Archive for June, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Vinaigrette

June 30, 2009

Tonight’s recipe was actually inspired because I wanted to make crepes. Seriously.

I walked into my apartment tonight blithely unaware that I had absolutely nothing to make for dinner except mac and cheese or eggs. I’m trying to watch my diet this week so that I don’t scare everyone silly in my bathing suit this weekend when Keith and I go up to Cape Cod. Hmmmmm what to do.
I got as far as mixing up the batter for gluten-free crepes, when I realized that the directions said that the batter has to sit for an hour before actually making the crepes. Sigh. I have plans with a friend at 7, so that’s not going to work. Move batter to fridge. Oo, fridge. Dig dig dig. Hmmmm tomatoes, garlic, oh look, fresh basil in my window box. Ok, let’s make something up.

This is what I came up with (crepes will probably come tomorrow). This was really satisfying for a quick dinner, and healthy to boot! 🙂 I like that the dressing is a little different from the traditional greek dressing, and a little lighter on the waistline as well.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with “Greek” Vinaigrette

Two heirloom tomatoes, sliced (I used a yellow and a Cherokee Purple)
Fresh Basil


2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pepper
1/2 c champagne vinegar
1/2 c oil (obviously you could use olive, but I chose to use a sunflower flax blend. It was really pretty and yellow!)

Slice tomatoes and basil and arrange on the plate. Whisk together dressing and pour over tomatoes. Eat joyfully and thank the maker for summer tomatoes.

Moist Lemon Cake for a summery week

June 26, 2009

I don’t think I’ve ever actually described the impact that Keith’s mom Janet, who has Celiac, has had on me since going gluten free. I am so grateful to her and Keith for helping me and supporting me when I first found out that wheat was to be banished from my diet. Any time I had a question about a flour, or a gum, or a confusing baking instruction, Janet had a patient and thoughtful answer. She is definitely the best resource any newbie could have, and she is the reason that I didn’t have the typical newbie experience of standing in a grocery aisle looking lost among tiny bags of flour.
Two things really stand out to me when I look at the last 8 months. One is how generous Janet has been to me with her time and knowledge. The other is that she is unfailingly generous with kitchen gear! She is the one who told me that gluten free pie crust is sticky, and that I should invest in a Silpin if I could find a cheapie one (which I did, at Home Goods!). She gave me her old food mill when she got a new one, which is great because Keith likes his mashed potatoes lump free :). Recently, Janet came to stay with Keith and his sister Kathleen on her way from Florida to Massachusetts, where she and her husband have a summer house. Her gift this time was Elizabeth Barbonne’s new cookbook, Easy Gluten Free Baking. If you’ve never heard of Elizabeth, she runs the website, which is a subscription based site of gluten free recipes. Although Elizabeth isn’t gluten free herself, she was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and chose to do her work in the area of gluten free baking. Thank goodness she did, because this book is AMAZING. I actually think it might be better than the CIA’s gluten free baking book!!!

Janet giving me this book inspired me to go back and look at Elizabeth’s site again. I found a recipe for a Moist Lemon Loaf cake that looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and I just had to try it. Lemon is one of my all time favorite flavors, as you can tell! All I can say is WOW. This recipe was light, fluffy and delicious. I highly reccommend you try it out, especially on someone who has never tried gluten free baked goods. I would wager that they would be hard pressed to tell the difference!

**This recipe has been taken down because I’ve been informed that Elizabeth Barbonne has successfully sued multiple people for reprinting her recipes. This is really unfortunate because she has lots of good ones and it’s always nice to see a recipe reviewed before you try it out and waste ingredients. However, since I’m not a blogger with a lucrative sales revenue or book deal, I have taken this recipe down in the interest of avoiding a lawsuit. My apologies to anyone who wanted to try it.**

SoyJoy Bars are Gluten-Free

June 17, 2009

While perusing the aisles of Safeway a few weeks ago, I made an amazing discovery. SoyJoy bars, which I used to eat pre-gluten free diet days, are gluten free. They say so right on the package. Holy cats! I am back to eating a bar for my afternoon snack a few times a week. It’s the little things in life that mean the most 🙂

My personal favorites are the Mango Coconut flavor and the Apple Walnut. MM. I don’t even miss the glutinous bars of just a year ago in my life. These are so great if you are going somewhere that you aren’t sure you can find something safe to eat. They are pretty solid, so you don’t have to worry about them crumbling into pieces if you toss them in the car or in a bag. I really appreciate this company for recognizing that gluties need convenient and healthy food too!

Visit their website to find out where to buy and get your $1.00 off coupon!

Festival Memories and a Rhubarb Pie

June 12, 2009

There comes a time of year for me when I start to get nostalgic for tent cities, sunshine, ladybugs, and late nights. 12 long months, I’ve waited to wear Chacos with my hippie trippy skirts and to spin around in the middle of a log cabin on a worn wooden floor, my heart bursting with happiness.
Yes, it’s now festival season. I was utterly chagrined when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to go to Mt. Airy recently, a wonderful festival that takes place every summer in Mt. Airy, NC. It is the town that Mayberry (a la The Andy Griffith Show) was based on (I swear I’m not making this up). Until it burned down a few years ago, they actually had an Aunt Bee’s Pancake House…no lie.

I know I’ve talked about it here before, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say that more people should try out the old time music festival circuit. It’s just like a camping trip with a huge group of really awesome family members that you never knew you had. There’s the crazy aunt, with her cat pins, floor length skirts, and crazy frizzy hair (she’s the best banjo player you’ve ever heard). There’s your grandpa, who might be 100 years old and wear overalls while smoking his pipe or hand rolled cigs, and he has stories of learning to play the fiddle by candle light, figuring out each note for himself. Nobody taught him and he has his own style. There are teenagers, pretending to be bored and thinking everyone playing music and enjoying themselves are lame (they always come around when they hit about 16 or 17 and want to learn to play themselves). Until they come around, they travel in packs, sneak beer and cigs and roll their eyes.

I guess my point is that I have been doing a lot of thinking about what “home” really means to me at this point in my life. Is it DC, where traffic makes me want to go on a murderous rampage, people are all type A control freaks, and I can’t see the stars standing outside on my porch? No freaking way. Is it where my parents live? Unfortunately…not anymore. I’ve created my own home these last few years, and it happens to be out in the middle of the woods in West Virginia, wherever my friends are playing music and making mischief.

One of my favorite memories from growing up in the world of summer festivals is of the Hobo Pie people. Hobo Pie was actually their band name, but I honestly don’t think I knew that until I was like, 22. Every year, packs of kids would descend on their campsite at Clifftop, lugging containers of ingredients from kitchen campsites. For a dollar or so, one of the Hobo Pie people would make a to-order combo of ingredients like cheese, ham, veggies, chicken, tomato sauce, or maybe a sweet combo like jam, marshmallows, chocolate, whatever and then cram it all between two slices of white bread. Then they pressed it into a camp toaster, which looks like an old fashioned square pizelle iron without the pattern which you hold over a fire or a grill, and it basically formed something like a Hot Pocket. MMMMM. Toasty, gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside. I’ve been dying to find out if you can make one of these with gluten free bread and get a similar result.

For now, I decided to make an actual pie. I’ve been moping around lately because I couldn’t find any local rhubarb, so I finally broke down and bought some at Safeway. I think it was actually a good move, because the stuff I bought looks gorgeous: dark red and luscious looking.

This pie was completely wonderful. It is not, however, one that I ate warm out of the oven. In order to allow the juices to thicken up, I refrigerated this pie intending to eat it the next day and promptly forgot it for the entire weekend (I was dog sitting for the cutest dog ever with the cutest boy ever…don’t judge me!). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because the flavors had a chance to fully develop and the pie was amazing. Try it out if you have a craving for a summery taste of fruit with a luscious sweet crust. Speaking of the crust, I used Mike Eberhart’s recipe for a standard pie crust, from his book Gluten Free and Wheat Free Gourmet Desserts. The taste is wonderful, it doesn’t use any gums or weird thickeners, and best of all, you don’t have to roll it out!!!! The dough is simply pressed into a pie tin, but you can’t tell when it’s all baked up. What more could you ask for?
Another side note: I didn’t do a top crust on this, mostly because I was making it up as I went along and didn’t think about what shape the fruit would be in when I pulled it out of the oven. Fortunately, the fruit sort of roasted and got nice and soft and sweet. I would do one of two things next time: Either stew the fruit first and then add it to a completely cooked pie shell, in which case you would bake the shell for 29 minutes rather than 15. Or, I would add a top crust to it. Either way would work.

Summer Fruit Pie



3 large stalks rhubarb, washed, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pint blueberries, washed and checked for stems
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 c. tapioca starch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup butter
5 ounces cream cheese
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sweet white rice flour (glutinous rice flour)

Egg wash:
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. corn syrup

1) To make the crust, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add baking powder, vanilla and corn syrup and mix completely.

2) Add cornstarch and sweet rice flour. Mix until just blended (will start to stick together).

3) In a 9″ or 10″ pie pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, press crust along bottom and up the sides of the pan.

4) Brush a light coating of egg wash over the entire surface of the crust. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes. If you see the edges starting to get well done, cover edges with tin foil or a pie shield.

5) While crust bakes, combine rhubarb, apples, and blueberries in large bowl with sugar, tapioca starch, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir to coat all fruit.

6) When crust is done, fill with fruit mixture and bake another 40 minutes at 400 F. Cool completely before eating. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Strawberry & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

June 7, 2009

Boy, does it ever feel like summer outside now! Sunshiney, very humid (welcome to DC), and everything leafed out and gorgeous. I love warm weather.

My mom visited this weekend, and we were able to do a lot of my favorite warm weather, DC things. We went to Roosevelt Island for a hike this morning, yesterday we walked to the Court House Farmer’s Market and bought strawberries that are absolutely to die for, and then went over to Del Ray and hit the Dairy Godmother for some frozen custard. MM. Later in the evening, Keith concocted his favorite combination of perfectly ripe strawberries and vanilla custard. Wowza.

Odd, then, that my favorite thing that I ate during my mom’s whole trip was actually a winter standard for me: Oatmeal. I got a box of gluten free oats this winter because I just missed oatmeal raisin cookies entirely too much. Oddly, I had never tried making oatmeal with them, even though there are microwave instructions right on the box. Oops. I know that oatmeal is a good standard breakfast that my mom likes, so this morning we made oatmeal on the stovetop, then topped it with brown sugar and strawberries. If I hadn’t downed it so fast, I would have probably put a little half and half on top or something, but it was SO good as is! The berries were really ripe so they were juicy and a little tart paired with the brown sugar. mmmm. I am going to try to get more fiber in my diet from now on, this will be a great way to do it. I’ve also been thinking about the possibility of grinding some of my own gluten free oat flour! 🙂

Gluten Free Strawberry Oatmeal

2/3 c. certified gluten-free whole oats (Mine are “Gluten Free Oats” brand)

1 1/3 c. water or milk (I used water just to keep it low calorie)

1/4 tsp. salt

sliced strawberries

brown sugar

cream or half and half

Combine oats, salt and water or milk in a havy saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thick.

Top with sliced strawberries, brown sugar and cream to taste. Make sure