Well, Kate is enjoying a couple of well-deserved days off – she is probably at the Hillside Festival right now, as are most right-thinking Guelph people – so I thought I would sneak in a post or two. I’m susan, kitchen manager here at Loyola House.
Today I spent some time in our kitchen herb garden, something I haven’t done enough of recently. I dead-headed our chive border, harvested some sage and tried to persuade the mint that it didn’t need to take over all the available space…. I was about to trim back the dill before it seeded itself in inappropriate places when I noticed at least 5 pre-butterflies (sounds more picturesque than caterpillars, n’est pas?). Looking closer, I saw a sixth one writhing on the ground – which even to an indifferent entomologist such as myself didn’t seem like optimum behaviour. It must have fallen off and was being attacked by a large red ant. I bravely fought off the ant – which was fully 1/800th of my size and placed the caterpillar on the highest dill umbel I could find. If it thrives, we’ll have a naming ceremony on Tuesday (when Kate gets back with her camera) and follow its progress. I think it must be a black swallowtail. Time will tell.
I was mainly after mint to make up a large batch of Tabbouleh for Saturday’s supper. This group of retreatants includes several who are gluten-sensitive, so we make the salad with quinoa instead of couscous. It is tastier and more nutritious, although more expensive. Tonight I took the extra time to rinse and toast the quinoa before cooking it, curious to see if I could detect a difference in flavour. I do think it is worth the extra time but for heaven’s sake, no matter what the Joy of Cooking says, 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of quinoa is TOO MUCH! It came out gluey and the delicate structure of the grain was lost, alas. I add really extravagant amounts of well-dried, chopped parsley and mint so that leavened the texture somewhat. It was darn tasty though and all that chlorophyll is so good for you! I will try it again next week and append the recipe when I get it just right.
What we did get right tonight was a wonderful batch of cookies for the gluten and dairy-free diets. Try them, you will not believe the texture!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Mix until smooth….
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar … ok, we use organic cane sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
(optional, 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
Shape into balls of about 1 heaping tablespoon each and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Flatten cookies with a fork – dip fork in coarse sugar in between so it doesn’t stick.
Bake at 350 F for 10 – 12 minutes or until puffed, golden and beginning to brown around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before attempting to move them. Hide them well if you want any left tomorrow!