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30 August 2010

would you like some recipes from our book?

seared shrimp with garlic-almond sauce

Would you like some of this? It's seared shrimp with garlic almond sauce.

(It's especially good if you have Marcona almonds in the house.)


How about this? It's gluten-free pasta with lemons, anchovies, pine nuts, and olives.

(This particular shot, taken by the incredible Jen Yu, uses store-bought gluten-free spaghetti. However, we'll send you the recipe for the fresh pasta too, if you want it.)

The sockeye salmon wrapped in prosciutto is optional.

chocolate peanut butter brownies

And these? These are peanut butter brownies, gluten-free.

(If you want a decadent and comforting treat, cut one of these brownies in half, spread on some great jam, and put them back together again. Peanut butter and jelly brownies.)

You could be making all of these tomorrow.

Want to know how?

All you have to do is make the food, take photographs, and tell people how much you liked them. 

Want to know more?

Send an email to All will be revealed, shortly.

Addendum: Thank you to those of you who have written. So many! We're thrilled to think you'll be cooking from these recipes soon. A lovely young woman at our publishers is responsible for sending out the recipes from that email address. This morning she informed me that Gmail sent her a notice that she had sent so many emails they shut the account down, worried it was spam! It should be up again tomorrow. You'll all get your recipes within the week. Thank you for your patience!

27 August 2010

gluten-free baseball game

it's nearly baseball season

Hello, folks! It's Friday.

We've been trying to bring you new Danny videos on Fridays, and we will again next week. (Soon, he's going to show you how to flip food in the skillet without a spatula. You'll feel cool when you know how to do it.)

However, this morning we're racing around the house, trying to get ready. Today is the first day of the International Food Bloggers Conference, here in Seattle. I'm honored to be speaking on Sunday morning, in a panel on writing about specialized diets. (The talk is at 8:15, so most everyone will be sleepy. I have to practice my dancing to wake everyone up.) I'm thrilled to be meeting nearly 300 bloggers in the next few days. This afternoon, a number of us gluten-free bloggers are meeting up at The Flying Apron bakery, here in Seattle. Can you imagine the laughing and hugging?

On Sunday morning, Danny will be cooking a special lunch for the gluten-free folks: a three-course lunch composed of dishes from our cookbook. We're all pretty excited about that.

So, as you can imagine, it's a little busy around here this morning.

I just wanted to leave you with a few interesting facts before we go.

There was a fairly well-balanced, interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about gluten intolerance this week. Thankfully, some parts of the media are starting to understand that this is not a fad or a weight-loss scheme. I appreciate the national media pieces that teach and inform, rather than dismissing.

We want to say thank you to Nurit of 1FamilyFood for asking us to do this interview about our cookbook and our lives.

This one makes me so happy I can hardly say it. If you are in the Seattle area, you have to come to this. The Seattle Mariners, on Tuesday August 31st, are having a special gluten-free night!

There will be a special seating section just for the gluten-free folks and all the concessions in that section will have gluten-free foods: hot dogs with gf buns, gf beer, etc. When I was 11, I wanted to be the first woman in the major leagues. I still get a little shiver of a thrill when I go to the ballpark. We'll be there. We're taking Lu to her first game!

Finally, come on back on Monday for a special announcement. You might have fresh gluten-free pasta in your future soon.

While we wait for that, we'd love to know this: what are you cooking this weekend?

25 August 2010

gluten-free tomato tart


Lu and I were driving home this afternoon, in sudden warm sunlight. She had been at her two-afternoons-a-week daycare ("..coool!" she calls it), where she splashed in water and sat on a tricycle and longed to be able to pedal. Afterwards, we stopped at Danny's restaurant, where Lu ran to her daddy on the line, ate a corn fritter, got an apple from the kitchen manager, flirted with all of the boys, and waved to everyone else.

It was a full afternoon.

We were close to home, on that curve of a road we know so well now. She and I were talking about her day, in between verses of "Sing" from Sesame Street. (It's her first song. She looks at me about 52 times a day and says, "La la?" She claps my hands for me and makes me sing. She joins in with all the nouns, in tune.) The sunlight was clear and dinner was waiting for us at home.

Lu looked out the window, pointed, and said, "Farm stand."

"What did you say, hon?" I asked her.

"Farm stand," she said, pointing.

And that it was. We were passing the farm stand we visit at least three times a week. Through the winter, we buy celery root and parsnips and hope for spring. This time of year, we just go for the tomatoes.

"That's right, sweet pea. That's the farm stand."

She had never said that phrase before.

Danny and I love that our kid knows the phrase farm stand and she can point it out on the way home in the car. We love that she knows the taste of heirloom tomatoes, bursting at the vine with ripeness.

This time of year, ripe tomatoes are about all we need.

How You Can Join in Summer Fest:

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of Matt Bites).

This week's Summerfest offerings

Nicole at Pinch My Salt: What to do with slow-roasted tomatoes

Alison at Food2: Heirloom tomatoes

The FN Dish: Tyler's Ultimate Tomato Salads

Margaret at A Way to Garden: More than one way to ripen a tomato

Gilded Fork: Celebrating summer lusciousness with a tomato dossier and recipes

Diane and Todd at White on Rice Couple: Sun-dried tomatoes (actually made in the sun!)

Paige at The Sister Project: 3 substantial, healthy, vegetarian tomatoey main dishes

Liz at the Cooking Channel: Easy Tomato Tart

Kelly at Just a Taste: Tomato Jam

Alexis at Food Network UK: The seven deadly tomato sins

Michelle at Healthy Eats: Top 10 Things to Do With Tomatoes

Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Chunky Gazpacho

Marilyn at Simmer Till Done: Tomato Maytag Blue Beignets

Alana at Eating from the Ground Up : Roasted Green Salsa

gluten-free tomato tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart with a Pecorino Crust, adapted from Ashley Rodriguez

My friend Ashley is hugely pregnant, in that awkward place where she just wants that baby girl to arrive, already. Most of us in that state? We're lying on the couch with a cold glass of water, a box of chocolates, and a tv remote in our hands. Ashley? She decided to enter a cooking contest at the Queen Anne Farmers' Market, which called for tomatoes. And of course, because she's Ashley, she won.

That baby girl has one cool mama.

Her heirloom tomato tart looked stunning. Because I know Ashley, I know it also tasted fantastic. I couldn't eat it, but I could try to make it. Ashley was kind enough to send me her recipe. Late this morning, we all set to work to make this: I made the crust in the food processor, Danny combined the goat cheese and basil then sliced the tomatoes, and Lu ate as many tomatoes as she could.

This was the best lunch of the summer. Make it, if you have great tomatoes on hand.

(Just a note for you on flours. I used almond flour in here, which I think adds a great texture and taste. However, since it's a nut flour, it has its own fats. I cut down on the butter for the tart and it turned out great. However, if you cannot use almond flour, be sure to raise the butter to 1/2 cup. Thanks.)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
60 grams Aherns AP flour
40 grams fine almond flour
4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled thoroughly
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
2 cups grated Pecorino romano (or Parmesan)
2 tablespoons ice water
225 grams soft chevre
2 tablespoons basil, fine chopped (take a look at this video for instructions on how to do this)
2 large, fat heirloom tomatoes (or 4 medium ones), sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

great sea salt (we like this one for this tart)

Making the tart dough. Combine the salt, AP flour, almond flour, guar gum, butter, and romano cheese in a food processor. Pulse, briefly, until the butter pieces are roughly the size of peas. Add the first tablespoon of ice water and pulse. If the dough feels dry, add the second tablespoon. Do not add too much water. You don't want a wet dough. The dough should merely stick together when you pinch it between your fingers.

Tumble the dart dough out onto your tart shell. (We use a rectangular one like this one.) Press it into the pan with your fingers. Press all along the bottom, then push the dough up the sides of the pan. Make the dough uniform thickness. Chill it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. 

Baking the tart. While the tart shell is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°. Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork, to prevent it from bubbling up. Bake for 15 minutes, then check to see if any part is puffing up. If so, use that fork again. Bake until the tart shell is brown and firm, about 10 more minutes. Pull the tart shell out of the oven and allow it to cool.

Finishing the tart. Mix the chevre and basil together, then spread it evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the tomato slices over the chevre. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 


Feeds 8.

24 August 2010

Lucini gluten-free chickpea frittata mix

Lucini chickpea frittata

We receive a lot of food via UPS in this house. Companies with good intentions send us their cookies or pancake mixes to make, hoping that if we like it, we'll tell you about it.

We don't tell you about most of them. In fact, I'd say 90% of the food we get ends up at the food bank or in the hands of friends. We're picky. We hope you know that means you can trust us.

Last week, a box of goodies arrived at the house again. At this point, I don't expect much.

This time, however, we want to sing it to you here. This box full of food made up part of Lu's dinners for the week, our pastas late at night, and is still drizzling on top of our risottos and flatbreads.

Lucini  imports foods from Tuscany to the United States. "Our passion is creating authentic, handcrafted gourmet foods inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy." Well, as you may know, Danny and I spent our honeymoon in Italy and we are still smiling at the memory of our meals. (I also sigh at how easy it was to live gluten-free there. We're still working for that here.)

One of our favorite bites of food during la luna di miele was a chickpea crepe. Now, granted, it was spread with truffle butter, rolled up and dolloped with chestnut honey, but still. It was outstanding. (Being with Judy Witts Francini as our food guide didn't hurt either.) Never having eaten anything like it before, Danny and I both talked about it for weeks. In Florence, or at least at the restaurant in Florence where we ate, that crepe was called cecina. In the rest of Italy it's farinata.

They make something similiar in the south of France, apparently. There, it's called socca. It's street food, cooked on big cast-iron pans, sometimes in wood-burning ovens, meant to be eaten immediately. David Lebovitz posted a recipe for socca on his blog last year and I have made it frequently after reading his guidance.

However, it wasn't until this week that I realized I have not been eating quite the same food as what we ate in Florence. I had to make it from a mix to have that Italian feeling again.

Lucini makes a farinata mix they call Cinque e' Cinque, which refers to the five cents the chickpea crepe cost on the street in the early 1900s. The chickpea flour is milled until it is extra fine. The flavors are wonderful -- bold without any musty bean taste. And the directions, specific and clear, yielded a great crepe every time.

My only note about the mix is that the instructions call for making a full batch and pouring that into a hot pan. We preferred pouring half the prepared batter into our hot cast-iron pan for a thin crepe that still had body, instead of a thick frittata. But that's no problem. You get twice as much mix for the same price!

Every Lucini food we tried was wonderful. The red sauces come in easy-rip pouches. With that kind of packaging, you'd expect them to be thin and tasteless. Instead, these sauces come roaring out, full tomato slow simmered with good olive oil and salt. Pasta was easy and delicious this week.

The Lucini olive oils taste of olives warmed by the sun. And we loved the fig and walnut balsamic vinaigrette.

We will definitely be buying these mixes on our own. That's why Danny and I feel comfortable recommending them to you. We think you'll love them too.

Of course, they're all gluten-free.

The good folks at Lucini were thrilled we wanted to tell you about their foods. They will send a box full of sauces and oils, plus a few versions of the Cinque e' Cinque mix to one lucky reader here. Just leave us a note about why you'd like to try these foods and we'll pick a winner at random this weekend. Also, you can enter a contest to win a year's worth of free Lucini foods by clicking here.


22 August 2010

gluten-free zucchini bread

potlucks sundays

We love potlucks in this house.

There's something humble and lovely about a potluck. Sure, dinner parties are great: the day of prepping and anticipation, the smells coming from the kitchen, the moment of lowering the main course onto the table and listening to everyone's happy sighs. But the only problem with dinner parties? You only eat your own food.

We're lucky to have friends who are good cooks and food lovers. They're not all chefs or food writers, thank goodness. (It's good to have some variety in our lives, after all.) They're people who love to laugh, sit around on the deck and talk about the lack of sleep we're all getting with toddlers, have strong opinions and gentle hearts, and don't mind a slightly messy house. Nobody worries about what to bring to the potluck. They all love food.

We love our friends. We never get to see them enough.

So, just a few weeks ago, we started a new tradition at our house: open Sunday potlucks.

Every Sunday, from 9:30 to 12:30, our house is open. Whoever can make it that week with a dish of delicious gluten-free food is welcome. This means that every Sunday, we have a different group of friends, a table laden with food, and small children running around the yard giggling.

Plus, to be honest, it forces us to spend a couple of hours every Sunday morning cleaning the house. If you want a clean house, throw a party. This place is actually starting to look pretty good!

Last week, we went to the thrift store on the island and bought a big stack of plates and a box full of coffee cups (wow, there are a lot with kittens on them), each for 50 cents. We keep them in the laundry room, after we have washed them, and bring them out for the next potluck. No more paper plates to throw away. Plus, the person who receives the Golf Maniac coffee cup always laughs.

Each week I have been trying out new baked goods on the crowd. A couple of weeks ago I made what I thought was the first attempt at a zucchini bread, with dried cherries and sunflower seeds. Every one of the people there — none of them on a gluten-free diet — told me, "You're done. This is amazing." None of them missed the gluten at all.

We know that soon the weather will turn chilly. (It started to feel like fall this week, that certain slant of light, as Emily Dickinson called it.) We'll have to move all the food, the children, and the cups into the house. We can't wait. The laughter will be bouncing off the walls.

zucchini bread with dried sour cherries and sunflower seeds

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread with Dried Cherries and Sunflower Seeds
, adapted from Simply Recipes

The deer ate our zucchini this year. They pretty much ate everything in the garden. So of course, the summer I am bereft of zucchini is the summer I just HAVE to make gluten-free zucchini bread for the first time.

This zucchini bread recipe is adapted from the lovely Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. You know about Elise, right? She is humble and smart and incredibly generous. More pertinent here, her recipes always work. If I ever want to make something for the first time, I check out what Elise has done first.

This recipe makes two small loaves of zucchini bread, if you have 5 x 9 pans. Baking this zucchini bread is what made me realize we have gargantuan loaf pans, much bigger than 5 x 9. If that's your story too, then you can make one big loaf, as we did. (The baking time will be longer.)

Buying zucchini is worth it for this bread.

Reminder: I give you the flours in weight because that is the only way to ensure the recipe works for you. If you still haven't bought a kitchen scale, please do! In the meantime, try this conversation chart if you insist on measuring in cups.

60 grams teff flour
60 grams oat flour (make sure it's certified gf)
60 grams superfine brown rice flour
240 grams sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups fresh-grated zucchini
2/3 cup (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven t0 350°. Grease 2 5 by 9 loaf pans.

Mixing the dry ingredients
. Sift the teff flour, oat flour, superfine brown rice flour, and sweet rice flour into a large bowl. Mix in the guar gum, xanthan gum, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Set aside.

Making the batter. Combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the grated zucchini and melted butter. Stir, gently. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top of the mixture, then gently stir them in. Add the flour combination to the mix, 1/3 at a time, stirring after each addition. Add the dried cherries and sunflower seeds and stir until they are combined.

Baking the bread. Slide the loaf pans into the oven. Bake the zucchini bread until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes, then turn the pans over and gently release the breads onto a waiting cooling rack.

Makes 2 loaves of zucchini bread.

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20 August 2010

how to chop herbs

Thank you to those of you who have been emailing us to say how useful you find these cooking videos Danny is doing.

When he and I first met, I felt competent in the kitchen, but not necessarily confident. I chopped fresh herbs hesitantly, in wide swaths, going too fast at times. Danny taught me to slow down and enjoy the entire process.

(That's the gist of our cookbook, as well.)

Danny and I both would like you to know the small joy of chopping rosemary fine and basil into a chiffonade. Plus, he shows you how to use basil as a cologne.

Here you go — how to chop fresh herbs.

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18 August 2010

gluten-free nectarine-blueberry buckle


I look forward to that first perfect peach every summer.

You know the one I mean, right? That firm-fleshed peach that yields to the teeth, the one that is not entirely soft but not as hard as a toddler's head either. The peach that is so bursting with juice that you have to stand over the sink to eat it, and let the juice run down your wrist to your elbow.

That peach.

I haven't had one yet.

Oh, I've had some decent peaches. We have a farmstand here on the island that buys fruit and veg directly from about 20 farmers in Eastern Washington. This couple is in their 70s (I think), yet they are so dedicated to bringing great produce to the island that he drives over the mountains every Thursday to pick up the zucchini, peppers, corn, and nectarines. Last year, they had fantastic peaches. This year, not so much.

It has been a lousy summer, weather wise. (Life wise? Far sunnier than the skies.) It was the coldest, rainiest spring in Seattle history. June was grey and dripping. We've had only 2 several-day bursts of truly hot weather the entire summer. Sigh. These are not the best peach-growing conditions.

(Our cherry tree? No cherries. We saw some green cherries, in the continual process of spring -- bare black branch to dark cherries — but none of them ripened. None. All our neighbors said the same. It has been a lousy year for the garden.)

The farmers in Eastern Washington must be wanting to smack the weather guy. No good weather means lousy year for their crops means horrible financial situation. So the fact that I haven't had my platonic ideal of a peach yet? I'm not suffering that much.

Still. It's one of the benchmarks of my year. Walking through a pile of leaves and trying to resist the urge to kick. The first time I hear Christmas carols and feel like singing along (that's never as early as the stores want me to sing). The first green vegetables appearing at the farmers' market in spring. And that peach.

(Okay, I should admit that our friend Jon Rowley brought us a box of peaches from Frog Hollow Farm, the legendary farm in California. We were so grateful. They were a couple of days away from Jon's recommended ripeness, so we let them sit. And then life grew busy. We remembered them a couple of days past perfect ripeness, which is why you see that touch of brown up there. Still. Those peaches are astonishing. They just aren't from here.)

It hasn't truly felt like summer around here.

Oh well. That's okay. Just more stone fruits that need to be baked in a buckle.

How You Can Join in Summer Fest:

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.
Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:
Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.
The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.
Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of

Next week: tomatoes!

This Week’s Stone Fruit Links

blueberry-nectarine brown butter buckle

Nectarine-Blueberry Brown Butter Buckle

When I saw the nectarine buckle recipe that Deb at Smitten Kitchen had left this out of her upcoming cookbook, I knew two things: 1) now I want that cookbook even more than I did before, and 2) I have to adapt this to be gluten-free. Today.

I must admit that this summer is the first time I have ever baked a buckle. Crumbles? Crisps? Pies? Dozens of times in one season. But a buckle? What is a buckle? And is it very different than a slump? (It turns out that a slump is different as a buckle, but it is the same as a grunt.)

I'll tell you what a buckle is: so wonderfully good that I don't care what you call it. (One of my friends always tells this tired old joke: "I don't care what you call me, as long as you don't call me late for dinner." I still laugh.) But if you must know, a buckle is a soft cake -- think sort of sponge cake, sort of angel food cake -- with a layer of fresh fruit and a streusel topping.

Danny agrees. This nectarine-blueberry brown butter buckle makes an incredible summer treat, soft and sweet, cake and streusel topping, and the perfect chance to make use of those stone fruits that are less than impeccable. He has been making this as one of the desserts at his restaurant for the last couple of weeks. They don't sell it as a gluten-free dessert. It's simply one of the desserts of the day. It always sells out.

Do you have some not-perfect peaches or nectarines lying around? How about blueberries? Read this recipe for nectarine-blueberry brown butter buckle, then start moving toward the kitchen.

170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
40 grams superfine brown rice flour
40 grams amaranth flour
55 grams potato starch
55 grams sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
9 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder
4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) fine sea salt
6 grams (1 teaspoon) powdered ginger
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
150 grams (2/3 cup) milk (we used soy milk here)
about 4 cups nectarines (pitted and sliced thick) and blueberries combined
1 teaspoon lemon juice

for the streusel topping
brown butter leftover from the cake
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
32 grams superfine brown rice flour
32 grams sweet rice flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

Browning the butter. This takes patience. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Don't touch it. It will start to foam and bubble. Don't touch it. Suddenly it will turn clear, and you'll think you are there. Don't touch it. When the butter turns brown and smells wonderful, touch it. At this stage, the butter can burn quickly. Take the pan off the heat and set aside the butter to cool.

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with a circle of parchment paper, buttered on both sides. (Michael Ruhlman just put up a useful sort of post about how to cut a circle of parchment paper.)

Making the buckle batter. Guess what? You won't need a stand mixer for this. Whisk the superfine brown rice flour, amaranth flour, potato starch, and sweet rice flour together, along with the guar gum and xanthan gum. Add the baking powder, salt, and ginger to the bowl. In a separate bowl, stir 1/2 cup of the brown butter and sugar together. Plop in one egg at a time, stirring in between. Stir in the soy milk. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, then stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Toss the nectarines and blueberries together with the lemon juice. Arrange them loosely over the top of the cake batter. (If you want to be precise about the arranging, you'll have a beautiful buckle. Me? I wanted to get this cake into the oven. So I'm calling it rustic.)

Making the streusel. Combine the remaining brown butter, sugar, brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir them until the mixture looks like large, damp crumbs. Spread this mixture evenly over the top of the buckle.

Baking the buckle. Slide the cast-iron skillet into the oven. Allow the buckle to bake until the top is golden brown and the cake part is firm. (If you put a toothpick in, you're going to hit wet fruit, as Deb said. Listen to her -- don't overbake this.)

Allow the buckle to cool for 15 minutes, then slice it up.

Feeds 8.

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16 August 2010

Udi's gluten-free

chicken salad sandwich on Udi's bread

You probably didn't expect to see a chicken salad sandwich that looks like this on a gluten-free blog, right?

Roasted chicken with diced celery, onions, homemade mayonnaise, a touch of mustard, maybe a little horseradish, salt and pepper. That you probably aren't surprised to see here.

Warm, toasted bread. Even slices. The pliable feel of white bread flecked with whole grains. Brown and soft. Not the kind of bread you use as a doorstop. In fact, it's just bread. Good bread.

This is Udi's gluten-free mulitgrain sandwich bread.

We buy a loaf of this bread every single week. Sometimes two. (We're lucky. Our island grocery store sells it, as does Whole Foods and now QFC in Seattle.) Lu is growing up with peanut butter toast for breakfast some mornings, egg salad sandwiches for lunch some days, and French toast on the weekends. She doesn't know it's "special bread." To her, it's just bread.

Here's how much we love Udi's bread: I've stopped baking my own bread.

Oh, I'll go back to it, when the fall brings cooler breezes, when the idea of having a 450° oven blazing in the kitchen doesn't make me a little sick, when I want baguettes for dipping in stews and braised meat dishes. (By the time our cookbook comes out at the end of September, you'll be in the mood to make our crusty bread recipe too.) Right now, however, I'm not as interested in cooking as I normally am. I just want ripe heirloom tomatoes in thick slices, sprinkled with salt. I want peaches so juicy they drip down my arm as I stand over the sink. I want big bowls of salad with soft avocado slices and sunflower seeds.

I want sandwiches. These days, every one of those sandwiches is on Udi's gluten-free bread.

Udi's makes more than bread. They make blueberry muffins that have saved us on long car trips. They make cinnamon rolls, granola, double chocolate muffins, bagels, and pizza. They're all good.

(The bagels taste like good grocery-store bagels. They're not like the dense soft bagels I bought in Manhattan at Absolute Bagels. I don't know if those are possible without gluten. But Udi's bagels are as good as any bagels you'll find in stores outside of New York or Montreal.)

As you might know, for a long time I focused on all the foods I can naturally eat, not the pizzas and pasta and bread. After a few years, however, I realized that I missed the experience of eating a great sandwich — roasted pepper, prosciutto, and mozzarella, for example — on bread that tasted good. That's why you have seen so many baked goods on this site the past year: I threw myself into the challenge.

However, as much as I like the sandwich bread recipe I have on this site, I prefer Udi's bread. Their multgrain bread is always in our kitchen. Often, it goes with me if we're going to the city. You never know when you'll encounter a picnic.

All of this is to tell you that we are proud to say that Udi's Gluten-Free has joined us as a sponsor of this site.

As I wrote back in April, about our decision to open the site to sponsors:

"What felt really important to me and Danny both is that the ads you will see will be of use to those of you reading. If you wonder how to find a flour we mention or a food we really love or a place to buy kitchen supplies that has made our lives easier, you'll be able to click on the links of our sponsors and find them immediately.

You should know that we will be limiting the number of sponsored ads here, keeping them only to companies we truly love, the ones who make food we eat happily and do business in a way that makes sense to us.

We are all a community here. We'd like you to support the companies that help make this community feel well-fed by clicking on the links over there to the right when you can."

So welcome, Udi's Gluten-Free. We're so happy you're here.

Let there be bread.

13 August 2010

how to dice vegetables

As you might remember, a few weeks ago we did a video with Danny demonstrating the basics of knife skills. Many of you wrote to say how useful you found it. That's what we hoped would happen! Have you been practicing?

Here is the second installment of the knife skills series: how to dice vegetables. Specifically, Danny shows you how to do a large dice, medium dice, small dice, and brunoise. He goes as slowly as he can, but he's still fast. You might want to watch a couple of times.

And then practice!

(You can also enjoy the sounds of Lu in the background, and then the Wiggles! Sorry to all of you parents who have heard your fair share of the boys from Australia.)

And there's more!

As you might know, Greek Gods yogurt is one of the sponsors of this site. We've chosen sponsors whose food we truly enjoy and buy regularly. (There are more recommended food companies coming soon.) We have Greek Gods yogurt in the refrigerator all the time and we think you might enjoy doing that too.

Part of our sponsorship agreement includes giveaways. You want some free stuff? Here it is.

We're always advocating that you play in the kitchen, instead of feeling serious and intent all the time. Well, the good folks at Greek Gods yogurt want you to play too. They're giving away an All About You Play and Spa day, worth up to $250! (care for a yogurt facial with your massage?)

Hey, I want this prize.

Five runners-up will win Greek Gods yogurt t-shirts and coupons for the yogurt.

So enjoy this video of Danny showing you how to make a lovely yogurt dip for summer. Then, leave us a comment about why you would like a play day. (Don't we all need one?)

We'll choose the winners from the comments here, as well as on Twitter. Come on over to Twitter between 9:30 and 11:30 PST every morning next week for the chance to win this prize (and others!) by leaving me comments about how you are playing in the kitchen. We'll use to choose the winners and announce them here next Friday.

Keep practicing those knife skills!

11 August 2010

what to do with fava beans

i grew these fava beans

When I was a kid, I tried to grow an avocado tree in a glass.

I wasn't entirely crazy. My teacher suggested we try it. We wiped down the thick pits of avocadoes, wrapped them in wet paper towels, and lowered them into drinking glasses. There they sat, on the windowsill of our classroom, the paper towels slowly drying in the sunlight. I dutifully watered mine every day, then waited for a sprout, a tendril, something to emerge.

Nothing. Most of the kids gave up on their avocado. I kept trying. We had an avocado tree in the backyard of our house. It's not as if I really needed the produce. I just wanted to grow something. We lived in Southern California, and we didn't have a garden. Mostly, it was dirt. Dry dirt that turned into squelchy mud when we stood over it with the hose. My brother and I spent one afternoon making a mud-pie replica of Knott's Berry Farm out of the mud in our backyard. But plants sprouting green leaves? Not so much.

I never did grow anything from that avocado.

(I looked it up just now, and apparently you have to perch the pit on toothpicks, suspended so that only the bottom half of it sits in the water. That's probably what happened to ours.)

My entire life, I had never grown anything from seed, until this spring, when I grew fava beans.

I adore fava beans. (Okay, let's all get it out of the way — "...with some fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti." I'm willing to bet that most of us think of Hannibal Lecter first when we think of these delicious beans. Sad. So push it away.) I came to them late in life. I never encountered them at the Alpha Beta store in Pomona, California in the 1970s. Favas are part of this group of foods I discovered after I had to go gluten-free. New and unusual once, now they are deep favorites, seasonal pleasures for which I wait all year.

Fava beans, when cooked well, have a wonderful taste, like walnuts and butter, with a vibrant splash of green thrown in too. I love them in purees, in salads, and mostly just salted and popped right into my mouth.

We may have bought them every spring and summer at the farmers' market, but this year, I took a chance. I prepared a raised bed, waited until the warmth of this strangely mild February, and planted seeds. I planted snow peas, shelling peas, and fava beans in the same bed. The seeds were small in the palm of my hand, except for the fava beans. They were....fava beans. I stuck them in the dark earth, watered them, looked at the dirt every day, and hoped.

And then, they grew. Seeds I planted finally grew.

The snow peas reached toward the sky. My brother told me that peas don't need to be staked. (Yeah, I'm not listening to him again.) Soon, those plants sprawled all over the dirt. Still, there were enough peas for me and Lu to walk out to the garden every morning and pick peas, eat, pick more, then take some into Danny.

The fava bean plants kept growing.

They're odd-looking plants. Enormous. Thick stalks. They grow tall, taller than any peas. And then the fava beans jut out at weird angles, pointing upward. (Let's face it. They're phallic.) When I first saw the small fava beans on those gargantuan plants, I squealed. I waited.

And then we picked them, took pictures, and celebrated.

Damned fine.

I may not be much of a gardener yet. All the tomato plants but one have withered. The deer got everything that didn't die. But our daughter ate the peas that I planted with her in February. And, improbably, I successfully grew fava beans from seed.

I'm planting twice as many plants next year.

This post is part of the community blogging event called Summer Fest 2010. Would you like more recipes for beans, greens, and herbs? Try these:

White on Rice Couple Todd and Diane: Homemade Mint Chip Ice Cream

Nicole at Pinch My Salt:
Green Beans with Balsamic Browned Butter

Margaret at A Way to Garden:
storing herbs and one-pot Farinata

Food Network UK:
Herbs and Greens.

Caroline at the Wright Recipes:
Wax and Butter Bean Herbed Salad

Jennifer and Mark at Gilded Fork have a
virtual garden of herb recipes
Lavender Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
Rosemary & Honey-Roasted Pears

Tigress in a Jam:
Putting Up Greens and Beans and canning book giveaway

Caron at San Diego Foodstuff:
Kale and Feta Empanadas and Roasted Romano Beans.

Alana at Eating From the Ground Up has
Shirred Eggs with Fresh Herbs

Cate O’Malley at Sweetnicks:
Green Bean Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Kelly at Just a Taste:
Fresh Herb Ricotta

Judy at Tuscan Diva:
Tuscan Herb Blend

Tea at Tea and Cookies: Clean Out the Fridge Frittata

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of

The 2010 Schedule:

  • Wednesday, August 11: HERBS-BEANS-AND-GREENS WEEK (any one or both/all, your choice).
  • Wednesday, August 18: STONE FRUIT.
  • Wednesday, August 25: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?
  • And then…more, more, more if you want it (potatoes? sweet potatoes? root veggies? winter squash?). You name it.
Join in!

salt cod and fava bean salad

What to Do with Fava Beans

This is a photo I took of the incredible lunch I had with Sharon at Sitka and Spruce. This small restaurant in Capitol Hill is one of our favorites now. Rather than having a set menu, the chefs decide on dishes based on the produce and meats available to them that day. On the day that Sharon and I visited, we were brought a salad of soft sauteed onions, salt cod, smoked paprika, dill, and fava beans. I nearly fainted after the first bite.

A few days later, Danny and I went back again. The salad had fava beans, still, but nearly everything else was different. I loved the play of it all.

These days, I'm not that interested in recipes. Are you? During the summer, all I want to eat is thick slices of watermelon, cucumber with a dash of rice wine vinegar, and something from the grill. I keep planning elaborate meals, and then when Danny comes home at nearly 11, we pan-sear some pork chops with plum jam for a quick glaze, dish up some brown rice from the rice cooker, and make a salad with fresh arugula, yellow heirloom tomatoes, and some sunflower seeds. Cooking for too long seems silly.

Fava beans are in that season. Once we have peeled them from their shells, blanched them, and peeled the casing from the beans, I just want to toss them in some olive oil and salt and fold them into a salad.

So, rather than giving you a recipe, we'd like to give you a challenge. Here are the foods that go especially well with fava beans, according to The Flavor Bible. (This is one of our most food-stained books in the kitchen.) What would you do with them?

rainbow chard
olive oil
flat-leaf parsley
sea salt
spring onions
walnut oil

Danny says he'd do grilled lamb chops with a fava bean-feta cheese puree, roasted chickpeas and mint, and a curried yogurt sauce.

How about you?

08 August 2010

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes

from the book IV

On Friday, I received the best birthday present of my life.

After a beautiful day of good food, great friends, and unplanned moments of sunshine, all of it with Danny and Lu, we returned home in the darkness. Danny carried the sleeping kid on his shoulder and I hefted bags of groceries on my arms. Waiting for us on the porch? A package.

After putting Lu in her bed, we raced back to the living room. We had a feeling, from the heft of it, what this was. We ripped it open, then gasped.

Our cookbook. On my 44th birthday — a year I have thought since I was a little kid would be a big one — the first copies of our cookbook landed in our hands.

Oh my goodness.

from the book VI

It is so beautiful.

We saw the photographs as they were being taken. We were involved in every part of the design decisions. We looked at these pages in print-outs, then marked them up with red pens. We have been imagining this book for nearly 3 years.

We still weren't prepared.

from the book VIII

We feel so lucky.

Our cookbook has a real heft to it, a substantial feeling. It's the kind of cookbook you'll want to curl up with on the couch, then prop up on the kitchen counter and start staining the pages with food right away. At least, that's how it feels to us.

We think you'll like the food in this book. The words, too.

from the book II

Danny and I both feel gobsmacked by it all.

We were blessed to work with Lara Ferroni throughout the entire process of creating this book. Most cookbooks have photographs taken by a photographer the authors may not know, in a studio in New York, in four rapid-fire days of intense shooting. Instead, we worked with Lara for more than two years, shooting ingredients in farmers' markets, our hands at work in the kitchen, Danny at his restaurant, and plated dishes that Danny cooked in Lara's kitchen and I ran to her studio upstairs. This is an intimate, personal book, and we were so lucky to have this kind of relationship with Lara. (And we're even more lucky that she became our friend throughout this process, too.)

We were incredibly blessed to work with our book editor, Justin Schwartz, throughout this process. He kicked my ass, figuratively. There were moments when I wrung my hands and despaired of the final book. Justin wanted the best for us and he pushed us to do better, give more, be more clear. We are eternally grateful. I'm a much better writer because of his mentorship.

There are hundreds of thank yous we could say, but you'll read those in the book. In about 6 weeks.

Our cookbook — Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes — will be published on September 28th, 2010.

We'll tell you much more about it, soon. But we wanted you to know that it's real.

(And you can pre-order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Powell's right now!)

Mostly, today, we are honored and thrilled to share this with you.

In the last week of July, we had a couple of glorious days with our friends Diane Cu and Todd Porter, better known to you as White on Rice Couple. These are two of the most talented, determined, and kind-hearted people we have ever been lucky enough to meet.

Truly, we could write for hours about them and not come close to their goodness.

They were here filming us, in the kitchen, in our garden, at the beach. They asked all three of us, including Lu, to cook together, grab apricots from the counter, have a picnic, and do what we do together every day.

Why were they doing this? Well, you can see for yourself here.

If you enjoyed this video, or you'd like to let other people know about our cookbook, please spread the word. Send this post in an email to everyone you know!

You see, we didn't write this cookbook for ourselves. We wrote it for you. Truly. We also wrote it for the folks who have to be gluten-free and don't know it yet. 1 out of nearly 100 people in the United States has celiac, and only 5% of us have been diagnosed. If people know that you can eat well and live vividly, gluten-free, saying yes to your life? Maybe more people will commit to it and find their health.

So we'd love it if you'd help other people see this video.

Oh, and buy a copy of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes.

p.s. Diane and Todd put up a post today about making the video with us, as well as an interview they did about us, food, feeding Lucy, and writing a cookbook. If you'd like to see more, go on over there, please.


pitting cherries with Lucy

Lu has been talking up a storm lately.

Full sentences burst out of her. Yesterday, she painted with watercolors for the first time, intent and swirling the colors. She ran into the kitchen to grab Danny's attention. "Dada! Come see painting!"

Pronouns. ("We take bath, mama.") Articles ("See the slide?"). She's reading words right and left. ("Soy milk!" she told us, when we took a box out of the grocery bag. We had never bought that brand before.) She babbled and said one word at a time for a long while. Now, it's just bursting out of her. She has been saving it up for months.

Sometimes, however, all it takes is one word.

This afternoon, she and I were standing at the kitchen counter, me pitting cherries, and her eating them faster than I could pit them. The sun was coming through the window. It was just the two of us after a morning full of people we love.

She said something. I missed it. I leaned down. "What did you say, sweetie?"

"Happy," she said, and leaned her head against me.

Yes, my love. Happy.

04 August 2010

sweet corn risotto

corn on the cob

There's something mysterious about a cob of corn in its husk.

At first it feels smooth and compact. You have to tug on those tough papery sheaths to reveal the gold kernels. It's surprising how hard you have to pull -- halfway through, I'm thinking, this prize better be worth it.

And then there are the silky threads barring your way from eating. Silky sounds lovely, doesn't it? It sounds like clean-washed hair and expensive sheets and the purr of someone's beloved voice in the dark. Well let me tell you, these silky threads are nothing like those. Those buggers cling to the kernels like a kid to her mama's leg when she doesn't want to go to school. (And without any of the endearing cuteness, either.) Sure, you can shred a big fistful of them away from your corn quickly, but the rest nit and pick and sit there without your fingers being able to budge them. This is my least favorite part.

After that's over, however, there is corn. Sweet, tender corn.

Suddenly, it's summer.

p.s. I have to tell you this, although it has little to do with the wonder of corn. When we were in our late teens, my brother and Sharon and I used to make these ridiculous little films with a big video camera. One summer, we made up a mock-mystery about the death of the member of a popular band. (She died when someone viciously threw a Jujubees box at her head. Yeah, you get the sense how good these films were.) All I really remember of this film is that the band's biggest hit was called Hot Buttered Corn!

Sharon and I must have sung that phrase into a shared microphone 28 times until Andy had the shot he wanted. We cracked up most of those takes. And now, whenever I cook corn kernels in brown butter on the stove, adding basil or chives at the end, plus a pinch of sea salt, the entire time I am stirring I am thinking Hot Buttered Corn!

This post is part of the community blogging event called Summer Fest 2010. Would you like more recipes for corn? Take a look at these:

This Week’s Corn Links

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of

The 2010 Schedule:

  • Wednesday, August 4: CORN.
  • Wednesday, August 11: HERBS-BEANS-AND-GREENS WEEK (any one or both/all, your choice).
  • Wednesday, August 18: STONE FRUIT.
  • Wednesday, August 25: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?
  • And then…more, more, more if you want it (potatoes? sweet potatoes? root veggies? winter squash?). You name it.
Join in! It's corn!

sweet corn risotto

Sweet Corn Risotto

Corn and risotto go together like fuzzy sweaters and foggy mornings, like hot coffee and cold cream, like clean sheets and bare feet. There's comfort in the softness of the rice, plus the surprise of the warm corn kernels popping against your teeth. Slightly sweet from ripeness, salty and filled with the warmth of garlic and thyme, this risotto makes the mouth happy.

And then it's gone, quickly.

Don't be intimidated by the process of making corn stock. It sounds complicated. It's not. Mostly, you throw husks and cobs into a big pot of water and wait for it to simmer into flavor. This way, you use every part of the corn. This time of year, you don't want to miss a thing.

5 ears corn
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
6 large sprigs fresh thyme

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups corn kernels (or whatever you have left after slicing them from the cob)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 quart corn stock
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Shucking the corn
. Remove the husks and hair from the corncobs, but do not discard the husks. Slice the kernels from the corncobs, but do not discard the cobs.

Making the stock. Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Add the onion and garlic to the oil and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn husks, the cobs, and the thyme. Cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock.

Starting the risotto. Set a large saucepan over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil and the butter. Add the corn kernels to the hot oil and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and release their fragrance, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 1 minute more.

Coating the rice. Toss in the Arborio rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the grains are entirely coated, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook, pushing the rice slowly in the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half its volume, about 5 minutes.

Adding the stock. At this point, pour the corn stock into the rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring gently. Stir and stir until the stock is absorbed into the rice. When the liquid is absorbed, but not dry, add more stock. Continue this process until all the stock is absorbed.

(You can use any leftover corn stock for other soups or foods where you need stock.)

Making the risotto creamy. Taste the rice. It should have no crunch to it. Instead, it should be chewy and soft, without being mushy. Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. Taste again. Toss in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and the Parmesan cheese. Stir gently until everything is fully incorporated. Place the lid on the saucepan and allow the risotto to sit, covered, for 2 minutes, which will make the risotto beautifully creamy.

Feeds 4.