Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Left overs never looked so good ...



When I think of Christmas and Thanksiving, our big turkey days, I look forward to two things. The first is spending the day in the kitchen making a gourmet meal to share with friends and family and the other is left overs. Oh to dream of turkey sandwiches ... cold slathered in mayo and pepper or hot dripping in thick juicy gravy. Makes your mouth water just thinking of it.

It also reminds me of a little place that I used to like to eat in. It was a little cafe down some stairs on Fort Street here in Victoria. It was owned by a friends sister and she made the best turkey panini I have ever eaten. It's been a long time since I've eaten there, now that I can't eat anything on the menu and now that they've moved to a new location, however, I still remember their food fondly.

What better way to use up some left over turkey (sadly, a rare occurrence around here) then to make the best gluten free turkey sandwich ever.



Turkey Sandwich

1 Gluten Free Focaccia Bread or Chick Pea Bun from Panne Rizo
Some left over Turkey
1 tablespoon of Cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon of Mayonnaise
A handful of fresh Spinach
1-3 slices of Provolone Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Simply layer the ingredients like so: mayo, turkey, salt/pepper, cranberry sauce, spinach and cheese either between two pieces of focaccia bread or open faced on a bun and grill (or broil) until all the cheese is melted. Yum.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays / Nourish / Eggnog

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all had fantastic Christmas's, Hanukkahs, and Boxing Day Sales ... what ever it is you celebrate. I was away in Calgary and Banff until Christmas Eve. My boyfriend's family mostly lives in Calgary and there was a Christmas wedding that we were all invited to, so I got to go with them and meet a whack load of people. The trip was great, except I managed to get a bit of food poisoning right before we were supposed to go snowboarding in Banff. So while everyone else was having fun on the slopes, I was sleeping off my sickness. I did get to go to a spa though, which was fantastic. Everyone I met in Calgary was super nice and I had a great time.

The Christmas wedding was very nice too and the bride was also a Celiac, so she understood my food needs and we both had special plates for us at the wedding. I was actually a bit surprised that not all the food was safe for her to eat, but at least she made sure that she had food. You wouldn't want to go starving on your wedding day! If I ever get married, everyone is going to be eating gluten free and they will probably be shocked at how yummy eating gluten free can be.

In fact, when we were in Banff our party also had one vegetarian (my boyfriends brothers girlfriend). Having one vegetarian and one celiac in the party made it a bit difficult for the others to accommodate our diets, but they did a great job of doing so. We were, however, in utter shock when we discovered a vegetarian restaurant that served wheat free / gluten free food. Of course, we had to go! This restaurant in Banff, is called Nourish. We had the whole place to ourselves as Tuesday night is a slow night for them. The food is served Tapas style and is beyond yummy. We had nachos with 27 different toppings (rated number 1 in all of Alberta, and I can see why!), yam tenders, shepards pie, stuffed roasted red pepper, yam and apple soup and ravioli. The ravioli was the only thing I couldn't eat. Even the boys in the group were amazed at how good everything tasted and my boyfriend commented on the fact that it was the first meal in a long time that he left satisfied but not bloated. I think he has some sort of food intolerance but we don't know what it is and he's too stubborn to find out. That's a whole other story though. I highly recommend Nourish if you are Celiac and are travelling through Banff.

Since it is the holiday season, there is a lot of eggnog. I love eggnog, but since being diagnosed I've never been able to figure out if it's safe for me to eat. That and since discovering that I'm also lactose intolerant and soy milk makes my throat itchy, I don't have a whole lot of options. I here that Lactaid makes eggnog, but I can't find it in the stores around here anywhere. So what's a girl gotta do to get a bit of eggnog around here? You guessed it, make it herself!

I searched the web on how to make your own eggnog and tried a few recipes out. One of them is a raw recipe which doesn't really taste like eggnog at all, but it did taste quite yummy. I think it just needs some tweaking with the spices to make it more like eggnog. If you'd like to try it, you can find it here: http://thriveonlive.blogspot.com/2008/10/raw-nogg.html. Then I tried a cooked eggnog recipe. The only problem is you have to cook it very slowly or you will turn your eggs into scrambled eggs and that isn't very appetizing. Mine turned out quite yummy when I adjusted the spices but it had little tapioca like beads at the bottom of it, which is probably from cooking it too high and were easily strained out using cheesecloth. So if you can find pasteurized raw eggs, I would recommend that version. I just haven't been able to find pasteurized eggs yet.


Cooked Eggnog

6 Eggs
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 cups of Lactose Free Milk (or Almond Milk)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves

In a large saucepan beat eggs, sugar and salt together and then stir in 2 cups of milk. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and lightly coats a spoon. Remove from heat and mix in the remaining milk, vanilla and spices. Chill overnight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perogies

When I was growing up I hated perogies. No offense to my Mom of course, she was just following the instructions ... take from frozen, plop in boiling water until they float and done. They were so bland and chewy I despised the days that we had them for dinner.

Then one day when I had long moved out from home my roommates made perogies and they were delicious! They taught me that in addition to boiling the perogies, you then add them to a frying pan with sausages or bacon and onions and lots of butter and fry them until golden brown. They then soak up some of the flavour and become quite tasty.

Another time I went to my friend Abel's and he showed me another way of making yummy perogies. He bought the ones that were filled with pizza filling and then cooked them up with sweet Thai chili sauce. They were super tasty.

For the longest time after being diagnosed, I didn't even contemplate perogies. They were a thing of the past. Then I saw that a local (well Vancouver Island) based company was making them. But for $14 a package and the package was 1/3 the size of what regular perogies would come in, it was a hard bite to swallow. I did it once just as a treat but that was too expensive for me. Then I started seeing blogs about gluten free perogies and had to try it myself. They turned out pretty well. I based my recipe off of "The Celiac Husband" blog, but did not have access to the flour mix, so had to change it up a bit. My boyfriend, who is the ultimate test, loved them. I cooked them up with Hertel gluten free chirozo sausage, butter and onions to give them that special kick.



Perogies
-Adapted from The Celiac Husband

Dough

1 3/4 Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum
2 large Eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
1/2 cup of Water
Butter
Salt and Pepper

Filling

1 Russet Potato
1/2 cup of shredded Applewood Smoked Cheddar
2 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup of Goats Milk
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/2 small Onion

In order to make the filling, boil the potato in a small pot until tender. Then mash in the butter and milk to make it like mashed potatoes. Add in garlic, onion and cheese. Set aside.

For the dough, place flour, beaten eggs, and Xanthan in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Then add sour cream and water and pulse again. If the dough is sticky, just add more flour, if too dry add more water. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for one hour (or more). Roll out the dough on a floured piece of wax paper and use a large cookie cutter to cut out individual perogies. Remember that gluten free dough doesn't stretch very well so you can't pull the dough over the filling very well ... instead you need to make bigger dough cut outs.


Once you have your circles of dough you can fill them with one or two tablespoons of your filling. Place the filling in the center and then fold the dough over pressing the edges together. Place the perogies in boiling water until they float and then transfer them to a frying pan with melted butter, onions and sausage (or bacon) and sautee until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and voila, yummy perogies!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Julie and Julia

Bacon, Mushroom and Leek Quiche

December 8th marked release date for DVD Julie and Julia. I'm sure the foodies out there have no need for a description of the movie, but just in case I'll start with a brief synopsis. Basically it's a story of two women told simultaneously. The first is of Julia Child, the famous French Chef, who
was not French at all and how she got her start to a most amazing cooking career. The second is of a writer who decided to honour Julia and challenge herself by cooking all of Julia's recipes from her book and blogging about it. This movie shows two amazing stories of two amazing women who adore food.

Baked Apples with Brie and Rosemary

To celebrate this and to break out of my own shell I held a Julie and Julia party. I used to love hosting dinner parties, but they never really worked out for me. The food was always great, that wasn't the problem, the problem was that no one would ever show up. I would invite a lot of people and cook for 10 or more and then two people would show up at my doorstep. It was very disheartening and after a while I started leaning away from dinner parties. I stopped all together when I was diagnosed with Celiac. I could barely figure out what to feed myself, let alone groups of people. I also lacked the confidence to try new things and feared that what I now thought tasted good, would not appeal to those who can eat gluten. Then I started making up other excuses, like my basement suite is too small and there aren't any windows so who wants to hang out in a dungeon? My boyfriend told me that was the stupidest thing he'd ever heard. He was right. The later reason's were pretty lame. So when I wanted to watch Julie and Julia on DVD and didn't think my boyfriend would want to I decided it was the perfect excuse to have a girls night and to shed that doom and gloom fear I had of making people gluten free food.

Easy Cheese Log
(I substituted Mayo for Sour Cream because that's what I had on hand)

I think I probably could have picked a better night to host the party, one that wasn't surrounded by major events on either side that would take away from my prep time, but I chose the day that Julie and Julia came out on DVD to host the party. I did a little bit of research and read in a few places that one of Julia Child's favorite dishes was Quiche, so I pulled a Julia Child's Quiche recipe and adapted it. I also heard that bruchetta was featured in the movie so I made some of my own (although now that I've seen th
e movie, I'm going to have to make a much better version, because I nearly drooled all over myself when I saw the movie version). I also read that she was famous for her Queen of Sheeba cake. Since I didn't have the time to attempt a brand new version of her Chocolate Almond Cake, I made a similar chocolate cake (that I've featured on here before) in order to make a gluten free mimic. I think one day I'll try and make the official gluten free version of Julia's cake though. I also served a few other appetizers, salad and veggies.

Gluten Free Bruchetta on Silly-Yak Harvest Seed Bread

So many things could have gone horribly wrong. The food could have turned out to be a disaster (which is why I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to serve food you've never made before, but I seem to forget th
at every time) or no one could have shown up or no one could have gotten along. Luckily for me, everything turned out just right. I great mish mash of my friends that have very little in common got together and conversed as if they were long time friends. I love that. The food turned out quite well and the movie was great. Plus, some of them brought Virgin Kiwi Mojitos to drink, which were excellent and I will have to share that recipe with you at some point. They were delicious.

If you are newly diagnosed, it may take some time to
build up confidence in your abilities to cook gluten free well, but it will happen ... and when it does, it will be glorious.


Bacon, Mushroom and Leek Quiche
-adapted from Julia Child and Terri Gruss

Crust:

1/2 cup of Cold Butter, cut up into pieces
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 large Egg
1 tablespoon Water
1/4 cup Almond Meal
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3/4 cup of Sweet Sorghum Flour


Filling:

1 pound thickly sliced Bacon, cooked and diced
2 large Leeks, thinly sliced
5 Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Thyme
8 ounces Smoked Gruyere Cheese, shredded or diced
2 large Eggs
1 large Egg Yolk
1 3/4 cups of half-and-half

Start by making the crust. In a food processor combine butter and salt until smooth. Next add egg, water, almond meal and gf all purpose flour and pulse until smooth. Then add sweet sorghum flour until mixture starts to form a ball. Remove dough from the processor and place on a lightly floured (gf) wax paper. Dust the dough ball with more gf flour and cover with another piece of wax paper. Refrigerate this for a minimum of one hour. After it is chilled remove it from the fridge and keep it between the two pieces of wax paper and roll it out to fit a pie pan. Once it is the appropriate size, remove the top sheet of wax paper and gently turn upside down onto the pie plate. Peel back the remaining waxed paper, fix any gaps and remove any access and then pinch the edges to make it look nice. Bake this shell in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated in plastic wrap for a few days or frozen for a few months.

While the crust is baking you can start on the filling. Cook up bacon in frying pan or Gorge Forman Grill (but save the fat). In another frying pan, using a few tablespoons of bacon fat, fry up sliced leeks and shitake mushrooms until lightly browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add bacon and diced cheese. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs and heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Once the crust is ready, place bacon, mushroom and leek mixture on the bottom of the pan (on the crust). Then pour the egg mixture over top. Bake this in the oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Bon Appetit!