I wish to extend my apologies for letting my blog registration expire for a week at the end of November and hope nobody was looking for a recipe during that time.
Today I am so excited to share with you a very special baking experience, making cookies with our first grandchild! Sporting an apron purchased at the Lucknow United Church bazaar, Davis helped Grandma make peanut butter cookies and decided that it was good and Grandma was thrilled!
If you are able to eat peanut butter, try these cookies, and if you are not, try the “Six-in-one” Recipe that follows and is always a hit with children. I was having difficulty deciding which to make when I was visiting in Calgary!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Gourmet magazine in 1986 and they are the best.
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups GF all purpose flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using wheat flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, about 5 oz
- 2/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped
- Beat butter, peanut butter and both sugars until smooth, being careful not to over mix.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating until incorporated.
- Sift in flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt until combined.
- Stir in chocolate and peanuts until evenly distributed.
- Roll into 1 inch balls (or 1/2 inch for toddler size cookies) and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten lightly with fork in a crisscross pattern.
- Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes (less for smaller cookies).
Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies
Don’t miss the opportunity to try this super simple, yet elegant dessert! So easy to do for one or two or a crowd! Just cut one peach for every person and adjust the sugar, butter and brandy quantities accordingly. You will still be thinking about how delicious they were the next day!
- 2 peaches, peeled and sliced*
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp brandy (I think you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla if you do not have brandy)
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add sliced peaches and cook for several minutes until warm.
Add brown sugar and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated and sugar syrup is thick.
Remove from heat, stir in brandy and serve over vanilla ice cream. ENJOY! There are not many things I do not think are improved by a dollop of whipped cream but this stands alone and the only reason I would top with cream would be for appearance or to use some leftover.
*fresh are delightful but do not be afraid to try frozen or canned in the off season!
Kwan’s Chicken Wings
When nostalgic recollections in Lucknow turn to Kwan’s Sunday Chinese Buffet the most sadly missed item seems to be the chicken wings. We have not found a restaurant that compares so I decided it was time to try making them myself since Wyatt had shared their secret with me. They are the perfect gluten-free chicken wing because there are only 5 ingredients and at home I can be sure nothing has contaminated the cooking oil.
Kwan’s Wings – click here for pdf version of recipe
2 lb chicken wings, cut in 3 pieces, discarding the tips (or use in your dashi stock)
1 1/2 Tbsp gluten-free soya sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil (if you do not have it substitute any vegetable oil but it will not have the same flavour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp potato starch
- Whisk together soya sauce, oil, salt, garlic powder and potato starch and pour over wings in a plastic bag or bowl. Turn or stir several times to coat wings while marinating for about an hour before cooking.
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees and cook in batches of about 10 so the oil does not drop too much in temperature. Cook for about 7 – 10 minutes depending on the size of wings and your fryer. Raise wings several times to turn them over and prevent sticking to the basket.
Eat them as soon as they cool. They do not require any dipping sauce but if you like a little extra flavour try some Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.
These banana muffins never disappoint! I adapted this lower sugar version of the Muffin Mania Banana Muffins in the 80’s and have been making them probably every month since in one version or another. When I had to switch to gluten-free flour they made the transition almost seamlessly. With my flour mix and a teaspoon of xanthan gum I am not afraid to take them to the shop for coffee break (especially if I make the chocolate chunk version). So when my niece was coming for a visit and I had some nice ripe bananas (the secret ingredient) I thought I would try them with a flax egg substitute to suit her vegan diet. I was not disappointed – they were great with fresh and dried cranberries for added flavour. I would make these if I were out of eggs anytime!
Vegan Banana Cranberry Muffins – for pdf version click here Vegan Banana Muffins
1 Tbsp ground flax seed*
2 1/2 Tbsp water *
1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, about 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
3/4 cup fresh, frozen or dried cranberries or combination
* the flax and water replaces one egg – if you are not vegan you may use an egg instead
- Whisk water into flax seed in a small bowl and let sit while preparing rest of ingredients (at least 5 minutes) until thickened.
- Sift flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
- Stir flax mixture and margarine into bananas until blended then pour over sifted dry ingredients.
- Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.
- Fill paper-lined muffin pans using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2 1/4 ounce scoop for 9 large muffins or a 7/8 oz scoop for 30 mini-muffins.
- Bake at 365°F for 25 minutes (less for mini-muffins)until muffin springs back when lightly touched.
Maple Creme Brulee
If you like custard you will love this Canadian treat.
I adapted this recipe from the Bistro Champlain’s recipe published in Flavours of Canada as a way to use the 8 egg yolks left from making meringues or Dede Wilson’s Essential Buttercream for a special occasion.
If you do not have leftover yolks you can always freeze the egg whites in quantities you will use. I often substitute an egg white for water when adapting a recipe using gluten-free flour because they give structure to your baked goods. Label it with the number of whites and the date you froze it. If you do not think you will use them individually save them all together and plan to make pavlova for a midwinter treat!
Maple Creme Brulée
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
- If you are using a real vanilla bean place it with the milk and cream before you scald it then let it sit until you have prepared the remaining ingredients. Remove it, cut it open and scrape the seeds into the milk before you whisk it into the egg mixture.
- Whisk egg yolks, maple syrup and vanilla extract (if you are using it in place of the vanilla bean) in a bowl until evenly mixed.
- Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture and pour evenly into 8 prepared custard cups.
- Place filled cups into an oven proof baking pan and pour boiling water half way up the sides and bake at 300°F about 40 – 45 minutes until the custard is set but still creamy.
- Remove from water bath and cool completely.
Refrigerate until an hour before serving.
- Blot top of custard with a paper towel if it is wet then sprinkle sugar evenly on the top
- Broil carefully or heat with a blowtorch until sugar is melted and darkly coloured.
- Serve with sweetened whipped cream, fresh berries and a mint leaf if you like.
Kathy Knechtel brought these delicious cheddar biscuits, reminiscent of the Red Lobster specialty, to a dinner party and the young people were lining up for seconds and thirds without having to eat gluten-free! They are easy to make using the new Betty Crocker Bisquick Gluten-free mix!
- I don’t keep garlic powder because it goes hard before I use it up so I just used one clove of fresh garlic, crushed, in the butter for flavour and brushed a bit of the flavoured, melted butter on the pan where I was dropping a biscuit. It gave it lots of garlic flavour.
- I used a little more grated cheese, maybe 3/4 cup and sprinkled some on top.
- Kathy used buttermilk and I made them with regular milk and buttermilk and liked the buttermilk better but if you don’t have it on hand I would not hesitate to make them with plain milk.
- Kathy add a few Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley to the dough and in the butter topper and it made them perfect.
I will try them with a scratch biscuit mix and add some pictures to this blog later but I wanted to get the word out on this special treat for people on a gluten-free diet. It sure fits the bill for something to go with a hearty soup meal as the cool weather descends.
Here is a wonderful way to enjoy the sweet, local watermelon at the markets now. Cut a a piece to save for slicing and use the rest in this delicious soup that will keep for several days in the refrigerator. A lovely change from sandwiches for lunch and packed with fresh vitamins and goodness.
Watermelon Gazpacho click here for pdf version
Nick brought this delicious summer soup to Sherborne Lake and it was an instant hit with our family. So refreshing on a hot summer day served as an appetizer as suggested in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine (summer 2013) where it originated or as the main dish at lunch.
8 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (about 5 lb)
1 Tbsp wine or sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce or 1 tsp Sriracha to taste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup sweet pepper, diced, any colour
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp lime rind, finely grated
AND/OR fresh basil or mint or chives, chopped
• Reserve 2 cups of watermelon and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
• Puree 6 cups of the watermelon in a food processor or blender
• Add vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, hot pepper sauce and salt and pulse several times to mix.
• Transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved watermelon, cucumber, onion and sweet pepper.
• Taste and adjust seasoning then chill.
• You may serve the soup just as it is or with some fresh chopped basil or mint and but it is especially good if you make the garnish and top it with a spoonful before serving.
• Prepare garnish by mixing yogurt, lime jiuce and rind and spoon on top as desired! Finish with a sprinkling of fresh mint, basil or chives or a combination of any.
• Makes 8 servings
Pork tenderloin is on sale and corn on the cob is fresh at the market or farm gate – a perfect pairing for summer! Just add a baked sweet potato or a slice of vine ripened tomato, some applesauce on the side and dinner is complete. Satisfyingly simple and suitable for a single person or a family. Freeze any remaining schnitzel for another quick meal after a hard day.
Ellen La Marre taught me this quick and easy way to prepare my own schnitzel so I am able to use gluten-free crumbs and enjoy this simple meal again.
Cut a pork tenderloin into pieces about 2-3 inches long and flatten to ¼ inch. I use a wooden rolling pin with good results.
Dip pieces into a beaten egg then coat with fine gluten-free cracker or bread crumbs. Lay flat on waxed paper.
Fry in a little olive oil and butter until slightly browned and meat is cooked through. This only takes about 5 minutes on each side. If you have any extra schnitzel freeze them separately on waxed paper.
I always keep a bag of crumbs from the crusts of bread and broken crackers in the bottom of the package. When you have a cup or more just throw them in the food processor or blender so they are uniform. Sometimes you have to heat the crumbs and dry them a little before they will crumble properly.
I needed a gluten-free, vegan brownie recipe for my niece’s shower and found two excellent recipes.
Check them out on these blogs:
Vegan, Gluten-free Black Bean Brownies from the Minimalist Baker – Who would believe that a can of black beans and some cocoa could taste this good!!
Vegan Zucchini Brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie, The Healthy Dessert Blog
I made these in mini muffin pans and topped them with a small swirl of vanilla “butter” cream frosting (made with margarine and almond milk)
This nutritious mixture of grains and fruit was inspired by Holy Crap to replace my morning oatmeal or muesli after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The Canadian Celiac Association recommends avoiding oatmeal, even the gluten-free products, the first year or so after diagnosis until normal blood indicators are obtained.
I mix a large container of this whole grain cereal blend and stir a quarter cup into a bowl of yogurt with a cup of whatever fruit is in season or some chopped apple, banana or frozen berries. I have mixed applesauce or leftover cranberry sauce with plain Greek yogurt for a nice change in the winter. I think it is a great way to start the day!
Gluten-free Breakfast Mix
- 1 3/4 cups hemp hearts (227 g)
- 2 cups chia seeds, black or white (330 g)
- 3 cups whole buckwheat or kasha (500 g)
- 1 cup ground flax seed
- 2 cups dried cranberries and /or raisins
- 2 cups chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts (optional)
Stir everything together in a large pot or bowl then store in a sealed container. Mix with yogurt and fruit for a nutritious and delicious breakfast!