law school

It’s difficult, and exhilarating, and everything I expected it to be.

I was going to regale you with exciting tales of the Socratic method, of color-coded note taking and bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, of my love affair with briefing cases, and the new-to-me world of legal podcasts.

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Instead, I’ll report on the sliver of my life that hasn’t changed. I’m still obsessively tending my little farm, creating chaos in the kitchen, and finding an excuse to bake something every day.

A couple of weekends ago, I picked tomatoes.

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And then I made a tart.

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Tomato chèvre galette with a cornmeal crust

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The tomatoes used in my galette pictured above were already roasted, because my cashew chèvre was quite tangy and I wanted my tomatoes extra sweet. However. The recipe is written for raw tomatoes, which are what I most often use. Be sure your layer of cheese underneath is nice and thick (to soak up any extra juice). If you go the roasted tomato route, the time it takes to preheat the oven and roast them is about the same amount of time it takes to chill the dough. Chilled coconut oil can be used in place of vegan butter, but it warms up more quickly so observe mise en place before you get started, to keep things moving along. Time spent from rolling out the dough to sliding the galette into the oven is under fifteen minutes. If the dough tears when you’re folding up the sides, just pinch it together and carry on; free form tarts are supposed to look rustic, not polished.

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1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour + additional flour for rolling out the dough
1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons vegan butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup ice water

3/4 cup vegan chèvre-style cheese
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch fine grain sea salt
2-3 grinds of white pepper
Soy (or other non-dairy) milk, for brushing the crust

In a food processor add the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt, and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse again, until it’s in pea-sized pieces. Add the olive oil and ice water and pulse a few more times until the dough comes together; it will be sticky. Turn the dough out onto the center of a large piece of parchment (the size of your baking tray) and shape it into a disk, adding a little spelt flour to the top of the disk to keep it from sticking to your hands. Carefully fold the parchment up around the disk, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap (or zip inside a gallon-sized bag), and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Fifteen minutes before you want to put the galette into the oven, adjust a rack to the center position and preheat to 375 F / 190 C. Halve the tomatoes and set aside.

When the dough is ready to be rolled out, carefully unwrap the parchment paper. Roll the dough into a circle until it reaches the edge of the parchment – or is 1/4-inch thick – whichever comes first. Sprinkle with flour as you go along to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. Transfer the parchment/dough to the baking tray you’ll be using and put it into the freezer for a few minutes to firm the dough back up. When you pull it back out, leave the parchment on the baking tray while you finish putting the galette together. Carefully spread the cheese out from the center, leaving a two-inch border of dough. Arrange the tomatoes in an even layer over the cheese, cut side up. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and thyme leaves over the tomatoes. Using a spatula if necessary to avoid sticking, lift up an edge of the dough and fold it up over the filling. Continue folding the dough, forming a pleated edge as you go along. Pinch any tears in the dough together with your fingers. Brush the dough with soy milk. Bake until the crust has browned, 35-40 minutes. Slide the galette onto a cooling rack and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. This tastes good both warm from the oven and at room temperature.

Prep time (dough): 10 minutes | Prep time (galette): 15 minutes | Inactive resting time: 1 hour | Cook time: 40 minutes

These muffins keep stealing my pear butter

You know that pear butter I made a week or two ago? It’s gone, baby, gone.

{Film note/Aside: We had an Affleck mini film festival over the weekend. It’s Southie accents run amok at our place right now. You’re so, so lucky I don’t have the patience to type things the way I’ve been pronouncing them. And I’m so, so lucky my husband puts up with my attempt to work ‘cah’ or ‘Hahvuhd’ into every other sentence. Even though the word Harvard probably isn’t spoken once in either Gone Baby Gone or The Town. Also, every time I say ‘cah’ we get off on a “Stop the cah, Cole. Stop the cah!” tangent. If my daughter doesn’t turn out schizophrenic, it will be a small miracle.}

Where were we?

muffins.meet.ganacheSpeckled muffins, about to receive a crumb coating of bittersweet ganache/mousse/whatever.

My favorite thing about being gluten free is the inherent multi-graininess of it all. As I’ve become familiar with different grains, I’ve learned which ones pair best with each other, with stone fruits, with chocolate, or with absolutely nothing at all. Kamut, I’m talking to you. 

multigraininessKamut free.

These muffins are the perfect blend of almond and corn and sorghum and oats, rounded out with turbinado sugar, dark chocolate and sage-infused pear butter.

gf.multigrain.perfection.muffins

appeasing.the.gargoyleWe always offer this fella a bite. He’s super impressed with the crumb of these muffins.

Multi-grain pear & chocolate chunk muffins

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Any fruit purée or butter will work for these, but in my house it’s almost always pear butter. Pumpkin is a very close second. Adapted a zillion times over from this recipe, which Celine adapted from here after I sent her some pear butter.

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2/3 Cup sweet sorghum flour
2/3 Cup almond meal
2/3 Cup potato starch
1/3 Cup steel cut oats
1/2 Cup cornmeal
1 Cup almond milk
1/4 Cup sunflower oil
1/2 Cup turbinado sugar
1 Cup pear butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 small (1.5-2 oz) dark chocolate bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C with a rack positioned in the center. Line 16 standard muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray without paper liners, for 14 standard muffins.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, almond meal, potato starch, steel cut oats and cornmeal.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, oil, sugar, pear butter, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt and apple cider vinegar.

Stir wet ingredients into dry. Fold in chocolate.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 14 muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 22-24 minutes

Rule breaker // Super fluffy gluten free buckwheat pear pancakes

You know how most book lovers have certain things they just will not tolerate? At least one of these things usually makes its way onto a bibliophile’s Do Not Do list: Dog-earing corners; placing down an open book with its spine facing up instead of using a bookmark; using inappropriate items to mark your place; writing in a book.

For me, not writing in books was a steadfast rule. For thirty-odd years, I wouldn’t so much as pencil my name inside the cover of a book. All of that changed when I found out I was allergic to wheat, and suddenly realized that almost none of my favorite recipes were wheat/gluten free. I attempted rewriting every single recipe out in my own hand. But then – well, have you seen my handwriting?

editsMost of my favorite cookbooks now look like this.

Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and definitely my favorite one to bake from. I bought it while I was still figuring out whether my issues were with wheat or all things gluten, and as a result I got into the habit of adapting most of this books’s recipes to be gluten free. (And vegan.)

buckwheat.pear.pancakes buckwheat.pear.pcakes.crossectionlots of height and a tender crumb, all done without gluten, xanthan gum or powdered egg replacer

Buckwheat cornmeal pear pancakes

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I think these taste best if you use vegan butter in the batter, but they also taste pretty good if you use coconut oil. They hold their height and crumb after they’ve cooled, and reheat well the next day. You can eat them folded up taco-style around a few strips of tempeh bacon, or stacked up and drizzled with maple syrup. Most of the time, I serve them with whatever fruit didn’t make it into our morning smoothie.

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Coconut oil or vegan butter, for the pan

Dry mix:
1/3 Cup buckwheat flour
1/3 Cup fine grain cornmeal
1/3 Cup potato starch
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt

Wet mix:
1 Tablespoon unsalted vegan butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 Cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon flaxseed, ground (grind after measuring)
1 Tablespoon very hot water
1 medium pear, ripe but firm, peeled

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Whisk the melted butter, soy milk, and apple cider vinegar until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the whole peeled pear into the batter; the juice should also fall into the bowl. Gently fold the grated pear into the batter. The batter should be slightly thick, with flecks of pear throughout.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter or coconut oil, to ensure crisp, buttery edges. Working quickly, dollop 1/4 Cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth as needed before griddling additional batches. If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly. Repeat until all of the batter is gone.

Be sure to ‘test’ the first one out of the griddle; they disappear fast.

Yield: 6-7 pancakes

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10-15 minutes