National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and improving quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet.
My friend and I went to St. Augustine on a Monday afternoon during her visit. It is only about an hour and a half from Gainesville, so we drove there after I finished my classes. The first post about St. Augustine is just pictures from our trip. We walked through the town and and appreciated the weather. However, since the fort is a national park and we visited during the government shutdown, we could not really tour the site. As you can see, we walked all over the ruins…only to see the sign that we were not supposed to climb on the low walls. Oops!
After walking through the town we drove 10 minutes to St. Augustine Beach and took some pictures with the over-abundant foam…?
My friend and I wanted to eat something semi-healthy, but mainly something fresh. I took her to a local Gainesville grocery store and as soon as she saw the cream peas she ran throughout the store looking for all of the ingredients to make peas and ham. First, we cooked several large slices of ham and onion in olive oil. Then we added the peas to the pot with some water and a healthy chunk of butter. We let them cook at a low simmer for about an hour on the stove. Since we already ate unhealthily earlier that day, we tried to keep the peas simple and flavorful.
The next several posts all involve my visit with one of my best college friends. She came to visit me in Florida during her fall break from William & Mary. She flew into Orlando, so after 3 hours of sleep I quickly drove down to pick her up. After the major sleep deficit, we both needed coffee ASAP. A family friend recommended that we visit Winter Park, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. This quaint town hosted a large craft/food fair in a centrally-located park, so we found the nearest coffee shop and wandered through the aisles of vendors.
The cashier at Bernie’s Coffee Kitchen recommended that we order the Turkish latte with spices throughout the coffee. It was a nice departure from the skim latte that I normally order.
After preparing myself for the heat, I arrived in Florida with more sleeveless shirts and a winter-free wardrobe. I think that I finally got rid of the glassy look on my face from standing outside. You know…when your face glistens with sweat, your eyes squint, and you feel your cheeks turning pink? All of this adjustment and preparation for classes and rehearsals left me with little food blogging time. Last night the light seemed perfect, so I took some pictures of my dinner.
I generally make dishes that mix together and fit in a bowl. I am not really sure why I do this, but my mother says that I am famous for my concoctions. Last night I baked pesto chicken from Trader Joe’s and I cooked quinoa with frozen peas. To make it wonderful, I added some goat cheese. It was very tasty, so I suggest that you try my newest concoction.
I wrote two posts earlier about working at AnnaB’s gluten-free bakery this summer. I loved the experience and I enjoyed talking about gluten-free cooking and baking. Two of the owners sent me a box filled with all of my favorite treats from their bakery. I haven’t found any baked goods in Florida that even come close to AnnaB’s. They are such kind people and I cannot wait to eat (maybe share…?) all of the cookies!
Happy Celiac Awareness Day! Enjoy an extra gluten-free treat today!!!
The best thing about working at a bakery is taste testing. The first time that I worked, the bakers asked me to try one of the muffins and tell them what I thought. I looked at the array of goodies and thought…”wow I really can eat anything on this table!” That is not a typical thought for most celiacs.
I also enjoyed getting to know the bakery owners. Anna B’s is owned by two sisters who live on family property with their other sister and their parents. Everyone has their own homes, but they all live in four houses close together. The two sisters bought the recipes and the company from Anna (the namesake of the bakery) and then built a dedicated gluten-free bakery on the family property. They bake most of the goods themselves, but they also employ students in a local culinary program. Every time that I sold their goods at the farmers market I met another member of the family. It was so nice to see the family (grandchildren alongside their mothers and grandparents) working together every week.
Family is a common theme at the market. Families come to markets to buy their weekly groceries and families proudly sell their goods to the customers.
The other interesting part of the job was meeting the fellow vendors. Most of these artisans come sell at the markets because they want to advertise their products, but they already sell to stores and make money other ways. We often pointed our customers to a nearby grocery store so that they could purchase Anna B’s bread anytime. The lady who sold jewelry next to us never made a sale for the entire summer. She would display all of her beads and hand-crafted necklaces, but the people never bought anything. When I asked her about it she said that she only comes to “get her name out.” She already sold a large volume of products and only wanted more customers. This method also worked for an oyster vendor. Their crew set up their first (ever) market booth and had to really sell their oysters to make a profit. The next time that they came to the market the customers formed a long line to purchase bags of 50 oysters. (Fun Fact: Did you know that you can freeze raw oysters?) They established a relationship with the consumer and so they sold-out within the first three hours.
I only have one horror story from the summer. So, I mentioned selling out of products before the market is over… Well I thought that if you sold all of your products, then you can pack up and leave. I worked with grandpa and one of the grandchildren one day so we did not know the rules of the market. Apparently you MUST stay for the allotted time limit. Once I started taking down the tent I was approached by the market manager and she sternly informed me that I must maintain a booth for the entirety of the market or I pay a fine. She was so angered that I thought she was joking. When I began to giggle, she informed me of her seriousness and marched away. Grandpa just stood next to the car laughing and shaking his head.
This summer I had time between graduating from William & Mary and moving to Gainesville, Florida for graduate school, so I lived at home. While I prepared for entrance exams and the move I worked some at Anna B’s gluten-free bakery. I emailed them earlier in the spring asking if they needed any help, so they placed me at their farmers market booths. I love going to farmers markets, but I have never worked at one. It was such a great experience to go from 8-12 every Saturday morning and talk to the owners of the bakery and the other vendors selling at the market.
The first piece of advice that I received from the bakery owners (two sisters who bake all of the bread from a dedicated gluten-free facility on a piece of shared property) was to tell all of the customers that I am not a registered dietician. I did not completely understand what they meant, but I just nodded and continued greeting the customers. The next week I knew what they meant… A couple came up to me and said, “tell me everything you know about gluten-free and diabetes!” I just looked at them with a blank stare and thought, well I mean what am I supposed to know!? After talking about my own gluten-free journey, the couple bought a loaf of bread.
Here’s the thing about farmers markets, you think that you sell the bread to the customers and that’s it, but they always come back the next week. So, on cue, the diabetic/GF couple came back to our stand the next week and proclaimed that the man’s blood sugar dropped over the week. It was nice to hear that the gluten-free diet was working for him. I mean, was it really?
What I do know is that Anna B’s gluten-free products do help so many people with their dietary needs. It was such an honor to sell their products this summer!
…more to come on farmers markets
I found this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen and she adapted it from Short Cake. I had extra apples that were a little soft, so I decided to use them in an apple crisp. I know that it is not a summery dessert, but I really like this fall treat.
White Peach Crisp with a Brown Butter Walnut Crumble
4 apples, sliced
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons corn meal
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Juice form 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and diced, DIVIDED
1 cup GF flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To a large bowl, add the the apples, brown sugar, corn meal, vanilla, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and lemon juice; toss all of the ingredients together until the peaches are thoroughly coated. Pour the peach filling into a 11 x 8 baking dish and set aside.
2. For the topping, start by making the brown butter. Add 2 ounces butter (1/2 stick) and place it in a saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until butter has bubbled, crackled and turned a very, VERY dark – near black – hue. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the cold butter, flour, pecans, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Rub the mixture with your hands until the butter is broken up into bits, resembling the size of peas. Pour in the cooled brown butter and mix until thoroughly distributed. Sprinkle the topping mixture atop the filling mixture. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling. Serve warm or room temperature; and definitely with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.
Recipe adapted for the home from Short Cake and A Cozy Kitchen