Thursday, October 30, 2008

VIVRE LA FRANCE







15 years ago when I went for my immigration interview at the Canadian Embassy in Vienna, one thing I will never forget. The interviewer kept asking me all question in french.
When I inquired if that is important since I have chosen Alberta as my destination, she simply replied "Toutes le monde parle Francais".

Hmm, I did not know....but I passed the interview with my basic french I guess, otherwise I would write this Blog from Austria...lucky me.

Well, since living here, I have not spoken all that much french. But to show my continued support to those who do speak french, I found a Blog from France that I like very much.
Well, I like most things french. Cheese, pastries, wine, the 35 hour work week, going on strikes, 10 weeks vacation, etc.

Yes, the Blog is about gluten free baking and food, but also some great images outside the kitchen. I added Perrine's Blog on my Roll to the right.. Go check it out. It's worth it.









Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GLUTEN FREE TIRAMISU

















I am not sure if I have conveyed to you how great it can be to have a couple of pastry chefs in the family.
Tuesday is production day at GF Patisserie.
When they have time after getting set up for the week, they start experimenting with new recipes, or improve existing ones. Not they need to.
I think so far GF Patisserie only received ONE complaint and that was that there is no Brown Rice Flour......
Yesterday, Lauren worked on this classic Italian dessert, TIRAMISU. A tricky cake to make with gluten, never mind without. In Italy they use lady fingers, which basically is nothing else but shaped, dried out sponge cake.
In Europe kids get those with camomille tea if they claim to be sick. Yep, I claimed to be sick a lot...
So Lauren made a gluten free sponge cake, soaked it with Espresso ( not enough) and then whipped up the Mascarpone cheese for the most important layer. Cover the top with cocoa powder and you got one fantastic treat.
Before it goes into the store, I get to taste the whole thing. How great is that? The only thing it needs is some more Espresso and you will be able to enjoy TIRAMISU at GF Patisserie.
Victoria also worked on making Marble loaf in individual portions. This way it will stay moist longer. Yep, I "had to" taste those too. Unbelievable. I think they will be available this week.
Both treats are fantastic and ready to hit the shelves this week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE (GLUTEN FREE)







A craving must be met. No matter the consequences, a craving needs satisfaction. Unconditional.

My usual vice is chocolate, a daily occurrence, but today, after reading a local food blogger's comments about an Italian restaurant made me want to eat noodles. And meat sauce.

Spaghetti Bolognese. I wanted have lunch at Antolini's, but just could not go today. It would be so much easier for me, no worries about the Celiacs in my family, just a noodle fest by myself!
I could have arranged a "business lunch", but let's face it, it would have been a sham to hide my cravings.

Guilt trips. Hate them. The whole family loves pasta. How can I go and eat Spaghetti and come home to brag about it? All my girls have those big blue eyes that can look so accusing and disappointed.

So I made it at home, for everybody, gluten free with Rizopia's white rice spaghetti and a good meat sauce. A few people asked me why i don't post recipes when I write about what I cook.

Well, I don't have any. The last time I used a cook book was 6 years ago, when real Italians came over for dinner and I made Osso Bucco. Did not want to screw that up.
But basically I just wing it, from the years in my mother's kitchen and some informal training.

So my meals hardly ever taste the same and nobody in the family complains too hard about it. They know there are tons of restaurants I can eat at if they complain too much.....without them, so they put up with my variations of classics.

Bolognese is maybe THE classic sauce for Pasta and every kid in Europe grows up eating it. I had my mother's sauce over and over,she never used a cook bok either.

Today, I had to add Shitake mushrooms, because Superstore did not get their mushrooms delivered. For the first time I also used a couple of cans with Cherry Tomatoes for the sauce and I have to tell you, they are amazing. If you have not tried them yet, it's time. Still a classic, but with variations.

Fresh cheese on top and everybody was happy. Even me.



But tomorrow, I might go to Antolini's.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

CALGARY CELIAC CONFERENCE




Too bad my camera did not work yesterday. I had to go to Google to find an image of the keynote speaker.
The Calgary Celiac Association had their annual conference yesterday at the MacEwan convention center. The trade show attached to the whole thing was really interesting.

Victoria set up her booth with all other exhibitors very early morning and around 8am the first attendants showed up already. 400 dedicated Celiacs in all registered, quite a feat for the local chapter.
Most booth had something for sale, their gluten free food, a special course to make gluten free stuff, a few vitamin places and so on.

Victoria provided her baked goods for the breakfast snack, so she had no time to bake more products for sale. She did have free samples of Callebaut Chocolate Brownies and her Pumpkin Spice bar and that made her booth a very popular one. 800 bite size pieces were gone by 3pm

I spent the last few hours of the day in her booth and the comments by the local Celiac community were very much appreciated by Victoria. They loved the baked goods at breakfast, her famous Coffee Cake and Lemon Loaf. Excellent exposure for GF Patisserie. Excellent new resource for Celiacs. A win win situation.
The keynote speaker Dr. Alessio Fasano gave a very very good presentation. He seems to be the celebrity doc for the Gluten Free community by his sheer dedication to the challenges they face and his state of the art research centre at the University of Maryland.

The organizers who are exclusively volunteers, did a fantastic job. I am not a very organized person and can not even imagine what it takes to pull off such a show as they did yesterday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

GLUTEN FREE CUPCAKES


















Cupcakes. That trend of pastry shops all over. Everybody loves a good cupcake. Many people predicted a quick demise of this sugary, creamy, buttery treat. Well, they are still around.
Victoria first introduced her gluten free cup cakes in July at the Bearspaw Farmers' Market to great response. No surprise really, since she uses real vanilla, real butter and Callebaut Chocolate.

Once GF Patisserie opened, patrons kept asking for those cupcakes, so Lauren and Victoria came up with a few more varieties and they keep on selling them. Especially when kids come in with their parents, the most requested item is a cupcake. "I WANT MY CUPCAKE!"

Go try one. Don't count the calories.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I SHOP AT COSTCO!





























There is an endless debate every where if paying for a membership at Costco is worth it or not.

I made my mind up 10 years ago. YES, it is worth the money as the savings over a year add up to multiples of the membership fee. If you get the Executive card @ 100.00 annual fee, you get 2% cash back at the end of the year. 52 million people can't be wrong. The huge revenue generated just by selling membership cards, gives Costco a major negotiating power with their vendors. That sometimes explains those prices offered compared with other retailers around the nation.

If you don't fall for the $3000.00 DAUM Punch bowl, or a $459.00 Foosball table, the savings can be significant. Add to that special coupon offers for items like washing detergent, razor blades or similar products that we use daily, no other retailer can compete.
Yes, sometimes the size of certain items sold are somewhat "industrial", so watch out and only shop for what you and your family really needs.

What adds to the fun when shopping at Costco for me personally, is their every changing assortment of imported groceries, such as cheese, condiments and chocolates. Outside of small specialty cheese shops around town where else could you find a triple creme St. Andre Brie? Or this great Olive Tapenade from Greece?

-French Truffles anyone? Check.
-World's largest Toblerone? Check.
-Almond butter instead of peanut allergy? Check.
-Fresh flowers for wife after you bought the Foosball table? Check.

Did I mention the Hot Dog? That alone is worth teh drive to a Costco near you.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THIS GLUTEN FREE COFFEE CAKE STARTED IT ALL






I do remember years ago still living in the US, Victoria kept making a cake. Coffee cake. Gluten free.

No doubt it was a good cake. Even to me. Apparently many more people told Victoria that's the best they had, even those non Celiacs who were not told about it being GF. It is actually better than the one they sell at Starbucks. So they said.

Victoria kept saying maybe she should open a bakery for Celiacs. My standard response, sure, go ahead. Not until we moved back to Permafreeze Canada, did she get serious about the idea. Now however, GF Patisserie is up and running and that classic coffee cake? Still amazing. Still good, still better than Starbucks.

Victoria planned to hand out coffee cake samplings at the upcoming Celiacs convention here in Calgary this Saturday, but she did even better than that. Her cake will be on the snack table during the conference and every participant will get one with coffee. Curios what the response will be.


Monday, October 20, 2008

SNACK BETTER





That's the motto of a company in Seattle, called Sahale snacks. I discovered them last year around the same time at COSTCO, where they sold bags of Pecans. We bought a bag and by the time I got around to eat some of them, Costco was sold out. No reloading....
Valdosta Pecans are nuts with a kick. They add dried cranberries, orange zest and black pepper. What a nice mixture. Sweet, nutty and a dang of spice.

They do carry smaller bags (145gr) at a variety of stores, but today at Costco they had the big bags again. I loaded up! Not going to run out before Christmas this time. If you like Pecans, try them.


SNACK BETTER!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BUTTER TARTS - RE POST FROM MAY 8TH






I have looked at my old old posts and decide that some of the better ones, I should re post. Not because I am running out of ideas to write about,, but I think way back in April and May, not too many people found this blog. Not all of the posts, but some of the better ones only. Now I also got more images on some topics.


Refinement and experimenting is a normal process in any type of cooking or baking. But as many of you Celiacs can relate to, due to the lack of ingredients and different reactions of gluten free flours, one has to try more often to come up with a great tasting cake, pie or meal.


Now here is my bold prediction: Victoria's butter tarts will blow you away. Knock your socks off. They will be the best selling items in her tent. (Victoria thinks Brownies.....) No doubt in my mind.
Already the first set of tarts was very good, so this is not about improvements as much as it is an issue of being able to produce them in larger quantities. Now there is also one with nuts. I prefer the Cranberry version though.
Update: Yes, the butter tarts have become a top seller, but it's the plain ones that sell best. I am sure this trend will continue as we aproach Christmas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

GREAT BAKE SALE AT SAFEWAY




The Safeway store at Crowfoot in NW Calgary had a giant charity bakesale today. They raise funds every year for breast cancer. When you went into the store, all you saw was pink. Pink outfits, pink wigs, pink balloons and even pink cookies and breads.

The store never looked more alive.

Stephen who volunteered at the sale, is on a strict gluten free diet and a regular customer at Victoria's bakery. He asked Victoria if GF Patisserie would like to participate. Is the Pope catholic? Victoria always has an open ear for a good cause.

Plus her products are pretty good, they would sell well and raise some dollars as well for the cause. Add some exposure in exchange with flyers for her bakery and it is a good thing all around.

By 12 noon Victoria received an email from Stephen to inform her that most of her donated baked goods have sold already and the response was very good. Well done Stephen! Thanks for thinking of GF Patisserie!


Friday, October 17, 2008

A CONFERENCE FOR CELIACS




Before I forget to mention this, next Saturday, October 25th, the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Celiac association is holding a conference at the MacEwan Conference Centre at the University.

What may be exciting for people on a gluten free diet are of course some top notch speakers, but even more so there is a mini trade show attached to the whole conference. GF Patisserie booked a booth to showcase all their exciting baked goods, but also there are quite a few other vendors set up. A perfect opportunity to taste a whole bunch of gluten free food side by side.

Judy G Foods, Earth Oven, Simple Simon Pies, Gluten free gems and a whole more other vendors will be there too.

Here is a link to the website of the Calgary Chapter, maybe you can still register.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GLUTEN FREE SUGAR COOKIES FOR THANKSGIVING





Lauren was busy today with all those special orders coming in for Thanksgiving already. But she did have time to make great looking cookies. Nicely decorated in a holiday theme.

They taste good, very good actually. You just can't beat real butter when it comes to flavor in baking.

Those sugar cookies complete an already great variety of gluten free items for Thanksgiving at GF Patisserie.

You can get:
-Gluten Free Stuffing Cubes
-Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
-Gluten Free Pumpkin Slice
-Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

Just in case they get too busy, send them an email if you want to special order anything for Thanksgiving. gfpatisserie@gmail.com