Archive for September, 2009

Kinni-what?

September 22, 2009

Ktoos

I don’t know if you guys have missed Oreo’s since going gluten free, but I surely have!

Oreo’s used to be my go to snack when I was cranky, or PMS-ing or just getting home from school. I loved the smooth creamy centers and the crumbly chocolate cookies. SIGH. I actually had to give my parents two whole packages of them when I did my Great Gluten Cabinet Purge last year. About killed me to get rid of them, but I did and now I feel all the better for it.

There is a recipe for an faux-Oreo cookie in Elizabeth Barbonne’s baking book, but sometimes you don’t feel like expending all that effort just for a darn sandwich cookie you know?? That’s why I’m glad that Keith introduced me to K-Toos (actually called Kinnitoos, but I’m not sure that anyone calls them that). These are essentially gluten-free Oreos and they’re extremely tasty! A wonderful cookie to dunk in milk and munch after work or school. Don’t get carried away and eat the whole pack though, they’re a bit expensive for that. Oh heck….go ahead. 🙂

In Northern VA, you can find these at the Whole Foods in Clarendon and at Healthways in Fairfax. Anyone else love K-Toos?

September 18, 2009

Why why….oh WHY does the news media insist on calling gluten intolerance a gluten ALLERGY? That is not what it is, even though most peeps with gluten intolerance call it that out at restaurants. Restaurant staff respond better to the word “allergy” than they do to “celiac disease” or “intolerance” or “autoimmune disorder”, because “allergy” brings images of swollen airways, anaphylactic shock, and emergency rooms to mind.
This is still a good article, but I hate when writers call it an allergy.  Not an allergy.  AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090915/hl_afp/healthdiseasefoodceliac

Mellow Sunday

September 14, 2009

Today was the most mellow, lazy, ridiculously slow day E-V-E-R. I was pooped from working on Saturday, and woke up this morning feeling unmotivated. Sometime around 3 PM, I started thinking about feeding myself, but all I had the energy for was a fabulous cocktail that I am for SURE going to make again. Here it is, my friends.

The Mellow Sunday

Juice from 1 1/2 lemons

Ice

Simple Syrup*

Grappa/Vodka

1) Squeeze lemons and set juice aside.

2) Make simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of water with 1 cup of raw sugar until sugar is dissolved. This drink only tastes like it’s supposed to if you use raw sugar, not white. Otherwise it’s just, you know, lemonade with vodka 🙂

3) Allow simple syrup to cool until it’s room temp. I threw mine in the fridge in the pot for about 10 minutes.

4) Put ice in glass. Pour in lemon juice, then simple syrup, then a shot of grappa or vodka. YUM.

Enjoy the mellowest of all days of the week.

OH Cake. I love cake.

September 9, 2009

Check out NBC Washington’s website today for an article that I wrote about Occasionally Cake, a new bakery in Alexandria, VA that also has (GASP) gluten free cupcakes! Their grand opening is tonight at 6 PM, come on out.

Occasionally Cakes, Alexandria VA

I made butter. You can too!

September 8, 2009

I know that I’ve extolled the virtues of a Kitchen Aid mixer in the past, but I’m going to do it again. If you don’t want to hear any more about my favorite kitchen appliance, turn away. But I swear, this time is a little different. This time, I made something so commonplace and yet so special, that when I told my friend about this she was duly impressed and also somewhat thrown: I made butter.

When butter is so easy to buy in the store, why make it at home? I know someone is going to ask. The answer is that I had a half pint of cream sitting in my fridge that I knew I was going to throw out if I didn’t use it today. And frankly, I don’t make a lot of things out of cream in my normal life! I had just been thinking about trying to be more self sufficient and making more of my food from scratch (more than I do already, at any rate).

I think that this works best with a stand mixer, if only because you don’t have to stand next to the bowl for this entire process. My mom said that she used to make butter as a kid for my gramma when she would buy milk in bulk from a local farmer (those were the days…you aren’t even allowed to do that anymore legally, as far as I know!), and that she used an electric hand mixer.

This is less of a recipe and more just process. You will need cream (I used organic. Who wants growth hormones in their homemade butter? Not cool!), salt if you want salted butter, and a mixer. Simply whip the cream as though you were making whipped cream, and then let it mix a little longer! You will see it get thicker and yellower, and eventually the butter will seperate from the buttermilk. Thats when you take it out of the mixer bowl and run it under VERY cold water, sort of mooshing it into a ball until the water runs clear. Thats how you know all of the buttermilk is washed out.

I had a blast doing this, and I can’t wait to try out some toast tomorrow morning with homemade gluten free bread, homemade jam, and homemade butter. WOO! 🙂 I feel kind of like a pioneer. If pioneers used bread machines and stand mixers.

Sunrise Granola

September 5, 2009
I’ve really started to hit my stride with gluten free living these days. I don’t mind skipping the bread and bakery section in Whole Foods anymore (mostly), I happily bake my own bread every week, and I’ve been ravaging the farmer’s market most weekends trying to find new tastes and textures. I truly don’t miss the things that used to make me sick, even though I occasionally moan about the perils of eating at restaurants. 
So…when I say “ravaging the farmer’s market”, I thought maybe it would be helpful to give you an example. Just for scale purposes.

 

Hahahaaa oh self! Can we say “over-enthusiastic”?! I couldn’t help myself. I specifically did not go to the grocery store this week so that I could indulge this weekend, so I was dying for new food. Some of this stuff is almost out of season, and I see nothing wrong with overdosing on healthy things like fruit and veggies! The damage list is:

 

3 pints of blackberries
a pint of zucchini blossoms
a pint of baby portobello mushrooms
3 sweet potatoes
one head of red leaf lettuce
one bunch of yellow swiss chard
one pint of raspberries
1/2 lb. of organic beef fajita strips
1 lb organic ground beef
3 peppers
2 tomatoes
5 gala apples

So yeah, we’re going to be eating some delicious things this week! Food porn in 3…..2…..1…..

 

IMG_1489

 

 

I know that fall and winter bring their positives too, but WOW am I going to miss produce like this! I froze some blueberries and cherries when they were in season, I made blackberry raspberry jam, and my mom put up a nice batch of salsa from heirloom tomatoes, which I got to share. So really, summer won’t be over until you run out of the produce you put away!
This morning before my farmer’s market adventure, I woke up entirely too early for no reason and realized I was out of good breakfast foods. And since I had just gotten a huge bag of gluten free oats a few weeks ago, I decided granola needed to happen. I sort of just made it up after looking at a ton of recipes and getting the general idea of what needed to happen. I called it Sunrise Granola, both because of the ridiculously early hour, and because I used golden raisins and dried apricots, which led to a decidedly golden color.

Crunchy. Golden. Completely addictive.

Crunchy. Golden. Completely addictive.

Sunrise Granola
  
2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
1/2 c. toasted chopped or slivered almonds
1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut, shredded
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of salt
scant 1/4 c. safflower or veggie oil
1/2 c. honey
 
1) Mix oats, toasted nuts and coconut in large bowl.
2) Measure oil out and mix into oat mixture.
3) Measure honey out into SAME cup as oil (it will help the honey come out of the measuring cup!). Add to mixture and stir well.
4) Pour mixture into a lined jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides. I lined it with a silpat, but you could use parchment paper also.
5) Bake at 300 F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. You want it to get evenly browned, and you’ll smell it when its getting there!
6) When done, return mixture to bowl and toss with apricots, raisins, cinnamon and salt. Allow to cool. When cool, put into a sealed container. Stores in the fridge indefinitely!
 
Try granola in yogurt or on ice cream too!
 

Loco Locavores

September 4, 2009
As you might have guessed, I’m extremely interested in the locavore (local food) movement these days. I love going to the farmer’s market and scouring Whole Foods for locally produced products, but I’m not going to go all Barbara Kingsolver on you, don’t worry. If I did, I would be down to eating my potted plants, grass and possibly the acorns that are falling all over my car, because Arlington doesn’t actually HAVE farms. Thankfully we do have lots of great producers out in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that truck their amazing produce into the city. But I do think it’s awesome to support small farmers and your local economy. Fight the industrial farming man, man.

I wrote my first piece for NBC Washington’s website this week. AH! Go read about South Mountain Creamery and stay tuned for more columns about local restaurants, farms, and other food related fun. 🙂

Z is for Zebra Stripe Tomatoes

September 3, 2009

Next up: Fried green zebra stripes!

I really wasn’t kidding in my last post about my love of summer produce. I got some Zebra Stripe tomatoes at the market a few weeks ago and just got around to eating them yesterday. OH MAN. I have been drowning in produce and loving every second of it!

Zebra Stripes are a small, green, stripey variety of tomatoes. They were introduced in 1985 and may I just say….they are my new favorites. I’m sorry, Cherokee Purples. You had your time in the spotlight. Zebras are king this year. They have this sweet, almost tangy flavor and actually taste like, you know, tomatoes. Nothing like those nasty mealy factory farmed ones that you find in our now seasonless grocery stores. Folks, do yourselves a favor: Resist the temptation to buy tomatoes out of season. After you get used to eating off off the vine, you won’t be able to go back.

The thing about Zebra Stripes is that when you buy them, they might not be 100% ripe. I bet you’re wondering “But Rosemary, how can you tell if a green stripey tomato is ripe? What are the indicators?” I am so glad you asked. The guy at the farmer’s market pointed out that although the lighter green areas are pale minty green when the fruit is still hard, they turn a brilliant yellow when they ripen up. So what you’ll actually eat is a green and yellow striped fruit. How cool is that?!


This was basically like my version of a sandwich these days. I just chopped up two very ripe Zebra Stripes (which i realize sounds like a TON of tomatoes, but they’re small!), cubed up some yogurt cheese and salami, and let it hang out in it’s own juices for a few minutes with some black pepper. YUM. Sandwich in a bowl. Enjoy, my gluten free friends.

Lovin’ That Summer Produce

September 1, 2009
I LOVE TOMATOES. RAAAR!

I haven’t written nearly enough about how wonderful our produce from the Farmer’s Market has been this summer. But just because I haven’t been writing about it doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying it!

A few weekends ago, I took a jaunt out to my parents house in Harrisonburg, VA and they have the GREATEST Farmer’s Market I’ve been to in a long time. My mom has actually started a bi-monthly old time music jam and local musicians have responded in force! The atmosphere is so great, people are incredibly friendly and willing to talk to you at length about their products, where and how they were grown, heirloom varietals, cooking methods….I could have stayed there chatting all day. However, only having one day with my mom, I bit my tongue and sped by the tables, pausing to pick up pints of glossy blackberries, bags full of plump little green lima beans, bright orange miniature tomatoes and ears of “incredible” sweet corn from an enthusiastic young salesman.

My mom and I cooked for the rest of that afternoon. We made a gorgeous vat of vegetarian chili started with a base of homegrown heirloom tomatoes. What’s not to love? Keith’s sister went to the Cape that week, leaving behind a few pints of farmers market raspberries that she gifted to me. I brought them along and my mother, genius that she is, suggested that I make some blackberry raspberry jam. GENIUS, I say. The raspberries really brightened up the rich blackberry flavor and also, i got to water bath my jars of jam. YAY. So fun.

Finally, while we were making dinner, I made fresh peach Bellini’s. OH BABY. You need this in your life. And since we are smack in the middle of peach season, you’re going to make the best Bellini’s you’ll make all year! Make sure you only pick the ripest peaches for this or it won’t be sweet enough.


yum.yum.yum.yum.yum.yum.yum.

Farmer’s Market Peach Bellinis

4 medium sized ripe yellow peaches
1 bottle champagne or Prosecco (I used Prosecco, very reasonably priced, from Trader Joes)

1) Pit, peel and chop up your 4 peaches and liquefy them in the blender. Sweeten slightly with a dollop of honey if the peaches aren’t perfectly ripe.
2) Pour puree into champagne flutes or wine glasses and top with champagne or prosecco. Stir with cocktail stirrer. Should make approximately 4-6 drinks.
3) You can also shake this in a cocktail shaker, but that could make the champagne flat. Up to you!