Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wonderful Food Adventures Coming Up!

I'm getting actually excited about the fall/winter months arriving. With my new camera and the promise of this winter being a bit better then last... yea I just can't wait!

This November my wonderful husband and I will be celebrating our first 10years of marriage so of course I just HAVE to make something really special since we can't really go out to eat (and you know the camera won't be far behind)! But more so the end of the year also brings my birthday, his birthday, both my parent's birthdays, my mother-in-law's birthday, my parents anniversary and then top that all off add the normal holidays of Halloween, Christmas and of course New Years on that platter please! LOL Yea what a way to have winter go!

I tend to get what is known as the 'winter blues'. Well this year I intend to BEAT that and I mean right square in the nose and so hard it'll never show it's shady self again. How? Simple, I'm going to keep myself BUSY!

With all the holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and what not happening, I'm going be diving into so many new and interesting things cooking wise and photography wise that I'll just not have any time to think about short the days are and trust me, just as the summers go into 18hrs days, the winter go very much the other way where we have about 7hrs of daylight.

My wonderful husband has already promised me that for my birthday this year that I can finally go and buy myself a very expensive but pro style pasta maker just to start off my fall/winter adventures! There is a wonderful Italian import store, again located around the Korenmarkt area of Gent, that has this wonderful stainless steel manual pasta maker with so many attachments to it that I won't ever be able to figure out how to use them all! But I have to admit, there is something I use to love when I was eating wheat (we won't say when I was able to because most likely I was never able to eat it, my body was just tolerating it until it couldn't handle it any more and it let me know) was ravioli. Ooooo the wonderful days of finding this again have been slowly coming to an end to be quite honest, at least already made types. The closest I came from was crap of a pre-made processed piece of (*@%!&( I bought a couple of years ago. It was pure and utterly awful and the cost was NOT worth it! I can't wait to be able to make these again. Oh and he's also said it's also ok for me to buy a few bags of my flour mix (which runs over 4euro a bag mind you for I believe 500grams... I figure 4-5cups of flour per bag). Then of course there comes trying to make the perfect pasta recipe! Many many MANY attempts will have to be made I think!

Then of course comes the wonderful chance to use my new soup/stew pot that I've already been using this year strangely enough *boogle* and try my hand at home-made sauces for pasta such as I want to make a 4 cheese sauce (doubt this one will be in the big 5quart/litre soup pot though!) and bolognese sauce sauce made properly and to my style which means not adding damn preservatives or thickening agents to it and oh yea, including the wonderfulness of adding red wine and fresh spices to it and making it with lean ground turkey instead of beef! I told you, if I can at all get past the processed foods, I do so. This winter will be one of those winters where I'm going to experiment with all sorts of new stuff that I use to buy canned/pre-made/jarred and what not. That includes not only American style recipes but also England/UK and Belgian ones.

I'm even pondering taking my hand at making some simpler things like apple butter or even my own jams. That last one will take some pre-paring though as I will need to find jars for it but I think I might already know where to look at least. Since I recently got my husband into and my god liking lamb that I was even considering seeing if I can't make my own mint jam like I remember buying already made in the states. I know I know, mint 'sauce' is easier but I miss the chilled/jam style texture to it also... always loved that when I lived in the USA.

Then there is my next experiments... I want to make Christmas cookies this year... including sugar cookies. I have this wonderful set of cookie cutters that have never ever been touched because I got them just before I had to go gluten free. They are just begging and pleading to be used! But what is making sugar cookies if you can't decorate them?! I can't buy any of the store made decorations because either they are made with/from wheat products or made in the same factory or made by the same company. So I'm going to experiment with making my own sprinkles and coloured sugars. I have so much at the tip of my fingers that I just want to go wild with it all!

Now with the new camera, I also intend to go out when ever I can, sun or not. If there is another wonderfully light fluffy snow fall this winter, I'll be out catching it on photo. If there is a wonderful frost that covers the ground at 5am and I happen to be awake, I'll be out taking photos of it. If it's a bright sunny day and the world is at my finger tips, I'll be out taking photos of all I can. Not only will it get me out of the house but it'll keep me busy in those times that I don't want to be in the kitchen. But of course it'll be close at hand too for all the times I am in the kitchen as well.

Besides my plans to stay busy though I won't deny the fact that I know part of my winter problems are also chemical induced from my brain/body so I will also be taking on some light therapy and also some relaxation therapy stuff at the local hospital. But only when I feel that it'll become a problem. The less I have to rely on doctors for things that I know are in my brain so to speak, the better... I just want to try to do this as much on my own as possible this winter.

God where do I start? Any suggestions? Start in on the adventure of making home-made sprinkles and coloured sugars, attempting to see if I can perfect a gluten free sugar cookie recipe before Christmas, see if I can't get into other Christmas cookie recipes like sprites (thus need coloured sugar) or coloured glass cookies or wedding cookies. I made that last cookie *once* since I've been here and gluten free... needless to say my husband and I have now nic-named them 'poof cookies' because if you even looked at them wrong, they kind of well exploded LOL. They were so light, so fluffy and of course wedding cookies are covered in powdered sugar as well so once you got one into your mouth (if it got that far without poofing), you'd just had to press down with your tongue and they'd go 'poof'. But they were just wonderful and I now (thanks mom!) have a place that I can buy pecan nuts already shelled for not too bad of a price.

Reminds me, if you ever get to making them again and posting here, HOLD YOUR BREATH for the first bite! If you breathe in you'll choke yourself on the 'poof' that happens with the mix of flour and sugar or if you exhale, you're gonna 'poof' cookie and powdered sugar all over! It's a terrifyingly funny sight to say the least when it happens on an exhale! Trust me, I've watched hubby try this... I'm sure by accident the first couple of times but it still was funny every time I saw this puff of 'poof' explode from his lips (cruel aren't I??).

Ok enough babbling! Just letting you all know what kind of adventures are coming this way when the fall and winter months arrive! Oh yes! Don't forget that 'between' my adventuring times, I'll also be experimenting with more SOUPS! I have like 4 books just on soups... must dive into them and see what I can come up with from my big soup pot to just a single night/go with dinner style soups.

Editor's Additions September 7th, 2011
After doing some minor 'put is instead of if' style editing here I also wanted to add that I now also have another project going on in my head about attempting to make home-made fish sticks or patties. Not talking about these kind of crab/salmon style patties but more like you'd remember getting from Mcd's... something I can put on some guten-free white bread with tartar sauce and cheese like I remember loving when I worked there sooooo many years ago.

And for a celebration style dinner for getting my mother-in-law moved into her new 'apartment', hubby and I this weekend are going to dig out this wonder duck breast that I have sitting in the freezer (it's just waiting for a special occasion like this) and we're going to make a new recipe already... duck fajitas with perhaps a cranberry relish/sauce to go over it for the 'salsa' and of course don't forget the pieces of grilled peppers and onions! And yes, my camera will be close at hand for it all! I'm loving this already! Yes I also make my kind of variation of 'tortillas' so I'll post a recipe for this alone some where in the blog too.

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