Monthly Archives: April 2011

Baked Italian White Beans


Baked Italian White Beans


While I was in the throes of wedding planning late last summer, my mom was organizing some big life changes of her own. Namely, moving out of the townhouse that she’d owned for over a decade. With my brother and me grown and gone, the three-bedroom home had become more than one person—and an admittedly oversized cat—really needed. Moving out was one of those decisions that, on paper, made a whole lot of financial and logistical sense. In real life, it also meant sorting through and packing up, or saying good-bye to, all those years’ worth of stuff.

Nearly every day, and often a couple times a day, my mom would text or call me to ask about something that she had come across. Sometimes it was something from my childhood or high school years—cheerleading sweatshirts and hand-knotted blankets made at squad sleepovers, colored modeling clay that predated my teens, boxes full of essays and stories and poetry. Other times, she’d send me photos of things that had been hers, that had decorated the house or been tucked in the back of a cabinet somewhere, rarely or never used. Many of those things wouldn’t have been worth the cost to ship them, most wouldn’t have fit in our apartment had they been sent.


Rosemary & Thyme Bouquet Garni


One day she sent me a photo of a squat, two-tone glazed clay pot.

“What is it?” I asked.

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Carrot Cake with Maple Icing


Piece of Carrot Cake


I’m a sucker for frosting. Always have been, always will be. I blame my dad’s genetics for this. I can remember way, way back in the day, my mom eating her cake and forking the frosting over to my dad—lifting fat purple rosettes and scraping up smears of inky blue piping, handing over whole panels from the top and end of her slice. I’m pretty sure there were similar exchanges between my brother and me as well. My dad and I share a lot, but if we sit down to cake together, you can bet our greedy, frosting-loving forks will remain on their respective plates—unless they’re fighting over what’s left on someone else’s.

Yessir, the frosting is where it’s at.


Carrots & Pecans


Except when it comes to a certain carrot cake.

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Angel Biscuits


Angel Biscuit


I recently started following a great blog called The Kitchn. They post more frequently than Ree, but it’s not a personal/narrative-type blog, so it’s really easy to sift through the feed and pick out the things that are of interest to you. The posts range from cooking tips and kitchen remodels to recipes and tools (I actually never thought I’d buy a citrus reamer, but I saw this post and finally have one pretty enough to be worth owning). Most of the blogs that I follow are wordy and wonderful, but they require a time commitment to keep up with. The Kitchn, on the other hand, offers a nice, casual read when my mind needs a little break during the day.

A couple weeks ago, The Kitchn posted this recipe for Buttery Lemon Angel Biscuits, an adaptation of a recipe they featured over a year ago for regular Angel Biscuits. While lemon and butter are certainly a heavenly combo, the flavorings weren’t the thing that caught my eye—it was the fact that the biscuits employ three (yes, three!) different leaveners to achieve their lift.


Cut in the Butter


I’ve had some success with gluten-free biscuits in the past, but I also know it’s a pretty common thing to have a great deal of difficulty getting them to emerge from the oven with a proper rise. Heck, even people baking with gluten can have a tough time producing light, lifted biscuits. But with three separate leaveners on your side? It seemed impossible to fail.

And after making them? I firmly believe that you’d really have to try to mess these up.

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Cheez Bits


Cheez Bits fresh from the oven

There are a lot of really great gluten-free snack foods on the market these days: potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, cheesy puff type things, and even pretzels. The one thing I’ve yet to come across, however, is a gluten-free cheese cracker. It seems like such an obvious thing to recreate. Cheese crackers were always among my favorite snack foods. I remember mindlessly downing entire bags of Goldfish during late night sessions of Facebook stalking paper writing in college. How can they not exist yet in gluten-free form?

A few weeks ago I came across this post from Deb. A couple weeks later I somehow wound up on another site looking at a similar recipe. Forget waiting for them to show up in a box on a shelf somewhere—it was time to bake up a batch of cheese crackers myself.


Cheese mixture

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Black Bean Dip


Once a week for over a year now, Chris and I get together with two other couples to watch TV.

It all started when Lost was in its final season. We attended a party where a bunch of our friends had gathered for the premiere. As the season progressed, attendance quickly tapered off until there were just six of us.

During that season, we found a rhythm. Our weekly parties became a sort of potluck. Whoever was hosting was responsible for the main dish and the other two couples (okay, let's be honest here, the other two ladies) would bring an appetizer and a dessert. We all began looking forward to “Lost Night,” and, when the show finally came to its unsatisfying end, we decided we wanted to keep things going. New shows were auditioned and we chose Breaking Bad, which has been phenomenal, heart pounding, and yell-at-the-screen-worthy.

It’s still called “Lost Night,” though. “Breaking Bad Night” doesn’t quite have the same ring.

Being that this weekly gathering is a dinner party of sorts, our friends have faced some challenges with the gluten-free thing. They’ve taken them on beautifully and without complaint—something that I appreciate to no end. My challenges, however, lie elsewhere. The difficult thing for me about rotating responsibilities for a potluck: I have a really hard time coming up with appetizers. Main dishes? I do that every night anyway. Dessert? Please, asking me to bake something is like asking a five-year-old if they want to go to Disney World. But appetizers? I get, well...lost.


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And Then There Were Three

I have some good news--and I'm hoping that my sharing it today doesn't karmically result in said news dropping straight off the tree tomorrow morning. But here it is:

We have lemons.


Baby lemons


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Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Quick Breads


Sugar crust



Welcome to round two of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally! If you’ve stumbled upon this post and are interested in reading more about what
the Rally is all about, check out the post from our inaugural run when we all shared ratios and recipes for pancakes. This week we’re giving youquick breads, a category that comprises muffins as well.

The nice thing about quick breads is that, in addition to being delicious, they’re pretty darn quick. That is, quick compared to yeasted breads, since they employ either baking powder or soda (or a combination) as leavening. Use roughly 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every 4 oz of flour, though I tend to think gluten-free baked goods benefit from a little extra oomph. Rulhman’s basic ratio for quick breads, which was used to create the recipe below, is:

2 parts flour : 2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1 part butter



For a few years when we were young, after my parents’ divorce, my brother and I would spend the summers at my dad’s house. He worked during the day and we passed the time watching Nickelodeon, playing Nintendo, and biking to the local “aquatic center”. One day, bored and in the mood to bake, I sifted through the kitchen cupboards and came across a blue box of date bread mix.

I remember very distinctly opening the package and pulling out the tiny packet of flour-dusted dates. What were dates anyway? From what I could see, they were hard little brown bits and unlike anything I knew. I placed them in my mind somewhere between a dried fruit and a nut. Maybe they were somehow a bit of both?




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Portobello Tacos

My food-centric wanderings in Austin were made a bit more complete with a visit to the Downtown farmer’s market. I approached the market on that sunny Saturday morning, surprised to find the quiet little park that I’d walked by over the past couple days suddenly full of color and life.


Austin Downtown Farmer's Market

My belly was empty when I left the hotel and I was hoping to find a late breakfast. There were stands with carrots and greens, jams and honey, handmade soaps, pastries, but nothing ready-to-eat and gluten-free. I had almost made my way past every stand when I came upon this one.



Why hello, Tacodeli with your gluten-free options.

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