Gluten-Free Flatbread

I think I’ve mentioned this a few other times, but my favourite flavour combination is sweet and salty. I love adding sweet to a salty dish, I find it brings the flavours to different level.

Gluten-free flatbread

The best food combo is dates, prosciutto and goat cheese. The sweet dates compliment the salty prosciutto and the smooth goat cheese blends everything together perfectly. This flatbread recipe is perfect for an appetizer or a main meal and I will assure you it will be a crowd favourite.

Gluten-Free Date, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese FlatbreadGluten-free flatbread

2 frozen gluten free pizza crust bases (O’Dough’s has a good crust – this is what I used)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 medjool dates, de-pitted and chopped
6 tbsp goat’s cheese
8 basil leaves, chopped
4-6 slices of prosciutto

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place frozen crusts on baking sheet (they will defrost while they cook).

Top each frozen gluten free pizza crust base (or flatbread) with ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Next, top each crust with four basil leaves, spread around to cover the base. Top each crust with three tablespoons each of crumbled goat cheese and then sprinkle the chopped dates (four to each crust) and chopped prosciutto on top. Ensure the prosciutto is the last to be added, as it will become crunchy while cooking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Sweet Tortillas with Tropical Salsa

Sweet tortillas and tropical salsa with a warm caramel drizzle. What the hack? Yup…I did a total hack of the ever so popular salsa and chips. After discovering Udi’s ‘What the Hack’ food contest, I thought I would come up with a clever dish of my own. Unfortunately the contest was only open to US residents, but I still had a fun time pretending I was participating in Chopped [Canada]. The whole idea was to choose one of three Udi’s products and then a few ingredients from their six key ingredients (which included: pineapple, coconut, nut butter, chocolate chips, parmesan cheese and jalepenos). The recipe was a hit and was demolished very quickly. It’s a light summer dessert perfect for ending a Mexican-inspired meal. You can either serve them as individual plated desserts, or buffet style with the option to dip into the salsa. 
Sweet Tortillas & Tropical Salsa
1 pack of Udi’s Plain Tortillas 
2 cups of chopped pineapple 
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dulce de leche 
2 tbsp cream 
Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle each tortilla to coat (set aside half a tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture for the salsa). Place tortillas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy (be sure to monitor the oven as some ovens bake quicker than others – you don’t want these to burn). 

Meanwhile, combine the chopped pineapple, coconut and remaining cinnamon sugar in a bowl. 

To make the caramel drizzle, combine the dulce de leche and cream in a small sauce pan, stirring until combined. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once the tortillas are baked, cut into quarters while still hot. Set aside to cool. 
To assemble, place one tortilla on a plate, top with two tablespoons of the tropical salsa and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce. If you’d rather serve this in a buffet-type setting, place the tortillas in a bowl next to the large bowl of tropical salsa for people to dip into. 

 Enjoy! These are very easy to make and delightfully refreshing! Let me know how you enjoy them!

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

Warm, chewy, sweet, hearty, chocolaty-banana goodness. There’s not much more I can elaborate on with this home-baked, comfort food. The smell of banana bread baking in the oven is a nostalgic aroma that reminds me of the recipe my mom makes. Although this is delicious, I must admit that I do miss the gluten-filled banana bread that my mom makes…it’s really good and I have yet to replicate it with gluten free flour. 

Gluten-free Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

1 3/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the loaf pan by greasing it with cooking spray or butter and flouring it lightly. 

Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in one bowl until combined. In a second bowl, blend bananas, vegetable oil and eggs. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined – add in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for one hour until golden.

Mexican Rice Paper Rolls

This month I was lucky enough to be featured on the Celiac Corner’s website as ‘Featured Blogger of the Month’. I wanted to share a gluten free recipe that was different, flavourful, exotic and fun to make. I decided on Mexican inspired rice paper rolls. You can read my post on CeliacCorner.com

 
I love the versatility of rice paper rolls – you can fill them with whatever sort of ingredients you fancy – avocado, chicken, hummus, tofu, peppers, zucchini, etc. The best part about them is that they are gluten free! Having a new gluten free item to add to your list of ‘safe’ foods always results in a smile…don’t you think? I also really enjoy Mexican food – so I thought, why not create a version of soft tacos using a rice paper roll as the shell! Excitingly enough they turned out delicious and the mild flavour of the rice paper roll really allows the Mexican flavours to shine through. This is the perfect recipe for an appetizer, a summer picnic or even for a meal. I personally love having a few of these rolls as my dinner…yum! These are also great if you have an allergy to corn, as the rolls are simply just made of rice. The recipe may look daunting due to the many steps, but trust me, they are delicious and very simple to make.

What you need: a cutting board, or clean surface; a couple clean dish towels; a large shallow bowl filled with a few inches of cold water; a tray; food processor
Ingredients:
10 large rice paper rolls (usually found in the rice section of grocery stores)
2 chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
5 romaine lettuce leaves finely chopped
2 cups pineapple thinly sliced into strips
1 can black beans
¾ tsp cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp ketchup
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp butter
salt
sour cream
salsa
Preheat the oven to 450°F and bake chicken for 25-30 minutes.
While the chicken bakes, slice the pineapple into thin strips, about 2 inches long. Fry the pineapple in 1 tbsp of butter until golden and caramelized. Set aside.
Next, combine the can of black beans, ¼ tsp cumin, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Set aside in a bowl.
Wash and slice up the peppers and romaine lettuce into thin strips.
For the chicken spice mixture, combine ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp ketchup and 1 tsp olive oil. Take the cooked chicken and place in a medium sized bowl. With 2 forks, start pulling and shredding against the natural grain of the chicken. You want it to look like pulled pork in the end. Once it is all shredded, coat the chicken with the spice mixture. It will only appear lightly coated, as you want to be able to taste the other flavours in the rice paper roll.
After you have all of the ingredients for the filling prepared, create a working space using a cutting board or clean surface to start rolling your rice papers. Fill a large bowl with cold water (the package on the rice paper instructs you to use warm water, but I find that it doesn’t work as well as using cold water). You will need a large enough bowl to be able to soak the rice paper in. Place the rice paper in the water (you can place 2-3 in the bowl at a time, just make sure they are not sticking together prior to placing in the water. Allow the rice paper to soak for a good 30-45 seconds until the rice paper has softened. Once soft, gently remove from water and place on a clean, dry dishtowel – pat dry. Now you can either roll the rice papers on the dishtowel or transfer the rice paper onto a cutting board.
Arrange ingredients around the top edge of the rice paper, leaving enough room at the top to fold over. Fold and roll it like you would a fajita. It’s okay if there are couple rips or tears, as rolling it will help cover them.
Repeat with the remaining rice papers.
Arrange on a tray with a couple bowls of salsa and sour cream for dip. Enjoy!

Fig, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Crostini

I love when the summer months roll around and fresh figs are beautifully displayed in the produce section of the grocery store. I love dried figs, but fresh figs are 10x more better. They are sweet and succulent with a soft, fleshy texture and are high in antioxidants and fibre! 

Figs are a versatile fruit. They work well in salads, such as my Fig, Pear and Almond Salad, they are great on top of greek yogurt with granola, I like them with cheese, made in a glaze for meat and they are the perfect dessert.  

Ali from Running with Spatulas had asked me to write a guest post for her blog, specifically about a gluten free recipe. I wanted to create a summer appetizer with an in-season fruit or vegetable, so, I thought figs would be perfect to incorporate. I like figs best with cheese, and I also love the taste of salty prosciutto with figs, so I decided to marry these three ingredients on top of gluten free crostini to create a delicious summer bite. 

The Gut Gazette’s Fig, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Crostini

1 gluten free baguette (I used Aidan’s GF Baguette)
6 tbsp olive oil
6 fresh figs
½ cup goat cheese
8 slices of prosciutto
10 basil leaves (shredded)
Position oven rack to the top. Preheat oven to broil (500°F).
Slice the baguette into thin pieces (about 1/3 of an inch). Lay slices out on baking sheet. Spread each slice with olive oil. Broil for about 5-7 minutes, checking regularly, or until bread is golden and crisp. Flip slices over and repeat the above so that both sides of the bread are crispy and golden. While bread is cooling, slice the figs into thin slices (about 4 slices per fig), cut prosciutto slices into thirds and roll them up, and shred basil. Once bread has cooled, spread each slice with a dollop of goat cheese, layer prosciutto, a fig slice and then a drizzle of balsamic glaze topped with shredded basil. Enjoy!
The result is extremely tasty. The salty prosciutto pairs very well with the sweet fig, savory goat cheese and sour balsamic. You would never know these were gluten free!

I would love to hear what you like to pair with figs! Is there a go-to recipe you always do with figs?

Greek (Quinoa) Salad

I would have to say that my favourite kind of salad is a greek salad. I love the tangy, salty flavours and the crunch of the cucumbers and tomatos that accompany that soft feta and kalamata olives. I also love the savory, bitter taste of oregano. Oregano is key in making the perfect greek salad!
Another one of my other favourite things is quinoa! It is so versatile and has a very mild taste, which is why it is able to pair up with so many other flavours. 
Greek + quinoa? I thought the perfect side dish to a greek yogurt inspired chicken would be a Greek quinoa salad! Mmmm, was it tasty!
Greek (Quinoa) Salad
1.5 cups quinoa (uncooked)
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1.5 cups cucumbers (chopped)
1 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (chopped)
1/4 cup sweet onion (finely diced)
Combine quinoa in 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and allow quinoa to simmer for about 15 minutes until fluffy and quinoa is cooked. Let cool.
Chop up tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Dice onion and crumble feta into one large bowl. 
While the quinoa is cooling, mix up the dressing.
Greek Dressing 
1/4 cup olive oil 
3 tbsp lemon juice 
1/4 tsp dried oregano 
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of peper 
Whisk the above ingredients.
Once quinoa has cooled, mix it into the bowl with the other ingredients. Pour dressing over top and stir to combine. 

Watermelon Feta and Basil Salad

Ingredients
1/2 a watermelon cut into 1inch cubes
1 cup fets crumbled 
3 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of basil ~1/3 cup chopped coarsely 
1 tsp salt (I used fleur de sel)
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
Cut watermelon into 1 inch cubes, put into a large bowl. Crumble feta and mix in with the watermelon. Mix in basil, oil, salt and pepper.
It seems a bit strange to mix watermelon with not only cheese but olive oil and salt…however, I know you will love this recipe. It is fresh, a great balance of sweet and salty and the perfect summer side dish. Pairs well with grilled chicken, mixed greens and potato salad. Enjoy!

Quick Quinoa Sushi

Happy Good Friday for all of you who celebrate Easter! Today I spent my Good Friday in my room, studying my one and only final exam coming up on Monday. I also went for a lovely walk, the weather was gorgeous, blue sky and sunny…but a bit on the cool side.

We are all moving out of our student house in a few days, so I have been trying to eat up everything I have in the freezer and pantry, so that I don’t put anything to waste. My meals have been ho-hum, you don’t know how excited I am to move back home to a nice big kitchen and home cooked meals! Yesterday’s dinner consisted of frozen peas and corn…meat balls and fried zucchini…pretty random right?

Tonight I wanted to make something that I would actually feel satisfied with, so I whipped up some homemade sushi. Have you ever tried making sushi before? Before I attempted at making sushi, I thought it would be a disaster…I had my first homemade sushi experience about a month ago at my friends house. We made quinoa veggie sushi and wow…was it ever amazing and extremely easy, far from becoming a disaster. I thought at first that the ingredients were a little random to have in it, as it included sweet potato, beets, apples and shredded carrots, but honestly, the ingredients took on the flavour and consistency of “normal” sushi ingredients, my taste buds were deceived.

The first time I made sushi, there were three of us making them…we made a TON! As you can see, sushi can be huge or small

Tonight I made two types of sushi, avocado/mango/cucumber and avocado/mango/smoked salmon cream cheese. This is probably one of the easiest meals to make, and I’m not exaggerating! You don’t even need sushi tools (ie the mat)

Quick Quinoa Sushi


Ingredients:
– nori sheets (seaweed)
– quinoa
– tahini
– vegetable ingredients (ie, avocado, cucumber, mango, carrots, etc)
you could also use fish or teriyaki chicken (I did not though)
– rice vinegar
– white sugar
– salt

1. First off, you must cook your quinoa and allow to cool.
(1 cup will make 4 rolls…2 cups will make 6, etc)

2. If you choose to make 2 cups of quinoa, combine 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 tsp of salt in a pot over the stove. Heat until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Poor the vinegar/sugar mixture overtop of the quinoa, mix, and set aside to cool.

4. Next, stir about 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame seed paste) into the quinoa, this is what binds the quinoa together. (I am sure you could use other nut butters as well, experiment!)

5. While your quinoa cools, slice up your ingredients into thin slices. (should be about 1 inch thick, it can be up to 4 inches long). Ingredients could include avocado, mango, cucumber, red pepper, sweet potato (cooked), what ever you wish to have in your sushi!

Mango, cucumber and avocado (pardon the avocado, it was way too ripe and a bit brown, I also haven’t finished slicing the avocado into thinner strips in this picture)

6. Once your quinoa has cooled down, and you have all of your inside ingredients prepared, you are ready to start assembling the sushi

7. There are 2 sides to the nori sheets, 1 side is very shiny, and the other side is dull with grooves. Place the shiny side face down, you want to work with the dull side.

Can you see the lines/grooves on the sheet? There are about 5.

8. As you can see, there are grooves that run width wise, scoop about 3/4 of a cup of quinoa onto the sheet of nori and spread using a spatula over the sheet, leaving 2 grooves plain on the top.

9. Once the quinoa has been evenly spread, place your ingredients in the middle of the sheet.

10. Now it is time to roll! This may be the trickiest part. You want to try to roll it as tight as you can, rolling until you get to the part of the nori where you didn’t put the quinoa on.

11. Dip your fingers in a bit of water and paint some water onto the bare nori, once it is slightly damp you can finish rolling. The water allows the nori to stick together.

12. Now you have a log. Have a tall glass of water handy so you can dip your knife into it before cutting, the water on the knife will make for a smoother cut as the water helps disintegrate the nori a bit.
I find using two different knives works best. First I use a serrated knife to help cut into the nori, and then I use a chef’s knife to cut the bottom of the nori. Cut the log into 6-7 pieces, depending on how big you want your sushi to be.

 13. And you’re done! Serve with some soy sauce (gluten free tamari) and a little bit of wasabi!

(Left – mango/avocado/cucumber. Right – mango/avocado/smoked salmon cream cheese

I wasn’t sure how the smoked salmon cream cheese would taste in the sushi, but wow, was it delicious! I usually have salmon cream cheese sushi when I’m out for sushi, so I thought this would take on that taste. I was also adventurous with the pairings. 

Friday with Figs

Good morning!
Yet again, it is a gorgeous sunny, blue sky, bird chirping, scorching hot morning! I love waking up to blue sky days, they just make you so much more happier.
I keep forgetting to post a really good recipe I created a few days back, so I thought this morning would be the perfect morning to introduce it.
The past few weeks, I have been seeing fresh figs for a very good price in the grocery store, but every time I passed them I didn’t know what I would use them for. When my Mom came to visit me last week, I knew the perfect use for them!
Fig, Pear and Almond Salad
(serves 2)
4 fresh figs
1 bosc pear
1/2 fennel bulb
1/4 cup dry roasted sliced almonds (slivered would work too)
2 cups baby spinach
Vinaigrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp curry powder
Wash and dry spinach. Place on the bottom of a plate (or bowl). Slice and dice up the fennel, place on top of the spinach. Slice pears and layer them over the spinach and fennel. Slice the figs and place on top of the pears. Dry roast the almonds in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes – watch carefully so that they don’t burn. Sprinkle almonds over the salad. Mix together the vinegar, oil, mustard, honey and curry powder. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.
(Alternatively, you could probably just throw all of the ingredients into a large salad bowl and mix them together to serve…this way is just a little prettier.)
I really hope you enjoy this summer inspired salad! I had it with a gluten free pasta salad.
Enjoy your Friday!!

Kabocha Squash!

Guess what? I finally found kabocha squash at Whole Foods (as I mentioned in my last post)! I have been looking everywhere for this supposedly amazing squash. I’ve read about it in so many other blogs, and it just looked SO good!
I wasn’t really sure how to cook it, but I figured that most of you just slice it up and bake it…am I right? I baked it for half an hour until it became golden and fork tender.
Man oh man was it good! I think butternut squash may be beat out by this little guy. It was almost like the consistency and texture of a dense sweet potato, but tasted like a cross between butternut and acorn squash. I loved how I could eat the skin too! It was crispy and nutty flavoured. I think next time I will also roast the seeds, because some of the seeds were stuck to the flesh when I baked it, so I peeled them off and ate them and wow were they yummy. They tasted like pumpkin seeds…but better!
I dipped my kabocha squash in ketchup…which I probably shouldn’t have done as I’m paying for it this morning. Ketchup = acidic = not so good on the tum.
Oh well…it was worth it!
How do you eat your kabocha squash? Do you dip it anything?
Sorry for such a short post! I know I have been lacking in my posts the past few days…but my first exam is only 3 days away and I’m thinking school comes before blogging.