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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Panfried Potatoes

I prefer baby potatoes, or potatoes with thin skins for pan frying potatoes.  I find some types of potatoes hold up better than others during pan frying, but if you've par-boiled them first, it seems to make a big difference since they just need the time in a pan to brown rather than trying to cook all the way through.  The trick to delicious flavor? A mix of butter an olive oil (thank you Julia Child's - her DVDs of old episodes Are such fun on chilly winter nights).

And for anyone wondering why I've posted so little this December, it's because I've been cooking up a storm for a mega gluten free wedding reception for my brother Mike and his lovely new wife Amanda.  Expect plenty of wedding related posts and pictures to come! It was a great dessert-filled party!

Panfried Potatoes
Serves 4 (you can easily make more)

Wash and coarsely chop:
2-3 handfuls baby potatoes

Place in a pot with cold water.  Cover, and place over high heat until it comes to a boil.  Boil, uncovered ~10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.   Remove from heat and drain.

Heat over medium to medium-high heat:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter

Add and cook, stirring occasionally, until potato edges are browned and crisp on edges:
cooked baby potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped OR handful of green onions, diced (optional, but adds flavor)
note: I tend to wait until the potatoes have been cooking for a few minutes before adding green onions, if I'm using those. If using regular onion I add it at the same time as the potato.
Cooking potatoes a few minutes, before adding green onions.

Salt and pepper, to taste. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

My "Stout Family Punch" Recipe - for all ages

This is the delicious punch recipe I remember from holidays as a child.  My papa, Monte Stout, or uncle, Randy Stout, would mix it up, and everyone (and I mean everyone) loved it.  It became affectionally known in our house as the "Stout Family Punch."  To me, it just isn't a big holiday family meal without it.   It's become a favorite (and is now requested in double-batch size) for the PEI MacEachern family Thanksgiving feast as well.  Enjoy!
Thanks Uncle Mark Stout for whipping up this delicious batch Christmas Eve! Yum!!!! 

"Stout Family Punch" Recipe

Mix together in a large punch bowl until thoroughly combined and sugar is completely dissolved:
1 large can pineapple juice
1 can frozen 100% orange juice + 3 cans water (or 1 liter 100% orange juice)
1 packet tropical punch kool-aid (just the flavor pouch - don't add extra water)
1 cup sugar

Pour in slowly:
2 liters ginger ale

Your holiday is complete!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Homemade Caramels OR Caramel Sauce

I've been whipping up caramels dipped in dark and white chocolate for my brother Mike's wedding. I'll have to add some extra pictures sometime when I'm not in wedding mode, but for now here are some I made awhile ago. These are decorated with chocolate transfer sheets after dipping in chocolate.  The best part about this recipe is it also makes an absolutely delicious caramel sauce, too!  Just cook it to a lower temperature and you'e good to go.  I prefer to use brown sugar for this recipe - white sugar gives a light flavor, light brown sugar a stronger, and dark brown sugar an even richer flavor.  You can even make a half recipe if you don't want as many caramels.  Enjoy!
Caramels dipped in dark chocolate with chocolate transfer sheets on top. Yum!

Homemade Caramels OR Caramel Sauce
Makes 9" x 9" pan OR 9" x 13" pan for thinner caramels

Butter a 9" x 9" pan OR 9" x 13" pan for shorter caramels.
*Use a metal pot (not a non-stick) in this recipe.*

Put into a high-sided pot with a candy thermometer in pot:
4 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup whipping/heavy cream
2 cups white OR brown sugar (brown gives a richer taste)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch salt

Cook over medium heat until temperature of caramel mixture is:
228-233F for caramel sauce (temperature range gives thinner or thicker sauce)
235 - 240F for caramels (temperature range gives soft caramels - too soft to dip, but nice to fill chocolate molds with up to stiffer caramels - still softer than store-bought, but hold shape.) I tend to go just to 238F for the caramels I want to dip in chocolate.

Remove from heat and IMMEDIATELY mix in:
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste OR pure vanilla extract

Cool on a wire rack until room temperature (or let cool a bit and use anytime if making caramel sauce).   Cut into squares.  Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap.  These are great cut into squares and dipped in chocolate.  Store extra caramel sauce in a jar.  Caramels keep for several weeks if wrapped well.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Kristin's Granola Bar Bites!

We found some tasty gluten-free granola bar-type cookies while visiting my sister in Dallas, Texas.  They were by Alyssa's Bakery and are gluten-free.  While they are called 'cookies' we found they're more like eating a little granola bar.  They were perfect for travelling, so we picked up extra boxes to go.  Once home, I have done some experimenting to come up with a similar style granola bar bite cookie. These have been a hit! And are SO easy to whip together.  My friend Julie told me I have to get these posted asap so she can make some herself!  They freeze well, too, so I tend to keep a bag in the freezer that we can just take out a few at a time as we want them.
Fresh out of the oven granola bar bites

Kristin's Granola Bar Bites!
Makes ~20 granola bar bites

Combine the following in a bowl or mixer:
1 cup oats (use gluten-free oats if celiac or sensitive)
3/4 cup oat flour (use gluten-free if celiac or sensitive)
1/2 cup finely ground raw sugar or organic cane sugar
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup ground chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried black currents
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Scoop 2 Tbsp scoops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Cook at 350F for 9-11 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack to cool.  These freeze really well and are great for snacks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Crepes - for savory or sweet fillings!

We love making and eating crepes around here.  They never last more than a couple days since everyone wants to fill them with savory and sweet things for every meal! I played with the combination of flours a bit - wanting something that was not all cornstarch or brown rice flour.  I love how these turned out - I have made them this way a few times now, and they are delicious. Enjoy!
A plate full of ready-to-eat crepes! Delicious!
Crepes with local flavor - local cheese, meat, spinach, cucumbers & colorful brussel sprouts with a dollop of hot pepper jelly my friend Julie and I canned on the side! Yum!

Crepes - for savory or sweet fillings!
Makes 24 10" crepes

Preheat 10" crepe pan over medium-high heat.

Blend together with a stick blender:
4 eggs
2 cups milk (lactose-free works great)
2/3 cup cold water
3/4 cups cornstarch
3/4 cups arrowroot starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Add and blend in:
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Butter pan only for 1st crepe.  Pour ~1/4 cup batter into pan, quickly pick up and rotate the pan around so the batter spreads out thinly.

Cook until batter appears dry, then flip crepe.  Cook briefly on the other side.  Each side should be lightly browned.  They cook up quickly, so keep a close eye on things.

Put on plate, then repeat.  They can be stacked right on top of one another.  To save leftovers, cover plate with crepes with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Warm briefly in the microwave if they are sticking to each other. (I find they only stick together a bit after being refrigerated. Fresh crepes won't stick together and are a great make-ahead for a meal or dessert)
I warmed one side of the crepe briefly, then flipped it over and put local cheese, local smoked turkey & local organic spinach on one half.  I folded it in half, then half again, as shown below.
I cooked the crepe briefly on each side before serving.  These were a HUGE hit! Delicious!