Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!!!!

I will be roasting pumpkin seeds later, but for now, here are some eggshell eyeballs to enjoy…

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another "Favourite Thing"

Two words: Parsley Pesto. Not a new idea, but a great one.

After Thanksgiving, I ended up with a big bunch of parsley that didn't get used because the sore ran out of squash, so I couldn't use my squash recipe...what to do with it?

Parsley has been unfairly relegated to the "garnish" corner of the kitchen! A sprig here, a sprinkle there, decorating the plate, bringing a splash of colour with no expectation nor appreciation of the fabulous flavour it possesses.
I am not providing a recipe per se, as you are all smart/wise/inventive/experienced enough to either track down any basic pesto recipe, or have already made pesto yourself (likely with the classic, Basil).
Wing it.  It is hard to screw up.

My ingredients (this time, and next time they may vary):
Bunch of flat-leaf spinach
4 cloves garlic
About 1/2 cup toasted almonds
About 1 cup olive oil (extra virgin if you can)
Salt and Pepper

I used my NutriBullet to whip these up. It took a bit of doing, but got there. I didn't add enough olive oil to begin with and so it had trouble combining, but once the ratio was correct everything combined and the almonds pulverized perfectly. (Those of you with food processors would not have a problem)

It is the flavour that is outstanding. Bright and fresh and "Umami"/savoury. Gorgeous. And the colour! WOW!
I used it first on the lasagna I made the other day, mixed in with the ricotta (and pureed cauliflower : shhh, don't tell the kids!), and also dolloped on top of the lasagna when re-heating.
Another day I had it spooned on top of baked Sole fillets, stirred into cooked rice, spread on the inside of a grilled cheese, tossed with lightly sauteed zucchini as a side-dish... The possibilities are all there, and the flavour just elevates whatever you pair it with...except desserts, according to my favourite cookbook, "The Flavour Bible". (Get it, it's good)

Buy some. Whip it up. Toss it with anything.
Put the rest in a small jar and pour enough olive oil to just cover the top to retain the gorgeous colour, Store in fridge.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Buckwheat Gluten Free Pancakes

I was scrolling around GF sites the other day, and saw a request for GF pancakes, asking which flours work best. Well, the first thing that came to mind was Buckwheat (not actually of the wheat family). However, I have had varying success with pancake recipes. Sometimes they end up too runny, too thick, no flavour etc. I thought I would try a different flout combo and see how it turned out: half buckwheat and one quarter sweet rice flour (which I use in my pastry), and one quarter tapioca starch.
A winning combination in my books- the kids did not even ask if they were GF. The texture was great, the flavour delicious, the even LOOKED like"real" pancakes. Forgot to take pics- story of my life!!
Here it is:

Buckwheat Gluten Free Pancakes

1 cup milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 egg
2 Tb melted butter

Mix together milk and vinegar- set aside for 5 minutes while you combine other ingredients.
(The milk/vinegar combo mimics buttermilk, a good substitution for me because I never have buttermilk!)
Combine dry ingredients, and blend well.
Add egg and butter to milk mixture. Whisk flour mixture into wet until smooth. Adjust with additional milk if you want a thinner pancake.
Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then cook on griddle over med heat.
HINT: if you have any leftover pancakes (I had one) you can make a nice rustic yet decadent dessert by sprinkling the pancakes with chocolate chips and popping in the oven until melty but still holding their form. Drizzle with syrup.
I do love leftovers...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Alas, it was frenzy getting everything to the table, and I forgot to take any beauty shots of the bounty! I did manage to take a couple of dessert shots of the pies, so here they are:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Having the family over for the turkey feast tomorrow, so I have spent the day in the kitchen, preparing. Bought a gorgeous 18 lb free range turkey (pre-ordered) from Rowe Farms, then bought the remaining groceries. Store was out of Butternut squash, so I will substituting sweet potatoes. They ran out last year, too. You would think I would have learned my lesson!
Home from the store and into the kitchen: Homemade pastry, Pumpkin pie and tartlettes, "maple leaf" pastry decorations (with the pastry scraps), Chocolate cupcakes, both full size and mini, cornbread, cornbread stuffing (all Gluten free, of course)...this house smells AMAZING!   :)
Pumpkin tartlettes, and a bounty of cupcakes, yet to be iced

Pumpkin Tartlettes!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just Desserts!

  The Final Product: Beautiful Blueberry Tart!

Pate Sucree, Gluten Free

Pâte Sucrée, Gluten Free

1 1/2 Cups my GF flour Combo (see below)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp xantham gum

For the flour mix I used the same combination I usually use for regular pastry. This combo makes too much for this recipe, so combine and then store the leftovers for next time:
  1/2 cup Tapioca Starch
  1/2 cup Cornstarch
  1 cup Sweet Rice flour (also called Glutinous flour, but don't worry, it is flour made from Sushi rice!)
  1/4 cup Potato starch (NOT potato flour)

Cream butter in mixer. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add lightly beaten eggs- bit by bit-and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Measure out your 1 1/2 cups of flour in separate bowl, and add salt, guar gum and xantham gum. Mix well.  Add flour mixture all at once to butter mixture and mix until dough forms a ball. Place on sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a disc, wrap well and place in fridge to chill (30 minutes).

Now, being a Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Pastry), you can just press this dough into your prepared pan.
I wanted to see if it could be rolled for mini tarts, and it does work, but you must wait for the dough to warm a bit.
Roll out on lightly floured (I use sweet rice flour) plastic wrap, as best you can. Don't worry if it breaks- it will!  Simply press back together. Use a 1 cup measure to press the dough into all corners and fluted edges. Trim the top if need be. Prick the base all over gently with a fork to prevent/minimize puffing. Refrigerate, covered loosely, for minimum 30 minutes to reduce pastry shrinkage.
Bake at 400* for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.
Let cool in pan before removing.
* I also gave the tarts a light egg-white wash to prevent the pastry from getting soggy once filled: beat one egg white until frothy, and brush on to pastry when just out of the oven.

Pate Sucree Success! Recipe to follow

Just sampled the first of the pastry: a small tart shell cradling goat cheese, crumbled bacon and a sunny-side up egg. A special treat for Father's Day.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Baking Saturday

Today is the day to bake.
I was going to bake a beautiful Blueberry pie for my Mum, but I "inherited" some fantastic tart tins that I have yet to use, so blueberry tart it is!
Initially I was going to just use my tried and true pastry recipe, but as I searched for inspiration on the Web, I realized I had to find a "Pate Sucree", or shortcrust recipe.
I found one that looked great, but alas I have not (yet) converted to measuring my ingredients by weight.. Solution: a hybrid.  I used the instructions from one, the measurements from another, and  my own flour combo mix (that I use for pie pastry).  The pastry is now resting in the fridge, and my fingers are crossed!