Category Archives: Snacks

GF: Pao de quejo (aka “Brazilian Cheese Bread”)

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GF:Pao de quejo, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I have to admit this. I love Brazilian Cheese Bread – but I really am working hard to save some money for us. So buying the different mixes is completely out. It’s been a long time since we’ve purchased the mixes. But, I’ve rather missed the quick and easy cheesy bread balls. Soo… I decided to try to make my own.

I think you will agree that the recipe isn’t complicated. The things required beyond the dry ingredients (eggs, cheese, butter and seasoning) are about the same as what is required from the mix you can buy. But this time, you can vary it enough for your own tastes and not worry running out to get the mix or spending the money for it!

I suppose one reason why this is easy for me is because I *always* have tapioca flour (same as tapioca starch or tapioca starch flour) on hand for my baking. I like the texture that it gives baked goods and it is cheap to buy (especially at the local Asian markets).

On New Year’s Day, I made a batch of these cheesy biscuits for my parents who had never had them before. As the bread baked, I laid out the leftover Jalapeño Popper dip, some ham and turkey slices, some sprouts and spinach, some cucumber slices etc. Basically whatever would make for great sandwich fixings. None of us were too hungry (we had a late lunch) but we could all stand to nosh on something – so this was perfect.

And let me just say this: This cheesy bread + jalapeño popper dip + cucumber slices is like HEAVEN in mini-sandwich form. My husband told me that his favorite was definitely the same but with ham in lieu of the cucumber slices because it reminded him of Jalapeño-Cheddar bread that we so adore. But heck! That bread takes an hour – and this took 15 minutes!

Okay… enough of my prattle. Here’s the recipe. We’re off to make Jambalaya for dinner… and I think I’m going to make some of these to accompany it as well. I just can’t get enough of them.

OH WAIT! I forgot to tell you something else important. You can EASILY adjust the seasonings to make this as a pizza crust (or pizza flavored sandwich bread, etc), or whatever. We used dried chives and dill to make it perfectly delish for us/our purposes. What seasoning will you use?

Gluten Free Pao de Quejo ~ Brazilian Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch)
2 cups shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons dried chives


  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  3. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. (Almost make them in to small disks, if you want them to look like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  4. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with sandwich fixings or your favorite soup.



Last night we made our favorite potato pizza for the first time in a VERY long time.  The toppings are heavy so my usual pizza crusts (this one and this one) don’t really hold up to the weight of the toppings.  So.. last night I made this recipe.  I doubled it (for two pizza crusts) and only used 2 cups of shredded cheese.  (We were putting more cheese on top… so why kill ourselves with even MORE? LOL)  I formed the crusts by rolling it out on parchment paper.  Then I prebaked the crust alone for about 15 minutes on a preheated pizza stone.  We used one crust for potato pizza and the other for regular cheese pizza.  It was a HUGE hit with our two non-gluten free pizza fans.  This was their first gluten free pizza – and they were happily munching away.  😀  Hooray!

Gluten Free: Jalapeño-Popper Dip

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Gluten Free: Jalapeño-Popper Dip, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Okay…. so I’ve been on a baking and cooking spree lately. I swear my Mom inspires me to get things moving and done – I’m so glad she and my Dad have been here for Christmas/New Year’s with us! We – especially Zoe – is SO lucky to have time with them. It’s been great!

In the last two weeks, I’ve been making flat breads, poppy seed bread, the best gingersnap cookies (rivaling my grandma’s I’ve been told!), some killer rolled sponge cake (comes together SO fast, I made it for our dinner party last night AFTER everyone ate!), and my own version of Chebe bread – or “Pao de quejo”. Really, I’ve saved myself some serious cash not buying mixes this winter even though at first, I was quite tempted. My energy is coming back now, which is quite helpful! (I’ve been sick for several weeks without the energy to do much at all. It’s nice to be pulled back in to the kitchen.)

On New Year’s Eve, my Chicklet was baptized at a family home with her “Aunt Molly” (really, my sister’s sister-in-law, if you follow that) who is a Pastor. It was so much fun. We got together for dinner, games, etc. My mom and I were in charge of dips and appetizers. Between the two of us, we brought several dips and quite a few other munchies. Oh, it was fun. But as usual, I made a HUGE amount of food and we ended up using this dip for sandwiches on Pao-de-quejo (cheese bread/”Chebe” bread) the next day…. and finally finished eating at our “Leftover Smash” dinner party last night. (We served tortilla soup and everyone brought their leftovers to share… LOL – it was great fun and now we’ve all gotten rid of whatever needed to be eaten. Perfect!)

I’m going to share this dip recipe as I think it will become part of the traditional rounds in the family. It’s perfect – and will surely make it to the next SuperBowl Party in February. Since I made WAY too much, I’m listing the recipe as HALF of what I made. So, don’t be afraid that you will have to throw your own Leftover Smash, unless you want to, of course. :)

Gluten Free Jalapeño – Popper Dip
8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (or whip your own to make it lighter)
4 ounces fire-roasted, diced green chiles
2 ounces (or more) diced jalapeño
1 – 2 cloves of crushed, minced garlic (or more, to taste)
1 Tablespoon Pasilla Chile Powder (less if you are using regular chile powder! Pasilla is much less hot)
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dried green onion


  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Taste! Adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Set in refrigerator for at least an hour (if you have the time) for the flavors to really come together.
  4. Stir and serve.

Serve with Gluten-free bread/crackers or corn chips. (We even loved it on the veggies from the veggie tray!)


A gluten free, simple fig chutney

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GF:Simple Fig Chutney, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Sometimes the easiest recipes yield the best results. The other day I found fresh figs in our market. It seemed kind of strange to me that I found them as i had seen figs in the late summer and October… but heck – who was I to argue! It was fig time – and it was perfect timing. Nothing beats the versatility of a great fig chutney in the kitchen.

We use this simple chutney with cheese/crackers, on meats, etc – even adding a few tablespoons to a marinade that we brushed on before making some pork chop the other night. OH – delicious! And simple!

The recipe is also super easy to adapt. You can add ginger or carmelized onions, or cloves, etc to change up the flavors of your fig chutnet. We used just the figs this time around as we have been altering the flavor of the chutney POST creation. We’ve added couple tablespoons with a squirt of dijon mustard and mixed it together to make a sandwich spread…….. we’ve added this basic chutney plus some sherry to make a great au jus for some pork chops (and it’s delicious with chicken too… I might add), etc. The possibilites are limited only by your mind, that’s for sure.

The Chicklet has been delighting in “dipping” her foods (mostly her fingers…LOL) in to everything she eats these days, so we’ve been obliging her developing taste buds with a wide variety of goodies to dip in to. Most kids I know go straight for the sweet stuff… but not my little imp. She definitely prefers the savory. So she’s enjoyed this mixed with dijon mustard more frequently than just eating it plain. I think it’s too sweet for her.

That sweetness comes mainly from the figs themselves. The recipe calls for little sugar, in comparison to how many figs (2 pounds) I used. I tasted the figs prior to cooking, so I knew they were already sweet enough. Be sure to taste your figs too, before cooking. That way you can adjust your sweetness level to your preference.

Next up on the order of business for the Chicklet and I: Making some Christmas Cookies together. I think we will start with these roll out cookies and move on to a recipe that a student of mine just gave me for Molassess Crinkles. (I can’t wait to try them… they sound fabulous!).

My in-laws are coming in town next week too. It will be the first time they have been able to come to see the Chicklet. I can’t wait for them to meet her! I so know they will fall in love with her as we have as well. She’s quite the little dreamboat, I tell ya.

What are you plans before the Holidays?
Are there any recipes you are seeking?
Please leave a comment and let me know!
I’m ready to get back to creating and exploring in the ktichen. And now the Chicklet is DYING to mix, stir, scrunch, smoosh, and help out in any way she can. The sound of the mixer is like music to her ears – she comes running and wants to cook along with me.


Anyway.. enough of my prattling along…. here’s the basic recipe for Fig Chutney that we use. Adapt it and use it as you will. (It’s great with ginger!)

Simple Fig Chutney – the basic recipe
Makes 4 pint jars + a little for munching

2 pounds fresh figs, cleaned, stemmed and halved
2 cups red wine vinegar
2/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of water


  1. Put liquid into a non-reactive, large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add figs (cleaned, stemmed and halved) and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer on low – partially covered – for an hour. The figs will reduce to become deep and smooth. The consistency will be thick, but not dense nor dry. (It will thicken up as it cools.)
  5. Can according to your canning instructions – or store in jars in the refrigerator.

(We’ve always canned these and given the extras away as gifts to neighbors and friends…. so i can’t tell you how long an “uncanned” jar of chutney will last in the fridge. Maybe 3 weeks or so?)

Happy eating!