Welcome to my crazy world of real food cooking ...

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. -- Michael Pollan

I wish I could take credit for that because I think it sums up how we should eat. Simply -- eat stuff that really is food, instead of stuff that is food like substance. The supermarket is almost entirely food-like-substances, and, my friends, you should probably never ever eat them.

Fortunately, there is a world of deliciousness out there, and it can all be had in a way that not only doesn't harm your health, but in a way that benefits you hugely.

I think it's important to eat stuff that satisfies you, that keeps your blood sugar stable, and that gives you stuff your body really needs to run optimally.

But baby, it's gotta taste good.

I really like getting experimental in the kitchen. I love cooking, I love layering flavours, and I love coming up with really super yummy food. I have very strong opinions about what constitutes food, and there are a lot of things I won't touch in the kitchen. Bottom line? Pretty much everything I make is ridiculously good for you even if it tastes decadent. Although there are occasional big fat cheats ... but even those stick to real food, my friends.

For food that is usual gluten free, usually free of cane sugar, usually super low on the glycemic index, full of protein, fiber, flavour, and excellent energy, join me and Alice down the rabbit hole.

Every recipe on this blog is my own original effort and idea, so please pass 'em on, giving credit where credit is due.

Many thanks, and come back often. I'm really glad you are here!


Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Still a Sour Puss

In between long days on set, I've found it therapeutic to put together sourdough, letting it rise the required 16 hours before baking.

I've had my second go around, and the loaf turned out to be a real beauty.

Since I'd never had proper sourdough before, I really had no idea if it tasted right or not. Sourdough experts concur: delish! I've heard told of sourdough starters that have travelled from 'the old country', and are centuries old. I'm just glad my attempts were successful despite the relative immaturity of my starter.

This time, I used a mix of whole grain kamut and soft wheat flours, seasoned with sea salt. Last time I used only wheat flour.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Don't Be Such a Sour Puss

I'm not really sure who first came up with the idea of making sour-dough bread. I picture someone in period dress from centuries ago -- read: drab -- who accidentally let some slurry of water and flour ferment. Why they had a slurry of water and flour sitting around, however, would be the question that stumps me. Maybe they had been hanging wallpaper and forgot about it? There is, after all, a fine line between glue and food. Ick.

Well, I've been a bread baker for over a decade, and have recently morphed into a bagel baker -- I was intrigued by the boil-before-you-bake thang. The bagels have turned out decently, although I haven't gotten terribly fancy yet. Mine are not the correct Montreal bagels, but rather a slight departure from all the bagel recipes I researched online. I'm rarely content to stick to a recipe the way it comes. I have an unfortunate need to make everything my own.

Some people advocate wrapping the long pieces of dough around your hand and fastening them together. Others swear by piercing a round ball of dough with your fingers to make the hole. I've tried both, and I'm leaning a little towards the latter, but the jury is still out. The latest incarnation -- whole wheat with Ontario honey -- involved a little cornmeal on the outside, and were very well received by my two-year-old neighbour, Caleb.

But on to the sour.

I decided to make my own slurry (of course using whole grain flour) and left it to perch atop my refrigerator. Gradually, the smell changed from pasty to sour. Ahah! So this is that infamous sourdough starter I've heard so much about. No one would want to hang wall-paper with this brew. It took less than the recommended 3 to 5 days -- closer to 2.5 days, actually. I made a nice elastic dough using 1/2 cup of the starter, a few cups of whole grain flour, and 1 cup of water. I describe that ideal ratios of flour and water result in a dough that feels smooth, not sticky, and a little clammy. The wacky thing about sour dough is that it has to rise for 12 hours, then for another 6 hours before you bake it. Totally not instant gratification. I think we've been rising for about 1 hour. Not even. Sigh ... I'm not exactly what you would call patient.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Sexy Food

I'm not a fan of 'skinny food'. I've been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, and am an avid -- even passionate -- cook. I've created countless vegetarian dishes that have one main thing in common -- a sumptuous marriage of flavour, satisfaction, and nutrition. 'Chock full of deliciousness'. I remember what passed for vegetarian fare in the 80s. Flaccid, under seasoned vegetables on a bed of white pasta. Bland white rice with salads of limp iceberg lettuce swimming in oily faux 'Italian' dressing. And vegetarians were pale, overly thin, and often anemic.

I plan to put forth some of the cornucopia of recipes and knowledge I have accumulated over the years. My focus has always been nutrition -- but if you aren't also feeding your true hedonist , what's the point? Twenty years of research into nutrition, coupled with a keen sense of what makes something taste really good, have turned me into vegetarian cook to be reckoned with ...

My sister calls me and says "I've got A, B, C, and D in my fridge. What can I make for dinner?" I love that. To me, that's a lot of fun. Provided, that is, you have a few basics around. Like running water, a few pots and pans, some olive oil, and sea salt and pepper. Actually, even without those basics it is still fun. Although perhaps a bit more challenging.

I will always have more recipes that I've developed, and ideas for recipes, than I can possibly share, so if you are ever looking for something in particular, give me a holler, and let me know. I might just have something that suits your needs.