on baking sheets, toss garlic cloves in amongst the tomatillos. Roast under the broiler until as charred as you would like. Pour off excess juices, allow to cool, then puree in a blender or food processor.

Once everything is cool, chop up the peppers and onion (I use a food processor for this). Add all roasted vegetables to a large pot, along with tomatilloes, vinegar, lime juice & zest, sugar, and salt, stir well.

Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid reduces a bit, and mixture reaches a consistency you like. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and cook for one more minute.

Ladle into hot, sterilized pint sized canning jars. Affix sterilized lids and rims, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. (Add 5 minutes for altitudes above 1,000 feet; add 10 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet.) Allow to cool overnight.

Check all lids for a proper seal: they should have sucked down into a vacuum seal as the jars cooled. Store properly sealed jars for later use; refrigerate any that did not seal for use in the coming weeks.

* For a more mild salsa, remove ribs and seeds.

Hoppy Citrus IPA Glazed Wings

Eek, it’s been over a week since I posted my Hoppy IPA BBQ Sauce Recipe… guess I should get to posting the other deliciousness that resulted from that day in the kitchen!

While the BBQ sauce was kind of a last minute “Ooh, you know what we should try making?” thought, these wings were a recipe idea I’d been tossing around in my head for a WHILE. We were actually in the grocery store buying ingredients to make these, when having the idea to make BBQ sauce!

I’ve said it before… I’m not a fan of drinking beer, but I do LOVE it as an ingredient. That BBQ sauce was amazing, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle is probably my favourite brittle ever, and I frequently use beer as an ingredient in soups, fondues, sauces, etc. In these wings? Completely fantastic! The flavours went together so well, complex but coherent, and definitely unique. It was sweet and savoury with a little heat and a little bit of bitter hop bite – perfectly balanced, and so, SO good.

Let me share what the hop heads had to say about it, though:

“I would first like to say, I love hops, the more hoppy the beer the better. I however have never had anything really made with hops beyond a hop candy sold from my local brewing supply shop. I was excited for my first dive into cooking with hops, also nervous, I had never really heard of anything besides a tasty beverage made with hops.

Hop wings! These little treats were deep fried chicken wings and drummies, they were covered lightly in a light orange glaze, they looked really good. My first bite was a great crisp feel followed by first a nice honey taste, followed with the fresh taste of citrus from an orange, it was then all combined at the end with the bitterness from the hop. Very much like a very good beer the taste had the distinct front, middle and end tastes you would expect. It was truly delicious!”Trevor

“These hop wings are delicious! The flavors explode in your mouth, with sweet honey and orange popping up first and the slightly bitter citrus finish with a little bit of spice. I tore through my wings super fast, this is an addictive sauce! It’s not simply a variation of another sauce or a replication of a commercial sauce, this stands out on its own so well. I love trying new flavors of wings, but this is one where I’d keep coming back to it over and over, it quickly became my favorite.” – Porter

An interesting note about my husband: He has some weird “top of the food chain guilt” thing going on. He doesn’t mind eating meat, he just doesn’t want to be reminded that it used to be an animal… so he hates eating food off the bone, etc. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him seem totally OK with eating non-boneless wings!

A note about hops: While we used fresh hops – as that’s what we had readily available – you can also use dried. Use about half as many, if you’re going with dried. Dried (and sometimes fresh, too!) hops are available from home brewing supply stores everywhere.

Hoppy Citrus-IPA Glazed Wings

Vegetable Oil for deep frying
4 lbs chicken wings & drummies
Salt
1 cup IPA of choice
1/2 cup fresh hops, divided (We used Centennial)
1 cup liquid honey
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
Juice and zest of 1 orange

Heat oil 375 degrees F. You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan. If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3″ deep. Sprinkle chicken generously with salt, allow to air dry while preparing glaze.

In a medium saucepan, bring IPA and 1/4 cup of the hops to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, simmer until it has reduce to about half the original volume. (Just eyeball it!).

Once IPA has reduced, add honey, jalapeno, cloves, orange zest/juice, and a pinch of salt. Bring back up to a simmer, simmer for about 10 minutes. Add remaining hops, simmer for 5 more minutes. Pour glaze through wire strainer, discarding solids left behind. Return to pot and keep warm while preparing chicken wings.

Fry chicken wings in batches of about a dozen pieces each – allowing oil to come back up to temperature between each batch – until golden brown. (About 10-15 minutes per batch). Transfer fried wings to a large bowl, toss with glaze, and serve hot!

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Pickle Recipe Roundup

This weekend really marked the start of MY SEASON. I have basically been locked up in the house all summer (super susceptible to heat stroke, not fun!), and now, with the cooler temperatures… freedom!

The change in season was also very apparent at the farmer’s market. We’d gone to purchase some cider for a concentrated maple sap apple cider we’ve been planning. From looking at the armloads of food that other customers were carrying, it was apparent that many would be pickling this weekend, or soon.

Our big pickling plans this year only involve one thing – a big batch of our Hoppy IPA pickles. We’ve kind of ruined some of our friends for other pickles, and now we’re out of them. Definitely aiming for a bigger batch this time.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to blog a roundup of our favourite pickling / canning recipes, to aid those planning for their own farmer’s market binge purchases this coming weekend 🙂

Pickled Beets

Pickled beets were my absolute favourite as a kid. I don’t actually know who made the many jars of them that would line our basement shelves, but they were SO good.

As an adult, I had to develop my own recipe. Best beet pickles I’ve ever had! Especially great for use on salads with pear slices, goat cleese, some thinly sliced basil, and toasted walnuts. YUM.

Click here for the recipe.

Carrot Pickles

Carrots are a really versatile vegetable when it comes to pickling – they can take a lot of different flavours really well. Pickle them plain, make garlic dill carrot spears, try some fresh ginger, or spice it up with jalapenos or pepper flakes.

This blog entry contained our two favourite ways of putting up carrots.

Click here for the recipe.

Colcannon Pickles

Having spent some time on the east coast of Canada, I’m a big fan of the Newfoundland version of caulcannon / colcannon.

When I went on a big pickle making binge a few years back, I thought it would be cool to make some mixed root vegetable pickles, based on the veggies used in caulcannon. The pickles that resulted were not only pretty in the jar, but had great flavour and crunch!

Click here for the recipe.

Hoppy Pickle Relish

Our Hoppy IPA Pickles were SUCH a hit, I decided to make a relish based on the flavours in the pickles. Hoppy IPA beers go so well with pickles in general, why NOT play up the bitter flavours of the hops in this gorgeous relish?

Goes really well on a variety of meats and fish.

Click here for the recipe.

Mixed Vegetable Pickles

Of all the pickle recipes I’ve created, I think this one is my favourite. I love the variety of colours, textures, and flavours in each jar. I even love eating the pickled garlic cloves at the bottom of each jar!

Quick, cheap and easy to make a TON of these – I totally recommend doing so!

Click here for the recipe.

Dill Pickles

I love dill pickles! You can keep all the sweet, “bread and butter”, and mustard pickles… give me a great, crunchy dill pickle any time!

This is a great basic recipe, and a staple for anyone getting started with canning. Classic!

Click here for the recipe.

Hoppy IPA Pickles

… and finally, our Hoppy IPA Pickles. The recipe that has ruined friends for all other pickles, and has earned itself a fanclub.

Not only great for hopheads and homebrewers, the use of IPA and fresh hops in these pickles create a great, complex flavour – definitely unique.

Click here for the recipe.

So, that’s it for now. What are your plans for pickling or canning this year?

Brie en Croûte with Prosciutto, Honey Pear Sauce, and Figs

As we were doing our grocery shopping the other day, we happened to notice that fresh figs were in season.

I’ve been waiting for this for a while – I’ve been planning for a decadent gluten-free brie en croĂ»te recipe for Beyond Flour, which requires fresh figs. It’s kind of maddening when you dream something up, and don’t have access to actualize the idea!

Anyway, as one package of figs contained more than I’d need for my project, I decided to do a second, non-gluten-free version for this blog. So glad I did – you should have seen the look on my husband’s face when I presented him with this and declared it to be his supper!

If you’ve never had fresh figs, it may be a bit difficult to picture how this will taste. Unlike their dried counterparts, fresh figs have a dainty, almost floral taste to them. The taste and texture of the fresh figs pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the prosciutto, the creaminess of the cheese, sweetness of the pear-honey sauce, and the crunch from the pistachios.

This makes a very elegant and impressive appetizer OR dessert course!

Brie en Croûte with Prosciutto, Honey Pear Sauce, and Figs

1 sheet puff pastry
1 small wheel of brie
4 slices prosciutto
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
2 Black mission figs, sliced into wedges
2 Tbsp finely chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 F, line baking sheet with parchment paper

Unfold puff pastry sheet onto lined baking sheet. Carefully cut the rind off the brie, if desired. Wrap brie in prosciutto, place in the middle of the puff pastry sheet. Pull up all corners of the puff pastry, to full enclose the brie in a little pouch.

Whisk together egg and water, Lightly brush entire pastry with egg wash.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

While brie is baking, make the honey sauce:

1/2 cup pear juice or pear nectar
1/4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice

Whisk together juices and honey in a small saucepan. Bring JUST to a boil, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 20 minute, or until thick and syrupy. Keep an eye on it – it can burn!

To serve:

As soon as brie is finished baking, transfer to serving plate. Arrange sliced figs on top, drizzle generously with honey pear sauce. Sprinkle with pistachios, serve immediately! Sliced pears, crostini, and crackers make great accompaniments.

Enjoy!