We’ve been baking cookies again since Vicki and I want to find some ideal recipes for people suffering from Celiac Disease. These cookies have the added benefit of being Lactose-Free as well. We have to test out and try substitutions for various ingredients in our quest and it can be hit or miss. On what basis do we decide if something is successful or not? Mostly by taste and texture, as we’d like to replicate traditional cookies as close as possible but given that GF flours are so different, we sometimes have to compromise, even though that is not our ultimate goal. Nonetheless, the results we’ve been obtaining are definitley on the right track and we hope you enjoy trying them and experimenting as much we do.
Once again we’ve chosen to use America’s Test Ktchen’s (ATK) Gluten-Free (GF) flour blend but of course you can make this recipe using other types/brands of GF Flour (just be sure to check the ingredients and if they already contain xanthan gum do not add it again, and delete it from this recipe).
1 cup (250 ml) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
½ tsp (2 ml) xanthan gum
½ tsp (2 ml) baking powder
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
2 tbsp (30 ml) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil
½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
2 tbsp (30 ml) applesauce
1 cup (250 ml) quick cooking gluten-free oats
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
Mix the flour, xanthan gum (if required—see above), and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
Blend the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and applesauce in a large mixing bowl.
Slowly add the GF Flour and baking powder and blend together well.
Gradually pour in the oats and blend for another 1-2 minutes.
Using a small-sized ice cream scoop—equal in size to about 1 1/2 tablespoons (24 ml)— portion out the batter spacing out each cookie about 2” (50 mm) apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flatten the tops with the back of a wetted spoon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, rotating baking sheet half way through.
Remove from oven.let rest for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
These cookies come out looking much lighter in colour than traditional oatmeal cookies, and will be softer in the centre but lightly crisp on the outside making them nice and chewy. They are not overly sweet which I prefer and attribute to the use of maple syrup and applesauce as the primary sweeteners–enjoy!
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Doing Your Own Fretwork Part – 1by Bill Wilkat Sept. 16, 2018
Doing fretwork on stringed instruments takes some experience and the first thing I recommend for beginners is to find a “garage sale” special to practice on.Failing the availability of one, you might consider picking up an “El Cheapo” guitar from a pawn shop, or an on-line source such as Kijiji.Another alternative is to purchase an Asian made guitar neck and these can be found at very reasonable prices nowadays without much effort.
If you have not already done so, I’d also suggest you purchase a “how-to” book published by one of the top gurus in the biz like Dan Erlewine of Stewart MacDonald Guitar Supply (StewMac).I learned from Dan many years ago by first following his articles in Guitar Player Magazine, and also in Bass Player Magazine before I purchased his terrific publications on guitar repair etc. One in particular that you should buy is The Guitar Player Repair Guide. I can also suggest Fretwork Step-By-Step if you are a true beginner.
What I’m going to teach you here is not going to be as detailed as what you’ll learn from books or videos dedicated to the subject of fretwork but will get you started in the right direction and can save you time, energy and money.
Let’s start with understanding what your goals are: Are you going to fret an instrument from scratch? Repair a fret or two? Or do a complete re-fret of a neck? Each of these require different input and careful planning to execute and a learning curve which often means trail and error. I’ll begin by suggesting you tackle a simple fret dressing method employed by many people and one that I’ve often done to save clients from having to spend more by getting a complete re-fret job done.
Simple fret dressing repair job:
I’m going to assume that you’ve already learned how to adjust a truss rod and understand the principles of up-bow and back-bow on a guitar neck and things like string angle and saddle adjustment?If you don’t, you better get a handle on that before you begin any fretwork. (see my previous post about truss rod adjustment).
Let’s work on your “garage sale”special or similar find by using a straight edge like a 6” steel ruler and gently sliding it along the frets to see if any of them have lifted and are sitting higher than the others, and also rocking the ruler across higher frets to see where the real problems might be. Locate them, and take note as you my need to re-seat some frets or in the worst case glue them down. If there’s a lot of grooved fret wear, we may not get a perfect result by lightly dressing the frets but my first lesson here is to improve the performance and make it play better. I’ll discuss heavier filing later on.
Valid until 09/17/2018 11:59PM PDT or while supplies last.
We’re going to begin by filing the tops of the frets without any special tools but if you happen to have proper luthier tools (like a block of wood pre-shaped to the correct fingerboard radius) so much the better. For a true beginner, a flat sanding block of wood wrapped with 220 grit is one way to start. With the strings removed, and the truss rod adjusted so that the neck is straight and level, lightly sand the tops of the frets following the existing radius and run the block from one end to the other the full length of the fingerboard. While stoking like this, you’ll have to keep moving the block from each of the outside edges, to the centre and back out again in order to follow the radius and remove the same amount of metal from the fret tops evenly. Repeat this process until you see the tops of the frets show visible sanding lines and the metal is shiny.
NOTE: If you have a lacquered maple fingerboard, you will need to use masking tape and tape off the wood between each fret from end to end. Otherwise failing to do this will result in damage to the polished finish. For oiled natural wood, you can skip this procedure at this time.
Next, using another sanding block, (but this time with foam packing sheets tightly wrapped and taped around it to form a padded surface about 1/8” –3 mm– in thickness), begin wrapping finer sandpaper around the block and with firm even pressure, sand the full length again going back and forth from end to end. Begin by using a #320 grit, then switching to #400, then #600 and finish with #1000 to 1500 grit. As you’re doing this, the blocks padding will allow the sandpaper to contact the fingerboard wood and in so doing it will also be rolling ff and over the fret tops thus crowning them by creating a soft radius on opposite sides of the frets. To finish up, run the sanding block lightly along the two edges of the fingerboard to ensure that there are no sharp fret ends protruding (again start with a coarser grit like #600 and finish with #1000 or finer).
Now, using naphtha and soft rags and/or paper towel, wipe the entire fingerboard from end to end to clean it. To finish up, use #0000 fine steel wool to polish the frets and repeat the cleaning process with naphtha.
NOTE:naphtha does not leave a film behind and will not raise wood grain so it’s the ideal choice for cleaning.I always purchased a can of Coleman stove fuel and kept it handy in my workshop as it’s readily available and it is naphtha.
If you had to tape the fingerboard, remove the tape and wipe down with naphtha again.
Now, if the fret wear was/is deeper and you need to remove more metal from the tops of the frets, you’ll need to tackle the job with a bastard file before moving on to the sanding blocks.Or, you can use a fret levelling file sometimes called a “duck” that is essentially a contoured block of wood shaped to fit your hand for comfort, and with a section of flat file bonded to the underside. You can make these yourself by cutting a bastard file to the correct size and gluing it a block you made, or purchase them ready-made from StewMac.
It’s much easier to work with than a regular longer flat file, although I got by for years without one since it’s often a matter of what you get used to. Personally I found the “duck” easier to handle and use so I suggest you get one if you plan on doing a lot of fretwork. There are other tools for this as well.
More on all of this will follow in Part 2 so be sure to look for it in the future.
Vicki and I are at it again, baking and making goodies that everybody can enjoy whether you suffer from Celiac disease or not. If you are lactose intolerant, you can still make these cookies by using lactose-free butter and milk, so don’t let that stop you!
In our ongoing quest for Gluten-Free (GF) baked goods, here’s a recipe that features America’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK) GF flour blend that results in a wonderfully soft, chewy, decadent cookie that’s rich, and very satisfying. You’ll never know that they’re not regular flour-based cookies, that’s how great they taste. Chocolate chips and pecans combine to provide an added punch of flavours that will have you salivating and craving a second one before you’ve finished the first—enjoy!
Makes 24 – 26 cookies
1 3/4 cups (425 ml) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 tsp (4 ml) baking soda
3/4 tsp (3 ml) xanthan gum
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
3/4 cup (185 ml) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup ( granulated white sugar
8 tbsp (120 ml) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
2 tbsp (30 ml) milk
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (185 ml) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped pecans
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the GF flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt then set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until blended smooth.
Whisk in the egg, milk, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
Stir in GF flour mixture using a spatula and mix to form the soft dough.
Fold and blend in pecans and chocolate chips.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 1/2 hour.
With oven rack in middle position, pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small ice cream scoop—equal in size to about 1 1/2 tablespoons (24 ml)— scoop the dough and space about 2″ (50 mm) apart on your baking sheets.
Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown and edges have set but centres are still soft, (12 to 16 minutes), rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
Cooking times between ovens varies, so be sure to check on them, and if in doubt, bake them a minute or two longer.
We also tested this recipe using convection baking and while it shortened the cooking time to the lower level of 12 minutes, it also produced a cookie that had puffed up and risen to a cake-like texture inside—still soft, but with a crispy outer shell and edge, but a different treat than what we were looking for, thus we prefer regular baking.
Let cookies rest on the baking sheet and after 5 minutes transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
TIPS:Cookies may be served warm or at room temperature and are at their chewy best eaten on the day they are baked.But, they may be cooled and stored in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. Alternatively you may also freeze them on a baking tray with parchment paper, and once frozen, place them into airtight containers, or freezer bags, separated with layers of wax paper. Homemade GF baked goods contain no preservatives so they wont stay fresh as long as store-bought products.
My wife Vicki likes to bake and since it’s the time of year to be picking apples, what better way to celebrate them than by making something that takes advantage of the season.Everybody enjoys a snack or a dessert now and again, and this moist and super satisfying Applesauce Cake does the trick nicely. So lucky me, I’m sitting here writing this blog post and smelling the amazing aroma of this lightly spiced cake baking in the oven, tantalizing my nostrils and awakening my appetite.
Vicki’s late mom was a terrific cook and enjoyed baking for her family so luckily for us she had written down a number of her recipes and this delectable treat was one of them.If you’re like me, anything that features apples is always appealing, especially when it comes to goodies like Apple Pie, Strudel, Turnovers, Crumble and of course cake!
Apples are one of natures perfect foods and while they are ideal eaten raw, they are also wonderful when cooked or baked, and Applesauce is yet another super way to eat them. Whether dolloped onto your morning toast or as an afternoon snack you wont want t miss out on trying it in this cake recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cloves
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1½ cup unsweetened applesauce (homemade preferred for best results)
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Measure out all ingredients.
Sift dry ingredients flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, & cloves into a large bowl
Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat shortening, sugar and eggs together.
Then to the same bowl add the dry ingredients alternately with applesauce while blending with a mixer.
Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Slice and serve as is, or top with a scoop ice cream. Personally I prefer buttered slices LOL!
Montreal’s Jean Talon Market by Bill Wilkat Sept.10, 2018
The world has many market places and Montreal’s Jean Talon Market is far from being one of the largest, and by no means better than what you will find in other parts of the world, but it is a very special place all the same.It thrives with character and the buzz of exuberance that emanates from all around assures you that you’ve come to the right place to find what you are looking for.There are sellers who charm you, and some who look thrilled to be there, as well as others who clearly wish they were elsewhere but they will still readily serve you with great efficiency and a warm “merci beaucoup” when you are done.
Like Markets the world over, the Jean Talon market is a melting pot as you see people from all imaginable cultures seamlessly roaming into the aisles seeking out their desired fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish, or guilty pleasures such as a rich pastry or refreshing ice cream on a hot summer day.People watching is an obvious pastime as friends meet for a cup of java and are busy taking in the sights and sounds of the crowd bustling by with their shopping bags, and basket pull carts.
Stop at a local pasta shop like Pastificio Sacchetto and watch them making their products with great pride, or stop in at Boucherie Prince Noir and they will happily tell you all about the source of the meats they sell which include everything from beef to venison, duck, turkey, etc. all from Quebec-based farms that proudly boast that they are 100% all natural and some of the best products in Canada.Or pick up some delicious Quebec Maple Syrup products (90% of Canada’s maple syrup comes from Quebec and 80% of the world’s supply comes from Canada) to satisfy your sweet tooth, or a succulent apple from Rougemont, or juicy peaches brought in from Ontario’s fruit belt.Better yet, get yourself some of the sweetest “peaches and cream” corn on the cob to enjoy.Stroll up and down the aisles and compare vendor prices for tomatoes, green peppers, and lettuce, or try your hand at haggling for the best prices.
Parking is not abundant on the streets in the area but there is indoor underground parking at very reasonable rates and cars are continuously coming and going so patiently wait to get inside to park your car and you’re sure to find a spot. There’s also a couple of ATM bank machines located at the east entrance from Henri-Julien Ave. should you need a little bit more cash to make your acquisitions.
The market opened in 1933 and operates daily and year round becoming an open air market when the weather is warmer, and closed off to the elements when the colder temperatures set in. There are adjacent shops on the streets bordering the central building that offer a variety of products and choices such as deli meats, cheeses, teas, seafood, and freshly baked bread from the well known Premiere Moisson Bakery. Typically Jean Talon Market is open from 7am to 6 or 7 pm so plenty of time for shopping or indulging in a special treat!
How Do I Builda Custom Scale Length Guitar or Bass?By Bill Wilkat Sept. 9 2018
As a past custom guitar builder, I’d often get requests for unusual instruments which of course included custom scale lengths.Naturally that would be extra work for any luthier since most available tooling is based upon standard common scale lengths made popular by the big brand names and as built by many fine craftsman for hundreds of years.
What does that entail?Well, when making a fingerboard for a scale length like 25 1/5”, I’d use my fret slotting template and my set up on the table saw and cut the slots in a matter of minutes in a fingerboard blank. Alternatively I could purchase a pre-slotted fingerboard and save considerable time. But that’s not possible if you had a request for an exotic wood fingerboard or an odd scale length since no manufacturer stocks everything to cater to the wide range of possibilities.This means we’d have to go back to the drawing board and actually work out all the details and measurements and that also meant hand cutting each slot the old fashion way, unless a computerized numerical controlled (CNC) machine was available in your shop.
I never invested in CNC equipment and did as much as possible by hand and that would mean manually measuring out each fret slot location, scribing each line, and then using a fret saw to slowly cut each one—a long tedious task but unavoidable at the time.If you find yourself in that same situation, now you have the luxury of finding the information from a Supplier like Stewart MacDonald guitar supply at a link like this one:Fret Calculation
Previously I made my own fret calculator spread sheet and that allowed me to determine the same information at my desktop. If you’d like a free copy of my spreadsheet file, you can send me an e-mail request and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible.
This information can even be used to extend the number of frets for a given scale length that would exceed the norm (e.g. a request for a guitar with 27 frets).
Now what you need to know is that there is a correction factor in the fret location calculation equation but that’s already been taken into account in my spread sheet, but it does not tell you exactly where to place your bridge for correct intonation.Stewart MacDonald provides some additional data with respect to certain types of bridges in their calculation page and that’s helpful. For further information and guidance regarding string intonation such as for a bass guitar, please see this post: Guitar or Bass Correct Your Intonation
As a rule, the values for standard 6 string guitars will differ from a bass because the scale lengths are considerably shorter, and thus scale lengths require less compensation correction than a bass: typically from 1/8” on the top bass E string, to 1/6” on the high treble E String.
Now here’s a trick you can consider if you want to make a shorter scale bass or a longer scale baritone guitar. You can purchase a pre-slotted bass fingerboard and work off of the fret slot locations provided thereon.For example: a 34” scale fingerboardcan be converted to a sale length of about 30 1/4” by starting from the 2nd fret slot.Using this method, one can easily notch the ends of the fingerboard to create a template to enable you to set up a jig with a pin locator to be able to cut the slots on a table saw with the correct type of saw blade. See: Using the template with a table saw
This method as I noted earlier is fast and accurate way to cut fret slots but does require some investment; most notably the thin fret slotting saw blade.Building the fence with the indexing guide pin is something you can do yourself.
So it’s not as difficult or challenging as you might first have believed, and I think that anybody with basic woodworking knowledge/skills can tackle this and get it right the first time. Happy Building!
People often don’t realize that writing a blog is hard work–perhaps easier for some than others but it takes a lot of time, research, and in the case of perfecting recipes a lot of tests and experiments, which can be successful or disasters LOL! But sometimes, it’s a blast to be able to do a post because we learn something new during the process whether it’s a review or a discovery of some sort. It can also be difficult to keep on coming up with fresh and interesting ideas to keep you, the reader, coming back for more. Take a look at the lemon cucumber photo with this post–I never even knew or heard of it until my wife Vicki and I discovered “One Life Farms” in our hometown of Bowmanville Ontario, and found it in their shop. Finding an organic farm so close to home was a pleasant surprise and a double bonus for me since I could blog about it, and also buy some pesticide-free non GMO produce at the same time!
So I hope you’ll agree with me that this was worth sharing and that you’ll come back and follow me on my journey of “Cooking, Eating and Guitar” as I post as often as I can. I try to post something new daily, but there are times when life gets in the way and as much as I try, I don’t always succeed. But that’s life and we all have to deal with obstacles along the way–sometimes they are nothing more than a stone in the road, yet other times they can be major life-changing events, and hopefully positive ones.
Regardless, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has been taking time from their busy schedules to read my blog and I genuinely hope you enjoy the recipes and other experiences I’ve been able to share. Thank-you, thank-you thank-you!
I’d long planned to go to this small restaurant since I first heard about it back in 1974! Yes, it was long overdue and I was thrilled to be able to take it off of my bucket list. However, we will have to go back as it’s a “blast from the past” with wonderful people working there (including a true Wilensky making it as authentic as we’d hoped for). I say we, as my wife and two of my closest friends who were visiting from out of town were also there to enjoy their famous fried salami and bologna sandwich, (traditionally served only with or without mustard on a paper napkin), and your choice of a variety of sodas made on the spot! You can also have it with or without cheese and I opted for no cheese, and thoroughly enjoyed this simple but delightful treat! Moe Wilensky was the creator of the original Wilensky Special Sandwich, and you can still see his name in the lower righthand corner of the shop’s window!
The buns are made to order for them and are slightly sweet and with just the right amount of delectable toasty crispness coming fresh off of the grill where they are gently pressed while cooking.
We were fortunate to be there at about 2 pm when it was not very busy and we could ask questions that were graciously and happily answered in a super friendly manner (which I guess might be difficult after so many years of hearing the same questions over and over).
But the history is a large part of Wilensky’s and when the late, great Mordecai Richler helped put them on the map in 1969 to have his photo taken with his son for a newspaper article, and having previously featured them in two of his books, (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Solomon Gursky Was Here), there was no going back–and, that celebrity status strengthened further in 1974 when “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” was released as a movie featuring a very young Richard Dreyfussin his first lead role. Notable celebrities also visited and ate there such as the late Anthony Bourdain, so that should make you curious enough to go and see why!
Now after 86 years in business, it’s wonderful to find a Montreal institution like this where time seems to have stood still, and you can enjoy not only a delightful, quickly served, hot sandwich, but also feel so welcomed and appreciated. In an era where things change so rapidly, and often not for the better, it feels like going home again, and a true pleasure.
If you are a tourist, be sure to stop in and see what I mean, and bring cash as just like the old days, you’ll need it to pay for your meal. If you live in Montreal and have not been there, there’s no time like the present–go and enjoy!
Oh, and be sure to have a pickle with that sandwich too! I forgot to ask, but they seem like they must have been made there too.
Now you can “Time Travel” and satisfy that hunger at the same time!
Not too long ago I had never heard about this dish, but since our niece Sonia introduced it to us, we’ve had it numerous times, and I think it gets better every time my wife makes it.So I decided that it’s time I shared it with all of you, especially since I’ve been seeing it crop up all over the place, from TV shows to newspaper articles and thankfully to our dinner table LOL!
I love the fact that I can Google things and that Wikipedia pops up with information about the origins of meals that we enjoy, (please support Wikipedia when they need funding as it’s a valuable asset for all of us—thanks!).So, I looked up the classic Poké Bowl to see what else I might learn about it, and the first things was the meaning of the word Poké, which is Hawaiian for “to slice” or “cut crosswise into pieces”.That makes perfect sense since just like many Asian dishes, the preparation involves a fair bit of slicing and chopping before you start cooking.
There are many variations but the traditional Poké Bowl uses raw tuna (yellow fin), but I’ve never acquired a taste for it so she makes mine with some cooked shrimp and you may need to do that too if serving it to others like me.I’ve tried uncooked tuna a number of times but can’t seem to warm up to it, even though I have no problem eating it cooked.Alternatively, a Poké Bowl can be made with Salmon or shellfish, so be sure to experiment with it—testing things in the kitchen is the best way to expand your culinary tastes and abilities.
4 bowls of cooked Japanese Rice (sticky rice as used for Sushi)
1 lb (454 g) Yellow Fin Tuna (Sushi grade) chopped into 1/2” cubes
1 lb (454 g) Shrimp (about 20 to 24)
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 medium to large size avocado
4 oz (125 g) Seaweed Salad
1 carrot (julienned)
4 radishes thinly sliced
5 oz (150 g) Cooked Edamame (green Soy Beans)
1 to 2 Mangos chopped into 1/2” cubes
Pickled Ginger (purchase ready made add to taste)
Mix and whisk the ingredients listed below together in a medium-sized bowl, add the tuna, and marinate for 5 minutes, add the avocado and lightly stir just before preparing the Poké Bowls.
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Bill’s Wafu Sauce Dressing:
Wafu is the Japanese word that means Japanese-Style, and I’ve taken a liberty with my version since it includes a non-typical ingredient; mayonnaise.Simply whisk all the ingredients listed below together in a small bowl. If too thick, thin it with a bit of cold water—you want the consistency to be thick enough to adhere to the food, but also thin enough to be able to drizzle it on for serving.
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Mayonaise
1 tsp Sesame Seed Oil
Dash of black pepper
Fry the shrimp in 1 tbsp of Sesame Seed Oil over medium high heat in a skillet 2 to 3 minutes until opaque. Sprinkle with 1 tsp Sesame seeds, and drizzle with the juice of 1/2 lemon when cooked and ready to serve.
Prepare each serving by first adding a generous bowl of rice, top with tuna, shrimp, avocado, seaweed salad, julienned carrots, pickled ginger, sliced radish, spoonfuls of Edamame beans, and mango.