Sauces and Dressings

Bread and stuff to put on bread

Bread attempts

I am not really the type of person to wish to change circumstances that cannot be or wish things away that simply cannot be wished away. It is futile and a great waste of energy. I change or work for change in things I have control over and celebrate the parts of life that simply are what they are good or bad. No resistance, no stress.

There is one thing though I would change. Ok, actually it's two things. I wish I could eat gluten and I wish I could eat eggs. There is no oh poor me involved in this. I eat these things, I don't feel good. It is a fact of life, one which would be nice to be able to change. People with food intolerance, allergies and diseases like Chrons/Celiac are not doing happy dances when they get their diagnoses I assure you. As much as you can become happy and ok with it, it is not something you'd wish on anyone.

There are a few brilliant individuals such as Karina and Shauna and bakeries such as BabyCakes (NYC/LA) and Flying Apron (Seattle) who are making great strides in creating gluten-free friendly recipes of the things people commonly have to cut out of their diets when they have gluten intolerance and Celiac. It is awesome what they are doing. Goodness knows, I appreciate it when I need a baked goods fix. I have also started to develop gluten free, egg-free recipes of my own that I would some day love to share in a cookbook or bakery.

I think my biggest problem is that I am not really a baked good person in general. You would think that would make being gluten intolerant easier and it does, but the problem is when I do crave a baked good there are some that just cannot be mimicked in a gluten free style. Cookies, cupcakes, even most morning pastries but not bread. The thing I often crave the most is a big hunk of crusty bread straight out of the oven. In my adult life, I have never been much of a consumer of bread on a daily basis, or even consistently of grains. I just prefer veggies and fruit to grains. But there are some days when I can think of nothing more than a hunk of bread with butter melting over it.

Last week was one of those weeks. I wanted bread. I wanted a sandwich. I wanted crusty, flaky warm bread straight out of the oven. And I didn't want to suffer for it. And so, I decided to try my hand at baking on. I consulted many sources but each had something I could not use or work with. One has eggs, another uses a breadmaker and provides no alternate instructions. Each had something I would tweak or change. And so I decided to do that.

I developed a gluten free, egg free crusty bread in my brand new 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset, consulted with the Baker about a few techniques and on Friday baked off my first batch. Fresh out of the oven (after cooling), it had a great outside crunch, the inside was what I would expect of a gluten free loaf- slightly dense, but yes! it had some lift and stretchy bubbles. However, it also had a slightly metallic taste which I had just suggested be worked out of another gluten free recipe that the Baker had me try. The metallic taste comes from the egg replacer which would easily be remedied if I had the luxury of being able to eat eggs. Eggs are a good "cheat" in gluten free baking. The loaf was not bad, in fact, it was probably a revelation in terms of gluten free bread baking. But it was not what I wanted. I will continue to develop the recipe and see if I can create something crave worthy. It is a start and I am intrigued.

Condiment Party

Part of the hope in baking the bread on Friday was that I would have a nice loaf of bread that I could put my hot dogs on for our Super Bowl Sunday party. We decided to throw a Super not Superbowl Party, which eventually became just a Super Superbowl Party. The requirements for coming were to bring a beverage and a homemade condiment. The Baker made buns and we cooked up some great tasting dogs. The day before the big game, we spent a few hours in the kitchen making Maple Baked Beans, Chipotle Ketchup, Roasted Peppers, Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mustard.

Best hog dog buns anyone had ever tasted.

Hot dogs braised in white wine, onions and cloves.

Maple Glazed Beans. Cooked for 6 hours. YUM!

The party was awesome and the party-goers absolutely surprised and delighted me in the level in which they got into making condiments. They showed some great creativity. We had a few types of ketchup, honey mustard, sprouted mung bean relish, spicy thai relish, wasabi mayo, guacamole, tomatillo salsa, sauerkraut, cream cheese. You name it, we had it. It was really fascinating to watch the combination and methods that people chose in getting a maximum number of condiments on their dogs or plates. People had a great time and I was really blessed to have such a great group of people bless my home with their presence and my kitchen with their great dishes!