Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

Spring is on its way, but there is still time to take advantage of “soup season”! This recipe – from my upcoming corn cookbook – won’t disappoint: it’s thick, warm, rich, and satisfying!

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

2 large onions, chopped
1 lb bacon, chopped
2 lbs dry black beans
12 1/2 cups chicken stock
1-2 bottles of a light tasting beer, such as Corona
6 ears fresh corn, husks removed.
Juice and zest of 2 limes
6 ribs celery, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large, heavy pot, saute onions and bacon until bacon is cooked but not crispy. Add black beans, chicken stock, and beer, bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, stir it once, cover it with a lid, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 1 hour.

Once an hour has passed, bring pot to a boil once more. Reduce heat, simmer for one hour, stirring frequently.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels off the ears of corn, add to a pot along with lime juice/zest, celery, peppers, garlic, and seasonings. Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, or until beans and all vegetables are tender, and soup is THICK.

Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and /or crumbled bacon.

Note: water or chicken broth can be substituted for the beer, if so desired.

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

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

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

Gluten Free Mixed Vegetable Pakora

Remember when I went on a Pakora making binge, and promised to share the recipes I’d created Yeah. I kinda dropped the ball on that, having gotten overloaded with all sorts of other work to focus on… Anyway, I’m back on it now!

These were my absolute favorite from that evening, a mixed vegetable pakora patty recipe. In general, veggie pakora is a great way to use up stray vegetables in your fridge – Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, etc .. basically anything that’s tasty and kind of sturdy. (Ie: don’t use tomatoes!). For this recipe, I decided to specify amounts – I’d created this to have a great balance in flavors, color, and texture.

Like many of my recipes, this works up quickly and easily, producing a highly addictive end product. Expect a “pakora coma” after snarfing these babies.. which go great with my cilantro-mint chutney.

Enjoy!


Veggie Pakora

Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 1/4 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 cup peeled, finely chopped yam or sweet potato
1 cup finely chopped zucchini
1 cup finely chopped onion
1-2 finely chopped jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro

Start heating your vegetable oil to 375F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.

In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, spices, and baking powder. Add water, stir well to form a thick batter. All batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.

Mix in remaining ingredients, making sure that everything is evenly coated with the batter.

Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to carefully scoop small amounts (1/4 cup or less) of batter into the preheated oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until patties are golden brown. Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer cooked patties to paper towels.

Serve hot, with with cilantro-mint chutney.

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.

Wine Making at Home, Part I : WHY?

As I mentioned in a recent blog entry, my husband and I enjoy wine making together. It’s just such a fulfilling hobby, and works on so many levels:

– It’s teamwork. We really enjoy sharing a hobby that we’re both interested in, and engaging in all of the different stages involved is a really great bonding activity. We designed our recording sheets together. When one – or both! – of us has an idea for a new batch of wine, we plan out a recipe, and shop for the ingredients together. We prepare the wine together, make a “date” of racking it every few months, and even work together to bottle, cork, and label them.

– It’s cheap. Actually, this point gets made on a few levels, as well. Putting on even a 5 gallon batch of wine can cost less than two movie tickets and concession popcorn/sodas!

In addition to the money saved by spending a “date night” in, there is also the cost saved with the finished product. Many homemade wines can come in at $1-2/ bottle, and even our most expensive batch – Lingonberry – came in at around $4 for a 750 ml bottle.

– It gives us something to look forward to. In this culture of instant gratification, we’re not immune to – or innocent when it comes to – rushing, lacking patience, etc. It’s kind of nice that when we start this project, we have to look ahead 6 months, a year… maybe even more, before we’ll get to enjoy the final results. Anticipation can be enjoyable!

– It’s science! Yes, we’re both nerds. Along the lines of the first point… it’s just so much fun to be able to work projects together. We start with an idea, plan around it, chart what we do, track the results, discuss variables, and experiment with changing up different elements of a recipe. When getting creative with it, wine making can be a very pleasurable mental stretch!

– It’s rewarding. It’s great to be able to pour a glass, and consume it with the smug satisfaction that comes from the knowledge that YOU MADE THIS. It’s a powerful feeling, and it feels doubly good when it’s a product that is generally seen as something that you’d have to buy at a store.

– Also? Homemade wine makes a GREAT gift.

– Making wine gives you a lot of control over your final product. While dry wines are very popular, we tend to prefer our wine to be “diabetes in a glass”. We know what we like, and what we don’t like, and we … well we can do whatever we want. Use whatever grape you want. Use grapes with some other fruit. Use NO grapes. Toss a vanilla bean or two in there, whatever. Prefer an earthier flavor? Toss some oak chips in there for aging. The sky really is the limit when it comes to options!

If you’ve read this far, then I’m glad that I haven’t lost ya! Once you have the basic equipment and information, this is a very easy endeavor to partake in. I hope you’re inspired, pumped, and ready to get started. Tomorrow will be Part II: Equipment to Get Started

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels Recipe

Yes, you read that right. Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels. I think I may have just invented the *perfect* food.

What started as a “hey, you know what would be awesome..?” thought a while back was seen through to fruition this weekend, with spectacular results. This recipe is not only simple, it only costs about $5 to make 40 poppers! So freaking good.

As is, these have the ideal amount of heat – enough to give it some kick, not enough to make it painful or mask the actual flavor. Feel free to use more or less jalapenos based on your personal preferences.

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Poutine Recipe – The way *I* Do it!

Hey guys!

So, can I just say how great it feels to finally be out of the closet as an immigrant? Still feeling like a huge weight’s been lifted from my chest.

You guys will reap the benefits, by the way, and today’s a great example. Aside from having to dance around where I went to school, and making sure I didn’t let a stray “u” end up in “flavor”, I balked at the idea of publishing some of my wholeheartedly Canadian recipes. Let me tell you, I have some great ones that I’ve been dying to share.

Poutine is.. well, honestly it’s probably the nastiest thing ever. It’s a 2am-going-home-from-the-bar kinda food. There is nothing redeeming in nutrition OR appearance. It’s not haute cuisine in the slightest. It may just end up clogging your arteries on sight. Sometimes, I’m kinda embarrassed that it’s sort of looked at as our national dish in Canada.

Oh, but it can be soooo good!

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Pina Colada Bundt Cake

This was my first foray into the world of boozy baking, combining my bartending skills with my love of baking. The result was amazing, and a huge hit whenever I serve it! (more…)