A warning about turkey gravy

Just so we are all on the same page: if you mix too much cornstarch in with your turkey drippings, you will get a gravy that is closer in consistency to smooth porridge. Perhaps I can use this to spackle my bathtub. Gluten-free, turkey and sage flavoured spackle.

Other than that disaster, my turkey dinner shaped up well.

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The BEST spinach dip there ever was and ever will be EVER and its gluten-free!

spinach dip The best ever

Last week, Steve of Gluten-free Steve asked a number of gluten-free bloggers a number of questions. The whole event can be found on his blog and is definitely worth the read. One of the questions he asked was: “What is your favourite gluten-free snack recipe?”. Well, he actually had a fill in the blank questionnaire which said: “My favorite gluten-free snack is:” but that is beside the point.

The actual point is, I gave Steve the recipe for the best spinach dip ever and I didn’t include a photograph! It was sad. So, I have re-posted the recipe (also available at Steve’s Blog) along with the photo (above) and a warning. The dip looks odd and green — two things that turn people off of the dip when they first encounter this delight. You’ll find that at a party, people will take small spoonfuls when they first approach the food table in order to be polite, but once they try the dip they go back for seconds, thirds and fourths. There won’t be much left at the end of the night. Because of this, I always make a double batch. My photo shows a double batch. I’m not sure the exact dimensions of my dish, but its roughly the size of a 8.5×11 inch (21.6×28 cm) piece of paper. Maybe a little smaller (definitely not larger).

The BEST spinach dip there ever was and ever will be EVER!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (250 mL) (approximately one package) cream cheese. Yes, you can use light or fat free.

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated but one time I was out and found that the powdery processed stuff also works in a pinch. Its not as good, but it works.

  • 1 rounded tablespoon (15-17 mL) freshly grated Romano cheese (again, the powdery stuff works but won’t be as tasty.)

  • 1 rounded tablespoon (15-17 mL) very finely chopped sweet red bell pepper.

  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) garlic powder. DO NOT use garlic salt. Alternatively you can puree or finely mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic.

  • 2 green onions (scallions) white and greens finely chopped

  • 1/2 package frozen finely chopped spinach; (those frozen square blocks) thawed and squeezed dry. Do not use if the spinach is wet! You’ll ruin your dip.

  • 1/2 cup grated medium cheddar – old cheddar is too strong

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) of cayenne pepper — less if you don’t like spicy dip. I usually add 1/2 the regular amount if I’m serving to people who are very…er… meat and potatoes. You know, the sort of people who think anything other than salt and pepper is fancy — they tend not to like dishes with an edge.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Mix ingredients (except spinach) with a hand or stand mixer. If using a hand mixer that isn’t very powerful, you might want to consider microwaving your cream cheese for a minute or two. This will soften it up so you do not burn out your motor.

  3. Fold in spinach

  4. Transfer to the oven-proof dish in which you plan on serving this dip. If desired, sprinkle the top with some more cayenne pepper for decoration.

  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes. You’ll know the dip is ready when the edges begin to bubble.

  6. Remove from oven and serve with gluten-free nachos, gluten-free flat bread, raw vegetables, gluten-free breadsticks or gluten-free pumpernickel-like bread.

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Crazy Orange Turtle’s Roasted Chicken Recipe (gluten-free herb mix)

roasted chicken

Nothing is simplier and tastier on a weekend than a nice roasted chicken – it only takes a few minutes to prepare and an hour to roast. You can accompany the chicken with almost anything: pasta, rice, potatoes, salads, carrots, broccoli etc. etc. anything goes!

The key to my recipe is the spice mix and the lemon. The spice mix is great to use on any poultry dish — the mix makes enough for this recipe and more for storage, so you can just pull it out and use it whenever you make poultry.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • Crazy’s chicken spice mix, enough to cover chicken (recipe below)
  • salt (if desired)

Directions

  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken
  2. Rub Crazy’s spice mix all over the surface of the chicken, along with salt (if desired)
  3. Cut lemon in half, shove one half of the lemon into the chicken, this will keep the chicken nice and moist
  4. The other half of the lemon should be juiced, and the juiced poured over the top of the chicken
  5. Roast chicken at 400F (205C) until the internal temperature of the dark meat reaches 170F (76C), this will take 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your chicken. If the internal temperature still has not reached the appropirate temperature after an hour, just keep roasting – you just have yourself a very large chicken.
  6. Remove from roasting pan and carve. I like cutting the chicken into quarters instead of carving. Whatever you do, please enjoy!

Crazy’s Chicken Spice Mix

In a small bowl combine the following dried herbs and spices:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rosemary, preferably ground but whole works as well
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sage
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) marjoram
  • 1 1/2 (7.5 mL) teaspoons thyme
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) smoked paprika

Mix well, and store extra in an air tight container

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Moist almond, orange coffee cake — a recipe adapted from Louise Blair’s “Great Gluten-free Baking”

Gluten free moist orange almond cake Gluten free moist orange almond cake I just bought a new gluten-free cookbook: “Great gluten-free baking” by Louise Blair.This is an excellent book. Lots of yummy, easy and very tasty baking recipes. Beautiful photographs for many of the recipes, and easy to follow instructions.Here I have made one of Blair’s recipes, modified it a bit as I didn’t actually have enough ground almond to make the cake as written, nor did I have large oranges. I had one medium orange and a bunch of clementines. This recipe contains no added fat — the moisture comes from the oranges, and the only fat is from the almonds, and that is ‘good’ fat (but that doesn’t mean you should eat the entire cake!). Delicious with coffee — actuall just delicious anytime. YUMMY!

Moist Almond Cake
adapted from Louise Blair’s “Great gluten-free baking” — I have written the recipe using the measurements I used, if you want to use the actual measurements, please buy the book (or go to the library).

Ingredients

  • about 1/2 lbs (0.2 kg) orange type fruits (oranges, clementines mandarins), preferably seedless
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (415 mL) ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups (590 mL) brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 6 eggs

Directions

  1. Place whole oranges in a pot full of boiling water and simmer for 40 minutes – 1 hour (40 minutes for smaller fruit, 1 hour for large fruit)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C), grease a DEEP 8 inch cake pan or spring-form pan (I used spring-form)
  3. Put the oranges into a food processor or blender and blend until pulpy. Make sure there are no large chunks of peel. Also make sure there are no pips (in case you used seeded oranges, or you ran into a not-so-seedless seedless orange)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until just set. I think the cake tasted better a little dry, so I left it in for 50 minutes.v
  6. When finished cool on a wire rack. Don’t try to remove it from the pan until cool — it will fall apart!
  7. ENJOY!

The book suggests serving with whipped cream. I suggest drinking coffee.

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Jerusalem artichoke dip

jerusalem artichoke dip

jerusalem artichoke dip

This dip is thick so you can dip crudites or GF bread sticks or spread this on a lovely GF bagel. I’ve heard you can also use dip/spread recipe instead of using pesto.The artichokes have quite a strong woodsy flavour, so if you do not like strong flavours you’re not going to like this dip/spread — again, think of pesto — if you add too much pesto the flavour is FAR too strong to eat.

Some more background: Jerusalem artichokes are not actually artichokes. They are the tuber a native Canadian (and American) wild sunflower. They can be eaten like a potato but have a much stronger mustier taste.

Jerusalem artichokes are very high in inulin, they help your body absorb calcium and magnesium and will promote the growth of healthy beneficial bacteria in your tummy. This is great for people who have had some sort of intestinal damage — does this sound like you? Because they affect your intestinal tract JA’s can cause.. er… wind, similar to that experienced if you ate too many beans.

Another warning: even though the Jerusalem artichoke is a native to Canada (and parts of the US), Agriculture Canada considers this plant to be an agricultural weed — it competes with crop plants. So, if you compost like me (i.e. I don’t turn over my compost, so the compost does not get very hot) do make sure you cut your unused tubers into tiny pieces before composting, if you don’t you may have a weed problem. That being said, the flowers of the Jerusalem artichoke are marvellously pretty, so maybe you do want a weed problem?

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb (340 g) Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 bunch green Swiss chard or spinach (I used chard)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) GF mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) real Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (coriander leaves)

Instructions

  1. With artichokes with a brush, they tend to be dirty so scrub really well. If you cannot clearly see the rings around the tuber then you haven’t scrubed them enough. Dry them with a tea towel.
  2. LIGHTLY rub artichokes with oil. I cannot stress lightly enough. If you rub too much they will be a real pain to peel.
  3. Bake in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 375F (190C)
  4. Meanwhile, remove the stems and the hard centre vein of each green leaf (of chard or spinach) and steam until wilted. This shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes. Let leaves cool.
  5. When the artichokes are finished, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  6. When cool enough to handle, peel the artichokes. This is the worst part of the whole recipe. Its a pain, but its worth it. Discard the peel.
  7. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture is nice and smooth.
  8. ENJOY!

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Quick, easy and tasty barbeque pork shoulder, gluten-free

quick easy and simple bbq pork shoulder quick easy and simple bbq pork shoulder quick easy and simple bbq pork shoulder quick easy and simple bbq pork shoulder Ever wanted a really nice pork roast but were far too lazy to make one?This recipe is simple, easy, and quick. Five minutes prep time. Yup.FIVE MINUTES!Well, it might be longer if you don’t have barbecue sauce on hand and have to make your own gluten-free BBQ sauce. I already have my recipe made up and stored in the refrigerator, good to go! Of course, you can easily just buy some GF sauce. Whatever you like!Ingredients

  • BBQ sauce of your choice
  • Pork shoulder

Directions

  1. Wash and pat dry the pork shoulder
  2. Place pork in a casserole dish that has a cover or a dutch or French oven
  3. Poor 12 oz (350 mL) BBQ sauce over roast (as in the forth picture) and cover
  4. Place in a 350F (180C) oven for 1 hour per pound

ALTERNATE directions

  • Use a slow cooker! 8 hours on low.

I served my pork with rice and a side salad (not shown). The BBQ sauce was lovely poured over the rice for flavour.

ENJOY!

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Gluten-free Valentine‚Äôs Day Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Papaya Icing

Gluten-free valentines day cupcakesGluten-free valentines day cupcakes Next weekend there is a baby shower for my partner’s new niece. I was conned into volunteered to make all the food for the party. My problem: they wanted cupcakes. Anyway, long story short: I had to test drive a cupcake recipe for next weekend. I found this cupcake recipe on all-recipes.com and tweaked it slightly to fit my personal agenda. I topped the cupcakes with my famous strawberry papaya butter cream icing which is dyed bright red with gluten-Free food colouring. The candies you see in the photo may not be gluten-free, I have no idea – but my partner bought himself a big bag and since the cupcakes are really for him and his friends I decided to use them to top 1/2 of the cupcakes. I kept the candy off of the cupcakes I made for myself.But enough of my rambling. You don’t care! On-to the recipe!

GF Vanilla Bean cupcakes with Strawberry Papaya Icing
(makes 1 dozen)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp (90 mL) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) gluten-free baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp (7.5 mL) gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) xanthan gum
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp (155 mL) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) gluten-free mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) vanilla flavoured almond milk (cow milk or other milk substitute will also work)
  • 3 vanilla beans (or 2-3 tsp, 10-15mL, pure vanilla extract)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C) and put cupcake/muffin liners into the bowls of a muffin tin. If you want you can grease the sides of the tin and omit the liners, but the liners make cleanup so much easier.
  2. Take the vanilla beans and split them length-wise. Scoop out all of the lovely seeds and pulp. Place these in your mixing bowl. Do not use the empty pods for this recipe. Either discard the pods or place them in an air tight container along with some white sugar. This will result in your sugar becoming ‘vanilla sugar’ in only a few weeks.
  3. Put the milk or milk substitute in the same bowl. Add the rice flour and mix. This step will help to eliminate most of the “grittiness” associated with using rice flour in cakes.
  4. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Yes, that is right, I didn’t mix the dry ingredients together, and so you shouldn’t have to either. If you want to be technical you ARE supposed to make sure all the dry ingredients are blended before adding them to the pre-mixed wet ingredients but today I was lazy. The cupcakes were wonderful, so I’m telling you that you can be lazy and just plop everything in the bowl together.
  5. With a hand-mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one, but it isn’t necessary) mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth and lump free. If there are lumps keep mixing until there aren’t any! Just scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  6. Fill the muffin cups NO MORE THAN 3/4 way full. I filled two liners right to the top and the cupcakes rose a lot and then sunk in the middle. The muffin cups that I filled 3/4 way full yielded perfect cupcakes.
  7. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. When finished, allow to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a wire rack.
  9. When 100% cooled, ice the cupcakes with the frosting recipe shown below

Strawberry-Papaya butter cream icing

technically this icing can be made in any flavour. Just substitute the strawberry-papaya jam with a jam flavour of your choosing. During strawberry season (June) I make my own jams, so I pulled out my favourite – strawberry papaya. The icing was exquisite! I’ll put jam recipes up in June. At the moment I’m too lazy.

ALSO be aware that this icing is too thin for piping. If you want, you can add another 1/2 cup of icing (confectioner) sugar which should give you a better consistency for cupcake decorating.

Ingredients

  • 1.25 cups (310 mL) gluten-free icing/confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) homemade, gluten-free, strawberry-papaya jam
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) table cream

Directions

  1. Break butter up into cubes and place into a mixing bowl
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Blend with a hand-mixer until smooth – no lumps allowed!
  4. If desired add gluten-free food colouring

ENJOY!!!

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