Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from July 1, 2009 - July 31, 2009


Radio Interview on The Fresh & Local Show!

Exciting news! I'll be the featured chef on The Fresh and Local Showon AM950, this Saturday, August 1. The Fresh & Local Show is sponsored by the Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers Association and is in association with the always fabulous Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Each week hosts Susan Berkson, local food advocate, and Bonnie Dehn, the Minnesota herb lady, will interview local growers and experts to discuss things you need to know about nutrition, gardening practices and what to look for when buying healthier foods. During the Twin Cities' chef segment, they will interview chefs who believe in buying local and using the freshest foods.

This week, the guest chef is yours truly! I will be talking about my personal cooking journey, whole foods nutrition, and offering up ideas for using produce found at the market. I am really honored to have this opportunity, but I must admit, I'm a little nervous! The hosts of the show found my blog and really liked what they found here. So, they contacted me to be a guest on the show. I agreed immediately, and have been giddy ever since - talking about food is probably my favorite thing to do, so I can't really think of an activity that sounds like more fun! The thing I am looking forward to the most is having the rare opportunity to raise awareness about dietary restrictions and food allergies and intolerances, and discuss how coping with my own has influenced me to become more creative in the kitchen, all while healing from the inside out. Vegetables are powerful healing tools - I've never tasted more delicious medicine! As we all know, vegetables are the perfect solution for anyone's diet, whether you have dietary restrictions or not, but are especially helpful for those of us that have a lot of healing to do. I'm excited to share easy and delicious ways that people can shift the focus of their meals to the vegetable kingdom.

THE FRESH & LOCAL SHOW - Saturday, August 1, 8-9 am - AM950 (Minneapolis/St Paul metro area, Minnesota)
Click HERE for information on this week's guest line up!
Click HERE to check out past episodes!

My guest segment is at 8:45, but I recommend checking out the whole show - the guest lineup looks great! If you aren't in the Twin Cities area, you'll be able to listen to the program on their website, where past episodes can be streamed or downloaded as a mp3 files. For more info on The Fresh & Local Show, and to listen to or download past broadcasts, check out their page:

Please join me Saturday morning if you live in the Twin Cities area, or check out the Fresh & Tasty website later to listen to the interview. Wish me luck!


Turnip and Carrot Fries (gluten free, vegan)

Want an alternative to plain old potato fries?

Try using carrots and turnips, or other roots like cassava/yuca, parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, taro, or Jerusalem artichokes! Slice 'em up, drizzle 'em with olive oil, throw on your herbs and seasonings of choice, and pop 'em in the oven.  You have delicious fries in a flash!   I use whatever roots I have on hand at the time, and they always turn out great.  Tonight I made fries with some beautiful turnips and carrots from the farmer's market.  Instead of baking them with just oil and seasonings, I chose to dust them with a little millet flour too, and it added a nice crispness and a nutty flavor.   For seasonings, I chose a mix of cumin, coriander, mustard, and garlic powder this time around.  The beauty of this recipe is that it is extremely flexible - feel free to add any spices or fresh or dry herbs of choice.  And if you don't want to dust with flour, you don't have to - the fries still turn out delicious and just a little crisp!  For a high protein option, use nut or seed meal instead of a grain flour.  I mean it, these are endlessly flexible, and you can't mess them up!  I love using fresh thyme with rutabagas or turnips, or rosemary with parsnips.  Back when I was eating sweet potatoes and chili powder (I'm allergic to both now), I used to make spicy sweet potato fries all the time.  Cassava/yuca root and taro root  also makes great fries - their starchy texture is very much like a potato.  Experiment, and have fun!  
TURNIP AND CARROT FRIES (gluten free, vegan)
serves 2
2-3 turnips
4 carrots
1/4 c gluten free flour or nut/seed meal
cumin, coriander, mustard, and garlic powder, to taste OR other herbs/spices of choice
sea salt or Herbamare
olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450* F.
  2. Clean and peel turnips and carrots.  Cut into sticks/wedges about 1/4" x 1/2".  Place in a large bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, and toss to evenly coat.
  3. On a plate or tray, mix about 1/4 c millet flour with salt and herbs/seasonings.  Transfer fries to flour tray, tossing to coat fries evenly with seasoned flour, working in batches if necessary. 
  4. Lightly oil a baking sheet, or line with parchment, and transfer fries to sheet.  Place in oven, and bake at 450* for about 15-20 minutes, flipping/stirring occasionally, until fries  are slightly crisp and brown and are softened.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then dig in!



Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and Chard Salad (gluten free, vegan)



My summer has been hectic.  I am working full-time, as usual, but have added an accelerated online summer chemistry and biology classes to my life.  I need these courses to fulfill prerequisite requirements for the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, where I plan to apply for the 2010 school year.  I didn't take bio or chem in undergrad - I took anatomy and astronomy - so I need to do the work now.  Taking the classes online has required massive amounts of self-discipline.  The first half of summer was chemistry, which I passed with flying colors (A+!).  I am now in a biology class, which is much more intense than I imagined.  It is truly fascinating, but the workload is large, and the deadlines come far too often for my liking. 
Between work and school, I have hardly had a minute to breath.  My apartment is a disaster, my bedroom looks like a tornado went through it, and my body is achy from spending too much time sitting at a computer.   One good thing is that I've had to come up with quick ways to make nourishing and delicious meals, like this salad!  Hey, if I was able to fit in making it during this last week, I think anyone can.  Truly, I've hardly had a free moment, and I feel it. I haven't had time to go to yoga, have been staying up too late doing homework, and feel the stress in my digestive system. 
So, today I took the entire for myself, and only did what I wanted to do.  I got a haircut, gardened, went to the farmer's market, made pickles, baked some very tasty zucchini bread, went to yoga, went for a refreshing post-yoga swim at one of Minneapolis' lovely inner-city lakes, then came home and ate a simple, lovely dinner of the last leftovers of this salad.    It was even better after sitting the in fridge for a few days.  I extended the leftovers with a few additional fresh peas and baby chard I picked from my garden this morning.   I spent an hour and half in my modest plot of land, weeding and doting on my plants,  sprinkling water and blessings on the lives I'm nurturing.  That garden has provided sanity for me this summer.  I escape there between work and homework, and lose myself in the land.  

Today has been a blessing.  I'm happy to have time to write this blog, and share this recipe.  And later tonight, I will finish the jewelry project I started last night and feed my creative spirit.  After seeing the earrings I made for us bridesmaids in my friend Lauren's wedding, her mom wanted me to make her jewelry for her big wedding day outfit.  I'm combining topaz and amber colored Austrian crystals, pearls, and gold accent beads, and they will be elegant and beautiful.  
I hope you enjoy this salad, and can enjoy it in a moment of peace.
And by the way, the zucchini bread was delicious.  I want to make a couple tweaks, then I'll share.  It was moist and rich, just a little sweet, and wonderfully spiced.  Thankfully, my zucchini plant isn't slowing down anytime soon, so I'll have plenty to work with.  More to come!

serves 4

1 15-oz can cooked chickpeas
5-6 large leaves chard, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
2 handfuls pea pods or snap peas
about 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
1 T dry cilantr0 or 1/4 c fresh, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1-2 T sunflower oil or high heat oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground mustard
dash salt
1/2 T chickpea miso (or soy miso if tolerated)
1 T flax oil or olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
possible garnishes:
coconut chips/grated coconut
crushed cassava root chips (I love these things!!!)
  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables: Thinly slice chard, removing rib if very firm (save rib for another dish later!).  Dice onion.  Chop pea pods/snap peas - if using snap peas, feel free to shell and throw in the fresh shelled peas for fun texture!   Dice cucumber - if your cucumber is large and the skin is tough, peel and remove seeds before chopping.  If using fresh cilantro, finely chop.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and place in a large bowl.  Add vegetables and cilantro and toss to mix.
  3. In a small fry pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp sunflower or other high heat oil to the smoking point, then add cumin seeds and turmeric and stir to coat with oil.  Turn down heat to medium and heat until seeds start to pop.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together miso paste, olive/flax oil, apple cider vinegar, and other spices.  
  5. Pour miso mixture over salad, then pour cumin/turmeric oil over salad as well.  Stir to mix evenly and coat salad.
  6. Serve immediately, or for best flavor, let sit for an hour or two in fridge before serving.For a fun twist, garnish with coconut chips or grated coconut, more cilantro, or crushed cassava chips. Enjoy!



Basil and Garlic Scape Pesto (gluten free, nut free)



Okay, so my garden is growing like crazy, and I've been harvesting herbs non-stop. My crisper drawer overfloweth with basil, and thyme, and rosemary, and savory, and tarragon, and parsley, and lemon balm. The basil, however, really seems to be pulling out ahead of all the others. It is taking over my life.

Therefore, I have been making pesto like a madwoman. Each time it is a little different. Sometimes I'll throw in other herbs, like parsley or mint. Other times I add garlic, or garlic scapes. I've added sunflower seeds in place of pine nuts. And sometimes I'll keep it simple, and just use basil and a little garlic. Pesto is endlessly forgiving and flexible - as long as you are using good olive oil, you really can't go wrong. And, as this photo on the right shows, I am in love with olive oil (I am also in love with vintage aprons and my blender). My current favorite is Spectrum Organic Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil - especially when it is on sale at the co-op, like is is right now. : )


My friend Lauren is getting married in August, and I am in the bridal party. My friend Becky (another bridesmaid) and I threw her a bridal shower yesterday. When we were recipe planning, I thought that roasted vegetables with pesto sauce would be the perfect addition to the buffet table. So, I whipped up this wickedly garlicky version, which used garlic scapes from the farmer's market, and a little pecorino romano cheese. Pecorino romano is a hard Italian sheep's milk cheese, resembling parmigiano reggiano. Salty and sharp, it is the perfect addition to pesto. If you are dairy intolerant, feel free to leave it out - but if you can eat it, I'd recommend it.

The pesto was a hit at the bridal shower, nestled in the middle of a platter of rosemary roasted carrots, onions, asparagus, and baby scallopini squash, raw pea pods, and crispy rice-flour breaded eggplant slices. Everyone left with garlic breath and a belly full of vegetables. Now that's my kind of party. HINT OF THE DAY:
Freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays (the bendy plastic ones in funky shapes from IKEA work like a charm). Measure how much liquid each cube holds so you know how much pesto is in each little chunk. Freeze until solid, then transfer pesto cubes to freezer bags for longer storage. Pre-measured pesto in a flash! It is an awesome way to have pesto on hand for whenever you want/need it.

BASIL AND GARLIC SCAPE PESTO (gluten free, nut free)

yield: about 2 1/2 cups

3 c packed fresh basil leaves
1 c chopped garlic scapes
1 1/2-2 c olive oil
1/2 c grated pecorino romano
1 tsp salt
fresh cracked black pepper

  1. Wash and dry basil leaves. I use a salad spinner to dry them in a flash!
  2. Wash and chop the garlic scapes.
  3. Place basil and scapes in a blender, along with half of the olive oil and the grated pecorino romano. (If you bought your cheese in a chunk - like I did - pulse chunks of it in a food processor until finely grated).
  4. Pulse a few times, then blend. Gradually add remaining olive to reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper, and blend a few more times.
  5. Serve immediately, or place in a jar to store. To keep it from turning brown in the jar, pour a little olive oil on top - it protects it from the air!

Millet Taboulli with Roasted Red Pepper and Olives (gluten free, vegan)
Plum Apricot Tart (gluten free, egg free, low sugar, vegan option)



PLUM APRICOT TART (gluten free, egg free, low sugar, vegan option)

My friend Lauren is getting married in August, and I am in the bridal party. My good friend Becky (another bridesmaid) and I threw Lauren a bridal shower yesterday. About 15 people attended, and we threw it a local park. Becky and I had a lot of fun planning our lunch menu for the party, since we are both total food nerds and love cooking and baking. The food table was bursting with fresh fruit salad, roasted vegetables with fresh pesto (recipe to come!), millet tabbouli (ditto!), sandwiches (not for me!), and dilly smoked salmon triangles (for me!).
For dessert, Becky baked beautiful lemon blackberry cupcakes. When Becky bakes, she doesn't mess around. She made a lemon cake batter from scratch, filled it with fresh blackberry puree, and finished it off with a homemade lemon buttercream, a crystallized pansy, and a mint leaf. I think she should make cupcakes and cakes as a side business.
I wanted to contribute a dessert as well (something I could eat!), and decided to make a tart for the event. I love tarts! One reason is because I'm a total Francophile and tarts make me think of all things Frenchie. I get all caught up in the romance of the French when I think of tarts. My French obsession aside, there are many other reasons to love tarts, from their endless versatility to their undying beauty. Plus, tarts have crust, which in my opinion, is basically the best part of any crust-dwelling baked confection. Seriously, I like crust almost more than the filling itself. I was always the one that ate off all the crust from leftover pie, leaving the filling aside for someone else.
Despite my love for tarts, however, I'd never actually made one. I obsessed about this tart all week, looking for an adequate crust recipe, and thinking non-stop about fillings. Inspired by the abundance of fresh plums and apricots available, I decided to go with a stone fruit filling spiced with cardamom and coriander, with a hint of maple syrup. I found the most amazing apricots at the co-op, a variety called Robada. These are the most amazing apricots I've ever eaten - plump, fragrant, juicy, and perfect. For the plums, used a mix of Red plums and Red Raven plums, a plum with deep purple skin and flesh (gorgeous). For the crust, I used a recipe from Bea at La Tartine Gourmande. She is a French food stylist and writer who makes the most AMAZING food and works for the Boston Globe. Check out her blog - her photos are stellar, she often bakes gluten free, and uses the most fresh and wholesome ingredients, so it is great inspiration!
The tart turned out marvelously. My mom is in town for the bridal shower, and helped in the tart process, so I'm going to have her write up a review of how this tart turned out. Bring it on Mom Shar! Here she is, in her blogging debut! >>>
Well, this was a new experience for both of us. I have made pies and quiche but never owned a tart pan. This was going to be fun! The new pan with its smooth dark finish and scalloped edge just called for a tasty delicacy for its virgin run. Kim found a crust recipe to tweak and increase the measurements by half in hopes of having enough for an 11 inch pan. Then after guessing at proportions of coconut oil to butter and making notes along the way, a crust dough appeared in the food processor. The consistency was better than expected and we formed it into a flattened circular blob, wrapped it in plastic wrap and tossed it in the fridge. The next day we let it sit out for 90 minutes before trying to roll it out between layers of plastic. Again, we were not sure if this crust would perform as we'd hoped being gluten free, especially since it had a tendency to crack on the edges as she rolled it out. We juggled the dough awkwardly trying to determine the best way to get it in the pan. So a few maneuvers later involving cookie sheets and flips, it was in the pan. This will get easier as we become more tart smart. Next the prepping of the plums and apricots. They were pristine and perfect fruits. Not mushy at all and we got 16 slices out of each plum. I let the artist design her creation of these vibrant colored half moons. Not all of the slices made it to the tart and we had sweet sticky juice everywhere. They were splendid! A watchful eye through the oven door revealed juicy and glistening fruit and a golden crust. But then the questions of "is it done?" "Is it tender?" "Do you think the bottom got done?" " Is it going to fall apart when we take the outer ring off the pan?" Well, we trusted that with perfect ingredients, how could it be bad... And we were right! On location, we clumsily cut the tart while the rim was still on the pan because we didn't want to impair the visual by having it fall apart. Then, when the first unsuspecting guest lifted her piece from the pan successfully, we quietly squealed with delight and zoomed in to remove the rim and served the tart as it should be, with its little crusty edge just as study as it could be! So, not only did it look like a food stylists creation, it tasted fabulous! The fruit was tart, the crust crisp and the dollop of thickened coconut cream (which we invented late the night before) on top wasn't bad either. We were thrilled. Compliments flowed. And once again, communing with friends and being filled with the love filled creations that feed more than the stomach, makes for a good day. Hugs from Shar, Kim's Mom.
GLUTEN FREE PLUM APRICOT TART (gluten free, egg free, low sugar, vegan option)
yield: 1 11" tart (12-16 slices)

CRUST (crust adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)

3/4 c sweet rice flour
1/3 c + 3 Tbsp cup quinoa flour
1/3 c + 3 Tbsp cup quinoa flakes
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp cup amaranth flour
10 1/2 T cold coconut oil or cold butter/ghee (I used a half and half mix of butter and coconut oil)
3/4 tsp salt
7-9 Tbsp cold water

3-4 thinly sliced large apricots
8 thinly sliced plums (I used a mix of red raven and red plums)
3/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp coriander
1 T maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sweet rice flour
pinch salt

Make the Crust
  1. With a standing mixer, mix flours, flakes, salt, and cold coconut oil/butter until crumbly.
  2. Add cold water by the tablespoon gradually, mixing constantly, until dough reaches a good consistency and starts to pull away from the bowl. Roll into ball, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill for 1-2 hours.
  3. Remove from fridge and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Pat between two layers of saran wrap, and roll out to fit an 11" tart pan, turning every few to ensure it is rolled evenly. Crust should be about 1-1 1/2 larger than pan. Gently transfer to 11" tart pan. Gently press dough into pan and up the sides, trimming even with the top edge of the pan.
  5. Place pan in fridge and chill for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Tart
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Wash plums and apricots, pit, and thinly slice.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together maple syrup, vanilla, spices, sweet rice flour, and a pinch of salt. Remove crust from refrigerator, and gently brush mixture onto surface.
  4. Then, arrange slices of fruit in crust in concentric circles, packing in as many slices as you can, and alternating colors.

Bake and Serve the Tart
  1. Place tart in pre-heated oven, and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F.
  2. After 10 minutes, turn down heat to 350 F. Bake for an additional 30 minutes until crust is golden and fruit has softened. It will smell GOOD.
  3. Remove tart from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. If not eating immediately, cover cooled tart and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Remove outer tart pan ring and slice tart with a large sharp knife. If desired, serve with a dollop of something creamy (yogurt, coconut milk cream, whipped cream, etc). Enjoy!