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Monday, 30 June 2014

Pesto Pasta Salad (w/ Lobster or Shrimp)

This summer, we've got a plethora of wonderful, organic veggies coming our way from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program with Heartbeet Organics here on Prince Edward Island.  It only seemed proper to put the beautiful purple kale, spinach and green onions/scallions from this week to use in a tasty summer dish! While homemade pesto is wonderful, the basil plants they gave me aren't quite big enough to make pesto yet, so I find it's easier to use the ready-made kind in order to whip together delicious meals, or BBQ side-dishes like this one.  (Sorry mom, we'll make some nut-free pesto this summer for you when you visit!)   We like this salad plain, but since I live in PEI, land of lobster, it seemed appropriate to put some fresh cooked lobster meat on top of this salad. You can serve it with shrimp as well.  Sprinkled with a few dashes of tabasco sauce, and it was fabulous! Enjoy!

We had it the next day topped with lobster & a few dashes of tabasco sauce. Delicious!

Pesto Pasta Salad (w/ Lobster or Shrimp)
Serves 6-8

Cook ~700 g fusilli pasta in salted water, as directed on package (I used 2 packages of 340g Catelli GF Fusilli Pasta).  Rinse in cold water, drain.

Mix pasta with:
3 Tbsp lemon-infused olive oil (OR 1 Tbsp lemon juice & 3 Tbsp olive oil)
2-3 Tbsp green pesto

While pasta is cooking you can prep the following:

In a small bowl, mix together: (* This amount makes a lighter sauce on the pasta, double or triple this if you want a creamier salad)
3-4 Tbsp green pesto
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
3/4 tsp fresh ground salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Have ready to mix into the pasta:
1 - 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed & chopped
1 cup fresh purple kale, stems removed & chopped
1 - 2 Tbsp finely diced scallions/green onions

Gently toss pasta together with veggies & sauce.  Add additional salt/pepper, as desired.  You can serve this plain OR top with one of the following:

Fresh cooked lobster meat, chopped coarsely
OR
Fresh shrimp (shell-off), brushed with lemon-infused olive oil and BBQ'd until pink

Sprinkle with a few dashes of tabasco sauce, to serve.  Enjoy!

Ready to serve!  This is great b/c since you've already run the GF noodles under cold water, you don't need to wait for your dish to chill before serving. 

Easy & Delicious Shrimp Skewers

There's nothing like being able to cook things on the BBQ when it's hot - but luckily, you can also make these wrapped in foil wraps and either cook on the BBQ or even cook the foil-wrapped packets in the oven!** Win-win!  I like using metal skewers since you don't have to think in advance and soak them, but you can use wooden skewers, too. Just make sure to soak them overnight before you prep them.  I love using vidalia onions when they're in season. They're wonderfully sweet and cook up nicely.  They're a great combination with the shrimp, hint of lemon, and red pepper.  Make sure to prepare a side of rice (I made a quinoa and wild rice blend in the picture here), and steamed a some green beans & carrots. Enjoy!

Freshly BBQ'd and ready to eat, served with a side of quinoa/rice and steamed veggies!

Easy & Delicious Shrimp Skewers
Makes ~6-8 skewers, Serves 4

Start cooking 1 cup quinoa/wild rice mix or rice of your choice to serve on the side with your skewers.

Prepare:
2-3 big handfuls of shrimp, peeled & deveined (tails on or off)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped into large pieces

Thread onto skewers shrimp, bell pepper and onion.  I tend to use a few onion slices together since they're thin.  You can alternate randomly, i.e. onion, pepper, 2 shrimp, pepper, shrimp, onion, pepper, 2 shrimp.  Don't worry if you have a little extra of anything, since you can wrap it right up foil and cook it alongside the skewers on your BBQ. See note below*

Brush the skewers with lemon-infused olive oil (or mix together a squirt of fresh lemon juice and olive oil).  You can grind a bit of salt & pepper on them, if you like.

Cook over medium-low heat on your BBQ, turning every couple minutes.  When your shrimp have turned from blue/grey to pink/red they are done!  Every BBQ is different, but I found they took ~5-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve immediately. You can serve on skewers or remove from skewers (as I did, since I'm using metal skewers and serving kids) and serve with a side of rice and steamed veggies.

* Foil packets on the BBQ: If you have extra shrimp, onions, peppers: Using double layer of foil, place the extras in the middle of the foil.  Drizzle over a bit of lemon-infused olive oil. To seal the foil wrap: Pull two opposite sides of foil together, rolling them down together in the middle. Pinch together and roll up the other two sides.  You can place this packet on the grill and the shrimp will steam in a few minutes.  You can always remove it from the grill, carefully open to see if it's done and return it to the BBQ if it needs more time.

** Bake in the oven:Yes, you can cook foil-wrapped packets of the shrimp, onion and peppers in a regular oven.  I'd recommend making ~ 3-4 foil packets and placing them on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400F.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Blueberry Bagels

I've made mini blueberry bagels, mini cinnamon raisin bagels, everything bagels, and jalapeno-cheddar bagels, poppyseed bagels, apple-cinnamon bagels, cinnamon-sugar bagels, and I decided the time had come to make some full sized blueberry bagels. Berries are in season and so delicious to use in baking.  Plus, I find bagels freeze really well, so you can enjoy them anytime!  I have more pictures of the piping, rising, etc. in my other bagel recipes, in case you're wanting to see more details.  I find that despite not having been boiled, these are wonderfully chewy and have a great bagel texture.  One of those quirks of gluten-free cooking - we can't always do things like we used to do them.  In this case, it's a win-win! Happy bagel making! Enjoy!

Fresh from the oven! 

Blueberry Bagels
Makes 5 – 6 large bagels

Line cookie sheet with silicon mat or parchment paper.

In a 1 cup measuring cup mix and let rest 5 minutes:
2/3 cup warm water
4 Tbsp honey
2 tsp rapid rise yeast (quick-rise yeast)

Add to yeast mixture:
2 egg
4 Tbsp oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Set liquids aside, and mix together in a mixer:
1 1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
5 Tbsp potato starch
1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

Add liquids to mixer.  Mix on low, until combined.  Then mix on medium speed, scraping occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.  Batter will be nice and smooth.

Fold in:
Scant 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

Put batter into a Ziploc (I like the freezer bags because they’re stronger).  Cut 1” off one corner.  Pipe 5 – 6 bagels onto prepared cookie sheet.

Using wet hands, spread bagels so the holes are nice and big. You can also smooth out any areas that are a bit lumpy. 

Let rise in a warm location for 30-40 minutes.  They’ll look a bit puffier, but won’t fully double in size.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until browned.  Cool on cooling rack.  Once cooled, you can slice and freeze if you aren’t planning to get them right away. These are great toasted with cream cheese.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Sometimes I wonder what else I can do with overripe bananas.  I tend to make coconut banana bread w/ lemon glaze or plain/chocolate chip banana bread, which we love, but lately I've wanted to try something a bit different.  These delicious cookies turned out great and were so easy to whip up! I like to make small sized cookies, but you could easily make these a bit larger.  Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~30-36 small cookies

In a mixer, cream:
1 large or 2 small overripe banana(s) 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add and mix in:
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients:
1 cup white rice flour
1/4 - 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until combined.
Add and mix in:
1/4 - 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 - 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Scoop 1 Tbsp sized scoops onto a parchment paper or silicon lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes, until browned on edges.  Let rest a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.  Enjoy!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Fabulous Thin & Crispy Sourdough Pizza Crust

We love our pizza around here - particularly the thin and crispy pizza crust.  As I've been working with GF sourdough starter lately, it only seemed appropriate to create a delicious (and easy!) thin and crispy sourdough pizza crust.  (GF sourdough starter is easy, forgiving and makes the tastiest waffles ever and now pizza crust, in addition to delicious breads!) The best part about these crusts is you can make them in advance - just cook the first 20-25 minutes, then let cool and refrigerate or freeze them and do the topping and final baking later!  I've also discovered that whether or not you make this recipe or my original thin & crispy pizza crust, both will work wonderfully to do the final cooking on the BBQ!  Yay!!! You'll get a fabulous, crispy crust this way.  Enjoy!!!

Cooked on the BBQ - yum!


Fabulous Thin & Crispy Sourdough Pizza Crust
Makes 2 pizzas

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line the bottoms of 2 cookie/baking sheets with parchment paper. (i.e. flip over your pan and cook on the underside of the pan, so you don't have to worry about the lip of the pan when you want to remove your crust)

In a mixer, combine:
1 3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Add and mix 3 minutes:
1 cup  GF sourdough starter
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Divide between parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Spread into large ovals with a spatula.  Let rest 15 minutes.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until just starting to get some brown spots (I rotate and switch around the pans midway so I can bake them at the same time).  Remove to cooling racks until ready to top and bake or BBQ.
Note: You can layer cooked crusts between parchment paper, wrap and refrigerate or freeze until you're ready to use these pizza crusts! Great in summer if you want to plan ahead or cook in the oven on a cooler day for a BBQ'd meal on a hot day! 
I prefer cooking these on parchment paper, actually - but kept forgetting to take pictures of the before/after.  I also failed to turn these trays upside-down. It's definitely easier to 1. use parchment paper and 2. cook these on the bottom (underside) of the cookie sheets so they're easy to slide off onto a cooling rack. But, you can still see the before/after oven baking to get the idea.

Top pizzas as desired with a mix of the following, as desired: Top crusts lightly for thin-crust pizzas!
pasta sauce, use lightly on thin-crust pizza (I prefer Classico for taste)
mozzarella cheese (fresh is best, sliced thinly)
ham, pepperoni (GF), chicken (cooked, diced)
veggies, thinly sliced and placed sparingly
fresh basil
Topped simply with a little sauce and fresh mozzarella pizza - simple and delicious.
Topped with BBQ sauce mixed with spaghetti sauce, then fresh mozzarella, chicken, green onions, heirloom tomatoes, and drizzled with extra BBQ sauce

To cook in oven:  Preheat oven to 400F.  Top pizzas as desired.  Place pizzas directly on wire rack in oven and cook 7-10 minutes, until toppings are ready and bottom is browned and crispy.  Remove to a wire rack.  Slice quickly on a cutting board and return to wire rack to keep the bottom crispy. Enjoy!

To cook in BBQ: (using a propane or gas grill is easiest, I find) Cook pizza directly on the grates at low to medium-low on the BBQ.  When the toppings are getting close to being done, turn up the heat to get the bottom crust where you like it.  It shouldn't take more than 5-6 minutes per pizza.  Remove from heat to a wire rack.  Slice on a cutting board and return to your wire rack (this ensures your pizza stays properly crispy on the bottom).  Enjoy!

Fresh Mozzarella Sourdough Thin Crust Pizza after cooking on the BBQ
BBQ Chicken Sourdough Thin Crust Pizza after cooking on the BBQ

Chocolate Fudge Sauce

This is one of my favorite sauces when I want something ultra rich and chocolaty.  This fudge sauce thickens as it cools and stores well in the refrigerator for a few weeks. We've been known to take a spoonful from the refrigerator and it tastes like a soft fudge. It reheats nicely, too!  My favorite way to eat it is over my best chocolate cake/brownies ever recipe.  In fact, I freeze the brownies in small squares (they're very rich), and pop the sauce in the refrigerator, and put both in the microwave to reheat briefly and it tastes fabulous! I also discovered recently at a cooking class/demo I was giving (where I discovered I had no small frying pan or saucepan) that you can make it in the microwave within minutes! Yay!  Enjoy!


Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Stovetop and Microwave methods are below. 

Stovetop:
In a small saucepan or frying pan heat until sugar crystals are dissolved and mixture is on the cusp of bubbling:
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream

Remove from heat and add:
100g/3.5oz high quality dark chocolate (over 70%)

Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving, stirring once or twice.  This sauce thickens as it cools. Enjoy!

Microwave:
In a medium sized microwave bowl heat in 30-60 second increments until sugar crystals are dissolved, stirring between heatings:
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar 
3/4 cup whipping cream

Mix in thoroughly:
100g/3.5oz high quality dark chocolate (over 70%)

Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving, stirring once or twice.  This sauce thickens as it cools. Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Peach Galette - Gluten-Free!

It's that time of year when peaches in the South are ripening and we're lucky enough to get them up here in the North. Yum!  The great thing is, you can make this peach galette any time of the year - and you can use fresh, frozen or canned peaches.  For a more rustic look, you can leave the skin on your peaches, but make sure you give them a good wash and scrub first.  This is a wonderful dessert served with a bit of ice cream or vanilla yogurt on the side.  Enjoy!

Fresh from the oven!

Peach Galette
Serves 8

This recipe uses ½ of the gluten-free pie crust recipe, made with Kristin’s gluten-free flour mix, chilled 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.

To prepare filling:
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 1/2 - 3 cups sliced peaches (canned & drained, frozen & thawed, or fresh peeled (or not) & sliced)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom, optional adds a unique flavor to your galette

Roll out ½ batch of the gluten-free piecrust between pieces of plastic wrap until you have a circle approximately 12”-14” in diameter.  Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Use a pizza cutter to trim the edges and neaten the circle.


Quickly turn the pie crust onto the prepared piece of parchment paper (on a cookie sheet).  Scoop the filling into the center of the pie crust, leaving a good 2 inches around the edges free of filling.  Using the parchment paper, carefully lift up in one spot to help fold the edges of the pie crust over the pie filling.  Move your hand to the right on the parchment paper and lift and fold again, repeating around the pie/galette until you have a neatly shaped galette. 

Sprinkle the top of the entire galette with additional sugar
Top the fruit with:
1 tsp butter, diced into 4-5 pieces
I popped on a few bits of butter after taking this picture before sticking it in the oven.

Bake at 425F for ~ 30 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the peaches are just bubbling. 
Remove from oven and put the tray on a cooling rack.   Cool and serve plain, or with whipped cream, ice cream, or vanilla yogurt, if desired.  Enjoy!
You can see you get a nice, clean slice once cooked.
Yum!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

These are a delicious alternative to traditional chocolate chip cookies.  I tend to make these cookies on the chewy side, but you can cook them an extra minute or two and they'll crisp right up, which is equally delicious.   I find I often need to use white rice flour in cookies, since the more robust flours can be too strong for the cookie, but in this case, brown rice flour works perfectly to accompany the coconut and chocolate chips.  These were a tasty treat at our picnic on the beach. Enjoy!

Fresh from the oven and smelling fantastic!

Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 15-18 large cookies or ~36 small cookies.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the following:
½ cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar

Then add and mix lightly:
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk

In a separate bowl, mix together:  (you want to mix gluten-free flours with xanthan gum before adding it to the wet ingredients, so you don’t get clumping)
¾ cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix just until combined.

Fold in:
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Drop 1 Tbsp-sized scoops of cookie dough, spacing generously because these do spread quite a bit OR drop 2 Tbsp-sized scoops of cookie dough 3-inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets, 6-7 cookies per cookie sheet because of spreading.
These are the smaller sized cookies. You can see how much they spread in the picture below.

Bake smaller cookies 7-9 minutes and larger cookies 9-11 minutes at 350F, until nicely browned.  For a crispier cookie, you can cook them a minute or two longer. Watch them closely near the end, since each oven is different and these tend to brown quickly towards the end. 

I cooked these to a lighter brown, for a chewier cookie. They're equally delicious cooked a little longer for a crispier crunch. 
Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes on pan before removing to wire rack to cool. 
Enjoy!