Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Add a little Zest!

 

I had a terrible migraine yesterday. It rumbled up soon after breakfast, and hung out with me until I went to bed last night. I tried all my usual tricks: dark room, cool cloth, and even though it sounds as if it didn’t work, it actually did because I didn’t wake up this morning with the same headache. A migraine for me, will always last one day, but if I do everything right, it won’t stay for a few days.

So this morning I woke up with a fresh perspective, and wanted to add a little…ZEST to my breakfast!

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Scrambled eggs with lemon zest and pepper!! I made my usual breakfast scramble (yes, I still can’t make an omelet!!), but I added a tbsp. of lemon zest and a sprinkle of pepper.

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Sautéed peppers, onion, and garlic with two egg whites and a sprinkle of cheddar, lemon zest, and pepper. Tasty!!

I’m convinced that lemon zest makes everything taste better!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cool as a Cucumber

 

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Here in the South, you’re always looking for new ways to beat the heat. So when I saw a write-up in the newest Body & Soul magazine entitled Keep Cool, I read it quickly. In the snippet there are three recipes for ice cubes that infuse flavors fresh from the garden. You can add the ice cubes to your water for a fun twist, or a cocktail for a fresh take.

This summer Parrish and I are growing cucumbers, and this past week we have harvested several large cukes. So I decided to try the Cucumber Basil ice cubes. To make, puree one cucumber (peeled and seeded), 1/4 cup torn basil, and a pinch of salt with one cup water. I also added a dash of lemon juice.

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Pour the puree into an ice cube tray and freeze.

For a fresh taste, use the cubes in a glass of water or seltzer. I used lemon line seltzer for extra zing and bubbles.

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Garnish with a sprig of basil.

This drink could easily be made into an cocktail too! Just add a shot of vodka or gin, and a bit of simple syrup!

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Fresh, clean, but most importantly…COOL!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My NEW Summer Staple

 

diet cherry limeade

Thanks to my best friend (and sister!!) Joan I am now OFFICIALLY addicted to Sonic’s Diet Cherry Limeade! On Tuesday we were hanging out with my Mom, celebrating her birthday. We were en route to some cute shops in Pittsboro, when my sister pull into a Sonic and announces that it’s Happy Hour; from 2-4 all drinks and slushies are half off! She recommended the Diet Cherry Limeade, but she did warn that I would get hooked. It was SO good! Sweet, tart, and refreshing!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gluten Free Father’s Day

 

The 1st Anniversary of my gluten free life is fast approaching, but it was my very first gluten free Father’s Day. It was important for me to prepare one of my Dad’s favorite meals for him on Father’s Day…and it just happened to be completely gluten free!!!

Parrish and my Mom helped, and by the time my Dad got off work, supper was ready: Low Country Boil.

A low country boil is by far one of the easiest meals to make. Bring a big pot of water to a boil with a pouch of Crab Boil spices. Ingredients and amounts can vary. You can really make it what you want. We chose shrimp, red potatoes, corn, and light chicken sausage. 

First we boiled the potatoes for 10 minutes. Then we added in the sausage and corn. After boiling that for another 5, we added in the shrimp.

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Cook until the shrimp are done!

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Tasty! Most folks sprinkle the end result with Old Bay, but I forgot! I had a very small serving of shrimp and corn. I was saving room for the best part: Gluten Free Vanilla Pound Cake

I have never made a pound cake, with or without gluten. But it’s one of my Dad’s favorite desserts, so I gave it a try. I looked up a few recipes online. I thought I understood the basic gist…and I winged it. Good thing it was a success!!!

I modified this recipe that I found here.

I substituted a gluten free baking mix for all the dry ingredients and I used light vanilla soymilk in place of milk. I kept my fingers crossed…and Voila!

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I made a quick lemon zest glaze with about 1 tbsp. lemon zest and powdered sugar. To make it into a glaze, you just add warm water and whisk. Add as little or as much water to get your desired consistency.

When the cake was still in the Bundt pan, I drizzled the glaze into the cracks of the cake. This gave the inside of the cake an amazing flavor and texture. Once cool, I flipped it out of the pan and drizzled the remaining glaze on top.

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SO GOOD! This recipe has became an official contender for the dessert at my wedding!

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Crisp, crunchy, golden brown outside with a warm, buttery cake inside.

Happy Humpday!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Farm to Fork Picnic 2009

 

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“Hello. My name is Marlow. Will write for food.”

Today I was lucky enough to be a Foodie Correspondent for Foodbuzz at a local food event! The event was sponsored by our local Slow Food branch, Slow Food Triangle, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), and the Orange County Cooperative Extension. The event was the 2009 Farm to Fork Picnic; a celebration of local foods and the folks who provide them.

The picnic was held at W.C. Breeze Farm in the northern part of Orange County. The organizers cleared out an entire field, and I really was surprised by how many people were there. Although, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m very lucky to be living in an area where local food is not only supported, but it’s almost obvious. Everyone shops the farmer’s market; all the restaurants use local, seasonal produce. It’s exactly why the Triangle was named Bon Appétit magazine’s “Foodiest Small Town” in October last year.

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There were booths set up all along the outside of the field. Each table paired a different farm with a local chef. The chefs were chosen from all over the Triangle area of NC. As I looked down the list of chefs, I realized that these were not only the most fancy restaurants around, but I have them all on my “Let’s go there” list. There were 30 chef-farmer pairings; plus an entire section of Craft Food, where the exact person who made it served me.

There were many booths, that while they looked delicious, they weren’t gluten free friendly. But don’t feel sorry for me. I had plenty to fill me up!!

The first table I visited was a matching of Maple Spring Gardens and chef Justin Rakes from Four Square.

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It was a great way to start the day! Visually stunning and the perfect palate cleanser! It was not only fun to eat, but light and refreshing. It was the perfect first bite.

The next table was actually my favorite. It was a matching of Timberwood Organics and chef Jason Smith from 18 Seaboard.

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The absolute best!!! The shrimp was prepared perfectly!

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The sauce was light and refreshing. The bok choy was tender and tasty.

The next table was a matching of Four Leaf Farm and chef Kevin Callaghan of Acme Food and Beverage.

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Holy wood smoked! Most potato salads in NC are drenched in mayo, but not this offering! I was curious as to what the basil would bring about in the dish, but I barely noticed it. The buttery Yukon Gold potatoes paired perfectly with the onion and pickled fennel.

My other favorite table was a matching of Teikei Farm and Foster’s Market.

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Pickled everything!!

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This is the second time I’ve eaten pickled yellow squash. The first was a few years back and the squash was pickled with cumin. Today the squash was pickled with lime and basil. Fresh and delicious! I could eat these everyday!

After the first round of tables, I was feeling good. I had a glass of water and perused the next round. Most of them were not offering gluten free options, but they looked great! So I stopped by my last two savory tables.

The first of round two was a matching of Bluebird Meadows and chef Ricky Moore of Glasshalfull.

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Sweet and savory. A mix between a fresh juice and a tasty soup.

The last savory table was a matching of Fickle Creek Farm and chefs Rose Galvan, Silvia Pahola, and Miguel Torres from Lantern.

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The corn that was used to make these tortillas is an old-variety corn that hasn’t been grown in NC since the 1940’s. They were making them fresh at the table, and the taste was amazing. It definitely gave me the motivation I needed to try to make my own corn tortillas at home!

Then it was time for dessert!!!

The kids at Durham’s Inner City Garden SEEDS prepared a delicious Lemon Balm Sorbet.

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An incredible homemade ice cream by duo Peregrine Farm and Sage & Swift!!

(sans cone of course!)

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Peregrine Farm also grows cut flowers. Gorgeous!

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Even though I had to skip some tables because the items were already on a lovely piece of homemade bread, I had SO much fun!! I will definitely attend this picnic again next year. And I now I have at least 10 more restaurants to add to my “Let’s go there” list! Thank you so much Foodbuzz!!!

Want info about your own local food economy? Check out your local Slow Food chapter or Local Harvest!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fancy Schmancy

 

Once a month at the Durham Farmer’s Market, a local chef prepares samples made with items from the market. Yesterday, we were lucky enough to get to sample Trout wrapped in Bacon. Yum! Parrish was instantly in love. However, I didn’t go get the samples, so I had NO idea how it was made.

So then Parrish and I went and enjoyed a fun day at the pool with friends. With all the sun and swimming, we really worked up an appetite. Parrish and our friend Danny agreed to go pick up some items to grill. Their only stipulation was that whatever they picked up, my friend Amber and I had to cook.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised when they came back with trout and bacon. I should also mention that I have never cooked fish. Ever. I quickly scanned the internet for at least an idea of how to cook trout, but I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a ton of ingredients. So I winged it. (And actively thought of restaurant ideas in case it didn’t work out!!)

But it did!!

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I patted the trout dry, and then rubbed it with garlic powder, thyme, and Italian seasoning. I cut it into 2 inch wide chunks and applied a small dollop of honey onto each piece. I then wrapped each chunk with a piece of Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon. Tasty!

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Grilled to perfection. We served it with creamy risotto and grilled asparagus.

I will definitely cook with trout again! It’s not fishy at all. Very light and flaky.

This afternoon I’m headed to cover an event for Foodbuzz. :)

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Over 50 local chefs and farmers are pairing up to create gourmet dishes fit for a foodie! I can’t wait!! I’m crossing my fingers that there will be lots of gluten free options available and new recipe ideas!

Look for the post tonight!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Dream Come True

 

The best part of planning a wedding is sampling food for your reception. Being gluten free…yeah, that makes it harder. But when I got an email letting me know about a gluten free bakery that could ship me samples, I came to the realization that my wedding planning isn’t harder, just different.

Blackbird Bakery

Austin Native Karen Morgan started Blackbird Bakery in 2008, a gourmet bake shop that offers only GLUTEN FREE goodies. Karen herself was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2002. I like knowing that the person in charge truly understands where I’m coming from with my intolerance. I often wonder when I purchase “gluten free” items from bakeries if they’ve taken every precaution.

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I’ve always known that I don’t want a typical wedding cake. I really like the idea of serving shortbread, pound cake, or pies. Blackbird Bakery offers pretty much anything your heart desires. I was going to save my favorite for last…but nah, I can’t wait!!

My Favorite:

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Before I bit into these little bites of heaven, I didn’t read the ingredients. So imagine my surprise when I found Maraschino Cherries in the center!!

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SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. My absolute favorite!! I want more!!

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After the kisses, I was literally on cloud 9. So I thought I would be nice and let Parrish and Max have the first taste of the GF banana bread.

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Unbelievably moist. Melt in your mouth soft. Sweet but with the perfect balance of pecan. Parrish and I both LOVED it. However, his favorite was hands down the brownie!

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The perfect mixture of crisp edges and fudgy goodness. I’m pretty sure that I could have eaten it all in one sitting…but Parrish finished it off before I had the chance for seconds!

Another item that I’m thinking about for the wedding was the biscotti!! I could eat these with coffee pretty much every morning.

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Chocolate. Tasty with chunks of almond and actual bits of granulated sugar!

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Classic. Delicious! (And absolutely no way ANYONE would know it’s GF)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies!! Crispy, buttery, and just enough chocolate chips. And it must be said: I have had a ton of REALLY crappy gluten free cookies this past year. These made up for each one of those.

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Millet Power Bars: part delicious childhood treat, part grown up snack. You can’t beat big chunks of real cherries!

So there you have it! Gluten free Gourmet!! And really, who deserves gourmet more than gluten free folks?! We get the short end of the stick so often!!

As for those almond kisses…do you think I could add a case to my wedding registry? :)

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