Mini polenta pizzas!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

A couple nights ago a bunch of us from the house got together to make a nice gluten-free dinner. I decided I would make the all important pre-dinner snacks. Something to munch on while the more intense cooking happens. Polenta is a sort of corn meal you boil in water, like grits. You can get pre-cooked polenta in a tube. This makes it really easy to slice into rounds for little treats. I even found some fancy basil polenta. I slice my rounds about a centimeter thick. Then I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes. In the meantime I caramelized some sliced red onion, by cooking it in a skillet over medium heat, and adding a little brown sugar. This process takes about 15 minutes, so the little polenta crusts were done and I took them out to cool. I sliced half a large tomato and cut those slices into quarters. I put one quarter tomato slice on each polenta crust and sprinkled on a little salt. Then I added a bit of  my onions. I put the pizzas back in the oven at 400 for about 5 minutes. Then we ate them. Leola and Colin made buffalo shrimp tacos, Zora made a huge salad, and Mary made GF brownie sundaes.

Side effects

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

I went gluten-free on May 5th, and I noticed some side effects. For example, I am eating less junk because a lot of junk has wheat in it. I have also noticed that it is easier to make other changes whilst going gluten-free. I have worked out TWICE since the big change, more then I have in the past couple of months. But, there have also been some negative side effects. I thought going gluten-free would make me eat out less, but since a bunch of people in my house also went gluten-free we have been going on all these dates. Dates cost money.

Gluten-free for the month of May

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Some of you may remember “Gluten-free Monday,” a period of my blogging life when I abstained from gluten every Monday to further understand what my house mates who cannot eat gluten go through everyday. Well, I fell off that wagon pretty hard. Also, avoiding gluten for one day a week helped me to better cook for my house mates but didn’t really show me how is feels to be gluten-free. So, for the month of May I am giving up gluten, cold turkey. Some of you may be wondering what gluten is exactly. It is a protein found in grass grains, like wheat and barley. What does gluten do? Well, think about the texture of really yummy bakery bread, it is full of air pockets, and has a lovely chewiness. That is the work of gluten. It binds things together. Like corn, gluten, especially wheat gluten, is in just about everything, even things you wouldn’t expect, like soy sauce, for example.  Corn,  rice, and buckwheat, are all gluten-free and can be made into flour, these will be the backbone of my gluten-free experiment. Ready-made gluten-free products exist but they are very expensive, so making more food yourself is really the only way to be gluten-free on a budget. Here are some ideas I am kicking around, chocolate pumpkin cake (the pumpkin will help with the binding) learning to make tortillas and other flat breads. Please help my with ideas!

A warm happy memory

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

A year ago at this time I was preparing to go to France. I was making long lists of things to pack, lamenting my horrible passport photo I am stuck with until I am 32, and tentatively picking out gifts for my host family. A little while later I was in Anncey, a town near the French Alps, on a weekend trip with friends. We had this little picnic by the lake. Tapinade, cheese, fresh cherries, and my contribution, brioche with dried fruit and nuts. I remember thinking at the time I was spending too much money, but now not knowing when I will eat such a thing again I am glad I spent the money.

Tartines, the madness continues

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Earlier in the week, I thoroughly enjoyed a golden beet and salami tartine with spinach and goat cheese. I have this carton of herb goat cheese from a farm in Harrisburg, MO. It is so good I could eat it with a spoon or just with my fingers. I boiled a golden beet in a sauce pan until it was fork soft. While it was cooling I put a slice of bread in the toaster oven with some goat cheese spread on the top. I sliced the beet. When the bread was done I put a handful of spinach on top of the melty cheese and stacked on some sliced salami and the beet slices. I think this would be great for a picnic lunch with some fruit and a good bottle of rose.

Tartine Madness!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Some of you may remember a blog I wrote a while back about eating tartines in France. A tartine is an open-faced sandwich; a big slice of bread you pile high with so many delicious things that you may have to eat with a fork and knife. Tartines can be sweet or savory, hot or cold, which makes them perfect for any meal. They are so versitile, my friend Danny is thinking about having a tartine party. This week I am going to have a tartine every day and share new creations with you. Today I got a loaf of sourdough from my favorite bakery, Uprise. When I got home and turn the oven on broil to pre-heat. I sliced a bit of mushroom, half a small tomato, and very thinly slice a clove of garlic. I then toasted a slice of bread from the middle of the loaf so it would be nice and big. When the bread was done I put a little bit of olive oil on it before loading on the toppings: first a handfull of spinach, then my mushroom slices, then the tomato, some dollups of goat cheese, then the slices of garil, and last but not least, a sprinkling of dried basil. A tartine doesn’t have to be this big of a production, but I was feeling theatrical. I put my tartine in the oven. By the time I put away all my ingredients it was done. It was delicious, and because I was at home I ate it with my hands and enjoyed the mess.

Breakfast relearned: The busy week crisis

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 by aliaalafaireet

Last week was a little hectic. Once of those weeks where you are up in the 6:00 hour and don’t get done with what you absolutely have to do until 9:00pm. I know that most people’s lives are like this, but it still gets me down, partially because it is so bad for one’s eating schedule. Breakfast is especially bad for me because I am not really capable of preparing a good meal when I am half awake, so I will either eat nothing and just grab some coffee (Ulcer! Ulcer!) or stop somewhere and spend money. Having to make something the night before, every night isn’t a realistic solution because evitably I will be too tired some nights and find myself back in the same old position. I only thing to do is make a big batch of something I can eat all week. So what was my brillant plan? Muffins? Heck no, too boring! I made myself an apple pie. I love pie for breakfast. Pie as a dessert after a good dinner, all hot and gooey right out of the oven is delicious, but a room temperature slice of pie with a coffee is a whole different animal. And a wonderous animal at that. I suppose my breakfast pie was more like cobbler. I made it sans bottom crust. It’s quicker that way. For the crust mixed 1 cup flour with  1/3 cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Then grated in a stick of butter. I mushed the butter into the flour so there were still little hunks of it but butter was evenly distrubuted.  Then I added about 4 tablespoons of milk and mixed until the dough formed a solid ball. I put the crust into the fridge while I made the filling. Normally I am pretty laissez-faire about baking “rules,” but chilling is important for crusts because they turn out better when the fats in them are solid when they go in the oven. If you want to make this pie vegan you can used vegetable shortening and you favorite non-dairy milk. Anyway, back to the filling. I peeled, cored, and chopped five apples. Apples have a tendency to oxydize so I put a little lemon juice in the bowl I was using. Peeling is not completely necessary, I just like the pie better that way. After the apples are chopped add 2 tablespoons of flour, as much cinnamon as you like in your pie, and a heaping tablespoon of sugar to counter-act the lemon juice. I don’t like to add too much sugar to my fruit. The crust is sweet and fruit is naturally sweet, I think too much sugar really alters the flavor of the fruit. Take the crust out of the fridge. Flour a flat surface like a table or countertop. Flour a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will work, but you will have to flour it more frequently. Roll the doughout until it a about 1/4″ thick. Pour the filling into a pie pan. Place the crust on top. Cut all little little X shape in the middle of the crust to serve as a vent. Bake at 350 for about an hour.