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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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