Friday, July 23, 2010

The Beach Sandwich

It is likely there will be sand in this sandwich as it was hastilly thrown together to prevent a fight between siblings. The ingredients will have been chosen after great deliberation in order to appease the ever-changing tastes of my children and my desire for healthy food. What the sandwich doesn't show was that today my daughter floated in the water without my help, my son wandered down to the water's edge to fetch a bucket of water without clutching his sister or mommy's hand. The beach sandwich won't tell the secrets of a young couple who were much sweeter than anyone could have given them credit. The beach sandwich is a humble sandwich, who risks bringing a whole bottle of mustard to the beach, but it was there for the sweetness of one day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies!

It is difficult to properly introduce through written word a perfect gluten-free cookie. So often they are too crumbly or a weird, moist texture that is runny and spreads to create one giant cookie sheet shaped cookie. These cookies are not of that persuasion. These chocolate chip cookies are soft with enough firmness to hold up against an ice cold glass of milk and the flavour of the flours melds beautifully with the chips so that there is no after taste or even initial taste of the flours. I think this is my least favourite aspect of gluten-free baking: The flavour of the flours. I have found that an extra egg here, double the vanilla (always use real!) there and you are on your way to having this whole gluten-free baking thing figured out.

Today was an extraordinarily chilly and rainy day, particularly in comparison to the rest of the week where we have been at the beach in a state of melting. Today's weather made it perfect for baking cookies and an afternoon trip to the library. My little people are impressive bakers, Bubs is in charge of whisking the flours and Miss N always cracks the eggs and creams the butter. As it turns out, my job mostly involves making sure we have enough chocolate chips left for the cookies. It was a close call today.

We tried a gluten-free brand of chocolate chips that were fantastic, no unexpected flavour (anything alternative has the potential to be unexpected, I'm adventurous but the familiar is reassuring), the texture was top-notch as the chips melted and retained their shape. Remember the Friends episode were Monica applies for a job at the "Mocklate" company? Yeah, these chips aren't like that. Also, the chips are still chocolate and I certainly appreciate that. I regret that I threw out the bag before writing down the name... I'll check on it the next time I'm at the store.

The Recipe

98 g glutinous white rice flour (despite the name, it's safe!)
102 g millet flour
81 g amaranth flour
1 tsp. guar gum*
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup golden shortening - feel free to use butter, I used what I had in the pantry
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups gluten-free chocolate chips

*I've been given to understand from other food bloggers that many people cannot tolerate guar gum and use xanthan gum. I'm the opposite, go figure.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Mix dry ingredients. Don't forget to whisk the flours so that it melds into one consistent flour.

2. Cream the shortening/butter and add the sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix well.

3. Combine the two bowls. Once fully mixed, add whatever chocolate chips your kids haven't eaten.

4. Bake for 8-11 minutes. My children love to scoop out the cookies and I am not joking when I write that I've had to bake some cookies for close to 15 minutes, while the others were finished in a mere few minutes. Use your discretion, check the lovelies at about 7 minutes and judge from there, optimally the cookies should be a sweet golden brown.

5. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Summer Dinner

These little beauties are destined for the flame of our barbecue. The eventual destiny of the beautiful tuft of dill, I am currently unaware of, but I look forward to it. For a tragically long time I did not like dill, nay, I hated it. I still hate cilantro but I firmly believe that we should constantly try new foods and old foods because you never know when you will walk into your vegetarian restaurant, order the hummus and the sweet hipster in oversized glasses frames will pack a container of dilly hummus in your bag, thus sparking a revolution of taste/likes v. Dislikes for you. Let that be a lesson: Try food all the time. Do it gingerly, brashly or even blindly. Just get out there and do it.

Live blogging: Summer Dinner

We are now in the deep throes of summer. The sunlight has taken on a distinctly baked white quality and it is perfectly acceptable to delve so deeply into the type of book that is guaranteed to draw tears, laughter and sighs of contentment (and the unnerving feeling that you are in some ways like your least favourite character) that your loved one will quietly put away his own reading and gently placed two halves of an onion on the barbecue. Onion halves impart an inelegant image of love, but it's there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the go: A Birthday III

Do you want to know why this Tiramisu is so special? Because it is gluten-free? Certainly there is that, but also it was made by my mother-in-law and Miss N and my MIL has making a wonderful effort with her gluten-free baking. Every week Babs* makes the most delicious and crumbly corn muffins that also happen to be gluten-free. She passes it off as nothing but Babs has definitely figured out gluten free baking.

So, this is my creamy, decadent and perfectly crumbly and moist Tiramisu, courtesy of Miss N. and Babs.

* if it weren't obvious already that I have been protecting my loved ones' identities, I am.

On the go: A Birthday II

Mr. and I wandered into Pete's this afternoon and I don't even remember our original reasoning because I was soon mightily distracted. Oh, it was a beautiful, crisp sight of sandwich like no other - the colour was clear and bright, the ripple of feet perfectly formed. I saw only a corner of the beauty but I knew instantly, it is something I have long wanted, many times I have stretched my muscles to the breaking point in search of the perfect macaron. Here it was, happily tucked away. Behind glass.

How opportune to find these on my birthday and I was kind enough to share with Mr. (more than a courtesy share, too! We shared every one). The crunch of the outer shell collapsed into a tangy lemon cream and drew a blissful sigh and hip shake out of me. Even as I write these sentences I desperately want to dash out and weasel my way into that closed grocer and snatch up every macaron.

On the go: A Birthday

I had intended this post to be a series of live, on the go posts throughout the day but I lost track of time and now I am home. Today was my birthday which means I was ridiculosly spoiled, I mean you'd think my family really loved me or something, those lovely folk.

My day of decadence began with this mug. It is not any mug, this one will steep your loose leaf and it is pretty all at the same time.

A quick note: I am trying to figure out my new phone (another part of the super spoiling of me day) and I am writing the post on the phone. I don't know how to format yet ... I'll get it, promise!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Spoiled: An Extravagant Caesar Salad

sautéed romaine • honey chevre • lemon roasted chicken • potato croutons • sabayon

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Humble Pea

Firstly, allow me to apologize for my absence these past few weeks. Mr. has been engaged in an incredibly exciting professional course (it's exciting because we won't be poor students raising children) that has sucked up every last moment of our time; at the end of the day once the kitchen is cleanish and the little people are sleeping I could just about muster the energy to watch Law & Order re-runs. The weather has been beautiful, the sunlight a perfectly muted gold that warms your arms and cheeks but pulls back before it cooks you. That type of weather begs to have children run around in it, happy and free of a cold Nova Scotia winter.

Miss N. and Bubs greatly appreciate a birthday and this past Thursday was Canada's birthday and while we made it down to the fireworks (they were mesmerized and smitten), we spent the early evening eating fresh peas and strawberries. The crazed week of driving around, too much takeout and the scramble to just get around melted away with the snap of each pea. I think this was my favourite part of the day, never mind the excitement of the harbour front, being able to sit with my babies and eat fresh produce from a farm just a short distance away was my highlight.

The giggles, the mess and the sweet sharing between brother and sister who will easily fight over a broken toy was because of the humble pea. The stress of the week, that palpable mess of constant activity without result split apart with each pea and was cast aside into the growing pile spent shells.