January 4, 2011

Hello 2011!

Here it is, the first week of 2011. We’re all back to the grind of normalcy, or close to it. Unlike some people I did not overindulge this holiday season and I’m left a little perplexed as to why. It’s so unlike me. I don’t gorge on every little thing I see, but I tend to enjoy myself and the food around me. I did pretty well even with my favourite chocolates from Reid’s in my hometown.

I have yet to find out the reason, and while I did enjoy the food around me, I didn’t once say ‘Oh, I ate too much’ or ‘Oh, I think I’m going to be sick’. I’m especially proud of myself for not diving into the cookies that my mom and stepmother boxed and bagged from a Mennonite kitchen in St Jacobs or their own (respectively). They are full of good stuff like chocolate, sugar, and sprinkles, but they are also full of gluten. I stayed far away from them and as a result, I didn’t regret it.

I had mentioned in my last post that I had spent a lot of time in the kitchen during the holidays and so, here are some of the recipes. Everything (except the above mentioned cookies) was gluten-free. Some were traditional (mincemeat tarts) and others were not (a roasted chicken), some were elaborate (a gingerbread trifle - the reason I picked up Saveur Magazine) while others were nice and easy (frozen veggies). There are some pictures that follow, but alas, in the craziness of getting dinner out while it’s hot (and with decent lighting) there isn’t a picture for everything.

Christmas Brunch
French Toast Bake
Smoked Back Bacon (from Saslove’s on Wellington)
Toast & Jam (all kinds made throughout the summer)
Gingerbread Trifle
Mincemeat Tarts (nana’s secret recipe)
Cheese & Baguette (this is my French bread recipe baked in a baguette pan)
Smoked Salmon, Leek & Chevre Tarts
*Appetizers made an appearance due to the homefries taking forever to cook)

Christmas Dinner
Butternut Squash Soup
Basmati Rice
Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken (flattened to lessen cooking time)
Cranberry Sauce
Baguette with margarine (vegan and GF)
Corn and Beans
Tossed Salad with homemade herb dressing
Gingerbread Trifle
Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce (the Honey’s family’s secret sauce)

The following days were a mishmash of delicious leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m one of those people who love leftovers so I enjoyed them as much as the first time round.

Plans for New Year’s Eve were nice and simple. Friends who had a little one invited us over for a relaxing evening and dinner was added. We decided on Indian food, a blend of home-cooked, takeout and a visit to a small Indian grocery. The evening was perfect: nice and relaxing. Here, we did eat a little too much, but the upside was that it was all healthy and again gluten-free. I took another gingerbread trifle for dessert (to use up the copious amount of custard I had remaining in the fridge) and we left it behind as no one had room for dessert, even as the countdown began.

The three dishes from the evening are so easy to put together; they are one-pot meals and if you use frozen or pre-cut veggies, your time is reduced. Then add some favourites from the grocery: papadums, pakoras and saag paneer and you’re set for a great dinner.
Curried Chickpeas
Navrattan Korma
Cauliflower Curry


Night Before French Toast
1 loaf of gluten-free French bread, (stale if possible) cubed
8 eggs
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
½ brick cream cheese
Place cubed bread in a large baking dish (8x13). Mix together eggs, maple syrup, cream, milk, and vanilla then pour over the bread. Slice up the cream cheese and place over the bread mixture. Refrigerate overnight. In morning bake for 30 mins at 350°. When finished sprinkle with berries and icing sugar.

Frittata (everything is approximate)
1 egg for each person
¼ cup milk
Sliced peppers, onion (and any other veggies)
Cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper
Oregano, parsley, basil
Beat eggs then add milk. Beat again to aerate. Place in a large baking dish and sprinkle in remaining ingredients. Bake 15-20 for mins at 350°.

Leek, Chèvre & Smoked Salmon Tartlets
Makes approx. 24- 2” tarts
2-3 dozen pastry tarts (depending on size)
½ lb (250g) smoked salmon
1 leek, minced
1 tbs butter
½ cup goat cheese
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
pinch pepper
Sauté leeks in butter until they are soft. Put into bowl & mix with remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into tartlets then bake 15-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve or freeze & reheat as needed.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp gingerroot, minced
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp each salt & pepper
5 cups butternut squash, chopped
4 cups veggie stock
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, ginger, curry, salt & pepper. Cook until softened. Add squash & stir. Add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Puree soup & serve.

Roasted Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic (adapted from Joy of Cooking)
3 ½-4 lb chicken
Olive oil
1 tsp each dried thyme and sage
½ tsp each ground rosemary and black pepper
1 lemon, sliced
3 heads garlic, top of head removed
1 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Place chicken in a large roasting pan. Rub the skin with olive oil. Mix the herbs together and rub onto the skin. Place lemon slices over chicken. Pour stock and wine into the roasting pan. Place heads of garlic into the pan, but on chicken so they can roast. Cover pan with foil and put into oven. Check every so often to make sure there is still liquid in the pan and add more stock or wine if needed.
*With a flattened chicken, ours took 2 hours to cook at 350°.

Pastry (for pies and tarts – from Gluten-Free Baking Classics)
1 cup plus 2 tbs flour mix
2 tbs sweet rice flour
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp guar gum
¼ tsp salt
6 tbs cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
2 tsp lemon juice
Mix dry ingredients then add butter and mix until crumbly. Add egg and lemon juice. Mix until dough holds together (it shouldn’t be sticky). Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until dough firms up. Roll out for pie and tarts for the size you need: Place dough on a plastic cutting board and roll out or roll out between two sheets of wax paper.

Plum Pudding (from Style at Home)
¾ cup dark raisins
½ cup sultana raisins
½ cup dried currents
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pitted dates
¼ cup mixed candied peel
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup brandy
4 oz butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups gluten-free breadcrumbs
½ cup gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
Place fruit and almonds in a bowl and coat with brandy. Let sit overnight or at least 4 hours. Place butter and brown sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Combine flour, bread crumbs and cinnamon. Add to fruit mixture and mix well. Add fruit mixture to butter mixture alternating with the milk until well combined. Spoon pudding mixture into large muffin cups, filling ¾. In a larger baking dish, fill halfway with hot/boiling water. Place muffin tin into the larger baking dish, cover tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour at 350°. Makes 10 puddings.
*gluten free mixed peel can be found here at the Natural Pantry and No Name brand at Loblaws stores
**I substituted vegan margarine and rice milk for the dairy


Gingerbread Trifle (the original recipe is from Saveur Magazine, but I used a different gingerbread recipe for the cake (not included since it was overpowering) – sub the flour mix)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups flour*, plus more for pan
3/4 cup golden syrup or dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen lingonberries or halved cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
7 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
4 cups milk
8 oz. 70 percent dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
3 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
10 oz. fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. sweet oloroso sherry
12 oz. fresh raspberries
2 tbsp. kirsch
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sweet oloroso sherry
1 tsp. cognac or brandy
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
1. Make the ginger cake: Heat oven to 325°. Butter and flour an 8" square baking pan; set aside. Heat butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add cream and eggs and whisk until smooth; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt; add to syrup mixture and stir until just combined. Toss remaining flour with lingonberries in a small bowl and add to batter; stir to combine. Pour into a baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool. Unmold cake, cut half the cake into 1" cubes; set aside. Reserve remaining cake for another use.
2. Make the custards: Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a 2-qt. saucepan; add 2 egg yolks and 1 egg and whisk until smooth. Add 2 cups milk and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook until mixture thickens, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and add dark chocolate in four batches, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tsp. vanilla and whisk until smooth; transfer to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate dark chocolate custard until chilled. Whisk together remaining sugar, cornstarch, and salt in another 2-qt. saucepan; add remaining egg yolks and egg and whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook until mixture thickens, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and add white chocolate in four batches, whisking after each addition until smooth; add remaining butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap; let cool to room temperature. Fold blueberries into white chocolate custard and set aside.
3. Assemble trifle: Arrange ginger cake cubes snugly in bottom of a 3-qt. glass trifle dish or bowl; drizzle with sherry. In a medium bowl, toss raspberries with kirsch and add to the top of the cake in a single layer. Spoon white chocolate custard over raspberries and smooth top with a rubber spatula; refrigerate until set, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the raspberry jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until loose; pour through a fine strainer set over a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour jam over white chocolate custard and spread evenly. Return trifle to refrigerator and chill until set, 2 hours. Stir dark chocolate custard until smooth, spoon over jam, and smooth with spatula; cover dish with plastic wrap; chill for 8 hours.
4. An hour before you plan to serve trifle, make syllabub: Whisk together sugar, sherry, cognac, and lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add cream and whisk until mixture holds peaks but is not stiff; spoon syllabub over dark chocolate custard, creating swirls and peaks with spoon, and chill until ready to serve.

Navrattan Korma
4-5 cups mixed vegetables (I used the pre-cut mixed bags in the produce section)
½ cup onion, sliced
1 ½ cup rice milk (or milk)
4 tbs ketchup
2 tbs gluten-free flour
2 tbs butter
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Precook all the vegetables, except the onions. Mix rice milk, ketchup, and flour in a bowl then set aside. Saute onions in butter until softened. Add the vegetable and sauté for a few minutes. Add chilli powder and garam masala and mix well. Once spices become fragrant add the rice milk mixture and stir well. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Serve with rice.

Cauliflower Curry
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbs butter
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
1 tbs garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup ground almonds or cashews
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ cup rice milk (or cream)
½ cup yogurt
Saute onions in butter and add the bay leaves. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until browned, and then add tomatoes. Add the spices and mix well. Add almonds and yogurt and mix well. Add cornstarch and stir continuously until it has dissolved. Add cauliflower and cook until the mixture is thick and cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and add rice milk.


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