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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Baking, gluten-free and gardening...and STOP MONSANTO!!

I know, I know....I've been SUCH a slacker and I apologize. Life gets in the way, doesn't it? But that's no excuse. I really need to find a way to incorporate writing in my blog into my daily activities. Now onto my thoughts, such as they are.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about food and what direction I want to take regarding said food. I've given a lot of thought to becoming a personal chef as of late, and even have people who have said they would hire me. I must admit, it's VERY tempting. My one fear is that once it becomes my job, I'll lose my enthusiasm for it, and I truly don't want that to happen. I still get giddy when I see a new recipe I want to try. Just the other day I saw this amazing-looking salad on Facebook and just had to make it. It was made with arugula, English cucumbers, jalapenos, mango and sliced onion. It was served with a champagne vinaigrette...and it was very good. I ended up making it again 2 days later for a dinner we were invited to attend. About this same time I saw a recipe for some gluten-free browned butter brownies. Well, one of the people attending the dinner recently discovered she is gluten-intolerant, so I decided to surprise her with these brownies. I'm SO glad I did! They turned out amazing! The recipe called for making flour with hazelnuts (filberts) and mixing it with cocoa powder and sugar. It was a delight for the taste buds! I also used Scharffen berger unsweetened cocoa powder and Guittard bittersweet chocolate (72% cacao). The only reason I used the Guittard was because they sold it in larger chips and it saved me time chopping up a thick chocolate bar. It melted in the butter SO quickly. Even though I have taken Professional Baking, I have never thought of myself as a baker. I do like to make bread, however. There is nothing like the taste of freshly-baked bread, right out of the oven. Such a delight for the senses. I am definitely more of a cook than a baker, but these brownies got me to thinking about exploring more gluten-free options for those who can't eat gluten (poor babies - I truly feel for them - any kind of food intolerance is just rotten!).

I started gardening last year and discovered I can grow fruits and veggies and not kill them, well, not all of them. In the winter I planted red cabbage and Swiss chard. The Swiss chard grew like crazy! I am still trying to grow onions. Maybe they just take a long time? I hope that's the problem. My Greek oregano was a bumper crop! Lots and lots to spare and share. I have about an artichoke plant this year, for the first time ever. I love artichokes and am hoping it takes off and produces lots of this lovely vegetable. Today I decided I needed 2 more tomato plants. I bought a Husky Cherry tomato plant, as well as a Beefsteak. I already have Roma, Big Boy and an Heirloom in the ground. I have 2-3 Romas on one plant so far. I'm hoping my tomatoes produce as well this year as they did last year. I am planting more thyme, basil and I have mint contained in a pot. My Rosemary I planted last year is finally starting to grow. It had me worried as I see it growing all over the place! I love having the ability to go out into my yard and pick my own herbs and produce!! My strawberries are off to a slow start so far but I'm remaining optimistic that they will produce like they did last year. I should just plant a bunch of them since I love strawberries. Oh, I did come across something that really made me happy that I just had to have!! A hybrid fruit tree!! I bought a tree that has been grafted so it produces plum AND nectarines. I am excited to see this. I have a peach tree (I did lose half of the tree (at least 100 peaches) when my Ornamental Pear came down across it in a storm about 6 weeks ago) and a dwarf nectarine. I also have some, lemon and grapefruit. I am thinking the grapefruit needs to be cut down as the rind is SO thick and we never eat any of the fruit anyway. Oh, I also planted a zucchini squash - last year I produced zucchini that was SO large. And it was so exciting, and very satisfying, to have my zucchini be the first solid foods that my youngest granddaughter, Brooklyn, ate. And she loved it!

Part of my food passion has been fueled by the furor over the GMO's. Whoever thought that messing with our food supply was a good idea was a total moron! Monsanto (the company that developed Agent Orange...and Roundup) needs to be stopped. I know it sounds dramatic, but whomever controls the food supply, controls the world. Period. End of story. They are trying to run out the small, organic farmers. I don't want to eat their genetically modified food. I truly believe that is the reason kids are developing so much faster and why we ares seeing an increase in ADHD, ADD, Asperger's and autism....the 4 A's. I know I don't have enough readers to make a difference, but I'm still going to try to educate people on the harmful ways of that evil corporation.

Here is my new motto: Eat well, eat healthy...and remember, the best pharmacy in the world is in our gardens and our pantry. Stop Monsanto!
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