October 12, 2020
As we head into entertaining season and what-the-heck-can-I-make-for-dinner-in-a-hurry season, I need to talk paella with you.
Or more specifically, I feel compelled to share with you my all-time favorite, most trusted recipe for weeknight meals and 20-person feasts. GF chicken piccata aside, it’s the dinner recipe I’ve probably made the most in my life and it’s never let me down.
The real win is in sharing with you why this paella can become one of the most influential, customizable, time-saving, palate-pleasing recipes in your culinary arsenal.
So, here’s what you need to know about 1) why if you make this dish once, you’ll do it again and again and 2) how you can rely on it to become your own, totally affordable custom specialty that can work for dinner for two or 20.
Oh! And if nothing I can say will convince you to turn your attention to paella, there’s always wonderful GF desserts, so read on!
Seafood Paella with Baby Back Riblets
What’s So Special About This Paella
- Paella is all about the broth you cook the rice in. The majority of the recipe is making the broth. Chop a bunch of vegetables, simmer them in chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make vegan), puree the results and you’ve got magical paella broth. But here’s the kicker: If you triple the broth ingredients and freeze extra broth in single-recipe portions (i.e. 4 cups), you can later thaw frozen broth to prep fancy-pants paella dinners in less than 15 minutes. Paella after work? Last-minute paella? Impressive dinner without sweating it? Easy!
- The rice you use is important. If you want your rice to be fantastically tender but toothsome and crispy-edged like all great paella dishes, you must use paella rice. It’s not the same as arborio rice. It’s paella rice, and it’s available at gourmet markets, online, and in markets that carry specialties from Spain.
- Once you understand the function of the broth, rice, and toppings, you can customize the hell out of your paella recipe. For the additions, this recipe includes hard chorizo (kind of like salami—it adds a salty/savory element), pan-seared baby back ribs, and shellfish. But they could easily be raw cubed chicken and shrimp, chunks of boneless raw fish, or a bounty of sautéed mushrooms. The broth flavor profile can be completely customized too; modify the ingredients and it can be a mushroom broth or a seafood broth; most important is that the broth tastes delicious and full-flavored (make sure it’s well salted; adding it to rice mellows the intensity).
- Paella can be cooked in any kind of oven-safe pan. Paella pans exist and are impressive if you want to plunk down a wide, huge platter on the table. But cast-iron, stainless-steel, or other oven-safe pans work too, so don’t feel you need fancy equipment to make this dish.
- This dish can be inexpensive or more expensive; it’s up to you! The broth is made with mostly cheap vegetables. The saffron is an investment, but a worthy one, and its cost is spread across many, many meals. What you add to the broth and rice is up to you. Keep it frugal or blow the budget. Either way, it will be fantastic as long as you add enough salt. Like most dishes, if your paella tastes bland, salt it and it’ll come to life.
Get the Paella Recipe
Orange-Pistachio Upside Down Cake
Shockingly moist with elegant looks and fantastic nut-and-citrus flavor, this easy-to-make dessert is destined for dinner-table stardom Get the recipe
GF Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond-Butter Cookies
After 10 days of heightened oppression here in California thanks to extreme heat compounded by wildfire smoke, I find myself marveling at our ability to adjust. And to feel gratitude. As of late at my house, the less we have access to, the more we appreciate what we have.
I’ve never been more grateful for the privilege to go outside, to go inside, to stay cool, to feel the sun on my face, to see blue sky, or to breathe clean air. Likewise the ability to find joyful distractions, like a good book, a morning walk, socially distanced cocktail hour, or food and football.
I hope you’re doing well, finding fun where you can, and can make your days a little tastier with the following recipes, whether they’re enjoyed while rooting for your favorite team, snacking with people you love, or treating yourself to home-cooked nibbles.
Oh! The image above? That’s an unfitted compilation image of one week of air quality at my house, captured by a neighbor.
Party Hummus with Herbed Olive Oil and Tomatoes
While it’s a vegetarian appetizer, I sometimes use this as a one-dish snack meal. (I love snack meals!) Loaded with protein and veggies, it can be made vegan by skipping the yogurt.
Bean and Cheese Baby Bell Bites with Avocado Crema Recipe
These bite-size poppers are so easy and cute. But you can also add cooked ground turkey and stuff and roast larger bell peppers for a light meal. Get the recipe
Smoky Manchego Popcorn
Turn everyday popcorn into an event with this simple, delicious recipe that’s great for football, movie night, or after-school snacking. Get the recipe
Thyme and Sea Salt–Souffléd Potato Chips
Why make your own potato chips, you wonder? First, it’s fun. But more important, the texture and flavor are fantastic.
Yes, you can buy store-bought crackers, but these are special. Plus, it really is easy and satisfying to make your own. Add your favorite cheese to the dough or don’t. You’ll find these go great with cheeses, dips, and snack trays but are delicious enough to eat solo. Get the recipe
Salted Chocolate Coconut-Flour Blondies
These blocks of goodness go quick, so make more than you think you’ll need; extras make perfect afternoon pick-me-ups. Get the recipe
Though it’s now common to find fresh corn shucked and wrapped as a four-pack even out of season, I’ve been waiting patiently for the moment the favorite summer side has its official annual moment in the sun. Between now and late September is it. This is when the vibrant textural vegetable is at its sweet, crunchy-soft best and begs to be eaten on the cob, in salads and sides, or even as a dessert component.
Growing up, corn was a celebration at my house in San Francisco. We had actual corn plates that cradled one cob snugly yet had enough room so I could spin my corn in its butter drippings gathered beneath it as it rested. We had corn holders, too, which we plugged into each cob end so we cold hold our corn daintily. They didn’t prevent messy hands, but they helped make corn-eating an event.
These days, I don’t have any fancy corn serving utensils. But that doesn’t make my annual enjoyment any less satisfying, especially if I employ the following corn recipes, most of which come from fantastic restaurants I miss being able to visit. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
GF Pasta with Corn and Tomatoes
You won’t find a more corn-centric summer dish featuring homemade corn stock, pureed corn, and roasted corn partnered with summer’s extradelicious tomatoes. If you want to up your corn game, start here.
Sweet Corn Soup with Red Bell Pepper Puree
This velvety five-ingredient, vegan chilled soup maximizes the deliciousness of summertime’s starring crop by simmering corn kernels with their cobs. A tangy, optional finishing swirl of red bell pepper puree adds gorgeous contrasting flavor and color. Get the recipe
Indian-Style Grilled Corn
This impossibly simple, traditional preparation makes gnawing on summer’s favorite side dish a transcendent experience. Get the recipe
Sweet Corn Cakes
These moist, light, pudding-like pan de elote sweet corn cakes are made in a cupcake pan. Serve them upside down and topped with ice cream for the perfect summer-meal finale. Get the recipe
“What month is it?”
Last Saturday, I asked my daughter this question in earnest.
With days blending into months, my only clear reminders of where we are in the annual calendar are two things: warmer weather and summer fruit.
But what great reminders they are. Thanks to them, and their incitement of vacation attitude, even now, amidst all the seemingly ever-escalating madness, there are ways to find joy and respite.
For me, most of them have to do with getting outside and into nature, wherever I can find it. In San Francisco, that’s meant early morning climbs to the top of nearby Twin Peaks, long evening walks on Marin County’s Stinson Beach, and urban adventure at my favorite local haunt, the Botanical Garden. (Highly recommended if you come this way.) I bring a picnic and sometimes a cocktail or two, amble mindlessly along the winding, verdant paths, and lose myself in the moment.
In fact, the forced “grounding” of this year has taught me that you don’t need to go far to take a “vacation.” Stepping outside of the day-to-day responsibilities and surroundings can be just as rejuvenating and even thrilling.
Summer fruit similarly fosters a sense of freedom and lightness. Delicious fresh from the earth or tree, served cool, at room temperature, or grilled, its juicy, celebratory nature is a party for the mouth.
So, with the July 4th fireworks already echoing through my neighborhood this week, a plate of berries by my side, and a small gathering in my yard today in honor of my mom, who left this earth one year ago today, I share with you fantastic fruit-forward treats for your table.
What’s a bostock, you ask? Think of it as a cross between French toast and an almond croissant. Brushed with sweet vanilla syrup then topped with almond cream that puffs in the oven, it’s an epic brunch star, especially topped with crunchy sliced almonds and juicy apricot slices. Get the recipe
Red Berry and Lime Pan Pie
With an easy, fantastic GF crust, fantastic sweet-tangy flavors that only get better as they sit, and a lot to go around, this is the pie to make for summer fun. Get the recipe
Grilled Peaches with Cardamom-Honey Yogurt
Dessert or breakfast—take your pick. This guiltlessly decadent gluten free treat makes the most of summer’s juicy, sweet fruit any time of day. Bonus: it’s easily made DF if you sub DF yogurt or ice cream. Get the recipe
Summer Berry and Rose Water Parfait
The classic, elegant summer dessert of berries and cream are elevated with this parfait, thanks to the use of a homemade custard (yum!) and rose water-kissed whipped cream. If you want to up your summer dessert game, this recipe is the way to do it. Get the recipe
I don’t know about you, but I have never appreciated outdoor dining as much as I do these days. Partly by necessity (we’re still on lockdown here in the San Francisco Bay area, so outdoor visits are all we’ve got) and partly because the weather here has been amazing, alfresco eats have become my mainstay.
Last weekend, I made the Grilled Peanut Butter Chicken I shared with you recently. Along with showcasing exceptional, layered flavors thanks to various spices, it’s great for feeding a crowd because it uses affordable chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks), is easily prepped in advance, and waits patiently in the fridge until you’re ready to grill. I backed it up with Blackberry-Almond Brown-Butter Cakes because they’re yummy, can be made ahead in bulk in cupcake tins, and are effortless to transport. (Add a few raspberries and you have a more red, white, and blue dessert!)
Now that July 4 is headed our way, I’m thinking of my next grand alfresco meal options and sharing with you some of my favorite ways to feed a crowd.
Happy Reading and Eating and I hope you and yours are hanging in there.
My daughter, Junior Editor Viva (at left), is now nearly 15, but we still love this deliciously modern take on the warm-weather classic. For a grownup 4th of July party version, add vodka and sub bubbly water for the 2 cups water and garnish with a couple of blueberries and raspberries. Get the recipe
Grilled (or Pan-fried) Clams with GF Buttered Breadcrumbs
Fabulous starters don’t get simpler than this one. It requires a handful of ingredients, five minutes of prep, and eight minutes of cooking and it’s plenty fun to eat. Get the recipe
The Main Course
Grilled Skirt Steak with Charred Tomatillo Salsa
This delicious gluten-free steak salad with fingerling potatoes covers all the bases of entree, salad, and side—and it’s easily doubled to feed a crowd! Get the recipe
Burrata and Grilled Vegetables with Arugula and Basil Oil
Allow me to introduce you to your new summer-dining best friend. Easy to make and booming with seasonal flavor, it’s a grilling recipe you’ll reach for again and again, with or without including burrata cheese. Get the recipe
Iced Coconut Cream with Tapioca Pearls
An exotic cross between tapioca pudding and sweetened iced coconut milk, this refreshing gluten-free dessert is simultaneously unusual, approachable, and totally captivating. It’s also great for crowds and can be made Independence-Day specific by adding a bit of red or blue food coloring to some of the servings. Get the recipe
Homemade GF Ice Cream Cones
You don’t need special kitchen equipment to make these cones. Just bake, shape, let cool, and fill with your favorite ice cream! Get the recipe
I hope your Mother’s Day was pleasurable. Junior Editor Viva gave me a beautiful journal, stunning drawing, and a heartfelt soliloquy that brought me to tears, and we took a long drive, found our way to excellent takeout GF burgers and fries and even donuts, and ate them in a parking lot where there was enough traffic for some “people watching.” But the day still hung heavy with the absence of Mom. “They” say the first year is the hardest. I hope that’s true.
Regardless of my special circumstance, these feelings of missing seem generally apropos —as do the unexpected ways in which we find solace.
The other day I stumbled upon a decade-old, 10-minute recording I made on my phone during a trip to Cappadocia, Turkey. It captured the twilight sounds of a friend and I dining at a rooftop restaurant tucked into the majestic, otherworldly terrain. As I closed my eyes and listened to the recorded Call to Prayer echoing through the canyon and our waiter describing how to break open the ceramic pot that contained our “testi kabob” entree, I found myself there, reliving the moment. It was magical.
As we continue to shelter in place, I’m more and more compelled by journeys of the mind. Old photos, saved voicemails, yellowed letters, archived emails—they all give me the opportunity to venture back through some of life’s most beautiful moments. Though there are plenty of downsides to our current status (too many to name, honestly), our situation does provide ample time for romantic reflection.
I’m interested to discover what memories I will affectionately revisit from this time once it’s the distant past. I’m certain some of them will be about cooking and meals shared with my daughter. With this in mind, I’m sharing recipes that I hope become your flavor sojourns worth revisiting. They’re dishes that I found so startlingly good while traveling, I begged for (and got) the recipes. Alas, the testi kabob isn’t included—I haven’t gotten desperate enough to start making my own cooking pottery . . . yet.
Be well and reach out if you need anything and I’ll be back soon with thoughts on a tasty Memorial Day weekend.
Oh! And our giveaway blitz on Instagram is wrapping up, but you can still enter to win a fantastic prizes until midnight on May 14. Check them out here.
Travel at Your Own Table
Flora Farms Farmarita (Mexico)
An exciting, refreshing twist on the margarita, this tequila and carrot-juice Farmarita cocktail, served at the fabulous destination restaurant Flora Farms outside of Cabo San Lucas, is a tipsy ray of sunshine in a glass. Get the recipe
The Fairmont Kea Lani’s Edamame Hummus (Hawaii)
This edamame hummus has been an obsession since I first tried it at Maui’s Fairmont Kea Lani resort nearly a decade ago. There, they serve it for us GF folks with big, round rice chips that we break into chards and devour. But this delicious dip can be served with pretty much anything, including rice crackers or just a spoon. Get the recipe
Scoma’s GF Fried Calamari (San Francisco)
I had never made fried calamari before I went GF—or for nearly 20 years after that. But once I tasted the GF version of the salty-chewy-crispy appetizer at San Francisco’s blue-chip seafood restaurant Scoma’s and found out that I could make it at home with epic results, I braved the seafood counter, bought calamari, and got down to business with this recipe. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is. Get the recipe
Perfect GF Fried Chicken (San Francisco)
Now seems like the perfect time to try new recipes, especially this one, which promises the very best GF fried chicken and no need for a deep fryer! From one of my very favorite San Francisco restaurants, Firefly, it’s panfried and impossibly good. Get the recipe
Almond-Blackberry Brown-Butter Cakes
Junior Editor Viva and I discovered these glorious single-serving gluten-free almond cakes last summer at the fantastic GF- and vegan-friendly Amsterdam restaurant, Piqniq. Owner/baker Paulien Gmelig, kindly shared this recipe with us. Try it and swoon! Get the recipe
I don’t know about Cinco de Mayo this year. A Zoom party with synchronized tequila shots or margarita cheers doesn’t sound that exciting—unless you’re sheltering in place with a festive brood. But you know what is beguiling regardless? Mexican food! Rustic, soul-comforting, vibrant, and delicious, it’s a fiesta for the taste buds whether you’re celebrating a holiday or just trying to decide what to cook next. So, behold some of my favorite Mexican recipes for the fifth or May or any day—tequila shot optional.
When I was 21, moved to Maui, and became a bartender, this cranberry-kissed tequila concoction was my drink. But beware. It’s pretty, perky, and potent. Get the recipe
Baby Bean and Cheese Bell Bites with Avocado Creme
These cute little stuffed bell peppers take seconds to prepare and even less time to devour. Good thing you can make a ton of them anytime, as they’re just as good as an appetizer as they are an after online-school snack. Get the recipe
Grilled Short Ribs Tacos
This recipe is a twofer—half of the ingredients go into the perky quick-pickled onions. But the secret weapon is the ribs preparation. It calls for just three ultra-common seasonings, oil, and ribs and produces lip-smacking, finger-licking results that can be used for tacos or just plopped on a platter and devoured. You won’t find a simpler taco pleasure than this one. Get the recipe
Carnitas-Style Pulled Pork
I’m a sucker for pulled pork. The juicy, rich, layered flavors are only half the reason. The other is its preparation: combine a few ingredients in a baking pan, pop them in the oven, and out comes ready-to-shred for-tender hog heaven.Plus, it’s perfect on tacos with simple toppings and easy to make extra and freeze it for future use. Get the recipe
Double Orange Flan
The wiggly, jiggly, rich and creamy dessert that is flan gets an extra layer of deliciousness with the addition of citrus. Get the recipe
Mexican Hot Chocolate
The beverage of my San Francisco childhood gets a grownup makeover here with the addition of heavy cream (or plant-based cream) and bourbon. Talk about a reason to say Olé!
How’s it going? Have you settled into a shelter-in-place groove yet? For me, the pendulum has swung somewhere between my ambitious, be-my-best-self meditation and workout-inspired start and my week of cookie-dough-diet wallowing. So, I’m lingering toward the middle for the moment.
This means I’m finding routine (Boy does that help!), getting back to a more well-balanced diet and sleep schedule, discovering new ways to connect with friends, and, perhaps most important, stepping away from screens and the never-ending news updates. Another big pick-me-up: taking a shower, getting dressed, and blow-drying my hair! The occasional social-distance cocktail hour doesn’t hurt either.
So, what’s on the menu this week? How about an incredibly easy vegan flatbread supper that can be modified any which way and has a base of only four everyday ingredients? I’ve also included a few happy hour ideas, because it’s time to create our own causes for celebration; consider whipping them up, getting dressed, and toasting to life, even if you’re solo. (That said, you can make and enjoy them as snacks anytime.) And finally, two baking projects: phenomenally moist and tasty chocolate cupcakes made with cooked quinoa instead of flour and a fabulous apple tart that’s so easy and stunning, you may end up whipping it together many times over the coming weeks and beyond.
Oh! Also, don’t forget to check our list of great GF companies that are shipping now. We’re adding more as we discover them and updates include tasty, fresh NY-style bagels, decadent mug cake mixes, gorgeous gourmet waffles, crackers, breads, and more.
Wishing you health and peace as we forge onward into the shared unknown.
Fast, Delicious Dinner (or Lunch!)
Chickpea Flatbread with Caramelized Onions
Don’t be deterred by its modest brownness. This is a fabulous flatbread. Its base is crafted from chickpea flour, oil, water, and salt. If you’ve got those four ingredients, you have flatbread. Here it’s gussied up with caramelized onions and a few herbs. But you can add anything you want, not to mention top it with a simple salad. As such, it’s a satisfying entree made in less than 15 minutes. Get the recipe
Creamy Smoked Trout with Radishes
Another simple food celebration, this spread is made from smoked trout (sub smoked salmon if you like!), cream, chives, and a handful of pantry items you probably have on hand. Serve it with radishes or try GF crackers (find our favorites here), Belgian endive leaves, watermelon radish disks, or toast. Get the recipe
Lots of cheese and a little of this and that result in a zesty Mexican-style fondue that can be scooped up and savored with GF tortilla chips. Get the recipe
Need cocktails to go with the snacks? Try these:
Black Manhattan Cocktail
I used to leave Manhattan cocktail-making to bartenders, but necessity is the mother of invention, so I’ve gotten pretty good at is as of late. They’re delicious and celebratory and go down a little too easy. But hey—I’m not driving anywhere, so… Get the recipe
Pink Paloma Cocktail
This traditional Mexican cocktail mixes punchy tequila with perky grapefruit juice, bubbly water, a kiss of sweetness, and a salty rim. Get the recipe
Let’s Get Baking
Apple Tart with Salty Caramel Sauce
Oh this tart. The crust alone is worth the excursion. It’s SUPER simple to make, way delicious, and can be a base for any number of pies or tarts. (It calls for chestnut flour, which you can substitute with more almond flour or another GF flour.) Then there’s the filling. It’s APPLES decoratively laid out and sprinkled with a bit of sugar and dots of butter. SO EASY! I’ve made this with and without the drizzled salted caramel sauce and crafted a vegan version with equally epic results. A project? Not really. It’s too simple, but it’s fun to make and easy enough that you can hand over the job to the kids. Get the recipe
Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes
A few years back, I ventured to the coastal mountains of Baja, Mexico, and found GF heaven at the utrachic, laidback alfresco restaurant at Flora Farms. Their chefs kindly shared many recipes, including one for a ridiculously moist and delicious chocolate cupcake made with cooked quinoa instead of flour. It still blows my mind every time I make it. Get the recipe
Are we there yet?
I know. We’re so NOT there yet, it’s not even funny. It reminds me of life with a newborn. Hours tick by, days come and go, you have no idea what happened, and suddenly weeks have passed.
I’m finding it hard to focus these days, which explains my lack of newsletter in time for Passover. Forgive me. I spent it attending a Zoom seder and eating Indian takeout and too much cookie dough. It was anything but the norm, but such is life in the time of corona.
Yesterday, I also discovered BevMo was delivering in San Francisco two hours or less, so Manhattan makings, a six-pack of GF beer, and a bottle of white wine were promptly no-contact delivered to my door. There’s no underestimating the value of a wide variety of coping mechanisms.
Speaking of, what are you doing to pleasantly pass the time? We traded our one big completed puzzle to a neighbor for another one—properly quarantining it first, of course. We started taking elective online classes yesterday, after it was announced my daughter’s school would not reconvene at all this school year. I take a daily midday bath (perfect private time), continue to manage our community help group (it now has 200-plus volunteers!), and cook and clean a lot more than I want to.
That said, I enjoy food projects more than ever. They’re not remotely the same as cranking out mundane meals. In fact, today, Junior Editor Viva and I will make GF fried wontons, potstickers, and wonton soup. We can do all three easily because they all use the same GF wrapper recipe.
When I look back, I know one of the blessings of this time will be my memories of sequestering with my 14-year-old daughter. Our uninterrupted, inescapable time together has made room for the type of playful, sweet, loving interaction I’d never imagine possible with a teenager. We do puzzles, cook, watch scary movies, argue, make up, read, take walks, declare our love for each other, clean the kitchen, and start all over again. Every single day. I’m savoring every morsel of it because I know, like our Shelter in Place mandate, this too shall pass.
I hope you and yours are safe and healthy and are finding ways to keep it that way. Today I’m sharing some recipes for Easter, everyday dinner, food-making fun (Focaccia! The aforementioned wontons!), and rhubarb upside down cake, which looks as delicious as it tastes. Also, if you’re in need of provisions, don’t forget to check our list of GF companies that deliver now. We’re updating it regularly.
Easy Easter Recipes
These recipes for crisp chicken legs with root vegetables and chocolate, olive oil, and citrus cake are just two of the tasty offerings you can make with easy-to-find ingredients. Browse Awesome Easter Recipes
For Dinner Tonight
Creamy Butternut Squash Spaghetti with Fried Sage and Walnuts
Comfort food doesn’t get more comforting than this gluten free pasta recipe. The “sauce” is a clingy, thick, and wholesome puree of roasted butternut squash and roasted garlic thinned with a bit of chicken stock. Optional garnishes of fried sage and walnuts are worth including, if you have access to the ingredients. Get the Recipe
Fun Food Projects
Four-Star Gluten-Free Focaccia
It’s incredibly fun to press well-oiled fingers into the dough of this focaccia recipe from famed Del Posto restaurant in NYC. It’s not as much fun fighting over every last piece, which you will definitely do once you discover just how amazing it is in flavor and texture. Get the recipe
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
It may look fancy, but all you need to do to make this gorgeous cake is lay rhubarb at the bottom of a cake pan, pour cake batter over it, and slide it into the oven.
Whew! We’re into week three of our new at-home existence in San Francisco, and can I just say I’ve never cooked (or cleaned) so much in my life? Suddenly, I’m the kitchen, the restaurant, the snack bar, and the vending machine. Can you relate?
Because it’s harder to get groceries these days and I’m not excited to join the crowds, I’ve been digging into the darkest shadows of the pantry for ingredients. It’s kind of fun using the old and making space for the new. Plus it forces creativity at a time when I can (and often do) fall back onto easy foods like nachos, my mom’s house salad, or chicken piccata.
Speaking of creativity, just the other day I found myself out of GF breadcrumbs and in need so I toasted GF bread heels then ground up and pan-fried them with a bit of olive oil and salt to make homemade breadcrumbs. (Try it—so easy and yummy and they keep in an airtight container for a while!)
I’d love to hear and share your creative cooking solutions during this time as well as ways to repurpose items you’d otherwise . Send any and all ideas (and any photos, if you like) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll put the ideas into an article to share with the community.
I hear there’s a lot of baking going on. So much so that there’s a run on yeast and flour. I’m lucky because since we test so many recipes at my house, I have a full case of random GF flours. But I handed my packets of yeast to a desperate neighbor who couldn’t make challah without my stash. I didn’t feel a great loss; I have several loaves of GF bread in the freezer and we’re a chocolate chip cookie house. So long as we have the makings for those, we’re pretty much set.
With all of this in mind, this week, I’m hoping to make your GF shelter-in-place life a little easier with:
- recipes that rely on cupboard classics, canned (or dried beans)
- a resource guide for GF food companies we like that are currently shipping food
- two fun baking projects—luscious butternuts squash lasagna rolls and our crazy-delicious, sticky-finger-inducing cinnamon rolls.
Wishing you and your family health, safety, and fun in the kitchen.
7 Delicious Recipes Using Canned (or Dried) Beans
Whether social distancing due to COVID-19, staying home in bad weather, or just too [fill in the blank] to make a trip to the grocery store, beans can come to the rescue if you have these tasty recipes. Score Killer Bean Recipes
Gluten Free Companies that Deliver During COVID-19
It ain’t cheap to get your GF must-haves and treats delivered, but if you want to know where to order the good stuff during this time of scarcity and cravings, we’ve made a list for you! See Who’s Shipping
Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls with Spinach Cream Sauce
You don’t have to layer lasagna noodles to make an epic pasta casserole. With this verison, you roll up a bit of filling in a single noodle, then bake it in a casserole with other rollups. Easy, fun, and instant single servings, too! Get the Recipe
Perfect Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Remember these? Maybe you saw them and thought … Some other time. Well that time is now! If you’ve been craving authentic pull-apart cinnamon rolls the way they’re supposed to be and have access to ingredients, drop everything and make these treats. Make Chewy-Gooey GF Cinnamon Rolls
These are the strangest of times.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wildly distracted since things got crazy in San Francisco about 10 days ago. For the first several days I couldn’t stop following the news and Facebook. But I also wanted to help, so neighbors and I organized a task force to aid our most at-risk community members and began home-delivering groceries and medications. We are now 100 people strong and very efficient (Write me at email@example.com if you want a template for rolling out something similar in your neighborhood.). I also, of course, stocked up on provisions; apparently rather than toilet paper, I am a broccoli hoarder.
But I’ve also been mindful about fostering new habits for optimal mental and physical health. Right now, it’s easy to feel like we’re waiting for an invisible tsunami. Perhaps we are—medically and economically. But I’ve had some practice in avoiding “future tripping,” and so along with washing my hands, social distancing, contributing to solutions as best I can, and accepting the things I cannot control (Hello, financial uncertainty.), I embrace the words and thinking of Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now. There’s peace in recognizing that in this very moment, “Nothing is wrong right now.”
What else helps? Getting a daily dose of fresh air and nature. If you can safely and responsibly find some, I highly recommend it. Ditto exercise. Online yoga is way better than no yoga, and lunges, squats, and pushups can be done anywhere! Zoom or FaceTime Happy Hour sounds hokey but it works—with or without alcohol; we all need human connection, especially now.
And music! I’m enjoying perusing a Facebook page one of my neighbors started that’s gone viral: Quarantine Sing-a-long; each day she posts a new song for the world to sing, and people everywhere are posting their renditions. It’s heart-warming humanity at its tear-inducing finest. (Who knows, you might see me, Junior Editor, Viva, and my guitar there sometime soon.)
And then there are projects, which are much healthier ways to pass the day than to follow the latest scary news. At my house, we’ve started puzzles, deep house cleanings, movie marathons, home spa days, and of course cooking. I’ve mentioned before that cooking has healing, meditative qualities. It also allows us to feed ourselves nutritious food that strengthens our bodies and our immune systems, stock our pantry and freezer for the days ahead, keep busy and creative, and treat ourselves.
We’re also researching every gluten-free food company that is shipping food right now and will share that with you soon. If you know of websites you think we should consider, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There’s enough stress going on in the world right now, so as we move through these weeks ahead, I’ll refrain from sharing every broccoli-hoarding excursion. Instead, I plan to focus on helping elevate your day through recipes—specifically fast, wholesome meals; recipes that use pantry staples (How many cans of beans and bags of rice did you grab?); good stuff to make in bulk and store; and fun, if not a wee bit challenging food projects (because really, what else do you have to do right now?!).
If there’s something specific you’d love from me, drop me a note and I’ll do my best to oblige.
Finally, if you’re sheltering in place with family or friends, don’t underestimate the healing properties of slinking to your room for some solo time with GF beer, chips, and a movie or a stack of GF brownies and milk. Self-care comes in many forms. I have a hunch we’ll discover all of them over the coming days.
Take care of yourselves and each other, be well, stay home, and get cooking! Below are a few super tasty recipes to get you started.
Oh! And if you want to know how long your toilet paper stash will last, there’s an app for that!
Dinner: Roasted Salmon with Lentils and Arugula
One thing that doesn’t seem to be in short supply is seafood, not surprisingly since restaurants are closed and seafood purveyors still need to offload their catch. If you’re not a fan of seafood, skip it and make the lentils. They’re delish enough to be a dish in themselves. Get the recipe
Snack: Miso Hummus
I can’t find hummus in stores anymore. But really, who cares? It’s sooooo easy to make from canned chickpeas! This recipe adds a touch of savory excellence a la GF miso. But if you don’t have miso, you can skip it along with the toasted sesame oil and adjust the lemon and salt to make perfectly excellent regular hummus. Yes! Get the recipe
Fun Food Project: The Ultimate Cake
Here’s the thing about this eastern European cake by James Beard Award nominee Michelle Polzine. It’s super fancy and the most personally impressive one I’ve ever made, yet it’s surprisingly easy to make since the cake layers are made from just one easy-to-handle sheet-pan cake. Get the Recipe
Hi and Happy March!
A lot of my friends have been asking me about a specific set of recipes I’m making these days. It’s all due to the backstory. So let me share.
My mother’s surprise death last summer was the finale of five very hard years. I gave myself the rest of 2019 to unabashedly grieve (as if I had a choice), but promised to pull myself out of the nosedive starting on day one of 2020. My goal? To be cliché, was to live my best life.
I had a plan: Seriously learn guitar. Take art classes. Spend lots of time in nature. Get in top shape, mentally and physically. Meditate. Lose the 10 pounds garnered over the hard years. Generously and actively cherish the loving souls in my life. Be selective in how I spend my time and who I spend it with. Drink less. Volunteer more. Be creative. And eat mostly super healthy because it makes me feel good.
I’m an all-or-nothing person so I didn’t ease into it (gray areas don’t work for me). I started everything full throttle on January 1. And guess what? It worked.
I’m still riding the grieving process, but it’s evolved; I feel deeper joy for life than I ever have, despite the sadness. I’ve dropped 10 pounds, am playing tons of guitar and I’ve been drawing, exercising, meditating daily, and doing everything else I set my mind to.
Along the way, I came to rely on a collection of plant-based recipes that excite and satisfy me yet keep me on track—because all of it–the energy, emotional stability, and resolution–is greatly influenced by what I eat.
I’m sharing all of this with you for three reasons.
First, I’ve included my core magic reboot recipes below.
Second, we all go through hard times and it’s good to have some ideas to help you get through them; I’ve found that relentless self-care is the only path forward. If you need some inspiration, let me be it (or write me for some words of encouragement).
Third, I’ve never felt better; eating superclean with the reasonable permission for a burger and fries, the awesome brick chicken recipe I made last night, or decadent dessert, has me so energetic, I feel like I’m vibrating on a totally different level—with boundless energy and an equally limitless zest for life. And that’s even while enjoying one or two mugs of vegan hot cocoa every day (see recipe below)!
Whether you need your own reboot or just want to add a few delicious plant-based, joy-inducing recipes to your repertoire, check out the following options. They also happen to be so easy, you can make and eat them on the spot, which is what I often do, even in the midst of an at-home workday.
Also, don’t forget to browse gffmag.com regularly. We’re always posting new, awesome GF recipes and reviews.
Thanks reading and more new (not all plant-based) tastiness coming soon.
Roasted Cauliflower with Caper Vinaigrette, Walnuts, and Golden Raisins
I invited a bunch of famous food bloggers to my house recently and they loved this recipe. I make it at least once a week now and sometimes eat a whole recipe by myself for lunch!
Get the recipe
Gomae (Japanese Blanched Spinach with Mirin-Sesame Dressing)
The traditional Japanese spinach salad has gluten. This one doesn’t. And it’s fantastic and ridiculously simple to make.
Get the recipe
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chia Vanilla Pudding
This recipe is fresh from my Maui trip. The wonderful Fairmont Kea Lani, which has the hands-down most bountiful selection of GF options at their daily breakfast buffet (see my Instagram for details), offered bottomless containers of this every morning. Good thing, because I couldn’t stop eating it. Thankfully, they shared the recipe, and—get this—it is prepped in 5 minutes with 4 ingredients. That’s my kind of breakfast/snack/dessert. (It’s also customizable. Just yesterday I stirred in some unsweetened cocoa powder and a little extra liquid, and lordy, it delicious!)
Get the recipe
Happy Vegan Hot Cocoa
This super dark and rich chocolate beverage has become my afternoon treat. Like Every. Single. Day. It’s so wholesome, I don’t feel bad having more than one cup. Try it and forgive me for your next obsession.
Get the recipe
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Depending on your perspective, it can be the best or worst commercial holiday of the year—not to mention expensive and stressful if you’re clamoring for restaurant reservations, beautiful bouquets, just the right gift, or someone to share the day with.
I’m pretty sappy, so I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t wait for an excuse to text my friends and family and tell them I love them, and I’ve recently taken to sending video or audio serenades, sometimes accompanying myself on guitar. (So dorky! So fun!) But February 14 is an opportunity to delight someone, or many people, with something absolutely free—thoughtful acknowledgement.
Thoughtfulness can come in the way of an original or copied poem, a sweet note (like a list 10 quirks you love about the recipient), a handmade gift, or, yes, a dorky serenade. At its best, it includes some insider knowledge that hints to the recipient that you “see” them.
Whatever form it takes, I truly believe that genuine, heartfelt acknowledgement is the gift of all gifts—and it’s totally affordable and never runs out of stock!
This year I’m sticking with the Dork theme and penning love notes on those kids’ Valentine’s cards that come two dozen a box (I got ones that feature cartoon llamas blowing bubbles of all things). I also bought socks that say “Shut Up” to give to my teen daughter so that whenever she wants me to listen and not say a word (which is often, and it’s hard for me), she can hand me one of those socks and I’ll literally “put a sock in it.” (Totally serious.) Now that’s thoughtful acknowledgement!
Oh! And I’ll be delivering my penned sentiments and socks with a side of homemade edible amore. Because food really is love, especially when it’s made for you by someone who loves you.
In case you’d like your expressions of love to include food and need some ideas, I’m sharing some wonderful recipes you can make. And hey—self love counts too, for Valentine’s Day and everyday. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself. Whitney Houston (and before that George Benson) was right about “The Greatest Love of All.”
BREAKFASTS OF LOVE
The Girl and the Fig Ricotta Pancakes
Yes, there are a gazillion GF pancake recipes. But this one. Well, it’s beyond the beyond. I discovered it while dining in California’s Sonoma Wine Country a few years back and the restaurant, the Girl and the Fig, kindly shared the recipe. It calls for Pamela’s baking and pancake mix (which I always have on hand anyway), but the secret is adding butter and ricotta cheese to the batter and adding butter to the pan, which results in wildly fluffy cakes with mouthwatering crisp edges. If you decided to include the accompanying (ridiculously good) orange whipped mascarpone and apple butter, make it and drain the ricotta cheese the night before, store them both in the fridge, and you can create an epic Lovers’ Breakfast in mere minutes. Get the recipe
Citrus Salad with Pistachio Dukkah and Mint
Yes, she’s a looker. But the real seduction of this simply elegant fruit salad is the unexpected flavor and texture of the topping (crunchy spice mix, pistachios, and pomegranate seeds). With juicy, vibrant citrus fruits, the combo stars on its own as a light breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea. But if you want to go full-on food love fest, it pairs well with the aforementioned pancakes. Get the recipe
DINNERS TO LOVE
Chickpea Flour Flatbread with Arugula, Red Onion, Goat Cheese, and Olives
This gluten free chickpea flour flatbread hails from the South of France, where it’s called socca and is served as a simple appetizer, perhaps with cold tumblers of rosé. But it also makes for an easy, satisfying gluten free vegetarian main dish, which can be topped with anything that suits your fancy. Get the recipe
Plant-Based Gratin with Beet and Fennel and Mint-Coconut Cream Sauce
When I first tried this vegan gratin, I thought it was a side, but when I couldn’t stop eating and devoured my half of the dish, I concluded it’s an entree—and a mighty fabulous one at that. Plus, it’s sooooo pretty. Get the recipe
Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake
This creamy, tangy cheesecake is made in a loaf pan, so it is the perfect size for an intimate gathering, with leftovers you’ll be glad you have. Besides, you’ll learn how to make a fantastic GF chocolate crust, classic cheesecake filling, and tart sour cream topping combined with bright swirls or raspberry chia jam. Hello lover! Get the recipe
White Chocolate Bark
The beauty of white chocolate bark, besides the fact that it’s so yummy, is you can make it in minutes and garnish it with whatever you want. This recipe includes pistachio, rose petals, ground dried raspberry, and the occasional macaron (buy or make your own), but you can top yours with essentially anything you like. Get the recipe
GF/DF Valentine’s Cookies
I’m inclined to remind people of this recipe on occasions that call for tasty, sturdy cookies that are easy to decorate and are free from dairy and gluten. These are the ones that everyone can eat at the office or school party and you can cut them into any shape you want, including hearts. Write sweet messages on their pink or white fondant toppings or frost them and be happy. Whatever you do, recipients will be grateful. Get the recipe
Confession: I’m a fair-weather football fan. When I was a teenager and Joe Montana was the QB of my hometown football team (the San Francisco 49ers), I went to (actually, in truth, snuck into) all the home games. Away games were spent in a local park called The Grove, where some fun, industrious friends stacked a dozen or so TVs into a freestanding wall, plugged them into the municipal electricity for multiscreen views, and threw epic tailgate parties with grillables and too many kegs to count.
At the time, I loved the game. Maybe I liked the boys, too. And I surely loved the food. Football food and beer were too much fun to pass up.
Other than my daughter’s volleyball games, I don’t watch sports much these days. But when my hometown teams head to a championship, my childhood passion resurrects from the deep. Now that the Niners are in it to win it this year, I’m especially looking forward to the Super Bowl. But honestly, it’s pretty fun every year because no matter who’s playing, there’s always delicious food and socializing.
With a festive Sunday in mind, I’m happy to share with you GF super bowls, super platters, and super snacks that are absolute Game Day (or any day) crowd-pleasers. And, as you know, there are also more enjoyable gluten-free beers on store shelves than ever! Scroll on to find our faves.
GAME-DAY GRUB: APPETIZERS
Charred Peppers with Herby Ranch Dip
So festive, so simple, and so delicious, these little finger foods are as flavorful as they are colorful, especially with their herb-heavy ranch dip. You can add some crudités (broccoli florets, carrot sticks, celery) for variation, if desired!
Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey Meatballs
By one of my very best friends and GFF right hand, Eric Lundy, and an all-time favorite party food of my amazing editor and bestie Cindy Rice (who also serves them as an entree over quinoa with steamed broccoli and extra glaze to drizzle), these meatballs are balls of edible divinity.
Yes, nachos never disappoint, but if you want a new, sophisticated twist on the cheesy, GF finger food, this sausage-studded version showcased by Junior Editor Viva is it.
MAKE-AHEAD MAIN COURSES
Half time is when the huddle moves to the buffet table. Fill it with one or two entrees that are made in advance so you can enjoy the real-time play-by-plays of the day.
Turkey Chili (Plus a Link to Vegan Chili!)
One of my favorite crowd-pleasing dishes for group sporting events is a big pot of chili, like this turkey chili I make regularly for Jr. Editor Viva. Plunk it down with some bowls, spoons, and small bowls of garnishes, let people add to it what they like, and get on with having fun. That’s my kind of party.
Want a crazy-good vegan chili? Get it here.
Skirt Steak with Charred Tomatillo Salsa
Now’s the time to break out the indoor grill pan to make this dish winter friendly. Boil the potatoes, prep the salsa, and marinate the steak in advance (skip the avo if you can’t find a good one), then fire off the steak right before service and everyone scores!
What’s For Dessert?
Hello! They’re called the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER for a reason.
Gluten-Free Beer 101
We taste-tested dozens of gluten-free and gluten-removed beers to help you skip the funky and go straight to fabulous. See if your favorite GF and gluten-removed beers made the list here (and if it’s not, let us know what we’re missing in the comments area!).
How’s your 2020 going? I’m a bit of cliché at the moment, doing my best to “live my best life” as I enter the new year. I started a clothed figure drawing class (hard!), am eating primarily plant-based for the moment, and am avoiding booze until I’m inspired otherwise. So far so good.
Interestingly, this has led me to a lot of soup making. As I type this, I’m devouring a bowl of off-the cuff vegan creamy broccoli soup, which is delicious but flat-out ugly. And I mean a kind of gloppy pea-soup-style ugly that makes me happier to make and eat it than to show it to you. I’m also roasting and eating a lot of cauliflower—sliced into thick steaks, coated with a thin layer of olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and roasted for 30 minutes at 450F, it’s so good, you know? (Plus a whole head is under 200 calories. Unabashed snacking—GO!)
Anyway, I am thinking of soups and how perfect they are. Take wholesome ingredients, combine them in a pot over some heat, let the stovetop do the work, and voila—many meals that keep in the fridge or freezer and are reheated with a press of the microwave start button. (I just now filled my second bowl of Ugly Soup.)
So, I’m pleased to share some wonderful soups with you today, including a rib-gripping bean soup I’ve been obsessed with for years.
Enjoy, and stay warm and cozy. It’s cold here in San Francisco, Junior Editor Viva has a flu and has just missed her first volleyball tournament of the season, and I’m thinking of moving on to a cup of almond-milk hot cocoa. It’s plant-based, after all.
Happy Reading and Eating,
Lion’s Head Meatball Soup
More simply known as chicken (or pork) meatball soup, this brothy concoction has it all–deliciously seasoned meatballs, healthy greens, and noodles.
West African Peanut Soup
Listen. If you haven’t tried peanut soup and can eat peanuts, you truly must make it. it’s luscious and peanuty and includes chicken, but it can easily be made vegan. Make it once and you’ll definitely make it again.
GF Orzo and Bean Soup with Chili Oil
Don’t pass this soup by just because it’s brown and doesn’t pop with vibrant color. Here’s why: This soup is EVERYTHING. Vegan. Comforting. Filling. Healthy. But most of all, it’s insanely fantastic right down to the last finger-licking, pot-scraping drop
UGLY-TASTY, SUPER SIMPLE VEGAN, CREAMY BROCCOLI SOUP
Soak 1/4 cup raw cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium pot over medium heat, sauté 1/2 a yellow onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. 3 to 4 cups broccoli florets and chopped broccoli stalks. Drain and add the cashews along with 4 cups vegetable broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Puree in a blender, season to taste. Enjoy.
Hi GFF Friend!
I don’t know if you took my advice and made the charred carrot hummus I recommended last week, but I made it yesterday for a snacky lunch and was reminded how completely mind-blowing the flavor is. (Seriously. Try it.) And it’s healthy and vegan? C’mon!
But more than that, as I scooped the first velvety spoonful into my mouth, I felt a sense of elation, like I’d just given myself an edible love letter. That’s the beauty of cooking—the process of making something nurturing feels like a gift you’re giving to yourself, and to others, if people are eating with you. Then there’s the fundamental bliss of devouring something truly delicious. Double gift!
Smithsonian Magazine recently published an online article that said a scientific study suggested the mere act of cooking and baking can make you feel better. I dug a little deeper and found that the study was by the Journal of Positive Psychology and it was about the mood-lifting benefits of “everyday creativity as a path to flourishing.” Cooking and baking are indeed creative. When you cook, you are a creator! You make something, even if you are following a recipe.
Charred carrot hummus aside, below I’m sharing with you another dish that makes my mood, and that I strongly suggest you try it at home: crispy-juicy brick chicken with caramelized onions and potatoes. With looks that are glamorous enough for company and ease that makes it weeknight-friendly, it’s worthy of repeat appearances. Not feeling it? I’ve shared three more recipes that’ll elevate dinnertime.
But let’s not forget dessert. Tis the season for splendorous, Meyer lemons. Use ‘em or lose ‘em.
Happy Reading and Eating!
Brick Chicken with Potatoes and Onions
Heavens is this 8-ingredient recipe delicious. The juices from the chicken settle onto the potatoes, garlic, and onions while they cook, caramelizing them along the way and infusing them with unctuous, irresistible melt-in-your-mouth flavor. This is one of those recipes where I shamelessly scoop out every last bit of pan drippings, sometimes with my fingers and straight into my mouth–when the pan is cool enough. And you don’t even need a brick to make it! Get the finger-licking recipe.
Not feeling it? Try these alternatives:
Italian Beef Stew with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes (comfort food defined)
Black Bean Taquitos (vegan and sooo yummy that I sometimes I just make and eat the black bean filling)
Broccoli with Turmeric Curry and Raisin Chutney (skip the chutney and add cooked rice and you have an exotic 9-ingredient dinner).
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Meyer Lemon Tart with a Must-Have GF Crust
Meyer lemons are in full force at the market, which means it’s the optimal time to make a Meyer lemon tart! This recipe comes complete with an easy, awesome crust recipe you can fill with anything you like, and the five-ingredient filling, a Meyer lemon curd, can also be served like pudding–in single servings topped with a bit of whipped cream and granola.
Happy New Year!
Sorry I didn’t write sooner, but I was stuffing myself with good food, drink, and company in Los Angeles. (If you’re in the neighborhood and get a chance, go to Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch, which is where I am in the photo above, flanked by my dear friend Sugar Nerd and daughter Junior Editor Viva. It promises an impossibly charming and a relaxed afternoon of leisure, food, and fun.)
Now I’m back and doing what everyone else does—setting some goals for myself for 2020, including eating well, playing more music, and embarking on studio art.
Whether healthy eating is on your list or you simply want some satisfying, wholesome options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I’m sharing some of my favorite go-to health-minded recipes with you. Also, if you need a reminder as to why you need to seek out fiber on a GF diet, you can find it below. Happy Reading and Eating and wishing you an epic, delicious 2020.
TROPICAL TURMERIC SMOOTHIE
Pineapple and mango inject lively island flavor into this sexy-healthy turmeric smoothie recipe, while turmeric lends anti-inflammatory perks.
CHARRED CARROT HUMMUS
Get ready for your next food crush. Seriously. This velvety, crazy-good sweet and savory blend of charred carrots, tahini (sesame paste), lemon, and spice is lighter and more nuanced than chickpea hummus. It’s one of my favorite dips ever.
POACHED CHICKEN WITH AMARANTH RICE AND FISH-SAUCE CITRONETTE
Don’t be deceived by the ultraclean look of this poached chicken recipe. It’s a healthier version of the Thai-by-way-of-China dish called khao mun gai, and it’s got a fantastic salty, savory sauce.
THE BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH (PLUS A RECIPE)
Bone broth is incredibly easy to make and it’s waaaaay cheaper than buying it at the store. Learn more and get the recipe here.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FIBER ON THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET
Wheat products have more fiber than GF products, so it’s important to get your fiber elsewhere. Learn more here.
At my house, the tree is up, the menorah is out, our Elf on the Shelf is making mischief nightly, and I’m trying to finish my shopping, recipe planning, and card sending so I can lean back and enjoy the season.
Of course that includes baking. I love giving edible gifts. I’ve told you my year-round go-to gift is my favorite granola. It’s beyond addictive. But it’s cookie season so I thought you’d appreciate a collection of fantastic cookie recipes, many of which are GF and DF and all of which are divine. May they bring you and your loved ones great joy this season.
Also, if you’re in need of some GF gifts to give or get, check out our food-lover’s gift guide, which includes shippable must-have foods, cookbooks, GFF goodies, and more.
Now, grab yourself a cup of hot cocoa and read on, and don’t forget to enter our Great 14-Day Giveaway; it ends this Saturday at midnight and it’s loaded with great stuff!
I’ll be back with more holiday recipes soon.
LET’S BAKE COOKIES!
Spiced Cocoa Polvorones Cookies
Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cookies, call them whatever you want. Just bake these balls of GF goodness! With rich chocolate flavor and a hint of spice, they’re pure pop-in-your-mouth enjoyment.
There’s more than one way to decorate gingerbread cookies. Men, women, stars, balls, sandwich cookies, it’s all good with this recipe for GF great gingerbread (it also includes a gingerbread house pattern!).
Vegan Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Jewel-toned jam lends festive flair and delicious contrasting flavor to these easy thumbprint treats.
Almond Meringue Cookies
You need just four ingredients for these beautiful, portable meringue cookies that are DF, GF, and can be easily customized to be espresso meringue cookies, chocolate-dipped meringues, and more!
Chocolate Candy-Cane Crush Cookies
The classic seasonal combo of chocolate and peppermint come together in this pretty, festive, mint-kissed chocolate cookie.
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
Did I have you at “brown butter”? No matter! This versatile, wonderful recipe results in sturdy, buttery cookies that can feature fillings, sprinkles, powdered sugar, or just an accompanying glass of milk or tea.
Food Lover’s Gift Guide
Want some tasty gluten-free gift ideas for yourself or loved ones? We’ve compiled a gift guide for you and your GF friends.
Catch you next week with more tasty news, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
November 12, 2019
Hello, GFF Friend!It’s official—we’ve entered my favorite time of year to talk food, so let’s get right into the subject at hand: Thanksgiving. If you’ve read my newsletter for a while, you know that Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because, rather than commercialism, it focuses on preparing and sharing a meal with people you love. In fact, it’s been such an important part of my family’s traditions, I talked about it at my mother’s recent celebration of life. Part of my adoration is for the meal itself. We always cook the “Thompson Turkey.” Though unbrined, the meat is impossibly moist. But it’s the stuffing that’s truly a transformative dining experience. And the accompanying mahogany brown gravy, which gets distinctive tang from reduced apple cider. How good is it? Let me put it this way: when my father was alive, he would bring his own gravy boat to the dinner, fill it as much as I would allow, and guard it with his life. For decades, we served the turkey with sides of steamed green peas, butter-and-cream laden mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. But in recent years, I’ve branched out, embellishing the feast with items we developed for GFF or that arrived with friends. And of course gluten-free pumpkin pie. If you’re game to adventure-cook this holiday, I highly recommend my traditional Thompson-Turkey feast. It’s actually not hard to make. It just takes some time to gather and mix the stuffing ingredients and you have to baste the bird every 15 minutes. If you’ve got your own traditions to follow and simply need some exciting additions, scroll down for a selection of epic Thanksgiving sides and desserts.
Happy Reading and Eating!
Thanksgiving Recipes that Deserve a Place at Your Table
The Best GF Cornbread Mixes
There are lots of GF cornbread mixes on the market. But some are waaaayyyy better than others. We baked our way through a bunch to bring you our favorites. Find them here.
October 23, 2019
Hello! It’s been a while. Thank you for your patience and for the many kind emails. Grieving is hard. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can scroll to my last entry to read all about it.)
But fall is here, which means it’s officially food season, and I want to make sure you’re armed with recipes for all your festivities. So you’ll be hearing much more from me for the rest of the year—and beyond!Luckily, while I took a hiatus from newsletters, we continued adding new recipes and articles at gffmag.com. Following are some highlights to whet your appetite.
This Season’s Must-Have Cookbook
Award-winning Cannelle et Vanille blog author and longtime GFFcontributor and friend Aran Goyoaga has a new cookbook. Click here to find out why I recommend you add it to your bookshelf and get the three recipes shown below.
There are tons of recipes by Aran Goyoaga on gffmag.com, including one of my all-time favorite roast chicken recipes. But the Crispy Chickpeas with Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, and Greens, Flaky Caramelized Onion and Fennel Biscuits, and Chocolate, Olive Oil, and Citrus Cake are fresh from her new cookbook.
You’ll also find our gluten-free guide to Washington, D.C. If you find yourself in the nation’s capital, use it so you can focus your efforts on seeing the sights rather than sweating your dining options.
The Best GF Pretzels
We recently taste-tested every brand of gluten-free pretzels we could get our hands on to bring you a list of the best bets available nationwide. Check out our roundup to get recommendations, see if your favorites ranked, or discover who’s making irresistible peanut butter-stuffed (or chocolate stuffed!) pretzel bites.
Oh, and hey—are you following GFF on Instagram (@gffmag)? If you are, you’ll find daily inspiration and recipes. And if you want to see what I do when I’m not eating (hint: it’s essentially seeking live music and nature and stalking my cats), you can find me at @erikalenkert. Happy Reading and Eating!
August 6, 2019
Dear GFF Friend:
I have always intentionally kept GFF Magazine a world where we can all enjoy, share, learn, and feel included without being bogged down by the hardships of life. But on July 1, my legendary mother, Faith Winthrop, passed away due to human error after what should have been a simple surgery. I tell you this only to explain my long silence. For me, grief has been a wide, deep retreat, with not much of an appetite, which seems ironic since everyone wants to heal me with food.
My mother is the reason I became a food person. She raised me to love the thrill of finding the next great restaurant, food product, and ingredient, and the joy of cooking for others and sharing what I know in order to help make people’s lives better. She showed me how it’s possible to build your own rich community by surrounding yourself with magical people, often at the dinner table. She came to and/or starred in many GFF photo shoots, tasted and commented on recipes as we developed them, and always encouraged me to fearlessly pursue my passions. She loved GFF and all that it stands for and her influence on it is everywhere. Now that I think of it, GFF has always been an ode to my mother and the values she passed on to me.
For better or worse, Junior Editor Viva and I were long scheduled to explore the gluten-free good life in Europe this summer, starting on July 15. Considering my options, I reluctantly surmised that mourning over fresh tomatoes on the Greek islands and gluten-free pasta in Italy were as good ways as any to feel my way through this. So that’s where we have been and where we are now. If you visit our Instagram page (@gffmag), you’ll see the deliciousness we’re encountering. Next up after Italy are a few spots in Ireland and a final stop in Amsterdam.
If you want to travel but are afraid for your health, I am here to tell you that traveling is good for the soul, and you can absolutely get by GF pretty much anywhere if you are savvy and do a little homework. (We offer insight into that here on gffmag.com, too.)
I feel fortunate to be having this experience right now, away from home and everything I know. It’s giving me time to reflect and to remind me why every moment of life is worth savoring, especially with people you love. Plus, there’s a heck of a lot of great food out there, not to mention kind, generous people making and offering it. Food is a way to connect no matter how far from home.
So, as we venture onward, please forgive me if it takes a little time to get back in the email groove. I am having a hard time putting cheery words to paper at the moment. But we are continually adding more recipes, product reviews, and articles on gffmag.com, and there are already hundreds of recipes—many inspired by my mom—that are worth making and sharing with your loved ones, and they’re all easily searchable, too.
I’ll be in touch soon. Until then, thank you for continuing to be part of the GFF community. It’s a special one and I’m so grateful for you.
Enjoy the rest of summer, and please scroll down to see some summer recipes you can make right now.
Finally, in the words of my mom, Here’s to Life (turn up the audio if you click the link).
Recipes to Make Right Now
July 4, 2019
Dear GFF Friends, my mother, the irreplaceable Faith Winthrop, passed away on July 1 after unexpected surgery complications. Please bear with me while I take time to grieve and heal.
June 16, 2019
With Junior Editor Viva out of school, summer is officially here at our HQ/house. For me, that means sneaking in work and exercise between shuttling her to camps and social events and attempting to take is slow, or at least slower while loading up gffmag.com with plenty of summer flavor for you.
To that end, I just uploaded our updated guide to Maui. Sometimes I collaborate with local experts to write our destination guides. But not for Maui. I first visited the island in high school and was so enamored, I moved there the day after I graduated from college. No job. No place to live. Just a few hundred dollars in the bank and a dream of days on the beach and nights making quick money as a waitress/bartender. I’ve lived there twice since then, visited 25 times, and am always to impressed by the gluten-free hospitality at every turn. In fact, Maui is one of the most gluten-free friendly places I’ve been in the U.S. It’s obviously also one of my favorites. Should you get a chance to visit, follow my lead.
You can also find a guide to my favorite place I’ve ever lived–Los Angeles. Another gluten-free friendly destination, it’s got everything you need for a perfect vacation, so long as you shack up near the area you want to explore or brace yourself for inescapable traffic that accompanies venturing further afield.
Want some summer recipes to try?
Make our grilled peanut butter chicken. I can’t get enough of it.
Our roasted asparagus and oat berry salad is one of my favorite recipes we’ve ever published, and it’s fantastic for picnics.
Also, an anytime recipe that’s sure to be a huge hit with pretty much everyone: sticky, moist, and delicious gluten-free cinnamon rolls!
Happy Reading and Eating,
June 9, 2019
After seemingly endless seasons of fog and rain in San Francisco, it turned from winter to summer overnight yesterday with temperatures hitting close to 80 degrees. The anticipation of sunshine on our shoulders was so palpable, I could practically feel the whole city rush out into the light of day to welcome our first natural dose of vitamin D in months.
As luck would have it, I had planned to attend one of Kendall-Jackson winery’s farm-to-table dinners on the most perfect night of the year. So, two friends and I piled into the car, windows down and music blaring, and took the two-hour drive north to Sonoma wine country.
The experience was as you might imagine: endless amounts of wine, meandering among the vines, one impossibly long, shaded table flanked by vegetable gardens for the 150 or so attending guests, and endless platters highlighting the bounty of the estate and talents of the culinary team served family style.
As a band played familiar pop tunes beneath a majestic tree, people had so much fun, they actually did “the wave” with their wineglasses, toasting in a stream of undulating glass-clinking from one end of the table to the other.
These are the moments I live for. When people stop their busy lives to gather around the table and connect. When the food and wine is exceptional and my skin glows with the warmth of the dipping sun, it’s that much better.
I’ll be asking K-J’s chefs for some of their wonderful recipes from the evening so I can share them with you. But meanwhile, I love the idea of a simple gathering with chilled wine and a platter of self-serve deliciousness. I’m sharing a few options below, should you find yourself ready to celebrate the alfresco season with friends over a carefree meal.
Happy Reading and Eating and don’t forget to scroll for recipe ideas!
May 28, 2019
For me, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial commencement of outdoor entertaining season. So, even though here in San Francisco we’re just beginning to emerge from a seemingly endless season of rain and fog, it’s obvious summer is on its way. And with it comes lots of opportunities to cook and eat outside as well as venture out into the world, hopefully safely GF.
Five years after launching GFF Magazine, I continue to be amazed at how much easier it is to be GF on the go these days. Last weekend, at Napa Valley’s outdoor music festival BottleRock, the fancy food tents boldly and beautifully listed GF, DF, and other important dietary information on their posted menus (see below). It was a welcomed shocker. And the ribs were great (though these are my favorites).
But what happens when you don’t have clear guidance? Being GF shouldn’t stop you from seeking adventures near and far. But it should inspire you to arm yourself with information and tools to eat well and safely on the road. If you need tips on how to travel in GF style, check this article out.
Also important is preparing for airline travel, which we learned firsthand when we went to Europe two summers ago, were delayed five hours on the tarmac, never received our ordered GF meals, and missed our connecting flight–all without an ample stash of GF foods. This summer we’re headed that way again and will be sure to take our own advice for GF airline travel.
Meanwhile, we’re excited to start cooking with seasonal ingredients and taking the party outside. If you are too, check out our collection of picnic-perfect recipes.
Happy Reading and Eating!
May 18, 2019
“Let them eat cake!”
Marie Antoinette’s famed quote ran through my mind as I sat down to write you about what’s new at GFF. There’s a not so subtle reason: we’ve been testing cake (and biscuits and more) to bring you our latest batch of recipes. And since I test at home and I’m a household of two (me and Junior Editor Viva), when cakes are made, and remade to achieve perfection, there is A LOT of cake to be had. (My editing left hand, Cindy Rice, tests at her home in New Jersey and shares my sentiment.)
Our new recipes this week–which are part of an exploration of millet flour by our alternative-baking bestie Alanna Taylor-Tobin–indeed let you eat cake. Or more specifically a wonderfully wet-spongy gluten-free, dairy free tres leches cake and a perky, buttery lemon sheet cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. It also affords you access to flaky, ricotta and chive biscuits. You can see photos of the recipes above and find the article and recipe links here.
Ironically, according to Brittanica.com, that famous Marie-Antoinette cake quote, which was the queen’s alleged response to being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread, was not about cake at all. They say she actually declared, “Let them eat brioche!” But hey, we have a gluten-free recipe for that, too.
Happy Reading and Eating!
May 7, 2019
It’s never a flavorless week at GFF HQ! We’ve been puttering around the kitchen to bring you something I’ve been personally craving these days—recipes that integrate more vegetables into breakfast, courtesy of our amazing GF friend Aran Goyoaga. You can see pics of the recipes above, but let me tell you, I made the rhubarb toast again yesterday and seriously can’t stop returning for more of it. Never mind the bread. I’ve succumbed to spooning up the syrupy, tangy-sweet rhubarb with a scoop of the cashew cream. Add some granola (my all-time favorite granola is this one, which I’m making again today) and you’ve got a dream breakfast, snack, or dessert.
I’m also particularly excited about the broccolini and fried eggs tostada, especially because of the included cassava tortilla recipe. I never think to make my own, but these wholesome gluten-free tortillas are so easy and delicious, I have no reason not to make them. Now, with this recipe, neither do you.
With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, there’s more reason to think about making delicious breakfasts, and we’ve got plenty more. You can check them out here.
But if you’d prefer to show your love by baking, you can knock Mom’s socks off with the following recipes. That’s a promise.
Happy Reading and Eating!
April 30, 2019
Spring is super busy here at GFF HQ. Junior Editor Viva and I just ate our way through LA for spring break (guide coming soon, but a few highlights below), and we’re busy testing recipes here so we can share more fresh GFF goodness with you. Meanwhile, there are so many reasons to cook and eat!
With our new site and the ongoing additions of well-tested and well-loved gluten-free recipes, you can use our recipe search to find anything your GF heart desires. You can also share your GFF cooking prowess now that we have added the ability to comment on all our recipes; please ask questions or let others (including us) know what worked for you, how you modified a recipe, or what you liked or didn’t like.
Scenes from Our LA Nosh
And hey–want to see the key GFF team? You can do it here. Have a great week and I’ll back
April 15, 2019
I type this from Reno, Nevada, home to a variety of low-slung casinos and Junior Editor Viva’s volleyball tournament. Events like this—where you’re camped out in a parking lot all day between matches, eating convenience foods—remind me how important it is to know about great grab-and-go GF products. That’s why I’m committed to adding hundreds of product reviews to this, our brand new gffmag.com site. We try every product that comes our way and only feature the very best of them. We’ve added a lot of new favorites this week, so check them out to discover great breads, cookies, pastas, and more.
It’s been a busy week in other ways since our relaunch of gffmag.com. We’ve added about 30 more recipes, and we still have about 400 to go before we’re caught up.
But that doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels.
Here’s what’s brand new this week:
As we head into our Spring Break, we’re also facing Easter and Passover, two celebrations that give reason to prepare and devour outstanding food. Hop on over to some of our recipe section to find some foods for your celebrations.
Here are a few for Passover:
Roasted Winter-Spiced Chicken (you can easily double or triple the recipe)
Double Orange Flan
Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Dairy-Free Chocolate Pot de Crème
White Chocolate Bark with Pistachio, Rose and Raspberry
Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Grilled Meyer Lemons and Black Olives Recipe
Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Smashed Potato Eggs Benedict with Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce
Pecan Banana Bread
Don’t forget you can always see what’s new on gffmag.com and what we’re up to by visiting this page!
Happy Reading and Eating,
April 3, 2019
It’s exciting here at GFF HQ. We’re in the process of making the transition to a primarily digital publication, serving up new recipes, product reviews, and articles to our online readers and sharing our entire recipe library with GFF Members on this site. (We will have all the library content up by the end of April, if not sooner.)
And, it’s SPRING! Finally! Our Northern California winter has been so wet, I’ve actually had to plan meetings around whether flooding roads may stop me from getting to my daughter, Junior Editor Viva, when school lets out.
On the literal bright side, the mountains of Marin and Napa counties are verdant, the cherry blossoms lining my San Francisco neighborhood are in full bloom, and spring produce is beginning to brim in our local markets.
This, of course, gets us right into the kitchen, and that’s where the West Coast GFF core team and I are as I write this. We’re developing and photographing new super-simple spring dinners, including the salad below, which I’m officially obsessed with, and soft pretzels to tote to your baseball games or just eat right out of the oven. (Evidence below!)
We’re also out and about. I just feasted on totally amazing fried chicken at San Francisco’s brand new all GF/DF Little Gem on Union Street. Their second location is more restaurant-like than their Hayes Valley location, with table service and hip-hop music. Below is a shot (with poor lighting) from my visit, and if you’re inclined, you can make their ridiculously creamy-good GF/DF lemon custard right now.
I also made a dash to stunning Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and get this–they are WAY GF friendly and knowledgable in all their restaurants. Plus, they serve the most incredible GF beer and bacon almonds. You can bet we’ll create a copycat recipe soon!
Meanwhile, our East Coast-based editor, Cindy Rice, just paid a visit to Modern Bread and Bagel, Manhattan’s new GF destination. Their bagels are everything they should be—chewy, dense, perfect, and served with house-made schmears. If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely go.
The rest of the time, I’m doing what I always do—hustling to hit deadlines, managing my teen daughter’s incredibly robust social life, planning my next travel adventure (next up: a GF Europe adventure, and we’ll bring you along), and getting dinner on the table. Following are a few of my favorite go-tos that help me do that with ease. If you try them, let me know if they become yours, too. I’m at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading and eating with us and check back often to see what we’re up to.
P.S. Wanna learn more about us? You can do it here.
Erika Photo Emma K. Morris