Crazy Opposites

Well, I might as well talk about what we had for dinner last night as it really was about as bad as I can get, food wise.  Wicked delicious though.  First, a bit of history.  When I go out to California to see my kidlets (grand children) just down the street is not only a yarn store but Bake Sale Betty’s.  BSB is a corner cafe, I believe on Telegraph in Oakland.  It’s a tiny place, no seating but what made me check it out was that there were ironing boards on the sidewalk, in a long row the width of the front with stools.  You sit at the ironing boards and eat your lunch!  I thought it was the coolest thing.  At the end of the day they fold up and lay against the building standing up so it looks like a brightly painted fence as each one has a wacky cover.  The stools have been cut down so your not actually perched that high when your sitting.  The owners serve just a fried chicken sandwich (or at least that was all last time I was there).  I got it once but wholly mackerel, gigantic, enough to feed four.  Very yummy.  They sell pies, cookies and coffee too but everything is so big.  Pie of the day is the theme…..all apple or whatever.  Line out the door, no kidding.

This month Bon Appetit profiled the chicken sandwich on the cover – I recognized it immediately.  Of course someone else put their name on it but there is a reference to Bake Sale Betty as the originator.  I made it last night.  What was I thinking??? it was so darn delicious, have to admit.

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Easy recipe….

Spicy Mayo which your supposed to keep separate but I didn’t follow the directions and mixed it into the slaw part…it all works!  I adapted this recipe to suit our taste.

2 garlic cloves, smashed & chopped

1/2 C. Mayo – I used southern Dukes, amazing stuff

1 Tbs. hot sauceBlend this together and let sit while you shred the rest.

1 small red onion

1 hot pepper of any sort – make it small

4 C. or so shredded red & green cabbage

1/2-1 C. chopped pickles

1/4 C. or so pickle juice

Fried Chicken Part:

2 C. flour

1 TBs. black pepper (yes, it’s quite a bit)

1/2 tsp. salt

Place in bowl, stir with whisk to incorporate that pepper

In another dish:

1 C. buttermilk

I had 4 large chicken thighs to dredge in flour then buttermilk then back in flour again.

Fry at high heat.

Meanwhile pan crisp some rolls in butter.

Just so delicious.  Really hot, spicy and fresh, load on that slaw!

A few days ago I was on another health kick….crunchy fresh live food type of deal.

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This one has everything in it.  It too was terrific.  We have been eating it for days and it remains great. 

Starts with a brown rice/barley/black rice package that I get at Trader Joe’s, you just zap it for 3 minutes, done, you end up with maybe 2 cups.

I let it cool then added:

3 carrots put through the slicer of my cheap food processor

1 bag of my frozen dinosaur kale from last years garden

1/2 small green cabbage, same slicing

steamed broccoli

2 bunches chopped scallions

two handfuls of pea pods put through the slicer

2 handfuls of roasted sunflower seeds

2 avocados chunked

Dressed with:

3/4 C. olive oil & 1/4 C. cider vinegar with salt & pepper

That’s it, just stuff from my fridge.  The avocado does nice stuff blending with the juices so you almost get a avocado dressing happening.  Creamy and green.

So, now I’m hibernating.  The technology factor around here is getting to be too much.  We broke down, after our washer broke down yet again (15 years though, pretty good I guess) and bought a new washer & dryer.  Geech.  Bells & whistles, dials, selections up the ying yang.  It’s too much.  And, I thought I was buying the least complicated.  I measured it at the store and it’s all pretty standard but then when we got it home….we had to take the walls down to fit it in the bathroom closet so we had a construction scene going on for a week.  Paul is not good with these things…..tends to leave his crap everywhere, sink full of plumbing tools, nails on the floor, door casings just half off with nails sticking out.  And, to complain……..no, no, no.  So, here we are, it’s working, does the job and I hope never to do that again.

And, to make matters worse.  I got rid of my Apple Phone because it’s so small I can’t see print without scrolling and the pictures are not as good as my old Samsung – what the heck?  I’ll just get another Samsung – geech, again.  I’m sitting here with this thing that is so complicated it overwhelms me.  I can do about 10 minutes at a time then my restlessness sets in and I walk away.  I need a smart teenager to call on!  I’m telling you – what a great job for a high school tecky kid.  I could keep someone employed with just the stuff we’ve got going on. 

But, to save a shred of my intelligence….the other day our newspaper The World Herald Tribune published an article on “How to Say Adieu to Online Networks”….yea, just in time.  For some reason Paul was hooked into LinkedIn and it went viral to everyone he has ever known in his life!  He has gotten zillions of responses and with his crowd most of them don’t belong to it as he didn’t know he did.  Make a long story short….I can now get him out, fairly easy.  So, I’m feeling like sort of a smarty pants for this one second of my day.

It’s a complicated world outside my door.

 

 

Florida Adventure

Hot, hot hot!  I am so glad to be home!  While down south it was 90 degrees for the whole week.  I thought I’d die.  Everyone was just barely walking.  Most people stayed in their boats with the AC on, which I don’t have and wish I did.  But, I could never stay in a little, tiny, boxed up area with a wind machine happening…..give me MAINE, any day.

But, I did drive around quite a bit (in a box with a wind machine) but at least the view changed.  I was reading the book “A Land Remembered”, a history of the “settling” of Florida; is it settled?  I saw some crazy stuff while roaming around in the countryside – seems like I was in the Ozarks/Arkansas or something like that.  I met my brother over in Acadia for lunch 2.5 hr. drive straight down a long, long road all the way across the state.  Lots of cows, citrus, prisons.  All the pedophiles are kept at this particular prison that I passed.  Wow.  Lots. Creepy.  The guys were working clearing brush as I passed….ew, ew, ew, no eye contact.

I’ll just put up the pictures of things that interested me.

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This wine was horrible.  The first one I sipped was made from Mango’s, omg too sweet.  Waaaay out in the boonies on a dirt track.

cowboys

I didn’t qualify.

spanish oak 1

spanish oak 2

Sandfly lane in Vero Beach.

florida building

boat sunset

The building is just a beautiful, abandoned building on Citrus Ave in Ft. Pierce.  Such a nice piece of work all crumbling down which was once a hub of activity…I can hear the kids running and screaming all over the place.  I hate to see these places left for dust.  Paul told me to put an offer in when I sent him this picture but the town is just falling down all over the place and as above; it’s too hot.  And, that last picture is my sunset every night from the stern of my boat.  Just lovely.  Not as many birds this time, not sure where they all went to.

Before I went south I had a nice chat with my grand daughters and read a story to them on Skype.  They live in California.  This grandmother reads to them online which is really tough cause I can’t squeeze and hug them although when we are done we always kiss the screen and say ni night.  This last time it got all dark and I panicked wondering if Colbie had shut it off but she said “no Nanni, I’m hugging you” she was hugging the screen.  Happy/Sad/Happy/Sad.  What is it?  These next pictures are the girls listening to the story I’m reading (I photographed the computer as we were talking)……two different reactions, both perfect.

colbie skype

zoe skype nap

I believe I put Zoe to sleep!

Some serious eye rolling material (there she goes again)

Yup, Gluten Free.  I love experimenting.  As Marj says…..it’s a science project.  We love those.

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Doesn’t this look like a lab?  That’s the big problem with baking GF, you have to have so many different things; it’s time consuming to amass. 

First up…..Hazelnut & Apricot Muffins

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Smaller than I normally make but plenty smenty.  I made these because I found this site: http://glutenfreegirl.com   They do everything by weight, grams.  It’s fun and she has this terrific whole grain flour mix that is multipurpose.  For a large batch I combined:

100 grams Almond flour

100 sorghum flour

200 brown rice flour

100 garbanzo flour

130 teff flour

70  corn flour

Which totaled 700 grams then added:

150 grams tapioca flour

150 g. arrowroot

See what I mean….it’s a lot of stuff to have on hand.   But, I made a large canning jar full then used it for these muffins which no kidding, best I have ever tasted.  They actually TASTE which usually you rely on whatever is in it to give you the good flavor with this mix it’s the mix that’s good.  Hard to explain. 

The next day I made homemade tortillas with the same mix; 280 grams worth and 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 2 Tbs. butter and 1/2 C. warm water.

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These fold up beautifully with some plain old salsa inside.  Paul had scrambled eggs in his.  He complained but that was ONLY because I let slip they were GF.  Dork.

Well, off he went to Arkansas on Friday to move a boat….yup, move a boat.  One of those divorce situations where the wife, who got the property and house, but not the boat the husband was restoring. She had to let the old man back on the property for two days to move the boat off.  He needed a quick heavy hitter boat guy like Paul and his friend Vince Todd to build a cradle, get it on a trailer and off….in one day.  They did it, today they are setting it up in it’s new spot.  Safe and sound. Funny, I guess about 20 Harley guys came to help also as the Sheriff, a lawyer and deputies where there because of her.  How many were packing?????  I’d say all of them.  The X wife has three real wolves as pets – Paul was worried about them attacking (the wife is crazy)  but with all those there, no worries mate!  Home tonight.  Well, happily with this breather from critical analysis I baked all day yesterday.

Bananas & Coconut were calling me….

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Crazy good.  Really crazy.  Crispy, sweet, crunchy crust, nice rise, full of huge flavor.  Boy has Gluten Free come a long way!!!!  In just a year, really.  I got this recipe from GF in the City  http;//www.gfinthecity.com  great recipes on there.  I couldn’t believe how light and fluffy this came out.  I doubled the recipe but only used three bananas squishing them with my hand as I like chunks not mushed.  I put large flaked coconut from Bob’s mill in, maybe a cup or more, lots.  This one is made with sorghum, almond, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, coconut oil (instead of butter), 1/2 C. sugar, 2 eggs. fini

When done or actually while baking I made up some rolls,  again from GF girl’s site…Whole grain bread/rolls.  She suggests making rolls so I did.  Interesting project:

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You start this with a slurry of flaxseed meal, chia seeds and hot water.  Then there is a yeast, sugar water slurry.  The flour part is:

100 grams oat flour

100 grams almond flour

100 grams teff

85 grams potato starch

85 grams arrowroot powder

70 grams buckwheat flour (quick trip to the health food store for this one)

30 grams dried milk powder, geech who has that

2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

Lots of stuff but easy to put together, very moist.  I made it in a mixer, rolled it into a oiled bowl and let rise two hours.  Then I preheated the oven to 450 with a stone.  By hand, wet hands, cut and rolled 8 rolls, placed on the hot stone and baked not very long, just till internal temp 180.  As soon as I pulled them out I ran a pat of butter over the tops.

Well, I had one with tea around 3 then another with my friend Natalia who dropped in with cheese and wine around 8.  Way to go!  I love this single eating style.  I bet I would be thinner if I ate or not when I wanted to instead of keeping up with Paul and his food timings….three times a day w/endless snacks.  Different metabolism than mine, that’s for sure.

And just because my blog refers to fiber:

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This is a wicked close up of a tiny 9.5″ swatch of fiber I’m weaving as a table runner for the wooden kitchen apartment.  The beige is linen, the blues are cotton.  I haven’t done anything on it for days as besides the cooking I’ve been making dresses.  I found a book of “modern” sewing with a perfect dress for my round body…..it’s an A line with just darts (of course) and overlapped shoulder straps so you just flip it over your head, your done getting dressed.  I think I’ll put a pocket on them today for my keys or glasses.  Nice cotton fabric, summery, one is green with tiny black & white circles the other are blues……kaffee fassett stuff.  I’m heading to Florida on Tuesday for a week to make sure our boat is floating and it’s hot down there….85 this week.  The dresses will be perfect!

Back when I’m home with probably funny stories.  My brother is meeting me in Acadia, Florida on Wednesday which is half way through the state in the middle of absolutely no where.  The clue that it should be funny….we’re meeting for lunch at The Nav I Gator.  omg

That Egg Thing Again!

I made natural dyed eggs this year (perhaps last year too, just can’t remember).  I used red cabbage, more on that at the end of this post, turmeric and beets.  The plain red cabbage didn’t work as well as I had hoped but the combo of turmeric & cabbage made a beautiful green.  The beets were wimpy but I am used to those awful dyes in the grocery store.  Ruth did some amazing stuff with food coloring dyes (not the stuff in the egg dying box).  First up….the natural ones.

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I really like the imperfections.  My daughter Ruth, who should really be a Food Stylist…. has such a visual sense with food.  She made this next set of photos, starting with her clever container for the dyes, little bread loaf pans.  Smarty pants.

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After she cooked the eggs and before dying she rolled them and cracked them all up on the surface so the actual egg would become stained.

cracked eggs

Beauties, no?  Then she made deviled eggs.  Brilliant.

stuffed eggWouldn’t those be beautiful at a party.

With the red cabbage I didn’t use I made this salad.

red cabbage salad

This picture was taken with Instagram so it’s a bit fuzzy but it shows the true colors so I decided to use it.  It’s shredded red cabbage, half of a small one, three small apples shredded, at least 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, tossed with a yummy vinaigrette of 2 Tbs. cider vinegar, juice of one lemon, s&p, 1/2 C. olive oil and a big splash of half & half at the end.  What a nice flavor, crunchy, sweet and kind of healthy I’d say.  The recipe is a version of Heidi Swanson’s and from her Super Natural Cooking.  She’s amazing – hers is made with savoy cabbage which I have done before but I liked this much better.  Next time I think I’ll use pumpkin seeds or something on that order, perhaps some chopped fresh parsley too.

My other adventure this past week-end was cake making.  My friends Aunt Marjorie turned 75 on Saturday; she is a true “Rain Man/Woman”.  I grew up with Marjorie.  When I was 12 I met the family – they have a summer home out on Long Island, Maine.  Marjorie was there with her father and extended family, lots of aunts, uncles and Patti’s whole family.  She was just a lovely woman, so much fun to play with, she liked the rocking chair and rocking swing on the porch best so that’s what we did.  As I grew up I noticed she didn’t, weird, what was going on?  But, everyone was so loving in that family it was just the way it was.  Later on….I married and had Jesse then pretty soon Jesse played with Marjorie on the Island.  I can still hear him coming in and complaining she wouldn’t get out of the swing so he could use it.  Then Jesse grew up,  Ruth and Paul came along 9 years later and they played with her, Paul argued about the swing too (must be a guy thing). Marjorie has changed from living with Grampa and her mom to living with Grampa & Aunt Bess to living with Richard (her brother) and now lives with Patti’s 91 year old mom, yet…..she never ages.  She is just lovely.  Always happy and just full of dates.  When I walk in the door she tells me the dates and ages of my children and remembers stuff from our childhood none of us remember.  Remarkable.  She loves to read now, something that slipped through the cracks all those years. I gave her three books by Earley called Jim the Boy – a young teen series that I loved. Her most favorite thing to do is listen to her collection of old 33’s.  Fabulous music and she knows everything about everyone of them.  A constant source of amazement to me.  Well, needless to say, she’s known me now for about 50 years and loves me like a sister.  So, we had a birthday party for her this past weekend at her favorite restaurant in Portland, DeMillo’s.  I suspect it’s her favorite for the size of the Bloody Mary she was given.  I made her surprise cake!

The frosting….I made the usual but with beet powder for the coloring.  You can get that at the Health Food Store, cheap.  Zero chemicals, it’s awesome.

beet frosting

I made a white almond black cherry cake with this frosting and cherries on top.  I buy the cherries frozen at the grocery store, cut them just before I go out the door and as they defrost a nice red juice goes down the side of the cake.

marjorie cake

I am so bad at writing on cakes so I make a little flag on word and stick it in the cake with a toothpick.

Here’s the happy camper!

birthday girl

She was pretty excited about cutting the cake.  The restaurant was fabulous.  Everyone sang to her and as the customers walked past to leave they stopped to congratulate her and admire her cake.  She told all of them her cake was “pretty like my Carla who is pretty”.  So I had tears in my eyes the whole time.  It was just so enjoyable to spend time with her and the simplicity of her demeanor and joy.  She’s a lucky girl as we all are for knowing her.

The recipes:

White Almond Cake from The Wedding Cake Book by Dede Wilson

4-2/3 C. cake flour

2 Tbs. powder

2/3 tsp. salt

8 egg whites, room temp.

2 Cups milk, room temp.

2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

2-2/3 C. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbs. Almond

Do the usual, bake at 350, 2 buttered & papered pans.

The Frosting:

Ellyn’s Buttercream

1.5 Sticks unsalted butter

1.5 Sticks salted butter

3 oz. soft crisco

3/4 lb. conf. sugar

1.5 Tbs. vanilla

Splashes of half & half to soften

Cream the butters and crisco, slowly add the sugar and vanilla, add half & half as you need it.  Continue beating it for a long time.  I let it go for at least 5-10 minutes.  It gets really fluffy.  I add the beet powder towards the end.

This stuff keeps on the counter or in the fridge or even in the freezer for ever!  It’s amazing.  When you take it out of the freezer it may look wonky but keep beating it will come back to smooth again and be fluffy.