Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Culinary Thrill Seeking: PB Crepes give up gluten

Peanut Butter Crepes give up the gluten
A special diet was once considered a punishment, but now cookbooks help patients consider the joys of eating what they should to stay healthy. Photos in “Simply ... Gluten-free Desserts” illustrate that those enjoying Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Chocolate Cherry Fudge Drops or Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream wouldn’t seem to be sacrificing anything.
Carol Kicinski makes everyone want to eat this way in her book. I’ll try anything she’s showing, but here’s the one I’m planning to make:

Peanut Butter Crepes
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons water
With a handheld electric mixer or in a blender, combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth; you will have a thin batter.
Heat a small skillet or crepe pan over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles immediately when dropped on the pan. Spray the pan very lightly with gluten-free, nonstick cooking spray. (The author sprays, then wipes with a paper towel.) Ladle 1 tablespoon of the batter onto the hot skillet and immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Cook the crepe until the edges look dry and the bottom is browned, about 1 minute. Flip the crepe over and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Keep warm while cooking the rest of the crepes.

Soap up your produce Everyone has their own level of cleanliness. My mom had a friend who didn’t mind her pet cat jumping upon the kitchen counter, but she washed all her grapes with soap and water. Were long, white cat hairs sticking to her “clean” grapes.
My mother is still rigid about cleaning produce, and has detail images seared into her mind like how the knife cutting an unclean watermelon will transfer bacteria into your portion of fruit. It’s like a “CSI” scene. Now she can wash her produce with what is essentially more produce.
Produce Magic is another product from the very natural Vermont Soap Organics company and I love the stuff made from “renewable and organic vegetable and botanical sources including saponified organic oils of coconut, olive and jojoba and a natural citrus essential oil blend with organic orange oil, organic aloe vera and rosemary extract.” All you have to do is spray it on, scrub and rinse. This is especially good to get rid pesticides, fertilizers, dirt, road grit, molds, fungi and waxes. Gardeners, think how this can green up your cucumber and tomato crops this season. Makers say it makes your food taste better, too.

Faith in pretzels
A reader brought me a pretzel, in the arms in prayer shape, with a little note to eat it as a reminder regarding Lenten fasting. Pretzels are also considered an indulgent snack, but read the label. They’re usually a better option than some crispy vending machine snacks. Snyder’s of Hanover is aware that snackers are becoming more aware and is now offering new Organic Whole Wheat Pretzel Nibblers made with organic whole wheat flour, organic blue agave syrup, organic expeller pressed sunflower oil and organic rosemary. Be sure to measure out the portable crunchies so you can stick with the 2 grams of fat per serving, 120 calories and all natural organic ingredients. A little can go a long way to curb hunger and satisfy. They actually taste good, not like something you’re substituting because you want something else.

Egg Fillers
The first thing I hear from several co-workers upon return from time off was how great some cakes were that I missed (and no one saved me a crumb), I shared from “The Edible Easter Garden from Wonka.” A package of Bottlecaps, Gobstoppers, Spree, and SweetTarts proved to be the favorite of many adults and these are designed to be plastic “Egg Fill,” as the colorful package proclaims.
Scrumdiddllyumptious Chocolate Eggs with crunchy toffee, cookie and peanuts have been an after-lunch treat for me and reporter Mary Meaux all week. She doesn’t know about the Exceptionals of swirled chocolate still in my desk. Sweet Tarts Jelly Beans in orange are packaged to look like a carrot. Grown people gobbled up packets of colored jelly beans at a staff meeting. I’m counting on the adults competing for Springy Double Yummy Gummies in duck, lamb and bunny shapes.

Finish your cookie dough
A ZonePerfect bar saved the day when I was feeling . . . flat. The tagline “Taste like cookie dough. Acts like a nutrition bar,” is not a tease. Three new flavors offering the comfort food flavors of chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal give a “naughty” dessert for breakfast feel with protein, vitamins and minerals. Find them in the nutrition aisle and plan a busy day. These bars will take you places.

Pass the shandy
Leienenkugel says it’s time for summer and presents the return of Summer Shandy, a beer with a lemon punch. I sipped some on my front lawn as a reward for weeding and pretended the calendar jumped ahead to June. I loved this shandy, which I’ve learned is short for shandygaff, a mixture of beer and soda or lemonade served in Europe since the 17 century. Makers of this brew also share the story of radler, the German term for cyclist. In September of 1922, Franz Xaver Kugler came up with this when about 13,000 cyclists visited his Munich tavern. The beer was running low, so he mixed the rest with lemonade and said it was just for the cyclists. Bravo, Franz!

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