Sunday, April 1, 2012

A post-gluten-free week

A lot of New Mexicans spend their Sundays at the mall. That's why it's hard to get a table at the Barnes and Noble Cafe. This is where the husbands sit while the wives, all done up, are oohing and aahing over this or that cute top, which they will continue to do throughout the afternoon. You can also find UNM students at the Barnes and Noble Cafe. Too poor to buy the books, they get a cup of coffee and browse the materials for free. Not a bad deal. In fact, most days I do the same. I am still a college student at heart.

Today started with a matin sauna session, where a couple of Spanish-speaking guys were talking far more than they were sweating. Since you can't do anything else in the sauna except stare at other less-clothed people, which nobody likes to do, I usually try to use the opportunity to meditate. Fifteen minutes to think about nothing but my breath. Since my chatty company of two banished any trace of peace I might have had coming my way, the whole experience left me rather peeved. So, this coffee I'm sipping at the Barnes and Noble Cafe better be conducive to meditation.

The post-gluten-free week was not as flamboyant as you might think. I made no pastries, no extravagant cakes, and aside from my signature whole wheat-sesame seed bread the only true brag-worthy thing was the goat cheese pizza with whole wheat crust - my best yet! So here they are, the week's best in pictures:

Last Sunday's breakfast was supposed to celebrate the end of gluten deprivation, but...
somehow it ended up being gluten-free too. Bacon and over-easy eggs and a salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers on the side.

Monday, fajitas! We made this with deeply-marinated chicken, yellow peppers, onions and a side of brown rice. By the way, did you know that out of green, yellow and red bell peppers, the yellow ones have the most Vitamin C? Who knew.

This is my world-renowned whole wheat-sesame seed bread, toasted, with butter and rose jam. Yes, jam made out of rose petals! A fitting mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

 Wednesday's salad was so beautiful I had a hard time eating it. Tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, radishes, kale, green olives and goat cheese, with some olive oil sprinkled on top for glossy effect.

This smoothie is not for the faint of heart. Banana, raspberries, mango chunks (all frozen) plus raw protein powder and cocoa. Fruity, chocolatey and nutty all at once.

This West-African soup is a gem I found in The Soup Bible. It's made with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, raisins and spinach. I drowned a big spoon of Israeli couscous in it and it really came together.

I sense you're not completely convinced of how wonderful this soup was, so here is another portrait. This soup grew on me with every bowl, I swear.

Pizza with whole wheat crust, goat cheese (instead of mozzarella), prosciutto, mushrooms and New Mexico's finest green chile. The bread maker helped me make the dough for the crust, which is half-white wheat and half-whole wheat. The cheddar goat cheese didn't melt as nicely as mozzarella would have, so next time I'll make sure to have some of that on hand. Overall, a winner. It baked in the oven for 25 minutes for extra crispiness.

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