You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Things are happening – so many things I can barely remember much less dictate them here with pretty words. What I do remember, and which I’m sure you’ve noticed, is that I’ve been away for too long. Instead, I’ve spent the past few months living in a room with boxes and paint rollers so that I can have rooms with walls of different colors. It’s incredible how changing the color of a wall can really improve your outlook. Perhaps this is so because I spend a lot of time staring at the wall at night. I still have most of my things in boxes but I moved them from my new bedroom to my new storage area and now when I need to make a thing or two in the kitchen I go rummaging through my stack of boxes to hunt for things like pie pans, or cooling racks, or cookbooks I need to reference for a not-at-all-small meal. One such meal was based on alternative flours, or gluten-free, if you read the details.
I’m not celiac. Nor have I chosen to keep a gluten-free diet. I do, however, keep food loving friends and plenty of them are celiac or gluten-intolerant so that’s why you may have noticed the preponderance of gluten-free recipes as of late. From what I can tell, making a meal gluten-free doesn’t require that much more effort than making it vegetarian. You just have to be familiar with your ingredients. For example, the difference between soy sauce and tamari become as significant as gelatin and agar agar. I’ve still plenty to learn about these things so I use a lot of books and internet articles but I also seek advice from blogger friends like Sarah. We collaborated on the first gluten-free menu I’ve ever served. By collaborate I meant she made all of the pieces that involved alternative grains, nuts, and legumes. I got to eat a bunch of it and toss in some ideas and maybe a salad, sauces, and unbridled enthusiasm. I’m quite good at the latter when it comes to eating!
This is the menu that we served:
“Alternative Flours” a menu
Served with miso butter, smoked seaweed flakes and Togarashi.
Pomelo Salad on Oversized Wild Rice Crackers
Mizuna, pomelo morsels, and quail eggs tossed with sesame-miso vinaigrette over a wild rice and black sesame cracker.
Hand made and served with braised skiitake, a wedge of deep-fried celery root coated in miso butter, truffle salted sous-vide egg and oven-crisped enoki straws.
Tofu made with red beans, a soup of ginger and miso, and pickle bites of our favorite vegetables cured in miso and various vinegars.
Pine Nut Pudding
Pine nuts sous-vide in milk and cream and topped with mochi balls, with candied sesame, kinako,and puffed millet crumble.
Japanese tea of toasted rice and green tea leaves.
The cracker pictured here from our menu was my favorite thing that we served. I whipped up a little dip for it here before that’s similar to what we drizzled on the plate. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!
For the cracker recipe, please visit Sarah @SnixyKitchen.com
3/4 c hot water
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
5″ x 5″ kombu sheet, cut into strips
1 ts sugar
3 TB sake
1 TB tamari
1 TB Mirin
2 TB toasted sesame oil
2 TB vinegar
1 TB finely grated ginger
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
4 TB white miso
+ Soak dried mushrooms, kombu, and sugar in hot water for about 3-4 hours to make a quick broth. Then, remove seaweed and mushrooms. Add sake, tamari, oil, and vinegar to the broth. Then, combine 1 tablespoon of this mixture to the miso – stir to combine and slowly add additional liquids as you saturate the miso. Doing so helps to blend the miso without giving you clumps. Once the two are combined, taste for saltiness. Various miso brands will have different saltiness so I generally add a bit of miso at a time until it’s just right. Mix in garlic and ginger last.
+ Serve crackers with finished dip, chopped chives, and paper-thin slices of radishes.
Bonus: you can see photos of our event at Jessica’s lovely blog Thread & Bones.
PS: I also got a nomination for Saveur’s annual blog awards under the category for Best Designed Blog (along with amazing talents!!). I’d be honored if you voted for me.