Thursday, May 16, 2013
One of the joys of being an academic librarian is breaks between semesters. Don't get too jealous--I still have to work--but my schedule changes to a perfectly normal 8 - 5 for a week or three and I get to do novel things after work like jogging, eating dinner, and yes, blogging.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Turkey and I are not friends. It tastes like old socks and it's always dry.
We grew up eating turkey exclusively on Thanksgiving, and even then, my father eventually started cooking a ribeye roast because he was the only one who would touch the bird. My childhood is filled with images of Dad eating leftover shredded turkey like popcorn from a gallon-sized Ziploc bag while watching a football game. Blech. No, thank you.
But in spite of these negative associations, ground turkey keeps popping up in delicious-looking recipes like the turkey burgers in The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Use #1: turmeric face mask.
The world of natural remedies have been abuzz over turmeric for some time now. It's an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent, evens out skin pigmentation, and reduces the appearance of acne, among other things. Some even speculate that the abundance of the spice in India's diet leads to their lower rates of cancer in comparison with the Western world. (Yes, this sounds like hokum to me, too.) It is said that Indian brides used to smear turmeric paste over their entire bodies before their wedding to achieve glowing, supple skin.
Now, all of this sounds nice, but does it work? I've been making a face mask with yogurt, rice flour, and turmeric for a few months now, and it's great stuff. It leaves your skin soft and more even-toned.
Now the big question? Will the turmeric dye your face? Short answer: no. Long answer: If you are especially pale-skinned, test a bit under your jaw. I've noticed that the mask sometimes imparts a yellow pigment to the surface oils on your face--just use a mild face wash after rinsing off the mask and you should be good to go.
Turmeric Face Mask
This is an ad-lib recipe--add or subtract as your skin needs. Acne-prone skin? Add 1/4 tsp. of lemon juice. Skin need extra nourishment? Add 1/4 tsp. of raw honey. The grit of the rice flour adds an exfoliating boost here. Finally, gritty is good!
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. white rice flour
2 tsp. very thick plain yogurt
Mix all ingredients together in a ramekin with a spoon.
Wash your face, dry, and spread the mask in a thin layer over face and neck. Allow to dry over the course of 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with water, scrubbing in a gentle circular motion for a little exfoliation. Wash face again with a mild face wash if needed.
Yield: 1 use.
Posted by Amy at 8:23 AM
Friday, March 22, 2013
Quick post today about the easiest dessert you'll ever make: vegan chocolate mousse. It's thick, rich, and takes five minutes to throw together. I think anyone can get over their fear of soy products for that, right?
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Food is love, right? Especially when you have to eat gluten-free.
Cooking your own "safe" food gets the job done, and there's a certain amount of pride one can draw from self-sufficiency. But when others make gluten-free things for you? When they and everyone else can eat gluten, and gluten-free flours are expensive and intimidating? That's love. Today's post is in honor of the first gluten-free cake anyone made for me: the "cloud cake."
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Another Northwest native summed up my Southern food issues the other day:
"Seattle food adventurer journeys to the land of processed food and obesity and bakes gluten-free [cookies] for frightened locals. Can she survive?"
It really does feel that way sometimes.
I've learned that generally, people in the South don't like spices. Or ethnic food. Or desserts with sea salt or bacon or matcha. Or vegan things. Or vegetables that haven't been stewed half to death with a smelly pork bone. Honey, don't you dare say the words gluten-free.
I've learned to slowly slip my plate of cookies onto the potluck table at a party or into the staff lounge at work, sans labels touting "Vegan!" "No nuts!" "Whole grain!" That's a guarantee that no one will eat them.
But un-labeled? I'm suddenly this diabolical baking genius.
People are weird.
We're going to a superbowl party tonight. Naturally, everyone's bringing a snack. The concept of bland, unoffensive, and boring foods is confusing, so I was at a bit of a loss as to what to contribute. I stood in the kitchen for a few long minutes, staring into cupboards and peering into the depths of the fridge, racking my brain.
Ultimately, a compromise arose. I made a batch of soft snickerdoodles and dipped half in the customary cinnamon-sugar, and half into crushed pink peppercorns. (Have you discovered these fruity, mild, gorgeous little gems yet? They are delicious!)
I'm bringing both kinds of cookies, no apologies. If no one eats pink peppercorn-topped ones, we'll just have to bring them home. Oh, shucks.
Soft Snickerdoodles and Pink Peppercorn Cookies
I've made these with both xanthan gum and a mix of xanthan gum & guar gum. The former tended to fall apart, but this batch with guar gum was the best yet. I'm still learning about the properties of guar v. xanthan gum, so if you make these with just guar gum, let me know how they turn out!
1/2 c. butter or vegetable shortening
2/3 c. sugar
2 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. guar gum
11 oz. gluten-free flour mix (I used about equal parts brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and millet flour)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground pink peppercorns
1. Cream fat and sugar using an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until light. Add in the egg, vanilla, and sour cream in two additions. Add in flour mixture, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat until a very soft dough forms.
2. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls. Mix together cinnamon and sugar and pour into a small dish, if using. Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls, and coat each in the cinnamon-sugar mixture or dip the top into the ground peppercorns. Place on a lined baking sheet and flatten gently with your palm.
3. Bake about 12 minutes, and allow to cool about 5 minutes on pan before removing with a spatula to a wire rack. They will be rather delicate, so be careful.
Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies.
Posted by Amy at 1:52 PM
Monday, January 21, 2013
Art school is serious business, I've come to realize. Since J is taking a suicidal course load this quarter and working, he really hasn't had time for anything else. The occasional shower and a few hours of sleep, stolen at the expense of working on his charcoal drawing or showering the house in balsa sawdust for 3D design, are luxuries these days.
Relationships are the true casualty of these busy seasons, and we're trying to be intentional about carving out time for those we value most. We are blessed with such great people here in Savannah. The few months we've been here have felt like a lifetime, and we have accumulated a proportional amount of friends. They miss us when we're too busy to stop by on a Monday night to drink cosmos and shoot the breeze. So J organized a party--the many birds with one stone approach--to wrap up all the "we should have coffee sometime" debts he owed.