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Friday, 29 August 2014

Grilled Creamy Lobster!!!

Good thing we live on Prince Edward Island! Lobster is so wonderful up here, and the Doiron's Fish Market across the bay from us is a fabulous place to pick it up.  On PEI, they tend to cook the lobster in salt water - which leaves the lobsters with a wonderful, rich flavor I never tasted until moving here.  You can buy them already cooked and eat them cold, make them into lobster rolls, OR you can remove the meat, add a delicate sauce and warm them on the BBQ for an end result that is simply to die for! Sorry there's not many pictures - I'll try to take more next time but there were many moving parts during this meal.  Needless to say, there were no leftovers and I will definitely be whipping these together again soon!  Enjoy!

On the grill! Yum!

Grilled Creamy Lobster!!!
Based on a recipe from The Great Lobster & Crab Cookbook by Whitecap Books
Serves 4-6

Buy four, 1 1/4 lb pre-cooked lobsters (ideally from PEI).  Remove claws & knuckles from each lobster.  Remove meat from claws & knuckles, chop coarsely and set aside in a bowl.  *(you can cut the claws in half with a large knife, to easily remove the meat. I just break apart the knuckles)  

Slice the lobsters in half, longwise.  Remove the tails, coarsely chop and add to the other lobster meat. 

Rinse out the remainder of the insides of the shells (although if you like the roe, by all means, eat it).  Place lobster shells open-faced on a foil lined pan (that can go on the grill). 

If you have an extra set of hands, you can make this while the lobster meat is being removed.  If not, whip this sauce together once the lobsters are done. 

In a small frying pan or saucepan, heat over medium heat: 
2-3 Tbsp butter

Add and cook until tender: 
1/4 large onion, finely chopped

Add and cook until boiling: 
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (lactose-free works great)
1 tsp Asian mushroom seasoning OR GF chicken bouillon
salt & pepper (lightly)

In a separate small bowl, mix: 
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk

Add to boiling sauce, stirring until thickened and bubbling.  
Remove from heat and stir in: 
1/4 - 1/3 cup freshly grated extra old cheddar cheese

Mix the sauce with the coarsely chopped lobster meat.  Arrange lobster meat in open-faced lobster shells.  

Sprinkle tops of lobster meat lightly with 1-2 Tbsp GF rice breadcrumbs.  Dot with tiny dabs of butter.  

Grill over medium heat until lobsters have heated through and the breadcrumbs just start to brown.  (Don't let them overcook, you just want them to warm through)

Serve immediately! Enjoy!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Amazing Eggplant Parmesan

This is one of my favorite dishes.  Eggplant Parm is great just on its own, or served with a side of GF pasta, garlic fingers, and/or salad. It's best made with young, small eggplants, but it is still nice with larger eggplants. Just be sure to slice them nice and thin.  The best is that kids find it fun dipping the slices, too!
Fresh out of the oven! 

Amazing Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 4

Cut 2 eggplants into thin 1/2" slices. (Smaller eggplant is best in eggplant parmesan)  Place on a cooling rack.  Sprinkle each side generously with salt (I use ground sea salt).  Let sit 25-30 minutes to allow water to be removed from the eggplant.

Rinse slices of eggplant.  Pat dry using paper towels.
Salted slices on the left, rinsed and patted dry on the right.

Prepare three low-sided bowls as follows:
1. ~1/2 cup brown rice flour
2. 1-2 eggs, beaten with fork (Start with one, use another if you're running low)
3. 1/2 - 3/4 rice breadcrumbs, seasoned generously with salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil & garlic powder
My daughter likes mixing up the egg, and mixing spices into the rice breadcrumbs.

Dip each slice of eggplant in flour, then egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs.  Set on a sheet of plastic wrap until you've dipped all slices.
Dipped by my 3 year old daughter. A chef in the making.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

In a large, low-sided frying pan put enough extra-virgin olive oil to just cover the base of the pan. Heat over medium to med-high heat.  Fry each slice until nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Add a bit of extra olive oil as needed.  Place on foil-lined baking sheet.

Top each slice of eggplant with 1 tsp spaghetti sauce.  Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on top of sauce. Add a small piece of fresh basil on top of each piece.
Bake at 375F for 7-10 minutes.
Wonderful as a main dish, or as a side with pasta and salad.  Great with garlic fingers, too.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Zucchini Muffins!

I've been making zucchini muffins for years now - but the gluten-free version just never would come out quite right, until now!  In my opinion, zucchini muffins should be a bit lighter in texture and flavor than zucchini bread.  These muffins have just the right texture with a hint of cinnamon, cloves and allspice to give an extra edge without seeming overwhelming.  A perfect summer treat for all those in-season zucchini's! Enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

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

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 - 3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch cloves (optional)
pinch allspice (optional)

Add in, and mix just until combined:
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini (~1 medium zucchini)
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 eggs

Pour into muffin liners, filling ~3/4 full.

Bake ~25 minutes, until the top is a nice golden brown.
Remove to cooling rack to cool.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Chicken & Veggies over Rice

It's so easy to whip together a meal when you've got cooked chicken around. In this dish the zucchini softens to add to the lovely texture of the dish.  I've added fresh Swiss chard here, but you can easily substitute spinach or kale into this dish.  In this dish, the veggies are cooked first, until tender, and then the cooked chicken is added and it all comes together in a nice, light sauce which simmers and melds together wonderfully.  This dish is just wonderful over rice.  But, you could easily serve this with GF pasta, or scoop it up with GF crackers.  This meal started out as an experiment, but turned into something everyone wants again and again!  Enjoy!

Chicken & Veggies served over cooked sprouted wild rice & quinoa

Chicken & Veggies over Rice
Serves 4

Cook 1 cup brown basmati rice, or rice of your choice according to directions on package. (I used a sprouted rice/wild rice/quinoa blend in the pictures). 

To season your chicken:
Dice into small pieces, leaving it on the cutting board:
~2 cups cooked chicken

Season chicken generously with the following spices:
salt, pepper, ground coriander, tumeric, garlic powder, paprika

In a large, low-sided saucepan cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes:
3 Tbsp olive oil (you can use an infused olive oil, if desired, like mushroom-sage)
1 small onion, diced

Add an cook until Swiss chard has wilted, ~4-5 minutes:
1 small/medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups Swiss chard, chopped (~3 large leaves + stems) *You can use spinach or kale instead of Swiss chard in this recipe
salt and pepper

Add, and bring to simmer/boil:
Seasoned chicken
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Asian mushroom seasoning OR GF chicken bouillon

Mix in a small bowl:
1/4 cup cold water
1 - 2 Tbsp cornstarch (more or less depending on thickness desired - you can adjust later)

Mix cornstarch/water mixture into chicken & veggies, stirring while it thickens, 1-2 minutes.  You can now adjust the consistency of your dish by adding either milk or water to thin.  Add slowly, stirring constantly to incorporate the additional liquid.

Cover pot, put heat to low and let chicken/veggies simmer 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot over rice. Enjoy!
Ready to eat!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Purple Cabbage Salad/Slaw with Poppyseed Dressing

I'm typically not a coleslaw person. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid coleslaw in general.  However, I find a nice, homemade slaw w/ dressing to be a nice addition to a meal in lieu of a salad now and then - particularly one which is so fun and colorful. (My 3 year old loved the idea of eating something bright purple) If you're making this for a typical dinner salad, use only 1/4 - 1/2 of a cabbage head, since a little goes a long way with coleslaw.  This dish is great because it's so versatile! You can add all sorts of other types of veggies into the dish, too - some are suggested below.  The dressing is easy to whip together, and you could use it on a regular salad, too - like a normal poppyseed dressing.  Enjoy!

Lots of purple in this meal - purple cabbage, purple cauliflower, zucchini, fish.  Yum!

Purple Cabbage Salad/Slaw with Poppyseed Dressing
Serves 8-10

Slice into small, long pieces:
1 small head red cabbage (remove outer leaves & stem areas before slicing)
2 large carrots
Plus any other veggies you like, sliced nice and thinly (green cabbage, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, peeled apples)

Mix in a small bowl:
1/4 - 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp honey
1/2 - 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Toss with cabbage & carrots and serve!
My kitchen helper - who can't smile properly because she has salad/slaw in her mouth. She was thrilled we were eating purple veggies. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Tasty Gluten-Free Garlic Fingers

Garlic fingers, similar to the ones in this recipe, are popular in Atlantic Canada - although most people like them with Donair sauce.  I think they're great plain, or dipped in spaghetti sauce, or served alongside pretty much any dish that you'd enjoy with garlic bread.  They freeze really well, too, and can be quickly re-heated in the toaster oven!  They're also great since they can be whipped up quickly and require just a short rising time - just the few minutes it takes to spread and add toppings is close to all they need.  

Garlic Fingers, ready for eating!

Tasty Garlic Fingers
Makes 1 large size garlic fingers

Turn your cookie sheet upside-down. (This makes it easier to slide your pizza directly onto the rack to crisp the bottom). Line with parchment paper OR silicon mat.  
Preheat oven to 425F. 

In a mixer, combine: 
1 ½ cups Kristin’s gluten-free flour mix *(see note below for measurements just for this recipe)
2 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise yeast (quick-rise yeast)
1 tsp sugar OR 1 heaping tsp honey

Add and beat 2-3 minutes, scraping regularly:
¾ cup warm water
1 egg (OR 1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp water for 5-10 minutes)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Scoop onto pizza pan lined with parchment paper.  Wet your hands with water and use wet hands to spread the dough over the sheet.  Keep getting more water on hands, as needed. 
Smooth dough into a large oval, shaping the crust with higher edges around the outside.  

Spread on dough, trying not to get too close to the edges - as this can cause dripping during baking: 
2 Tbsp garlic butter
1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Let rest/rise for 10 minutes. 
Bake ~ 15 minutes, until browned nicely. 
Slide the pizza from the parchment paper/baking sheet directly onto the oven rack for 3-4 extra minutes of baking.  The bottom crust will be browned already, but this helps it get crispier. If you're worried about dripping, you can place foil on the bottom of your oven for easy clean-up. 

Fresh from the oven!

Carefully remove from oven onto a wooden cutting board or wire rack.  Slice the garlic fingers, then slide them back onto a wire rack (This keeps the crust crispier since steam accumulating under the crust can make it not as crispy).
Serve and Enjoy!!!

Note: Gluten-free crusts have a tendency to be cooked, but not crisped.  Using a pizza-stone helps, but I’m all about practical meals I can whip together and remembering to heat a pizza stone for an hour isn’t on my to-do list.

* To measure flour just for this recipe use:
¾ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp potato starch
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
½ tsp xanthan gum

A Lighter Flavored Homemade Veggie Bolognaise Sauce

This is a wonderful, and easy meaty pasta sauce you can throw together in no time!  It's perfect for summer, since it's lighter than a traditional bolognaise sauce.  It's packed with veggies, too!  It's great with any GF pasta, or you can even use it on top of pizza in lieu of regular spaghetti sauce.
Served over gluten-free penne pasta.

Homemade Veggie-filled Bolognaise Sauce
Serves 6-8

Heat in a large pot or large high-sided saucepan over medium heat:
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil

Cook until just starting to soften:
1 large onion, finely diced

Add, cooking 3-4 minutes:
1-2 large carrots, grated

Add, cooking until browned:
1 lb. lean ground beef

Mix in, cooking 1 minute:
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil

Push beef/veggies to the side of the pan.  Cook in the middle 1-2 minutes, until fragrant:
2 tsp minced garlic

Add, stirring til combined:
1 can tomato sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt (best to adjust to desired taste near the end of cooking)

Mix in:
2-3 big handfuls baby spinach (diced, if desired)

Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.  You can let this simmer longer, but the taste is great after 1/2 hour.  Salt and pepper, to taste before serving. 

Packed with veggies, and full of taste! 

Serve over a gluten-free pasta of your choice.  Great with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Fabulous Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

We love a good pie here in our house. My husband's favorite pie is blueberry, so it seemed proper to make a delicious blueberry pie on his birthday this year.  I've made raspberry cream cheese pie a number of times - it's definitely a favorite based off the famous pie from the PEI Preserve Company, so I thought I'd try turning the raspberry cream cheese pie into a blueberry cream cheese pie.  It was an even bigger hit!  Absolutely delicious with the lemony cream cheese mixture under the thick blueberry topping. Yum! This recipe is a cinch to whip together, and you could even use any pre-baked crust if you're not GF and use the fillings here.  Enjoy!

Freshly made blueberry cream cheese pie!
A slice served with a bit of whipped cream on top. 

Fabulous Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie
Serves 8

Preheat oven to 425F.  Have a pie dish available.
Make Kristin’s buttermilk pie crust (retyped here for convenience - although there is an option in the original recipe to measure out a slightly different flour blend than what is in my flour mix).

For crust: (This makes 2 crusts, so you can save half the recipe for later!)

Mix together in a bowl:
1 tsp salt

Chop in with a pastry cutter:
2/3 cup + 2-3 Tbsp butter

Add and mix in with the pastry cutter:
2 tsp oil
1/3 cup buttermilk (can make by mixing 2-3 tsp vinegar + milk)

To fully get the dough to form, mix by hand as quickly as possible (so you don’t warm up the dough).   Separate into two pieces.  You’ll use one for this recipe, and can wrap the other half in plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator to use for another recipe, like a quiche or pie.

Roll out a nice big circle between pieces of plastic wrap.  I use two pieces overlapping for the bottom and two pieces, overlapping, on top.   Make sure you’ve got a piece as big as your pie dish, plus a little extra.
Remove the plastic from the top.  Flip over the dough into the pie dish.  Press down on the plastic wrap to get the dough to stick to the pie plate.  Remove plastic wrap and carefully shape edges, as desired.

Remember to use the plastic wrap to press down and then use fingers to crimp the edges.

Bake at 425F for 15-17 minutes, until nicely browned.  Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

Fresh baked and cooling pie crust.

Make blueberry filling:

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat place the following:
600 g (21 oz) frozen blueberries, thawed (not drained) (or you can use fresh!)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt

Let cook, stirring occasionally, until boiling.

Whisk together in a small bowl:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch

Add cornstarch mixture to boiling blueberries, stirring constantly.  Bring mixture back to a boil and let boil a few minutes until mixture has thickened (keep stirring).  Remove from heat and add: 
1 Tbsp butter

Let pot cool on cooling rack 15-20 minutes. (you don’t want to pour it on top of the cream cheese mixture while boiling hot, so it’s best to make this part first, then whip up the cream cheese mixture).
Cooked filling - yum!

Make cream cheese filling:
Beat together in a mixer (or by hand), until light and creamy:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon

Once cream cheese filling has been whipped, spread it on the bottom of your cooled pie crust.  Place in the refrigerator until your blueberry filling has cooled 15-20 minutes.   

Cooked piecrust with cream cheese filling in the bottom.  Chill until your blueberry topping has cooled 15-20 minutes.
Carefully pour the blueberry mixture over the cream cheese filling.  Let the pie chill in the refrigerator ~ 2 hours, until fully cooled.   

Slice and serve with whipped cream.  Enjoy!!!