Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mother Hubbard's Messy Old Cupboard

Speaking of the pantry, as I did in the last post here, I'm dreading opening mine, knowing it desperately needs to be cleaned out.

Aside from the bar of concentrated dried tamarind that's caught there in the back of my lazy-susan cupboard, there's bound to be partly used bags of unmarked & unidentifiable grains, dried chilies that have sprung loose from their containers, cans of ancient milk products and a light dusting of cocoa. I suspect I'll find a few things I don't even remember buying; you know, the items you purchase to use in just one recipe but never do. They linger in the dark corners until you discover them during a massive cleanout, and then you rail at yourself for wasting the money.

Or maybe you don't rail at yourself for that kind of thing, but I do.

Despite all this, it's time. Eating habits need space to change, so it's out with some of the old, like the canned evaporated milk, and in with the new organic dates.

Out with cane sugar and in with agave syrup, flax seeds and a fresh can of water chestnuts; they are a phenomenal way to add a surprise crunch to any soup, salad, or sandwich, and they keep a long, long time... till my next pantry rampage, very likely. This effort will somehow help me jump-start my mental clarity, I hope-- neat cabinets lead, for me, to a clearer mind.

In the meantime, I'm searching the very back of the deepest shelf for the ingredients (I know I did buy) for a homemade gluten-free flour mix found by way of the reliable CLBB. I don't seem to have a gluten sensitivity but it's a good bet to have a few egalitarian recipes in your repertoire; you never know who'll show up for dinner. Me being a big fan of pastry and baking, I really want to be able to make good, delicous pies, breads and cakes for everyone, even though they eat raw/vegan/gluten-free; so this mix from Bette Hagman (author of The Gluten-Free Gourmet) helps. All the components can be used separately, too. I haven't tried it for yeast bread yet, but for crackers, cakes, muffins, and crumbly scones or pie dough, it fills the bill.

Featherlight Flour Mix (Bette Hagman)

1 part rice flour
1 part tapioca flour
1 part cornstarch
1 part potato flour (note that potato flour and potato starch are two different things)

Mix and store in an airtight container. Use as you would any flour.

Looking ahead, I'm delighted to announce I'll be having a guest post from The Crafty Green Poet, who will share what it's like to be veg in Scotland these days.

Wishing you a clean and uncluttered view-- Peace, Mari

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