Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Congrats and News!

Congrats to Ashley for winning the $30 gift code to CSN!

In other news, Cook Food Every Day - the cookbook I edited - has just been written up on HTML GIANT!

I hope everyone is enjoying the snow and holidays. What is the best thing you ate of 2010?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Modern Decor Give Away

The amazing generosity that started from Bloggess's generosity online, from a few gift cards changed my mood about the holiday season this year. I am not in a position to do what she has done, but I think we - as gf cooks, eaters and friends of gf peeps - can and do help each other with support and recipes every day. 

I normally do not do giveaways. But CSN has offered NGR folks a $30 gift card that I am down with. 

Leave a comment that says what is the best and worst part of gluten free cooking/eating. One winner will randomly be selected to win a $30 gift certificate to CSN stores.* The gift code can be used in the modern d├ęcor section, or one of the 200 other sections of the online store - including cookware!

All comments must be posted by December 23rd at 10a.m. 

Plantains

I grew up thinking that plantains were the Spanish word for bananas. I only saw them in the I-don't-know-what-that-is section of Market Basket, with several different types of things that weren't potatoes but grew in the ground, the identifiable coconuts and aptly named ugly fruit. They looked like completely under-ripened bananas or totally rotten bananas. I steered clear, knowing that neither would satisfy my mother's demand for bananas that did not have any brown spots, but still had a hint of green on the ribs.

I am grateful that that section of the store no longer frightens me; that manioc, yucca, cassava and plantains are items I get excited to cook with. (I still have yet go near the ugly fruit.)

Plantains have become a staple. They are the cheapest starch and they are generous enough to turn into dessert if you forget about them in the fruit basket. I love them fried as tostones, and two nights ago, I had some boiled in an El Salvadorian soup, at La Casita, that made me wish I had heard of plantains in soup sooner.

Sweet plantains are an amazing treat. I have only had them baked or fried... the frozen Goya version is actually really great. Tonight I had a lone plantain that I found buried under the fruit bowl-turned-menu/mail bin and decided to cook it up. I modified this recipe for Bananas St-Jacques and was pleasantly surprised by the creamy, warm and soft result.

1 plantain sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp brown sugar
pinch salt
pinch mace
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 can of coconut milk

Everything goes into a pot and is boiled for 10 minutes, then simmered for 20. I threw a splash of vanilla extract in right before serving.

The finished product looked nothing like the photo on the website. It might have been because I turned down the heat when I noticed the plantains sticking to the bottom of the pot. It did't look "good" but it tasted wonderful. I will make these again and again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

OK STING, I HAVE HAD IT

Do you ever become filled with rage and shake your fist in public at non-visible speakers when Sting's Fields of Barley plays?
This is the third time I have heard this song in public this week.

Dear Sting,
Stop taunting me or at the very least make the song good enough that I don't notice your mocking lyrics.

Dear grocery stores and coffee shops,
Stop playing this song if you wish my continued patronage.

Dear iPod people,
Stop mocking that I won't get hip to your technology.

POLL - NGR videos or better photos?

So I have been toying with the idea of trying to improve my photography skills or learn about this new fangled thing called YouTube and post videos - recipes, commentary, etc.

Leave a comment with your thoughts or preference!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Gluten free chocolate covered pretzels... you are going to get me through finals.

Pumpkin Bread... but not really, maybe PUMPKIN BROWNIES

I was trying to find a solid gf pumpkin bread recipe. I found a lot of inspiration:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
But I had 3/4 stick of butter to use up
This Classic Pumpkin Bread seemed like way too much sugar
A lot called for apple sauce, which I don't have on hand.
This recipe looked great, but I had no idea if it would work outside of a bread machine. 

In this process I realized that I have been moving way from using cookbooks and basic google-searches and have been finding myself trying to find recipes on the blogs I frequent. I also feel like I "should" cook/read blogs that aren't out there to make money, have a book deal, but are people cooking sans gluten and talking about it. I am not sure if it matters, its not like my choosing one recipe over another does much more than opening up the possibility for cross-blogging, but I have noticed that many gluten-free bloggers are doing the same. Not that there is anything wrong with using cooking.com's latest gf recipe, I am just noticing that people tend not to. (Though there are many of you out there who are cooking, blogging and oozing over Shauna's new book, and that's cool too.) Don't get me wrong, there is more than a tinge of jealousy in my sassy for the woman who gets to write and test recipes for a living, I just notice that I get more excited about reading and cooking from people who are doing the juggling. Who get EXCITED about a new product they find, or restaurant that was totally helpful, or still feeling like a superheroine when perhaps you feed someone pie on Thanksgiving and they say "oh if you didn't tell me, I wouldn't have been able to tell its gluten-free."

So after all that, I ended up using a food.com recipe combined with a glutenfreehelp's pumpkin bread recipe.  I know, I KNOW. But I needed a simple place to start, and it had the least amount of ingredients - and most importantly, ones I had in the house.

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp ground psyllium husk fiber (or flax seeds if I had them)

I creamed the butter and sugar, then added the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients and baked it at 350F till the center was set. It was a beautiful, tall loaf. 10 minutes later it collapsed. It ended up more of a pumpkin brownie than bread. It was very moist, dense and rich. Not what I expected, but it it was really tasty. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coffee & Chocolate Tasting

If you are in the D.C. area this Thursday and looking for a fun event, I am going to be doing a tasting!

Coffee and Chocolate Tasting at Qualia Coffee
December 9th @ 7pm
$8
http://www.freshofftheroast.com/qualia.html

Call or stop in the store to sign up!
Qualia Coffee
3917 Georgia Ave., NW
Washington DC 20011
Just two blocks North of the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro stop on the Green Line
202-248-6423