Toum! Lebanese Garlic Dip – Gluten Free and AIP!

A few years ago, we were travelling through Kalamazoo, en route to Toronto. It was the first of our site scouting trips to prepare for our upcoming move back to Canada, and my husband wanted to stop by his favourite brewery – Bell’s – on the trip. We stopped for lunch at a random shawarma place, and my world was ROCKED.

I have no idea how I’d never tried toum before then. It was this thick white dip that they served alongside their grape leaves… SUPER potent with garlic – it burned to eat! – and was absolutely addictive. I wanted to put it on everything! We cleaned our plates, bought some more to go, and made a point of stopping off at that same restaurant on subsequent trips between Minnesota and Ontario.

The thing is, it wasn’t listed as “toum” on the menu. They just called it their house garlic sauce – or something similar – and I’d assumed it to be a unique thing. It wasn’t til one of my facebook friends mentioned “garlic dip” alongside “toum”, that I googled and found my long lost love, LOL. Not only did it mean I had a name of an item to look for / ask for when dining out, I found that it was something that is very easy to make at home. I put that knowledge aside for the time being.

Recently, I’ve had to adopt the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, as a result of some thyroid weirdness. The next 6 months mean a very strict diet that cuts out a lot of fun stuff – nightshades, grains, dairy, seeds, nuts, sugar, etc. It’s not that big a deal for me – I cook, I can make any diet taste great! – but it does sting a little, now that we’ve moved to Hamilton. You see, there is a shawarma place pretty much on every block here, and we were definitely getting into trying as many as we could, before this change of dietary direction. Amazing stuff, as far as the eye can see!

This past weekend, I was really, REALLY wanting some shawarma… so I came up with an AIP version. I’ll be blogging that shortly, but wanted to post components of it, first.

Now, you don’t have to be on AIP to go for AIP shawarma. It’s an excellent dish on its own (“I want 6 more of these, right now… but I am FULL, AUGH!” – my non-AIP husband, when I made shawarma wraps from the leftovers), and it’s a great option when dealing with a number of dietary restrictions. It’s nightshade free, so safe for the many people who have that allergy. It’s gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, and avoid all of the most common allergens. If you’re cooking for a group that involves some people with dietary restrictions, it’s a good place to start!

So, first part of that: Toum.

This is every bit the burny, addictive, wildly satisfying garlic condiment that we had in Kalamazoo. A simple change of oils used takes it from not being AIP safe, to AIP all the way – with no change in the taste. This is exactly the sort of thing that any number of articles warn you to not eat before a date, for some reason. So bizarre. IMHO, if you’re dating someone afraid of garlic breath … you need to reconsider your standards. Accept no less than someone that who will fight you for the last bit of garlic deliciousness left on the plate!

This is super easy to make – with a food processor – and requires fairly basic ingredients.

A word on the garlic used: I’m lazy, and buy garlic cloves that have been pre-peeled by the produce department at my local grocery store. (For $2.50 for about a cup worth of garlic, it’s not worth it to peel them myself, IMHO!). I haven’t tried this with the mass produced pre-peeled garlic, but would assume that to be almost as good, just not as fresh. I would NOT recommend using pre-minced garlic, as that always tastes bitter and weird.

I use a very light olive oil for this, so the flavour doesn’t compete with the garlic too much. You could, alternatively, use all avocado oil, instead of the mix. If you don’t need to follow AIP diet restrictions, feel free to save a few bucks by using canola oil instead.

With regards to oil amounts: as listed, this will give you a nice, thick dip. If you’re looking for a bit thinner, you can continue to add more oil – about 3 cups total will give you more of a sauce consistency, rather than the dip.

Enjoy! Also: Keep an eye out for the coming recipes – AIP quick beet pickles, chicken shawarma, and more! Follow us on any of our social media accounts for updates, or subscribe to our newsletter for monthly emails!




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.




Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage – Gluten Free and AIP

Last night, I adapted my sweet potato recipe – from Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach To Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking – to go one step beyond (haha!) being gluten free: I needed it to be AIP (Autoimmune protocol) friendly also.

As far as the gnocchi itself, this meant swapping out most of the added starches, getting rid of the eggs, and omitting the – optional – nutmeg. What resulted was a MUCH simplified gnocchi. All things considered, I think I might even prefer it to the original Beyond Flour 2 recipe!

The part where it got a little more painful was sacrificing the brown butter sauce that originally accompanied the recipe… and that I was very much in the mood for last night.

Luckily, there are a number of AIP friendly fats that work well and add a great flavour to the dish. You can use lard, bacon fat, or duck fat. If you don’t need to avoid dairy, feel free to swap in butter for the sauce. As a note: The professional photos in the blog entry are of the original recipe, from the book. The only difference in appearance is the brown butter sauce – but I’ve included a crappy cell phone photo of last night’s supper to prove that!

As with my original BF2 sweet potato gnocchi recipe, this one avoids one of the big problem areas of making traditional gnocchi – boiling potatoes. For sweet potato gnocchi, the sweet potatoes are dry cooked, not boiled – 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.

A note: you’re looking for tubers that have orange flesh, and a lot of the time, they’re sold as “yams” (and those aren’t necessarily even yams!). “Yam gnocchi” sounds weird though… so, we’ll call it “Sweet potato”, though you may have to buy something labeled as “yams”. Isn’t a lack of consistency in terminology FUN?

The texture is great – actual gnocchi. No gumminess or sandiness, they were easy to work with and held together well. If you’re like us, you’ll want to double the mushrooms in the sauce – they are FABULOUS in this.



As promised, my crappy cell phone pic of dinner last night:




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.

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*.








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!




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!




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 and Cilantro Pesto






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.