glutenfreegirl glutenfreegirl

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Shauna M. Ahern  welcome to our table. writer + recipe developer + still a food blogger (since 2005!). dark chocolate, good cheese, plus all the veg. 🍏🍒🍳🍰🍩🍪🥓🍑🍆🥑🧀

All the best moments in life are unplanned. They never have to do with money or power or winning. They're mostly quiet. I say yes to the details of my life, to quote Natalie Goldberg. And I never go a day without feeling grateful.

We gathered in the woods at the outdoor chapel, where we gather every year. This is our fourth year coming to Seabeck for our Unitarian fellowship's summer camp. I'm so grateful for these particular people, for the community we have found, for my favorite kind of church: under the trees. And for the kind of church service where people from 3 to 97 play kazoos and ukuleles to the tune of We Give Thanks. Indeed.

Since Desmond found the blue wig from his sister's Joy costume from Halloween, he was literally #blackboyjoy. And oh is he ever.

Our favorite summer swimming hole.

This is not a urine sample. Promise. It's liquid gold around here. This is ghee, also called clarified butter. We make a big batch of this every other week and use it -- or olive oil or avocado oil -- as our main source of cooking fat. Danny started playing with ghee a few years ago, but once we realized our son doesn't do well with dairy, we made it part of our consistent routine.
I love ghee. And before I was diagnosed with celiac, I probably thought that ghee was a little weird, a lot "exotic," and not my thing. Ghee is both a word and preparation that originated from the Indian subcontinent. The trick to growing more open over time is this: say yes to what is new. Try. Remind yourself that just because something is new to you does not mean it's scary. Grow a little more adventurous with your food and you might be surprised by what happens inside of you.
Here's how to make ghee.
1. Put a quantity of butter in a pan on low heat. Let the butter melt completely.
2. As the butter melts, the milk solids will drift to the bottom of the pan. Don't stir.

3. The surface of the butter will bubble a bit, then foam, then settle down into the milk solids. That's good. Don't stir.
4. Let the butter slowly heat. The milk solid layer should be distinct. Let it brown a bit. After 10 or 15 minutes after the last of the foaming on top has stopped, remove the pan from heat.
5. Put a triple layer of cheesecloth into a sieve over a container. Slowly pour the butter through the cheesecloth. The milk solids will stay in the cheesecloth. Let the clarified butter drip through slowly. It will look clear like this, at first. As it cools, it will grow a more opaque yellow.

And that's it. Enjoy your ghee.

A friend of ours needed a lot of food to feed a house full of hungry guests. Could we help? So we made a triple batch of the tater tot casserole from our cookbook, American Classics Reinvented. She told us the pan was scraped empty by the end of the evening. This is comfort food. [direct link to the book in profile.]

I never was a fan of beer. I couldn't figure out why people liked it when it made me so sleepy and sluggish. (Now I know it was the gluten.) And I like a good red wine, but the only wines I really like are expensive.
The last couple of years, I have become a big fan of hard ciders. Cider is light and sparkly, plus it's great for cooking. We have two cideries on Vashon: @dragonsheadcider and @nashiorchards. They're both favorites of mine. And I'm guessing they'll both be at @cidersummit in Seattle on September 8th and 9th. There will be 150 ciders from around the world. And food. I'm going. Would you like to come too?
The folks at @cidersummit (who provided this photo) will give away 2 tickets to one of our readers. Leave a comment here about why you are interested in cider. I'll choose the winner at random on the morning of Friday, August 18th. See you there. #sponsored #cidersummit

This morning we took the kids to a gardening class. We're lucky on Vashon: there's a community garden that supplies the food bank, which is used by 1 out of 9 islanders at some point in the year. There is hunger among us, all of us, wherever you live. So a big garden, maintained by staff and volunteers, is a boon to those who need fresh food. The kids loved digging in the dirt. We planted seedlings to take home and grow in our garden, so we can take the broccoli, book choy, and chard to the food bank too. And picking beans in the sun gave us a chance to thank the people who pick our food, most of them migrant workers. Without their work, the stores would be bare within a week.

The peaches are finally ripe here. We'll eat as many peaches out of hand as we can but also save a big bag of them to make this peach bundt cake again. [Direct link in profile.]

I grabbed this giant kohlrabi from one of my favorite farmers on Saturday. We didn't buy it for a specific recipe. That's my favorite kind of cooking: figure out what to do with what we have. So, what would you do with kohlrabi?

This morning, like so many know, I felt like I just had to do something. I knew there were Solidarity for Charlottesville rallies going around the country. Why not one on Vashon? At first, I felt a little silly. What kind of change could we make here? But perfect is the enemy of good. Do something. So I put out a call on Facebook for friends to join us at the main intersection in town. They told friends. And other friends. And so we stood with about 100 people in the heart of our town. It was worth it. We felt our community. We made more plans with other people to do more. I saw an older white man sitting on the bus bench with a sign that read Fight White Supremacy. Cars honked at us when they agreed. Most did. Some drivers hid their eyes. About halfway through, a black man stopped his truck, got out, and started shouting, "thank you thank you!" to all of us. A bunch of us went over to hug him. He stayed for 5 minutes or so, crying, as more people came to hug him. "Y'll gave me hope back today. Thank you!" And as he drove away, I thought: There is so much more work to do but this is a good start.

What happened in Charlottesville yesterday devastates me. However, it doesn't surprise me at all. There was a hashtag going around last night: this isn't us. With all due respect to the well-meaning folks who were trying to be kind: don't be ridiculous. This has always been the US. America was founded on denial: all men are created equal, except for the ones we own as slaves, and we tell ourselves they are 3/5 men to stifle any feelings of guilt. It still goes on. America's original sin continues in a thousand different ways. But if you think racism is not the American way? Wake up. This has been us since the 1600s. And it's time for those of us who are white to stop swallowing this crap, decide to educate ourselves, and start speaking up, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.
Start with this book.
@thecookinggene is an incredible man. He has devoted his life to educating through food. He has cooked on plantations across the South, researched the culinary history of black cooks, and has written a poetic consideration of all that still remains to be done. It is an extraordinary book.

I'm only partway through and I am floored by his bravery. Can you imagine the hate mail this man receives? But he perseveres. He's fighting the good fight. And he manages to uplift as he teaches. Buy his book or get it from the library. Let's read it together.

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