I’m realizing that I have quite a collection of resources at my fingertips for living a strictly gluten-free lifestyle. I think it’s about time that I share them with whoever else might need a little guidance– or maybe you’re more of an expert than me, but are looking to expand your knowledge base. 🙂 This list is by no means complete. It’s just my favorites. Continue reading No Longer a N00b: Gluten-Free Resources
Happy Labor Day, everyone!
First of all, I would like send out my thanks to all the laborers of our great nation–the teachers, the drivers, the baggers, the checkers, the factory workers, the miners, the loggers, the workers, the doers, the makers… and pretty much everyone who puts in a hard day’s work. You are the backbone of our county. Your daily industry is valued and appreciated. Thank you.
On a separate note, I hope you have been having a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I certainly have. After a month of multiple deadlines, I don’t think I realized how tired I was until I slept in for the last two days and took midday naps to boot! So, here it is, day three of my weekend, and I’m finally ready to dig in and do stuff. LOL!
My post here is fairly short, but that’s mostly because I wrote up a nice little tutorial on single-serve cookie baking, over at Food From Our Kitchens. (This method is especially useful on days when you feel like you’re living inside Mt. Doom, and cannot bear the thought of turning on the oven, but yanno, you still want cookies.)
Feel free to check it out.
Image found here: http://www.browncountypubliclibrary.org/sites/default/files/images/Labor-Day.jpg
There’s been a lot going on Chez Bear these days. I’ve been slamming out writing and editing projects around my full time job, and Honey has been dealing with dramatic changes at his job, plus slamming out… writing and editing projects. But, you know, totally different projects. Heh! No such thing as geeks at rest, I guess.
This weekend was a little different, though. Saturday, I went to a writing retreat out in the mountains of Monrovia, and I waved to all my friends who lived out there, but since they were probably more than a hundred yards away and on the other side of a lot of trees, I don’t think they saw me. But yes, the writing retreat was out in the woods on the side of a mountain, and there would be no grocery stores or restaurants within walking distance, so I knew I’d have to bring my own lunch. And for some reason, this put me in a little bit of a panic.
The embarrassing truth is that I haven’t packed my lunch in a very long time. At work, I have nearby eateries that can cater to my needs, and at home I have a refrigerator with things I can use to make a decent lunch/snack/breakfast thing. And Del Taco is nearby, too.
Also, I couldn’t think of a sandwich I could make for myself with what I had in the kitchen that would a) taste good, b) contain any sort of nutrition, and c) contain stuff I actually had in my kitchen. So I decided that rather than making a run to the grocery store for crappy GF sandwich bread, I’d make something in advance.
I made pepperoni rolls. I did not, however, read all of my notes from last time, so that recipe is still not quite perfect, more’s the pity. But it was still good enough that when the instructor of the retreat asked me what I was eating and I shared with her, she literally jumped up and down in her seat and waved her hands, trying to tell everyone else at the retreat about what I was eating. #PepperoniRollsFTW #CanYouEvenUseHashtagsInABlog #WhoCares #MyBlog
The thing about my recipe is that the bread recipe I use is already halved, but it still makes enough bread for a double batch, so I always have dough left over. (More dough than pepperoni, you see.) Sometimes I just bake the bread straight up– very good. Or I can make monkey bread. Yum! But this time, I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. Mmmm!
So Sunday, I knew I’d be making cinnamon rolls, using my Frankenstein recipe, where the dough, the filling and the frosting all come from different places, and got stitched together with me in the middle making minor tweaks. But I wasn’t done yet, so I also made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, flourless brownies, and chicken casserole for dinner the next night. In short, I didn’t write. I didn’t edit. I didn’t go to Disneyland. But I had a blast.
And I posted the recipe for the cinnamon rolls over at a new blog I’m a joint member of, Food From Our Kitchens. Pop on over and check it out. And find out how to make easy-peasy cinnamon roll dough. (SO EASY.)
Over the weekend, Honey and I went to a backyard barbeque, hosted by our friend, Belle. There were hot dogs and hamburgers available for pretty much every diet I can think of. We had our choice of all-beef, pork, turkey or tofu/veggie burgers or hotdogs with three different kinds of buns—including gluten free ones for me. (I was so touched to be remembered.) Even though no one asked it of the guests, I had decided to bring baked beans, because what is a Southern (California) barbeque without baked beans? When I went to make them, though, I had a decision to make: do I include bacon or no?
I know, I know. Everyone eats bacon right now. But that’s not really true, is it? For instance, people who keep Kosher—actual Kosher, as opposed to “Bacon counts as Kosher”—don’t. Nor do vegetarians or vegans. Nor do people who are watching their cholesterol or their salt. The question that faced me was “how inclusive do I want these beans to be?” How many people or groups do I want to tell that their presence is not important to me? How many people should know that I have no interest in breaking bread with them? Continue reading “Everybody Eats” Baked Beans
I have been obsessed with pie, lately. Also, cherries. (It was cherry season last week.)
The pie thing is fairly obvious. I mean, c’mon. Pie. In addition, though, I have been listening to back-episodes of KCRW’s Good Food, and the host, Evan Kleiman, is obsessed with pie. So, I’ve been having her in my ear, talking about a LOT of pie. On top of that, two of my favorite diners carry all sorts of yummy pie. The only kind they don’t carry is gluten-free. So I’ve known for a while that I need to learn, once and for all, how to make a damn pie crust, especially since all the pre-made gf pie crusts I could find were only sold during the holiday season.
I did what I always do when I’m learning how to do something that intimidates me. I pulled out the training wheels. In this case, that meant buying a piecrust in a box. Well, a bag, really. Bob’s Red Mill to the rescue! In addition, I did a lot of research on what makes a good pie crust, and what to do and what not to do when working with it. It turns out, a lot of the Not To Dos are related to not activating the gluten in the flour, so I felt I was already ahead of the game.
It started with an email. But then, it usually does anymore, doesn’t it? Have I mentioned I hate the phone? Because I hate the phone. I would much rather email. If not that, then I’d rather text. But if this shit is just going to take too long to type, I’ll move the phone. But I hate the phone, because nine times out of ten, I can’t understand what people are saying. Skype is generally a much better experience, because I can use two ears. Where the hell was I? Email. Yes
We miss you! it said. Come over, it said. “I want French Toast!” I said. And thus, the Henson Brunch was born. The funny thing is, I think this one was on the books before cinnamon rolls or pie were even a blip on my mental screen, but you know, busy people are busy, so it took us quite a few weeks to find a time that was mutually agreeable. And then Cinnamon Rolls and Pie popped up around it, and all of a sudden, Honey and I were facing an epic Week of Hosting. Continue reading The Week of Hosting: The Plan Was To Have French Toast
Honey has a friend/former-co-worker– let’s call her Belle– who just got a job at a new company. Also a promotion. Also, she is now directly on her desired career path. This is a fantastic news! The unfortunate part is that she moved to Los Angeles less than a year ago, and all of her family is out of state. Anyone who has ever moved to LA knows just exactly how much of a bitch it is to make friends out here. The place is so spread out. There’s so much to do. And everyone already HAS friends. Angeleno-transplants know this pain. While I know Belle has a couple of friends through work, I wasn’t sure if she had any on the outside yet– you know, someone local to help her raise a glass in celebration of her successes.
So we decided that she needed a proper celebration. But due to timing restrictions on both her part and ours, we realized that it would be easiest for everyone involved for us to get together in the middle of the week, rather than on a weekend. Which meant Planning. Continue reading The Week of Hosting: The Plan Was to Have Pie
A couple of busy weekends have passed, and I haven’t been able to tell you about them, because stuff.
Three weekends ago, Honey and I threw a great, big launch party for Spy Guys. At first we were aiming for some sort of industry mixer thing, you know for reviewers and publishers and the like. Then we realized we really don’t know any reviewers or publishers or anything remotely of the like. So we invited people we thought would like to play the game– you know, our friends. 🙂 But it was in an open space at our favorite local pub, so if people off the street wandered in, they were welcome to join us, too! It definitely changed the tenor of the event– for one thing, now kids were invited, but I think that since the game is kid friendly, that worked to our advantage.
Wow. The Holidays really took it out of me. I’ve been recovering slowly: the tree came down some time after Valentine’s Day. And it was just this past Sunday that I was ready to start baking again. OMG! It feels so good to be back in the kitchen! And now that I AM back, I feel like I want to make All The Things. Just all of them. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.
I started the day by picking up my favorite GF bread-making book: Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe François. I freaking love this book. It’s because of this book that I was able to feel like I could handle myself in the kitchen again—a huge blessing. So because of Thistle’s post about West Virginia delicacies a few weeks ago, I have been chomping at the bit to try making some GF pepperoni rolls. I’ve been gathering ingredients since then: making sure I have the necessary flours to make the right blend, picking up the GF pepperoni (yes, you have to check), reviewing various recipes to figure out the best way to make these rolls. Oddly enough, Hertzberg and Francois didn’t add such an important recipe to their book, so I’ve had to innovate.
I’d love to report that I nailed it in one, but I can’t. I did bake some lovely bread rolls that have pepperoni in them. They’re tasty, because you know, PEPPERONI, but they’re not Pepperoni Rolls. I shall have to experiment some more.
While I was letting the rolls bake, I decided to try out another recipe I’ve been eye-balling for a while: vegan Doritos popcorn! Along with pepperoni, I also have to check snack foods that might be processed in a facility that also processes wheat, because even if wheat flour isn’t one of the ingredients in what I’m buying, it’s very sticky and if the machinery isn’t cleaned properly, I can still get sick. So it’s been a while since I’ve had Doritos. It’s not so much that I care that it’s vegan (I don’t) but that it’s also gluten free and SUPER easy to make. OMG.
Since it’s not my recipe, I’m not going to type it up here. Instead I will send you to the page where I found it, so that I’m not claiming something that isn’t mine. I will say this however: while the powder is delicious and is a lovely home version of Doritos, watch the salt: I love salt, but that was a bit too strong, even for me.
I need to go clean the kitchen now. And I might make fudge. And then clean the kitchen again.
Have a great week, everybody!