Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good Broth

A Good Broth feeds the soul.  It is so much more than stock.  It's the go-to for illness and fatigue.  It's warmth and comfort.  It's scraps and ends transmogrified into glory.  Knowing that rubbish cures the common cold brings a smile to my face.  Other people throw away chicken bones and soggy celery.  I seize them like treasure.  After hours bubbling away in the stock pot, I savor the expressions of those savoring the broth.  I relish the assurances that I've created something amazing and healing.  I boiled up bones!  That was it.  Nothing remarkable.

The Cottage now smells amazing.  The scent lingers long into the night.  I make stock often enough that from October to May, the house never quite loses the note.  With any luck, this particular batch will comfort the colds the boys suffer with now.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coconut Sugar?

Here at the Cottage, I've decided to cut back on the sugar for all of us.  I, myself, went sugar free months ago, excepting when out socially.  Now, we are on the last bag of sugar for the other family members.  It's going very slowly, since I'm not using it.  When it's gone, it's gone.  After that, I'll be trying out other options.  The first on my list will be coconut sugar.  I don't know if it will make acceptable home made cookies.  I am making very few gluten-free versions of foods that might use any sugar.  We've moved in different directions, and it may be easier to go without.  We'll see which new approach works best for us.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Successful Amaranth Flat Bread Wrap

I have a few tweaks to make before I have the final recipe.  However, I did it; I made a gluten free flat bread.  I made a wrap sandwich with it.  It was great.  I couldn't believe it.  It took inspiration, unusual technique and boldness.  I can't imagine too many others have stumbled on what I did.  I'm so impressed with my innovation, that I don't quite know if I want to post my recipe here for free.  I may hold back and publish it otherwise.

I was amazed to discover I had a use for amaranth.  I have struggled with what to do with my amaranth flour.  I knew that others have had success with amaranth tortillas.  Tortillas are the traditional recipe for eating amaranth.  Somehow that didn't work in my kitchen.  The texture was all wrong.  They were too difficult.  The flavor was too strong.  Then, I had a revelation.  Amaranth does not need to piggie-back on maize flour.  Amaranth can be its own star.  It doesn't need to be an add it for nutrition on another dish.  It takes approaching it with a different eye, though.

That's enough of a tease for one post.  However, I would love to see some amaranth inspiration out there.  I wouldn't want to be the only one rediscovering just what this food can become in brave kitchens.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lacto-Fermenting Gluten Free Crepes

I tried lacto-fermenting my gluten free crepes overnight.  As with the gluten flour, it is sublime.  I made crepes just as delicious as the French do.  It is absurdly easy, as well.  All I had to do was blend the flours with the milk, and add a tablespoon of live-culture whey poured off the yoghurt.  I set it at room temperature overnight.  Then, in the morning I added the egg and melted butter, and made the crepes.  No need to let it sit for at least twenty minutes, as I would if I were starting first off in the morning.  Crepes are faster this way.  Both steps seem easy-breezy, when broken down into these two parts.  The texture is amazing.  My only regret is that I added sorghum flour.  I should have kept it to millet and rice.  Next time, I'll try that.  Either way, I have my final version of excellent crepes.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tweaking the Millet Rice Crepes Recipe

The texture and color of the millet rice crepes continues to be superior.  I have found it.  Repeat batches only confirms my first impression.  I could serve this to a general crowd without apologizing that it is gluten free.  Now, it's time to add in the additional magic: soaking the batter overnight.

Really, it only means making the batter ahead of time.  Any mother should be clued into this technique.  Instead of trying to do everything at once, break down tasks into steps.  Do as many of the steps ahead of time.  It's a far greater time saver than always defrosting in the microwave or ordering take out.  Those convenience options only add in more time on the shopping or the waiting or picking up the take out.  They are a false economy.

One of the extra benefits to soaking overnight comes from lacto-fermentation.  It transforms the texture from ordinary to sublime.  It's the secret the French aren't letting the rest of the world in on.  Just a reminder: it's not complicated.  I add in some live culture whey from my plain yogurt to the recipe and let it sit.  Just a few hours in the yoghurt maker, longer at room temperature - I don't have to do anything skill-wise.

I've been distracted from my lacto-fermentation, during my transition to gluten free.  Since the allergy concerns were paramount, I knew I had to focus on how we could live as a family.  Plus, none of the other gluten free sites concerned themselves with my interest.  Perhaps there might have been a token nod or a passing response.  Maintaining one's conventional life, but with a gluten free twist, seems to be the most common approach.  Few of the traditional food sites address celiac disease or other allergens.

I'm not reporting here on my success. I'm writing mostly to remind myself to do it.  Not to loose focus or get distracted - there is a wonderful reward at the end.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chutneys and Condiments

It's been ages since I have made a lacto-fermented chutney.  I'm attempting two this afternoon, mango and papaya.  I haven't tried either one in this method.  I did make some tomato based salsa with a lacto-fermented method a few days ago.  Sublime - a pleasure no jarred salsa can approach.  I hope these condiments round out our table and improve a summer table of grilled meats.  I'll post the recipes later, once I make them.  However, it's ridiculously easy.  Mash up fruit with spices.  Add salt and live-culture whey.  Put in a jar.  Put the jar in the yoghurt maker.  Take out a few hours later and refrigerate for up to a few months.  It's so easy, that I wonder how we ever succumbed to commercial varieties.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Revelatory Moment With Flax Flat Bread

Today I tried a flat bread recipe from a recipe book.  I won't make it my "own".  Something was not quite right about the flavor.  I don't think I want a flat bread that is all flax and grain free.  I did figure out what I had been missing with my flat bread attempts previously: not enough egg.  A high egg ratio made for a pliable flat bread.  However, we have an egg allergy in the house, so I don't know how that fits our criteria.  An egg baked into something is generally okay.  An omelette is not.  This bread is much closer to an omelette than a flat bread.  I'll have to consider whether that is something we want to risk.  We may see some allergic response, and that would answer the question rather easily.  I think I may be close though.  With a bit of tweaking, I could have my end result soon.

I won't post the recipe since it's not my development.  It's widely available, in published form.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gluten Free Millet Rice Tapioca Pancakes

1/2 c. millet flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1 pinch salt
1 extra large egg
1 c. milk
2 tbs butter

Blend the dry ingredients.  Make a well, add the egg.  Blend the dry ingredients in from the sides.  Gradually add the milk, until a very thin batter forms.  Melt the butter in a skillet.   Allow the batter to stand for at least 20 minutes.   Add butter to the batter.  Heat the skillet over medium heat.  Add batter to the skillet, forming very thin pancakes or crepes.  Flip once the first side is golden and formed.  Cook until the second side turns  golden.  Remove from the heat and continue until all the batter is used.

So far this is my favorite use for millet rice flour blends.  It makes amazing crepes, that are no second best to gluten pancakes.  I'm very happy with these results.  I don't have to apologize or even explain gluten free foods when I serve something as successful as this recipe.

Gluten Free Millet Rice Tapioca Cookies

113 g unsalted butter
100 g granulated sugar
1 extra large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g white rice flour
80 g millet flour
40 g tapioca flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter with the sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.  Blend the flours with the salt and baking powder.  Gradually add the dry mixture.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 min at 350 degrees F, until lightly browned.  Cool.

Millet Flax Flat Bread

Another attempt at flat bread has produced a good flavor, but the bendable texture yet alludes me.  Plus, it's still somehow too dry for a flat bread, but not dry enough for a tortilla.  Then, there is the concern of how much flax do we want in our diet?  What is too much?

Here's the catalog of this near miss:

1/3 c. millet flour
1/3 c. ground golden flax seeds
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 extra large egg
4 tbs plain yoghurt

Blend all the dry ingredients.  Make a well.  Add the egg.  Gradually add in the egg, blending in from the sides.  Add the yoghurt one tablespoonful at a time.  Then, add water to thin the consistency to spread thinly.  Spread over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees F, for 10-12 min., until lightly browned.

Once again, my four year old loved it, especially spread with almond butter.  I enjoyed it dipped in bean dip or with roasted bell peppers.  I'm not convinced that this is the one, so more experimenting to come.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gluten Free Millet Rice Tapioca Tortillas

Due to the eldest child's corn intolerance, I decided to make a corn free version of tortillas.  It is in line with my pursuit of gluten free flat bread.  However, this is not for general sandwiches or dips.  This flat bread is for specific recipes.  I was trying to incorporate him into our family meals of enchiladas.  It will have other uses as well, once I perfect it. My attempt was not so pleasing as I would like.  I used way too much tapioca, I think.  While the first side cooked beautifully, when I flipped them, the second side did not brown. It remained a ghostly, unpalatable white.  I do think the millet rice combination is a goldmine for recipe development.  It will not will not do nutritionally for every day, but it may be just the blend I need for specific occasions.  The result was tortillas that could bend and be filled.  It was definitely closer to a corn tortilla than  a wheat tortilla for making enchiladas, in texture.  It was like neither in flavor.

1/3 c. millet
1/3 c. white rice
1/3 c. tapioca
a pinch of salt
1/2 c.water, or more

Blend the flours with the starch and the salt.  Gradually add in water, until a thin batter is formed.  A very thin crepe-like batter is desirable.  Gluten free batters should be thinner than a gluten batter, to prevent dryness in the final product.  Pour the batter by quarter cup spoonfuls into a six inch skillet over high heat.  Flip the tortilla when the first side is slightly browned.  There will not be bubbles forming, as would with pancakes.  Remove from heat.  Continue with all the batter.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Buckwheat Millet Flax Gluten Free Flat Bread

This week's experiment with gluten free flat bread was with buckwheat, millet and flax meal.  I also tried adding an egg and salt, then blending with water.  I am reasonably pleased with the flavor, and my four year old loved it spread with almond butter.  However, it's not bendable.  It's more of a cracker.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Gluten free crackers are much cheaper home made.  But, with us being mostly bread free, a flat bread would be nice for dips and spreads.  A flat bread sandwich or wrap would be good too.  I'm still on this journey; I'm not giving up yet.

Gluten Free Spinach Cheese Crepes Cannelloni

I used to make spinach manicotti once a week, from the autumn through the spring.  Since the eldest boy had to go gluten free, I haven't made it.  It was one of his favorites.  Even during the worst of his feeding difficulties, I could get him to eat an entire manicotti (as a toddler!) with relish.  There was no readily available gluten free manicotti pasta available to me.  I have discovered the Caesar brand frozen spinach cheese manicotti, but it's not at my local market.  There were so many other recipes to adjust, so many other challenges, that I simply took it off our menu as a family.  The Vintner doesn't like spinach.  Since he is also gluten free, I have made two meals, a gluten free one for them, and a gluten inclusive meal for the rest of us.  I wouldn't think of the effort for manicotti as worth it for us, seeing as I had to make two (or more) meals in addition.  As much as I love manicotti, it wasn't a priority previously.

Now that I've adapted to recipe to making it with homemade gluten free crepes, it's back on the weekly menu.  It's no more difficult than manicotti, since making the pasta and making the crepes takes the same amount of time and effort.  Plus, stuffing is much easier with crepes.  This is one of my few recipes in American measurements, instead of metric, mostly because I am buying some of the ingredients, like ricotta, in American measurements.  Conversion upon request.

1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
3/4 c. whole milk
at least 2 tbsps butter
16 oz ricotta cheese
9 oz package frozen spinach
nutmeg, freshly ground
2 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp, to tasteolive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

Blend the flours together with the salt.  Make a well in the flours and crack in the egg into the center of the well.  Whisk in the egg into the flour, gradually pulling in flour from the sides of the well.  Slowly add in the milk until the batter is even and thin.  Melt butter in a skillet.  Allow to cool slightly.  Add the melted butter to the crepe batter.  Whisk until blended.  Put the skillet over the burner on medium heat.  Pour the batter into the skillet, using just enough to cover the base of the pan.  Fry until set, bubbles may or may not form on the surface, just a couple of minutes.  Flip the crepe over and cook for another minute or until set.  You don't want them crispy, just cooked until set and very pliable.  They will cook again, so slightly underdone is fine.
Remove from the pan and cool.  Repeat until all the batter has been used.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, 2 oz mozzarella and 1 oz Parmesan cheeses.  Defrost the spinach.  Drain the spinach in a sieve, squeezing out all the excess water.  The spinach should be fairly dry.  Add the spinach to the cheeses and grate nutmeg over the mixture.  Set aside.

Open the tomato sauce and put it in a small saucepan.  Simmer over low heat.  Add in olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Most brands of tomato sauce are fairly salty and don't need much.  I buy a relatively mild brand, and I do add salt.  Mince or press the garlic clove into the sauce.  Simmer the tomato sauce, while preparing the other ingredients.  The minimum amount of time is to cook the garlic, about five minutes, but tomato sauce improves with long slow simmering.

Spread a spoonful of spinach cheese filling over a crepe.  Roll up and place seam side down in a baking pan.  I use an 8" x 8" glass pan, but any pan, size or shape will do.  Continue will all the crepes until the pan is full or the filling is gone.  Or, this recipe can be made ahead, and then assembled one by one for single servings.  Poor tomato sauce over the crepes. Sprinkle over remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the dish warms through.  Unlike with manicotti, the crepes don't require long baking.  You only need the sauce to meld with the crepes and the cheese to melt.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gluten Free Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese is already a giant step ahead of macaroni and cheese towards being gluten free.  Only the cheese sauce requires a slight tweaking.  If one prefers a bread crumb topping over a grated cheese topping, then that can be made with gluten free crumbs.  Conveniently for me, cauliflower cheese is more of a comfort food from childhood than macaroni cheese ever was.  My own mother seemed to misunderstand the idea that a cheese sauce was involved instead of just grating cheese on top of the base and baking it.  It works reasonably well with cauliflower cheese; it's a stringy mess with macaroni.  When I would taste cauliflower cheese made at others' houses or from frozen, I was transformed into culinary bliss.  When I would taste macaroni and cheese made with a sauce, it was merely a revelation that what I was getting at home was sub par.

Then, there's the whole box concern, which need not be addressed in depth here.  It certainly doesn't fit  into our ethos at the Cottage.  It's not from scratch.  Although, as a child I yearned for day glow versions from blue boxes, and dreaded home made from scratch.  With cauliflower cheese, there is no box.  While the frozen versions are good, there are no gluten free versions as far as I have found.  One might as well explore cooking from scratch, when it comes to cauliflower cheese.

1 head cauliflower
45 g potato starch
60 g butter
500 ml whole milk
225 g Cheddar cheese
5 g powdered English mustard
50 g gluten free cracker crumbs

Break the cauliflower into florets, and put in the top of a steamer.  Steam until soft, but not mushy.  The cauliflower can then be put into a oven safe dish, or covered and refrigerated until later.  This step is make-ahead, if you wish.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).  Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the potato starch and blend into the butter.  Remove from the heat and add the whole milk. Return to the heat.  Grate in the Cheddar cheese.  Whisk until blended and the cheese is melted.  Add the powdered mustard and whisk together.  Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower.  Crumble over the cauliflower and cheese the cracker crumbs.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  The sauce should be hot and bubbly.  This dish cools and reheats well.  The amount of time baking is less about cooking the dish and allowing the flavors to meld.  Cool thoroughly before eating.  I have lost the roof of my mouth countless times to cauliflower cheese.  It's a great challenge for me to wait for this to be an edible temperature.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gluten Free Flat Bread Lessons

In my pursuit of gluten free flat bread, I have discovered that flax seeds will most likely be in my final recipe.  So far, 100% flax seeds with salt and water resulted in flax seed crackers.  I am delighted to have these crackers, although still in pursuit of a bread.  The store bought version of these crackers are expensive.  Home made is quick and easy.  I'm going to try another version that is designated for the microwave.  After that, I'm going back to sorghum or millet or both, and playing with the flax ratio.  I also might try making the 100% flax seed again, but thicker.  Perhaps spreading it too thin crossed over into cracker territory.  All good lessons learned.

Gluten Free Pork Chops with Cream Gravy

Sometimes we forget simple, classic pairings because a more common version has become conventional.  I'm all for the simple, traditional classics over ersatz versions of conventional foods.  When we think of cream gravy, we usually think of a recipe that includes gluten.  The knee jerk reaction is to substitute with gluten free products and tweak and twist and contort the recipe, trying all sorts of barely edible variations.  There is an easier way.  We can look to similar recipes that are naturally gluten free.  They aren't fake or put upon; they can satisfy the desire without the frustration.  Thus, the recipe I have today is pork chops in cream.  It's more simple that cream gravy.  It does mean that there won't be ample sauce.  However, the sauce is so rich and delightful, there isn't a need to smother the pork chop.  It's barely a recipe it's so simple.  It's just wonderful.

Pork chops
salt and pepper
two tablespoons butter
whipping cream or full cream

Saute the pork chops until just cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat, and add butter.  Allow the pan too cool slightly.  Remove the pork chops to a plate.  Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon or two of cream.  The amount of cream depends on the size of the pan and the heat of the pan.  A large, hot pan will bubble it away quickly.  You want the cream to bubble just a bit and thicken slightly, pourable but not too thin.  Pour the cream and butter over the pork chop and serve.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten Free Coconut Almond Cookies

The cookie recipe continues to evolve.  I've now successfully made a grain free cookie.  It is far from an allergy free cookie, since it is almond meal.  However, tree nuts are not a concern for us, despite the our wide range of allergies.  Hopefully, this recipe will be a special treat cookie.  It's definitely one to share with our grain-free and low-glycemic friends.

It's my basic butter cookie recipe.  I use real butter not margarine, so the results may not be the same.  Real butter cookies spread more than cookies with margarine, so consider that if you substitute.  This is one of my last remaining uses for actual sugar.  I prefer dehydrated cane sugar, but I no longer make a special purchase for that product.  I'm allowing my children to have the occasional cookie, and this is where I "poison" them with sugar.  I'll have a sugar free home, once they pass the preschool years.  Our diet is so far removed from other families that I don't have the heart to give them sugar free cookies just yet.

110 g unsalted butter
100 g sugar
5 ml vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
50 g coconut flour
150 g almond meal
5 g baking powder (I use non-aluminum)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Fahrenheit).  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and blend well.  Blend the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt together.  Add flour mixture to cookie dough.  Form the cookie dough into desired shape and drop onto a cookie sheet.  I line my cookie sheet with parchment paper, to minimize gluten cross contamination.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool.  When completely cool, the cookies can be frosted, but they are great without frosting as well.

On request, I can convert the measurements.  I encourage measuring by weight.  Kitchen scales are inexpensive and readily available.  Measuring by weight instead of volume (cups and spoons) yields superior results in baking.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pondering Flax Ratios in Gluten Free Flat Bread

I've made two gluten free flat breads so far in the last week.  I tried a sorghum millet flax blend and a millet blend.  I am not excited about a rice flax bread, since we already have so much rice in our diet.  I'm hoping that 100% flax will work.  I've heard a good recommendation from a friend who read Wheat Belly and tried the recipe in the book.  She has a microwave; I don't have a working one.  I am not interested in buying another microwave, but would rather make one in the oven.  I'm going to try it today.  From there, I think I'll try some sprouted whole grains.  I have some whole sorghum, waiting for a good recipe. I've heard of gluten free oat flour, but I hesitate there.  Since the Vintner has true celiac disease, even the gluten free, non-cross contaminated oats may be an unnecessary strain for him.  I'm not too keen on having large amounts of grain or insoluble fiber in my diet, either.  I'd rather have vegetables be my fiber source.

Also, I don't want all the gums and trickery to make the flat bread.  I'm aware that many traditional cultures have flat breads, and many of those are gluten free.  I'd love to stumble on some grandmother's recipe that's basic and nourishing both emotionally and physically.  I'm not looking to replace processed modern products, but rather introduce a pleasant way to keep grains in our diet.  I'm tired of the gluten free tomfoolery.  I accept that gluten free doesn't mean maintaining an industrial, processed diet.  It means getting free of packaged food and into real, wholesome food, like meat, vegetables, dairy, nuts and fruit.  There's a place for some grain from traditional sources without being carb-tastic.  We're not talking about going Paleo.  Here at the vineyard, we're looking for an old-fashioned approach.  That rules out ersatz bagels.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Pursuit of Gluten Free Flat Bread

I've made two attempts at gluten free flat bread this week.  While the sorghum millet amaranth flour blend was okay, the amaranth was too strong of a flavor for the flat bread.  I may try another without the amaranth and make it thinner.  I won't post that recipe, since I see it as a bit of a fail.  I also tried a flat bread with half flax meal and half millet flour.  The flavor was nice, and the thickness was good, but it wasn't flexible enough.  I want to keep trying and experimenting.  I'm not looking for excessive flour blends, heavy starch or gums and tricks and twists.  I want a basic, simple food that's clearly not a cracker or a pizza crust.  A tortilla or naan or traditional flat bread without gluten, and perhaps without grain would be ideal.  I'm going to see how close I can get to that.  So far, I think it'll be high in flax seed.

Almond-Rice Gluten Free Butter Cookies

This week, I've played around with my butter cookie recipe.  I substituted almond flour for the sorghum and millet flour blend.  Next time, I'm going to try a almond and coconut blend and make a grain free cookie.  We don't need to be grain free, but the boys do need calorically dense nutrtition.

4 oz unsalted butter
4 oz sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg
4 oz almond meal
4 oz white rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the butter and the sugar.  Add the vanilla extract and the egg.  Blend well.  Gradually add in the almond meal, rice flour and the leavening.  Mix until well blended.  Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool.  Can be frosted.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wheat and Sugar

I've been reading Fat Chance and Wheat Belly.  I'm glad that I've already decided to let go of my sour dough starter.  I'm only just starting Wheat Belly, but so far it's a better read.  Fat Chance was easier to absorb in the beginning, since I've already begun the process of weaning off sugar.  I'm not a sweet drinks person, just a spoonful in my tea or coffee, but I stopped that earlier this year.  Wheat-free will be new for more than a few meals.

I imagine that eating a traditional diet will be rather easy with this new approach.  I'm not going to be restrictive.  I don't need to be.  I'm just making more space in my diet for even more fresh fruits and vegetables, the highest quality meats and dairy I can afford, fats I love like butter, olive oil and coconut oil.  I'm not leaving as much room for wheat, corn, soy, sugar or processed food in general.

With the Vintner suffering from celiac disease, it's not a big challenge to go gluten free now.  However, for me it's a choice, not a life-saving measure.  I'm in good health.  I don't have much reason to worry, other than a few extra pounds.  Now that the baby years are behind me, I can think of my body for my own nutrition and health.  I don't have to prioritize for their needs, as of the last four months.  It's a good time for me to think of building my post-childbearing years' health.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gluten free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Chocolate Free, Psyllium Free, Peanut Free, Egg Free, Bleu Cheese Free

Gluten free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Chocolate Free, Psyllium Free, Peanut Free, Egg Free, Bleu Cheese Free

This is where we are as a family.  All family meals need these basic parameters to meet the allergy requirements of all members.  I'm the bleu cheese contingent, myself.  Some are more serious, like peanuts, for the respective members.  We do have two epi-pen prescriptions, so I'm not just being a nuisance of a mother.

I don't know if I'll be directing my posts to meeting these specific needs.  My kitchen is going this way in general.  It may be more of a vague sense that we are a special diet family, and not a family on a mission to create an allergy free tamale or pad thai recipe.  There are other blogs out there.  I use them and appreciate them.  However, we remain a traditional kitchen.  We're still an old-fashioned family.  I'm still making chicken and dumplings - from scratch - all the time.  I don't need to adjust those gluten free, since the Vintner doesn't care for his chicken that way.  I'm adhering to traditional recipes that meet all of our needs - allergy, nutrition, emotional and social.  There wont be too much variation from what I've done in the past, but I thought it valuable to put this official in a post.  If someone is looking for a blog like mine to follow, then it might be nice to know this is it!

Lenten Delights

I am no vegetarian.  During Lent, one could be excused from assuming otherwise.  I'm feasting on veggies, including veggie juice.  I'm enjoying the delicacy of an early spring palate.  With that, I've reminded myself how pleasurable it is to through a few veggies in the cast iron skillet, toss over a sauce at the end and fork away.

Last night, I took out a parsnip, a green onion and 4 ounces of mushrooms.  I stir fried them in butter, until they had a delightful brown color.  Then, I tossed in some left over peas and carrots.  At the end, I turned in a small glove of garlic and tumeric, cumino seeds and thyme.  Off the heat, I poured over a couple of tablespoons of whipping cream.  I sprinkled over some of the remaining bits of green onion tops for color.  Wonderful!  A sort of a quick and easy creamy curry to remind me how nice a veggie meal can be.

No wine pairing tonight - it is Lent - but I'd love it with a buttery chardonnay.  Not that I even like chardonnay!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Saying Good-Bye to the Sourdough Culture

I have nurtured a my wild-caught sourdough culture for over five years.  Now, it's time to say goodbye.  I hate to through it out.  However, with two family members needing to be gluten free, I no longer feel that it's appropriate.  I can always catch more.  Besides, it is probably better to start fresh every so often anyway.  Personally, I wanted to keep it going for my own enjoyment of sourdough bread.  I wanted my four-year-old son to grow up loving home made sourdough bread without a molecule of commercial yeast.  Now that I'm over forty, I find my palette changing.  I don't enjoy grains as much as I used to do.  My four year old loves a wide array of foods, and will enjoy it again and again, even if it's not home made for a time.  My eldest and my youngest are tube fed for nutrition, with special diets when they do have oral feeds.  My husband is gluten-free, but never liked sour dough even when he did have gluten in his diet (before the celiac diagnosis.)

Good-bye, good friend.  Perhaps I'll one day start the love of French sour dough again.  For now, we are going our separate ways.