Thursday, August 23

A Gluten Free Chocolate Madeleine for Fall

Can it be that Summer is coming to an end?  Where did it go?  Are the leaves of my geranium already turning red?  Are those flecks of gold I see on the green mountain side?  No, they can't be . . .   Yet there is a definite chill in the morning air now, and I find myself waking under the layers of blankets which, just two weeks ago, were kicked onto the floor.

I lost myself in melancholy this morning as I drove away from Connor's school after dropping him off for his second day of first grade.  Like the strawberry popsicles my kids enjoyed so much in July, summer is gone before we've finished.  Melted away under the hot, late August sun.  We are racing headlong into fall, but I'm not ready for summer to end.

My Sweet Eve will start preschool in just a few weeks - can you believe it? - but that doesn't mean we will forgo our traditional Tuesday mother-daughter dates.  On the contrary, they will become all the more precious.

You may remember me telling you about our coffee dates, and the special treat that went along with them.  Well, in the spirit fall, and of changing seasons, changing leaves, changing schedules, I decided to revisit my old Madeleine recipe and change it into an all new Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Chocolate Madeleine for the year ahead.  Nothing like a good dose of chocolate to cure a bad case of melancholia.  Of course, I'll still make her favourite Raspberry Madeleines, but it's nice to have a little variety.  Who knows, maybe someday I'll combine the two and create a Raspberry Chocolate Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Madeleine.  Now that's an idea!

These Madeleines are deep dark and rich, like a gâteau au chocolat.  And only slightly sweet because, you know me, I don't like my desserts saccharinely sweet.  Feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of sugar if you like it sweeter.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15

Bon Anniversaire, Julia

The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken.  Bon appétit.
-Julia Child

Monday, August 13

A Summer Vegetable Lasagne

What do you do when you leave the Farmers' Market with your shopping bags stuffed full of gorgeous, seasonal, farm-fresh vegetables and no plan on how to use them all?  You make Eggplant and Summer Squash Lasagne and Provençal Vegetable Tian, of course.

Ahhh . . . the lasagne.  All the fresh and sunny flavours of summer in one sinfully creamy dish.  Layers of summer vegetables; sheets of chewy lasagne;  melted, oozy Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses; and a creamy, garlicky, lemon béchamel sauce to hold it all together.

Yes, I'm supposed to be taking some time off, but I just had to share this recipe with you, really quickly.

More on the Vegetable Tian later . . .

Wednesday, August 8

Celebrations & Thanks

It's been a very exciting week here.  My sweet boy turned six last week, and on the same day my husband and I attended the wedding of two dear friends.  Since Mommy and Daddy were at the wedding on his birthday, Connor got to have two birthday parties.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.  He had only one request: Spiderman Cupcakes. 

Additionally, today marks the first anniversary of Peanut Butter, Passports, and Epinephrine!  I can't believe how much this little blog of mine has grown and blossomed over the last year.  More than I ever imagined.  And it's all because of you!  I couldn't have asked for better readers.  Thank you all for taking a little time to share your lives with me.  I can't express how much I love reading all your kind comments, words of encouragement, and suggestions. 

In the spirit of celebration, I'm taking two weeks off to rest, travel, and play with my little ones before they start school.   Here's a preview of what's coming next.  I shared these Gluten Free Chocolate Madeleines with you on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I can't wait to share the recipe with you here as soon as I return.

I'm also beginning work on an exciting project that I hope to be able to tell you about soon!  In the meantime, here's a look back at the top five most popular recipes from last year. 

The all time most popular post has been these Gluten-Free Banana Oatmeal Muffins.  I love to make a batch of these on Sunday and keep them in the fridge for a quick breakfast before I take the kids to school.

My Coconut, Lime, and Quinoa Fish Stew was the next most popular, which surprised me.  Don't get me wrong, this Fish Stew is absolutely delicious, but I expected the dessert recipes to be more popular.  This is the perfect way to introduce your kids to quinoa.  This stew is light, bright, and a little sweet.  A great meal for summertime, or any time you want to brighten your evening.

This Banana Brown Bread received great reviews, and it's the only way I make Banana Bread anymore.  I just love the rich taste of molasses with the fruity bananas.  A perfect marriage.

As far a Slow Cooker recipes go,  Herbed Chicken and Artichokes  was by far the most popular.  Warm, exotic, and so easy, this is truly a family favourite.

I'm so glad this one made the list because, honestly, if I had to choose one meal to be my last, this would be it.  Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbes de Provence and Five Spice Root Vegetables is my go to comfort food.  I could eat it every day of the week.

I hope you are all enjoying these final days of summer.  I can't wait to share the next year with you and I'm looking forward to what it has in store for us!

Wednesday, August 1

Slow Cooker Corsican Chicken

I'm always a little hesitant to cook chicken in the crock pot.  If you're not very careful, it drys out and becomes chalky and completely unappetizing.  So I was a little worried when I came across this recipe for Corsican Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Michele Scicolone's book, The French Slow Cooker.  However, the roasted peppers with sun-dried tomatoes drew me in.  With two of my favourite flavors, how could it be bad?

I was having guests Saturday evening, so I took my time on this recipe.  This is how I love to cook - slowly, leisurely throughout the day, until at last the meal is ready.   Does this defeat the purpose of the crock pot?  Maybe.  But if I could, I'd cook like this everyday.

The original recipe calls for four pounds of chicken pieces and half a cup of chicken stock.  So I started with a whole, pastured chicken weighing nearly four pounds.  Early in the morning I cut the chicken into eight pieces, and set the carcass in a stock pot of cold water with a splash of vinegar to soak for 30 minutes, before I started the stock which I would use later. 

The stock simmered slowly for three hours, filling to house with ethereal, healing steam, before it was time to start the chicken.  In the meantime, I roasted my bell peppers.  One orange, one red - using the same method I do when making my Roasted Red Pepper Soup.  Oh, how delightful the house smelled when I was done!

When it was time to collect all the ingredients in the slow cooker, I simple dipped out some of the stock from the simmering pot, letting the rest simmer well into the night.

Beware.  Preparing this Corsican Chicken my way takes all day.  So, if you're like me, and enjoy working on a project gradually and unhurried throughout the day - a little bit here, a little there - this recipe's for you.  If not, you can always use a cut-up chicken, boxed stock, and jarred roasted red peppers.  Either way, with a good bottle of Pinot Noir, this meal is sure to please.