Tag Archives: gluten-free

Vanilla Macaroon Melts

“Have a macaroon,” my great aunts would say, pulling an old Manichewitz tin from the cabinet.  Florence and Lily were my grandmother’s little sisters, who never married but instead grew old together in New York’s East Village. Their apartment on E. 6th Street contained an ancient sofa I never dared sit on, an electric piano, mysterious bedrooms, a television tuned into the news, thick carpets, and thick layers of dust– at least in their final years.  I once got trapped in their bathroom for at least 15 or 20 minutes.  They said things like “Jeepers!” and on some Thanksgivings my dad would pick them up and bring them over so my sister and I could meticulously make them brie and cracker sandwiches.  It wasn’t until I was older that I could appreciate their spunk and wit, and their love for both the city and one another.

I have no idea whether or not Florence and Lily (yes they are always together in my mind) would like these vanilla macaroon melts; they’re a far cry from those Manichewitz cookies.  Still, I’d like to think they’d approve of the update.  After all, they were modern women who loved a good bite.

  

*Do not use regular raw almonds here.  The measurements will be off and the skin will change the texture.  Unless I’m baking, I stay far away from (unsoaked) whole raw almonds because I’ve discovered the hard way that I cannot digest the skin.  At all.  Apparently I’m not alone.
*I measure the coconut oil in its solid form, then scoop it into a mug and microwave for 20 seconds to melt.

½ cup blanched sliced almonds
½ cup unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/16 tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup

  • Line a small baking sheet or tray with 10 mini muffin liners.
  • In a food processor, process the sliced almonds and coconut for about 1 minute, forming a coarse flour/meal.
  • Add the melted coconut oil, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Process for another 30 seconds or so, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin liners, filling up about half to two-thirds way full. Sprinkle the extra coconut on top.  Freeze for 15 minutes, to quickly firm up, then transfer to the refrigerator.  Keep refrigerated.

Yield: 10 macaroon melts

Spicy Cabbage & Tofu with Peanuts

spicy cabbage and tofu with peanuts

Fresh cabbage is not something I typically buy.  For me, it usually conjures images of sad plops of diner coleslaw and The Kids in the Hall.  When shopping I pass right by those pale green heads (and even the purple ones) in favor of darker leafy things like kale and chard, or more exciting things like tatsoi and romanesco.  Still, the beautiful varieties at the farmer’s market piqued my interest and made me reconsider.  Stir-fried with ginger, garlic, peanuts, tofu, and hot sesame oil, cabbage is totally delicious– and not at all reminiscent of coleslaw.  I’m craving some right now.
*I thought this was spicy!  Not too spicy with rice, though.  And perfect if your head gets extra stuffy this time of year like mine does.  Of course Philip added hot sauce anyway. If you prefer a less spicy dish, reduce the amount of hot sesame oil or cut with some toasted sesame oil.  For a totally mild dish, replace completely with toasted sesame oil.

cone cabbage  shredded cabbagetofu

For tofu:
1 block extra-firm tofu
½ tbsp grapeseed or other hot cooking oil (peanut, canola, refined coconut, etc.)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp coconut sugar
½ tbsp tamari

For everything else:
1-1½ tsp grapeseed or other hot cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 medium head of cabbage, trimmed of outer leaves and core, cut into thin shreds
1 tbsp tamari
½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp hot sesame oil
¼ cup peanuts (I used roasted and salted)
Rice, for serving

  • Pat tofu with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Cut into 1” cubes, then pat again to soak up extra moisture.
  • Heat ½ tbsp grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes, sprinkle with garlic powder and coconut sugar, and stir gently to distribute seasonings. Then let cook—without touching– for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden and a bit crispy. Carefully flip over (turn down the heat while you do this) and splash with ½ tbsp tamari. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Turn off burner and transfer tofu to another dish. Let the pan cool a bit and then give it a wipe to remove any blackened bits.
  • Heat 1-1½ tsp grapeseed (or other) oil in pan over medium heat, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  • Stir in cabbage. Splash with a tiny bit of water and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as needed. Add tamari and rice wine vinegar and cook for a couple minutes more.
  • Add the tofu, peanuts, and hot sesame oil, and cook for another minute or two. Taste for seasonings and serve with rice.

Yield: About 3-4 servings

cabbage

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing

Black-eyed pea salad with ginger miso dressing

It’s been a helluva week, to say the least.  Salad might not exactly be the most obvious comfort food, but having a big batch in the fridge certainly helps make lunchtime easier (and healthier).  This one is earthy, crunchy, full of spice and umami warmth, with bright herbal notes.  Black-eyed peas are often eaten on New Year’s Day as a good luck food; I say we take all the good luck we can get.

black eyed pea salad ingredients

Obviously we can’t rely on luck alone. I don’t care if I’m bringing politics into a place where it doesn’t belong because A) it’s my blog and I do what I want, and B) what’s happening goes way beyond liberal and conservative and into the realm of right and very, very, very wrong.  None of this is normal or okay, and we must remain vigilant. We need to seek out reliable news sources and stay informed.  We need to be active.  We need to stand up to bigotry and hold our leaders accountable.  We need to help out where we can and support organizations that do good work (Jezebel posted a pretty comprehensive list, to which I would add NRDC).  Stay strong, friends.

Black-eyed peas

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas, if canned then rinsed & drained
1-2 radishes, sliced into thin half-moons
1 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
1 scallion (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
3 tbsp mellow white miso
1 tbsp grated ginger
1½ tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp water
handful of parsley, chopped
salt (if needed; miso is salty) & black pepper, to taste

  • To make the dressing, whisk together the miso, ginger, olive oil, and water.
  • Toss the black-eyed peas, radish, cucumber, and scallion together with most of the dressing, setting some aside for left-overs (the black eyed peas really soak it up!), and stir to coat evenly.  Gently mix in most of the parsley, saving a little bit for sprinkling on the top, and season to taste.  Garnish with remaining parsley.

Yield: About 6 servings

Black-eyed pea salad with ginger miso dressing

Vanilla Maple Tahini Truffles

vanilla maple tahini truffles

Recently I went out west.  It had been a really (reallllly) long time since I had been on a real trip anywhere, and I relished every moment.  First Philip and I went back to 95 degree summer weather in Austin, TX.  We wandered through an enchanted park, explored a cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites and tiny sleeping bats, ate delicious breakfast tacos from a food trailer (check!), visited the flagship Whole Foods (I know… but it is actually really cool), hung out on a rooftop with a friend from home, visited the capitol building, marveled at grackles, drank delicious coffee and juice, and interacted with friendly locals who would not seem at all out of place in a Linklater movie.  Then it was on to Los Angeles, a city which had long been on my list of places to visit.  Ever since I was Weetzie Bat books loving kid, I dreamed of LA’s hills and canyons, its punks and starlets, its purple jacaranda trees and old Shangri-LA magic.  Now that my friend Charles was getting married at the Malibu West Beach Club, I had an excuse to go.  And while I wasn’t crazy about all the driving and big box/chain stores everywhere, I was indeed enamored with pretty much everything else: the dessert hills juxtaposed with the blue Pacific, the coyote we saw one night casually trotting across the street, colorful flowers and equally colorful homes, teetering palm trees, winding roads, charming plant-enveloped alleys, the incredible architecture and landscaping of the Getty Center, dreamy Mulholland Drive, the PCH… I want to go back!  Best of all I got to spend time with dear friends at a truly lovely celebration.  The day after the wedding, we checked out of our hotel, got some iced coffees, and went back to Malibu Beach.  After soaking the bottoms of our jeans (despite our best cuffing efforts), we decided it was warm enough to go all the way in the water and besides, when was the next time we’d get to go swimming in the Pacific?  We changed into our bathing suits in the car and took turns holding the car keys while the other went in the water.  Then it was fries from In-N-Out, a quick drive through Echo Park, and finally LAX, where we returned the car and waited around for our after midnight flight home.  Naturally it took us some time to get back into the groove of things.  (I literally did not know where I was when I woke up in my own bed the next day.)  And the erratic weather– 80 something degrees and sunny followed by total blustery cold dreariness and full on fall– certainly didn’t help.  Still, home is where the cat is.  And the seasons, too.

tahini ballschopped dark chocolate

These vanilla maple tahini truffles are perfectly autumnal and so tasty.  They’re easy to make, too, unless you count the waiting parts.  I’m pretty crazy for tahini and maple syrup (see my recipe for vanilla maple tahini spread)– so much so that sometimes I’ll skip the mixing and simply heap the two ingredients precariously onto a spoon and then shovel it directly into my mouth while standing over the sink.  Because you know, dishes.  Anyway, it was only a matter of time until chocolate entered the mix.  These truffles are sweet and salty and feel just indulgent enough, the kind of treat I think we could all use right about now, wherever we are.

½ cup tahini
heaped 1½ tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tbsp refined coconut oil, melted, plus another scant 1/8 tsp
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
one 3.2 oz bar of dark chocolate, chopped
bit of flaky sea salt

  • Use a food processor to mix tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, and fine sea salt until well combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, slowly pour in the melted 1½ tbsp coconut oil and process until smooth. Transfer to a dish and freeze, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, or until firm but not totally frozen.
  • Line a plate with parchment paper. Use your hands to roll tahini mixture into balls, approximately 1” in diameter, and set on the lined plate. Freeze for 25 minutes.
  • Melt chocolate with scant 1/8 tsp coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently. Alternatively, melt in the microwave in short increments. Once melted, remove chocolate from heat. One at a time, drop each tahini ball into the chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, then gently lift and let excess chocolate drip back down through the fork tines. Place back on parchment lined plate and sprinkle with a little flaky salt. Freeze for 10 minutes, then transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: About 15 truffles

vanilla maple tahini truffles

Black Rice Salad with Peaches & Edamame

black rice salad with peaches and edamame

Savor summer’s last hurrahs with this colorful salad, featuring nutty and slightly sweet black rice, crunchy edamame, a tangy sesame-tamari-lime dressing, and peaches, the season’s fuzzy stone fruit darlings.  If you live in the New York tristate area, you might have noticed a peach shortage this year.  Still, they’ve been showing up at the markets, and while they might be a bit pricier than usual, they are as wonderful as ever right now, if not even more precious.
*The drop of olive oil in the rice is totally optional but very helpful if you’re like me and tend to have rice stick to the pan.  Skip it if you use a rice cooker.
*If you’d like a spicier dish, leave more of the jalapeño’s seeds and pith intact.  If you prefer a milder dish, remove all the seeds and pith.

black rice salad with peaches and edamame

1 cup black rice
drop of olive oil, optional
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 ripe, sweet peaches, pitted and sliced
2 scallions, light green and white part only, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, removed of most (but not all) of its pith and seeds, finely chopped
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
juice from 1 lime
1-2 small squirts of agave
generous handful of basil, chopped
sea salt

  • To cook the black rice, place in a small pot with 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and a drop of olive oil (if using).  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 40 minutes.  Turn off heat, let sit for 10 minutes (covered), then fluff with a fork.  Let cool.
  • To cook the edamame, place in a small pot and cover with water by a few inches.  Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Dry and season with a bit of salt.
  • To make the dressing, combine tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, and agave in a jar.  Secure lid, then shake vigorously to mix.
  • Toss cooled rice with edamame, peaches, scallions, jalapeño, and dressing.  Taste for seasoning– you may wish to add more tamari and/or agave– and top with basil.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, then serve.

Yield: About 4-5 servings

edamame