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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Spinach Artichoke Dip - easy & chilled!

A new family favorite!!! I based this tasty spinach artichoke dip off a yummy rendition I had while visiting Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.  The restaurant there served a light, fluffy, and chilled spinach artichoke dip that we loved (although it tasted like they used mascarpone cheese in lieu (or perhaps in addition to) cream cheese, where I used only cream cheese here. If you have mascarpone about, add in a dollop!   I was inspired to recreate something similar because it was just too delicious and perfect on a hot summer (or any time of year) day not to be able to eat regularly.  I had to post this recipe, because my mom has big plans to make it again tomorrow.  Enjoy!
Fresh, homemade spinach artichoke dip.  The left was whipped until light and smooth, the right is a chunkier version (just not blended as long).  Yum!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes enough for two dipping bowls (2-3 cups of dip)

In a large pot with a lid, cook over high heat:
1 package fresh spinach
1/4 - 1/3 cup water

Steam just until spinach has wilted, then remove from heat.  Let spinach cool slightly before blending with other ingredients.

In a blender, whip together:
~3/4 cup artichoke hearts, marinated in oil (removed from oil)
1 cup steamed spinach, drained (from above)
4 oz plain cream cheese (or a mix of mascarpone & cream cheese)
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (monterey jack w/ hot peppers) 
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream (to desired thickness - you can use milk, but I like the texture from the cream)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
dash cayenne powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves roasted garlic (OR 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder OR 1 clove fresh garlic)

You can blend this only slightly to keep it chunkier, or you can let it really whip to create a light, fluffy dip reminiscent of the texture of hummus.   Personally, I prefer letting it really blend until it's smooth, light, and fluffy.

This spinach-artichoke dip is perfect served with corn tortilla chips or fresh homemade GF naan bread (our favorite!).  Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Chicken Saag Pizza!

Leftover homemade chicken saag is wonderful on homemade pizza crusts (GF or otherwise), topped with a little mozzarella, goat cheese & fresh sliced shallots.  The saag is rich, so you can use just a light sprinkling of toppings and cheese.  Not only do you get to have chicken saag again (yum!), but you'll turn an ordinary pizza into an extraordinary one!  Enjoy!
Chicken Saag Pizza
GF Chicken Saag Pizza, topped and ready for the oven! 

I've found that for GF pizzas, it's often best to bake toppings on partially or fully baked GF pizza crusts to avoid any sogginess and to end up with a nice browned, crispy crust.

Our current favorite crust has been to use GF homemade naan bread as our crust.  Just make and bake as instructed, removing the naan bread/pizza crusts from the pan and parchment paper to cool once it comes out of the oven.  When you're ready to top the pizza, then return the naan bread to the parchment-lined baking pan and top with the following:

Chicken Saag, warmed a bit and used as the pizza sauce
fresh mozzarella, sliced
shallots, thinly sliced
green scallions, thinly sliced
crumbled feta cheese
thin tomato slices, optional (the ones pictured here were tiny yellow tomatoes)
green bell pepper, optional
red cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Once you're pizzas are topped, bake in the oven at 450 F for ~7 minutes, until toppings are hot and cheese is just beginning to brown.   (Some GF crusts require baking directly on the rack, others, like the GF naan bread, can be baked on a parchment-lined pan - follow the instructions of your crust).
Chicken Saag Pizza
A yummy chicken saag pizza, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat! 

Slice pizza and place immediately on a cooling rack to keep the bottom nice and crispy. Enjoy!  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream!

Summertime is a the time of year when I most enjoy eating ice cream all by itself.  Generally, I prefer a tiny dollop on top of something like a warm fruit crisp.  One of my favorite flavors of ice cream is a mint chocolate chip and the other in pre-gluten-free days was a mint oreo flavor made by this wonderful ice cream shop in Boston.  This ice cream provides the best of both worlds!  A yummy cookie crumble, bits of chocolate, and mint all infused together in one delicious ice cream.  And, best of all you won't need all the cookies from your batch of GF thin mint cookies for this recipe, so you'll have extras to serve on the side.  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A delicious fresh batch of homemade GF thin mint ice cream! 
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A rather crazy looking scoop of scrumptious ice cream with a GF thin mint cookie on the side! 

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream

Mix in a bowl:
3 cups 10% lactose-free cream (OR regular light cream OR 1 cup cream + 2 cups milk)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 drops peppermint essential oil (I love the Doterra peppermint oil in this recipe - and much prefer it to an extract)

Mix ~10-15 minutes in your ice cream maker (according to the directions on your ice cream maker).  While mixing, you can crush your homemade GF thin mint cookies, enough so you have about 1 cup of crushed cookie crumbs.  I like to leave some larger pieces and some smaller pieces.  It's easy to crush the cookies by placing in a freezer ziploc and rolling or hit with a rolling pin.

After the 10-15 minutes of churning, add to ice cream maker:
1 cup crushed homemade gluten-free thin mints.

Continue mixing until ice cream has thickened, as directed by your ice cream maker.  Scoop ice cream into a freezer-safe container and let chill ~2 hours before serving.  Feel free to serve alongside a few extra cookies! Enjoy!!!!


Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Best Homemade Seafood Chowder!

The wonderful thing about making seafood chowder at home is that you can use whatever fresh, local (or not-so-local) seafood that is in season.  The recipe here is for a delicious vegetable-packed chowder filled with lobster, scallops and haddock.  You can easily add shrimp, salmon, or other types of fish in addition to or as a substitute for these.  You can even add in mussels, too.  The pictures here are of a chowder I made while visiting Nova Scotia. It was filled with fresh, local scallops, lobsters, and haddock fillets.
Best Gluten Free Seafood Chowder
Wonderfully delicious homemade seafood chowder, packed with lobster, haddock and scallops.  This version is packed with vegetables, too, and packed with flavor. 


The Best Homemade Seafood Chowder
Serves 6-8

Saute in a large pot over medium heat for 4-5 minutes:
1/3 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced
dash salt and pepper

Add, and saute, stirring regularly for 5-7 minutes:
1.5 lbs potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 - 3/4 cups diced fennel bulb
3-4 cloves garlic, minced OR 1/4 - 1/3 cup garlic scapes, sliced (if in season)

Add and cook an additional 1-2 minutes:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (adds spiciness, so use less if you prefer less bite)
3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Vegetables in seafood chowder
I like to saute the vegetables for a longer period in the pan, then they can simmer for less time in order to really bring out the flavors and taste.  

Add, then simmer vegetables for ~7-8 minutes:
~3 cups water (just until top of veggies)
1 tsp GF chicken bouillon seasoning (optional)

Add:
1 cup 10% cream (lactose-free works great)

Mix in a small bowl:
1/4 cup 10% cream
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Once you've mixed the flour/cream together, you want to add it a little at a time to the bubbling soup.  Stirring and returning soup to a low boil to adjust thickness after you add each 1-2 Tbsp.  I prefer a less thick chowder, and so would recommend just a bit being added.
Chowder, thickened and ready for seafood
Here's the chowder after being thickened a bit.  I prefer a just barely thickened creamy soup to the thick chowders sometimes served.  In this picture the soup is ready for seafood to be added. 

Once you've achieved the desire chowder thickness and returned your soup to a boil over medium heat, add the following and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally:
8 large scallops, diced (or equivalent amount of small scallops)
3 haddock fillets, diced

Taste test the soup at this point to adjust with salt and pepper, as desired.  The Old Bay Seasoning has quite a bit of salt, so I usually just add a dash of pepper.

Just before serving, add:
cooked lobster meat from 2 large lobsters, diced (I remove and use the tail, claws, knuckles)

This flavorful seafood chowder is wonderful served alongside garlic bread.  A few breads we enjoy eating as garlic bread are: a tasty GF white bread, GF naan bread, and homemade GF sourdough bread.
In my opinion, the perfect accompaniment to a fresh seafood chowder and garlic bread dinner is a homemade apple crisp.  If you can find Cortland apples, you'll truly be in heaven.  Enjoy!
A homemade GF apple crisp made with local Cortland apples - yum! 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Red Potato Salad with fresh herbs

This lovely potato salad is packed with fresh herbs, making it a flavorful addition to any summer meal.  I particularly love it when served alongside something like pan-fried haddock or cod or a nice baked or barbecued salmon.   The salad shown here was served at a book club luncheon and was a perfect accompaniment to rolled up ham and cheese sandwiches and a garden salad.  Enjoy!

Red potato salad with fresh herbs
Freshly prepared red potato salad with fresh herbs, ready to eat!

Red Potato Salad w/ Fresh Herbs

Rinse & dice ~2 lbs baby red potatoes into large bite-size pieces.  Place in a pot of cold water, enough to cover the potatoes by about 1".  Add a dash of salt.

Bring pot to a boil. Boil uncovered for ~10-12 minutes, until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork (just soft enough for the fork to go through, not mushy. You want them to keep their shape).   Drain and run under cold water to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together:
cooked red potatoes, from above
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
5-6 green onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder OR 2-3 Tbsp chopped roasted garlic cloves
salt & pepper, to taste (I usually start with 1/4 tsp of each and add more as desired)

You can serve this immediately or chill and serve.   I find it's nice to make it a day in advance so the flavors really blend together.  Enjoy!

Friday, 23 June 2017

BBQ Salmon with roasted garlic, herbs and lemon

A wonderfully light and flaky salmon, made easily on the barbecue! The rich flavours from the garlic, herbs and lemon infuse the salmon spits packed with flavour.  I like to cut the pieces so they're narrow, meaning they cook evenly and quickly.  Try these with a side salad, rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

A gorgeous tray of salmon, fresh off the BBQ.  It is as tasty as it is aesthetically pleasing. 

BBQ Salmon topped with roasted garlic, herbs & lemon

I like to cook my salmon on the BBQ, but off direct heat.  On a small grill, you'd have one half on about medium and cook the salmon on the other half.  On a larger grill, I like to have the outer heat going and have the salmon cooking off the direct-heat in the middle of the BBQ.   To prepare the BBQ, I put all burners on high-heat, then turn off the ones where I want to put the salmon, and lower the others to medium/medium-low.  I like to aim for a temperature of about 400 F.

Line a BBQ-safe pan with foil.  On foil, place:
8 small slices of salmon (each ~1 1/2 - 2" wide)

Drizzle salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together:
10 cloves of roasted garlic, chopped
2-3 Tbsp minced chives
2-3 Tbsp minced dill
3-4 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika

Spread the garlic & herb mixture on the top of the salmon slices.   Top salmon with lemon, thinly sliced.
Just gorgeous - ready to pop onto the BBQ.

Bake salmon at ~400 F on the BBQ for 15 minutes for small slices and 20 minutes for larger pieces of salmon.  Check with a fork to make sure the thickest part is cooked thoroughly and nice and flaky.   Enjoy!!!



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Three Large Delicious Bread Loaves

These large, delicious loaves of gluten-free bread are so easy to whip together!  They're perfect for sandwiches, grilled cheese, garlic bread slices, toast, french toast.  Just a nice, moist, chewy bread that tastes wonderful and is perfect for all.  I've had many amazed it's gluten-free because it tastes so nice.  Enjoy!
Fresh out of the oven - we couldn't wait long enough to sneak a slice (or two). This bread is wonderfully light and chewy.  

Three Large Delicious Bread Loaves

Butter 3 large loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixer, mix the dry ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
4 tsp xanthan gum
4 tsp rapid-rise yeast (quick yeast)
2 tsp salt

Add and beat 3-4 minutes, scraping occasionally, if needed:
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
5 Tbsp honey (OR 2 Tbsp honey + 3 Tbsp maple syrup)
8 Tbsp oil (I love avocado oil)
6 eggs (chia seeds + water substitute will work well for those egg-intolerant)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Fill each loaf pan 1/2 full with batter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm location until dough has reached the plastic wrap (~40 minutes).   Remove plastic wrap - don't worry if a little dough sticks to the top of the plastic wrap. It'll look fine once cooked.
Pans filled with dough.  These were covered with plastic wrap and left to rise 40 minutes before baking. 

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes until nicely golden brown.  Remove from pans and cool on cooling racks.  You can slice and use immediately or slice and freeze.  I always slice my bread before freezing, and it's perfect to take out and use for lunches or meals.  Enjoy!
Large, fresh loaves of delicious bread.