Saturday, January 31, 2009
I got a haircut this morning. Bangs were calling me once again. So I obeyed. And so far, I really like this cut. But looking at this picture, I realize how freakishly asymmetrical my face is. Gah. It's good that I can say I'm not photogenic, because I promise you, I don't look this bad in real life (at least I don't think I do!).
This was Julian's birthday cake, modeled after a Clone Trooper helmet he has. I think for a last minute winging-it kind of thing, it looks pretty good. The taste on the other hand....wow. The cake was two layers: one white and one chocolate. We used Whole Foods' GF mixes, thinking they would work nicely. The texture of them was good. But the taste...oh god. The taste was awful. Seriously, do not use these mixes. I am not kidding you when I say it tasted like fish. Mmmm! Fish birthday cake! Needless to say, my next task is to whip up a kick-ass cake from scratch. I'm not a mix kind of girl anyway, but we were in kind of a hurry. This proved to be a very good learning experience for me though, because now I know what I like, and what I definitely do not like about GF baking. Trial and error. I can at least take that away from this experience, because I'll be better off when I finally launch my own GF bakery in town.
I learned the hard way last night while making a batch of cookies how important it is not to leave out xanthan gum, or some other kind of binder, in GF baking. The xanthan gum wasn't left out on purpose, but rather because I was busy and distracted and completely forgot until it was too late. The taste was perfect, but the texture was crumbly and the cookies were flat and pancakey. But still, valuable for me to know as a baker. These little things I learned are tucked away in my brain vault for later on and will only make me a better baker.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
- about 6 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
- one bag of broccoli florets, or about 2 heads of broccoli
- a box of chicken or vegetable stock
- pepper and kosher salt
- half and half
Monday, January 12, 2009
These past two weeks, I've rediscovered knitting. Long long ago in the far far away land of Los Angeles, my friend Shannon showed me the basics of knitting and purling and I was well on my way to having a lovely purple scarf. Apparently, I have the attention span of a lima bean. I got sidetracked, probably by something shiny, and put my purple scarf aside promising to return later. When I did finally return, I couldn't remember for the life of me what the heck it was I had learned.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Around our house, we make a fresh loaf of bread on a weekly basis. This is not a result of being a domestic wondergirl (I wish) but really because store bought gluten-free bread is flipping expensive. And usually way too dense for any kind of sandwich activity. Ahh, sandwiches. I love you.
Last year for Christmas, Wade bought me a Cuisinart breadmaker because he knew I would never buy something like that for myself. It has turned out to be one of the best gifts ever. There's even a gluten-free setting on the machine so the dough doesn't get over-kneaded, and have too long of a rise or bake time.
I would post the recipe I use for making bread on here, but I don't really have a set one. That is to say, I take whatever flours I have on hand, and throw them all into the mix. Most of the time it turns out really delicious, and it's nice to get a little variety and figure out what tastes the best. Sorghum and rice flours together make excellent bread. Garfava flour makes a bread that tastes like, well, sour farts. Blech.
One thing that is funny to me about being gluten-free: I don't miss eating bread nearly as much as I thought I would. I loved bread before, but I've opened myself up to so many new food opportunities simply out of necessity that I find myself not feeling left out of the fun when everyone at the table is dunking a piece of bread into their soup. But I did miss one kind of bread. The rosemary olive oil bread that LaBrea Bakery makes is one of the best things I've ever tasted. Those people know how to make a mighty fine loaf of bread. When I went gluten-free, I was a little sad over the idea that I would never again be able to eat that. But just the other day I decided to try my hand at replicating this piece of yum. I will not be denied! There is no reason to live without things I love simply because they have gluten, when I can just make a gluten-free version.
(Totally a side note, but there's a GF magazine called "Living Without" or something like that...and I won't subscribe to it just because the title is whiney to me. It makes us GF peeps sound like a bunch of martyrs. I realize that this is probably a helpful publication to some folks, but the name bugs me too much to give it a try.)
For this bad boy, I used a mixture of brown rice, sorghum, and teff flours. The oil I normally use is grapeseed or canola just because they're mild tasting, but of course it got replaced with olive oil for this recipe. Duh. The other ingredients are just eggs, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, milk, and some powdered buttermilk. I'm not sure if the powdered buttermilk was necessary, but I did it anyway since I have no idea what I'm doing. Also, I threw in a ton of fresh, finely chopped rosemary. After the dough was in the baking pan, I sprinkled a layer of kosher salt on top.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. It was a little doughy on the bottom part, and I think maybe it could have baked a little longer? But otherwise, the flavor was delish. And, it was Julian approved.
If you bake bread (doesn't have to be GF!) what kinds of bread do you like to make?