Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stuffed Buns



Back in the day, before Celiac Disease, one of my most favourite places to eat lunch in Victoria, BC was Sally Bun. They made delicious, slightly sweet, stuffed buns that came in all sorts of flavours, such as: curried chicken, curried beef, tuna melt, Cajun mushroom, lox and salmon, etc.  The buns were both yummy and filling and made a great transportable lunch. I used to buy enough for a week and freeze them until I needed them. 
Of course, this type of food became a fond memory when I went gluten free. However, with my recent travels to remote locations with no guarantee of safe food for me, I thought I should attempt to make a gluten free version of the Sally Bun. I think for a first attempt, it turned out pretty well! I stuffed these with tuna, but feel free to be creative. 



Stuffed Buns
-Based on a recipe by Maria Jose

Buns

1 packet Dry yeast
3 tblspn Warm water
½ tblspn Sugar
½ cup Lactose Free Milk
Salt to taste
½ cup Grape seed Oil
2 cups Gluten Free All purpose flour
3/4 cup Millet Flour
1 tspn Xanthan Gum
1 tblspn Psyllium powder
1/4 cup Sugar
Egg-1, beaten
Egg white-1,for egg wash (or milk)
White sesame seeds for sprinkling

Preheat the oven @ 350 F for 15 minutes before baking. Dissolve the yeast in warm water with 1/2tbsp sugar.  Leave aside for 10 minutes. Boil the milk and allow to cool down till it is warm to touch. Add sugar, oil and salt to milk. Mix well until the sugar dissolve. Add the beaten egg, yeast and mix. Add the flours, xanthan gum and psyllium powder and mix well until it forms a smooth dough. You may need to add more flour, but just add little bits at a time. Knead well for 10 mins (I knead it using stand mixer). Let it rest till it doubles in volume (almost 2-3 hrs). Punch down the dough lightly using your palm and divide them equally. Basically split the dough ball in half and then split each half in thirds to make 6 buns. Flatten them into small discs and fill them with ¼ cup of the filling and a slice of cheese. Re-shape them into a ball. Apply the egg wash or milk to the tops. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. Let it proof for another 20 mins. Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 350 F  for 15-20 mins.

Stuffing

1 can of Flaked White Tuna
2 heaping spoonfuls of Mayo [or replace with dilly dip and leave out curry powder]
1 tspn of Curry Powder
1 Celery, diced
¼ Apple, diced or cubed
6 slices of Havarti or Cheddar Cheese

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

The option that is pictured is the dilly dip version, but I personally love the curry and apple version much better!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nourish: Sleeping Beauty Oatmeal Pancakes and Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival Review




Well the First Annual Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival in Victoria has come and gone and hopefully I will see it around again next year. It began on Friday, February 21st with a Dinner and talk with Dr. William Davis, author of The Wheat Belly at the new ”Be Love” restaurant. Unfortunately, do to my work schedule and living further up island I couldn’t make it in time for this. Although I’ve never read Wheat Belly, I’ve heard a lot of people quote it and I think it would have been a very interested evening.

The following Saturday was the festival itself. I was able to make it to the start of this; however, having ill family members I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked to here. I think the expo portion was great. I was pleasantly surprised by how many vendors were there. Having been around the block of the gluten free world for a while now I was familiar with the majority of the products being showcased, but even then I still found some new and tasty things to sample and other offerings.  Several grocery stores were in attendance with tones of free samples … everything from chips and cookies to meats, cereals and baking mixes. I basically went around the conference sampling my way through lunch. It’s a great way to try products that you may have seen on shelves already, but weren’t sure if they were worth the money. You know gluten free food is expensive and you either love it or hate it, so you might as well try the free sample before forking over 8 bucks for a box of cookies.

Holy Crap cereal was there with their brand new endorsement from Chris Hadfield and yummy recipe cards for Blackberry Breakfast Parfait and Zucchini Quinoa Clusters. Udi’s, Glutino, and Wise Bites were on the seen. As well as nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, masseuses, and several make up companies, including Arbonne.

Also my favourite indulgence of late Vij’s frozen ready meals. Vij is famous for his very tasty curry restaurant in Vancouver and he’s even on Canada’s Chopped as a judge. Some of their products say gluten free and some do not. I wrote them to inquire about the safety of their food and they informed me that all of their ingredients are gluten free, however, ‘asafetida’ a spice is commonly cut with wheat. Although the spice doesn’t say it has gluten, they suggested avoiding any of their products with that spice in them. So I have and greatly enjoy their Mother In Laws Pork Curry on one of those days when I just don’t feel like cooking.

Another favourite curry provider was in attendance, Daksha’s Gourmet Spices. She has a wonderful collection of spice mixes for every curry imaginable, as well as chai tea and salsa. I also have a gluten free Indian cooking book by her. Her products are reliably safe and always tasty.

I won’t be able to remember every booth that was there, but there were a few new booths that caught my attention as well. One was Abuelo’s Corn Tortillas made in Courtenay. They were delicious.
The other was “The New Gluten Free” a book on “Demystifying Gluten Free Baking” and online baking school. And as a result of looking into this and keeping an eye on the Celiac Scenes facebook updates, I’ve discovered the authors of this book (two registered dieticians) give in person gluten free baking courses at Creative Occasions, which all sounds pretty fantastic. I would love to try them out one day.

In addition to the expo portion there were also several speakers and yoga classes taking place. Sadly for me, I had troubles finding signs for where the extra events were and what there schedules were so I didn’t get to experience them. As it was a first time running this event there were bound to be a few things that could be improved. For me it would have been signage for events, signage for any vendors that might not be entirely Celiac friendly and bags to put samples in. But these are all things that are easy to improve upon, and I’m sure next years event will do just that.

Finally the weekend wrapped up with another opportunity to here from the author of Wheat Belly that evening.

As the Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival has officially ended, this will be my last post about it and I will return to my regular blogging. But before I do, the organizers of the festival wanted me to share one last recipe with you. This one comes from a place called Nourish in Victoria near the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. I’ve been to the Horticulture Centre before which has lovely gardens to walk around, but I have yet to experience Nourish. After checking out their menu though I think I will have to go there soon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Red Barn Market: Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette


The Red Barn Market hasn’t made their way up island yet, but I wish they would. I used to live 5 minutes up the road from one and they were great. It was nice to that I could just jump on my bike and go, if I needed something quick.They had great produce, local meat and eggs, and gluten free options. This was back in the day when gluten free wasn’t as popular and it was still tough finding specialty items. They even have gluten free sausages that are delicious. My favourite part of course was being able to get twice as many vegetables for half the cost of a regular grocery store. Although I've found some great markets up here, I still feel nostalgic for the days where I could shop at Red Barn Market.

As a sponsor for the upcoming Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival, they have offered up some tasty gluten free recipes that I’m pleased to share with you (courtesy of the Gluten Free Festival team).

If you’d like to win tickets to attend the festival for free, please leave a comment on the following page: http://glutenaversion.blogspot.ca/2014/02/guest-post-gluten-free-health-and.html. The contest closes next Wednesday at noon.

In the meantime, enjoy the following Gluten Free recipe from the Red Barn Market:


QUINOA SALAD with MAPLE VINAIGRETTE

Prep 10min
Cook 20 min
Total 30min
Serves 4-6


Ingredients:

1 cup organic Alter Eco pearl quinoa
Sea salt
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe BC Grown red bartlett pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

For the Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions:

Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff.

Whisk together the vinaigrette, pour it over the quinoa salad and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.

Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Makes four main course servings, six side dish servings.




Monday, February 10, 2014

Origin Bakery Cheese & Herb Scones and Coconut Macaroons


Origin Bakery is my go to dedicated gluten free bakery in Victoria. Whenever I come down island to visit family and friends I always make sure I stop in at Origin and stock up on lunches and treats to help me make it through the weekend. My favourite items are their baguette sandwiches, fig bars, apple galette and of course their cupcakes loaded with icing.
As a sponsor for the upcoming Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival, they have offered up some tasty gluten free recipes that I’m pleased to share with you (courtesy of the Gluten Free Festival team).
If you’d like to win tickets to attend the festival for free, please leave a comment on the following page: http://glutenaversion.blogspot.ca/2014/02/guest-post-gluten-free-health-and.html
In the meantime, enjoy the following Gluten Free recipes from Origin Bakery:

ORIGIN BAKERY GLUTEN-FREE CHEESE & HERB SCONES

Ingredients:

255 g (2 cups) sorghum flour
130 g (1 cup) amaranth flour
120 g (1 cup) tapioca flour
30 g (3 tbsp) baking powder
3 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
1.5 g (1 tsp) xanthan gum
7 g (3/4 tsp) sea salt
2 g (1 tsp) thyme leaves

112 g (1/2 cup) chilled, cubed butter
100 g (1 cup) shredded cheese (we use Qualicum gruyere)
75 g (3 Tbsp) honey
350 g (1 1/2 cups) light cream


Method:

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix together first 8 dry ingredients.
Rub/cut in butter into dry ingredients until evenly mixed and butter in pea-sized pieces.
Add the cheese.
Mix together honey and cream, and
gently combine into dry mix without over-mixing.
Scoop into 12-16 mounds on greased/parchmented baking sheet.
Lightly flatten and sprinkle with coarse salt or more cheese if desired.
Bake 15 – 18 min.


ORIGIN BAKERY COCONUT MACAROONS

Ingredients:

3 cups  organic unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1 cup  organic coconut cream
2 tbsp honey
4  large free-range egg whites
¼ tsp  sea salt
1 tsp vanilla essence, or ½ vanilla bean

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Whisk egg whites with honey and vanilla, just til combined.
Whisk in coconut cream, then add coconut and salt and stir til combined.
Scoop by tablespoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined tray.
Bake 8-10 minutes or til golden on top.

Yields about 25 cookies, depending on size.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Post: Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival

I have some exciting news! I will be having a few guest posts over the next week or so, contributed by the wonderful Gluten Free Festival team. They are excited to share information about an upcoming Gluten Free Festival in Victoria, along with some special gluten free recipes and even a pair of tickets to access the festival! More info on how to win these tickets at the end of this post. 


The beautiful Victoria, BC is now home to the first-ever Gluten Free Health & Wellness Festival

On February 22 you will be abound with not only amazing gluten-free products but health and wellness vendors, demos and talks. Topics will include: what gluten is doing to your body, how to heal your gut and what products/therapeutics/remedies can help you live a more healthful and thriving life.  

This event is all about community, education and a love of food and health. 

Dr. William Davis, author of The New York Times #1 Betseller, Wheat Bellywill attend the event and give a talk on Saturday evening. 

The festival will take place from 12-5pm at the Victoria Conference Centre and will consist of gluten-free vendors and markets; yoga, food and fermentation demos; talks from nutritionists and global issues on sustainability.

If you're interested in checking it out, you can find tickets on the website here, and connect via Facebook here and Twitter here. And, check out the video

Great local companies are on board including Red Barn MarketsOrigin Bakery and Pacific Rim College
























Doesn't that sound fun? I'm looking forward to a gluten free event on the island. I will have some fun recipes from the Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival's Sponsors in the next week. So keep checking back!

Also, if you would like to win a pair of tickets to the first ever Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival (and my first ever contest) please leave me a comment on what your favourite place to eat or shop gluten free in Victoria is and why. Or if you've never been to Victoria, tell me why you would like to come to the festival. Please keep in mind that these are tickets for an event in Victoria, BC so only leave a comment if you will be able to travel there.

I will draw a random name, using a random number generator to pick the winner next week on February 12th, 2014. Please make sure you leave your e-mail contact info when leaving a comment so that I can let you know you won. Check back here next week for the winner! Good luck :)

-------- UPDATE -------

I didn't have any takers for my contest. So in hopes that someone would actually like to win tickets, I'm extending this contest until next Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at noon (PST). 

--------UPDATE 2 ------

Sadly, I didn't get any takers for my contest. So no winners :(

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken 'Noodle' Soup


A few weeks ago I was on travel status for work for a week. Even though everything I bought was gluten free, everything I ate was upsetting my digestive system in one way or another. This isn’t unusual for me. But, I was lucky enough to be staying in a room with a kitchenette. So after the first few days of grumbling intestines I decided to make something simple and easy for my system to handle… something that I could make in my hotel room with very little counter space.

My co-workers happened to have planned an outing to a local Asian market, so I decided to get my groceries there. I know that most of the food in the store had mystery ingredients, but I figured if I could make a safe meal from this store, I could make something safe anywhere I go. I just stuck to the outside isles of fresh produce, meat and eggs, and was fine. I brought all of my fresh ingredients back to the hotel and made a pot of calming soup in about an hour. It wasn’t mind blowingly tasty, but it was quick, easy, safe and soothing.

I made a similar soup once I returned from my trip (which is where the photographs are from) where I tried to jazz the soup up with tamari and kelp noodles, but I think I liked my first soup better. I was very soup focused because my naturopath told me that whenever my digestive system was out of whack, that I should try and do a broth cleanse. Basically just drink bone broth and water for a few days to settle the stomach and reduce inflammation. Since I like my food and feel like I’m starving to death doing cleanses, I have taken her theory and just added a bit more substance to it. So instead of just broth, I added some stomach satiating filler … but it’s still gentler on my system than the spicy/greasy meals I usually find myself consuming.

The strange glassy noodles in the photo below are kelp noodles. They have zero taste, so are great for adding texture without compromising the dish.


Chicken ‘Noodle’ Soup

Butter
½ White or Yellow Onion (or one stalk of Leek), diced
1 pkg Shimeji Mushrooms (or cremini mushrooms, sliced)
1 stock of Celery, sliced
1 Chicken Breast, cubed
1 cup of Baby Carrots
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Handful of Baby Bok Choy
Bean Sprouts or Kelp Noodles or Rice Noodles
1 dozen Quail Eggs
Water (or half water and half bone broth)

In a large saucepan, place 1-2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Once it’s melted, on medium to high heat, place your onions, mushrooms and celery. Stir until onions soften. Then add chicken and cook until you don’t see any pink. Next you can add your lemon juice, salt and pepper, carrots, bok choy and noodles.  Fill the pan with enough water to cover all of your ingredients, plus an extra inch or two. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Finally, crack your quail eggs on top of the soup and allow to simmer (with lid on) for another 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cheese and Onion Drop Biscuits




I’m clearly behind on my food blog posts. I started a few years back with the intention of doing a weekly post. Then as I realized how much time it took, I decided one or two posts a month was ideal. Now that is even a tough goal. A small reason is at this time of year the light fades, and it becomes difficult to take decent indoor photographs of food, at least, when one doesn’t have proper studio lighting. I take pride in my photo’s having worked in a number of photo developing stores in the past. The photo’s didn’t start out very well, but I’m slowly learning the tricks of the trade and it would bug me to put a less than stellar photograph on here.

The other, bigger reason, is that I’m battling with my health. Since last March (so almost a year now) I have seen three specialists for strange symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, constant lack of energy, etc. I’m 34, was teaching yoga on the side, keeping active and eat better than most. So it’s been a bit of a damper of a year when I basically have no energy to do anything and when I try to be more active I end up hurting. This extends to spending extra time in the kitchen and take photographs of my food … so that is why I’m falling behind. I have a few ideas for the next while and hope to put a few posts up, but until I figure out what’s going on with my health it might be a bit stop and go as I wait for inspiration and energy.

The last time I had a little energy was at Thanksgiving when I spent time with my family. This recipe is taken from one of my Mom’s old cookbooks (can’t remember which one). One of the ones that are so well used there are stains and thinning paper throughout. I converted the plan drop biscuit recipe it held, to a gluten free cheese biscuit for our Thanksgiving spread. They were small biscuits, but coming fresh out of the oven, the butter melted perfectly on them and they tasted pretty great. I tried making them again with almond milk and no cheese and they weren’t all that yummy. I think the milk and cheese help keep these soft and delicate. 


Cheese and Onion Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups GF All Purpose Flour (I used Cloud 9)
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Shortening
1 cup Goat Milk (or other milk or milk alternative … almond milk did not work well)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 bunch of Green Onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 degree F. In a large bowl place the first 3 ingredients. Then using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Next add milk and stir well. Finally add in shredded cheese and green onion until well mixed.
Scoop dough by spoonfuls and drop onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 12 – 15 minutes (or until golden brown).