Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moroccan Meatballs with Eggs

You may be seeing a lot of posts from a new Rachel Ray cookbook we bought.  Not because it is a gluten free cook book, because its NOT.  But because we have found a lot of these recipes are really good.

For a birthday a gave Amanda Rachel Ray's Week in a Day Cookbook.  We haven't really used it for its actual use, which is, take one day, cook all your meals for the week, and finish them off the day of.  But we did take advantage of some of these, cooking them the night prior knowing the meals will hold.

I'm half Moroccan.  I'm not sure if many of you know that about me.  Since my grandmother passed away way over 10 years ago, I haven't eaten much Moroccan food.  Especially now that I am in Edmonton, away from my family in Toronto.  Before my brother Dan passed away, he used to feed me some of the family recipes.  I only got a hold of so many.  Now I have to seek out recipe through aunts and uncles, but they only have some many.

Well, I came across this Moroccan meatball recipe in Rachel Ray's cookbook.  Not nearly as close to what my grandma used to make, but a similar flavour profile that I loved.

Here is the recipe with notes on my modification

Meatballs
1 pound ground lamb or beef (I used beef)
2 slices stale bread processed into bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup of Kinnikinnick's panko style gluten free breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 onion chopped (I used the chopper)
2 garlic cloves minched
A small handfull of fresh mint leaves finely chopped
Pinch of ground cinnamon (a common Moroccan spice)
pinch of nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle (EVOO)


Sauce
1 tablespoon EVOO
3/4 medium onion chopped (I used the chopper)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small zucchini chopped or sliced in an angle (I just chopped)
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp ras el hanour (recipe for spice blend below)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained

4 large eggs (optional for pouching after)



Ras el Hanout (these are all very common Moroccan spices)
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cardamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove (we actually didn't use this)

Directions
Pre heat oven to 350 for meatballs

Make meatballs in a large bowl by combining all the meatball ingredients.  Roll into walnut size balls and place on cooling rack ontop of a cookie sheet.  Place in over and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked,

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a dutch oven, heat the EVOO, and add the onion, garlic, and zucchini.  Cook until onion softens, about 7 to 8 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, honey and ras el hanout spice blend and bring to a bubble.  Stir in chickpeas.  Remove the cooked meatballs from the oven and add to sauce.  

Now here's the great thing about this Rachel Ray cookbook.  From here.  You can continue on, or if you want to eat this meal later on in the week.  Refrigerate and when you are ready to make, return the meatballs and sauce to room temperature and add 1 cup of water to loosen up the sauce if needed.

To continue on, uncover the pot and make 4 wells in the sauce.  Crack n the eggs to pouch.  Cover the pot and summer to poach the egg to desired readyness.  

Serve into shallow bowls, with one egg per person.  Garnish with cilantro.  We served with rice!  Or if this were my family, get a gluten free baguette from the Kinnikinnick store to dip. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Got extra bananas and food allergies in the house?


Bananas going bad before you have enough time to eat them all is nothing new! It is a problem that has occurred in virtually every household in North America. I try really hard to not over purchase bananas and to find creative and different ways to use them up when we cannot eat them all before they start to get too ripe.

This time, I admit, something happened, I bought a small bunch of bananas and I figured we would eat them all in time, but lo and behold...I was mistaken and left with 5 count them 5 over ripe bananas. Ugh now what? One can only make so much gluten free banana bread before it's just no longer appealing (no pun intended).

Like other before me, I went right to google and typed in "recipes to use up bananas". You can tell from the huge number of hits that came up that this problem plagues so many others out there.  I opted to use the Crunchy Creamy Sweet link and printed off  bunch of yummy looking recipes. 

Since we have in our household both Celiac disease and a nut allergy I chose to give this recipe a try.

Peanut Butter Banana White Chocolate Chip Muffins 
(with my Gluten free modifications
from: www.lovefromtheoven.com

Ingredients:
1 1/5 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup Certified Gluten free Oats
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 peanut butter (I used Wow butter, nut free butter)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 - 1 cup white chocolate chips (I used chipits brand because they were gluten free friendly and nut free)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F degrees

In a large bowl combine, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and set aside

In a food processor (or blender or mixer) combine yogurt, bananas, melted butter, peanut butter, milk, egg and vanilla until very well blended. Mixture will be fairly thick

Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients, as well as white chocolate chips, and stir well until combined but do not over mix

Scoop into a greased muffin tin & bake for 16-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and/or muffin tops spring back when touched. Enjoy!

**I used Kinnikinnick All purpose Gluten Free flour blend, Only Oats Certified Gluten free Oats, Wow Butter crunchy toasted soy spread and Chipits brand white chocolate chips to ensure that all ingredients in this recipe were both gluten free and nut free for our family. 

Be sure to always check the labels every time you buy a product!

I will add one more comment, the recipe said that it yields 18 standard sized muffins...well I can tell you that mine yielded 12 standard muffins and 24 mini muffins. Recipe says that they freeze well and make for a great breakfast or quick snack. I guess that is based on if they last in your house or it they're eaten up right away.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gluten Free Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, and a Dip Recipe!

Haven't heard of Food Should Taste Good? Then you probably don't have coffee at Starbucks or shop at Costco.  We first saw their gluten free tortilla chips at Starbucks in snack size bags a few years ago.  Loved them.  We would buy their sweet potato chip.  Soon after we saw the multi grain chip being sold at Costco.  So of course, now we always have a good of that in our pantry because it is a good party chip.
More recently we saw a gluten free brown rice cracker by them at Costco.  At first glance I thought "Oh this is just going to be the chip shaped differently". But we bought it anyways, because, it's not like we've experienced a bad chip by them.

So I was totally wrong, it is not like the chip.  Really a different texture, and as it should, it was less tortilla, and more cracker texture.  The other thing to note, was that at first when you are snacking on these you may think "oh, these need a little more salt", but the as you aimlessly shovel them into your mouth, you realize that they are perfectly salted, as the salt hits after the first few chips.

So, I have a snack idea for these crackers, or any cracker.  In August we went to the Happy Acres U Pick Farm (which BTW, was a fantastic experience).  We had Naomi do a little picking, and she snagged some dill and green onion.  Go figure she didn't go for the berries.  None-the-less we had some herbs to buy and I thought to make a dip and spread that I would make when I was a bachelor.  

Ingredients:
1 part feta cheese
2 parts cream cheese
dill to taste
garlic to taste (I used green onion instead since that is what Naomi picked)

Put in a bowl and mash.  Add more feta to make it more salty, or add more cream cheese to make it more of a dip.  I had never made it with fresh dill before, and I think its going to be the only way I make it.  I also liked the green onion over the garlic. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

La Crema Caffe Revisted, Revised, and Rejoiced

This is our third La Crema Caffe post, because they just keep on changing things up and getting better and better.

First, just as a reminder, La Crema Caffe is a Italian style cafe in St. Albert located downtown right in the heart of where the Farmer's Market takes place. (We visited in August)

We've heard rumours that ownership has changed, I couldn't confirm that, but if it did I wouldn't say it has affected the gluten free menu at La Crema.  Infact, the menu got bigger since we last visited, adding more gluten free sandwiches, gluten free pizza's and of course, more treats like gluten free tiramisu.

So what did we try this time?  Well, first take a look at the menu and the notes of gluten free all over it!


After some strategic choices to ensure we get a little bit of everything, Amanda and I shared a gluten free pulled pork pizza and a gluten free Bravo deli sandwiches.  


The gluten free pizza, used what seemed to be Kinnikinnick's single crust, and was topped with a very tasty pulled pork, chopped onion, pineapples, BBQ sauce and a delicious honey mustard sauce.  And, YES it was good!

The Bravo sandwich used what seemed to be a gluten free Udi's bagel. It was served with grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, friulano cheese and their secret bravo sauce.  We also had a side Cesar salad with no croutons.  Once again very tasty, and nothing was wasted!


La Crema Caffe on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 6, 2014

Looking for some early Halloween Fun in Edmonton?

I was contacted by the Alberta Diabetes Foundation about their fall fundraiser and it's connection to Celiac Disease.  I asked them to write a guest blog post.  I hope you support this great cause often associated to Celiac Disease.

I have been invited to write a guest post on this amazing blog. I’d like to start first by inviting you all to  register for and enjoy the Alberta Diabetes Foundation Halloween Howl Run and Walk on October 25, 2014.

You might ask why I was invited to promote a diabetes charity on this blog. An earlier blog entry highlighted the increased incidence of Celiac Disease in Type 1 diabetics as they are both autoimmune diseases. My now almost 17 year old son was very quickly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 14 months old, but it took over 6 months for him to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 2, notwithstanding his malnourished appearance and a couple of visits to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Back then, we thanked our lucky stars for Kinnickkinnick. Nowadays, the breadth and depth of gluten free choices (as are so excellently highlighted by Gluten Free Edmonton) is staggering!

The Halloween Howl includes a 3 and 5 km fun run/walk and a 10km competitive (chipped run).  It starts at the U of A Butterdome and winds its way through Edmonton’s beautiful River Valley.

Costumes are strongly encouraged. We are very proud of our post race “eats”. What makes us unique is that we always ensure that we have a gluten free food table! We have been very lucky to have GF choices from Panago and Kinnickkinnick at our event in the past as well as additional fruit, milk and yogurt choices!

If you are interested in attending this fun event, you can register (individually or as a team) for the race in Edmonton at www.albertadiabetesfoundation.com.  Or click here to go directly to the registration form.

You can also click here to register for the race in Calgary.

Either way, you’ll have a “howl” of a good time.

Gillian Clarke

Halloween Howl Chair
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