Root vegetables really grow on you – and when you realize you can create some really complex and magical flavours by marrying them with a range of unexpected spices, winter meals with root vegetables become something to write home about. Oh – they also go really, really well with chicken…
Not every meal ideal or recipe needs to be complicated. In fact, this is a SIMPLE side dish, as so many people struggle with what sides to serve at meals. This is also one of those dishes that some people may have been hearing a lot about lately, but who aren’t sure how to incorporate it into their normal cooking routine.
Holiday Sausage Strata
“Holiday Sausage Strata” sounds like a complicated dish, dreamed up by some Larousse or Emeril to further complicate one’s Christmas and New Year traditions. Who knows – some famous chef may have been responsible for this masterpiece, but the saving grace of this recipe (in this time of absorbingly complex kitchen activity) – featuring all the breakfast essentials of eggs, sausage, cheese, and bread – is that it is laughably easy and guaranteed to please the crowd – either on Christmas morning, or on New Year’s Day (when it contributes all the ingredients necessary to soak up last night’s revelry, if needed). Read More
With the festive time of year upon us, ‘tis the season for holiday parties and potlucks. This is an easy recipe that is gluten free, and will be a hit at any event you host or need to bring an appetizer to. It is so simple to make, which leaves you with plenty of time to deck the halls, shop for gifts, and to enjoy some Christmas cheer!
It’s the season for parties and sharing and eating more than you’re used to. And inevitably, there are the potlucks – the opportunity to make one thing for everyone, and enjoy everyone else’s one thing. And, when one has to be wary about what might be in those cookies or cheese log or charcuterie, it’s always helpful to bring along to the party something that everyone – yourself included – can enjoy to the maximum, without fear of gluten. Why not be the life of the party, bringing the jewel in the crown of party foods – Gluten Free Wings, for a Crowd.
This recipe just cannot be called anything else. Uncle Bill’s Chicken is the only thing it has been known as for my entire life. Fittingly, my Uncle Bill, a real guy, and my real great uncle, made it up, and it’s been in the family for years. It’s simple, delicious, and only requires 5 ingredients total.
Hello, dear readers! I have very graciously been allowed to rant to you all about my baking adventures. If you haven’t tried it yet, allow me tell you something: gluten free baking is not easy. I have personally been gluten free for roughly 3 months now, but my fiancé has been for 3 years. He has no official diagnosis, but with his mother and one older sister having the diagnosis, it was a no brainer. Read More
Hamburger salad sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but that’s essentially what it is, so I’m going with it. You may look at it like a “deconstructed” burger as well, and that works too. If taco salad is considered a “salad” then so is this. I have to admit; with as common as taco salad is, its distant cousin hamburger salad now needs its time in the spotlight.
It was just over a decade ago, when I lived in Ireland – the homeland of the savory pie, that I learned the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie. It is actually where I first learned that such a thing as cottage pie actually existed, and that all the years prior to that moment, I was incorrect in my labeling of shepherd’s pie and that there WAS an actual difference.
When you decide you want chicken wings – even if more takeout places are now producing acceptable GF-versions – there are times you would rather be able to freely eat without the financial burden that comes with consuming things that cost a buck a wing, or more. So, next time the family pack of wings go on sale at your local grocery store, grab a package (or two) of them – because this recipe for Bushfire Chicken Wings is guaranteed to please the whole household.
Bread is the ultimate comfort food – and one of the easiest disappointments when it comes to eating gluten free. Most gluten free bread is dry, crumbly, grainy…anything but comforting! This bread will NOT disappoint. It’s a variation of traditional Brazilian cheese bread; crispy outside that’s fluffy and cheesy on the inside. This recipe is one of the most versatile recipes – the base is simple enough that you can add pancetta or spices or even cinnamon and honey to create a bread perfect to accompany your next meal. This recipe is also pretty foolproof and with little prep!
Tex-Mex Chicken-Mango Salad
School’s out, the kids have already switched to holiday mode, and with the weather shifting to muggy tornado season, there’s ample reason not to want to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen. There are plenty of one-dish meals you can make for this time of year, but Tex-Mex Chicken-Mango Salad is a great option for mixing up plenty of excellent Southwestern flavours on one plate. There are a couple of ingredients to make ahead on this one – but they take so little time that you can easily fit them in between lounging on the deck, getting up to fetch some iced tea, and folding the laundry. And this protein-packed recipe lets you maximize a little bit of chicken over several servings. It also keeps well overnight in the fridge, if you wanted to serve the leftovers tomorrow. Read More
Pasta is one of those dishes I sadly thought I had to go without, after my Celiac diagnoses. Would I ever enjoy a delicious Italian favorite again? Or would I have to watch, drooling, as others lapped it up, and I had my gluten-less, hardly equals, rice, quinoa and potatoes? Well, after trying many other brands and realizing that just might be true, enter: Barilla. Now we’re talking!
Product Review – Robin Hood GF Flour
Ahhh, baking. As the world gradually moves towards providing celiacs with acceptable and eventually delicious alternatives to the foods missed the most (pasta and real sandwich bread topping this list), there’s the final frontier – how to find a good GF flour that comes as close as possible to behaving, and tasting, like the muffins, cakes and pies you used to know and love, even if they didn’t love you. Unfortunately, the key to almost all delicious baked goods appears to be gluten, that sticky, stretchy protein that makes bread springy, cakes moist, and celiacs sick. Is there a GF flour that can step up to this plate?
I’ve written in previous recipes (including an early banana chocolate chip muffin recipe available earlier on this page) about my undying love of Cup4cup brand all-purpose GF flour. After starting the celiac way in our house with what we thought was the obligatory and budget-busting 14 kinds of starches and flours needed to make an array of recipes for homemade baking mixes that “taste just like the real thing”, it was a massive relief to discover this amazing product. It really does perform like it’s supposed to, in all kinds of baking, and because of its remarkable ability to do that without the annoying aftertaste of xanthan gum – Cup4cup is still the standard against which all GF flour gets measured, at least in our kitchen.
Problem is, it ain’t cheap. Yeah, you can get it on sale occasionally at Save-On Foods in Calgary, where they have an impressive array of GF options, even in the flour section, but in general, the price for a 1-kilo bag of this magic powder is a hefty $22-$26, depending on where you find it – and it isn’t available at Safeway or Co-op or Superstore yet. So – when I ran out of the last bag we had in the pantry, and I found myself at Safeway for all my other grocery needs, not really wanting to drive way the heck out to Save-On for one thing – I took a good, hard look at a new bag of Robin Hood GF Flour nestled on the shelf among the decidedly paltry selection of GF offerings.
You see – Robin Hood was one of the early bandwagon-jumpers among the major flour producers to get into the market with their GF blend of flour. We bought a bag, because it was reasonably priced. But the taste and texture left way too much to be desired – gritty, metallic and heavy, to put it kindly. We didn’t finish that bag. So -what was different about this one? Well – Robin Hood apparently decided that a HUGE selling point was to proudly proclaim in big letters that this was a New Formulation With XANTHAN GUM. (Perhaps nobody there yet knows that xanthan gum is nothing more than a necessary and expensive evil, not a seductive lure). But what you couldn’t argue with was the price. Safeway was offering this 2-lb. (907 gram) bag for a mere $6.59. OK – fine. We’ll give it a try. If it tastes lousy, not too much harm done.
Since banana chocolate chip muffins are a staple in our house, and have been made with everything from old Robin Hood to XO Bakeries to Cup4cup and a range of homemade flour recipes, we had a pretty good benchmark against which we could test this stuff.
Test number one – mixability. OK, this passed easily. Stirred right in, no talcum-like clouds of starch billowing forth. Test number two – how does it rise? Again, peering in through the oven door, everything puffed up very uniformly, with a smooth texture between the chocolate chips and oatmeal and craisins, and finally, right at the end, cracked open fetchingly just like a perfectly-baked muffin should. Test number three – how’s the crumb? (That’s the springiness and airiness of the finished product). This passed, too – no leaden mass here. Nice and springy. But then there’s the ultimate test – how does it taste? And I confess – I jadedly thought the first three tests were that way just because of the much touted xanthan gum.
So I took a bite. Actually, I ate the whole muffin immediately. The very pleasant surprise here is that Robin Hood has gotten it right. I have to say that there was the faintest – and I mean very faintest – aftertaste of xanthan, but there’s no more grit or artificial metallic tang. In short – this GF flour is really very good indeed – and maybe heralds a new beachhead in the battle to get GF products at a much more affordable price. You can get away with making muffins with this, not only for yourself, but for the gluten-eaters you know and love, without them making a face.
I wonder if it would make good bread. The nice thing is, you can now afford to experiment wildly.