The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of, dare I say it, fun? Fun is a little dangerous in my world, with my PhD exams looming and a lot of reading on my plate. But it is refreshing sometimes to just let loose and live a little. Still, I haven’t been spending much time around the blog, and I realized today that I’m late to two blogging events I signed up to participate in: Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger (hosted by the Book of Yum) and Kate’s gluten-free barbecue.

When I signed up to Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger, my plan was to make Naomi Poe’s croissants. Coming off of the Daring Baker challenge, croissants seemed suddenly doable. Also, Shannen was visiting me, and she and I share a love of croissants and a fascination with making them. Unfortunately, while last weekend involved a lot of food, it did not involve croissants, and I can’t bring myself to make them today. Call it sugar over-load, or just an excess of rich food, all i want to eat are salads and veggies, and I have so many leftovers in the fridge that I can’t. So I’m sorry Naomi, and I’m sorry Book of Yum, eventually I will make those croissants but not for this event.

For the gluten-free barbecue, I pulled the letter “G.” Try as I might, I couldn’t really think of anything I wanted to bring more than guacamole (perhaps with an accompanying margarita). On a very early post, I mentioned that the guacamole I grew up with, was a bit, untraditional. It involves serious quantities of mayonnaise. Most days, now, I make cleaner, more classic guacamole: avocado, garlic, onions, lime juice, tomatoes (rarely). But every once in awhile I crave my mom’s: extra-creamy, decadent version. It is great comfort food, and highly addictive. So, don’t blame me if you eat an entire bowl.

Recipe after the jump

I know my posting has been a little erratic of late, but I have lots of posts on the back burner, so bear with me, they’ll get here soon.

Tonight I have an easy recipe to share with you. I’m always looking for weeknight dinner recipes that I can pull together largely from the contents of my pantry. I’m not really the queen of meal planning, largely because I so often give into cravings. But I don’t like grocery shopping every day either. This meal was delicious, and fairly easy. The original recipe called for beef and some vegetables that I didn’t have on hand, but a few substitutions left me with a dinner I would happily repeat.

Recipe After the Jump

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge, hosted by Kelly of Sass and Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’ was to make a braided Danish. The second I saw the challenge, I started sweating bullets. This seems to be a theme for me with Daring Bakers. I had no idea how gluten-free flours would behave in a laminated dough, and I planned for failure. Actually, I planned for multiple failures, going so far as to find an alternate recipe in case I really struggled. Surprisingly though, my braid came off without a hitch. I tried sharing my technique, but other gluten-free bakers using similar flours struggled (nobody used the exact same combination). Over the course of the month, it became clear that part of the problem was the way gluten-free doughs behave in the fridge. Sweet rice flour (also known as gelatinous rice flour) holds up to refrigeration better than most, but refrigerating a dough overnight or for five hours, might not be the best plan. Several other gluten-free bloggers had success cutting the fridge time down to 10 minutes between turns and 30 minutes in the freezer before the final shaping. I think these times sound a little quick… the butter needs a chance to harden again or you will lose the flakiness. If I did it again, I would still let the dough rest 30 minutes between turns. But I would definitely cut the final fridge time down from five hours to something more like one or two (or use the freezer for 30). I have changed the directions to reflect these changes.

For the record, I would definitely make these danishes again. In fact, I meant to, all month. But, I’m trying to look good in a bathing suit this summer, and I devoured my entire braid in less than 24 hours, with minimal sharing. Needless to say, a repeat performance was not going to help my waistline. Still, my braid was flaky and flavorful. I loved the flavor of cardamom and orange in the pastry and the simplicity of the cinnamon-sugar and walnut filling. I will play more with the filling next time, but sometimes combinations are classic for a reason.

You can almost see the flakiness in this picture:

Recipe after the Jump

Nothing gets this girl as excited as the words “pig roast” or “pulled pork.” I think I could live without chicken, and maybe even beef, but not pig. I love me my pig. So last weekend, I went with a friend to a pig roast. I imagined heaping platters of all you could eat pork, unfortunately, there was nothing “all you can eat” about this roast. Still, we happily licked our platters clean and moved on to the drinking portion of the evening. Until midnight rolled around and I exclaimed, “I want more pig.” We didn’t actually satisfy that craving on the spot, but the next day, still craving some good southern comfort food, I proceeded to make pulled pork. I don’t have a smoker, so I made my pork in the slow cooker. It still tasted great, and while it lacked a little smoky flavor, I will definitely make this again (though I’m curious what the effect of some liquid smoke might be). I also made the Gluten-Free girl’s arepas, and the combination was spectacular. So if you are craving some pork-y goodness, give this recipe a try.

Recipe after the Jump

So this post is officially almost an hour too late… But Kristen, I love you, and I wish I was there to bake you another cake like this:

Happy birthday darling! For those of you who are curious, what you see pictured is a chocolate cheescake, on a chocolate wafer crust, with chocolate chunks and a chocolate ganache. The raspberry is just there for color, after all, my Kristen is a chocoholic. Can’t you tell from her face?

Today I was trying to have a perfect day. I slept in, I spent a little time this morning relaxing on my deck and watching my garden grow. Then I read for a couple of hours, biked to the coffee shop, and read for a couple more hours, before allowing myself to venture out on a shopping mission. I explored a new (to me) bike route from Decatur to Little Five Points, bought my baby sister a birthday present, and biked home. Soaring along alone on my bike, I felt perfectly happy, and I was convinced the day was only going to get better.

After all, I was planning on seeing Casablanca at the Fox theater tonight. I’ve never been to the Fox, and Casablanca on the big screen in an old school theater sounded amazing. Unfortunately, life intervened in the form of unexpected and unwarranted ugliness, and before I knew it I was canceling on the movie and wallowing on my couch. But that isn’t really where I want to be, or how I want to feel. So I’m choosing to let go and move on. While it is too late to catch the movie, it isn’t too late to stop wallowing.

But before I get off my couch, I’m going to leave you with a recipe, or two. I made this dinner last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. The margarita shrimp taste perfectly summery and pair beautifully with the coconut rice. I found that I liked the rice best with both raw coconut and toasted coconut mixed in and spring onions sprinkled on top, but it is also good plain.

Recipes after the jump

I came across a recipe for saffron and cardamom panna cotta the other day and thought to myself, why make panna cotta when you can make ice cream? So, I played with the recipe a little bit and ended up feeling quite smug when I tasted the results. Imagine the best rice pudding you’ve had at an Indian restaurant, minus the rice, and cold. It was perfect for these 90 degree days we’ve been having, and also a great follow up to curry.

Recipe after the jump!