World’s Easiest Cookies {Bake Around}

World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover 600

Elizabeth Barbone (Gluten Free Baking) has done it again, this time with her latest cookbook “The World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” which is loaded with recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and no refined sugars!

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth a few years ago at the Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ. She is simply amazing, funny, and beyond talented. When this latest book was released (January 2016), she asked if I would like to be part of the “bake around” for it along with a handful of other bloggers, of course my answer was YES! I am not paleo (however some of my recipes just happen to be paleo), I do have celiac disease and a dairy allergy so these recipes are perfect for me and anything to support Elizabeth.

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(in true “Jenny” fashion, my eyes are closed)

The recipe we were asked to make and share with all of our readers is accurately named “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I kid you not, these are the world’s easiest cookies…except for those that you buy in a package, but why would you do that when you can make these?? They are delicious to top it off. Light and fluffy bites of goodness. I made the batch and Bryan proceeded to eat more than half of them. I was lucky enough to grab a few for myself.

Elizabeth is kindly letting us share this recipe with all of you and is also giving away 5 copies of her new book. So check out the recipe below and be sure to enter Elizabeth’s giveaway here: GIVEAWAY

World’s Easiest Cookies

World's Easiest Cookies _ World's Easiest Palelo Baking _ Elizabeth Barbone
Active Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free
store-bought

100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing
bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla
extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced
about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly
with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass
sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer
cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then
transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.
Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

See how easy these cookies are? And did I mention DELICIOUS?!? Be sure to check out all the bake around posts on Elizabeth’s website; Gluten Free Baking

*all comments and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Elizabeth for including me in this “bake around”

Gluten Free Classic Snacks {Review + Giveaway}

Classic-Snacks-e1436337195890This giveaway has now closed

Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring is one of my favorite gluten-free cookbook authors and bloggers. The woman is a genius when it comes to taking your favorite gluten-filled recipes and reformulating them to be gluten-free and she hit the nail on the head again in her latest cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks. With 100 recipes (YES 100!) for everything from cookies, brownies, snack cakes, and pies to buttery crackers, cheese crackers, pretzel rods, candy bars, and licorice–along with helpful tips and tricks for easy prep, extensive information on ingredients and substitutions, and basic recipes for homemade flour blends– Gluten-Free Classic Snacks will help you to bring back all the flavors and fun of the treats you remember. In the last two months I have had to change my diet a bit and am now not only gluten-free but also dairy free. I was please to see that Nicole included easy substitutions for her recipes. I made one recipe from the cookbook without any substitutions and had other try it out…the response DELICIOUS and then we tried a few others with substitutions and again the response was DELICIOUS. Bryan has a handful of his own food intolerance including quite a few FODMAP’s, OAS, and a wheat intolerance. I had him go through this cookbook (like I do with many that I receive in the mail) and had him mark which recipes he wanted to try first…I would say that more than 80% of the book was marked. To me that is always a good sign. I was given a list of recipes to choose from to review and without any hesitation we decided on the Kellog’s frosted strawberry pop-tarts toaster pastries. Probably one of the best decisions we’ve made recently (at least food wise). They were delicious! The only ingredient I didn’t have was gluten-free sprinkles. I can’t wait to make these again, and a bunch of the other recipes in the book. I have a lot of baking to do in the near future and I am okay with that.

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Gluten Free Kellogg’s Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries

Prep time: 1 hour 40 minutes    Cook time: 10 minutes    Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Author: Nicole Hunn from Gluten-Free Classic Snacks    Serves: 12

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 4–6 tablespoons milk, room temperature

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup seedless strawberry jam or jelly

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, plus more by the half-teaspoonful
  • Multicolored gluten-free nonpareils for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar to combine well.
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, vanilla, egg and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, adding more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and dust it lightly with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ¼ inches thick and slice it into 3 ½ x 4 ½-inch rectangles (there should be at least twenty four rectangles). If the dough becomes difficult to handle at any point, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer to chill briefly.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of strawberry jelly on the center of the half rectangles of dough, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a ¾-inch border clean on all sides of the rectangle. Cover with the remaining rectangles of dough and press all around the clean edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, pastry or pasta wheel, cut off about ½ inch of dough around all sides of the pastry. Place the pastries 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the pastries by piercing them randomly on top with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the pastries are very lightly golden brown around the edges and just set in the center, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the pastries from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of the water until a thick paste forms. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to create a thickly pourable glaze. Spread the glaze thickly on top of each cooled pastry and sprinkle them lightly with nonpareils. Allow them to set at room temperature before serving.
  8. The finished pastries can be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature and should maintain their texture for at least 3 days. For longer storage, wrap them individually in freezer-safe wrap, and freeze them for up to 2 months. Defrost the pastries at room temperature or unwrap and defrost them in the toaster.
IMG_6917From Gluten-Free Classic Snacks by Nicole Hunn. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, 2015

{GIVEAWAY}

In addition to being able to share this recipe with all of you I am also giving away THREE copies of this incredible cookbook – get ready for some childhood food memories to come rushing back. Please read the giveaway instructions carefully! Giveaway is open to both residents of the United States and Canada!! How to enter – please leave a separate comment below for each entry! There is one mandatory post and all others are optional! Giveaway ends on Friday July 24th. Winners will be chosen using random.org and will have 48 hours to respond, if no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Good luck to all who enter!

  • Visit this page and leave a comment below telling me what you would make first (MANDATORY POST)
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Roasted Beet & Nectarine Salad {Cookbook Chat: Silk Road Vegetarian}

silk-road-vegetarian-9780804843379_lgCreative Cooking Gluten Free is now six years old! I can’t even believe it!! Over these last six years I have had the pleasure of sharing with all of you my creations, adaptations, giveaways, product and cookbook reviews. Thank you for allowing me to share with love of food with all of you. During this time it has been a privilege to work with so many great companies, organizations, and cookbook authors. Last year I was invited to join an online group called 37Cooks, you have heard me mention them a time or two on here for various cooking challenges I have participated in. However, recently a new type of challenge has been offered up to the 37Cooks called “Cookbook Chat”, where there are a limited number of certain cookbooks available to the bloggers and it is a first come first serve basis. The blogger receives a copy of the book and is asked to pick a recipe or two (depending on the challenge), then recreates the recipe, putting their own twist on it, and reviews it. The first cookbook offered up was one called “Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free Recipes for the Mindful Cook” by Dahlia Abraham-Klein. Of course I signed up..it was gluten-free! Lately I have been eating quite a bit of plant-based dishes so this book seemed right up my alley.

The book is beautiful and filled with recipes from Central Asia, covering from China to India. It includes bases & condiments, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, rice dishes, and desserts. In addition Abraham-Klein also includes a spice pantry section and information regarding basic preparation. As I flipped through this book I quickly realized it was going to be very difficult to pick one recipe to make. I finally decided on two recipes, a salad and a dessert. The salad I adapted per the 37Cooks Challenge and the dessert I followed the recipe exactly. I decided on two because I was having dinner with some dear friends and wanted to bring something to share. I chose the Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad, which is perfect for the summer. Both the beets and nectarines are available this time of year, and it required few ingredients. Then I decided to make the Peach Cobbler, one because peaches are in season and readily available at a good price, and I had never had a peach cobbler before. Actually I don’t really eat peaches because I can’t get past the fuzz on the outside…I always opt for nectarines instead. Again, like the roasted beet and nectarine salad, this recipe also called for few ingredients. I sadly didn’t take a picture of it because we pretty much just dove right in and served it with some vanilla bean ice cream…needless to say this dessert was a HUGE hit. It asked for very little sugar, but it has the perfect sweetness with the fresh peaches. I will make this again for sure. Now on to the salad…get ready its beautiful and delicious!

I’m a huge believe in the “you eat with your eyes first” theory…its true. My photo did not quite capture the beauty of this salad as I had hoped that it would but I promise you if you were to serve this to guests, it will be a conversation piece. We talked about this salad quite a bit last night for several reasons, one none of us thought to ever put nectarines and beets together, and two its just stunning to look at – it is so vibrant and equally delicious. I followed the recipe quite closely but changed a thing or two up from her cooking methods and then added a few toppings myself. Below is my adaptation of DahliaAbraham-Klein’s beautiful salad.

37-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau-337-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau_1(Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad – to serve top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese)

Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad

Adapted from: Silk Road Vegetarian {Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook} by Dahlia Abraham-Klein page 99

Salad

  • Beets               2 Bunches with the greens attached (about 4-6 beets, depending on their size), Red, Gold, or a mixture of them
  • Nectarines     4, peeled, pitted and then sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch)
  • Red Onion     1/4 cup, finely diced
  • Olive Oil         1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic              2 cloves, minced or grated
  • Pine Nuts       1/4 cup toasted
  • Nutmeg          1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt                  To taste, kosher
  • Pepper            To taste, black – freshly ground
  • Feta Cheese  1/4 cup, crumbled

Dressing

  • Oil                   3 Tablespoons. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • Garlic             2 cloves grated
  • Lime              1 Juice and zest
  • Sugar            3/4 Tablespoon Organic, Unrefined
  • Salt                1/2 teaspoon, kosher
  • Pepper         1/4 teaspoon, black – freshly ground

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Rinse beets and beet greens very well to remove any dirt (you may need to do this several times, especially for the greens).
  3. Cut the beet greens from the stems and rinse in a colander, let drain
  4. Cut the stems from the beets and discard the stems.
  5. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place directly onto the oven rack.
  6. Roast for 1 hour, remove from oven and let cool
  7. Peel, pit and slice nectarines, place in a medium bowl and set aside.
  8. Peel and dice onion, place into bowl with nectarine slices and toss, set aside.
  9. While the beets are cooling, chiffonade the beet greens by placing them neatly on top of each other, then rolling them up tightly (into a cigar shape), next using a sharp knife cut across the “cigar” into 1/4 inch slices (you can go larger or smaller, depending on your preference)
  10. In a medium sauteé pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauteé garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beet greens – these will cook down similar to spinach. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  11. Once the beet greens have wilted, let them cool. Once cooled toss them into the bowl with the nectarine slices and red onion, toss to combine.
  12. When the beets have cooled, unwrap them one at a time, and peel the outer layer from the beet (I recommend wearing some plastic gloves!) and discard the foil and outer layer of the beets.
  13. Slice each beet in half, and then into 8 slices.
  14. Toss the beets in to the bowl with the nectarines, red onions, and beet greens.
  15. Next, prepare the dressing: simply add all ingredients in the order listed above to a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  16. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to evenly coat.
  17. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  18. Prior to serving, in a small sauteé pan add the pine nuts, and nutmeg, and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  19. To serve, place salad into a serving bowl, top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese.
  20. Enjoy!

Last night we served this alongside some baked salmon that had delicious herbs on it, brown rice with crumbled dulse, and of course the delicious peach cobbler for dessert. A light and delicious meal perfect for the summer time.

37-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine_Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau-2

The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.

 

Gluten Free Asian Kitchen – Giveaway!!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 9:30 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winner is Brittany  who said: “I want to try the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and peanut sauce. I would keep it. I could live off of Asian food (and Mexican). I might actually buy this if I don’t get it.”  Brittany – please check your e-mail! Congratulations Brittany and thank you to all who entered.

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to review Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. This is by far one of the best cookbooks out there, especially if you are gluten free and miss eating Asian inspired dishes. Bryan and I could live on Asian food – of all kinds.  We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the recipes that we have made so far. You can read my complete review here.

Today I will be sharing two of the recipes from Laura’s book and giving away a copy to one lucky reader!  Trust me, you will want to enter this giveaway – you won’t be disappointment in any of the recipes.  Roasted Pork Meatballs

serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as an appetizer

 

11/2 pounds ground pork

8 green onions, white and green parts, minced

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, peeled and minced, or substitute the grated zest of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

11/2 tablespoons sugar

11/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32), for serving

Lettuce leaves, hoisin sauce GF, Carrot and Daikon Pickle (page 114), and fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, so the flavors have a chance to marry, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. More time equals more flavor.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Oil a baking sheet. Stir the cornstarch into the meat mixture. Form the meat into twenty-four 11/2-inch meatballs. (You can form the meatballs several hours ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated until ready to cook.) Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet. Cook the meatballs until browned and cooked through, turning once with a spatula, 12 to 15 minutes.

For serving, skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and arrange them on a serving platter with the nuoc cham or mango sauce for dipping. Alternatively, using lettuce leaves as wrappers, spread a bit of hoisin sauce on each lettuce leaf and add a meatball, some of the pickle, and a few cilantro leaves.

variation For a juicy, coarse-textured meatball, substitute pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes, for the ground pork. Toss the cubes with the ingredients in the first step and then freeze the mixture for 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until the pork is coarsely chopped, about twenty (1-second) pulses. Proceed with the recipe, including the marinating time.

heads up

You’ll need to marinate the pork for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. The dish calls for nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32). You can prepare the nuoc cham up to 2 weeks ahead, or the mango sauce up to 3 days ahead.

Spicy Mango Sauce

makes about 11/2 cups

11/4 cups diced fresh or frozen mango (thawed if frozen)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed

3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, cilantro, vinegar, ginger, oil, jalapeño, and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Nuoc Cham

makes about 13/4 cups

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup very warm tap water

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Kung Pao Chicken

serves 4

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 tablespoons soy sauce or 
tamari  , divided

1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

21/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic, minced

6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashews

Steamed rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce.

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cornstarch to the chicken. Toss to combine. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the peanuts; serve hot with steamed rice.

Want to win The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen from Laura? This would make a great gift for a family member or friend with Celiac Disease (or you could keep it for yourself). Please leave a separate comment for each entry – up to 6 entries per person.

1) Visit Amazon and check out the cookbook by “Looking Inside” – then come back here and post a comment telling me which recipe you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Post a comment telling me if you would gift it or keep it (its okay if you keep it:) (Mandatory)

3) Like Notes from a Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

4) Follow Laura B. Russell on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The winner will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using random.org – the winner will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The book will be shipped directly from Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publish Group. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

I would like to thank Laura and her publishers for not only sending me a review copy but also providing an additional copy as a giveaway to one of my lucky readers.  The opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.  I have enjoyed this cookbook and very thankful to Laura for putting together such a wonderful and comprehensive book on my favorite cuisine which I have missed very much since being diagnosed.

Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell. Published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen {Review}

If you follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook or Twitter you have probably seen my recent posts about receiving a review copy of Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.  When I first received the book in the mail, I don’t think I put it down for about thirty minutes (okay it was probably longer than that). It is simply beautiful.  Bryan’s first response was “the cover looks so good I could eat it”. Thankfully Bryan loves Asian food as much as I do.  The majority of the food we eat is Asian inspired.

I was more than excited to receive this cookbook.  If you read through my recipes or take a look at my “pantry” page you have probably noticed the large selection of Asian inspired dishes and ingredients.  Since I can remember I have had a deep fondness of Asian foods and their cultures.  My mom used to tell me that while she was pregnant with me she craved Chinese food all the time.  That statement there could probably be the root of my love of Asian food, however it grew even more when I had the opportunity to live in China for a little while in 2003 (yes right in the middle of SARS).

While living there I had some pretty interesting foods but also some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted.  People used to make fun of me saying I could live off of Chinese food and eat it for every meal, well I had the opportunity to do so and I have to say I would do it again.  My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it.  Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou)  which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

As I’m looking and every recipe and every picture in The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen I am taken back to my time in China.  All of my wonderful memories came rushing back, not just about food but all the places I had the opportunity to visit, the amazing friends that I made, and the beauty of the country.  As I mentioned above I was there during SARS so I was unable to travel very far. I was fortunate enough to visit, The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more. The best part about it was I was there pretty much by myself.  Not many people were out visiting and there were definitely not tourists around. You can view some of my photographs from China on my Flickr Page (this was pre-digital so I have a ton to scan still)

Sorry for being side tracked on memories of China, I just couldn’t help it.  Now back to the book. After I looked (drooled) over the recipes and photos I handed the cookbook to Bryan and asked what he wanted me to make first.  With out much hesitation he asked for the recipe on the cover: Gingery Pork Pot Stickers with the Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce.  Thankfully I had enough of the flours the recipe called for to make them. You can get the recipe by ordering The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on my Amazon Store! (This is still available for pre-order, release date is August 23rd! so order now for only $14.50)

Over all the recipe its self is pretty simple with simple ingredients that most of us (especially if you are gluten-free) already have in your pantry.  The only two items I needed to pick up were the pork and the green onions.  We don’t normally cook with any form of onion in our house because of Bryan’s allergy, but we decided to give these a try to see how he felt (he felt fine after eating them, woo hooo). I read the instructions a few times because I didn’t want to screw anything up…I had my heart set on these dumplings and probably would have shed a few tears had they gone wrong.  Due to the heat and humidity I had a bit of a hard time “rolling” out the dough, but I just made it work.  We ended up with a few less dumplings than the recipe yield but we devoured them all regardless.

It is amazing what a huge flavor impact just a few ingredients can have.  I had a little bit of the sausage mixture left over so I added it to a skillet, cooked it up and then tossed it with my spicy green beans as a side dish.  I’m not joking when I say I almost cried when I first tasted them.  Between the dumplings and the green beans/sausage it brought me right back to China.  I was in love with this cookbook when it arrived and after tasting this first recipe I am even more in love with it.  Laura did an amazing job with this recipe and the whole cookbook.  My next recipe to try is her Kung Pao chicken.

We plan to make these again but I have to order some flours first.  However, when I do make them I will be making a triple batch and freeze the majority of them.  That way we have them for a quick dinner and something that Bryan can just make while he is home for lunch and I am at school.

Seeing as this is the recipe Bryan choose I asked him what he thought of it (I usually do this anyway but he still can’t stop talking about them) and his response was “these are fucking delicious – anything more would just take away from its deliciousness”.  Now who said you can’t have gluten-free Asian food and it taste like the real thing?

Laura,  I know we’ve been chatting back and forth and I have said this a million times to you but thank you for creating such a beautiful cookbook with amazing recipes that take me back in time.  The recipe that we tried truly made me feel like I was back in China with my friends at a dumpling restaurant or on campus at the dining hall.  You also made my non-gluten-free boyfriend one happy person.  We are both looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

Please visit Laura’s website at: http://www.laurabrussell.com/ You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

Also, Are you in the Portland area? Laura will be doing a  book signing for “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen” at Crave Bake Shop on Wednesday, September 7th in the evening. Lots of treats involved!

Gluten Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (Review)

Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry is one amazing woman and in my mind a genius when it comes to coconut and almond flour! Her website is the first one I came across when I was diagnosed almost three years ago and it is one that I continually go back to for inspirations.  Her recipes are straightforward, simple yet unbelievably delicious and you don’t ever miss the gluten or the refined sugars.

While searching her website one day I found a recipe for cupcakes made with coconut flour so I went online ordered some coconut flour and have been making those cupcake ever since.  I’m a huge lover of cupcakes and extremely picking when it comes to them.  There was nothing to pick apart with these cupcakes so when I first heard that she was releasing a new cookbook all about cupcakes I put it on my wish list right away.  Her cookbook has 50 (yes 50!) recipes all made from coconut or almond flour.  When I received my review copy I went through the cookbook about ten times before deciding which to make first.  This cookbook doesn’t only have delicious sounding recipes the photos make your mouth water. I finally decided on making the Garlic Cheddar Muffins and for a sweet treat the Marble Cupcakes. Another great thing about this cookbook is that each recipe has a sweetness scale next to it!

I started with the Garlic Cheddar Muffins because I wanted something more on the savory side and planned to eat them more as a biscuit with dinner.  I ended up taking these to school the next day for breakfast.  Again her recipes are simple and not many ingredients, yet these had so much flavor to them packed in to them and they are nice and fluffy.  So as you can see you can eat these as a snack, along with dinner and even for breakfast ;)  I’ll be making these again soon.

For a sweet treat yesterday, because it was just one of those days that called for baking.  I went for the marble cupcakes made with coconut flour.  We’ve been trying to get away from refined sugars in our house and this cookbook is perfect for that.  I love baking with agave, it adds just the right amount of sweetness and it has a low glycemic index.  I’ve made Elana’s coconut cupcakes for Bryan in the past but he forgot about them so he was a little hesitant to try these yesterday but he really really enjoyed them (in fact he just had another one).  Next week I’ll be making Mocha Chip Cupcakes for a classmate of mine to celebrate her month-long Paleo Diet Challenge.  I can’t wait to make her Strawberry Cupcakes soon, just waiting for my farmers market to open up next month.

I don’t have Elana’s first cookbook – The Almond Flour Cookbook (yet) but if you have that one and loved it, I’m sure you will love this one also.  Who doesn’t love cupcakes?  And who doesn’t love them when they use such fantastic ingredients such as coconut flour, Almond Flour eggs, and agave.

Elana is absolutely amazing, I can’t say enough good things about her and her recipes.  Her website has helped me so much over the years.  She was always very friendly and informative when I had questions for her.  Check out her website and you can purchase her book on Amazon.  Trust me you are going to love this cookbook. Thank you Elana for making this beautiful cookbook and sharing all of your wonderful creations with all of us.
Check out these other great reviews (and some might even have a giveaway) of this fantastic cookbook:

Shirley of GFE-Gluten Free Easily

Kim of Cook It Allergy Free

Sea of Book of Yum

Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom

Applesauce and then some

It was a great weekend.  Saturday I got to spend a bit of time with my cousin Dianne who is getting married in a few weeks.  We went and checked out her wedding and ceremony site – The Aldrich Mansion in Warwick, RI. I loved being able to see the place before the wedding to scope out some great photo spots (I’m her wedding photographer!).  Then Bryan bought me two more pieces for my Le Creuset collection.

Before moving up to Rhode Island I found two Le Creuset pie dishes (cobalt blue that match my free Le Creuset tea-pot!) which had never been used by his mum so she gave them to me! A few weeks ago when we were at T.J. Maxx we found a bunch of Le Creuset pieces in cobalt and apple green (those are our kitchen colors – sadly though Le Creuset doesn’t make the apple green anymore so it is very hard to find pieces) so he bought me an apple green utensil holder and a cobalt baking dish.  On Saturday he bought me four apple green ramekins and an apple green baking dish. I truly love being able to find such amazing products for so little. Then yesterday Bryan and I went apple picking and we came home with about 10lbs of macintosh and cortland apples – my two favorites for baking.

I’ll be making him some mini-apple pies this weekend in medium-sized ramekins and using the pre-made pie crusts from the store.  For myself some more apple crisp sounds pretty good, I’m telling you its my weakness.  I wanted to try something different though, I wanted to make something I have never made before so I decided to try my hand at making apple sauce…in my 1970’s crock pot that Bryan’s mum gave us when we moved.

I don’t think I ever realized how easy it was to make applesauce, especially if you have a crock pot.  I need to put this crock pot to use more often, especially now that the cool weather is approaching.  I’m thinking chili sometime soon would be good!

Applesauce

5 medium to large apples – I used a mix of macintosh and cortland

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup honey (or you could use agave)

1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (all depends on how much you like the cinnamon flavor in your applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel, core and dice the apples in large pieces – discard the peels and cores.  Add all ingredients to crock pot and set on low for about 4-5 hours.  Apples will become extremely soft/mushy.  Mash apples with a fork or potato masher and enjoy!  Keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

Extremely easy to make, throw it all in the pot and come back in a few hours for some very tasty (if I do say so myself) applesauce! Best part – it is naturally gluten-free:)

Now for the “And then some” part of the title of this post

By now many if not all of you have probably heard of  The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef’s new cookbook “The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef – A love story and 100 tempting recipes“.  If you haven’t well what are you waiting for?? Check out these amazing reviews (and many of them if not all are doing give aways of the book also!).  I haven’t bought my copy yet but it is on my Amazon Wish list!! I can’t even begin to explain the mouth-watering reviews that I have read, but they all talk about the bread recipe that is in the new book and I am dying to try it.  Please check out the reviews/giveaways below:

Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

Ginger Lemon Girl

Celiac in the City

Celiacs in the House

So go, read, drool and enter for your chance to win a copy of this book…if you don’t win then go and buy it!

And on another side note, I would like to thank the wonderful people at Small Appliances for my amazingly wonderful new Coffee and Espresso Machine!  I’ve had some major coffee pot issues lately, my french press broke (shed a tear) and then when we moved in my dad gave me back “my” (it wasn’t mine, no idea where this pot came from but I gave mine away when I moved to California) old coffee pot.  So when my french press broke I started using that one.  It worked fine at first even though the top of the carafe was broken and I bought the wrong filters until one day it just decided it wouldn’t drip down any longer.  I had to take hot water, put the cup under it and hold up the part that makes it drip – seriously.  I posted on twitter that my half working pot had completely broke and the extremely kind and generous people at Small Appliances contacted me and offered me a new coffee pot.  I seriously thought it was a joke and if it wasn’t I was expecting some little four cup mr. coffee.  Instead they sent me the Krups Coffee/Espresso machine below!  I can’t thank them enough for their generosity!  So if you are in the need of any  appliances check them out!

New e-Cookbook from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang!

Check out the post below about the new e-cookbook from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang:

“I’m very excited to share a project I’ve been working on for some time now.  My first e-cookbook has been published.  The Gluten-Free Diner is ready for you to get instantly.

Now those of you who were signed up for my newsletter already knew it was out and had received a discount code.  I appreciate all of you that have already purchased the book.  Thank you. If you’re not signed up for the newsletter and want to be among the first to get the latest news, tips and recipes, sign up for it here.

Now that I’m sharing The Gluten-Free Diner with the wider world, I am offering a special introductory discount that will expire in 3 days so don’t wait to get your copy.  Be sure to read to the end of this note for the discount code.

The Gluten-Free Diner Cookbook

The Gluten-Free Diner contains 48 of  your favorite diner-inspired recipes.  I love to eat out and go to diners.  Unfortunately most of them can’t accommodate a gluten and dairy free diet.  So I’ve created these recipes to answer the question, “If I had a diner, what would I be serving?”

This cookbook not only has recipes, but a menu on how to put them all together for tons of great meals.  Click Here to check out what’s on The Gluten-Free Diner Menu!

Also included on almost every page is a little blue box where you can take notes on something you might change to your own taste, what you would serve that recipe with, mark it as your favorite to make again or anything else you want to remember.  Almost every recipe  has a photo of the dish.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a very visual person.  Show me the photo!  As always, I love to get your pictures when you make these recipes.  Please send them along, especially if you make the two recipes that don’t have photos so I can add them in the next edition.

I would love for each person who reads this to purchase The Gluten-Free Diner and then pass this message along to others.  This cookbook makes a great gift for those people in your life that always want to cook for you, but are not really sure what a gluten free meal would be.  Maybe you are looking for a gift to give a teacher, co-worker, friend or neighbor.   How about that Dad that likes to cook or other family members that insist on giving you that dry plain piece of chicken or fish when you visit.

Of course these meals are great for those who do not even follow a special diet, but just love diner meals.  I’ve tested these meals on company, and not one of them ate gluten and dairy free and not one of them even noticed it was missing.”

I’ll be downloading mine soon!  I always love finding new cookbooks, gluten-free or non-gluten-free.  I was excited to see that this one was a digital cookbook that can easily be downloaded and best part…its under $10.00…now that is something you don’t see very often anymore. Check out some of the recipes offered here.

Click here to get The Gluten-Free Diner Cookbook