Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Spicy Molasses Fig Cookies

Molasses cookies are only second to peanut butter cookies when it comes to baiting my shy and elusive sweet tooth.  I love the richness of molasses, with its earthy, smoky, understated, yet robust, sweetness.  And when it comes to the Holidays and the cooler weather that often comes with it, there's something about the season that makes molasses cookies particularly enjoyable in that close your eyes and slowly chew kind of way.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happiness and the Holidays

Light amidst the darkness.

It's Christmas Day, and instead of being out with friends, singing carols and drinking mulled cider or non-dairy nog, I'm bundled up at home after a day of sweating, lightheadedness, and muscle cramps.  No, I'm not referring to Bikram yoga, but rather the unpleasant aftermath of ingesting gluten inadvertently.

Not fun.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December Sanity Challenge for 2012: Embracing the Here & Now with Love

Wow.  Is it really already halfway through December and are we mere weeks from a new year?  Yup, it is.  And with that knowledge comes the pressure to tie up loose ends, to check everything off our multitude of lists, to buy this, that, and the things we hope people won't want to return, and to run a tight ship as we seek to cram the home stretch to 2013 full of Holiday "cheer." And amidst all that, where do we fit taking care of our bodies and minds, having compassion for ourselves, and taking time to slow down and truly enjoy the meaning of the Holiday season?  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pumpkin Millet Porridge

If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you might know that I'm currently on a hot breakfast cereal kick.  Cream of buckwheat, quinoa muesli, millet porridge - for the past two weeks I've been getting up early [gasp] so I can make breakfast, sit with my journal while sipping hot tea, and actually make the morning a part of my day rather than a rushed afterthought.  As a child, my grandmother used to make farina for breakfast, particularly during the Winter to help my brother, sister, and I steel ourselves against the bitter Michigan cold.  And while farina (aka cream of wheat) and sub-zero temps are no longer a part of my current life here in Texas, the memories, nostalgia, and love for my grandmother, certainly remain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Massaged Kale Salad with Daikon, Carrots, & Sunflower Sprouts

When I ask people about their Thanksgivings, the usual responses are: "It was great!" and "I ate way  too much," often in the same breath.   In fact, many people at the restaurant who normally would order potato chips with their ciabatta sandwiches and have dessert without fail are ordering entree salads [gasp] and declining dessert with that "I really want it but I know I shouldn't please don't ask me again" look on their face.  You know the one.  You see it a lot during December and January.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In the Spirit of Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving.  A day off for most, an opportunity for many to be close to friends, family, and loved ones, and a day where eating heartily and drinking merrily are strongly encouraged.  And as it would imply, a day of giving thanks and celebrating the blessings of life.  I don't know if it's just me, but browsing through Facebook and Twitter this morning, I see more posts, status updates, and check-ins relating to the things that people are grateful for than I've ever seen.  It makes me smile, reading about the things that make people happy, and what makes them close their eyes and hold their heart in the spirit of gratitude.  And it also makes me smile seeing how many people are viewing today as much more than a chance to sleep in and amass justifications for their New Year's resolutions.  

And it also made me think: What am I grateful for?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pumpkin Seeds, Apricots, & Pine Nuts

For the Holidays, it's all about the sides.  While you might contend that the turkey, pot roast, or tofurky are the leading players, I would beg to differ that it's more of an ensemble effort, particularly during Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays.  Everyone wants a little of everything, leaving their plates a motley crue of colors, flavors, and textures.  And as someone who has been known to order three appetizers in place of three courses, it makes both cooking and eating during this time of year particularly satisfying.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

I love hummus.  Whether it's made with chickpeas, black beans, or lentils, it's a true staple in my kitchen.  I make it 2-3 times a week, and you'll just have to trust me when I say that standing in front of my food processor and rummaging through my head for ideas on how I will yet again recreate hummus is actually really exciting.  Because aside from how delicious and nutritious it is, the best thing about hummus is its versatility.  So many ways to take one basic hummus recipe and endlessly reinvent it, from seasonings and spices, to the type of bean, to adding new ingredients.  [insert sound of mental fireworks]

Friday, November 2, 2012

Black Rice Biko with Latik: Celebrating the Days of the Dead

Before my family and I left for the Philippines, I had expressed an interest to my parents in learning more about our family's history.  I was excited to know more about my parents' parents and their families - to understand my place in the long line of Itchons, Guerreros, Castros, and Sibayans.  I wanted to connect with my roots.  But arriving in the Philippines and spending the first week on city tours and visiting various museums, I became suspicious that something might have been lost in translation somewhere.  But as I've learned, most things we want in life don't happen on our schedule of 'right now' and 'can't wait.'  When we find more patience and stop reaching so desperately, it's amazing how things start to just fall into place.  And for me and my search for my family's roots, that's exactly what happened.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Marbled Sweet Potato Muffins: A Halloween Treat

I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to share this recipe with you.  Moist, slightly sweet, seasonally spiced to warm the palate and soul, with a festive marble swirl of orange and dark brown.  And with Halloween lurking just around the corner, what better time than now?

I won't pretend that these cute little muffins would make good treats for the costumed kiddos knocking at your door.  Not that they wouldn't enjoy them, but the high probability of them being smushed to the consistency of cat-food amidst the lollipops, candy bars, and caramel apples could make them impractical.  But serving them at a party, bringing a batch or two to the office, or baking them in the morning to have the aroma rouse your family or roommates better than any alarm clock and draw them to the kitchen - they could be awesome for that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in the Philippines: Finding Fresh Perspective

I'm finally back.  

After three amazingly fulfilling weeks in the Philippines, here I sit in front of my computer, almost recovered from jet lag, and ready to start writing again.  As you might imagine, I was in no rush to get back to the States.  I'd found a sense of "home" with my family, my grandmother, and my cousins overseas that I'd never experienced before.  For the most part, the pace of life there was so much less harried and stressful - people took care of each other and looked out for one another.  And making time to eat as a group, sitting outside drinking beer or fresh coconut juice in the shade of a mango tree, and singing karaoke at any given opportunity would always trump stacking one's day with obligations and appointments.  It was the epitome of bittersweet to leave that life and my loved ones behind.

And the food.
There is absolutely no way to speak of the Philippines without speaking of the food. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Unplugged, But Still Connected

Sometimes leaving the ground is the best way to find your footing.

When I first embarked on my vacation to the Philippines, one of the thoughts at the forefront of my mind was: "How am I going to keep the blog up?"  It would be an understatement to say it was a source of stress.  But while visiting my father's side of the family in Pangasinan, a province in the north, one of my aunts said to me, "Don't work too hard, Jonathan.  You can earn all the money or get all the promotions, but at the end of the day, you won't be happy.  So choose happiness."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Vegan, Grain-Free Tartlettes with Cashew Cream & Fig Puree

Talk about "seat of your pants." Or "skin of your teeth." We might as well say, "The skin of your pants," because they both applied here. For all intents and purposes, you shouldn't be reading this post because it shouldn't exist. In preparation for my trip to the Philippines, baking experiments and writing this post were pretty far down on a lengthy, lengthy to-do list. But whether you attribute it to the experience and know-how I've gained through previous Ratio Rally challenges or just plain stubbornness and an unwillingness to give up without a fight, here we are.

Friday, September 28, 2012

4 Hours Down, 17 To Go...

The hardest part of my trip yesterday was just getting to the airport that morning and getting on the plane to Detroit.  Up until that point, there was the option of turning around.  Not that I would have, of course, but just having the option, no matter how small the chances are of taking it, makes things infinitely more challenging.  It introduces the element of doubt, and the tendency to hem and haw and spin one's wheels.  But once I was up in the air on the first plane, it was smooth sailing from there.  I was free.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Up, Up, & Away

As I begin writing this post, I'm in the Austin airport, finally catching my breath after a tumultuous and super stressful all-nighter of packing, cleaning, and tying up loose ends. I kept telling myself, "Everything'll be OK," mostly as a distraction to keep me from flying off the handle. But mere minutes from embarking on a long overdue return to the Philippines, I'm finally beginning to believe it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Filipino Sauteed Mung Beans: A Childhood Favorite

In six days, I will be on a plane to the Philippines with my family.

While a cross-global flight is significant in and of itself, there are a couple more details that make this flight even more special. 1) We'll be celebrating my grandmother's 104th birthday while we're there, and 2) this will be my first time back in 25 years.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Organic: To Buy or Not to Buy?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Vegan Flour Tortillas

This is easily one of my favorite recipes that I've shared to date.  

I honestly love each recipe I share with you here, but there are some that are just special, that have that extra little something, and take you by surprise.  Like these soft, pliable, and yet sturdy flour tortillas that just happen to be gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan.  Yup - you heard correct.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Peach Cobbler with Raspberries & Basil

Paula Deen is such a hoot.  When I was in both undergrad and grad school, I used to watch her show whenever I was feeling stressed, homesick, or just needed a distraction from the drudgery to make me smile and laugh.  Her personality is truly off the charts, and her talent for incorporating butter into all her recipes may only be rivaled by the ease with which she makes one-syllable words multi-syllabic with her honeyed Southern twang.  My favorites were "dip" [pronounced 'dee-yip-uh'] and "smoked" [pronounced 'smo-ked-id'].   I rarely had any desire to make any of her recipes, but I certainly appreciated the joy she infused into her cooking and baking and the way she made it all seem like such fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guacamole & My Love for the Avocado

 [sigh] Avocado.  One of those foods that has me at "Hello."

I was accustomed to having it as a dessert as a young child, mashed up with shaved ice, sugar, and evaporated milk or blended into a milkshake.  And I'm pretty sure that the term avocado wasn't yet in my vocabulary.  At the time it was just the "green stuff."  So the first time I had it in a savory way and learned what it was was truly strange - and quite memorable. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cracked Pepper & Fennel Sugar Cookies

One of my favorite snacks as a child was Stella D'Oro Anisette Sponge Cookies.  Shaped like biscotti, they were crisp on the outside, but soft, slightly dry, and spongey on the inside - like pannetone.  Perfect for dunking.  They were my grandmother's favorite cookie, and when she would ask my brother, sister, and I what we wanted for merienda (meaning "afternoon snack" in Spanish), I would always yell, "Stella Dora! Stella Dora!"  

[Funny fact:  I googled, "Stella Dora" when I first started researching for this post.  Old habits die hard, apparently.]

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free Lavender Angel Food Cupcakes

I so didn't think I was going to make it for this month's Rally challenge.  Even now, I'm pinching myself.  Between opening a show this weekend, teaching dance intensive camps every week, and maintaining my regular day job, I have been going a wee bit insane with the overscheduling.  But alas, here we are at the beginning of another month and another Ratio Rally.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finding the Superhero Within

Ever wish you had superhuman powers?

When I was younger, I was obsessed with it.  From all the comics and graphic novels that my brother and I would collect, the sci-fi movies and TV series I would watch with my Dad, and the role-playing video games that would always trump homework or chores, saying that I had only one foot in a fantasy world would be kindly inaccurate.  I still remember dreams from when I was in elementary and junior high of me flying, communicating telepathically, and manifesting bolts of energy from my temples to help stop crime.

[cue 'Nerd Alert' siren.  This is not a test.]  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cantaloupe Ginger Granita

Today's recipe was inspired by one of my absolute favorite drinks from my childhood.  A staple at Filipino summer parties and barbecues, it was basically shredded cantaloupe, a splash of lemon juice, and sugar water.  Always served ice cold, I have fond memories of my siblings and I guzzling down the water and then savoring the strands of sweet melon, laughing as we slowly ate them one at a time like spaghetti.  It was so refreshing and satisfying during the long, hot, lazy days between June and September.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Vegan, Grain-Free Crackers

Mmmm...crackers.  Back in the day, it would be dangerous to leave me alone with a box of Triscuits, Wheat Thins, or Ritz crackers. Savory, salty, and quite satisfying to the carb monster that I was.  Nowadays, while I realize and appreciate that there are many gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options out there, crackers are no longer my snack of choice, mostly because I'm no longer a carb monster, but also because most brands have a tendency towards being either too seedy or too starchy and carrying a hefty price tag.

Enter the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally "Cracker" Challenge. [cue reverb]

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Skyward Glances & the Love in my Food

Recently, a good friend and coworker offered to lend me a copy of Women Food and God.  Also living a gluten-free, dairy-free life, she said that the things I say and write are in the same 'voice' as the author, Geneen Roth, and she thought I would enjoy it.  Always happy to find another kindred spirit, even if indirectly through the dog-eared, well-worn pages of a book, I happily accepted the offer.  

On the back cover, Roth writes, "No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all."  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Basil Pesto Hummus

One of my favorite things to eat is hummus.  Served with chips or sliced vegetables, on a bed of fresh salad greens or lightly steamed kale, or my current breakfast of choice: with black beans, sriracha, and egg whites.  Lucky for me, hummus is also one of my favorite things to make.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Days & Salads...

Roquette Salad with Grapefruit, Avocado, Cucumber, Carrot, & Pepitas.

I often take for granted the food that I make for myself on a daily basis.  My schedule is both frenetic and dense, so my meals need to be 1) packed with nutrition, 2) delicious, and 3) quick and easy to make.  When I post pictures of the things I'm eating, they're often greeted with comments like, "That looks amazing - Wish I could make something like that!" or "If only you were my personal chef," which is funny to me because the food is literally 'thrown together' with little thought or planning.  But then it occurs to me that "easy for me" is not "easy for everyone."  And when I really think about it, "easy for me now" is not the same as "easy for me back then."

Let me explain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-free, Vegan Mediterranean Soda Bread

Time for another Gluten Free Ratio Rally Challenge. After sitting last month out, I'm ready to get off the bench and back in the game!  Now if you're new to the Rally, allow me to give you some quick backstory.  The Ratio Rally was started in February of 2011 by Shauna James Ahern (aka gluten-free girl).  Based on Michael Ruhlman's work with ratios, the use of weight and proportions rather than volume is emphasized in developing and communicating recipes.  You might ask, "Why?"  Well, while one person's scant cup will always be different from another person's scant cup, one ounce will always be one ounce.  And when it comes to gluten-free baking, which involves a huge array of non-wheat flours that both weigh and behave differently than wheat, this is particularly important in ensuring consistent results.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Marinated White Beans & Cremini Mushrooms

Today's recipe was inspired by a recent outing to Hillside Farmacy, a new restaurant here in Austin.  I was torn between ordering marinated mushrooms and marinated Gigante beans with mixed olives as an appetizer.  A real coin-flipper, right?  I eventually went with the Gigante beans, which were delicious.  In fact, they were the highlight of my entire meal that night.  But even so, the thought remained in my head, "Wish I could have had both."  And when thoughts like that linger, I know there's only one thing to do.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now...

For so much of my life, eating was simply a means to an end.  Eating for satisfaction, eating for comfort, and eating (or not eating) for some semblance of control.  What these all had in common was how fleeting those 'ends' were.  I would have a taste of satisfaction, comfort, or control before the void would reappear, seemingly deeper and more wanting than ever before.  And beyond these emotional associations with food, there were also the physical associations.  More often than not, eating would leave me in pain:  stifling the urge to double over or curl into a ball from the cramps, migraines seething behind my eyes, and just wanting to be alone.  So I would run towards food for comfort and security, only to immediately run away, scared and confused.  

And that was my everyday for nearly three decades, running in circles.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Coconut Millet Cake with a Sweet Basil Citronette

What blogoversary would be complete without cake?  

You're probably thinking, "But wait, Jonathan.  Wasn't your blogoversary like a week ago?"  And while the answer is "Yes," I would then respond additionally with the question, "Do you only celebrate your birthday or anniversary on the day of?  Or do you spread it out over a few days or even a week?"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Blogoversary! The Year in Review

It's hard to believe that it's already been a year.  They say that time flies when you're having fun, but in this case, I think time flew because I was simply too busy to notice the clock.  But half-jokes aside, fun has definitely been a part of it,  and beyond that, the journey has also been enriching, inspiring, and beautiful.  Did I forget to mention challenging?  There have definitely been moments where my desire to propel the blog forward in its evolution has felt at odds with my sanity. [insert sound of head rhythmically hitting a wall]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Almond Butter Apple Cookies

Ask anyone who knows me and they'll be able to confirm that I'm a snacker.  I'm eating constantly in efforts to keep up with my metabolism, which at the moment is particularly revved up since I started teaching Pilates again.  And one of my favorite go-to snacks, especially for Spring, is nut butter on fruits and vegetables.  Look in my refrigerator and you'll find sunflower seed butter, almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, etc., and right now I'm also well stocked with organic celery, apples, bananas and carrots to go with them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring in the Canary Kitchen

Picking loquats from the tree in front of my house.

We're actually having Spring in Texas.  After living here for nearly 10 years, it's a little surreal that it's nearly May and we're not already flirting with triple digits.  In fact, we're still enjoying evenings in the 60s and 70s, perfect for hot tea and snuggling.  And with the grass, flowers, vegetables, and plants actually having a fighting chance and thriving vibrantly everywhere you look, I've found another level of inspiration for my cooking and baking.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Drinking Your Colors

Juice of Blood Orange, Red Carrot, Red Apple, Turmeric, & Parsley.

Even with the healthiest of diets, there will be times when the body feels out of balance or out of touch.  Especially when we stretch ourselves too thin or let rest and relaxation drop down the ranks of our priorities, that is a prime opportunity for sickness to set in.  And while many dread being sick, likening anything that slows them down to the "enemy," it's important to recognize and embrace the fact that the body usually only becomes ill when we don't give it sufficient space to be healthy and well.  In fact, it's a "friendly reminder" that we needs to put the brakes on and give our bodies some TLC.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A New Leaf

"I could never go gluten-free."

I've heard that a lot lately.  And hearing it from one person repeatedly is one thing, but several people have said that to me over the last two weeks.  So I figure I should listen, since the Universe is obviously trying to tell me something. Perhaps you're thinking, "Why would someone who's been gluten-free for nearly five years need to hear that?"  Well, if you knew me before I adopted a gluten-free lifestyle, it'd probably be clear to you, too.

It's to remind me that I once used that exact same phrase.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Vegan Marbled Banana Walnut Brownies

Gluten-Free, Vegan Marbled Banana Walnut Brownies

If you're new to the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, allow me to introduce you.  It all began with the book, Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman.  In it, he encourages readers to understand how culinary ratios and proportions, rather than recipes and measurements, form the true foundation of cooking and baking.  For example, cream puffs, pancakes, and muffins all call for the same basic ingredients: flour, liquid, fat, and eggs; but it is largely the variation in proportions that determine the outcome.  At the crux of these ratios is communicating them by weight rather than volume, thus keeping the proportions fixed and helping to ensure consistent results.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sauteed Purple Cabbage with Curried Caramelized Onions & Tomatoes

Sauteed Purple Cabbage with Curried Caramelized Onions & Tomatoes

In cooking and baking, sometimes you don't get what you want.  You have your ingredients, you have the time, and you have the vision, but something gets in the way, whether it's problematic ingredients, a make-it-work moment, or a change of heart.  But what I'm coming to both learn and accept is that this situation of 'not getting what I wanted' is rarely a bad thing.  In fact, most of my "mistakes" have still been a delight for the taste buds, and some of them have actually been better that what I had intended in the first place.   Today's recipe is a perfect example of that.

Friday, March 23, 2012


The Process of Making Contact.

If you're confused as to what "IRL" stands for, allow me to use it in sentence to give you some context.

"I can't wait to meet you IRL!"

If you're still stumped (and I don't blame you), it's text/tweet-speak for "in real life."  That very sentence was directed at me while tweeting with Charissa from Zest Bakery in California.  When I first read it, it took a few seconds before it clicked.  While I suppose it's no more strange than "LOL" or "TTYL," I guess it was the fact that I had never come across it before that threw me at first.  But when I really think about it, beyond my lack of fluency in acronyms, I guess it might also have thrown me because I'm such a lone wolf by nature.  Someone actually wants to meet me?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gluten Free, Vegan Yellow Cupcakes with Kiwis & Sultanas

Gluten Free, Vegan Yellow Cupcakes with Kiwi & Sultanas

From childhood until just a few years ago, green desserts have had a special place in my heart/mouth/stomach.  Now wouldn't it be great if I was referring to energy efficiency or sustainable food practices?  [sigh]  Alas, what I'm talking about are unnaturally green desserts like pistachio pudding, lime-flavored jello, and grasshopper pie.  Sweets so unabashedly green that we name smelly markers and designer paints after them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Vegan Crepes & Filipino Spring Rolls

Gluten-Free, Vegan Lumpiang Sariwa served with Paalat.
I can't believe it's already March.  Not that I'm complaining, but this year is off to a quick start.  For me, it feels like it was barely last week that we were welcoming the New Year, and now here we are getting ready for St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break, and SXSW.  Now, before you start daydreaming about vacations, green beer, and all that relaxation and/or debauchery, let's bring it back to another fun-filled event:  This month's Gluten Free Ratio Rally Challenge. [cue cowbell]

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another Peek into the Canary Kitchen

Sauteed Pea Tendrils & Fresh Tomato Slices over Black Rice.

Instagram is, by far, my favorite social networking app.  Instead of tweets and status updates, visual images are the main form of communication.  Running the gamut of subject matter from obsessive self-portraiture to sweeping Ansel Adams-esque landscapes,  it allows everyone to share something of themselves that they love, regardless of training, geographic location, gender, SES, or first language.  And regardless of my own similarity or dissimilarity to any other 'instagrammer," I can enjoy their photos - not because of who they are, what they've accomplished, or where they come from, but solely because of what I see.  That, I love.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fearless Baking: Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies

In life, there may be many things that scare us.  Job interviews, dogs, heights, relationships, darkness - you name it, and someone's probably terrified of it.  But with rare exception, the reason we fear these things is not because they're inherently scary.  Rather it's the uncertainty, and the risk of doing something unfamiliar with an outcome, good or bad, that we can't predict.  Simply put, we fear what we don't know.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project: "Better Baker" - My Search for Leavening

My Three R's

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my big goals for 2012 is to become a better baker.  Of course, I realize that "better" is one of those adjectives that can mean just about anything to anyone.  But for me, being a "better baker" means taking more risks, allowing myself to make more mistakes, and emphasizing learning and improving rather than avoiding failure and trying to be perfect.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

For Cupid: Radicchio Cups with Roasted Mushrooms, Lentils, & Carrots

Radicchio Cup with Pea Tendrils & Roasted Mushrooms, Lentils, Carrots

With Valentine's Day just a few days away, I am thoroughly excited - giddy even.  While the day often highlights boxed chocolates and long-stem roses as acceptable (and even obligatory) tokens of love and romance, I've always been a believer that one of the most convincing ways to show someone that you care is through a beautiful and thoughtfully prepared meal. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gluten-Free Panzanella for the Beginning of Spring

Gluten-Free Panzanella in a Meyer Lemon Maple Vinaigrette

 Ah, the beginning of Spring.  That turning point in the year when days start to gain again in length, when trees, plants, and animals start to rouse from their slumber, and the energy in the air around us starts to crackle with anticipation of warmer weather and the year ahead.  Of course, "warmer weather" is completely relative, as this past Winter here in Austin has consisted of desperately needed rain, and beyond a handful of truly cold days, temperatures that hovered in the 70's.  But no matter where you live or what the weather may be, you can still feel that palpable shift, like a rollercoaster just reaching the top of a hill, ready to descend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ratio Rally! Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cinnamon & Star Anise Popovers

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cinnamon & Star Anise Mini Popovers

I know I'm not the only one when I say that the beginning of the year is a "busy time."  It's actually quite a laughable understatement.  But alas, it's when I'm at my busiest that I've learned that slowing down is the best way to keep up.  Counter intuitive? Yes.  Counterproductive?  Anything but.

Which brings me to the subject of today's post: the Gluten Free Ratio Rally.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Directions to The Canary Kitchen

Yogi Teabags are more than just tea.

The following is a paraphrased comment from a friend on my Facebook wall:
I keep seeing your posts with all these yummy food dishes, so I googled "Austin + Canary Kitchen" because I really wanted to go there to eat.  Surprisingly there was not one listing for some awesome, out-of-the-way, gem of a cafe.  I am SUCH a dork.
That made me laugh.  Not at her, of course, but with her, because I could totally see myself doing the same thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stir Fried Noodles: Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

Gluten-Free & Vegan Pancit Bihon
Since my family's visit in December, my culinary state of mind has felt especially connected to my cultural roots.  The amazing time we had  brought back many fond memories of the foods I grew up with.  One of my favorites was pancit (pahn-SIT), the umbrella term for noodle dishes in the Philippines.  While the name pancit is actually derived from pian i sit, a Hokkien term meaning "something cooked fast," the definition for pancit that I learned as a child was "long life."  And thus, it's a time-honored tradition for it to be served on special occasions to represent blessings of not only long life, but good health and prosperity as well.  And as we celebrate the Lunar New Year and welcome the Year of the Dragon, it's a perfect time to make and enjoy this Filipino dish with Chinese origins.