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Monday, March 29, 2010

Gluten Free White Pizza...

My husband does not enjoy beans–of any kind. Not-"I don't enjoy them" in an "I'll eat them if they are in front of me " sort of way, but–week one of our marriage and "Please do not ever make beans, because I respectfully cannot ever eat them" sort of way.
Imagine my horror at one of the most versatile tools in my culinary tool belt being taken right off the table! So, now over 4 years in to my husband's biggest culinary evolution of his life (our marraige)–imagine my surprise when he announces–out of nowhere–at the dinner table last week that he thinks, "He would like to start learning to enjoy beans."
I was all in immediately. "Great! I'll make this..." I offer, "And, I can make that!" I say.
"Whoa-whoa..." he says, and thinks maybe we should ease into this. So, I'm easing.
But, my first attempt–I knew–had to be great. So this is what I came up with. It's more-flatbread-meets-hummus, than it really is pizza. But pizza being my husbands favorite food, I thought would be an appropriate vehicle for the first bean delivery.

Gluten Free White Pizza
  • 1 batch of pizza dough, or use a mix, or whatever you usually make
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 scallions
  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans (like a Great Northern or Canellini)
  • 1 jar of artichoke hearts (mine was 7.5-oz, use what you have that is close), drained
  • 1 4-oz log of goat cheese
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesean cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Make your pizza dough. Place it in a 400-degree oven for 12-minutes to par-bake it before topping it.
Meanwhile, cook your onions in some olive oil, over medium heat in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper and let them cook until browned and carmelized. This will take about as long as the crust is par-baking.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the beans (drained) and goat cheese. Blend to combine until smooth. Add the artichokes, and blend again until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the crust from the oven, spread the bean mixture on the crust, and top with the onions. Sprinkle on the parm, and put back in for 10 minutes to finish backing the crust.

I served mine with barely dressed lettuce...and I think this one was a home run out of the gate.

Bonus recipe: The bean spread makes an incredible hummus, here's how.
Into a food processor place:
  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans (like a Great Northern or Canellini), drained
  • 1 jar of artichoke hearts (mine was 7.5-oz, use what you have that is close), drained
  • 1 4-oz log of goat cheese
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesean cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of one lemon
Pulse until smooth! Serve with vegetable sticks, GF pita chips, or tortilla chips. Or spread it on sandwhiches in place of mayo, or in wraps.




Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pasta with chorizo and green olives...

In our home, my husband loves chorizo--a traditional Mexican, spicy, seasoned sausage. Unfortunately, his high cholesterol numbers do not. Chorizo is notoriously high in fat, pork fat. Well, we are a team in managing his cholesterol, so I am ever on a quest to make things that he loves into a version that can be enjoyed on a "whenever-I-feel-like-it" basis. This chorizo is one of them.
Traditionally eaten cooked in a pan, with scrambled eggs mixed in, then eaten with corn tortillas, this is a non-traditional use of it for dinner. It is a little "Mexico-meets-Italy" and its delicious!!
First: the chorizo recipe. This recipe is lean, and full of robust spices that are good for you! So you can feel great about eating it! The spices are good for the immune system and are anti-inflamatory. The tomatoes pack a lycopene punch--a poweful cancer fighting antioxident.

Chorizo Recipe | Don't fuss over this recipe, if you don't have something, substitute or leave out. If the package of meat is over or under by a little a pound, still use it without adjsuting seasonings.

1 pound of ground turkey , or chicken breast or lean pork
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs California sweet paprika
1 tbs. California sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (for mild), 1 tsp. (for hot) (optional if you prefer less heat)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin seeds, or ground cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp dried minced garlic
4 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork until well blended. Cover and let the chorizo sit in the fridge overnight.

For the unconventional use of this in a pasta dish, here is how I do it:

1/2 lb GF pasta noodles, spaghetti (best brand ever!)
1 cup of the chorizo meat
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes in their juices.
Some fresh basil leaves

Cook your pasta. In the meantime, cook chorizo in a pan over medium high heat. When meat is cooked through, add the can of diced tomatoes and stir until warmed through. Add olives and then throw in some basil.
Drain the pasta, then toss it in the sauce, and serve.

Its smoky, and spicy, and has tastes very rich, even though it is not. The olives give a salty-tang that cuts through the richness to give it good balance. Its needs a fresh herb at the end, so if you don't have basil, use parsley.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roasted beets and goat cheese...

Ode to the beet. They are tough veggies--I mean, there are not that many ways to prepare and eat them, right? Basically, roast or pickle. I'm sure a few would disagree, but for the most part--that's kind of it.

I love to roast mine. Why? Because:
  • They are no-maintenance (no peeling, no stirring)
  • I can multi-task while I roast them
  • It transforms their flavor into something spectacular (1 husband convert into beet-lover to prove it)
I paired mine with goat cheese, a classic combination. Then drizzled a light vinaigrette over top.
Add a few lettuce leaves and you have vegetarian night! Your full belly at the end will not leave you missing meat. However, I admit--I seared an ahi-tuna and ate it with it. Ahi pairs great with it!

Ok, so not the prettiest plate...beets are kind of the hog of the veggie world, not pretty at all on the outside, messy (when you work with them), but the inside--oh so good! The beets are thick-almost meaty, yet sweet-but roasty-smoky. The salty seasoning compliments the sweetness inherent in the beet and the goat cheese tang cuts through it all. It is a well balanced dish.

Here's how:
Heat oven to 425-degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Cut the tops off 6-8 beets (various sizes is fine). My beets from my farmshare are striped, use red or any color you find.
Place them on the sheet, drizzle a little olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and set your timer for 45-minutes (go pay the bills and walk the dogs--thats the multi-task part).
When they are done, they have begun to darken and carmelize, leaving a sticky sweetness on those areas. I leave the skins on, because I love them and they add nutrients. If you dont like skins, voila!--they literally slip right off. Then slice into rounds, crumble over goat cheese, drizzle your dressing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gluten free "pasta" carbonara...

I guarantee you have never had dark greens like this before...
This weekend, as I sat planning the weekly menu, I was trying to figure out just what to do with all the collards in my fridge. You see, in Arizona, we are knee deep in the dark greens season. My farmshare (CSA) supplies with me loads each week! And the collards and swiss chard leaves are the size of bicycle wheels! (you think I'm kidding...but I'm not).
So I began to wonder if I could shred the collards into thin strands like spaghetti, and use it in place of a noodle. Now–I have never seen or heard of this before, so I felt pretty excited about this new ingenious use of my massive collards the size of elephant ears.

So, I shredded them into strips and made a delicious carbonara sauce. The result was wonderful. The "noodles" twist around your fork just like spaghetti, and because they are just barely cooked, they have this chewey bite (al dente) that gives you the same satisfaction of pasta, but with a bit of crunch. I declare this new collard-ccine (think fettucine) to be the new cousin to the spaghetti squash!

This recipe does have more fat and cholesterol than I usually make a mid-week meal of, however, it is an out-of-the-park calcium, iron, and protein power house of a dinner.

"Pasta" Carbonara | Makes 4 servings.

  •  3 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ jar of anchovies, or 1 tbs paste
  • 1 heaping tbs garlic
  • ½ tsp red chili flake
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, fresh
  • 4 large bunches of collard greens or Swiss chard leaves–with very large leaves.

The large leaves allow for a long strand-like a noodle. Roll all the leaves together and slice into think strips. Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the eggs, parmesan, pepper, and milk.
Then, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add some olive oil, then the bacon, anchovies, and chili flake. Sauté till the bacon is crisp. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more. 
Add the strips of greens to the skillet and sauté, very quickly, about 45-seconds to a minute. (It may seem as though they will not fit, but they cook down a lot, and will fit when they are cooked down). When they are just wilted, add the milk and eggs mixture, and using tongs, constantly stir the mixture with the greens until it comes together in a thick and creamy sauce on the greens, it takes a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, and toss in the basil. Serve.

I served mine with a chicken Italian sausage I cooked, but it’s hearty enough to serve on its own!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fluffy gluten free pancakes...

If there is one thing I cannot do it’s pancakes. I know-I know…Pancakes? Really! But they are so simple--you argue. Are they? I mean its like baking a bunch of small cakes on top of the stove…there is dexterity of wrist involved to make ‘the flip’ happen just at the right time and place, there is space planning involved so that they do not run together…I could go on.
So, even though I am well versed in the kitchen, pancakes have always eluded me. They have been the bane of my culinary existence my whole life. Just two weeks ago, another failed attempt, and my sweet husband still gobbled them up (bless his heart).

I must say, I’m not one who feels a need to overcome with any triumph my failures-I simply accept…and make waffles. But this morning, my husband said “Let’s make pancakes.” I gulped, then took a deep breath and went for the cookbook.

To my surprise, this mornings result was wonderful, only by divine inspiration (I’m positive). Because I misread the recipe (that I know by heart) and added the wrong ingredient. So I tried to correct it with adding the right ingredient, and voila! Victory-sweet, fluffy, victory.

This cook up with a crisp crust and pillowy middle. Makes about 8—three inch pancakes.
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal (optional)
  • 1 cup Tom Sawyer gluten free flour (or your GF flour mix)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
Whisk the buttermilk, egg and oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. This batter will be thick, like a muffin batter almost. That is ok, it makes a thick, fluffy pancake. Cooking on a flat top griddle is easiest. Cook them on medium—or just over medium, it goes slower, however this allows the fluffy centers to cook through. Spoon large dollops of batter in a lightly buttered griddle and quickly spread it out a bit. Keep them warm in a 150-degree oven while you make up the rest.

We had 6 fresh strawberries in the garden today, so we simply sliced them and added 1 tbs sugar and stirred them together. That is all fresh strawberries need. Let it sit for 10-minutes and you get this amazing, syrupy wonder! Put these on top, and serve with my syrup recipe.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gluten free chocolate granola...

I have noticed lately, that lots of cereal companies are adding chocolate to their morning cereals--Special K, Cherrios, Chex. And why not? Its delicious, and as you know, chocolate is proven to be a powerful antioxident. Although, not in the milk-chocolate-Easter-rabbit-M&Ms-medium.
Growing up, our house was a Cherrios- or Kix-only home because my mother didn't believe in sugared cereals. So once in a great while, with a coupon-and if they were on sale, we enjoyed them.
When I became an adult, on my own money and grocery budget, I finally fully understood my mother's reasons for not buying those cereals..."cereal is how much for that little box??" Even more so now when one has to buy a gluten free cereal! So, I make my own cereal. But I want it to be good cereal for goodness sakes!
Well, I have been adding pure cocoa powder to lots of things in my home for a good while now to add antioxident punch for the goal of adding intent to my food.  Pure cocoa powder is the best. Backing down the line to the prepared chocolates, the higher percent of "cacao" is better. Bars of 85%, 70%--and so on.

And, if you know my granola recipe, then you know why I like it this recipe for all its intentional ingredients and goodness. I'll admit, it has a kitchen sink's worth of ingredients, and sometimes even I want a less complex version to whip together.

I think this is it. When i made my first batch, and ate it with some vanilla soy milk, the sweetness of the milk made it taste just like a childhood bowl of the coveted and rare Cocoa Crispies or Cocoa Puffs from my youth. This is so good, and so good for you, make a double batch and keep it in the kitchen. Eat it for breakfast, by the handful, or on ice cream!

Chocolate Granola Cereal Double Batch. This recipe can be halved.

  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 4 tbs oil (any kind, nut oils add Omega-3s if you have them–walnut, almond, or hazelnut)
  • 2 tbs of olive oil (one for each pan)
  • 3/4 cup not packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 tsp scant kosher salt
  • 1 cup of flax seed meal
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 6 cups GF rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Mix molasses, 4 tbs oil, brown sugar, egg whites, cinnamon, cocoa powder, flax meal, and salt. Blend well. Fold in oats and coconut. Line two baking sheets with foil, shiny side up. Spread 1 tbs olive oil on each pan on the foil covering all of the foil well.

Spread oats mixture flat and evenly on baking sheet (divide mixture between the two sheets) and bake for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes remove pans from oven, leave oven on.

Turn the granola, and separate into chunks. Return pan to oven and bake another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before packing into jars or a container.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Homemade raisins...

Everyone should own a food dehydrator.
Now, I know when you hear food dehydrator; you have visions of Ron Popeil-infomercial king–singing praises to his super-handy-fast-and tasty make-anything-in-a-minute piece of magic machinery… but this one really is worth having an oversized, horrible-to-store, single- use piece of kitchen machinery in your kitchen tool kit.

Grapes-Before & Raisins After

Recipe: (It's really this simple)

  • Grapes

  • Deydrator

  • 24-48 hours in the dehydrator
Although I shouldn’t say single use, because I make everything in it! I have been teased that if it isn’t tied down in my kitchen-in it goes to the food dehydrator!

My mother gifted me with mine a few Christmases ago and what a wonderful gift it was! However, this is one of those appliances–while its recipients have great intentions–goes straight to the Goodwill after about year 2 in the cupboard taking up as much space as a Volkswagen would. Not mine! But for others who fear a $50 commitment to a large appliance, visit your local GW to find one for $10, they always have a few up on a top shelf.

That said, let me talk a minute about why it is so great:
  1. It makes 100% natural, healthy dried fruit snacks. Did you know most ‘dried’ fruit snacks are actually boiled in sugar syrup and then dried? They are soft and squishy and sweet. Well, that is why. Making it yourself, you add no sugar; however, the natural drying process of dehydrating off the water concentrates the sugars making dried fruits super sweet. And, they get chewy, like chewing a good piece of chewy candy, like a Starburst.
  2. It reduces waste of over ripe fruit and veggies. When your apples get too soft and mealy to enjoy, or bananas are a little brown, or extra grapes (into raisins!) it all goes into the food dehydrator. I also dry things like turnips and squash. It keeps in the cupboard and then when I want it, it goes into chili or soup, or is used to make a gratin (think potatoes au gratin in a box…but from your kitchen!) The flavors are so intense and really come through.
  3. It makes inexpensive dog treats. Yes….the dogs. In our home are treated ,ah-hem…well, spoiled some would say. The chicken jerky at $11 a bag at the warehouse stores is not something I prefer to afford on a regular basis. Leftover cooked chicken, beef, or pork scraps go right in and get dried into meat snacks for the pooches.
Extra tomatoes from the garden Before & After (sundried tomatoes)

Ok, so you are thinking…"but the work!" Not really; slice the apple, put it in the dryer and that’s it. They are at such a low temperature, leaving them on overnight and while away is no issue. The food dries itself, literally. It’s effortless.

Just wait till you taste your first batch of dried strawberries and you will be a convert–I promise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gluten free rich, dark chocolate cake...

I made this cake last weekend for dinner guests. It is so fast to go together, and bakes up gorgeous. I cannot take credit for the recipe that goes to Donna Hay...more about her later. I made two modification, so I think I can say that I can take credit for converting it to gluten free. Well, not really that either, because Tom Saywer makes such an amazing GF flour, there is no conversion needed!

All that said...the cake is gorgeous! It comes out of the oven this molten, lava-like pool of crusty, yet moist rich-dark chocolatey-ness. Its tall, and soft and moist.
Really an exceptional cake.

So, more on Donna Hay. I love her books...all of them. I am on my way to owning them all (soon I hope, I get them used on Amazon's used books offerings.)
Many of her recipes are gluten free by nature, in that they just dont have any wheat component. But all her recipes convert so easy to GF. I have made many-many-many of her recipes and substituted in Tom Saywer (or you can use Bob's Red Mill mix) and they turn out beautifully. Her's are cookbooks any GF cook/baker should keep on hand to cook from all the time!
Rich Chocolate Cake (recipe inspired by Donna Hay's Chocolate Espresso Syrup Cake)
  • 10 oz chocolate chips (I suggest 60% ghiradelli)
  • 8 oz butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup Tom Sawyer GF flour (or your gluten free flour blend)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 315-degrees. Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir till smooth. Set aside. Place eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and thick. Add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture and gently fold through. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and fold through again.
Line a 9-inch round cake tin (I used an 8-inch and got a taller cake) on the bottom with a round of waxed paper or parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 or until a tester comes out clean.

Donna serves this with an espresso syrup, and I agree, its great that way.
  •  ¾ cup strong hot coffee
  • ¼ cup sugar.
Whisk the sugar into the hot coffee until the sugar is dissolved.

 When cake comes out of the oven, pour ½ of the espresso syrup over it while hot. Reserve the rest of the syrup for drizzling over the cake as you serve.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kohlrabi and Grapefruit salad...

If you don't know her–kohlrabi–get to know her. She is a wonderful vegetable. Raw, she is crisp like jicama or celery, and the flavor is...well–all her own.
Delightful in salads raw, or cooked, sauteed into a stir fry.  I created this recipe as a starter salad for last Saturday when we had friends for dinner. Dressed with a super light viniagrette, it was delicicous! It comes together in about 10 minutes! Try it.

1 large kohlrabi, peeled
1 med pink grapefruit
1 med yellow grapefruit
1 cup of lettuce leaves (like arugula or a romaine is ok)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Using a mandoline, slice the kohlrabi on the thinnest setting.
Peel the grapefruits using a knife to run down the sides (called supremeing) there are lots of youtube videos on how to. Slice into rounds.

Arrange the kohlrabi and the grapfruits and the lettuce on a platter in layers.

In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and then drizzle over top.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


A few year ago when I visited Argentina I feel in love––with the people, the culture, the city…and the food.
Chimichurri is to Argentines as salsa and ketchup are to us. It’s a condiment, and on the table at most meals.
It’s simple, and so delicious. It’s fresh and zingy and brightens the food of anything it touches.
Its a bit of a strange name. A good many have never heard of such a thing. It is natuarlly gluten free, but it makes my list of favs for so many other reasons! Its nutritional intent is surprising and amazing.
Cilantro is, per serving (3.5 ounces of leaves) high in Vit A and Vit C. Parsley is even better, being mega high in Vit C and Vit K. and a good source of calcium and iron.

  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more if needed)
Put it all in the food processor and whirl away! Taste for seasoning and adjustment.

Its traditional use is with grilled steak––and you must eat it this way at least once.
It has infinite possibilities:  I also use it like this:
  • In tacos as a salsa
  • In yogurt to make a salad dressing or dip
  • Mix into tuna fish for a no-fat twist on tuna fish sandwich
  • Toss with lettuce as your salad dressing
  • Spooned over fish
  • Tossed with shrimp and rice for a rice side dish
  • Stir a few tablespoons into any soup

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gluten Free Bolognese in 31 minutes...

Its 53-degrees outside right now in Phx, AZ and windy and overcast-been this way for days! More than just a little unusual for this time of year in AZ. And I opened up one of my foodie mags this last weekend and saw a Bolognese staring back at me. It looked thick, and rich and tomatoey. The noodles look firm yet soft and the meaty sauce just said comfort. Bolognese is a notorious all-day, long cook-time dish. But I decided I wanted it tonight, on a Monday, a work night and my chore list is a mile long! The insanity. So I created this 31-minute version. I started at 6:08 pm, and was at the table at 6:39 pm. No kidding.
31 minutes? You cannot order pizza in that time. Nor can you get in the car, go through a drive through, and come back in that time. But you can do this. Just add these ingredients to your shopping list for this week and its within reach.
Here it goes.

31-Minute Bolognese
1 lb ground meat (use any kind; beef, chicken, turkey, or italian sausage)
1.5 oz jar of anchovies (These are not the stinky little fish you think. Trust me on this ingredient. They dissolve away and add great depth of flavor.)
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
One 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes (no salt or flavor added)
Fill one empty tomato can's worth of white wine (or use water or chicken stock)
One 28-oz can of tomato puree (no salt added)
1 tbs dried minced garlic, or 3 garlic cloves fresh minced
2 tbs dried Italian herbs
At the end ½ cup fresh herbs

In a deep stock pot, brown the ground meat in a little olive oil. Add the anchovies and the tomato paste. When the meat is almost cooked through, add the liquid (wine or other), the tomato puree, garlic, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Cover and lower to a simmer on medium heat or med-low heat.

Now cook your pasta! My GF pasta is a 17minute cook time. By the time its done, so is your Bolognese. Chop your fresh herbs and stir them in to the sauce at the end. Ladle over the noodles.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gluten Free Spring Brunch and Seed Party...

(All recipes are at end of post...)

I love to grow things. If you read my blog, you know this. The excitement of coming home each day from work to see what has pushed up through the earth and is emerging and growing is exhilarating.
Every spring, I host a Seed Party to get my garden planned and prepped and get all my fellow gardeners excited about this year’s seed sowing. Now, we are not master gardeners, some have plots of ground, others just pots. Some veggie gardens, other English gardens, but whether pots or plots, it works for all!

The recipe is simple:
• A handful of seasoned gardeners
• Usually 1 or so new gardening recruits
• A delicious brunch
• Stir in some lively plant discussion
• Sprinkle with tips and tricks, and you have it!

Here is how I host mine, scale yours back if you want to. No matter what, its fun!

Menu: (Recipes at the end)
• Strawberry-chocolate smoothies
• Garden salad (truly, everything was from the garden!) with fresh pear vinaigrette
Herbed potato strata
• “Dirt-clods & mud” for dessert
Strawberry water to drink

1. Everyone gets a bag to tote their seeds home in.
2. Everyone gets a garden layout to plan their garden or pots (this helps you to see what you have room for, and what to plant where).

3. Then, share, exchange, and organize your seeds!
4. Have guests bring seeds to share and exchange.

If you love this idea, but just need a smaller scale production, do a Flower Pot Party (think cookie exchange, but with flowers).

  1. Have each guest bring a 6-pack of any flower from the local nursery, and their own pot.
  2. You provide the potting soil.
  3. Then each guest pots a beautiful pot full of a variety of the flowers each guest brought.
  4. Have a simple dessert and refreshing drink to go along with it, and that is a fantastic spring party!
Everyone goes home with a beautiful mixed-flower pot full of flowers.

So the scene looks like this: children dig joyfully in big pots of soil, the gardeners chatter and laugh and share their gardening successes and disasters, the dog steals someone's napkin and runs off, the bees buzz the flowers on the table...

So, pick a warm day, some good friends, and just enjoy a few hours on a saturday of dirty hands and doing something that makes you feel good and alive–like growing something.

RECIPES FOR THE BRUNCH | This brunch is nearly allergen free, and is all gluten free.

Strawberry-chocolate Smoothies | Makes 8 6-ounce servings.
Creamy and yummy!

  • 2 pints of strawberries, stemmed removed
  • 1.5 cups (or more) coconut milk (this can be any soy, milk, or almond)
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • Agave nectar (to sweeten to taste if needed)
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well till smooth. Adjust the milk to make it thinner, add ice if you like it thicker.

Garden Salad with Fresh Pear Vinaigrette | Makes about two cups
Salads don't just have to be lettuce; add whole bunches of parsley, dill and basil in like lettuce leaves. I added raisins and peaches too.

  • 1 fresh pear, halved and cored (no need to peel)
  • 1 tbs pomegranate molasses (or use honey)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or apple juice)
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I used dill, thyme, basil, scallion, curry herb, sage)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
 Put all this into a blender and let it whirl! You need to taste it and adjust. If too tangy, add more fruit or honey, of too oily, add more wine or juice.

Our truffles and chocoalte sorbet made up our 'dirt-clods' & mud.
No one can do chocolate sorbet better than Ina, so this is her recipe. Use any truffle recipe you find, they are all the same basically.

Strawberry Water...

So refreshing!
Its this simple:

1 pitcher filtered water
2-3 sliced strawberries

Ways to make it more interesting:

  • Add sliced cucumbers

  • Add sliced lemons

Herbed Potato Strata...

Herbed Potato Strata | 8 servings.
This is rustic, but so delicious!

  • 3 large russet potatoes 
  • 4-5 tomatoes, sliced thin 
  • 1 red onion, medium, sliced very thin  
  • 1 cup fresh mixed herbs (any you like) rough chopped 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Olive oil 
  • Optional garnish is sour cream
 Slice the potatoes on a madolin or slicer on the thinnest setting.

In a large oven proof skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan well. Layer on the thin potatoes, tomato, onion and herbs. Continue to layer until all ingredients are used. Season each layer with a little salt and pepper.

Put the skillet on medium high on the stove and cook with a lid on until the bottom potatoes start to sizzle and brown (check with a fork). Then, place the skillet with lid on in a 350-degree oven and cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through (could be up to 30-minutes). Test with a fork.This can be served hot, or room temperature. Slice into wedges and spoon out onto a plate. Garnish with sour cream if you like (I suggest it.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New options on my blog...

I was pretty excited to find that I could change a setting on my blog that was allowed people to comment without registering! So now that is fixed, people (should be) able to comment freely! (Sorry it took me so long.) Test it and see!

I also now am able to index all my recipes on a recipe page. Up top there are two links, HOME, and RECIPE LISTING, visit the recipe page and you can see them by category, all the links at a glance. Hope that is easier for you all!

That is all for today's post, but I posted a picture of my lettuce patch! It is arugula, mizuna and other various lettuces, that have gone to bolt (seed) and are flowering. Did you ever think a lettuce patch could be such a gorgeous field of flowers?

I suggest when your weather warms, that you grow lettuce, anywhere! Then let it flower! It promotes bees, which is good for other crops, and you can also harvest the seeds for next year (plus, you get to eat all the lettuce it produces!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

4-minute brunch...

A gluten free 4-minute brunch? really, it is doable.
Now this is simple food. To its basics...only a few ingredients and fast to make. I am not sure what to call these, I created them the other morning when I had little will to make a complicated breakfast, and a lot of extra eggs in the fridge.
I like this because it takes the same amount of time to make it for one as it does for 10. It is an excellent brunch dish (or casual Sunday afternoon dinner for that matter). Its so easy!

What you will need for four servings. Scale up to 10 or more if you want to.
  • 1/3 lb. gluten free deli smoked ham or turkey, cut into strips (Boar's Head is GF)
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • ¼ cup dill pickles, extra small dice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your broiler. Then, in an oven proof skillet, place it over medium heat on the stovetop. Layer on the bottom 1 tbs olive oil, then the turkey sor ham trips. Sprinkle over the pickles, then crack the four eggs on top whole.
Cook until the whites begin to cook on the bottom, about 1 minute.
Then transfer your skillet to the top rack of your oven under your broiler. Broil for 3 minutes, or until the whites cook over and the insides are still soft and runny.
If you like a solid yolked egg, keep it under longer, but watch it so it doesn’t burn.

When it comes out, a big scoop; including the egg, meat, and pickle goes onto a crusty piece of toast (GF store bought).I drizzle a hot sauce, like a Tobasco (mmm), but it is optional.
If making for a crowd, make this in a large skillet that will hold about 10-12 eggs…and scale up the recipe.

For an entertaining menu, pair this with:
  • Orange juice spritzers
  • A fresh fruit salad
  • Some scones or muffins
And you have a fantastic brunch!