Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gluten- Free Lemon Bars and Rock Climbing

Many years ago, "my favorite mistake" (Doesn't everyone have one of those? An ex that was good but terribly wrong for you?) took me rock climbing.  I am fairly athletic and playing sports comes naturally to me.  I enjoy a good soccer match or ultimate frisbee game, so I thought after a few sessions at the rock climbing gym I would be ready to tackle rock outdoors. Not so much.
Outcrop near Lunch Rock
This time around, a different boy (... mind you I had a crush on this boy in high school. He had a crush on me but never asked me out.  Thanks to FB we've reconnected after 20 years and finally went on that first date).  Anyhow, this boy is addicted to climbing.  It is his life.  I'm curious.  What is the draw to rock climbing?

One of my health coaching clients and I met at a local rock climbing gym for a belay lesson and a 3-hour clinic.  I was not hooked yet, but thought I would meet up with some folks at Mission Trails to see how climbing outdoors differs from the gym.  There were eight of us that met up at Lunch Rock for Rock Climbing 101. Paul and his lovely wife, Raquel, set up the top ropes, offered helpful suggestions and were incredibly patient as I worked my way up a 5.4 route.  Success.
Dave contemplating his next move.
In my early 30's, I developed an intolerance to gluten.  Some of my favorite foods - like Pizza Port - would cause me such gastrointestinal distress, I would feel bloated, crampy, and well ... be a little gaseous.  Ok, ok, Tane, alot gassy.  I was tested for allergies and while I not *allergic* to gluten, I am sensitive to it.

What does that mean?  Well, I lack the enzymes to properly digest the gluten composite proteins but luckily for me, gluten free products are popping up in major grocery chains, so I can make my own gluten-free pizza at home!

Everyone loves lemon bars.  The smell of lemons always reminds me of early summer.  I made these for a potluck party and they were a huge hit!
Gluten-Free Lemon Bars
from Annalise Roberts, Gluten-Free Baking Classics

Gluten-free Flour Mixture for Cakes, Pies, Muffins and Cookies
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 cup gluten-free flour mixture
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in center of oven.  Grease bottom of 8-inch baking pan (I used 9-inch because I needed more bars) with cooking spray or butter and dust with rice flour.
2.  Put flour, sugar, xanthan gum in mixing bowl and whisk to blend.  Cube butter into small pieces and add to mixture in small batches and mix on low speed until crumbly (I found that using my hands worked much better). Pour dough into baking pan and press down to cover the bottom.
3. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven.

Lemon Filling:
3 large room temperature eggs
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour mixture
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind (I used two lemons ... which is probably more than 2 teaspoons, but I love a strong lemon flavor)
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
powdered sugar

1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl until foamy, then add the remaining ingredients through lemon extract and beat until well blended.  Pour onto partially baked crust.
2.  Bake in oven on center rack for 20 minutes or until set.  Cool on wire rack and cut into 16 squares. Remove squares and place on serving plate.  Sift powdered sugar over the top.  Serve at room temperature.  Store in refrigerator.
Samples. :) 

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