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Gluten free galette with rhubarb & asparagus

savory asparagus & rhubarb galette

So, this is perhaps one of the weirder things I’ve done.

Though the colors are stunning together, I didn’t do it just for the ‘gram. This flavor story is too good not to tell.

A slice of the rhubarb & asparagus galette

It’s so wonderfully weird. It’s bright & tart, earthy & grassy, creamy & sharp. It is, in my humble opinion, just perfection.

When I first made this, I went full-weirdo, delighting in the tedium of sketching out a pattern on parchment paper, measuring with a ruler & cutting each piece to the same size, slicing each end on an angle so they would fit together seamlessly in a beautiful chevron pattern. I even texted a photo & a bit of a self-deprecating message to my partner (because pic or it didn’t happen, right?) (Also, yes, I know this recipe took me a full month to perfect from test to final photographs to post.)

Text message about galette pattern

My rhubarb stalks then were thinner, about the same thickness as the asparagus, so that pattern made sense. But a few weeks later, when I made this again to photograph, the stalks were over an inch thick. So instead, I sliced the stalk (in the same way you slice celery) to match the width of the asparagus; the stalks were rounded on the sides, which made it hard to slice those hard angles. But I knew from baking this before that the cheese would bubble up, pushing in between the pieces. I wasn’t worried about exact corners matching up as long as I had the pattern. This is how I play in the kitchen.

Rhubarb & asparagus tart before baking with chevron pattern

I’ve been on a real rhubarb kick this year. One of the first things to pop up every spring, a shock of brilliant ruby among the winter-y greens & muted earth-toned squashes. But rhubarb’s season always seemed fleeting: the first to arrive on the scene, announcing spring, & then quick to depart.

But maybe that’s just the way I remember it, by not really remembering it … because rhubarb also always felt so foreign to me, perhaps I just don’t remember seeing it week after week for two months (or more). I didn’t grow up with rhubarb; I don’t remember it when I worked at farmer’s markets in Atlanta. Do I not remember it because it wasn’t there, or do I not remember it because I simply wasn’t paying attention? I didn’t commit to long-term memory something for which I had no frame of reference, no personal or emotional connection.

Pie dough & raw ingredients for the galette

That has certainly changed this season. I’ve made several rhubarb cakes & a few iterations of this galette. There’s still rhubarb in my freezer. I’ve learned how to taste it, how to cook & bake with it. I see it differently now.

I have a real vested interest in & knack for mixing sweet & savory. I always prefer a little salt or savory notes with my sweet — rosemary in apple muffins, for example; sea salt & almonds with my chocolate. I like apple slices with cheese, not peanut butter. (I like strawberries with cheese, too, although that’s a story for another time.)

Fresh raw asparagus stalks on grey background

I like taking things that tend to be thought of as only sweet, destined just for desserts, & finding ways to make them savory. I don’t just mean dressing up something sweet, but really finding ways to use that sweetness in harmony with & as a balance for other rich, deep, savory flavors. I’ve been doing it for years, I just never paid close enough attention to really realize how often I am drawn to those kinds of pairings. (Years ago, I made a banana habanero curry cheesecake. Weird & wonderful, but really only to me so I only made it once. It has been on my mind for the last few months & I think I need to make it again.)

And so here we are with this weirdly wonderful galette. Rhubarb isn’t naturally very sweet, but it’s bright, tart flavor is the perfect complement to the other ingredients here. The creamy cheese mixture mellows that tartness a bit while, simultaneously, the rhubarb helps to cut the richness. It also lightens up the earthy undertones of the asparagus.Asparagus & rhubarb galette ready to bake

So, it might be a little weird. (Or a lot weird; a scale of weirdness is pretty subjective.) But this is definitely one weirdo recipe I encourage you to try.

Anyone who’s a chef, who loves food, ultimately knows that all that matters is: ‘Is it good? Does it give pleasure?’
— Anthony Bourdain

Creamy blue cheese spread & chopped walnuts

Local List

  • Asparagus
  • Blue Cheese
  • Butter
  • Chives
  • Cream
  • Egg
  • Rhubarb
  • Walnuts

Putting together the galette with raw ingredients

Savory Rhubarb & Asparagus Galette

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the pie dough:
150 grams gluten-free all purpose flour
50 grams almond meal (preferably course/stone-ground, but finer almond flour works too!)
Pinch kosher flake salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
4-6+ tablespoons ice water

For the galette:
½ bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed (approx. 2 cups of sliced asparagus total)
3-4 stalks rhubarb, sliced (approx. 2 cups of sliced rhubarb total)
3 ounces (84 grams) cream cheese, room temp.
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk/half & half)
1 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon fresh chives
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Olive oil, salt & pepper
Heavy cream, for brushing the dough

Directions

Make the dough: If you have a food processor with a grater attachment, place the grater piece & the stick of butter (unwrapped) in the freezer for about 15 minutes. When the butter is really cold, grate it using the food processor attachment; transfer the grated butter to a bowl & return to the freezer. You can also grate the butter by hand with a box grater or cut the butter into small cubes & place those in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, almond meal & salt. Pulse a few times to mix & aerate. Carefully remove the bowl from your food processor & place everything in the freezer to chill. (I usually leave it for 15 minutes, or as long as it takes me to get everything else set up.)

When the flour is cold to the touch, return the bowl to the food processor. Add the grated or cubed butter to the bowl & pulse a few times until the butter is mixed in & about the size of peas (it’ll be a bit smaller if you’re using the grated shavings instead of cubes). Add the egg, vodka (if using) & 1 tablespoon of the ice water. Pulse to combine. Add 2-3 more tablespoons of water & pulse to combine. Test the dough — if it’s coming together & stays together when you pinch it between your fingers, it’s ready. Otherwise, add more water about a tablespoon at a time until the dough is no longer dry. (I usually use 5-6 tablespoons of water total.)

Pour the crumbly dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Use your hands to bring all the bits of dough together & shape into a disk. Tightly wrap in the plastic & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can do this a day or so ahead of time, too.)

Prep the filling: Snap off the woody stems of the asparagus stalks & slice into equal pieces about 1-inch long. Slice the rhubarb to match the length & width of the asparagus. (If your stalks are very fat, about an inch or more thick, slice them length-wise the way you’d slice celery. If your stalks are very thin, about the same thickness as the asparagus spears, then slice those stalks into 1-inch long pieces as you did with the asparagus.) Set aside.

Mix together the soft cream cheese & the heavy cream. Fold in the shallots, chives, blue cheese & walnuts. Season with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Set aside. (Don’t refrigerate, unless you’re making everything ahead & you’re planning to bake the tart on another day. If you do, make sure to take the spread out with enough time to come to room temp. It’ll be much easier to spread when it’s softer.)

Make the galette: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pie disk from the fridge & unwrap. Generously flour a piece of parchment paper & dust both sides of the dough with flour. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle, flouring occasionally to prevent sticking. (It helps to also flip the dough over once or twice & re-flour the parchment & the dough.) Trim any shaggy ends if you want the edges cleaner.

Spread the cheese mixture on the dough, leaving about an inch edge on each side. Then layer the rhubarb & asparagus slices. You can do them in straight lines or a chevron pattern like I did. (It helps to lay out all the pieces on a cutting board in advance & then you can transfer each slice over row by row.) Press each slice down gently into the cheese.

Once all the rows are arranged, very lightly drizzle olive oil over top of the rhubarb & asparagus. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Gently fold over the edges of the galette. (It helps to use the parchment paper to lift & fold, peeling away once the edge is in place. If you find your dough is too soft & sticky, transfer the parchment paper with the unfinished galette to a baking sheet or plate & put in the freezer for a few minutes, just enough to firm up the butter & make it a little less sticky.)

Once all the edges are folded over & in place, slide the finished galette onto a baking sheet (if you haven’t done so already) & chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Brush the edges with heavy cream. Bake for 35 minutes until the cheese is bubbly & the crust is golden brown.

Let the galette cool for a few minutes. Slice & serve with a big green salad on the side.

Finished rhubarb & asparagus galette with a slice missing

The weirdest things are always the best things.

Where’s your will to be weird?
— Jim Morrison

 

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Gluten free rhubarb buckle cake cut into slices

gluten-free rhubarb buckle cake with lime & coconut

Sometimes, it’s really hard to write the story of a recipe.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to write a recipe.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to write.

Sprinkling crumble topping on rhubarb buckle cake

A few months ago, when I really dove into returning to this space, I maybe didn’t dive all in. I was shaking off the cobwebs, pulling the dusty white sheets off all the furniture like you see in abandoned haunted houses in old horror movies, & I had writer’s block. For recipes, for stories.

So I decided to start over by starting from the beginning of this blog. By revisiting, revamping & re-photographing old recipes. Like this cake.

It was, really, a buckle cake — I just didn’t know that at the time. I also didn’t know much about rhubarb, but I was (as always) strong willed & stubborn. I didn’t want to coat it in sugar or dress it up. I just wanted it to be what it was. So, I made a cake that was OK. A cake I ate like a little kid (by picking all of the toppings off & eating just the actual cake part). And, while the photos are fine, they weren’t me because I didn’t know what me looked like yet because I was still figuring out my style.

Overhead view of rhubarb buckle cake before serving

I’ve spent the last few years figuring out a lot. And I thought maybe a good way to solidify that would be to bake it all up in a cake.

But then this cake happened. And instead of forcing it to try to be something else, the thing I thought I wanted it to be, I let it be the thing it was supposed to be.

Gluten free rhubarb cake

One of the hardest lessons I’ve been working on learning over the last few years is how to let go. I’ve realized letting go isn’t always saying goodbye or closing a door or ending a chapter. Sometimes letting go is simply being fluid — willing & open & receptive to possibility & to change.

Standing in front of my open refrigerator, I had to let go of that first intention — that rhubarb cake with cherries & pecans — to instead let the ingredients I already had contribute: yogurt, coconut, lime, almonds.

Ingredients for gluten-free rhubarb buckle cake

In this instance, another intention I set for myself (to waste less & use what I already have instead of buying more) overrode the initial intention for this cake. So I played with flavors. I sugared up that rhubarb & macerated it with a huge dollop of lime zest until it was so brightly fragrant that I wanted to dance a little. I knew I had two kinds of coconut in my cabinet &, honestly, what goes better with lime than coconut?

Rhubarb, sugar and lime zest

So, in an attempt to redo one thing I instead created something else different & brilliant & bright & exciting & endlessly delicious.

Learning to let go has been learning how to play. To be less rigid, less beholden to a plan or a recipe or an intention. To not always be such a damn stick in the mud. To trust my gut & to know that if the recipe doesn’t turn out the first time, I can always order a pizza & try again.

A slice of gluten-free rhubarb buckle cake

The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.
— Julia Child

Perfectionism & writer’s (or artist’s) block can be tricky things, at once both incredibly useful & destructive. Learning to let go is also learning how to balance these parts of me — my perfectionism with my immediate imperfectness. Knowing that where I am at right now is not where I will always be, especially if I work hard at the things I believe to be worthwhile.

Local List

  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Rhubarb
  • Yogurt

Looking down on a slice of rhubarb cake with whipped cream

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Buckle Cake with Lime & Coconut

  • Servings: 1 6-inch round cake (about 4-6 slices)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Note: Like all recipes, this one is adaptable. Use lemon zest in place of the lime (I recommend zesting just one lemon; use half to macerate the rhubarb & add the other half to the batter); if you don’t like coconut or almonds, sub for other nuts and/or rolled oats for a more traditional buckle topping. When rhubarb isn’t in season, play with other fresh fruits. I bet blackberries would be especially delicious!

Ingredients

For the rhubarb topping:
115 grams rhubarb, sliced or diced (depending on how big & thick the stalks are)
25 grams turbinado or raw sugar
Zest of 1 lime

For the crumble topping:
25 grams gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)
20 grams turbinado or raw sugar
25 grams butter, room temperature
6 grams sliced almonds
6 grams shredded coconut
Teeny pinch of kosher flake salt

For the cake batter:
50 grams butter, room temperature
50 grams turbinado or raw sugar
Zest of 1 lime
1 large egg, room temperature
75 grams gluten-free all purpose flour
25 grams fine almond flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher flake salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
65 mL plain Greek yogurt (whole/full fat plain yogurt will work, too)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease & flour a 6-inch round cake pan (or spray with non-stick cooking spray).

Make the crumble: Combine the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and combine with your fingers or a fork until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture clumps. It’ll kind of resemble wet sand. Chill in the refrigerator.

Macerate the rhubarb: Combine the rhubarb, sugar and lime zest in a bowl. Stir so everything is incorporated & set aside. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you’re ready to bake. (You can let the mix sit for up to an hour, but I wouldn’t recommend going much longer than that.)

Make the batter: Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter & sugar until fluffy. (If you’re using turbinado sugar, you’ll still be able to see the bigger grains. That’s perfectly OK, just make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the butter.) Beat in the egg until fully incorporated & the mixture is lighter in color & fluffy.

Stir together the yogurt, vanilla & almond extract, & the lime zest. Add to the butter, sugar & egg mix, & beat together until it’s all incorporated.

Whisk together the flours, salt & baking powder. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Put it all together: Remove the crumble topping from the fridge. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the macerated rhubarb & syrup. Break apart/crumble the topping evenly over top of the cake.

Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging on. Broil the cake on the LO setting for 1-2 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn! (This last step is optional, but recommended.) Remove the cake from the oven & cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Gently remove the cake from the pan & cool completely before serving.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Taking a bite of the rhubarb buckle cake
A little slice of early summer.

Hazelnut crumble topping

gluten-free golden milk banana muffins with hazelnut crumble

When I was a wee writer still in school, I struggled with metaphors. Similes were so easyyy — just look for the “like” or “as” in a comparison. But metaphors felt fleeting, ethereal. Untethered in a sentence, not anchored by or to anything easily spotted by the skimming eye. Metaphors felt infinite: any one thing could be compared to any other thing in just a few words or a sentence, or an entire stanza, paragraph or page.

In the nearly two decades (oh, lord) since, however, metaphors have become a constant in my life. I find they work best as an almost parable; I learn about myself and my life through metaphor.

Two ripe bananas on grey background

A few years ago, I wrote at length about how making pie from scratch was a meditation for me. Baking in any form still is meditative: it requires a calm, steady focus. If you’re not paying attention or you add ingredients out of order, you might miss something or forget to add a key ingredient. For me, oddly enough, I often forget to add the sweetener.

And there, isn’t that just a perfect little metaphor? When I’m not paying close enough attention in the moment, if I’m rushed or harried or otherwise distracted, I miss the sweet little things in life.

These muffins have become the most apropos metaphor for the last year or so of my life, because it has taken me over a year to get this recipe right.

Freshly baked gluten-free banana muffins with hazelnut crumble topping

Focusing on my three key ingredients: banana, golden milk and the hazelnut topping, I have tested this recipe every which way. The first batch or two was good, but fell victim to common gluten-free baking pitfalls: they were moist, but also gummy (even though my recipe included no added gums); they had a nice chew and the overall mouthfeel wasn’t bad, they were very dense (see: gummy). I could have chalked that up to the mushy banana, the fact that they were gluten-free. But I knew they could be better.

So, I played. I wrote down numbers. I researched other recipes and ratios. (Seriously, if someone had told me when I struggling with multiplication tables in the fourth grade that I would be doing math on a semi-regular basis IN MY KITCHEN, I would have laughed. Well, I probably would haves scoffed & rolled my eyes, because I was a dramatic snot.)

Raw ingredients for making golden milk banana muffins

There was the disastrous batch (number four, I think) in which I changed both the fat (from butter to coconut oil) and the sugar (from brown & granulated cane to coconut) to make a “healthier” muffin. The results, though still palatable, were oily, dense and unappealing. (I think my uncle, my most dedicated & positive taste-tester, ate the whole batch, save the “test” bite I took.)

For several batches, I whipped the egg white by hand. This helped the texture considerably. (Seriously. I know it’s finicky, but DO IT. The texture of these muffins depends on that whipped white.) Though the texture improved tremendously, the muffins still stayed mostly flat. I wanted that adorable dome, that little boop on top. So, I did more research & learned a little more flour and the folding method (instead of quickly whisking everything together) would help. I think it did. (So did a little extra bit of baking powder.)

I chopped the hazelnuts by hand and mixed the room-temperature butter in with my fingers until the topping was shaggy; I melted the butter instead; I whirled everything together in a food processor.

OK, you might be wondering. You worked your butt off to figure out a MUFFIN recipe. But how is this a metaphor for your life?

Mashed banana and peel

Because, over the last year and a half, I have worked my butt off to build my life. Like a recipe, I’ve tweaked little things here or there. Rerouted when I fell off course (like that disastrous coconut oil & sugar batch). I’ve gotten rid of the things — the material possessions, the emotions and thoughts, people, relationships, jobs and goals — that no longer serve me, that aren’t helping me to rise.

(The photo above makes me laugh. Every. Time.)

Baking is a science. It is precise. Exact. But it’s not set in stone. It’s rooted in experimentation, learning and experience. Trial and error. Testing each batch of these muffins was an experiment; I set out a hypothesis (like whipping the egg white might improve the texture, make the muffins less dense & help them to rise) & then I tested it. I recorded everything & did research to figure out ways to keep improving.

Golden milk banana muffin batter & topping

I’ve done similar things in life. I fell in love & had my heart broken. I applied for jobs & went on interviews. I was rejected or, worse, ghosted, but I didn’t give up. (And the universe finally graced me with a good fit.) All of the rejection, not feeling “good enough” for anyone or anything, propelled me.

I went on a lot of dates & stayed out late. I took a nap in the sun on a nude beach. (And ended up a sunburned booty to show for it.) I started practicing yoga more frequently, cultivated a real practice & found real relief on the mat. I’ve spent two years working with a therapist, reflecting on where I’ve been, where I am & where I am going. I’ve spent those two years figuring out WHO I am & then falling in love with myself (because I am awesome). I starting writing the recipe of Sara — what works best for me, not for anyone else or by anyone else.

Over the last few months, I’ve been focusing more on rebuilding this space: taking courses, learning how to better edit my photos, getting reacquainted with my camera. I set goals like bowling pins. It took a while, and a lot of gutterballs, but I finally nailed a few strikes. (Hey! Look at that. Another metaphor. I think I’m starting to mix the message.)

And, like these muffins, I finally got it right.

Golden milk banana muffins with hazelnut crumble from the front

Local List

  • Hazelnuts
  • Honey
  • Eggs
  • Gluten-free Flour Blend

Homemade golden milk

A quick note about the golden milk: Up until the very final iterations of this recipe, I used my favorite bottled golden milk: Rebbl Turmeric Golden-Milk. But, because I can’t honestly just leave well enough alone, I decided to try making my own golden milk instead of sending you to the store to buy a bottle (and potentially end up with your baking dreams dashed because the store either has no idea what you’re talking about or is out of stock; I have experienced both). I made my own hazelnut milk, since I had them at the ready, but you can absolutely use whatever non-dairy milk you have on hand.

Gluten-Free Golden Milk Banana Muffins with Hazelnut Crumble

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
If you’re not a fan of or can’t eat hazelnuts, replace them with whatever nut(s) you do like. Pecans would be especially delicious here. This is a small batch that will make 6 or 7 muffins. The batter fit my ceramic 6-cup muffin pan perfectly, but when I used my standard metal tin, I ended up with enough to make a lucky seventh muffin!

Ingredients

For the small-batch homemade hazelnut milk:
¼ cup dry-roasted hazelnuts
2 cups water, divided
1 date or 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
Pinch of sea salt

For the muffin batter:
4 oz homemade hazelnut milk (or your milk of choice)
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 egg, separated
1 very ripe banana, mashed
4.5 oz gluten-free flour
Pinch kosher salt
1 oz (2 tablespoons) turbinado or raw sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder

For the hazelnut crumble topping:
2 oz light brown sugar
1.75 oz gluten-free flour
2 oz dry-roasted hazelnuts
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Scant ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Directions

Make the nut milk: Combine the hazelnuts and 1 cup fresh water in a bowl. Let soak overnight. Drain and rinse the hazelnuts, then add them to your blender with ¾ cup of fresh water. Add the date or maple syrup, if using, and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until the nuts are completely chopped and the mix appears smooth. If the milk seems too thick, add the remaining ¼ cup of water. Using a nut milk bag (or several layers of cheese cloth draped over a fine mesh strainer), strain the milk into a clean bowl or large measuring cup. Use your hands to carefully squeeze the bag or cheesecloth to press out as much of the milk as possible.

Make the crumble topping: Chop the hazelnuts to your desired size and texture. (I left some bigger chunks because I like the bite, but you can chop as finely or coarsely as you like!) Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk. Add the butter and mix with your fingers until evenly combined and the topping is crumbly like wet sand. Refrigerate.

Make the muffins: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.

Mix together the milk, honey, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. I found it easiest to put all the ingredients in a small mason jar, tightly screw on the lid and give it all a good shake. In a large bowl, stir together the golden milk, mashed banana and egg yolk. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together & set aside.

Whip the egg white.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and gently fold together until just combined and you no longer seek streaks of flour. (Lumps are OK. They might be banana lumps!) Gently fold in the egg white. Grab the prepared crumble topping from the fridge.

Spoon about a tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Break the crumble apart, and add enough topping to each muffin to just cover the batter. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, filling them about ¾ full. Top with the remaining crumble. (Don’t press the crumble down into the batter!)

Bake for 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and a test skewer/toothpick/chopstick inserted in the muffin comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to the tip. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently remove the muffins to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Though there’s very little sweetener in these muffins, I prefer eating them as a treat or dessert rather than a typical breakfast muffin. Delicious with a good cup of coffee, they’re especially wonderful warm and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

The last bite

A beautiful little bite of sunshine.

savory vegetable crumble with hazelnuts and hard cider

This winter has worn heavy. Slowly, the darkest days are getting lighter. The sun spreads across the sky a little earlier each morning. If it’s not raining too hard, I hear the birds finding their songs for the season. The other day, I caught a glimpse of a fat squirrel tipping off a skinny branch.

Spring is coming. But it is arriving at a snail’s pace, and I am growing more impatient every day. Yearning for long walks through the city, along Alki Beach, or weaving my way through Discovery Park. Toes sinking into the sands of Lake Washington. Watching the sun set, sending the most brilliant gradients of color streaking across the sky over Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. I am ready for summer in Seattle.

Vegetables
I am longing, too, for the farmer’s market. Exploring (and tasting) the bounty of summer. We are entering the spring hunger stretch — the last of winter’s reserves are wearing thin, but the precious first shoots of spring haven’t fully arrived yet. In the depths of winter, I’ve ventured to a few farmer’s markets, nimbly picking out potatoes or nearly frozen solid Brussels sprouts with nearly frozen solid finger tips. I tried the most delicious gluten-free biscuit smothered in creamy, whipped butter and local honey. I discovered the expansive, explosive flavor of different garlic varieties and took home the most adorable little butternut squash. But I am longing now for the fresh and vibrant flavors of spring and summer.

I have gotten to know the depth of this new land I call home through the local markets. Connecting myself to the amazing flavors of this city and the incredible, diverse agriculture that the landscape here provides. I am aching to know more.

hazelnut-crumble-topping-ingredientssunchokes-onionsA Fran Lebowitz quote stuck in my head as I was making this recipe.

Vegetables are interesting, but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.

Growing up in the Midwest, meat was always a main. Dramatic and primal, it was (usually) the star of the show. To this day, I am often overcome by the simplest, strongest craving for a good steak and some kind of potato.

Vegetables aren’t often as commanding. Where meat makes the meal, vegetables provide a strong support. (Because without them, we’d all be left with hot ham water like Lyndsay proudly prepared on Arrested Development.)

I think that a dish like this begs to differ. Delicious as the centerpiece, it can also be cast in a supporting role served alongside pork tenderloin or a roast chicken. But certainly, these vegetables do not need meat to fulfill their purpose.

savory-veggie-crumble-before-baking
This dish is delightfully versatile. The first time I tested the recipe, I scooped up as many vegetables from the farmer’s market as I could. The basics — onion, garlic, carrot, butternut  squash — and more intriguing, flavorful veggies too — celeriac, sunchokes, a bright red beet. The beet was a beautiful nightmare. When I first teased this recipe on Instagram, I loved how the beet made the crumble look like one filled with fruit, not vegetables. But that color leeched everywhere, on to everything. I had to saute the beet separately, and gently scatter the pieces without mixing too much, lest all the other vegetables turn pink. I loved the flavor, but the work was too much.

The second time I made this recipe, I played more with flavors and textures. I love that the earthiness of sunchokes remains. The flavor of the celeriac faded too much, so I replaced it with a parsnip. I added fennel for a bit of a bite and a different texture.

gluten-free-savory-vegetable-crumble
That’s the beauty, truly, of this meal. The veggies are the star of the show, but they’re whatever vegetables you have on hand. Whatever vegetables that you love, that are in season, that look best at the market. Take those vegetables longing for a purpose and let their flavors meld together with fresh herbs, simmer with a splash of tart cider and top with a nutty, buttery, crunchy crumble topping and you have a delicious, savory, satisfying meal. You won’t miss the meat, I promise.

crumble-filling-pie-dishWe are languishing in that moment in between seasons. We’re still getting blasts of snow (which is odd in the PNW this time of year) and frigid cold, but mostly the weather is hovering where it’s just a little too cold and always too wet. This is the kind of meal I crave when the day is dark and gray and dreary — warm and hearty, stick-to-your-ribs without weighing you down. Some bright, sunshiny colors to cheer you up. Soul food. Nurture food. (It helps, really, that this is delicious and your house will smell amazing when you’re done cooking.)

savory-crumble-closeup-fennel
Give your vegetables a sense of purpose. You’ll be glad you did.

The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. “I am not alone and unacknowledged.” They nod to me and I to them.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Local List

  • Anthem Pear Cider
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Butter
  • Butternut Squash
  • Flour
  • Garlic
  • Hazelnuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Sunchokes
  • Yogurt

veggie-crumble-salad-plate

Gluten-Free Savory Vegetable Crumble with Hazelnuts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Notes: Use whatever veggies you have on hand and enjoy eating. Feel free to omit the cider (use more vegetable or chicken stock instead), or a different variety. Just opt for one that’s more tart and dry. If you can’t have hazelnuts, the crumble topping would be just as delicious with sliced almonds, chopped and toasted pecans or walnuts. I highly recommend whipping up the yogurt sauce for serving. It adds just the right tart, fresh flavor to balance the savory richness of the crumble.

Ingredients

For the crumble topping:
½ cup gluten-free flour
½ cup toasted breadcrumbs
1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 tablespoon loosely packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter

For the veggie filling:
1 medium onion, diced
1 large parsnip, peeled & diced
1 cup peeled & diced sunchokes (or potato)
2 heaping cups peeled & diced butternut squash
1½ cups baby bella or shiitake mushrooms, woody stems removed & quartered
1 small bulb of fennel, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (I used sage, rosemary & thyme)
1 cup hard cider (or vegetable/chicken broth)
½ cup vegetable/chicken broth
½ cup yogurt
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the simple yogurt sauce:
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Make the crumble topping:
Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Melt the butter and set aside to cool, but do not mix with the dry ingredients yet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the veggies:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a swirl of olive oil and a pat of butter.(Optional, but I like the flavor. Give me all the butter.) When the oil/butter is hot, add the diced onion, parsnip, sunchokes and butternut squash. Saute, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Let the vegetables start to caramelize; if they burn or caramelize too quickly, however, lower the heat slightly. Add the mushrooms and fennel. Stir to incorporate. Season everything in the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper, and let cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cider. Scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the veggies simmer with the cider until the liquid is mostly reduced. Sprinkle the flour and brown sugar over the veggies and stir to incorporate. Add the stock and the herbs. Simmer gently until the mix thickens slightly. Remove the skillet from the heat.

If you want, you can leave the veggie mixture in the skillet or transfer to a pie dish. (That’s what I did.)

Finish the crumble:
Mix the melted butter with the dry crumble ingredients until everything is fully incorporated and crumbly. Using your fingers or a spoon, evenly distribute the crumble topping over the vegetables in your skillet or pie dish.

Bake the crumble for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Make the yogurt sauce:
While the crumble is cooling, combine all of the yogurt sauce ingredients together in a small serving bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if necessary.

Serve the crumble with a dollop of yogurt and a bright green salad. (I used a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. I highly recommend this flavor combination. It. Is. Bomb.)

crumble-filling-close-up

Go ahead, have a second helping. (I won’t tell.)

roasted chopped potatoes

it was always you

This is a love letter. An ode, if you will.

A potat-ode.

Douglas Adams apparently once said, “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problem just with potatoes.”

I beg to differ.

Over the years, favorite foods have come and gone. (Brussels sprouts are still holding strong.) But potatoes were a constant.

Twice-baked. Scalloped. Mashed, of course. Salt-roasted. Baked and buttered, or loaded with bacon, scallions and sour cream. Fries, wedges, chips. Tots. Pureed with leeks and cream for soup. Hash browns. Home fries.

So many options. All of them a favorite.

best potatoes for mashing

Purple Viking potatoes are perfect for mashing

When I was much younger, French fries were my vehicle of choice to consume as much ketchup as possible. (There’s another favorite, for you.)

Having Celiac makes enjoying potatoes more difficult. While potatoes are inherently safe (as long as nothing is added), fryers shared with breaded items make enjoying deep-fried potatoes difficult. When I find a restaurant with a dedicated potato-only fryer and Belgian-style frites on the menu, I guarantee that I will eat an entire order. By. My. Self.

I still remember the first time I had true Belgian-style frites, bought from a tiny cart in a tiny town in Belgium. (We might have been in the Netherlands. I can’t remember now.) Steaming hot, salty, wrapped in a cone of paper and served with a healthy dollop of warm mayo in the center. Rich and kind of weird, but those fries on that brick-lined street were a true revelation. That ketchup-loving kid has graduated to all kinds of aioli.

Now, if I’m not eating potatoes diced and roasted or baked or mashed or hash-browned, I use them as a binder in my salmon patties. Potatoes are an easy, naturally gluten-free way to keep that family recipe alive.

For a long time, sweet potatoes were my go-to. My comfort food. I would dice them, get a bit heavy-handed with the seasoning, and roast them until soft and caramelized.

I’ve spiralized and riced sweet potatoes for a grain-free risotto. Tonight, I spiralized half of a sweet potato, sauteed with sliced onion and Brussels sprouts and topped it all off with locally-made turmeric kraut.

spiralizing sweet potatoes

When I was younger, my mom used to spiralize potatoes, long before it was the cool thing to do to vegetables. She used an apple peeler/corer/slicer (you know the one, from Pampered Chef) to create long, wide, potato ribbons. Drizzled with olive oil, tossed with pressed garlic and roasted. Soft and buttery with crispy edges, these potatoes were always my favorite. (Well, there was also the spicy beef and potato soup, an instant winter warm-up. And the twice-baked potatoes made from scratch. And the cheesy potato casserole.)

Oh, the potato. How humble, and yet so essential.

My idea of heaven is a great, big baked potato and someone to share it with.
— Oprah Winfrey

A few of my favorites

No recipe today. I couldn’t narrow down all of the choices to one succinct recipe that could adequately summarize my love for potatoes. Instead, I’m sharing a few links to recipes I love or have ogled from afar.

This Four Cheese Bourbon Potato Gratin. Oh LAWD. I would walk 500 miles…and then I would walk 500 more to have this gratin show up at my door.

I feel like the emoji with hearts for eyes when I see these Crispy Cheesy Potato Stacks. Be still, my heart.

Skinny Greek Feta Fries with Roasted Garlic Saffron Aioli: You had me at fries. Give me all the fries.

Speaking of fries … these Kimchi Fries with Avocado Mayo. I mean. Really? Done deal.

A resounding yes to these Homemade Potato Chips with Sriracha BBQ Sauce and Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese. Just yes.

Make these Perfect Sheet Pan Hash Browns and give me all the crispy edges. (Confession: I can’t make hash browns to save my life. A few years ago, I gave in and started waffling them in my waffle iron. Not terrible, I tell you.)

I’m so intrigued by these Salt and Vinegar Broiled Fingerling Potatoes. I’ve only recently jumped on the salt+vinegar flavor wagon. I’d be curious to try this with apple cider vinegar, or a blend of different kinds of vinegar for amped up flavor. (And because I really just can’t leave anything alone.)

This Creamy Roasted Garlic Potato Soup with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Chili Oil is total perfection. My two favorite things, together again.

Compiling this post has made me insanely hungry.

roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts

So. Who wants to split a baked potato with me, Oprah style? It is Valentine’s Day, after all.

sweet potato risotto

grain-free sweet potato “risotto” with bacon-wrapped squash

I have a confession. I have never made an actual risotto.

OK. I did try it once. Years ago. I knew very little about cooking at the time, and followed a recipe in a book. One of the first cookbooks I ever bought for myself. But I didn’t use Arborio rice. (I thought that all rice was interchangeable. BIG lesson learned.) After hours of stirring and simmering and adding more (and then more) stock, the rice was still crunchy. Not creamy. Not satisfying. Not good.

Then I discovered Schar’s gluten-free Anellini pasta noodles at a dedicated gluten-free bakery and grocery store in Michigan. The woman working in the shop that day told me her mom prepared the noodles risotto-style. I was inspired, and this was the kind of “risotto” that I made for years. It cooked quickly and was soft, creamy, rich and totally indulged my pasta-holic side.

how to make paleo risottoThis recipe was a serendipitous discovery. A few weeks ago, I had a roast simmering away in the crockpot. I wanted to make a side dish that was relatively easy, quick to make and healthful. So I made the sweet potato “grits” from the Inspiralized cookbook. I was curious about this dish, and how grits-like it really was, but I only had white sweet potatoes in my pantry.

Let’s be real. This was not at all like grits. But! It was soft, creamy, delicious and comforting. (And healthy!) And, with the white sweet potatoes, I thought it looked like risotto. Thus a recipe was born. And I ate the leftovers for lunch for nearly a week. So, so good.

spiralizing sweet potatoesI love my little spiralizer. It was inexpensive and has made eating vegetables so much fun! (Plus, depending on the veggie, I get a hefty little upper arm workout too! Win win.) I think my all-time favorite vegetable to turn into “noodles” is butternut squash. It also makes very quick work of thinly, uniformly slicing onions. A few less tears and a little more fun in the kitchen is always a good thing.

Once you’ve made a vegetable into a noodle, you can then turn it into “rice” by pulsing the curly-cues in the food processor until they’re chopped enough to resemble grains of rice. I love this option when I want rice, but need something with a better nutritional profile. Plus, it’s infinitely better than cauliflower rice. (I’m sorry, I’ve tried. And tried. I just can’t like cauliflower.)

sweet potato "rice"Over the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to get out of my vegetable rut. I wanted to diversify beyond broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts. I’ve been trying to eat a different vegetable at every meal. Roasted squash or green veggie smoothies for breakfast. Vegetable noodles for lunch. And some kind of vegetable or two with dinner. I haven’t lost any weight or anything yet (I’m looking at you, cookies), but I do feel better.

Spiralizing helps keep me from falling back into the vegetable rut. There are so many cool things you can do! I just don’t ever treat these veg noodles like pasta. My brain and belly are too in love with pasta, real pasta, to be convinced otherwise. But butternut squash noodles sauteed in coconut oil and tossed with panang curry sauce? Oh, yes please. Potato noodle carbonara? Check. Spirals on top of pizza or tossed with salad greens? Totally. And now, risotto!

local seattle mushroomsThese beautiful mushrooms are called cinnamon caps. That gorgeous golden brown color rubs off, staining your fingers a turmeric yellow. They’re hardy but tender, with a rich aroma and meaty texture. I found these at the farmers market over the weekend. The caps are smaller than other baby mushrooms. I chopped the larger caps into quarters, the others in half. A good substitute would be cremini or baby bellas.

cinnamon cap mushroomsLocal List

  • Bacon
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Microgreens (served on the side)
  • Onions
  • Squash

grain free risottoThis dish is the perfect partner for this time of year. The sun rises earlier and sets a little later every day, but a chill still sweeps through. After a little tease of spring last week, we’ve been drenched in rain and cold here. The cherry blossom trees are exploding in tiny pink blooms, a bright note against the evergreen and gray skies. As we transition between the seasons, I feel a little twinge of nostalgia for comforting, cozy, winter foods.

So, here’s a toast to the last of winter. Soon enough it will be spring.

bacon wrapped winter squash

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
— Pietro Aretino

Also, I’m not sure there is anything better than bacon-wrapped squash. Craig ate the bacon off his squash wedges. When I chuckled (typical man move, amirite?!) he stated, quite emphatically, that while the bacon-flavored squash was good, the squash-infused bacon was ON. POINT. There you have it my friends. Could squash-infused bacon be the new maple candied bacon? Let’s make it happen!

how to make paleo risottoA few quick notes, friends: First, I totally forgot what kind of squash I used. I bought it at the farmers market because it was just so darn pretty. Yellow flecked with green and orange and a touch of red. A small pumpkin, acorn squash or even a butternut squash will work here. Use caution when peeling the squash, and make sure your knife is sharp. Second, I only used half of my squash. I got 8 wedges from one half, which was enough for the two of us (with leftovers!). I’ve included a range for the recipe if you’d prefer to use half or the whole squash. I didn’t season the squash at all — no oil, no salt — because of the bacon. It would be delicious with a light drizzle of maple syrup or a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper at the table. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, omit the bacon. You’ll need to toss the squash wedges with oil, salt and pepper. I highly recommend using a smoked sea salt to get some of that barbecue-y meaty flavor without any of the meat.

Grain-Free Sweet Potato Paleo Risotto with Bacon-Wrapped Winter Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the risotto:
1 pound white sweet potato, ends trimmed and peeled
1 yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups chopped mushroom caps
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the squash:
4-8 strips of thinly sliced bacon
1 small squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into wedges

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the strips of bacon in half lengthwise. Wrap each thin slice around a squash wedge. Use toothpicks to hold the bacon in place, if necessary. (Try to keep the toothpicks on the same side of the wedge and facing the same direction to make roasting easier.) Place the bacon-wrapped wedges on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast the squash wedges for 10-15 minutes. Using a pastry or basting brush, baste the wedges with the bacon fat that has rendered out onto the sheet pan during roasting. (Keep an eye on your squash and continue basting if you notice it is drying out.) Continue to roast for another 10 minutes until the squash is fork tender and the bacon is crispy.

Cut the sweet potato in half (this will make it easier to spiralize). Spiralize the potato using the “shredder” blade to create thin, spaghetti-like strands. Place the sweet potato spirals in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped and resembling the size of grains of rice. (Depending on the size of your food processor you may need to do this in batches.)

Heat a 12-inch skillet with high sides over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions soften and are beginning to turn translucent. Don’t let the onions brown, as this may darken or color your final dish. If the onions are cooking too quickly, turn down the heat.

Add the chopped mushrooms to the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the sweet potato “rice” and mix. Cook for two minutes to heat the rice. (Add a bit more oil if your veggies are sticking to the pan.)

Add the 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring the mix to a simmer. Cover the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the mix isn’t boiling or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stirring will also help to release some of the sweet potato’s natural starches which will thicken the risotto and make it creamier.

After about 15 minutes, check the sweet potato for doneness. It should be soft and tender, but not mushy. (“Al dente” works for sweet potatoes too!) Simmer for a few more minutes if the potatoes aren’t soft enough. Otherwise, turn off the heat and stir in the cheese (if using) and the parsley. Taste and add a pinch more salt or pepper if necessary.

Serve the squash wedges and risotto together in a big bowl. Top with extra chopped parsley and cheese. Serve with a fresh green salad.

paleo sweet potato risottoI ate leftovers for breakfast and it was devine.

how to use thanksgiving leftovers

how to use your thanksgiving leftovers

Let’s be real. Thanksgiving is all about the leftovers.

You see my sister makes these amazing turkey sandwiches. Her secret is, she puts an extra slice of gravy soaked bread in the middle. I call it the Moist Maker.

Raise your hand if you really wanted to soak a piece of bread in leftover gravy to put in the middle of your leftover turkey sandwich after hearing about Ross’s sandwich on Friends. It must have been good, because he freaked out when someone else ate it. That sandwich was the only good thing going on in his life. And, as I’m nearing 30 myself, I can kind of understand where he’s coming from. That must have been one helluva sandwich.
how to use up thanksgiving leftoversFor the first Thanksgiving I ever hosted, all on my own, I bought my turkey just a few days before Thanksgiving. There wasn’t much of a selection left at the grocery. I ended up with a huge turkey. I think it was at least 20 pounds. (We had 7 people over for dinner.) We had to borrow a dining table from a friend. We didn’t even have a gravy boat — we served our guests gravy out of a cast iron teapot!

I had so much turkey left. (And so much of everything else.) But, I am forever grateful for that humongous turkey. Immediately after Thanksgiving, my now-husband had to travel to Canada for a three-day work trip that turned into eight days. I was in between paychecks and didn’t have any money for more groceries, so I ate leftovers until he came home. I had to get creative, but I was thankful that I still had enough.

how to use up thanksgiving leftovers_alittlelocavore.comThere’s nothing wrong with loading a plate with leftovers just as they are. But sometimes, after a few days (or a few plate fulls), you need to mix it up a bit.

If you’re still saddled with leftovers after you’ve risen from your food coma, I’ve got you covered with ways to have fun with what’s left.

Dinner rolls

gluten free garlic herb dinner rollsGluten-free dinner rolls have a bad habit of drying out and getting a bit more dense as the days go by. But they’re still delicious and a little density is no reason to toss them in the trash.

For a fun snack, appetizer or even a lunch for little ones, make soup shooters! This is inspired by my fave food blogger Jessica at How Sweet Eats.

dinner rolls mini bread bowlsTo make mini bread bowls, start with room temperature rolls. Slice off the tops. (Rolls that are firmer and a bit more dense work the best here, making the gluten-free garlic herbs dinner rolls from Flying Apron a perfect option. Softer, fluffier rolls may work, but will need a gentle touch. They might also be easier to work with if they’re cold.)

Use a spoon to hollow out the rolls, leaving at least ¼-inch on each sides and the bottom to hold the soup. Save the bits of bread that you’ve scooped out to make bread crumbs. Warm the rolls gently in a 300°F oven for at least 5 minutes. Watch closely so they don’t get too toasty or burn.

Ladle your favorite soup in the bread bowls. Serve warm, on a plate or in a small bowl in case of a spill.

tomato soup shootersWhile fun, I know this can be kind of impractical. For extra dinner rolls that might be too soft for bread bowls (or if you’re too tired to make another mess), make bread crumbs instead! Chop or tear the rolls into smaller pieces and pulse in a food processor until crumbled to your liking. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 300°F for about 10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Watch closely so they don’t burn. They’ll get crunchier as the cool. Once the crumbs are completely cooled, place in a Ziploc baggie and store in the freezer.

Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies

Turkey sandwiches (with a Moist Maker, of course!) are a must. But, if you’ve got a lot of the above ingredients on hand, try making a quick and easy Thanksgiving-style Shepherd’s Pie.

Heat your oven to 400°F.

Shred or dice the leftover turkey. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, omit the turkey and use your favorite faux meat or just load the filling up with veggies. Cooked lentils or sauteed mushrooms are a delicious substitute, too!

Heat the gravy in a stock pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. If it has thickened a lot overnight, add some soup stock or broth until it’s thinned out a bit. If you have leftover vegetables, add those to the gravy. (Not casseroles; think steamed Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower or plain corn.) A 12-ounce bag of frozen mixed veggies also works perfectly (or whatever frozen/canned veggies you have on hand). Stir in the turkey.

Heat leftover mashed potatoes in the microwave so they’re easier to spread. (You can add extra milk or broth to soften them up a bit, if necessary.) Pour the warmed gravy and vegetable mixture into a large casserole dish (or individual ramekins) and top with the potatoes. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes start to brown and the mixture is hot and bubbling. Let cool for a few minutes before eating.

using leftover mashed potatoes_alittlelocavore.comMini mashed potato-y goodness. Yes yes yes.

Stuffing

easy french onion soup_alittlelocavore.comUse leftover stuffing to top French Onion soup. This soup is easy to make because it requires minimal ingredients: onions and stock or broth are the most important. Garlic, white wine and herbs are worth adding, too (and it’s a great way to use up some of that wine that’s leftover!).

There are plenty of great recipes to follow. I like this step-by-step guide from The Kitchn with lots of helpful tips. My stuffing mix from Flying Apron included walnuts and cranberries. I added sauteed celery, onions and Brussels sprouts (of course). I LOVED the bright tart bites of the cranberries and the flavor of the sprouts mixed with the soup. It totally enhanced the flavor.

Once you’ve caramelized your onions and brought your soup to a simmer, prep your stuffing. If it’s really cold or has hardened overnight, warm it gently in the microwave.

Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls and top with the stuffing (about ¼-½ cup, depending on the size of your bowls). Then add shredded or thin slices of cheese. (Gruyere or Provolone are the most common, but use what you’ve got on hand!) Daiya mozzarella is highly recommended for being the best melty vegan cheese. If you’re not into cheese, omit it, and top the soup with warmed stuffing. It’s delicious either way!


Don’t forget dessert!

What’s better than pie? Let me tell you.

how to use leftover pieI love dessert. But, after a few days in the fridge, pie can be less enticing. The crust might have gotten soggy (or stale, which sadly tends to happen more quickly with gluten-free baked goods).

You can totally doctor up those last few sad slices of pie and make new, fancy desserts with minimal work.

Layer scoops of pie with whipped cream for easy pie parfaits. (I like making mine from scratch, but there are so many great grocery options these days. There’s this incredible CocoWhip vegan whipped cream from So Delicious. It’s vegan cool whip, people. It’s amazing.) Add granola or toasted pumpkin seeds (or even pomegranate arils!) for a little crunch and texture. Sprinkle with cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice/apple pie spice.

layered pie parfaitsI layered scoops of Dutch apple and pumpkin pie, because why not have a bit of both in every bite?

If you have just one or two slices left of pie, make a milkshake! This works especially well for custard pies (like pumpkin or chocolate cream) where the crust may have gotten a bit soggy after sitting, but it works well with any kind of pie.

how to make pumpkin pie milkshakesTo make a milkshake: Place 1 piece of pie into a blender. Add 2 scoops of ice cream and a splash of milk. Blend on high until combined. Add more milk as necessary to achieve the milkshake consistency you prefer.

I combined pumpkin pie with Crème Fraîche gelato from Snoqualmie Ice Cream. Pecan pie would pair beautifully with vanilla, caramel, chocolate (or even banana!) ice cream and I think chocolate cream pies would be delicious with mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Top your milkshake with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy!

pumpkin pie milkshake I hope that you all enjoyed a delicious day with great gluten-free food and good company. For me, Thanksgiving is all about family and gathering together. I spent my day cooking and visiting with family, sharing stories and playing games. (Currently: Star Trek Settlers of Catan.)

I am so thankful for this space and for the ability to share my creative food ideas and stories with you. I am most thankful for those who read what I’ve written and enjoy my creations. Thank you.

how to use thanksgiving leftoversDisclosure: This post was created in cooperation with Flying Apron Bakery in Redmond, WA. My ideas and opinions here, as always, are my own. I was provided some materials (dinner rolls, stuffing and pie) to create these recipes.

sweet potato and hard apple cider chicken pot pies

It’s the season for serious comfort food.

I may have gone on a little bit of a pie bender after introducing you to how I make gluten-free pie crust. Sweet or savory, the options are really limitless!

These little cuties. They’re bowls of savory, comforting warmth full of seasonal goodness. Sweet potatoes and granny smith apples enhanced with the crisp, refreshing flavor of cider. They’re hearty, but not heavy — partly because they don’t have crust on the bottom. These are time-saving pot pies.

potpie-2I like making individual pot pies because they’re cute, and leftovers are more convenient for carrying to work, but this recipe would be just as good in a savory galette or a single large pot pie.

gluten free chicken pot pieAutumn has finally arrived here, in full force, with cooler temperatures and rain. I was driving through downtown the other day and watched men climbing trees to hang Christmas lights, and noticed that most of the trees still have their leaves. I was grateful to still see so much foliage.

It’s totally sweater weather, but we are lucky to not yet need heavier winter coats or bundles of layers (at least this former Michigander doesn’t).

potpie-7November is so many things. Settling fully into this season, making our way to winter. There’s so much to savor — I have been reveling in the abundance at the farmers markets and the long transition from summer to fall.

It’s also a chance to slow down just a little bit before the true rush and hullabaloo of the holidays (especially for folks like me who work in the retail and service industry — there will be no stopping until January). Thanksgiving is when most of us share and vocalize our thanks, but I think the whole month, as we gear up to give and gather, is a great time for gratitude.

gluten free chicken pot piesBut really, when isn’t it a good time for gratitude?

I think I’ve said that my recipes are “infinitely adaptable” enough times. You’re probably sick of it. But it’s so true! Swap out the sweet potato for some butternut squash cubes. Throw some sliced Brussels sprouts into the mix. (Oooh, yes. Please do that! For me.) If you don’t do chicken, leave it out and make these totally veggie pot pies. This is also a great way to use up those random odds and ends, like broccoli stems.

Kitchen sink pot pies? Yea, that could totally be a thing.

gluten free pot pie crustI made the pot pie filling with a local hard apple cider, but you don’t need to if you don’t want. Use regular apple cider instead, or apple juice, or just more broth. Whatever you want. These are your pot pies.

I used the Wild Washington semi-dry cider crafted by Tieton Cider Works. They use organic, Washinton-grown apples and this cider sounded so quintessentially Washington to me. It is crisp but juicy with a mineral quality. If you want to use hard cider, I recommend using something that’s crisp and clean and more dry like the Crispin Brut or Angry Orchard Crisp Apple (although the Apple-Ginger would be fantastic too!).

tieton washington ciderThe other beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can make much of it ahead of time. The pie crust can be rolled out and cut to size a day or so before you plan to make them, stored on a covered baking sheet in the fridge until you’re ready. Make the filling in advance, too, and reheat before portioning into the dishes. Then all you have to do is assemble, bake and eat!

Local List

  • Apples
  • (Hard) Apple cider
  • Butter
  • Carrots
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes

If more of us valued food and cheer above hoards of gold, it would be a merrier world.
— J.R.R. Tolkien

gluten free fall pot pie

Gluten-Free Apple Cider and Sweet Potato Chicken Pot Pies

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

1 sheet pie dough (prepared or store bought)
Butter/olive oil
1 pound chicken tenders (or breast cutlets; you can also use pre-cooked shredded chicken)
1 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced sweet potato (I didn’t peel mine)
1 cup diced granny smith apple (2 apples; I didn’t peel mine)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons dried herbs de provence (or dried thyme/rosemary)
2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour
1 cup hard (or regular) apple cider
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper

Directions

First, prep your pie crust. If you’re using individual ramekins, cut out circles large enough to fit the top of the dishes. (It’s your choice whether you want them to fit in the dish exactly, like mine did, or if you want them to hang over the edges.) If you’re making a single large pot pie or savory galette, roll out the dough and trim to size. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat and add the butter or oil (a combo of the two works great!). If you’re using fresh chicken, pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the heated pan without crowding, and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, until the chicken is browned and no longer pink the center. Remove from the pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Then, chop or shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. (You can skip this step if you’re using chicken that’s already cooked and chopped.)

Reduce the heat. In the same pan, add the sliced onions. Stir occasionally, making sure the onions don’t burn. Cook until they are deeply fragrant, browned and caramelized. If the onions are cooking too fast or burning, reduce the heat. (This will take about half an hour.)

Add the diced carrots and sweet potatoes in with the onions and saute for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the minced garlic and the dried herbs. Saute until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the flour is incorporated.

Add the cider and deglaze the pan, scraping up any delicious browned bits on the bottom of your pan. Raise the heat and add the stock. Add the diced apples, frozen peas and shredded chicken. Bring the mix to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened.

Distribute the mixture evenly among your ramekins or casserole dish(es). Remove your prepared pie crusts from the fridge and place the rounds on top of your pot pies. Using a sharp knife (or a fork) cut slits (or poke holes) in the pie crust tops to vent. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan to catch any drips (and make them easier to put in and take out of the oven).

Whisk the egg and water together. Brush the tops of the pie crusts with the egg wash.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pie crusts are puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling. (You will need to extend the baking time for a larger casserole.)

Serve with a fluffy green salad and glasses of cold cider!

washinton apple ciderGather ’round and dig in.

fall seattle farmers market haul

my market haul 11-8

Autumn has arrived. The rainy season is upon us. But, after more than 20 years of snowy seasons, I’ll take it. (Snow on Halloween. Snow on Easter. Sometimes snow on Christmas, because that’s real life. Sometimes snow drifts that were taller than me!)

We got lucky last year. It was a mild winter, and a gorgeous summer. The trade off of the subtle seasons was, unfortunately, drought and forest fires across the state. I have a feeling this year we might finally be introduced to the true Seattle rain. The I-haven’t-seen-the-sun-in-21-days kind of rain. We’ll see. Is it weird I’m kind of excited?

(Talk to me again in 4 months when I’m vitamin-D deficient and wallowing in seasonal depression.)

local seattle vegetablesThis week for me is all about the veggies. I’m taking a conscious step away from animal proteins for the moment, which often take center stage in our meals and on our plates while veggies, fruits, legumes and grains are secondary. I’m listening to my body (and everyone else’s ragged voices), and am trying to fill myself with meals that pack a serious nutritional punch to support my immune system and myself as we transition into the cold, wet winter.

There is an abundance of vegetable variety available on the farmers’ tables right now, which makes it easier to indulge without being bored. There were still tomatoes at the market this Sunday! I never thought I’d see heirloom tomatoes (not grown in a hothouse) in November, but there they were. Bright, vibrant peppers and fluffy greens are just as plentiful as the hardier winter veggies like carrots, cruciferous veggies and squashes.

seattle farmers market shoppingStoney Plains Farms still had corn on the cob! Many of the ears had silks and husks, but I treated myself to a bag of cobs that had already been shucked so I could make sure they were intact. My mind immediately went to work dreaming up something to pair with peppers and tomatillos.

purple scallions This week, I went to the market with a list in hand. I usually go with a very general idea of what I’d like or need, with vague bullet points like “chicken” or “greens.” I then see what’s available and let that inspire me.

One of my goals, which I am always working to improve, is to reduce food waste. Often my eyes and my inspiration get carried away at the market and we end up losing and tossing produce that’s gone bad before I can cook it. We’re lucky to live in a city that values and provides composting, so I know our food scraps are still doing good even if they’re not edible, but I’d prefer that they fill our bellies and not the bin.

So, I went with a list. And I almost stuck to it. The great (and sometimes not-so-great) part about shopping at farmers markets is that there’s always something else, something more. Something that’s new or strange or unique. Sometimes what you really, really need isn’t there and that can be a bummer, but it’s also a great challenge to find inspiration to swap one (missing) ingredient for another that’s available.

fava bean leavesThe new thing I found this week was fava bean leaves. They look to me a little bit like dried bay leaves (same shape and light green color). Intrigued, I asked the farmer what exactly does one do with fava bean leaves.

Snap off a leaf and give it a taste, he said. So I did, tenderly pulling off a piece and chewing it while he chatted. It was lightly bean-y, nutty, and green.

fava bean leavesChop the leaves and toss them fresh into a salad. Or lightly, gently saute them. All the flavor of the bean without all the work! he said.

So, I bought a bunch. (Chianti, anyone?)

romanescoMy other fun find this weekend was romanesco. I’ve had this spiky veggie before (it tastes like a mix of broccoli and cauliflower). Since broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower were already on my list, I figured I’d go all in with the cruciferous veggies this week.

fresh spinachSo on Sunday, I walked through the rain (and got quite the upper-arm workout) and brought home bags of vibrant, colorful goods including:

Foraged chanterelle mushrooms from Foraged and Found Edibles.
Broccoli, corn, fava bean leaves, sorrel and spinach from Stoney Plains Organic Farm.
Beans, cilantro, purple scallions, romanesco and tomatillos from Growing Washington
Brussels sprouts (on the stalk!) from Summer Run Farm.
Yellow and orange carrots (perfectly plump for spiralizing) and white and red onions from Collinwood Farm.
Fresh cranberries from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm.
Fresh Alaskan King Salmon From Loki Fish Co.
I also grabbed the most ginormous head of cabbage and large collard green leaves but in my haste (and in the rain), I forgot to jot down the names of the farms!

growing washington beansMy head is spinning with fun, flavorful ideas for all of this produce. After I photographed it, I spent a little bit of time prepping and organizing everything in my kitchen and fridge. I clipped the sprouts from the stalk and cut the crowns off the broccoli, reserving the stems with some others I’ve been saving for cream of broccoli soup.

Taking these moments to prep, assess and organize helped me to start my week off right.

foraged chanterelle mushroomsMy market meal plan

I am planning to use what I’ve purchased efficiently (and with loads of flavor) to reduce waste and also our spending on eating out, which can sometimes be a challenge when I get home late after a very long day of work. I’m approaching our meals with an open mind, knowing that I have room and freedom to make changes or adapt new dishes as my mood, cravings and time constraints require. This week, there are also lots of recipes I want to try (or am drawing inspiration from to create my own dishes with what I have on hand).

  • White Lentil Risotto from My New Roots using the foraged chanterelles (and some creminis I have leftover in the fridge). I may add some chopped sorrel to the finished risotto for a bright, lemony finish.
  • Collard green burritos with a “creamy” roasted tomatillo and cranberry salsa (made creamy with pureed cauliflower), loaded with black beans, cilantro rice, onions and corn.
  • Cream of broccoli soup made with leftover broccoli stems.
  • Salmon with roasted romanesco and creamed fava bean leaves and spinach.
  • Spiralized carrot “pasta” with a Thai basil and sorrel pesto with broccoli and toasted peanuts.

I also want to try out this recipe for cauliflower buns from My New Roots, but I’m going to try to parse it down because there’s no way I can consume 12-16 buns. I made a batch of grape jam last week and am now craving a good biscuit/bun/English muffin breakfast topped with jam and butter. I think these buns (especially if I made them a little sweet, not savory) might be the answer. (Plus, they’d make an excellent addition to go with the cream of broccoli soup.)

alaskan salmon from loki fish coI was starting to feel like I was in a food rut, but not after this weekend. Despite the rain, and my soaking wet shoes, my market trip left me feeling full and inspired.

washington cranberriesCheers to healthy, happy eating this week! What will you be making?

my farmers market haul

my recent market hauls

It might be a surprise, but I don’t go to the farmers market every weekend. Sometimes, my shopping trips are so fruitful, they feed us for more than a week. Sometimes, I have a hankering for tuna melts (my husband makes the best ever) or the Thai restaurant in our building. (The scents of Thai cooking and deep-fried spring rolls waft through our apartment every day, and sometimes our bellies follow our noses and give in to takeout.)

This is a few weeks worth of trips. I meant to share my first haul with you weeks ago (when I actually went to the market), but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately — autumn rolled in and brought with it allergies and a lingering head cold which sapped all of my motivation. This is what I bought, and how I used these ingredients to craft meals and explore new recipes and ideas.

Sunday, September 27

Wow! It really has been a minute. I’m sorry I didn’t share this beautiful bounty with you sooner.

what i bought at the farmers marketThis was a bountiful trip. We loaded our bags and brought home:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (nice and fat, perfect for spiralizing)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chinese spinach
  • Cilantro
  • (The hugest!) Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Eggplants (a large purple one and a small heirloom variety)
  • Fresh foraged Chanterelle and Bear’s Tooth mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Hardy kiwi (also called baby kiwi)
  • Kimchi and kraut
  • Parsley
  • Polish sausage
  • Purple Viking potatoes
  • Steaks
  • Swiss chard

fresh cherry tomatoes

foraged chanterelles

baby kiwi fruits
These hardy kiwi, also called baby kiwi or kiwi berries, are delicious! They taste like kiwi, and look a lot like kiwi fruits inside, but they are entirely edible. The skins are smooth and soft, not furry and weird like regular kiwi. They’re also amazing nutritional powerhouses: they offer more vitamin E than avocado, more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas. Plus, they’re loaded with healthy fiber. They were a great addition to our morning green smoothies.

heirloom variety of eggplant

baby eggplants
These heirloom eggplants were so vibrant and colorful, I couldn’t resist buying a few. I ended up roasting them with tomatoes, onion and garlic for a quick pasta sauce. They offered a classic eggplant flavor and a thick creaminess to my sauce.

collard green leaves
These collards were seriously so huge, I had to include my husband for a size comparison. I’m experimenting with using these greens as wraps for sandwiches, burritos and enchiladas. (Hopefully a recipe is coming soon!)

My market meals:

  • Kimchi fried rice with mushrooms, greens and herbs
  • Pan-seared Polish sausages with mashed Purple Viking potatoes and kraut
  • Grilled steaks with roasted broccoli
  • Roasted tomato and eggplant pasta sauce
  • Green smoothies for daysssss

Plus, I did some recipe testing (of course). Delicious dishes are on the way!

Sunday, October 25

This was a short shopping trip. I was recovering from my first-of-the-season cold and my husband was out of town. I went out and wandered. I only got a few things, but they were hefty and gave me quite the arm workout as I walked home!

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I never bring home fresh flowers because my two cats are crazy chewers — flowers never survive, unless they’re set up high and then we never enjoy them. (We also forget to water them… this is the peril of being too short, sometimes.) Peeking at bouquets at the market is one way to enjoy the seasonal beauty. I love the addition of kale flowers (those purple beauties).

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This celery. Whoa, man. It literally stopped me in my tracks. It’s just so beautiful and fragrant. I love adding the leaves to fresh salads or smoothies. Bloody Mary anyone?

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Brussels sprouts! On the stalk! I totally took one of these home. And then I made this ramen with miso-roasted sprouts.

My market haul this week was small:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Sugar pie pumpkin

I’m emptying my fridge and prepping for another visit to the market this weekend, weather permitting. I’ll share my fall finds with you soon!