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Summer in Santa Monica- and a recipe round-up



The first notes from our 
Santa Monica summer sublet:

After living in the brittle high dessert of Northern New Mexico for three years, I am drunk on oxygen. I walk Ocean Avenue cradled in moisture, intoxicated, breathing deep. And although we sleep seventeen blocks from the Pacific, I smell the ocean in the sheets. I wake with the sensation, the awareness of the sea. It infuses the day with an unnameable pleasure I can almost taste. If I could live on air I would eat the on-shore breeze with a spoon.

Steve has found his own source of bliss at Caffe Luxxe on Montana Avenue. Rich, caramel Italian espresso with the perfect artful brush of creamy foam. If further persuasion is needed to lure him into staying here, I only need to whisper, “Una bella tazza” and he'll be putty in my hands.

Things are looking up.

Our first swim into the Santa Monica Farmer's Market scene was almost overwhelming, a culinary and sensory culture shock, after the chronic and splendid isolation of our New Mexico casita. Navigating the waves of shoppers, strawberry topped rolling carts, baby stuffed double strollers and roaming hoards of white clad culinary students shouting, "Marco!" "Polo!" was at first intimidating- but soon morphed into invigorating.

We found fistfuls of organic herbs for one dollar a bunch, tomatoes so voluptuous they needed only a dab of extra virgin olive and a pinch of sea salt to become a perfect lunch, and ruby hued carrots that taste like no carrot I've ever eaten- clean and bordering on spicy rather than sweet.

Because I'm still setting up my kitchen (rounding up a few new baking pans, a small wok, and cooking utensils we were unable to jam into the overstuffed Honda Fit) I haven't developed any new recipes this week. So please bear with me. Inspiration is in the air- Santa Monica is thick with it. I'll be sharing lots of summer recipes and photographs from around town. In the meantime, I thought I'd post a quick round-up of gluten-free recipes to inspire your July Fourth celebration.

And don't forget to throw some fresh herbs into the mix- one of the joys of summer.



More Gluten-Free Recipes for Summer Picnic Fun

Horseradish Spiked Red Potato Salad from Karina

Potato Salad with Apples and Bacon from Elise at Simply Recipes

Warm Chicken and Potato Salad from The Gluten-Free Homemaker

No-Mayo Cole Slaw from Karina

Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Feta Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen

Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta from Simply Recipes

Mango Mint Gazpacho from The Perfect Pantry (use g-free bread)

Favorite Basil Pesto from Karina

Grilled Chipotle-Lime Chicken from Gluten-Free Bay

Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Karina

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free BBQ Sauce from Elana's Pantry

Easy Summer Blueberry Crisp from Karina

Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits from FatFree Vegan Kitchen


TRENDING

Cape Cod Apple Cake with Cranberries (Gluten-Free)

Sweet and Tart.   No philosophy today. Dust off your cake pan, Babycakes. This is a moist and tender apple cake laced with a hint of cinnamon and studded with fresh tart berries. After seven   twelve   - er, 19!- years of baking various gluten-free incarnations of my tried and true family apple cake recipe, this could be our favorite. Maybe it's the sweet-tart combo. The subtlety of flavors. In a food culture obsessed with kicking up recipes with more for the sake of more (white chocolate peanut butter bacon swirled maple donut ice cream drizzled in dulche de leche coconut marshmallow syrup and dusted with sugared Meyer lemon zest and shaved cacao, anyone?) the clean and classic flavor contrast of apples and cranberries is somehow new again. Even, refreshing.  I don't need dessert to taste like candy. I like my cake to taste like cake.  You can bake this recipe with eggs and dairy, or vegan alternatives. See options below.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

YES PLEASE.  This award winning budget-friendly Santa Fe inspired vegetarian enchilada recipe is one of those happy accidents that springs from a burst of creative imagination. Or rumbling hunger. In that what-have-we-got-in-the-pantry sort of panic. I was craving the soft and spicy comfort of enchiladas one windy spring night back in 2003, and I had none of the usual suspects on hand (no chicken, or beef, no pinto beans).  But! I had one lovely mother of a sweet potato.  A can of organic black beans.  Some roasted green chiles.  One lonely lime.  And your intrepid Mamacita-Goddess at large thought, Hmmm. Why not? Deliciousness ensued. These wrapped little gems are soft and creamy and a little bit spicy- Just like a certain cook , my point-scoring husband wisecracks. It's the yams, I tell him. Er, sweet potato. I can never tell the difference. Can you? In the end, it doesn't matter.  What matters is how it tastes. And darling, these are so mucho scrumptiou

Gluten-Free Goddess Lemon Yogurt Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake So  I've been jonesing for a cake laced with citrus- not too sweet and not too light. A cake with character and heft.  Something akin to a lovely simple cake I remember liking as a child, a store bought bakery cake called Louisiana Ring made by Freihofer's. The cake featured a hint of orange. The day I decided to bake, I did not have oranges in the pantry- but I did have some lemons, organic Greek yogurt, and plenty of blanched almond flour.  And this simple home baked lemon cake was born.  In time for Spring. Love, Karina xo

Gluten-Free Goddess Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ah, flourless chocolate cake. The perfect rich dessert. Forgive the hyperbole. But I just can't help it. This is rich, sexy chocolate deliciousness on a plate. And such an easy recipe, especially if you use a food processor to do the work. Serve this to non-gluten-free folks with no apologies. None. Zip. Nada. And for gluten-free folks? Hand out seconds (we deserve it, don't we?). And the best part is- the recipe is inherently gluten-free and wheat-free. Always has been. No substitutions. No funny stuff. This is the same flourless chocolate cake I've been making for decades. It never contained flour. The only thing I've tweaked post-celiac diagnosis is adding more coffee and vanilla. Just because. And PS: See below why I make this recipe in a food processor- thanks to Bobby Flay. Karina xo

Gluten-Free Goddess Pasta Frittata with Kale

An Italian Classic - Updated. Today I offer you a simple recipe spun from the magic of leftover gluten-free spaghetti and eggs- a creamy, light frittata. Perfect for the weekend. Or when you're simply too tired to cook. Or you have nothing in the fridge but a carton of eggs, half a bag of kale salad and last night's leftover cooked spaghetti. It's one of those intuitive, spontaneous recipes I've pulled out of thin air, so many times. For dairy-free folks, the "cheese" pictured in this version was a vegan "mozzarella" (my current favorite is Vegan Gourmet). But if you prefer using dairy- select one or two of your favorite Italian organic cheeses. I've also made this yummy dish using goat cheese (and roasted red peppers!), and another time I tried a blend of fresh mozzarella and shaved Parmesan. It's a very versatile recipe. Celebrate Spring. Have fun with it! XOX Karina

Gluten-Free Goddess Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic cookie made gluten-free. I suppose you could argue that one oatmeal cookie recipe is enough. I mean, how many oatmeal cookie recipes does a person need? To this I answer, at least two. Why? Well, first you have one with raisins (my oatmeal raisin cookies here ). Raisins give oatmeal cookies that old school chewy sneaky nutrition boost. They're old fashioned and comfy cozy. Kinda like spending one of those Saturday afternoons at your Aunt Martha's house, chillin'. Watching Mr. Rogers and laying on the floor with a pile of coloring books. Coloring outside the lines with a beat up box of Crayolas. Wishing the silver crayon was more than a lonely nub. And right at that nub lamenting moment she'd bring you a plate of cookies. Truth is, I never had an Aunt Martha. But I did have a chain smoking platinum blond babysitter who liked martinis a little too much. Or maybe it was gin and tonic. There was ice in the glass. If I was lucky enough to scro

Gluten-Free Goddess Raspberry Jam Bars

Sweet and simple raspberry jam bars. Let's be honest. I am here today to tempt you. To coax you. To seduce you with a gluten-free dessert worthy of every single luscious calorie. In full transparency, I am admitting up front these are not fat-free. Or sugar-free. These aren't diet food. They're not proper for breakfast (unless you serve them with Champagne). And you won't be able to sigh ever-so-wistfully at parties and mention, off hand, how hard it is to eat gluten-free at family gatherings and parties. Because, Darling Reader, you'll score zero sympathy points once people sink their teeth into the luscious raspberry jam filling nestled between buttery toasted coconut-almond crunch topping and tender hazelnut cookie crust. Nope. In fact, these decadent raspberry coconut-almond bars should come with a warning:   Be careful who you share these with. Because they are sure to fall madly in love with you. Seriously. Karina xox