Gluten Free French Toast

Cornbread French ToastContinuing with our breakfast theme this week, I’d like to discuss gluten free french toast. French toast is super easy to make gluten free- all you need is gluten free bread, or in this case, leftover cornbread (Thank you to fabulous photographer Rebekah West for the brilliant idea!)

In this case, we actually used leftover Polenta Cake compliments of David Lebovitz. If you don’t subscribe to his blog, and you love French food, I highly recommend it. I find many of his recipes easy to convert without losing the essence of what’s he’s working to create. Polenta cake is a great combination of polenta, almond flour, and a tiny bit of regular flour ( to sub, we used 3 tbs corn starch, 3 tbs sorghum, and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) the result is a flavorful, not to sweet cake that’s perfect in french toast for breakfast the next day. *Hint- do NOT leave out the lemon zest- it’s key.

polenta cake french toastFor a slightly less sweet breakfast, leftover cornbread is perfect. It has more flavor and texture than sandwich bread, and although it’s somewhat unusual- why not? We loved the result.

We also recommend adding additional butter to the pan once the toasts have been cooked on one side- even throwing some butter on top of the cooked side and letting it melt in. By adding the butter at this point, instead of at the table, the butter is allowed to seep in the flavor permeates the toast. We especially like salted butter for this, as the contrast between the tiny bit of sharpness you get from the salt compliments the sweet of the egg mixture and the maple syrup.

Lastly, I have to brag on my budding photgraphers. The Kitchen Divas in training are responsible for all the pictures in this post- both of them! I confess, it’s much easier to cook while you have a ‘staff’ of people willing to document!

gluten free french toast

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Gluten Free Ham and Cheese Waffles

gluten free ham and cheese wafflesSometimes you just need breakfast food for dinner. Or dinner food for breakfast. These gluten free ham and cheese waffles make the case for either. Cheesy, savory, and fluffy- they make a delicious change from traditional waffles any time of day.

And if you’re into the whole sweet & savory contrast, be sure to slather them in some flavorful Grade B Maple Syrup. I always use Grade B because it’s darker and has more imperfections- which leads to complexity of flavor. It’s also a bit cheaper than the lighter sweeter stuff.

When approaching waffles this way, you could make them with any meat- corned beef, bacon, turkey etc.. and any kind of cheese, mozzarella, comte, jack, etc.. and even add additional ingredients like green chile, kale, fruit… really your possibilities are endless. Keep in mind this flour combination was designed for savory flavors, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t make something like bacon, ricotta and peach waffles for instance! Sounds like I need to go back to the kitchen!

The recipe below is gluten-free. To make a delicious gluten-ful equivalent, keep the cornmeal and substitute traditional flour for the cornstarch, almond, and sorghum flours.

* A word about cornstarch: We are increasingly moving to cornstarch over tapioca in our recipes. Cornstarch doesn’t gum up the way tapioca does in some instances. So if at all possible, use cornstarch in this recipe, not tapioca. We believe the results are just a bit better.

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Savory Ham and Cheese Muffins (gluten free)

Savory Ham and Cheese MuffinsThese savory ham and cheese muffins are the perfect grab and go breakfast. They’re loaded with protein, and besides, I’m not much of a sweet person. Don’t get me wrong- I love a good macaron or a tiny truffle from my local chocolate shop, but I have a hard time eating bunches of sweets. However, treats that are salty, less sweet? I don’t have much control..especially when it came to putting these out for a brunch we hosted recently..I didn’t stop at just one…

 

 

 

Savory Muffin IngredientsThe flavors in these savory ham and cheese muffins are reminiscent of an omelet- a little ham, a little cheese, a few herbs.. All served up in a beautifully textured muffin that pairs perfectly with coffee or mimosas! I don’t think you can eat just one. Nobody at our party could.

While this recipe has been designed for gluten-free bakers, if you like the flavors, simply use 2 1/2 cups of flour and follow the rest of the recipe. They’re worth a try regardless of your gluten status!

 

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Breakfast Bread Pudding – A New Year’s Tradition

le petite arbre de NoelHappy New Year!! Do you have traditions for welcoming the New Year? Apparently we do, and it’s called Breakfast Bread Pudding. I’ve never been big on family traditions- mostly out of necessity, choosing the adventurous route of new activities and experiences based on our schedule and location… Somehow though, one snuck up on us.

I didn’t even realize it until the other day, when we were making our New Year’s plans with the Kitchen Divas in Training. Suddenly my oldest, who is at the age where she lives in an adult body but is still very much a young girl, burst into tears.

“NO! She emphatically cried. We ALWAYS have Breakfast Bread Pudding and watch the Rose Parade. We HAVE to do that!” I was a little surprised at her outburst of emotion, but mostly I was touched by how important this simple routine is to her. So just like that we have a tradition. Never again will I suggest New Year’s activities that don’t include Breakfast Bread Pudding and the Rose Parade.

Gluten Free Breakfast Bread PuddingThankfully, this is incredibly easy to make- less than 15 minutes of prep. You just need enough room in your fridge to let it sit overnight- ready to pop into the oven when you’re ready. Like many of our Adventuresome Kitchen recipes- our Breakfast Bread Pudding is designed to be played with. Change up the fruit or the bread, use eggnog instead of heavy cream (very tasty), or add some pumpkin.. See what magic you can make in your kitchen.

We’ll post our Breakfast Bread Pudding recipe below, but you can see the original blog post here– there’s an interesting commentary about settling for crappy food because we think we have no choice…still an issue 4 years after the original post.

However you welcome the New Year in your home, we wish you much laughter and many culinary adventures in 2015- in the kitchen and beyond!

Cheers & Happy Adventuring

Have you ‘Liked’ our Facebook Page? Post a picture of your Breakfast Bread Pudding and any changes you made!

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Gluten Free Sausage Egg Casserole

Gluten free egg casseroleGluten Free Sausage Egg Casserole is the perfect breakfast or brunch item for when you’re hosting a crew.

We live a few miles south of one of the nation’s busiest East-West thoroughfares. This means that in the summer our home is a revolving door of hungry, weary travelers. Some stay a few days, some just stay for breakfast or dinner- but whatever the length of the stopover, delicious food is a must.

I’m not much of a morning person. Yes, strike that ‘much’. I prefer strong coffee and a slow start to my day. And when I make breakfast, I like to start the cooking around 11am, preferably with a mimosa in hand (if it’s the weekend!).. You get the picture.

So- what’s the perfect solution for a non-morning person like me when a carload of hungry friends rolls through for breakfast on a holiday weekend? Egg Bake! Oh yeah!

Egg Casseroles are the perfect canvas for any number of ingredients, they come together super-fast, and you can sit back and enjoy that cuppa strong coffee while the magic happens in the oven. Gluten Free Egg Casseroles are even better, well- because they’re gluten-free!!

We enjoyed both a sweet and a savory casserole this morning (that’s 24 eggs!) and the 6 wildly growing children and the 4 trying not to grow adults were perfectly satisfied. The sweet casserole was a variation on my Gluten Free Breakfast Bread Pudding served with fresh peaches and blueberries. The savory was this sausage egg casserole w/ green chile. This takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, and then an hour in the oven- my kind of brunch fare- especially when company’s involved! Leaves more time for socializing!

As with most Adventuresome Kitchen recipes, you can switch out or add ingredients to suit your tastes and your needs. So invite over some friends- pop a little love in the oven and have yourself a foodie brunch! Mimosas optional!

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gluten free egg casserole with green chile gluten free egg casserole with cheese

Mushroom Leek Frittata & Roasted Asparagus- Under 30 Mins.

Mushroom Leek & Goat Cheese FrittataSpring finally arrived with the Easter Bunny this past week. And we welcomed it in style! To see a round-up of some of the fabulous food we cooked up in The Adventuresome Kitchen for Easter, go check out (and be sure to ‘like’) our facebook page.

While this post does include an egg recipe, it won’t be a ‘what to do with your leftovers’ kind of recipe. For that- I recommend checking out my Pesto Deviled Eggs. I did toy with the possibility of a new deviled egg recipe, but that will have to wait for another day. We ate all our hard-boiled eggs!

So in the spirit of fast meals- which seems to be how we’re rolling in the kitchen these days (With the exception of super-fancy-snobby-food-extravaganzas like Easter), it was breakfast for dinner again the other night. I tend to gravitate towards frittatas over omelets because I confess, I have trouble flipping the omelets. Julia Child might say that I’m not committed enough to my flipping- and that very well may be the case. There has to be no fear when it comes to flipping the omelet. Incidentally, if you want to read the best-ever description of flipping an omelet, go out and purchase Deariea biography of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. His description of her first television appearance will have you crying with laughter.

At any rate, I like frittatas because they’re fast and they make a great canvas for whatever leftover food pieces you need to rescue from certain death in the back of the fridge.  Oh yeah- and they’re naturally gluten-free, so they’re a no-brainer. Quiche, omelets, risottos and polentas can all work in the same manner, but I say frittatas are the fastest and easiest- hence their continual appearance in my kitchen.

This mushroom leek frittata also includes goat cheese. If there had been any leftover bacon from Easter (there wasn’t), I would have added that as well. The roasted asparagus literally took 10 minutes and cooked while the frittata was finishing in the oven. So delicious there were no leftovers!

The Adventuresome Kitchen is working on some long-term and very exciting projects, including collecting stories of people’s gluten-free experiences. If you are interested in sharing your story, or know someone who would be willing to share their story, please contact me at: adventuresomekitchen (at) gmail (dot) com

Mushroom Leek Frittata w/ Goat Cheese

Ingredients

See how the egg is starting to pull away from the pan? This mean's it's ready to go into the oven!
See how the egg is starting to pull away from the pan? This mean’s it’s ready to go into the oven!

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2)

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt & pepper to taste

olive oil- about 2 Tbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Heat a large pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, drizzle a generous swirl of olive oil in the pan (this is not an exact science). When the oil shimmers add the leeks and mushrooms. Cook about 5 minutes, until they are softened. Allow any juices to cook off so the pan is fairly dry.

While the leeks and mushrooms are cooking, beat the eggs and whisk in the goat cheese. Most of the goat cheese will ‘melt’ into the eggs, but there will be some pieces that don’t. This is fine.

When the leeks and mushrooms are ready, add in the eggs and give the pan a quick swirl to evenly distribute the egg mixture. Don’t stir the eggs- unless you want egg scramble (which would be okay). Sprinkle salt and pepper over the mixture and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.

When the eggs start to pull away from the pan, and begin to get a little firm in the middle, place the pan in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.

The eggs are done when they are firm in the middle- 10-12 minutes.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Oven Roasted AsparagusThis is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus. For a small batch, use the toaster oven,  for a larger batch, use the regular oven.

Rinse the asparagus and snap the bottom ends off. If you’ve never snapped asparagus, it’s pretty easy. Grab the woody end with one hand, and hold the stalk with the other. Bend until it snaps. This gets rid of the tough woody part.

Place asparagus side by side on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your desired taste. Cook at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Et Voilá! Finger licking good.

Salmon in Parchment a lá Rosalie

Salmon ready to be cooked in parchment
Salmon ready to be cooked in parchment

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an epic meal? I can think of at least three such meals off the top of my head: The Inn At Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island where I spent an incredibly romantic evening on my honeymoon (pre gluten-free). Our meal here was so fantastic I was dizzy. And not from the wine! It was the first time I realized that a meal could be a full-on sensual experience. This realization inspired me to start actively pairing food and wine, and taking serious flavor risks in the kitchen. I wanted to recreate how I felt eating this meal all the time!

And yes, nearly 15 years later, I could tell you exactly what we ate!

The second such meal was at Q’s at the Hotel Boulderado in Boulder. This was my first fancy gluten-free meal, and it was a revelation. I could still enjoy an incredible, flavorful, visually stimulating, and texturally interesting meal and feel great after! More recently, Salon Helene Darroze in Paris was another epic meal. It was also the first super fancy meal (not cooked by me) that the Kitchen Divas in Training got to enjoy. They savored every bite and commented on the dishes as if they were the Iron Chef judges. It was truly delightful.

What constitutes an epic meal? In my mind there are 3 things:

  • Company: A meal shared is a meal enjoyed. Food is meant to be shared, lingered over, experienced. The better the company, the better the meal- even if the food is average. Laughter can fill us up as much as the food.
  • Food that is prepared with heart and care: Notice I didn’t say super-snobby, fancy ingredients, fine crystal, etc. Often snobby-food meals like that are epic. But eat in a fine establishment with a rude waiter and your hopes for epic-ness are dashed. When you’re aware that you’re eating food that has been prepared with love, it’s transformative- no matter where you happen to eat it, or what the food is. I can think of a picnic I enjoyed in the middle of an ancient stone circle on a cool, sunny March day in the Cotswolds over a dozen years ago. We enjoyed freshly made local cheese and beer while we waited for the faeries to hop out and dance with us. Incredible. I can still remember the conversation I had with the shopkeeper who told us what cheese and beer to buy and where to find the faerie circle.
  • Heightened Senses: Think about the meals you’ve had where you remember the minute details of smell, texture, music, taste…Those meals that engage all of our senses, or that sharpen them, are the ones we remember for years to come.
Whether it's a meal for 2 or 20. Any shared meal can be epic.
Whether it’s a meal for 2 or 20. Any shared meal can be epic.

The other day, my friend Rebekah, who is currently living in a tiny village in Southern France, excitedly skyped me to tell me about this epic meal she’d enjoyed the night before. By the end of our conversation not only was I dying of jealousy, but I wanted to recreate a tiny fraction of what she experienced. This recipe is a loose interpretation of one component of her host Rosalie’s epic meal, and is named in her honor. I hope I get to meet Rosalie someday. She sounds like my kind of fellow cook and food-lover.

Saumon en PapilloteI have never made Salmon en Papillote before, and was surprised at how easy it was. The prep time is more lengthy than just putting salmon in a ziplock to marinate, but the results are worth it. The salmon is juicy and the flavors are intense. Don’t be afraid to really pile on the flavors. Salmon is rich and if you’re too delicate with your seasonings you will be left wanting something more from the dish. I was surprised at how generous I needed to be with the herbes de provence I used.  When I daintily sprinkled the herbes over the first few pieces, we couldn’t even taste them! It took sprinkling the herbes through every layer before they stood out and really added something to the dish!

Poached egg with Saumon en PapilloteBecause this dish at its core is so simple, you have complete freedom to add or subtract flavors based on your own personal tastes. Food should be a reflection of who we are, and those personal touches are often what elevates a meal from sustenance to memorable. In fact, we added a poached egg to the leftovers for breakfast, along with more herbes de provence, lemon zest, and truffle salt. Ooh Lo Lo! I just wish I had a bottle of champagne on hand to accompany it.

So here’s a toast to the Rosalies of the world. The love you bring to others through your food is a gift indeed!

What epic meals have you experienced in your life? Share them in the comments!

Saumon Rosalie (Salmon in Parchment a lá Rosalie)

Saumon en PapilloteIngredients

Salmon Filets, sliced into little 3-inch squares. (we used 2 sizable filets and made 10 packets.)

Fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly

Fresh tomatoes, sliced thinly

Fresh basil leaves- enough for 1-3 leaves on each piece of salmon

olive oil

1 tsp Herbes de Provence for each salmon packet

salt

1 lemon for zesting

Directions

If your salmon does not come de-skinned, remove the skin. Slice filet into 3-inch squares. No need to be exact on this. I made the squares bigger on the thinner side of the filet, and some squares were more rectangular. Do what seems right for your meal.

Cut a length of parchment paper- about 8-10 inches wide. Fold it in 1/2 with the short sides touching. Then fold in 3rds- so it’s about the size of an envelope, and turn the paper so it’s long and skinny and fold in 3rd again so that it’s a rectangle that can fit in your hand. Unfold the 3rds, but leave so that it’s still folded in 1/2- you should see 9 sections. Pre folding helps once you’re folding the parchment around the filet. I learned this the hard way!

Place a filet in the center of a folded piece of parchment. Sprinkle a bit of salt and part of the herbes de provence. Add a piece of mozzarella (Cream cheese can also work as a substitute). Sprinkle more herbes de provence. Add a thin slice of tomato, or two. Sprinkle more herbes de provence. Top with a few basil leaves and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Just about anything can be used to close a parchment packet
Just about anything can be used to close a parchment packet

Fold the packet around the salmon and tie with a bit of string. You will notice in these pictures that I used kitchen string, satin ribbon, and a clothespin. I discovered just as I reached for the string that the Kitchen Divas in Training had absconded with my kitchen string and used it for a Mideval art project of epic proportions! Use what you’ve got on hand- the oven temperature is only 350, and will likely not damage anything you use to secure your packets.

Place the packets on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 180 degrees Celsius) for 20-25 minutes. The thinner filets will be done at 20. The thicker ones need a little more time.

IF and only IF, you know your fishmonger and you can get superfresh salmon – we cannot here in the Midwest- you might cook your thicker filets to 20 minutes. This would be very tender in the center. Ideal, but only if you trust your food source. Otherwise, make sure your fish is opaque at the center.

To Plate: Unwrap the packets and slide each piece of fish onto a plate. Sprinkle with more herbes de provence, a tiny bit of salt (we like truffle salt for this) and a generous sprinkle of lemon zest. You could even squeeze a bit of lemon over the top.

Most importantly- enjoy with people you love!

Gently reheat leftovers and top with a poached egg.
Gently reheat leftovers and top with a poached egg.

The History of Crepe Day

Gluten Free Galette on the Griddle
Gluten Free Galette on the Griddle

Happy Ground Hog’s Day! Happy Crepe Day! (In our house that’s gluten free crepe day!)We’re halfway through winter!

The History of Crepe Day

Crepe Day is February 2nd, and in Europe is also called St. Brigid’s Day, St. Bride’s Day, or Candlemas. In France, Crepe Day is called Chandeleur. Originally a Pagan fertility and planting festival called Imbolc paying tribute to the Mother Goddess Brigid,  it was co-opted by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages and turned into a celebration marking Christ’s presentation at the temple.

This is where the Candles come in- Priests would bless candles on this day and hold candlelight processions honoring the idea that Christ was the light of the world. However, the Goddess Brigid was so popular throughout the British Isles that the priests eventually made Brigid a ‘Saint’ and gave her the feast day of February 1. The origins of Brigid predate even the Celtic Druids, and as February 2nd marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, this date has been important to humanity for millenia. It has always been associated with light coming out of darkness, new growth and birth. In fact, many farmers today begin planting spring crops like peas, kale, radishes and broccoli on February 2nd.. (at least if you live in a place where the ground is likely to be unfrozen!)

Gluten Free CrepeIn France- Chandeleur has become “Crepe Day”. People across the country take the opportunity to stop and make crepes together. It’s said that on February 2nd,  if you can flip a crepe with only your right hand you will have good fortune for the rest of the year! I like that, and intend to make some crepes today.

I realized that I have several gluten free crepe recipes already posted- so below you’ll find links to previous Adventuresome Kitchen Gluten Free Crepe posts. Wherever you find yourself, and whatever your spiritual belief- know that for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere- we’re halfway to warmer, sunnier days! Cheers!

Basic Crepe Recipe
Basic Crepe Recipe
Gluten Free Chicken & Spinach Crepes
Gluten Free Chicken & Spinach Crepes

 

Gluten Free White Asparagus Crepes
Gluten Free White Asparagus Crepes

 

Gluten Free Galette de Sarrasin (Gluten Free Savory Crepes)
Gluten Free Galette de Sarrasin (Gluten Free Savory Crepes)

Breakfast Quinoa

Black and White Breakfast Quinoa“Special Breakfast” has been a household tradition since the oldest Kitchen Diva in Training could reach the counter top. It usually consists of pancakes or some kind of eggy bacony thing on the weekends, but the Kitchen Divas in Training have started to use “Special Breakfast” as an opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. I’ve also noticed that it’s become a successful delaying tactic for weekday school!

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about Shrimp Scampi w/ Black & White Quinoa? Well call it good planning, or laziness, but I always make extra quinoa. With two voracious and growing girls, I’ve finally learned to make LOTS of food. Leftovers usually do not last long in this house, and the quinoa was no exception. I like quinoa for breakfast. While it doesn’t have the cholesterol-fighting reputation of its oatmeal cousin, it is very high in protein (an important part of breakfast for you nutrition conscious folks), very high in fiber, and very filling. This is a winning combination for me. Oh, and did I mention it tastes good too? This recipe is entirely the creation of the Kitchen Divas in Training, and I have to proudly say they hit the nail on the head. We’ve enjoyed this on several occasions since its incarnation, with slight variations each time. I like that it’s warm and crunchy. The ladies like that it’s got fruit and a touch of honey (usually, we are a pretty sugar-free household). The recipe is very easy to expand/adapt based on your tastes and the number of people you’re serving for breakfast. We believe this will become a breakfast staple in your home during the cold months. Enjoy!

Black and White Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients (serves 4-6) Black and White Breakfast Quinoa

4 cups cooked quinoa

1 apple- diced

1 cup slivered almonds

2 tsp cinnamon

1 TBS Honey

2 cups milk

fresh fruit for topping

Directions

Place leftover quinoa in a medium pan. Add ingredients and stir gently to combine. Heat on med-low for 10 minutes, or until the milk begins to steam (avoid boiling). Remove from heat. Scoop into bowls, and top with fresh fruit- we used raspberries.

Bacon Souffle w/ Maple Bacon Bourbon Sauce

Bacon Souffle w/ Maple Bacon Bourbon Sauce. Wow- that is a lot of bacon! Yes indeedy!! I’m so excited to offer this post as part of the 5 Star Makeover hosted by two of my favorite bloggers, Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks, and Natasha from 5 Star Foodie. Their posts and recipes are a regular inspiration for me, so I was thrilled when I was invited to participate in this cross-blog collaboration.

The theme this month was bacon and eggs.. Two ingredients that go together, well, like bacon and eggs! What’s not to love about these two ingredients? And how many amazing things can you create using them? I had such a hard time- I thought about a perfectly poached egg resting on a strip of crispy bacon and topped with tomato and homemade aioli- a favorite in the summer months. I thought about bacon and egg burritos smothered in roasted green chile sauce- a road-trip favorite. And I thought of all the greasy-spoon/diner food that we all secretly love featuring none other than bacon and eggs… But for this post, I wanted something elevated… Something magical and extraordinary, and I thought back to the very first souffle I’d created last spring, one with a bacon surprise on the bottom and thought I’d like to ‘kick it up a notch’.. And, since I just happened to have some bacon infused bourbon in the cabinet given to me by a friend, I thought why not add an over the top flambeed sauce?? Ooh la la! And so the bacon souffle was born…

A souffle is an egg-based dish that is light and fluffy and just melts in your mouth. Their mystique is legendary, and they are seemingly one of the toughest dishes to get right. In reality, while they do take a little time, they’re fairly easy to create, and the results are always spectacular. And the taste? Well, you can judge for yourself, but in my book it’s like eating a cloud. Better than cotton candy or marshmallows. The second layer of flavor in this dish was inspired by bacon and eggs erstwhile companion, maple syrup. Again- going back to the classic companion to greasy spoon/Saturday breakfast/diner food- the pancake with maple syrup. In addition to using the very fragrant maple sugar to coat the souffle dish instead of parmesan cheese, it was a key ingredient in the sauce.

This dish is best served in a brunch-like situation. It’s very rich- sweet, yet savory, and surprisingly filling for something so light. If you don’t have bacon bourbon on hand for the sauce, you could use regular bourbon, or forgo the alcohol entirely. While the bourbon adds a great kick to the sauce, I confess I grabbed it mostly because I wanted to set something on fire- it adds such an air of festiveness to a dish. Just be careful not to singe your eyebrows, and to flambe far from anything flammable- like clothes, dishcloths, the open bourbon bottle, paper towels- you get the idea.  Enjoy, and be sure to check out all the recipes at the round up this Friday at Lazaro Cooks and 5 Star Foodie– you’re sure to be inspired by all the bacon & egg creations!

Bacon Souffle with Maple Bacon Bourbon Sauce

Makes 1 large souffle or 8 individual souffles

Ingredients 

1 1/4 cup milk

1 shallot

2 small bay leaves

4 cloves

3 tbs butter

3 tbs sorghum (can use regular flour here if you don’t need to worry about serving gluten-free)

6 egg yolks

salt and pepper

1/2 cup shredded jack cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

1 lb of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled

butter for coating ramekin- about 1-2 tbs

1/2 cup maple sugar

6 egg whites

For Sauce

4 tbs butter

4 tbs maple sugar

4 tbs orange sugar

4 tbs crumbled bacon

1/2 cup bacon infused bourbon

Directions

Make the orange sugar by combining the zest of one orange with 1/4 cup of sugar. This can be done in a food processor, or by hand with the back of a fork. Cover and set aside. Fry the bacon over low heat until it is very crispy. When the bacon has cooled crumble and set aside. Take 1-2 tablespoons of room temperature butter and coat the inside of a large souffle dish or 8 individual ramekins. Place 1/2 cup maple sugar and 1/2 cup crumbled bacon into the bottom of the large souffle dish (divide this between the ramekins if making individual souffles). Cover with a plastic bag and shake vigorously, coating the sides and bottom with the sugar/bacon mixture. The bacon bits will settle to the bottom. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

In a small pan, infuse the milk with the shallot, bay leaves and cloves. You can place the spices in a tea infuser, or poke the cloves directly into the shallot. Heat, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to forget about this, as a skin will form on the top of the milk, it’s important to keep stirring to prevent the skin from forming.

In a medium pan- large enough to hold the souffle base and the fully beaten eggwhites- melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter foams, whisk in the sorghum flour. Whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. You will smell the sorghum starting to cook. This process is important as it coats each flour molecule with fat, and that helps with thickening and structure. Do not allow the roux to burn. Pull the roux from the heat and remove the shallot and herbs from the milk. Slowly whisk in the milk to the roux and return to the heat, stirring constantly. In a minute or two, you will see the mixture begin to thicken. Keep stirring another minute, and do not allow it to boil. When the mixture looks like a thick cream, remove it from the heat. Congratulations- you’ve just made a beautiful gluten-free bechamel sauce!! This can be the base for many things- including the souffle!

Next, separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a stainless steel bowl, and mix the yolks- one at a time- into the bechamel sauce. When all 6 yolks have been incorporated, add the shredded cheese. Whisk thoroughly and season with a dash of salt and pepper. Set the souffle base aside and grab your hand mixer- it’s time to beat some whites!

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat on high for 2-3 minutes- until the whites just begin to show stiff peaks. To get maximum height from your souffle, it’s very very important not to overbeat the whites. The only way I know how to do this is by stopping a tiny bit before you think they’re ready. Divide the mixture into fourths, and spoon 1/4 of the whites into the souffle base. Stir to fully incorporate. This lightens the souffle base so that when the rest of the whites are folded in, the mixture doesn’t collapse on itself- thus creating quiche and not souffle. Fold in the rest of the whites and pour into the souffle dish. Run your thumb around the edge of the souffle, making a little valley- this will help the souffle to rise properly. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is a beautiful golden brown.

Five minutes before the souffle is ready to be removed from the oven, make the sauce. Place butter, sugars, and bacon in a pan and allow to melt. Stir the ingredients as they’re melting. If the ingredients boil, everything will stick. As soon as the butter has melted and the sugar has liquefied, add the bourbon. If you flame it now, you will get a fantastically large flame that is very dramatic. If you’re worried about burning your house down, then allow a little of the alcohol to cook off, and then flame it. Remember- keep your face, and anything flammable away from the flame- be smart about this, and if you’re worried- don’t do it. You may cut into the souffle and add the sauce directly to the souffle, or you may scoop out a section and drizzle the sauce onto the plate. Whatever way you choose to serve it, the flavor and texture is sure to please!


Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

Project Food Blog voting continues for challenge #1 until Thursday, September 23rd. If you haven’t yet voted, please click on the link to view my submission and vote for me! http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/607 and then, please cut and paste, or forward your subscription email far and wide. With your help I can advance to the second round. Thanks for your support and encouragement, keep cooking fun things in the kitchen, and enjoy today’s post!

I am not my best in the morning. If you don’t know me, you definitely know someone like me- someone who can’t string a coherent thought together until the first latte has been guzzled. Someone who would rather greet the sunrise at the end of the day, rather than rise early and wait for morning to peep over the horizon. Not that I can’t do it, mind you. I’ve actually been accused of being perky at those ungodly early hours, but it’s certainly not how I roll. I much prefer to loll around half asleep listening to the birds sing and wait for my delicious latte to be brought to me- in bed… In fact, on mornings when I have stumbled, bleary eyed, into the kitchen, or even into the world on those rare occasions when I haven’t managed to infuse my veins with caffeine before leaving the house, I have been known to do some pretty dumb things.

Really? Like what? you ask….. Well let’s see…. once, a long time ago when I worked in an office, I accidentally turned off the server. I thought I was turning something on, but in actuality I took our entire system down for the better half of the morning.. not pretty. There was the time I locked myself out of the house. I’m ashamed to say that’s happened more than once. Oh yes, and the time I drove to school instead of across town to a meeting I had- pesky autopilot… Alas, I confess some of these were in recent history… but I digress. In order to preserve my lolling time, and to save my family from my early morning bouts of idiocy, I have taught my daughters how to fend for themselves in the kitchen- at least as far as breakfast is concerned. The plates and bowls are down low for them to reach, the milk is in a small container in the fridge. And they know how to make toast. Often, as I try to squeeze that last little bit of lolling in before my dear husband boots me out of bed at 7:00am, I will hear the patter of little feet and an urgent whisper “Mommy….Mommy- we’re out of cereal, can I have some yogurt?” Like I’d say no- I want to loll.

So in an effort to keep the cupboards full with versatile options -granola doesn’t get mushy the way cornflakes do, and it’s great in yogurt- I made  a lot of granola this week. Actually, the girls really enjoy this process. Each time we make it, it’s different. They will pick out different dried fruits, ‘crunchy’ items- nuts, seeds, etc… and voilà- granola is born! If you’ve never made granola, it’s really as easy as throwing a bunch of ingredients of your choosing into a bowl, adding a bit of sweet and sticky, and then cooking it until the oats have browned. It’s a great opportunity to express your creativity in the kitchen, try out a new ingredient, or introduce the small people in your life to simple cooking. I’m posting a very basic recipe with the ingredients we used this time, but please feel free to use what you have on hand, or what you like. If you don’t like a certain ingredient, leave it out, or substitute one of your liking. It’s really that simple.

Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

makes approximately 12 cups- enough to fill a 1 gallon ziplock bag

Ingredients

4 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats (if you’re not gf- then any rolled oats will suffice!)

1 cup sliced or crushed nuts (almonds or pecans work really well)

1 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup coconut

2 cups crushed banana chips

1 cup dried fruit (I used apricots this time, I also like dried cherries)

1 cup honey

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

2 tbs vanilla

1 tbs orange or almond extract (I used almond this time. Citrus zest also works well)

cinnamon for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl place the oats, and then the other dry ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients. Slowly pour liquid over dry ingredients. You can do this a little at a time, mixing in between, or you can pour the liquid completely into the dry mix before blending. Take a large spatula and slowly blend all ingredients until all the oats are covered with the liquid, and it’s looking pretty sticky. You’ll notice the ingredients starting to stick together. It’s important to keep mixing until the oats are no longer dry.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet  (I use my broiler tray for this) and spoon about 1/2 the mixture onto the sheet, using your spatula to spread the mixture so that the whole thing is about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove tray enough to stir the granola around- this will help it to brown evenly. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until it’s browned to your liking.

Repeat until all the granola has been toasted. When the granola has cooled, place it in an airtight container.

Garden Frittata and Quiche (gluten free)

Eggs are so wonderful and versatile. They are a complete protein, and unless you’re one of the few that are allergic, they are an excellent canvas for all sorts of flavors. And, they’re great for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. I find that if I’m struggling to come up with something delicious for a given meal, a frittata or a quiche is always an easy choice. It’s a great way to use up extra summer produce and leftovers, as well as a safe place to experiment with new spices. There’s not much difference between a frittata and a quiche- at least in this kitchen. The main difference is that quiche has crust, whereas a frittata has no crust, meaning it’s naturally gluten free. The frittata is always started on the stove but finished in the oven allowing for direct heating from the bottom and sides of the pan while it’s baking. What’s the determining factor in this kitchen about whether to choose the frittata or the quiche? There really isn’t one, except maybe the presence of pie-dough in the refrigerator. I’m posting 2 recipes here today. You’ll see they are very similar- both contain eggs, milk and cheese in varying proportions, and 3-4 feature ingredients. This type of recipe screams for experimentation- use what you have on hand, what inspires you or makes you smile. See what flavor combination you can come up with and post back to me. Happy Eating!

Gluten Free Garden Frittata

makes 6-8 slices

Ingredients

1 tbs bacon grease, butter or olive oil

1 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 medium onion, or 1 small onion)

3 cups spinach pieces

1  1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheese (type of your choice)

8 eggs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375. In a pitcher or small bowl combine the eggs and milk and set aside. In an oven proof saute pan (I use my trusty cast-iron) melt the bacon grease and add the chopped onions. Stir gently until they have softened. Quickly add the chopped spinach and mushrooms and stir until spinach just begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and add the egg mixture. Add the cheese to the top of the pan and pat down with the back of a fork or spatula. If you want to lightly season, add a little salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning mix at this point. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 35 minutes or until the center is just slightly shaky when you move the pan. Serve with a fresh, green salad, or if you’re enjoying this for breakfast, pair it with hashbrowns!

Garden Quiche  (gluten free)

Makes 6-8 slices in a 9 inch pie pan

Ingredients

Gluten Free Pie Crust

2 tbs butter

6 garlic cloves, chopped small

3 cups chopped beet leaves

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

6 eggs

1/2 cup half-n-half

1 cup milk

1 cup goat cheese crumbles

hot sauce (to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the chilled pie crust and transfer to the pie plate. Crimp (or moosh) the edges with your fingers until the top edge is uniformly even. Spray a large piece of parchment paper with canola or some other unflavored oil (do NOT use olive oil as it will flavor the pie crust). Place the greased side down on the crust and fill the paper with uncooked beans. Make sure the paper goes to the edge of the crust and that the beans are even with the top of the crust.

Cook for 10 minutes and remove the paper and beans. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the top of the crust is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Lower oven temperature to 375.

In a pitcher or small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and half-n-half. Set aside. In a saute pan, melt butter and add garlic. Stir until garlic becomes aromatic, but has not yet browned- about 1 minute. Add beet leaves and saute until greens just begin to wilt. Add the mixture to the cooling pie crust and top with shredded cheese. Pour on the egg mixture and gently press down on ingredients until they are barely covered by the liquid. Add goat cheese crumbles and sprinkle hot sauce across the top. The heat of the sauce gets easily absorbed by the milk and cheese, so if you like a little heat, be prepared to use a lot of hot sauce.

Cook for 35 minutes or until the top has puffed and browned, and the center just barely jiggles when pie is shaken. Serve with Arianwen’s Arugula Salad with fresh blueberries.

Gluten Free Cheese Soufflé

I’ve heard it said that a well made soufflé is the mark of a truly great chef. “She can cook, but can she make a soufflé?” Let alone a gluten free soufflé? Or a gluten free cheese soufflé? Filled with bacon? Many soufflés are off limits for celiacs because béchamel sauce is made with butter, flour, and milk- making it not gluten free.

I’d never attempted a soufflé. Ever. Even before I had to go gluten free. Could I pull off – in front of guests no less, and amidst the typical party distractions of champagne and socializing – cheesy, creamy, golden, lighter-than-air, melt-in-your-mouth perfection? Adventure indeed. Maybe it was beginner’s luck. Maybe the gods smiled on me. Maybe I’m a really great cook after-all. At any rate, cheesy, creamy, golden, lighter-than-air, melt-in-your-mouth perfection was achieved. I even have witnesses to prove it! It was easier than I expected, and I think I’m going to have to tempt fate and try again.

There are two critical steps to making a good gluten free cheese soufflé. First is making a smooth base, a béchamel that is creamy and satiny. The second is beating the egg-whites properly; until they are glossy with stiff peaks (meaning when you move the beater out of the eggs, the pointy peaks stand straight at attention). Get those two things right, and the soufflé literally makes itself. Go ahead, I dare you- make a soufflé. Your taste buds will thank you!

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