Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gluten Free Scones

I have a recipe that my mom brought back from England, back in the eighties (read: before Starbucks), when not many Americans knew what scones were. I love to make it, because the scones come out light, tender and delicious. But since avoiding gluten, I have also had to avoid my favorite breads and that includes these yummy scones.
Now, I was doing the GF thing okay for several months until it came to Christmas. All those traditional goodies were wearing me down! I didn't cheat, because I really have resolved to avoid gluten as best as I can, since I feel so much better. I can't believe that I put up with all these digestive difficulties for so long and that going gluten free has changed it so drastically. But I was really fighting it for a while, until I began searching the internet for some good recipes.
Something I have been unable to understand about GF recipes is that the reviews will say it is wonderful, but when I make it, it is tasteless and the texture is disgusting. And why in the world, don't they put salt in the baked goods, when the starchy flours have no taste of their own?
OK, enough of my fussing about others' recipes.
After Christmas, I was craving some kind of treat. Everyone else was eating cookies, etc so I made a recipe from here for Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins that uses sorghum and oats and it was yummy. The muffins were moist and edible for days after baking, which was amazing to me.
Since the muffins were successful, I decided to give the scones a try using the GF flour mix by Carol Fenster. She uses sorghum flour and other starches in her mix. 
I didn't alter the recipe, though I did cut it in half, so I didn't have too many to eat, let alone the temptation to eat the whole batch in the first place! I added a bit of xanthan gum to keep the scones from being too crumbly and a bit of flaxseed meal to up the fiber and nutrition.
They turned out really well! Now that I made it from the standard recipe, I am going to attempt the pumpkin cranberry scones that I was making before I went GF.

So, if you have stuck with me through all the explanation, here is the recipe:

Gluten Free Scones
makes 4 scones

1 cup flour mix (Carol Fenster' sorghum mix)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional)
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 tablespoons milk (adding a bit more if necessary)
sugar & cinnamon blend for garnish

Prepare baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. Blend all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or fork, until butter is down to tiny pieces. Add milk and blend into a thick biscuit-like dough, mixing in more milk if it is too dry. (Be very careful here, it will get too wet very quickly. I added about 2 teaspoons more.) Put a bit of oil on your hands and gather up dough, patting into a circle about 6 inches across and 1 inch thick on the baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar & cinnamon over the top as desired.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Tap top of scones, if top is crisp and springs back, they are done. Do not overbake, they will be dry.

I really hope someone likes these besides me. Personal tastes are different, so not everyone will like them, but I put them out there for the adventurous GF bakers to try.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Gift

I'd like you to meet my grandpa, Jack Cooke. 
I made this portrait of him for my mom and stepdad for Christmas from a photograph I took of him years ago. When I completed it and hung it up to see how it turned out, I was so happy to see my grandpa looking back at me. I am especially thrilled with his overalls. I searched our local fabric store for something appropriate and was about to give up when I saw some seersucker, stuffed on a low shelf. I resigned myself to buy it, but wasn't sure it was going to work. Then I decided to over-dye it with gray, to create some shadow areas and it all fell into place. The crinkles in the seersucker actually work to look more like worn denim and the stripes are the correct scale for the size of the portrait. Happy accident!

How did I do this you ask?
I took a class at Quilt University online last fall. It was called "Realistic Portraits" by Marilyn Belford and I highly recommend it! She is a wonderful quilt artist and teacher. She was patient and very helpful with her comments and generous with her skills. Be sure to visit her website and see her fabulous quilts!

Dragon Star

This quilt was finished in August 2011, in time to give it as a gift to my son, to commemorate a special date of his. I began working on it over 10 years ago and for various reasons, it was never finished. I designed myself into a problem, when I couldn't figure out what borders to put on and I gave up and put it away. It was originally meant to be a bed quilt, but I discovered that it was only going to be a wall quilt when I pulled it out to finish it this year.
The dragon was painted on fabric by my mom, using a design that she had drawn into a painting for my son. It had two dragons, a castle and some other things, all done with colored pencil. It's very cool.
I fused and machine appliqued the dragon and then thread painted the details.
The design was adapted from Judy Dale's "Coriolus" and Judy Mathieson's "Mariner's Compass Quilts" book.

Zentangle Quilt

"A Tangled Adventure" is my foray into Zentangle drawing, combined with my love of quilting.  This quilt was actually finished last May, but I never got around to posting it. 
The drawings were done on white muslin with a Sharpie Pen (the new ultra fine point) and a Pigma Micron pen. I fused the fabric to freezer paper and began drawing. One drawing turned into all of these, I enjoyed the creation so much. There are three little hands in the blocks, one of each of the D's!
I entered the quilt in the Blue Ridge Quilter's 2011 Challenge, "Groovy Geometry". The requirements were to fit within a certain size and to include a 3D element, either in the piecing or as embellishment. 
I set these drawings into the attic windows style block and each drawing has some three-dimensional look to it. I intentionally picked fabric prints for the borders that looked like the zentangle drawings. The quilt is much straighter than it looks in the picture, it wasn't hanging very well. 
Detail photos below show the upper left corner and part of the label. I found the cutest font online, printed the words onto printable fabric and then drew other tangles around the edges. I really love how this turned out!