Monday, 21 October 2013

Gluten Free Potato Leek Quiche


My wonderful husband started a new job this year. He seemed to have lost a bit of his passion for cooking, and it was something he felt like he was giving more of himself to than getting in return. With this new job however, it has reignited the love he had for creating in the kitchen.

I am very glad that he has rediscovered what makes him happy, and I am also very happy that he has done so in such a great place to cook. His chef is a true back to nature chef, who forages, hunts, grows his own produce. It's nice to see that some people have maintained the natural way of procuring food as apposed to the processed bought in products that a lot of chains and inexperienced restaurant cooks seem to favour.

DH comes home at the end of each day with a sense of pride and contentedness. He is also really embracing the waste-not want-not mentality, and a more simplistic adaptation to food. So when he came home recently with a couple dozen farm fresh eggs from his chefs chickens, I was pumped and wanted to do justice to them in a dish that would showcase them as well as display that with inexpensive ingredients and little effort, you can make something with delicious simplicity.




Potato Leak Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grated potatoes
  • 1 T melted coconut oil or ghee (plus some for cooking leaks)
  • 1/2 cup sliced leaks
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Method:


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Toss ghee or coconut oil and a pinch of salt around potatoes and press into a 9" or 10" pie plate
  3. Bake potatoes for 20 mins or until browned and crispy
  4. In the meantime, cook leeks in ghee until tender, a slight browning is fine. Season while cooking.
  5. Mix eggs and coconut milk very well. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Evenly sprinkle leeks into pie crust after it is cooked.
  7. Lower oven temp to 375°F and place pie plate on pulled out rack.
  8. Carefully pour egg mixture into crust, almost to the top
  9. slide rack back into oven and cook for about 30 mins or until no longer liquid, but the centre still has a bit of a "jiggle" to it.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  11. Serve immediately or store in fridge and heat in a moderate oven to serve later.

This dish is rustic, easy, and versatile. Feel free to add any of your favourite ingredients, like crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach, anything you can think up, you can add. 



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Friday, 4 October 2013

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Gnocchi

Well, it's that time of year again... pumpkin flavoured EVERYTHING!
Personally, I don't mind, I rather like pumpkin. I wanted to post a pumpkin recipe myself, but didn't really want to just put up another pumpkin pie, or another pumpkin latte, I wanted something that spoke more to the chefy side of me and the rustic, comforting feel of fall. What better fits that bill than slightly nutty, slightly sweet gnocchi in a delicious brown butter...



If you have ever had gnocchi at a restaurant, or your Nona used to make it when you were little, you will agree that few things compare to their simple, delicate, loveliness. I have worked in restaurants where gnocchi was on the menu year round, and people would come just for that, toting that it was wonderful and the type of thing they would never be able to make at home. Well, you can.

Traditional gnocchi is made with potatoes, flour, egg, and seasoning. It can be served in a brown butter (like our recipe today), tomato sauce, or cream sauce. It is one of my favourites. It has all the flavour of a pasta dish, but the simple hardiness of a dollop of fluffy mashed potatoes.

It is very easy to switch this simple recipe up and add squash, polenta, cheese, you name it. In keeping with the fall theme, and in the upcoming thanksgiving holiday, pumpkin was the obvious choice on this cold, rainy autumn day.

These are gluten free, refined sugar free, corn free, soy free, casein and lactose free; But certainly not lacking in the delicious category.

So before we start in with the recipe, I just have a few tips and tricks you might find useful when making gnocchi:

  • Cook the potatoes properly. By this I mean steam or boil them until they are cooked all the way through, but don't just leave them on the stove forever. Have you ever had gluey mashed potatoes? Well that comes from overcooking the potatoes. I like to use my paring knife and insert it into the potato. If it slides out easily, you're good. 
  • Roast the pumpkin, don't boil it. The natural sugars in the pumpkin will caramelise a bit and you'll get a better flavour. You can do this by cutting a pie pumpkin in half and scooping out the seeds. Then put each half face down on a lined cookie sheet and roast in a 375°F until tender (about 45 mins)
  • Don't add too much flour. This is reason number one for dense, tough gnocchi. I don't give an exact measurement for flour in my recipe because it's all about feel. The dough will be quite wet and soft still. Only add just enough flour to be able to get it to stick to itself. 
  • Be gentle. Use a light hand while rolling out the dough. You'll get a feel for it after the first pass or two. 
  • Relax. It's not as hard as you think it is and sooo worth the effort.

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Gnocchi:

Ingredients:
  • 1 pie pumpkin, roasted and removed from skin
  • 1 large or 2 small cooked, peeled starchy potatoes (russets work very well)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pecans crushed very finely (can omit for allergy, just add a bit more flour)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup All purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T brown Ghee, you can do this using the same method for making the ghee, except leave it on the stove when cooking until milk solids on bottom of the pot brown, ghee changes to a slightly browned colour and smells quite nutty.
  • Fresh sage, just a couple of leaves
Method:
  1. Mash pumpkin and cooked potato quite well with a fork or put through a ricer
  2. Add egg, 1/2 cup flour, pecans, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. 
  3. continue to mix using fork, adding more flour 1 T at a time just until it comes together.
  4. Put a pot of water on the stove and get to poaching temp (when little bubbles begin to appear at sides of pot) but do not boil.
  5. While water is heating, sprinkle some more all purpose flour onto work surface, I like to do this on silmat for easier clean up. 
  6. Dollop about 2 T worth of dough onto floured surface and sprinkle top with a bit more flour.
  7. With a very light hand, gently begin to roll into a thin log, about 3/4 inch in diameter
  8. using a bench scraper, or a knife, make quick cuts every half inch or so. 
  9. dust with a little extra flour so they stick don't together
  10. After about 2 logs worth are cut, gently scoop up and allow extra flour to fall away. Plop them one by one into the water and leave them
  11. While they cook put brown butter ghee into a frying pan and lay sage leaves on top. Turn on burner to med-high.
  12. When ghee begins to bubble around the leaves and the gnocchi float to the top of the water, scoop out with a slotted spoon and add to pan.
  13. Let them cook undisturbed until they let go of the pan, then gently toss them and allow to continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
  14. Serve with crispy sage leaves and a sprinkle of sea salt.



My hubby (also a chef)  came home as I was finishing this recipe and voiced his concern about how gluten free gnocchi would turn out. Having already tested it (and a certain two year old stealing most of it) I was quite confident. I told him he could have a bite, which he did, and then he ate the whole bowl. After hearing him praise my work for a little while and an "I told you so" from me, I was very excited to share this. So give it a shot and impress the people in your family. You won't be sorry.                


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