In Defense of Foodies and Orangettes

February 16, 2011
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I identify myself as a “foodie”.

There, I said it.

I identify with a word that brings about utter loathing in more than a few people lately, and the loudest seems to be a certain book review from the Atlantic this month.

I am a foodie because I enjoy cooking. I enjoy trying new things, whether it be taking on the challenge of tempering chocolate, mastering a gluten free pizza crust, or simply trying new flavors that I haven’t combined together before. I enjoy going out to nice restaurants, and drinking wine that is meant to be more than a mere vehicle to transform shy people into extroverts over the course of an evening. Currently we don’t have children, we don’t have pets, we don’t go see movies or concerts and the decor of our 50m2 of sacred space is drearily austere and minimalistic. So I don’t mind spending money on quality food, either when eating out exploring a new place, or purchasing ingredients at the market to use when I cook at home.

So why all the negativity with the word? Because some people think being a foodie is by definition a state of elitism, resulting in an innate need to push said food-related pretension onto the masses with the zeal of religious fervor. But really, how is being a food snob any different than being a snob about anything else? Isn’t showing off ostentatiously to allow yourself to feel better at the cost of the egos of everyone around you the very meaning of snobbery, which has existed in some form, not exclusive to matters of the stomach, for oh I don’t know, several millennia?

Are there people who take the enjoyment of food to religious levels, so much so that their opinions and beliefs around which their worldview of food centers start sounding like a fanatical evangelistic sermon? One whose goal is to either convert the rest of us to their beliefs, or at least to try to make us feel very guilty for not “drinking the kool-aid”? Sure there are.


Meringues and Double Crème

January 31, 2011
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I have a new favorite food of Switzerland – meringues and double crème. My discovery of this awesome naturally gluten free dessert is quite timely too, because I need some little pleasures to take joy in here, and the expat blues have set in after the holiday season. Sometimes, living abroad is like being stuck, only able to watch your friends and family as if in a far-off novel and all you can do is observe, say you miss them, but never be able to really participate. And it’s hard.


California-Style Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vanilla Riesling Poached Pears

November 28, 2010
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In the spirit of sharing at Thanksgiving, I want to share this dessert that I made for everyone with you. A take on my mother’s famous California-style cheesecake, with a bit of an Autumn flair. There wasn’t any left the next day, so I think it was a pretty successful dessert. I hope you enjoy it as well, whether the snow is blustering about in the cold, or you are on a sunny beach greeting the Atlantic sunrise as I did.


Gluten Free and Grain Free Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Brownies

November 5, 2010
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Woohoo! I am happy to announce the chocolatey rich grain-free awesomeness that is the gluten free brownie. Ok, after 3 batches of brownies in two weeks, I might just be done for a bit. I’ve gotten my fill of rich dark chocolate fudgey sweet goodness, and I think I am ready to move on to another dessert. My husband may not be ready to move on just yet though. So there may be another batch soon in our future, but we’ve got the grain-free part worked out.

Honestly I really didn’t do much adapting from the original recipe. I just slightly altered some ratios, switched baking soda for powder (thought it might rise a little better since I couldn’t identify an acidic element in the ingredients), and subbed out the GF flour for cocoa powder. While they do rise significantly while baking (about 50% ish), I think the cocoa powder helps to keep them dense. The hazelnut flavor comes through nicely, and complements the chocolate well. I love that you can buy huge bags of nut-meals here for super cheap. They are just perfect for tarte shells, but happen to be perfect for grain-free brownies too.


Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Brownies

November 3, 2010
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I don’t like chocolate cake. I mean it’s O.K., but my mother taught me very well (perhaps too well), that if you are going to give something a name involving the word chocolate, it better darn well actually taste like chocolate. And this is my eternal problem with chocolate cake. It’s dark, it can be rich with the right ganache or mousse filling, but is the cake itself that chocolatey? Do you feel like a cake is merely a transformation of pure chocolate into fluffy cake form? Maybe I just haven’t tried enough chocolate cakes before, but I have yet to find a plain cake that actually tastes like chocolate is oozing out from all sides. But these brownies? They have dark and intense written all over them.


Galettes de Sarrasin (Buckwheat Crêpes) – The French Pancake

September 28, 2010
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Living in a French-speaking region (and not too far from France), crêperies are easy to find. Unfortunately, because crêpe batter is usually not 100% buckwheat, my husband and I have never been to one because we were never sure if he’d be able to enjoy them and still be gluten free. Back when we lived in the States, one of our favorite French restaurants would serve crêpes filled with chicken and mushrooms that were out of this world. Then, when we ventured off to Paris a couple months ago, I had the privilege of enjoying a crêpe filled with four kinds of cheese (au quatre fromages) – I think there was comté, brie, emmental, and chevre – and odd combo, but delicious. Little tiny hole-in-the-wall place by the Louvre that made them to order, I think with the café, my total came to something like only € 5!