Homemade Chipotle Mayonnaise for Artichokes: Naturally Gluten and Dairy Free

March 27, 2011
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My mom grew up in California. My grandmother grew up in California, and her mother before her and hers before her. Even though I grew up in chilly New England, California runs in my blood – and thanks to my mother’s cooking during my childhood, also my tastebuds. She is the reason why I love apricots and fresh figs and avocados and artichokes. And she and my dad together both taught me to love beautiful fresh produce. When I was home with my parents a few years ago as we were making some wedding preparations, I remember driving for a full hour down to a market on the shore – one that specialized in certain miniature apple pies we were going to purchase as favors for our guests – and there we stumbled upon the most perfect artichokes I have ever seen – she said they reminded her of California, and that was it, we went home with apple pies, and a giant bag full of fresh beautiful artichokes :)


Sweet Potato Coconut Thai Curried Soup: Gluten Free and Vegan

March 22, 2011
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I love sweet potatoes. Maybe it comes from growing up in New England, where sweet potato and squash dishes of all kinds are peppered throughout my childhood and my memories. I’ll eat them mashed and baked into a sweet casserole, just roasted plain in the oven, made into chips, fries; pretty much any way you can serve them, I’m fairly sure I will enjoy them. I know sweet potato isn’t a squash, but I often place it in the same category as squashes when it comes to flavors – the warm almost sweetness that caramelizes ever so slightly upon cooking lends it to working so well in many dishes where squash would normally be the star.


In Defense of Foodies and Orangettes

February 16, 2011
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I identify myself as a “foodie”.

There, I said it.

I identify with a word that brings about utter loathing in more than a few people lately, and the loudest seems to be a certain book review from the Atlantic this month.

I am a foodie because I enjoy cooking. I enjoy trying new things, whether it be taking on the challenge of tempering chocolate, mastering a gluten free pizza crust, or simply trying new flavors that I haven’t combined together before. I enjoy going out to nice restaurants, and drinking wine that is meant to be more than a mere vehicle to transform shy people into extroverts over the course of an evening. Currently we don’t have children, we don’t have pets, we don’t go see movies or concerts and the decor of our 50m2 of sacred space is drearily austere and minimalistic. So I don’t mind spending money on quality food, either when eating out exploring a new place, or purchasing ingredients at the market to use when I cook at home.

So why all the negativity with the word? Because some people think being a foodie is by definition a state of elitism, resulting in an innate need to push said food-related pretension onto the masses with the zeal of religious fervor. But really, how is being a food snob any different than being a snob about anything else? Isn’t showing off ostentatiously to allow yourself to feel better at the cost of the egos of everyone around you the very meaning of snobbery, which has existed in some form, not exclusive to matters of the stomach, for oh I don’t know, several millennia?

Are there people who take the enjoyment of food to religious levels, so much so that their opinions and beliefs around which their worldview of food centers start sounding like a fanatical evangelistic sermon? One whose goal is to either convert the rest of us to their beliefs, or at least to try to make us feel very guilty for not “drinking the kool-aid”? Sure there are.


Gluten Free Potato Gnocchi with Truffled Pesto Sauce

January 28, 2011
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Woohoo!! I did it! My first successful gluten free gnocchi, ever! I’ve made gnocchi in the past, thanks to the wonderful instruction found in a Marcella Hazan cookbook that my mother handed down to me. I’ve usually gotten great results with conventional gnocchi. I’ve attempted gluten free in the past too – in fact several times. Ricotta gnocchi work easily gluten free because the only flour is a mere dusting on the outside of the little dumplings. But every trial of potato gnocchi always ended in dismal failure, watching in sadness as my gnocchi dissolved away into nothingness in the simmering water. All that hard work cooking the potatoes, making the dough, rolling and cutting into those cute little gnocchi dumpling shapes, all gone to waste in about 30s of time in a pot on the stove. It was discouraging and depressing. In fact so much so that I haven’t even attempted gluten free potato gnocchi in over two years. Until now.


Quick and Easy Cornbread, Gluten Free

January 22, 2011
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Lately, the weather has looked like a mean Winter blizzard outside. The landscape takes on a rather colorless hue as the permanent gray sets in. And if you do go outside during a rare event of blue sky & sunshine, you are likely to look like this, hair flying every which way even if you attempt to bundle up w/ a scarf and a hat (well, at least my husband has the scarf bit down, still working on the whole wearing a hat thing). Ice can even freeze sideways! I found a way to take the chill of by visiting a famous chocolaterie en Suisse, but for my husband, I made him a sweet gluten free cornbread with cheese and bell peppers, just the way he wanted it :)


Four Hour French Onion Soup, Vegetarian and Gluten Free

January 11, 2011
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My mother taught me to make French onion soup. Now that I have seen the light, I’m sorry Mom but you got it all wrong. Your onions don’t caramelize for four hours. It’s your recipe’s one fatal flaw. I love your soup and making it the way you taught me, really I do. But now I know better, and next time I come home I’ll make this for you, and you’ll understand :)

I was greeted with onion soup as the beginning of our four-course of dinner on our first night in Spiez (canton Bern), Switzerland after our Christmas holiday in Venezia, Italia. After four days straight of rain, two of which included flooding, it was nice to dry off a bit and warm up with a fresh onion soup.