Friday, October 5, 2012

Going Gluten Free....

Looks like an ordinary loaf of Bread.....

I can't believe that is have been over a year since I last posted.  Time flies when you are busy enjoying life and making pastries.  Lots has happened in the past year. I've been told I have progressed in my French speaking skills, I've slowly adjusted to Parisian life, I moved to a new (bigger) apartment, Got a real oven, traveled to Italy and Ireland, and I even got married again (but thankfully to the same wonderful man)!  Oh yes, and I changed jobs.....

After spending close to a year working at Kooka Boora and teaching classes at La Cuisine, I need to cut back a bit and relax.  So I said farewell to KB and continued to teach at La Cuisine, keeping my eyes open for my next kitchen job.  I was looking for something challenging and new, something to push me forward and keep me learning....and that is exactly what I found.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you NOGLU, a 100% Gluten Free Restaurant in Paris, and now my second home.  While thankfully I can still eat as many delicious, crusty, chewy French baguettes as I want, I have friends and family members who run the gamut of gluten intolerant to Celiac.  Ever since taking a few course in Gluten free baking during my time at Cambridge Culinary, I've been interested in Gluten free.  When the opportunity to work for one the first 100% Gluten Free restaurants in Paris was presented to me, I couldn't say no.

Noglu has turned out to be the challenge I was looking for.  Gluten is so essential in so many of our baked goods and not being able to use regular, good old wheat flour, has turned my world upside down (but in a good way of course).  Of course there are pastries that easily adapt to being Gluten Free (ie Macarons are naturally without Flour, therefore Gluten Free) and others may never appear in my line up at Noglu (sorry Croissants, I'll save you for La Cuisine). 

I've become more consumed by my job then ever before.  I think about it almost nonstop (much to the annoyance of my husband, who now constantly suspects my pastries made at home are secretly Gluten Free.....maybe they are...) I work in a beautiful space, I have a great boss and an awesome team to work with. Most days are great, a lot of my recipes have adapted well and haven't noticed to much that I've secretly substituted that wheat flour for a mix or rice, millet, tapioca or other various non-gluten containing flours.  We play well together.  Then once in a while there is a days where I decide to try something new......and it doesn't always work the way I want.  My highs are higher and my lows are lower at times.  Its a whole new playing field.  But the best part of it is the satisfaction of the clients, who look at all my pastries and still in disbelief ask if they are all truly Gluten Free, and then are finally able to enjoy something they couldn't for so long. 

So I can't promise to post more often, but at least now you know what is keeping me away from this blog, and that I am really happy in my work right now. Really happy making other people really happy.

My Gluten Free Bread, Available Each Day at NOGLU
(oh and its delicious)

You can follow Noglu on Facebook, where we post our daily menu and photos of our delicious Gluten Free goodies. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Welcoming Fall with Pumpkin Cheesecake

 What's orange and tastes good when you're homesick?

We never really had a summer in Paris this year.  April was extraordinarily nice, warm and full of weeks of endless sunshine.  May followed with a few days of sun and moderate temperatures and then Summer packed its bags and went elsewhere....leaving Paris in cool temperatures with lots of rain and clouds.  We had a few hot days in late August (while I was on the beach in Corsica, where it was definitely summer).  Now that September has arrived, it's still cool, but now it feels fall-ish.  My favorite time of year.  Its also strange to think I've been here almost a year now.  September normally signals my return to the US of A and puts me in a weird not wanting leave, but wanting badly to see those people dear to me in America land. For this reason the start of September has put me in a nostalgic mood.  I'm happy to be staying on in Paris, but really experiencing a bit of comes and goes. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cannelés Bordelais

 My first ever, from Thevenin near the Jardin du Luxembourg

Maybe if you love them as much as I do, you can just call them Cannelés.  I'm not sure when or how I learned of them.  I don't recall making them in culinary school.  Maybe I saw a photo of them and something about their shapely sides, dimpled tops and buttery glow lured me in.  I do remember the first time I ate one.  It was my first visit to Paris.  I was wandering towards the Jardin du Luxembourg and dropped into a patisserie on the rue Notre Dame des Champs to get something for lunch.  I spied a tray of the little gems and ordered two along with a nice salmon tartine.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The New Job

I have a new job.  I've actually had it since early June and I've alluded to it many times.  I'll be honest, that I have struggled with weather or not I should share it.  It's not that it is a place to be ashamed of, or that I have anything to hide; it's just to me it's a really big deal and I want everything to be perfect!  However, its a bit of a work in progress....

 The French owned, American/English style cafe with an Australian name

Monday, July 25, 2011

In a Pinch

 Chocolate Tart

Have you ever read a recipe that says, a pinch of this and a large spoonful of that?  That is how old recipes used to be before everyone had a scale and cups, ounces, and the metric system even existed.  It's a lot easier now days. In culinary school, after measuring salt, sugar and flour over and over, I got pretty good as guessing how much I needed.  That is how older recipes worked, the person who wrote the recipe knew from repeated making of the recipe how much worked each time.  However there are times I still find myself in a "pinch" wanting to make a dessert but not having access to proper measuring equipment. Believe it or not, not every kitchen in France is as well equipped for pastry making as mine is.  And while I can pretty much eyeball a teaspoon of salt without an actual teaspoon still, other measures are not as easy for me now.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Dinner

 Fresh Ingredients for Ratatouille

The visitors are slowly beginning to arrive.  My friend Anne warned me about it.  She has had a steady stream of visitors since I meet her back in December (and I've been secretly jealous).  I want people to come visit me and see where I live (just don't all come at once please, it might get a little crowded).  Oh course visiting me right now means staying in a hotel and then just meeting me for lunches, dinners and a little Paris sight seeing; I don't have a guest room.  But if you're willing to buy the plane ticket, find a reasonable hotel or apartment to crash in, I'd be very happy to have you over for dinner.  

It's starting with my cousins, which is great.  Romain has not got much of a chance to meet my extended family.  And considering my immediate family is so large....meeting all the extended family at once would be completely overwhelming.  He still forgets a brother or two when trying to name all my siblings (mainly Jeff, lol).  First my cousin Angie on my Dad's side visited.  She was here for a few days during a bit of a European tour with her girlfriend.  We had nice dinner at Le Petit Canard and a nice lunch a few days later at my favorite place Le Cafe du Commerce.

Last week Angie's younger brother Brad and his wife Corrine arrived in France for a visit.  They are staying a bit longer so I invited them over for dinner and we'll check out some restaurants a little later in their stay.
Thankfully neither of them are picky eaters, so I went all out planning a nice dinner including some good traditional French apero for them to try.  Rillettes de porc, saucisson with noisette (hazelnuts), fresh baguette cereals, and Rice and Buckwheat crackers for Corinne who is allergic to Gluten ( I can accommodate!).

I was going to make a simple Ratatouille and Seared Tuna steaks.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Tuna at my local fish shop, so I took some Cod instead. When I got home from my shopping, I decided to get a little fancy with my Ratatouille and dress it up a little.  I took some of my small circle rings ( that I have used for anything from making small tarts to English Muffins)  I covered one side in foil to make them like small dishes and started layering my veggies inside. I wanted to make a Ratatouille timbale of sorts.   It worked out pretty well and was delicious with the lightly fried Cod in a lemon and butter sauce.  We followed that with 3 types of cheese and of course dessert: Chocolate Cherry Clafloutis!  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bread- the next challenge

 Seeded Baguette

I am my Father's daughter, you've probably heard me say it before.  I have a hard time letting people do things for me that I can do for myself.  I used to change the oil in my car instead of taking to one of those quick lube places.  It wasn't so much to save money, it was more so I knew what was going, a bit of quality control (had a few bad experiences with sloppy work and forgetfulness at some of those instant places) and also to be able to brag a bit that yes I know how to change my own oil.  What does this have to do with Pastry?