Peore es Nada

That’s a Spanish phrase that has two translations: “anything is better” or “nothing is worse.” I don’t know if I spelled it correctly and apologies if I didn’t. 

In this case, let us contemplate the implications pertaining to low carb/low glycemic diets and gluten free products. Perhaps in those cases, the question is one of “better than nothing.” There is a lot of “nothing is worse.” 

I’ve tried several breads that were dry and crumbly. Right now, I’m avoiding desserts just to remove the stress of living with temptation. The rice pastas have been pretty good, but one fell apart when I cooked it according to the package directions. The good news is that a Parmesan covers a lot of errors. 

One gluten-free bread that I found at Costco was pretty good. It has sunflower seeds on top, toasts pretty well, and doesn’t crumble if you look at it sideways. I also made almond bread from nut butter.( http://www.elanaspantry.com/rochels-cashew-bread/ only subbing almond butter for the cashew butter.)  The recipe sounded as if there was no way in this world or the next that it was going to work, but I thought, “what the heck?” and tried it.  It was a wee bit on the dry side, but fine for sweet or savory applications.

Pizza I can’t live without. Many of the low carb and or gluten free crusts are impossible to handle, taste like cardboard, or both. I found a good one here: http://detoxinista.com/2012/01/the-secret-to-perfect-cauliflower-pizza-crust/. It tastes nothing like cauliflower. I promise. I throw in some chopped garlic cloves with the cauliflower while cooking and mix the whole schmeer in the food processor. It is good. I could see making this as smaller flatbreads and using for wraps, even. 

The other issue with gluten free food is cost. The rice pasta isn’t bad, but some of the others such as an almond-flour one that I saw the other day are through the roof ($9 for nine ounces; REALLY?). I’d rather do a plate of wheat pasta once a week or so than pay that kind of money. 

Experiment; use coupons; ask. It’s the only way that you’ll find out if nothing is worse of if anything is better.

 

 

France is Where You Find It

I made my weekly run to the market yesterday. I bought bread made with an antique variety of wheat (with a lower gluten content and kinder to my tummy) from a young woman whose father, I believe, comes from Paris and whose mother hails from Russia. I bought a small tub of marinated olives and peppers from a man who comes from Marseille and is patient with my dusty high school French. The tomatoes just might end up in a tarte, made with a pastry crust (spelt or gluten-free) and some goat cheese. 

Kind of like the one I had when I went to the cooking class in France some years ago. We cooked and lived a la Francaise for an incredible week. 

It’s going to be a while before I get back, but in the meantime, small everyday practices keep me connected:

  • Flowers. I need flowers on my table. Nothing huge, but a $3.99 bunch from Trader Joe’s or the market can last for up to two weeks and go a long way.
  • Whether I’m getting produce from the market or the store, I select very carefully. I engage in conversation with the seller about the food, where it came from, chat about recipes, that sort of thing.
  • Making meals a little ceremonial. Having one without interference from the TV at least once a day, sitting at the table, and serving the salad as a first course, minor things to shift the focus. 
  • Focusing on the food. Ok, I have been known to read while eating if I’m dining solo. I do sometimes eat in front of the tube. But I try not to very often. Well, more often than I want to admit. 
  • Small touches, even with what seems like minor details, enhance the dining experience. Have you tried tuna and egg sandwiches? Most memorable meal for me was sitting on a bench eating one while watching motor scooters zip around the old quarter of Roanne (it’s near Lyon).  Can of drained tuna, chopped celery and onion, two chopped hardboiled eggs, enough mayo to make it hold together. I had it on a sandwich roll, but it would be great on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato. Perfect when you are getting the first draft of a novel started.

The market I frequent may be in an asphalt parking lot surrounded by small stores, railroad tracks, and early to mid-20th century homes instead of being framed by medieval church spires and supported by cobblestones. Its spirit and intent are the same. And that is where I find my small slivers of France.

 

 

 

 

A Farmers’ Market Birthday

Today is Hubby’s birthday. We’ll be going out to lunch tomorrow, though, since the restaurant that he wants to go to is closed on Monday.

However, on observation of the day, we will be celebrating with pasta and seafood here at home this evening. Accompaniments will include organic bread crafted from antique wheat, salad with field greens, and cheesecake in a jar. White chocolate-raspberry cheesecake, to be precise. 

I also scored some olives, scarlet runner and green beans, and a loaf of walnut-raisin bread from the same baker. Oh, and a couple of biskies for Oakley. 

Not too many more left, so grab it while we can.