Thursday, August 26, 2010

Because it is Not Hot Enough Here ...

This guy had the right idea. Lovely Grizzly Bear. Well, as 106 degrees F was apparently not hot enough for us in Austin, Texas, we traveled about 75 miles south to San Antonio. Where it was 107 degrees F. Yup. I have no idea what the heat index was. Just really hot. You would think that being from Texas, and not really going out much at home would prevent me from spending 4 hours in the heat somewhere else. Nope; that part of my brain was apparently off. That and Badger got carsick 3 times. Poor guy, he doesn't travel well in the morning. He didn't feel well until MUCH later.

We saw a lovely jaguar. He was mostly still until a keeper caught his eye. Or a little child, not sure which.

Badger compared his hands to the bear's paw. No - not that big yet.

Rose enjoyed being pulled in the wagon. She is wearing a harness because she would jump out and run. We do not generally leash our kids, but felt that the bear and jaguar could refrain this once from eating her.

We spent the longest time inside the Africa Live! building, watching crocodiles, hippos, and fish having a much cooler time than we were. Actually, this was the coolest exhibit - 70 degrees inside and very shady.
Eventually we became too hot, took a quick ride on the zoo train and finally found ourselves at a place I found searching Google on a whim. The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe is 100% gluten free! Located just a few blocks from the zoo, I can't believe we lucked out finding this place. Mostly also dairy free, I could eat almost everything. Slow food, gluten & soy free and mine had no dairy! The breads and cookies were lovely, and the converted house was so comfy and welcoming. These people really know what they are doing and could not be more lovely.

I had pizza with chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro pesto. I ate most of it before I even thought to take a picture.

Rose's pizza - chicken, bacon, and tomato sauce. We finished it for her.

Badger had a butter and plum butter sandwich. The plum butter was delicious.

Matt scarfed down his sandwich and let me help with his salad. This was incredibly tasty and fresh. Badger and I also shared a slice of coconut cake. It was so good that I never even took a picture. Most of the time, when there is food at a restaurant that I can eat, there is no desert. I could eat all of the cakes except for the carrot cake - I am allergic to carrots! We also had beautiful limeades, the kiddos had lemon in theirs and I had a sour cherry one. So GOOD! Please visit their website; and if you are in San Antonio, Texas - GO! They also ship baked goods and their GF flour mix. I am going back for my birthday with my family.

Lest you believe that my blog has become fiber-free - behold! I present to you a lovely braid of hand-dyed roving: 8 ounces of 70% merino wool, 30% seacell (seaweed based Lyocell). And it was made locally! The last stop of the day was Yarnivore. Tammy, the owner, was lovely and let me fondle part of a whole giant trash bag FULL of qiviut that her dad hunted for her. FOR HER! The roving I got was made in New Braunfels, Texas (right between here and San Antonio.) I will be making a shawl from it, and will let you know more about it later.

Just a reminder that if you see Malabrigo in a nice color that your LYSs don't carry, just get it. I ended up calling the next day and Tammy was nice enough to mail me one. Malabrigo merino worsted in Sunset - 1 skein. I think I will start making Malabrigo my souvenir of choice. There was also a nifty watery green color named Water Green, also not carried by any of the local yarn shops, but one souvenir was enough, n'est pas?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gluten Free French Bread and Vegan Pesto

French Bread Mix

3 1/2 cups brown rice flour
14 oz. (one box) tapioca starch (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 TBSP. xanthan gum
2 packets gelatin
2 (heaping) TBSP Egg Replacer (I use Ener-G brand)
1/4 cup organic sugar or Sucanat (browns better than regular white sugar)

Makes 6 cups mix.

French Bread - makes 2 large loaves

3 1/2 cups mix
8 TBSP pea protein powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 scant TBSP yeast

3 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 cups warm water

Fold parchment in half the long way, and line french loaf (split for 2 loaves) pan.
In the bowl of the mixer, combine dry ingredients and gently mix them.
Add in wet ingredients and mix. The amount of water will vary, start with the smaller amount and add more a little at a time as needed.
Scrape bowl, and mix for 4 minutes. Batter should be the consistency of smooth spackling paste. Thick, but easy spreadable.
Put half of batter in each side of the pan. Form them with your spatula into 12-14" loaves that are fairly flat on top - don't smooth them too much.
Let rise 35 minutes. (After 25 minutes start pre-heating oven to 425 degrees.)
Cover bread loosely in parchment paper.
Bake for 15 minutes, then uncover bread and bake for another 10 minutes.

Take out of oven and let cool for 30 minutes.

Pecan Pesto

4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
3/4 cup raw pecans
2 cloves of raw garlic
juice of 1/2 large lemon
salt to taste - start with 1/2 tsp. (should be a little saltier than you'd like if you were to eat it straight.)
a large dash (6 grinds fresh) of black pepper
olive oil - enough to make a runny paste

Whir garlic first in a food processor.
Put in basil, pecans, salt, black pepper, lemon juice in that order in the processor.
Put 1/4 cup of olive oil in processor.
Pulse the machine until all ingredients are chopped. At this point you may have to put in more olive oil.
Turn processor on and let it chop until everything becomes a fairly uniform paste. Do not chop too long - you are not making soup.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday, Mrs. Zimmermann!

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Zimmermann. I, for one, want to thank her immensely for her incredible contribution to knitting and to knitters. For those of you who want to to know more about her, check the Wiki. For her ongoing contributions, please check the website of the company she founded (and her daughter Meg Swansen still runs) Schoolhouse Press.

Thank you for giving us all confidence to make our own patterns, experiment at will, and laugh at ourselves. Thank you for your tremendous sense of humor. Thank you for showing the larger world what we, as knitters, already knew: knitting is a joy, knitting is a puzzle to turn about and wonder at, knitting has great utility, knitting can be a passion - and rightly so.

I wish we had lived in Shorewood, WI at the same time. I would hope we would have gotten along famously. I did live in Wisconsin during some of the time you were alive, and really regret not knowing about you then. But I am fortunate that you live on through your words, incredible patterns, and in the joy you still give to me and other knitters around the world. I promise that my children and grand-children will always be presented with at least one copy of your books.