My number one priority this morning is brewing black tea potent enough to resurrect the dead, and drinking pots and pots of it.
I'll probably get dressed.
On Friday night I (naturally) went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I always go with a friend and her three kids. I've even taught them how to put M&Ms in the popcorn. I shall be forlorn when there are no more movies left to look forward to, and only a box set of DVDs for comfort.
This weekend was the husband's birthday. We usually have a huge party but this year we kept it simple. Our good friends, the same ones with whom I have the Harry Potter tradition, had us over for a beautiful dinner. I volunteered to make the cake.
I have Celiac Disease, and so am gluten-free. I love to cook, and I love to eat. Learning how to do it all gluten-free was initially an adjustment. I remember wandering the aisles of Whole Foods with an empty wagon, immediately after being diagnosed, wondering what the hell I was going to eat.
I often spot newly diagnosed celiacs standing in front of the gluten-free bread section, looking shell shocked. I can never resist putting a loaf of Udi's bread in their hand, and kindly saying, "Have you tried this one? It's really good."
Living gluten-free, now, is mostly second nature. For the most part, I steer toward foods that are naturally gluten-free. They're always healthier, and usually tastier, than the multitude of processed "gluten-free" products on grocery shelves.
I cook by instinct: by touch, by eye, by taste, and by nose. Cooking is wildly sensual. If I'm making something new, I may refer to a recipe, but I'm more the type of cook who adds a bit of this, and a touch of that. This makes it challenging, when something comes out really great, to replicate it, and is not at all helpful when friends request a recipe.
Probably because I loathe rigidity, and hate being told what to do, I've never been a baker. Baking, with its sifting, and measuring, and leveling of tablespoons, requires too much precision to hold my interest. I'm all for precision when it comes to the instruction of asana, but find it onerous in the kitchen.
Gluten-free baking is even worse. Many recipes require complicated mixtures of things like: rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca, potato starch, and xanthan gum. I mean, what the fuck heck is xanthan gum, anyway? I'd lay odds that I have the best stocked pantry in Fairfield County and, even so, am invariably missing at least one ingredient. I take one look at a recipe like that and am utterly daunted.
When we found out I have Celiac, the husband resolutely said, "I guess we're going gluten-free." He doesn't like to appear in my online adventures, but I think it's okay if I say he was incredibly supportive. For three years now, he's been encouraging me to delve into gluten-free baking. For three years I've had nothing but an aversion to the idea. It just looks like such a pain in the ass.
Then I came across this woman's site. She's incredible. She makes all kinds of scrumptious looking things using almond flour, and coconut flour. These flours are healthier, low glycemic, have more protein and taste good. Her recipes are simple, with only a short list of uncomplicated, unprocessed ingredients.
I'm a huge fan.
So, this weekend I tried my hand at an orange birthday cake. This recipe is unlike any I've ever seen and requires boiling valencia oranges for an hour and half, which then go into the food processor, peel and all. I iced it with an orange frosting that was to die for. We're talking bowl and a spoon kind of good.
This seems to be an either love it or hate it cake. The orange peel makes it sort of sophisticated, I think; it wasn't a huge crowd pleaser with the kids. I, however, loved it. The husband loved it. Our friend who made dinner loved it.
His wife, who has an aversion to very moist cakes, gagged on it. That was a first. Nobody's ever physically gagged on anything I've made before, but I've long known about her cake aversion so I don't take it personally.
My tea has gone cold, and a slice of orange cake wouldn't make a half-bad breakfast.
I'll have to tell you some other time about shucking my first oysters.
I'm thinking about writing some gluten-free posts on this site from time to time: what do you think?