Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Squares

I wanted chocolate. I wanted peanut butter. I bought some Erewhon Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice Crisp Cereal today.

Which means, one of my old stand-bys from back in the gluten-filled day from my handwritten cookbook of all my favourites. Rather than Rice Krispies, this rice crisp cereal works out wonderful in a simple change to Gluten Free.

Peanut Butter Squares
 Line a 8x8 square pan with parchment paper
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups rice crisp cereal
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
In medium saucepan, melt butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until smooth.
Pour in the cereal and nuts and stir until coated.  
Pour into prepared pan. 
Melt chocolate chips and 1/3 cup peanut butter together in small saucepan or melt in microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until melted. 
Pour over cereal, spreading evenly. 
Chill until firm and cut into whatever size pieces you wish. 

This is the  "I can't wait for it to properly set before I have one" look.

This is always a Christmas party classic square which is when we usually have this. I think I might make it more often now.  

Ahhh, much better!
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sweet Honey Glazed Ham

Sometimes you want a nice meal that doesn't take a ton of bowls and pots and pans. Ham, glaze, sides. Done. This is a recipe I've used for years. It's simple and really compliments the ham.  If you aren't looking for a turkey for Thanksgiving or Easter, ham is always an excellent choice.

Sweet Honey Glazed Ham
adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 (10 pound) fully-cooked, bone-in ham
  • 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 large orange, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place ham in a roasting pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and ground cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Bake ham in preheated oven uncovered for 2 hours. Remove ham from oven, and brush with glaze. Bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, brushing ham with glaze every 10 minutes. 

Chicken Stock, Red Onion, Green Pepper, Carrots. Toss all in rice cooker. Simple.

Steamed fresh green and yellow beans, tossed with butter and dill. 

Buns. Gorgeous. Delicious. Part of my Adopt-a GF blogger post soon.

All in all, a simple classic dinner. Tons of leftovers. Lucky me. 

This post is linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays .  


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Friday, September 24, 2010

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Beer. Belly. Bloat. I used to think I was allergic to beer. That's what triggered my search into my symptoms and finding a celiac diagnosis.

I would leave parties early looking 5 months pregnant. I would just balloon up. Or if I tried to stay and we would walk home afterwards, I could barely keep up since my stomach hurt so much.

When I would go golfing, our golf carts had coolers attached to them so we would fill them with beer and I always felt awful.

I could drink 1 beer and feel fine. Phew. Beer was safe! It was not to be though. As soon as there were a couple beers, the same things would happen.

We went looking for Gluten Free Beer and found only 1 kind in our small tourist town. Le Messagere. So pale and I didn't really enjoy it. Returning home on vacation, I tried New Grist. Not bad although after 2, I still felt a little tickle in my stomach. I wouldn't drink more than that anyway but still...

During my road trip through the US, we ended up one night in Flagstaff, Arizona. Completely on purpose so that I could go to Picazzo's for the pizza I had read about months earlier. There I tried my first Bard's Tale.
Just like a microbrew it seemed. An excellent beer.

Coming home, I do a lot of shopping in the USA because of their labelling laws and one of the last times I went over, I brought back some Redbridge. Another great beer.

I think the Redbridge and the Bard's Tale are my two favourites for drinking.
This leaves me with a bunch of bottles to use for my fish and chips.

As soon as I can't have something, I want it. So I started looking for a fish and chip batter. Sometimes it's all about the pictures. The picture can captivate you or make you pass by the recipe to keep on looking for another. When you find that picture that helps you to see the outcome, it helps the less imaginative person like myself.

I found that recipe.

Real English Fish and Chips with Yorkshire Beer Batter
Adapted from - Enjoy the recipe as is on if you are not eating Gluten Free

4 servings

  • 4 cod  fillets or 4 haddock fillets
  • 1 cup Gluten Free Flour *my flour mix below
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4  to 1 bottle Gluten Free Beer - you'll need a few sips for taste-testing or to thin out your batter
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • salt & pepper
  • extra GF flour
2-4 Yukon gold or yellow fleshed potatoes
Canola Oil for Fryer

Heat oil up in automatic deep fat fryer  to approx 325F.
Peel the potatoes and cut into chunky sized chips. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Fry chips for about 3-5 minutes until soft but NOT coloured. Drain and shake well and set to one side so they cool.
Put some flour onto a plate. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour thoroughly - this is VERY important, it stops the batter sliding off when fried! Leave the fish fillets in the flour whilst you make the batter.

Put flour, baking soda, salt and pepper into a large roomy bowl. Add the beer gradually, stop when you have a thick coating type of batter. Drink any beer that is left! Whisk thoroughly until it is smooth and there are no lumps.

Add the lemon juice  Mix thoroughly again.
Turn up the heat to 375F.
You can cook either the chips or the fish next now.
After the chips have cooled, they are ready for the second cooking. They will only take about 4-7 minutes for this second cooking depending on how long your first batch cooked for. You want them to still be on the paler, golden side while being cooked through. Once they are cooked, toss with salt and serve or hold in a warm oven.
Take one fillet of fish at a time and holding it by the tail or thin end (!) swirl it around the batter until well coated - plunge into hot oil immediately. As soon as it has crisped up and set, add your other fillets one at a time, taking out the first ones as they cook - about 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness.
I like to thin out the batter a little after this and throw in some onion rings as well.
It's generally a fantastic beer batter recipe whether you follow the GF modifications or not.

*Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 parts brown rice flour
2/3 part potato starch
1/3 part tapioca starch

Crisp batter, golden fries. What more could you ask for?


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    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    When the Moon Hits Your Eye, Like a Big Pizza Pie...

    That's Amore...

    Once upon a time, I used to make pizza. Thin crust, spicy oil, zesty pizza sauce, loads of mozzarella cheese and heaps of pepperoni. I loved my crust. It was thin and crispy yet enough dough to support everything.

    I have a great recipe that I use for pizza dough that I use from one of Carol Fenster's cookbook. One time I forgot which recipe I used and ended up using Annalise Robert's recipe which was also pretty good.

    One thing hasn't changed though. The pizza sauce.

    I've never really been a fan of the ones you can buy in the store and they can't really be stored properly for long periods after they have been opened.

    For tonight's sauce, I kept the sauce really simple. I could have added many more flavours but I was going for a certain style. Classic pizza shop with properly positioned pepperoni!

    Easy Pizza Sauce
    • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
    • 1 6 oz can water
    • 1 tsp agave (can use honey or sugar if you like)
    • 1 TBSP each dried basil and parsley
    • Freshly ground pepper and salt
    Empty the tomato paste in a bowl. Fill empty can with water and add to tomato paste. Mix slowly to incorporate. Add agave, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. 

    On other occasions, I will add rosemary, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and/or red chile pepper flakes. Whatever you like, add. It's just the simplest, easiest sauce recipe you'll find!

    Check out my Gluten Free tomato paste!

    Mixing in the water

    Add your spices

    GF Patisserie Pizza Crust

    Check out all the herbs!

    GF Cheese!
     I used to buy this cheese and it didn't have the GF symbol on it like over 800 Wegman's products. The ingredients list looked fine but there was no disclosure on the package. I was happy to see the GF Wegman's mark on the packages I bought today. 

    Oven - 450F for about 10-15 minutes until nicely browned, bubbly and crispy.

    I spread on wax paper and freeze, then break into smaller pieces and place in a freezer bag

    How good does that look?
     By the way, at Wegman's today, they had a display of Italian sauces and pastas out in the front hallway and That's Amore was on a constant loop. It's still in my head!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010


    The smells of fresh herbs in the garden... Anyone can grow herbs and they are almost always going to grow just fine. My garden is bursting with oregano, thyme and rosemary. The vegetables didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped this year. Too much heat at the wrong time I think.

    The brussel sprouts just didn't sprout, the beans looked deformed, the onion sets never took and the peas just tangled with the onions. My roma tomatoes did just fine and my pepper plants flourished. I must go pick some of the jalepenos though. I have some peppers drying inside for an upcoming chipotle dish.

    I picked some of the basil early to make some pesto and we didn't have as much as I would have liked near the end of the summer. Off to the market and we came home with a nice large bouquet of basil.

    I could definitely make more with this batch.

    Years ago, at a restaurant I worked at, they made a pesto dipping oil for the bread for guests. I never enjoyed it then. I don't know what was wrong with me. A couple years ago, I bought a pesto dip/sauce/just pesto in a fancy jar at a festival and then I brought it to a party along with a baguette and some extra oil to make it a bit more of a dipping oil. It was incredibly addictive mainly because of all the garlic in it I think.

    There are so many pesto recipes out there. I don't enjoy pine nuts and there are plenty of alternatives out there such as walnuts or almonds but I choose to leave it out altogether.

    Easy Pesto
    • 4 cups loosely packed basil, washed and dry
    • 3-5 cloves of garlic or more - Hey, why not? I have no one to kiss.
    • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
    • Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
    I throw all the ingredients into the Ninja ( food processor) and give it a few pulses.


    I added lots of oil to it afterwards to swirl it up.

    I had some Italian flatbread from GF Patisserie, and warmed it for a nice bread to dip.

    We'd recently bought some fresh mozzarella to make Insalata Caprese... fresh tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and salt and pepper, maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if you're feeling crazy.

    We had just come from the market and I was planning on having some bread with pesto and since we had fresh cherry tomatoes, I decided to change up the Caprese a little.
    Little ripe cherry tomatoes...

    Fresh pesto...

    And small chunks of fresh mozzarella...

    The basil thoroughly mixes with the tomatoes and cheese for much grander flavour.

    Another day, I wanted to make something along the lines of My Sundried Tomato and Basil Cheese Dip.

    I was making some of the Easy Pesto and placed about 7 pieces of sundried tomatoes in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes until they plumped back up. Then I added them to the Ninja processor and pulsed it all on up.

    I poured a little olive oil on some baguette from Aidan's Gluten Free and broiled it for a couple minutes and then added some of the Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto. Delicieux!

    And to round out the Pesto EXTRAVAGANZA!, a delightful little number I like to call Sundried Tomato Basil Stuffed Chicken. A little chicken, a little cheese, a little STB pesto, grilled on up...

    Fresh new potatoes, green and yellow beans with dill and parmesan

    I think I won't have enough frozen pesto to last out the year. Might need to start growing some indoors I think!

    This post is linked to Simply Gluten Free's Gluten Free Photo Contest.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Biscuits

    I've mentioned it before.... How I love to visit the King Arthur Flour blog. The pictures... droolworthy.
    One day I sat and read through every post. Many of the recipes are easily transferable to Gluten Free. The English Muffin Toasting Loaf is the inspiration for this blog's name. I have also made their vanilla scones.
    The latest effort? Their Ancient Grains Gluten Free Biscuits.

    Although they now have a Gluten Free line of products, I can't purchase them in Canada. Using substitutions, I can certainly make do.

    Their GF flour mix is essentially the same as mine with brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. However, their Ancient Grains blend contains whole grain flours that I don't have. I do have millet and sorghum which I use often for breads as I don't like a bread made solely with the rice flour mix.

    King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Biscuits.

    • 1/2 cup millet flour
    • 1/4 cup sorghum ( I used this combination of millet and sorghum rather than 3/4 cup Ancient Grains Blend)
    • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend*
    • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup, real maple syrup preferred for best flavor
    • 1 large egg
    • *See recipe for this blend below.


    1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.
    2) Whisk together the dry ingredients, then use a fork, pastry blender, or electric mixer to work in the butter, mixing until everything is crumbly with some pea-sized pieces of butter remaining.  (I grated cold butter into my dry ingredients and then mixed with a spatula)
    3) Whisk together the wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients until just combined. The dough will be very wet.
    4) Drop golf-ball sized portions onto the prepared baking sheet about 2" apart. (I used 1/4 cup scoop to make slightly larger biscuits) 
    5) Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes for Tablespoon sized portions or 18-20 minutes for the larger sized, until they're light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm.
    Yield: about 24 biscuits as on KAF blog or 12 larger drop biscuits.

    Here's the flour mix I used:
    2 part brown rice flour
    2/3 part potato starch
    1/3 part tapioca starch

    King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Biscuits

    You know you want some.

    They are a touch sweet since you have the maple syrup in these biscuits. I am wondering what they would be like with agave instead. I would love to make these again and decrease the sweetness and add garlic and cheese. 

    My love for garlic and cheese biscuits is a whole other story.  

    This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays . Check out more delicious recipes there.

    This post is linked also to A Gluten-Free Holiday, hosted by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free with this week's event Thanksgiving Favorites being hosted by Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily.

    This post is also linked to Linda's Monthlong Biscuit Challenge over at Gluten Free Homemaker

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Greek Salad Dressing

    In the last year, I haven't really eaten a lot of salad. I used to and I'm not sure exactly why things changed. It might be because I've become more sensitive to flavours and I find that vinegar is becoming stronger to me especially with taking smaller quantities to make salad at work.

    Commercial salad dressings are nearly intolerable to me because they are most commonly made with soybean oil. Or perhaps "canola, olive oil and/or soybean oil". I've recently purchased a digestive enzyme which I'm hoping will help with soy but at the same time, I really just need to get back into making my own dressings again.

    One of our favourites is a Greek dressing I found many years ago. It's that one recipe you keep taped in your cabinet. Literally.

    In the Ninja! I used fresh oregano for this batch. 

    I use Unico Red Wine Vinegar which always gives my dressings a darker sometimes pinky colour.

    Greek Salad Dressing

    • 3/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano  ( I used about 3 fresh oregano stems, leaves removed)*
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    I also added 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tsp of sugar to this batch.*
    Place all ingredients in small jar and shake thoroughly. Chill before serving.

    *Because I added fresh oregano and garlic, I blended everything up in my Ninja food blender. You could certainly press the garlic and chop the oregano by hand and then shake in a small jar.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Adopt A GF Blogger - Jeanine of the Baking Beauties

     When I lived out west, our office always celebrated birthdays every month. There was a large cake for the 5 or 6 people that were having a birthday. After I went gluten-free, I knew that I wouldn't be able to take part. There was another girl in the office who was also gluten-free and it was her birthday that month. No one should go without cake on their birthday! So I thought that I would make some brownies and we could have brownie sundaes.

    I used a brownie mix and well, it was interesting. Extremely fudgy and seemingly undercooked, yet super crunchy and definitely overbaked. Very strange.

    I saw a post by Jeanine of  last year for  her Turtle Brownies. Let me just say, I went out right away and bought caramels. Life intervened and I didn't end up making them.  Can I show you them? 

    Jeanine's Turtle Brownies

    Around rolled March and I saw some Mint Brownies which interested me. I made a nanaimo type version  and used Jeanine's recipe for brownies.That's why I decided to adopt Jeanine for the Gluten Free Easily's August Adopt-A-Gluten-Free Blogger Event
    My Nanaimo Style Brownies

    Last night I returned home from work and it's a coworkers birthday today. At this job, we usually have what the birthday girl wants. She wanted pizza. There are delivery places that do gluten free but if you are looking for a 24-slice pizza, there is only 1 place for that and they don't do GF. So I came home and grabbed a GF Patisserie pizza crust that I um....... well... it's a whole 'nother blog post but essentially I had a backpack full of their baked goods on my 4 hour flight home from a western vacation.

    Anyways, I made a pizza and decided to make some brownies while the oven was on. So of course I went back to Jeanine's recipe. I didn't make the Turtle Brownies but again I did use the main brownie recipe with a couple changes mainly butter instead of margarine and my flour mix.


    3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    1 cup granulated white sugar
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp Gluten Free Flour Mix (*see note)
    1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
    1/4 tsp salt( I added about 1 cup of white chocolate chips)
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper (makes for easy removal later).

    Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the brownie batter. ( I melted slowly in the microwave stirring intermittently.)

    Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the melted chocolate mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and, on low speed, beat in the flour, xanthan gum & salt and the chocolate chips. ( I don't have a mixer so I stirred it on up until it was blended together. )

    Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the brownies are barely firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
    Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, or in the freezer for longer storage.

    Note: My flour mix is 2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch and 1/3 part tapioca starch.

    I made a quick icing using butter, icing sugar, a little milk and some almond extract and piped it onto the cooled brownies.

    I took the brownies into work and they were so fudgey, it was incredible.  In my world, I would assume that anything you suggest I eat is wheat-filled. In everyone else's world, well, everything is wheat filled and they don't assume anything different. So although people know I eat gluten-free, they also don't immediately think I'm giving them something that is GF. These are a brownie that everyone can enjoy and not even think they are GF.
    See that classic shiny crispy top and the white chocolate?

     Jeanine's blog is one that I visit quite frequently because she's the same sort of baker/cook that I seem to be. Family favourites made gluten free.

    If I wrote about all her recipes that I've tried, we'd be here for a while.

     Her Recipes

    We made her Chinese Chicken Balls for our Chinese food Christmas dinner. These are a must try!! Gluten Free Chicken Balls

    Do yourself a favour and check her out!