Low Carb Sesame Crusted Smoked Tofu with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Wow, two new recipe posts in as many weeks? Maybe this dieting thing is helping me in other areas, too!

Anyway, yes. I’ve had a lot of comments on my personal Facebook about the low carb meal photos I’ve been posting, so I’m going to try to be better about actually doing up recipes and posting here. Generally, I just post photos of what I’m making to a “Diet Food” album, for me to reference when I’m making meal plans for the week. I get forgetful, so it’s nice to look through and think “YUM. Yes, I need to make that again!”, you know?

This particular recipe is one that we’ve really leaned on as a go-to, eating it at least 1-2 times a week. It’s easy to make, and tastes way better than any “diet food” has any right to, LOL!

It came about as a bit of a progression – I’ve had to cut my meat consumption on account of gout, and my husband loves tofu. After playing around with it a bit, we found that we both liked crispy baked tofu – a preparation that usually involves corn starch. With me needing to go low carb, that meant tweaking what we were doing, so I came up with a mixture of seasonings and sesame seeds that would add flavour and crunch, without adding a ton of carbohydrates… and eventually honed it into the recipe we use now!

We serve the crispy tofu cubes over top a salad – usually with cabbage, beets, carrots, cucumber, and radishes of some sort – and top it with a quick sesame ginger dressing – recipe below. SO good!

We use the “Soyganic” brand smoked tofu* for this – plain or Sriracha, depending on our mood at the time – but I’ve also done the same with normal, extra firm tofu. The smoked tofu we tend to use has far less water than normal tofu, however, so you’ll want to drain / dry the normal stuff much more thoroughly, if that’s what you’re using.

To make this gluten free, all you have to do is to use a GF soy sauce/tamari/coconut aminos when it calls for soy sauce in the dressing. Easy!

*No disclosures to make, we don’t have any sort of promotional arrangement with this company, we just really like their smoked tofu! But hey, if you guys are reading… call us *wink and finger guns*.

Sesame Crusted Crispy Smoked Tofu
Serves 2

1 brick smoked tofu (or other tofu of choice)
Sesame oil
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (Plain, toasted, black, or a mix)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F, line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Using a sharp knife, slice the tofu in half, to make 2 large, flat rectangles. Blot well with a paper towel to absorb extra moisture, then slice into cubes. Gently roll the cubes onto a paper towel, then transfer to a small mixing bowl.

Drizzle the tofu cubes with a bit of sesame oil – maybe about 1 Tbsp – then add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Spread coated tofu cubes out evenly on prepared baking sheet.

Once oven is up to temperature, bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Serve hot!

Low Carb Sesame Ginger Dressing
Serves 2

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Ginger puree
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
2 Tsp garlic puree or pressed garlic (about 3 cloves)
Black pepper, to taste.

In a small mixing bowl or measuring glass, combine all ingredients except pepper, whisking well until thick and smooth. Add pepper to taste.

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.

Mango Salad Recipe

Short and sweet blog entry today – I knocked off this recipe this morning, and have a bunch of friends waiting on me to share it… so, good excuse to post this blog!

Shortly after moving to Ontario, we happened across a Vietnamese restaurant on our way into Toronto one day. We’d gone in wanting pho, or maybe a vermicelli noodle bowl… but we were intrigued by the mango salad on the menu. I’d never seen it before, and it sounded amazing.

Blew. My. Mind.

After that, we noticed it on other Asian restaurant menus – at the sushi place we like, at a Chinese restaurant we’d met friends at. I guess it’s a *thing* here… but none of those other salads lived up to that first one.

We’ve been back to that restaurant a few times, and that salad has me happily rocking in my seat each time.

… We may actually need to rename “The Sushi Rock” “The Mango Salad Rock”. (It’s one of my happy Autistic stims. Basically the complete opposite of my “IKEA 2 days before Christmas Flap”!)

Excuse my crappy cellphone photo of the source material. It’s kind of amazing I actually managed to get a photo before inhaling it!

I love the bright colours and flavours of it. It’s such a sunny dish, and the taste of it lingers (and burns a little!) on the lips for a fair amount of time afterwards, just a drawn out reminder of how amazing it was. Pretty sure it’s actually my favourite dish, now.

Anyway, I shared a photo on my personal Facebook this past weekend, raving about how amazing it was. Friends who don’t live in Ontario hadn’t heard of it, and I promised I would share my recipe as soon as I replicated it.

… and here we are.

Look at this other crappy cell phone photo of the preparation:

Even the separate ingredients just look amazing! LOVE.

Anyway. For this recipe, you’ll want under ripe mangoes – pick ones that are pretty hard. They’ll have the best texture for this, and besides… it’s a salad, not a dessert! It’s also vegetarian and gluten-free!

When it comes to servings… I have no idea. I can put away a truly embarrassing amount of this salad in one sitting, so it’s hard to estimate how much it makes. I’d say 3 as a main dish, and maybe 6 as a side?

Enjoy!

Mango Salad

Makes 3-6 servings

2 under ripe mangoes
1 Large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ Small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 Red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Fresh mint, chopped
3 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp Vegetable oil
2 tsp Granulated sugar
1- 1 ½ tsp Crushed dried chilies
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
Cashew halves or pieces

Peel mango, slice fruit into long, thin strips (thicker than matchstick). Place in a large bowl, along with peppers, onion, cilantro, and mint – mix well.

In a small food processor or blender, combine lime juice, oil, sugar, chilies, pepper, and salt. Blitz until well combined, and chilies are finely chopped.

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to fully coat. Chill for 30 minutes or so before serving… assuming you can wait that long. (I could not)

Serve topped with a handful of cashews.

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.

Replica Recipe: Trader Joe’s Tofu Edamame Nuggets (Gluten-Free)

A while back, a friend of mine posted on Facebook, lamenting the discontinuation of a food they were very fond of – Trader Joe’s Tofu Edamame Nuggets. One of my “big autistic superpowers” is being able to accurately replicate commercially produced food products (See: a big chunk of the recipes in “More Than Poutine!), so I wanted to help.

Problem 1: I’d never tried the source material.

Problem 2: The source material was no longer available… and my friend lived very far away!

I DO love a challenge though, so I offered to give it a go anyway. My husband is borderline vegetarian himself, and is always up for fun new treats.

First level research was easy: Finding the ingredient listing, nutritional data, and product images online – both commercially photographed, and photos from customers who bought them.

This gave me a good idea of what I’d need for my recipe – minus a few unnecessary commercial ingredients.

The next step was to fill in the missing pieces, the information that’s not as easily obtained through an ingredient list.

This is where thorough questioning came in. Lucky for me (and them, and all of you!), my friend is as good at answering questions as I am at asking them. Within a few minutes, I had a long list of very detailed information about the textures, mouth feel, ingredient sizing and proportions, and much more.

My lovely friend is also autistic, which was absolutely a blessing – NO ONE notice, catalogs, and clearly and efficiently relay fine details about things like an autistic!

Between the nutritional data and my friend’s detailed notes, I was able to put together a fantastic recipe. Aside from the “leave out unnecessary commercial ingredients” adjustment, I also developed this recipe to be gluten-free, as my friend has wheat issues.

I’m basically an obligate carnivore, and I’ve got to say – these are really tasty. REALLY tasty!

I’ve done up the directions so that you can cook and eat these fresh, OR be more true to the source material and par-cook them before freezing, so they’re available as a “throw it in the oven” convenience food, later on.

If you were a fan of the source material, be sure to try these and let me know what you think!

Replica Recipe: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Nuggets

Makes about 28 nuggets

Filling:

1 Brick medium-soft tofu, about 1 lb
½ White onion
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 ½ tsp Nutritional yeast, optional
3/4 cup Soy flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1 tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Pepper
3/4 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Shelled edamame
1/3 cup Shredded carrot (Large shred, not fine)

Drain tofu, wrap in 3 layers of paper towels, and place in a strainer. Add something a little heavy – we used a peanut butter jar – on top, to press. The tofu will mush a bit, that’s OK. Allow to stand for ten minutes. Discard paper towels, chop up pressed tofu and transfer to a food processor.

Grate onion. With clean hands, squeeze out as much water as you can. Measure 2 Tbsp squeezed onion into a food processor, along with egg, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast, if using. Blitz until smooth and well combined.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine soy flour, corn starch, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Add tofu mixture, stir until smooth and well combined. Add edamame and carrot, stir until vegetables are well distributed.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using two tablespoons, scoop mounds of filling onto the prepared baking sheets – you’ll want rounded Tablespoons, close to about 2 Tbsp in volume. Use a wet finger to smooth mound into a “nugget” about 1.5″ x 2.5″, and about ½” thick. Once all nuggets are formed, transfer pans to freezer and allow to chill until firm.

Once your patties are prepared, heat vegetable oil to 375 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. As oil is heating, prepare your batter:

Batter:

½ cup Masa flour
½ cup White rice flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
½ tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Paprika (for colour)
1 Large egg
1 tsp Soy sauce (does this need salt?)
1 1/4 cup Cold water

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add egg and soy sauce, whisk until well combined. Add a small amount of water, stirring to combine. Continue adding cold water, stirring gently until just combined – mixture can be a bit lumpy.

For best results, set bowl of batter in another, larger bowl that is filled with ice. The colder the batter, the better the coating!

Gently dip chilled patties in the batter one at a time, slowly removing from the batter and allowing excess to drip off. Carefully transfer to heated oil. Fry a few at a time – turning every couple of minutes.

To eat immediately:
Fry until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer fried pieces to platter lined with paper towels. Salt lightly – if you’d like – and serve hot!

To freeze and heat/eat later:
Fry only until batter is no longer wet and is only lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil, transfer to paper towels, and blot well. Cool to room temperature. Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, freeze. Once frozen, transfer to airtight freezer container until use.

To bake frozen nuggets:
Preheat oven to 350F. Place frozen nuggets on a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Flip each nugget, bake for 10 more minutes. Serve hot!

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

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

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

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

Moi-Moi Recipe

The brain can be a funny thing some time. I’ve been craving moi-moi for over a week now, ever since seeing Black Panther (One of the best movies I’ve ever seen, Shuri is EVERYTHING, I will spare you a page full of raving!).

The movie never made mention of moi-moi, btw. I don’t think it made mention of food at all, now that I think about it… but the MUSIC. The music made me homesick for Winnipeg, by way of Folklorama, where my husband and I love the African pavilions in particular. (and the Greek pavilion… and the First Nations pavilion… and the Ukrainian pavilion.. well, basically everything!)

Being immersed in that music for a couple hours brought me back to the first time I had moi-moi, at the Africa Pavilion. We always try a bit of everything when we go to Folklorama, and I think we paid $1 for a serving of moi-moi. We had no idea what to expect, and we were presented with a pretty little mound that looked like a pink panna cotta. It was warm – which surprised us – and had a texture sort of like mousse, but more solid.

I was instantly in love, and broke my “don’t order more than one of the same thing at Folklorama!” rule… a few times. Whoops. Whatever, it’s healthy – moi-moi is MINE-MINE!

Anyway, yes… Black Panther -> joyous African music -> Boom, week long craving activated.*

Moi-Moi (or moin-moin) is a traditional dish in Nigeria, a steamed bean pudding. It can be vegetarian or not, it can be served straight up, or with any number of items baked into it – hard boiled eggs, corned beef, etc. It can be served warm or cold, and is just a really great, healthy dish.

I’m very much “the way I first have it is the RIGHT way” when it comes to things (even when I know otherwise – again, the brain is a funny thing!), so I make it based on the first way I had it – vegetarian, no “extras” baked in, served warm.

I’ve tweaked my recipe a few times, and I think I’ve got it almost accurate to the source material, save for one small thing – texture. I don’t get mine QUITE as smooth as they do, because I kind of mail it in when it comes to peeling the beans. Theirs was silky smooth, mine is just slightly short of that. Still has an amazing texture, and the flavour is amazing.

You know, I hate the term “greater than the sum of its parts”, but this is one instance where that phrase really applies. This is such a simple dish, with pretty basic ingredients… I have no idea how it ends up so flavourful and amazing. It doesn’t sound like much, on paper!

I like to eat this straight out of the oven, or sliced and reheated. Serve it with rice or a salad for a meal, or just munch on it alone as a high protein snack.

* It’s not the only time we’ve had powerful Folkloama cravings brought on by music. The song “Hot” (by Middle Phinger) on the “Beatclub – A Celebration of Canadian Dance Music” CD reminds us of the music Afro-Caribbean pavilion dancers use for the limbo dancing, and it always makes us crave Roti.

Moin-Moin / Moi-moi Recipe

Makes 2 bread pans worth of pudding

1 lb dry black eyed peas
2 large red bell peppers
1 large onion
2 habaneros
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cubes of chicken or vegetable bouillon
2 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil

The night before you want to make this, get the beans started:

In a large bowl, cover the beans with hot water, allow to soak for 1 hour. Drain the water off, transfer beans to a food processor, and blitz about ten times, just to break them up a bit. Return beans to the large bowl, cover with hot water, and agitate – the skins will start to float.

Use a slotted spoon to skim off floating skins, and dispose. Stir the beans with your hands a bit, rubbing beans together as you go – more skins will float. Skim those off, and repeat.

Once skins stop floating, I pour the water off carefully – it’ll bring more skins with it. I’ll scoop bits of skins off the surface of the beans – sometimes they don’t get carried off by the water. Cover with more water, and repeat.

Once I’m happy with the amount of skins removed, I’ll cover it with water one more time, and allow it to soak overnight.

To make the moi-moi:

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Liberally spray two glass bread pans (or several ramekins) with cooking spray, set aside.

Chop and seed the bell and habanero peppers, peel and chop the onion. Add peppers, onion, garlic, and bouillon cubes to food processor, process until smooth.

Drain the beans, add beans to food processor and process til smooth. Add a little water, if you need, to get it going – but not a lot. I tend to let the food processor run for about 5 minutes, your mileage may vary.

Once smooth, add salt, paprika, and vegetable oil, blitz again until well incorporated.

Place each bread pan into a larger baking dish. Add water to large baking dish until about halfway up the sides of the moi-moi dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, transfer to oven.

Bake for about 2 – 2 ½ hours, until the sides of the moi-moi start to pull away from the baking dish. Allow to cool a little, before inverting onto a serving plate.

Serve warm, enjoy!

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.

Berbere Lentils Recipe (Yemisir Wat)

As you may know from previous blog entries – and social media posts! – we recently attended Folklorama, in Winnipeg. It’s my absolute favourite event every year, and has been kind of … therapeutic?… since moving to the USA.

Anyway, I’m planning to do a write up on it eventually, but in the meantime, back to today’s recipe!

The Ethiopian Pavilion is a must stop for us, every time that we make the trip for Folklorama. It’s not as big and flashy as many of the other pavilions, but what it DOES have is some of the absolute best food of the entire festival.

After returning from the trip this year, Porter requested that I figure out Ethiopian cooking – ESPECIALLY the firey lentils that he loves. So, I did a bunch of research and put together recipes for both the berbere seasoning (which seems to vary wildly, based on who makes it!), and the lentil dish named for the seasoning. Made a batch, LOVED it.

Couple days later, I get the following photos and a text of “YOU FINISHED THE LENTILS!?” from my husband:

… So I made another batch, and decided that I should probably blog the recipe. HIGHLY addictive stuff, this is!

First off, you’ll need to make the Berbere Seasoning. This makes more than you’ll need for the lentils recipe, but is great in almost anything that could use a kick. Try it as a dry rub on chicken!

Berbere Seasoning

½ cup dried chiles (packed!)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Measure chiles, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves into a dry, nonstick pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

In a spice grinder, process toasted spices into a fine powder. Allow to spices to settle a bit before opening the grinder – the powder can be irritating to lungs and nasal passages!. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add remaining spices to the bowl, stir well. Store in an airtight container until use.

Berbere Lentils

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1/2 cup canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped or grated
1/3 – 1/2 cup Berbere seasoning
1 Tbsp ginger puree
1 Tbsp minced, pressed, or pureed garlic
1 cup dried red lentils
3+ cups water
Salt and pepper

In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, cook onions in canola oil until soft. Add Berbere (Start with 1/3 cup if you’re not used to this!), ginger, garlic, and lentils, stir well. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil.

Once mixture boils, turn heat down to medium or medium-low. Simmer lentils – stirring frequently – until water is absorbed and lentils are mushy. Remove from heat.

Taste, add more Berbere if you’d like, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, with injera.

Gluten-Free Cheese Crackers Recipe: Like “Cheez-Its”, but Better!

Hey, did you know that Beyond Flour 2 came out a couple weeks ago? Neither did I!

Well, I guess technically I DID… but between a convention, Halloween, the election, etc… I managed to completely forget to formally announce it. Whoops! I’m definitely more of a recipe developer than a book marketer, so dropping the ball on promoting it probably shouldn’t surprise me. Yikes, though.

It’s a great book, if I do say so myself. After tackling a bunch of “Holy Grail” type recipes in the first Beyond Flour – Chewy cookies, stuffed pasta, perogies, proper pita bread, and more – I had even more confidence and experience when it came to developing the sequel, so I got to play around a bit more.

It’s fun to see what you can come up with, when you throw convention to the wind. I’m particularly proud of the graham crackers and hybrid tortillas – each of which make use of *one* specialty ingredient, which makes all the difference with each respective recipe. In the graham crackers, that recipe’s secret ingredient means the difference between those vaguely cinnamon flavoured GF crackers that are labelled as “Graham crackers”, and proper graham crackers that are completely indistinguishable from the source material. For the hybrid tortillas, THAT special ingredient meant the ability to create a tortilla that looks and acts like a flour tortilla, but with the taste of freshly roasted corn.

SCIENCE. I love it!

Also pretty proud of the bagels and soft pretzels, but I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. 🙂

ANYWAY.

2 weeks late, I’d like to mark the occasion of the book release, by sharing one of the recipes from Beyond Flour 2: Cheese crackers. This is one of a few cracker recipes in the book, including butter crackers (Like Ritz), and a grainy rectangular cracker inspired by my favourite from my pre-GF days, Vinta.

I’ve just never really been into the commercially available GF crackers, you know? They tend to cost an insane amount of money, and tend to be either mini hockey pucks, or basically compressed powder. Also: They almost always taste like sadness.

I wanted crispy, flaky crackers that tasted right. Buttery, flavourful crackers with airy layers… that would also hold up to being served with toppings. It was a tall order, but I did it!

These cheese crackers were inspired by Cheez-Its… but they’re so much better. The use of good cheese in these really elevates them over the source material, with a cleaner, clearer cheese taste. These puff up significantly in the oven, yielding very flaky, buttery crackers.

You may want to double the batch, as they go fast!

Enjoy!

(PS: If you’d like to order both Beyond Flour books, and/or different titles from my lineup, I’ve set up a few bundle ordering options, to save you money. See those HERE)

Gluten-Free Cheese Crackers (Like Cheez-Its)

Makes about 175 Cheese Crackers

1/2 cup Corn starch
1/2 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Light buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
8 oz Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup Cold water
Additional corn starch for rolling

Measure corn starch, flours, salt, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine.

Add cheeses and butter, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may
need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

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

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scatter some corn starch over your – clean! – work surface. Roll dough out 1/4″ thick, cut into 1″ square pieces. Use a chopstick or small straw to poke a hole in the center of each piece, carefully transfer to lined baking sheets.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden and puffy. Allow to fully cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

3 of the cracker recipes from Beyond Flour 2

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

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

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

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

Vegetarian 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 & Cilantro Pesto
Makes 4 burgers

14 oz pack soy chorizo (we used “LightLife” brand)
14 oz pack meatless vegetarian sausage (we used “LightLife” brand)
½ small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
pinch smoked serrano powder
2 poblano peppers
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns of choice
Queso Fresco , sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro Pesto (Below)

Heat grill.

Crumble chorizo and sausage into a food processor, blitz until broken down and well combined. Squeeze excess moisture out of the grated onion, add onion to processor along with garlic and serrano powder. Blitz to combine.

Remove sausage mixture from food processor, divide into 4 equal sized balls. Form balls into patties – slightly bigger than your buns. Set aside.

Cut poblano peppers in half, lengthwise. Brush poblanos and burgers with olive oil, sprinkle poblanos with a little salt and pepper. Grill until burgers and peppers are seared and heated through.

To assemble, stack a poblano slice, burger, cheese slice(s), onion, and avocado on each burger bun. Top with cilantro pesto, serve immediately.

Cilantro Pesto

3 cups cilantro
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 green onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper

Combine cilantro, garlic, onion, olive oil, and lime juice in a small food processor, blitz until a sauce is formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and chill until use.

Gluten-Free Roasted Beet Gnocchi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten-free Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Goat Cheese and Basil

Makes about 4 servings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve hot, sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese

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

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

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

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

Rainbow Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Last week, I was doing my social media chores on Facebook, when I came across an ad for some takeout place way down south. I have NO idea why it was in my feed – driving 12+ hours for takeout isn’t reasonable! – but it featured a photo of a salad that I needed in my life.

I noted what I could see in it, and planned to make something like it at home. I made a few additions, based on our tastes – edamame, green onions and (optionally) avocado.

For dressing, I decided to throw together a carrot-ginger dressing. Not only were we both in the mood for something like that, it would go really well with the flavours in the salad. Also, I thought that the bright orange of it would be extra pretty against such a vibrant background. I was not wrong!

It actually took me two tries to get the dressing to where I wanted. Hit the flavour perfectly on the first go, but the texture left a bit to be desired. I’d used fresh carrots and pureed them, thinking that would be the easiest for people – not everyone has a juicer, after all.

I really wasn’t happy with the mouthfeel on it, though… so I went back to the original plan, and it was *perfect*. Freshly juiced is best, but if you don’t have a juicer – just buy some carrot juice in the produce section at your grocer.

Finally, this makes a ton of salad – a big, sharable bowl worth. We make it up and keep it in the fridge, picking away at it through a few meals. That is the ONLY reason I’m not including avocado in it – avoidance of brown avocado bits. If you’re making this up as a single serve thing – for a gathering, maybe? – I would recommend including an avocado or two. I love the texture and flavour of it in this!

Enjoy!

Rainbow Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Makes 8+ Servings

4 cups Shredded Brussels sprouts
4 cups Shredded red cabbage
2 cups bite sized broccoli florets
1-2 cups shelled cooked Edamame (Thawed, if frozen)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 zucchini, sliced
2 large radishes, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 oz Pomegranate seeds (or 1 pomegranate worth)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, cover and chill until use. Drizzle with carrot-ginger dressing before serving.

Dressing:

1 1/2 cups carrot juice
1/3 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sesame oil
½ small yellow onion
1 tsp sugar
2 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender, blitz until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to an appropriate container (we use a large mason jar), chill until use.

Separation will occur, so shake well before serving.

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

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

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

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

Boneless, Meatless “Ribs” in Asian Inspired Sauce

You know how Murphy’s Law rules my life?

Open a cake business… turn up with a gluten allergy

Buy a house.. gets hit by a tornado a couple months later.

Well, we can add a new one to the list.

My husband and I have been slowly coming to the conclusion that he needs to go vegetarian. I’ll spare the gory details, but just know that life will be better for both of us.

As someone who gets pretty sick if I go more than a few days without animal protein, my main concern was him getting enough protein on this new eating plan. We did a ton of research – decided that tempeh was better for him than tofu, for example – and went to a local “vegan butcher” to try some fake meats, which actually have a ton of protein.

The good news was that he loved fake ribs. The bad news? They cost more per pound than actual steak does!

More research turned up the fact that the “best” fake meats are made from vital wheat gluten. As a point of interest here, regular flour is about 12% gluten, vital wheat gluten is a “flour” made up of about 80% gluten.

So, you know… SUPER GLUTEN.

SO I figured, “whatever, I don’t have to eat it, we’ll just have to be extra careful in the kitchen”, and bought some to play with. Opening the first bag of it caused a big plume of gluten to blow up right in my face. I was sick for a few days and wanting to claw my own face off. Awesome.

We learned from that, and now keep a HEPA filter mask and gloves in the kitchen, for making these things.


The things I do for him…

ANYWAY. Now that I’ve bemoaned how awful the stuff is…

After a few trial batches,starting with what seems to be the default ingredients and method for making seitain – the wheat based fake meat – and adjusting from there, I turned out a batch that had him happily declaring that he likes the stuff MORE than actual meat.

… I have no idea how to take that.

To be fair, though, the Asian inspired sauce I came up was completely insane. As in, we’d totally do shots of it, had we not had actual food to cook with it *right there*. It was just a bit of this, “hey, do you want some ginger in here? OK…”. SO glad I wrote it all down as I went!

So, if you’re an actual carnivore like me, know that this sauce is amazing and would go well on basically any meat or vegetable. It’s great on beef, pork, and even fresh tuna.

I can’t speak to the taste of the ribs, myself, because I value my health. 🙂 I would imagine that moldy old gym shoes would taste amazing if marinated in this sauce, however, so I’m going to go ahead and believe Porter that they’re pretty decent!

Asian Inspired Rib Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

½ small onion, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Sriracha
3 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Add everything except sesame seeds to a blender or food processor, blitz until very smooth. Stir in sesame seeds, chill until ready to use.

Boneless, Meatless Ribs

Makes about 2 servings.

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp smoked serrano powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp Almond butter
1 Tbsp soy
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4 cup apple juice
3 drop liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350, grease a glass loaf pan (4″ x 8″ or similar size)

In a medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.

In a separate bowl, whisk together almond butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil until relatively smooth. Add a little apple juice at a time, whisking until smooth.

Once wet ingredients are well whisked, pour into dry ingredients and stir to form a lumpy dough. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and knead for at LEAST two minutes. This is important – if you don’t knead it enough, it’ll turn out puffy, and more like a baked good than a “meat” substitute. It won’t really look any different as you go, you just have to trust in your timing.

Press dough evenly into prepared loaf pan, slice into 5-6 “ribs”. (They’ll bake together, you’re basically scoring them). Bake for 30 minutes.

Toss “ribs” with sauce, allow to sit in the sauce while you heat your grill up.

Grill until everything is nice and caramelized, basting a couple times with more sauce.

Serve hot. (We like to garnish with sliced green onions, but that’s optional)