Subscribe: I love nectarines
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
add  cheese  cup  eat  eggplant  food  free  gluten free  gluten  good  made  make  much  pizza  recipe  time  week 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: I love nectarines

I love nectarines

Updated: 2018-03-06T09:00:10.695-08:00


Menu Plan for week of August 8, 2010


This is part of the Gluten Free Menu Swap, hosted by Heather of Celiac Family this week. Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness has the details for the swap.

All of the sudden summer has become really busy, especially with Jon's birthday coming up.  We have lots of great meals out in the next 5 weeks, so I'm trying to plan more vegetarian meals at home.

Not related but I updated my blog to link to my food photo albums from the last three years.  We photograph a lot of meals that I never blog about.

California-style okonomiyaki,  sauteed padron peppers and cherry tomatoes, peach crisp

Substitute grated zucchini for the leek and add a little bit of finely minced onion.

I used just a little bit of mayo mixed with sriracha as a dipping sauce.  It was wonderful.  I think it'd be great to mix the sriracha with sour cream instead and use that.  The okonomiyaki is a bit bland otherwise.

101 Cookbook's version is more like a potato cake than okonomiyaki but I still like it very much. Most any gluten free flour blend is fine.  I don't bother to add any xanthan gum.

Baingan bharta, rice, quick pickled cucumber

Freeze leftovers.

out to dinner at Doña Maria

macaroni and cheese, boiled broccoli

Halve the recipe for mac 'n' cheese.  Make in indvidual ramekins.

tamale pie

Do it as leftovers remake: Use the Italian pork, rinsed and shredded and black bean from the black bean chili, drained.   Maybe add some frozen corn and/or cooked onion and garlic.  Top with skillet cornbread.

We weren't thrilled with the vague orange-y flavor of the pork or the soupy-ness of the black bean chili, so we haven't really wanted to eat the leftovers.  This will hopefully make them more appealing.(image)

Grilled summer veggie and chickpea salad


We're so lucky to live near the Mountain View Farmers Market.  It's one of the largest farmers markets in Bay Area and has a great mix of Californian and Asian produce, organic and non-organic.  It even includes an amazing fresh seafood vendor--Mission Fresh Fish!  But. This is post is not about fish.  It is about a really tasty, not too complicated, vegetarian, very filling, peak of summer dinner.  Jon, a good Texas man, grew up loving meat with every meal, and even he raves about this, feeling quite satisfied without a bit of meat in sight.(Although I, too, love my meat, fish, poultry, and game, I'm a huge fan of vegetarian both for taste, health, and environmental reasons, so I try to make sure we have at least one vegetarian meal per week and another one or two meals that are either vegetarian or meat lite.)There's summer sweetness from the corn and tomatoes offset by the creamy eggplant which soaks up the dressing and releases tangy bursts on each bite.  The summer squash adds smokiness, sugar snap peas gives it some crunch, and of course the chickpeas are sure to fill you up.  Basically, a perfect summer main course salad.Ingredients1 Japanese/Chinese eggplant, about 1/2 lb, cut into thick slices*1-2 small summer squash, any kind, cut into thick slices. Pattypan are really nice for this.1 ear sweet corn, unshuckedhandful sugar snap peas, ends removed, cut into 1/2" pieceshandful cherry tomatoes, cut in halve1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed**3 tablespoons red wine vinegar2-2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon finely minced shallot, optionalsalt and pepper to tasteDirectionsSoak the ear of corn in water while the grill heats. Brush the eggplant and squash slices lightly with olive oil. Heat the grill on high.Start grilling the corn first.  It will take 20-25 minutes.  The husk will look charred on all sides when it is done. After the corn has grilled about 10 minutes, add the eggplant and squash slices.While the vegetables are cooking, make a red wine vinaigrette.  We add everything to a small, plastic container with a tight lid that we then shake until well mixed.  You can whisk the olive oil into the vinegar instead if you prefer.  A tart dressing is great for salads like this to balance the sweetness from the corn. As the only salt is in the dressing, we usually make the dressing a bit saltier than tastes good on its own.Put the chickpeas in a large bowl. Remove the eggplant and squash from the grill and when cool enough to handle, dice them and add to the chickpeas.  Add about half the vinaigrette to the bowl.When the corn is done and cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob, adding to the bowl.  Add the sugar snap peas and tomatoes and the rest of the vinaigrette. Mix everything together and taste to see if the seasonings need to be adjusted.Makes 2 large, filling servings.
 Eat!*Japanese/Chinese eggplants are long and thin with fewer seeds.  If you don't have access to these, use a small eggplant, about 1/2 lb.** With all the posts about black eyed peas recently, I'd be tempted to try fresh beans (cooked of course!) if I found them at our farmers market.[...]

Menu Plan for the week of August 1, 2010


This is part of the Gluten Free Menu Swap, hosted by Wendy of Celiacs in the House this week. Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness has the details for the swap.I'm very torn at the moment: The farmers markets are stuffed with the most gorgeous summer produce and I want to buy it all. At the same time I'm feeling really busy in the rest of my life and not wanting to do lots of cooking. So I'm trying not to be too ambitious in our menu plan, instead making more repeats and things that require little or no recipe.We're off to a good start this week: we made Jon's dad's baked beans for the first time and they were so good and summery, especially with the coleslaw. It's been a relatively cool summer in the Bay Area this year, but at least we can still eat this and dream of hotter days.SUNDAYhot dogs, Jon's dad's baked beans, coleslaw (the mayo version)MONDAYGrilled summer veggie and chickpea saladWe made this two weeks ago and loved it!  Post coming later this week.Make the okra nuggets for Thursday and freeze, uncooked.  I've been reading that okra only stores well for a couple days so this seems like a good way to simplify prep later in the week and have the best flavor.  I've only recently discovered that I like okra, but it is great!Grill extra eggplant for the pesto.WEDNESDAYPesto (make a large batch) with pasta, grilled chicken, thin zucchini slices (like noodles), and eggplantWe learned the hard way that pesto only works in our food processor if we make a large batch.  It's actually pretty awesome because we freeze the extra and it makes future dinners super simple. No recipe for this one--well, I think Jon might use a recipe from Saveur Cooks Authetic Italian for the pesto.Use the eggplant grilled the night before.  Reheat so that it absorbs flavors better.THURSDAYGrilled steak, crash hot potatoes, baked okra nuggetsI didn't plan this so well since both the potatoes and okra need the oven. I may try making the okra in our toaster oven.  We'll see.We're a huge fan of the crash hot potatoes: they get super crispy on the outside.FRIDAYtom yum soup with leftover vegetables (zucchini, Asian greens, cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi)We don't follow the recipe exactly. We make a much smaller amount, used chopped serrano chilis, substitute lime peel for the kaffir lime leaves, and end up using whatever vegetables we have on hand.  We try to make this only with homemade chicken stock.We also have a bunch of strawberries and peaches that I couldn't resist.  Some we'll eat for dessert and the rest I'd love to turn into a cobbler.  I'll probably end up too lazy and instead just cut them up and freeze them for smoothies in the near future.I also bought a bunch of zucchini with hopes of make zucchini bread.  That project will wait for Saturday morning.And I just borrowed Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz from the library and am dying to make amaretti.  I think they'd be perfect with all this summer fruit.  But we'll see.  I guess I just can't resist cooking...[...]

Peanut Butter Bars


I really like to have something sweet squirreled away at home or else I end up a little sad, seeing the endless parade of tasty-looking desserts that I can't eat at work.

I have a weakness for the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, especially when oats are involved.  It's hard to keep peanut butter bars and no-bake oatmeal cookies around the house--they mysteriously disappear out of the freezer.  I just tell myself that oats and peanut butter are healthy...right?

I was thrilled to find this recipe for peanut butter bars on Whisk: a food blog.  I followed Recipe 2 almost as written, mostly just halving the recipe and substituting peanut butter for some of the light corn syrup.  Here is the ingredient list for half the recipe:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup AND 2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups gluten free oats, regular or quick cooking, uncooked
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter

Follow the directions for Recipe 2. Use an 8x8" pan.  Only bake for 12 minutes instead of 15.  The base will not look cooked at that time.  It's ok. I cut the pan into 18 bars.

    Based on my experience I would store these in the fridge--in the freezer they get too hard and discolor a little.  These were super popular with everyone that tried them, so easy to make, and a perfect cool summer treat.  They are my new favorite gluten free treat.  Jon thinks they are tie for first place with our brownies.

    Doña Maria (our favorite!), Cascal (updated), and Xanh restaurant reviews


    Doña Maria (5/5):  Mexican. No website but they have a Google Place page. San Jose, CA.This is very favorite Mexican restaurant.  It's not a 'sit down, order a margarita' kind of place. Instead it's a 'omg the best chips and salsa ever', and I can order just one sope, perfectly fried, topped with al pastor meat, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato and excellent crema.  It's the perfect amount of food and really, really tasty food at that. My husband loves the flautas.Cascal (3/5): Spanish tapas. Their website and Google Place page. Mountain View, CA.Updated 7/2010: I met friends here recently for a small dinner after work.  We stuck to sangria and tapas: the mixed plate, extra tortilla, and dates stuffed with a blue cheese and wrapped in Serrano ham.  I'd still recommend avoiding the paellas and other more fancy dishes, but it was a fun, if very loud, place to have a drink and catch up with friends.  I'd visit again for similar purposes.  They have a decent-sized bar space if you just want a drink and maybe a small bite.  There are also a lot of outside tables that are very popular on warm nights.Original review: The last few times I've been there the food has been terrible and pricey.  A bad combination.  With all the new restaurants in dowtown Mountain View, there is no excuse to eat at Cascal.Xanh (3/5):  Modern Vietnamese. Their website and Google Place page. Mountain View, CA.It's a very lounge-y, trendy atmosphere. The Good: The service, cocktails, and food presentation were all excellent. They were also quite knowledgeable about gluten-free and the manager went through the menu with me and let me know what I could eat and made sure the kitchen knew as well.The Not-So-Good: Nearly all the meat dishes are marinated in soy sauce, so as a gluten free person you're limited to the vegetarian and some fish dishes. Additionally, the point out that their kitchen is very small so while they will do their best to avoid cross contamination, they can't guarantee it won't happen. I really appreciated their honesty! On a good note I wasn't sick later. I'm just a little sensitive to small amounts of gluten, though. The biggest reason I may not come back very often except for drinks is just that the food was decent but not amazing. The prices are on par with Three Seasons but not nearly as good. I'd rather just save up and go to Tamarine less frequently. Tamarine has a much wider selection of things I can eat that are gluten free and excellent presentation and taste.[...]

    Granola bars


    I adore oats in all forms--oatmeal, granola bars, muesli, fruit topping, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, etc.--maybe I'm secretly Scottish? Granola bars are a great snack for busy days.  It's nice to have something other than fruits and nuts to eat if I'm out longer than I was planning.  Sadly, I find the good tasting gluten bars are generally just fruit and nuts.  I end up feeling like a monkey  You can imagine how excited I was to find Smitten Kitchen's post for oat-based, crunchy granola bars.  I love them! They are just a tiny bit crumbly when you bite into them and not too sweet, just perfect. I try to keep a few in the freezer all the time, but since my husband and sister both love them, too, we're often out.I follow the recipe mostly as written, reducing the honey and substituting a ground flax for the wheat germ.  Here's the ingredient list:2 cups certified gluten free rolled oats(I like Cream Hill Estate's Lara's Rolled Oats)1 cup sliced or slivered almonds1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I use unsweetened)1/2 cup ground flaxa little more than 1/2 cup honey1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit and nuts and seeds (I often use ~1/2 cup total  pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and any other bits of nuts I have around and 1 cup dried cranberries)Follow the directions as written--I use a 9x13" pyrex baking dish.  Be sure to press them very flat before baking, just as Deb recommends.  It's really key.  Mine usually take about 22 minutes to bake--be careful not to let the bottom burn.  Don't be like me and get impatient and remove them from the dish before they have completely cooled.  You will have sad crumbly bar bits everywhere.  Enjoy!PS. If you don't feel like making your own, I do recommend Larabars and Mrs. May's Trio bars.  They are of the 'only fruits and nuts and seeds' variety and are quite tasty.[...]

    Menu Plan for week of July 18, 2010


    We've been doing a lot of complicated cooking lately, so I'm keeping it pretty simple this week--mostly salads and leftovers.  It's also my birthday this week, so I want to leave plenty of time and energy to bake a cake.  I thought this year I'd try to bake an angel food cake as I am huge fan and it seems like it should convert fairly well to gluten free.  Last year I made tiramisu (pictured above), even making my own lady fingers.  There may have been a few tears involved. :)This is part of Menu Plan Mondays, hosted by Beyond Rice and Tofu this week.  The theme this week is cucumbers which I love but we aren't really eating this week except in a salad.  Oddly enough my identical twin sister hates them--one of the few food tastes we don't share.  I especially love them stir-fried, in salads, and quick pickled as is often done in Japanese and other Asian cuisines like Thai and Vietnamese.  Here's our plan for this week:BAKE: angel food cake, sour cream coffee cakeWe have a lot of Mexican crema and Pamela's baking mix to use up, so the sour cream coffee cake from A Year of Slow Cooking sounds intriguing.  I might just bake it in our oven, though.  I've borrowed her cookbook from the library and it has the full recipe.Angel food cake: try Hey That Tastes Good or Gluten Free Mommy versions.SUNDAYgrilled shrimp, Caprese salad, cornbreadMONDAYgrilled salad with chickpeas, cornbread?salad:Grill corn, eggplant, and summer squash (probably patty pan) and then cut into dice.Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.Halve some cherry tomatoes and cut up half an avocado.Make a lemon or red wine vinaigrette.Mix everything together.TUESDAYMy birthday :)Hawaiian gluten free pizza from Z pizza, homemade green salad, homemade angel food cakegreen salad: baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell pepper with a red wine vinaigrette.WEDNESDAYchicken adobo, rice, green beansTHURSDAYDoña Maria (out for our favorite Mexican food)FRIDAYleftovers OR black beans and rice OR quesadillas, leftover vegI'll end up with leftover cakes and whole milk mozzarella cheese to use up.[...]

    Casa Lupe and Vero restaurant reviews


    Casa Lupe (2/5): Their website and Google Place page. Mountain View, CA.
    Some of the better chips and salsa in Mountain View. I'd go back.
    Update: Recently I had dinner there--the chips, a pork tamale, and refried beans. Everything tasted great, but I'm fairly certain I was glutened by something I ate there, although none of what I ate should have been an issue. We probably won't be back.

    Vero (4/5):  Their website and Google Place page. Palo Alto, CA.
    I've been here twice now. Both times the food I had was very tasty and I felt like I had quite a few options despite being gluten free at an Italian restaurant. The first time I had risotto, the second a pan seared petrale with a spicy eggplant side dish. 
    I really appreciate that the servers all seem to know understand what gluten free means, and the restaurant offers a variety of side dishes, most of which are gluten free. My friends and husband had pasta dishes that they really enjoyed as well.
    It's moderately expensive--a nice place to meet a friend after work to catch up. I'm sure I'll be back.

    Menu Plan for week of July 11, 2010


    This is part of Menu Plan Mondays, hosted by Celiac Family this week. To bake: granola bars from Smitten Kitchen, substituting ground flax for the wheat germ and using certified gluten-free oats.  I use dried cranberries for the fruit and a mix of almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds for the nuts. SUNDAYJon's pork loin, grilled corn and arugula salad, brown rice pilaf, cut up perfectly ripe Santa Rosa plumssalad: How to Pick a Peach p. 137pilaf:  How to Cook Everything's Brown rice and cashew pilaf, substituting almonds for the cashews, using bouillon with the water and skipping any herbs.  MONDAYSichuan style eggplant, riceEggplant doesn't last long in the fridge so we want to make this early in the week.  I found some gluten free Chinese bean sauce that we'll use in lieu of the bean paste. TUESDAY Yesmir wat (lentil stew), gujerati green beans, riceWe have leftover infused ghee from making doro wat a couple weeks ago.   green beans: Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking p. 87.  It's a quick, tasty way to cook green beans. WEDNESDAYout THURSDAYpasta with meat sauce, broccoliWe use leftover jarred sauce with some cooked ground meat added to it and my favorite gluten free corn pasta by Le Veneziane.  It's fast and really easy. FRIDAYout or leftover frozen black bean soup with cornbread[...]

    Salmon on my mind


    One of the cookbooks that I'm currently obsessed with is A Platter of Figs by David Tanis. align="left" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="align: left; height: 245px; padding-right: 10px; padding-top: 5px; width: 131px;">While we haven't managed to plan any large dinner parties using it, I've made two very memorable meals from it:  for our 6 month dating anniversary we made parts of 'Dinner for a Tuscan'--the fried potatoes and artichokes and then grilled steak were amazing.  Recently we cooked 'Salmon on my Mind' for my sister and her husband.  While they certainly aren't 30 minute meals, they are very achievable with just one or two cooks.  I love how the menus are so well put together--they balance light and heavy dishes and dishes that can be made ahead with ones that need last minute prep, focus mostly simple preparations, and above all, emphasize seasonal produce.It's exactly how I want to cook.  I want to have friends over for dinner and to feed them really good food and still feel relaxed and be able to socialize. Now, I'm not opposed to a more complicated curry or stew just long as I can make it a day ahead and reheat it before dinner.Even though A Platter of Figs isn't gluten free, with its focus on seasonal, really fresh ingredients, most of the menus, including the desserts, are gluten free or easily gluten free adaptable.  When we made 'Dinner for a Tuscan' instead of the lasagna, we cooked a big bunch of chard and dressed it with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. We could have just as easily made the lasagna, substituting pre-made gluten free noodles for the handmade ones in the book.  Desserts are simple and often require no flour or very little.  There is a cherry clafoutis with only 2 tablespoons of flour, Castagnaccia that uses only chestnut flour, and many naturally gluten free desserts like rose-scented strawberries, peaches in white whine, and goat cheese with honey.It's such a wonderful book to remind you that delicious food doesn't have to be overwhelming to prepare.So...back to our recent menu, Salmon on My Mind.  We made the garlic soup with fried eggs, Vietnamese cucumbers, and salmon with some brown rice on the side.  I substituted strawberries macerated in amaretto for strawberries in rose syrup since I don't really like rose-flavored foods.  We also deviated from the menu by grilling the fish instead of roasting it.  The entire menu, including making stock, took the two of us only two hours, and it was *so* delicious. I expected the fish and the cucumbers to be good--I love quick pickled cucumbers, but I wasn't sure how the soup would turn out, though garlic sounded good.  The stock was easy to make and rich-tasting.  The sunnyside-up fried eggs quickly cooked on the top when added to the hot soup.  Really delightful.  So, yeah, you should get this book and cook from it, too![...]

    Mac and cheese with green veggies


    A favorite and oh-so-simple meal for me is Annie's Mac and Cheese with a bunch of vegetables added to it (and sometimes a little bit of sliced hot dog).  Adding the greens always made me feel that I was balancing comfort with healthy in a very tasty way.    align="left" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="align: left; height: 245px; padding-right: 10px; padding-top: 5px; width: 131px;">
    Last week I finally tried Annie's Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese, and I am so
    pleased at how it came out--just like I remembered.
    The key thing to remember with any gluten free pasta dish is to use plenty of water since rice and corn pasta tends to give off a lot of starch.  Using Greek yogurt instead of milk makes a thicker sauce that clings better to the pasta and greens.


    1 box Annie's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta and Cheese
    a few tablespoons Greek yogurt (low fat or full fat)
    small head of broccoli, cut into small, bite size pieces
    several handfuls of baby spinach


    1. Heat two saucepans of water to boiling.
    2. Cook the noodles as directed in one of them.
    3. Salt the other saucepan of water and then add the broccoli.  Cook a bit until just barely al dente--the broccoli will continue to cook off the heat and when you add it to the noodles.  It should take 3-6 minutes.  Drain the broccoli and set aside.
    4. Add the spinach to the noodles, then sprinkle with the cheese powder and add the yogurt until it's the appropriate thickness.  Stir until all the cheese is dissolved and the spinach starts to wilt.  Add the broccoli and stir a few times more and then serve!
    The box claims to make 2.5 servings--we just split into two very generous servings.


    Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies


    Jon and I have had a nice little habit lately: after dinner, one of us pulls out a couple of cookie dough balls, heats up the toaster oven and makes two perfect chocolate chip cookies--warm, oozy, filling the whole house with the most delicious smell.  These are better than any Tollhouse gluten-y cookie I've ever baked in the past.These are lightly adapted from Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies by Shauna James Ahern on Leite's Culinaria.I've halved the recipe and made much smaller cookies.  I suppose they lose a little of the wonderful texture that Shauna describes, but the smaller size means we can have one most nights after dinner.Ingredients68 g sorghum flour (1/2 cup)60 g tapioca starch (1/2 cup)72 g potato starch (1/2 cup)60 g Pamela's baking mix (1/2 cup)1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum3/4 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoons baking powder3/4 teaspoons kosher salt1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), at room temperature1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cups brown sugar1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar, superfine is ok.1 large egg, at room temperature1 teaspoons vanilla extract8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chipsDirectionsFollow the directions as written in Shauna's recipe except make each cookie 7/8 to 1 ounce in size. They need much less time to bake, usually less than 10 minutes.  This size makes about 3 dozen cookies.We roll all the dough into balls and then freeze them.  When baking the cookies from the freezer, it will take longer.  We often bake just two cookie balls from the freezer at 350F in our preheated toaster oven. Somehow the ritual of waiting to preheat the toaster oven, baking the cookies, and then waiting for them to cool makes me satiated with just one.[...]



    One of the easy meals I missed the most when I went gluten free was pizza.  I loved both super thin, wood-fired pizza with a light layer of sauce, cheese, and meat as well as the deep dish pizzas of Chicago (Zachary's in the East Bay makes really good non-gluten free ones).  When we moved to Mountain View, I discovered there were multiple pizza places with gluten free options!  We've tried Amici's and ZPizza so far. Amici's has a much better atmosphere if you want to go eat pizza at a restaurant but the crust they use make me sort of sad--it's soft and meh.  ZPizza, on the other, completely lacks atmosphere but has tasty, small gluten free crusts. It's not as good as the very best pizzas I've had, but it's more than good enough to satisfy my pizza cravings.

    Next up to try:  BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

    ZPizza (5/5): Their Place Page on and their website.

    The gluten free pizza was great! Even the the leftovers I reheated the next day were still tasty. I much prefer their crust to the one at Amici's. It's a little pricey but not too bad.
    The place has no atmosphere at all, so you'll probably want to order the pizza to go.
    I can't wait to eat here again!
    Updated: 06-2010. We ordered take out pizza here last Saturday night. I had the gluten free with chicken sausage and fresh garlic with cheese and sauce. Again the pizza and crust were excellent both Saturday night and as cold leftovers the next day for lunch.
    Oh, and apparently they have delivery---we'll have to try that sometime!

    Sweet crepes


    During my vacations to Paris, I grew to love both savory galettes stuffed with ham and cheese and sweet crepes filled nutella and banana.  I was very sad when my first attempt at gluten free sweet crepes a couple years ago were too puffy and fell apart easily.  I just gave up and assumed it was another 'baked good' I'd never eat again.This recipe I found on changed everything.  The crepes were exactly as I remembered them and not the least bit gritty, even when I thawed the last few frozen crepes a month after I first made them. Even my husband (who can eat gluten) declared them a major success.My notes:I used the Allergen Free basic flour mix for the flours, where 1 cup = 115g.  I believe the superfine brown rice flour is key to the texture. I used 2% milk and butter, not oil.I mixed the batter in my blender and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  The blender pitcher made it easy to pour the batter into the pan.Since I didn't have a crepe I used my 10" nonstick skillet.  I started with a 8" skillet but found that the rounded sides made crepes that were much too small.  The 10" skillet was perfect, and I didn't have any problems flipping or removing the crepes.I didn't bother with the raspberry sauce, instead filling them with lemon curd one time and thick strawberry yogurt another.These freeze really well--next time rather than separating each crepe with a piece of wax paper, I'd just put wax paper between each group of crepes I'd want to thaw.We'll definitely make these again! [...]

    Pica Pica Maize Kitchen


    In San Francisco an all gluten-free restaurant opened recently, Pica Pica Maize Kitchen. They make 'sandwiches' using arepas and cornbread for the bread. It's more of a Latin-Californian fusion restaurant than an authentic Venezuelan It's in the Mission, so parking is terrible--take the Bart or the Muni if you can.

    "It almost seems like more of a takeout place--there is a tiny ledge and a few seats. As a gluten free person, it's great that everything they make is gluten free. I do love the idea of eating a sandwich. In reality while the ingredients were good, there was too much filling so you couldn't really eat it as a sandwich. (I had an arepa with pulled pork, a piece of avocado and some other stuff. It was good but way too much food.) I pulled it apart and ate it like two open face sandwiches. We also ordered yucca fries with that. While the fries were good, the starchiness of the arepas plus the fries was just too much. I'd get one or the other.

    I'm sure I'll come again as it *can be* reasonable healthy food and is healthy and is very gluten free."(image)

    Food on the Big Island on the Kona side (Pahu I'a, Merriman's, and Roy's)


    We recently spent a week on the Big Island. We stayed in a condo and made a lot of our meals there. Since we stayed near Waikoloa Village, we only visited Waikoloa Village Market and the grocery store (Island Gourmet?) at the Queen's Market in the Waikoloa Beach resort.  Both had a few gluten free products but not a lot.  I'd like to find a natural foods store in Kona next time and visit a farmer's market. Waikoloa Village Market had the best corn tortillas, but Island Gourmet had some excellent grass-fed local beef. Obviously prices were higher at Island Gourmet.  I didn't check the vegetables at Island Gourmet, but the ones at Waikoloa Village Market were strictly meh, *except* they did carry some locally grown produce, mostly conventionally grown.  That produce (string beans, mixed greens, purple sweet potatoes) was excellent.Restaurant ReviewsMerriman's Market Cafe (3/5)Service was friendly. There weren't a lot of options for gluten free people, but they did have a number of salads, and you could add a protein to the salad. Also the cooks were familiar with what gluten free means. They got the little things right like not adding bread to my salad without me reminding them.I had a strawberry, tomato, bacon, greens, and goat cheese salad with some grilled swordfish on the top. It was tasty, and I believe much of the vegetables are locally grown.I prefer to just make my own lunch in the condo while staying in Hawaii, but this was a decent lunch.Roy's (2/5)Service was great and the food was tasty--I had mochong with a macadamia nut crust, some curry sauce, and roasted asparagus.However! As a gluten free person, there was literally one main entree that I could eat. That was particularly frustrating at a more upscale restaurant. It wouldn't be that difficult for them to invest in some wheat-free soy sauce. Additionally, the mains were much too large. They didn't indicate this, so there was no way to ask for a half portion.Pahu I'a (at the Four Seasons) (5/5)They had a special gluten free menu. Everything I ordered was perfect--a tomato-avocado salad, 3 juicy shrimp pan-fried in tapioca starch, and a main of cod with a miso glaze. The dishes were both a delight to look at and eat. If you can, go early in the evening, around 6p and get a beach front table so that you can listen to the waves and watch the sun set as you dine. A wonderful, romantic evening. I'm sure this is not the last time we will go there.‎Merriman's Restaurant (5/5) Tasty, one of the better meals I've had on the big island. They offer a 'smaller portion' that is actually a half order at maybe 20% off the regular price. If you don't want to waste food but want to eat a reasonable portion size, I highly recommend that option.It's definitely on the pricey side, but I really enoyed my dish--it was some kind of fish (uki, I think), with a butter sauce, fennel and diced potatoes and carrots. Our salad had beets, pickled fennel, goat cheese, some green beans, and a perfectly ripe tomato.I like that they emphasize local produce, fish, and meat.They understood gluten free and were familiar with what was safe to eat. Only about a third of their fish dishes were ok, but nearly all the meat dishes were fine. [...]

    Restaurant Reviews Introduction


    I've started writing restaurant reviews again, so I'm going to include them here.

    As a reminder: From accidental experience I know that I don't necessarily have outward symptoms from small amounts of gluten, say 1/2 tsp or less.  If I accidentally consume somewhere between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of something with gluten, I do have very unpleasant reactions.  So my reviews reflect whether I had felt sick afterwards as well as my confidence level in the wait and kitchen staff. Your mileage may vary if you are a lot more sensitive.(image)

    Gluten free wedding (and special occasion) cakes


    In the process of getting married, I realized that I wanted a 'real' cake--one with layers, and filling, and buttercream--that I could eat.  And as it happens about 30% of our tiny wedding party can't eat gluten.  

    I'm lazy, so I didn't do lots of research, but here are several options from people who specialize in gluten-free baked goods.  (All things being equal, I suspect someone that specializes in gluten-free will make a tastier cake than someone who does them in addition to regular cakes.  And I care much, much more about the taste of the cake than the decoration).  It sounds like all three can provide wedding, birthday, and other cakes.

    Crave.  We tried their chocolate cake with mocha filling and vanilla cake with vanilla cream filling.  I loved the vanilla--it was more like a pound cake in density, but it was rich, vanilla-y, and moist.  Despite that we're ordering just an 8" cake with simple decoration, they have been a dream to work with.  Ultimately we decided to go with Crave since I've really enjoyed many of their other sweets.  By default their cakes are gluten-free and dairy-free, but you can request that they use butter if you don't have dairy allergies (yay!  Since I fortunately don't). They are located in San Francisco.

    Kapcakes. Apparently they provide the cakes at Mariposa Bakery in Oakland.  I've never tried their cakes, so I can't comment on their quality.  Their address is in Palo Alto, CA.

    Let Them Eat Cake. They specialize in allergy-friendly baked goods and can do gluten-free cakes as well. They are located in Milpitas, CA.

    Mariposa Bakery.  As mentioned above for the most part Mariposa Bakery doesn't bake cakes, but they do sell ons by Kapcakes if you don't want a completely custom cake.  They are located in Oakland, CA with a kiosk in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.




    I should probably update this blog!(image)



    From 2008-foodLast summer I first started to fall for eggplant. I had always disdained them except when disguised under mounds of cheese in eggplant Parmesan. I'd reluctantly eat a few spoonfuls of baigan bharta when my sister made dinner. Baba ghanoush was just a sad substitute for hummus. Then on a warm summer evening in Washington D.C. at Zaytinya--I tried Ímam Bayildi, roasted eggplants with tomatoes and onions. It was creamy, fragrant with garlic...basically, really good! I'm not sure why I started liking eggplant, but I've bought them almost every week this summer and made steamed eggplant with lemon vinaigrette, thai curry with eggplant, sauted eggplant with lots of olive oil, baba ghanoush, (broiled eggplant from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites--it wasn't very good), and now ratatouille.Ratatouille is a wonderful late summer dish since zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, and bell peppers are abundant and perfectly ripe in the farmer's market at this time of the year.Makes about 3-4 cups (enough for 2 main courses or 4 as sides)*3/4 lb small eggplants (preferably the long, skinny ones, but any kind should be ok)3/4 lb zucchini (any kind--I used a mix of pattypan and eight ball)1 large onion1 large bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)4-5 large cloves garlic, coarsely sliced2 medium tomatoes2-3 tbsp good olive oilfresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives) or dried thyme and oreganosalt and peppera little tomato paste (probably 1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp)some additional fresh herbs and grated fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional) Cut up eggplants, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper into medium to large dice (bite size). Boil some water, cut an X through the skin in the base of the tomatoes, and boil for about 30 seconds each. Remove the tomato skins. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.Heat the oil on medium high heat in a large pan, preferably a large, enamel-coated, cast iron dutch oven. Add all the vegetables except tomatoes and brown them.Once they start to brown lower the heat a bit and continue to saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Add some salt and pepper to taste (I think I used about 1/2 - 1 tsp total) during this time. At this point add the tomatoes and any herbs you want (I'm guessing about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh or 1/3 that amount dried). Once the tomatoes cook down more, taste, and if the mixture doesn't take 'tomato-y' enough, add some tomato paste, 1/2 tsp at a time. Continue to cook until all the vegetables are softened, covering if necessary and/or adding some water to un-stick anything from the base of the pan.(adapted from Smarter Than Pancakes's version and Mark Bittman's in How to Cook Everything)Notes: I'd use the full 3 tbsp since eggplants absorb a lot of oil.While fresh herbs are the best for this dish, dried thyme works fine, too.Parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese make a nice garnishes.Should easily double, though you may want to brown the veggies in two batches (using half the oil each time) to make sure they brown vs just steam.Amount of vegetables is flexible. I used roughly equal amounts of eggplant and zucchini and slightly less onion and bell pepper.As Shaye suggests chickpeas would be a good addition for protein. Also her suggestions to use as a main with polenta, rice, or quinoa or as a filling for omelettes sound good, too. :)[...]

    Really fast, crispy roast potatoes


    From 2008-food

    I am impatient. I also love potatoes. This is how to turn potatoes into crispy nuggets of happiness.

    1 or more* pounds of waxy potatoes like reds, Peruvian purples, or Yukon golds
    1 or more tablespoons olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    Poke some holes in the potatoes (so that they don't explode) and either boil in salted water until just cooked through (should be able to stick a fork in the potato without too much resistance) or microwave until similarly cooked through.

    Preheat the oven to 425F.

    Let the potatoes cool slightly and cut into bite-size chunks. (Gently) toss with oil (about 1 to 2 teaspoons per pound). Spread out on a piece of parchment paper (or silpat) on a jelly roll pan (10" x 15", I think). Sprinkle with salt and pepper--be generous with the salt if you didn't use salted water to cook the potatoes. Potatoes need a lot of salt.

    Bake for 15-30 minutes** until crispy on the outside. You may want to flip the chunks over half way through the cooking time so both sides brown evenly.

    Serve with ketchup. :)

    *Make more. You will eat them all.
    ** I wasn't paying attention at the time, so I'm not sure how long it took. It was at least 15 minutes and less than 30 minutes.

    Other notes:
    • If the potatoes are finishing too quickly, remove from the oven when they are just about done. Put them back in 5-10 minutes before serving to re-crisp them.
    • You can also use left over boiled potatoes. They may take slightly longer to bake if they are room temperature or colder.
    • You can toss the potatoes with other herbs like thyme, rosemary, chives.
    • Crash-hot potatoes are another great crispy roasted potato recipe.
    (image) (image)

    A nice (Indian) beef curry


    From 2008-food

    I love Indian food, but I'm a little more wary of eating it out because I find I have a hard time making sure it's actually safe for me to eat--although most dishes should be fine. I regularly read the blog Tigers & Strawberries* and saw Barbara's post for "a nice beef curry" and knew I just had to try it. It came out really well and seems to be very freezable, so I'm sure I'll be making it again. It reminded me a little of rogan josh, a very rich, meaty sauce, a little creamy, very indulgent...for me it tasted like something I might get a restaurant (that's a good thing). I made it pretty much as written, with a few changes since I'm cooking for one person and I didn't have some of the ingredients at home. My notes:
    • halving it turns out about 4 1 cup servings.
    • substituted: 2% yogurt for whole milk yogurt, 1/4 cup Muir Glen tomato sauce for the 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, some dried ginger for fresh, and left out the fennel seeds and paprika since I didn't have any.
    • Really, really have everything ready to go because you'll burn your seeds if you put them in and hope to quickly chop up the beef before the seeds pop.
    • It's probably not the best idea, but I pureed the paste and onions in my coffee grinder because I didn't want to dirty another dish. Next time I might just add all the liquid, remove the meat, and use my hand blender.
    • I needed to brown the meat in batches since my stove doesn't get super hot, and I didn't have a huge surface area.
    • I cut the pieces smaller (closer to 3/4" cubes) which I liked. It was falling apart after about 2 hours of simmering. I had to add some water to thin the sauce.
    *I love her blog. Pretty much every week I see something that I'm just dying to make.(image)

    Zadin and Coco 500 Reviews


    I ate at Zadin and Coco500 recently. Both were great gluten-free experiences. I'm sure I'll be back to Zadin very regularly. I've linked to my reviews on Yelp, and I started a list to track restaurants that are Gluten-free friendly. I imagine I may need a *not friendly* list at some point as well.(image)

    Pizza, first attempt



    Friday night I decided I was going to try to make gluten-free pizza, using this pizza crust recipe from Recipezaar that Debby found. I even went the store and bought vegetables and pizza. Sadly, I forgot the cider vinegar and yeast until after the store was closed. Not one to give up over such minor problems, I decided to try this pizza crust recipe from Bob's Red Mill instead since I had all the ingredients. I used the Bob's Red Mill GF flour mix instead of the garfava and tapioca flours it called for. It seemed like a reasonable substitution to me since the flour mix has a lot of garfava and tapioca flour in it.

    Not that I have lots of experience, but gluten free bread is weird: it seems like most recipes call for at least one egg and they are often batter-like in consistency. I used Muir Glen pizza sauce (super yummy), grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a mix of onion, mushrooms, and red bell pepper that I sauteed before adding to the pizza. The crust turned out, well, just ok. It was edible and made a good surface for the pizza toppings but I had no desire to eat the crust. It was weird and slightly egg-like. I'm sure it's a good recipe for what it was: no yeast, no gluten, but I'm going to keep looking.

    So far I've been happiest with foods that are naturally gluten free like rice noodles in Asian food. I did have the most amazing chocolate chip cookies at work; apparently they buy them from a local business in Palo Alto, so I might see if I can convince them to make a special batch for me. The cookies didn't taste funky at all and were a little crisp. It's good that I miss cookies more than bread. I may try thick corn tortillas as a pizza crust next time; another blog recommended the idea and Primavera makes some nice, thick, homemade ones at my grocery store.


    Here's the crust right after the initial baking: it looks more like a puffed pancake than bread (I think that's the egg effect). I should have taken a picture before baking: it's this stick batter that you spread out over the sheet.


    A close-up of the tasty part of the pizza. Still, all-in-all it was nice to sit down (very late) with a slice of pizza, glass of wine, and bowl of the Rocky Road ice cream that was left after Dad's visit. And I'm sure I'll eat the leftovers.(image)

    Now gluten free...


    So yeah, I have celiac sprue, so maybe I'll finally post more often. Gluten free foods that I like so far (beyond the obvious naturally gluten free stuff like fruits, veggies, and meat):
    • Corn thins. So far I haven't tried any bread. This substitutes fine for me. I wasn't much of a bread eater except for in really good wood-fired pizza and really fresh baguettes.
    Well, that's about it so far. I've made some pancakes from Pamela's Pancake and Baking mix. They're ok, especially if liberally coated in maple syrup. I also made her brand of brownies. If they are very cold I like them pretty well, though they sometimes taste a little gritty to me...which is not a texture I'm generally expecting in brownies.

    I've had to give up my two favorite kinds brands of chocolate bars: Valrhona (sp?) bittersweet and Cacao et Chocolat's Guarya and Cascabel bars. The latter are only available in Paris but were soo good. I think the deal is that both companies mold their chocolate in wheat starch. gah. Fortunately there's still good stuff like Dagoba that's safe to eat.

    Next up: I'm going to try to make banana bread (or muffins) and rice krispie treats--turns out regular rice krispies have malt flavoring or something which is a no-no. Malt is derived from wheat.(image)