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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Blueberry-Lemon Cupcakes/Muffins

Fresh blueberries and lemon are one of my favorite summer combinations.  This recipe combines the two in what you can eat plain as wonderfully rich muffins or top with lemon frosting for a bit more decadent dessert.  They're packed with blueberries, so make sure you get the nice, sweet berries (I find the smaller low-bush berries are sweetest).  To get a bit extra lemon flavor in the muffins, I use some drops of lemon essential oil.  I love using the DoTerra essential oils because they're a high quality and wonderful taste.  While baking, you can use extra essential oil without worry - but use sparingly in frosting because the oil can quickly become too strong.  Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Blueberry-Lemon Muffins Recipe

Blueberry-Lemon Cupcakes/Muffins
Makes 12 cupcakes/muffins

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners. 

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup white rice flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Mix together wet ingredients:
½ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
¼ cup oil
¼ tsp vanilla extract
5 drops lemon essential oil (I like the DoTerra Oil)

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

Add and whisk in:
3 eggs

Rinse off:
1 cup fresh blueberries

Pop blueberries into a bowl and toss gently with:
1 Tbsp coconut flour (this helps keep the berries evenly distributed in your cupcakes/muffins) 

Fold blueberries into batter.  Divide between 12 muffin cups, each filled ~3/4 full.
Bake at 350F for 18-23 minutes, until nicely browned.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Eat as is (these tend to get inhaled in my house before I have a chance to frost them), but if you want more of a dessert, you can frost them with my delicious lemon frosting, if desired.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Sausage, Veggie & Herb Pasta

Fresh veggies and herbs in a light pasta dish are a great anytime meal.  Make sure you locate gluten-free italian sausages, since a lot of sausage brands contain gluten.  I find the brands that are gluten-free also tend to be the no-nitrate, no preservative brands, so it's a win-win really!  This dish is terrific with toasted garlic bread.  We like to slice up slices of my gluten-free white bread recipe, put on some butter and garlic powder and toast in the oven until lightly browned.  Enjoy!

I used a large macaroni quinoa pasta here, which was very nice.

Sausage, Veggie & Herb Pasta
Serves 4-6
Ideally, you can cook all three of the following at the same time, but you can cook the pasta and sausage first, and then cook the veggies before combining. 
Cook 8 oz/225 g gluten-free penne pasta in lightly salted water. 
(NOTE: I find that most gluten-free pastas suggest cooking 4-6 minutes, and I find they need more like 10-12 minutes.  Make sure you taste a piece so it’s how you like your pasta to taste before draining the pasta). 
Once cooked, drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Cook the following:
2-3 links large gluten-free Italian Sausage
You can cook the sausage by:
  1. Cutting into smaller pieces and sautéing in a little olive oil until done
  2. Cook according to package (generally they have you steam sausages with a little water on the bottom of the pan until done). 
    1. Once cooked, slice nicely into even pieces.  The sausage will end up much neater looking this way, but either will taste fine.
Heat over medium heat in a large frying pan:
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Add and sauté 4-5 minutes, until softened:
1 zucchini, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Push the veggies to the sides of the pan, if desired, to help garlic cook faster.
Add and cook in the middle 1-2 minutes, until aromatic:
1 green onion, thinly sliced
3 tsp minced garlic

Stir in the following and let cook 1 minute:
¼ cup mixture of the following fresh herbs: basil, oregano, marjoram
Few pieces fresh rosemary, minced

Remove from heat and mix in the cooked sausage and cooked pasta. 

Top with parmesan cheese & additional fresh basil, sliced.
Serve and enjoy!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Mediterranean-style mini-Hamburgers w/ Havarti and Brown Rice Couscous

Sometimes it's nice having someone taste-test in advance, and that's what I've done for you by trying out the brown rice couscous available by Lundberg.  I was never a huge couscous fan before going gluten-free, but I always enjoyed eating it occasionally. And, I think this brown rice couscous is a nice alternative side-dish.  We cooked up some mini hamburgers topped with spiced havarti cheese and had fresh veggies on the side for a (definitely not authentic) Mediterranean-inspired meal.  Enjoy!
We added grape tomatoes, but apparently those missed being photographed.

Mediterranean-style mini-Hamburgers w/ Havarti and Brown Rice Couscous
Mini Burgers:
Prep/Cooking time: ~ 15 minutes
You’ll want ~ ¾ lb ground beef to make ~ 8 mini-burger patties. 
Season patties with Salt & Pepper on one side and montreal steak seasoning on the other side.
Cook over medium heat OR on BBQ until done. 
While burgers are hot, top each burger with 1-2 small slices of:
herbed or tomato/basil Havarti cheese
Mediterranean curry flavor brown rice couscous:
Prep/cooking time: ~20 minutes.  15 to cook, 5 to rest.
Follow directions on package.  
So you know what you're looking for at the store.

To serve:
Serve with sliced cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced or grape tomatoes, and whatever toppings you prefer like ketchup, mustard, hummus, etc. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Wow, my 100th post!  I hope this blog has given you a chance to enjoy your gluten-free food as much as we have been doing here. This tomato, mozzarella and basil salad is a simple dish, but it compliments any barbequing you might be doing. It's a wonderfully easy, perfect summer salad.  I am posting a picture of the beautiful arrangement my  mom and brother, Ben, arranged.  All you need are a few fresh ingredients to create this lovely addition to your summertime meal.  Enjoy!

Layer on a plate:
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced (you want to make sure it's the soft, fresh cheese)

Sprinkle over top:
Fresh basil leaves, sliced (if desired)

Drizzle with olive oil (flavoured oils work well here).
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Voila!  A lovely summer dish you can make in small or large quantities, as needed. You can also layer your basil leaves directly with your tomato and mozzarella slices rather than sprinkling on top.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

Making these fabulous cupcakes was a combined effort of my brother Ben and I for his birthday.   They were an absolute hit!  I'd been waiting for an excuse to make these for quite some time, and they did not disappoint.  I couldn't actually get my 2 year old to wait until we'd sung Happy Birthday before she dove into her cupcake, so she's in the background happily eating away in every picture.   The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for each part to cool, so make sure you've got some time for the pudding. in particular, to cool.  Mmmm.. Enjoy!

Boston Crème Pie Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
The cupcake batter recipe is based primarily on the recipe from the blog No Gluten, NoProblem’s ‘Red, White & Blue Cupcakes’ recipe, minus the red and blue modifications.  (Their cupcake cookbook, ‘Artisanal gluten-free cupcakes’ is very nice, and they have their rendition of Boston Crème Cupcakes in the cookbook, but I prefer my own filling and topping.)

Make a batch of ‘Kristin’s Homemade Vanilla Pudding’, but use 2 ½ cups milk, instead of 2 ¾ cups.  Make sure to use the vanilla bean paste!!! It makes ALL the difference in taste.  I’ve included the recipe here for convenience:

Kristin’s Homemade Vanilla Pudding’ - to use as crème filling

Place in a saucepan over medium heat:
2 ½ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp salt

Stir occasionally, letting the mixture come to a boil.  Meanwhile, prepare the following egg yolk mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix:
¼ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch

Once milk and sugar has come to a boil, let boil 1 minute.  Then add in the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.   The mixture should thicken quickly.  Keep stirring until mixture has begun boiling again. 

Remove from heat and add:
3 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract (the bean paste is absolutely lovely in the pudding, if you can locate it)

Pour into one large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap is on the surface of the pudding to avoid a tough layer from forming on top. Set aside to cool. Once cooled a bit, put in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Note: You’ll end up with extra vanilla pudding, but no one around here was complaining. And, if you double the cupcake recipe, you’ll have the right amount to fill 24 cupcakes.

For the 12 cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare cupcake tin by lining with 12 paper liners.
Mix the dry ingredients, then set aside:
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

In a mixer, cream the following until light and fluffy:
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp butter, softened
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar

Add and mix in:
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (You can use vanilla extract, but I recommend the bean paste)

Add and mix in:
1 egg
1 egg white

Add and mix in:
½ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
2 Tbsp sour cream OR plain yogurt (some are available lactose-free)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low to combine, then on high briefly until the batter is smooth. 
Separate batter into cupcake liners as evenly as possible.  Try to smooth the tops as best you can.  The tops won’t smooth out during baking, so try your best to smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake 20-25 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

I think it's helpful to see how the tops look when not smoothed much vs. smoothed a bit.

While the cupcakes are cooking, prepare the chocolate ganache topping. (note: if you cannot have lactose, then you can always whip up some marshmallow fluff frosting, which is fabulous on a custard-filled cupcake)

Chocolate Ganache (this is my favorite chocolate ganache recipe)

Heat to boil over med-high heat:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream

Remove from heat and add:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (use high quality chocolate)

Stir gently until smooth (this may take a few minutes).  Leave on the counter to cool.  This will allow it to thicken, but be easy to spread over top your cupcakes.

Assembling your cupcakes!!!
Using a sharp knife, cut around the top of the cupcake.  Remove the top and cut off the inside part of your top piece.  (you can set these aside and eat at your leisure).  Scoop out a bit more of the inside, if desired. 
Fill generously with vanilla pudding and cap with the top of the cupcake. 
This picture doesn't show the top going back on, but make sure you stick the cupcake top back over the filling!

Spread the top of each cupcake with the creamy ganache topping.  Repeat with all cupcakes. 
Serve and enjoy!!!
Birthday fun!
My 2 year old eating as soon as the cupcake hit her plate.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Spicy Beef Samosas

Who doesn't love a good samosa.  I absolutely love my traditional potato, onion and pea samosa, but this lovely spicy beef version is a great addition to your samosa repertoire.  A quick and easy meal, and you can eat the filling on its own with rice instead of cooking into a samosa.  Nice and versatile!  I do find that I have to make my samosa filling a bit spicier than I want it at the end. It tends to not be as spicy once wrapped and fried.  So, if you're making the filling to just eat on its own, spice it as you want to eat it.  But if you're going to fry it up as a samosa, make it a bit spicier than you would normally.  Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Beef Samosas
A fresh homemade gluten free beef samosa! 

Spicy Beef Samosas
Makes ~12-16 good sized Samosas
The beef filling can be eaten with rice as a main dish instead of used inside the samosas! Yum!

Beef Filling:
Heat in a frying pan over medium heat:
1 Tbsp olive oil
Add and cook until onions are tender:
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
½ - 1 tsp grated/finely chopped red chili pepper (optional, but recommended to add the spicy kick)
* I like to buy frozen fresh ginger and red chili pepper. They have them in 1 tsp sized servings, ready to use.  I use 1 cube ginger and ½ - 1 cube red chili pepper in this recipe, but you can use fresh perfectly well.  I find that if you’re eating the beef filling on its own with rice, ½ cube is fine, but if you’re filling samosas use a whole cube since it’ll taste less spicy in the samosa.
Add and cook until browned:
½ lb. lean ground beef
Add and mix in:
1 – 2 Tbsp Madras Curry Powder, to taste
Add and mix in:
½ cup frozen peas
Stir a couple minutes, then remove from heat and serve over rice or use inside samosas. Let cool before you use it inside samosas.  

Mmmmm. Simple and delicious.

Samosa dough:
Mix in a large bowl:
1 cup brown rice flour
½ scant cup sorghum flour
½ scant cup tapioca starch
¼ cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Add and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined (use back of spoon to help smooth):
1 cup milk (lactose-free works great)
2 tsp extra light olive oil
Roll out plum-sized pieces of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. You want them to make ovals, ideally with one long side a bit straighter than the other. 
Scoop filling into center of dough, pressing together so it stays in a pile.  Using the plastic wrap to help (the dough is a little sticky when so thin), pull up one side of dough at a time, so you have a triangle.  Then, pull up the last side and flatten onto the top.  (*use the plastic wrap to pull up and fold each samosa.)

You are essentially overlapping as much as possible when you fold in the first two parts of your triangle. The last fold should just help cover up the remaining gap. 

Set prepared samosas on a plate until ready to fry.
Heat ½ inch oil (I like canola oil for frying) in a large, low saucepan over med-high heat.  Fry the samosas on each side until golden brown, 4-5 minutes per side.

Gluten Free Beef Samosas
Place on either a wire rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool.  You can store leftovers in the refrigerator and re-heat in a toaster oven.  Enjoy! 
Gluten Free Beef Samosas
Fresh GF beef samosas, ready to eat!