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22 September 2010

gluten-free doughnuts

doughnuts from Silvana's book

Doughnuts. You know you want some.

When I lived in New York, my friend Gabe and I often met on the corner of 86th and Lexington, late at night. Neither of us lived in that neighborhood. But when we got the jones for perfect doughnuts, he got on the subway from Brooklyn, and I took the cross-town bus from the Upper West Side. We were always so excited when we met outside.

Inside awaited doughnut heaven. It was such a tiny shop. The men behind the counter looked tired but indefatigable. I think each of them had been there for dozens of years apiece. Once in awhile Gabe and I splurged with a crazy idea and went for chocolate-frosted doughnuts. Mostly, though, we always ordered the same thing: 2 old-fashioned doughnuts (the edges crisp, the inside soft) and a big glass of milk. Then we sat there, savoring, as we sat on stools by the window, talking.

I can no longer order doughnuts from that place. Not only because I can't eat gluten anymore, but also because I read that it has closed since I moved away. (The tired men must have grown weary.) However, I can still taste those doughnuts.

You may be thinking — Shauna, this isn't fair. Why are you talking about doughnuts when I can't have any? You can't have any good doughnuts, gluten-free.

Oh yes you can. Just hush. You can have great doughnuts, gluten-free. And dairy-free. You can make them in your own kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

See that picture above? Those are baked doughnuts, gluten-free and dairy-free. They're from a new book by Silvana Nardone, who has become a friend of ours lately. Her new book, Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals, is lovely. Confronted by the need to make gluten-free and dairy-free meals for her darling son, Silvana tackled it all with grace and humor. Her cookbook is a beautiful record of what love can do.

You'll see that her emphasis is on kid-friendly and family-friendly meals. Her recipes are attempts to replicate standard kid favorites, with a pretty white flour mix to match those expectations. If that's what you are looking for, you'll like this book.

She has several baked doughnuts recipes in her book. Sugar and spice! And these chocolate glazed espresso doughnuts. Yum.

(I'm going to be honest. That photograph up there? I took a photo of a photo from her book. We made the doughnuts last week and enjoyed them, but too late in the evening to get a photo. I would have re-made them, but we are leaving for NY tonight and I am still writing this post!)

Good gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate-glazed espresso doughnuts? Of course you can make those.

doughnuts frying in oil

The book that we will baking doughnuts from most often is just about to be published: Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.

Our friend, Lara Ferroni, wrote and photographed this book. We are so proud of her.

You see, Lara is not just our friend, but she is also the photographer for our cookbook. Those of you who own the cookbook already — and thank you for your beautiful emails and blog posts and Twitter messages about it — know what a gorgeous book it is. We owe so much to Lara.

When we first got our book deal, and found that we had a modest art budget for the book, we only thought of one photographer: Lara. She takes such striking photos, filled with light and fresh food. She really is an artist and it has been a privilege to work with her. (And we hope we'll be working with her on another book. And another. And another.)

You see, in a not-traditional manner, we worked with Lara for over two years on this book. Most books get two to four days of photo shoots in NY, after the manuscript is done. We started shooting photographs with Lara when I was 7 months pregnant with Lu. We walked around farmers' markets, stood in our kitchen, and shopped at our favorite seafood purveyor, all with Lara and her camera. All the plated dishes you see in the book? Danny cooked them in Lara's kitchen. I ran them upstairs to her studio. She did her magic.

So we want to say, very publicly, how deeply grateful we are to you, Lara. You are amazing. We could not have done this without you.

And she wrote a doughnut book! When Lara signed the deal for this book, she had never made a doughnut before! Now, because of her dedication to learning and making things beautiful, you could soon be making Date and Walnut Doughnuts, Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Doughnut Holes, Bacon Maple Bars, and Huckleberry Cheesecake Dougnuts. Oh yum.

Lara came to our kitchen last year, to work on gluten-free recipes for the book. They work! They're delicious. We love that she put those in her book. (Others of you will be happy for the vegan doughnuts.) We're honored that her carrot cake doughnut recipe is a riff on the carrot cake in our book.

(Is it okay for me to pause and say that more than a dozen gluten-eating folks have said that the carrot cake in our book is the best they have ever eaten? Well, I just did.)

But I want you to know that, if you have the right flours and a kitchen scale, you could make any doughnut in Lara's book, gluten-free. Buy it. You'll see.


Don't let anyone tell you that something is impossible, gluten-free.

Say yes instead.

cinnamon doughnut holes, gluten-free

Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes, Gluten-Free

Besides that place on 86th and Lexington, my favorite doughnut spot in the world is in Seattle. At the tiny stall in Pike Place Market, a machine drops splotches of doughnut batter into the hot oil. Someone spoons them out. Steaming hot, the doughnuts get thrown into a brown paper bag with a skim of cinnamon sugar on the bottom. Then, the seemingly interminable wait while the guy behind the counter shakes the bag, vigorously. You hand some ridiculously small amount of money to the person taking change, then you grab the bag full of hot cinnamon doughnuts.

Shut up. Those doughnuts are so good.

I can't have them anymore, of course. I watch my friend Sharon eat them whenever she comes into town. I eat vicariously.

Now, however, I can have cinnamon doughnuts. And so can you.

This is an adaptation from Lara's book, Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. Lara's gluten-free cake doughnut recipe is great. Make it! But we wanted to show you that you could make any of the doughnuts in the book gluten-free. (Lara has the recipes in grams. Genius.)

So, we've made a couple, and they all work splendidly. You can use our AP mix, or your favorite gluten-free mix, or separate flours. We highly recommend that you use the ratio of 40% whole grain flours to 60% starches. Just make sure you use the same weight of flours as Lara does in her recipe, add a bit of xanthan or guar, and you have doughnuts.

Heck yeah! Doughnuts.

240 grams Ahern AP flour mix
3 grams (about 1/2 teaspoon) guar gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
75 grams (about 1/3 cup) superfine sugar (and really, use the superfine)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter or shortening
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, scalded and divided (we used soy milk here)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegetable oil for frying (we like canola or safflower)

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the AP flour into the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don't have one, you can do this by hand). Add the guar gum, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix well to combine.

Adding the butter. Add the butter (or shortening) in pieces. Blend until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Finishing the dough. In another bowl, combine the egg, 1/2 of the milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Slowly, with the motor of the stand mixer running, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape down the sides from time to time. Pour in the rest of the milk, slowly, until the batter is as thick as a good cookie dough. It will be slightly tacky to the touch. (You might not need all of the milk, depending on different conditions.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Frying the doughnuts. Pour at least two inches worth of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. (We like a Dutch oven for this.) Heat until the oil registers 360° on a deep-fat thermometer.

Drop tablespoon-size dollops of doughnut dough into the oil. (And drop them gently. You don't want oil burns here. Keep the kids away.) Try to keep the dollops of dough of uniform size, so the doughnuts cook evenly. Fry until the doughnuts are a light golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. (The ones in the photo above, the ones in the oil? Those are not done yet. Just after that.)

Finishing the doughnuts. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a paper-towel-covered plate. While the next batch is frying, put the hot doughnuts into a paper bag with cinnamon sugar. Shake.

Voila! Doughnuts.

Makes about 24 doughnut holes.

21 September 2010

dancing in the kitchen

We love you people.

I'm not kidding. Danny and I talk all the time about comments we receive, questions about recipes, confusions about steps (especially when I leave out xanthan gum) and sweet emails that pour in. (I wish, these days, I had the time to answer all of them.)

Writing this site — cooking, creating, jotting down notes, taking photographs, and hitting publish — has changed our lives. Hell, it has made our life together what it is. And we love our life.

This past week has been a buzzing blur of comments and praises from people who have already received a copy of our cookbook. (The official publication date isn't until September 28th!) Folks, you have floored us. Being able to see your excitement on Twitter, your kind words on Facebook, and your incredibly moving emails this past week has been tremendous.

I'm telling you this honestly: we already feel like this cookbook is a huge success. At least for us. After three years of working on this idea that has turned into a book in your kitchen, we are ready to let go of it. It's yours.

And oh, how some of you have already made it yours. You are cooking from it. You're making meals for your family that surprise you all with the ease of preparation and the taste at the table. Some of you have already made 6 and 7 dishes!

We are so humbled and happy by this.

You may notice that I don't have a photograph on this post. It may be the first time in 5 years. It's not just that it's 12:46 am as I type this, after an entire day of reading beautiful blog posts. It's that I want you to see other people's photographs, photographs of the food created from recipes in our cookbook.

If you remember, a few weeks ago, we asked you if you wanted a few recipes from the cookbook, early. Those of you who took us up on it cooked seared shrimp with garlic almond sauce, fresh pasta with a sauce of anchovies, olives, and lemons, and peanut butter brownies.

We are thrilled to report that everyone loved these. Everyone had successes.

Mostly, what makes me and Danny happy is the numbers of times some of you wrote that you felt intimidated at first and walked away from the table feeling proud. That's what we want. We want you to cook.

Now, go over and rea And if you can read three of these posts and not be hungry, I think you might want to get that checked out.

And click on each link to find a blog that might be new to you. This is an incredible community. Let's keep talking and listening to each other.

It's such a privilege to release a cookbook in this time. Now, we can see instant reactions and hear of your successes (and questions). We can see the food we created in your kitchens.Seriously, we couldn't be any happier if we tried.

Thank you.

Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom (who is doing a huge giveaway too!) wrote: "You’ve gotta get this cookbook! Not only is the food fantastic, but this cookbook is the type I have been wanting my entire cooking life…one that teaches you how to cook. Almost all of the recipes come with Suggestions and if you have other dietary restrictions, do not let that prevent you from ordering this cookbook."

Tara of A Baking Life wrote about making the gluten-free pasta (4 times in one week!): "I made more pasta, and brought it with me to Josh's restaurant for dinner with the in-laws. He topped half with a spicy seafood arrabbiata sauce, and the rest was tossed with beurre blanc and olives and Parmigiano-Reggiano. We ended up eating in a back room, with bad lighting, where the kids could be rambunctious. Still, I thought the pasta was wonderful. But an even better compliment? Josh loved it, which is saying something, coming from a man with impossibly high standards and the history of his own fresh pasta behind him."

Jenn of The Whole Kitchen wrote: "If you’re looking to impress your guests and minimize your time in the kitchen, look no further than this simple dish. Huge, grilled gulf shrimp are always a winner, if you ask me. Drizzle a decant sauce of garlic, olive oil and marcona almonds overtop and you’ve got something really special on your table."

Sarah Ann from Celiac in the City wrote: "This book is for gluten free friends and those who can handle their gluten too. It’s for people who love food, who don’t miss an opportunity to dance in the kitchen together. For those who want “joy in the belly.” It’s a love story. With food. My kind of book."

Tia of Glugle Gluten-Free wrote: "Have you ever had real, homemade pasta? I mean fresh, just-gone-through-the-pasta-maker pasta? Dried, in-a-bag-or-box pasta is not even on the same planet as fresh, homemade pasta. And, the gluten-free recipe they give you in their cookbook is… (I’m running out of adjectives, here.) Oh my God, it’s so good."

Kim of Simple Ginger (who takes absolutely gorgeous photographs) wrote: "The seared shrimp with garlic-almond sauce was another example of exactly what I expected out of this book. No need for gluten free flour substitutions here, which I love. Perfectly simple, but incredible, delicious and elegant. This shrimp dish will serve as an appetizer to wow guests over and over again."

Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl had a cooking party with newly gluten-free friends: "The best part of the whole evening for me was having everybody pitch in to make pasta. Families often love each other through cooking. Shauna & Danny's cookbook is one such story of loving each other through food. Making Shauna's pasta was a great way to bring everybody together to learn a new skill. Thoughts of future "gluten free pasta making parties" warms my heart!"

Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen wrote: "I also made these Seared Shrimp with Garlic Almond Sauce. They’re so elegant…yet so simple to make. This is elevated home cooking folks…something you’d happily eat in a restaurant, but that you can have at home with no fuss, in less than 10 minutes. This is my kind of recipe."

Taylor of Fields of Green (who just had a baby!) wrote: "Thankfully, these brownies took under a half-hour to cook. The smell was wonderful wafting through our house. When I bit in after they finally cooled, I melted. My words to my hubby? "Honey, you're gonna wig out. Totally wig out." Chocolate and peanut butter is his favorite combo, after all."

Heather from The Cowgirl Gourmet wrote: "We all praised the fact that the texture was just right, the flavor combination perfect and that the brownies were neither overly rich nor too sweet. I mean, if you want, you could probably eat two brownies in one sitting. And that's a good thing."

Carolyn from Foodie in Miami wrote: "This shrimp dish was great and the garlic-almond sauce is going to make it into the growing rotation of sauces-to-be-tossed-with-dinner. Right alongside Italian Salsa Verde from Bon Appetit, green pesto, red pesto and chimichurri."

Justin from Just Cook NYC (who happens to be our book editor) wrote: "Then came the eating, and there was a lot of that. I guess I'm biased because I absolutely adore peanut butter and chocolate together, but these were amazing. I seriously don't think anyone would even know they were gluten-free unless I told them. And honestly, I've had a lot of gluten-free treats in bakeries, and I'd trade them all for a pan of these."

Lisa of Gluten vs The Foodie wrote: "...this pasta hits all the right notes. It’s like a puttanesca, but with a stylish makeover, shedding all it’s worn out tomato ‘baggage’ and trading it in for a fresher, brighter, more refined attitude. In case you didn’t know, Pasta Puttanesca literally translates to “whore’s spaghetti.” This pasta dish, on the other hand, wouldn’t even kiss on the first date. She’s super classy."

Jenn of The Cinnamon Quill wrote: "First, seared shrimp tofu with garlic almond sauce…So, I’ve made this twice in one week, it is basically the richest, most flavorful sauce you can imagine, filled with the healthiest fats from olive oil and marcona almonds."

Amanda of Feed Me Gluten-Free wrote: "The fresh pasta was amazingly easy and probably the best gluten free pasta I've ever eaten. I wish I had made more than one batch, so we could have some for later. The "sauce" we had over the fresh pasta consisted of anchovies, lemon, and olives just like the title said. It was really good even if it had ingredients we've never used before. The anchovies melted away and there were no traces of little fishy bits like I thought there would be."

Johnna of 52 Sweets wrote: " I think you should own this cookbook, whether you eat gluten-free or not, just for this recipe! I shared the brownies with friends who do not eat gluten-free and they enjoyed them immensely. Driving the brownies across town to their house was one of the most difficult sweet deliveries I have made this year. Every stoplight provided opportunity for me to pull back the foil and gaze at these brownies. Maybe I could have just one more..."

Joanna of Green Acres wrote about the shrimp with garlic-almond sauce: "Amazing. Truly. I told my daughter, who was my dinner companion this evening, that I wish this had been the meal at my wedding."

Abbie from Organizing Life wrote: "Though a bit tricky to prepare, with some flours you may have to look up, the results are worth the effort. For someone who is gluten-free for life, these truly delicious recipes open a new door to novel culinary exploration and a very satisfied tummy."

Gwynne of Look What I Made You wrote: "The pasta, I'll admit, I thought would be a harder sell. Pasta with anchovies, lemon, and olives sounds relatively innocuous, but I'm rather anchovy-averse. In the spirit of trying things out, though, I made this. Somewhere along the line, my thoughts on anchovies were entirely revamped. The anchovy, lemon, and olive had bright, happy, zesty flavor that combined so well and made such an impression. This pasta convinced me that anchovies deserve a second look."

Anne from Anne's Food wrote: "I stuck with this simple dish that only had a few ingredients: shrimp, salt, pepper, garlic, almonds and olive oil. Yes, really, that's it! ...this was a highly successful little appetizer."

Janet from Life and Photography wrote: "What I liked first and foremost about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are easy to find. I only had to go to my gluten-free store for three items. Then I started the actual process of making the batter, and it turned out to be easier than I expected!"

Heather of Mama Unfurling wrote: "The pasta was amazingly easy to make, even without a pasta roller or other potentially useful pasta-making tools. I used parchment paper, an empty water bottle and a sharp knife to cut the pasta, and it worked like a charm."

Chelsea of Blackberry Eating in Late September wrote: "The crumb was rich and moist, the pockets of peanut butter were sticky bombs of candy-like delight. I couldn’t even get a photo in before the hordes descended on the pan. Seven people decimated ¾ of the pan in ten minutes. Almost everyone went back for seconds."

Cielo of Gluten-Free Santa Barbara wrote: "The noodles themselves cooked up in under 5 minutes (and floated up to the top like any fresh pasta should when it's done) and were perfectly chewy and made me swoon. I'm not kidding. Going 7 years without fresh pasta will do that to you. Even my non-gf husband was floored. This recipe is a winner."

Kim from Prairie Mama wrote: "I made seared shrimp and chicken skewers with garlic almond sauce. Oh my gosh. Let me just say this was AMAZING. My brother-in-law, who had no idea that the Gluten Free Girl is married to a Chef, said, 'This meal tastes like it belongs in a restaurant. It is amazing!'"

Margie of The Perfect Pastry wrote: "This sauce was mind-blowing—the wine was subtle, the lemon was bright and fresh but not overpowering. I would dip bread in it, mix it with breadcrumbs to stuff artichokes or tomatoes, toss it with blanched green beans (oh, that sounds good!) ... or just eat it with mounds of freshly made fettuccine."

Emma of My Darling Lemon Thyme wrote: "With a book like this there will be no more standing at the fridge staring blankly wondering what you can eat, only to close it again hungry and empty handed."

Heather of Adventures wrote: "I have to be honest and say that dessert was my favorite, but I have a weakness for sweets. These fabulous chocolate peanut butter brownies were complete with some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge – the whole pan disappeared!"

Aron the Hippie Chef of Boomer Cuisine wrote: "The shrimp were divine and the almond sauce so rich and unctuous it was plate licking good."

Christina of The California Dish wrote: "I probably would have tried to cut corners by using a less expensive almond instead of the Marcona, salt slicked, almonds that they recommend which set me back $6.11 for one cup. But the Chef anticipated this and urged me not to. When people really understand food and ingredients they’re honest with you about which you can skimp on and which are necessities. I felt confident following his advice."

Karissa of Gluten-Free, Frugally wrote: "These. Are. Amazing. Hard to go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, but if I didn’t know they were GF I would never have guessed. In fact they are the best brownies I have ever had. They were rich and gooey, and the peanut butter made a pretty ribbon and tasted delicious too."

Campbell of Can I Help with Dinner wrote about the garlic almond sauce: "The blend of fresh garlic, the toasted almonds along with the simplicity of the shrimp deliver an extremely subtle blend that had my 16 year old and I diving into the sauce time and time again."

Julie of Fravelicious wrote: "These are a flavorful, rich, cake-like brownie, with peanut butter marbled into the batter. I also served these for dessert for some friends, and they didn’t suspect they were gluten-free in the least. That is really how I like to test gluten free recipes and dessert. I don’t want my gluten-intolerant friends and relatives to have to “settle” for a sub-par sweet. If people with and without celiac disease can enjoy a treat, then it gets two thumbs up in my book!"

Joy from Gourmeted wrote: "Clearly, as someone who can choose not to be on any special diet, I was the one missing out! These are insanely good. Will you forgive me if I keep baking GF brownies like this for a while?"

Stephanie from Dollop of Cream wrote: "Anchovies are a revelation to me. They melt away into the sauce and just leave all the right sunny, briny Mediterranean notes. Not to mention: I made this gluten-free pasta. I am still in shock. It has a nice, al dente bite and is very easy to work with. Not a sticky noodle in the bunch. Perfect to slip and slide around in the sauce."

Marcella at Short Attention Span Girl wrote: "Chocolate. Peanut butter. Happiness!"

Kris from Kris InSight wrote: "The delicate almond sauce was the perfect match of garlic and almonds and best of all it was totally gluten free and tasted great with everything on the plate. My husband who does not eat a gluten free diet ate his supper with enthusiasm and declared it 'the best shrimp I’ve had in a long time.'”

Belinda of Stoere Moeder wrote: "De recepten in het boek zijn heel eenvoudig en de foto's erbij zien er heerlijk uit. Ik ben dan ook heel benieuwd naar het boek dat ik via Amazon heb besteld en dat NU onderweg naar me is."

Sonya at Eat+Art+Word wrote: "Sifting, separating, mixing + mixing, rolling, cutting, rolling, cutting – the process of making pasta seems to me much like that of embroidery or knitting, with each tiny action adding up to make a much larger whole."

Kendra of All and Nothing wrote: " of the great things about this meal. Sure, it came from recipes created by a chef, but all the ingredients came from either my mother-in-law's garden or the local supermarket. And they grocery shop in a town with maybe 5,000 people in it. None of the ingredients were so fancy or specialized that we couldn't replicate them."

Sarah of Life is Still Sweet wrote: "This book is so full of love of food, love for each other, and love of life, that it is hard to put down. The recipes radiate of this dedication to feed each other and all who come to their table hungry. Whether it be hungry for a good story, or a nice juicy pork belly, the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef are happy to fill you up."

Jessica of Baking Tartine wrote: "I'm usually not a huge cookbook person because I consider myself a good cook that can think up great flavor combos on my own, but Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef have already gotten me to try new things that I never would have done on my own...and that's with only 3 recipes. This book must be mine!"

We certainly hope that you now feel the same.

p.s. We are also tremendously grateful to Diane at The Whole Gang for her extensive, enthusiastic review of our book (look for her reaction to Danny's meatloaf recipe) and Wendy from Celiacs in the House, who talked about getting over her first intimidation of some of these recipes and got into the kitchen to cook.

19 September 2010

how to make gluten-free pizza

You want pizza, don't you?

A number of you who have already been cooking out of our cookbook have written to say a) how much you LOVE it and b) where the heck is that pizza recipe?

We have to tell you a) how much giddy happiness it gives us to think of the book being in your kitchens, and b) on page 156.

Many of you who saw this post back in March started writing to me immediately, asking if you could have the recipe early. Nope. You have to buy the cookbook. And then you found the cookbook in an Amazon box on your front porch and flipped through it, excited, and ended up confused because you didn't see the pizza recipe. Huh?

It's there! We promise.

Here's the secret. The pizza crust recipe is really a flatbread cracker recipe. We realized in the last round of edits what a great pizza crust it makes. So, all we could do was add a few lines onto the end of the headnote and hope you found it.

That's not good enough for us. We want you to eat good gluten-free pizza.

Here's Danny, showing you how:

Plus, there's more...

If you want a pizzeria-style pizza, make your oven as hot as you can with a baking stone. We highly recommend this, not only for pizza but also for all gluten-free baked goods. (Probably, this is true for all baked goods, period.) It makes for nice, even heat in the oven.

You'll also want to get yourself a good pizza pan or you might want to try a pizza screen, like the one Danny demonstrates in the video. The screen can be a bit more annoying, as the dough sticks more easily. On the other hand, with the air holes the bottom crust of the pizza can get a char as well.

Finally, we really love this Zyliss pizza cutter. I can't imagine using anything else.

That's about it. Making great gluten-free pizza really isn't that complicated.

Oh! Of course. You'll also need a copy of our cookbook for the recipe.

Pizza! Enjoy.

13 September 2010

imagining the cookbook. oh wait! it's here.


For the past three years, Danny and I have been imagining this time, the time that is arriving within the next week.

As we cooked and took notes, talked and typed, edited and tried those recipes again, we created a cookbook for one reason: we wanted the book to be in your kitchen, flung onto the counter, food stains on the pages.

We want to inspire people to cook.

A few moments ago, the lovely Jenn Sutherland sent me a message on Twitter. "Can't wait to get your book this week! Got the whole weekend cleared to cook with you."

Later, someone else wrote of receiving our cookbook: "It came today and I've already read it (and dog eared most of the recipes). I fully expect it to be covered in sauce splotches and dustings of flour soon. It will not sit all pristine on my cookbook shelf pretty but unused."

Already read it? I swear, Danny and I both grew a little teary when we read this.

You see, for three years this cookbook has been ours. We have the piles of dishes to show that. We have tasted and sifted pounds of gluten-free flours, talked and typed, thought about recipes and discussed them in bed late at night, started over when a recipe as written on the page didn't work on the stove, and then hoped it all would work out.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you've seen us through this process, from the announcement of the book deal to this piece about cooking the dishes when Lu was just a small baby to breakthroughs in recipes that required baking to seeing the final book for the first time. So many of you have cheered us on, through your comments and letters and messages on Twitter. You have been in our heads as we altered recipes and made sentences more clear. You have been in the kitchen with us.

You see, this book is more than a cookbook. It's the story of a marriage, told through food. It's the story of a chef, a day in his life, and everything it takes for him to put food on the plate that is placed before you. It's the story of the Pacific Northwest, of meeting the man who grows potatoes and sells them at the University District Farmers' Market, and of the place where we lived through the narrative of the book. It's the story of a time past in our lives.

Really, for us, this cookbook is a sweet evocation of the life we once lived, before Lu, before living on the island, before looking at life differently after her surgery and tough, hilarious personality shone through. No matter what happens, we have this book to remind us of what our lives were once like.

But for you? The cookbook will be something entirely different. We don't know what this cookbook will be for you.

We hope it will be useful. We hope that after reading you are inspired to move into the kitchen and start cooking. We hope you find your lives a little easier after making gluten-free bread that tastes soft against the teeth and pizza that puffs up in heat. We hope you think about cooking with your spouse more often, about going to farmers' markets for the first time, about how your life might taste sweeter if you eat food in season.

And we hope you laugh. The cookbook is actually meant to be funny, in places.

It's not a typical cookbook. It's meant to be read cover to cover, like a novel. It's intimate and vulnerable and filled with the real details of a working chef's life (and his wife's). It's a lot more complex than a cookbook with 100 recipes and small head notes before each one and not much else.

We really, really love this book. It's entirely possible you might hate it.

No book works for every person who reads it. (Have you read this Salon piece about scathing reviews of much-beloved books on Amazon?) We're not hoping to please everyone.

We just hope that the book will find its way to those of you who will enjoy cooking from it.

You'll see when you read it: this book is really about cooking to connect, instead of impressing.

Danny taught me that. (I love that he is now an author. He never expected it.)

And so, this is what we worked for, three years long. We did all this work for one reason.

It's your book now.

* * *

We can't wait to celebrate this with you.

In this day, traditional book tours are pretty rare. Publishers are nervous about the money it takes to send an author around the country. Independent bookstores are closing up shop. With Twitter and Facebook, it's easy for an author to sit in front of the computer and do all this from home.

Not us. We want to meet you!

So we're flying ourselves to New York in 9 days. (For those of you wondering, of course Lu is coming with us too.) We're staying on friends' couches and hopping subways to different places each days. We're going on book tour.

We sure hope we get to eat good food with a bunch of you.

Rather than doing traditional readings in bookstores, we've created our own way. We want to create gatherings, lovely happenings of good people connecting over great food.

If you live in the New York City area (or anywhere close), consider adding the following events to your calendar.

Saturday, September 25th

11 a.m. to 12 noon

Shaker Country Fair at Hancock Shaker Village, in Hancock, Massachusetts

The day after we arrive, we are taking a train upstate to visit with Margaret Roach and Paige Orloff. (I know. How lucky are we?)

On the Saturday, thanks to Paige's good work, we will be making an appearance at the Shaker Country Fair. In fact, we'll be doing a reading/signing/appearance in the dining hall of the Brick Dwelling, from 11 to 12.

Afterward, we are admiring all the produce at the farmers' market and judging the best in show!

"The Country Fair at Hancock Shaker Village celebrates the bounty of the harvest with agricultural demonstrations, wagon rides, a fabulous Farmers Market, and our huge tents full of the best local and regional crafters and artisans."

We hope this is a way that those of you who live outside of New York City can come hang out with us and each other. How can you beat a country fair?

Sunday, September 26th

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 in the afternoon

We are so excited about this one.

We're having a Sunday potluck, like the ones we have at our house every week. Open house, everyone welcome. Bring a dish of great gluten-free food, something non-alcoholic to drink, a blanket to sit on, and your friends.

The only difference is that this potluck will be on the island of Manhattan, not on our small island here.

We're not telling you where, at least not on this public site. We're making this a secret picnic.

Can you imagine how much fun this will be if there are a big bunch of us eating together?

If you want to come to the potluck, and hear all the details, simply send an email to

Tuesday, September 28th

2 pm — Danny and I will be the guests on the Living Today radio show on the Martha Stewart Sirius Network.

Tune in! Call in. Say something interesting.

6 pm to 7:30 — Gluten-Free Cooking Demo at the Whole Foods in Union Square

We'll be making black rice with chickpeas, bok choy, and tamari sauce, as well as a frisee salad with almonds, oranges, and garlic dressing. Plus, we'll be talking. And signing books.

This is a free demo, but space is limited, so you must reserve your spot in advance by emailing Make the subject of your email g-free guest chef.

Wednesday, September 29th

10 am  — Food Blogger Meet-Up at Union Square Greenmarket

We are eager to meet our fellow food bloggers. Come join us at the Greenmarket in the morning, when the produce is still there. Let's meet on the south entrance of the market.

We'll buy lovely fruits and vegetables. I'm sure we'll all take photographs. And perhaps we can join our food forces for a picnic in lovely Union Square. (well, we'll be able to find a spot, right?) 

We'll probably be having a small pizza party for only gluten-free folks, in Manhattan. Watch this spot for more details.

(We're also having quite a few private events, with friends, in celebration.) 

And, if you live in New York City, and you follow me on Twitter (@glutenfreegirl) watch for special contests each day we are in New York. You might have to ride the subway for it, but you could walk away with a free book.

We can't wait to see you in New York City.

(For those of you will ask, we'll be in a few other cities too, such as San Francisco, Boulder, and Portland. More details on those, later.)

08 September 2010

The IFBC and book giveaway

Flying Apron bakery

It's a funny business, isn't it? This food blogging thing.

I mean, as I type this, I'm sitting in a red fake-leather office chair that we bought from our neighbors down the street at a garage sale for $10. It's too short for the dining room table where I'm sitting, because we don't have another room for an office in this house, and this is better than the tiny spot beside the bathroom where I sat the first year we lived here. (I don't really want to create the image of how strewn with papers and half-empty coffee cups this table really is right now.) Still, unless I remember to sit up perfectly straight — not one of my strong points — my arms are sort of reaching toward the keyboard, upward, while I type. And then I wonder why my neck is sore.

I'm sitting here, staring at a blank white screen. Well, blank except for the photographs you see, photos I took because the light caught my eye or a bite of food looked so good I had to capture it somehow or certain faces caught me with their hushed expressions or I don't know why.

(And now I'll be singing "I don't know why she swallowed that fly. I guess she'll die." All night long.)

Mostly, here, it's I don't know why.

Why do we have this odd compulsion to tell people about our meals? To make up something on the stove, standing side by side, then take one bite, look up at each other, and say, "Oh, that one's going on the blog." I don't just mean me and Danny. I mean millions of us.

When I started writing this site, I had no idea I was writing a food blog. For months before I had been writing daily essays, long explorations of my life as a teacher and someone struggling to feel well. I had been writing all my life, as soon as I could grab a pen. (I see our daughter doing it now too.) When my friend Dorothy named me The Sick Girl, after months of terrible lousy pain, it felt like that was me. I wrote weary words on a computer keyboard and sent them out into the ether. No one was reading, except for a few friends.

When I learned I could no longer eat gluten, and I started to feel better, Dorothy said, "Oh, now you're The Gluten-Free Girl!" That's how it all started. I kept typing, just on a new screen this time. I wrote my daily essays, long explorations of my life after finally feeling better. I started writing about food because that's what was healing me. I took photographs because everything gleamed to me, washed in light after months of being inside on the couch, in pain, in a brain fog, in fear that I was dying. I wrote because that's what I do. Words poured out of me. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I kept going.

Sometimes people write to me to say I'm too damned happy. "No one could be that happy all the time." Well, if you've been reading here for awhile, you'll see that it's not all joy and slow mornings. (There are no slow mornings anymore.) But more than that, gratitude pours out of me like the words because it used to be so damned hard, my life.

Other people ask me for advice about how to do what I have done. I just want to laugh and say the truth: it has all been a haphazard, hilarious guessing game, finding what feels right, following it, and then seeing what happens next.

When I started writing here, there were maybe about 150 food blogs in the world, at least that I learned within a few months. Now, according to one estimate I heard recently, there are 5 million food blogs in the world.

Wow. Anyone starting now? You are a lot more savvy about this than I will ever be.
I've had more than my fair share of people asking me how I have so many followers on Twitter. Honestly? I have no idea. I just keep writing.

The fact that some of you out there want to read this, or the little slivers of our day and what we are having for breakfast I write up on Twitter or Facebook? I am constantly amazed.

Promise. This is not me being coy or false humble. I'm really just walking around goofy amazed, all the time.

inside the IFBC

I've been thinking about all this a lot, since the International Food Bloggers Conference, held here in Seattle a couple of weeks ago.

If you read food blogs or write one or follow people on Twitter, you heard all about the IFBC. You've probably heard too much by now. In fact, if you google "IFBC blog posts," you'll find 70,200 results. No one needs a wrap-up from me anymore.

(If you haven't read the write-up by my friend Jen at Use Real Butter, do. Merry-Jennifer's piece on The Merry Gourmet struck all the same notes I would have written, about the joy of meeting so many good people. And for the loopiest and perhaps most accurate insight into the conference, you have to read Chef John of Food Wishes.)

Instead, all I want to do is give you some little glimpses of what was an extraordinary weekend.

beet paella

This year, at least 20 gluten-free food bloggers from around the country flew in for the conference. What a gathering that would be! The folks at Foodista wrote to me, in a small panic, because they wanted to make sure that these folks would be fed well and safely.

I was really honored to consult on the menus that some of the best chefs in Seattle were preparing. It doesn't take much to make good food gluten-free, since many of the great meals out there are naturally gluten-free. Use wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce. Think about cross-contamination. How about making that tuille out of parmesan instead of flour?

We all noticed that most of the chefs at the conference, when explaining their dishes, said, "And it's gluten-free!" That made me pretty happy. 

As well, I suggested that the organizers of the conference call in Kaili McIntyre, who runs a place here called Wheatless in Seattle. Kaili has been well-known in the gluten-free community for years and she has been reinventing herself and her business this past year. She made some great food for us gluten-free folks at lunch and dinner on Saturday night.

In fact, some of the gluten-free bloggers had to push their way past the other people, many of whom were clamoring for Kaili's pastries. I hear that an alarming number of them sneaked cupcakes off the tray. That's okay. At least now many of you know that gluten-free baked goods can be good.

salmon carpaccio waiting

It wasn't just curiosity that drove the swiping of gluten-free food. It was hunger.

The silly irony of both food-blogging conferences I have attended is that there just wasn't enough food. Coop 250 people in a darkened room (by the way, terrible lighting for photography), at long tables, in rows, with computers and smart phones, and we became high school students again. There was plenty of note passing via Twitter, snickering behind hands, and jiggling legs. By lunch, we wanted out.

The salmon carpaccio you see above? Beautiful. And gluten-free. Is that plate (plus 4 more the same size) going to cut it for you for lunch?

At least the wonderful grocery store PCC (the first certified gluten-free grocery store in the US) was only four blocks away. I got to walk with Merry-Jennifer and talk about her life as a doctor. That little glimmer of a conversation, the water to our right, the hint of coffee before us, was the best part of that day of the conference.

We find the light where we can.

Carol and Shirley

The best part of all of this? The days of sitting in a darkened room, not enough food, having to listen to presentations about Search Engine Optimization?

The people. For me, it's always the people.

That's Carol from Simply Gluten-Free and Shirley from Gluten-Free Easily. They were part of the gluten-free contingent that attended this conference. These women (and the other women there who are not pictured) were funny, alive, kind, curious, and happy to be there.

(Ladies — all of you — thank you for the time at Flying Apron Bakery, the day the conference started. You know why. Thank you.)

There were gaggles of people giggling in the rows, people I recognized from their blogs or their Twitter pictures. (So funny how many people walked up to each other and said, "What's your name on Twitter?" before asking each other's names.) You could feel new friendships forming in the room.

I'm telling you, when I first started writing this site? I never imagined being in a room of 250 people who want to write about meals, meander with words, and take photographs of their groceries.

How weird are we? How wonderful.

james oseland speaks

One of the most electrifying moments of the conference for me was hearing James Oseland speak to us. And I did mean that sentence construction — he spoke to us. What a lift to hear James Oseland, editor of Saveur (and the most flamboyant judge on Top Chef Masters), say what an unabashed fan he is of food blogs.

There were huge cheers in the room when he said, "Please don't let food blogs be a popularity contest."

Now let me say that comment in the context of some of the presentations we had heard was such a relief. Some people — perhaps the folks newer to blogging, the ones trying to make their voice heard in the din of 5 million food blogs — think a lot about numbers and statistics, keyword searches, and...well, I don't know what else. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a bad student — I didn't pay careful attention during those sessions. I'm a writer first. And most of the time I deliberately don't look at my site meter. As soon as I am aware of how many people are reading, I freeze up a little. I still want to be in that space where I'm writing letters to my friends. Honestly.

(And even though life is super-stupid-crazy busy right now, with us planning a book tour, I realize I have not posted this for days because it was an assignment. Something I should write about. See what I mean? I'm a bad student.)

I know that Oseland's remark made a whole bunch of us breathe more deeply. It's not about the numbers. It's about the way we reach each other. How we connect. How we make each other laugh and think. It's about making each other hungry.

I love that Oseland, the editor of one of the top food magazines in the world, treated food bloggers as equals. Those of us out here, talking about our meals? We really are changing the way food is talked about in this country. We're making a qualitative difference.

arugula fig salad

Danny and I were both a little taken aback by some people treating us like celebrities at this conference. Really, I'm not a celebrity. I've worn this shirt too many days in a row to be considered anything worthy of attention.

But Danny and I were both honored to make a meal at the conference, a three-course lunch for the gluten-free bloggers in attendance, all dishes from our cookbook.

That's a fig-arugula salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette.

bread and crumble, ready to go out

There was also fresh-baked bread (from the recipe in our cookbook) and blackberry-peach crumble. (We picked the blackberries with our friend John when he came to visit us the evening before the conference, and our friend Jon Rowley gave us the Frog Hollow Farm peaches..)There was also a pasta with anchovies, olives, lemons, and pine nuts.

It was a bit of a madhouse, cooking a three-course luncheon for 25 people, in the kitchen of the Theo chocolate factory, with Lu running around. (Have you ever tried to keep a hairnet on a two-year-old? Yikes.) I was flustered, to say the least. Danny, however, just stayed calm, put his head down, and chopped. He's the one you want in a cooking crisis.

When we brought the food out on big sheet trays, and watched our felllow gluten-free folks smile and take out the cameras, then sneak a few extra pieces of the bread into their pockets for the plane ride home? It was all worth it.

That's what I have been thinking about most in these weeks since the big food blogging conference. You can talk about SEO and page views and the "right" DSLR for food photography. (There is no right camera. It's the photographer. It's the quality of light and attention that matters.) You can ponder food blogging and why we do it and what it's all about and why anyone even cares.

I don't care about any of that stuff.

I'm just happy as hell that I have this space to write, to gather photographs, to talk about quinoa and poached eggs for breakfast, and a toddler who walks through the house with a plastic jump rope so she can sing into one end, and the flurry of flours on the kitchen counters when my friend Dana and I come up with a new pie crust together. After all those years of teaching and searching and feeling that I was living my life halfway there, I'm still in constant amazement that I can write about this cluttered, wonderful life of ours and anyone out there cares.

And in the end, it's always about feeding people, for us. It's about seeing the joy in someone's eyes when she takes a bite of a blackberry-peach crumble and realize she can eat it without worrying it will make her sick. It's about conversations on the way to the grocery store, a feeling of connection in a handful of sentences. It's about a feeling of communion with a lot of people in a room who do the same thingyou do and don't think you're crazy.

It's about joy in the belly. That's why I keep coming back here.

Thanks for reading, whoever you might be. Thank you.

three great books

As I wrote, it's always about the people for me. And at the IFBC, I was lucky to spend time with three wonderful women who recently published books.

Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More

Dianne Jacob is one of the most thoughtful people I know. For years now she has dispensed wise advice to writers who want to be heard. This woman knows writing, publishing, and how to tell a good story. I love anyone who grows excited about the use of action verbs.

Five years ago, when I was just starting to realize I wanted to do this writing about food for the rest of my life, David Lebovitz recommended Dianne's book to me. (Okay, he recommended it to all his readers, but I always think David is talking just to me.) I bought it, immediately. I read every page, quickly, then again. Not only was the book full of great advice for how to write recipes and pitch magazines, but within those pages shone the possibility that I could do this too. I met Dianne at the IACP conference that year, and I was a little too tongue-tied to talk to her properly.

At this conference, Danny and I picked up Dianne from the airport. We talked and laughed and ate great Greek food at Vios. There, I had the chance to thank her for including quotes from me in this second edition of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. That's not why I'm recommending it to you. The book stands on its own. But I am struck by how much my life has changed in the last five years and come full circle to a place I love. Yours could too if you read this book.

Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition

Georgia Pellegrini looks like a movie star. She's your celebrity, folks, not me. She's poised and lovely, soft-spoken and thoughtful. You'd never guess, at first, that she's one hell of a writer.

Lu and I ate dinner at Danny's restaurant two days before the conference started, with our friend Jon Rowley and Georgia. I'd been following her on Twitter for a year, listening to her stories of foraging and learning great cooking by the side of her grandmother. However, I was happily surprised when we spent the entire evening chatting, talking about the rigors of writing and how anxiety-provoking those weeks before the book comes out can be, to find that this woman is the real deal.

Her book sings of plain-spoken people, passionate and driven to preserve great food. After leaving her job in finance in Manhattan, Georgia went to cooking school. (It took her awhile to return to the great passion of her family — food — as is true for most of us.) She cooked at Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill Farms before leaving for France. There, she worked with peasants who found mushrooms and was humbled in great kitchens by doing the grunt labor work. Her book was born of this time.

However, there's very little of her in this book. (Some of you might find this utterly refreshing. You probably won't like our cookbook, then.) Instead, she profiles 16 people who try to preserve food traditions. Like the man in Sligo, Ireland who grows as many heirloom potatoes as possible to keep the world populated with the tuber. Or Rhoda Adams in Arkansas, who makes some of the finest pies and tamales in the country. People come from all around, just to eat her homemade goods. There are recipes, too, interspersed. Of course, Georgia is in this book, all throughout. By interviewing these folks and finding their passion, she's trying to find hers.

Now that I know her, I'd say she's there.

Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen

Amy Pennington is just plain cool. She's a canner, preserver, master gardener, yoga afficionado, former radio producer, and interested in helping as many people as she can, in whatever fashion feels right in the moment.

She and I had been playing tag on Twitter for almost two years and finally met each other just outside of the conference room. The conversation was too short. She was headed to Ballard for more canning jars for a class she was about to teach. I was headed into the kitchen to cook again. But at least we finally met.

Meeting her confirmed what I sensed in her book, Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen. Amy's book offers practical advice on how to cook and eat great food without getting all gee-gaw about it or spending too much money. It's lovely. (And Gwenyth Paltrow thought so too. She recommended the book to the readers of her newsletter, Goop, and sales went through the roof.)

In these times, Amy's book might be just what many of us need.

I'm lucky. I get books like this in the mail. Plus more copies for you. So I'm giving away a copy of each of these books (actually, the publishers are). I'll pick winners at random this time next week, using

Just tell us a story about why you write a food blog. Or like reading food blogs.

02 September 2010

gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

want some cookies?

We're awfully fond of Sesame Street around here.

Every morning, at 8 am, we turn on the television, find the kids' section from On Demand, and choose a Sesame Street episode. Should we watch Elmo learning salsa? Or Baby Bear trying to rid himself of hiccups? We three settle in on the couch, Lu on my lap, and watch the opening and sing.

Look, you have to know already that I'm a bit of a sap, right? Or maybe I prefer to say that I'm porous, still open to these touching moments that are easy to dismiss. I grew up on Sesame Street. Ernie and Bert, Grover, and Big Bird were my friends. They still are. I remember that magic world vividly — the ladybugs picnic with the ladybugs sitting around telling knock knock jokes; the guy with the pies falling down the stairs; the pinball cartoon that taught us how to count. (Lu counts up to twelve because of that cartoon. I'm convinced of it.) Sesame Street is part of how I learned to read so young. And now, Lu too.

Watching Sesame Street again with our daughter is knocking out Danny and me on a daily basis. It's not just that it's so brilliantly put together, and genuinely does teach kids at their level, but it's the heart of the show that moves us.

Keep trying, because it takes practice to get something right. Your neighbor may look different than you, but he has great stories to share. Sometimes our beloved pets and friends get sick, or die, and we have to be present to it. Elmo and his monster friends have a running race, but he falls near the finish line. Rather than running faster, his friends go back and pick him up, and they cross the line together, equals. I'm not kidding — every time we watch that moment, I get a little lump in my throat. (I told you I was a sap.) It seems, at times, there's not a lot of cooperation and fellow feeling in our culture right now. Once again, I find myself wishing that the world could be a little more like Sesame Street.

C is for Cookie

It kills me that Lu punches her fists in the air, reciting the alphabet, because one of the episodes of Sesame Street shows kids in a karate studio shouting out the letters.  She pretty much has them all, although E and N kind of confuse her, because they look so close to F and M. There's time. The repetition on Sesame Street keeps teaching her.

She cackles her 1 2 3, just like the Count. She clutches her Ernie doll to her chest when she sits in my lap, facing him outward so he can see the books I am reading to her. She loves Elmo as much as any child does. (For awhile, when she woke in the middle of the night and called out in her sleepy state, she called for Elmo before she did me. Thanks, kid.) His exuberance and Mr. Noodle make her grin wide and practice her jumping, just because they are there.

At the moment, one of Lu's favorite songs is from the Cookie Monster: "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me." She takes bites out of her toast and makes a C, then hands it to me so I can sing her the song. I bounce the toast up and down and sing, and she bounces her head from side to side, mock singing along with me. When I finish, she looks up at me and says, "Please? Again?" It's hard to resist.

Last week, I made us these cookies, just so she could have a cookie after she sang along.

I have this vivid memory of my late 20s, when I was living on this island, teaching high school and feeling alone. One day, home sick with the flu, I stopped my channel flipping when I got to Sesame Street. There was Big Bird and a clutch of small children, all races and shapes, on a bridge in Central Park, singing. "Sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong." I burst into tears. I'm not entirely sure why. It was something about the memory of being a kid, of everything being possible, of that feeling of safety I enjoyed within the confines of that show. And sappy as it was, I think it was that moment when I realized I needed to start singing my song. I started writing seriously just after that.

How could I have known in that moment that I would stand on that bridge in Central Park many times when I lived in that city? That I would create my own feeling of safety in the world with friends from many places, of all races and shapes, who understand me? (I am so grateful.) That I would keep singing my song, finding new notes every day, including today, right here. Now.

How could I have known that I would be living on this island again, this time with Danny and Lu, not alone? And that at least 12 times a day, our daughter would look at me and say, "La la?" She claps my hands for me and asks me to sing. "Sing. Sing a song," I start singing to her and the sky. She sings with me now, in her small voice, growing louder. "Make it simple," she sings, enunciating every letter.

And every single time we sing that line — "Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song." — every single time I get a lump in my throat. That's what I hope for her in the world. That she will sing her song and not worry if it's too loud, or too soft, or too strange, or too much the same of everyone else. I just want her to sing her song. 

Thank you, Sesame Street. All over again.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, GLUTEN-FREE, adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book

These cookies are adapted from a recipe in The Grand Central Baking Book. Seriously, I don't know why this book didn't garner national attention when it was published. It's absolutely lovely. Not only are the recipes solid (and written in ounces, so we can adapt them with gluten-free flours easily!), but the book is strewn with good baking tips. I'm re-working my pie crust again based on Piper Davis' clear instructions for how to tackle the dough. 

Everyone who ate these cookies loved them. Everyone. Especially Lu. We did a lot of biting, then singing. "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!" These cookies are more than good enough for me. They have a crisp outer edge, a chewy inside, and the surprise of both milk and bittersweet chocolate on either side of the mouth. We think you'll want to sing about them too.

7.5 ounces Aherns All-Purpose Flour
1 ounce gluten-free oat flour
1 ½ ounces sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar (we use unbleached organic)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 ounces rolled oats (make sure they are certified gluten-free)
6 ounces chocolate chips
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift each of the flours into a large bowl, then stir in the guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir well and set aside.

Creaming the wet ingredients. Put the softened butter and white and brown sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer. (You can also do this by hand.) Mix them together until they are combined well, lighter in color, and feel fluffy. Don’t forget to stop and scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Crack one egg at a time and add it to the mixture, allowing the egg to be fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Pour in the vanilla extract and mix well.

Finishing the dough.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer, 1/3 at a time. Scrape the sides from time to time. Add the oats and mix them in. Finally, add the two kinds of chocolate and mix. This you might want to do by hand.

Shaping the cookies. Scoop out 1 ½ ounce balls of cookie dough (or about the size of a ping pong ball, if you don’t want to be that meticulous). Form into a tight ball. Place all the balls of cookie dough on the baking sheet, then flatten them into ½-inch disks.

Baking the cookies. Slide the baking sheet into the pre-heated oven. Bake until the edges of the cookies are browned and the middle is just slightly underdone, about 10 minutes. (Rotate the baking sheet at 5 minutes.) Remove the baking sheet and allow the cookies to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.

Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.