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Friday, July 6, 2012

fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding w/ crispy rice topping - gluten free + dairy free

and i'm back. in full swing, that is. i got back from germany a few weeks ago and am wrapping up last minute stuff for my companies annual sales kickoff meeting next week. things have been ultra hectic, so i've neglected to get a post up in some time now. sorry! chances are it might be a lil while til you see another post - i guarantee nothing next week - and the following week my girl, joanna, is heading out here from boston - so you might not see anything then either. but i promise, her and i will be dining out and cooking dinner together so i should have something the following week :)

so here goes nothing, i'm going to dive right into my showcase recipe - fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding. its a mouthful for a dessert name - but it describes this spot on. its a salty, caramelly, coconutty pudding that goes down a little too easily. 

you may remember a few posts ago, i posted about the salted butterscotch pudding that i had for dessert at linger restaurant in denver. mind expanding, tastebud blowing - gluten and dairy free coconut pudding. a few of my girlfriends and i are heading back to linger for happy hour this week and ive got my heart set on ordering it again. fingers crossed the dessert menu hasn't changed yet. anyhow, i felt inspired and wanted to recreate the dessert on my own. my rendition is definitely not the same, by a long shot. instead of having a butterscotch flavor - caramel and coconut notes stand out. i also borrowed the linger pastry chef's idea on a crunchy topping to add texture to the pudding - pretty good.

fleur de sel caramel coconut pudding
  • 1 can light coconut milk (1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tbsp earth balance or dairy free margarine of your choice
in a medium saucepan (not over heat) whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. add in 1/2 cup coconut milk and whisk until completely combined - be sure that there are no lumps of cornstarch remaining. turn burner onto high and continue to whisk - stir in remaining coconut milk. continuing stirring until mixture comes to a boil then turn down until it begins to thicken. remove from heat and stir in  margarine and vanilla until completely combine. divide mixture between four ramekins and cover with plastic wrap (if you mind the pudding forming a skin - i just placed mine uncovered in the fridge) - place in refrigerator 2-4 hours until completely cooled and set.
crispy rice topping
  • 1/2 cup puffed rice
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
heat oven to 350. spray baking sheet with canola oil then sprinkle 1/2 cup of puffed rice evenly on sheet.  place in oven ~5 minutes - watch carefully these will burn quickly if you dont keep an eye on them. remove from oven when golden and crispy and drizzle with honey or agave nectar.

Friday, June 15, 2012

chicken cherry mole - gluten free + dairy free

hello from (somewhat) sunny germany! i'm here til next friday - so this is likely the only post you'll see from me for the next two weeks or so. i'll be sure to recap some of my culinary adventures with you once i return...

i recently started reintroducing corn back into my diet. score! i cant tell you how much i've missed corn chips, eating mexican/latin food, making homemade corn bread. best part of it all - if i eat it in moderation (and organic whenever possible) ive been able to tolerate it.

that said, i've been hitting up taco joints like its no-ones business. my absolute drop dead favorite is picas taqueria in boulder. this small restaurant is tucked away in a tiny shopping center east of downtown boulder on arapahoe ave. pica's offers up a mean a la carte taco selection. my fav's thus far include the chicken al carbon, tacos al pastor, and grilled mahi. their corn tortillas are served up warm and  toasty i suggest ordering them up with 1/2 + 1/2 - an order of guacamole and pico de gallo. my go-to dish on the menu is the chopped salad. yep. a salad. its romaine lettuce with jicama, corn, tortilla (corn) squares, grilled red + poblano peppers, avocado and onion. it comes standard with a cumin vinaigrette, however, i'm hooked on their puya chile vinaigrette - its sweet, spicy and tangy - so i always opt for that instead. i add grilled chicken to the salad and ta-da. complete meal. i've got a serious restaurant crush on this place and i'm there at least once a week. thank god its only a quick drive from the office. 

mole! mole! mole!
one of my favorite latin haunts is centro. i used to frequent this place, but since my office moved to the outskirts of boulder - i'm there less often. after a huge night on the town a few of us were aching for food so we headed over early saturday morning. their happy hour runs from 9-1030am and includes a good selection breakfast dishes and brunch cocktails - mimosas and bloodys. thinking that the measly $2-$3 plates would be small we ordered way too many of them. the portions were generous to say the least - best part - our waitress advised me that almost everything could be make gluten + dairy free. chocolate chip pancakes with blueberry tequila syrup - yep they come gluten free by default - thanks to lillabee gf pancake mix. hangover heaven.

centro brunch happy hour = brilliant
like i mentioned previously i recently visited a new mexican restaurant in louisville, co - la revolucion. i havent had mole in a while, so when i saw it on their menu i knew i needed to at least get a side of it. their version was pretty tasty, but a bit too sweet for me. i've never made mole, so i decided to take challenge myself with coming up with my own version. as soon as i got home i started experimenting with different variations of mole and settled on a chicken mole with cherries - i used them in place of raisins that are traditionally used to make mole. i'm a huge fan of chocolove chocolate based in boulder, co and keep a stockpile of their chocolate bars in my pantry. i decided to use their dark chocolate with chilies + cherries in my mole.

chicken cherry mole
  • 6 cups cooked chicken breast - shredded (i used six chicken breasts previously grilled)
  • 1 14oz canned whole tomatoes (including 1/2 of the liquid) - i used muir glen - bpa free! 
  • 1/2 large sweet onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chili - rinsed, patted dry and de-stemmed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1 tbsp of adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 chocolove chilies and cherries bar or 1.5oz of your fav dark chocolate - broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries - dont use tart cherries
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/6 tsp ground cinnamon
  • fresh chopped cilantro - to garnish + add a tad of extra flavor
  • salt + pepper
place all ingredients (except pre-cooked shredded chicken) into a blender. blend until completely smooth. pour mole into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer - be careful to watch this and keep stirring - you dont want to burn the chocolate. once it just starts to bubble turn down to low, continuing to stir periodically around 45 minutes to an hour. once your mole has cooked pour over shredded chicken then serve on top of white rice, on a salad as i did above or on top of fresh pressed corn tortillas. sprinkle chopped cilantro on top to brighten up the sweet/savory mole.

FYI i DID NOT cook all 6 chicken breasts at the same time - if its just two of you eating this - i'd recommend doing the same. this recipe yields a healthy bit of food. mark and i were able to squeeze 3 meals out of it. we only used the necessary amount of mole to coat our chicken, then froze remaining sauce. we then defrosted the mole, cooked up more chicken and used it again. NOTE: this was KILLER the 2nd and 3rd go round. KILLER. the flavors were so much more intense. on the 2nd and 3rd go we also topped off the mole/chicken with pico de gallo and avocado. wonderfully delicious. i plan on making this frequently and definitely for guests next go round. hope you love it as much as we do.

my version of mole is a bit thicker than ones i've had in the past - if you like yours to be a runny consistency i suggest adding in either chicken or vegetable stock.

Friday, June 8, 2012

vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding - gluten free + dairy free

happy friday morning! i cant believe the week is already over - i kept ultra busy with work and eating. as you'll see - i've definitely done quite a bit of eating - alot more eating out than i normally do. i however, did make time to come up with a few recipes this week that i'm excited to share with you - vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding and chicken mole. read on for the tapioca pudding recipe. i've got tons to share with you from the past week and a half...get ready.

recently, i was invited to join a boulder based  food blogger group that hosts meet ups for its members at local establishments. unfortunately, i missed the first few meetups, but was able to attend one recently -hosted at the bitter bar. its a speak easy styled bar that serves artfully crafted drinks reminiscent of the prohibition era. creator/owner/connoisseur of adult bevvies, james lee, spoke to the us about the idea behind the bar, about what alcohol is and about making drinks. afterward, the group networked and i met some talented area food bloggers. it was a great experience and i'm looking forward to the next couple of meet ups that we have planned over the summer.  

vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding
last weekend mark and i finally had brunch at the famed brasserie ten ten in boulder. it was wonderful. he of course, picked the most decadent meal on the menu - chicken and waffles. um, yes, i sat across the table from him, green with envy. i opted for a safer meal - two poached eggs (perfectly poached, mind you), chicken apple sausage, breakfast potatoes, a gardein salad and a side fresh fruit. it was a marathon of food to say the least. we washed the fare down with peach bellinis. quite a great start to the day. finally, a quick walk thru the farmers market - picked up a bunch of peonies and some turnips then promptly returned home for a siesta. 

we also scouted a new taco joint that opened up in louisville - la revolucion. their downtown louisville patio has lots of seating - so its a perfect summer spot. i went with chicken mole and a salad - mark ordered a massive pork burrito. he chowed it down in next to no time. the mole was good - a tad on the sweet side for me. it prompted me to come home and start brainstorming mole recipes. i've got a yummy version that i've tested, tweaked and plan on sharing soon!

farmers market peonies
wednesday night was incredible - i was invited to a private viewing of the YSL retrospective at the denver art museum, compliments of vail resorts. my friend and style guru, betsy doughty accompanied me to the event and we both swooned over YSL's impeccable couture. after the exhibit guests were treated to cocktails at palates restaurant at the museum. we figured since we were in denver that we'd hit linger, brain child of chef justin cucci and chef daniel asher's restaurant that just turned 1 year old. we were fortunate to get a great booth at the bar and quickly assaulted the happy hour menu. we then ordered a few main courses - scallops that were so succulent and cooked perfectly - served with heirloom tomatoes and an arugula pudding. yummmmm.  to round off the great meal we both had the vegan salted butterscotch pudding made with coconut milk, served on a bed of grilled pineapple with a rice + sesame seed crunch and topped off with a bright flavored lemongrass cotton candy. dreamy, just dreamy.

work has been crazy. a few weeks back i had an intern from CSU start (she's heaven sent) and this past monday i was fortunate enough to have another intern start - a high school senior from the dawson school.  needless to say, i've been staying busy at the office. i'm in the process of tying up last minute items for my trip to germany next week. i'm making the annual trek to the international super computing conference in hamburg. i must say, im quite excited to get back there. its a lovely place to visit. i'll likely take at least a week off from blogging, so when i get back i promise to share my chicken mole recipe with you. 

ok - onto the recipe. i'm not what spurred this one - mark randomly told me he wanted tapioca pudding. off to the store we went and later that night we messed around with flavor combos and settled on vanilla cardamom. it didnt take a bunch of tries - the first batch came out pretty decently. 


vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding
  • 1/6 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1.5 cups hemp milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt - be sure to use table salt (or a fine grain salt) - not kosher
begin by soaking tapioca pearls in 3/4 cup of the hemp milk for 30-45 minutes. they will begin to look somewhat translucent. in a separate container whisk together the remaining milk, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla extract, cardamom and sea salt. combine milk and tapioca pearls with the mixture in a small saucepan over medium heat. allow the mixture to come to a boil - stirring constantly - you dont want to scorch the mix. immediately turn down to the lowest setting and continue to stir around 20-25 minutes, until you have a pudding like consistency - taste and test for tapioca pearl doneness. they should be soft and have no 'crunch' to them when they are done.

Friday, June 1, 2012

mediterranean chickpea salad - gluten free + dairy free

summer is here! time to get out of the kitchen and outside to the grill. keeping the house cool is definitely a top priority and this simple dish will help you do just that. no cooking here - just slicing and dicing. so hit up your local farmers market and get ready. this healthy dish can either stand alone or compliment any main dish.

chickpeas are chock full of protein and fiber and help you get full and stay full for a while. this bright, summery dish can be put together in next to no time, however, my suggestion is to make at least a few hours in advance so the flavors can meld while it chills in the refrigerator.

i made this dish last weekend for a (boozey + teary) going away party along with a spin on my asian carrot slaw recipe. i updated the old version of the slaw by adding in cabbage and few other key ingredients that aided in amping up the flavor profile. before i got a chance to snap pics of it, it was eaten, so i'll make it again in the near future and promise to post the new recipe too.

this week my close friends and i say 'see you soon'  (because, goodbyes flat out suck) to jeramiah, whitney and their baby boy, cruz. i love them dearly and will miss them like crazy. (however, am quite excited to have a reason to visit san diego). jeramiah was among the first people i met when i moved to boulder 8 years ago. they quickly because my colorado family and have consistently been the glue to our close knit group of friends. just about every other weekend they host a dinner or some sort of appetizer party that everyone goes to. i'm really, really going to miss their smiling faces. jer + whit - you are incredible people and i wish you the best on this adventure. i love you with all my heart.

onto the mediterranean chickpea salad - if you prefer - use dried chickpeas. i for one, dont have the time or patience to soak and then cook them. sure, i'm a slacker, i always use canned chickpeas.

on that note - i'd love to fill you in on something. you remember that nalgene bottle that you threw away a few years ago? the one that bpa in it? the one that could potentially cause cancer and disrupt hormones? well, yeah. bpa isnt gone. its in the lining of the canned food in your pantry. only a few companies have stepped up to the plate and have taken the vow use bpa free cans. i've vowed to purchase canned items labeled as bpa free, or that appear on this safe list . otherwise, i purchase goods in glass jars or i stick with fresh items (always a better choice).

just a word to the wise - i'll stop by rant now ;)

mediterranean chickpea salad
  • 1 25oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) i used eden organic brand - their cans are bpa free
  • 3 plum tomatoes - chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers - rinsed
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
  • salt + pepper
in a large mixing bowl (glass) combine chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, capers - stir to combine. Add in lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - depending on your taste you may want to start with less of each ingredient and add more as you go. i tend to like my salad vinegary. once you've achieved a perfect balance season with salt and pepper. finally, stir in parsley. like i mentioned earlier - the flavors on this dish develop as it chills in the fridge. i highly recommend making and letting it chill overnight, or at least a few hours in advance. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

chipotle bacon guacamole -- gluten free + dairy free

bacon. crispy, salty, porky goodness.

holy guacamole.
i had an appetizer party with a bunch of friends last weekend and i was supposed to bring an app and a gf desert. in particular i was tasked with bringing a dip. sweet, i thought to myself, i love this. actually, i live for this. i love the challenge of being the master of crowd pleasers and i love the reaction i get from people when they ACTUALLY REALLY like the food that i've made.

i had previously picked up a package of preservative (nitrate, nitrite, msg) free bacon and was trying to figure out what to do with it. yes, i know, figuring out what to do with bacon shouldnt be a challenge - JUST EAT IT! as i was brainstorming dip ideas i pondered curried hummus, gf/df spinach artichoke dip, etc, etc. it came to me. 

rewind back a few months ago - mark was rummaging thru the pantry looking for things to use in his traditional guacamole and found my stash of chipotles in adobo. he chopped up a few and tossed them into our usual guac and voila. marks chipotle guacamole was born. highly addictive. on a good night - mark and i can polish off a tub made from two avocados (and still be craving more). 
vibrant ingreenients
i figured i would make mark's mouth watering chipotle guac. in an effort to put my own personal twist on marks guacamole, i found myself staring at the package of bacon again. bacon makes EVERYTHING better. EVERYTHING. yep - you guessed it. my new plan was to crisp up that lucious piggy and then crumble it into marks rendition of guacamole. 

money shot.
chipotle bacon guacamole

  • 4-5 avocados - ripe
  • 1 package of bacon - cooked in the oven until crispy
  • 1/2 small red onion - finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro - finely chopped
  • 2-3 chipotles in adobe - seeds removed and chopped finely
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime (you may want to use 1/2 a lime first, then add more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
to begin heat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (to make the greasy bacon clean up easier). place bacon on a wire rack (oven safe) on top of the baking sheet, making sure that there is space for the bacon grease to drip down (this will allow the bacon to crisp nicely. i baked mine around 15-20 minutes each side. remove from oven and place in between paper towels to absorb any excess grease - allow to fully cool. 

meanwhile open up and remove the pit from your avocados - i typically slice them down the center lenghtwise, twist one side until it comes off (so that one side has the pit and the other is pit free). take your  knife, firmly in hand and whack the center of the pit - then rotate your knife ever so slightly until the pit comes free, lift out and discard. with the flesh still intact in each half use your knife to gently slice down thru the flesh until you hit the skin (being careful to not puncture the skin), repeat in other direction so that you've made an avocado grid (hell, its the best way to describe it). using a large spoon - scoop down to the skin and remove all the flesh - it should come out in nice even dices. repeat this until all of your avo's are diced up. combine avocados in a large bowl with chopped red onion, chopped cilantro (fine, leave it out if you think it tastes like soap - you dont know what you're missing), chopped chipotles, lime juice - start off with juice from 1/2 and continue to add more to your taste preference. crumble the cooled bacon and stir 3/4 of it into the guacamole. eat 1/8 of remaining bacon in process then season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper - stir. if there is any bacon left over toss bits on top of guacamole and bury your face in it. 

this recipe yields a massive helping - definitely party size. it fed a good 10 people the day that i made it. wanna hear something wonderful? out of all the of the appetizer party attendees only ONE person brought a dish that didnt have bacon in it. great minds really do think alike. it was a porktastic app party.

Friday, May 4, 2012

turkey pot pie -- gluten free + dairy free

bring on the pot pie. its been a while in the making now. i've attempted several not-so-hot versions of this recipe over the past few months and finally have a decent end product. JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME FOR SUMMER. (that was just slightly sarcastic, if you couldnt tell). i decided to post this despite people dreading turning on their oven - i simply couldnt hold off until next fall. 

this is a great savory recipe that is filling and heart warming. i found that on the second day it tasted even better. boy have i missed a good pot pie. mark was pretty stoked about this one too - he helped me devour the whole thing over the course of two meals. 

nuff said about pot pie. i'm back from vegas and into the swing of things here in colorado. summer has definitely made a very welcomed early appearance. the weekdays have consisted of working - going home and grilling up food (yes, already) and sipping good pinot. or if i'm really lucky, i'm hitting up happy hour with near and dear friends. weekends have been ultra relaxing - catching sun at the boulder reservoir with mark and tilly bones and then stopping by the farmers market on our way home. perfection. 

a few weeks back one of my girls, jo jo, booked a trip from boston to hang with me in colorado for a few days. i'm WICKED excited. best part is - shes a virgin to colorado. i've already conjured up a million things for us to do while shes here. AND to top it off - she comes from the land where happy hour is illegal. yes, this is an atrocity and no, i'm not kidding - happy hour is illegal in massachusetts. i'm cant wait to show her how happy hour is done. i cant wait for her to get here - i'm already counting down the days. 

back to pot pie business. try this recipe - and let me know if you like it. i wouldnt blame you if you held off on this one until the fall weather rolls around. as for me, this is the last one i'll be making for some time. i'm hitting up the farmers market hard and plan on eating yummy, raw, local, organic veggies. can i get a hell yes!?!?!

pie crust (single - doesn't have a bottom crust, only top crust)
  • 1 3/4 c gluten free flour mix (i used a combo of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, sorghum) plus more for dusting
  • 8 tbsp earth balance (frozen)
  • 1 large egg - lightly beaten 
  • 1 large egg - light beaten with water (for egg wash)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
to begin place 8 tbsp of buttery spread in the freezer until frozen ~ 1 hour. meanwhile, measure out flour mix, baking powder, sea salt and place into food processor. remove buttery spread from freezer once frozen - then cut into small pieces and toss into processor on top of flour, etc. pulse until dough just starts to come together. add in the lightly beaten egg and pulse until dough forms a ball. remove dough ball from processor lightly flour the outside and place into a resealable bag - refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

turkey pot pie filling
  • 1 lb shredded or cubed, cooked turkey breast (or chicken)
  • 1/2 medium onion onion - diced
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 celery stalks - diced
  • 2 carrots - diced
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • red potato
  • 1/3 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c plain hemp milk (or your favorite unsweetened/unflavored dairy alternative)
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • fresh parsley
  • dried thyme
  • salt + pepper
preheat oven to 375. in a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat. add in onion, carrots, celery and potatoes and cook until onions/celery become translucent ~ 10 minutes. meanwhile, in a separate large bowl combine shredded turkey, frozen peas and frozen pearl onions. (no need to defrost the frozen veggies). back to the stuff on the stove - once the onion and celery are translucent sprinkle in brown rice flour and cook around 3 minutes. stir in chicken stock, hemp milk, white wine, fresh parsley, dried thyme, salt and pepper and continue to simmer another 5 minutes. cook around 3 minutes. remove from stove top and gently stir into the bowl with turkey and frozen veggies. 

transfer mixture into 9 inch greased pie dish (i used glass) and carefully top with refridgerated crust. crimp crust edges with a fork and then brush with egg wash (to help with browning). cut 3-4 slits in crust to prevent pot pie blow-out. place in oven at 375 for around an hour. if crust begins to brown too quickly cover with aluminum foil.

Friday, April 13, 2012

salmon nicoise salad -- gluten free + dairy free

oh my goodness. turning 30 didnt hurt nearly as bad as i expected it to. actually, to be honest with you, this was my best birthday ever. as i said earlier, my mom came out to visit and celebrate. we ate, shopped, drank and relaxed. i couldnt have asked for a better birthday weekend. a few of the highlights included my wonderful gluten + dairy free birthday cake that my mom special ordered for me from kim + jakes cakes in boulder. i gave her a list of 5 different cakes that they had on their website that i would like to try - with a yummy twist on the classic chocolate cake - the paprika chocolate. a savory version of their chocolate cake - with sweet and smoked paprika, alderwood smoked sea salt, urfa chilies all topped off with a sweet paprika 'buttercream'. holy hell. this thing ROCKED. it was perfection.

my big day was top notch - i got to spend time with the people i love and celebrated in style. thank you to everyone :)

i'm off to las vegas today for the next week - so you likely wont be seeing another post from me until the week of the 23rd. i'm heading out for my companies largest trade show NAB 2012. its a massively hectic event and i'm sure i'll stay busy my entire stay. i'm not a las vegas type person per-se but i will admit, there is great shopping and even better food. i cant wait for sushi with the team!

me + mumma
now onto this weeks recipe. 

i never pass up a good deal. especially when it comes to wild alaskan salmon. when it goes on sale - i buy large portions, so i'm constantly trying to reinvent the wheel on what to do it and what to do with its leftovers. mark and i usually pan sear it for dinner the first night and have leftovers to eat the next day. i'm a fan of eating fish for breakfast, so i usually have mine with fresh eggs and dill. this time, i decided to skip making breakfast and opted for doing a lunch salad instead. i'm a big fan of nicoise salad and thought that putting a twist on the traditional tuna nicoise would be a nice change.  

seeing as the salmon was precooked - the potatoes, eggs and dressing were the only items that required any effort. at that, this is a pretty quick dish and if you have the right ingredients on hand this can be whipped together quickly. 

salmon nicoise salad
  • 6 oz precooked wild alaskan salmon
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/8 c sliced red onion
  • 1 plum tomato cut into 1/8's
  • 1/4 c nicoise olives (or kalamatas or your fav)
  • 2-3 c green lettuce
  • 2 medium red potatoes - cooked + seasoned with salt + pepper + rosemary
  • 1/2 avocado sliced

hard boil your eggs - in a small pot place 2 eggs and cover with at least one inch of water - bring to a boil - once water is rolling remove pot from burner and place lid on it. allow eggs to sit for 12 minutes, then remove from water and run under cool water. refrigerate around 1 hour.

boil your potatoes - cut potatoes in 1/2 lengthwise then cut into 1/4's - this will yield 8 pieces for each potato. place potatoes in a pot with cold water and sprinkle in some salt. bring to a boil, then turn down burner so that the water boils softly around 14-16 minutes. remove potatoes from water and strain, then run under cool water. season potatoes with salt + pepper + 1/2 tsp chopped, dried rosemary.

assemble salad - create a bed of lettuce and arrange salmon, eggs, red onion, tomato, nicoise olives, potatoes and avocado on top. lightly season with salt and pepper.

salad dressing
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt + pepper to taste
vigorously whisk together olive oil, dijon mustard and lemon juice until emulsified - then season with salt + pepper

Friday, April 6, 2012

pan roasted broccoli with almonds -- gluten free + dairy free

my mom is in town and we're hitting it hard. tomorrow i turn the big 3-0 so were out and about enjoying the final hours i have left in my twenties. this isnt going to be an extensive post, as this week has been a tad hectic. however, i wanted to be sure to share a new recipe with you.

this ultra delicious and ultra healthy side dish is a great accompaniment to any main dish - be it chicken, fish, or red meat. pan roasted broccoli is cooked every so quickly then with the addition of tamari, red pepper flakes and sliced almonds its transformed into a light asian inspired side.

pan seared broccoli with almonds
  • 1 head of broccoli - florets separated from large stalk, washed, still wet
  • 15 whole raw almonds roughly chopped (or 1/8 cup slivered almonds)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 small garlic clove - minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste
heat olive oil in large pan over med-high heat, throw in broccoli. cook 5-8 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green and just begins to brown. add in tamari, red pepper flakes, garlic and season with salt + pepper. toss around pan so that broccoli is evenly coated, then add in almonds. at this point i typically add in 1-2 tbsp of water to get the broccoli just to the bite i like. remove from heat, serve immediately or place in the fridge for a cold broccoli salad later.

Friday, March 30, 2012

tahini cookies -- gluten free + dairy free

oh no. i'm another week closer to turning 30. i've got just over one week in my 20's remaining. on the upside, that means i've got just over a week until i get to gorge on what i'm expecting to be an incredible birthday dinner and then again on gf/df birthday cake.

familiar with boulder? then you likely know the popular, james beard award-winning restaurant, frasca. well, a ways back the owners of frasca opened up a pizza joint a few steps down the block, pizzaria locale. i've spent the last year drooling over their menu. best part....wait for it....they have gf pizza crust! mark made reservations for us...i simply cannot wait.

my mom is flying out next week too, so she'll be celebrating with us. her birthday was earlier this week - so mark and i are planning to cook her a dinner of her choice and are making strawberry shortcake for her. a few days ago she called and asked me where she could score a gf/df bday cake for my bday. i suggested kim + jakes cakes. they do an incredible job and are experts on gf/df goodies. cake anticipation is building - its been YEARS since i've had a 'normal' cake. to top things off - the boulders farmers market opens the first sat of april - which just so happens to be my bday! i have a feeling turning 30 is going to be a little less painful than i've been expecting for the past year.

nuff about me - onto food. youre right, its been a while since i posted a 'sweet' recipe. so here she goes. i was at whole foods recently and came across a bunch of in-house produced gluten free + dairy free goodies.  i found myself staring down some delicious looking cookies and figured i'd be walking out sad faced and cookie-less. i bent down to take a better peak at the cookies and the ingredients - and to my surprise there were a few i could eat. hence my introduction to tahini cookies.

that aint cows milk folks - its hemp milk!
unfamiliar with tahini? i bet not. chances are if you've eaten hummus, you've had tahini. most hummus recipes call for it. tahini is roasted sesame seed paste. it lends depth of flavor as well as thick, creamy consistency to dishes that its added to. it was the perfect consistency - super smooth and creamy, not overly sweet - a bit of crunch from chocolate chips and walnuts - a smidge of tartness from dried cranberries - and some chewiness from raisins. i knew i wouldnt stop thinking about that cookie for a while. as soon as i got home from shopping i decided to take on the challenge of recreating these tasty morsels.

i've got to be honest with you - if you arent a fan of tahini - you may not enjoy these. depending on the brand tahini that you use the flavor intensity can vary quite a bit. sometimes folks think tahini has a strong, bitter flavor. when combined with the right ingredients and flavor profiles you can really manipulate this and mellow it out. so - give this a whirl and let me know if you like them!

tahini cookies
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free) - pulsed in food processor until coarse
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts - roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup raisins and/or dried cranberries soaked in warm water for 30 minutes - optional 
  • 1/8 cup chocolate chips (dairy free) - optional
preheat oven to 325. pulse rolled oats in food processor until coarse. in a medium sized mixing bowl stir together agave nectar, tahini and cinnamon, then stir in coarse oats. when combined - gently stir in walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips. using wet hands form 2 tbsp sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet roughly 2 inches apart. bake approx 15 minutes, until cookies begin to brown around the edges. remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack for 10 minutes.

i highly recommend washing these down with an ice cold glass of vanilla hemp milk.

Friday, March 23, 2012

bison meatballs -- gluten free + dairy free

yay for the weekend! had a whirlwind week - that blew by quickly. i'm very excited to enjoy the super warm weather that we're expecting in CO - high 70's on sat + sun. i fully intend on sitting outside and soaking up the rays (with the added bonus of getting some much needed vitamin d). the next few weeks are going to be extremely busy - event season is ramping up at work and i've got lots of trade shows happening. my mom just booked a trip out to CO to celebrate both her birthday and my 30th (ewwwwwwwwww). i'm super excited to have her out - she's only here for four days, so i'm strategically planning all of the fun stuff that we need to do while she's here. a few days after she leaves i'm heading out to vegas for the huge NAB broadcast trade show. looks like i need to strap in and buckle down..

onto the yummy food stuff...

bison meatballs w/ asparagus
i recently reintroduced red meat into my diet per my doc and acupuncturists recommendation. let me tell you what -  i really didnt know what i was missing. its been around 4 years since i ate hearty, iron clad red meat. partly, because i was having allergy issues with beef. i decided instead to eat bison instead of beef - bison is both lower in fat and cholesterol than beef and tends to have a somewhat sweeter flavor. fortunately for coloradoans, bison is readily available at most grocery stores. if you havent tried it yet, you really should. 

since reintroducing red meat ive been running amok - eating burgers, meatloaf and my favorite - meatballs. every few weeks i whip these together, they've become one of my staple meals. i typically serve bison meatballs with rice pasta or quinoa pasta, however, i've been cutting down on my carb intake lately so i've been serving them up with fresh veggies instead. this is a relatively easy recipe that you could substitute any ground meat for - chicken, turkey, beef, pork, etc. great fresh flavor and super hearty. 

bison meatballs

  • 3/4 lb ground bison
  • 1 egg (organic, free range preferably) 
  • 1/4 large sweet onion - finely minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 garlic clove - finely minced
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari - wheat free soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper
  • olive oil - for the pan
preheat oven to 425. cover a large sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. in a large mixing bowl whisk egg with a pinch of salt and pepper. add in ground bison, minced onion, brown rice flour, minced garlic, ketchup, tamari, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs and a tad more salt and pepper. using your hands mix everything together until event dispersed. roll out 12 uniform ~2 inch meatballs and place on aluminum foil. bake at 425 20-25 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked and have begun to brown. *beware - since bison is so lean it cooks quickly and can dry out quickly - so keep an eye on these!*

homemade tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 large sweet onion - diced
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • 1/2 container button mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste
heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. heat onions, garlic, mushrooms until tender around 10 minutes.  stir in tomato paste and turn down heat to medium - cook for 2 minutes. pour in 1/2 can of fire roasted tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes and stir. allow to simmer over low heat around 10-15 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

hope you all have a tasty weekend - and hope that you all have wonderful weather, like were expecting here.

last but not least - definitely stop by these great blogs!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

san francisco treat(s) -- gluten free + dairy free

first off - happy st patricks day! if youre looking for a good gluten + dairy free irish soda recipe check mine out from last year!

i cant believe vacation is already over. it came and went in a blinks time. mark and i got back late sunday night and were back at it in the office first thing monday morning - jumped right back into the swing of things.
muir woods

our time in san francisco was brief, but amazing. we ate, walked up and down hills, toured museums, ate more, drank some and then ate more. s.f. is definitely a playground for foodies. best part - the city surely caters to those with alternative diets and special dietary needs. the weather held out for us and it was sunny our entire stay. it was an extremely active vacation, but restful all in the same time. for the most part we stayed in the city - we hit up golden gate park, ocean beach, union station, fisherman's wharf, the embarcadero (amazing - a must see), chinatown, japantown, the fillmore, etc. we rented a car and made our way up to beautiful sonoma and took the scenic coastal highway back to the city.

sonoma poppy
if i summarized our entire trip this post would be pages upon pages long. i chose to write about a few of our most memorable restaurant experiences. for those of my readers that are living with food allergies/intolerances - always remember - you cant eat at restaurants. just do a bit of research beforehand and be willing to inform your food server of your restrictions! your safest bet - is to find locations that use fresh, organic foods. that way you wont have to question whats in your food. eat well + be very merry!

great cheese comes from happy cows. happy cows come from california. i cant eat their cheese :(

creme de la creme of the trip. i lived in berkeley for a brief period of time and always wanted to check this place out. no reservations? no luck. if you try to walk in the door and grab a seat for dinner you wont likely be seated. this place is a seller-outter. alice waters, a chef that i aspire to, opened chez panisse in 1971 - and has been credited with kickstarting 'california cuisine'. she believes in delivering fresh, local, organic ingredients to her customers. she also has an outstanding philanthropy- she continuously gives back to society by empowering/educating kids using food + hands on farming. 

need i say more?
as you will see - i dont have any meal pictures from our experience at chez panisse. per the request printed directly on the menu - i respected the restaurants request to not use my phone, laptop or camera. to be honest, i'm glad that i didnt - i wouldnt have been able to enjoy my meal to the fullest extent that i did. 

mark and i made reservations a month in advance and i'm so glad we did. we got in for first seating and were greeted by the most attentive server that we've ever come across. he knew his wines, ingredients and was extremely cautious of my food allergies. our meals were perfect. straight up perfect.

we started dinner off with hog island sweetwater oysters on the half shell served with mignonette. the oysters were so sweet and tasted fresh from the ocean. we then shared a chicory salad with fresh local beets + asparagus topped with a mustard vinaigrette. for my main course, i chose pan seared rockfish with garlic aioli, artichokes, black olives, cardoons (aka artichoke thistle) and roasted fingerling potatoes. the fish was seared to absolute perfection and the skin was ever so crispy. portions were surprisingly large - they definitely dont skimp. mark went with braised lamb in jus with baby carrots, fagiolet beans, green garlic, bread crumbs and marjoram. i've only seen his face light up so much during a meal on a few other scare occasions. sheer delight. we washed down our food with wine and beer (no beer for me) and wound up skipping on desert as we were both stuffed to the brim.

given the chance to choose my last meal - this would be it. alice waters and her chefs have created an amazing dining institution. unpretentious food - nothing to be afraid of. flavor profiles reminiscent of home cooking made the meal feel like it was cooked by a loved one. just  knowing that all of chez panisse's food is sourced locally and organic when possible makes it taste that much better.

go ask alice.
oh yeah - i couldnt walk out of the restaurant without purchasing alice's newest cookbook. to my amazement - last night i opened it up to have my first read and that the book had been autographed by alice!

japanese tea garden

on our second day in the city we ventured over to golden gate park, rented bicycles and toured around a bit. we landed at the japanese tea garden and ended up sitting down for tea service. we shared a cup of hojicha (pan roasted green tea) and genmaicha (green tea with brown rice) and snacked on small bites - including red bean paste mochi and hawaiian coconut mochi cake.

japanese tea garden - golden gate park
it was midmorning and this was the perfect snack to get us fueled up for the day. after we noshed on the little bites we rented bicycles and toured the park and then made our way down to ocean beach to soak up the amazing weather.
red bean mochi + hawaiian mochi cake 
if you're never tried mochi - its a must have - its both gluten and dairy free and made from mochiko aka sweet rice flour. it comes in various flavors like cherry, green tea, chocolate, coconut, etc - and usually has some sort of sweet pasty filling - like red bean paste. i plan on trying to make my own in the near future. if youre adventurous you should stop by your local china town or asian market. theres a very high liklihood they will have premade mochi. just be sure to check the ingredient list.

hojicha + genmaicha
yoshi's san francisco

before we departed boulder for s.f. we asked our favorite sushi chef - keizo-san of sushi zanmai where we would suggest we get good sushi in cali. he of course, being the cool cat that he is, suggested yoshi's. glad we took his suggestion. this place is the ultimate marriage of super fresh sushi and swanky live jazz. quite the combo. quite possibly, one of the smartest combos to date.

amazing sushi courtesy yoshis sf
mark and i made reservations a week prior and i'm glad we did - the massive dining room was packed within 15 minutes after doors opened for dinner. before we walked into the restaurant we had already decided that since we hadnt had sushi on our trip yet that we were going to skip getting plates and dine on nothing but sushi.  we ordered the scottish salmon belly sashimi, 2 of the chef omasake nigiri plate's and 2 rolls. the fish was incredibly fresh and of the utmost quality. among the stars of the night - albacore nigiri - it had a buttery consistency and no kidding - melted in our mouths. the rolls were HUGE and my favorite was the 'japonese' roll - maguro + hamachi, cilantro, jalapeƱo, avocado, chili oil, tobiko, lime. we wound up staying for hours upon hours enjoying sushi while listening to live jazz. looking around at other patrons - you could tell that everyone was in some sort of sushi/jazz zen coma. the room exuded chill. we left high on sushi and buzzing from wine. we ended up stumbling down the street and made our way to japan-town where we continued to heighten our buzz enjoying shochu at a hole in the wall japanese bar. awesome.

sweet woodruff 

just TWO MEASLEY blocks from our hotel sat this ultra inviting corner restaurant. everytime we walked past this place, we glanced at the menu, but for some reason we never ventured in. i have no idea why it took us so long to actually get our asses in the door. finally on our last day in the city mark and i decided to give this place a go. the interior was not unlike that of the kitchen cafe in boulder (if you are familiar with the place) even the menu and its fonts seemed very familiar. sweet woodruff was recently opened by chefs teague moriarty + matt mcnamara - both named the peoples best new chef by food + wine magazine for their first san fran restaurant - sons + daughters. they pride themselves on creating delicious tastes of pristine california produce. 

sweet woodruff.
chicken salad with fingerling potatoes
exterior sweet woodruff.

one may think chicken salad is a staple - and i dont blame you. we are all used to the same old, stock chicken salad with gobs of mayo and no real pronounced flavor. this chicken salad, however, was mind expanding. mark and i were both nursing a hang from our previous night out at yoshi's/japan town and were in need of something, anything to help us feel better. when i saw at chicken salad on the menu it was a done deal. i knew it would do the trick. and do it, it did. i asked for a gluten free chicken sandwich (means sans the bread + serve it on something green). the roasted chicken breast was mixed with citrus aioli, red + green grapes, fresh celery and pomegranate seeds abed crisp butter lettuce. holy hell. this stuff was great - the pomegranate seeds were such a great addition to the chicken and lended great texture to the dish. mark wound up ordering a suckling pig sandwich (served cubano style) with ghost pepper aioli, salsa verde, mustard and housemade pickles - served with a small arugula salad and a side of house pickled cauliflower and onions (that were wicked good). we both shared a side of roasted fingerlings topped with olive oil, fresh dill, egg + mustard - an awesome take on regular roasted fingers.

i'm (we're) still kicking ourselves for not getting into this place sooner. instead of stopping at the small deli right outside our hotel entrance we could have walked TWO MEASELY blocks up the street to sweet woodruff and could have been enjoying this great food during our stay. damn. hindsight.

ocean beach sf - photo cred - shark

simply said - i cant wait to get back to s.f. again - mark and i are already talking about what we plan on hitting the next time we head out that way.

stay tuned next week for a gluten + dairy free recipe!

xoxo - k