As you know, my best friend Miss Sassy recently bought a house in Edmonton with her boyfriend, Comic Book Fan. Never mind that they purchased a place on the other end of the city from me, the trip takes less than a fifth of what it did to see her when she lived in Calgary. I’m thrilled about the relocation on all fronts. Sherman is also excited that he has a new buddy in Odin, Comic Book Fan’s massive French Briard (picture a curly giant schnauzer) since none of my other local friends own dogs big enough to play with him properly.
Tonight, we warm my friends’ new place. On Thursday, when temperatures hit a nearly-hot 18 degrees Celcius, I was hopeful the weather would hold over the weekend. I pictured the lot of us sitting a backyard way the heck on the other side of town, red Solo cups in hand and great slabs of Alberta beef sizzling on the grill. About eleven o’clock Thursday evening, I awoke to the rhythm of a spring storm against my window. It poured all day Friday, and last night, when I started out for Walmart about quarter past eight, the rain had shifted to giant,
nasty fluffy spring snow. Since the ground is now shrouded in white, I guess my lofty back yard dreams have pulled a Hindenburg. Hopefully Comic Book Fan will still light the barbeque (since steak made in an oven is sacrilege) but we’ll definitely be on the sofa rather than in lawn chairs.
I offered to bring something for the party tonight, and ended up agreeing to make dessert. Generally, I’d build some cinnamon buns or cupcakes or tarts, or something snazzy from my regular repertoire. Tonight, there is a change of plans. Miss Sassy doesn’t cope well with wheat, or with anything derived from wheat, so I am learning new tricks. With all the folks moving to a gluten-free lifestyle, the internet has (thankfully) exploded with recipes that don’t include wheat, barley, or rye. I’m not used to working from recipes: I’ve been cooking long enough that I make judgements based on texture, consistency and colour, rather than relying on my measuring cups. Today, though, just for Miss Sassy, I made an exception.
Gluten-free cooking is strange. Everything I read looking for ideas seemed to be missing something, which I suppose is an accurate statement. I selected this recipe from allrecipes.com and set to work. Although I picked up two huge bars of baking chocolate last night, I was shocked to discover they were only half the chocolate this recipe calls for. That’s right: two massive bars of semi-sweet chocolate (yum) was only eight ounces on the scale. Luckily, I had a whole bag of chocolate chips that tipped the scales in my favour. While I was taken aback by the sheer volume of deliciousness this cake requires, I was also a little worried about using so much chocolate in one ten-inch pan. I really didn’t think it was possible to have too much chocolate until this morning, but I had a few moments of concern. Really, how much joy can one person handle before she spontaneously combusts?
The result seems to be a cross between a meringue and a souffle. I expected the cake to fall a bit once it was out of the oven, and it’s cooled in a less-than-pretty manner with a big crack across the top; apparently, this is normal in gluten-free cooking, where there’s rarely enough binding agent to keep things looking smooth and level. At the very least, this is my first attempt, so I’m going to wait to pass judgement on this recipe until I’ve tried it more than once.
The Electrician just popped out for a tub of good ice cream and a pound of strawberries. My plan is to simmer up a strawberry coulis to drizzle over the cake with ice cream on top when dessert time rolls around. With any luck, my inaugural voyage into gluten-free cooking will be a success. Worst-case scenario, folks can eat ice cream with strawberry sauce.
I also made a big coconut pecan tart, which has a shortbread crust and is decidedly not gluten-free. I need to get out of this house before the baking smells drive me batty. I think my pants are getting too tight from just sitting in the aroma of the things I’ve baked.
Bring on the barbeque!
copyright 2012: http://bluespeckledpup.com