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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gluten-Free Tourtière

I always enjoy tourtière over Christmas, but it’s not a good menu choice for those with gluten intolerance. Even if they don’t eat the pastry, there’s no guarantee that the filling is gluten free. So I put together my own recipe. The bottom crust is a bit more crumbly than I’d like—I may try adding an egg next time, in which case I’ll update the recipe.

Corn Flake Crust

4 cups gluten-free corn flakes, finely crushed
½ cup butter, melted

Combine and press into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie pan with a fork. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Let cool.


½ pound lean ground beef
½ pound lean ground pork
½ cup apple sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
black pepper to taste

Fry together beef and pork until light brown. Drain well (even “lean” ground meat is full of fat). Return to pan and add apple sauce and spices. Return to heat and continue to stir for another few minutes, until well-browned. Spoon filling into pie crust.

Upper Crust

3 cups mashed potatoes (made from instant is fine), thinned down with a little milk

Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Makes one 8-inch tourtière / 4 large or 6 medium servings

If you want to freeze this for later use, don’t add the mashed potatoes until you want to heat it for serving.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hot Buttered Maple Whiskey

When we were in Lincoln, New Hampshire, this fall, we ate at a place called Black Mountain Burger Co. Their burgers are great, by the way, especially the bacon brie burger, but what enticed me in the door was the Hot Buttered Maple Whiskey (or some combination of those words) on their menu board. I had one. It was delicious. This is not that drink—I asked, but they weren’t giving out the recipe—it’s my attempt to recreate it at home. Mine’s not the same, but it’s still pretty good, especially on a cold night.

2 teaspoons maple sugar
2 ounces hot water
3 ounces coffee cream (10%)
1 tablespoon butter
2 ounces maple flavoured bourbon*
sprinkle nutmeg
whipped cream (optional)

In a microwaveable mug, stir together the maple sugar and hot water. Add the cream and butter and microwave on high until the butter melts. Add bourbon. Top with whipped cream if desired. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

*Two ounces makes a potent drink. You can cut back a bit on the alcohol if you prefer. If you can’t find maple flavoured bourbon, add an extra teaspoon of maple sugar and substitute your preferred whiskey.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Home Schooling in the Kitchen: Time and Money Budgets

Some of my recipes are designed to be quick and easy. That generally means using already processed ingredients. While that can save time, it doesn’t necessarily save money. I’m thinking specifically of my recipe for Hearty Meatball Stew, which uses all pre-made ingredients. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Have your kids make the recipe on two separate occasions. The first time, have them make it as written, leaving out the frozen peas. The second time, have them make it from fresh ingredients. You can still use powdered gravy mix (soup stock from scratch takes a long time), but have them buy potatoes and carrots that they have to wash, peel and cut up themselves. Also, have them use a pound of lean ground beef, and form it into small meatballs (you want to make sure they’ll cook through). If they prefer larger meat balls, they’ll have to fry them up before adding them to the slow cooker.

Both times, have them keep track of how much time it takes to put together (don’t count the actual cooking time, as it will be the same), and how much the ingredients cost. Then they can answer the following questions:

Which version took longer to put together?
Which version cost more?
Which version did they think tasted better?

Which version do they think is healthier? Why?

Hearty Meatball Stew

Mix the ingredients together in the morning, and dinner’s ready when you get home. Just add a salad and crusty rolls. This one’s easy enough most kids can put it together, as long as they’re old enough to boil a kettle.

- 3/4 c. powdered brown gravy mix (enough to make up 6 cups of gravy)
- 6 cups water
- dash Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lb package of washed and peeled small potatoes
- 1 lb package of carrot chips
- 24 frozen meatballs
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

1.         Boil the water and pour it into a 4 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle the gravy mix on top and whisk in.
2.         Add Worcestershire sauce, potatoes, carrot chips and meatballs.
3.         Set cooker to high and cook for a minimum of 6 hours.
4.         Thirty minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas. Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cider Cake

Found this recipe in the Canadian Farm Cookbook (copyright 1911), submitted by a Mrs. L.E. Jarvis of Vittoria, Ontario. I didn’t know what to expect, as there was no description, or indeed instructions, just the ingredient list. However, since I had all the ingredients on hand except the cider, and that was easy to come by, I thought I’d give it a try. It’s actually quite good. Not only can you have it put together and baked in less than 45 minutes, but it forms a syrupy, jelly-like layer on the bottom that makes it something special.

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup cider (alcoholic)
1 egg
1 teaspoon saleratus*
1 tablespoon butter

The first challenge was figuring out what saleratus was. Since the recipe also includes an acid liquid (the cider) I figured I could use baking soda, which worked nicely. I assumed standard cake mixing procedure would work, so combined the flour, sugar and baking soda, then added a tablespoon of oil for the butter (with only one tablespoon, it didn’t seem likely that I should cream it with the sugar). Last I poured in the cider. The mixture foamed up quite a bit, which is usual with acid liquid/baking soda combinations. I then poured the batter, which was quite thin, into a greased 8 inch square pan and baked it at 350°F for 30 minutes.

I suspect putting some sliced apples in the bottom of the pan before adding the batter would be a nice addition. Maybe a bit of cinnamon in with the flour would be good, also.

* use baking soda