Wednesday, July 25, 2012

gluten-free fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies = amazing

I love to bake. Of course, I enjoy cooking dinner, especially when there are tons of vegetables and herbs in the kitchen, but baking is different. It might be something about the logic embedded in it - a certain kind of predictable math. Equation : flour+egg+butter+sugar+etc@350*10min = cookie.

I haven't been eating wheat and relatives since January. An illness a few years ago seems to have left me with some intolerances, the gluten-filled grains among them. Up until January I hadn't really given much thought to gluten, and to all the magical things it can do. Experimenting with gluten-free flours has for the most part been disappointing - cookies that spread over the baking sheet and crumble when touched, biscuits that really remind me of a bowl of brown rice.

There have been a few successes, variations on these financiers, macarons - things that are easy to make gluten-free. But my attempts at chocolate chip cookies, while sometimes good crumbled onto ice cream, have not really felt like chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday, I tried out a recipe from the beautiful blog of Aran Goyoaga, Cannelle et Vanille. I made her gluten-free chewy chocolate chip cookies with low expectations, and I was astounded. They are sooo good. They are not just approximation / imitation cookies, they actually are chocolate chip cookies. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

an afternoon in the old port

On a hot afternoon lately, I spent some time wandering the historic streets of old Montreal. The architecture in this part of the city is so appealing to me - there is such a sense of timelessness. When it was too hot to wander, my husband and I met up to see the amazing the new Cirque du Soleil show, Amaluna. It was really beautiful, and the physical skills of the performers were just awe-inspiring. Every since, I have been working on my handstand!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

a market dinner

Recently we happened upon zucchini flowers at the Jean-Talon market, and we tried to recreate a zucchini flower pasta we once had in Rome. While the pasta didn't come out the same, it was fun to experiment with eating flowers. Next - stuffed zucchini blossoms!

Friday, July 6, 2012

marché jean-talon

One of the many things that I love about Montreal is the Jean-Talon Market. While it is open all year round, during the summer and fall local producers fill the market with their fruits, vegetables, and artisanal products. The market also is the best place to go to buy seedlings to ensure your own backyard harvest, and flowering plants to improve the view!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

jazz fest

We've been spending our free time lately down at Place-des-Arts, where the Montreal Jazz Fest is in full swing until July 7th. And by jazz I mean jazzy rock, jazzy blues, jazzy pop.. you get the idea. There are also some acrobats thrown in for good measure (seriously). I love it all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

kale salad

It seems that everyone has been talking about how good kale is for you. But what I want to say is that it is delicious! Especially served in a simple salad. Lately, inspired by this recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101cookbooks, we have been enjoying kale dressed with olive oil, red pepper, lemon juice and parmesan.

First, wash the kale well, dry, and then slice the leaves off the tough center stems. I usually slice the leaves again so the pieces are a bit thinner. In a small bowl, mix together about three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the juice of one lemon and a scant 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you prefer less heat). Then mix in a handful of grated parmesan. Pour it over the kale and toss well until coated, garnishing with a bit more parmesan. I am sure it is also delicious with toasted breadcrumbs and garlic as prepared by Heidi. Preferably enjoyed on a back deck with lemonade!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

san francisco: huge trees and ocean breezes

Last month's trip to the west coast offered up so many treats for the senses. Visiting a new place and seeing things you have never seen before is so exciting. For me, it makes me approach the world with a "beginner's mind," connecting me to the kind of vital curiosity and delight that children bring to their discovery of the world. I had never seen trees as tall and as immense as these - and they were in a city park! And although I am accustomed to the Atlantic coast, the vast Pacific conjures up a different feeling. Around San Francisco, the water seemed to almost bubble with energy and the winds had swept sand over the sidewalk, a reminder of the power of nature.

more montreal street art