Gluten Free Girl and the Chef http://glutenfreegirl.com Playing With Our Food Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:44:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 gluten-free cherry piehttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/07/gluten-free-cherry-pie/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/07/gluten-free-cherry-pie/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:34:36 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10877 It’s the 4th of July today. It seems fitting to celebrate this independence day with some cherry pie. This is gluten-free cherry pie, of course. As much as I’d love to share this recipe with…

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cherry pie_

It’s the 4th of July today. It seems fitting to celebrate this independence day with some cherry pie.

This is gluten-free cherry pie, of course. As much as I’d love to share this recipe with you right now, I’m going to make you wait just a bit. You see, this sour cherry pie is one of the 130 recipes in our next cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented. Today seemed the best day to start telling you more about the book we’ve been calling “the American book” around here for more than 2 years now.

If you pre-order it today, you’ll have it in your hands in just under 2 months. (You can order it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound right now.) If you do pre-order, save the confirmation email you receive. Next week, we’ll share with you a thank you-gift we are sending to everyone who orders the book in advance.

Danny and I are both so happy with this book. I truly do believe it’s the best book we’ve created. As much as I love all our books, especially Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, which won the James Beard award, there’s something special about Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented. We created it especially for you.

In the past, we’ve tried to create cookbooks that offered a glimpse of the foods we love, whether it was restaurant-quality dishes, the joyful foods of first discovery, or healthy meals based on the needs of a family with small children. We created food we loved and offered it to you. So many of you have written over the years, telling us how much these books have meant to you. That has always been cause for celebration around here.

However, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented is a different kind of cookbook for us. And it might be better for it.

This is a crowd-sourced cookbook. For months, we asked you and readers at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Google+ and Pinterest about the dishes you missed the most when you had to go gluten-free. Emails flooded in. Danny and I spent many evenings on the couch, side by side, going through responses from folks from the South on the Facebook page or requests for Midwestern casseroles or pleadings for dishes from Pennsylvania Dutch country or Hawaii or the Southwest. We made lists and spreadsheets and divided them into chapters. We pondered and played and made dishes we loved. I researched the history of every dish we decided to make. And we cooked and cooked and took notes and made more iterations of each dish until we created recipes that truly worked. And then we had friends over for lunch to taste test. And other friends to test the recipes. And we chatted about every possibility — less sugar? could we make this dairy-free? — as we did mounds and mounds of dishes, every day. The next day, we went back for more.

We’ve been actively thinking and talking about and working on this American book since March of 2013. We’re so excited to offer it to you now. We wrote it for you.

(May we suggest you start stocking up now on our gluten-free all-purpose flour? Every recipe in Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented was tested to work beautifully with this flour. We also give you the formula for a great grain-free blend in the cookbook, which is easy to make. We’re hoping to have our grain-free blend on the market by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted.)

 

I’ll be telling you all about Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented over the next two months. There will be behind-the-scenes stories of recipes we particularly love. There will be giveaways and enticements and chances to be part of a gluten-free community that loves to cook great food. We’ll share photographs of the some of the dishes you can learn to make from the book, such as soft pretzels and New York bagels and St. Louis buttery cake and smoked salmon eggs benedict and pigs in a blanket. This is comfort food, old familiars, special occasion food that will make you feel part of the group when you go to family gatherings and birthday parties.

(Sorry I can’t give you the cherry pie recipe for today’s 4th of July celebrations. But you can master it for next  year!)

The much-loved, regional dishes of America might be my favorite part of this country. The food that gathers us around the table as Americans is the food that we created for you in this book, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented.

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Meet Our Sponsors: Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oilhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/meet-our-sponsors-viva-labs-organic-extra-virgin-coconut-oil/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/meet-our-sponsors-viva-labs-organic-extra-virgin-coconut-oil/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 23:03:48 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10858 Remember when no one had heard of coconut oil? Those days are long gone, thankfully. We’re crazy about coconut oil around here. And today and tomorrow, you can get a 24% discount on a 16-ounce…

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Viva Labs coconut oil_

Remember when no one had heard of coconut oil? Those days are long gone, thankfully. We’re crazy about coconut oil around here.

And today and tomorrow, you can get a 24% discount on a 16-ounce package of our favorite coconut oil, Viva Labs organic extra virgin coconut oil, our latest sponsor. Simply click on this link on Amazon (Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) and enter the promo code GFGPROMO. You’ll receive 24% off your purchase.

Of course, coconut oil is great in curries, since it complements all the flavors of ginger, turmeric, cumin, and garlic so well. (I love this Madhur Jaffrey lentil curry, but I use coconut oil in place of the canola oil.) But it’s also great as the oil for popping popcorn. Once I popped corn with coconut oil, I’ve never used another fat for it. (Try that popcorn with finely chopped fresh rosmary, a tiny of bit of lavender, and sea salt.) A friend of mine insists that her sweet tooth is sated by sucking on frozen coconut oil (it actually tastes like white chocolate); she puts it in ice cube trays so she can have a couple a day for a week. Some folks use coconut oil as a moisturizer, a shaving cream, and a topical ointment for other beauty and medical concerns.

Take a look at this fascinating piece about the great cookbook author, Paula Wolfert, who is trying to fight her Alzheimers’ with her consciously chosen diet. She drinks Bulletproof coffee, a combination of coconut oil and grass-fed butter. “The butter and oil in the coffee fill me up until lunchtime. And my doctors explain that your brain is 75 to 80% fat, and what you want to do is get energy from fat rather than from sugar.” (I love the Kickstarter to raise funds to create a biographical cookbook of Wolfert.)

My favorite use for coconut oil? Making gluten-free cakes. We’re going to start telling you more and more about our upcoming cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented, starting on the 4th of July. But I’ll give you a sneak peek: coconut oil is much better than butter in gluten-free cakes. Its lovely buttery texture makes those cakes delicious and fluffy. You’ll want to stock up on coconut oil soon.

However, not all coconut oil is the same. Some taste flat. Some taste a little cheap. And some taste rancid. You don’t want that.

This is why Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is our latest sponsor. This is our very favorite coconut oil.

The coconut oil from Viva Labs is organic and cold-pressed to maintain its quality. It has no bleach, deodorizers, or secret ingredients. And it tastes richly of coconut oil.

So many gluten-free folks find they have to be dairy-free as well.  Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a gift for those who have to be dairy-free. We use it all the time and we don’t miss the butter when we do.

Today and tomorrow, Viva Labs is offering a 24% discount on their 16-ounce package of coconut oil for readers of this site. Simply click on this link on Amazon (Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) and enter the promo code GFGPROMO. You’ll receive 24% off your purchase.

This offer is only good through Monday evening so act now!

Great gluten-free cake awaits you.

 

 

 

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Meet Our Sponsors: Love with Foodhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/meet-our-sponsors-love-with-food/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/meet-our-sponsors-love-with-food/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 06:46:10 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10848   A friend of mine who is fairly recently gluten-free saw this Love with Food box on our dining room table the other day. (I had just taken the photograph and hadn’t put away the snacks…

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love with food

 

A friend of mine who is fairly recently gluten-free saw this Love with Food box on our dining room table the other day. (I had just taken the photograph and hadn’t put away the snacks yet.) “What is this?” she asked, drawn to it immediately.

I told her: Love with Food is a monthly food subscription service. They only work with producers who make high-quality, delicious food. All the snacks are free of artificial coloring, flavoring, msg, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. They have good taste. I always like the food. And they have a gluten-free box, curated by one of our favorite people, K.C. Pomering from G-Free Foodie. That gluten-free box consistently has great products, ones we already love — some of them so much so we work with them as sponsors of this site — and some that are new to us. We keep the snacks in the car for the kids when they are hungry after swimming or when we’re in the city. And for every box Love with Food sells, they donate two meals to a hunger organization, such as No Kid Hungry. Plus, they just dropped their price to $24.99 a month for the gluten-free box. You’d pay that much in snacks in one trip to the grocery store.

We really do love Love with Food.

As she looked at each interesting snack, one after the other, all of them gluten-free and safe for celiacs, she said with wonder: “What a great idea! I have to sign up.”

We think you should too. That’s why we’re happy to announce Love with Food as our latest sponsor.

 

We asked K.C. to tell us more about Love with Food.

How would you describe Love with Food as a company? 

Love With Food is a subscription box company with a very real heart. Love With Food helps customers discover new organic or all-natural foods very month, by delivering a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty products directly to their door. For every box sold, Love With Foods donates a meal to a food bank in the US (via Feeding America Network, Share Our Strength — No Kid Hungry and other charities). For every Gluten-Free Box sold, two meals are donated to children in need.

 

Why do you feel it is important to curate boxes of gluten-free food for folks?

There are great companies making delicious, 100% gluten-free products that lots of folks don’t even know about! We here at Love with Food try to connect those products with the people looking for them, so our members find new foods to love, and they know those products are totally celiac safe.

 

What kinds of companies do you work with?

It’s a mix of small artisan producers and companies that are just starting out, and the larger companies that make a concerted effort to produce clean, natural, tasty gluten-free products. We get certifications, gluten-free testing information and review manufacturing practices for every product that goes in the box. In some cases, I even tour the plant.

 

What kind of foods do you like to provide?

The Love With Food Gluten Free Box by G-Free Foodie features 12–15 delicious products every month. I won’t ship anything that isn’t tasty and 100% celiac-safe. Beyond that, all the Love With Food products are totally free from artificial flavors and coloring, hydrogenated oils, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup — these products are organic or all-natural, every time.

 

Can you share a customer experience that means a lot to you?

Just recently, a mom of a newly gluten-free kiddo shared that she was so happy and relived that her son is excited every time the red box shows up at their door — all healthy, all-natural products that she knows are Celiac-safe — so she lets him tear into the box when he sees it. That’s why we do this.

 

We think you’ll like Love with Food as much as we do. We hope you support them by subscribing. Right now. you can save 50% on a box for August.

Love with Food is giving away an August box to three readers of Gluten-Free Girl. Leave a comment about why you are interested. Winners will be chosen at random on Friday, July 3rd and notified by email.

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mostly, the laughterhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/gluten-free-cream-scones/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/gluten-free-cream-scones/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 05:30:00 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10796 I have a not-so-secret crush on Renee Erickson. It’s okay. Danny understands. It’s not a romantic crush — my heart rests in the heart of my darling husband who grounds me. Besides, like most people…

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renee's book- renee and the oysters

I have a not-so-secret crush on Renee Erickson. It’s okay. Danny understands. It’s not a romantic crush — my heart rests in the heart of my darling husband who grounds me. Besides, like most people near Seattle who love food, Danny has a crush on Renee Erickson too.

If you don’t know her yet, Renee Erickson is a chef and restaurateur who has calmly helped to create the feeling of the Seattle restaurant scene today: collaborative, not overly fussy, full of good cheer, and kick-ass delicious. Renee’s food is rooted in her heartfelt desire to gather good folks around a table set with food. And on that table? Pacific octopus salad with grilled beets, chermoula, and shaved fennel. Harissa-rubbed roasted lamb with yogurt and olive oil. Marinated olives with thyme, garlic, and lemon peel. Grilled zucchini with a pickled tomato salad and cilantro vinaigrette. There’s probably a clutch of chilled bottles of rosé from Corsica too. From Jim Henkens’ stunning, immediate photographs in A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories, you get the clear sense: Renee knows how to live.

renee's book- book

Renee’s food is simple, direct, and so delicious you want to lick the plate. Each meal we’ve eaten at The Whale Wins has stayed with us for months after. Sometimes Danny looks at me and says, “Remember that chicken?” Chicken slathered in harissa and roasted in a wood-fired oven, the skin crackling, delivered to our table with a stack of napkins. That was a fine anniversary meal. Sadly, Renee has closed Boat Street Cafe since the book was published — only because she’s opening another two places in Seattle and needed to focus her energies on them — but we’ve eaten many a meal in the dappled light near the front window, happy.

I wrote a piece about Renee’s restauarant career and her ethos of food and family for the Washington Post. It was published back in December, yet I haven’t shared her cookbook with you here. Time to take care of that.

renee's book- whale wins

A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories — named after her first three restaurants — is a chef’s tale written for home cooks. Our friend Jess Thomson, a writer you must read now, co-wrote the book, helping Renee to translate her passionate ideas into recipes scaled for home kitchens. Every recipe we have made from this book works.

I’ve been writing a life of food for more than a decade now. I’m still amazed. The longer I’m at this, the more and more interested I am in the kind of humble food that gathers us all to the table. Boiled crab, just caught in the Sound that day, squeezed lemon wedges, newspapers spread across the table, maybe some fresh mayonnaise. Hands reaching, voices singing and interrupting, forks hitting glasses, the laughter. Mostly, the laughter. The food? It’s important. The food is what makes it all happen. Let’s pay attention when we cook it, then let go of the need for it all to be good, and just eat.

renee's book- blue water

With all the savory foods that make me want to sit down and laugh at the table with friends — eating messy spot prawns with piment d’esplette — Renee’s baking recipes call me back to the book. Her mother, Shirlee, was the baker at the original Boat Street Cafe, and her personality is still in these recipes. As Renee describes her: “…organized, sweet, and stable, and spicy only when necessary.” That’s a good description of the baking recipes in the book too. Feel like making something right now? Long sunny morning, friends over, nowhere to go? Let’s make some cream scones.

renee's book- cream scones

gluten-free cream scones, adapted from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories

Cream scones are just lovely, really. Traditional scones, made with cold butter and buttermilk, require a little pulsing in the food processor or cutting fat into flour by hand with a gentle touch. Certainly, they’re not hard to make. But these cream scones are even easier. Blend the dry ingredients, add little flecks of currants and enough lemon zest to give the mouth a pucker, then pour in cream and slowly move them together. That’s about it. 

Except, there’s a little trick, guaranteed to make your gluten-free scones even better. Freeze the scones before you bake them. That’s right. Freeze them. This gives those wedges a little hesitation in the oven, a beat or two of baking the outside before the heat reaches the insides. That means they hold their shape. You can, as I’ve written the recipe here, freeze them for a bit before popping them in a hot oven, if you want to feed a visiting friend scones before she has to leave. Or, if you plan ahead, you make these in the evening, heat up the oven in the morning, and have warm scones for breakfast without doing much at all. 

515 grams (about 3 1/2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour 
100 grams (about 1/2 cup) organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried currants
grated zest of 2 large lemons
2 cups heavy cream (for dairy-free alternative, see the note below)
1 large egg, beaten (optional)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar (optional)

Make the batter. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the currants and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the cream. Using a small rubber spatula, stir from the center of the liquid, slowly, until you have incorporated all the flour from the sides of bowl. The dough should be shaggy and a little rough hewn, not a smooth ball. Pat a small amount of flour onto the palm of your hands and move the dough around in the bowl, patting it a bit, until the dough holds together.

Form the scones. Cut the ball of dough into 2 pieces. Put one piece of dough down onto a cutting board lightly dusted with the gluten-free all-purpose flour. Gently, fold the back edge of the dough onto the front edge of the dough. (If the dough is sticky, lift it with a bench scraper.) Turn the dough 90°. Fold the front edge onto the back edge of the dough. Continue this a few more times until the dough has been folded onto itself a few times. This will help to make the scones flaky. Form the dough into a disc, about 6 inches across and 1 inch tall. Cut the disk into 6 equal pieces. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process with the remaining ball of dough.

Freeze the scones. Put the baking sheet into the freezer until the oven has fully come to temperature, at least 15 minutes.

Prepare to bake. Heat the oven to 400°. When the oven has reached temperature, wait another 10 minutes for the oven to truly be heated. Take the scones out of the freezer. Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and shower them with a bit of the demerara sugar. (You can bake the scones without either one of these and still have delicious scones.)

Bake the scones. Bake the scones until they are browned and quite firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve immediately with good butter and jam.

Makes 12 scones.

Make these Danny’s way. If cream is mean to your system, as it is for Danny, you can make these dairy-free with a few small adjustments. First of all, make coconut cream. Put a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, just before you make the scones, remove the lid of the coconut milk. Spoon out the thick coconut cream from the top 2/3 of the can into a large bowl. (The coconut water should be on the bottom of the can.) Whisk the cold coconut cream until it is thick and rich. Add it to the flour mix where you would add the cream in the recipe. This might be enough for you. However, I found that making the scones with coconut milk instead of cream can leave the scones a little crumbly. So, I add 3 or 4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening to the flour and work the fat into the flour before adding the coconut milk. This makes for a flakier scone. And hey! Now they are vegan scones.

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satisfying, every timehttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/potato-salad-with-warm-bacon-sriracha-vinaigrette/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/06/potato-salad-with-warm-bacon-sriracha-vinaigrette/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 05:02:21 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10769 I’m kind of a goober, really. Even though I exult at the first unfurlings of spring green leaves, and feel deeply the fleeting beauty of the red leaves of fall, my body seems to feel…

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potato salad- strawberries

I’m kind of a goober, really. Even though I exult at the first unfurlings of spring green leaves, and feel deeply the fleeting beauty of the red leaves of fall, my body seems to feel it should always be summer. This is particularly strange because a) I don’t always love the heat of summer — I’ve become one of those Pacific Northwest weenies who stifle when the heat is above 83° — and b) I grew up in Southern California, where even in childhood I wondered when a definitive change of season would finally occur. There, it was a pleasant 65° to a sweltering 108°, with no real shift in light or time. Just sunny skies and smog, warm to horrendously hot. I love living in Washington, where the season drips in slowly, then the first liquid light of spring awakens every plant and person it splashes on. I can no longer imagine living in a place where it is perpetually summer.

Still, there’s this deeply primal part of me that breathes when the strawberries finally come to the farmers’ market and all the trees — every alder lining the drive from Lu’s afternoon school to the cherry tree in our backyard — is fully leaved again. The radishes from the garden have a peppery crunch. The peonies with their layers like petticoats about to be shed are showing off. Our trampoline gets daily use, just after dinner. “Ah,” my body says. “Winter — that awful drone of a time when the earth refuses to offer up smells — it’s finally gone and a memory. Maybe it will never come back again!”

(For the record, Danny loves winter. He’s always disappointed when we have another mild time here, one without a three-day snow storm that knocks down power lines and leaves us in the dark. He grew up in Colorado. I grew up in Southern California. It’s pretty easy to do that math.)

I’m almost 49. I do know that winter returns every year. But for now, it’s summer. It’s time to start talking about potato salad.

potato salad- radishes

potato salad- peonies

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Danny and I have been spending an inordinate amount of time talking about potato salad lately. Why? Because we are always talking about potatoes. Potatoes really are a gift to the world. When I was first diagnosed with celiac, I knew I’d be fine when I remembered potatoes are gluten-free. Danny’s an Ahern, descended purely from Irish folk on both sides of his family. If we go a day without eating potatoes, he starts going through withdrawal symptoms. Someday, we’re going to write a cookbook filled only with potato recipes. But for now, we talk about how we want to make potatoes that day. Roasted in duck fat? Grated and made into potato pancakes for breakfast with fried eggs and sausages? Hasselback potatoes? (Recently, we watched a documentary about Francis Mallman, part of a series of documentaries called Chef’s Table, and we were mesmerized. Watching the slow-motion closeups of the potato dishes he made to celebrate the cuisine of the Andes left us both staring, wild-eyed, at the tv.) There’s always time for a plate of potatoes in our house.

Potato salad is summer to me. Roasting can go away for awhile now. Instead, I love chunks of cold potato, tender to the tooth, with slivers of hard-boiled eggs and bits of pickles, fresh chives, and a homemade mayonnaise-mustard sauce. Since I met Danny, I have not been able to eat deli potato salad. His way — small Yukon potatoes quartered and cooked, seasoned with sea salt and perhaps with smoked paprika — has left me satisfied every time. But lately, we’ve been thinking about warm potato salad.

There’s something soothing about warm potatoes, softly shrugging at the edges of the steam, wrapped in a warm vinaigrette with a bite. I like a really acidic vinaigrette. I’m no weenie that way. Danny likes something a bit more subtle, more heat than acid. So one day, for dinner, he threw together a warm bacon-sriracha vinaigrette. (He made a separate dressing for the kids, since Lucy would have scrunched up her mouth and said, “Too spicy!” She’s 6.) The heat spread slowly through my mouth. The soft potatoes yielded to the crunch of the stiff bits of cooked, cooled bacon. There were second helpings that night.

The next time Danny made this potato salad with warm bacon-sriracha vinaigrette, he parboiled the potatoes in thick slices, then cooled them. After, he slathered the slices in olive oil and cooked them on the grill until they were nearly blackened in places. When they were still warm but only a-little-too-hot on his fingers, he chopped them up and tossed them with the dressing. Good friends ate dinner with us on the back porch and they were happy, amazed. However, most home cooks — that’s me — we like a simpler way. So we’ve offered you both here.

When it’s really summer — especially that one week of August when everyone near Seattle wilts and wishes for air conditioning because it’s in the 90s — I’ll want cold potato salad for a picnic under the plum tree outside our kitchen window. But right now, when the air is newly warm, with a hint of cool in the evening, I’ll take this warm potato salad with a bacon-sriracha vinaigrette. I can imagine it in any season, really. Heck, it might even make winter more palatable this year.

potato salad- potato salad

potato salad with warm bacon-sriracha vinaigrette

10 thick slices bacon
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
olive oil (optional)
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (use another tablespoon if you like more heat)

2 pounds red bliss potatoes, quartered
kosher salt
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (optional)

Cook the bacon. Put the bacon slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the oven. Turn the oven on to 425°. Set the timer for 22 minutes. The bacon should be sizzling and starting to crisp. If not, go a few more moments. (Each oven may vary.) Remove the bacon onto a paper-towel-lined plate.

Make the vinaigrette. Set a large skillet on medium heat. Pour in enough bacon grease to cover the bottom of the skillet (about 1 teaspoon). Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the red wine vinegar and stir in the mustard. Whisk it all together vigorously until it is emulsified. Pour the remaining bacon grease into a measuring cup. You are aiming for 1/2 cup of fat here. If you don’t have enough bacon grease, add enough olive oil to make up 1/2 cup. Pour the fat into the hot pan. Add the sriracha and whisk it together.

Boil the potatoes. While the bacon is cooking, put the potatoes into a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Add enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean. Bring the potatoes to a boil on high heat. Turn down the heat to medium high. Cook the potatoes until they are tender — when you can insert a sharp paring knife into the center of the potato piece and the potato slides off the knife — about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl.

Dress the potato salad. Slowly drizzle the warm bacon vinaigrette over the warm potatoes. Don’t use all of it — just enough to lightly coat the potatoes. Toss to combine. Taste the potato salad. Season with salt and pepper, if you want.

Chop the cooked bacon into small pieces. Toss it into the salad. Add the green onions, if you are using them. You might want to add a bit more vinaigrette, as warm potatoes can be thirsty. Also, it’s bacon-siracha vinaigrette. Don’t skimp.

Feeds 6.

 

Feel like making it Danny’s way? If you want to spend a little more time in the kitchen, here’s what Danny did. Use large Yukon potatoes. Slice them into thick slices, like little steaks, instead of chopping them. Boil them until they are just barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them cool to room temperature. Fire up the grill. When it’s roaring hot, slather both sides of the slices of potato with olive oil. Grill the potato slices until they have lovely grill marks on both sides. Remove them from the grill. When they are cool enough to touch, chop them up and dress them with the vinaigrette.

 

 

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gluten-free girl baking classeshttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/gluten-free-girl-baking-classes/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/gluten-free-girl-baking-classes/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 19:11:15 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10749   Imagine this. We gather together in the kitchen, to share stories, laugh, and bake together. And then we share a seasonal meal, made with local ingredients, all of it delicious. And of course, it’s…

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pizza dough V

 

Imagine this.

We gather together in the kitchen, to share stories, laugh, and bake together. And then we share a seasonal meal, made with local ingredients, all of it delicious. And of course, it’s all gluten-free.

Welcome to the gluten-free girl baking classes!

This summer, we’re teaching a series of baking classes in a private home on Vashon Island. It’s gorgeous here during the summer, all leafy green and blue skies. Would you like to learn how to make a fluffy yellow cake with chocolate frosting in time for all the summer birthday parties? Would you like to bake cherry pie together in July? Want to learn how to make sourdough bread? We’re here.

Danny and I — a couple of goofballs who dig each other and what we do — are teaching the classes and cooking the feasts together. We can’t wait to meet you.

For more information about dates and prices, go here. 

We’re teaching a series of 4 baking classes this summer. You could take one class, a few, or all four. The first one begins next Saturday!

 

gluten-free breakfast baking

flaky biscuits

lemon currant scones

blueberry muffins

overnight buckwheat waffles

gluten-free cookies and cakes

fluffy yellow cake

lemon polenta olive oil cake

chocolate chip cookies

salted oatmeal cookies

gluten-free pies, tarts, and cobblers

seasonal fruit pie

seasonal custard pie

seasonal vegetable quiche with a buttery crust

seasonal fruit cobbler

gluten-free breads

sourdough bread

sandwich bread

New York bagels

pizza dough

We’d love to bake with you.

 

Please click on this link for more information and to sign up now.

 

thank you!

shauna and danny

 

p.s. Some folks have already asked: can we do these classes online? We’re working on that. Maybe by the fall?

 

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meet our sponsors: tri-lamb boardhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-tri-lamb-board/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-tri-lamb-board/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 20:27:05 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10722 It may be cloudy and in the 60s outside. The calendar says we need to wait another four weeks to declare it. The kids are still in school. Never mind — you can’t go against…

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lamb burger

It may be cloudy and in the 60s outside. The calendar says we need to wait another four weeks to declare it. The kids are still in school. Never mind — you can’t go against the feeling. It’s summer when we’ve fired up our Weber gas grill for the first lamb burgers of the season.

When I tasted my first lamb burger, in New York City, late night at a diner, I was well into my 30s. My mother never liked lamb so I had never eaten it as a kid. I thought a lamb burger would be an imitation, a second force, not as good as a beef burger. I was shocked. It was far juicier than a beef burger. And the taste was deeply meaty with a tiny hint of sweetness. I stopped ordering beef burgers and switched over to lamb.

And then I met a chef from Colorado who loves lamb more than he can say. When we met, Danny served tiny lamb chops, cooked medium-rare, with silky smooth potato puree and a veal stock reduction sauce at his restaurant. I fell in love with him for a lot of reasons, but the surety with which he cooked those lamb chops got to me. They were always just right. (In fact, when my parents came to the restaurant for the first time, and Danny asked my dad for permission to marry me, he served my father those lamb chops. My dad would have said yes anyway but the lamb chops helped.)

I still love this grilled lamb with pomegranate and balsamic Danny created a couple of years ago.

So, when the Tri-Lamb Board asked to be a sponsor of this site, so we could share our love of lamb? Of course we said yes. Lamb is vastly under-rated in this culture, in our opinion. Did you know that a 3-ounce serving of lamb provides 5 times as much Omega-3 fats as beef? Or that 3 ounces of lamb contains 50% of the protein you need all day? (Nutrition facts courtesy of the Tri-Lamb Board.) Frankly, we just think lamb tastes good and makes a great burger.

For the first weekend of summer — a three-day weekend! picnics! gatherings! friends! — we made a Provencal lamb burger with red-wine caramelized onions, goat cheese, and basil. And we’ll be making them again.

This is a sponsored post but the opinions, language, and recipe are our own. 

 

Provencal lamb burger with red-wine-caramelized onions, goat cheese, and basil

2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/8 teaspoon chopped lavender
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
olive oil

Make the burger. Put the ground lamb in a large bowl. Break up the meat a little. Gently, work the mustard, garlic powder, rosemary, lavender, and salt and pepper into the meat. Do not overmix the meat, which can toughen it up. Fold everything together until it is well combined.

Form the burger. Divide the meat into 6-ounce portions. (This will give you 5 6-ounce burgers and one 3-ounce burger, for a kid.) Form each 6 ounce portion into a burger patty. (The Tri-Lamb board sent us this Weber burger press and Danny was hooked. It worked well.) Lay the burger patties on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes before grilling.

Grill the burgers. Fire up the grill. If you have not already done so, scrape the grill clean. Grease the grill with a touch of olive oil. Brush each side of the burger patties with olive oil, then lay them down on the hot grill. Cook the burgers on the first side until they have charred marks and starting to brown, about 4 minutes, then flip them over. For medium-rare burgers, cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove them from the grill.

Top the burgers with goat cheese, caramelized red onions (see note below), and fresh basil. We liked using a broad basil leaf the way you might use lettuce, but you could also chop up the basil into confetti-like pieces for the top of the burger.

Makes 5 to 6 burgers.

 

Note: to make caramelized red onions, do the following. Cut the ends off 3 medium red onions and peel them. Slice them as thinly as you can. (A mandoline works great here.) Set a large pot over low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then the onions. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they have reduced and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Cook until the vinegars have reduced and turned syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. You can keep these in the refrigerator and use them all week long.

Makes 1 cup caramelized onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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please eat piehttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/please-eat-pie-2/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/please-eat-pie-2/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 04:47:22 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10708 It is 1984. My best friend Sharon and I are sitting on the living room floor of our Southern California home, waiting. My brother Andy has just plunked down the lid on the Betamax machine,…

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Letterman signature

It is 1984. My best friend Sharon and I are sitting on the living room floor of our Southern California home, waiting. My brother Andy has just plunked down the lid on the Betamax machine, a clunky behemoth that seemed on the cutting edge of technology at the time. My mother wanted the VHS machine, since it was less expensive. My dad had insisted that the picture quality on the Beta was clearer, and since this was a device to record something off television and watch it later, it was worth the extra money. We didn’t really care. This innovation — we can watch a show when we feel like it instead of having to stay up late? — still amazed us. The machine cla-thunked to a start. The picture on the television appeared, then that familiar theme song. We sat back, ready to laugh.

Dave was on.

We always called him Dave in our house. It was never Letterman or Late Night with David Letterman. Certainly not David. Just Dave. Sharon and Andy and I, and my parents most of the time too, watched Dave every afternoon, after school, Tuesday through Friday. (His show only ran Monday through Thursday evenings..) We were the ones with the Beta machine, so Sharon came to our house, every afternoon, to watch Dave, then debrief afterwards. There was the velcro suit, the alka seltzer suit, Chris Elliott, Larry “Bud” Melman, Harvey Pekar, and dozens of other odd, memorable moments. Andy and Sharon and I loved it all.

Sharon and I had met a few years before. Her older sister was one of my new friends when I was a freshman, and I met 7th-grade Sharon briefly. When I returned from living in London a year later, in the fall of 1983, Sharon and I met again in the 400 quad of Claremont High school, in front of a bank of maroon lockers. Her sister said, “Remember Shauna? She met Paul McCartney in London.” I can still see Sharon’s eyes amazed behind thick glasses. Shy, she didn’t say much. But when we started talking about our favorite Beatle, the love of each other’s lives, she dropped the shyness. We became friends immediately.

We have been best friends for 32 years now.

Sharon and I shared our love of Paul — and the brief sight of his butt in tight pants in a tracking shot in A Hard Day’s Night — but we also shared an absurdist sense of humor. She was one of the few people I had met who already knew about Dave.

I was a brown-haired bespectacled bookworm in Los Angeles in the early 80s, the time when every actress was tawny gold-haired and lanky thin. All around me were kids in Nikes, which had just come onto the market with their gold swoop, and Dolphin shorts and feathered hair and year-long tans. I felt awkward, as desperate to fit in as any young teenager does, but also standing back and wondering why the hell I should care about this stuff. I read Jane Eyre and listened to music from the 60s and longed to live in a community of people who made their own food, women talking about their lives while they kneaded homemade bread dough. I felt like a long plain braid in a sea of big hair and blue eyeshadow.

At the same time, I was 40% sarcasm and quips, humor one of the paddles I used to row hard on the surface of a deep lake of pain. I read Donald Barthelme and Dorothy Parker and Woody Allen until the pages were frayed on those paperbacks. My brother Andy and I had both memorized Steve Martin’s records when they came out. Our parents let us stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live during those first years of Gilda Radner and John Belushi, which is amazing to me now. We were devoted followers of Monty Python, quoting long passages during long car rides. Ridiculous comedy was my beacon on the shore.

So when my parents told us there was a bizarre show on the mornings of the summer of 1980, the summer I turned 14, we tuned in. The David Letterman show was unlike anything I had ever seen, especially when the other channels were playing game shows and soap operas that droned on into forever. Dave was snappy and fast. He also didn’t seem to give a damn about convention or glad-handing guests. My brother and I were hooked. We sat in front of the television every morning, waiting for small-town news or stupid pet tricks. I still remember a moment when Dave had on a dog whose trick was that he ate cheesecake. As the dog tore through the torn-up treat slobbered on a tiny tin plate, Dave looked up and delivered deadpan, “Mmmmm. I could go for some cheesecake right about now.” I think I can pinpoint that as the moment I fell in love with him, really. (It’s also entirely possible that I have remembered that moment wrong for all these years. Love is like that too.)

Everyone who was interesting to us showed up on that morning show: Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Andy Kaufman (he confused the hell out of me but I remember being mesmerized by him). Dave made the people who wrote the show, like Merrill Markoe (one of my writing heroes), into bit players too. Biff Henderson the stage manager starting doing segments. Dave seemed to like his staff more than the stars. I liked that too.

Of course, that show only lasted a few months. Weirdos like that didn’t last long in the land of smooth-voiced announcers giving away washers and dryers.

Of course, I was elated when Dave got his own show, late night, at 12:30 am. That was the zany hour. He could do whatever he wanted, like put a camera on a monkey or go to a 5-story abandoned building and throw crap off of it, just to see what happened. I liked even more that his show debuted when we owned a Beta machine — I’ve always loved the late evenings but I couldn’t make it up to 1:30 on a school night — and Sharon had come into my life. That’s how we came to be sitting on our living room floor in 1984, watching Dave.

Letterman pie dough

It is the summer of 1986. My family and I had moved to Washington state after I graduated high school in 1985. I started college at a small school with an honors program steeped in the classics that I liked. (Talking about the history of physics and ancient Greek plays was my idea of a good time.) My dad, who had taught at the same community college in Southern California his entire career, had taken the leap to ask for a sabbatical and take a one-year position at the same school I now attended. My mother had always wanted to live near her family. Here was our chance.

All year, as we thrived on the green trees and clear skies in Washington state, my parents worried about what to do. Choose safety and what is known, the retirement fund, the steady paycheck, the years stretching out before us in a place we didn’t love but called home? Or take the leap to stay in our newfound home without a steady job yet? One day in May, my parents flew down to California, looked at houses in our old hometown all day, put in a bid on one, then flew back up to Seattle at the end of the day. One day in June, we filled up moving trucks and our cars and drove away from those leafy green places we had just started exploring. We were on the freeway outside Tacoma when my mother started crying. “We made the wrong decision,” she said. “We shouldn’t be leaving.” My brother and I felt the same. My poor father was shocked to find us all despondent when we stopped at the first rest stop. It took us three days to drive to California. By then, my parents had made their decision: we’d unload just enough furniture and decorations so we could make the house ready to sell. And then we’d move back up to Washington and take our chances.

(It worked out, by the way, that giant leap, an absurd move guided by passion and some gut determination that it was time to leave LA for good. That summer, after they decided to move back even if they didn’t have a job, my dad was offered a full-time position at the university where he had been teaching on a one-year position. He retired from a long career there two years ago. My brother and I both met the loves of our lives in Washington state. In fact, we both live on Vashon Island, five minutes away from each other. Our children are dear friends. There’s no other place I can ever imagine living. That leap my parents took, absurd and exhausting as it seemed to us that summer, set something in me, a clear notion that following my bliss was more important than logic. That knowledge — it can work; it will be different than you imagine, but it will work — has guided my life and career ever since. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for that crazy summer.)

That temporary living situation in our old hometown is how Sharon and Andy and I were able to watch Dave together every afternoon again, on a VHS machine this time. As I have been watching clips on YouTube these last few days, I’ve remembered every single ridiculous sketch, all the musical guests, the filmed segments in a car with Dave’s crazy hair even more tousled. I remember mostly that a little film with Martin Short made the three of us laugh so hard that Sharon folded up inside the metal lawn chair she was sitting on and sank down to the floor, her feet flailing as she was trapped there, stuck and laughing so hard we were crying.

Dave did that to us every time.

One day that hot hot summer, Andy and Sharon and I sat down to write letters to Dave. At the time, he had a segment where he read viewer letters, typed on blue notecards, and then answered them in absurdist fashion. There was always a hint of cyncism and what-the-hell to it all. Camera on a monkey, people. We wanted him to read ours. So we wrote letter after letter on yell0w-lined legal paper, each one dumber than the last. “Dear Dave, it’s 110° here today and we’re wilting. What are we supposed to do?” My favorite, and the only one that made us laugh so hard we fell backward on the floor is the only one I remember fondly. “Dear Dave, please eat pie.”

I’m still disappointed he never read it.

My mom somehow got tickets to the Tonight Show, back when Johnny Carson was still the host, because she knew that Dave would be on. (She worked at the newspaper in Claremont, where tickets were handed out sometimes. She also got tickets for us the last year we lived there, when Paul McCartney was on the show. Sharon and I nearly fainted.) We all drove together, Sharon and I giggling in the back seat, to see Dave. The show was funny but we were far away. There was a sort-of-lame skit with Judge Wapner. It all felt a little like a dream.

Afterwards, my mom urged us to wait outside of the gate nearest the studio. (She’s always had this part of her, a little naughty side that insisted on experiences, a part of her I really like.) We waited, then realized Dave was coming out another gate somewhere. We ran across the parking lot in Burbank, my mother chasing my brother who ran far ahead, a security guard chasing us for awhile because he thought my brother had stolen her purse. We got it sorted, then we turned the corner. And there he was. Dave.

He was tall. Skinny. Tan. I still remember the Hawaiian shirt he was wearing had pineapples all over it, which made me laugh. He was chewing gum and cracking jokes and signing autographs on pieces of paper and books that people were handing over the fence. Sharon held up her book and said, “Can you put something nice on it? To make it personal?”
Dave looked at her and laughed, that same sardonic laugh we had heard a thousand times, when a guest was doing something sort of dumb and something sort of wonderful at the same time. “What did you want?”
Sharon, insistent, more confident than normal (because, after all, it was just Dave), said, “Draw a heart and put a smiley face in it.”
That’s why I have the Late Night with David Letterman book, signed, “to Shauna and Mom,” with a heart and smiley face in it. A Late Night hat too. I’ve kept them both, all these years. I’m never letting those go.

Letterman strawberries

Years passed. Sharon went to Vassar. I finished up at my college in Washington State. We called each other every week, to talk. All through the week, I kept notes of things I wanted to tell her. Most of the time, it was jottings like, “Oh my god! PeeWee on Dave!” We stayed friends, still watching Dave.

My brother and I had two VHS machines by now, so we could watch a show, rewind to anything we really liked, and then keep it. We’d tape a bit from one VHS machine to the other, so the final tape was a compendium of all the most joyful, cynical, and incredible 3-minute segments from Dave that year. As my brother wrote to me yesterday, “I think about our videotape collections. They were like our own YouTube. Just a great encyclopedia of comedy.” I’d give anything to have them now. We threw everything away when people started giving away their VHS machines for free.

In 1996, I went to New York City for the first time. I couldn’t sleep the entire red-eye flight, too excited for all the experiences I was about to welcome. I landed at LaGuardia, then took the M125 bus to Columbia University, on Broadway and 116th. The moment my foot stepped on New York City sidewalk, I knew I needed to live in that city. (I moved there the following year.) After I checked into my dorm for the month-long seminar in poetry, I looked around and realized none of the other participants were there yet. So I went back to Broadway and started walking. I walked and walked, stopping to eat sometimes or look in shops a few times. New York City came at me in huge doses, and I loved every blaring noisy smelly human moment. I meandered. There was no fast pace for me. I wanted to see it all. But I was headed in one direction, to one place. The Ed Sulivan Theater. Dave’s studio. When I reached it, and looked in the front doors, I knew I was really home.

When I lived in New York, I didn’t have a tv. There was too much to do to sit in the living room of my life anymore. But the second year I lived in that apartment on the Upper West Side, Sharon moved in as one of my roommates. She owned a tv and some nights we’d still sit together, on her big bed this time, pints of Ben and Jerry in our hands, and watch Dave.

One morning, I got a call from my friend Caroline. We were studying arts and humanities at NYU together. A lovely, gentle soul, Caroline knew how much I loved Dave, even if she didn’t have quite the same fervor. Her friend had written away for tickets months before. That day, she was sick and couldn’t go. If I could get down to the studio by 2, we could watch the show. Be in the audience for Dave’s show! Of course, I went. But I was miserable too because there wasn’t a ticket for Sharon. I thought about demurring, but then I realized Sharon would go without me. I had to go. I remember the feeling of lining up outside with Caroline — was it cold? I think it was the winter — then snaking through the hallways of the theater, assistants in the blue and gold letterman jackets guiding us there, and then sitting about 20 rows back. It was colder in the studio than it was outside. The band rocked. I mean, of course. It’s Paul Shaffer. But they blew the roof off the place, just warming up. Dave came out, even skinnier than when I had met him. White shirt, tie, suit, nicer shoes than the Addidas wrestling shoes he wore through the 80s. I remember pinching myself and trying to remember all of it for Sharon. And the rest is gone. Oh, I do remember that Dave sat behind his desk in commercial breaks, no interaction with the audience. Mostly, he was hidden by cameras. But that’s it. Who was on? What songs did the band play? I have no idea. I had almost forgotten I went once, until yesterday. I think I found it hard to enjoy it fully without Sharon.

And then I moved back to Seattle and started teaching again. The hours were too late for me. Thursday nights I saw him, when I could stay up just a bit later than usual, knowing Friday was coming. September 11th happened and Dave was one of the few voices that made sense, strangely. He was growing older. Softer. Sometimes, his kindness slipped out between jokes. I met Danny and I stopped watching much television at night. The whirlwind of our lives began. Lucy arrived, then Desmond, and I never made it up to 11:35 pm again.

I caught bits of Dave’s show on the internet, which had started to become a force in our lives. The VHS tapes we had were being recreated with new material, one 3-minute clip at a time, sent through emails, then YouTube, then Twitter and Facebook.

My guess is that Letterman is probably diffident about all of this.

Thing is, Dave has this deep Midwestern side to him: fundamentally decent, keeps personal things close to him, not mawkish. And then the zany, who-gives-a-shit side that appealed to my brother and me. The man is just smart. Let’s not forget that. When the world is more absurd every year, it’s helpful to have someone smart and just as weary of the pomposity and preposterousness as you are have the chance to point it out on national television.

I’ve always had my earnest side: the plain braid, the love of classic Greek tragedy and all things geeky, the teacher, the pyschologically minded observations, the one who goes for the ending that gently ties it all together. That has, over time, become the voice of this site. It’s an important part of me. But it’s not all. If you want to know the real me, take the voice of this site and add Dave Letterman.

Maybe there should be more cameras on monkeys around here.

Letterman strawberries II

As you might know, last night was Dave’s last show. I’ve been writing this piece for days, thinking I’d have it up in time for his last show to air. But something kept dragging on me, not letting me finish it. Probably, it’s this.

As Sharon wrote, “I’ve had Letterman in my life for so long, it’s going to be so strange not having him on.”

The last few days, Andy and Sharon and I have been texting. We’re all still friends. We’re all busy now. I see Andy every week. Sharon’s in Portland, teaching. She has such a different schedule than mine, and I have two small children, that the phone is near impossible. But we’re all still right there. And when we are in the same room, the three of us, we start laughing so hard no one can understand us, usually in under three minutes.

Andy and I see each other all the time and still talk about our favorite comdy and shows that intrigue us. (RuPaul’s Drag Race is our current fervent shared obsession. In its way, it’s just as irreverent and brilliant as Dave. Danny and Andy’s wife love it too.) Yesterday, we texted back and forth all day, sharing clips from Dave in the 80s. (Can anyone find the Clowns in a Heat Chamber skit? I can’t.)

Here’s what my brother wrote: “The thing with Dave is that he taught me how to react. Monty Python couldn’t teach me that. Dave was just funny in the world.”
I wrote to him: “Exactly. He also taught me to not take shit too seriously. And that it’s actually fine to be an outsider.”
Andy: “And how to be a little uncomfortable with everything. A valuable skill.”

True.

As Sharon wrote to me, “Seriously, this week is like watching our teenage years.”

I’ve been watching Dave since the summer of 1980, devotedly, with great gratitude, and mostly laughing. I’ve been watching Dave for 35 years. 35 years! I haven’t even known Sharon for 35 years. The only other people who have been in my life that long are my parents and brother. (And Paul McCartney, whom I still love.) I’ve only known Danny for 9 years and he’s at the center of my life now, the force of love that makes me who I am. What will it be like when I’ve known him for 35 years? I can’t even imagine.

And knowing that I have been watching Dave for 35 years, writing this piece, and watching clips for days in the guise of this writing, one thing has been clear: I’m getting old. I still remember Beta machines. I can say: “Back in my days, we didn’t have microwaves or computers in our home or cell phones.” Lucy looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell her this, the same way I was confused by my parents’ statements like that. I am, without a doubt, at nearly 49, one of the oldest folks writing a food blog.

And I love it.

I mean it. I love it. Every time I have seen Dave lately, he seemed older and softer than ever. He seemed to be enjoying it all more. The twitchy tensions and awkwardness left him last decade. Now that I’ve been writing this site for 10 years, I feel the same. Rather than trying to keep up with the younguns with the latest technology of the moment, worrying that I’m no longer relevant, I’m just going to be like Dave. I’m going to keep doing what I love and showing up, offering up small-town news, making stupid jokes with the staff, and laughing. This is my home.

* * *

Dave is 68 years old now. His son is 11. He has a lot of good living that isn’t tied to television. (Even tv is gone. There’s so little that makes us all tune in at the same time anymore.) Of course the man has the right to go.

But damn it. No more Dave on tv, online, in clips that Sharon and I text each other. As Sharon wrote to me: “Even when I’m not watching, I like knowing he’s there.”

I guess it’s finally time for me to stop writing this piece. He’s done now.

Thanks, Dave.

p.s. Please eat pie.

Letterman strawberries III

gluten-free strawberry pie, adapted from Home Cookin’ with Dave’s Mom

One of my most favorite recurring segments from Dave’s show was when his mom would be beamed in from her kitchen in Indiana. Dorothy had a wonderful Midwestern sensibility, a kindness and patience that Dave liked to test. When he got up to some of his shenanigans, she would quietly say, “Now David.” That would be enough to stop him. She was an anchor on the show. And she was always cooking something: meat loaf, fried bologna sandwiches, Coca-Cola cake, or Swedish meatballs. This was Midwestern cooking at its best.

Her favorite, and clearly Dave’s too, were her pies. (I believe that sour cherry was his favorite.) Since pies are my favorite food in the world to make, I knew I had to try one of Dorothy’s pies for this post. Strawberries aren’t quite ripe here — there’s too much white in them still to make them truly sweet — but bathe them in this glaze and they’re fine. Dorothy’s pie crust here is a shortening crust, with egg yolk and milk. It’s not as flaky a crust as you would make with cold butter and some shortening, but it’s an easy crust to make. It’s also very easy to roll out. This pie is better on the second day anyway. When the glaze has fully set, and the soft sweet strawberries have seeped a little into the crust, it all softens into something wonderful.

Dorothy’s pie crust, adapted from the recipe here

280 grams (2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
125 grams (3/4 cup) shortening
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make the pie dough. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the shortening in small pieces. Work the fat and flour together with your fingers, until the flour looks like small peas in sandy flour. Add the egg yolk, milk, and lemon juice. Bring together the dough with a rubber spatula or your fingers until it forms a loose ball.

Put the ball of dough onto a lightly grease piece of parchment paper. Lay another piece of lightly greased parchment paper on top. Roll out the dough to a smooth round, slightly larger than a 9-inch pie pan. Take off the top piece of parchment, lay the pie pan on top of the dough, and flip the dough into the pie pan. If any of the dough tears off, just pat it into the pan. No worries — there’s gluten.

Blind bake the crust. Heat the oven to 425°. Lay a lightly buttered piece of tin foil onto the pie dough, taking care to make sure every surface of the pie is covered. Pour in some dried beans, enough to cover every part of the tin foil and up to the edges of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully, take the pie crust out of the oven, remove the tin foil and beans, then bake until the edges of the pie crust are starting to brown, another 5 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven and let it cool completely.

Dorothy’s strawberry filling, adapted from here 

3/4 cup + 5 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
4 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed and cut into quarters

Make the glaze. Set a small pot on medium heat. Pour in the orange juice and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat on low. Stir together the arrowroot powder and remaining orange juice until a thick paste forms. (This is a slurry.) Turn the heat up to medium high. Spoon in half the slurry and stir the orange juice. It should thicken to form a slow-moving syrup. If it’s not thick enough, add the rest of the slurry. Turn off the heat and add the strawberries. Stir well to coat every strawberry. Pour the strawberries into the prepared pie shell.

For best results, let the pie sit for at least 4 hours before serving. Ideally, you wait until the next day. I know. Good luck with that.

Makes 1 9-inch pie.

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Meet Our Sponsors: Alaska Gold Brandhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-alaska-gold-brand/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-alaska-gold-brand/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 04:21:47 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10682 Announcing Alaska Gold Brand seafood as our latest sponsor. We’re crazy about salmon in this house. Danny smokes a side of salmon nearly every week, which we eat as an appetizer for dinner with the…

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Alaska gold salmon

Announcing Alaska Gold Brand seafood as our latest sponsor.

We’re crazy about salmon in this house. Danny smokes a side of salmon nearly every week, which we eat as an appetizer for dinner with the kids. We pack smoked salmon in Lucy’s lunches and feed it to Desmond nearly every day. We also smoke black cod for Sunday morning bagels. (New York-style gluten-free bagels? Yes. The recipes is in our next cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented.) Now that it’s May, we’re eating as much halibut as we can afford.

No food makes me feel so healthy and contented as wild Alaskan seafood.

Still, we rarely offer seafood recipes on this site. We know that we’re lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, with such easy access to great seafood. (We have a fish stand on the side of the road on Vashon, a family full of fishermen selling directly to those of us who live here.) We hesitate to put up recipes you can’t make easily.

That’s why we’re so happy to announce Alaska Gold Brand (by Seafood Producers Cooperative) as our latest sponsor.

Seafood Producers Cooperative is a band of fishing families who provide fantastic seafood direct to restaurants around the world. As they write: “70 years ago, a group of Alaskan halibut fishermen realized that the best way to ensure that their products were delivered with quality from ocean to market was to process their own fish instead of depending on the services of agents and distributors. They formed what would become North America’s oldest and most successful fishermen’s cooperative.

Today over 575 fishermen belong to Seafood Producers Cooperative and roam the waters of the North Pacific catching fish by hook and line methods. What started in 1944 as a cooperative to provide halibut liver oil to vitamin companies has now become a full-fledged organization that provides sushi producers in Japan,  smokers in New York City, upscale restaurants across the United States, and reputable grocery purveyors in Europe with the highest quality fish available. And the fishermen are still the boss.”

Just recently, the folks at Seafood Producers Cooperative decided to start an online business, selling directly to consumers. This is Alaska Gold Brand.

Danny and I have tasted some fine seafood in our lives together. This is some of the best.

You can buy king salmon and coho salmon, in 5-pound and 10-pound packages, the fish already cleaned and portioned, then packed in vacuum-sealed packages. (I’m lucky that Danny loves to debone fish. Not everyone does.) Thaw the fish, open the package, and start cooking. Or, you could buy an entire salmon, if you like to clean the fish yourselves, like Danny. Alaska Gold sells sashimi-grade albacore and albacore in cans. (This is tuna you can trust. And delicious.) They sell beautiful halibut and black cod. And they have a loyalty program, where you get incredible fish every month.

We can not tell you this with enough emphasis: this is some of the best fish you will ever eat.

We’re big fans of Alaska Gold Brand, and we’re so happy they are sponsors so we can share them with you.

 

Kendall Whitney, the marketing manager for Alaska Gold, gave us some thoughtful answers to our questions.

 

Where do your fishermen catch their fish?

The majority of our salmon (king, coho and keta) are harvested in the waters of Southeast Alaska, along with our halibut, sablefish (black cod), ling cod and rockfish. We have a number of members who catch albacore tuna off the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Members catch our California Gold king salmon off the coast of Northern California.

What would you like people to know about seafood? 

A big misconception among consumers is that it is difficult to prepare seafood. One of our biggest challenges is to convince consumers of just how easy it is to cook fish. Too many Americans are intimidated by cooking seafood. We believe this is a major reason why seafood consumption is so low on a per capita basis in this country.”

Over the past two decades, per capita consumption of seafood products in the United States has ranged from a low of 14.6 pounds per person in 1997 to a record high of 16.6 pounds in 2004, Whitney notes. Since 2004, U.S. annual consumption of fish and shellfish has gradually decreased, to 14.5 pounds per person in 2013. For comparison, U.S. annual per capita consumption of other major food commodities is: red meats, about 110 pounds; poultry, nearly 75 pounds; dairy products, over 600 pounds; vegetables, over 400 pounds; fruits, over 250 pounds; flour and cereal products, almost 200 pounds.

While seafood, like salmon, is a great source of Omega-3s — which have been shown to be both heart– and brain-healthy — our consumption of fish is relatively low. Most of what we get is imported, and a lot of that is caught illegally and/or mislabeled, of poor quality and not from sustainable fisheries. This is a shame, because Alaska is one of the premier fisheries in the world and is a pioneer in sustainability. We believe that the low seafood consumption here is due to misunderstanding of seafood and how to prepare it.

Why is the idea of a fisherman’s cooperative so important to your fishermen? 

In a nutshell, a fisherman will get the fairest price when he or she delivers to the co-op — which is the fishermen’s own organization. It is very rare that fishermen can concentrate both on fishing and on selling their product, and do both jobs well. Working with a co-op that processes, packages and sells the fish allows members to share the costs and maximize the dollars that end up in the fisherman’s pocket. A co-op also maximizes returns on fishermen’s catches vs. what they’d make on their own. By joining forces in a co-op, fishermen lower their processing costs and ensure access to a much larger market than they would on their own. Here, members of the Halvorsen family fish for albacore tuna.

Fishermen who sell on their own face three problems: Who will process and package the fish?
How will they produce the volume needed to assure customers of a reliable supply?
How can they get enough money to solve the first two problems?

This is where a fishermen’s co-op comes in. A co-op allows fishermen to do what they do best: catch fish. A co-op can invest in processing and packaging facilities. A co-op can achieve enough scale so that customers don’t “run dry.” A co-op provides a safety net by allowing members to pool together and negotiate for better prices for common needs, such as vessel insurance and fishing gear. Co-ops have a unique way of doing business that offers fishermen the best of both worlds, giving them the opportunity to work independently while also providing a space to pull their resources together to achieve bigger goals.

At the end of the day, the reason we have members who enthusiastically join the co-op is that their fish reaches a larger market than it would if they were working on their own. They get the fairest price for their hard work.

How do your fishermen work to maintain sustainability of the fish?

Our members fish using hook-and-line methods, which minimize the “by-catch” (the catching of non-target fish species or sizes). Hook-and-line methods are the opposite of mass extraction methods — there is a tremendous amount of respect for the fish when the fisherman handles one fish at a time. As a result, we produce a quality product using more sustainable methods.

Our fishermen/members are examples of what Dan Barber writes about in Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food: “Wild fish did not come into this world just to be our food,” Barber writes. “They came into this world to pursue their own individual destinies. If we hunt them and eat them, we must hunt them with care and eat them with the fullness of our appreciation.” Our members’ use of traditional hook-and-line methods respects the quality and uniqueness of each fish. Our motto is: One Hook, One Fish at a Time. This means that we catch, process and put the fish on ice within minutes of being caught. Once you see our fishermen in action and taste the results of a line-caught salmon from SPC, we think you’ll be hooked.

Alaska is a world leader in sustainable fisheries. Maintaining sustainable fisheries is even written into the state constitution. The Alaska fisheries within which our members fish are carefully managed by biologists so that our members’ grandchildren can fish the same way that we do. That, to us, is the definition of sustainability.

At the heart of everything we do is the overriding concern for “maintaining a top-quality product, from ocean to market.” Quality is the keystone of our mission.

As you can see, Alaska Gold is an incredible, thoughtful company. We’re honored to be working with them.

 

 

Alaska Gold is generously offering 5 pounds of their excellent Coho salmon to 3 readers of this site. Please leave a comment about why you would be interested in winning salmon from this company to enter. We will choose winners at random on Friday, May 22nd. Winners will be notified by email. 

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Meet Our Sponsors: Coors Peakhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-coors-peak/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2015/05/meet-our-sponsors-coors-peak/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 05:35:50 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=10680 I have to admit this first: I didn’t expect to like Coors Peak. When I thought I could eat gluten, I was a bit of a beer snob. A pint of Guinness, pulled over the…

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Coors Peak

I have to admit this first: I didn’t expect to like Coors Peak.

When I thought I could eat gluten, I was a bit of a beer snob. A pint of Guinness, pulled over the course of 20 minutes at a pub in Dublin, thick and creamy, as filling as a loaf of bread — that was my idea of a beer. Then again, I could never understand why anyone liked beer, since it left me red-faced, stomach hurting, and a little woozy. And then I was diagnosed with celiac and I understood.

I’ve tried quite a few gluten-free beers, and I’ve liked some of them for different reasons. Some I didn’t like at all. But for some reason, I sort of thought I wouldn’t like this one.

However, when I saw that Joshua Henderson from Skillet in Seattle, one of my favorite chefs in our city, was doing a dinner based on flavor pairings with Coors Peak, I started paying attention. Maybe it was better than I thought?

(Henderson has a few recipes on the Coors Peak website now. This skillet-braised pork belly on a cornmeal waffle? Oh shush. And, it would be easy to make the waffle gluten-free with our gluten-free flour.)

When Coors sent us some of the beer, to see if they could be one of the sponsors of this site, I invited a good friend to try it with me. Our friend Clint is a certified beer snob. He enjoys beers in a way few people I know do:  in moderation and with great devotion. He has definite opinions. And he can eat all the gluten he wants. I figured if Clint liked this beer, we had something here.

Clint and I both took sips of cold Coors Peak, paused, took another sip, and then looked at each other. “You know, it’s not bad,” he said. I was surprised by it too. He took another sip. And then another. And then we both admitted it: “I really like this beer.”

Here’s why I really like this beer: it has very much its own taste. This is not a sorghum-based beer trying to imitate a full-bodied beer made with barley malt. Instead, Coors Peak is made with brown rice, pea protein, and malted brown rice. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was possible to malt brown rice. The final beer is crisp and bright, ever-so-slightly-sweet, and deeply refreshing.

Clint finished his entire beer, happily. So did I.

Danny and I both think this might be the perfect gluten-free beer for making beer battered fish and chips. In fact, we might be making that this week.

Next week is Memorial Day weekend. That’s the start of summer, folks. You know those long hot summer afternoons, when you’re surrounded by family and everything is slow, and you just want a cold beer on the back deck? For me, this is that beer.

Right now, Coors Peak is only available in the Seattle and Portland areas. But I imagine it will spread out to the rest of the country eventually. And given the reach of the company, that means a good, relatively inexpensive gluten-free beer could be available near you soon.

That’s why we’re happy to have Coors Peak as our latest sponsor.

(Check out their Facebook page for updates and more recipes from Joshua Henderson and other chefs.)

 

 

 

 

 

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