Chinese Scallion Pancakes (Cōng Yóu Bǐng)

One of my favorite things to eat when I was living in China was Cōng Yóu Bǐng – Chinese Scallion Pancakes. I would wake up nice and early and head down to the campus dining hall to get these, and about 4 large glasses of freshly brewed soy milk. Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to freshly brewed soy milk. I would buy four, drink one, and put the other three in my fridge and enjoy them throughout the rest of the day. I had to get there early because the few days I didn’t, both the cōng yóu bǐng and the soy milk were long gone. On those days I opted for freshly made won ton soup (yes that was breakfast, and pretty different from what we get here in the US).

These pancakes, were beyond delicious and cut like pizza slices. I’ve been wanting to try to make them gluten-free for the past few years but never got around to trying it. Last weekend however, I was craving these like crazy. I’m not going to lie, they aren’t exactly like the ones in China – and I’m not sure if they will ever be but I’m okay with that. These are close and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Isn’t that what really matters? So below, is my take on one of my favorite dishes…

Chinese Scallion Pancakes – Cōng Yóu Bǐng

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Silvana Nardone’s Blend, page 15 from her cookbook ‘Cooking with Isaiah’)

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your all purpose flour blend already has this, just omit)

3/4 cup warm water – added slowly

3 tablespoons oil (preferably peanut, but canola or other neutral flavor oil would work)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4  cup diced scallions, white and green parts

salt – to taste

In a medium bowl combine all-purpose flour, sweet white rice flour, xanthan gum (if needed), and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour and slowly add the warm water (you may not need all of the water).

Mix with a wooden spoon until a ball starts to form. Kneed in bowl for until dough is nice and soft. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together peanut (or alternative oil) and sesame oil and set aside.

Lightly dust a working surface with all-purpose flour and cut ball of dough into four even wedges. Remove one wedge and cover the remaining three with damp towel. You can either leave the dough the size that it is or you can cut it into smaller portions. Either way, the remaining directions are exactly the same.

Lightly dust the top of the dough with some all-purpose flour and roll dough out into a 5-6 inch circle. Brush the surface with the oil mixture, sprinkle with salt and scallion slices. Roll circle up (or if you can’t without it ripping, just do the best you can, roll it back into a ball and then roll out again), twist, and pinch together. Roll out again into a 5-6 inch circle, brush again with oil mixture and place in a non stick skillet. If needed add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes until you see light browning and bubbles forming. Brush the other side with oil mixture and flip over to repeat the cooking process.

Remove from pan and cut into two or four pieces, or leave whole and rip pieces off as you wish.

Repeat with remaining wedges of dough.

Best if eaten right away – but can be warmed up in an oven set to 300-350° for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a Ginger Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon or a pinch of red pepper flakes

1/8 cup sliced scallions

1/4 teaspoon minced ginger

Mix all ingredients together – can be made several hours ahead of time.

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, EF, DF, OF, SF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

This is a very easy and delicious recipe that is packed with plenty of flavor and perfect for the cool “winter” days that we’ve been having this past week. I honestly can’t complain about the winter that we have had so far, but I won an awesome Cuisinart Immersion blender from Soup Chick and decided I need to make some soup. I looked around at what I had and threw together a very tasty butternut squash soup that just so happened to be free of pretty much everything, except flavor. There is no gluten, eggs, dairy, onion, or soy and is vegan and vegetarian!! The recipe is simple and can be adjusted to your specific needs and tastes buds.You also don’t need an immersion blender, you can instead use a food processor (which I don’t own) or a blender.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

In a large stock pot over medium heat add olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped butternut squash and vegetable stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until squash is fork tender.

Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender blend soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Return to burner to warm throughout. Add maple agave nectar right before serving.

 

Rudi’s Giveaway!

I love Rudi’s Gluten-Free products! Every time they contact me about promotions and giveaways I’m always happy to help spread the word. Right now Rudi’s is running a great giveaway on their Facebook page called “Four Weeks of Giveaways” They are offering up some amazing prizes so be sure to head on over and check it out and enter for each one!! Also on their Facebook Page is a $2.00 off coupon for one of their products – so be sure to get over there and snag one and give Rudi’s a try if you haven’t already.

On top of those great prizes they are also offering one of my readers the following prize package:

  •      Rudi’s GF Sticky Notes
  •      Rudi’s GF Bread Clip
  •       Ruid’s GF Banana Pudding Recipe Card
  •      5 Free Product Coupons
  •      Spice Grinder
  •     Delight Magazine
  •     Gluten Free Living Magazine
  •      Rudi’s GF Branded Toaster
  •      Rudi’s GF Reusable Bag


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great prize! Aren’t they generous people over there at Rudi’s?

How To Enter:

One (1) winner will be chosen to win the prize package above courtesy of Rudi’s Gluten-Free  There are several ways to enter so be sure to do as many as possible to increase your chances. You must leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail. Winner will have 48 hours to respond and then another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open until TUESDAY MARCH 6th at Midnight (EST). Good luck to all who enter!

“Like” Rudi’s on Facebook (and be sure to enter their weekly giveaway while you are there)

Follow Rudi’s on Twitter

Head on over to Rudi’s Website and come back here and let me know which product you would like to try first

“Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter

I do not receive compensation for these posts and the opinions are 100% my own.

My Gourmet Valentine

(To vote for my recipe, please click the image above, thank you!)

Bryan and I don’t really celebrate valentines day. Mainly because in my opinion it is a “hallmark” holiday and people feel pressured to buy cards, chocolate, and even more so flowers.  He can do that any other day of the year with no pressure and way less money. Instead we celebrate loving each other throughout the year instead of just one day. I love to surprise him with his favorite meals, have a nice dinner at home and occasionally make him something sweet. We don’t tend to eat a lot of sweets in our house so those treats are for really special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.

We both love spicy foods and find ourselves frequently adding chili paste to many dishes, even eggs (okay, that is what I do, but still). His two favorite dishes are my version of P. F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef and my Sweet and Spicy Chicken. So when I received an e-mail from Velvet Aroma to participate in their “My Gourmet Valentine” event, I was lost on what to submit as my entry. As I said, we don’t eat many sweets and when I looked at all the other entries…they were all sweets.  So I’m going out on a limb here and submitting something different. Instead of sweet, we are going spicy, and instead of desert, we are going entrée.

I already gave Bryan his card, which I don’t normally get him but the deal was just too good to pass up…free card and free shipping. I saw this card and laughed out loud because I automatically knew what I was going to write on it. Three years ago, our first New Years Eve together, I apparently woke up around 5 am confessing my love of olives to him.  At first he thought I was telling him I loved him, but had me repeat it only to realize I said olives…his response? “ummm ya, me too” and back to bed I went. Needless to say this has been an ongoing joke with us ever sense. Here is a picture of the card I made him, and the inside says “hope you know how serious that makes me”

Last year we “celebrated” valentines day by going to a hockey game and enjoying a nice meal at Fire and Ice. This year though I think we will be staying in, enjoying a nice home cooked meal, and watching some nontraditional, non-romantic movie, like predator for example. The last few special occasion dinners were celebrated with the P.F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef, so for valentine’s day I’ll be making him my Sweet and Spicy Chicken.(Recipe below has several adaptions so please read the ‘fine print’)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

1 – 2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless

1/4 cup corn starch*

2 tablespoon veggie oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half and half)

3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) Dried or fresh chilis work well in this recipe

2 tablespoons spoons of water

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  1. Mix honey, Thai chilis and water and set aside.  Right before adding to the pan heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok
  2. Cut up chicken in bit size pieces.
  3. In a medium bowl add the corn starch*, garlic powder, salt, pepper  and chicken. Coat well and shake off any excess corn starch.
  4. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.
  5. In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve over quinoa, white or brown rice.

Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.

Notes:

If you can not have corn in your diet, both potato and tapioca starch work well

Both honey and agave or a mixture of the two work great. We have made this all three ways and have enjoyed them all.

Depending on how spicy you like your food, either remove the seeds for less heat or keep them in or add more chili peppers for more heat. We personally use about 5 chili peppers when we make it.

If using dried chili peppers, the best way to “chop” them is to take a small pair of kitchen shears and cut them in to small pieces.

I hope you all have a wonderful valentines day and enjoy this recipe.

To vote for this recipe please click on the “My Gourmet Valentine” image above!! Voting ends on 2/10/12 Thank you!

Below are the prizes up for grabs, and you as voters have a chance to win also – 2 dozen roses for Valentines Day!! Read the details:

Blogger submitting a recipe: The blogger with the winning recipe will receive, KitchenAid’s new product: a 2-speed Hand Blender (in red color), a box of Gourmet foods from LoveWithFood, and a $100 gift card of winners choice from Amazon, Sur La Table, William Sonoma or Crate & Barrel with a combined value of approximately $300.
Person Voting: The person chosen at random will receive a bouquet of 2 dozen red roses sent to any address in the continental US in time for Valentine’s Day.

~ Jenny

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables. A Le Creuset and EdgeWare Review & Giveaway!!

Updated 2/18/12 10:15 am – This giveaway is now closed.The two lucky winners have been chosen!! Congratulations to Marnely (Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set) and Karol (EdgeWare V-etched Zester). Please check your e-mails. Winners were chosen using random.org. I would like to again, thank Le Creuset and EdgeWare for sponsoring this giveaway. 

Over the last three and a half years I have had the opportunities to do many reviews of great products. I truly enjoy doing reviews of cookbooks, and gluten-free products, and I’m looking forward to do more in the future along with any culinary based items (kitchen appliances, tools, etc.).

I love kitchen gadgets. Here are a few of my “must-haves”  items: Chef Knife, Stand Mixer, Mixing Bowls (different sizes), Prep Bowls, Boning Knife, Steamer (pan/bamboo basket), Zester, Grater, Silicone Whisk, a good set of Non-Stick Pans, Cast Iron Skillet, and a Crock-Pot. There are plenty more items, however this is a great starting point.

Two of my favorite companies for kitchen products are EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I mean, don’t well all hope to own their products?? I was sent one of each of the following products to test out and review and I have to say, I am honestly in love with both of them. And, now two lucky winners will have a chance to win one of the following prizes (one winner for the Zester, and one for the Farm Fresh Steamer!)

First up we have a fantastic Zester from EdgeWare – The V-etched Better Zester! Here is what their website has to say about it:

New for 2012! The star of the new Edgeware V-etched line of graters is the Better Zester.This zester takes zesting to a new level with its innovative design and features. The V-etched Zester blade is made up of over 300 tiny V- shaped teeth and is covered with a non- stick coating. The food- approved coating allows the zester to smoothly glide across the surface of all types of citrus, while finely zesting the outer layer of skin and not the bitter pith. The Better Zester includes a “fresh zest” storage container with squeegee. This additional accessory gathers the fresh zest as it is grating and the squeegee helps remove the moist zest from the back of the blade. The ergonomically shaped kitchen tool features a non-slip tip and soft touch handle as well as a reusable protective cover. The Better Zester is available soon at specialty retailers nationwide in Stealth Charcoal Gray or Zesty lime Green.  Dishwasher Safe. Designed in the USA.

I’ve been using this almost daily since I received it…for zesting fruits, ginger, garlic, etc. I love the back of it where the container/measurer is, because it has the “squeegee” that works so well for getting all the little pieces. It is perfect for so many applications and a “must-have” in every kitchen.

Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set. This is a three (3) piece set that is a must have, especially when you are looking to make healthier cooking choices. I’m currently taking a Nutrition and Sensory Analysis course and our two main cooking methods are steaming and poaching – talk about a perfect time to review this huh? We are also trying to eat healthier this year by cutting out a lot of the “bad” foods and cooking methods and replacing them with “healthier” ones.

I’ve used this pan a few times, and it is wonderful. I’ve had another steamer for a while but was never a big fan of it. The Le Creuset one is a 3-quart steamer and its  base is constructed of tri-ply stainless steel and can be used separately to prepare sauces or side dishes.

For vegetables and seafood with maximum nutrients and the truest flavor and texture, steaming is the way to go. Le Creuset’s Farm Fresh Steamer Set, with its 3-quart base, fitted 2 3/4-quart steamer basket and tempered glass lid, offers a convenient and healthy option for meal preparation. Less water to heat means vegetables cook quickly, while maintaining their flavor, texture and nutritional value.

  • Steamer insert can be used with all Le Creuset stainless steel saucepans
  • Precision-pour rim allows for clean, convenient pouring directly from the pan
  • Tempered glass lid locks in moisture and heat while providing a clear view of food as it cooks
  • Brushed steel exterior prevents fingerprints
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

I also really loved the facts that it is dishwasher safe and the brushed steel prevents fingerprints.  I tested it out in the dish washer and it works great! Even with out the dishwasher it is still a very easy item to clean. This pan also has very even heating and you don’t need to use very high heat due to the material and design.

Below is a recipe I made one night to try both of these items out. We have been craving vegetables and lighter foods lately so I thought a simple dish of steamed shrimp and vegetables would be a great solution.  The cooking time was about 15 minutes!! Perfect for a weeknight meal that is also healthy and delicious.

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables

Yield: 4

3/4 Pound Medium Shrimp (raw/cleaned and deveined)

2 Tablespoons light gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Chili Oil

1 Large Garlic Clove – grated

1/2 Inch piece of Ginger – grated

1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Large bunch of Bok Choy – Chopped

1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots

1/4 Cup Sliced Water Chestnuts

1/4 Cup Sliced Bamboo Shoots

1/2 Cup Snow Peas

Grate the ginger and garlic with the V-etched Better Zester. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar. Add shrimp to a separate bowl and poor 1/3 of the mixture over the shrimp, toss to coat well and set aside.

Fill the Farm Fresh Steamer with about 1 1/2 quarts of water (or stock…slightly more flavor if you use stock with aromatics in them like crushed garlic and ginger pieces – this is what I normally do), and heat over medium-low heat.

Once the steam starts to build up in the pan, add the bok choy, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and cook for 2-3 minutes (these take a little longer than the shrimp). Add the Shrimp, carrots, and snow peas, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked throughout. Do not over cook the shrimp.

Toss with remaining sauce and serve over steamed rice. Top with a little chili paste if you like a bit more heat (we love spice so it is usually added).

Now for what you have all been waiting for…the giveaway!!

Two winners will be chosen – One (1) for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and One (1) for the EdgeWare V-etched Better Zester.  Both of the products are awesome and I am very excited to be offering a giveaway. There are several ways to enter so be sure to do as many as possible to increase your chances. You must leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

  1. “Like” Le Creuset on Facebook (Mandatory)
  2. “Like” EdgeWare on Facebook (Mandatory)
  3. Follow Le Creuset on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Follow EdgeWare on Twitter (Optional)
  5. “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  6. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter
  7. Leave a comment below saying what dish you would make first!
  8. Tweet about this giveaway “@LeCreuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and @SmithsEdgeware Zester #Giveaway at @Creatively_GF http://wp.me/pnrJm-tv enter today! Pls RT”

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

The giveaway ends on Friday February 17. Two winners (one for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and one for the Edgeware V-etched Better Zester) will be chosen by using random.org. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Saturday February 18th and will have until noon on Tuesday February 21st to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen.

I would like to thank Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare, and Le Creuset for the opportunity to review these wonderful products and for offering this giveaway.

*This giveaway is sponsored by Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

As you have probably gathered from reading my blog, we love Asian food. We often say to each other that we could live on Asian, Mexican, and Italian food…but mostly Asian. Bryan said the other day, I could eat Chinese food for breakfast lunch and dinner…I have and it was awesome. I lived in China for a little while in 2003, while I was a Program Liaison between two colleges/universities – one located in Worcester, MA where I was employed and our partner Beijing Geely University located in the Changping District.

My time spent there was right in the middle of the SARS epidemic so traveling outside of Beijing was out of the question. I did however get to spend quite a bit of time doing the “tourist” thing by visiting places such as 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.

While I didn’t get to travel much, I ate some of the most amazing food. Most of my meals in the beginning of my stay were supplied by the on campus dining rooms – all of which were really great. We (my Chinese colleagues and I) would venture out to local restaurants to try some more delicious and local dishes. My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng) (I am working on a gluten-free recipe for these, stay tuned), 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.

So I have lived solely on Chinese food and would do it again in a heart beat. Thankfully Bryan loves the same styles of food that I do. Many of our meals are Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. We venture out but always come back to our love of Asian food.

Below is a recipe that is inspired by the P.F. Chang’s Gluten Free Lettuce Wraps – it is not a copycat recipe like my Beef a la Sichuan is but just inspired by it. We were at P.F. Chang’s last night to celebrate Bryan’s birthday (a little early, but we wanted to go before school started up for the both of us again). Since I was making lettuce wraps tonight we opted for our other favorite appetizer, their Shanghai Cucumbers.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

3 large chicken breasts* – diced into small pieces

3 large celery stalks – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 8oz can water chestnuts – chopped (divided)

1 8oz can bamboo shoots – chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger – peeled and grated (I use a microplane)

1 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili garlic paste

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J low sodium if you have it)

2 tbs hoisin sauce (I use the Dynasty brand)

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients according to the above directions.
  2. In a crockpot (mine is 7qts…you can use a smaller size too) add the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Brown Sugar, Garlic Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Bamboo Shoots, 1/2 of the Water Chestnuts, Celery, and Mushrooms.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Add the chopped chicken and mix until evenly coated.
  5. Cover the crockpot and turn it on low.
  6. Cook for 5 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir about half way through to incorporate everything and break up some of the larger pieces of chicken.
  8. Add the remaining water chestnuts, mix well, cover, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. To serve: Peel the leaves off of a head of iceberg lettuce, butter/boston lettuce, or use romaine hearts. Scoop about 1/4 -1/2 cup into each leave, “roll up” and enjoy. You can top these with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. We’ll be serving ours with a side of steamed edamame.

Notes: Many recipes out there call for ground chicken, which is completely acceptable, however I wanted a more hearty version so I choose to use chicken breasts and dice them instead.

You can also add all the water chestnuts at once, they will retain their crunch, but I wanted a bit more crunch so I added half of the can in the beginning and half towards the end.

Vegetarian version – instead of chicken increase the amount of mushrooms and celery, add zucchini, yellow summer squash, baby bok choy, etc.

Non-Onion Free version – replace the celery with 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced white onion.

Hope you enjoy this crockpot dish – I dished out a little bit to take a photo and then I couldn’t put it back sooo I ate it…its delicious!

(The chopsticks in the photo were sent to me from a dear friend, Shiho whose family runs one of my favorite little sushi places, Ocean Sushi in Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA. If you are in the area stop on by – they have gluten-free soy sauce!! Thanks Shiho, these get quite a bit of use!)

Gluten-Free Mini Corn Dogs

Bryan loves corn dogs and for many years I would even take a bite of one of them.  It was a texture thing to me…I always thought that the corn bread batter would be soggy and mushy and I wanted nothing to do with them.  When Bryan came to visit me in California we picked up a box for him (they weren’t gluten-free), but when he left I still had half a box…they ended up in the trash. I told him at some point I will give them a try.

A few months ago I as fortunate enough to sample some of the Applegate Farms new corn dogs – they were delicious!! To my surprise the coating was crunch and not soggy at all. Ever since Bryan has been asking for me to make some…he would really love them to be full of gluten but he’s a good sport and eats what I make.  Maybe I’ll surprise him and make some regular ones for him anyway.

Yesterday I decided to make some mini corn dogs just to see how they would come out.  I found a recipe in a magazine that seemed pretty simple but it had NO corn in it at all.  How can you call it a corn dog with no corn?? To me it must have corn in it and Bryan loves them with a little bit of crunch to them so I came up with the following recipe.  Please note that this recipe will continue to be worked on…they came out pretty good (to my standards) but Bryan wants more corn flavor to them so I will be posting an updated recipe at some point. 

These would be great for: a quick snack for your kiddos, or an app during super bowl!

Mini Corn Dogs {Gluten-Free} (please see notes for how to make them with regular flour)

1 Package Mini Beef Franks (14oz)

3/4 Cup Pamela’s Pancake/Baking Mix Gluten Free (Or 3/4 cup regular AP flour)

1/2 Cup Gluten Free Corn Meal (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 Egg

1/2 Cup cold water

  1. In a medium bowl mix together Pamela’s Baking Mix (or your favorite Gluten Free AP flour, or regular flour), corn meal, egg, and water.
  2. Remove the franks from the package and pat dry with a paper towel (the batter will stick better when they are a bit dry).
  3. Take a toothpick and insert it into the frank about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way, set aside and continue with the remaining franks.
  4. In a medium sauce pan heat about 1 – 1/2 inches of oil to 350° (If you have a candy thermometer be sure to use it…that way your batter wont get too dark too fast, if not just test a few franks until the desired color is reached – golden brown).
  5. Dip franks in the batter – it is not a perfect dip, you may need to move the frank around a little bit to get it all covered.  You don’t want it to be too thick because you want it to cook on the inside as well as the outside.
  6. Add three-four franks to the pan, turn often to brown all sides evenly.  Cook each frank for 30-45 seconds (it’s really quick!)
  7. Remove corn dogs and place on a plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat this process until all the corn dogs have been cooked.
  8. Serve with your favorite dip – I love it with spicy mustard!

Again, this recipe will be a work in progress so check back for an update in the near future.

Granola – Cinnamon-Vanilla and Pecan

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends.

This year I hope to make a few changes – not so much “new years resolutions” because I feel like those don’t ever stick and people feel obligated to make one with out the intention of keeping it.  These will be more along the lines of continual adjustments. So I’ve decided on a few things to “work on” this year and they include: getting in better shape (working out, eating healthier, etc.), making more vegetable based dishes, creating a gluten-free flour blend, more recipe development, canning/preserving more with my dad, reducing the amount of refined sugar that we intake, and making more items at home (granola, muffins, bagels, and non food items such as bath salts, etc.)

A few weeks ago I taught my neighbor David how to make refrigerator and bread and butter pickles.  I gave him a jar of each a few months ago, and what I didn’t know was he is a huge pickle fanatic.  I think both jars were gone in less than a week.  So when we see each other he talks about them saying “these are the best I’ve ever had”. Bryan headed to NJ for a few days so I figured I would have David over and we would make a batch of each.  He was so excited. We had a great time. While we are making these I kept thinking…”I need to do more of this”. I know my dad and I have plans to can a whole bunch of things, but I just get such great pleasure out of making something and being able to not only enjoy it myself but share it with others.

As I thought of other things I could make at home I came up with a list of items and one of them was homemade granola.  I’ve made it in the past and even blogged about it. I don’t know why I haven’t made it in such a long time – it is so simple and delicious, but yesterday I decided to make a batch.  A simple batch consisting of gluten-free oats, cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped pecans.  You can add anything you wish to granola as long as you have the basic recipe down. Granola to me is a blank canvas – feel free to adjust this recipe to your specific tastes.  I store my granola in a pint-sized mason jar (you can also store them in any air tight container).

Basic Granola Recipe

1/4 cup honey (you can substitute agave nectar or use 1/2 honey 1/2 agave)

1 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a sheet pan with either a silpat or lightly spray with cooking spray (make sure it is gluten-free) or you can line the pan with tinfoil (lightly spray with cooking spray)
  3. Heat honey (and/or agave) for 10 seconds to help loosen it up.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl all honey (and/or agave), and oats.
  5. Evenly spread oat mixture in a thin even layer.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turning pan half way through.
  7. Let cool. Crumble into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Additions: If you wish to add any of the following ingredients add them in step 4 – mix well.

Nuts: Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia, Almonds etc. (chopped, slivered, sliced) (1/2 cup)

Coconut: Fresh, Shredded (unsweetened) (1/2 cup)

Cranberries: Dried (re constitute them in a little bit of water for 10-15 minutes prior to adding them in) (1/2 cup)

Spices: All Spice (1tsp), Cinnamon (1tsp),Vanilla extract (1/2 – 1tsp)

Chia Seeds: (1/8 – 1/4 cup)

Puffed Rice Cereal: make sure this is gluten-free (1/2 cup)

Really – the options are endless.

Bryan eats his granola (I make his without any nuts) just as it is…not milk, yogurt, etc. I on the other hand love it over some vanilla yogurt (like Stonyfield Farms and Chobani).

This is only the start of homemade goodies for this year…stay tuned for more goodies.

 

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Gingerbread Spiced French Toast & Giveaway!

The following recipe is from Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery! Who is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas on their Facebook Page – so head on over and check it out! They are also offering a “Swag Bag” Giveaway filled with great Rudi’s goodies to one lucky winner.

This recipe sounds absolutely delicious and I, myself can’t wait to make it.  If you are looking for a holiday brunch dish – this would be perfect.

Rudi’s Gluten-free Gingerbread Spiced French toast

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of Rudi’s Gluten-free multigrain Bread
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cups of milk or milk alternative
  • 2-3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp Allspice
  • 2-3 tsp powdered ginger
  • Gingerbread men cookies, strawberries, maple syrup, powdered sugar (for garnish!)

GF Gingerbread French Toast is a Rudific way to make a tasty, rudilicious brunch for all to enjoy! Happy Holidays!

*Recipe*

1. Combine Eggs, milk, cinnamon, allspice and powdered ginger in a shallow bowl and whisk until well blended

2. Dip slices of bread into shallow bowl until completely saturated

3. Heat oil in a skillet and fry bread on both sides until well browned

4. Sprinkle with fun toppings such as gingerbread men, strawberries, maple syrup and powdered sugar!

Enter for your chance to win an awesome “Swag Bag” from Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery!

Five chances to enter – please leave a separate comment below for each one you complete. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States. Giveaway ends on Thursday December 22nd at Midnight EST. Good luck to all who enter. Winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified by e-mail on Friday December 23rd. The winner will have until Monday December 26th to respond – if not another winner will be chosen!

Ways to enter:

1) Mandatory -What is your traditional holiday breakfast/brunch dish?

2) Mandatory – “Like” Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery on Facebook

3) Mandatory – “Follow” Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery on Twitter

4) Optional – “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

5) Optional – “Follow” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter

Whenever Bars (Pamela’s Products) Review and Giveaway!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 10:20 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winners are Karin A. and Cathi (please check your e-mails)!   Congratulations to you both and thank you to all who entered.

Have you heard of or tried the new Whenever Bars that Pamela’s Products released in October? I was asked if I wanted to give them a try – of course I said yes, I love Pamela’s Products! Plus with school I am always on the go and always looking for quick, delicious, convenient and gluten-free items to throw in my bag – these bars meet all of those requirements.  I actually ate these as breakfast bars and they are absolutely delicious.

The bars come in four different flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice.  At first I wasn’t so sure about the Oat Raisin Walnut Spice because I’m not a huge fan of raisins but they ended up being one of my favorites.  The flavor combinations that Pamela’s Products have created are perfect.  I especially loved the Oat Blueberry Lemon…delicious! I also really enjoyed the addition of the chia seeds in them.

The bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, low in sodium and cholesterol, and are sweetened (primarily) with agave nectar and coconut sugar. Each box contains 6 (six) individually wrapped bars.

I’ve also included the press-release that was sent to me.  I think you will all really enjoy these bars.  Great to send with your kiddos to school, purse, brief case, or school bag (if  you are in school like I am).  The bars were filling and satisfying.

I need to add these to my Amazon wish list!

The extremely generous and wonderful people over at Pamela’s Products has offered the following prize package to TWO of my readers!

1 Box – Oat Blueberry Lemon Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Cranberry Almond Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Raisin Walnut Spice Whenever Bars

1 Package Baking & Pancake Mix

To enter to win one of two prize packages scroll to the bottom of the post to see the entry rules!

NEW GLUTEN-FREE WHENEVER BARS FROM PAMELA’S

MAKE ON-THE-GO SNACKING EASY AND HEALTHY

Nuts, Fruit, Chia Seeds and Chocolate Make These Bars a Standout

UKIAH, Calif. – October 12, 2011 – Setting the gold standard in gluten-free baking since 1988, Pamela’s Products is launching a new line of snack bars inspired by their loyal customers. Whenever Bars are soft and chewy, gluten-free, whole grain bars that are as delicious as they are healthy and convenient.

Pamela’s gluten-free certified Whenever Bars come in four delicious flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice. The line is making its way to store shelves nationwide with an SRP of $4.99 per box, five bars per box and they are also available on Amazon.com.

“Whenever Bars are our first on-the-go gluten-free snack,” said President and Founder Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, a third generation natural foods entrepreneur and baker. “I wanted to create a great tasting snack that anybody can enjoy wherever, whenever. They’re made with simple, real ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dark chocolate so you’ll feel satisfied, not hungry, after you eat one.”

Only the highest quality ingredients are used in Pamela’s Whenever Bars, including gluten-free oats, almonds and walnuts. The addition of chia seeds gives the bars a significant Omega 3 essential fatty acids and dietary fiber boost. They’re also non-dairy, low in sodium and cholesterol, and lightly sweetened primarily with agave and coconut sugar. With nine grams of whole grains per serving, the bars meet the Whole Grain Council’s requirements for wholesome grain servings and include the council’s stamp on their packaging.

If anybody knows what it takes to produce a great tasting gluten-free product that everyone can enjoy, it’s Giusto-Sorrells. She’s honed her gluten-free baking expertise with delicious, simple, wholesome ingredients and a lot of patience during her more than 20 years in the business.

About Pamela’s Products

Since 1988, Pamela’s Products has created some of the best-selling gluten free products on the market, including Traditional, Organic and Simplebites Cookies, Biscotti, Baking Mixes and Ready-to-Eat cakes, found in natural food and grocery stores throughout North America, as well as online. For additional information about Pamela’s Products, including recipes, baking and allergy information, visit www.pamelasproducts.com.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The two winners will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using random.org – the winners 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 prize package will be shipped directly to the winners from Pamela’s Products. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and come back here to leave a comment  letting me know which bars you would like to try the most. (Mandatory)

2) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and let me know which of the recipes listed on the Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix you would try first. (Mandatory)

3) Like Pamela’s Products on Facebook (Optional)

4) Follow Pamela’s Products on Twitter (Optional)

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)

All of the opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Pamela’s Products generously supplied me with samples to review and are sponsoring this giveaway to two lucky readers! Photos and log are courtesy of Pamela’s Products.  

Good luck to all who enter!

Dolcetti Cookies {Review & Giveaway}

Updated 12/5/11 – 7:46 am – Congratulation To Cindy and Meghan – You’ve won the giveaway!  Be sure to check your e-mails.

Updated 12/5/11 – 5:00 am Giveaway has ended – winners will be announced and contacted via e-mail on 12/5/2011! Thank you to all who entered – don’t forget to enter the other two giveaways going on right now! Best of luck to all who enter those too.

Have you heard of these cookies yet?  If not, let me introduce you to some extremely delicious little treats from Dolcetti Cookies (find them on Facebook!) that are made from ground nuts and free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, cholesterol, preservatives, oils, artificial ingredients, soy products, and trans fats! I fell in love with Dolcetti cookies from the first bite.  Absolutely delicious – especially if you are like myself and love nuts. If I had to pick one of the five flavors as being my favorite…it would probably be the macadamia and coconut Dolcetti’s. You can taste the little hit of lime zest in them.  Yum!

I thought these would go great with a cup of tea so the other night I made a cup of vanilla tea and had two cookies to go along with it. (the serving size is two cookies, but I’m going to admit that it is extremely hard to just eat two of these.  I could probably eat the whole bag.) This little tea and cookie snack made me think of my Grandma Lu, she always has a cup of tea at night with something “sweet”, which usually means a cookie of some sort.  I think these would be a perfect gift for her (and she’s not even gluten-free).

These cookies are inspired by an old Italian recipe, and instead of using flours the creators of Dolcetti instead used finely ground nuts.  Here is a little blurb from their website:

We have come up with our own method of milling nuts without heating them, to obtain a smooth and nutritious dough.  Our process does not require any added oils or fats.  In fact, Dolcetti are completely flourless and dairy free. We believe in creating cookies with a very short list of ingredients, and the best part is that you will recognize them all. Finally, Dolcetti do NOT contain any:

WHEAT – GLUTEN – DAIRY – CHOLESTEROL – PRESERVATIVES – OILS
ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS – SOY PRODUCTS – TRANS FATS

We use only the finest quality ingredients and our cookies are baked daily.

These delicious soft baked nut cookies come in five delicious flavors:

Almond Dolcetti: A soft and light cookie with delicate almond flavor, accented with fresh grated orange zest… A fan favorite

Ingredients: Blanched California almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, pure almond extract, fresh grated orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Pistachio Dolcetti: From a very old Sicilian tradition, a cookie with a very distinguished flavor, a unique and delectable experience.

Ingredients: Roasted California pistachios, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Macadamia Coconut Dolcetti: Take a bite, close your eyes and you’re in paradise.

Ingredients: Roasted macadamias, almonds, evaporated cane juice, shredded coconut, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh lime zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Hazelnut Chocolate Dolcetti: The most decadent of all our flavors, rich hazelnuts are combined with the finest quality Belgian dark chocolate for the most classic pairing…It’s love at first bite.

Ingredients: Roasted hazelnuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, 63% dark chocolate (cocoa, caner sugar, cocoa butter), honey, aluminum-free baking powder

Peanut Chocolate Dolcetti: Our take on an American classic, fresh roasted peanuts combined with semi sweet chocolate and a dash of sea salt give this famous cookie a new personality.

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, aluminum free baking powder, sea salt

Dolcetti is based out of Oakland, CA and you can find their cookies in the following places if you are local:

Or you can order online at: www.dolcetticookies.com – minimum 3 bags, and you can use any combination of flavors to meet that three bag minimum!

Daniele – the owner of Dolcetti Cookies has kindly offered a giveaway for two of my readers!  See below for how to enter. Contest ends on December 4th, 2011 at midnight. Two winners will be drawn using random.org and cookies will be shipped directly from Daniele at Dolcetti Cookies. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Visit Dolcetti Cookies and leave a comment saying which cookie(s) you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Like Dolcetti Cookies on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already Like CCGF leave a comment saying so.

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already follow CCGF leave a comment saying so.

Thank you Daniele for the delicious cookies and for sponsoring this giveaway!

(All photos courtesy of Dolcetti Cookies www.dolcetticookies.com)

Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa

Fish is one of my favorite things to eat, but sadly I don’t cook it enough.  We eat a lot of sushi in our house because Bryan isn’t a huge fan of fish when it is cooked, except for swordfish.  He’s eaten a few cooked fish dishes that I’ve made but like I said, I don’t cook it often enough.

A few months ago we went to a local restaurant because he was craving swordfish.  He had his grilled with a bruschetta topping to it while I had a delicious piece of mahi-mahi with a mango salsa on top. He was a bit jealous of my salsa and wasn’t such a fan of the bruschetta. I promised him the next time it is on sale we would pick up a piece and I would cook it however he wished.  He asked for it to be grilled with a mango salsa, similar to the one I had on my mahi-mahi.

Lucky for him, swordfish was on sale this week! So keeping true to my promise we went and picked up a good size piece (for the two of us to share) of swordfish, and the ingredients for a simple yet delicious onion-free mango salsa.  I just did a costing card for this meal and minus the steamed veggies on the side (we used green giant frozen steam ready veggies which were on sale for $1.00!) it totaled $8.27 per person!! If you were to add the veggies, it would be still only $8.77 per person.  You can’t go out anywhere to get a delicious and healthy meal for that price. Again, we bought the fish on sale so it helped with the price.  So if you do like I do and plan your weekly menu based on your local grocery adds or a local famers market prices you can find some great deals and make simple yet delicious and healthy meals for less.

This meal is beyond easy to make with only a few ingredients…five ingredients to be exact (salt, pepper and olive oil are “free” ingredients, meaning I have these on hand at all times and are basic ingredients for many recipes). I would suggest preparing the salsa at least an hour before and let it hang out in the fridge so all of the flavors are melded together nicely.  The fish takes between 8-10 minutes, so this is the perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

Grilled Swordfish

3/4 – 1 Pound of Swordfish Fillet – cut in half (enough for two people)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Olive Oil

Lightly brush the swordfish fillet with olive oil and squeeze the lime juice over it and season with salt and pepper – flip and repeat on the other side.

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat.  Add the swordfish and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Onion-Free Mango Salsa

2 Large Ripe Mango – Diced(about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper – Diced (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Juice of 1/2 a Lime (about 1 tablespoon)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/8 cup Finely Chopped Cilantro (You can add more depending on your taste)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Add diced mango, red pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and season with salt and pepper – taste.  Add cilantro last and mix to combine well.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the rest of the week I have planned:

  • Sunday – Corned Beef Sandwiches (Reuben’s) and veggies
  • Monday – Roasted Pork Meatballs (from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen – pre-order it here) and a quick fried rice
  • Tuesday – Pasta
  • Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Carrots, Red Cabbage and Snap Peas
  • Thursday – Grilled Rib-Eye and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Friday – Chili

Hope you enjoy this meal!

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!

Canning – It’s A Father-Daughter Thing.

I love my dad.  More than words can truly express.  While I was living in California I only had the opportunity to see my dad once a year, sometimes two. Which to be honest, sucked.  My dad and I have a very interesting father-daughter relationship, he is more like one of my best friends.  I tell him pretty much everything.  We share a lot of the same interests (these are not forced in any way, these are genuine interests we share): fishing, fly fishing, cooking, photography, canning, gardening, fly tying, guns/shooting, knives, and so much more. I love fishing with my dad, especially fly fishing.

Dad with is catch on the fly rod

Me with my first catch on a fly rod

Me and Dad at Point Lobos, Carmel, CA

My dad and I were even featured on a chartered fishing boat’s website and their add in a well-known fishing magazine (I still have a copy of it).  We have even taken different courses together, one of which was a black and white photography course at our local art museum.  One of the best things we have ever done together – so much fun hanging out together.  Another “course” we took together was a fly tying course with the New England Fly Tyers.  Mind you I was the only “young” female there but I had the best time.  Each year they do a good-sized auction/raffle to help raise money and I won the grand prize of a fly tying kit with all the goodies.  I just found the kit in my boxes up out attic so that will be taken down soon so I can start tying some flies.

Another thing that makes my heart very happy is the relationship that Bryan and my dad have.  They also share a lot of interests, so they spend a bit of time together.  Dad has also gotten Bryan into a bit of fly fishing!  (I’m so excited about this) Dad took him fishing a few weekends back and Bryan caught three small fish.

Dad teaching Bry how to cast a fly rod. My two favorite men.

So since moving back dad and I have been catching up on our father-daughter time.  Over the last year we have been talking about trying out hands at some canning.  Even though it took us a year we finally did it!

Last weekend dad came down and we decided to can some refrigerator pickles and dilly beans (dill green beans). It may have been my fist time at this, but I have to say these came out pretty darn good. Now I’m a bit addicted to canning – been thinking of a million and one things I want to can next.  The refrigerator pickle recipe came from Backwoodsman Magazine (July/August 2011) – sadly though the recipe is not on their website but I have listed it below.  The recipe for the dilly green beans came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving – again, this recipe is not on their website but it is also included below.  FYI if you don’t have this book and are interested in starting to can, I would pick this up and try a few recipes.

We of course had a few changes to the recipes – so below are my adaptations of them.

PLEASE be sure to read the links below to learn how to properly sanitize your jars and lids!!

Canning 101 – Simple Bites

How to Can – Ball/Fresh Preserving

Resources – Canning Across America

Refrigerator Pickles

10-12 Large Cucumbers (Washed)

3 Cups White Vinegar

11 Cups of Water (divided)

1 Cup Coarse Salt

1/2 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic

1/4 Teaspoon Pickle Crisp (per Quart jar)

Several Springs of Fresh Dill (or 2 Teaspoons of dried dill) – this all depends on how dilly you like them

Hot Pepper – Optional

4 Quart Mason Jars

  • Prepare canner, jars and lids (see links above)
  • In a gallon pitcher mix together the 3 cups of vinegar, 8 cups of water, 1 cup of coarse salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Stir until dissolved and set aside.
  • Wash cucumbers and cut either into spears (which we did) or rounds.
  • In the bottom of the jars add 1 Thai Chili Pepper (IF you are using them, cut in half), a few sprigs of fresh dill, and a bit of garlic in each.  (You will repeat all of this once the cucumbers are in the jars and the pickling brine has been added.)
  • Add the cucumbers to the jars – you will be surprised how many spears you can fit into each jar, however don’t over stuff them, you still need to add the brine and rest of the dill, garlic, and peppers.
  • Fill the jars with the brine until you have about a generous 1 inch remaining. Add the remainder of the garlic, dill, and peppers (IF you are using them) to each of the jars.  Top off the jars with the remaining water (you probably won’t use all of it!).  Cover the jars with lids. Screw band down until resistance is met then increase to fingertip-tight.
  • Shake each jar for one minute.  Place in a cool/dark place for 24 hours (NOT the refrigerator) then refrigerate until gone – Enjoy!!

Dilled Beans

6 Tablespoons Pickling or Canning Salt

6 Cups White Vinegar

6 Cups Water

4 1/2 Cups Green Beans, trimmed

18 Whole Black Peppercorns

12 Sprigs of Fresh Dill

12 Cloves of Garlic

12 Thai Chili Peppers – cut in half

6 Quart Mason Jars

  • Prepare canner, jars and lids (see links above)
  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine salt, vinegar, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt.  Add green beans.  Return to a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Place 3 peppercorns, 2 springs of dill and 2 cloves of garlic, and two Thai chili peppers (that have been cut in half) in each hot jar.  Pack beans into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar.  Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover beans and peppers, leaving 12 inch head-space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space, if necessary, by adding more hot pickling liquid.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar, Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  • Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

We’ve tried both of these creations of ours and they are super delicious.  You should probably adjust these seasons to your flavor likings.  We love garlic, dill and a bit of heat. There are so many more things you can can – vegetables, fruit, stews, and tomatoes.  Check out some of these websites and books for more ideas:

Canning 101 – Simple Bites

How to Can – Ball/Fresh Preserving

Resources – Canning Across America

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It

The Pioneer Woman

Backwoods Home Magazine

Martha Stewart

Food in Jars

The Joy of Pickling

Punk Domestics

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my father-daughter time??My dad is pretty awesome and I’m so happy to be living near him again.

On my list of things to can is definitely some apple sauce and horseradish. What is on your list? Happy Canning!

Five Star Marinade (Review & Giveaway)

We love to grill – chicken, steak, burgers, and especially vegetables.  Depending on what we are grilling we use different seasonings, sauces, and marinades – it usually is something spicy.  About a month ago Burt – the creator of Five Star Meat Marinade asked if I would like to try his gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade, of course I said yes!

Bryan’s dad has diabetes so lately I have been trying to find things that are suitable for him.  When Burt shared the information about the marinade with me saying that it was “All natural, NO MSG, NO Sugar, NO Preservatives, NO Oils or Fats”, I thought this would be a great marinade for him to try.  Sadly we don’t get to see him much but I figured his birthday is coming up so I’m going to put together a little goodie bag for him.  I’m also going to start experimenting with some refined sugar-free baking for him also and hopefully send Bryan down with some diabetic friendly baked goods.

Back to the marinade:)

Here is a little bit of history from Five Star Marinade’s website:

While growing up,  holidays were special for many reasons. Getting together with family, good food and lots of laughter. Most meals were potluck,  making it easier on those hosting the event. We always had the traditional turkey or ham as a main course, but my Grandmother would provide another meat with her marinade. Everyone loved the flavor so much that often the family dinners would break tradition serving only her meat dish.  Little did Grandma know that her marinade was a healthy substitute for sugar or molasses based barbeque sauce.

Grandma is gone now but I have taken the recipe and bottled this great taste for everyone wishing great flavor without the worry of calories, preservatives or fat. The marinade is easy to use and is excellent for barbeque, broiling or baking making it enjoyable all year no matter the weather.

My marinade is just the thing for those on restricted diets such as those on low sodium, sugar free, gluten free or Diabetics.

Last week I decided to marinade some chicken breast over night (per Burt’s instructions) and grill them up and served them with some spicy broccoli and a  side salad.  Oh man is this marinade delicious!! It has a bit of a peppery kick to it, which I loved and a great flavor.  I made an extra piece of chicken so I could slice it up and have it atop a salad the next day for lunch. I think next weekend I’ll be marinading (only 30 minutes) and grilling up some portabella mushrooms.

The marinade is simple – yet extremely delicious!  Five Star Marinade Ingredients: Vinegar*, Salt, Spices, Paprika, Garlic *Red Wine Vinegar (not distilled white) so this marinade is also corn-free (for those of you who have corn allergies, this is perfect for you)!

Thank you Burt for making such a delicious, gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade! And thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to sample your delicious creation (your grandmother would be so proud of you!)

Who would like to try a bottle of this delicious, gluten-free, sugar-free all-purpose marinade?  One lucky winner with have a chance to win a bottle – please leave a comment for EACH entry!

1) Like Five Star Marinade on Facebook

2) Follow Five Star Marinade on Twitter (@GFMarinade)

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (@Creatively_GF)

5) Leave a comment below saying what you would like to try this on.

One winner will be chosen using random.org on Tuesday June 26th, 2011.  The lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond after they receive my e-mail.  If a winner does not respond in the allotted time, a new winner will be chosen.  This contest is open to US residents only – the prize will be shipped directly from Five Star Marinade.  Good luck to all who enter!