cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dad's Day Picnic in the Park

Father's day--most dads would be content to just sleep the whole day and watch television for as long as they please; in my family's case that would be 13 hours straight of uninterrupted English soccer. But dad's never get what they want. Nope. As it should be, sleeping is replaced by planed exercise with all six children and all three canines at the park for a walk and picnic on a beautiful gray moist sunday in the Pacific Northwest. And a picnic needs food. Food that caters to the customer, so for fathers day, that means my dad. The flavors: corn, mexican sodas, and captain crunch. Mix those three together, maybe add a few bananas, some Guinness, and a sprinkling of crushed pecans and you get not the powerpuff girls, but me ol' dad. So, for a heart-healthy lunch I made homeade kamut mini-baguettes for barbecued chicken sandwiches with a mango chutney, a corn, tomato and basil summer salad in individual containers, mexican sodas, and of course, captain crunch crispy treats. Not the most sophisticated, nor exciting desert to make, but as a fake caterer I realize that cooking success isn't about what will impress, but rather about what caters to the specific tastes of what the meal is celebrating. Yes the master has spoken a great truth: cook what people like to eat. Revelations my friend.

This menu was prepared completely the day before; everything except the sandwich compiling. The star player happens to be the kamut and garbanzo flour mini-baguettes; gluten free, sweet, and admirably cute I must say. For the most part with baking I try to stay fairly parallel with a recipe, but I always teeter away, usually because I lack listed ingredients. A common occurrence for a college student with a pantry the size of a bathroom cabinet and a budget the size of, well...Anyways, 4 cups of kamut flour, 3 cups of Bob's garbanzo and fava bean flour mix, 2-3/4 cup warm water, tbsp yeast, 2 tsps salt, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 tsp tartar, yeast, sticky kneading that eventually adds two more cups of flour, shaping, and an egg wash, and you have kamut mini-baguettes perfect for sandwiches. Such as barbecued chicken marinated in orange marmalade and grapefruit juice, accompanied by a mango chutney, baby spinach leaves, and a slice of fresh mango. C'est parfait je sais.

Note: last time was quinoa, now kamut, yet another wheat substitute. amazing. Kamut is an Egyptian grain three times the size of a wheat grain, and provides a lot more proteins. Kamut was first introduced to the Western world in the 1930's as "King Tut's Wheat" accompanied by a legend of being sprouted from 3,000 year old grains found in a pyramid. History shows that it is not so difficult to hose an American, who upon planting of the seeds displayed his regal plant at the Montana state fair. Kamut is a very versatile grain, it can be bought as a flour, grain, or a flake similar to quinoa, and is ideal (in my opinion) for sweet baking and bread making, though it produces a slightly dense texture. Kamut puffed cereal is good too, but you may have trouble finding it if your market doesn't lean towards the organic persuasion. But nonetheless it is enjoyable to say. Kamut.

The corn and tomato summer salad starts with 4 ears of white corn blanched on the cob for 3 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, chopped basil, crumbled mozzarella, and a vinaigrette of 2 tbsps white wine vin, 1 tbsp red wine vin, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pack them up in little containers from the olive bar at the market, and it's picnic perfect. Finish up with rice crispy treats made not with rice crispies, but captain crunch! Innovative and portable. It was a successful fathers day, beat the rain by a few minutes and surprised dad with a coffee bur grinder. Oh the joys of life I know. You should have seen what I did for mothers day. A ginger pear clafouti for breakfast, and a ginger thai basil beef curry for dinner followed by an orange chocolate mousse. Hmmmm what's the next holiday I can exploit for an excuse to cook...independence day. I think I'll do an international theme for that dinner. Apple pie and burgers are out of the question.

A bientรดt.

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