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Summit in the Sun

summit in the sun.JPG

I spent 3 days last week soaking up the stunningly sunny Okanagan valley while simultaneously soaking up fabulous leadership training at the 2010 Ryan Walter Leadership Summit. Now it is back to the coast and reality which includes cooler temperatures and once again cooking. How I can even attempt it after indulging in Local Lounge & Grille chef Paul Cecconi's exceptional cuisine at the Summerland Waterfront Resort's resident eatery overlooking beautiful Lake Okanagan, rather defies all logic.

So, I am making one last stab at gluten-free hamburger buns. This time I concocted them with the required unflavoured gelatine which, while unfriendly to vegetarians, suits the current health-needs of our family to a T. I increased the traditional yeast by 25% and used my hand-held mixer's (which I procured one year ago at Save-on-Foods for $10! to replace the original one we received 27 years earlier at a wedding shower and which still worked if you held the power cord securely into the mixer, which proved challenging if you also had to simultaneously scrape down the bowl with a spatula) dough hook. The dough was actually soft and is rising (I hope!) as I type.



3 c gluten-free flour mix

2 tsp. unflavoured gelatin

1 Tb. xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp. salt


1 – 1 1/4 c. warm water

6 tsp egg replacer plus 8 tbsp warm water

1/4 c. olive oil

1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tb. Plus 1 tsp traditional yeast

2 tsp. brown sugar


Mix water, egg replacer, olive oil and brown sugar together in the bowl of your mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and leave until it bubbles, then add vinegar. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat with dough hook for 2 minutes. Add more water if it is too dry. The dough should be very soft and sticky.

Form into balls (I didn't do this very well and it shows!) and press down with olive oiled hands or flat bottomed glass. (the olive oiled bottom of the glass works well for about 2 buns and then you must re-oil it. This makes for a very dough-y olive oil bottle as one has just put formed buns with one's fingers). Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. The top should be nicely browned.

They rose, sort of, and actually tasted like buns. Our middle son, Ryan, was commending the fact that the entire meal (minus the organic tortillia chips we dipped in homemade guacamole) was homemade. I used ground bison which I barely formed into patties before dropping them on to the grill and covering with freshly ground pepper. Nigella Lawson generously salts her sirloin meat before grinding when she makes hamburgers but my local organic farmer (who brings bison in from the Peace Country region of BC) says not to salt bison during cooking because it is so lean and dries out easily. I flipped them once and basted the cooked top side with homemade BBQ sauce (organic ketchup, raw agave nectar, garlic, mustard) and then layered on thinly sliced raw Gruyere from Switzerland. I do need to master the art of flattening them or making them bigger because I never seem to master the art of compensating adequately for shrinkage. I served them with organic lettuce, onions and tomatoes on the vine (I cannot wait until we have local field tomatoes from the Okanagan and from my Garden. Greenhouse or hothouse tomoatoes, even on the vine, bear no resemblance to those grown in sun and fresh air in my opinion) and the aforementioned guacamole which my beautiful daughter-in-law taught me to make. Had I possessed mushrooms at the time, I would have sautéed them in butter and added them because I so love them on burgers. I usually add sliced dill pickles too, but couldn't find them in my fridge I learned from Jordan Rubin only to buy them from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, as these ones have not been heated and therefore retain all of their probiotic properties. And of course the best part of all was being able to eat outside in the beautiful sun with the whole family (minus our married son) home for the summer.

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