Sorry, I can’t knit or spin today, my hands are sticky from frosting. Tasty, delicious frosting.
Did you know that Betty Crocker now makes a gluten free line of mixes? I realize that to most of you, cake mix is no big deal. But for people (like me!) with food sensitivities, being able to walk into a store, grab a mix, go home, and whip up a tray of cupcakes in less than an hour is like a crazy, frosting coated dream come true. To have it taste good is even better. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of organic, all natural, health food type gluten free cake mixes that have come out in the past couple of years. Problem is, they can be hit or miss, taste and texture wise, and honestly, if I’m looking for something healthy and organic, I’d rather make it myself from scratch. Cake from a box is comfort food, pure and simple. So to be able to find a mix like this, which makes cupcakes that taste like cupcakes—moist, light and fluffy without crumbling or leaving a weird aftertaste—is pretty awesome.
So I don’t mind the loss of knitting time (although I did finish those sleeves), because these cupcakes are totally worth it. Although I don’t think I can eat the whole tray by myself. Anyone want a cupcake?
Please admire my handiwork before it gets cut into tasty, tasty pieces:
I’m not gonna lie; this recipe is ridiculously time and effort intensive. But oh, is it ever worth it.
1/4 c butter
1 c milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 c tapioca starch (laugh all you want but my cock brand starch is super cheap)
2 medium or large eggs, beaten
3/2 c parmesan
3 tablespoons all purpose gluten free flour mix (preferably rice based)
seasonings (basil, oregano, etc.) if desired
pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice
Heat milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat, stir in tapioca flour very quickly, using a fork, not a whisk, unless you want to spend a while removing dough from the whisk with a fork. Whatever knits your stitch. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool. Seriously. Walk away. Go knit or something. You don’t want to burn your hands trying to knead too-hot dough. Ask me how I know this.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, slowly knead in eggs and parmesan until the entire mixture is smooth. I usually alternate bits of egg and bits of parmesan to make it easier to handle. Think it’s smooth enough? Keep kneading. No really. It needs to be completely lump free.
After it’s completely smooth, add the flour and any seasonings you might like in your crust. Knead again until the flour is incorporated. Stick the dough in the fridge for half an hour or so. It needs to be chilled through, and DO NOT skip this step unless you want a gummy crust, which I learned the hard way. Now would probably be a good time to turn your oven on to 400F, and lightly (lightly!) grease one 12″ circular pan.
Spread dough into pan carefully, then puncture with a fork a couple times to prevent big giant air bubbles from forming. You don’t need as many fork marks as I have, it was just very satisfying to stab the dough that had taken up half my afternoon. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top, rotating your pan around at the halfway point if your oven’s like mine and things cook faster toward the back of the oven than they do toward the front.
Add sauce, cheese, and your toppings of choice (I put my toppings under the cheese so that it melts better, also so that the unsuspecting are assaulted by the flavor of pepperoni) and stick back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and browned a bit.
Slice, fend off friends and family who may try to steal some from you, and enjoy.
… or maybe just a cookie complex. Before anyone jumps on me I don’t have a recipe for the cookies above–I used the standard chocolate chip drop cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking, replacing the flour with some stuff (tapioca flour, rice flour, chickpea flour, a bit of kinnikinnick bread mix I found) I kinda threw together. But let me tell you something, they were incredible. And, if you’re ever looking for a wonderfully complex tasting cookie, add some almond meal to it. It was such a subtle thing but it really made the cookie.
Also complex is this wonderful jacket that I’ve started knitting.
Then I got about an inch into the pattern, went to calculate my row gauge (which, thanks to the compact nature of brioche, was a freaking 44 rows to 4″), and… hey, that’s strange, this is several inches smaller than it should be, widthwise. I know I cast on enough stitches with that @(!@#%$ing i-cord cast on which took me more than an hour… Grabbed my swatch and–huh.
Why the hell is my swatch fabric so much looser and fluffier than what I’m getting now? Surely blocking can’t change it that much?
Well, no. Using a different needle size might, though. Wow, how stupid am I, to use 6s when my notes clearly say, ‘knit swatch on 8s’? Or, how stupid am I to knit the swatch on 8s when I use 6s so often? And when I don’t even have 8s in the right length for a jacket? At this point I’m not convinced I have a brain.
(I am perfecting my pizza recipe tomorrow. Prepare to be amazed by what turns out.)
These little cheese rolls are officially called pao de queijo, but I first discovered them in a small shop in the city, where they were known as paolitos, so that’s what I call ’em. These little things are amazing–really tasty and filling and of course, entirely gluten free, without any fussing with recipes or ten kinds of flour or xanthan gum (I hate xanthan gum.) And they’re versatile: the same basic dough can be used for little snack sized bites, giant rolls to be cut open for sandwiches, it would even be excellent as a pizza dough.
Pao de Queijo
1/2c butter or margarine
2c packed tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
2 large or 3 medium eggs, beaten
2c parmesan or other hard cheese
Heat milk, butter and salt over medium heat, until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the tapioca flour. Allow to cool completely. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
Once cool, turn oven on to 400F. Transfer dough to a bowl and knead in eggs a little bit at a time until dough is free of lumps. Add cheese and knead again until smooth. Knead tablespoon sized clumps of dough into spheres and place them on the baking sheets, well spaced apart. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. The insides may still seem a little doughy or gooey while warm.
Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a plate or cooling rack; if the rolls cool while sitting on the oiled pans they will absorb the oil and lose the crispness at the bottom.
(I ate mine with some dal bukhara for dinner–it was quite fantastic.)
And back into the blog–it has been a whirlwind of a week. There was wedding.
There were cupcakes.
There was homemade bread.
There was even some knitting on a train (this is my friend spin, who has an interesting method of purling).
And a touch of tatting on the train, as well, although I don’t have anything interesting to show for it.
The cat? She survived her trip to the kennel, and came home as normal as she ever is.
I left my dearest Kitty Carlisle at the kennel this morning.
it was impossibly difficult–she was freaked and I just wanted to bring her home and cuddle her and never let her out of my sight. But off she went, and I hope she doesn’t stay freaked out for too long, since she has to stay for a whole week. At the moment I’m just trying not to think about it, for fear that I’ll burst into tears. So let’s move on!
I seem to be packing quite a few handknitted things for the trip: I’ve got my endpaper mitts, some mittens, two pairs of socks, a shawl, my laptop case, and two scarves. I feel like I’ve finally reached the point in being a knitter where my knitting is both good looking and usable in a real, every day kind of way. It’s a good feeling. It makes me feel like a knitter, rather than someone who just happens to kit.
Also being packed? These:
courtesy of my favorite owl and squirrel. Now I won’t be treat-less when everyone else eats cake and cookies and whathaveyou at various gatherings.
I’ve got my knitting ready to go; beads prestrung (admittedly I did entertain the thought of ‘accidentally’ spilling them all over my brother while in the car), yarn wound into cakes, needles at the ready, stitch books packed. I can do this. Seekrit project, the shrug, some stockinette socks, and the craftyalien squirrel are all comin’ with. Here’s hoping my hands don’t fall off.
I’ll be checking in irregularly; lappy is traveling with me (new screen and all) and I’ve heard rumors that there will, in fact, be internet access in our hotel rooms. I promise I’ll take lots of interesting trip pictures and share them all from the road! 🙂
Today I am officially Old. Not because nineteen is an old age to be, not at all–it’s because I’m nineteen.
The age that people tend to guess me to be? Twenty-four. I don’t see it, either; my mum says it’s because I have ‘presence’. I think it’s because most of my friends are in their early to mid twenties so I’m considered older by association. Insert illicit but actually not all that interesting tales about getting into NC-17 movies when I was fifteen, here… Oh, but I promised a winner, didn’t I? Well, a carefully constructed mathematical algorithm (ha, I used random.org) told me that artsygal should get the yarn. And get it she shall! Along with some other goodies…
Since today is my birthday and this week’s blogstalking theme is about, well, me, let’s talk a bit about me, shall we?
1. I was born at 11:41AM, Wednesday, 14th September, 1988.
2. Things happened. I grew up a bit.
3. Not much has changed between then and now, really.
To answer the question (who am I?) more specifically, I am a knitter, a student, a musician (kind of), a friend, a sister, an aunt, but above all, a teenager (for another year, at least).
I’ll have actual knitting content and some Caturday tomorrow, while I try to recover from a huge (but fabulous!) dinner, as well as two pieces of cake:
(Go with me here. I still haven’t finished those stupid socks. And it boggles the mind how I can knit one sock in a day and then take a week on the second.)
I love tortilla chips. They’re crunchy and satisfying and they’re good with salsa or dip or a bit of cheese melted on top, and when I’m in true teenager mode I make pizza nachos, which really, given the opportunity, I could live off of forever. Or at least until I’m out of college.
So when I made chili the other night, and discovered *gasp!* that I was, in fact, out of tortilla chips, I was understandably disappointed. I’m gluten intolerant, so I can’t eat crackers or bread with my chili, and the chips often serve as an all purpose replacement for those things.
But then I thought, ‘I have tortillas, why don’t I just… chipify them? It can’t be that difficult.’ And, in fact, it wasn’t. I cut up a couple of tortillas, spread the pieces out on a baking sheet, added some salt, tossed into the oven for about ten minutes, and, dare I say it, they’re better than store bought.
I will be making these again. And again. And again.
(I’m going travelling all over on trains in the next two days, so the socks should be done by weekend.)