Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where to eat today?

Do you ever have this dilemma?  You know you're hungry, know that you don't have time or the ingredients you need to cook, so you say to yourself, "I'll just eat out."  Now what?

Where do I go?  What kind of food do I want?  And, what more if you're like me, where can I find non-allergen foods? Ugh, sometimes eating out is more of a hassel than it is worth.  However, there are days, that you can find that perfect little hideaway that you were looking for.  You know what I mean, the place where you find a place to be you and enjoy awesome food.  The kind of place you want to share with everyone but you're afraid to because you don't want it to become so popular that it loses its charm.

Well I am in search of that place this morning, I have to eat some breakfast soon or I will fall over, and I want to get out of the house, so I will be looking out for my new nook, I'll keep you posted if I find it.

Tell me about your nooks?  Do you have a special little coffee shop, diner, or even a fun pub that is your little hideaway?

Monday, May 21, 2012

A new Google+ friend

I have recently joined Google+ and I love the blogs that I have found.  This particular blog was one that I just had to share because I totally agree with her, and I think you'll see one of the ways all of my passions fit together so well.

Meet Darya Pino, and her blog, Summer Tomato.

I can't do it captain, I just don't have the power!

Gluten-free flours, wow what a challenge...

I've been working on my gluten-free cookbook, so I've been perfecting all of my gluten-free flour mixes to use in a variety of recipes.  I have been playing with all kinds of flours, and writing recipes from quick breads, yeast breads, and pizza crusts, to cookies, cakes, and pies.  But, as difficult as this all has been I've been able to push through and think about ways to improve but now I have finally hit a wall.

Tonight, I attempted to make gf homemade flour tortillas, and it was not quite a success.  They were edible, but not very tasty. This seems like it should be so simple, but authentic flour tortillas are usually so fluffy and delicious, so how do I create that same flavor and texture without wheat?  Does anyone have any advice on this one?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

GF Limone Pappardelle

Today, I saw the best pasta recipe from Amalfi, Italy via David Rocco's show.  Spaghetti al Limone is a dish indigenous to the Amalfi Coast because in this part of Italy the most flavorful and luxurious lemons  are grown 9 months out of the year. In this episode David showed different ways to highlight the lemon from main courses to desserts.  So, I felt inspired to make this recipe but of course being me I had to put my own little twist on this recipe not to mention I had to find a way to make it gluten free.

Obviously to make it gluten free I had to start with gluten free pasta. Well, I decided to make fresh pasta and rather than make a thin spaghetti I thought a thicker noodle would work very nicely with the lemon sauce. It also adds a heartier texture to make it seem more like a full meal without any protein added into the sauce.

I made a brown rice pasta recipe. (I created this recipe by amending the Gluten Free Gourmet's pasta recipe, check out her book if you're interested in another option).  This was my first experience with making homemade GF pasta, but I will definitely be working on creating some new recipes, any particular grain requests?

Kristen's Brown Rice Pappardelle:

1/3 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
2 Tbsp. Potato Starch
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Xanthan or Guar Gum (if not available sub 1 packet of Gelatin)
1 Tbsp water 
2 Eggs

1. Combine all Flours, Starch, Salt, and Gum powder in a large bowl.  Mix with a fork and make a well.
2. In a small bowl beat eggs and water together.
3. Add eggs mixture to flour mixture.  Bring together with fork into a ball.
4. Flour a large work surface.  Knead dough about 10 times, roll out dough very thin, until it is nearly translucent.
5. With a pizza cutter cut dough into strips about 1/8 of an inch wide.

Bring 5-6 cups of water to a boil.  Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water.  Immediately add the pasta to water.  Keep stirring the pasta or the pot will boil over... fresh pasta will grow about 1 1/2 (sort of like dumplings) the size it was when it is finished cooking.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Drain pasta quickly, but do not rinse.  You want to stop the pasta from soaking any more moisture but keep all the beautiful starches that cling to the noodle.  This will help the sauce thicken and cling to the pasta.

Here is where I pretty much followed David's recipe nearly verbatim....

After using his trick of rubbing the fresh garlic clove all over the inside of the serving bowl.  I squeezed the lemons in to the bowl. (a little tip, hold the lemon face up toward your palm and let the juice run down the rind) This does two things, first it holds the seeds inside the lemon, second it takes some of the oils of the rind into the juice as you're squeezing the lemon.

Then I added the olive oil.

David did this with a fork but I used a whisk to whip the lemon juice and olive oil together until they emulsified.

Add the pasta and toss until all the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce then add 1/2 of the cheese.

Add the parsley and the lemon zest.

Top with remaining cheese.

Serve and Enjoy!!!!

Okay like I said I have to put a little twist on just about any recipe.  I like simple flavors but honestly I needed a little more kick in this recipe so I added both freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes... it was delicious!!!

Self Study

Many of my friends have seen me really come alive in these last several months.  My passion for food and cooking has always been evident, but it has only recently become so important to my life that almost every time I'm around people I have to be cooking.  This has led me to understand how this passion could and should be a career path for me.  So, I am saving my money to do something I thought I'd never do--go back to school!

I began a search for the best culinary school that has what I'm looking for.  It is exciting to think about this next stage of life, but as I've been embarking on this journey I have also become a sponge of culinary learning. I have used my public library card more in the last four months than I think I have over the course of my whole life.  And, obviously I've been watching cooking shows like crazy.

So, in my search for even more resources I need your help, because being a foody literally could be a full-time job (unfortunately it doesn't pay that well).  What have you found to be your favorite or even your "go-to" resources for culinary information--be it a website, a certain Food Network chef/show, or your favorite cookbook?