Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gluten free pizza crusts...

Last October I was tested for food allergies. This was a significant step in a ten year repetitive process of doctors saying "huh?" to my medical enigma. I gave up gluten, dairy, eggs and beans. This has been a tough few months but the more time that passes the better it gets. I sympathize with people who have food allergies. I now seek recipes that are GF and vegan. I am a meat eater but meat can be easily added later. Other things are more difficult to remove or replace. Dairy and gluten are in EVERYTHING! The growing number of people, including my sister, who have celiac disease can hardly eat anything without the risk of being exposed to gluten. So we must help each other and share our creativity so we can enjoy and expand on each others successes and failures.

The hardest, and I mean HARDEST, part of this new diet was giving up pizza. I LOVE pizza. I dream about pizza when I am awake and asleep. When I was little I wanted to have my own pizza place so I could eat and share the joy of eating only pizza. GF pizza crusts are a risky business. Some of them are terrible, cardboardy and impossible to cut even with a steak knife. Some are yummy but have a long prep time. They are all dense...or so I thought. I recently have been trying new types of crust.

First I tried Bob's Red Mill GF pizza dough mix. The result was a hard, dense disc. It was tough and impossible to cut. The flavor was lacking and got an "all-around-unappealing" rating.

Next was Stashu GF frozen pizza crust which are made by Mama Bossa. Stashu is a pizza joint in IL. ((Mama Bossa's makes frozen pizzas that are not GF and have dairy. "They are *expletive* awesome!"...or so I hear...)) Back to the Stashu's GF frozen pizza crusts, they come in a four pack and are fairly small (about 8-9".) They are the best that I have tried of the pre-made kind. They are still dense but thin, the outside gets cracker hard and they are easy to cut.

Due to my "AVOID" warning to all cow dairy I allow myself to have sheep and goat's milk cheese. I love cheese and had a short run in the cheese business a couple years ago. So this was A-OK with me. I do miss some things such as Delice de Bourgogne (seriously try this if you haven't, sooooo good.) A pepperoni pizza covered in Ossau-Irraty (a sheeps milk cheese from the Basque country) was amazing. The Stashu crusts served their purpose and did it well.

My sister recently reviewed two other pre-made pizza crusts.



Both of these sound and look delicous and I will be trying them over the next couple months (if I can wait that long.) Her and her husband make their own GF pizza dough from scratch. I have eaten it with them a couple times and it is GOOD! I haven't attempted to make it myself yet but I intend to.

Drews GF pizza dough recipe

While on the GF subject, I recently read this post about the wonderful GF brownie mix made by Betty Crocker. I love them! They are just fantastic warm with some ice cream over the top. I haven't had a great dairy free ice cream yet but when I do I will let you know. My sister likes the cake mix and has some variations that are based on the yellow cake. I will be trying those too. Links below:

Red Velvet

Lemon Poppyseed

And just for good measure....banana bread muffins!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

past birthday wishes....

i tried to write you roses, red & simple
a soft bouquet of years of petals in bloom
and everything came apart in my hands
a mess of a dress tailored in dirt and thorns
all roots, and stem, solid footing in the wind
but alas i have no flowers for your hands
just ink & onion skin, and the color of the stove top on fire
simmering to east your hunger, rose hips in my eyes
with no book to break ground, a less lonely road with you
i have no roses, your birthday, a garden in itself
in bloom, irish skies, a midsummer night's green bud promises
when we wilt together, there will be roses and all the scars
of gardening down the softest parts of my arms
because i love you, like the bee loves his queen

isn't it makes me smile because i am alive and have love in my life....

chris gregory

kinda strange....but awesome no?

Chris Gregory is a graphic designer and illustrator who does a number of things, one of which is illustrate for daytrotter (music blog out of Rock Island, IL.) On a quest for more information and illustrations by this silly man, I found some really neat stuff. His art ranges from websites, music posters, clay, wedding invites and album art. My favorite would be his art directed at children. (I have a soft spot for kids.)

His blog is worth giving a read. I have found a random assortment of brilliance. My hyperlink is not working so please go to this site if you are interested.

Here is a taste of what appealed to my inner rat....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Three amazing women...

Three women who bring inspiration to my life in so many ways.

Laura Marling......

A 19 year old folk singer/song writer from England with a killer voice and strong, emotional songs. The more I listen the more I love. Her first album just arrived on my doorstep this very day! Her second album is due for release in March.............

Lisa Hannigan......

An irish singer with one of the most beautiful voices you will hear. She started with Damien Rice and the two of them were magic. Her first solo album after the much gossiped about separation from the aforementioned lead man is Sea Sew. This album has provided some pleasant theme music to my life lately and will continue.....

Dick Mack's is across the street from the church

The church is across the street from Dick Mack's

Shara Worden.....

With a voice that could raise the dead and shake the earth to its core, Shara Worden takes the cake. I first heard her as a back up singer for sufjan stevens (insert smile) and the queen on the Hazards Of Love album by The Decemberists. Her band is My Brightest Diamond with two albums out. Give both of these a genuine chance, they are beautiful and can stir a wide variety of emotions. Beyond the vocals her style is unique and amazing too!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love for Nygårds Anna...

This scandinavian designer has some of the most beautiful clothes I have ever seen. I love how delicate and cozy they look. They are down-home-country-girl and yet very feminine at the same time!

I want one of these huge, chunky knit sweater dresses for my very own. Oh, only in my dreams....for now. Maybe I will make my way over her way next year and hunt one down!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fisher(wo)man's Hat

It stated with a Vogue magazine, some models wearing oversized coats and my older sister coveting their hat. The simple rib knit hat with a fold over brim evoked visions of Paul's Discount mercantile shop on the South side of town. This however was no Carhartt. It was fashionably simple and a chance for my sister to actually enjoy wearing a knitted item made by me. So I searched thinking how simple could this be? There must be thousands of patterns for a rib knit hat right? No. I spent more time searching for a pattern then it took to complete the hat. So without further ado.....

Fisher(wo)man's Hat

I used 2 skeins Araucania Azapa yarn
3.5 sts/in. on US size 10-16" circular needles
45% Merino Wool, 30% Alpaca, 15% Silk, 10% Donegal
I used two strands at the same time to make it extra chunky on the recommended needle size
You will need US size 10.5 DPNs or a second circular needle for binding off

CO 70 sts (it appears so small until you wear it a couple times and it stretches!)
Join in the round making sure not to twist!
Place a marker at the beginning of the round

For an added texture I ribbed as follows: (ktbl (through back of look), p1)* Rep from* until end of round
You can do a simple (K1 P1) instead of ktbl. I think it gives the outside rib a bit of a twist and makes it look almost braided (as you can see here the top part is different from the inside which shows when folded.)

The hat will be very long before you bind off. You want to be able to fold it over and have it still fit on your head. I knit until it was at least 10 inches in length. When you can fold it and put it on your head while still having 70 sts on your circulars you can begin binding off. BE CAREFUL when trying it on! If it is not long enough your sts can come off the needles. (When ktbl it is harder to pick up sts that have come off the needle because they are twisted.)

To close:
1st row: K2tog on the K sts of the rib pattern connecting the K and P together (if you Ktbl: k2tog through back of sts.)
Next 2 rows: Continue to K2tog. You will need to switch to the DPNs or use 2 circulars.
If you have a single st at the end of these rows, knit one.

When you have roughly 9 sts remaining, keep sts on needles and cut the yarn leaving a long tail (10"). Using a yarn needle sew the tail through the remaining sts on the needles. After you have the tail through all the sts run it through the first st again (just for good measure.) Pull the tail through the center of the hole at the top towards the inside of the hat. Pull it tightly. Remove your needles and pull it again. Turn the hat inside out and tie a knot. Sew in the ends.

The hat can be worn folded over for extra warmth or loose for a bulkier look. Make it short for a beanie. Very comfortable and quick to make.!

late night musings...

an andalusian poet once said:

i have a feeling that my boat has struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing. and nothing happens! nothing...silence...waves...nothing happens? or has everything happened and we are standing now quietly in the new life?

-juan ramon jimenez