Recipes

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Ginger Cookies
I kid you not. These ginger cookies are gluten-free and chewy. Truth. I swear to you on my Aunt Hilda's marble rolling pin. Don't believe me? If you live in or near the bustling metropolis of Guelph, ON, pop down to The Bookshelf on Saturday, October 2nd between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM and try some. Dan The Bookseller is baking up bunches of these gluten-free cookies from GEMS of Gluten-Free Baking for you to sample. While you're nibbling, pick up a complimentary copy of Off The Shelf and read my book review. Like the cookies and concept? Pick up the book itself. Dan's arranged for extra copies on hand. For those who can't take advantage of Dan's baking skills, I'm giving away two copies of GEMS of Gluten-Free Baking by Wendy Turnbull. Two copies. Two ways to enter. Here's how.
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Recipe: Blueberry Peach Yogurt
I'm going to steal President Barack Obama's campaign slogan, "Yes, we can!" Hope he won't mind. It's for a good cause -- yogurt. You see, while I love my homemade yogurt, for almost a year I've been frustrated. The instructions on my electric yogurt maker clearly state, in bold text and ominous wording,  to add nothing to the yogurt but starter. Despite the machine's packaging, which shows little pots of pastel coloured (and presumably fruit-flavoured) yogurt, it was designed to incubate plain yogurt only. Their options for adding flavour involved stirring in sweetened fruit post fermentation, which I already do. So imagine my delight when Pat Crocker's newest book, The Yogurt Bible, arrived complete with recipes for flavoured yogurt. Yogurt full of fruits and spices you add before you fill those little bottles and hit "start." When I read this I wanted to shout to all the frustrated homemade yogurt fans out there, "YES, WE CAN!"
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Recipe: Pear and Chocolate Tart

When you do nothing to your pear tree but leave it be, you can expect trouble. And trouble came to my friend in the form of dozens and dozens and dozens of bug-free, blemishless, picture perfect pears. Her punishment? Driving some over to me. That'll...

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Recipe: Pate Sucree

This is -- or rather was -- Aunt Hilda's pastry board. It's now mine and I'm hoping her tenacity and good baking karma will transfer to me through this well-loved board. Not only was Aunt Hilda a fabulous cook, she never stopped learning. After years...

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Honey Roasted Pears Recipe
I'm telling you up front, this cookbook scared me when it arrived. I haven't the patience to make confit, wouldn't touch foie gras if you paid me and can't even begin to tell you where to get quail eggs. Venison, bison and Cornish hens have never been, and likely will never be, on my grocery list. And quite frankly, I'm a bit afraid of pickled eggplant. But despite all this, Simply In Season: 12 Months of Wine Country Cooking by Tony de Luca is just the kind of cookbook I need. Yesterday, while Stick Figure Charmian was falling off a treadmill, Real Life Charmian was looking for ways to break out of her comfort zone. And the path to culinary inspiration was sitting right on my shelf.
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Pink Angels – A Devilishly Sweet Square Recipe
Pink Angels, a devilishly sweet square - The Messy Baker Pink. I hate it. It's yet another carry over from my childhood. Every time I wore any shade of fuschia, magenta or bubble-gum some well-meaning adult would put a hand to my forehead and ask me if I was feeling all right. Classmates? They'd just tell me to get a tan. If you grew up with encouragement like this, you too would  learn to loathe pink in all its rosy glory. But when it comes to food? I'm a little more accepting. I figure pink's okay if it goes in me, not on me. These Pink Angels (also known as Pink Sin or Pink Ladies*) are a classic Canadian goodie most often found at church functions. Exceptionally sweet, these squares have no nutritional value, will corrode your tooth enamel before you've swallowed, and can send your blood sugar through the roof. However, if you like your sweets sweet, you'll find them so tasty you'll be willing to risk it all -- even the red food colouring.
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Stone Fruit Galette
Stone Fruit Galette getting ready for the oven by The Messy Baker. This recipe is enough to make me eat my words. I don't like marzipan, I find Emeril Lagasse's TV persona annoying (his toothpaste commercials were the final straw for me) and I avoid pre-packaged items on principle. And yet, this recipe, which  became a favourite within two bites, calls for almond paste, boxed puff pastry and is adapted from the Bam Master himself. Like I said, I'm eating my words. And more galette than is good for me.
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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing

A local Indian restaurant makes an addictive appetizer -- bite-sized vegetables dipped in a spicy chickpea batter, deep fried and served with a cilantro dipping sauce. Whenever Andrew and I dine there, I pluck all the cauliflower florets from the plate and eat them myself....

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Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread
I love wheat. I love chewy cookies, moist cake and bread with great big air bubbles in it. And let's not forget flaky pastry, decadent squares and booze soaked trifle. With the exception of carob loaf, I don't think I've met a baked good I didn't like. And I'm fortunate. The only side effect I get from indulging in wheat is bigger sides. A friend isn't so lucky. He has Celiac Disease, so gluten-loaded food can be painful. While he's happy with his main courses, he misses baking. So I thought I'd help him out. But finding good recipes isn't that simple. More than once I've politely choked down chalky gluten-free brownies and struggled to produce enough saliva to swallow dry-as-dust gluten-free breads. So, I experimented with Wendy Turnbull's approach to gluten-free baking. Having spent 30 plus years with Celiac Disease, she's figured out a way to deliver light, moist baking without the gluten. The key? Her special GEMS flour. You can't buy it in stores. You make it yourself from a blend of various flours, each selected for what it brings to the dish -- versatility, lightness, texture, tenderness and moisture. Yes, it takes a trip to the health food store. But I figure, if you're on a gluten-free diet, you're likely going there anyway for your pre-baked gluten bread fix. And this is a less expensive, more versatile option. Turnbull even provides a formula that allows you to turn your favourite wheat-based recipes into gluten-free ones. Although I was initially intimidated, there was no need. Here's what I found:
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Peach and Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

If you drop an upside-down cake on its head does it revert to plain old cake? Sadly, no. It just becomes yet another item to file under "Kitchen Disasters." The only advice I can give you, other than not to drop the final dish, is to...

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