Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

I didn’t think I’d do this…. I’m not one to start something and not see it through whatever “it” may be, especially when I enjoy the “thing”.

If anyone is out there actually reading this, you must be thinkin'”What the heck is this chick ranting about??

In this  case, I’m writing about “blog silence”. At least I think that’s what you call it when someone starts a blog, posting at fairly regular intervals, then stops posting, without explanation. I actually feel disappointed when my favourite bloggers do this so, when I started my own blog…I didn’t think I would become guilty of becoming  silent.

It all started with a wicked cold that I came down with. It knocked the #$%@ out of me and lingered for weeks. I thought I had pneumonia.
Then, as usual, my sinuses started giving me trouble. It took several prescriptions before I started to feel myself again, although the polyps have returned. Now it looks like I may be surgery bound again to remove them.

Arghhhh!

Sometimes I wonder if the gf/df diet is worth it. I mean, it’s a lot of work  being aware of what I put in my mouth.  I do it because it’s supposed to help keep my sinus polyps from growing back . But  it doesn’t stop them, it just slows them down a bit, so start to I wonder, if it’s worth it. Then I go and do something silly like eat a cheeseburger. Then I feel guilty. Then I beat myself up for being a hypocrite because how can I for go on about  eating well if I cave and eat something as bad for me as a cheeseburger?  Then I question my ethics and on and on.

I finally came to my senses during a conversation with a friend who was trying to quit smoking. I used to smoke a pack and a half a day  before I finally quit, nine years ago. I was reminded that it took several tries before I finally quit. I was also reminded that even after “quitting” a bad habit, it’s ok to slip up occasionally.

We all make mistakes.  I’m glad to be back and I want to hear from anyone that may be reading this and has gone through a similar situation.

I also have so many ideas for recipes that I want to share. My local Farmer’s Markets have been brimming with an amazing assortment of delectables to be inspired by. Now that August has arrived, three of my favourite foods are in season: corn, blueberries and peaches.

Today’s recipe was inspired by a recipe I found at Baked By Rachel for Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

Snickerdoodles are one of my all time favourite cookies.  Not only is the name fun to say, but I get a bizarre satisfaction out of the fact that my spell checker really thinks I’ve spelled it wrong. : ) The idea of using them as the topping for apple cobbler is brilliant.  But it’s not quite apple season. It’s peach season and I can’t think of a better way to up the yum factor of a peach cobbler, than to borrow Rachel’s idea.
If you find yourself near a farmer’s market or a farm stand where peaches are sold, stop and pick up a bunch, this is one of the best things you can do to a peach.

Enjoy!

Dee
For the snickerdoodles, I use my go -to snickerdoodle recipe, inspired by a recipe from Cybele Pascal’s book “The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook”.

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

For the Snickerdoodles Topping:

2 1/2 cups  gluten free all purpose mix #1
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dairy free all vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup rice milk

2 tbsp garnulated sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

For the Peach Ingredients:

6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon  bourbon
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss peaches with sugar, bourbon, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive
baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F

Whisk together flour mix, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

In separate bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the shortening, the first measure of granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Mix with a whisk or on medium speed until fluffy.

Add vanilla and egg. Mix well for approx 20 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the rice milk.

Roll the dough into 24 heaping tablespoon size balls, or use a one ounce measuring scoop.

Roll dough in cinnamon sugar and place  biscuits side by side, covering the peach mixture.

Place remaining dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets, 3 inches apart.

Bake cobbler in bottom third of oven for 25-30 minutes.

Bake extra snickerdoodles in top third of oven  for 10-13 minutes.
Allow to cool on sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to rack.

NOTE** If  you’re like me and love the flavour of real vanilla bean, you may have an empty pod kickin’ around your kitchen.  I tend to put empty vanilla pods in jars of sugar, then pull them out to add to stewed fruit.
Adding an empty vanilla bean to the peach mixture is magical.  ; )

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler_II       Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler     Snickerdoodles_3

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Happy Gluten & Dairy Free Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

To start today’s post off I’d like to apologize for the unexpected hiatus last week. I mentioned in my earlier post “In The Beginning Part 2” that I suffer from sinus polyps. Often I am treated with Prednisone, which is a  (a type of anti inflammatory medication), to shrink the polyps. I can’t take over the counter anti-inflammatory meds (like Aspirin) because they cause my asthma to go into overdrive, so to speak. I also take a regular asthma medication, which contains some corticosteroid too, to prevent attacks. In addition to that, I take a nasal spray to keep my sinus passages open and (you guessed it) that contains a corticosteroid also. Who knew that taking three different medications all containing corticosteroids, at the same time, could cause an adverse reaction?? If you or someone you know requires this type of medication to feel better, please send them to this link at MedlinePlus . The list of medications that contain corticosteroids is long and by no means complete….you may have to read the teeny tiny fine print on the medication to find it, but it’s worth it because the list of symptoms of over use range from simple dry skin to convulsions to psychosis. The last thing my family wants is for me to suffer from that last symptom….I’ve seen waaaay to many episodes of C.S.I, Criminal Minds and Hannibal for their liking. >; )

Of course, now that I know this…I can take greater care of myself. : )

Ok now, let’s move on to more Dee’Lectable topics.

Now that I feel more or less myself, I am all about the baking, the gluten and dairy free baking, that is.
I’ve been playing with recipes like Lemon Tart Cookies (with a lime variation too!), lots of muffins, and I’ve even decided to resume my search for a good GF/DF bread.

Today I want to share a recipe that I’ve been playing with for more than a year. I was inspired by a recipe in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetite Magazine for Cranberry Quinoa Cookies.  These are meant to be cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable.

Cranberry Quinoa Cookies
yield: Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fancy molasses
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup gluten free oats, old-fashioned style
1 cup dried cranberries
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and molasses in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1″ apart. Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Gluten and dairy free cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable!

Gluten and dairy free cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable!

Fun, Nutritious, Portable Breakfast Style Cookies!

Fun, Nutritious, Portable Breakfast Style Cookies!

What’s Your Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies?

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One of my favourite things to do in the kitchen is bake. I find baking to be part alchemy, part chemistry, part artistry. Take a list or ingredients and add them together in just the right way, in just the right order and apply just the right amount of heat for just the right amount of time…and viola! You get something warm and delicious at the end. It’s like magic.

When I first switched to a gluten free diet, I was determined to find an all purpose flour recipe I could use to make delicious cookies. It took several (dozen?) trial batches to get things just right. My favourite mix is based on this recipe , by Silvanna Nardone. This recipe makes a big batch and works really well for cookies but I’ve tweaked it since the first time I tried it. Now I use brown rice flour in place of the white.

In my opinion, there is nothing as comforting, or decadent, as a freshly baked cookie, still warm from the oven and chocolate chip cookies are one of my favourites.

There are so many ways to make a chocolate chip cookie:

  • soft
  • crisp
  • with lots of vanilla
  • heavy on the brown sugar
  • with or without nuts
  • big or little chips
  • milk or dark chocolate
  • with exotic flavours like mint or cinnamon

Initially, I was so proud to be able to bake a delicious cookie that my family couldn’t tell was gluten and dairy free, I’d bake several batches a week. I kind of over did it for a while. Then, although I’d share them generously, I’d eat them and my waistline started to suffer…

These days, I try not to keep too many tempting sweets around the house. However, since I’ve had my sense of smell back, I have been craving my favourite chocolate chip cookie:

Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip

Gluten & Dairy Free Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten & Dairy Free Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic combo of chocolate and orange with a hint of spice, these cookies are amazing with cup of tea or coffee. The recipe doubles easily and I rarely make a small batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ c all purpose gluten free flour mix
  • ½ c brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1/2 c dairy free all vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ¾ c pure semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F

In large bowl, beat both sugars and shortening. Add egg, orange rind and vanilla, beat until fluffy. In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Whisk to combine. Add to sugar mixture, mix well. Add Chips. Drop onto tray by rounded tablespoon, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy and don’t forget to share!

I love reading feedback and getting your thoughts , so I’m gonna pose a question to you dear readers.

How do you like your chocolate chip cookies? Please take a moment to fill out the form

Smokin’ Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Here in the lovely province of Ontario Canada, folks are getting ready to celebrate the unofficial kick off to summer. The Monday preceding the 25th of May is the day we celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria Day also known as the May Long Weekend and the May 24.

As with any other holiday, you would expect the stores to be a little busier as people plan to host BBQ’s and entertain friends and family. You’ll find folks stocking up on extra groceries, charcoal for the ‘que, and of course, wine and spirits, in anticipation of stores being closed for the holiday.

Here in “Ontari-ari-ario”, we’re hitting the booze a little harder than usual though. You see, the main place for us to purchase alcohol is through the government owned and operated Liquor Control Board of Ontario (L.C.B.O). Yes, you read that correctly. I said “government owned and operated”. That means that the wonderful ladies and gentlemen who stock the shelves and total our purchases are government employees. They are also part of a union which is on the verge of going on strike as of midnight tonight. We also have a Beer Store that just sells, you guessed it, beer, but those folks aren’t currently in a position to strike. So, like many Ontarians, I popped into my local L.C.B.O. store to grab a few things, just in case.

Funny though, I don’t think of myself as much of a drinker. Make no mistake although I wouldn’t call it a cabinet, my liquor cupboard is never empty. I’ve been known to make a pretty good Daiquiri, Margarita and even the classic Bloody Caesar. What I found interesting was that as I was walked though the isles, I realized that if the L.C.B.O. workers do strike, it wouldn’t be too big a deal to me.

I mean, I gave up beer when I went gluten free (even though I am aware of some good gluten free brews, I’ve just lost interest) but I will happily have a glass of wine with dinner. I tend not to though, as most days when my sinuses are on the fritz, I can’t enjoy the flavour anyway. However, I do try to keep a couple bottles of wine on hand. I tend to cook with my booze more often than drink it. You know, white wine for risotto, red for tomato sauce and deglazing the pan after sautéing a steak. There was one thing I couldn’t leave the store without. I had to get a bottle of bourbon. Because this is the kickoff of summer and bbq season and that means bbq sauce. I know I’m gonna want to make a batch of my favourite Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce. I use this on anything and everything. From burgers to ribs to chicken to cobs of corn and even peaches (yes, peaches!), it’s sweet, spicy, smoky, yumminess is unbelievable. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Smokin’ Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons mild (light) molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons strong black coffee
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring all ingredients to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring often, about 10 minutes. This can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover; chill. Use at room temperature.

 

Smokin' Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Smokin’ Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Asian Inspired Tilapia

I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself to write from inspiration I find outside my own kitchen.  However, for today’s post all I had to do to get inspired was to walk by my back door.

I feel I should preface.

A couple of weeks ago I posted here , about how I had started taking another , stronger,  prescription for Prednisone in the hope of shrinking my chronic nasal polyps that hinder  my sense of smell (among other things).

Well, so far, so good an knock on wood,  I’m off the pills, and will a little help from a prescription nasal spray, I’ve had my sense of smell back for a few weeks now. ( insert quiet , reserved Yippie here)Anyway, past experience has taught me that I should enjoy being able to smell while I can, because I could go back to being all stubbed up any minude.

So, last weekend, while enjoying the fantabulous spring weather and my ability to smell, my Sweetie and I went to the local Big Orange Box Store to get a few supplies to begin an herb & salad garden.  I now have a variety of  pots on my back deck full of the promise of tomatoes, peppers and lettuces as well as parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary.

Makin' Salad On The Deck_2

My inspiration for today’s post came from the smell of cilantro and basil in the air after it rained this morning.

All I could think about all day was mixing those two flavours with a little lime and ginger and tamari.

The result? Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia with Peppers and Snap Peas

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia

This was perfect portion for one, but could easily have been multiplied for more.

4 oz Tilapia fillet,
3 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk lemongrass
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 medium size leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp fresh cilantro
1 lime
kosher salt
2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce
1 tsp Siracha or other hot sauce, optional
12  sugar snap peas
1/4- 1/2 of red pepper, thinly sliced

Peel off any dried leaves from the lemongrass. Bash the stalk with the back edge of your knife to release the flavours, then cut into 3 or 4 pieces, set aside.
Preheat a large pan over med high heat. Add oil to pan and saute peppers and snap peas together for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally,  to soften them up.  Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the pan, continuing to toss the contents of the pan about, so nothing burns. Using a spatula, push the veggie mix off to one side of the pan.  If needed, add a little more oil to the pan then lay in the fish. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flesh becomes opaque a bit more than half the way up the fillet. Turn the fish and cook for another minute. Roll the lime on the counter and cut in half. Squeeze lime juice over the fish and the veg, then drizzle with the tamari sauce.

I served this over a little Basmati rice infused with star anise and a piece of cinnamon stick, a drizzle each of tamari and siracha and sweet chili sauces.

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia_2

It’s been one of those crazy weeks!

The other day I was browsing through WordPress Daily Post to get some inspiration and writing tips. After reading some of the suggested blogs (and finding some very interesting bloggers!), I signed up to get the Daily Prompt. Today’s prompt is “Mad Libs”, which is kinda cool because I’ve been working on this post and wasn’t sure which direction I should take it. Thanks for the Inspiration!

It’s really been one of those weeks.

My alarm clock didn’t go off on time Monday morning but I pulled it together to get to work just in time. My Tuesday’s “to do list” got rearranged to suit someone else’s (more important) agenda, leaving me with an even bigger list.  By Wednesday I was so stressed out I almost forget an important appointment. To top it off, today there was this massive shut down on the 401 highway westbound into Toronto that clogged up even the side streets. I’m sure all the commuters within a 60Km radius of the C.N.Tower were just desperately trying to find an alternate route to work, however, that turned my measly 8 minute trip into almost an hour. Who can plan for that?

I feel like I’ve been playing catch up since the week started and it’s finally got me grumpy. In fact I have to say, I’ve got quite the “grrrr” on right now.

I’ve always been a little envious of those people who can let things slide. Me? I have a temper. Yep, I admit it. It’s nasty, evil, fast, white hot and shows no mercy. Most days I keep it locked up in a box with a heavy rock on top, but I know it’s there, all shadowy and patient, waiting for that one thing that will make this, usually nice gal, crack.

Once that happens (like now!) it’s best to batten down the hatches and hit the deck! (At least until I can put it back in its box!) It’s a good thing I’m the only one home.

Time for a self imposed intervention…wait, is that even possible? Well you know what I mean. It’s time to break out the big guns to cure this cranky gal of “The Nasties”, before the family gets home.

For me there are only two things that work. Exercise and cooking. Since I’ve already done my workout for today (and my legs are screaming at me from the 160 squats I did), it looks like I’ll be cooking.

There is something I find therapeutic about preparing a meal.

I think I’ll start off whacking a big bud of garlic (to make it easier to peel, of course). Then there’s the part where I get to chop it, or even better, smoosh it with my mortar and pestle. Then, I’ll add a little pinch of course salt and grind it in until the juices release. Then, because I’m all fired up, I add something to help clear my head…like some extra hot horseradish. Today I’m having a “good” sinus day, so I’m gonna stick my nose close to the jar and inhale. That should help. Hmmm. Mustard? Something to “kick it up a notch”? This makes me think of a marinade I make for beef, Grilled Devilled Beef to be exact.

This will chase away my foul mood. Time to marinade some steaks and fire up the grill!

Grilled Devilled Beef

1 large clove of garlic
1 T extra hot horseradish (I used Kozlick’s X Extra Hot)
1 T strong flavoured mustard (I used Kozlick’s “Market Mustard”)
1 T balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
3 T Tamari sauce
3 T olive oil
1 ½ -3 ½ lbs steak

Place the garlic clove flat side down on your work surface. Lay the flat side of your favourite knife on the garlic; keeping the knife steady, use the heel of your free hand to whack the flat of the knife. Proceed to peel garlic and chop finely, or add to mortar and bang and smoosh it a bit. Sprinkle with salt and continue to pound with pestle, or use the flat side of your knife to smear the salt into the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the steak, together in the mortar or in a small bowl, mix well. Pour over steak, making sure it has been completely coated. Let marinate for minimum 30 minutes. Grill steaks to desired doneness. Let steaks rest for at least as long as you grilled them.

Add some baked sweet potato fries with some chipotle mayo and a mixed green salad for a simple supper.

Hmm….I think I just smiled : )

Grilled Devilled Steak II

It’s a Big Ol’ Smelly World : )

One of my main motives for starting this blog was to share info about living a gluten and dairy lifestyle. My secondary hope was to connect with more people who, like me, suffer from chronic nasal polyps. I am still looking for that piece of my personal puzzle that will allow me to breathe and taste and smell without relying on meds to keep my polyps at bay. Removing gluten and dairy from my diet has been a huge step in the right direction for me. However, my doctor recently put me back on Prednisone to shrink the polyps…again. L

It’s been a while since my introduction to Prednisone. When it was first prescribed for me, it helped a lot and I got my sense of smell back almost immediately… but I think I’ve developed a tolerance for it. The last few times I’ve taken it, it didn’t work as well. The polyps shrank, but not as much and I didn’t get my sense of smell back. I have been worried that the surgeries may have left me with scar tissue or something that might prevent my sense of smell from ever coming back.

So, this time my doctor and I agreed to increase the dose. Now, I’m very careful to listen to my body when I take this drug. I find that there are a number of side effects that surface while I’m on it.

Have you ever looked through a telescope or a pair of binoculars before they were fully in focus? That’s kind of what life feels like to me most days.

When my sinuses are inflamed and full of polyps my sense of smell is gone and my sense of taste is diminished. My ability to hear is affected.  When I sing, I loose half my range because there’s nowhere for the sound to resonate. I put away those songs, just like I  put away a favourite sweater when the weather turns warm.  I compensate for these things by turning up the volume, only singing in my low register and eating intensely flavourful foods.

But when my sinuses clear, it’s like everything comes back into focus. I hear how loud the birds are out side my window at 4:30 in the morning. (Crazy birds!)

When I sing, I get to go back to songs that are like old friends I’ve been missing and I’m able to hit the high notes and hear the harmonies again. I can smell my morning coffee. Very strong =)

But most of all, it’s being able to smell and taste delicate flavours again that bring me tears of absolute joy.

The smell of bananas; the delicate flavour of artichokes that have been slow roasted, the sweetness in a fresh, perfectly hard boiled egg; how amazingly green a sugar snap pea tastes,  the intoxicating aroma of the whole vanilla beans I keep for special recipes and  chocolate, OMG, chocolate!

These are the things I crave and want to be able to enjoy all the time. These smells and flavours are like my drug. When I can smell, I’ll walk around just breathing deeply, trying to enjoy as many smells as I can because I’ve learned that this probably won’t last.

My dinner last night was a plate of simple, delicately flavoured bites;

Artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and lemon slices, tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, roasted together until the tomatoes became soft and the lemons started to caramelize combined with  torn red leaf lettuce, wedges of hard boiled egg, some blanched sugar snap peas, some finely diced sundried tomato and a little dressing of mayonnaise seasoned with saffron and garlic.

Heaven