Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Soccas Fast and Easy

Soccas are a southern French treat made form garbanzo bean flour and not much else.  You can top them like a pizza, and adding any Mediterranean flavors will work on them.  Oh, and they are EASY.


1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 cup water
1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp dry whole Rosemary
1 tsp tapioca flour
1 tsp EVOO

Heat the EVOO on the stove in a French pan with a metal handle that is safe for broiling (and with an excellent oven mitt at all times).

Mix the water, baking powder and flours together with a wish in a bowl.  Add the rosemary.  You don't need to use salt if your topping are salty (see below).  The batter should be like a crepe batter.

Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the pan.  Mine is about 8" at the top, and I fill it about a 1/4".

When the edges are getting crispy, brush the top with EVOO and put the pan under the broiler until the top barely starts to brown.

Then, add topping and broil until everything is hot and the socca isn't doughy.  It should be soft with crispy outsides.



On the Socca above, I have the following:

Semi-dried portobello mushroom
Left over tomato sauce from making Lasagne
Cafe Gratitude Olive Tempenade
Applegate Farms coppa
Dried oregano
White truffle oil

As you can see, it was a no fuss left over saving night chez moi!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry is Summer

Strawberries are in season!

So, here is a surprising, simple treat featuring the strawberry and some other Summery friends.

Strawberry Sorbet

1/4 cup white tequila or water
1 basket of fresh strawberries
1 lbs of frozen strawberries

Add water then fresh strawberries to the blender. Bring from 1 to 10. Then, pop the hole in the top of the lid open and add frozen strawberries until the blender binds. It needs to get so thick that the blender stops working.  The sorbet will be semi-stiff and need at least an hour in the freezer to set up.

Note: you may need to work the sorbet with the fancy tool that came with your Vitamix as you add frozen fruit, and I don't recommend doing this with a less powerful blender unless you want to blow out your motor.

Strawberry and Cucumber Salad

1 shot of white tequila or Japanese salad rice vinegar
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup peeled and sliced English cucumber

If you used tequila in the sorbet, stick with that in the salad.  Let the salad sit in the fridge while the sorbet sets up.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is anything safe?

You might see "gluten free" everywhere you look lately, but not so fast!

Did you know that the "gluten free" label isn't regualted in most countries?

What does that mean for you if you are on a medical gluten free diet?  Well, it can be a big headache.

The lack of regulation in food and pharmaceuticals is a huge problem, making being gluten free seem easier than it is and causing tons of disappointments at grocers, restaurants, and pharmacies.

What's reliable?

The GFCO certification is the highest standard I've found.

GFCO provides consumers and manufacturers confidence in knowing, that products labeled with the GFCO certification mark meet the strictest standards for gluten-free. These voluntary standards go beyond the requirements of government laws and regulations in order to ensure public confidence.
Sadly, symptoms are not reliable.  Many people with gluten problems can have internal damage but no noticeable symptoms.  So, get tested for malabsorption and immune activity to make sure your cheating ways (shared kitchens, eating out, oats, etc.) aren't biting you in the gut.

GFCO is great news, especially given the oversights

Many so-called gluten free products, such as chicken bouillon, corn cereal, and caramel ice cream topping, have been found to have been contaminated with gluten. For example, in an investigation reported by the Chicago Tribune on November 21, 2008, Wellshire Farms chicken nuggets labeled "gluten-free" were purchased and samples were sent to a food allergy lab at the University of Nebraska. Results of the testing indicated gluten was present in levels exceeding 2,000 ppm. After the article was published, the products continued to be sold. However, after receiving customer inquiries, Whole Foods Market removed the product from their shelves over a month later. Wellshire Farms has since replaced the batter used in their chicken nuggets.  More...

I've personally talked with companies who refuse to test their products even though they know they might be making people sick.  Some test for gluten levels 9000% higher than the FDA recommendation but still use the "gluten free" label.

Real Solutions

I'm not one to make this gluten free thing seem easy, and I go from zero to peevish when any disease is called a "lifestyle."  Check out news you can use at  The forums are full of people like us who can't kiss, take a pill or choose blindly from menus when on vacation.  It does get a little spammy at times.

There are some very caring companies that help, too.  You'll notice that I use Spicely a lot in my kitchen.  They are GFCO and I find them pretty easily in stores near me.   NutsOnline also has tons of GFCO bulk products.  No more worrying if someone switched the scoops or what was in the bin before!

I like to use NutsOnline when I'm making the luscious recipes from Cafe Gratitude.  A special shout out here to Erica and the Cupertino Cafe Gratitude as well as lovely Sophia in Healdsberg -- who keep me in good spirits with their delightful desserts and caring hearts.  Somedays, eating a gluten, soy and dairy free raw, organic, vegan tiramisu with thankfulness is all you can do.  ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stuffed Conchiglioni

Great.  Big.  Stuffed.  Pasta.  Shells.

Let's not count the years since I've enjoyed this dish.  Did I keep it classic?

Heck no!

Tomato Sauce

1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup sweet bell peppers
1 cup sunburst squash
1/2 tbs Italian seasonings
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Once the veggies are all sauteed in the olive oil, add the seasoning and tomatoes.


Then, steam up some fresh asparagus and brown a couple slices of sunburst squash.


1/2 cup sweet potato puree
2/3 cup  ricotta (if you have problems with casein, use sheep's milk ricotta)
1/2 cup chopped and sauteed spinach
1 box brown rice pasta conchiglioni

While the shells are boiling, mix together the filling.  The spinach should still be hot.  Let the shells cool until you can handle them, then use a teaspoon to stuff them and plate.  I like to drizzle some olive oil on my sides.

Easy-peasy and pretty pretty!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Knock Out GF-Que Sauce (Easy!)


This recipe has officially been tasted and approved by a real life, card carrying Kansas BBQ judge.  Enjoy!

2/3 cup black strap molasses
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup agave or honey
1/2 cup wheat free tamari
1/2 cup of GFCO BBQ seasonings (smoked paprika, cumin, garlic, onion, mustard, black pepper, and cayenne)
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes

Place all the liquids in the blender, and get them going on high.  Add the tomatoes and spice slowly.

That's it!




On the Que

I suggest marinating your meat in 1/2 your sauce the night before and letting the meat bake on 250 degrees, covered for about 2 hours.  Kiss the meat on the grill once the heat is even and low.  Don't keep it on too long.  The sugars in the meat will BURN easily.  This is not grilling.  This is adding flavor.  You meat should be safely cooked before it hits the grill.

I prefer to let my emulsion cure for a week or so.  However, it really isn't a requirement.  I also add a few special spices to my mix -- I'd tell ya, but I'd have to kill ya.

Here is a song from my dear friends Jenny Kerr and Philbille Milner that gets me in a Summer mood.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kickin' Chicken Tenders

Beer Battered Chicken Tenders

7-10 chicken tenders
1 1/2 cups of gluten free corn flakes
1 egg
1/4 cup of sweet rice flour
1/2 cup of rice milk or butter milk
1 tsp jerk spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of Bard's Beer

GF Buffalo Sauce

1/2 cup of rice milk or cream
1/2 cup of Humboldt Fog or Truffle Tremor cheese (not bleu cheese!  It has gluten!)

Check this out!  Chicken fingers with a beer batter and a Caribbean kick!

Blend the cornflakes into a course powder.  Place them in a bowl with the salt and jerk spice.

Blend the egg, milk, beer, and rice flour together.  Blend very quickly.  If you leave things going too long in the blender, you will cook your egg.

Let the chicken tenders swim in the liquid part of the batter for at least 30 minutes.

Pull a chicken tender out, place it in the dry mix, and coat the chicken tender well.  Place the tenders on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  If you have an oil sprayer, feel free to spray the tops of the tenders, too.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done.  Pink chicken is unsafe.

While the chicken is cooking, blend the milk and cheese for the sauce.  Goat cheese is easier on those of use who have issues with casein proteins.  It seems like a mild lactose intolerance.  However, it isn't lactose -- it's the casein. These cheeses are not 100% like blue cheese, but maybe you've been on the GFD for so long that you don't remember what bleu cheese tastes like anyway?  I think they taste better! 

I'm having mine with a side of sauteed heirloom greens from my farmer's market and some roasted spaghetti squash with Muir Fire Roasted Tomatoes.

Serve with a Bard's beer and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dim Sum -- at Last!

Rice Wrappers

1 1/8 cups Sweet Rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
3/4 cup boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in the Vitamix and pulse a couple times to incorporate them together.  If the rice flour is grainy, keep the mixer going until everything is a fine powder.  You may need to er-blend some for the cutting board, too.

Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil.

With Vitamix on about 5, take off the plug top and slowly, carefully add the boiling water. A dough should form. You may need to use the tamper to push the ingredients toward the blades as the dough becomes a ball.

Turn the Vitamix contained upside down on a floured board. Spin the blade form the base to get everything out. Knead a few times and let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Clean the Vitamix.

Note: you may need to blend the dry rice flour to make it less grainy.  Superfine grind enough for the rolling pin and board, or make 1.5" balls of dough and flatten them in your hands.


1 cup ground lamb, pork, or duck
1/2 cup carrot
2 cups napa cabbage
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 cup green onion

Place the ingredients in the Vitamix from softest to hardest. Start the blender on 1 and work up to about a 5.


1/8 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Roll out your dough on a cutting board with corn starch or in a pasta machine. Cut out 3" circles, and put about a tablespoon of filling in each round. Brush a mixture of cornstarch and water onto the edges of the wrappers and seal them into half circles.

Boil, steam, or pan fry the dumplings.  I boiled mine first and then crisped them up on a fry pan.

Serve with plum, hosien, or duck sauce.