Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rosemary and Orange Polenta Fries with Curry Mayo (Gluten Free)

These passed the husband test with flying colors.  He thought I was mad when I first told him about the recipe but soon as I took them from the oven, he was gobbling them up faster than I could take the photos!  You can pair these with a variety of different flavoured dips but I like the curry as it brings a unique element to the rosemary.

Rosemary and Orange Polenta Fries:

The liquid to cornmeal ratio below is a guide.  The end result should be a thick mixture, however, you need to have enough liquid to cook the polenta in the first place.  I recommend adding enough liquid to ensure the cornmeal is cooked and then slowly reduce it to the desired consistency.  Your finished product should be thick enough to spread but not too dry that your cornmeal is underdone.
  • 1 cup of seasoned broth of choice (chicken, beef, consomme, veggie)
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of one orange plus half orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chopped rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil and Sea Salt

In a saucepan, heat liquids until they come to a boil.  Add polenta and mix continually.  Continue to add more water or orange juice if needed to cook through. Reduce until thick, being sure not to burn the bottom of the pan.  Add butter, parmesan cheese, orange zest, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Mix through and remove from heat.

Spread into a non-stick back pan so polenta is about 1/2 inch thick.  Refrigerate, uncovered, for about an hour. Cut into strips and carefully set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 400C/190F. Lightly drizzle a non-stick pan with olive oil. Place fries in pan, being sure not to overcrowd. Drizzle with more olive oil and a pinch of moldon sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and the fries release easily from pan.  If the fries stick to the bottom of the pan, they are not ready.  You should be left with a lovely, golden brown fry that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Curry Mayo Dip:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp rice wine or white wine vinegar
  • Dash of chili peppers (optional if you want more heat)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gourmet Potatoes 'n Cheese

An easy to make potato casserole, ideal for buffets or when you want to indulge in some cheesy carbohydrate goodness. Can be made ahead and frozen. Just be sure to defrost before baking. Sorry, this is soooo not low fat!  Lose clothing recommended.

  • Three large white potatoes (about three to four cups diced)
  • 1 cup gluten free condensed mushroom soup mix (see my blog for recipe)
  • 1 cup sour cream (low fat preferred - if not, regular is ok)
  • 1 cup shredded strong cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 rashers of bacon (cooked, drained and roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan (for topping)

Peel potatoes and chop into very small cubes - about half the size of a dice. Microwave for about two minutes to par-cook. Don't overcook or you will be left with a mushy mess!

In a bowl, mix together remaining ingredients (except parmesan). Add potatoes and mix well. Season to taste. Place in an oven proof casserole dish, sprinkle with half the parmesan and top with loose fitting tin foil. Bake in a 350C/180F oven between an hour and an hour and a half.  Once half way done, remove foil and add remaining parmesan. Potatoes should be cooked through and not crunchy. Let sit for about 10 minutes to set and serve.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Condensed Mushroom Soup Mix - Gluten Free Alternative

There are a lot of great recipes that call for 'condensed mushroom soup'. Unfortunately most canned soups contain wheat which acts as its primary thickener. They also contain a lot of salt which is bad for your health! Here is a great little recipe that is easy to make and tastes great!

If your recipe calls for one cup of condensed soup, use one cup of the gluten free version instead.  Because this version is less salty, be sure to check the seasoning of your recipe as it won't take into consideration the difference in salt.

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp dry powdered milk 
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Approximately 1 cup consomme or your favourite seasoned broth (mushroom, chicken or beef)
  • 2 - 4  chopped white mushrooms
In a small bowl, combine powdered milk, gluten free flour, onion powder and salt. Place butter into small saucepan, and melt over medium heat, being careful not to burn the butter. Add dry mixture and consomme/stock and whisk continually, until thick and all lumps are removed.  If too thick, add a bit more stock until you get your desired consistency.

Chop mushrooms and saute in a frying pan with a bit of butter over medium heat. Once cooked and golden brown, de-glaze the pan with a bit of stock or white wine, removing all the delicious bits of flavours along with the mushrooms.  Mix into soup mixture and remove from heat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Eggs Benny Roll Ups (Gluten Free)

This is a nifty alternative to traditional eggs benny - you can make the roll-ups and hollandaise sauce ahead of time so all you'll need to do is pop the roll ups into the oven when you are ready to start your eggs.  Easy, breezy!

Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp each salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, dry mustard.
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp white wine

In microwave, heat butter until boiling hot.  Combine all other ingredients in a blender. Keep blender on and slowly add the hot butter to the egg mixture, being careful not add too quickly or the sauce will split.  The hollandaise sauce can be served immediately, or kept in the fridge for three to four days.  Reheat over the top of a double boiler, over medium heat.  Careful not to reheat over boiling water or the sauce will split and you'll be left with a curdled mess.

Roll ups - per serving

  • Two (2) asparagus spears
  • 1 piece of Genius gluten free or regular white/whole wheat bread
  • 1 slice proscuitto ham
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp good quality parmesan cheese (or your favourite cheese of choice!)
  • Olive oil

Snap off ends of asparagus so you are left with approximately 4 inch tips. Blanch for 1 to 2 minutes in boing water and cool immediately in an ice bath. Remove from water, dry and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.

Remove crusts so you are left with a nice square piece of bread. Either flatten the bread with your hands, heavy weight or with a rolling pin.

*some gluten free breads tend to break and/or stick to the pin so if this happens, you'll have to use whatever technique that will work with the type of bread you are using.  From my experience, the fresher the bread, the better it handles.  But again, this all depends on the brand of bread you are using. I recommend Genius GF bread as it handles very well and toasts wonderfully.

Lay the proscuitto on the flattened bread followed by the asparagus, keeping them together on the edge closest to you. Cover with cheese and then roll gently from the bottom up being careful not to break the bread.  Don't worry if they don't stick together on their own as they'll keep their shape once toasted. Brush with olive oil. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and broil in the oven until golden brown.

Boil eggs to order and serve along side roll ups and a good size gob of hollandaise for dipping.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

I like this version as it's less oily than the store bought variety and can be made up in a jiffy.  It's a healthy choice for those outdoorsy folks who want a low GI snack packed full of protein, flavour and fiber.  Serve with carrot and celery sticks, or crackers.

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp tahini or sesame paste
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Approx 1/4 cup good quality olive oil (more if hummus appears to dry)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Good size pinch of any fresh herb such as fresh parsley or basil
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (soft, packed in oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, add all ingredients (except herb and sun-dried tomato).  Blend until chopped but still coarse.  Add half the sun-dried tomato and continue to blend until smooth.  Hummus should be smooth and have a slight red tone from the tomatoes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to desired flavour and consistency (adding more lemon juice or olive oil if needed).

Add remaining sun-dried tomatoes and herbs and quickly pulse processor a few times to mix through - you don't want to puree these ingredients as you want to be left with little morsels of goodness throughout the hummus.

Oh My, Spinach Gomae!

Gomae (sounds like 'go-my') is a Japanese side dish translated as "sesame dressing". There are several types of gomae dishes, however, this is one of my favourite versions.  It's really easy to make and the dressing lasts forever in the fridge.  


  • 1/4 cup sesame paste or tahini
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste *slightly less if using a saltier miso
  • 2 Tbsp good quality honey
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar

In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together.  If too thick, add a small amount of water to desired consistency. Dressing should have a lovely nutty balanced flavour (like most dressings, a good balance between sweet, salty and  acid).  Depending on the saltiness of your miso, you may need to use slightly less miso so to not overpower your dressing.  

To prepare salad:

  • 2 bunches of spinach, cleaned and dried (or alternatively, on large bag of pre-washed, organic spinach)
  • Toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for garnish

Blanch spinach leaves in simmering water for 30 seconds or until wilted.  Immerse into ice water bath and pat excess water.  Remove and squeeze out excess water. Or, place into plastic bag and place into microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Carefully remove from bag, immerse into ice water bath and place onto paper towels to squeeze out excess water.

Transfer spinach to chilled serving plates and top with dressing, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds or chopped peanuts.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Easy Beef Stroganoff (Gluten Free)

This is a lovely recipe that the whole family will enjoy.  It's easy to make and can be frozen and made ahead for those busy winter work days.  Serve over your favourite gluten free pasta or garlic mashed potatoes.


1kg (2lbs) lean ground beef
375ml (1 1/2 cups) gluten free bread crumbs
60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
60 ml  (1/4 cup) chopped onion
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Stroganoff Sauce

250ml (1 cup) chopped onion
250ml (1 cup) thinly sliced mushrooms (cooked) or 1 can mushrooms, drained.
60 ml (1/4 cup) butter
60 ml (1/4 cup) gluten free flour
60 ml (1/4 cup) ketchup
500ml (2 cups)  Sour Cream
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (omit this ingredient in Canada as the Canadian version contains gluten.  US and UK are Okay!)
2 - 284ml (2-10oz) cans Baxters Beef Consomme (If you don't have Baxters, any other type of gluten free consomme will do)
Salt and pepper to taste

Meatballs:  combine all ingredients together in large bowl.  Form into balls and bake on a non-stick cookie sheet at 375F (190C) for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, drain and set aside.

Sauce:  Brown onion in butter.  Add flour and mix well.  Add ketchup and consomme, cooking slowly until thickened. Add sour cream, mushrooms and meatballs.  Place in a casserole dish and keep warm until ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salmon Gravalax (smoked salmon substitute)

This is a wonderful alternative to smoked salmon.   I love the taste and texture of the salmon as it melts in your mouth.  To me, it's a fresher/cleaner alternative to smoked salmon which has a very distinct flavour and can sometimes contain additives or gluten.  It's easy to make and more cost effective than purchasing the store bought variety.

1 fillet of good quality salmon (preferably a tail end piece)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon Grainy Dijon Mustard
1 - 2 Tablespoons Vodka or Gin
Chopped fresh dill

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except dill and salmon.

With the skin side down, apply a thick layer of of the mixture directly on the salmon filet.  Cover the salmon with the fresh dill so none of the flesh is showing through. Place salmon in a small zip lock bag and then into a shallow dish.

Cover with an additional layer of cling-film and weigh down with another dish or some other type of weight.  I used a similar size dish and a small bag of rice.  You can use whatever you can find in the house (canned food etc.) The key is to ensure there is constant pressure of the filet so the salt/sugar/dill mixture is firmly and continually pressed against the salmon.  This will ensure the ingredients penetrate the fish so proper curing can occur.  Let sit in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Once cured, the flesh should be firm and display a lovely orange color.  Scrape off dill and mustard and thinly slice salmon on a sideways angle towards the skin.  Toss away any dark bits of fresh and remaining skin.

Serve atop your favorite cracker along side chopped fresh dill, cream cheese and squeeze of lemon juice.

Gluten Free Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

These are berry, berry good!  They can be eaten on their own or enjoyed in a bowl under a splash of double cream.

1 3/4 cup Narin’s Gluten Free Oats (uncooked)
1 1/2 cup Self Rising Gluten Free flour (or plain flour and add 1 tsp baking soda)
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter; melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 F (170 C) and line the bottom of an 11x7-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds and salt.  Add melted butter and mix through. You should be left with a soft crumbly mixture.  Set aside approx 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining in the bottom of the prepared dish.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes to set.

In the meantime, combine blueberries, white sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about two minutes stirring occasionally.  In a small bowl, combine remaining water, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Stir into blueberry mixture until thick.  This should take less than one minute.  Remove from heat.

Spread blueberries evenly over cooked oats and top with remaining oat mixture.  Careful not to burn yourself as the berry mixture will be hot!  Try to evenly spread topping and press in slightly to ensure oats are adhering to the berries. 

Bake for an additional 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand on wire rack to cool and then cut into bars.