Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Easy Peasy Coq au Vin

Coq au vin may sound luxurious, but in reality it was originally found in the kitchens of peasants. Roosters who'd outlived their breeding days were stewed in cheap wine to make the tough ol' birds edible - tasty, in fact.

We don't have old roosters strutting around in our yard. Instead, I buy bone-in chicken thighs and remove the skin.

I tossed potatoes and apples into the pot with the chicken and onions. Some folks use mushrooms and bacon. You could also just do the chicken and onions then serve with pasta/rice and a vegetable. This is one of those dishes that you can really simplify or really dress up. I aimed for a very simplified, one-pot-meal version.

Ingredients I Use (but you can be pretty creative!)
Oil (I used grapeseed)
Bone-in chicken thighs (I used 6; remove the skin before cooking)
Flour (I used rice flour)
Seasonings (I used Italian Seasoning, but you can use whatever you like)
Salt 'n Pepper
Onions (I used 2)
Garlic (I used 3 cloves)
Cooking Wine/Apple Juice/Cheap Wine/maybe even Beer
Soy Sauce (optional, but adds a nice layer of flavour)
Apples (could use carrots, celery, whatever you have on-hand, or nothing else at all!)

Heat the oil in a large cooking pot. Put the flour, seasonings, and s&p into a large plastic freezer baggie, add the chicken pieces and shake til they're well-coated.

Peel and chunk your onions, peel and chop your garlic (or just use whole).

Place the chicken pieces into the oil and let them brown on all sides. Remove the chicken piece from the pot and turn the temperature down to about medium low.

Add the onions and garlic to the oil in the pot.

For the "sauce" you will need to decide what amounts to put in to get a taste that you like. I poured in about 1/4 - 1/3 bottle of cooking wine, then added a bit of soy sauce at a time til the sauce tasted just a bit stronger than I would like. I then added chopped potatoes with the skin still on and returned the chicken pieces to the pot. I added enough water** for everything to cook without the sauce becoming too thick too soon.

Lid on. Medium heat. About half an hour later, I peeled/cored/chunked a couple of apples and tossed them into the pot for a few more minutes and voila!

**Chicken or vegetable stock would also work instead of water, but I found the soy sauce did a nice job of adding in the extra flavour without the extra cost or using up frozen, homemade stock.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today I'm enjoying dandelion tea with fresh ginger shavings. What a flavour treat! I have to say, the ginger is surprising me. I've never been fond of ginger in cooking, but really enjoyed the homemade ginger soda my son and I made back in August. I decided to add some to my tea this morning and it's so good.

Back to dandelions.

They can be used in such a variety of ways. And they have amazing nutritional value: Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and more!

Go ahead, check it out!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Potato Candy

My Mom used to make this when we were kids. The family recipe was basically "mash a potato, add icing sugar to form a stiff-ish dough, add a bit of peppermint flavouring if desired, roll out in large rectangle, spread with peanut butter, roll like a jellyroll, refrigerate, slice, gobble."

That's how I made it for years. With Josh and I now being the only ones home most of the time, a smaller amount is needed. So - about 3 tablespoons of mashed potato, then about half a cup of icing sugar at a time til a nice workable dough is achieved. After all these years, I'm still amazed at the magic of the sugar/starch breakdown.

Alternatives: Almond butter can substitute for the peanut butter. Some folks roll the dough into balls and roll in cinnamon or cocoa and/or add coconut and/or dip in chocolate. Some folks form a ball around a chocolate-covered peanut. There are also potato candy recipes out there that don't use potato as an ingredient but are done up to look like little potatoes. Go wild! It's potato candy! Have fun!

2-Ingredient, Snack-Size GFCF Pancakes


24 Rice Crackers (I used Superstore's plain, "no name" crackers)
3 Eggs

That's it!
I used my "Magic Bullet" and first made the rice crackers into crumbs then blended in the eggs. I spooned the batter into a non-stick frying pan and cooked just til the batter seemed to start firming up, then flipped them over. Watch that they don't burn.
****This recipe only makes 8 very small pancakes, each about 2 inches in diameter. They were perfect with honey!

A few months back, I was craving french toast and didn't have any gfcf bread in the house, so I crunched up some rice crackers, mixed in some eggs, and poured the mixture into egg molds in my frying pan. They were pretty good, and I've turned to that often as an inexpensive french toast alternative.

Today I wanted something more along the pancake line, and since I'm just recovering from some sort of something or other, I knew I needed something with protein that would be light on the stomach and wouldn't take long to make. These worked out to be a perfect solution. Obviously this doesn't work well for families having a big pancake breakfast, but as a snack or as part of a larger meal for 1 or 2 people, these are fantastic.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fried Spring Rolls

Yes! Apparently rice paper rolls can be baked or deep-fried!

I just found out today.

Needless to say, we'll be experimenting with fillings and will report back...

Rice Paper Salad Rolls

My dear friend introduced me to doing up fresh salad rolls. I enjoyed the process of making them together, and I enjoyed the flavour and the unique texture.

My son thinks these are "really cool" and has done a bit more experimenting with fillings than I've even considered. One of my daughters refers to these as caterpillars.

We find that our frying pan is the right size for wetting the rice paper, and we use room temperature water that is leaning towards warm.

Immerse an entire cicle of rice paper (make sure the edges are all immersed!) under the water for a few seconds until it is soft (not too long; not too soft!). Place the circle onto a plate.

Salad rolls can be folded two ways (possibly more, though I only know of two):
- with one end open so they end up looking sort of like a sandwich wrap
- completely enclosed like a spring roll

I start filling the circle about a couple inches or so from the edge closest to me, depending on how many ingredients I'm using, then lay the ingredients in so I'll have a taste of everything in each bite. If you are brand new to rolls, it will only take you one or two rolls to figure out how much to put inside without the rice paper ripping. Once I've finished with the fillers, I pull the bottom of the circle up over the fillers to completely cover them, fold in the paper edges on each side, and carefully roll the salad roll to the top of the rice paper to finish it up.

Our favourite salad roll includes:
-Italian parsley or curled parsley (or go wild and add both at the same time!)
-sprouts (Josh LOVES radish sprouts in these; I prefer bean sprouts)
-cooked and cold rice noodles, thick or thin

-sometimes a leaf of crunchy lettuce
-Josh usually adds chile pepper flakes or hot sauce to his; I prefer dipping my finished rolls in hoisin

Of course, you could also use rice, pork, chicken, smoked salmon, dill, and any number of other ingredients, most likely limited only by the imagination.

Friday, August 27, 2010


My son LOVES food. He loves seeing it, smelling it, being around it, touching it, preparing it...and EATING IT!!

For his birthday, he and I decided to do up a birthday buffet. The menu went something like this:

-Homemade Soda bar with 5 different flavours
-Cream Puffs with Creamy Almond Filling
-Double-Chocolate Cashew Cookies
-Homemade Herbed Crackers
-Cashew "Cheese" Spread
-Sliced Red Peppers
-The aforementioned Almond Play-Doh Ball
-Potato Candy
-Parslied Rice with Tomatoes
-Marinated Cucumber Salad

I think that was everything; all gluten-free and dairy-free!
The potato candy was made with icing sugar, so you'll want to check labels if you plan on making some.

Recipes to follow!