Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FINAL SUNDAY AT THE BEARSPAW MARKET






What a season it has been for GF Patisserie. 19 Sundays at the Framers' market in Bearspaw, rain or shine, selling gluten free baked goods and it is all coming to an end this coming Sunday and we are in for the long winter we all (well, most of us) dread.

You can already see the change of vendors away from fresh Berries and fruits, to more suitable vegetables, like cabbage, onions and other wintry goods.
More and more booth are now on display selling crafts and stuff, a sure indicator that Christmas shopping is not far off. Last week I saw some winter clothing, washable area rugs, silver jeweleries and solar lights for your yard.

There are still some regular vendors who made it week after week, rain or shine, like the Pizza guy, John with his honey, some vegetable stands and quite a few others.

So, one last visit this coming weekend, before it's back to Sobey's for our groceries. Come on out and say bye.

Monday, September 29, 2008

GLUTEN FREE STUFFING





I am not a big fan of turkey, that well known traditional food at Thanksgiving. Stuffing is a different story. I really like stuffing. The good, home made kind.


Victoria made some gluten free stuffing today, mostly to test her Italian flat bread and see how it turns out as stuffing. She cut up the bread a day ago to dry out a bit, today she mixed all the ingredients and baked it without sacrificing a bird....it's a test after all. Lots of herbs, some garlic, celery and for good measure, a few chopped bacon bits.

It turned out very good, moist and flavorful. So I think they are planning to sell the cubes for stuffing just in time for Thanksgiving. I am sure you have your own version of excellent stuffing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

HAPPY PEOPLE






To sell baked goods is great. To sell gluten free baked goods to people who are actually happy and thankful about it, is a very gratifying aspect at Victoria's bakery. I don't know this first hand, but from the stories Victoria tells me after she comes home from Cochrane. A very noteworthy reward for all the hours Lauren and Victoria pour into those creations.


Especially the joy she sees in children's eyes, when their parents buy a treat that's just made for them. Cupcakes, cookies and pies. So much to choose from. They all walk away happy, it does not get any better than that for any business.



The first day Victoria opened the doors at GF Patisserie, I took some pictures of the very first customers walking through the doors. Pat and Stuart first met Victoria at the Bearspaw Market, made the trip to Cochrane for her soft opening and they are still coming back week after week.


There are many others I did not meet but got to hear about from stories, Christa, a fellow blogger from Cochrane, Pauline, who works in Cochrane and visits GF Patisserie often, then there are Paul, Tracey, Brayden and Darby, three of them from one family afflicted with Celiacs disease.



Thank you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ETHNIC GROCERY HEAVEN









We got a flyer at our house here this week for a new grocery store, called Basha Foods. I never look at grocery flyers, but this one caught my eye, because it had some major ethnic food specials in it. Date Paste from Tunisia?

So I took the time for a drive to Temple in the Northeast of Calgary to check out the new store. They refurbished an existing supermarket and stocked the shelves with mostly Middle Eastern and Indian foods.

Now, I love to eat Curries, Shawarmas, Doner and all those good things that taste so different from our own cuisines, but I am not that good a cook to use most groceries or spices offered at Basha and make a great meal out of them. Nor am I patient enough to learn a completely new style of cooking.

Nevertheless, I was very very impressed by the sheer variety of great items there. Their Halva selection alone is by far the biggest I have seen outside of Beirut. Same goes for Tahini, I never knew that there could be such a wide choice.

A great bulk foods section, I counted 12 different Pistachios, among all those other nuts. Dozens of different Olive oils mostly from Lebanon, curry powders, curry pastes and so much more.

This store is certainly worth the drive if you know how to use the ingredients offered. I bought Pine honey from Turkey, which turned out to be great tasting, some sugar coated Fennel because those candies remind me of our trips to India and some Desi Ghee, which is an Indian name for clarified butter. I love to cook with butter, and with clarified butter you can reach a higher heating point than with the regular type.
If i am in the neighborhood, I'll go back for sure.



S

Friday, September 26, 2008

DIE SACHER TORTE (GLUTEN FREE)






Lauren made my day today. I had a somewhat busy day already as well as getting ready for more things tonight, so I had no time to check in on GF Patisserie and see what they were up to for this weekend.

Lauren made Sacher Torte!! Two of them, the trial version she brought home, the perfect one will be available tomorrow.

Recipes there are many, but only a handful are actually good. Moist and soft on the inside, a chocolate ganache glaze, real good apricot jam and a nice side of whipped cream. That simple.

Sacher Torte is named after the hotel with the same name in Vienna and has been around since 1832.
It is safe for me to say that it is one the most copied and unfortunately bastardized cakes out there. Just type Sacher cake into Google images and you will see many strange deviations from a simple, excellent recipe. How fuerchterlich for us Austrians. But most are still excellent, they just try to be creative I guess. If it has sugar, I eat it......no worries.

I may repeat myself here, but this is a GLUTEN FREE VERSION and it BLEW ME AWAY. I am still waiting for this one thing they make, where I can say to Lauren or Victoria, "This really sucks", or "What did you do "?

It just ain't happening. Somehow they got it figured out. Don't ask me, ask them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN PIE



Where I come from, we don't eat Pumpkins all that much. Not a desirable vegetable in Europe.

We use the seeds to make oil for salads, but we don't use other parts often, ESPECIALLY NOT to make anything sweet. Like Pumpkin Pie.


Needless to say, here in North America Pumpkin Pie is a solid part of fall festivities such as Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas.

I still won't eat it, but Victoria and Lauren are prepping fresh patches of gluten free pies starting this Thursday. To make sure you get your fill, let them know a couple of days in advance if you want a larger quantity for your own Thanksgiving feast.


Yes, Victoria made me try it like she does every year, which meets my annual quota of pumpkin consumption.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THE HONEY GUY AT THE BEARSPAW MARKET


Only two Sundays left before the Farmers' Market in Bearspaw closes for a long, cold winter. It has been a ride.


One of the best deals at the Bearspaw Farmers' Market I found to be honey. Right next to Victoria's stand is John, who sells his own Alberta honey. Great tasting, golden light honey. Appropriately called Johnnie Bee Good Honey.

It's not just the honey that makes John's booth so great, it's his knowledge of bees and everything honey. Many times I was able to listen in on his comments on the current challenges of Bee Colony Collapse disorder and other parasites that threaten our bees, as well as his tips how to use honey for all sorts of ailments and remedies.


Go check it out. Buy some honey, it's good for you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

THE COST OF BEING HEALTHY



We all know that eating organic food is more expensive than eating regular food. Smaller farms with lower yields per acre, sustainable farming, organic fertilizers, etc., etc. All fair and valid reasons why healthy foods are more expensive.



What tops that difference in price however, is living gluten free. A recent study at the Dalhousie Medical School & University by a couple of researchers, has produced a maybe shocking, but not surprising result. The average cost of buying gluten free foods compared to regular fare is 242% higher.





242%





A staggering percentage. A number that is even more shocking when you think of it that eating organic is a choice more so than a necessity. Eating Gluten Free for Celiacs is not. No choice. It is a must. Do or get sick.


There is a debate of tax deductions for Celiacs because of this very increased cost of basic needs, but I feel that the debate is disjointed at best. Lots of questions, some answers, but no real lobby or grassroots movement is solid behind this discussion to achieve a more uniform, maybe upfront solution for Celiacs. Who really wants to collect all the receipts, calculate increased costs item by item and then get questioned, or worse, audited by the tax authorities.


Maybe this 242% should be the guideline for a tax credit to Celiacs? Or is it too simple? Curios what you think.



Here is the write up:


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18783640?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed



P.S. I would like to thank Alison from Sure Foods Living, where I first read this story. Here is a link to her great Blog:







Saturday, September 20, 2008

WHAT IS IT THAT I DO?
























A friendly Blogger today inquired what The Celiac Husband does, other than talking about his wife's bakery, her creations and other related topics.

Well, what do I do? Sourcing fine products for Home & Garden may be the best way to describe how I spend most of my days. Once I develop a new source of products, currently I am focusing on garden decor, I then proceed to share this source with my clients in the US, Canada and as of this summer, Europe.
Fortunately for me, this sort of work asks for lots and lots of travels, mostly to the Pacific Rim, such as China, Indonesia and other countries that make exciting products for my clients. Then of course I have to attend trade shows nationally, which means......more travel. So I get around a fair bit. Eat weird things, see great places, get to meet some very nice people and share all that with my customers. But I guess that's for a new BLOG.


More images below:









Friday, September 19, 2008

BRAND NEW GLUTEN FREE CAKES & QUICHES THIS SATURDAY








This Saturday, Victoria and Lauren will introduce some very exciting new treats at GF Patisserie. One of them, Madame Matisse' Flour Less Chocolate Cake is hands down my personal favorite of all.

Madame Matisse is a tiny little bistro on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles where we first had this amazing cake. They were nice enough to provide us with parts of the recipe, however Victoria first had to figure out a way to make it as airy as them, before she could name the cake after the restaurant. Very light due to the amount of eggs and rich in flavor from the Callebaut chocolate. The trick is in the preparation, but as usual, Victoria won't tell me. STILL, THE BEST!

New as well, Pumpkin cake (it is Fall after all), brownies and the apple tarts.
On the savory side, Lauren has expanded her Quiche selection, you can now choose from a trio of tasty flavors. I can't remember what the flavors are, just email or drop in on Saturday. I had one with mushrooms and parsley, all fresh, a qick pop in the microwave to heat, just excellent.

ANOTHER RISOTTO???





Not that I am running out of ideas for cooking, I just plain and simple love Risotto.

I must give credit where credit is due though, my buddy Bruno reintroduced me to this traditional Italian dish a few month ago.

He had our family over for dinner one night and being Italian he had to cook a multi course meal of course, one of which was the best Risotto I had in Canada. That brought back the idea....

I used to make it years ago, but not until after that evening at Bruno's house did I start making it again. So I am back at it. Love it. Thanks to Bruno. (Who cooks many other great things too, unlike me).
If you are taking Lipitor or any other Cholesterol lowering medication, please stop reading now. This is only one 911 Call away from a heart attack type of Risotto.
Some call it Risotto Carbonara, in northern Italy they just call it what it is. Risotto with Speck.

After browning the bacon, I used half of the remaining bacon fat to quickly fry the rice before adding the stock and spices.
Maybe not the healthiest way to cook, but that's where all the flavor is. Can't help it. Salt alone won't do here, it needs that bacon flavor. Through and through. Parmesan cheese is low in fat anyway.... Try it. You will like it.