Where The Lone Star State Meets The Puget Sound
A Fine Mesh Of Two Great Styles

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Road Trip and a Recipe

Well I got up with the birds this morning and way up here at 48 N. Latitude our feathered friends are alive and singing at about 4:30 AM. I rolled out of bed to let our older dog Beanie outside and then allowed myself another hour's sleep. I didn't really mind the early get-up because today I needed to drive Larry, aka Captain Larry, to the Bellingham Marina. He is out for 4 days captaining a luxurious 50' motor yacht for one of his clients. Life is good!

I thoroughly enjoy outings and especially the drive to Bellingham. Even though it's a rather direct route up Interstate 5, it is so picturesque! The freeway is lined with dense evergreen forests and a beautiful view of Lake Samish.

Bellingham is a really great city about 45 miles north of Anacortes. It is home to Western Washington University. Everybody loves Bellingham so it's always on my itinerary for my out of town guests. The city began along the waterfront in the late 1800's and has maintained it's distinct Victorian heritage. There are wonderful restaurants, pubs, shops and coffee houses and farmer's markets; in other words, something for everyone.

Look how pretty this shopping district is!

After I dropped Larry off I decided to stop at a coffee house which I had never seen before today. What a good decision that turned out to be! I had a great Americano and a gluten-free brownie. Yum! My coffee break gave me just enough time to text all of my out-of-state friends and say, "I'm sitting in Bellingham, wish you were here". You know, sometimes you just have to rub it in.

From here it was off to Trader Joe's to do my weekly grocery shopping. I love Trader Joe's and Bellingham is the closest location to us. My friend Sharon had asked me to get her a jar of almond butter with flax seeds so I decided to get one for myself as well~

I had forgotten how much I enjoy this on toast in the morning. But here I am stalled out in the gluten free (mostly grain free) world, with limited bread choices. To avoid feeling discouraged and deprived, I decided to craft a really great bread--something new-- upon which to slather the almond butter; because I love almond butter almost as much as I love bread.

A rather lengthy Google search led me to a really quality blog with a very straightforward and seemingly delicious recipe for gluten free soda bread. The name of the blog is The Urban Homestead Experiment (great name!) which is written by an adorable young woman named Jamie Milks. You can find Jamie at
http://urbanhomesteadx.com/wordpress/. This is a beautiful blog with such an abundance of fine information on healthy living and eating. I really hope you will find your way over there.

I happened to have almost all of the ingredients on hand. Despite a small shortage of gluten free all purpose flower, my bread turned out really well. I had to make up the deficit with an insignificant amount of sweet sorghum flour, but the bread still tastes superb!

Whether or not you are committed to a gluten free lifestyle, I believe that once in awhile we should give our bodies a break from wheat. Wheat gluten (a protein) is very hard on our digestive tracts and Jamie discusses this in greater length on her blog page. But her blog and recipes are not limited to gluten free. She has lots and lots of healthy whole grain ideas (including wheat). Her blog is a veritable treasure trove of great recipes and glorious photos for everything from appetizers to desserts. Again, I hope you will pay Jamie's blog a visit.

So I am including the recipe, along with my modifications, and if it interests you I hope you will give it a try~ and leave me a comment.

Oh I just got a call from Captain Larry (ship to shore) and his little group is well underway. Since I am on my own for most of the week I hope to get some sewing done. I have been refining an idea I have for a new throw pillow embellished with a chunky fabric rose. I hope to be sharing this with you in my next post! Until then, I wish you a good week and good eating!

Does this bread look boring? It may be short on gluten but it is long on taste!

Personal Notes: I used unsweetened coconut milk with 1 T of lemon juice. You cannot taste the coconut at all so don't be afraid to use it. I omitted the xanthan gum. This is seriously good bread!

Jamie's Gluten Free Oat Soda Bread
Scant 2 cups (7 ounces) oat flour or 2 cups (10 ounces) rolled oats
2 1/4 cup (10 ounces) all purpose gluten-free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon xantham gum (optional, see headnote)
1 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 cup plain almond milk (or dairy-free milk of choice)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flours, xantham gum, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl. If you are not using oat flour, place your rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and process for 1-2 minutes or until the consistency is a fine powder.
Measure the milk into a separate cup and add the lemon juice. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so. Reserve about a tablespoon of the milk to brush before making. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the rest of the milk into the center. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Pan version: Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Spread the dough evenly into the pan.
Free-form version: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease. Dump the dough onto the prepared pan. Wet your hands so you can form the dough into a ball (the dough is sticky). Once it formed into an even bowl, flatten slightly. Using a sharp knife, run it down the middle for a deep cut, but do not cut it all the way through. Turn it 90 degrees and make another cut perpendicular to the first one.
Brush the top and sides of the dough with reserved tablespoon of milk. Optional: Sprinkle a variety of seeds on top (sesame, caraway, fennel, etc.)
Bake in the center rack for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, raise the rack up one notch and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

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