Archive for the ‘Gluten-Free’ Category

Popcorn on the Cob


Every year we take Rice Kernel to a nearby farm to pick corn.  Until I had my little fellow, I had no idea you could pop corn directly from the kernel!  This year was Claire’s first trip and our curious little one was all too eager to pull at corn husks herself.  Can’t wait until next year when she can join in the action on ground level.

Ways to Enjoy Popcorn on the Cob….

1. If you don’t mind the mess, keep it on the cob and watch it go in your microwave…

2. For no mess, place cobs into a paper bag. Then place the bag in your microwave for 2-3 minutes and enjoy. (Times may vary.)

3. Another great favorite is to shell the kernels off of the cob and place them into a popcorn popper.


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I am the potato lover in the family.  Reds, russets, yukon golds, purple potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and, of course, purple yams… I enjoy all edible tubers.  As a child, I delighted in mashing them with chicken or turkey and vegetables, a la Irish colcannon.  Unfortunately, neither my husband nor Rice Kernel seem to share my love of creamy potatoes.  (The little one is getting there.)  So when it comes to serving potatoes, I typically incorporate them into hashes or roast them simply with salt, a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper, and herbs. 

Looking for a different recipe to prepare some red new potatoes, I came across this preparation.  At first glance, I thought to myself, “Potatoes, bread crumbs, and butter?!  All that starch and fat!”  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was intrigued.  Days went by.  I couldn’t shake the idea of dressing creamy potatoes with crisp bread crumbs.  So I rationalized it: I’ll add olive oil and use whole wheat breadcrumbs.  That’s a healthy enough makeover. 

These were a delectable change of pace on our dinner table.  With a flavorful roasted crust, the creamy potatoes gain new heights with the addition of nutty brown butter (about 1/3 the amount called for in the original recipe), olive oil, briny capers, and toasty homemade bread crumbs.  I assure you it is a savory companion to any roasted meat, poultry, or fish.

Golden Potatoes with Caper Brown Butter Bread Crumbs, adapted from Gourmet Magazine


3 lb roasting potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/3 stick unsalted butter or Earth Balance
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup drained capers, chopped
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs* (I use homemade from a leftover whole wheat baguette)
*Use gluten-free bread if desired.

Note: Original recipe calls for 1 stick of butter (no olive oil) and 2 cups of bread crumbs.  Adjust accordingly to suit your tastes.


  1. Put a 4-sided sheet pan in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425 degree F. 
  2. Cover potatoes with 2 inches water in a 5- to 6-qt pot and add 1 Tbsp salt.  Simmer until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes well.
  3. While potatoes simmer, heat butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in capers.  Keep warm, covered.
  4. Toss potatoes with 3 Tbsp caper butter, then spread out in hot sheet pan.  Stir remaining caper butter into bread crumbs and scatter over potatoes.  Roast, turning potatoes once or twice, until potatoes are tender and crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt.

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Nearly every time FHE and I came home from college, our parents would get together for a meal at a local Afghani restaurant.  Everyone delighted in the flavorful stews and soups, beautifully grilled meats, and fresh breads.  My husband grew up eating Afghani fare and his face still lights up at the mention of kebabs, sambosas, kadu, and his beloved bowl of aush.   

This is a simple marinde that is perfect for the summer grilling season – or the oven or stovetop, as is the case tonight.   Delicious paired with chicken, beef or seafood, tonight it is used as a marinade for pork chops and served with tumeric-roasted carrots and cauliflower and a side of brown basmati rice.  (I recognize Afghanistan is a Muslim country and the majority do not eat pork, but we have pork chops on hand tonight and the marinade pairs deliciously.)  The only thing to make this more delectable would be some traditional Afghan bread.

Afghan Yogurt-Spiced Marinade, source long forgotten


2 medium onions, peeled
2 cups plain yogurt, any fat content you wish
Dash of Lemon juice or rice vineger
Pepper to taste
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 – 3/4 tsp cayanne pepper or Chili paste
2 tsp Fresh ground ginger
3 Garlic cloves
Chopped cilantro to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric


  1. Simply blend all ingredients in the food processor. 
  2. Simmer/cook over medium heat until thickened slightly and flavor is set, about 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Cool.
  3. Marinate chicken, beef, pork, or firm fish (like tuna, swordfish) for up to 2-3 hours (marinate fish for less time, about 1 hour).  You can use whole pieces of meat or cubes to form on a kebab.  Cook as directed. 

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Rice Kernel is obsessed with dipping foods in sauces, condiments, yogurt, and even water.  (Don’t ask about the latter.  All I can say is, he’s only half me.)  While he hasn’t been keen on my hummus or roasted eggplant and red pepper dips (eating but a few bites unless a crunchy pita or terra chip is involved), I knew a carrot dip would be undeniable.  See, Rice Kernel is a carrot fanatic.  The fact that I prepared the dip without him walking away with too many carrots was remarkable.

Now, before you pour accolades about how loving a mother I am for transforming one of my son’s favorite vegetables, let me say there was a selfish motive as well.  This dip starts with one of my favorite spreads and ingredients – roast garlic.  Fragrant, creamy, and naturally rich, I have been known to eat an entire head of roasted garlic spread on chicken, eggs or crusty bread.  Roasting the carrots adds a sweet element to the dip and a beautiful orange hue (or other colors, if you delve into the exotic varieties).  Rounded out with fruity olive oil and tangy Greek yogurt, this is a nutritious, fiber-filled dip that is sure to add cheer to any summer menu or lunchbox.  Serve with pitas, chips, crudite, or spread on a sandwich for an unexpected flavor burst. 

* Thanks to Jessie at CakeSpy for featuring my Matcha Tiramisu with Adzuki and Mascarpone today.  Perfect way to celebrate our 100th post! *

Roasted Carrot Garlic Dip, from Gourmet Traveller


6 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 garlic head, skin on but cloves separated
1/4 cup olive oil, divided (you can use less and stream in water to thin dip)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, finely grated rind and juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Scatter carrot and garlic in a single layer on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle 1/8 cup olive oil, season to taste and roast until golden and very tender (1-1¼ hours), cool to room temperature. 
  3. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins (discard skins), then transfer carrots and garlic to a food processor.
  4. Add yogurt, lemon rind and juice, season to taste and process until smooth. 
  5. Add remaining oil and/or water in a steady stream, process to combine.
  6. Carrot dip will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

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Golden, tender, and coconut-packed with just a hint of sweetness, these are decadent and delicious.   And much healthier than a similar-tasting coconut macaroon (which I was dreaming about while I was flipping these).  Made with gluten-free coconut flour, these pancakes are high in fiber and packed with protein.  If you haven’t used coconut flour it is an absorbent flour with tremendous thickening power, so you’ll use much less of it than you would all-purpose or whole wheat flour.  Why, you ask?  Good-for-you fiber.  And we can all use more fiber, right?

Well, if you don’t need more fiber, I’ve also included a coconut pancake recipe sans coconut flour.  One of the most tender pancake recipes I’ve come across, these have an intoxicating coconut essence.  And I used light coconut milk.  I can only imagine how dessert-worthy these would be with luscious, coat-the-back-of-your-wooden-spoon, full-fat coconut milk.  Too sinful.

Note:  The pancake batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  

 Coconut Flour Macaroon Pancakes, from Nourishing Days


4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk (regular, soy or coconut milk all work)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
Coconut oil, canola oil, or butter for frying


  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and honey or stevia.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together.  Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.  Add shredded coconut.
  3. Grease pan with butter or oil.  Turn head to medium or medium-high.  Ladle a few tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake.  Spread out slightly with the back of a spoon. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the tops dry out slightly and the bottoms start to brown.  Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.

Coconut Pancakes, adapted from Cooking Light


1 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour or a mix)
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup light coconut milk (regular coconut milk would be more decadent)
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)


  1. Whisk together coconut milk, canola oil, and egg.  Combine with dry ingredients.  Cook as usual for pancakes – except that these brown faster than typical pancakes. 

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Little pillows of buttery, fluffy decadence.  Those are the thoughts the humble scone evokes in my mind.  I bought them often in my post-college days, while I was working as a paralegal.  They were the perfect afternoon teatime treat.  By myself, of course.  And the stacks of depositions and boxes of transcripts surrounding me.  I must have been thinking about the scones and not the work when I decided to go to law school. 

Sadly, I rarely bake scones at home.  There’s nothing rainbow diet about them.  And while I’m all about a splurge here and there, the others in my family would rather splurge on something else.  Then I came across these gluten-free scones.  Made with almond flour, they are filled with protein, low in sugar, and devoid of butter, cream, or added oil.  Impossible, no? 

Tender and soft with crisp edges, part biscuit and part muffin, these are delicious for breakfast or a snack.  They are also extremely versatile and unbelievably quick to pull together.  The hardest part is deciding how you want to flavor your batch.  Perfect for last-minute company or for a Rice Kernel and Mommy afternoon teatime break.

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Scones, adapted from Alana’s Pantry


2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or your choice of mix in – I used candied ginger this time)
1 tbsp orange zest (or lemon or lime)
1 egg
3 tbsp agave nectar
Spash of milk or buttermilk (I needed about 3 tbsp for the dough to hold together – original recipe does not call for any milk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, chips and zest.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine egg and agave.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Form dough into a circle that is about ½-inch in thick.
  6. Cut dough like a pizza, into 6-8 slices.
  7. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  (Brush with eggwash or cream for extra sheen.  You can also sprinkle with some sugar.)
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bottoms are browned.
  9. Note:  You can frost these with a bit of powdered sugar mixed with milk or juice. 

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You’ve heard the proverbs before: “there’s so much more than meets the eye” and “life’s pleasures often lie in the simplest things.”  They collided recently in my daily life and on my dinner table. 

For the past year, a lady named Rebecca and I have been “classmates” at the Bar Method, a ballet-inspired exercise method.  Rebecca walks into class unassumingly – but always with a smile that unfurls to reveal two deep, charming dimples and always in a purple or violet top.  We’ve shared pleasantries many times but never had the opportunity (i.e. time) to “talk.”  Today, she knelt beside me before the start of class and joked that her body was in for some pain – it had been a few weeks since her last class.  We laughed about class and her recent travels and I remarked that she always brought a wonderful energy to class.  Regretfully, she said she would be leaving soon.  With a calm smile, she told me her family had moved from Singapore for the past year so that her almost 3-year-old could receive treatment at Stanford Hospital.  Her voice unwavering, she told me he had developed a malignant tumor so large, his head began tipping over from the weight.  With rounds of chemotherpy behind them and a favorable prognosis, the port that delivered the drugs to her little boy would be removed in two weeks and then they would be back to Singapore.  I was stunned.  I, too, had a little boy nearly the same age as hers.  And, yet, our journey through early motherhood differed so greatly. 

I will miss Rebecca when she moves.  Not only because of her smile and gentle presence.  But because she reminded me of simple, important lessons that her little boy learned too soon – and that my little boy has yet to – but must also – learn. 

Rebecca nourished my soul… as for the belly….

Complex, decadent flavors are exciting but, most days, I desire simple preparations that let the ingredients speak for themselves.  Truthfully, there is really nothing to add to a baked purple yam.  Dull, ragged, and unassuming on the outside, the interior reveals a tie-dye purple that only nature could create.  Wash it well and bake it until fork-tender and candy-sweet.  Once baked, the flesh becomes a deep, royal hue.  Loaded with vitamins, fiber, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants and low is saturated fat and sodium, the purple yam is one of nature’s most beautiful superfoods. 

Baked Purple Yams, found in specialty or Asian markets

Note: These yams are also delicious cubed or cut into fries, tossed with salt, pepper, agave nectar and rosemary, and baked until a crusty, carmelized crust forms around the creamy center.  They can also be mashed and baked into pies and breads.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Scrub yams well under running water.  Pat dry.  Using a fork or knife, make several incisions to allow steam to escape during the cooking process.  Wrap yam in foil.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until knife inserted in the center goes in smoothly.
  4. Serve as is.  Or enjoy with salt, pepper, butter, or agave nectar.

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