Oven Roasted Romanesco

It seemed so easy.  And it really was.  This slipping in another new item didn't work with the boys this time.  They had some funny comments and descriptions of the veggie, like, look it's a Christmas tree!  Oh if only they knew...  I loved it.  Does it matter what they think? HA

So here's the science stuff:  Romanesco Broccoli, or Roman Cauliflower, is a variant form of cauliflower.  It was first documented in Italy in the 16th century. Available in spring and fall. It is a relatively good source of potassium and dietary fiber, with some protein.  Good eaten raw or roasted!

Oven Roasted Romanesco

2 lb fresh romanesco, cut from the center core into pieces
1 Tbs minced shallot
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 Tbs EVOO

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Toss all ingredients together and spread onto a baking sheet.  Bake approx. 20 minutes, giving a toss to the baking sheet during cooking.  Serve!

See, so simple.  The boys will eventually learn!~

Eat happy!


Fish In Crazy Water

I had a funny conversation with one of my brothers recently.  He is the cook in his house and he has boys too.  He usually asks the kids what they would like for Sunday family dinners and usually makes what they ask for.  Always the same roast beef dinner.  Well of course, they aren't going to ask for something that they haven't been introduced to.  Same thing in my house.  But I love trying new recipes!  With a bunch of boys and their finicky palates, culinary adventures can be tricky.  I usually just slip one new thing in with a bunch of old favorites to see if they'll go for it or not.  Sometimes it works...   

My sweet husband and I decided to stay in for dinner on Valentine's Day. Going out always poses issues for me with the fixed menus so often offered on "holidays."  They don't tend to have gluten free options.  So I went for it.  I tried all new recipes!  I am happy to report - with great success.  

Naturally, my menu was all fresh and mostly Italian.  I found this fish recipe in the March 2013 issue of Food and Wine.  Red Snapper wasn't available at my local Whole Foods market, so I substituted halibut.  I served mine without the bread, of course, and topped it with fresh shaved Grana Padano.  We all enjoyed it.  Hope you do too!!!

Pesce All’Acqua Pazza by Marcella Hazan
Food and Wine, March 2013 

Serves 4

1 ½ lbs ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
¼ c EVOO
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbs minced parsley
1/8 tsp chopped fresh red chili, or to taste
4 c water
4 red snapper fish fillets, skin on, 6 oz each
4 slices grilled sourdough bread

1.     In a large, deep skillet, combine tomatoes, EVOO, garlic, parsley, chili, pinch of salt & water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes.
2.     Uncover skillet and bring tomato water to a boil.  Reduce liquid to half.  Add fish, skin side up, and cook for 2 minutes.  Gently lift fillets with spatulas and turn.  Season fish with salt and simmer until cooked through.
3.     Place bread in shallow bowls.  Arrange fish across bread and spoon broth on top.  Serve.

Eat Happy!


Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Buckwheat Pancakes

Years ago while in NYC, I had breakfast at Sarabeth’s restaurant.  I have never forgotten the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  They were amazing!  So finally, years later, I got off my lazy duff and worked it out – Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Buckwheat Pancakes.  Oh yes!

Buckwheat is naturally healthy and gluten free.  It has all kinds of health benefits including 8 essential amino acids, manganese, magnesium, 2 flavanoids (quercitin and rutin), & dietary fiber.  Visit the whole grains council site for all the science stuff!

Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Buckwheat Pancakes
Yield:  approx. 12 medium pancakes

¾ c buckwheat
½ c glutinous rice powder
¼ c tapioca starch
2 T sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c ricotta cheese
1 c milk
juice & zest of 1 lemon

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk.  In another mixing bowl, combine all wet ingredients, including lemon zest, and whisk.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to combine.  Mixture will be slightly thicker than regular pancake batter. 

Preheat griddle to medium / medium high heat & lightly grease with canola oil or butter.  Pour batter onto hot griddle.  Cook until bubbles appear.  Flip and continue to cook until golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup and fresh blueberries.

Eat happy!

P. S.  I made these pancakes this past Saturday at the Social Justice Learning Institute & Tree People Fruit Tree Giveaway.  It was a blast!  They gave away 2000 fruit trees to families & schools in Inglewood, CA.  For more information about the event, please visit their website! http://www.sjli-cp.org


Fresh as Summer, Even in Winter!

I love the hearty soups and stews of winter but sometimes I just crave the freshness of summer!  For that palate cleansing, fresh fruit and veggie feel of summer produce, we just have to turn to our winter harvests. Oranges, fennel and roasted beets combined in a cool, refreshing salad do the trick!

Salad of Orange, Fennel and Roasted Beets with Candied Pecans
Serves 4

4 oz Butter Lettuce or other Salad Greens
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
2 beets, roasted, peeled, sliced
2 oranges, supremed, juice reserved
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 c candied pecans

  1. Drizzle sliced beets with sherry vinegar.  Set aside.
  2. Peel and segment the oranges, reserving the membranes & juice.
  3. In large bowl, add lettuce, fennel, orange segments, beets and pecans.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Squeeze membranes over salad to release juice and add any reserved juice.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Toss and adjust seasonings as necessary.

To Roast Beets:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Trim stem ends of beets and place in oven proof dish.  Add water to cover bottom.  Cover tightly with foil or lid; place into oven.
  3. Roast 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with knife. Cool.
  4. Peel skins off with paring knife, peeler or fingers. Keep refrigerated until use.

To “Candy” Pecans:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Sprinkle pecans in even layer on baking sheet.  Roast in oven approx. 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.
  3. In mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt & cinnamon sugar on pecans & toss.
Eat happy!


Chocolate Brownies

Wow, spring semester at school kept me busy, almost too busy!  Now that it's summer, I have been extremely fortunate to begin an externship with a fab restaurant in Hollywood that specializes in sustainable farm-to-table faire.  I'm learning so much each day - it's really exciting!  Still, I'm hoping to return to my own GF kitchen and test new recipes to share with everyone.  

I was recently approached by a swim mom who is new to the GF lifestyle.  One baked goodie that she really wanted was brownies.  Who could blame her???  After trying many, some good, some great, some not-so-much, I have my own.  I tested my recipe on a bunch of kids and friends at a dinner party.  My friends just couldn't believe that they were gluten free.  Isn't that the point?  Delightfully fudgy and yummy.  Hope you enjoy!   


1 c butter, plus extra for baking dish
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger’s 70%)
5 eggs
3 c sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 c sweet rice powder / flour, plus extra for baking dish
¼ c potato starch
¼ c tapioca starch
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp guar gum

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9x13 pan with butter, then flour with sweet rice powder.
  2. In double broiler, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, approx. 5 -7 minutes.  With mixer on low speed, mix in melted chocolate.
  4. In separate mixing bowl, blend together flour, starches, salt and guar gum.  Add to egg / chocolate mixture until just combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake until puffed and almost set, approx. 45 minutes.  Center will still be slightly moist, yet edges will begin to pull from sides of pan.
  6. Cool slightly and serve.
Always yummy with fresh berries and whipped cream!

Eat happy,


Southwestern Style Pork Stew

I love Mexican food.  And for the most part, it is naturally gluten free!  As long as you stick to the corn tortillas and freshly made stuff.  This is one of my family's favorite dishes - my version of Chili Verde.  My husband says that he likes it even better as leftovers.  Served with rice and beans, salad too, it's an easy dinner!  

Southwestern Style Pork Stew

3.5 – 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed & cut into cubes
2 Tbl vegetable oil
2 red onions, large sliced
1 white onion, large sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes with chilis
1 7oz. can diced green chilis*
3 Tbl ground cumin
2 Tbl fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp ground chili pasilla
Salt and Pepper
Lime wedges

  1. In a dutch oven, cook pork with 1/3 cup of water over medium-high heat, covered and stirring occasionally, for 15 – 20 minutes.   Uncover, increase heat to high and cook until liquid has evaporated, approx. 20 -30 minutes.
  2. Remove pork from dutch oven and keep aside.  Pour off excess rendered pork fat, keeping 3 Tbl in pan.  If not enough rendered pork fat liquid is left, add oil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium.  Add onions, garlic, and cumin, stir and cover.  Cook until onions are soft, approx. 8 minutes.
  4. Return meat to pan along with any accumulated juices.  Add tomatoes, chilis, oregano and chili pasilla.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until fork tender, approx. 1 ½  to 2 hours.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat tortillas.
  6. Serve with warm tortillas, and garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.
Tips:  If you prefer to use fresh chilis, use 1 lb. Anaheim or poblano chilis.  Cut off stems, slice in half, remove seeds and roast in hot oven until blistered.  Let cool and peel skins.  Lots of work!  And the chilis can be very expensive compared to buying canned.  Works either way!

Heating Tortillas:  This can be done in a number of ways -  using a damp towel in a tortilla warmer and heated in the microwave, or in a hot sauté pan on the stove top.  Microwave yields a moister, hot tortilla, whereas the stovetop method yields a drier, crispier version

Eat happy!


Restaurants - Listen Up!

Last night was my most difficult dining experience of my GF life.  My high school son’s swim team had a “Restaurant Night” fundraiser at Stonefire Grill in Valencia.  You know how that works – they get a bunch of people to go there flyer in hand, order, eat, and the team makes a percentage of the sales for that night.  Great!  Love to support the team, especially in this state of budget crisis and shortage of funds for school athletic programs.  I took the little guys too, including my GF 11 year old son.

They have on their website information about their GF menu!  We requested the gluten free menu.  It was a printed on a plain slip of paper in a plastic sleeve that would normally go into a binder.  Yeah, very attractive.  The server, well I use that term loosely, as he really was just an order taker, had no idea what Gluten Free is all about, let alone knowledge of the items on the GF menu to assist us in ordering.  Lots of salads but none that a kid would want or eat. The side items were extremely limited especially for a kid.  Mashed potatoes with cheese and onion.  Right.  Cole slaw and beans, ditto.  Grilled Vegetables – the order taker had no idea what that was.  Broccoli maybe?  No.  Corn – ah ha!  But no, corn is not in season.  Now I’m a huge follower of seasonal produce, but really?  No corn.  As IF the tomatoes, red peppers, and other veggies in their salads are in-season produce.  Please.  So my GF guy ordered plain salmon.  Nothing else. 

The others at the table were enjoying the garlicky breadsticks, pizzas and BBQ chicken and ribs.  Oh yes, the BBQ sauce is NOT made in house and does have gluten.  How easy is it to make GF BBQ sauce?!  I say that rhetorically – it’s a piece of cake.  Just make it fresh.  BBQ joint, right?!  The salmon comes; he scarfs it down in seconds.  Still hungry.  So I gave him some more money and off to review the GF menu and order more he went.  This time he ordered the Lemon Garlic Chicken.  When it arrived at the table, it was covered with large chunks of garlic and TONS of parsley.  Green stuff!  He tried a bite but it just wasn’t going to work.  I must say, I did try it and it wasn’t bad.  I believe the green stuff scared him away.  He’s a kid.  To his credit, he does eat well and he did eat the salmon!  Pack it up and take it home to dad, what else was I going to do.

My son lowered his head into his hand.  I could see his little chin begin to quiver.  In front of his big brother and all of his friends and teammates, my young son was fighting tears of frustration, anger, and self-pity.  Oh years of that came flooding over me as I felt his pain and wanted so desperately to make it go away.  I hugged him, and tried to soothe him without embarrassing him in front of so many people.  I then had to walk away.  I sat by a friend and hid my face as I myself fought off the tears.  I’m thankful for her kindness and friendship.  I pulled myself back together and went back to the table, boxed up the chicken and left.

Here’s what I have to say to Stonefire Grill and other restaurants.  We GF people know that it’s a tough thing to understand GF food and cooking.  We totally get it!  But if you are going to put it out there that you have GF food and thereby are looking for our patronage, GET IT STRAIGHT!  Make sure that you really do offer a respectable GF menu.  Make sure that your staff is adequately trained and knowledgeable.  Don’t attempt to placate us with half @#! attempts.  It seems disrespectful.  I for one don’t appreciate it.

As I write this and my eyes well with tears, my husband says, “Thank God we have the knowledge, the intelligence and the ability to make it better for him.”  He’s right.  I love him for that!