Let’s Do This Thang: A Review of 2013

I’m back at it, crew!

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought about restarting this blog. But would I be able to keep up with it? What kinds of recipes would I focus on? What if I end up posting lots of recipes that have approximately 2.5 ingredients? Would I feel lame?

WHO CARES?

It’s not like I have an audience anyway. This is more of a way to give myself proof that I can be productive in my free time. But not too productive. I like to keep a nice balance (read: a healthy dose of vegging out on the couch).  Except when the warm weather comes. Then, I hope to be super productive. If by productive, you mean wandering throughout the city in the sunshine. Because that is my favorite thing to do.  No, my favorite thing to do is anything that involves water and frolicking. Guys, I’m REALLY good at frolicking in the water.

(Errr… Meg, weren’t you interested in getting back to your FOOD blog? What kinds of noms have you been making lately?)

I’m so glad you asked! Allow me to give a quick little run down of all the things I’ve been up to in the past six months/year (read: since I graduated in May and Father Time released me from my shackles). After graduation, I spent most of my summer at my lakehouse, breaking in all the new toys and cooking in the new kitchen. (Note for those of you considering various retirement options already: cooking/baking in a house by the water is a really great lifestyle.)

Spring Rolls

GBGF spring rolls

What an delish way to eat your veggies. And wrapping those little guys makes me feel like a pro Chipotle employee wrapping burritos. It brings back memories of the days when I would practice folding clothes in my bedroom, envisioning myself working at a Gap Kids once I hit an employable age. I dream big, guys.

(Ok, but, like, what do you put in your spring rolls?)

Good Q. I have made these quite a few times, and I generally like to include: shredded carrots (it is advisable to buy the carrots pre-shredded, so that your mom doesn’t scowl at you when you get tired of chopping and utilize her knife skills even though you already assured her that she can sit back and relax…hypothetical situation), a slice of avocado, coarsely shredded basil leaves, chopped cilantro, julienned cucumber, and a good-sized piece of crisp romaine lettuce. Proportions are up to you. Let spring rolls be your creative outlet.

Do you know how simple it is to make these badboys? You only have to soak the rice paper wrappers in warm water for 10-15 seconds. Then, it is ready to be filled and wrapped? I’m telling ya- this is not so difficult!

As for the dipping sauce, it has varied each time.  But it’s always some variation of gf soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, red chili pepper flakes, a dab of sugar, and splash of water. And definitely serve with napkins. Dat stuff is dripppyy. And delectable!

~

Mini Fruit Tarts

GBGF Fruit Tarts

These little guys were a piece of work! But tasty indeed. I made them for the Fourth of July- hence, my fruit choice. Nothin better than a homemade red, white, and blue treat to celebrate ‘Murica!

The crust was a finicky gf pecan pie crust that I pressed into muffin tins. The recipe is from Rebecca Reilly’s Gluten-Free Baking.

1/4 c. toasted pecans

1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

1 c. gluten free flour blend

1 Tbsp. sweet rice flour (I bought sweet rice, then ground it up with a food processor)

1/8 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a muffin tin.

Grind the toasted pecans and 1 Tbsp of sugar in a food processor. (I actually used a coffee grinder since the amounts were so small.)  Mix the ground nuts with the gf flour, 1/4 c. sugar, sweet rice flour, and salt.

Cut the butter into cubes. Use a pastry cutter to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a coarse meal.

Now, it gets a little tricky. Press the dough in the muffins tins, but I’m telling you this stuff is delicate. So be patient. And be dainty. You are always dainty and light with your fingers anyway though. So I’m sure it will go wonderfully for you. Bake for 10-15 min, or until lightly golden.

Then, a custard for the filling, adapted from good ol’ Martha Stewart:

1 c. 2% milk

1/2 vanilla bean

1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

3 large egg yolks

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. gf flour blend

Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. Put milk, vanilla bean, and 1/4 c. sugar in a medium saucepan, and place on high heat until almost boiling. While that is heating, whisk the remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar and egg yolks in a bowl, then gradually whisk in flour and cornstarch.

Remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture and slowly pour it into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan through a fine sieve. Continue to heat over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until it thickens.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cover immediately with plastic wrap. Let cool completely.

Fruit Tart Assembly: Well, if you’re still with me at this point, I think you know what to do. Fill the little tart crusts with cooled custard and top with berries. If you want a glaze on the berries, heat 1/2 c. apricots preserves with 1 Tbsp. water until melted, and drizzle over the fruit. Now, you’ve got a sweet treat that tasty and shiny!

~

Some of my favorite go-to meals this summer:

GBGF Polenta Pies

Mexican Polenta Pies, inspired by Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food: Light

GBGF Pesto Gnocchi

Homemade pesto served on a frozen brand of gf gnocchi with some farmer’s market produce!

GBGF Breakfast Tacos

An easy breezy breakfast taco of scrambled egg, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of my fav salsa (sorry, you can’t have it- its from our local farmer’s market)

GBGF deep dish pizza

I also, of course, whipped up another gf deep dish pizza. Can’t go too long in Chicago without one of these. Definitely have to make this for my East Coast friends sometime soon!

 

Well that should be good for now. Baby steps. I shall ease back into this blogging business.

I swear, I will begin to provide more actual recipes soon enough. You will have to forgive my memory for not hanging on to all the exact recipes from my creations this summer. I will also begin to put more effort into the photography of the food, instead of haphazardly pointing my iphone at my plate.

I should also note that I am a big fan of trying out other bloggers’ creations. Let it be known that I do not claim to post exclusively original recipes. That being said, I will give credit where credit is deserved.

You can look forward to a run-down of more sweet summer creations next week! That post will feature my current favorite cookbook. Any guesses??

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