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my fennel fascination

fennel salad

My fennel fascination has begun again.

The other day, our dear friends Tita and John came to the studio for lunch. We try to take the weekends away from the office, but when our office includes a 24-foot-long table, a professional kitchen, and a small clutch of sheep out the window, it’s hard to stay away. Besides, it was John’s birthday celebration and the power had gone out for half the island, including our house. (It’s one of the quirks of living on a rural island during windstorms.) So, to the studio we go.

Danny had made a batch of fall-apart pork shoulder in the slow cooker. (My new three favorite words: slow cooker leftovers.) There were roasted potatoes. There were carrots roasted with cumin and honey. Lucy set the table with water bottles and napkins for everyone. It was a Sunday supper feast.

Even with all those delicious choices, the first dish I pulled toward me was this fennel salad I can’t stop eating. I joked with Tita, “As soon as it feels like winter outside, my body craves fennel.”

She said without joking, “That’s your body taking care of itself.”

She’s right. My wise soul of a friend is almost always right. I think our mouths crave starch and cookies and stuffing and bread things during the long winter months — and winter has hit here early, as it has in much of the country. (Buffalo! I salute you!) With Thanksgiving next week, we’re heading into the starchiest season.

(This is where I should remind you that we have a gluten-free Thanksgiving baking app for the iPad. And a digital download full of recipes, techniques, and formulas for flour blends you can make. If you’re having any trepidations about Thanksgiving, and you need some calm advice to help you make great and grateful food, we’re here to help. Next year, you can bake Thanksgiving with our Gluten-Free Girl flour blends in your pantry.)

But last year, I started to listening to another part of my body than my mouth. During the winter, my gut and joints and now my head want vegetables. It’s easy as pie to get starchy baked goods for the winter. Clearly, I’m a fan of baked goods, since we now run a gluten-free flour company. And I’d eat one of these grain-free ginger molasses cookies any time.

We have to work to find vegetables on our plates, sometimes, but especially in these cold months. Celebrating the funny, lumpy vegetables like fennel and celery root appeals to me more now than it did a few years ago. Danny and I have found that if we plan our meals around the vegetables first? We feel better. It’s as easy as that.

So I slide a fennel bulb over the mandolin, then chop up those curlicue white rings into slivers. I fluff them with my fingers, then add segments of clementines and lots of fresh chopped thyme. Small slices of Israeli feta. A few splashes of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, sometimes sesame oil, and some salt pinched between my fingers. That’s it. Maybe sunflower seeds if they are within reach. Just writing this, I realize some briny kalamata olives might lend another texture of taste to it all.

Seriously, though, it’s hardly a recipe. I can’t write it up as one. It’s just a winter staple, something comforting for the end of the afternoon, as the light slowly fades into dusk.

thank you.

Kickstarter funded!_

 

Dear Wonderful People,

From the deepest part of our grateful hearts, we thank you.

Thanks to the generous support of 1563 wonderful people, we not only met the goal for our Kickstarter but also exceeded it by 17%! The Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends will be on the market soon.

And we are probably most grateful for this: with the exception of some very generous individuals who had the capacity to give more (thank you!), most of this campaign was funded by those of you who gave $10, $25, $50, and $100. This isn’t a campaign that went viral in the news or had a cute hook and garnered a lot of attention. This community of backers built slowly, one pledge at a time. It was YOU who did this.

Those of you who have been reading our website and making our recipes and buying our cookbooks? YOU made this happen. Every single pledge counted.

Thanks to your generous moral and financial support, we’ll be able to bring the All-Purpose Flour Blend to market very soon, and then the Grain-Free Flour Blend to market after that.

Since the Kickstarter was funded, we’ve been hard at work. (There will be no resting here for awhile.) We’ve been finalizing contract negotiations with the package manufacturer for the first run of boxes, having the flours analyzed for the nutrition panel on the boxes, finding out how to obtain bar codes….It’s a fascinating process.

The other day, our co-packer sent us the first batch of the all-purpose flour with the final formulation of flours from the suppliers we have chosen. It was a singular moment — I was surprisingly nervous. As soon as I felt the flour in my fingers, I felt relieved. And immediately, I made a pie dough. That’s how I would know if we had the flour we dreamed of — if it made a great pie.

It makes a great pie.

It also makes great pancakes, which four hungry children devoured in our home a couple of mornings ago. Three of them can eat gluten. They each asked for 100 more pancakes. There have been waffles, banana bread, crepes, and sandwich bread with those bags of flour from the co-packer.

We are so happy with this flour.

We can’t wait to help you bake great gluten-free food in your home with these flours.

We’ll be updating you on the progress of the flours on a regular basis. As soon as we have a date for when you can buy the flours online, we will let you know in ALL CAPS!

We’re also moving forward with fulfilling our rewards. We have our Thanksgiving baking class this weekend! We’re making pies for people, refining our recipe for grain-free gingerbread men, baking biscotti, and making plans for our recipe PDF so many of you will be receiving.

We’d love to know feedback from you: what 10 recipes would you like to have in that PDF? Some of the recipes are set in our minds, but we’re open to urgent suggestions! Let us know by emailing me at glutenfreegirl@gmail.com.

In the meantime, we’ll be going back to stories and recipes here soon. There’s plenty happening right now — and the next few weeks promise plenty more new details and new learning — but we’re still cooking in our kitchen. And we can’t wait to invite you in again.

Thank you so much for all your support and kind messages, and mostly, for your donations. We’re still in amazement. We will always be grateful.

In warm gratitude,

Shauna, Danny, and Claire

 

 

 

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