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Repost: Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Loaf

18 Jan

This is a repost of an old favourite of mine – Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Loaf! I’m going to be sampling it today during at radio interview at CBC Kelowna, so I wanted to make it easy to find. 

Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Loaf

You probably know the feeling of  “ick” I’m referring to – you’re trying to keep up with all the fruits and veggies you should be eating and then you see them sitting there on your counter. Once beautiful and firm with shades of yellow and green, they are now browning and wasting away like a grape in the sun. Some call them overripe. I call them rotten. That’s the ick I’m referring to!

Since I really only enjoy eating bananas when they’re more green than yellow, I’ve decided to not let them waste away anymore. Banana chocolate chip muffins it is!

Oh wait – I have no gluten free chocolate chips – I had to throw out a huge bag of them that were maybe once gluten free but spent way too many afternoons hanging around the Evil Mr. Flour in my pre-diagnosis days.

So searching for a tasty alternative to banana chocolate chip muffins, I came across this Food and Wine recipe for Cinnamon Banana Bread.

I amended a few things – took out the Xatham Gum (which is already in most all-purpose mixes), amped up the cinnamon and vanilla factor and added cocoa among other things and I have to say… it turned out great and much better than I expected for a first time go at it!

The loaf, although of the ‘dense’ consistency of many gluten free ‘breads’, was moist and flavourful and it may just become a staple in my house! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

    Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Loaf - a new favourite!

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp gluten free cocoa (I used Hersheys)
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup milk (any milk of your choice – dairy, soy, almond, etc)
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

Mix all the dry ingredients into one bowl. In another bowl, mash the bananas and then add in the oil, agave nectar, milk and vanilla. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. (Or, nibble on it straight out of the pan like I did!)

*Optional: Mix a half teaspoon of each: cocoa, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle onto banana loaf after 10 minutes of baking – this will give you the crackle effect seen in the photo. Tastes pretty good too!

Happy New Year!! Your Favourite 2011 Recipes (preceded by a red wine coloured rant)

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2012, sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?!

So people have been asking me over and over, “when are you going to start blogging more”? No matter that these people are all of my real life friends who are asking me because they’ve referred recently diagnosed friends. But they have a point. Having a stale blog makes me feel icky, I mean, I work in marketing! How often do I huff at blogs that I really want to read but have gone months without a new post. And that’s what I’ve become?

Note to readers here: this is just my personal “forgive me, I have blinned” (blog sinned, made that one up) rant. Skip down for the hottest in recipes from 2011 ladies and lads.

I have to say though, that nagging feeling I get when I’m blazy (blog lazy, ha!) is when I talk to people who feel like getting diagnosed Celiac is going to ruin their life and cooking is going to be impossible. And I tell them, “No sister, it ain’t gonna ruin you, you just gotta learn the secrets.. I can tell you.. And you can find them on my web log!!” Okay, I totally don’t talk like this.

But I do tell people to not let a diagnosis get you down, that things are going to get easier. Because you quickly learn what you can and cannot eat. And you learn that you don’t have to follow complicated gluten free recipes to be able to eat. (Just learn how to substitute ingredients like a seasoned Celiac!) And let’s not forget that not only is gluten free knowledge on the uptake in society because people think it’s a weight loss tool (idiots), but because more and more people are being diagnosed with it. Restaurants and grocery stores are finally starting to get it. Some more slowly than others. (And yes, some will possibly be forever oblivious.)

But these secrets, and developments, are what I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed with Celiac. I thought my life was ruined! And it was not. I’ve learned to live with it, and make tasty food in a jiffy, and you can too.

So expect to see more of my rants and raves throughout 2012!

Now, for the top recipes of 2011? Here they are!

  1. Oven Baked Risotto. Apparently this was popular with the new-to-risotto crowd. So if you’re reticent of making your first batch of risotto, start with this one. And then try some of my other risotto recipes and see what you’ve been missing all these years! Risotto – gluten free food of the gods. And perfect for a creamy, savoury treat if you have to refrain from dairy as well!
  2. Cranberry Banana Walnut Loaf. Shave off 10 minutes to make muffins, or add in chocolate chips for a real anytime treat. Yummzers!
  3. Celery Leek Soup. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! Because simply, it’s to die for. Put it on your list for a winter-warm-up fast!!

Enough from me for today. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to continuing our gluten free journey together!

Gluten Free Summer – A Feast for the Eyes

4 Aug

Strawberry Daiquiri

My first tomato. Newbie gardener!

Chicken Tacos. Earls Patio, Kelowna.

Sparkling water with lemon balm & mint-from my garden!

Truffled parmesan fries. Need I say more?

Gluten free mini-brownies with caramel swirl fro-yo & dark chocolate M&M's!

Alli's Amazing Mango Salsa-I love my friends!

Tuna Carpaccio at the Manor Casual Bistro in Edmonton. (Pepper crusted west coast tuna with mango fennel salad, smoked sea salt & sherry shallot vinaigrette)

Gluten free raspberry chocolate fudge brownie. What?!? Yum.

Gluten free pizza, three ways. (Recipes to come!)

Oven-Baked Risotto with Mushrooms

8 Feb Gluten Free Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto

Since getting on the risotto bandwagon last year (I make it 1-2 times a week now!), I’ve wanted to try an oven-baked risotto. I chose a recipe from my Rice and Risotto cookbook by Paragon Publishing (2010 edition), with a few tweaks of my own added in.

The verdict: Though this risotto was good, it wasn’t quite as tasty as a stovetop mushroom risotto. So this would be a good choice for those who are new at risotto, as a stepping stone to the stove-top version. If you’re already comfortable making risottos, I would suggest to skip ahead to my favourite stove-top risotto, Chicken & Mushroom Risotto – you will love me for it!

Whichever recipe you choose, if you can get your hands on some white or black truffle oil, it will add an extra BAM! to your risotto. Though it’s a bit pricey, you only need a drizzle to transform a meal into a luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth dish. Definitely a good splurge!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups of diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of pancetta or smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups of Aborio rice
  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp of Italian parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for garnish

Continue reading

Gluten Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Loaf

27 Jan Gluten Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Loaf

Although I love my Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bread (one of my all time favourite recipes!), I had to try this banana bread recipe with cranberries – yum! I had to hold my hands behind me to resist throwing in some cocoa, cacao nibs, chocolate chips or the like, but it was worth it. The tartness of the cranberries gives it the zing factor so chocolate isn’t needed in this case. (Yes, I’m a bit of a chocolate snob.)

Even my boyfriend Mike – who resists almost everything on the non-savoury side of things – ate it up!

This recipe is from Allergic Living – I made a few adjustments to maximize deliciousness, so you can check of the original recipe here.

I hope you like it as much as we did! This goes great with tea for breakfast or for an anytime snack. Enjoy.

Gluten Free Cranberry Banana Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs or 4 tbsp egg replacer
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • A handful of chopped walnuts (not in the original recipe, but they add a nice crunch)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and xatham gum.
  • In a separate bowl, use a whisk to cream together oil and sugar. Stir in eggs, bananas, cranberries and walnuts.
  • Add wet ingredients to flour mix and combine. Pour into loaf pan and bake about 45 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Turn loaf out onto cooling rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Celery Leek Soup with White Truffle Oil

18 Jan Celery Leek Soup with Truffle Oil - Gluten Free

I absolutely adore soups. They seem to be the one thing that I can never screw up on. (Well, except for once.)

Soups have the magic of melting in your mouth, warming you up on a chilly day, and exciting your taste buds with a delicate balance of flavours that complement each other perfectly.

The story behind this soup: Last week I went to a networking event that was catered by a local restaurant, RauDZ, and to mention it, a restaurant that prides itself on using ingredients found around the Okanagan. I must go there soon! Lucky for me – and the other Celiac in the crowd who I met looking longingly at the food tables – Chef Rod Butters himself was in attendance. We bugged him with a lot of questions and he graciously pointed out the many foods that we could safely eat. But, being the nervous celiac diner that I am, I tried the soup, and nothing else. In either case, I probably would have stopped at this mouth-watering celery soup with truffle oil – it was absolutely to die for! So I must thank Chef Butters for inspiring my own version of the soup. Although I hope he’s still serving his up when I finally visit his restaurant!!

Celery Leek Soup with White Truffle Oil

Recipe from Homemakers.com (with a few of my own tweaks) found here.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped (4 to 5 cups)
  • 4 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 tsp each thyme and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • White truffle oil (found at specialty stores and yes – it is worth the cost – you only need a tiny bit to transform a dish!)

Preparation

In soup pot, melt butter over medium-low heat; stir in leeks, celery, onions, potato, thyme and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, reducing heat if necessary to avoid browning. Stir in stock, 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Add truffle oil (between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, to taste); reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using immersion blender or in batches in blender, blend until smooth. Pass through fine sieve, in batches, into clean pot, discarding solids that cannot be pressed through sieve. Stir in milk, add salt to taste, bring to boil. Garnish with fresh thyme and pepper and serve immediately.

Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Pan Roasted Garlic

1 Dec

My friend Tyler, a closet gourmand, is always introducing the bf and I to new and strange foods when he cooks for us. The last meal he made for us a few weeks ago was chevre and spinach stuffed chicken breast, pan seared Jerusalem artichoke and celery root, and a simple garlicky swiss chard. The artichoke, celery root and swiss chard? All new to me!! Really, Tyler should be writing this blog!

For my first foray into the world of Swiss chard, I tried this recipe from Anna Olsen. It was so perfect that I copied the recipe below. You can also view the original recipe here.

Swiss Chard with pan roasted garlic and pine nuts, from Anna Olsen.

Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Pan Roasted Garlic

From Fresh with Anna Olson on Food Network Canada:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (rainbow chard, if available)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • Dash lemon juice

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
  • Slice garlic on a mandolin (or thinly by hand) and add to oil, cooking until lightly browned.
  • Add pine nuts and sauté until golden brown. Remove garlic and pine nuts and set aside.
  • Trim stems from Swiss chard and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add chard stems to pan with water and simmer until water has evaporated.
  • Chop chard leaves roughly and add to pan. Season lightly and toss to wilt.
  • Add back garlic and pine nuts and sprinkle with lemon juice. Adjust seasoning and serve.
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