CAULIFLOWER LENTIL GRAIN SALAD WITH PUMPKINSEED PESTO & PICKLED RADISHES (Gluten-free)

It’s been a busy and chaotic year so far.  I can’t believe it’s already July and that Summer is almost halfway over.  It really feels like I’ve blinked and missed it all.  So many exceptions to this year have caused an unusual lifestyle for me -  I have three sisters all engaged, all getting married this year…within 6 months of each other.  Naturally, they all live in LA (where I’m from), and I’m in all the wedding parties.  Anyone who has been part of one knows the…commitment they require on an emotional / physical / financial level.  So, I’ve been traveling a lot, to say the very least.  July is the first month I will not travel to LA since March.  

This 2016 lifestyle of mine has led me to understand certain things about my myself.  I could never be the kind of person who travels all the time and is never home (no matter how many amazing things I could see).  I am incredibly introverted (more than I thought I was) and require a substantial amount  of alone time.  Especially these days, there’s nothing I want more than to have no plans, to wake up early, to cook my meals leisurely and off the cuff.  With all the socializing and traveling, I’m craving aloneness and in a similar realm - slowness, which I can say I almost never want. I’ve always been the high-energy/high-intensity type who only has one speed.  But this shakeup of my schedule and lack of control (my usual nemesis), is causing me to turn the dial down a bit.

This salad came out of one of those moments.  A Saturday with no plans, a ton of vegetables and an appetite.  I spent my time, slowing down - leisurely making pesto, slicing radishes, etc.  These are the moments when cooking feels like everything to me. Those slow weekends when I’m alone in my kitchen - it’s what my soul requires.  So, maybe this salad seems like a lot of steps: pickling, processing, cooking, chopping, but for me - the longer it takes, the better.  It’s a weekend recipe - meant to be prepared with no timeliness at all and savoring each and every step.  It’s an ode to cooking - not just because it feeds you (and often tastes good) - but that there’s something else happening. I believe, something magical.

CAULIFLOWER LENTIL GRAIN SALAD WITH PUMPKINSEED PESTO & PICKLED RADISHES (gluten-free, vegetarian)

  • 1 cup quinoa, dried
  • 1/2 cup french lentils, dried
  • 1 lb. cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup chopped medjool dates
  • 3 purple scallions, sliced
  • 3 large handfuls of baby arugula
  • 1-2 lemons, juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

PUMPKINSEED ARUGULA PESTO

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice & zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup baby arugula, packed
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

QUICK-PICKLED RADISHES

  • 1 small bunch of radishes, sliced thin on mandolin
  • 1 fennel stalk, fronts & stalk roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (seeds or ground)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan, bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of salted water to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Then set aside to cool. In another saucepan, add lentils with enough water to cover by 2-3 inches (salt the water, too).  Bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) about 20-25 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse.  Set aside to cool.

For pickled radishes: In a pint-sized jar, add radishes, fennel fronds, mustard and coriander seeds.  In a small saucepan, bring apple cider vinegar, water, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a boil.  Once liquid just boils, carefully pour into the jar, making sure radishes are completely covered in brine.  Cover and set on the counter to cool.  Once it’s cooled, store in the fridge.  They will be “ready” to eat in about an hour.

For Pesto: In a food processor, add pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon (juice & zest) and parmigiano.  Process until desired consistency (I like mine more on the pureed side).  Then add salt, pepper and arugula. Pulse until entire mixture is green and arugula is well-combined.  While the processor is running, stream in about 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil or until desired texture.  Set aside.

Add cauliflower to a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice (you can use the same one as the pesto).  Add to a large mixing bowl with grated zucchini, dates, scallion, and arugula.  Toss together with quinoa, lentils and arugula.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice (to taste).  Toss together to make sure salad is well-combined.

To serve, top each plate with a generous dollop of pesto and pickled radishes.  For some extra decadence, add a drizzle of olive oil, but you don’t totally need it.  Serve immediately or save for later (the leftovers were still great on day 3).

STRAWBERRY BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE WITH COCOA CRUMBLES (GLUTEN-FREE)

With this new Summer heat, there’s no way I’m turning on my oven, not to mention the stove.  These days, it’s mostly salads, smoothies & cold-temp meals (even when the AC is blasting).  That’s part of why I love this porridge so much.  It’s the Summer version of your morning oatmeal, with a crunchy, chocolate-y topping you'll want to make and put on everything.

Strawberry Buckwheat Porridge with Cocoa Crumbles (Serves 4) Gluten-free + Vegan

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana*
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Fresh strawberries, to serve

Cocoa Crumbles:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oats
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt

In a mixing bowl, add buckwheat and cover with filtered water.  Set aside for at least 6 hours or overnight. (Make sure to freeze a banana now, if you don’t already have one ready). 

In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil and honey over medium low heat.  Then, add oats, cocoa powder, sunflower seeds, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt .  Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and becomes “sticky”.  Lay out mixture on a baking sheet to cool.

In the morning, rinse buckwheat well & drain , then add to a blender with almond milk.  On high speed, blend until smooth and creamy.  Then add, frozen banana, strawberries, maple, vanilla, cardamom & citrus.  Blend until well combined.

Then, divide between 4 ramekins.  Top with fresh sliced strawberries & cooled cocoa crumbles.  For extra sweetness, add a drizzle of maple over top.  Serve immediately!

STRAWBERRY & APRICOT CORNMEAL COBBLER (gluten-free)

For the record, I’ve never been super into all-purpose flours for gluten-free baking.  I find a lot of times it’s a cop out on the recipe developers side, unless you use the exact one they recommend (If they don’t, forget it entirely).  You can always swap in an all purpose flour and call it a recipe, but it’s so much more interesting to do something different.  What I've loved about gluten-free baking is all the amazing whole-grain flours I've discovered in the process - to taste the difference between brown rice and buckwheat, and to learn your favorite variations.  This gives people their own autonomy in baking, to learn a skill and be a little less afraid of the cloudiness that it gluten-free baking.

That being said, the only people I would truly trust to make a gluten-free all-purpose baking flour is America’s Test Kitchen.  I’ve been a (huge) fan for many years, in awe of their specificity and science not to mention immense knowledge on all things cooking.  The whole point of their company is demystifying cooking for people - to make recipes that work every time, so you can be more at ease in the kitchen.  Without gushing, I just love what they do.  They sent me some of their whole grain all-purpose flour and I couldn’t wait to try it.  I decided on a cobbler, since it is Summer after all, and I'm telling you - I could eat these biscuits for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I mean, when was the last time you had a biscuit? I can’t even recall.  This is a perfect dessert for your cookout / bbq / holiday festivities that will please gluten-intolerant and regulars alike.  Hope you have a lovely July 4th weekend!

Strawberry & Apricot Cornmeal Cobbler (Gluten-free) Serves 8

From America's Test Kitchen "How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook - Volume 2 (adapted slightly)

Biscuits:

  • 5 ounces or 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 ounces or 1 cup ATK (whole-grain) All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend **
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 8 tablespoons grass-fed butter, chill & cut into cubes
  • 3/4 scant almond milk with a squeeze of lemon juice (*non-dairy buttermilk)

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons tapioca starch
  • About 3 cups sliced apricots
  • About 3 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

For the biscuits:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.  Pulse cornmeal, flour blend, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and anthem gum in a food processor until combined. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until it resembles a coarse cornmeal with few slightly larger lumps, about 10 pulses.

Transfer cornmeal to a medium mixing bowl, add buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough gathers into moist clumps.  Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, scoop out about eight mounds of dough spaced about 1 inch apart.  Sprinkle remaining sugar over biscuits and bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned (rotating rack halfway thru cooking).  Set aside to cool.

For the filling: Stir sugar, tapioca starch and salt together in a bowl.  Gently mix in apricots, strawberries and lemon zest& juice.  Add filling to a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or pyrex, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until juices are bubbling.  Remove foil, add biscuits to top and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until biscuits are warmed through.  Serve i immediately with a dollop of greek yogurt, creme fraiche or ice cream.

**ATK ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND

  • 24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
  • 7 1/2 ounces(1 2/3 cup)  brown rice flour
  • 7 ounces (1 1/3 cup) potato starch
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
  • 3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder

Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.  Transfer to air-tight container and refrigerate up to 3 months or freeze up to 6 months.  Bring to room temperature before using

PASSION FRUIT CHIA PUDDING WITH COCONUT FLAKES (Gluten-free & vegan)

We’re having a bit of unseasonably cold weather here in NYC and I know I’m not the only one who’s totally over it.  I’m not quite ready for the humidity of Summer, but I am ready for the bright & lovely produce of the warmer months.  In rebellion, I’m eating tropical fruit chia pudding like it’s 80 degrees out.  So far, it’s working for me..

This chia pudding is the perfect energizing breakfast when the weather outside (or inside your head) is looking a little dull.   I promise it will bring some brightness to your week, sunny or not.

Passion Fruit Chia Pudding with Coconut Flakes (serves 2) gluten-free + dairy-free

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 2 passion fruits

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together chia seeds with almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt.  Store in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Once you’re ready to serve, whisk together chia pudding again to mix evenly.  Divide pudding between two jars.  Slice passion fruits in half, and scoop out all juice & insides (including seeds!) into the jar (one passion fruit per jar).  Top with shredded coconut and another splash of maple syrup or honey.  Serve immediately!

APRIL 2016 FAVORITES

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH WILD RICE

The nights where I get home late, it's especially hard to throw together dinner when my mind is full & fatigued but my stomach is not. I find it fitting that the nights where you need a homemade meal the most is when you're the most incapable of doing so.  I try to make a point in these moments to find the simplest dish (1 pot max, if that) that my brain can just barely wrap it's head around. If I can muster up a few minutes to continue standing on my feet to grate a garlic clove and chop an onion, I can have a homemade meal that my soul and stomach with thank me for.

That's where always having eggs on hand comes in handy. For weeknight meals that only begin to cook at 8pm, I need something swift & hearty that won't take an hour. I love frittatas for this reason, and when you have an extra 5-7 minutes, shakshuka (for when you need a punch of flavor). So, a recipe for one (very pretty) skillet meal that will give you quick homemade meals when you need it most.

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4 1 cup forbidden rice, dried 2 teaspoon olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 jalapeños, minced 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons 1 shallot, minced 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes 1 teaspoon ras el hanout 2 teaspoons harissa 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika pinch of cayenne pepper 1/2 lemon, juice 3-4 large eggs 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled Sea salt to taste Freshly ground pepper   Heat your oven to 350 degrees.    In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.   In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.   Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4

  • 1 cup forbidden rice, dried
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 3-4 large eggs
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  

In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.

Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SALTED OATMEAL THUMBPRINT COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE & TAHINI FILLING

Although tahini is usually paired with my weeknight hippie bowl, I was craving some new options.  After having one too many of these tahini cookies made by a friend, I decided to try my hand at a sweet & savory cookie.  This sesame seed paste is used in mostly savory recipes, including miso tahini dressing and your beloved hummus, but with the addition of chocolate, these flavors just seem to merge perfectly.  It’s my new favorite crowd-pleaser, and one of those recipes I can’t really keep around the house, if you know what I mean.  This sweet / salty / nutty combination just happens to be free of dairy and uses only natural sugars but I promise, you won't notice.  Best of both worlds? I think so.

SALTED OATMEAL THUMBPRINT COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE & TAHINI FILLING (Gluten-free, dairy-free opt) Makes about 12 cookies

dough:

  • 1 3/4 c gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (or regular/coconut/turbinado/etc sugar!)
  • 1/3c + 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

filling:

  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, chips or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the oats until gritty, but not yet flour.  Mix in a large bowl with almond meal, salt and maple sugar.  Stir in all the wet ingredients and mix with your hands to combine well.  Chill dough for 25 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie.  Shape into a disk and press your thumb into the center to make an imprint.  Continue until all cookies are finished.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch.  Press into the centers of the cookies again to reinforce the the dent.   Let cool for 10 minutes.

For filling:  Double-broil the chocolate chips, tahini and sea salt over medium heat, stirring to help the melting process.  Once mixture is smooth, let cool for 10 minutes.  Then, fill each cookie with a teaspoon or two of filling.  Continue until all cookies are filled, then sprinkle sea salt over top and let cool (filling will set).  Eat immediately for an extra-gooey cookie.

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