If I never see California again, it will be too soon.

For those of you following (Hi mom!), it’s been a week since I started blogging again, with the express purpose of keeping you up to date during our trek BACK across the country from Seattle, WA to old O-H-I-O.  And for those of you who don’t know, it’s not for a visit, we are moving back to our original home state.  (It’s a long story for another time)

We left Seattle on November 30th with our first two stops set: Cannon Beach, OR for 3 nights (which turned into 4 because we were tired and enjoying our stay) and then on to Cescent City, CA for a 2 night stop in the Redwoods, which Brigid has always wanted to see.  Cannon Beach was fantastic, despite being in the 30′s.  The beach is simply incredible and the dogs, get ready….absoutly loved the ocean front. (which, for 2 pups who hate water, was very exciting for us).

Our stay in the mountains near the Redwoods, though a bit rustic and unexpeted, was rather nice.  We were able to let the dogs roam a bit and it snowed the day we left, which was Thursday.  Our next stop was to be south of Oakland/San Fran for a night, and then on to Flagstaff, AR.  That’s when Mother Nature chimed in.

We made it about 60 miles south of Crescent City when we learned HWY 101 was closed due to snow.  We had no where to go but to turn around and go north.  On a side not, if you ever find yourself in the little crap town of Laytonville, CA, quickly keep going. (If you’re from there, I don’t care, it’s still a crap town).  We then ended up 40 miles and 3 hours later, back in the direction we stated at a camp ground with a small 8 unit “hotel”.  It was not quite Deliverence, but I slept with one eye open with my coat and stocking cap on….

Surviving that night, we traveled south as far as we could and stayed in Bakersfield last night, got up early this morning, jumped on St Rt 58 and BAM!, pass was closed due to snow.  We reluctantly turned around and decided to go all the way down to the LA bypass, past Pasadena and over to Phoenix, where we are right now.  Phew!

There are many more sordid details, but my energy is sapped.  But, we are determined to make it to Flagstaff and luckily are only a couple hours away when we wake up tomorrow.

Also, I can’t post photos right now on this site, so I plan on putting them on FB.  Check them out.  Chow for now.

 

Familiarity in Reverse

My kingdom for a chauffeur, a valet and hyper sleep…..

Ever seen the (very bad) movie The Happening? Minus the killer environment, bad acting and completely different plot, we are embarking, once again, on our Happening.

For those that don’t know, the clan of Mercer Jr’s are moving back to Ohio. Say Whaaat? Yes, it’s true. I’m too tired for a long tale, but, I’ve been asked to blog our way home just a I blogged during our journey out to Seattle.

For now, I leave you at our first stop; Cannon Beach, OR, where we will be nesting fir 3 nights before making our way to the Red Woods of California.

more to come….

 

Gluten-Free Strawberry Pie

Gluten-Free Strawberry Pie.

OK boys and girls, we have a winner!  I’m always a bit wary when baking a pie for the first time, but this was a success in every way.  As always I adapted a recipe that I found and gave it that ‘ole Pie Daddy Flavor.  It got the “mmmmmm!” from Mrs. PD, and that is what I like call The Final Stamp of Approval.

Fresh Strawberries were the key.

I have been very frustrated of late with the quality of my pie crusts.  Not the flavor, mind you, but the consistency and the fact that I keep being unhappy with how they roll-out.  This is the one part of my pie making that I am trying to become “one” with, but it just seems to elude me.  Yes, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and I will continue to work at it.  The pie crust for this particular pie gave me incredible fits, but, in the end, it turned out to be the best tasting yet.  I have worked with several kinds of crusts; be it all butter, all shortening, or in this case, half and half.  Mrs. Pie Daddy enjoys the butter taste and I like flaky, so we compromise.

Gluten Free Strawberry Pie

Ready for the oven, I used a cookie cut-out for the circles instead of embracing the usual lattice approach. The hummingbird is also a cookie cut-out.

As I said, the recipe below (which is very basic and I got from the Food Network) was overhauled by yours truly.  I added more sugar, the vanilla, flour and lime juice, which were not a part of the original.  I hope you try this and let me know how it turns out.  If you have your own recipe for a Strawberry Pie, let me know and I will post it. Have a great weekend everyone!

Gluten Free Strawberry Pie:

1 double pie crust (gluten free of your choice)

5 Cups of fresh strawberries, cut in half (I only had 4 cups, but could have used 5)

3/4 Cup sugar

3 Tbsp corn starch

1 Tbsp GF flour

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

Fresh Lime Juice from 1 Lime

*4 Tbsp of melted butter

*Sugar

 

Directions:

Roll out one pie crust and place it in your pie pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and gently stir together (*the melted butter and extra sugar is for the top of the crust, so don’t mix these into the strawberries).  While this sits, either make a lattice work top from your second crust (cutting 1 1/2 inch length strips and interlace to interlace them on top of the filling, or use a small round cookie cutter to cut small circles and place them on top of the filling.  Place the filling into the pie and then place the crust style of your choice on top. Brush the melted butter on top of your crust and then sprinkle the sugar on.

This cooks for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then turn the oven down to 350 and continue to cook for about 30 minutes or until the crust is brown and the “juices” are bubbling.  I tend to turn my pie 180 degrees after I switch temps just in case my oven does not cook evenly.  I also place a pie ring on top of the crust after about 15 minutes so the outside ring of crust does not burn. Place on cooling rack. Eat!

Ground Turkey Pasta Dish, Gluten-Free

A quick recipe for today for a wonderful pasta dish I made up.  This was super easy and very tasty, though a bit spicy.

1 lb. ground turkey breast

1/2 bag of Tinkyada brand gluten-free pasta spirals

4 small zucchini (cut into small slices)

3 large handfuls of baby spinach (about half a bag)

1 large jar of your favorite pasta sauce

1 small can of Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

cook the turkey breast until just done in a large cast iron skillet.  At the same time, in 2 separate pans, cook the spinach and zucchini.  When done, add to the turkey in the skillet.  Then, add the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes and stir all together.  On your fourth burner, while all of this is happening, cook your pasta.  When that is done, drain it and add it to the skillet and stir it all together.  Place the entire mix in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top.  Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Every Day Should be Cookie Day, Yes?

Maple leafs waiting completion….

It’s been awhile, but I finally had good reason to dust off the ‘ole cookie cutters and get to work.  The theme for today was “Fall”, not because summer is over, but simply for the lone reason that I wanted to use my leaf cutter.  I also have a new recipe for a fantastic gluten-free pasta dish, that I will put up tomorrow.  For today, enjoy the pics of the cookies…..and I’ll enjoy the taste!

Gluten-Free goodness; completed!

Mrs. Pie Daddy Gets In On The Act!

Vague Personified. Good Luck!

I have decided that today, Tuesday, August 21, 2012 is Vague Recipe Day.  It’s a day that will forever live in infamy, or, at the very least, a day that allows me to show off a dish that B made last week.  This dish was absolutely incredible.  So incredible, in fact, that a casserole that could have served a dinner party of 12-16 people, was downed by yours truly in just under 3 days.  Delish!

It’s Vague Recipe Day, not because I am too lazy to type up this fantastic delight for you, but because Mrs. Pie Daddy doesn’t measure and asking her to guestimate is like asking me to chew slowly so I can taste me food.  So, what I am going to do for all of you lucky readers is give you the ingredients and allow you to live life on the edge.

I will call this dish Cream Cheese Chicken Surprise.

2 chicken breasts, brown rice, fresh yellow squash, sweet onion, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese (sprinkled on top), olive oil, salt, pepper, red cheyenne pepper, paprika.

That’s it.  I believe she steamed the squash and pan cooked the onion before hand. The Brown Rice was Trader Joe’s and she microwaved the bag first. She boiled the chicken and then diced it.  She then mixed it all together in a 9×13 baking dish and placed it in the oven.  Time?  Don’t know.  See, vague, no?  Oh, and I know you are asking, why cream cheese?  It’s all the cheese we had, besides a few small handfuls of shredded mozzarella.

Enjoy it, I know I did.

 

My Kingdom for a Gluten-Free Biscuit!

I want it now!

I am not happy.  The picture above?  Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling right now.  If you know me, one of my favorite edible delectables is a good, old fashioned southern buttermilk biscuit.  The problem?  I have yet to make any that are up to snuff.

A little history on my feeble attempts at biscuit making goes all the way back to the halls of my junior high school.  That particular day in home economics class remembers a smiling boy heading home with recipe in hand.  I was on top of the world, having just made my first ever anything in terms of cooking or baking.  Next up; making them for my family.  Problem?  I reversed the measurements for the sugar and salt.  Result? Something that amounted to Play-Doh and my parents trying to disguise their sourpuss looks that were impossible to hide.  Damn the Biscuit Gods!!

I have tried once or twice, since then, and while the results are not as scarring as my virgin try, I have never made a biscuit worthy of praise.  This includes my attempt on Monday of this week.  I decided to go basic, choosing a random recipe off the ‘net. The taste was decent, but there was no good rise in the dough, and they were nothing to write home about.

So, in a word, help!  I would love everyone reading this to send me a good gluten-free buttermilk biscuit recipe.  I have an all-purpose GF flour that I use, so keep that in mind. At some point, I plan on trying them all out, depending on how many responses I receive.  I want to also give you credit, so know ahead of time that any recipe you send me is with your permission to post it.

I thank you in advance and my lovely wife thanks you.  She too loves a good buttermilk biscuit and was so very excited when I told her I tried a batch this week.

Have a great Wednesday!

 

 

Get To Know Me, Again.

Seattle Landscape

Seattle from our “backyard”.

Time.  What a very strange concept in our household.  If there is one thing we have learned since our move to Seattle, its this: There is never enough time in The Emerald City.  Too much to explore, to much fantastic outdoor life to even think about visiting, and too much traffic bunched together to get where you want to go. (at least on time anyway).

The good news is I have made it a point to start writing again.  And not just on Pie Daddy; I am starting to write on some other blogs and hone my delicious need to put thought to type.  Watch out world, this normally “keep it to myself” personality is soon to be all over the net with opinion in hand!

One piece of news concerns my baking:  I have not done near as much as I would like, but the few times I have accomplished it has resulted in a new wave of Pie Daddy converts.  And let me tell you, that’s no easy feat in a city that is well versed on all things gluten-free.  And Vegan!  This is an entire new subset of folks that I have quickly had to learn about.  Vegan-ism is huge here.  It has been an education.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

My first Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, I kid you not, was eaten by B and her mom in less than 3 days. They’ve never been so quiet…..

I am going to start to introduce some new aspects to the blog.  Other than recipes, some mouth watering photos of Pie Daddy goods, and some good stories, I thought I’d try some product reviews (there are plenty to talk about), some links to articles I have found, and if I am lucky, some chats.  Oh, and I would still like to hear from you. Throw it at me.  Ask questions, give feedback, request information, etc.

If you are new, let me give you a quick and dirty description of me, Pie Daddy, being gluten-free, and why I am doing this blog. I am not a Celiac and I am not gluten intolerant.  But, I am the husband of a wonderful young woman who, a few years ago, discovered she was, indeed, sensitive to gluten.

I am also not a chef, professional baker, nor even an experienced cook.  Once B was determined to be gluten intolerant, she could no longer enjoy a good many foods that she once did.  Eating out was next to impossible, having a tasty treat was no longer enjoyable, and the baked goods and carb-based food we did find was, well, plain ‘ole nasty! (and this was from about 3 years ago).

This was not OK with me, at all.  So, I took it upon myself to start learning about gluten-free eating, searching the net for tasty food, and finally taking a stab at learning to be “self contained” by slowly learning to cook & bake fare that was both tasty for B and safe.

Skip to now: after 3 long years, while I am still quite the novice in the kitchen, I have discovered that the artist who no longer has time to paint, can now create in the kitchen. There has been hits.  There have been many more misses.  But, all in all, B has a full variety of food she can safely consume and I have discovered an audience who, how shall I say, has pleasantly discovered that gluten-free baked goods are every bit as good as those that are wheat based.  Who knew?!

I will try to publish at least a few times a week, keeping you up to date and what is happening, things I discover, and tales that need telling.  Thanks for reading and good eating everyone!

 

 

Pie Daddy Redux

Good Day All!

Moving, moving and moving.  Did I say moving?  It is already August and much to the dismay of many (and by that what I really mean is me) February is the date that lingers at the top of my last post.  Sigh.

Our move to Seattle is now over seven months old, yet our “temporary” stay downtown has finally see us transition into a new home in West Seattle, now a month past.  Finally having settled down, a bit, I am determined to see Pie Daddy get back to it and I am going to keep my fingers crossed that you will join me and hold my feet to the fire.

I do have many a tale to tell about our experiences in Seattle concerning Gluten-Free life, but, I also am determined to move forward with informative articles, expanding Pie Daddy to include interaction, recipes, the occasional Boogh tale, and fame.  Well, not so much the last one, but, hey, a guy can dream right?

I will say at this point, even though my writing has been on hiatus, that I now have over 50 followers. However, I realize after looking at the user names that I honestly have no idea who most of you are (not you mom!).  Because of my desire to make Pie Daddy more interactive I am asking any and all of you to drop me an email or a comment and let me know a bit about you.  Please, feel free to tell me how you found me, why you follow me, what you would like to see on this site, etc.   Tell me your story.  And, in that vein, I’m thinking of a Pie Daddy News Letter, but wanted to gauge interest first.  If I get enough feedback, I will let all of you know it’s a “go” and you can sign up for it.

Thanks everyone!  I will be back with some good stories and recipes soon and hope to hear from all of you.  A teaser for tomorrow: A Redux of a Redux (or something to that affect). Cheers!