Archive for July, 2009

Gap jeans giveaway!

July 28, 2009

Hey friends! I’m about to take off for a few days to my favorite music festival. You may have seen me mention it, oh, a thousand times. Like here. And here. And probably one hundred and twenty five other places. Wheeeee, it’s here! I’m so excited. My friend Rita, who came up with this delicious soup, will finally be coming this year after an absence of what….4 years maybe? YIKES. I’m so glad that she’s coming, I’ve missed her and her wise words so much.

Anyway, no recipes today. My mind and body have been busy with our office move, which is officially over after today, and I’ve been eating frozen Amy’s mac and cheese and picking through my fridge of leftovers (although I did come up with a bomb ass alfredo sauce one night, which I’ll post another time. YUM).

I wanted to direct you all to my friend Betsy’s blog, www.joeandbetsy.com, where she is giving away a free pair of GAP jeans! W00! Leave her a comment explaining why you want and/or need new jeans, and she will enter you in the drawing. Contest ends tonight at 10PM, so hurry up!

Everyone have a fantastic week. I’ll see ya on the other side.

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Blue Cheese: Canada says I can haz it.

July 22, 2009

Ok, I know that isn’t very exciting. MAYBE blue cheese is gluten free?? I know you all want your hot wings with celery and blue cheese. I know i do, anyway.

However, go check out the article at Serious Eats, called “Serious Cheese: Is Blue Cheese Gluten Free?”. The article explains why Celiac patients typically avoid blue cheese and the historical means of making it (in caves, apparently). The author discusses the findings in a study by the Canadian Celiac Association. Very interesting read!

In light of this (and since keith and I have a large amount of actual gluten free blue chese to use up!) I am going to try out a homemade blue cheese dressing. I’ll let you know how it goes, hopefully by Friday.

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Rhubarb Compote…a summer jewel.

July 22, 2009

Sometimes I get a little overambitious at the farmer’s market. It’s sunny and warm, there’s a big crowd of kids, dogs, and overexcited people, and I can smell the ripe warm smell of peaches, crisp melons, and soft heirloom tomatoes. The farmer’s market is a little like foodie crack, and I’m jonesing for more.

Take, for instance, last weekend. I am buying food for one (because Keith isn’t huge on fruit…what?), and I came home with 6 stalks of rhubarb, a pint of cherries, a cantelope, plums, and 3 heirloom tomatoes. And I already had a zuchinni and 4 ears of corn in the fridge that I hadn’t tackled yet. This, my friends, is a lot of food for one little girl. Especially one that doesn’t feel like cooking or making anything more complicated than a ham sandwich right now. This is my main problem at the farmer’s market…everything looks so good that I feel like i can’t buy just one of anything.

However, ever since I made this rhubarb pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about rhubarb. I was drifting off during work related conference calls, putting the phone on mute and looking up compotes, jams, jellies, savory recipes, crisps, crumbles and ice creams. I was a teensy bit obsessed. I mean, this is one versatile vegetable (Yes, it’s actually a vegetable. Crazy right? Kind of like a tomato technically being a fruit, I guess). You can do so many things with it, I got a little lost in the options.

Well, because of my procrastination, the rhubarb eventually became distinctly less crispy looking and more shriveled, until I decided that it was the kinder thing to put it out of it’s misery. I looked for a recipe for a rhubarb cherry compote, but couldn’t find one that didn’t involve cherry pie filling or cherry Jello (seriously, folks? What did rhubarb ever do to you? Why do you punish it so?).

I made up my own recipe based on one I saw on Epicurious. Rhubarb is so cool, because when you stew it, which is basically what I did, it literally just melts into this mass of red juice and threads of fruit. It is so delicious. I’ve been eating this on practically everything: stirred into my greek yogurt, spread on toast, and liberally applied to gluten free scones. Other commentors suggested it over ice cream, cake and with an English custard. YUM. The English custard idea is really one that I may have to try out very soon. The compote is sweet, but with a nice tart bite that makes you pay attention. And try it warm…it’s killer.

Rhubarb Cherry Compote
Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

6 medium stalks of rhubarb, washed
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar (plus more to taste)
1/4 c. water

1) Slice rhubarb into 1 inch pieces. Roughly chop cherries.

2) Put fruit into a heavy bottomed saucepan. I used a Dutch oven. Pour in sugar and stir. Leave out for 2 hours at room temperature, stirring occasionally. This will let out a ton of juice and reduce the amount of water you would normally have to add to get the mixture wet enough to boil.

3) Heat fruit in pan over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. If it looks dry, add a little water until you have a thick, pie filling like consistency. Keep refrigerated in sealed container.

According to the recipe on Epicurious, this should last in the fridge for approximately 1-2 weeks.

Gluten Free Girl’s Lemon Olive Oil Cookies

July 13, 2009

As much as I want to try to improve my writing to be more eloquent, more interesting, more gosh darned food blogger-y, it will have to wait till next time. I’m really exhausted from work and the heat this evening, but still felt compelled to share something with you all. Fortunately, I have a few spare recipes that I’ve tried but not blogged yet. I’m feeling very strategery (and clearly missing Will Ferrell’s imitations of GW Bush today.)

Anyway, as I was pottering about in Del Ray a few months ago, I went into Cheesetique, a local cheese and wine bar carrying about…i don’t know, maybe 200 kinds of cheese? I mean really, there’s a whole fridge dedicated to goat cheese alone. This is my kind of store.

The other reason this place is nifty is that they have all kinds of oils, vinegars, crackers, snacks; essentially anything that you might need with cheese or wine, they have it. They even have some gluten free crispy crackers (granted, they’re like 7 dollars per box…owch). And it was in this foodie mecca, browsing through the 55 different kinds of olive oil, that I stumbled across a gem: Cobram Estate lemon twist olive oil. I can haz dat. yesh, I knows it costz bewcewp dawllars. oh wellz. must haz glooten free gurls lemun oliv oyl cookys. (I told you I was tired. The sad thing is that that is how my inner monologue actually sounded when I saw the bottle. I need to get off the internet.)

I bought the bottle, even though Keith was horrified that I spent 18 dollars on a bottle of olive oil. A small one. Oh well. The cookies were worth it. And I’ve actually used this olive oil in a couple of vinaigrette’s which have been outstanding. The lemon flavor is quite subtle but distinctly there, if you know what I mean. If not…sorry. That’s all I’ve got tonight.

These cookies were great. The only difference between my version and Shauna’s is that I rolled my dough balls in demerarra sugar instead of regular. The finished cookies turned out soft with a sugar crunch on the outside. MM. I love differences in texture, so these were a treat!

Gluten Free Girl’s Lemon Olive Oil Cookies
originally posted at Gluten Free Girl

1/4 cup plain, nonfat yogurt or sour cream (I used yogurt)
1/4 cup lemon olive oil (or the best quality olive oil you can afford)
1 egg
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 half cup white rice flour (I subbed sweet white rice flour)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup fresh ground almond meal
1/2 cup demerara (raw) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

1) Preheat the oven to 350°.

2) Combine the yogurt and olive oil. Stir in the egg, lemon juice and zest until well incorporated.

3)Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly, fold the wet ingredients into the dry. The dough will be extremely sticky.

4) Roll small balls from the dough and roll each ball in the raw sugar. I found that wetting my hands slightly helped the dough not to stick as I was rolling them. Place on a baking sheet covered with a silpat, or a layer of parchment paper.

5) Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will still seem soft, but with a slight crust. Let them sit on the baking sheet, on the top of the oven, for about five minutes. This will let them come to the right consistency. Cool completely before eating.

I really really liked these. There was something sort of mysterious and exotic about them. Next time I make these, I am going to try adding something to them like sliced almonds or dried blueberries. MMMMM.

CC Cookies on the Cape

July 11, 2009

I really wish that I were a more descriptive writer so that I could convey just what a unique experience I had on my trip to Cape Cod. Well, unique in the sense that I’ve never been in a place like that…not really like I’m the only one who’s ever been. 🙂

I’ve always wanted to go to Massachusetts, and coincidentally, Keith’s family has a house on Cape Cod. Wait, I forgot: I don’t believe in coincidences! It must have been destiny. Yeah, that’s more believeable.
Being the generous soul that he is, my man invited me to the Cape for the Fourth of July weekend. Yay! Road trip! Yeah that’s right…we drove to Cape Cod from DC. And yes, I did take pictures like this for quite a while. I’m glad Keith knows how to drive on the Bronx Expressway and take goofy pictures simultaneously. There’s that destiny thing again, because if I was driving and he tried to do this to me, I would have a panic attack.

We finally made it up after about 8 hours in the car, during which we sang to the Beatles, stopped to walk the dog (we shuttled his sister’s Golden Retriever up with us. He was very good, other than giving us pitiful looks from the back seat), and ate turkey sandwiches which we (read: Keith) toasted bread for by slipping into a McDonalds and holding a toaster on his knee as he stood by the bathrooms. Ahhhhh gluten free living. Just wouldn’t be a road trip if you didn’t have to explain why you are holding a toaster in a hallway to a staring bathroom user.

This is his “But HOW can you resist me?!” face
I would love to describe the whole trip, but it was long. Let me say that the highlights for me were having whole lobsters with potato chips and vodka tonics our first night at the house, and then lobster rolls the second night. I won’t even expound upon the incredibleness of Janet’s 95% gluten free kitchen (John gets a very small counter with his own toaster. She is a benevolant ruler!), getting Four Seas ice cream, or the awesome array of burgers on our 4th of July picnic.

What really stuck with me when I got home were the chocolate chip cookies. One day, Keith and I woke up (very late) to a crash in the kitchen. Apparently, the sisters were baking glutinous chocolate chip cookies, and the golden retriever caused a collision, thereby earning himself a treat (albeit a hairy, drool covered one). I walked out into the chaos and asked if these were gluten free. Although they weren’t, Janet reached into the freezer and pulled out a Ziploc bag of cookie dough balls. “These are!” It was like Christmas! 🙂
It’s a good thing that Keith and I had to walk the dogs and thus, ourselves. We ate so many delicious rich things that I’ll be shocked if I didnt move up a pant size. Janets cookies were the first homemade chocolate chip cookies that I’d had that really tasted like the real thing. My previous efforts were put to shame, and I’m sorry to say that Ginger Lemon Girl’s cookies have been replaced.
I tried to replicate hers when I got home, but they weren’t exactly the same. Nevertheless, this recipe will do very nicely until I get Janet to give up her version. And if this looks familiar, it is the Nestle Tollhouse recipe gussied up and gluten free. Why? Because they are, and will always be, the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.
Almost Cape Cod Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour mix*

1/4 cup almond meal

2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 c. butter flavored shortening**

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chips (I previously said that these were Godiva chips! My mistake.)

1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

2) Whisk together dry ingredients minus sugars. Set aside.

3) Cream butter, shortening and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.

4) Add dry ingredients to wet slowly until completely combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

5) Chill dough, covered, for at least one hour.

6) Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to cooling racks.

Notes

– I found that these cookies were best enjoyed when thoroughly cooled, otherwise they were a little too soft to handle.

– These make a pretty large batch. I baked a sheet of 12 and then froze the rest. Just line your baking sheet, roll teaspoons of batter into balls, and then freeze them in batches. Store in a Ziploc and bake whenever you’d like a nummy cookie! Really convenient.

*Flour Mix
1 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup white rice flour

3/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup potato starch

**In terms of using the shortening, I like doing this because the cookies don’t seem to spread as much using part shortening and part butter. That’s just my preference. As far as I know, Janet uses all butter and hers are excellent. Use what you like!

Crepes. Oh yes.

July 2, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my friend Amy and missing our Sunday brunches in Georgetown. We would wake up around 11:30 then make our way to Cafe Napoleon for crepes slathered in Nutella and strawberries and astoundingly velvety cappuccinos before shopping all afternoon at our favorite vintage store, Annie Creamcheese. Damn, I miss those crepes. I’m probably thinner for not eating them, but there you are. I had to have some!
However: tonight began with a truly terrible batch of gluten free crepes.

Crepe Fail

This fundamentally saddened me, because I had been waiting to use my new crepe pan for about 3 months or so now. I’ve been admiring it from every angle, looking at the pretty non-stick finish, imagining gorgeous crepes flying off it onto my friend’s plates. They would think I was a genius. I mean, who makes homemade crepes in my group of friends? Approximately….nobody. The whole reason I bought said pan was because of the recipe that I tried first thing this evening. It was awful. AWFUL. I might not like quinoa flour, for the record.

Crepe Success!

Fortunately, my crepe experience was saved! I tweaked and fiddled and finally came up with a great combo of taste and texture. These puppies remind me SO much of the gluten-y version, I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference. I think next time, I’ll replace the water with Calvados and see how that goes down 🙂

TIPS:

This is my first time making gluten free crepes, so I noticed some behavioral differences with the batter.

*I know it’s hard, but let the crepes cool before you eat them. They come out of the pan crispy, but as they cool they get elastic and soft. And amazing. Did I mention these are amazing?

*You’ll know to flip them when the edges are curling away from the hot pan and feel crispy.

Next time, Nutella!

Sunday Morning Gluten Free Crepes

1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, melted

1) Combine dry ingredients. Set aside.

2) Whisk together milk and eggs. Add melted butter and whisk until combined.

3) Add milk mixture to blender first, then dry. Blend together until combined. Add water and stir/blend for approximately one minute. Let mixture rest covered for 30 minutes at room temperature.

4) Cook crepes in shallow pan on medium heat until edges are crispy and curling away from pan. Flip, cook for additional minute, then turn onto plate. Let rest for approximately 5 minutes before eating. Fill with fruit, chocolate, whipped cream, jam, or anything else that you fancy!