Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Perfect Poached Egg

Poached eggs have always been a comfort food for me. As a child, each day started with a poached egg made by Mum. She used an egg poacher which was well-worn after years of use. I, too, have an egg poacher which my husband uses to make poached eggs for breakfast every Sunday morning. I find this poacher, with metal cups, inconsistent; it makes four eggs at a time, and if you just want a single egg, pulling it out of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards, is too much of a deterrent for me.

Mum and I have been working to perfect a method for a consistent poached egg in a saucepan. With or without vinegar, with or without a vortex, it boils down to preference. In fact, I have found it boils down to boiling!

Here is my preferred method for a single, perfect poached egg:

Firstly, crack an egg and place it in a shallow dish or ramekin.

In a small saucepan, bring a couple of inches of water to a rolling boil. Add a drop of vinegar (it will not flavour the egg and is supposed to keep the white from floating off). Now, reduce the burner to low, remove the pot from the burner for a few seconds to reduce the boil. Once the water is just at a soft simmer, return pot to burner and stir in the centre of the pot to create a vortex, a tornado in the pot! Carefully, hold the dish close to the surface of the water and allow egg to slide into the swirling water.

I like my yolk soft, so I use a three-minute timer. Adjust your time accordingly. Using a slotted spoon, scoop egg out of water, gently test for doneness by feeling the yolk. I like to let my egg sit on the spoon, suspended over the pot – it keeps the egg warm and eliminates the water puddle if left to sit on a plate. 

Enjoy your perfect poached egg however you prefer to eat one. For me, it is mashed on a piece of toast. It makes an equally satisfying breakfast, lunch, supper, or even a filling snack (just not all in one day!)

Simplee

Advertisements
Gluten-Free Food · Life

K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple…a catch phrase from grade school. Advise for projects and presentations. Wise words, minus the ‘stupid, of course,’ for us even now.

I wasn’t surprised at the answer I received, when I asked my son what flavour of cake he wanted for his birthday. Vanilla. Always vanilla, whether it be cake, ice cream or frosting. He believes in the k.i.s.s. principle. So I took a page from his book this year and kept it simple.

A vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. No swirls or ganaches this year…although I did add some picot-dots (only because there was left-over buttercream.)

Do you know what? We all agreed on how good simple vanilla can be. As for my son he got smothered by real kisses!

Simplee 

Gluten-Free Food · Life

Comfort Food

We are told “emotional” eating isn’t good. I would argue all eating is emotional. There are some foods we have fond memories of, and others we associate with negative events or feelings. Often it isn’t the actual food which stir these memories, but when (occasion-wise) the food was served or who we ate it with. I can still remember the menu of my husband and mine’s first Valentine’s Day together – carrot soup and duck were two items (but I had a very bad cold and barely ate anything, until I got home and had some toast.) Ask me what I ate on Monday?

All of us have all encountered the lump in our throats which accompany feelings of worry or anxiety. At these moments eating is difficult. Isn’t that emotional eating?

There are certain foods which bring us comfort. Some of the comfort comes because the food is prepared for us – chicken soup when you have a cold, for instance or dry toast and ginger ale when the tummy is upset. There are other foods which were mere accessories to an event and those feelings remain attached to the particular food. Cotton candy means carnival!

The experts tell us to be more mindful of what we are eating. Eating mindfully starts with our eyes, it is engaging all the senses and being aware of the smell, textures and flavours of our food.

Comfort food does all of the above. Perhaps we were extra mindful when first eating the specific comfort food, or we were surrounded by friends, celebrating, or a loved one spent time making us a special dish. Whichever the reason, everyone has a list of comfort foods. These emotional foods bring us comfort and while some are universal, others are very personal.

  • Banana bread,
  • toast and butter (the aroma reminds me of my grandmother),
  • hot lemons (a nightly ritual for me),
  • mac and cheese,
  • old-fashioned chocolate fudge,
  • railroad cookies (a rolled date cookie a neighbour used to make specially for me),
  • grilled cheese and ketchup,
  • brown baked beans (my grandmother seemed to always have some baking in the oven – an old wood stove),
  • mulled apple cider (holidays),
  • scalloped potatoes with ham,
  • and of course birthday cake.  

Funny how simple most of those comfort foods are to make, but how important they are to my own personal history.

Simplee

 

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

A Pot of Tea and a Recipe

Mum and I had a lovely day today, just the two of us. We shared a pot of tea and a ham and havarti grilled sandwich for lunch. We wondered and browsed around shops and found a new supply of our favourite body moisturizer (in a stick for easy application!) I bought myself some flowers and then we headed home.

My son has some sniffles and is in need of extra rest after his first week back to school. To help his immune system, I made a stir-fry filled with peppers and onions and added extra ginger to the teriyaki sauce. For dessert, peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate buttercream – cupcakes may not heal but they certainly sooth!

Enjoy.

Simplee

 

Peanut Butter Gluten Free Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream

Gather:

  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup each granulated and brown sugar
  • 6 tbsn butter (or margarine)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

Method:

  1. In medium bowl whisk together flours, starch, baking powder and xanthan gum.
  2. In large bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter together. Add white and brown sugars and beat until creamed and fluffy (about 3 minutes) on medium.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Blend in vanilla.
  4. Add half of flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix.
  5. Add all of the milk.  Mix.
  6. Add remaining flour mixture. Mix.
  7. Fill 12 liners of cupcake tin 3/4 full each. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for few minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream

Gather:

  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 – 3 tbsn milk

Method:

  1. Melt chocolate in small heatproof mixing bowl over couple of inches of simmering water.  Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy.  Add 1 cup of icing sugar. Add 1 tbsn of milk and mix until coming together.
  3. Add cooled chocolate to butter and icing sugar mixture and beat until chocolate incorporated.
  4. Add the final cup of icing sugar and add milk, as needed, until frosting reaches the desired consistency. I pour a bit of milk into a creamer jug and then add it as I go along – there is much more control over adding a bit of milk from a small jug!

This is enough buttercream for 12 cupcakes if spread, but if piping larger swirls, there will be enough for only 9.

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Just Peachy

I don’t know where the expression “just peachy” originated, or what it originally meant.  Now, of course, it is usually said it a sarcastic way with a bit of a snap to the delivery.

What could it mean?  Literally, peaches are bright and juicy. They are fuzzy and sweet.  The term would mean things are great (no sarcasm), looking good, everything is just wonderful.

So using the expression, literally, things were just peachy when my son brought home a basket of peaches from work on Saturday.  There is one minor catch, however, I do not like peaches.  I dislike the smell, texture and taste of peaches.  I do like the colour though!  Peaches are still welcome in my home, my husband loves them.  But when faced with more than he can eat, what is one to do?  When life gives you peaches, make curd!  And since there were also nectarines in the basket, I used one peach and one nectarine in the curd…rumour has it that it went well with the brownie.  I had a sour plum instead!

Peach Curd Recipe (naturally gluten-free)

Gather:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chopped peaches (approximately 2 whole peaches)
  • 2 tbsn water
  • 1 tbsn lemon juice
  • 2 tbsn cold butter, cubed (can substitute margarine)

Method:

  1. Reserve 2 tbsn sugar.  Place remaining sugar in medium bowl. Whisk egg into this sugar.
  2. Combine peaches, the reserved 2 tbsn sugar and water in medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. *note if the peaches are juicy the amount of water can be reduced – my latest batch had no additional liquid added.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, boil gently until fruit is softened. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash fruit while cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Slowly pour the hot fruit into the sugar and egg mixture, whisk while pouring.  Then return mixture to saucepan and cook over med-low heat – stir constantly with wooden spoon until thickened (about 10 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and stir in butter one cube at a time, until completely smooth.
  6. Chill *we like warm curd and have one serving warm, then allow the rest to cool before placing in jar.  If you want to smooth the texture even more, place in blender or processor until the desired smoothness.

Makes 1 cup.  Store in fridge.

Curd is really good over cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, or stirred into plain yogurt.  You could even use it between cake layers, just make sure it is completely chilled as it will thicken more as it cools.

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food

A ‘Waffley’ Week

Everyday this week we have had waffles.  Waffles, at our home, however are not limited to breakfast.

Chocolate zucchini dessert waffles, great with ice cream.

Normally, Saturday mornings we have waffles for breakfast (a tradition which started as a ruse to get my son up and moving.)  For variety, we will have pancakes sometimes, since the recipes are pretty much interchangeable. And there are many recipes I rotate through: buckwheat, overnight yeast (pancakes), oatmeal, cornmeal, coconut, pumpkin, banana…never a dull waffle.

Banana bread waffles.

I also use the waffle maker to ‘bake’ quick bread waffles.  I simply use the recipe for a tried and well-liked quick bread, favourites are zucchini, banana and a millet molasses quick bread.  The xanthan gum (or other binder) can be reduced in the waffle – usually by half, if not more. There is the option of adding extra liquid, to thin the batter. I have had success adding 1/4 cup of additional water to the wet ingredients, this allows the waffles to spread more. One other change I make is the amount of batter I use per waffle.  With a waffle recipe, my maker takes 1/3 cup per waffle, but when I make a quick bread waffle I use a 1/4 cup scoop instead.

Millet molasses quick bread waffle-wich.

Once you start making quick breads in the waffle maker, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried it sooner.  This method puts the ‘quick’ in quick bread; it gives a nice variety to the gluten-free diet.  And they freeze well, but don’t be surprised at  how quickly they disappear from the freezer!

Waffle-wich anyone?

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe · Life

Round and Round

I have been thinking a lot about patterns this summer.  Perhaps it is something which happens when one quilts; I see patterns in windows and brickwork and think of patchwork.  Lately, it has been circular shapes catching my attention.

Nature likes a circle.

Just a quick glance around the kitchen and all the circles, spheres and round objects jump out.  Plates, bowls, pots, pans, lids, the curve of the teapot, mixing bowls, tomatoes, a colander, the light fixture, coasters, oranges and an old baking powder tin. Even things we don’t think of as round, become round when sliced, a zucchini, a cucumber or a banana for instance;  all of these elongated shapes slice into nice rounds.

Once round the kitchen…

“Running around in circles” isn’t necessarily the best thing…unless you are a dog chasing your own tail – he seems to get enjoyment out of it! But many of our routines do have a roundness to them.  Groceries (at our home, for example) begin with the delivery of the weekly flyers, followed by the shopping a couple of days later.  The fridge is filled for a day or two, and then the list starts again and before I know it the flyers are sitting in the mailbox. Full circle…

Of all the rounds I have noticed this week, I’d have to say the best rounds have nicely domed tops, bake in multiples and come in a variety of flavours.  Did you guess cupcakes? I was thinking cupcakes…and then one cake in particular came to mind (and it is just as good as a 9″ round, or as 12 cupcakes).

Enjoy,

Simplee

Gather….

  • 1/2 c sugar, granulated
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsn grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c white rice flour
  • 3 tbsn tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsn potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/4 c sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (can make own by adding tbsn lemon juice to milk)

Method…

  1. Prep pan, line bottom of 9″ cake tin with parchment paper.  Or line muffin tin with liners for cupcakes.  Preheat oven 350F.
  2. In medium bowl combine and whisk together flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
  3. In stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar and oil.  Add egg and combine.  Add lemon zest and vanilla to creamed mixture and combine together.
  4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk (2 additions).  Mixing well after each addition.
  5. Pour into prepped tin.  Tap on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350F oven, or until toothpick/tester comes out clean. (Adjust time if making cupcakes.)
  6. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before removing from tin and allowing to cool completely on rack.  Remove parchment paper while still warm.

Waste not, want not…use the fresh lemon juice instead of milk in the buttercream for a double shot of lemon.

Quick Buttercream…1/4 cup softened butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla extract.  Add sugar 1 cup at a time and lemon juice by tbsn, as needed, until spreadable, or piping consistency.  Buttercream can be doubled or halved as needed.

Gluten-Free Food

A Parfait Day…

The weather has continued to be hot and humid this past week.  There are only so many desserts one can make in the toaster oven and cupcakes haven’t been one of them…I’m missing cupcakes.  We have had donuts, they are somewhat cakey, but still not quite the same. Maybe it is really the buttercream I have been missing…but enough about cake (at least for today.)

coconut flour cupcake, ice cream and stewed strawberries with shredded coconut

One easy dessert to pull together on a hot day is a parfait.  I picked up strawberries at the grocery store this week, too good of a deal to pass up, but they were rather firm (the berries are always better from the farmer’s market).  I cut them into quarters, tossed in a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and stewed them, mashing them with a fork once the juices were released.  The stewed strawberries became the sauce over some ice cream and defrosted coconut flour cupcakes (I try to keep plain cupcakes in the freezer for emergencies…the weather better break soon, as I am down to my final one!)  

Why stop at dessert?  Parfaits make great breakfasts too.  They require less work and equipment than a smoothie bowl.  And pulling together some breakfast ingredients is as easy as a walk around the kitchen, with a peek in the fridge.  Initially, I  was going to use leftover plum crumble with Greek yogurt, but the leftover plums were gone by morning.

I always dress up my (plain) morning yogurt with one or more of: shredded coconut, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, raisins, granola, preserves or nuts and seeds.  A parfait is much prettier to look at and only takes a few extra minutes.  It doesn’t require a fancy dish, a plain glass works just fine, or a piece of stemware if you want to make an impression.

cinnamon cereal, Greek yogurt, raspberry preserves, chia seeds, orange segments, dried cranberries and shredded coconut

Here are some other parfait (dessert) ideas to try:

  • leftover apple crisp with cream poured over top
  • sliced vanilla cupcakes (or gingerbread cake) with rhubarb curd and custard
  • banana split parfait
  • sauteed apple with cinnamon and brown sugar with cinnamon Chex cereal
  • pudding and cream
  • broken up ginger cookies with cream cheese and whipped cream, topped with crystallized ginger
  • chocolate cake, peanut butter whipped cream and peanuts
  • smoothie bowl parfait
    pineapple and blueberry, Greek yogurt smoothie bowl, a bit more work

    A ‘parfait’ way to make your day special!

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

Battery Recharge…

Some argue that a routine can become a rut.  I like to know what is expected for the day – Tuesday, groceries, for example.  Thursday is my recharge day.  I do baking or sewing or quilting or reading on a Thursday, usually a creative pursuit.  A sort-of “me” day, a day where nothing has to get done.  I can choose to meander or beeline to a task.

Vitamin ‘N’ helps to recharge the batteries.

We are a one-car household.  Our family made the decision a number of years ago, to go from two vehicles to one.  My husband carpools to work and we use our feet or public transit to get around town when he has the car.  There is normally a set day for when the car is available for my use, hence Tuesday being grocery day.  So when the schedule gets changed – thanks carpool – it is a wrench in the workings.

A woodpecker enjoying some me-time.

You never really think about the effects of a routine on your energy levels, until the routine changes.  I was thrown off my usual routine this week, I lost my Thursday, my recharge day.

The days were flipped around, so Friday was my recharge day instead. It felt a bit funny, but I was happy with my productivity.  I pulled out the tote with my batting (the bottom tote, of course) and finally got a tablet cover made. Here are the instructions I used – http://so-sew-easy.com/quilted-tablet-cover-zippered-pocket/

Tablet case, closed.
Morning detox smoothie from “Oh She Glows Every Day” – mango and white tea.

I have been reading Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook by Angela Liddon.  It inspired some of my own experimentation with smoothies and smoothie bowls this week.

So far, next week looks normal.  We can never tell what is going to come our way though. I’ll do my best to get my Vitamin ‘N’, and all my other vitamins to keep those batteries charged and ready.

Simplee

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

‘Tis the Season…

Only five more months until Christmas…are you counting?  If you make gifts, you might be starting to think about it.

All the differing messages you encounter in the stores can make your head spin.  Just what season is it?  There have already been mid-season sales, the pencils and binders came out for back-to-school the week after school finished.  Today, the craft store had end of season reductions on all the summer games and crafts and the Halloween decorations are making their way to front and centre.

I do make gifts for Christmas, but I don’t usually start them until after Halloween.  I might knit some socks in the summer and stash them for later (spoiler alert), but thinking about the “upcoming” holiday season isn’t really on my radar in the middle of the actual holidays.

Houses for a quilted wallhanging. A gift? Maybe…

This year has been even more confusing as the summer weather was slow to start and the last couple of days have felt more Fall-like than summer.  (I’m not complaining, it has been nice to lose the humidity and be able to breathe).

Waiting for embellishments…

So with tongue firmly planted in the cheek.  I wish you all a “merry five month countdown!”

Peanut butter and chocolate are always in season!

Simplee