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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Pumpkin Granola Cookies

I love making things with fresh pumpkin puree.  I actually have found that you can cook other fall squash like acorn squash or turban squash and use it just like pumpkin puree, too!  Kind of fun, and helpful if you're having a hard time finding the sweeter pie pumpkins.  (Plus, they tend to be available nearly year-round).   These cookies combine some of my favorite things - pumpkin, coconut, cranberries, and a touch of cinnamon!  I wanted something a little more granola-bar like, but that still had a large amount of pumpkin in the actual batter.  These are ideal! You could even shape them into little granola bar shapes, if you like! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Fresh Pumpkin granola cookies - filled with pumpkin, oats, coconut and cranberries. Yum! 

Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Makes ~36

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cup oats (make sure they're GF if celiac or sensitive)
3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl or mixer, beat together:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or 100% canned pumpkin)
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients and mix, just until combined.

Add and mix in:
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Scoop 1 Tbsp scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.  12 per sheet.  Flatten a bit with your palm (yes, it's a little sticky).
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Scoop and flatten. They don't spread much, so you can put more than normal on a tray. 

 Bake at 350 F for 12-13 minutes, until cookies are just browned at the edges.  Let rest on the pan for 3-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Great warm or cooled.  Once cooled, these freeze perfectly - so you can make them in advance and have them for breakfast or snacks!  Enjoy!
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Let them rest a few minutes on the tray before removing to your cooling rack. 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Vietnamese-style Fried Spring Rolls - gluten-free with homemade dipping sauce

Fried spring rolls always seem like something to dream of eating, unless you can find ones made with rice wrappers and fried in a designated gluten-free fryer. I've only ever found them at a couple of Vietnamese restaurants and they are delicious!  However, sometimes I want to be able to make and eat them at home.   After many attempts, I finally figured out the trick!  They need to be wrapped tightly, but most importantly, they need to have time sitting and drying in the refrigerator.  Any damp spots on the outer edges of your rice wrapper will be weak and liable to break while frying.  This recipe takes some preparation, but mostly you need to make the filling and roll up your spring rolls well in advance, so they'll have time to dry thoroughly before you fry them up! Enjoy!!!!
GF Fried Spring Rolls
Freshly wrapped spring rolls, ready for drying and then frying! 
Yes, these tasted like restaurant-style friend spring rolls! Yum! 

Fried Spring Rolls
Makes ~24 fried spring rolls (yes, you can halve the recipe!)

This recipe requires time for preparation, cooling, and drying.  Make sure you prepare the meat/vegetable filling early so it can cool.  Once you fill/wrap your spring rolls, you'll want them to dry in the the refrigerator ~2 hours before frying to alleviate stickiness upon cooking. 

In a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat:
1 Tbsp avocado oil (or oil of your choice)

Add and cook 2-3 minutes:
2-3 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed thoroughly
2 bunches green onions (~12 stalks), thinly sliced
salt & pepper (just enough to sprinkle/grind over the top)

Add, stirring until pork is cooked thoroughly (a few minutes):
3/4 lb ground pork

Add and cook 1 minute:
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
6-7 cloves garlic, minced

Add and cook 1 minute, then remove from heat:
2-3 Tbsp Bragg's soy seasoning (or GF soy sauce)
1 tsp agave or 1 tsp sugar

Put pork/vegetable mixture into refrigerator and allow to cool at least 1 hour.
Freshly made filling. 

Fill a large pot 1/4 - 1/2 with water and bring to a boil.
Boil 1/3 pkg of rice vermicelli noodles + 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes.  Drain and place noodles in a bowl.

Have a tea kettle of hot/boiling water readily available for preparing spring rolls.

Fill a plate with boiling water.  Quickly dip spring roll wrapper (rice wrapper) in hot/boiling water.   Place wrapper on a fresh plate, and quickly fill with a small handful of noodles and small spoonful of pork/vegetable filling.  Wrap the spring roll by tightly wrapping one half, folding in both sides, then fully rolling (like a burrito or egg roll).
A dollop of rice noodles and filling in the center of a dampened rice wrapper. 
Roll up one side, then tuck in the two outer edges.  Then you can roll it up the rest of the way.  

Place your freshly wrapped spring roll on a plastic-wrap lined pan or cutting board (one that will fit into the refrigerator).   Repeat with as many spring rolls as you like, changing out the water regularly so you are using very hot water.  You have filling to make ~25-30 - *the extra filling is great mixed with the noodles, or served atop noodles if you don't want to make a huge number of spring rolls.

Let spring rolls dry in the refrigerator 1 hour.  Flip them all over, and let them continue to dry on the other side for 1 hour (or longer).  *This is a key part of making these fried spring rolls.  If you don't let them dry, they'll break/burst during frying.

Spring rolls, partway through drying, being rolled over. 

Heat frying oil in deep-fryer to ~350-360 F.   Carefully place a spring roll into the oil.  Let it cook briefly, before rolling it over, to allow that side to cook briefly.  This will help remove the stickiness from the outer sides of the rice wrapper.  Carefully repeat, until you have 3 rolls cooking.   If the rolls touch before they have a chance to cook a little, they can stick together.  Not the end of the world, since they're still edible, but you don't end up with nice individual spring rolls.

Cook each roll approximately 3 minutes, until just browning.  The edges will be nice and crispy.  Remove to paper towel-lined pan or plate.

Serve hot, alongside dipping sauce of your choice, or the mix together the following dipping sauce:

Delicious fried spring roll dipping sauce: 

Mix together the following:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp Bragg's soy seasoning (or GF soy sauce)
1-2 tsp agave
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic-chili sauce


Sunday, 15 October 2017

BBQ Spareribs

BBQ ribs are one of those meals that takes a bit of advanced planning, but it is well worth the effort.  You can whip this together in the morning before work and it'll be ready to devour upon your return.  The method of prepping ribs in this recipe (removing the membrane, broiling and slow-cooking) was taught to me by some good friends while we lived in England. As these friends hailed from Oklahoma, land of BBQ, I can confidently say that they knew their BBQ ribs.  You'll find that broiling and slow-cooking as directed here will result in wonderfully tender, tasty, and utterly delicious barbeque ribs.  Enjoy!

BBQ Spareribs
Serves 4-6

Turn your oven on to broil.

Prepare your ribs:
1) You will want 1-2 racks of spareribs (the ones I usually get are called pork back ribs, you can use beef ribs as well).  You will want around 12 bones w/ meat. 
2) There is a thin membrane on the back side of the ribs, along the bone. Use a knife or something to get under the membrane.  Once you get a bit of the membrane separated, you should be able to pull it all off.  (Note about the membrane: It's okay to leave it on, but if you remove it, it lets more of the taste get into the ribs during cooking - here's a good link for removing the membrane).

Place the ribs on a cookie sheet lined lined with foil. 
Rub the ribs with the following:
4 - 6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Wrap the ribs tightly in foil, double-wrapping, if needed.  Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side.  Unwrap and cut the ribs into piece sizes with 2-3 bones each.  Place them in the crockpot with BBQ from below. 

While ribs are broiling, put the following into your crock pot one of the two BBQ sauce options:
Option 1: 
1 chopped onion
2 - 3 cups honey BBQ sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
2 Tbsp maple syrup


Option 2: 
1/2 onion, diced (optional)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar2 cups canned tomato sauce (plus 1-2 tsp salt if you're using low-salt tomatoes) OR 2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp hot sauce (I use a locally made habanero sauce, which adds a nice kick - adjust depending on how spicy you want your sauce).  2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce2 Tbsp GF soy sauce (Bragg's works well)2 Tbsp dark molasses4 tsp dry mustard2/3 cup sucanat sugar OR brown sugarground pepper, to taste (optional)

Once you've put ribs in sauce, mix gently to coat with sauce mixture.  
Cook on low 8 hours OR cook on high 4-5 hours.  They’ll be deliciously tender and ready to eat!  They melt off the bones. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

My New Favorite Versatile Rolls

I'm always experimenting with my bread and rolls, tweaking a bit here, a bit there, until I find something wonderful.  These are something wonderful!  They're light, chewy, have a great texture but no nuts or seeds, and can be piped into whatever shape you desire!  I've made them as dinner rolls, sandwich buns (or bagels) and hotdog buns.  We've served them with butter, jam, ham & cheese, toasted with garlic butter, covered in condiments with sausages and hotdogs.  All have been delicious.   And, they travel well.  I've made them, frozen them sliced, then made sandwiches on the frozen buns that we brought on a car trip.  They worked perfectly!  One of my favorite versatile roll recipes. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Perfect Rolls
Yummy rolls made for Canadian Thanksgiving.  I made them the day before, then heated them on a pan with a bit of foil on top just before serving - they were perfect! 
Gluten Free Perfect Rolls
Rolls piped into bun-shape - great with sausages or hot dogs. 
Gluten Free Perfect Rolls
Nice, airy, with a great texture thanks to the steel-cut oats and onion flakes

My New Favorite Versatile Rolls
Makes ~15-20 (depends on how you pipe them out)

Mix together and let rest 5 minutes:
1 3/4 cup warm/hot water
6 Tbsp honey
3-4 tsp rapid-rise yeast

In a mixer, combine dry ingredients:
2 cups tapioca starch
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
6 Tbsp potato starch (not potato flour)
3-4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1/2 cup GF steel cut oats (I like the Bob's Red Mill variety)

Add to dry ingredients and slowly mix, then beat at medium to medium-high speed 3 minutes:
yeast mixture from above
3 eggs (OR 2 egg whites + 2 eggs)
6 Tbsp oil (I love using avocado oil)

Scoop batter into a freezer ziploc.  Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe desired shapes/sizes onto 2 parchment-paper lined cookie sheets.

Spritz the rolls with a little bit of water and let rise ~30-40 minutes in a warm location.
Bake at 350 F for ~20-25 minutes, until they're a nice medium-brown color.

Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.  These make perfect sandwiches, are great alongside soup, can be used as hot dog buns, taste nice with pulled pork, and taste great with cream cheese, like a bagel.

These are wonderful fresh!  I've also made them the day before, left them in a tupperware on the counter overnight, and they were good as new the next day.  Reheated with a bit of aluminum foil over-top, and you'll have perfect rolls for a dinner party.  They freeze well, too.  I like to slice them before I freeze them, so I can use them for school lunches. I've made sandwiches on the frozen buns that we took on a car trip, and they were perfect because the rolls aren't crumbly, which is ideal in a car!  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Versatile Rolls
Rolls piped into bagel shape, leaving a little hole in the center.  They're great toasted with onions & chives cream cheese.   I use these for lunches with ham & cheese, or just warmed with butter. 
Gluten Free Versatile Rolls
A yummy turkey & veggie sandwich made on one of the delicious rolls! 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Steamed Artichokes dipped in Garlic Butter

Steamed artichokes are a fun vegetable to serve because they're so hands-on.  The flavor is rich and hearty, so I find a little goes a long way.  And, they are so amazingly easy to cook!  I was first introduced to eating artichokes whole (and not marinated in a bottle) from my lovely mother-in-law.  She taught me this method of steaming artichokes.  I love the flavor the lemon adds to the artichokes while they're steaming.  They're such fun to eat!  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Steamed Artichokes
Artichokes served alongside garlic butter with a dish for leaves/petals once 

Steamed Artichoked dipped in Garlic Butter

Choose 3-4 fresh artichokes that sound squeaky when you squeeze them.
Rinse thoroughly, separating the petals as best you can.  Chop off the bottom stem so they can sit flat on the bottom.

In a pot with a lid that is wide and deep enough to fit your artichokes, place:
juice from 1/2 - 1 lemon
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
3/4 "- 1" hot/boiling water

Place artichokes cut-side down in your pot.  Bring water to a boil, then cover and lower heat to steam the artichokes for ~30 minutes.   Remove artichokes from pot and place on a serving plate.

Mix together the following to serve alongside your artichokes:
1/4 - 1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

To eat: 
The center of the artichoke is where the "heart" is located.  The best (in my opinion) way to eat these are to pull out one petal at a time from the side or top of your artichoke.  The very bottom part of the artichoke petal will have about 1/4" - 1/2" of soft artichoke heart on it.  Dip the petal into your garlic butter and scrap off the little bit of soft delicious flesh with your teeth.  Dispose of the remainder of the petal.  Artichokes are rich and packed with flavor, so I find one artichoke is often more than enough for me to eat alone.  Continue removing petals and eating off the flesh until all the larger, more robust petals have been removed, dipping in butter as you eat.

You'll find there are tiny, softer petals left on top after eating the larger, thicker petals.  Remove and dispose of these petals.  Also dispose of the "fuzzy" or "fibrous" cone that sits atop the flavorful "heart" of the artichoke.  It's easiest to use a spoon to scrap it off.  The heart is the part at the bottom of the artichoke that you've been tasting little bites of each time you eat a petal.   It's delicious and wonderful dipped in the garlic butter.  It's also delicious diced up and eaten atop pizza, a salad, a cracker, or really anything savory that goes well with garlic and butter.  I like the diagram posted on this page in case you're worried about what not to eat.