Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Roasted Peach BBQ Sauce

Although the "official" BBQ season is in the books for another year (sigh), it's been warm enough this past week that the outdoor grills have remained fired up. On any given day, I can come home to a neighbourhood filled with the aromas of world-wide outdoor cooking - from our "two doors down" Jamaican neighbours making a killer jerk recipe to the Portuguese family across the street grilling herb and garlic fish and chicken and our "native" Canadian next door neighbours tossing on burgers and hot dogs for their family of five. Ironically, I've never been a fan of grilled food as a rule - chalk it up to a childhood of once too often charred protein from the backyard barbecue (and currently living in a household that adores emptying a whole canister of lighter fluid onto the charcoal before lighting it each time) - but I do love the smell of it cooking when it's done properly. 

That said, even dried-out (and hopefully NOT charcoal-black) grilling can be enhanced - even saved - by a good, balanced and flavourful sauce. Normally, you would never see me bring fruit to a savoury party willingly (I'm not talking "fruit vegetables" here), but I'm not opposed to sauces with certain fruity tones. You'd find me enjoying Spicy Plum Sauce (and it's apricot / pumpkin based Western version) on broiled pork chops or chicken breasts, pineapple marinades do wonders for tofu, shrimp and flank steak, and while I personally shy away from the whole "apples and pork" cliche my mom goes for it whole hog (sorry!).

Roasted Ontario Peach BBQ Sauce!

So when I came across this roasted fruit BBQ sauce in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, by the fabulous Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, I knew I had to make it - not only for me, but for Mother Dearest who has an almost unnatural passion for fresh Ontario Summer peaches. I gave my batch a few twists along the way, amplifying the caramel sweetness of the peaches with roasted Vidalia onions and raisiny, long-aged black garlic. For a kick of savoury in with all the bittersweet notes, a whisper of smoked paprika and smoked salt kicked up the flavours of the fire, even if your BBQ is tucked away for another year!

Shared with  Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Apple - Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread #SundaySupper

Well, Fall is here. Amidst the collective grumblings of parents, kids and kid-like adults, this beautiful season is beginning to lend its colours and flavours to the neighbourhood and table. I recently picked up a few of my favourite Winter squash - delicata - at the farmers market and can't wait for the crops of crispy local apples to start coming in. With luck, we'lleven have a chance to go picking again this year, after last year's harvest was wiped out by the previous Winter's ice storm.

Fall is also the opportunity to embrace the warmth and comfort of the baker's kitchen again, after avoiding any significant prolonged sources of heat for the past few months. I love diving headfirst into the brisk temperatures with pies, muffins and loaves - and this year there's nothing more Autumnal than this spicy-sweet yeast bread! I started with a pumpkin-packed whole wheat dough laced with warm spices, then rolled a ribbon of luxurious, unsweetened apple butter inside. The apple butter keeps the bread moist and tender for days on end, and is a fantastic addition to breakfast either toasted (with cultured butter or cream cheese!) or straight up. I've been enjoying it so much that I actually need to procure some more apples now - I have more Fall treats to try!

Apple Butter-Swirled Pumpkin Bread

#SundaySupper this week is celebrating the arrival of Fall as well, featuring all types of dishes suiting the cooler climate. What's your favourite Fall treat?

Apple-Currant Dutch Baby Pancake by The Weekend Gourmet
Apple Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread by What Smells So Good?
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread by Party Food and Entertaining
Giant Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart by Pies and Plots
Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits by Tara’s Multicultural Table

Appetizers and Sides
Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Cabbage Soup with Lentils by Monica’s Table
Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins by Pancake Warriors
Pumpkin Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes by Love and Confections
Roasted Veggie Tart by Books n’ Cooks

Main Dishes
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Roasted Veggies & Couscous by Momma’s Meals
Butternut Squash Lentil Curry Soup by Food Done Light
Curry Beef Pies by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Fantasy Rice by The Petit Gourmet
King Prawns in Red Sauce – Mauritian Style Creole Sauce by Peachy Tales
Pasta with Creamy Butternut & Bacon by Cooking Chat
Pork Chops with Apple Dijon Sauce and Arugula Salad by Crazy Foodie Stunts
Pork Chops with Glazed Apples and Vegetables by The Complete Savorist
Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash by Feeding Big and More
Roasted Tomato Soup with Bacon/Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich by A Gouda Life
Salt Roasted Salmon over Roasted Butternut & Yam Soup by Lifestyle Food Artistry
Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken, Delicata Squash and Olives by Foodie Tots
Sweet Potato French Bean Lentil Salad by Food Lust People Love
Sweet Potato Alfredo Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup by Eating in Instead
Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables by Life Tastes Good

Desserts and Cocktails
Apfelkuchen by Curious Cuisiniere
Applesauce Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirls by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Apple Gingersnap Refrigerator Dessert by Recipes Food and Cooking
Autumn Bellini by An Appealing Plan
Autumn Spice Cookies by Desserts Required
Caramel Apple Napoleons by The Crumby Cupcake
Caramel Apple Pie Bundles by The Freshman Cook
Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins by The Redhead Baker
Caramel Apple Swirl Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Cheesecake Swirl Pumpkin Muffins by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Chestnut and Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream by Caroline’s Cooking
Dark Chocolate-Espresso Pumpkin Tiramisu by Brunch with Joy
Dutch Apple Pie by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Drizzle by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Pumpkin Crisp by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake by Flour On My Face
Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cookies by Palatable Pastime
Roasted Maple Pears by Amee’s Savory Dish
Spiced Pear Cake by Simply Healthy Family
Spiced Pumpkin Bread by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
Sweet Apple Skillet Cake by Nosh My Way

Plus, A Guide to Apples plus Best Fall Recipes Ideas for #SundaySupper
Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tomato Pasta Soup #TheRecipeRedux

We're in the middle of a run of rainy, cloudy, damp, dark and generally blah weather here. Given that school's in session, it's not like I could be spending my days out in the garden anyways, but less than glorious weather manages to drain the energy out of the day faster than normal for me. By the time I get settled at home (after the tasks required for the next day's lessons and general housekeeping while my mom is away), I'm ready for comfort food and a good night's sleep. I'm still not far enough into the "cold weather blues" to crave super hearty stews though - while soup is still definitely an "in a pinch" go to for me, I've fallen back onto the brothier, chunk-filled variety that satiates without weighing down. Tomato-based vegetarian bowls are perfect examples of what I'm talking about - today's, for instance, is filled with brown rice rotini, red lentils, nutritional yeast and a punch of bright flavour from the Summer's garden scallions, carrots and (home-roasted) tomatoes. Taking the soup up a notch in elegance, Ontario-made red wine vinegar and home-infused Cabernet Salt sprinkle in and fit beautifully in the melange of flavours. Since I'm cooking for one, I portion and freeze the batch right after cooking and either add barely cooked pasta to each container or wait until reheat time and add freshly cooked pasta then. I haven't tried rice (just rice pasta), but suspect it would probably hold up better, especially the "Wild Pecan" brown rice I've recently fallen in love with.

Tomato Pasta Soup

This month for #TheRecipeRedux our group is serving up Fantastic Freezer Meals. Since it’s the end of the gardening season for some of us, storing that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals is a great way to keep the flavour going all Winter long! Let us show off how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be, and feel free to chime in with your own experiences - I'd love to hear what you do!

Tomato Pasta Soup

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Whenever I set about making a gluten free baked treat, I rarely aim to mimic the nuances of traditional wheat-based fare - simply put, no combination of ingredients will perfectly imitate "standard" baking chemistry and flavour. That said, I love that the flours still safely used by celiac sufferers are packed with their own unique flavours, and are generally even better tasting in treats that can capitalize on the slightly earthy, nutty notes of the alternative grains and seeds. Whether the main ingredient is fruit, caramel, nuts or chocolate, the flexible nature of combined flours and starches truly has the potential to elevate the final dish without overloading it one way or another.

In general, everyone I know is a fan of banana bread, and when it's converted into streusel-dusted muffins the result is almost guaranteed to be a win regardless of dietary restrictions (or lack thereof). Particularly during the work and school week, muffins beat out loaves of quickbread hands down for portability and bake-sale friendliness - packed in a lunchbox for one or loaded into a shoebox for bulk transport, they are far less likely to self-destruct on route and stay moist and tender much longer.

Now, any quickbread or muffin recipe is - as the name implies - supposed to be fast and easy to whip up. And when using "regular" flour and other ingredients, that's generally the case. But as you can see with a quick Google (or WSSG search) of Gluten - Free recipes, celiac-safe baking tends to be a little more complex - with few exceptions, simply swapping in a single gluten-free flour for regular all purpose is a recipe for odd-tasting crumbs, bricks, sponges or all of the above. Yes, there are ready-made store bought blends available, and some are decent, but the control freak in me likes the customization factor homemade mixtures offer. Since I knew I'd only be making muffins with it, whipping up a big batch of GF "Quickbread" Flour ahead of time was worth it for me - not only did it ensure these muffins came out perfectly every time, but it made the process just as fast as pulling out a big bag of regular white stuff. Ironically, these muffins were such a hit with the "regular diner" crowd that I had to make a second (double) batch to give to my three GF friends in secret! By topping the batter with quinoa flakes and raw sugar, the baked muffins had a little touch of "bakery pizazz", but it's totally optional - next time, I might do a chunky granola crunch instead!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Saturday, September 19, 2015

GF "Quickbread" Flour

In another fit of "make your own ingredients" madness, I decided to whip up a big batch of gluten free flour blend today. I used Cara Reed's recipe, more or less, tweaking here or there depending on what I could readily find and access in my pantry (let's just say it needs a bit of cleaning!). I've already used small batches of it to make killer muffins, and since it seems to maintain a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture I've dubbed it my go-to "quickbread" or "muffin" flour mix. Stay tuned tomorrow for those muffins - that is, if our power doesn't go out again with the late Summer storms!

GF "Quickbread" Flour
Makes 9 cups
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup quinoa flour (I've used half millet or teff flour here too)
3 cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
¾ cup tapioca starch / flour
¾ cup arrowroot flour
pinch ground ginger (this helps with final texture in batters... don't know why but it does!)
  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.
Amount Per Cup
Calories: 511.0
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 8.2 mg
Total Carbs: 113.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
Protein: 9.8 g