18 August 2009
This is our most recent incomplete family portrait. I made Indian and made us dress up as ... Afghanistans?
insert Nathanial on right.
I say goodbye tomorrow at 9 a.m. to my turban-wearing father and sari-donning mother.
Back to school, back to Provo, back to life.
Food is an art. It is so colorful, so creative, and so personal. Through these past several days and blogs, I've become more personal with my food; more personal with every step of the cooking process from buying it from the farmer's hands to serving it to my loved ones. Food and I are getting intimate. I handle it with care and I cherish it instead of abusing it by taking it for granted or neglecting it. Food is good for my soul. And yours.
For those of you who know me, I have this belief that I will find my husband-to-be in the grocery store, specifically Sunflower Market or Whole Foods in the baking aisle, and I think that hope and dream validates my passion for food. I've tried to make these photos as sexy as possible.
The past 48 hours have been drenched in cherry juice. I bought 2 pounds for $1! 2 pounds! Oh my gosh, are these beautiful cherries. I made gluten-free cherry muffins and gluten-free cherry-peach cobbler which I will blog about in the future. Eating the muffins was only slightly more fun then pitting the cherries and letting the juice stain my hands, knuckles, finernails, and white v-neck. That is just so satisfying to me. Anyone else?
I've learned some tips for gluten-free baking. Breads and muffins will always come out better when mixed electronically until there are no lumps. This is especially big news in the world of muffins. In gluten-ous baking, one should mix muffin batter only until it is just moistened. This is a no-no for the celiac diet. The muffins turn out softer, more palatable, and fluffier when mixed well and smooth. I will share these recipes soon.
Until then, may everything be as it appears through cherry-stained glasses.
16 August 2009
Today we went to the Soulard Market in St. Louis, MO where Locavores unite. I really like this banner, and I'm bitter that I didn't come up with it first. I've always leaned toward consuming local foods rather than organic. Local foods are healthier in the sense that they are fresher, environmentally-friendly because they are not manufactured or packaged, and are more economical for your community. I'm still developing my opinions, but local also facilitates people coming together in a community, producers and consumers have never been so connected. We went to get herbs for my mother's vacant planter on the deck.
We bought basil and parsley. Fantastic for our Mediterranean diets.
Since we gathered such treasures from the farmer's market, I couldn't help but make Pasta Primavera with cracked pepper fettucine. (I saw Julie & Julia and, needless to say, was inspired---highly recommended). I wish I would have invited the guy selling pineapple to dinner. As we made eye contact over the home-grown grub, he said "come and get it." I had to remind myself he was speaking to the prospective buyers and not my red-headed, flirtatious self.
15 August 2009
Here I am in O'Fallon, Illinois visiting my parents. I got here Wednesday, and I will leave ... whenever I want, really. Sooner rather than later.
As much as my parents want me to visit, they are apprehensive because of the lack of anything to do. They both work all day, so they cannot show me around (which is fine, I've seen cornfields before), but I really don't mind. I've been taking it easy for the past couple days soaking in the nothingness and taking on the challenge of finding something to do. I've given myself some projects to entertain myself while I'm all alone all day.
Gluten-free Focaccia Bread. We just so happen to have a wheat-free recipe book amid our shelves, and it has been calling my name. No one in my family has celiac disease, but my dad suffers from some wheat intolerance. For some reason, this condition has always fascinated me, to the point where I want to be a gluten-free for a day. It would be such a sacrifice to live without life's comfort foods: graham crackers, cookies, macaroni and cheese... Now that I think of it, I guess it's not that bad, one can still have mashed potatoes and spam musubi. Baking gluten-free is more fun, challening, and can be very healthy, and I like spicing up traditional baking.
I hope Josh Ritter eats gluten-free, because I invited him to dinner.
He's bringing the tunes.
I had to go to three different grocery stores to get ALL the right ingredients.
Living celiac for a day is not easy. It's hard not to feel segregated from the wheat-consuming world. I had to ask strangers where the nearest natural foods store was after the local supermarket failed, or if they had ever heard the terms, "xanthan gum.....no not the class and phylum of a tropical tree, it's an ingredient actually..." I was getting desperate. What happened to equal rights?? I got the feeling that a Brown vs. BOE revival needed to take place within the segregation and unequal distribution of baking ingredients in these grocery stores. I was in the parking lot of a shopping mall where an alleged health food store was located. Couldn't find it. With the small hope I had left, I hypothesized the ladies of Maggie Moo's would be more inclined to help than the men of Jos. A. Banks, so I went in and asked to be put in the right direction. Maybe it was the temptation or my guilty conscious or their cheery helpfulness, but I ended up buying a scoop of vanilla bean with raspberry in a white-chocolate dipped cone. It was worth it, their advice led me right where I needed to be: xanthan gum and more sexygirlycurves.
And there it is! Butternut squash ravioli with home-made basil pesto and gluten-free foccacia by candlelight. In conclusion, my day was fulfilling. I met some wonderful people, saw the scenery of East St. Louis, and learned how to make gluten-free chocolate cake from the sweet lady in the gluten-free aisle.
May no celiac be left behind.
01 August 2009
please don't take a closer look at this picture.
Tonight I helped feed 4,000 people.
My Jumpstart team and I volunteered at the D.C. Service Kitchen which feeds around 4,000 people every day. It also doubles as a culinary school and 90% of its workers graduated from the school.
Tonight, I think I chopped up 30 green bell peppers.
This city has done something to my heart. The way people talk to each other, walk on the sidewalk, sit on the metro, wait outside soup kitchens, rock the young professional get up, and teach little precious children just makes you feel like you're a part of a big, loud, troubled yet dedicated family. Total strangers holler at you from the sidewalk, like they know who you are, just wanting to say good morning or asking for a dollar or telling you how fine you're looking. Whatever it is, it's great and I want more of it.
Also, if you want to fit in here you better go get yourself a pair of NewBalance.
One last thing, all the little girls at school know this better than the hokey pokey: