Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mayacamas Eggs Benny

I look forward to weekend breakfasts. With my work schedule, I'm up at a different time almost every day (especially during the summer). Sometimes my alarm goes off at 3:30am, 5:30am or 7:00am. With those early mornings, I find it difficult to eat before I go to work. I've never been a big breakfast eater, so I tend to take my breakfast with me and eat it on the road or at my desk. That usually means a rather tasteless gluten free cereal bar and a Yop.

So after a week of doldrum breakfasts, I look forward to the big weekend breakfast. Usually it's either Pamela's gluten free Pancakes with eggs and bacon or sausages, Pamela's gluten free muffins (using the same flour mix) or omelettes loaded with veggies and cheese. The one breakfast that was missing from my arsenal was eggs benedict. I used to love eggs benny. Mom Mom made great eggs benny and so did Pagliacci's restaurant in downtown Victoria. My favorite was my namesake "Breakfast at Tiffany's". They actually can still make me that breakfast, as their sauce is okay, but it's not so filling without the English muffin or in this case foccacia bread.

I had never made it from scratch though and the only hollandaise sauce mix I could find was loaded with wheat flour. Until, that is, I discovered a gluten free hollandaise sauce mix made by Mayacamas. I found them first on my last trip to Calgary in Safeway. Recently I found a Creamy Pesto Sauce Mix for Pasta in Country Grocer here in Victoria. So it seems this company has a few gluten free options. I haven't tried the pesto yet, but the hollandaise sauce gets two great big thumbs up!

Eggs Benedict for Two

2 poached Eggs
1 package of Mayacamas Hollandaise Sauce Mix
1 1/4 cups of Lactose free Milk
2 tablespoons of Butter
1-2 tablespoons of gluten free Worcestershire Sauce (0ptional)
2 Kinnikinnick English Muffins
2 slices of Frebe Ham
handfull of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

There are a lot of little steps in this, but they are all fairly easy. First prepare your hollandaise sauce according to the package directions. Basically adding milk, butter and worcestirshire sauce to it and mixing it until thick. While that's heating you can poach some eggs. I have an egg poacher which makes it easy, but if you don't have one you can do it the original way, which is throwing the eggs into boiling water. Also while all of that is on the go, you can slightly defrost your Kinnikinnick English muffin in the microwave, just enough so that you can cut through it. Slice it in half and toast. Once everything is ready, you can assemble. Place one muffin half in the center of your plate, and take it's pair and cut it in half and place each half on either side (these are to soak up the extra sauce). Place a small pat of butter on each piece. Next layer a slice of ham on the center muffin, followed by some fresh spinach, your poached egg, and top with sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Repeat these steps for your second plate.

Oh and a side note! My boyfriend tried the Kinnikinnick brand English muffin for the first time when I made this breakfast and without provocation, he said "these taste remarkably bread like." I've been off of real bread for too long to remember what it's supposed to taste like, so that's a great thing for a bread eater to say about a gluten free product! He also loved the whole meal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stew and Dumplings

It's barely been over a month of having my boyfriend live here with me, but I already love it. When I was living alone or when I was single, I ate poorly. Not because I couldn't cook for myself, but because I wouldn't. I hated to go all out on a meal and then have to eat the same thing for days. I loved being able to cook for people. So once in a while I would have a dinner party so that I could share my love of food. When I started dating my boyfriend I would try to cook a nice meal for him at least once a week. It was the only time of the week that I ate well. The rest of the days would be filled with bags of rice chips or instant gluten free meals. Not healthy, not very exciting either, just a means of sustenance. Now that he lives with me I get to cook all the time.

Sometimes I feel like I should rebel against cooking in the kitchen for my boyfriend, because it's part of the age old roles of men and women. When I was growing up I hated the fact that my Mom went to work, did all the cleaning and was still expected to make the meals. It is the expectation that it has to be done that I would rebel against. But I don't have that here. I cook for my boyfriend because I want to cook for him, because I know he appreciates my cooking, and because it makes ME eat healthier. He often tells me that I don't have to make him dinner, but I want to. It's also a lot easier for him if I do the cooking because then he doesn't have to worry about what I can and can't eat. If I cook it, it's all edible for me. Plus, since I do all the cooking he has to do all of the dishes. I figure that's fair!

This week alone I've made homemade French onion soup, stuffed eggplant, mini pizzas and stew and dumplings. I don't think I've cooked so much from scratch in a long time ... I also don't think I've used so many dishes! Of all of those recipes I will share with you the stew and dumplings. To be honest, I liked the French onion soup the best, but I forgot to take pictures, so I will save that for another post when I make it again! The stew turned out quite tasty and the dumplings were all right but a bit chewy. I will have to work on the dumpling recipe. I used one off of that didn't involve fifty different flours, although it was still quite similar to dumplings (I think), that recipe needs work. So I will tell you how to make a
yummy stew and guide you to the dumpling recipe. Perhaps you have already found a good gluten free dumpling recipe that you can share with me?

Stew and Dumplings with Red Wine
-serves 6-8

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 lbs of Stewing Beef cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup of White Rice Flour
Salt and Pepper
1 yellow Onion
1 heaping teaspoon of minced Garlic
1 28 ounce can of diced Tomatoes
2 cups of Glutino Beef Broth
1 cup of Red Wine
2 large Carrots, sliced
1 large Parsnip, sliced into sticks
3 large Potatoes, halved and quartered
4-8 Mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon of dried Mustard
1 teaspoon of dried Basil
1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of Rosemary
1 Bay Leaf
1 tablespoon of Tapioca Starch or Corn Starch plus Water

To make this dish, start by getting a large pot and coating the bottom with oil. Take your beef and place it in a ziploc bag along with rice flour, salt and pepper and shake. Throw the beef into the pot and brown the outsides of the beef. Next throw in the onions, garlic and stir until onions are soft. Next add dried mustard, tomatoes, beef broth and wine and stir. Allow the stew to come to a boil while adding the remaining ingredients (vegetables and herbs). Stir well and reduce to a simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes. At about the half way mark for simmering, combine tapioca starch and a little bit of water in a cup and stir. Then pour the mixture into the stew. This should help it thicken lightly.

Once you think your stew is nearing complete (beef is fully cooked and potatoes are tender) you can drop your dumpling mixture into the stew and cover for 10 minutes (do not peak). After ten minutes, remove from the heat and let sit for another 10 minutes before removing the lid.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Campbells Soup and Blue Cornmeal Muffins

Now instead of joining the other bloggers out there and announcing that Starbucks in Canada and the U.S. has decided to start carrying some healthier snacks, including some gluten free options, I've decided to tell you about another company that's jumping on the gluten free band wagon. That company is Campbell's Soup.

Just when I thought all hope was lost with that company, as they had recently removed pretty much all of their soup from the gluten free safe lists that were floating around, making shopping for soup an almost impossible task, they bring out a whole new line. I had given up all together in fact on even walking down the soup isle. It's almost like a girl giving up a dream of walking down the wedding isle, starring sadly and longly at that soup isle thinking, why bother, I'm not going to find anything there. Until a friend told me that she saw a can of Chunky Campbell's soup with the words Gluten Free on it.

I thought maybe she was hallucinating or maybe was a little too high on the sugar or something because that was silly, a chunky soup being gluten free. But alas, I felt I must investigate further to see if these claims were true. Now, I don't know how long this has been going on for. Perhaps I've been in the dark for months or years, but I think it's fairly recent and the soup isle did in fact have soup with the words gluten free on them. I did have to do a lot of digging to find the only two brands (in that store) that had that claim, but two is better than none and one of those flavours was the New England Clam Chowder! I haven't had that in ages and that was one of the few types of soup that I used to like coming from a can.

Since then I've done a bit more research and discovered a mushroom soup is on their gluten free list, but it's label just hasn't been updated yet. I'm so happy I could almost cry! There are a few recipes that I used to love making that called for cream of mushroom soup and it felt a little ridiculous to make soup, just so I could then put it in another dinner. I mean if I ever had left overs, that wouldn't be a problem, but I have a garburator for a boyfriend, so the word 'left overs' is almost like a dirty word in my house.

So yes, Campbells soup is bringing out gluten free products, of which they are testing on a regular (every 6 months) basis. As always, if you react repeatedly, do tell them so they can fix the problem (and maybe the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as well), but they claim to test under 10 ppm, so there should be no problems ... unless you are super sensitive, which I kind of am. So go fourth and eat, and let me know if you have any issues. So far I'm okay with what I've tried, which is a good sign.

Below is a simple recipe for blue cornmeal muffins, which are quite the tasty treat to accompany a can of Campbell's New England Clam Chowder.

Blue Cornmeal Muffins

3/4 cup Blue Cornmeal
1 1/4 cups of Almond Milk or Lactaid Milk
1 cup of Bob Red Mill's GF All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup of granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/4 cup Crisco Shortening

Mix the cornmeal and milk product into a mixer bowl and let stand for ten minutes (this softens the cornmeal). Next add everything else and mix well! Pour the mixture into greased muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 6-12 depending on how full you actually fill the cups.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

A month or so ago when pumpkin was all the rage due to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tried to think of something a little different to make with pumpkin. Something that wasn't pumpkin pie or some version of that. The holiday season is full of seasonal food and drinks and I was remembering fondly the starbucks flavoured drinks that come out during the holidays. Warm ginger or pumpkin steamers and then it struck me ... Starbucks pumpkin scones! I used to love those things and I haven't had a scone in years. That is what I was going to make. My mind was made up, until another gluten free blogger beat me to the punch.

The gluten-free goddess posted a delicious looking recipe for a gluten free, egg free, dairy free version. If you would like to try it check out her site here. Although I try to cut down on the dairy I haven't started to cut out eggs yet so I decided that I would still make my own version. Both gluten-free goddess' version and mine are based off a Starbucks pumpkin recipe full of gluten and eggs and dairy found on this site posted by Rachel-Snachel.

Another difference in the recipes is that I'm still not very experimental with the gluten free flours. When I started baking gluten free I had a recipe for all purpose gluten free flour that was my Nana's which used soy flour among others. Whenever I baked with it, it was 50/50 whether my baked good would turn out and then the outcomes were just turning into disaster after disaster. I think I didn't mix the flour enough or maybe one of the flours was bad. Who knows? But I did know that I should be avoiding soy flour so I wanted something that I could count on. That's when I discovered Bob's Redmill Gluten Free All purpose flour. It really is all purpose and hasn't let me down yet. So to keep it simple I use it. It saves me from buying a million bags of flour. I'm sure eventually when I'm more confident with gluten free flours, I will start experimenting but for now and for those of you who are new to all this, this flour mix is a great start!

So without further a due , my version of the Starbucks pumpkin scone in all it's outrageous sugary glory!

-based on recipe by Rachel-Snachel


2 cups Bob's Redmill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Xanthum Gum
7 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
6 tablespoons Crisco Shortening
1/2 cup canned Pumpkin
3 tablespoons of Almond Milk
1 large Egg


1 cup Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Almond Milk


1 cup Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Almond Milk
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 pinch of Ginger
1 pinch of ground Cloves

This recipe makes between 6-8 scones. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the first 9 ingredients together in a Kitchen Aid Mixer (that's the flour to the spices). Then cut in shortening with a pastry knife until the mixture is crumbly but has no clumps. Then add your wet ingredients (pumpkin, egg and almond milk) and mix until well combined. Place this mixture into a silicone square pan and push it into all the corners (should be about 1-2 inches thick). Using a knife cut the dough through East to West and North to South. Then cut through on each diagonal length. This should give you 8 triangles. Put in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. Once they are golden brown and come out clean on the toothpick test, remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.

While the scones are cooling, you can make the icing. Basically in small bowls mix all of the ingredients together (as per list) with a spatula. Once the scones have cooled you can use the spatula or a brush to coat the tops of the scones with a layer of sugar glaze. Next using a whisk or a bag with a whole in it, pipe or drizzle the spiced sugar glaze onto the scones. Voila, your delicious scones are ready.