East Coast treats!

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get to visit part of Canada’s East Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick to be exact). It was my first time out there and, well, I was not disappointed! Though the weather was a bit cloudy and chilly at times, overall it was a fantastic trip. I’m not entirely sure what it was; the fresh air, the laid-back friendly people, or the delicious gluten-free food I found everywhere but I could not help but feel relaxed and right at home. Seeing as this is a blog about food, however, and not travelling, I’ll skip the sightseeing parts and get right to the eating!

I’m going to mention 3 restaurants that I went to (two in Halifax, one in Moncton) though there were a few more that offered gluten-free options, these 3 stood out the most to me.

2 Doors Down (http://www.go2doorsdown.com)
Not a big restaurant but it has a great atmosphere. Casual and yet it feels intimate and classy. The menu is great because it offers variety without being lengthy (about 20ish options), and of course, it offers many gluten-free meals. In fact, 13 meals are or can be made gluten-free!! From piri piri chicken to smoked potato chowder to curry and salads. This place has great food and for excellent prices! For $10, I got the Gaia Bowl – “a salad of fresh and pickled vegetables, sprouts, avocado, heirloom carrots, radish, quinoa tabouleh, smashed spiced chick peas, and a valley peanut & ginger dressing.” It was absolutely delicious! So fresh and crisp, all the flavours worked perfectly together. I highly recommend this place.

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Gahan House (http://halifax.gahan.ca)
A friend of mine recommended I check out a country music event that the pub was hosting, and that’s when I noticed they offered gluten-free options! They also offer diary-free and vegan alternatives too! (The other restaurants I’ve mention in this post might, but I just remember this place having it for sure.) Though the options weren’t extensive I was happy with the selection they offered – mussels, bacon-wrapped scallops (though I’m allergic to bacon so scratch that), fish cakes, pan-fried trout, and curry butter chicken (I will come back for that one!). They also offer 5 different gluten-free ciders, should you need something to wash down the food with. I ordered their Fish Cakes – “salt cod, atlantic haddock, Yukon gold potatoes with a horseradish cucumber aioli” with a side salad.  If I though I could have gotten away with licking the plate without people giving me weird looks, I would have! It was that good.

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Gusto Italian Grill & Bar (https://www.facebook.com/GustoMoncton)
Gusto is an Italian restaurant in Moncton with a great menu…. in fact the majority of the menu can be made gluten-free! Which is a huge surprise considering it is Italian and Italian is known to be big on everything gluten. I started with a warm spinach and asiago dip with amazing toasted bread, followed by a margherita pizza, and the meal finished with a piece of cheesecake. Every single bit of it gluten-free!!!!! (How I had room for all that food in my stomach, though, is a mystery.)

Moncton

 
And special mentions to Rhubarb restaurant near Peggy’s Cove, NS. Though they only had a couple of gluten-free items on their menu, the fish and chips was FANTASTIC! So if you’re out that way doing the touristy thing, check out this place! (http://www.rhubarbrestaurant.ca/)

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I’m used to travelling and not finding much more than salad to eat, and I’m pretty sure I would have loved the East Coast even if that were the case, but the fact that there were so many options for me made this trip so much more amazing and memorable! Can’t wait to go back!

Cheers,
Rhi

It’s Pumpkin Season Again!

Hi Everyone!

It’s that time of year again – Pumpkin (spice) time! As many of you know by now, I love all that is pumpkin and pumpkin spice. But what about you? Are you all for it, all against it, or could take it or leave it all the same? No judgement here. I genuinely would like to hear people’s opinions on the matter. 🙂

Cheers,
Rhi

Japanese Cream Stew

I’m not sure what brought on the craving last night, but I had it bad for cream stew!

I’m honestly not sure how popular cream stew is in North America but in Japan, it sure is! For those of you who don’t know, it’s a typical stew consisting of meat (in this recipe – chicken) and vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and broccoli, in a thick cream/milk base. In Japan, you can buy little cubes of ready-made roux in a box, and you add it to water and vegetables. Voila, instant cream stew! You can also buy ready-made curry cubes, as seen here, but since neither cubes are gluten-free I don’t use them. This recipe is also easy enough that many of you probably already have the ingredients necessary!

I apologize in advance as this recipe was created without measuring, but I will do my best to give you approximates. The vegetables were based on my preference, feel free to add more or less of a vegetable; it’s completely up to you.

Ingredients
1 cup diced Chicken breast
2 cups Chicken broth
2 cups Milk
3 – 4 tbsp Butter
1 small onion, diced
1 – 1 1/2 cups diced Potatoes
1/4 cup diced Carrots
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 cup Broccoli, cut in any way you’d like
1/2 cup Cauliflower, cut same as broccoli
3 tbsp flour blend (approximately 1.5 tbsp of rice flour, 1 tbsp potato starch, 1/4 tablespoon tapioca starch)
2 tbsp Grape seed oil (or canola oil)

Directions
1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
2. Add chicken and cook until slightly brown. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.
3. **Optional step but I find it quickens the cooking process** Place remaining vegetables in a microwavable container with 2 tbsp of water, cover with cling wrap and steam in microwave for 1 – 2 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, add chicken-onion mix and vegetables along with 2 cups of chicken broth (should just barely cover the vegetables). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
5. Making the roux & white sauce: In a small saucepan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the flour and whisk continuously. Reduce heat and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of milk and whisk. Add it back to the heat and continue to whisk as it thickens. Gradually add remaining milk until you get the desired consistency. (In other words. you want a very thick white sauce, if it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too thin – mix cold  milk with bit more flour then add the mixture to the sauce).
6. Add the white sauce to the vegetables and broth. Stir. Add salt and pepper to season and serve.

If there is any confusion as to what I was trying to explain, please let me know! I tried to be clear but for all I know that was as clear as mud. The above recipe makes 3-4 servings.
As an option, you can shred cheese and add it to the white sauce prior to adding it to the vegetables and broth, to give the stew an extra level of flavour.

Roux is a very useful recipe to master as it can be used to make many simple sauces such as cheese sauce, bechamel sauce, and also in stews such as this one. I invite you to experiment with a variety of gluten-free flour blends until you find one that works for you, though a bit of advice, too much tapioca is never good when it comes to this haha. 😉

Cream Stew

Enjoy! 🙂

Cheers,
Rhi

Pies, Pies, Pies!

As I mentioned a month ago, I was going to make a few pies in June, and sure enough I did! Three pies to be exact – Pumpkin pie (who says pumpkin is only for October?!), Lemon Meringue pie, and Apple pie! And all gluten free of course!! (Gluten Free Pantry pie crust mix was used FYI). I shared the pies with coworkers and friends, and received nothing but good feedback; the best of all – they couldn’t tell it was gluten free!

Pies

As I’ve already posted my pumpkin pie and apple pie recipes on this blog, I’m only including the lemon meringue pie recipe, which I found on allrecipes.com: here. I’ve made a slight change to make it gluten free so I’ve typed out the recipe (also just in case they remove the recipe from the website at some point). 🙂

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free flour mix (I did 1 tbsp rice flour, 1 tbsp sorghum flour)
3 tablespoons cornstarch (I actually used a mix of tapioca starch and potato starch)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 medium/large lemons, juiced and zested
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons white sugar
(one pie crust)

I thought it would be quite difficult to make but, surprisingly, not so – there are really only 3 steps involved. Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1 making the lemon filling.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

Step 2  making the meringue
In a large glass or metal bowl (I used my precious Kitchen Aid mixer <3), whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.

***When you’re covering the filling with the meringue it is very important that you spread the meringue right to the crust (actually going past it a bit) because you want to seal all the edges. If you don’t, the meringue will shrink and shift while it cooks and while it’s cooling in the fridge, leaving the filling exposed. (Speaking from experience… haha)

Step 3 is baking the pie for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

I suppose if you haven’t made the pie dough ahead of time, there would be an extra step – but I highly recommend making it either the day before or at least an hour before (as it will take time to set in the fridge… IF you are using the pie mix I used.)
I let mine set in the fridge overnight before trying it. My recommendation is, eat it within the first couple of days, otherwise the meringue will be very hard to cut (and by hard I mean difficult; the meringue won’t actually become harder but instead become very very sticky!!)

Meringue Pie

Alright, I think that’s enough writing from me for now! If you try out the lemon meringue, I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share photos and comments!!

Cheers,
Rhi

New Cookbook!!

I know, I know… In a recent post I just mentioned that I have too many cookbooks and don’t use them often enough, and here I am posting about a new cookbook I just bought! But I just couldn’t stop myself!! Haha. It’s the most recent cookbook from Erin McKenna and her Babycakes bakery, entitled “Bread & Butter“. It’s all gluten-free and vegan!
There are a lot of different recipes for bread, crackers, tortillas, and even samosas! Yum! It was hard to pick which recipe to try first but I think it’ll be the bagel recipe! That said though, bagels will have to wait until I’ve made some macarons, then lemon poppy seed muffins, and jalapeňo-cheddar scones. (I’m making lists to guarantee I keep busy & baking!)

Cheers!

So Many Options!

I’ve been living in my new place for about 3 months now (yay!). It took me about a month to get organized and it was around then that I realize I can’t keep eating quick & basic meals because I’m still “unpacking and not quite settled in”. (Let’s face it, I’m not a student so I shouldn’t be eating like one.) So I sat down with a couple of cookbooks and started planning meals. I have a lot of cookbooks that I’ve only used one or two recipes from (if that), so I have decided that at least once a week I will try a new recipe! (I can’t guarantee that I’ll be updating my blog each and every time I try a new recipe but hopefully at least once a month I will have a post about this.)

Last month I made Broccoli & Cheddar soup, a Thai Red Curry, Lasagna, and Risotto (to name a few).
This month I’ve made my take on Chicken Noodle soup and last night, I made meatloaf! It’s my first time making meatloaf and I thought it turned out pretty well. It’s a simple enough recipe, using ingredients that most people usually have in their pantry, and there is plenty of room to change it up and make it your own!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons mustard
2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 egg, beaten
Spice (dried basil, oregano, coriander, etc. Take your pick!)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and mustard.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread, onion, egg, remaining lemon juice and 1/3 of the ketchup mixture from the small bowl. Mix this well and place in a 5×9 inch loaf pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, drain any excess fat, coat with remaining ketchup mixture and bake for 10 more minutes.

And that is that!

Enjoy!

Rhi 🙂

New Year’s Eve at Hunters Landing

This is simply a short post about my New Year’s Eve at a good restaurant with good company.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Hunters Landing, it’s a restaurant/pub/grill/sports bar (take your pick) located at 82 Fort York Blvd in Toronto. The atmosphere in this place is great and you can feel comfortable going in jeans or a fancier dress. Best part about this place – it serves gluten-free food. Wait. Let me say that again, it serves really good gluten-free food! I’ve only been here 2 or 3 times, but I have never been disappointed!

My friends and I wanted something fun but not over-the-top to do for NYE and so someone suggested going here. For $50, we received a 3-course meal, as well as champagne and snacks at midnight.
The courses I chose were:
Field Greens– fresh berries, spiced sunflower seeds, blue agave and lime vinaigrette (delicious!)
Asiago and Spinach stuffed chicken breast– Herbed potatoes, root vegetables, balsamic sauce (If I were eating this at home, I would have licked the plate! Seriously, the balsamic sauce was amazing!)
Caramel Cheesecake (the alternative was an equally tempting Tres Leches Brownie, also, gluten-free! The cheesecake was fantastic… so fantastic in fact that I ate half of my friend’s piece too! haha)

The venue itself can be casual or classy; it really depends on what you want your night to be. I highly recommend Hunters Landing for those who want a good meal and nice night out!

NYE @ Hunters



Cheers,
Rhi