Gluten Free Fish and Chips w/ Chipotle Lime Mayo

This month’s 5 Star Makeover really kicked my ass.. It’s all about Sustainable Fish, and that is a great topic. Sustainable Fish is important. If we want to make sure that our oceans and rivers have food for future generations, Sustainable Fish is more than important- it has to become a way of life, and soon. Our large fish populations are in peril, our freshwater fish supplies are largely contaminated, and we foodies need to get the word out about the importance of using sustainably harvested fish. We do no less when we shout about this organic fruit, or that local veggie. But then we turn around and go all out at the sushi bar. I am one such person. I had no idea until this challenge that the only fish I like are the unsustainable kind….
I pride myself on being an adventurous eater…but during this challenge I realized the big caveat to that statement is ‘except where fish are concerned’. Chalk it up to the enforced fly-fishing practice in the backyard when I was a kid. Or the enforced fly fishing excursions where I was tramped through poison ivy only to be left alone on a stretch of river with my fly rod, which on the first cast invariably got stuck in the willows. Chalk it up to one too many trout bones choked down with a piece of bread… With all due respect to those of you who’ve found Zen Nirvana with the whole fishing thing- Thanks, but I’ll take my meat with legs.
As I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated about what to cook up, I had to confront the realization that with the exception of sushi, I really don’t like fish. In fact, I shamefacedly admit, it’s usually the last thing I would consider ordering on a menu. Good for the future viability of the fish population, bad for the adventuresome eater and wannabe Julia Child. Furthermore, on those occasions when I do have fish- I like it raw or with lemon and butter. Lemon and butter are lovely, but when doing a food makeover, they equal one thing: b.o.r.i.n.g.  Not very adventurous.
Faced with the choice of chickening out or sucking it up, I went with the latter and started to figure out what I was going to do. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great site, full of information about what fish is sustainably produced, what are good alternatives, and what you should stay away from entirely.
The biggest challenge for me here in the midwest was finding a fish labeled ‘best choice’. It was impossible, actually. Even at the one Whole Paycheck in town. There’s a dearth of good fish here- and given that we’re a two day drive in any direction from the nearest ocean, I can see why. I did however, find a ‘good alternative’ farm raised  blue tilapia from Ecuador, also deemed ‘Eco OK’ by the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector.  I’ve never had tilapia before. I know, I know- I’m displaying my foodie ignorance and novice abilities here. It’s a nice, meaty white fish. And, when I thought about what fish I’d like to have, and never get because of my gluten intolerance- my mind immediately jumped to fish-n-chips! Gluten Free fish ‘n chips are impossible to get. Heck, even getting gluten free fries at a restaurant is impossible because the fries are cooked in the same oil as the onion rings, battered fish, squid, chicken tenders and cheese sticks.

So, as I thought about what would be a fun twist on fish and chips, I thought, why not cook the chips with the fish- in the batter? Frying everything all crispy, and then instead of tartar sauce, serve with a homemade chipotle-lime mayo in place of the traditional tartar sauce? And the dish was born. Not only was it a surprising combination- it was really fun to eat the crispy shoestring potatoes in the fish batter- I discovered that I LOVE tilapia!! In this preparation, the tilapia turned out meaty, flakey, and just a little bit juicy. It was the perfect compliment to the crispy outside. And the mayo? We’ll be spreading that on everything for some time to come. As for a beverage- a delicious gluten-free beer-  and I’m in pub heaven!

Now, I can’t say that I’ll be having fish once a week from here on out- but when sustainable tilapia is on sale- I’ll be bringing some home for sure! Maybe next time wrapping it in bacon!

Many, many thanks to fish guru Lazaro for patiently and kindly answering many of my questions related to this fish challenge!! For a complete round-up of all the 5 Star Makeovers and links to the other participants blogs, Visit Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks! and Natasha at 5 Star Foodie. You’ll be inspired by all the incredible and creative fish dishes you see.

Lastly- please visit my friend Sabrina at The Tomato Tart on Wed March 30th. Over 90 bloggers across 4 continents are coming together to sell their confections to the highest bidder to raise funds for Second Harvest Japan- that nation’s first foodbank. I’ve donated a batch of my gluten-free orange almond teacakes.

Gluten Free Fish and Chips with Chipotle Lime Mayo

serves 6


Chipotle Lime Mayo

zest of 2 limes + extra for garnish

3/8 tsp chipotle powder (more if you like it hot)

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 tbs lime juice (fresh squeezed is best)

3/4 cup grapeseed oil

pinch of salt

twist of pepper

Gluten Free Fish and Chips

1 3/4 lb-2 lbs sustainable white fish like tilapia

1 egg + 1 egg white

2/3 cup sweet rice flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp salt

12 twists from the pepper mill (about 3/4 tsp)

2 russet potatoes, shredded finely

enough shortening and /or oil to fill a fryer or dutch oven with at least 1 inch of liquid- about 1 1/2 lbs of shortening sticks

Cooking or candy thermometer (I have an electric one- very handy)


In a small bowl place eggs, lime zest, chipotle and lime juice. Using a hand mixer on high, whip the eggs until frothy and the yolk has begun to lighten. Very slowly add a few drops at a time of the oil into the mixture. Continue adding the oil by drops until the mixture has begun to thicken. When the mixture shows signs of thickening add the oil in a thin stream, but still go slowly. Keep beating on high. It will feel like your arms are going to fall off. When the oil has been completely absorbed, add the salt and pepper and give a quick mix. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Garnish with additional lime zest.

disclaimer: yes- this is real mayonnaise, and yes- it has raw eggs. I know my farmer and where my eggs come from. I trust him implicitly. If you are concerned about salmonella or other yukky organisms I suggest you find a farmer you know and trust and buy your eggs locally. Foodborne illness from eggs comes from poor handling practices, and stressed out chickens. When chickens are raised in factory farms where they don’t see the light of day, never walk around, and poop on their neighbors heads, you get yukky organisms like salmonella. You also get eggs with higher cholesterol because the chickens are stressed out. Happy chickens=happy eggs=happy you…I eat raw eggs, and I shamelessly sample the cookie and cake batter. I’ve never been sick. Ever. That said- only you know where your eggs come from, and only you can decide if you are comfortable eating raw eggs. If you aren’t- then make this mayo by adding the lime juice, zest, and chipotle to a store bought jar.  The freshly made mayo will keep about a week. Do not leave it sitting out on the counter, and be sure to cover it when you put it back in the refrigerator.

For the Gluten Free Fish and Chips

In a separate small bowl, place the egg, egg white, sweet rice flour, tapioca, salt, pepper and buttermilk. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Finely shred the potatoes- think shoestring size- rinse in a colander, squeeze out the excess water, and set aside. Lastly pat the tilapia dry and slice into sections of even thickness. Most filets will be thick at one end and thin at the other. When you fry them, fry the thick pieces together, then the thin pieces. That way, everything in the pan is cooking for roughly the same length of time.

Place shortening into your fryer and turn the heat to medium-high.  I use my cast iron fryer. You could use a stainless steel pot, or dutch oven. What’s important is a pot or pan that can stand high heat and has a minimum of 4 inch sides. A splatter guard is helpful too.

While the oil is heating up, set up a dredging station on one side, and a cooling station on the other. For the dredging station, place a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. For the cooling station, place a cooling rack over another cookie sheet and cover with paper towels.

Dip the filets in the batter and place on the dredging station. Grab a small handful of shoestring potatoes and pat them onto the fish. Flip the fish and repeat. This is VERY MESSY work…embrace it- you will be happy when you eat your very crispy fish! If the potatoes start to slip off the fish, and they may, take your fingers or a small ladle and add a tiny bit of batter to the potatoes. The oil will be hot enough that when the batter hits the pan it will stick to the fish nicely.

When the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees fahrenheit, add 3-4 slices of fish. It will bubble like crazy, and you’ll see the temperature drop. This is normal, and why it’s important to only put a few pieces of fish in at a time. Wait until the oil is nearly back to 350 (about 3 minutes give or take) before flipping the fish. Allow to cook about 1 minute on the second side, and when the thermometer reaches 350, remove the fish. * Don’t let the oil get much over 350- the chemical make-up begins to change and ruins the taste.

The batter and potato color should be a rich golden brown, and the potatoes should be crispy and stiff. Place on the paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Cover and lightly pat with another paper towel. Add the next set of fish. Continue frying until all the fish have cooked. You may have a little extra potatoes and batter. If you do- fry them up too- they make great fritters and shoestring potatoes!

Gluten-Free Orange Almond Tea Cake; A Tea Party and a Cause

Happy Spring! My daffodils decided to get in on the celebration by blooming yesterday. Today is an auspicious day, not only because spring is finally here, but it is also the one-year anniversary of my blog! What better way to celebrate a blog anniversary than with a party? And, since we’re in the party spirit, why not have a tea-party for an awesome cause?

Foodbuzz in conjunction with Kelly Confidential is hosting an online tea part to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. By simply clicking over to the Kelly Confidential site, you can help raise even more money for Ovarian Cancer Research.  And, this Friday, Foodbuzz will take over the daily Top 9 to feature only tea party posts (oooh maybe you’ll see me!).  Foodbuzz will also donate $50 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every tea party recipe created by a Featured Publisher before March 23rd!  That’s worth getting out my great-great-grandmother’s china! This fancy antique china has been passed down to the women in my family since the 1800’s! And now, you can enjoy it too- with a lovely gluten-free orange almond tea cake.

Having tea forces us to stop, slow down, and breathe. I think it helps us remember the truly important things in life- food and relationships. The girls and I will often stop for tea mid-morning, or mid-afternoon- basically at those times when our brains are too filled with facts to think anymore. And the conversations that always develop out of those breaks are little gifts.

While many snacks go well with tea, I like tea cakes because they’re sweet, but not too sweet. They satisfy my need to nosh, without giving me a sugar high or overfilling my tummy and spoiling the next meal. The orange and almond in this cake make a lovely combination, and the sponginess of the cake is achieved by incorporating whipped egg whites. This is a great technique to use to get good volume and texture in gluten-free baked goods. If you don’t have oranges on hand, lemons would be good too- just substitute vanilla extract for almond extract. This batter is light enough, you could also put it in a greased madeleine pan and make little madeleines. Then they’d be the perfect finger food!

Do you have a favorite tea experience? When I was in college my grandparents took me to high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. That was an experience! Our celebratory tea party was a little more reserved, but just as fun. Wherever you are this week, why not take time out for a little tea and conversation? There’s always something to celebrate!

My heartfelt hanks to everyone who has stopped by my site in the past year, left a comment, or a note of encouragement. I have grown so much as a chef, writer, photographer (still LOTS to learn there!), kitchen control freak, and parent! I look forward to another year of adventure in the kitchen and in life!

Gluten Free Orange Almond Tea Cakes

Makes 12-14


4 eggs, separated

2/3 cup + 1 tbs sugar

zest of one orange

juice from one orange, about 1/3 cup

4 oz salted butter, melted and allowed to cool (one stick)

¾ cup almond flour (also called almond meal)

¼ cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp almond extract



Preheat oven to 350. Separate eggs and set the whites aside. Sift the tapioca and sorghum together and set aside. Melt the butter and set aside. Using a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed for several minutes until mixture is pale yellow, and forms ‘the ribbon’

The ribbon is a baking term used to describe batter that when scooped up and allowed to run back into the bowl forms a ribbon as it sits on the surface of the batter before being re-absorbed.

Add the orange juice, zest, and almond extract,  and continue beating another moment. Add the almond flour and continue to beat until it’s incorporated. Add the sorghum/tapioca mixture and set aside.

Next, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Using clean beaters, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat into stiff peaks.

Pour the melted butter into the orange/almond mixture, leaving the milky bits that have sunk to the bottom of the pan or bowl. This is the milk protein and isn’t needed for this recipe- you will have about 2 tbs of ‘butter’ still left in your container, but it will be milky looking.

Using a spatula, fold the butter into the batter. When it’s fully incorporated, stir in ¼ of the egg whites. When the egg whites have been fully mixed, gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool briefly in the muffin tins, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.



Gluten Free Straw and Hay Pasta

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While we do get on our Irish around here, today’s post will not feature corned beef, colcannon, bannocks, boxtys or any other typical Irish fare…. But in keeping with the spirit of green everything today, this fun dish includes green pasta!

This recipe for Straw and Hay pasta was re-created by my oldest Kitchen Diva in Training. She has started working on geography by checking out cookbooks from different countries and then selecting a dish or two to prepare- how cool is that? And, since this has really been her project from start to finish, it’s only fitting that you hear from the KDiT herself about the ins and outs of this special recipe. Without further ado, I present to you one of my two amazing Kitchen Divas in Training!

KD: “A”, what was your inspiration for this dish?

KDiT: I like Italian food. I liked the way the straw and hay pasta looked with two different colors- green for hay and yellow for straw, and I liked all the ingredients used.

KD: Where did this dish come from?

KDiT: The city of Siena, in Tuscany.

KD: What was the biggest challenge for you?

KDiT: I think waiting for the pasta to cook.

KD: What was your favorite part of making the dish?

KDiT: I liked the cooking part- preparing and cooking the ingredients that went with the pasta.

KD: My favorite part was taking pictures of you. Did you have fun? What part was the most fun?

KDiT: YES!! I think it’s really fun when I get to cook- I make really good food. (She says with a satisfied smile…..)

KD: Yes, you do! What did you learn?

KDit: That the pasta takes a long time to cook; that you have to be super patient so that your food comes out the way it needs to be cooked. I also learned that Italian food uses lots of fresh produce….and lots of cheese!

KD: When I cook, I don’t really follow the recipe- I use it as a guide, and I always have to change something. You stuck to the recipe exactly the way it was written. Can you tell me your thoughts about that?

KDit: I stuck to the recipe because I wanted to try something new.  I like to cook the exact recipe out of the cookbook because sometimes when you cook off of the recipe it tastes different, and not like what the recipe intended. I wanted to see what this recipe tasted like!

KD: So, do you think you want to make another dish sometime?

KDit: Oh YES!!! (I was told I had to put in the capital letters!)

This dish comes from the children’s cookbook “Cooking the Italian Way” by Alphonse Bisignano. Thanks, A! You teach me so much when you cook. Enjoy the recipe and may your St. Patrick’s Day be filled with a little luck o’the Irish! Cheers!

Straw & Hay/Paglia e Fieno

4 servings


4oz thin spinach noodles, uncooked (we used gluten-free)

4oz fettucini noodles, uncooked (we used gluten-free)

3 tbs butter,

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup peas

4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup heavy cream or half n half

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1/4 grated Parmesan, plus extra for the table.


Cook noodles in boiling salted water until they are al dente. Drain and toss with half the butter. Cover and set aside.

Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan. Saute garlic until golden.  Add peas and mushrooms and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the cream but do not boil.

Add the noodles, cream, salt and pepper to the vegetables and toss until noodles are thoroughly coated. Remove from heat and add cheese. Serve on warm plates.

Buffalo Pot Pie with Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits

This week’s crock pot recipe is hearty and flavorful- Buffalo Pot Pie w/ Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits. Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you.

I went and got involved with another fun group of recipe swappers, this one hosted by the illustrious Christianna who blogs at Burwell General Store. She found an awesome old vintage cookbook, and for the past few months folks have been recreating and revamping one recipe a month. If you’ve stumbled across this in your blog wanderings, you’ll agree that the recipes have been fun and inventive!

(And special thanks to Toni from Boulder Locavore who was kind enough to help me get involved with this recipe group!)

This month’s recipe was Chicken Stew with Drop Biscuits.  Our challenge was to change 3 things about the recipe to make it our own and then post about it. I’ve had a sneak preview of some of my colleagues’ recipes, and they are mouthwatering and creative. I’m only sorry I can’t sample them right now! Once you’ve read my take on the recipe, pop on over to the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General Store, where you’ll see everything from crostata to curry. There are even a few additional gluten-free recipes! How cool is that?

I’ve been on a buffalo kick for the last month or so. There is a buffalo farm less than 20 miles from my house, and the owner sells her meat at many local grocers as well as the River Market. I had a great conversation with her a few weeks ago about stew meats,  cooking ‘low and slow’, and thought since the cold weather is refusing to give way to spring- at least for the time being- that a buffalo pie would be a nice twist on the chicken pie theme.  And, to save time and energy, I did it all in my crock pot! I have an older crock pot with a removable ceramic interior, which means it can go from crock to oven very nicely. I slow cooked the buffalo with some red wine and a few other ‘stewy’ ingredients, before adding my biscuits to the top and popping the whole thing in the oven!

If you don’t have a crock pot and a toaster oven in your kitchen, I highly recommend their addition. Both items are great in the summer when you don’t want to heat your kitchen any more than necessary. And, if you’re only cooking a little- it takes way less time and kilowats to run the smaller appliances. My toaster oven can even accommodate my small Le Creuset Gratin baker. Perfect for all sorts of side dishes! But I digress….

The crock pot gets a workout in this house because I’m very fond of throwing in a bunch of ingredients, walking away, and coming back to enjoy them several hours later. The key is to use the lowest setting and to allow cooking for a minimum of 6 hours. Anything beyond that just makes the meat even more tender. Normally, when I do a roast or a stew, I serve it with clear broth made from the cooking juices, but this time, I went out on a limb and added a little roux and cream. It was totally worth it, and I will absolutely consider doing it again. Hopefully not until next fall! The creaminess of the sauce worked nicely with the texture of the drop biscuits, and the green chiles added the tiniest bit of punch to the flavor. I could have used a little more myself, but wanting to make this accessible to a variety of people- including the Kitchen-Divas-In-Training… I went a little light on the chiles. Certainly add more if you like the heat- the dish is rich enough that it can stand up to a somewhat spicier biscuit! This is a recipe that can easily accommodate whatever changes and twists you’d like to add when you serve it up at your house. Remember always to have fun in your kitchen, and be sure to stop by the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap page for some outstanding recipes and a dose of inspiration! Who knows what might end up on your table?

Buffalo Stew

Serves 8


2 lbs of buffalo stew meat, cubed

1/2 cup red wine

4 shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups potatoes, chopped (about 3 small)

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tbs wheat-free tamari (soy sauce)

6 twists of fresh pepper

1 1/2 cups water


2 tbs butter

3 tbs sorghum

1 cup milk, half n half, or heavy cream


Place all ingredients except the roux in a crock pot and simmer on low for 6-12 hours. A word- please use red wine you would drink. If it’s not fit to drink, it’s not fit to use in food you will eat… just sayin’…… See! I told you it was easy!

45 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn off the crock pot and remove the ceramic container. It will be hot, so be sure to use potholders and place it on a heat safe coaster. Turn your oven to 425, and begin preparing the green chile cheddar biscuits below. Just before putting the biscuits in the stew, make the roux. Melt the butter in a small saute pan. When the butter is foamy, add the sorghum and whisk briskly. When you start to smell the flour, but before it has darkened in color, slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add to the stew and stir. Then add the drop biscuits and proceed as directed.

Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Makes about 20 small biscuits


1 cup millet flour

1 1/4 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1 tbs baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 oz (one stick) butter

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped green chiles

3 tbs honey

1/2 cup buttermilk


3 tbs butter

3 tbs honey


Place dry ingredients in a food processor and mix by pulsing about 6 times. Chop the butter into 8-10 segments and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse an additional 6-8 times, until the butter has been cut up to pea-sized bits. Add the cheddar cheese and pulse 2-3 more times.

In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the honey, green chile, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and pulse several more times until mixture comes together in a ball-like form. Scoop into the stew (or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet) with a large melon-baller. To make the glaze, melt the remaining butter and honey in a microwave safe dish- it should take about 30 seconds. Brush the glaze onto the biscuits and then place the whole crock into the oven. Immediately turn down the oven heat to 375, and cook for 20 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are golden brown. The biscuits expand during the cooking process and make a lovely thick crust over the stew. Don’t be shy about cutting into this and serving the biscuits on top of, or next to the stew. Enjoy!!