Monday, February 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Torte and a Never-Ending Cold

Dear Never-Ending Cold,
It is nice that you want me to snuggle in bed with the dog and be waited on for weeks; but, you really must be moving on.
Bon Voyage,
Spring is fast approaching!  And with the fluctuating weather, I seem to have attracted the inevitable never-ending cold.  I thought I might update my blog while I'm imprisoned by bedsheets and comforters.
I did some baking on Valentine's Day.  I had been wanting to find a good gluten-free recipe for a long time.  I've tried a few things over the years, but nothing ever made it in the taste department.  I'm very picky about taste.  If a recipe feels more like punishment than a treat, I won't even feed it to the dog.  I will not make things I don't love to eat.   This is why you won't be finding any walnuts in my baked goods.  I'm not sorry.
This time I attempted a gluten-free chocolate raspberry torte:
The filling is a rich dark chocolate ganache rounded out with a splash of raspberry chambord.  It is a perfect sinful death.  Grandma would approve.  The crust of the tart was made from buckwheat flour and a gluten-free four alternative.  I'm sorry to report, it is not worthy of the decadent filling.  It was dry, crumbly, and disappointingly flavored.  Being new to gluten-free baking, I can see now that it's going to be a challenge to find recipes I am happy with.  I just don't know enough about gluten-free substitutions, yet.  I will have to dedicate more time to the gluten-free challenge.  If anyone out there has any tips, please let me know!
Fortunately for Ralph, I was prepared for the gluten-free torte to fail; and, had an arsenal of peanut butter pies on stand-by.  They are his favorite.  I made one pie for us, one for our new downstairs neighbors, and one went into the freezer for our next diet cheat-day.  Since we didn't want to feel hokey or deal with the crowds on Valentine's Day, Ralph recreated a favorite dinner we once had at a local restaurant.  He made homemade pasta stuffed with ricotta and egg yolk in sage brown butter.   It was soooo good!  We followed that with the torte and pie:

Being a somewhat food-centric couple, this was a really nice way to spend our Valentine's Day.  Ralph ate the torte, even though he agreed the crust was lacking.  He's very noble, that way.  Cough.
There is also some news on the business front:

Picnic is officially a registered business in San Francisco!  I have been so excited for this document to come in the mail!  I'm also signed up for a food safety course and will be a certified food handler by the middle of March.  Things are coming together!  Stay tuned...I have a feeling there will be even more exciting news during the month of March.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Pies and the Red Vic Movie House

I haven't been posting as much these days, partially due to the fact that I'm on a diet.  It's a very boring diet that mostly has to do with eating a lot of beans.  Here's what I've learned from the experience:
Case in point:

Why was I cheating on my diet?  Because I had some very important baking to do.  These delicious peanut butter pies were part of a sample box I put together for an interview:

Yes, I said interview.  Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting an inspiring woman whose family is working on a wonderful project.  I'm hoping picnic will become a part of that project.  Even if it doesn't, they have my full support!  Here's what they are all about:

Betsy and Jack Rix, owners of the (recently closed) Red Vic movie house have unleashed their future plans for the history-laden space on San Francisco's Haight St.  Their intentions?  To create a food-centric incubator for budding entrepreneurs to get started before moving on to their own storefronts.
I was really excited to learn about their idea when I first read the article about it in the SFist:
But, I learned even better things when I went to the Red Vic's website to find their contact info.  They are also trying to "help create change in the local food system by focusing on local, sustainably grown food."  Not only are they trying to help baby businesses get off the ground, they're also trying to make a positive change in our food system.  I think I can get behind that!
Will picnic be one of the vendors there?  I really hope so.  If not, I will surely be visiting them when they open to support their cause!