Why, Yes! That Gluten-Free Pasta Is Made With Mesquite Flour!

Mexican Chocolate Filled Vanilla Bean Mesquite Ravioli With Caramel Sauce

mesquite chocolate ravioli3

I recently taught a gluten-free pasta-making class , in which one of the attendees recounted her growing up years, when she and her siblings gathered fallen mesquite pods from the ground to be given to a Hill Country rancher who used them to feed his livestock. For most of its existence in Texas, however, the tenacious mesquite tree has been the bane of Texas ranchers and farmers. The mesquite tree spreads like a weed, absorbs much of the water from the ground in which it grows, and causes other vegetation to die. Long before this hearty tree gained its bad reputation, the mesquite tree was valued as a important food source among ancient peoples in South America, Mexico, and the Southwestern region of the United States. As I explained in past post about mesquite flour, these people used the dried, ground mesquite pods and beans for drinks, as well as for breads, tortillas, and porridge. Continue reading


Fresh Gluten-Free Rose Pasta With Rose Mint Pesto

Did the name of the recipe in the title of this blog post draw you to this site? I thought so. The idea of rose Aroma Kitchenpasta with rose mint pesto is intriguing, and it actually led me to finally figure out how to make gluten-free pasta from scratch. After seeing this recipe (for non-gluten-free) rose pasta the first time I opened the cookbook Aroma Kitchen: Cooking With Essential Oils, by Sabine Hönig and Ursula Kutschera, I knew I had to try it. The only way I was likely to be able to taste rose pasta with rose pesto, however, was to learn how to make gluten-free pasta, and then to make the recipe myself. This book, then, inspired me to challenge myself in the kitchen beyond the recipes that appear between its beautiful covers. Continue reading

Easy and Delicious Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pasta

While perusing some of my favorite blogs one day, I happened across this post about a gadget that turnszuchini pasta 4 zucchini into spaghetti. Now, skads of kitchen gadgets exist for imaginative use in the kitchen, and I’m usually wary of being seduced by photos and descriptive writing into purchasing gadgets that, no matter how clever or charming, will end up stealing valuable space in my so-small kitchen after having been used only once or twice. This particular gadget, however, can help me to lower the amount of carbs I eat daily. Here I need to mention that I do not mean demonize carbs in themselves. The only foods I truly demonize are industrialized or manufactured processed foods. I have never understood the appeal of food products such as Cool Whip, a non-dairy whipped topping, or those processed shakes or shake powders people ingest instead of food so that they can lose weight or work out harder, or whatever the case may be. If half and half can be made fat-free, how can it still be half and half? (Hint: It can’t be – the fat is replaced by less desirable ingredients much more hazardous to one’s health than fat.) Every once in a while, one may choose to eat queso made with Velveeta processed cheese or drink a soft drink, but in general, industrialized foods shouldn’t make up a large portion of anyone’s diet. I follow this rule for myself and my family; however, I won’t press the issue with others who choose to ingest the foods I generally avoid. Continue reading

Finding Comfort in Gluten-Free Beer Macaroni and Cheese

What chefs can do when it comes to getting the word out is have people understand food differently. If food is well sourced and well Beer Mac and Cheese 7prepared, I don’t think the word healthy needs to be brought into it. It’s healthy because it’s wholesome. That’s what we should focus on. You can buy a box of low-fat macaroni and cheese made with powdered nonsense. I’m not worried if I’m using four different cheeses and it’s high in fat. It’s real food. That’s what’s more important. (Chef Tom Colicchio, qtd by Tara Parker Pope, “Even Top Chefs Have Picky Kids,” N Y Times, 9 February 2009)


Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh. and kerve it on peces, and cast hem on boillyng water & seeþ it wele. take chese and grate it and butter cast bynethen and above as losyns. and serue forth. (Samuel Pegge, The Forme of Cury: A Roll of Ancient English Cookery (1780) “Compiled about A D 1390, by the Master-Cooks of King Richard II,” Project Gutenberg generated HTML e-book)

The dog in the picture below is our 91 lb Great Pyrenees – Anatolian shepherd mix Cleo.

Cleo 2

Cleo is perhaps the world’s best watch dog. She’s so devotedly protective that (to the dismay of many) she sometimes tries to protect me even from people of whom I am rather fond, such as relatives and friends who visit our home. Perhaps because of this strong genetic protective characteristic common to her mix of breeds, Cleo dislikes loud noises and quick, sudden movements; she responds unhappily to the excited or emotional tones of voice and dramatic hand gestures that sometimes accompany human conversation and interactions. For this reason, Cleo vehemently dislikes being in the same room with us when we watch Longhorn football games on television. Our emotional responses, aroused by the twists and turns as the games progress, simply make her too nervous.

Luckily for Cleo, Phillip and I watched the recent Alamo Bowl pigskin contest between the Texas Longhorns and the Oregon Ducks at my mom’s house. Thus, our beloved, giant hyper-vigilant pet was spared the anguished cries of disbelief and the stream of blue language that erupted and over-flowed deep from the diaphragms of those who gathered to watch what they had hoped would be their beloved Longhorns’ triumphant and redeeming finish to a disappointing 2013 football season. Fan loyalty and collective team player and coaching talent aside, one would just naturally expect a team called the Longhorns to easily defeat a team called the Ducks; alas, the obvious escaped reality this past December 30th, as the Ducks annihilated the Longhorns in a 30 to 7 win in the 2014 Alamo Bowl competition.

Beer Mac and Cheese 3At disheartening moments such as this, people turn to comfort food for real solace, indeed. Delicious football-watching type food was plentiful in my mom’s living room that fateful evening on which once again, Texans lost an epic battle at a location in San Antonio named the Alamo. Food and beer flowed freely that evening, and even the horrendous Longhorn defeat failed to curb appetites (though admittedly the drinking surpassed the eating in quantity the latter part of the game). My contribution to the football-watching fare was one of my own favorite comfort foods: gluten-free beer macaroni and cheese. Although I am not fond of beer as a beverage, and therefore never drink it, I absolutely love and enjoy beer-flavored foods (such as beer mac and cheese, beer bread, beer-cheese soup, etc). Continue reading

Crab and Cream: A Heavenly Combination

Gluten-Free Pasta with Creamy Crab Parmesan Sauce

“A connoisseur of gastronomy was congratulated on his appointment as a director of indirect contributions at Periguex: and, above all, in the pleasure there would be in living in the midst of good cheer, in the country of truffles, partridges, truffled turkeys, and so forth. “Alas!” replied with a sigh the sad gastronomer, “can one really live at all in a country where there is no fresh sea-fish?”
(Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825)

“Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.” (Giada De Laurentis, Every Day Italian)

Yes, one really can live in a country where fresh sea fish, and fresh seafood of all types, is unavailable. And here we live, in San Antonio, some 2.5 hours (give or take) from the nearest  coast, and thus from the nearest fresh seafood. When we want to cook seafood, then, we must resort to the previously frozen fish or other seafood we “catch” at HEB, HEB’s Central Market, Whole Foods, Costco, and other such grocery stores. When I decide to serve crab for dinner, I do my crabbing at Costco. Continue reading