Gluten-free Cherry Blueberry Pie

Gluten-free Cherry Blueberry Pie
Gluten-free Cherry Blueberry Pie

Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, “Love is the greatest refreshment in life.” I would agree and with Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s add a scrumptious cherry pie to the mix.

A key element of a good pie is a light and flaky crust. I find The Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust Mix comes closest to my homemade regular pie crust recipe. Many stores now sell the Gluten-Free Pantry mixes and I highly recommend them.

Combining the tart cherries, jammy blueberries, vanilla and cinnamon produces a complex taste that is very satisfying and requires little sweetening. Hard to put my finger on it but a deliciously nuanced flavor ensues.


Single gluten-free (or regular) pie crust, uncooked
1 can sour cherries, drained
1 can each of dark sweet cherries, drained
2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (or 2 TBSP honey or agave)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP arrowroot

Combine fruit, lemon juice and sugar; stir in arrowroot and let stand while rolling out crust. Pour filling into bottom crust and lay crust hearts over top.

Bake pie at 400 degrees on top rack of oven for 20 minutes (375 degrees if using a glass pie pan). After 20 minutes lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cool for about an hour to allow the liquid to set. Serve warm with ice cream.

When fresh fruit is in season I love making fruit galettes. For a good recipe and photo visit my post:  Nectarine Cherry Galette

Happy Baking & Happy Valentines Day!

San Miguel de Allende: Saturday Organic Farmers Market

Entering the Saturday Organic Farmers Market one of the first things we notice is an outdoor dining area under the shade trees filled with people eating. Then the aromas of tortillas and gorditas frying on the griddles. Two Mexican families are cooking and serving up a storm of tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and huaraches – their tables covered with earthy brown pottery pots of all sizes filled with beef in red mole, guacamole, lamb stew, chicken in green sauce, chorizo and egg, grilled onions, spinach, beans… we quickly decide that this is the place to have Saturday brunch.

Fillings for tacos and huaraches at San Miguel de Allende Organic Farmers Market
Beautiful ceramic pots full of fillings for tacos and huaraches.
Gorditas at the San Miguel de Allende Farmers Market
Gorditas on the griddle.
Tamales and huraches at the San Miguel de Allende Farmers Market
Our delicious lunch of tamales and huraches.

Before or after filling your stomach there is the rest of the market to discover. A row of organic farmers selling their fresh vegetables – our weekly list includes avocados, kale, chard, tomatoes, cilantro, radishes, and a beautiful bag of mixed salad greens. Then there are the bakeries with delicious homemade desserts, breads, donuts, pastries, and pies. Other booths are selling natural skin care products made from distillations of cactus, wonderful small batch dark chocolates with ginger or orange, colorful embroidered pillow covers, rugs, and jewelry.

Penon de los Banos Cooperative at the San Miguel de Allende Farmers Market
Penon de los Banos Cooperative with their fresh produce.
Bakery at the San Miguel de Allende farmers market
La Buena Vida Bakery with their pastries, donuts and bread are hard to resist.
Organic honey at the Farmers Market in San Miguel de Allende
Organic honey and such fill the tables at the market.
Artesanal breads at the Farmers Market in San Miguel de Allende
Crusty artisanal breads to go with the organic cheeses.

One of the food stands is Via Organica where they sell fresh organic eggs and other foodstuffs from their store. We visit Via Organica store during the week to restock on organic fresh vegetables, pick up freshly made almond or peanut butter, gluten-free crackers & cereal and baked goods (gluten-free and regular). Their café serves delicious Mexican and international dishes which you can also get as take away. One visit we picked up some cilantro pesto which we have enjoyed on everything from veggies to pork. Via Organica is one part of Organic Way AC – a Mexican non-profit organization whose mission is to promote good nutrition through organic farming, fair trade, a healthy lifestyle and protecting the planet. During our stay in San Miguel they had several viewings of the film, Food, Inc., which lifts the veil on the U.S. food industry, exposing how our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.

Having just spent time in avocadoland I can’t resist sharing this recipe from a blog I enjoy ~ With Style & Grace ~ Inspiration for a healthy and gluten-free life. Lisa adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart’s Whole Living.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Chocomole?)


2 medium avocados
5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey OR 6 dates, pitted and soaked (to soften, if necessary)
3 tablespoons coconut milk or water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
sea salt

In a food processor or heavy-duty blender – puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey OR dates, coconut milk, vanilla extract and orange zest until smooth. Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt. Serves two.

Surprisingly good and best made a day ahead so the flavors meld.

Gluten-free, dairy-free & vegan.


p.s. While in San Miguel, I wrote a blog post each week, click on each week below to view photos and read about our adventures:

Best Gluten-free Chocolate Brownie Mix

Always chocolate, from the beginning… memories of melting chocolate ice cream cones, foamy chocolate sodas at the drugstore, trading marshmallow treats for my favorite chocolate candy bars at Halloween… yes, my chocolate tooth developed early on.

And a taste for coffee. Mom always had a pot of coffee brewing in the morning, the rich aroma signaling the start of a new day. On hot, humid summer afternoons she sipped iced coffee and in the evening would let me have a few spoonfuls over my chocolate ice cream which tasted pretty fine. So, I sometimes add Kahlua to my brownies, liking the rich undertone it adds to the flavor.

The Gluten-Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownies
The Gluten-Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownies - my favorite

Gluten-free brownie mixes work well for me because I do best on a low-sugar diet which means I bake dessert infrequently, and they travel well – easy to tuck into a suitcase. Over the years I have introduced my family and friends around the country to various gluten-free brownies mixes available in their area.

Having sampled a few different brownie mixes, my favorite is The Gluten-Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix. Obviously, this is a very personal decision as we all like different qualities in our brownies. I find the Gluten-Free Pantry brownie is moist with a nice chewy texture and a rich chocolate flavor (their mix has miniature chocolate chips in it). The directions are clear and easy. Dinner guests rave about them and often ask me for the recipe… then I have to reveal that they are gluten-free and a mix. No compromise with these brownies, in fact, they are better than regular brownies. I buy a case of six boxes from and save another 15% with the Subscribe & Save feature which makes the cost less than $20 for the case.

Being one of those people who uses a recipe as a guide, the same is true with a brownie mix… I always add 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips, use a combination of butter & olive oil, and 1/2 cup of various kinds of nuts. Other additions can include a teaspoon of cinnamon or chopped up chunks of crystallized ginger, a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua or Frangelico hazelnut liqueur. Have fun.

Gluten-free brownies
Stonewall Kitchen gluten-free brownies (left) and Pamela's Gluten-free Ultra Chocolate brownies, both with pecans

In the spirit of a true taste test I also baked a batch of brownies from the Stonewall Kitchen and Pamela’s. The Stonewall Kitchen Gluten-free Chocolate Brownie Mix has the most attractive packaging and is unique in that they have a fudge packet that you swirl on top of the brownie batter before baking. The flavor was good, extra fudgy and moist. It is the most expensive of the three and has no suggestions for ingredient substitutions. Their recipe is easy and simply calls for 2 large eggs and 7 tablespoons of melted butter.

Pamela’s Gluten-free Ultra Chocolate Brownie Mix rose beautifully and are visually appealing. I find the texture a little grainy and the chocolate flavor too mild (even adding extra chocolate chips). I appreciate the many options on the bag: Original recipe using oil, a butter recipe, cake-like brownies, fudgy brownies, german chocolate brownies… or chocolate cookies or chocolate cake. Most mixes are adaptable but it is helpful to know the conversions from the source. Although the brownies are not my favorite Pamela’s Gluten-free Chocolate Chuck Cookie Mix and Gluten-free Luscious Chocolate Cake Mix definitely are.

Other brownie mixes you may enjoy:

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Brownie Mix  – a good brownie with a Cream Cheese Brownie recipe variation

Namaste Foods Gluten-free Brownie Mix – will be testing soon

King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Brownie Mix – will be testing soon, have enjoyed their Gluten-free Chocolate Cake Mix

Ad-Hoc Gluten-free Brownie Mix – available from William Sonoma; the Ad-Hoc GF pancake mix is superb but does have milk powder in it as does the brownie mix and is expensive. A nice gift item.

Betty Crocker Gluten-free Brownie Mix – readily available, tastes similar to their regular brownie mix – good, but I can tell it is a mix

For those who like rich, dark chocolate chips, try Dagoba Organic Chocolate Fair Trade Certified 73% Cacao Premium Chocolate Drops in your brownies or chocolate chip cookies! My favorite.

What gluten-free brownie mix are you enjoying?

Clair’s Gluten-free Bread Experience

This summer found us in Prince Frederick, Maryland for our niece’s wedding and a visit with our good friends, Mary & Clair. To my surprise and delight, I discovered that Clair has embraced gluten-free eating and is baking fabulous bread (something I haven’t tried). I invited Clair to write about his experience of going gluten-free and learning to bake gluten-free bread.

Gluten-free Country Harvest Bread
A loaf of Clair's gluten-free Country Harvest Bread

Clair TweedieAbout five or six months ago I thought I might be gluten intolerant.  So before consulting my physician I did what any self-diagnosing guy would do….stay away from gluten products for awhile.  After a few days I did notice a change in myself, but, just maybe it wasn’t that gluten thing at all… so I had a nice rich chocolate brownie.  BAM! It was that gluten thing.  My doctor went on to confirm my diagnosis as not severe but nonetheless an unpleasant intolerance to gluten.

After trying several gluten-free breads and other products from the grocery store I decided the only way to enjoy these foods again was to do the baking myself. Many years ago I baked bread and enjoyed it immensely, now, being retired, I just don’t have a lot of spare time to devote to bread making so I began research on bread machines. The result was to purchase Zojirushi BB-CEC20 (Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker). Fantastic product!

Gluten-free Country Harvest Bread and Gluten-free White Sandwich Bread
Freshly baked Country Harvest Bread and White Sandwich Bread (both gluten-free)

With the aid of a great cook book “125 Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes” by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, bread making became quick and easy… especially since the machine does all the heavy lifting.  A couple of my favorites are Country Harvest Bread and White Sandwich Bread. 

Gluten-free White Sandwich Bread, sliced
Gluten-free White Sandwich Bread slices very nicely.

The white sandwich loaf  is moist and slices beautifully and tastes just right either toasted or plain. Occasionally, I will add a couple tablespoons of chia seed for extra nutritional value (chia doesn’t effect the flavor).

Now, the Country Harvest bread is a full bodied bread chock full of  seed – sunflower, flax and sesame.  I also add pumpkin seed for even more crunch. This bread has a bold texture and can be sliced as thin or thick as one wishes.  It can be used for sandwiches but my favorite is a slice toasted and covered with my own pure almond butter – just almonds and a touch of sea salt.

I am well aware that we do not live by bread alone – for many reasons.  I have always liked granola but find most store brands (gluten-free and regular) to be too sweet and sticky or lacking something. My research on the topic led me to and what I think is the best granola I have ever made or eaten.  Not too sweet, a bit of a ginger bite and not at all sticky and as full of dried fruit as one cares to incorporate.  In this batch I used raisins, dates and cranberries.  Great when added to yogurt for breakfast or just plain for a snack.  ~ Clair

Homemade gluten-free granola
Clair's homemade gluten-free granola

Wow, thank you Clair. The New Year may just find me baking mine own bread as well. Very inspiring.

Here is what Clair uses:


Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

macy's holiday parade portland OR
Raggedy Ann leads the way in the Macy's Holiday parade in Portland

Last Thanksgiving found us in Portland, Oregon, enjoying a delicious meal at the Heathman Restaurant in the Heathman Hotel. Before making our reservation, I called the restaurant and asked if there would be gluten-free options available for the Thanksgiving dinner. The answer was yes. The day of when we were seated, I let our server know my need to order gluten-free. She helped me navigate the menu offerings and I had a delicious meal. When eating out, doing a little advance work can help make the occasion less stressful.

This year we are home and will be celebrating the day by going to our community Thanksgiving Dinner. My research this year is checking out all the different gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes in newspapers and blogs… I am pleased by all the attention we are getting around the country. You know gluten-free eaters have reached a critical mass when chefs and major newspapers join the parade.

From the New York TimesGluten-Free Thanksgiving Stuffings. Gather your celery, onion, sage and thyme… here is the one of Martha Rose Shulman’s five new ways to make stuffing:

Wild Rice and Brown Rice Stuffing With Apples, Pecans and Cranberries


3/4 cup short-grain brown rice
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
2 apples, cored and cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Combine the wild rice with 4 1/2 cups stock or water in one saucepan and the brown rice with 1 1/2 cups stock or water in another smaller saucepan. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer the brown rice for 35 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, place a clean kitchen towel over the pot and return the lid. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Simmer the wild rice for 40 to 50 minutes, until the grains have begun to splay. Drain through a strainer if there is liquid in the pot, and return to the pot. Place a clean kitchen towel over the pot and return the lid. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. While the grains are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and a generous pinch of salt, and continue to cook until the onion is completely tender, another 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is fragrant, another 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the cooked grains and stir together.

3. Return the skillet to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and when the foam subsides add the apples. Cook, stirring or tossing in the pan, until lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl with the grains. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly oiled or buttered baking dish and cover with foil.

4. Warm the stuffing in a 325-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: Makes about 8 cups, serving 12 to 16.

Advance preparation: The cooked grains will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen. The stuffing benefits from being made a day ahead.

From Eat Right For Your Type (eating for your blood type), Dr. D’Adamo’s Newsletter has a Thanksgiving feast that is good for all the blood types. One of the vegetables from the feast:

Shallot and Bacon Creamed Kale


5 slices turkey bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided use 4 large shallots, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 bunches of kale, chopped
dash of ground cloves
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoon arrowroot flour
1 1/2 cups rice milk

1. Start by cooking bacon in a medium skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Heat the skillet over medium, drizzle with oil and cook bacon 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy.

2. In the meantime, heat a medium pot over medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Sauté shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes just until aromatic and softened. Add kale a handful at a time, stir until wilted and continue adding by the handful. This will help manage the kale, and helps it cook faster. Season with a dash of cloves and sea salt.

3. Remove the bacon from the pan, crumble and set aside on a paper towel. In the same skillet, make a roux by melting the ghee over medium heat and whisking in the flour until free of lumps. Slowly add the rice milk, whisking continuously. Continue heating and whisking until thickened. The mixture will bubble and become the consistency of a thin yogurt, at which point it can be added to the kale.

4. Stir crumbled bacon into the kale, add crumbled bacon and serve warm.

Washingtonian Magazine has done a nice job of collecting Gluten-free Thanksgiving Recipes from many of the popular gluten-free bloggers. Including three turkey recipes, homemade gravy, and Celiac-friendly cornbread stuffing.

Udi’s Gluten Free Foods offers up a Gluten Free Pumpkin Sausage Stuffing partially baked in the pumpkin and then served in the pumpkin.

One of my favorite gluten-free bloggers, gluten-free girl, has compiled a blog post of all her Thanksgiving recipes. As she says “foods that will make everyone feel happy and safe”. She has rounded up recipes for roast turkey, side dishes like Curried Sweet Potato Gratin, vegetables, salads, baked goods, desserts and a delicious sounding Cranberry Cocktail.

Last month I posted a recipe for Gluten-free Pumpkin Loaf Cake which I will be baking next week, and a favorite in my family is Pecan Pie…

Gluten-free Thanksgiving Pecan Pie


1 9-inch gluten-free pie crust, unbaked and chilled (I like The Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust Mix)
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
6 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup molasses
1 tablespoon dark rum, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup pecans (1 cup whole, 2/3 cup chopped)
5 large eggs

1. Whisk together 5 eggs, brown sugar, butter, honey, molasses, rum, vanilla and salt. Stir in chopped pecans.

2. Pour filling into uncooked pie shell. Arrange whole pecans on top of pie.

3. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

4. Cool before serving.

One last addition, 5 Desserts for your Thanksgiving Feast, from Patricia Conte at She Knows… Gluten-free dark chocolate pumpkin brownies, Gluten-free cranberry-pecan peanut butter cookies, and more chocolatey pumpkin delights!

Enjoy the day with your family and friends… and happy eating this Thanksgiving.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder


Gluten-free pumpkin pancakes

Ella's Halloween card
Ella's haunting Halloween card - BOO!

Halloween is a big event on our little island. Saturday was pumpkin carving outside the local bakery, and hayrides through town. Halloween day the vendors in town will greet the children trick or treating with goodies, the grocery store will be decorated outrageously (the meat dept being my favorite), and the Odd Fellows Hall will host the dance of the year (no one would dare show up without a costume).

Gluten-free pumpkin pancakes
Gluten-free pumpkin pancakes with pecans

So in the spirit of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, falling autumn leaves, and cool crisp morning air – I woke up with pumpkin pancakes haunting my senses. I could smell them on the griddle, taste the pumpkin cinnamon flavor and melting butter… Last weekend I made a gluten-free pumpkin loaf cake which left me with about 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin – just what I need for pancakes.

Recently I received a very thoughtful birthday gift, Ad Hoc Gluten-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix developed exclusively for  William-Sonoma. The taste and texture is delicious and each box contains 2 mix packets which yield 4 traditional waffles or 8 Belgian waffles or pancakes. They are easy to prepare – just add milk, butter and eggs… and 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or fresh), 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and some cinnamon for pumpkin pancakes. My dairy tolerance is low so I add almond milk to the mix, but beware the mix does have milk powder in it.

Two other gluten-free pancake mixes I like are Pamela’s Products Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix and Arrowhead Mills Wild Rice Pancake/Waffle Mix Wheat-Free (vegan free). Both are flexible to substitutions and I often add pumpkin or applesauce for moisture and natural sweetness, blueberries, chopped nuts, cinnamon or ginger. Easy to have fun with pancakes, and gluten-free pancake mixes are great gifts and good for traveling – easy to take along when you head to grandma’s or go on vacation.

What are your favorite pancakes?

Gluten-free Pumpkin Loaf Cake

gluten free pumpkin loaf cake
Delicious Gluten-free Pumpkin loaf cake with a crunchy nut topping

My dear girlfriend, Anita, made this cake for me on my birthday recently, and I confess – I ate two pieces… yes, that same night. Pumpkin is a fall favorite of mine.

Without further ado, here is the delicious recipe:

Gluten-free Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Cake ingredients:

4 TBSP melted butter or oil
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups Pamela’s Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix (GF)**
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP molasses
1/4 tsp  cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Topping ingredients:
2 TBSP melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.* Grease a loaf pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

Beat together butter, sugar, eggs and pumpkin. Add remaining cake ingredients and mix completely. Pour into prepared loaf pan. For topping, combine melted butter with brown sugar and chopped nuts (I used almonds, walnuts and pecans). Spread on batter and pat lightly. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is firm and a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack. While warm, run a knife around the edges and remove from pan after about 15 minutes.

* 325 degrees if using a glass pan
** Pamela’s Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix contains Cultured buttermilk

The Gluten-free Goddess has a yummy sounding pumpkin cake recipe that is dairy free ~ Gluten-free Pumpkin Cake with Maple Icing.

Wheat Belly

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD

Two friends brought this book to my attention this week and I think it is worth checking out… so good to have doctors getting on board with nutrition and how we can effect our health by our diet. In Wheat Belly, a renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems. From Dr. Davis:

Who had the audacity to write such an against-the-grain book exposing “healthy whole grains” for the incredibly destructive genetic monsters they’ve become?

That’s me, Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and seeker-of-truth in health. Over 80% of the people I meet today are pre-diabetic or diabetic. In an effort to reduce blood sugar, I asked patients to remove all wheat products from their diet based on the simple fact that, with few exceptions, foods made of wheat flour raise blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods. Yes, that’s true for even whole grains. More than table sugar, more than a Snickers bar. Organic, multigrain, sprouted–it makes no difference.

People returned several months later and did indeed show lower blood sugar, often sufficient for pre-diabetics to be non-prediabetics. But it was the other results they described that took me by surprise: weight loss of 25 to 30 lbs over several months, marked improvement or total relief from arthritis, improvement in asthma sufficient to chuck 2 or 3 inhalers, complete relief from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, disappearance of leg swelling and numbness. Most reported increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, and more stable moods and emotions. I witnessed even more incredible experiences like the 26-year old man incapacitated by full-body joint pains who started to jog again, pain-free. And the 38-year old schoolteacher who, just weeks before her surgeon scheduled colon removal and ileostomy bag, experienced cure–cure–from ulcerative colitis and intestinal hemorrhage–and stopped all medications. That’s when I knew that I had to broadcast this message. Wheat Belly was the result.

I’m not promoting drugs, fancy medical procedures, or costly equipment. I’m not promoting a process that makes a pharmaceutical company rich or helps a hospital gain more revenue-producing procedures. I’m talking about a simple change in diet that yields incredible and unexpected health benefits in so many more ways than you’d think. And it’s not just about celiac disease, the destructive intestinal disease from wheat gluten that affects 1% of the population. It’s about all the other destructive health effects of wheat consumption, from arthritis to acid reflux to schizophrenia, caused or made worse by this food we are advised to eat more of. It’s about being set free from the peculiar appetite-stimulating effects of the opiate-like compounds unique to wheat. It’s also about losing weight–10, 20, or 30 pounds is often just the start–all from this thing I call wheat belly. The key to understanding wheat’s undesirable effects is to recognize that the total effect on human health is greater than the sum of its parts.

William Davis, MD, is a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to diet allows him to advocate reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. Here is a recipe from his website:

Mocha Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups ground almonds
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder or crystals
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened; preferably undutched)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar (e.g., 3 1/2 tablespoons Truvia)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted (can be replaced with coconut oil, melted)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream or (unsweetened; no high-fructose corn syrup) ready-made whipped cream
Cocoa powder or dark chocolate shavings for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 8 cupcake paper liners into muffin pan.

Mix ground almonds, instant coffee powder, cocoa, baking soda, and sweetener in bowl. Stir in melted butter or coconut oil, eggs, and coconut milk. Add more coconut milk, if necessary, one tablespoon at a time to obtain a thick but stir-able consistency.

Pour mix into cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick withdraws dry. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes.

Whip cream or use ready-made whip cream and spread on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle cocoa powder or dark chocolate shavings on top.

For more thoughts on the book visit Melissa’s blog post Gluten free for good, she is a nutritionist who interviewed the good doctor after reading his book.

And click on travelsketchwrite recipes for links to other wheat-free recipes in my blog.

Gluten-free dessert – fruit galette

nectarine cherry gallette
Gluten-free nectarine cherry galette

Galette is a general term used in France for a flat, round or free-form rustic tart. Sweet and savory recipes abound – there are as many variations as there are regions in France. Choosing seasonal fruit, last month we enjoyed a strawberry galette and today fresh nectarines and cherries struck my fancy in the market.

I am an occasional baker and have found The Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust Mix comes closest to my homemade regular pie crust recipe. Many stores now sell the Gluten-Free Pantry mixes and I highly recommend them. One box of the pie crust mix makes enough dough for three single pie crusts or three galettes. I make the whole box, divide the dough into three balls and freeze what I am not using at the moment.


Serves 8

Pie crust dough (gluten-free or not) that has been refrigerated for at least an hour, single pie crust amount
2-3 nectaries, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
6 cherries, pitted and cut into pieces or blueberries (both optional)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of arrowroot or cornstarch

Equipment: cookie sheet, parchment paper

Roll the dough into an 11″ circle on parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes (when rolling the gluten-free dough have parchment paper underneath and plastic wrap on top to keep the rolling pin from sticking).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once your round of dough has chilled lay it (along with the parchment paper) on the baking sheet. Combine the sugar and arrowroot and toss with the sliced nectarines. Immediately arrange the nectarines in concentric circles on the dough, starting about an inch from the edge, overlapping the fruit slightly. Sprinkle chopped cherries or blueberries on top. Fold the edge of dough over fruit. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake until crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool. Then transfer to serving plate. I trim the parchment paper but do not remove it because crust is very delicate. Serve warm or at room temperature – a spoonful of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side is yummy.

Gluten-free food in airports

Gluten-free in airports often means a bag of nuts and maybe a piece of fruit… one of my favorite gluten-free blogs: Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, talks about this in her post gluten-free in airports. Change is coming and the big news from Shauna involves our own Alaska Airlines…

“I’m thrilled that Alaska Airlines has started selling a gluten-free snack pack on its flights. They sent us one a couple of months ago to see what we thought. Olives, hummus, multi-grain crackers, almonds, a fruit leather, and dark chocolate? Yes, please. I wish we were flying on Alaska each time we travel this summer, just for that pack.”

Meanwhile when you return home from your travels and are looking for creative, tasty gluten-free recipes, Shauna’s new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story in 100 Tempting Recipes, is a delight. The New York Times names this cookbook one of the best of 2010!

Try this recipe from Shauna’s blog some night when friends are coming over…

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Hummus

1 poblano pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 15.5-ounce can black beans
1/4 of 15.5-ounce can garbanzo beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled
juice 1 lime
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
pinch chili powder
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup sesame oil or olive oil (depending on the consistency you like for your hummus)

Roasting the pepper. Preheat the oven to 450°. Massage the olive oil onto the pepper. Put the pepper in a sauté pan and slide it into the oven. Cook, tossing occasionally to sit on another side, until the skin of the pepper starts to blacken and separate from the rest of the pepper, about 20 to 25 minutes. Pull out the pepper and put it in a bowl. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and let the pepper sit until it has cooled completely. Peel it and seed it.

Making the hummus. Put the black beans, garbanzo beans, garlic, lime juice, avocado, chili powder, and the roasted poblano pepper into a food processor. Pulse it up until everything has blended into a chunky mix. Taste, then season with salt and pepper or more of any of the ingredients you feel it is lacking. With the food processor running, drizzle in the sesame oil until the hummus has reached the consistency you desire.

(Note: it will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator, so adjust accordingly.)

Refrigerate immediately and let it sit for at least 4 hours before eating it. Well, you can swipe a taste, if you want. However, the true flavors will not emerge until the hummus has sat for a bit. Plan ahead. Feeds 4.

Almond Flour Tea Bread with Lemon and Thyme

Lemon Thyme Pine Nut Bread
A savory, sweet gluten-free tea bread with lemon, thyme and pine nuts.

Maybe it’s the rainy, damp Pacific Northwest weather that has me craving the fresh tart flavor of lemons, a kitchen warmed by the oven and smelling like a bakery…

Almond Flour Tea Bread with Lemon, Thyme and Pine Nuts

Makes one loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
1 cup Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, then line bottom with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, olive oil and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon zest and mix another minute. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each is added. Mix in lemon juice and thyme. Add flours, baking powder, salt and mix until just combined. Stir in pine nuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake – gluten free or not

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake (deliciously gluten-free)

Inspired by the Lemon Blueberry Friands we enjoyed in New Zealand, this is a lovely spring dessert… light and moist with a fresh lemony flavor.


Makes 8 servings

3/4 cup olive oil
1 large lemon
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour or regular all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar

Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan or 9.5 inch cake pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (325 for convection). Grease pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper (very important with GF baking).

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and mix together with flours and baking soda. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice (2-3 TBSP), beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. I like to use a rubber spatula to fold in ingredients.

Transfer batter to pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Sift powdered sugar on top. I like to serve with some combination of fresh raspberries, blueberries, lemon sorbet or vanilla ice cream.

Eat, drink and find provisions in Eugene, Oregon

eugene oregon restaurant notesHow fortunate are we to be in Eugene, Oregon with a list of food favorites from a friend who knows Eugene!


  • Cafe Soriah a Eugene favorite for almost twenty years, is defined by ancient Mediterranean world spices and the Northwest bounty of ingredients. We visit on a bustling Friday night and both dine on lamb – I have the Lamb Shank, braised in a caramelized onion au jus… it melts in my mouth. Jay chooses the Rack of Lamb, hickory smoked & served with herb aioli… no doubt a hit as Jay consults with the owner about how it is prepared. Good wines by the glass, great service. Lunch is served during the week and dinner is offered every night at 384 West 13th Avenue… check out Prose Dress right next door.
  • Marché takes it’s name from the French word for market — a word that describes not only the location in Eugene’s bustling 5th Street Market, but also their philosophy of cooking. The menu is based on the foods you would find at a farmers market — fresh, seasonal, and regional. Have not eaten here but our friend has heard great things about it and the menus (lunch, dinner and bar) would draw us in next time we are in town. The bar menu is appealing with small plates for the times when your appetite is light or time is tight… think handmade pizzettes, steak & frites, oysters, mussels…
  • The Vintage restaurant and dessert bar is the dream of two childhood girlfriends. Opening in January of 2006 it was voted Best New Restaurant later that year. Located in an old funky house with a great atmosphere it is famous for its cheese and chocolate fondues, sweet & savory crepes and seasonal cocktails. Open Tuesday – Sunday at 837 Lincoln Street.
  • Adam’s Sustainable Table is a casual and family friendly restaurant, serving an eclectic mix of culinary styles – from Northwest Regional to home cookin’ and affordable comfort foods. Farm to table, certified green restaurant that accommodates vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free needs. Located at 30 East Broadway.
  • Pizza Research Institute eclectic pizzas in a funky warehouse setting at 530 Blair Boulevard… Granny smith apples, smoked gouda & roasted walnuts sounds delicious to me, or how about Chevre, marinated eggplant & carmelized onions.
  • Sushi Domo a favorite in Eugene… won Readers Choice for freshest sushi in 2009. They strive to perfect the art of making only the finest sushi and the most delicious delicacies in true Japanese fashion. Located in the Delta Oaks Shopping Mall at 1020 Green Acres Rd. #10.
  • Papas Soul Food Kitchen for BBQ, fried chicken, gumbo and and blues… at 400 Blair Boulevard.

Coffee Shops, Bakeries…

  • Hide Away Bakery as you can see in the note, this is our friends “favorite place to go in Eugene! It’s great for breakfast, coffee/tea, lunch, or a snack. They have a full bakery with organic, gluten-free & vegan options”. Their fabulous breads are sold at the farmers market if you don’t find them at 3377 E Amazon Drive behind Mazzi’s.
  • Wandering Goat is a cafe, coffee roaster, bakery, community, art, music and performance venue. All of their baked goods are vegan, made with organic ingredients, and baked fresh each day. Located at 268 Madison Street, downtown.
  • Sweet Life Patisserie our yoga teachers choice… known for their cakes, pies, cheesecakes and pastries, they also make a fine latte or a pot of organic tea to go with dessert. Expect a line on the weekend at 755 Monroe Street.
  • Vero Espresso House holds court in a big yellow house and as one reviewer said “is one of the most beautiful coffee houses I’ve ever been to”. Comfortable atmosphere to relax and enjoy your coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters… 205 East 14th Avenue.
Vero Espresso House Eugene
Vero Espresso House (photo by Brad C via Yelp)
  • Full City Coffee Roasters is a recommendation from yet another friend from Eugene. With over thirty years of roasting/brewing experience they roast their beans each day. Palace Bakery is now part of Full City and bakes all the muffins, scones and “best pumpkin cookie around”. Cafes at 842 Pearl Street and 295 E 13th Avenue.

Food Markets…

  • Sundance Natural Foods features certified organic and local produce. The Kitchen and Deli is all vegetarian, mostly vegan, and features many raw foods entrees. You will find a large selection of bulk, mostly-organic, culinary and medicinal herbs & spices and a bulk foods department. Sundance is affiliated with Sundance Wine Cellars and has a wide selection of Oregon and NW Pinot Noir, and other great NW wines. Single location at 748 E. 24th Avenue.
  • Capella is a neighborhood market with “world class variety” from a produce department stocked full of organic and local fruits & veggies to the meat department with hormone & antibiotic free choices… and Capella Market has a growing selection of gluten-free products. Located on the south side of town at 2489 Willamette.
  • The Kiva is a Eugene original and a few blocks from us so we stop by this small downtown grocery store for some nuts, crackers and snacks. Sandwiches, salads and soups are offered during the day and they have a good selection of local organic produce, meats, cheese and wine. 125 West 11th Avenue in the heart of downtown.
  • Provisions part of the Marché family located at the 5th Street Public Market is an upscale specialty food store with gift baskets, wine, chocolates and sweets. They have a full bakery with organic, gluten-free, and vegan options. Great place to get lunch or a snack!
  • Market of Choice has three locations in Eugene (think Whole Foods) and offers an extensive selection of conventional, natural, organic, and health conscious products at affordable prices. Find new recipes created by their chefs at the website – including a Flourless Chocolate Torte and Curried Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin and Indian Pulao (I substitute gluten-free bread for the challah).

Eugene is a town of neighborhoods with 21 neighborhood associations… In the 1970s, Eugene was packed with cooperative and community projects, and continues to have small natural food stores, cafes and coffee houses in many neighborhoods. According to Wikipedia, Eugene has a significant population of people in pursuit of alternative ideas, and a large original hippie population. Cool. Ready to return!

Fishing with John

When Jay & I settled in the Pacific NW almost eight years ago, locals spoke of a memoir about fishing in the Northwest – Fishing with John by Edith Iglauer. In her middle age, Edith, who had lived a sophisticated, urban life in New York, met a commercial salmon fisherman in British Columbia, married him, and spent the next four years fishing with him on his 41′ troller, the Morekelp. As transplants from the Washington DC area, Jay & I identified with Edith’s wonder and the sense of adventure she found in the Pacific Northwest.

Last Friday we spent an afternoon on the water with our own fisherman friend, John. Our task was easy enough – bring lunch and cold drinks for the three of us and meet him at the dock at 11am.  Prawn season in the San Juan Islands lasts only a hand full of days, so all the fisherman are eyeing the tide charts in anticipation. We motor toward Spieden Island, and John’s “secret spot”, hoping to avoid the crowd. As we arrive, we smile… there are fisherman everywhere – it seems the secret is out! Not to worry though, we are armed with John’s special bait recipe and I am confident that the four traps we lower into the depths (300 to 500 feet) will do the trick.

Once the traps are baited and lowered, we relax in the brilliant midday sun to enjoy our lunch. Immediately afterwards John begins work on the electric winch – this is the first use of the season. Turns out that a little improvising is needed to make it work but the guys succeed and soon the first trap is on it’s way up!  We all think that it feels extra heavy, laden with a full catch. What a sight! As the trap clears the water we see over 40 gorgeous spot prawns pulsing with life in the cage.  Their eyes glow fluorescent copper. Quickly they are released into the waiting bucket… a few escape onto the deck, adding to the excitement. Jay sorts them and the undersized prawns are released back to the water.  We having a satisfying number of “grandpa” jumbo prawns.  As we move from trap to trap, the catch gets better and better.

Our day ends happily with our quota of spotted prawns! With their succulent sweetness, they will be the stars of our Mother’s Day Fettuccine Alfredo!

Spotted Prawns from the San Juan Islands, WA
Spotted Prawns from the San Juan Islands, WA

Our recipe is inspired by Saveur’s Original Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo with Fresh Prawns

1 1/2 lb. prawns or shrimp (cleaned,reserving shells to create stock)
1 cup white vermouth or white wine and 1 cup water for stock
1 lb. dried fettuccine (I am gluten-free and recommend Tinkyada Brown Rice Fettuccini)
1⁄4 lb. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 lb. finely grated parmesan (about 3 1⁄4 cup)
chopped tarragon and Italian parsley for garnish
black pepper

  1. Clean the prawns. To make the stock, place the shells in a pan with 1 cup water and 1 cup white vermouth or white wine and bring to a simmer.  After 20 minutes, remove from heat, and strain liquid and return to heat.  Bring to a boil, and poach prawns in the stock for about one minute, until done.  Remove prawns with a slotted spoon. Only add as many prawns as will be covered by the boiling stock.  It’s OK to cook the prawns in batches.  Set the poached prawns aside in a bowl.  Gently simmer the stock for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. Cook fettuccine, following directions on the package, until pasta is al dente. For the best results, Saveur says to use dried pasta, which doesn’t break as easily during tossing as fresh egg pasta does.
  3. While pasta is cooking, cut butter into thin pats and transfer to a large, warmed platter, along with the olive oil. Drain pasta and place the pasta over the butter and olive oil on the platter.
  4. Sprinkle grated parmesan and prawns over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the prawn stock.
  5. Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more stock as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated.
  6. Garnish with chopped tarragon and parsley, and a grind or two of black pepper to taste.
  7. Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.

SERVES 4 – 6