I do believe.
Mid January confession (now that we're half way to February and red hearts are sprouting up around chocolate displays in our local market). Valentine's Day looms. And yes, I use the word looms. Rather than a more enthusiastic awaits. Or glimmers. As in, I haven't been that into Valentine's Day lately. Not that I have anything against love. Or chocolate. Or roses. That would make me rather icy. A stone cold cynic. The prickly sort who kicks away puppies. Or grimaces at kittens and babies.
I don't indulge in any such blasphemy.
I still believe in love.
And though I may be, shall we say, a tad older than the estrogen-fueled ovulating audience targeted for Valentine's Day, I am not cantankerous. Nor am I without sympathy.
It's just that I find the accoutrements to our consumerist version of love rather ridiculous. All that red lace. Glitter lipsticks. And goddess forbid.
Never buy a piece of clothing that requires you to shave.
I personally prefer a little mystery in my romance. Leaving something to the imagination. But then, I am a child of the long-haired free love sixties. Pre-porn aesthetic. We didn't fear body hair.
Last year we stayed home and ate baked mac and cheese for our dinner 'o love. And settled in with a Mad Men DVD. No red silk in sight. No high heels. Not exactly glamorous. But then, you know us artists. We have paint under our fingernails. We have more books than lipsticks. We are curling iron challenged.
I've never been into the whole glossy, magazine style glamor. I am more into comfort (and warmth- after all, it is winter!). I'm not a party girl. I'd rather be home. In my flannel PJ's.
Baking a soda bread.
Karina's Gluten-Free Orange Scented Irish Soda BreadRecipe originally posted February 2012.
This gluten-free soda bread is moist and slightly sweet, with a kiss of citrus. Delightful warm from the oven. Sublime sliced and grilled till golden. No one will guess it is gluten and dairy free. Lovely with a bowl of my Golden Potato Soup for the Sensitive Soul.
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond meal flour, millet flour or GF oat flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/3 cup coconut oil or organic vegan shortening
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 free-range organic eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup dried currants
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with a circle of parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, starches and dry ingredients.
Add in the coconut oil by pieces, and mix until it is sandy.
Add in the orange juice, eggs and orange peel. Mix the ingredients with a beater or a wooden spoon until a smooth and sticky dough forms.
Stir in the currants.
Scape the dough into the prepared cake pan and using wet hands flatten and smooth the dough into a round loaf. Using a knife, make a criss-cross dent in the center of the loaf, as best you can.
Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, till firm and slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack for five minutes or so until it is cool enough to handle. Remove from the pan and peel off the parchment. Continue to cool on the rack or serve it warm.
Wrap and freeze leftover slices.
Makes one 8-inch round loaf.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
Note: This Gluten-Free Goddess® recipe appeared in Allergic Living magazine, Spring 2011. My updated version here features sorghum and almond flour, and has more orange flavor, and no caraway.
I originally made this soda bread using brown rice flour instead of sorghum, and millet instead of almond meal. But if push comes to shove, I admit I much prefer sorghum and almond version. Its softer texture makes a better crumb. And almond meal adds a lovely dimension to bread dough.
As for potato starch (make sure it's not potato flour- a different animal all together) you can substitute other starches if you are avoiding potato (such as tapioca starch, cornstarch, arrowroot). Please note, however, that potato starch is soft and fluffy in recipes. Tapioca starch can be a bit tough. So if you sub the potato starch, make a blend of starches to replace it- don't use all tapioca starch.
If you want a fresh, sweet-tart taste use chopped dried cranberries instead of currants.