Month: May 2014

Fantastic Gluten-free Dairy-free Cornbread (not Paleo)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Parve

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Sometimes I just really want bread.  I know there are several very good gluten-free breads, but for me they all have a strange starchy mouth-feel and a slight off taste.   This cornbread suffers none of those problems.  It is light and moist and has just the right amount of sweetness (unless you like cornbread this is not sweet)…and did I mention it’s really easy to make?  I would imagine you can use this recipe for corn muffins, but I haven’t tried them yet.  I was so excited with the yummy result of this recipe I wanted to post it “hot out of the oven” – almost literally.

Now that I have this fabulous cornbread recipe, you can count on seeing a more savory variation soon or maybe even a bread stuffing.  In the meantime I am going to bed with a big smile on my face knowing that I’m going to have delicious cornbread for breakfast.  Hope you try this one.

Thanksgiving 2014 Update:  I loved this bread so I made it for Thanksgiving, but I was concerned that it was a little too crumbly.  So I added one extra egg and it turned out great – it held together beautifully when sliced – so if you like your cornbread a little drier and crumbly, use 2 eggs.  If you want it to be a little springier and easier to plate, use 3 eggs.  Also: I baked it in a 9 x 9-inch pan so I cut it into about 24 pieces and got more servings but they were a little thinner than the photo above (see photo below) AND I used cashew milk and it was great.

Fantastic Cornbread


Gluten-free Vegan Miso Soup


Today’s post is sort of a continuation of last Tuesday’s which was Vegan Dashi.  In fact, the reason I made the Vegan Dashi was so I would be able to make Miso Soup.  I love Miso Soup (okay, maybe love is a little strong…change that to like it a lot) and have always made it at home using a package of instant miso (I’m not enough of a miso expert to hate that, it tastes okay to me).  For me the only problem with instant miso was it never had enough tofu in it for my taste but now that I’m wheat free I don’t trust that it’s okay for me.  So here I am, like any good little blogger should be, researching and testing homemade Miso Soup.

So let’s talk about miso.  It’s a paste of soybeans fermented with funghi (koji); it’s high in protein and umami (the fifth taste) and kinda salty.  Gluten can be a problem because most miso is made of a combination of soybeans and grains.  It can be practically any grain or even beans so for anyone who is gluten free, label reading is essential.  Obviously miso made with barley (very common), rye or wheat is not acceptable.  Look for grains you can eat like brown rice or buckwheat or for totally soy miso.

When you are shopping for miso you will also find it comes in different colors:  white, yellow, red and black.  The color depends on what the soybeans have been mixed with (for more about this see  The intensity of the flavors vary with the color; white being the mildest and black the strongest.  Being just a baby beginner in the world of miso, I found an organic brown rice miso to buy (Miso Master is the brand); it looks like dark brown to me but the label did not designate the official color.  You can also learn more about miso in this article by Mark Bittman

Miso is used extensively in Japanese cooking.  It’s not limited to soup.  You can make everything from salad dressing to desserts using miso – just google “miso recipes” and you will have more recipe ideas than you will ever have time to make.


Mussels and Clams Provencal

Paleo * Gluten free


I was at a birthday brunch for a friend on West 20th Street and the magnetic pull of Chelsea Market Place extended the 5 blocks I needed to walk there.  I love going to Chelsea Market Place, it’s a New York City food mall and home of The Food Network (I’ll remember to take pictures for you the next time I go), the shopping is great.

I went to the fish store and opted for the mussels and clams because it was Sunday and no matter how excellent the fish store, Sunday is not the best day to buy fish.  Bivalves, on the other hand, are fine as long as they are still alive – and any good seafood monger will only put “good” ones in your order.  I chose to use both clams and mussels because they looked so good and were both small – the way I like them.  You can use either clams or mussels with equally good results.  Cooking times may vary on this recipe as it takes longer to cook larger clams and/or mussels than it does the small ones I chose…and if you are using both clams and mussels, put the clams up to cook first as they always take longer to open than comparably sized mussels.  Also, clams are brinier so you don’t need salt for them; if you are only using mussels, you may want to taste the sauce and see if it needs salt before serving. So I got home and was deciding whether to make a red or white sauce for them when I saw these two previously beautiful tomatoes still languishing on the counter.   That sealed the deal…Provencal…and yummy. (more…)

Vegan Dashi

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve


I was recently asked what my favorite restaurant is – a question I find very difficult to answer because it depend’s on my mood.  Certainly if I’m in the mood for French food the answer would be different from times that I crave a pastrami sandwich.  As I thought more and more about the subject I found that the more important question is what restaurant or type of restaurant do I leave feeling really good and happy after the meal.  Surprisingly, the answer was not one of the extremely excellent (usually expensive) restaurants I frequent occasionally, but rather the meals that I make me happiest are generally macrobiotic.  I rarely leave a fancy restaurant feeling as satisfied, happy, peaceful, and I admit, a little self righteous as I do following a simple meal of brown rice, salad, and steamed or sauteed vegetables.  The beauty of this realization is that I don’t have to go to a restaurant for a macrobiotic meal and so I have pulled out my rice cooker (more about that another time) and am making simple dinners that are loosely macrobiotic and I find it’s a lovely way to unwind at the end of the day.

That all being said, I decided I would like to make miso soup to add to my macrobiotic repertoire.  The base for miso soup is dashi, a broth made of seaweed (kombu) and dried bonito (fish flakes).  Dashi is used widely in Japanese cuisine.  Although I like miso soup when I go to restaurants the thought of bonito was not my cup of tea.  So, I decided to find a way to make it without the fish; what I ended up with is part Japanese, part Chinese.  I know that dashi is full of umami.  Umami is the fifth taste along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty – umami is best described as earthy.  Knowing that mushrooms are a just loaded with umami, I decided to add that to the broth along with the kombu.  Then, just because I had them in the house to make hot and sour soup, I threw in a few dried lily buds (I don’t even know if they are used in Japanese cooking) and just to ensure enough flavor I added some soy sauce and mirin.  Once you have the ingredients in the pantry, this is an extremely simple broth to make.

Though I’ve photographed the dashi in a bowl with chive blossoms, I would not really eat a bowl of dashi.  It is, for me, strictly an ingredient. (more…)

Gluten-free Dairy-free Vegan Empanadas (not Paleo)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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The beauty of empanadas, as with all turnovers, is that they are great on-the-go meals.  You can easily reheat them in a microwave and they are not sloppy to eat.  No only are they good for lunch, but they are actually nice change of pace breakfast foods.  If you like sweet empanadas, you can use fruit pie filling instead of the fillings here – and if you want them more dessert-y, you can brush the dough with egg (but of course then they would not be vegan) and sprinkle sugar on top before baking.

Monday’s empanadas were a little “doughy” for me.  So I made these empanadas bigger, thereby allowing for a greater filling to dough ratio.  I would probably make the chicken ones this size too.  But for appetizers, the smaller ones would work better. (more…)

Gluten-free Dairy-free Empanadas (not Paleo)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free


I know I’m a day early, but today is Cinco de Mayo and I was going to post Empanadas this week anyway so I just moved up the post to today.  Don’t worry, you’re going to see empanadas again on Friday.

I wish I had a wonderful story to accompany this recipe, but truely I can’t even remember if I’ve actually ever eaten one before these…I mean, I MUST have at some point, but I don’t remember it.  That doesn’t mean they are not memorable – just that I have a lousy memory.

Let me take a break from these ramblings and tell you how hard writing these posts has become since the-little-one-who-shall- remain-unnamed has come to live with us.  He thinks that running over the keyboard while I sit here is just the greatest game ever invented.  What this means to me is that I am discovering functions that this computer can perform that I never even knew existed, and in some cases find incredibly difficult to undo – not to mention all the copy that just disappears in the blink of an eye (or touch of a paw).

Back to Empanadas…having made them, here are my impressions.  The filling is really delicious and so is the dough (amazingly for gluten-free).  I made little empanadas and found the dough to filling ratio is a little too much for my taste, you can remedy this by making fewer, but bigger empanadas – try making 8 and using 2 tablespoons of filling – but then they are not appetizers.   Baking time should be the same as the little ones. (more…)

Dairy-free Gluten-free Butternut Squash Soup

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve


It’s been rainy, rainy, rainy – perfect excuse to make soup.  This is a creamy – without cream; sort of sweet – but dominantly savory; can’t-quite-tell-what’s-in-it soup.  You have the option of using pears or apples.  If you use pears, be sure they are ripe.  If you use apples, use macintosh or empire but not Granny’s (Granny Smith, that is) as they don’t seem to puree as fully as the others.

And since it has been raining, that’s also been the prefect excuse to stay home and play with the kitty.  So here are the latest totally adorable pictures I took of Bella and Rafi while I was in the kitchen making soup.

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I probably shouldn’t be posting these because now no one is going to ever want to eat at my house : ( (more…)