14 May 2008

Gluten Free Adopt a Blogger: Cajun Red Beans and Rice

This month my adoptee was Shauna, from Gluten Free Girl.

Shauna's well known in the gluten free community for her stunning food photos and scintillating blog-skills. She's even gotten media coverage on the food network.

*This is me being jealous*

Anywhoodles, she's a really really good cook, and that's all you really need to know...

I was looking for a really great gf recipe from her wide, wide selection of gf offerings. The flourless chocolate torte tempted me....until we (the Carnivore and I) made a pact to go without refined sugar for a month. Drat. I decided, in light of my overwhelming sugar-temptation, to steer clear of anything remotely sweet and go for an entree instead.

There were so many choices that it was hard to narrow it down. Not entirely hard - Shauna's got a lot of meat/fish entrees, and while we spend the vast majority of the fall and winter meatifying ourselves, spring and summer are essentially vegetarian if not vegan affairs. I decided to go with her fantastic cajun red beans and rice recipe.

Now her recipe calls for sausage, and maybe ham, and... we're not eating meat, so I did have to do a bit of tweaking.

I calculated how much seasoning goes into 2 lbs of andouille sausage and added it to the recipe. This helps the general flavour of the meal to remain consistent to her recipe without sacrificing philosophy/budget.

Here's the link to her original recipe. At the risk of offending the adopter-goddesses, I'm including the vegan version here. My changes are marked in BLUE.

Tweaked Vegan Version of Cajun Red Beans and Rice

* 1 pound red kidney beans, dry
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 bell pepper, chopped
* 5 ribs celery, chopped
* As much garlic as you like, minced (I like lots, 5 or 6 cloves)
* I OMIT THE HAM HOCK she called for here
* Instead of sausage, use the extra seasonings I list:
  1. 1/2 tsp of Cayenne
  2. 1 1/2 tsp Paprika
  3. 2 cloves Chopped Fresh Garlic
  4. pinch Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  5. 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  6. 2 Tsp Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
  7. 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

* 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
* 1 or 2 bay leaves
* As many dashes Crystal hot sauce or Tabasco as you like, to taste
* Creole seasoning blend, to taste; OR,
* red pepper and black pepper to taste
* Salt to taste

Soak the beans overnight, if possible. The next day, drain and put fresh water in the pot. (This helps reduce the, um, flatulence factor.) Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about 45 - 60 minutes, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain.

[Not having planned ahead, I only had canned beans. I used three cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed them, then threw them in a big stockpot with some water, sherry, creole seasoning, bay leaves, and garlic cloves. I let them boil away for about half an hour.] I just used the rinsed cans of beans, and added the bay leaves, sherry, and garlic cloves, without boiling again.

While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

[I'm pretty much thinking that the more garlic, the better.]

After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock (or ham or pickle meat), smoked sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover. Here I jsut used the extra seasonings and omitted the meat.

[I skipped the ham hock, which I'm sure was a travesty. Intead, I just threw in the sausages, seasonings, a little water, more sherry, and the shrimp.]

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Adjust seasonings as you go along. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot. (If the beans are old -- say, older than six months to a year -- they won't get creamy. Make sure the beans are reasonably fresh. If it's still not getting creamy, take 1 or 2 cups of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir.)

[As I wrote, when the concoction had boiled down to as much liquid as I wanted, I threw it into the crockpot and let it bubble on high for nearly three hours.]

If you can ... let the beans cool, stick them in the fridge, and reheat and serve for dinner the next day. They'll taste a LOT better. When you do this, you'll need to add a little water to get them to the right consistency.

Serve generous ladles-ful over hot white long-grain rice.

04 May 2008

RAW, vegan Girl-Scout Style Samoas

Girl-Scout Style Samoas


(click on image to enlarge)

Makes A LOT

These were my favourite cookie growing up – I always took off with the box as soon as my mom brought them into the house. Eventually she gave up and let me have my own box. Then she got smart and made me buy them…

Now, I make my own. This recipe passed with a good girlfriend of mine, who said they tasted like the real deal.


  • 2 cups almond flour from making almond milk, dehydrated and ground
  • 1 cup coconut, ground into powder, (I use my coffee grinder)
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use vanilla seeds)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 RECIPE Condensed Milk, from my profile page
  • 1 or 2 c dehydrated coconut
  • 1 RECIPE Chocolate Ganache, from my profile page


In the bowl of your food processor, grind the almond flour and coconut until very fine and homogeneous, Add the dates, vanilla, and salt and blend until mixture comes together in a smooth mass – you may want to add the smallest amount of water to achieve this- no more than 2 tbsp!

Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness on a silicone liner or parchment paper and cut into small circles – I use a small 2 inch cookie cutter (an ‘o’ shaped one from my alphabet collection).

Place in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 110 degrees for at least 4 hours or until crisp (I usually dehydrate about 6 hours).

Mix the condensed milk and enough coconut to make a thick filling – it should be like really sticky macaroon batter. Place a small amount of this on top of the cookie, pressing lightly to stick the filling to the cookie. Place back into the dehydrator and dehydrate for about another 2-3 hours, or until the topping is set and thickened.

Make the Ganache, following the instructions on that recipe, cooling until the mixture is thick but still flowing. Dip the bottom of the cookies in the ganache and place on a parchment paper. Drizzle with ganache and place in the fridge to set. Store in a container in the fridge.

RAW, vegan 'Condensed Milk'

You'll need this recipe to make my famous girl-scout style Raw Samoas, but it's also a great alternative for condensed milk for those of us who can't or don't do dairy.

This is a fantastic replacement for condensed milk for recipes like Girl-Scout Style Samoa Cookies and Magical Seven Layer Bars (recipes coming soon). It will thicken and ‘caramelize’ in the dehydrator, and is surprisingly authentic in flavour. Don’t let the coconut scare you – this isn’t a ‘coconut’ flavoured condensed milk sub.


  • 3 tablespoons golden flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut, ground into powder, (I use my coffee grinder)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or use vanilla seeds)


Soak the flaxseed in the water overnight.

Blend at high speed in the blender until the mixture is ‘fluffy’ and frothy. Very, very slowly add the agave nectar. Add the sea salt, coconut, and vanilla and continue to blend until mixture is very smooth and creamy looking.

Pour mixture into a shallow dish and place in the dehydrator.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for at least three hours, or until desired consistency is reached.

Use in recipes or continue to dehydrate to make ‘dulce de leche’

Girl-Scout Style Thin Mints (Vegan and Raw Versions)

There is nothing better than a girl scout cookie fresh out of the freezer. Of course, they're terrible for you. But they're so darn good.

I've had cravings for them for as long as I can remember. Naturally, when we went gluten free about 4 years ago the cravings increased. Of course they would. There's a principle called 'forbidden fruit..."

Anywhoodles, I finally decided to do something about it. Here are two variations of girl scout cookies. They both taste pretty darn real, and they're both easy. If you don't mind a non-vegan version of the baked ones, feel free to save yourself some time and use Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips for the dipping chocolate.

Vegan Girl-Scout Style Thin Mints

Makes A LOT
The chocolate wafers that make up the base of these cookies go incredibly well for other applications (fake oreos or ice cream sandwiches, for two), but I think they're best here - robed in luscious mint-chocolate and begging to be scarfed. I made several tins of these for my family, and true to tradition, hid a few tins in the far reaches of the freezer, for myself.


  • 8 ounces organic palm shortening (you can use crisco if you prefer)
  • 4 drops peppermint oil
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (or 1 tsp salt)
  • 1 1/2 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
  • 12 ounces milk-free chocolate (we like a good dark chocolate chip)
  • 1/4 c organic palm shortening
  • 4 or more drops peppermint oil to add to the chocolate


In the bowl of your Mixer, combine the shortening, sugar, peppermint oil, cocoa, sea salt, and flour. Beat until smooth. Place in the freezer to chill for about twenty minutes.

Lightly flour a silpat or parchment paper and place the dough on the surface. Flour the dough and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut into 1 1/2 inch circles with a small cutter. Place on parchment or silpat lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Slip the liners onto cookie racks or cake racks and allow to cool completely. Peel from the sheet.

In a double boiler or bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and palm shortening, stirring in enough peppermint essential oil to make the chocolate mint-chocolatey—be VERY careful! Too much peppermint will give you a ‘toothpaste’ taste. I like about 4 drops. Let the ganache chill until thickening, but still flowing (about 10 minutes in the fridge, stirring every so often)

Using a Fork, Dip each chocolate wafer into the peppermint ganache, hitting the fork gently against the side of the bowl to shake excess off. Place on a clean parchment paper and transfer to the fridge or freezer to set. Place in a container and keep in the fridge or freezer.

RAW (vegan) Girl-Scout Style Thin Mints

Makes A LOT

I fed these to a SADdie, without comment, and she said – ‘What did you make…gluten free girl scout cookies?”

Jst saying… these are as close to the real deal as you’re going to get in this life (without selling out). Thin wafers of mint-chocolate cookie are encased in a chocolate ganache.

These are best out of the freezer – of course that could be years of training speaking.


  • 2 cups almonds flour from making almond milk, dehydrated and ground
  • 3 drops peppermint oil
  • ½ cup coconut, ground into powder, (I use my coffee grinder)
  • ½ cup cacao powder, (use a really high quality)
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 RECIPE Chocolate Ganache
  • 4 drops or more peppermint oil, to add to the ganache


In the bowl of your Food Processor, combine the almond flour, peppermint oil, coconut, and cacao powder. Grind till fine and homogeneous. Add the dates, water, and salt and process until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball, like cookie dough.

Heavily ‘flour’ a silpat or parchment paper with cacao powder and place the dough on the surface. ‘Flour’ the dough with cacao powder and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut into 1 1/2 inch circles with a small cutter. Place on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for at least 10 hours, or until very crisp.

Follow directions for making Ganache, stirring in enough peppermint essential oil to make the ganache mint-chocolatey—be VERY careful! Too much peppermint will give you a ‘toothpaste’ taste. I like about 4 drops. Let the ganache chill until thickening, but still flowing (about 10 minutes in the fridge, stirring every so often)

Using a Fork, Dip each chocolate wafer into the peppermint ganache, hitting the fork gently against the side of the bowl to shake excess off. Place on a clean parchment paper and transfer to the fridge or freezer to set. Place in a container and keep in the fridge or freezer.

29 April 2008

COMING SOON: Vegan, Raw Girl Scout Cookies

like I said... coming soon. Hubby's calling me to bed *eyebrows*

Vegetarian Paella

Rice commodities are rising, and are expected to continue to rise, so I thought I'd take a moment and make this classic dish before prices went into the stratosphere.

Paella comes from Spain, originally, taking its name from the Valencian word for 'frying pan' - it's usually made from vegetables, seafood, and meat, and liberally dosed with saffron and olive oil.

I was short on saffron tonight, so as you can see... I left it out.

It's usually cooked so that all the liquid is absorbed and the bottom forms this fantastic crust - my favourite part - but I was also short on time, and I thought that The Carnivore would react better to a 'stoup' - as Rachael Ray calls it - than a dryer consistency (which he usually refers to as 'a side dish').

Turns out he prefers to add a little ground beef to his paella - guess it's still a side dish - but the kids and I were loving it.

Here's the recipe for your perusal. Feel free to add saffron. Oh, and if you have time, let the rice completely absorb and form that crust. You won't regret it.

Vegetarian Paella

1/4 cup of olive oil

5 cloves minced garlic

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups rice

1 can crushed tomatoes 9or 4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped and a generous 2-3 threads of saffron)

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

2 c asparagus, cut into small pieces

1 cup green peas

1 lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is tender and translucent. At the same time, heat the broth in a separate pan until simmering.

Pour the rice into the pan and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the simmering vegetable broth and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until almost tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the peas and asparagus.

Squeeze the lemon over the rice. Continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Serve the paella straight from the pan, garnished with lemon wedges.

It's Truly Vegan! Asparagus Linguini Alfredo

After four long years of waiting, our first crop of asparagus was finally ready to harvest - asparagus, you may not know, takes so many years to establish that it almost makes one wonder if it's worth it to plant in the first place.

Trust me - it is.

After four long... (did I say long? I meant loooooooooonnnnnnnng) years of cultivating the plants, you'll begin to harvest asparagus - lots of it. And you'll keep harvesting this (free!) veggie for the next twenty years. More if you're willing to do the back-breaking labour of splitting the roots.

I love asparagus. Every which way. In lemon sauce, steamed, boiled, baked, fried in tempura - I don't care how it's done. I love it.

I sat there wondering what on earth to do with this first harvest, and it hit me -- alfredo!
Rich and creamy, ultra dreamy loaded with fat and calories - who doesn't love the buttery, cheesy goodness of a real alfredo sauce?

Well, vegans for one.

Or those with dairy intolerances. What's a gal to do?

I came up with this lovely alternative for alfredo, and it passed with everyone - even The Carnivore. Everyone assumed it was the normal dairy version.

Traditional alfredo is pretty straightforward. Extremely high-fat-content butter (European style) is warmed and melted with plenty of high-quality Parmesan, that's thinned with just a bit of pasta cooking water. The starch in the pasta water gives a certain body to the sauce that would otherwise be lacking.

In the United States, things get a little more complicated. The lack of high quality butter (most of our butter has too high a water content to work) and parm makes it difficult for the average homemaker to make a good sauce. Also problematic - people tend to use too high of a heat or the wrong proportion of ingredients - and they end up with a gloppy-oily mess or something tasteless.

Because of this, most restaurants (and home recipes) use a flour-thickened cream or milk-based white sauce into which plenty of parmesean has been melted. Garlic and cayenne pepper are the secret ingredients of the most popular restaurants' alfredos.

People tend to crave what they know, and assuming people have rarely if ever had a traditional alfredo (I have...wow! Amazing), I went for the more commonly available taste and texture.

Macadamia nuts are the secret here for texture - They're superstars in the vegan world and great for subbing for dairy cream.

A combination of vegan 'cheeze' fave nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, salt and garlic (and a tiny pinch of cayenne) takes care of the taste. One thing I advise - I've gone a little light on the salt. Traditionally Parmesan adds a very salty dimension to food, and your taste buds may insist on more salt. Feel free to add it at the end, by sprinkling over the plate.

Better Batter Flour adds body, and olive oil adds the final touch of fattiness to the dish and helps round out the flavour.

Asparagus Linguini Alfredo

1 pound Thai Kitchen Linguini style Rice Noodles
2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces
3 tbsp olive oil

2 c water
1/4 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (optional, for thinner sauce, omit)
1 1/2 c macadamia nuts
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/16-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c olive oil

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile in a blender, combine water, flour, mac nuts, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, sea salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Blend until completely smooth.

In a saucepan saute asparagus with 1/4 c olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add alfredo sauce and heat through. Stir in olive oil. Stir in hot noodles and serve.

Bengali Inspired Spinach Curry

I love Indian food - the blend of spices, the comfort-food textures - it's my idea of heaven. Unfortunately The Carnivore disagrees. To him Indian food is just so much weirdness rolled into one - and the fact that there's about zero chance of getting any kind of meat with the meal tends to put him in a 'lovely' frame of mind.

Because of that, I rarely make Indian food -- it's not worth the dirty looks.

So you can imagine my utter joy when my oldest son (whose turn it was to pick dinner) asked for ingredients that really and truly couldn't combine into anything other than... INDIAN FOOD!

This meal is really more of a fusion food than truly authentic Indian Food - I've been having massive cravings for black beans and spinach in some sort of combination (don't ask), so I had to tweak the original Bengali recipe a bit to make flavours mesh.

Contrary to popular belief, curries don't have to have loads of tumeric or (gasp) curry powder to work. Curry, according to a childhood friend of mine, is essentially any kind of a vegetable stew.

This particular curry is sweet and spicy, creamy and fresh, and blends well with the tumeric scented pilaf that I made as a side dish, using none other than our beloved Seamaiden's rice recipe as inspiration. It also happens to be super high in protein and fiber.


Bengali Inspired Spinach Curry

1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c raw sugar
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp tomato paste

4 oz diced green chilis
1 onion, diced
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed
2/3 c slivered almonds
1 c dehydrated coconut
4 c cooked black beans (1 can)
1/4 c water

In a large pan, saute the oil, sugar, mustard seeds, cumin, sea salt , and tomato paste until the sugar and tomato paste begin to caramelize.

Add the chilis and stir well. add the onions and saute till soft. Add the spinach, almonds, coconut, beans, and water, and simmer until heated through.

Serve with pilaf and naan.

18 April 2008

Chinese Spring Rolls and Dulse Rangoons

I've always been a sucker for things wrapped in wontons and deep fried - really doesn't matter that I'd be in pain for several days afterward - I have never been able to resist the siren call of the egg roll, the spring roll, and the infamous crab rangoon.

Of course, finding out that the misery was due to a genetic disorder really put a damper on m love relationship with these delicacies - the specter of cancer doesn't really make them as appetizing... and my decision to stop eating pork and shellfish sealed the deal.

Did you know that most egg rolls/spring rolls have pork in them? And most crab rangoons contain... you guessed it - actual crab. Shocker, eh? And the rangoons that don't??? Well they contain fake crab, aka GLUTEN....

So I've been rangunless for a while now, and I just couldn't take it any more.

I decided to make a go of it and came up with these recipes. Dulse adds a seafood dimension to both the spring roll and the rangoon. Have fun!

If you're going to make your own dim sum, you need wonton wrappers. These are relatively easy and very quick to make, and they can be used anywhere traditional wontons are called for. This makes 16 wonton wrappers.

1 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp water (up to 4tbsp total - save 2)

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the egg and flour together, adding 2 tbsp of water. The mixture should stick together when pressed - like a stiff pasta dough. If it's too dry add up to 2 tbsp of water.

You'll want to heavily flour your rolling surface. Split the dough into four parts and flatten each into a square. Sprinkle the top of the dough heavily with flour and roll out until the square is 8 inches by 8 inches - it will be thin.

Take a knife or pizza cutter and cut the square into four smaller squares.

Now you can leave these squares as they are, but I think it's better to make the squares really, really thin. To do this you'll want to flour the rolling surface again, as well as the surface of the wrappers - don't worry that this will make them too dry - it will help combat the moisture of the filling. Roll them out until you can see through them - each square will be about 5 to 6 inches wide. I've included a rather ghetto picture of one of my wrappers on top of my ecover dishwashing tabs box, so you can see how thin the squares will be.

Use these anywhere you would use wonton wrappers.

Chinese Spring Rolls
It's a common misconception that spring rolls= rice wrappers with lettuce. Chinese Spring rolls differ very little from Chinese Egg Rolls - they're both fried parcels of cabbage wrapped in egg-dough wrappers. Not exactly what comes to mind when one thinks spring, I know. Still, these manage to taste fresh and light, which is a miracle in itself when you're dealing with anything deep fried. They're also extremely simple and require only easily available ingredients. Serve these as a meal in themselves, or as an accompaniment to any meal. This recipe makes 16 spring rolls.

2 c cabbage
1 c shredded carrots
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/2 c water
2 Tbsp dulse
1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
1/2 inch ginger, grated
2 Tbsp gf Tamari
dash hot chili pepper sauce

1 recipe Won Ton Wrappers

Mix the cabbage, carrots, onion, vinegar, water, dulse, ginger, garlic, tamari, and hot sauce in a bowl and let marinate overnight - you can let this soak for up to three weeks, and honestly I think it's better and tastes 'fresher' the longer it sits. Drain the mixture, squeezing it dry and reserve the liquid to make a dipping sauce.

Place a wonton wrapper on a floured surface. Working quickly, place about 3 Tbsp of the mixture on the wrapper, starting about 1/2 inch from the top and sides. Fold the sides of the wrapper in and quickly roll the wrapper into a sausage shape, enclosing the filling. Quickly dampen the edge of the wrapper with a wet finger and finish rolling the spring roll. Press lightly to seal and set aside. Repeat this process until you've used all of the wrappers and filling.

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a wok or deep fryer. Fry up to three spring rolls at a time, until golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile take the reserved liquid and add 1 tsp of either tapioca starch or cornstarch, and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Let thicken and remove from heat - add salt to taste.

Serve the wrappers with dipping sauce.

Dulse Rang00ns
I couldn't take it anymore - I had to make some of those wickedly junk-food concoctions that I'm sure are pure Chinese-American junk food. Ranguns. Dulse gives a distinctly sea flavour to the cream cheese filling and deep frying makes these treats just like their restaurant counterparts. Don't be shocked by the inclusion of Worchestershire here - the basic ingredients of the stuff are staples in the asian kitchen. This recipe makes 16 ranguns.

4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c green onions, minced
1/4 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp gf tamari
1 very small clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
2 Tbsp Dulse

1 recipe Won Ton Wrappers

Beat the cream cheese, onions, sauce, tamari, garlic, and dulse together. Take 1 1/2 tsp of the filling and place in the center of each wonton wrapper. moisten the straight edges of the wrapper and,placing your fingers on each straight edge, press them together in the center, so that the corners form little pockets, or petals. This will take a few times to get exactly right.

Heat ta least 2 inches of oil in a wok or deep fryer and fry the rangoons a few at a time. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Adopt a Blogger: Tapioca Pudding

My adoptee of the month was Kate of Gluten Free Gobsmacked!

Now, apparently I'm supposed to tell you a little about her - last month I neglected to do this (*sorry, Sea!) because.... well, frankly because I'm notoriously fuzzy with details. So here's my take on Kate:

Kate's a long time celiac (2000, right, Kate??) who's famous for her beautiful photography and creative recipes. One thing I've come to appreciate about Kate is her ability to weave a tale. Usually a food blog (especially mine) runs something like this: "Blahblahblahrecipedescription, recipe, pic" Not the most scintillating to read... Kate manages to bring a background into her tale, and I find myself reading her entire post, instead of skimming through and looking at the pretty pictures.

In fact it was her warm and personal style that led me to adopt her this month. Many of you who follow my blog -- when I'm posting regularly - know that I have my own gf flour blend, and so Kate's recipes, which rely heavily on her own mixes and a more traditional approach, might seem a little strange. At fist I thought it was a little strange, too...

But Kate always has options available! I pulled a fantastic Tapioca recipe from her blog, and let the magic roll. Now my pic looks nothing like her pretty pic, so I'll let you wander over there and peek - I'm sure it tasted every bit as good.

Kate's recipe varies from the traditional recipes in a few ways -- most appreciated on my list, the cinnamon sticks, which lent a spicy, clean taste to the tapioca without muddying it, like ground cinnamon would have. I'd never thought to add cinnamon to tapioca pudding, but I don't think I'll ever want to make it otherwise, now that I've been enlightened!

The other major difference: This tapioca is baked. I honestly had never heard of a baked tapioca pudding before - baked bread pudding, baked rice pudding... but never baked tapioca pudding. This made the pudding a little more custardy, which is perhaps why she recommends adding whipped cream to the pudding afterward. We didn't, which is perhaps why our pudding isn't prettiful like Kate's.

I never thought it would be possible to call a tapioca pudding decadent, but Kate proved me wrong. Way to go!

11 March 2008

Buckwheat Crepes! My adoptee: Seamaiden

My adoptee for the Gluten Free Blog event is none other than our beloved Seamaiden! I chose to make her fabulous buckwheat crepes as my 'project.'

She recommended making a fantastic-sounding mushroom filling, but my husband wouldn't touch a mushroom to save his life, so I decided instead to make my family's version of Bananas Foster, recipe follows.

The crepes were delicious and very mild, compared to what I was expecting. I found that using two pans and staggering the whole 'pour, swirl, flip' method gave me exactly the perfect timing, and it cut down on the total time needed for the preparation. Brenda's method of blending everything in a blender was genius and made for a very silky, smooth batter. These crepes were really delicious.

Of course I used the Better Batter flour where she calls for 'your favourite gf flour mix' and I ground the buckwheat myself in a coffee mill, which to me makes for a lighter flavoured flour than stuff you can usually buy. It also makes for a lighter looking pancake, which was really nice. Expect if you make this using a commercial buckwheat flour that it will be darker.

Here's Sea's blog recipe: Buckwheat Crepes

And here is our version of Bananas Foster.... you'll find this one is more buttery and fresher tasting than the famous version.

Bananas Poe
1/4 c salted butter
1/2 c raw or demerrara sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 c golden rum
5 large bananas, sliced

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir till dissolved. Add the nutmeg and allspice and stir. Stir in the rum, and heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup bubbles. Stir in the bananas and heat until just warmed through.

Place the bananas in crepes or over pancakes and serve immediately.

06 February 2008

THE Definitive GF Croissant

The internet is a wonderful thing! A few months back I posted a great, super easy crescent roll recipe on my website. The ladies over at the Delphi Forum took it and improved upon it. Of course, I had to have another go at the thing, so I tweaked their version of it... The result was a delicious crescent roll, indeed.

One thing that bothered me about the recipe was the loss of the yeast, which lends itself to the flavour of the pastry. I detected a distinct 'baking powder' taste in the Delphi versions of the roll, which -although not at all objectionable - stopped short of a true croissant flavour.

The fact that the crescent roll wasn't going to rise, becuase of lack of yeast, bothered me to no end as well.
So of course, you know me...

Several tweaks later, I am proud to announce the absolutely, incontrovertably, most flaky, tender, buttery croissant you will ever eat, bar none. It also makes insanely great pain au chocolat and pigs-in-a-blanket.

I'd made my own version of Kate's 'army of crescent rolls' ... but they were literally all eaten before I could get the camera and snap a shot. Alas.

Mr. Picky... aka the hubby, says these are the real deal, and a woman at a local celiac conference (who's NOT a celiac and eats gluten as a religion, lol) wasn't aware that they were gf when she was eating one (she thought my stuff was just normal stuff for the regular vendors to eat, since it was separated from all the other samples) and was literally shocked that it wasn't a 'real' croissant.

I'll leave it to you to be the judge.

Here's my recipe. It makes 16 normal/Large sized croissants. Have fun!

The Definitive GF Croissant

2 sticks of butter, (8 Tablespoons) frozen

1 package rapid rise yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
2 sticks of butter, cold
3/4 c Full Fat Sour Cream
3/4 c Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 egg

2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda

AT LEAST 3 cups of Better Batter flour for rollign

2 egg whites, beaten with 1/4 c water, till slightly foamy, for makign the croissants beautiful


  1. Place yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl and set in a warm place to proof for 10 minutes, or until creamy and foamy. (This is important!)
  2. Cream together cold butter, sour cream, ricotta cheese, and egg until whipped, creamy and semi-yellow in color (about 3-4 minutes) - the butter should resemble cottage cheese
  3. Add Better Batter Flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Mix together until the dough comes together - mostly away from the sides and begins to form a ball or lump in the middle of the mixer (about 3-4 minutes). It will still be sort of sticky!
  4. Divide into two portions. Shape each one into a rectangular patty about 4x6x1.5
  5. Place into a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least two hours, overnight preferred. This is important! If you're impatient like me, you can freeze it for an hour.
  6. Grate the frozen butter (I used my food processor) and put it into a freezer-safe storage container/bag. Return grated butter to the freezer until you are ready to use. (By the way, it will store indefinitely like this.) You can divide it at this time to make it easier.
  7. Work in a cool place, lay down a parchment paper or Silpat and flour heavily with about a cup of flour. You'll need a rolling pin for the next step!
  8. Remove one of the rectangles of dough from the fridge, and the butter from the freezer.
  9. Generously dust the top of the dough rectangle and roll the dough as to about 1/8 inch thickness. You should be able to see through the dough partially. I was able to roll the dough about 27” long and about 15” wide.
  10. Turn the dough lengthwise. Generously sprinkle the middle 1/3 of the dough with about 2-3 tbsp of the the grated, still-frozen butter. Fold up the bottom third of the pastry over the top of the middle third. Sprinkle two more tbsp or so of the grated, still-frozen butter over the top of the part you just folded on top. Fold down the top third of the dough to cover the center/butter again. If your dough is getting warm, please put it in the fridge for at least an hour (I work fast, so I don't do this).
  11. Generously flour the top, sides, and bottom (lift the dough gently to push flour underneath) of the dough. Repeat the rolling out thin and butter sprinkling one more time. You will sprinkle the butter on twice and roll out three times. You'll need a lot of flour, and you should be able to see the flecks of butter through the dough.
  12. After the round of of butter sprinkling and folding, turn the dough again and roll the dough out for it’s final time,rolling it to about 1/4 inch thick (not thicker!). Work quickly at this point as the dough is beginning to warm up again.
  13. Leave the dough lying flat along the parchment paper.
  14. Divide into long triangles with the pizza cutter (each triangle should be the full length of the long end dough - about 15 inches, with a wide end of about 4 inches. You will end up with 8 large triangles for each 1/2 of the dough. At this point you may want to fill your croissants with all kinds of goodies by placing your filling on the wide end of the triangle.
  15. Roll the croissant up from the wide end carefully (as the layers are thin). Seal the end (to keep it together during baking) by brushing the beaten egg white onto top ½ inch before finishing the roll. Shape into a crescent moon shape.
  16. Brush the completed croissants with beaten egg white (this makes them shiny and pretty).
  17. Lay the complete croissants on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and Let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes or so. Repeat steps 7 through 16 with the remaining dough.
  18. Bake the croissants at 425F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
You'll have blistery, puffy, buttery, yeasty croissants. The real deal. YUM.

30 January 2008

Raw Fried Rice (cauliflower for people who hate cauliflower)

I'm not doing the RAW thing, perse... as far as counting percentages and obsessing. But I find that my brief foray into obsession opened up an enormous world to me - one that tastes better, most of the time, frankly. So I do find myself eating very High Raw most of the time.

This recipe is a super quick, super easy way to make a family favourite of mine - fried rice - without actually having to have any cooked rice on hand. Without actually having to cook, for that matter. If you're weirded out by the whole cauliflower thing, don't be. I hate raw cauli... but I love this dish.

Fried Rice


(click on image to enlarge)

Makes 6+ cups

This rice is as close as you’ll come to real fried rice. It’s got the right balance of mouth feel and taste, and it was a winner here at the house, even with Mr. Picky. You’ll find this serves 3 VERY generously, or four, with a side dish. Feel free to serve it very cold as a salad, or slightly warm, as I’ve suggested, for an authentic Fried Rice.


  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1 ten ounce package peas, thawed, or fresh peas
  • 2 tablespoons onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup cilantro or flat leafed parsley
  • 1 inch of lemongrass
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • a drizzle of sesame oil, optional
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • Braggs, or gf tamari
  • 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds


In the bowl of your food processor, pulse cauliflower into ‘rice’ and place in a bowl.

In the FP, pulse the onion, garlic, lemongrass, and cilantro or parsley until finely minced. Place in bowl.

Place peas in bowl. Stir all ingredients together.

Drizzle with oils and gf tamari or Bragg's. Stir in sunflower seeds.

Optional but AWESWOME: Heat on very low heat in a saucepan, stirring contstantly until just warm to the touch, or place in dehydrator for 30 minutes.

Absolutely Authentic Tasting Vegan Caesar Salads

It's almost impossible to make Caesar Dressing properly without animal ingredients. I mean, the classic Caesar recipe calls for plenty of egg yolks and anchovy paste, and swapping out ingredients tends to make something that's 'not quite' Caesar Dressing.

I wasn't satisfied with that, so I put my little brain to work and came up with this substitute. I guarantee you won't be able to tell it's vegan.

In order for you to get it to work, you'll have to do a first stage recipe. First Stage recipes are where you have to make one thing in advance, in order to use that thing later. The First Stage recipe I use to make this is cultured nut-cheese. It's a brilliant sub for cream cheese (the best I've ever found) and the base for all kinds of things (like vegan feta, vegan yoghurt, vegan sour cream, etc). You can find it at my Raw Food page, but I'm including it here, for ease's sake, below the Caesar Dressing Recipe:

Creamy Caesar Dressing

Makes about 2 cups dressing

You won’t taste a more authentic Caesar dressing. This reminds me almost exactly of the creamy Caesar dressing served at Red Lobster.

The secret is in the dulse flakes, which give the secret ‘anchovy’ taste; and in the hempseed, which works perfectly here in place of Parmesan. Your tastebuds will feel guilty.

You can choose to use either water or oil. Oil will give a creamier, richer dressing, but water makes it considerably lower in fat.

To make a Salad, toss Romaine or Spinach (I used spinach in the picture above) with the dressing and top with lots of hempseed. If you’re really ambitious, make some homemade croutons and toss them in, too.


  • 1 cup cultured Real Cream Cheese (recipe below)
  • 1 lemon (juice of)
  • 2 teaspoons dulse flakes
  • 2 tablespoons hempseeds
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (homemade or otherwise)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 cup either water or oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
  • hempseed for sprinkling


Whir everything but the last set of hempseeds together in a blender until absolutely smooth. Let sit at least 1/2 hour or overnight for best flavour.

Toss with Romaine or Spinach, the extra hempseed, and homemade croutons, if desired.

Real Cream Cheese

Makes 4 c

This cream cheese actually tastes like cream cheese, feels like it, and looks like it. The secret is in the probiotics. Use it for awesome cream cheese, or serve with Bagels and Lox (see my other recipes).


  • 4 cups Macadamia Nuts
  • water to cover
  • ¼ cup probiotic powder, any brand


Place mac nuts in blender. Cover with juuuuuuuust enough water to come up to level with the nuts. Add the probiotic powder. Whir in the blender until absolutely smooth (this may take about 10 minutes, so make sure your blender doesn’t get too hot). THe consistency should be like cold cream.

Place in a mesh bag/cloth napkin and Twist until the bag is sealed. Place in a collander and put a weight on the top (I use a plate with a can of something) and put in a very warm place (Like your dehydrator or the radiator) for at least 48 hours. Refrigerate.

And now back to our regularly scheduled inanity...

No, I'm not dead!

I've been backlogged with work, getting this business off the ground. I'll be posting again soo, though, so have no fear.

Here's a few pics to keep you interested (I'll post the recipes later!):

Batter Fried Fish-nChips

Pain au Chocolate with incredible croissant crust

Auntie Anne's clones

Gran Marnier Angel Food Cake with Craberry Swirl

Unfried "rice" (cauliflower for those who hate cauliflower)