Just when you thought it was safe to eat outside your own kitchen, here comes the gluten-free backlash. Did you catch the article on Slate suggesting that the gluten-free diet is a…fad? I’m sooooo glad Celiac.com decided to post Dr. Hoggan’s very fine correction to the Slate article. It’s too bad most Slate readers likely won’t know about it.
Urgh! As if it’s not painful enough to go through life with a crazy food allergy that prevents one from eating an entire category of food, now we have to deal with people just thinking we’re trying to be trendy? Not to mention how long it took some of us to get a diagnosis. Really, it’s outrageous.
It seems like the writer is trying to distinguish between diagnosed celiacs and people who feel better when they don’t eat gluten. That distinction is lost on me. Do I now need to show the test results confirming I have celiac disease for people to take me seriously? Should people who feel better when they don’t eat gluten, but are not technically celiacs, be judged as diet faddists? Methinks not.
Oh well. Now back to my kitchen.
Look, Look, LOOK at this!!!
Went to a garden party, sat around with my old friends...
It’s my first garden salad of the year! By that I mean that I grew everything in this bowl. Well, I didn’t grow it, I put the seeds in the ground and they grew themselves, like great little children. And now, I must eat them!
What we have here are: spinach, rouge d’hiver, salad bowl, Australian yellow, crinkly cress (man that stuff is spicy) rocket, flat leaf parsley, marjoram, and some other stuff. I tossed all of this in a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. It’s so fresh it’s still bleeding, so what more could it need?
I’m really, really pleased about this because this year I gave up on anything remotely fancy for my garden (ix-nay on the ucchini-zay, eets-bay, etc.) and just gave the garden what it most likes to grow, and that is LETTUCE. Et voila, gardening success! Finally!
Today I got my newsletter update from celiac.com. Included was this incredible article about a study whose results were recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Long story short: your gut health can be negatively affected by a gluten-free diet. BEHOLD, UNIVERSE! This is major news in my world! It validates what I have been thinking the past few months: that I have something wrong with my gut that is causing (at least in part) my arthritis/joint pain. Call it candida, call it bad bacteria, whatever. The point is that when I go off-roading from the SCD (which is mostly an anti-candida diet), my symptoms tend to intensify.
Since I don’t have any kind of diagnosis for my Mystery Illness, it’s nice to have some kind of Unifying Theory for it. And I’ll definitely be asking my doctor about this next we meet since she’s the one who told me about the SCD in the first place.
So I’m going to soldier on with the SCD because it’s the one thing I’ve found that improves things. I’m grateful to have something I can do that gives me some measure of control and actually seems to help.
When I was a kid, my parents would often take my older sisters, brother, and I back to their small hometown in California’s Central Valley. Think cotton fields, dust, unbelievable heat, drive-in movie theaters, strawberry soda, and the smell of alfalfa everywhere. One of my uncles, whom I’ll call Floyd Owens, was a real character. Think bolo tie, cowboy boots and hat, thin lips, Texas accent, and a major leg-puller of small, gullible children. He used to call me “Melon-eye”, which now sounds to me like an exotic Hawaiian cocktail, but at the time was one of those mildly annoying things about Uncle Floyd (when you’re twelve, “Melon-eye” just doesn’t sound cool somehow).
As I mentioned in my last post, my market had a sale on galia melons. I got to thinking about aguas frescas and how much I love them. Then the Craving started, and I knew it would have to be satisfied. Hence, I bring you, The Melon-Eye. Improvise as you wish. Methinks it cries out for vodka, but you probably have better ideas (which you naturally should let me know about).
- Select a galia melon. I typically push in the bottom gently with my thumb and smell it. If it smells like melon and my thumb can push in just a bit, it’s ripe.
- Cut up the melon, discarding the seeds and peel.
- Place the melon pieces into a blender or food processor, pulsing until blended.
- Strain through a colander or sieve.
- Add agave syrup to taste. I use 1-2 T per glass.
- Add ice and serve.
Like I said, this just screams cocktail! and next time I make it, I’ll probably add some vodka and maybe a sugar or salted rim. I mean, it is summer after all, and one must make the most of it.
My apologies for taking so long to post once again. I got busy with moving NS and getting the chicken feet. The feet handoff went very smoothly and included freshly picked strawberries and a jalapeno plant from my sister’s garden. The strawberries were spectacular and may have inspired me to actually try planting some myself next year (however, not holding my breath as my garden intentions always outdo my garden realities).
Oxtails had been on my mind due to my recent economical meats kick. I saw them on a local menu a few weeks back as something like “braised oxtails with orange” and knew that was the next thing I’d tackle.
They’re pretty cheap, though not as cheap as I thought they would be. I got three-ish pounds for $18. Not exactly the price of pigs’ feet, but this dish made it plenty worth it.
I first looked at this recipe to get an idea of what to do, and then went off-roading from there.
3 lbs oxtails
5 T butter
1 c red wine
2 T bacon fat (optional)
1/4 c orange juice
2 t drained bottled green peppercorns
4 cloves, ground
2 t salt
- Melt 3 T butter in a dutch oven. Add 1 c red wine and the oxtails. Cover and roast in the oven for 3.5 hours at 300F.
- Remove from the oven and try not to eat them all because they are super delish at this stage. Remember, you’re going all the way and making pate.
- Let cool a bit and then remove the bones using your fingers. It’s much harder to do with a knife and you risk losing a finger. Bad times.
Meat separated from bones
- Saute the chopped onion until golden in some leftover bacon fat that you have lying around, or 2 T of butter.
- Add to the bowl of your food processor: oxtail meat, sauteed onion, orange juice, peppercorns, cloves, and salt. Pulse until fairly well minced but not to the point of a fine grind.
- Pack into a loaf pan and refrigerate overnight or until well set.
- Loosen the sides by running a spatula around the edges and plop out onto a serving platter. Serve at room temp with some seriously good crackers. This makes enough for two people to last a week and is plenty for a dinner party.
The Man’s comment on this pate was that it was good enough to serve to “normal” people and was actually quite yummy. I thought of it more as a great holiday dish that I won’t have to make excuses for (i.e., “This is my allergy-friendly dish that only I will find tasty.”)
Please take me to a dinner party so I can make people happy!
It’s not every day that oldest my sister texts me with this message: “Do you like chicken feet?” Hmmm. Where could this question possibly be leading? I text back: “Maybe?”
Her text: “We are slaughtering chickens today. Do you want the feet?”
My text, following a mad Web scramble for chicken feet recipes: “Sure!”
So now we are on our way to San Francisco to move a friend to Portland. On the way back, we’ll rendezvous with my sister in Redding to get the chicken feet. Good times!
Most of the recipes I post here are pretty good. But these crackers are REALLY good! In fact, I have to stop making them because they are really TOO good (i.e., addictive). The problem is that they are crunchy, which is something one sorely lacks when one is not eating grains. These are a riff off of the cheddar cracker recipe posted here.
Crunchy Cheese Crackers
1/4 lb grated cheddar
1 cup hazelnut flour (or other nut flour)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dried sage
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c oil
3 T cold water
1/3 c sesame seeds
UPDATE: Because sesame seeds are not SCD-legal, next time I make these, I’ll substitute coconut flour.
- Mix everything together and form into a ball. Refrigerate for a half hour (or overnight) until firm.
Chill out, cracker-ball
- Roll out to 1/4 inch. I recommend using parchment both above and below the cracker-ball (not as shown in this pic). Trust me on this one. However, if you don’t have a rolling pin, you can always use an empty wine bottle.
- Bake 15-18 mins in 350 oven, depending on how much crunch you like. Remove from baking sheet with a metal spatula and cut into squares, triangles, or shapes of your choice. I like trapezoids.
- Serve with oxtail pate and cukes. Pate recipe coming soon.
My new favorite meal...breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Seems like I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, though I have been working on several. Here’s a photo of the very scientific way in which recipes are developed at AFFFG:
Recipe post-its covering fridge
This lime ice cream was created as a result of the heap of key limes we had leftover after the keylime cheesecake experiment (which went very well, recipe soon).
Lime Ice Cream
1 can coconut milk
1/3 c lime juice
1/3 c agave syrup
8 oz pkg of cream cheese (omit if you’re vegan)
dash of salt
4-6 drops of green food coloring (optional)
- Place all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
- Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
I should probably somehow archive all my ice cream recipes together on this site somewhere. If you know how to do that, let me know.
Eat me now!
My Okie father has a saying for when things go wrong, which is, “Things could be a lot worse.” I think this is the Okie way of saying, “Count your blessings,” “Practice gratitude,” etc. So I’m sitting here this Sunday morning practicing Kitchen Gratitude, which goes something like this:
I’m grateful for:
- Key limes, which are amazingly photogenic. These will be the victims of today’s egg-free key lime cheesecake experiment.
- Inexpensive cuts of meat that make me learn new things, such as today’s tongue. Here it is simmering before being put into the oven for eight hours.
- A cupboard filled with kitchen stuff.
- A cup of tea, which is kind of an obsession too. I was reading up on tea bush/trees yesterday and wondering if I could actually grow one here.
- And to go with my tea, my Sunday breakfast of red Mexican bananas sauteed in butter with cream, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, and honey.
My dad celebrated his birthday last week. He’s a pretty positive guy, in general, but in particular when things go wrong (not in an annoying way). Life happens: your health goes south, you get a pay cut like everyone else in this crapper economy, and rats invade the compost pile.
But, things really could be a lot worse. And I’m grateful it’s just rats in the compost pile that I’m dealing with today.
So, thanks, Dad, for all the hard-knock lessons you’ve taught me. And happy birthday!