Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bel Canto

Book Review

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

I have known about this book for some time now. For some long time.

But I held off getting it.

I had already heard that it was good. Probably a literary prize winner.

I had to bide my time. The time had to be right. I didn't want to use up all the good books in the world too quickly.

Okay, okay. So that's not very likely, but I think you get the idea.

Several not so great books in a row left me disappointed. And ready for something good.

I already knew that I liked this author, based on my experience reading State of Wonder.

And this copy is in large print. Perfect for the treadmill. A good book will keep me on the treadmill longer than a poor book.

Now was the time. Time for something others thought was good.

The question was, would I think this was good?

I was about to find out.

Bel Canto

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Omission Gluten-Free Beer

Gluten-Free, Barley Beer?

Is it possible to have a beer made of barley and it still be gluten-free?

And if it is possible, does it taste like real, glutenated beer?

I didn't know, but I would have to find out.

I tried another gluten-free beer months ago, but that one isn't made with barley. It is made with strawberries and you can tell. It is sweet.

If you make beer with no barley, wheat or rye, you don't have to take any gluten out of it. There won't be any in it.

But no barley means not real beer to many. That was state of things until Omission came along.

Omission Gluten-Free Beer - Lager and Pale Ale

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gluten-Free Natural Red Velvet Cake

Non-Traditional Color and Flour

I've never had an experience with Red Velvet Cake, only hearing about it as an adult. And what did I hear?

It is just chocolate cake with red food coloring.

That's what I heard. That's what stuck with me.

I don't know what exactly inspired me to try to make it gluten-free for Valentine's Day, but inspired I was.

I looked up The Pioneer Woman's version and found that she uses a full bottle and a half of food coloring to get that color. A bottle and a half?! Looks artificial enough, but you want me to eat that much food coloring? More importantly, you want me to feed that to my family?

I was having a hard time swallowing that.

Luckily for me, I stumbled upon a video for making a natural red velvet cake. Natural, as in natural food coloring. Natural, as in beets.

Beets. They really do have the most beautiful color.

Now, I was on a mission. A mission to find a recipe for a gluten-free red velvet cake that didn't use artificial food coloring.

So, I went looking for a recipe. Look, I did. Search, I did. Scan, I did. Read, I did.

In the end, I found recipes with natural coloring but little chocolate and wheat flour or artificial coloring with little chocolate and gluten-free flours, but nothing with natural color, lots of chocolate and gluten-free flours. I would just have to make my own recipe.

But all indications were pointing to either lots of color or lots of chocolate, but not both. Gluten-free it would be. I was sure about that.

Gluten-Free Natural Red Velvet Cake

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Mark of Zorro

Book Review

The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley.

While at the library some time ago, I happened to pick up the 1940 remake of the original, but silent, movie The Mark of Zorro. We watched as a family and we enjoyed it for the most part. We had to do a bit of educating the kids about old movies and the way they used to be made, but that was fine.

The movie was good. So I started to think I should read the original book. That's not the order I usually do these things, but no harm done. Not yet.

I searched my local library catalog for the book. No luck.

Next, I tried interlibrary loan. Yep, I could get it, but there's no telling how long it would take to arrive at my local library. Request it, I did.

It only took a week or two. Not bad, compared to other requests I have made through the system. Finally, I could dive into the most original version of that infamous, sly "fox"!

And almost immediately I thought I understood why my local library did not have a copy of it.

The Mark of Zorro