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Bowman O' Connor

Gluten Free, Sauces and Condiments

Low Calorie and Gluten Free Bechamel Sauce

It is finally cold here in North Texas. Ok, I had my down coat on at 50 degrees and it is going to dip into the 30s. This probably is near shorts weather for some of you. I’m a wimp.

The cold makes me want to head to the kitchen and start making pot pies, croque madames, white pizza, roasted cauliflower with a white sauce (very Irish), and mac and cheese: warm, silky comfort foods that leave you satisfied.

Instead of a traditional rich French béchamel sauce, made by whisking hot milk into butter and flour, which makes you want to forget your new year’s resolution of eating more healthily, this version uses cornstarch to thicken flavor-infused low fat milk. The flavor imparted by onion, cloves, carrot, thyme and pepper makes a flavorful, pretty darn good substitute. Low calorie and gluten free!

This is a great little recipe to add to your cooking arsenal.

Low Calorie, Gluten Free Béchamel Sauce

3 cups


3 T    cornstarch

3c     2% milk

1       small onion

2”      piece of carrot, peeled

4″      piece of celery

2       cloves

2       sprigs of thyme (optional)

1       bay leaf

4       peppercorns, whole


medium sauce pan, measuring spoons, measuring cup, slotted spoon


Stick the cloves into the onion. Place the milk, carrot, onion, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to extract the flavors. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out and discard the vegetable pieces. Whisk the cornstarch into another ¼ c milk to get the lumps out. Add to the flavor-infused milk. Raise the heat to medium. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.



Fruit, Snack

Goals and Granola

Breakfast for a new year – Goals and Granola!

On the first of January I found myself making broad resolutions for 2016. You know – write more blogs each week, clean out my kitchen cabinets, learn how to use Adobe Lightroom, read several news outlets daily…

My husband reminds me that, to work, goals need to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.


I really dislike this process and its catchy little acronyms, but he is right. I’m getting out my kitchen timer (see Favorite Kitchen Tool #4 blog) and setting it for 30 minutes to get going on my SMART goals. What are your goals for 2016?

Let’s start at the very beginning. Ok, no more Sound of Music specials.

The fun goal: discussing food! I am done with refined sugar for a while. No more Christmas cake for breakfast. No more cookies and chocolate bourbon balls on the kitchen table.

I love breakfast. That first cup of tea or coffee needs to be hot, not warm, along with something that is flavorful and nurturing. It has to be easy and quick, with minimal clean up. Usually I like a great deal of variety in what I eat, except for weekday breakfasts. I go back and forth between a poached egg on toast, and yogurt with granola that has fruit and occasionally oatmeal, when I remember to start it the night before.

My favorite breakfast or afternoon treat right now is yogurt with granola and berries. I have two favorite granolas: Out of the Blue and Purely Elizabeth. Both have no refined sugar and a fresh balance of whole grains and natural sweeteners.

My favorite Purely Elizabeth granola is the pumpkin, fig, quinoa, amaranth and chia flavor. Pumpkin and fig add a fresh sweetness and depth of flavor that speaks of autumn richness. This is what I grab when I want something sweet in the afternoon.

Out of the Blue is a granola with a cause. The granola is handmade by the women at the Blue Monarch non-profit program in the Tennessee Valley. Sales of the granola supports a successful program that helps women to recover and lead useful lives who have been abused, have addictions or have been in jail. The program has a success rate impressively near 100% for women who complete the program. In each bag of granola you’ll find the story of one of the women who baked it. My favorite, Honey and Oats, is packed with flavor and can be ordered online or found at Whole Foods in Nashville or Chattanooga.

A friend of mine introduced me to this particular combination:

Goals and Granola

serves 1


1/3c           granola – try Out of the Blue or Simply Elizabeth

4oz             yogurt – my current favorite is Siggi’s ginger and orange

1/4 c          raspberries and blueberries


I often drizzle honey on top…Enjoy!




French 75 – the perfect drink


up close champ flute

The perfect celebratory drink to ring in the new year: the French 75. Made with only 4 ingredients,  lemon, gin, simple syrup and champagne. It is simple to make and elegant to drink. This is the perfect balance of floral gin and citrus. Warning: like it’s name sake, it is hard hitting.

Named after a World War I 75 millimeter gun which was the mainstay of the French artillery, the gun was described as “…light, potent with a vicious rate of fire.” The French 75 is said to be the favorite drink of the Lost Generation.

If you make it with cognac or brandy it becomes the King’s Peg.

French 75

1 drink


1 1/2 oz      dry gin (3T)

12 oz.          simple syrup (1T)

12 oz.          fresh squeezed lemon juice

Champagne or a sparkling white wine


Lemon twist, to garnish


champagne flute or tom collins glass (chilled), small sauce pan, a cocktail shaker or large glass with a lid, jigger (a small measuring cup for drinks) or measuring spoons, measuring cup


Put the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, and ice in the cocktail shaker or large glass with a lid.  Cover and shake for 20 seconds.  Strain the liquid into your chilled champagne flute and top off with Champagne.  Add the twist of lemon for garnish.

 Simple syrup:

1c             white sugar

1c              water

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan on a medium heat.  When the sugar melts, bring the pot to a boil for 3 minutes.  Cool.

Happy New Year!





Limoncello – the final decant


After a three month wait to see if my new recipe for limoncello is a winner, today is the day.  I’ve saved a sample from the last two years’ batches to compare. I have to say it is an unqualified success.  Three of us compared the different batches of this lemony, sweet aperitif. Made with less sugar and water than the majority of recipes I’ve read, we all picked this year’s limoncello as the best. The balance of the lemon, the sweetness of the simple syrup with smooth, silky vodka of this year’s limoncello really stood out. The sweetness did not overpower the other flavors. I will definitely use Polar Ice Vodka and Burnett’s Vodka again.

This is really good. Even in a small kitchen it is worth the space and is well worth the time.

Limoncello is simple to make. However, like many a good thing, it takes time to come to fruition. The first two steps in making limoncello the SmallSpaceCooking way can be found at:


And the second step is here:

Limoncello the 2nd step in an earlier blog "Limoncello, Salute!" showing you just how easy it is to make your own It Italian aperitif! #limoncello #lemon #apertif #afterdinnerdrink #vodka #PolarIcevokda #Burnettsvodka #Italian


Appetizer, Bread, Cheese, Gluten Free, Vegetables

Gouda, Sofrito and Habanero Fondue

bread dipped in fondue 20151224-_MG_3574.CR2

Gouda, Sofrito and Habanero Fondue

Do you need a great appetizer, party dip, or something fun for dinner on these cold winter nights? I have just the ticket: Gouda, Sofrito and Habanero Fondue.

Our family tradition on Christmas eve is to sit in front of a roaring wood fire and fix a variety of fondues for dinner. One item on the menu never changes: we take a 8” piece of aged filet that we rub all over with lots of salt and throw on the hot embers below the fire. This year we threw a lobster tail with butter and lemon in the coals too. Both were fantastic. I’ll tell you how to do this in another blog.

Over the years we’ve tried a variety of ingredients for the fondues. One of our favorites is Gouda with Sofrito and Habanero Fondue.

chili prociutto onions 20151224-_MG_3543.CR2

A sofrito is typically a mixture of onions, peppers, ham and garlic. With slight variations, it is the basis of many traditional Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American cooking. The sofrito gives these cuisines a depth of flavor. The bold flavors of the sofrito and hot peppers contrast beautifully with the smooth Gouda.

We make the fondues on the stove in heavy-bottom pots and bring it directly to the table. We don’t use special fondue pots for the cheese fondue. Early in the morning I go to the Village Baking Company, a wonderful boulangerie in Dallas, and pick out rye, multigrain and sourdough loaves. With the filet, lobster, and breads cut into bite-sized pieces, speared on a skewer and dipped in the fondues, the result is a rich, soul satisfying combination of creamy melted cheese, rich beef, briny lobster and the hit of just the right amount of heat. If you want this to be gluten free and/or want to add vegetables, try dipping bell peppers, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes in this creamy, spicy fondue!

Gouda, Sofrito and Habanero Fondue

Serves 4 to 6 for dinner, more as an appetizer


2T          olive oil

½ lb        Gouda cheese, grated

½ lb        Monterey Jack cheese with habanero, grated

1T          cornstarch

4 oz        prosciutto or smoked ham, finely chopped

2             scallions, finely chopped. Use both white and green parts.

1             red bell pepper, finely chopped

1             jalapeno, minced. Use less for less spicy heat

1             garlic clove, minced

1t            fresh oregano, minced or ½ t dried

1t            fresh thyme, minced or ½ t dried

¾ c         lager beer, you can use gluten free beer or ale

1T          cider vinegar



 Medium bowl, grater, heavy bottom medium saucepan or an enameled pot, wooden spoon, measuring cup and spoons.


grated Gouda 20151224-_MG_3537.CR2

Toss cheese and cornstarch together in the medium bowl.

Sauté the prosciutto, scallions, red bell pepper, habanero, garlic, oregano and thyme in the saucepan until the onion is golden. Keep an eye on the garlic so it does not burn.

fondue in the pot 20151224-_MG_3571.CR2

Add the beer and vinegar. Bring the liquid to a simmer then add the cheese a handful at a time, letting each handful melt before adding another.

I use a medium-sized enamel pot and I just leave the fondue in it to serve. If you have a ceramic fondue pot with a candle, use it!

Note: You can use all Gouda cheese and substitute 2t of finely chopped habanero for the jalapeno.

 I serve it with different breads like rye, sourdough, and multigrain. When cutting the bread into bite-sized pieces, try to have every piece have a bit of crust so it is not too soft to dip.

 Be careful when you chop any hot chili. The oil in the chili will stay on your hands even after washing so don’t rub your eyes.