Finding Sanity in the Kitchen (Link Love)

Or, really, cooking, mostly, but I love alliteration.  In between the vacations, the panic attacks, the job applications, and the last remnants of jet lag, I have still been searching out recipes and firing up my oven.  Actually, when my brother left for his first year at college, and I flew across the country, I heard more complaints about my mother running out of leftovers back at home, rather than our absence.

Right before my flight out, I was ransacking the refrigerator shelves for something to eat (good choice–airport choices for real, gluten-free food were absolutely atrocious), and, accidentally discovered magic.  I had made a caprese-type salad for our last potluck between shows (good choice, as the naturally gluten-free foods–caprese salad, deviled eggs, veggie trays–seemed to repel the students. Initially, I had been worried that the three gluten-free among us would be struggling to make an actual meal from the table loaded with cookies and pre-made sandwiches). The salad–cherry tomatoes, cubed mozzarella, torn basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper–leftovers had been marinating double for a day in the fridge.

I had put on the last of my beloved quinoa pasta onto boil (must find more!) and settled down to chop some fresh vegetables to run through it for an easy, light lunch.  I was about three slices in when I remember the tomato salad in the tupperware.  It made my life easier, but I hadn’t imagined how fantastic it would taste.  I still chopped a little bit of red onion, and some black olives.  When the pasta was cooked, I added the new veggies, the leftover veggies, and some goat cheese from the farmer’s market…It was heaven.  Really just amazing! Between the cold vegetables and the hot pasta and balsamic vinegar (my newest and lasting obsession), all the textures and temperatures and tastes melded to a tangy, refreshing, delightful dish.  It was the best send-off I could have imagined.

Vegas meant no cooking, and, truth be told, as we neared the end of the week, I really missed it.  Its become a time to recharge, to focus in on vegetables, flours, and fruit.  Its an easy way to let go of the greater concerns in my life and have a break (and it usually results in something delicious).  Needless to say, I was back in front of the stove.  My aunt was in town right after I return to the east coast, to move my cousin into school, and my mother was asking for enchiladas.  And by enchiladas, I do mean this recipe straight from the back of the container of Philedelphia’s new Santa Fe blend Cooking Creme.  I also tried my hand at Pan de Bono from Nicole at GF on a Shoestring.

Attention world:  this bread is amazing.  And easy.   I need to find some super-cheap queso fresco (not that my local store’s is really all that expensive) because I could (and would) make these rolls every day.

(Photo, unfortunately, is not mine.  Image from google.  Mine were eaten too quickly for photos)

Naturally gluten-free, the cheese in this bread makes it dense and almost buttery.  Or at least it tricked my tastebuds into guessing butter as I tried to place the rich flavor.  My mother compared these, appropriately, to popovers.  While I’ve had limited success in creating gf imitations, I haven’t been able to match that fluffy, chewy, buttery-eggy quality that gluten-filled popovers have.  Pan de Bono comes pretty close, in a denser, heartier way.  Its super simple!  The  dough was easy to handle, and the whole recipe came together in a matter of minutes.  Everyone should try these rolls.  They have Recipe Box Status.

In and amongst these particular triumphs was some flat (but still tasty) french bread, and a lot of quinoa.  And a life-changing shepherd’s pie that will get its own post in the next few days.  Keep an eye out!