Gluten Free For Good


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Posts Tagged ‘farm fresh’

the princess and the pea(s)


Katherine (my friend’s daughter) has the right idea. Eat peas while they’re farm-fresh as the sugar quickly converts to starch, compromising the sweet, delicate flavor. Peas are the all-purpose, wonder food. Kids love shelling them and popping them directly into their mouths. Grandmas serve them for every holiday. They’re good in soups, stews, smoothies, stir fries, wraps, spring rolls, salads and rice. Peas are perfect lightly boiled, steamed or sautéed and topped with a touch of butter and sea salt. Use your imagination, you can’t go wrong with farm-fresh peas.

simple cheesy peas
what you need
2 cups peas (or adjust according to how many you have)
grated parmesan cheese

what you do
Bring a saucepan of water to a soft boil (not raging). Add a dash of salt and the shelled peas. Watch it carefully. You only want to cook the peas for a short time (no longer than 45 to 60 seconds). Cooked, fresh peas are best when they’re tender, but still firm. And definitely not mushy. Drain in a colander, place in a bowl, top with dollop of butter and gently toss. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. These are wonderful paired with rice or mixed into risotto.

mostly raw veggie burritos (inspired by Tara, cute & quirky Denver hair artist at Salon No Dice)
what you need

roasted, chilled and sliced beets *
peeled and thinly sliced kohlrabi
freshly shelled peas
washed and dried spinach, cabbage or lettuce leaves
roasted sunflower seeds
crumbled goat cheese
dressing of your choice
tortilla (teff or brown rice for the gluten-free version)

what you do
Stack your ingredients in a row on your tortilla. Drizzle with dressing of choice and fold. Check here for various folding methods. My favorite for this wrap is the “open ended” method (#3).

* This is a perfect way to make a quick, tasty meal and use up various veggies. I like the texture of roasted, chilled beets in a recipe like this, but shredded or thinly sliced raw beets work fine. When I’m in the midst of beet harvest time, I roast several and store them in the refrigerator for salads, wraps and sandwiches. Yes, they’re great on sandwiches, they replace the tomatoes.

I’m off for a few days of camping, hiking and mountain biking in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, so I won’t be posting recipes or responding to comments on my blog until the end of the week. I’m not ignoring you — I’m just enjoying the wild blue yonder, complete with homemade dehydrated kale backpacking soup (more about that on Shirley’s GFE “happy camper” carnival at the end of the month).

P.S. Photo credits and cuteness courtesy of my friend, Megan. Thank you!

garlic scape pesto


Were you wondering what those curly-cue things were in your CSA box this week?

Garlic scapes are an early summer treat and disappear quickly. Enjoy them while you can. They’re the bright green, coiled, twisty, flowering stalk that launches forth from a garlic plant. Although you can use them in everything from salads to stir-fries to omelets, the mainstay garlic scape recipe is a pesto. Dorie Greenspan has a wonderful post using almonds in the mix, but most recipes fall back on the typical pine nut and olive oil combination, which is what I’ve done.

garlic scape pesto
what you need

10 to 12 garlic scapes, washed and finely chopped
juice of 1 small lemon
2/3 cup grated asiago or parmesiano reggiano (a nice hard Italian cheese)
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
course ground sea salt

what you do
Put the garlic scapes, lemon, pine nuts, half the cheese and half the oil in a food processor, blend well. Add the rest of the oil and cheese (to taste) and continue processing. Taste and adjust as you like, season with the salt. Serve with pasta or over thick crackers or bread (all gluten-free in my case).

If you only have a few garlic scapes, adjust the recipe to accommodate what you have.

Yum . . . Melissa

poached eggs on kale


When your refrigerator is stocked with beautiful local greens and farm fresh eggs and you know you’ve got another load coming in a few days, you need to get creative with your meals. I’m eating kale, spinach, collard greens and lettuce in some form at almost every meal. Ah, but I’m not complaining.

I’m a fan of a hearty breakfast for a variety of reasons. If you start your day with a nourishing mix of healthy carbs, good fats and quality protein, your energy levels stay balanced and you don’t crash an hour after eating (you know, the high-impact donut-dive). When you start your day with real food, you think better, feel better and have more energy. And without that creamed-filled donut and mega-grande latte, you probably look better, too. You’re also less likely to gain weight if you eat a nourishing breakfast. All good reasons. If you’re a CSA member and are being bombarded with greens, a hearty breakfast is a good way to chip away at the volume.

Poached eggs on kale
what you need

2 cups organic kale
your choice of whole grain (gluten-free) toast *
pastured, organic eggs *

what you do
Wash kale well and separate stems from leaves. I use both as I like the crunchy ribs as well as the hearty leaves. Cut stems in 1 inch chunks and chop leaves into sections. Place one tablespoon coconut oil (or your oil of choice) in medium-sized skillet over low heat. Add the kale stems and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add leaves, stir gently for another 3 or 4 minutes. If the pan is too dry, add a splash of broth.*

While greens are cooking, poach two eggs in a small pan of water and toast your bread. Layer greens on toast, top with poached eggs. Finish off with fresh ground pepper and salt.

* I don’t eat bread very often, but there is nothing better than a poached egg on toast so I keep a loaf of gluten-free teff bread in the freezer. Teff is a powerful little grain; for more information, check here.

* I have a year-round egg share from Grant Farms and can’t imagine eating store-bought eggs. Seriously, there’s a HUGE difference in taste and quality. Plus, I like knowing my eggs come from hens living in style at the bird spa. Check here for detailed information.

* I always have a good-quality home-made or store bought broth in my fridge for sautéing veggies. It’s a healthy way to cook greens and great for making rice.

Here’s a nutrition profile for kale, courtesy of Nutrition Data. It’s good stuff.



Go forth and eat a hearty green breakfast!

lettuce prep & kid-friendly green smoothie



I mean yippeee!

What do you do with a zillion heads of lettuce (not to mention kale and collard greens)? I picked up week #2 of my Grant Farms CSA delivery last night and am inundated with greens. Ohh, I’m not complaining. Trust me, this is farm-fresh heaven. But I made a promise to myself (and St. Isidoare, the patron saint of farmers) this year to use every last lettuce leaf and not to let any of this fine food end up in my compost pile. We need to start with proper storage.

Washing, drying and storing salad greens
First off, if you’re going to jump on the CSA bandwagon, get yourself a good salad spinner. I love my OXO brand, but it wasn’t cheap (well worth it though). Wash salad greens well. It may take two or three rounds. Save the wash water and use it on your plants. They LOVE murky green water.


Fill with greens and water. Swish, swish, swish (water plants) and spin dry. Drying is just as important as washing as your dressing won’t adhere to the leaves if they’re wet. Plus, it doesn’t store well if it’s too damp.


Using either a lightweight kitchen towel or a paper towel, lay the washed and spun-dry lettuce out on the towel and loosely roll it up, burrito style. Place in plastic bag and store in your refrigerator crisper. It should last up to a week or more.


Healthy, kid-friendly greenish smoothie
Choose a couple of the following fruits (frozen is fine)
• ripe banana; 1/2 cup berries, pineapple or watermelon chunks; pear (be creative)
• 1 carton Redwood Hill Farms vanilla goat yogurt
• 1 cup Grant Farms lettuce (lettuce is great in smoothies)
• coconut water
• dash of cinnamon

* This is a launching pad recipe, add whatever you want. If you want a little protein, add a scoop of chia seeds.

Blend and serve! Adjust amounts depending on the number and size of servings.

Go forth, wash and dry your greens and feed them to your kids in smoothies!

parsley, dill and tomato pasta


Last week’s Grant Farms CSA box included dill and parsley, along with a bunch of other green and red goodies (see past two beet recipes). This post will focus on the herbs. I’ll be brief and spare you the geeky details. I almost promise. However, my enthusiasm for the healing power of food might trump your eye rolling (I have a Mac with spy capabilities, I know when you’re making faces).

Dill — has a clean, faint lemony smell and taste to it; with a hint of anise or fennel. Freezing preserves the flavor better than drying, but either work well. You can freeze dill whole in a plastic bag and cut off little sprigs as needed. Add dill at the end of cooking as it loses its flavor if overcooked (thanks chef Miles). Dill goes well with beets (yeah), cucumber, tomatoes, potatoes, fish and seafood, rice, egg salad, spinach, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, cabbage, salad dressings.

Nutritional profile of dill
The volatile oils in dill make it a “chemoprotective” herb. It helps neutralize certain carcinogens (cancer causing agents). It’s also a good source of calcium and iron. Calcium? Surprise, surprise.

Parsley – is a bit like dill, but with a tangy hint of pepper. It’s one of the most versatile herbs and is essential to several flavoring mixtures (French bouquet garnis, fines herbes, salsa verde, tabbouleh). It combines well with basil, bay, capers, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon and can be used with most vegetables. I love it with tomatoes, rice and fish.

Nutritional profile of parsley
This one’s a nutritional powerhouse. Seriously, don’t take it for granted and don’t leave that parsley garnish on your plate. Eat it! It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, is a good source of folate and iron, and its volatile oils put it in the same chemoprotective category as dill.

Fresh parsley, dill and tomato pasta
what you need
4 large tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons Vidalia onions (or green onions), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard (I use Annie’s Naturals, it’s gluten-free)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
12 ounces pasta (I use Tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti style pasta)

what you do
Combine olive oil and honey Dijon mustard in medium sized bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the pasta and the salt and pepper. Blend well and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, add the salt and pepper and toss with prepared hot pasta. Makes about 4 servings. This can also be made into a cold pasta salad.

I had some leftovers, which I refrigerated and served the next night (reheated) over a big plate of the fresh leaf lettuce from the CSA delivery box. It sounds weird, but it was delicious!

Go forth and hug your CSA farmers.

deadly serious beet & spinach salad


The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Jitterbug Perfume — Tom Robbins

Do you ever read something you wish you had written? Something so well-crafted, so simple, yet sublime? That’s how I feel about the above paragraph. I should have written that. I’m the one obsessed with beets, born with an affinity to Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. No one understands beets like I do.

Of course, good writing and a passion for beets are two distinctly different things. Even if I have to let Tom Robbins say it for me, I’m content knowing I’ve chosen the most torrid of all vegetables as my favorite. Trust me, carrots, celery, even burdock root are no match for the wild and impassioned beet.

I love beets.

I belong to Grant Farms CSA program and yesterday was my first delivery of 26 weeks worth of organic vegetables, fruits and farm fresh eggs (I have a year-round egg share). Those of you who have been following this blog know I border on ardently evangelical when it comes to my local farmer friends and their freshly-harvested, seasonal produce.

I opened my CSA box last night and inside I found a bunch of deadly serious beets. Need I say more?

Deadly Serious Beet & Spinach Salad
what you need
1 pound beets
3 – 4 cups spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pecans, chopped
crumbled goat cheese (I use local Haystack Mountain goat cheese)

what you do
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim beets and save the leaves; please don’t throw them away, they are wonderful (see link below). Scrub the beets and place in a glass baking dish.* Pour about an inch or so of water into the dish and cover with foil. Roast for about 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the beets and the “heat” of your oven. Carefully (don’t spill the HOT beet water) remove beets from oven, set aside and let cool. Save the beet water for making smoothies. Seriously, let it cool and store it in a glass jar in the fridge – it makes for wonderfully healthy smoothie juice.

In the meantime, using a small bowl, whisk together diced garlic, shallots, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, agave and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. I usually put the mixture in a glass jar and shake like crazy. Shake, shake, shake your booty.

Once cooled, cut beets into 1/4 inch circular slices. (I never peel beets, I simply trim the stems and leaves and wash and scrub the beet root with a veggie scrubber before I roast or use them.)

Arrange spinach on plates, top with beets, chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

* I have a Le Creuset enamel-covered, cast iron French oven with lid that I use for roasting beets. It’s wonderful, but the above method works as well.

Go forth and sizzle with seriousness,

P.S. You might also like –
Beet Greens & Brown Rice (good information about beets and the greens and how to use them)
Grant Farms Egg Information (information and nutrition profile of pastured eggs)

I’ll be posting weekly nutrition information and recipes depending on what Andy and the gang put in my big red Grant Farms CSA box each week. Stay tuned and leave a comment if you want ideas, help or information about farm-fresh food. Sign-up for emailed updates so you don’t miss anything.

gluten-free and twenty-something in Chicago


My twenty-something daughter and I both have celiac disease, although it’s much easier for me to manage since I have virtually no social life compared to her. I’m not complaining as the thought of going out partying until all hours of the night borders on horrifying to me, but when you’re young and living in a groovy city like Chicago, maintaining a healthy (and fun) gluten-free lifestyle can be a challenge.

I just spent the past few days in Seattle at the Gluten Intolerance Group’s national conference. Part of the professional track focused on the pathology and treatment of celiac disease and what’s in the future for drug therapies. I’m passionate about increasing awareness and am thankful for the research taking place and the new product development that has made GF living so much easier now than it was a decade ago when I started on this path.

Having said that, the photo above sums it all up for me. Eat real food – wholesome nourishing food – and not only will you heal and thrive, you won’t have to stress yourself out reading cryptic food labels or risking gluten contamination.

Tevis (my daughter) took this photo last week to prove to her nutritionist mother that she’s eating well and taking good care of herself. I was thrilled with her food choices until I heard she was carting all this stuff home from the market on her custom-made bike. Winding around in city traffic. While wearing work clothes. Knowing her, she probably had on a skirt and her Jackie O sunglasses.

When I was younger, I always wanted to raise colorful, creative, adventurous kids. That’s all well and good until you actually have kids like that.

Kids who email you stuff like, “Guess what mom? I’m in Berlin right now. I’m gonna be an “extra” in a scary movie.” Or, “We’ve changed plans, we may backpack through Tasmania before going back to New Zealand.” Or, “The steelhead fishing is amazing up here, but the weather’s bad and so are the grizzlies.” Or, “The surfing here in Costa Rica is amazing, mom. You can’t believe what we’ve been doing.”

Probably not. Thank God I don’t know. And where is up here?

They owe me big time, even though I have a good idea where some of this behavior came from. My mom says I got exactly what I deserved.

But when it comes to the food part, I’m not too worried about what they’re doing. They all have a fairly good idea of what makes up a healthy diet and how to create nourishing meals. As you might have noticed, there are some random bottles of alcohol in Tevis’ photo above. Beer and cider — at least they aren’t bottles of tequila or whiskey. (Don’t even tell me.)

Here’s her picks for the best gluten-free beer and cider options. What are your favorites?

Tevis’ GF beer and cider picks
Green’s Gluten-Free Beer (pictured above)
Bard’s Tale Gluten-Free Beer
St. Peter’s G-Free Beer
Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider (pictured above)
Doc Smitty’s Cider (pictured above)
Original Sin Cider

Tevis’ favorite Chicago bars/restaurants that serve GF beer and cider
Map Room
Blind Robin
Twisted Spoke
The Small Bar

Melissa and Tevis (scroll down the list of DJs to find her)
P.S. Be safe and make smart choices (my “mom” mantra).

zen and the art of surf, sand and fresh food


This is a multi-faceted post — euphemistically speaking. Actually, it’s several threads that don’t really go together, but I’ll press on anyway.

My last post elicited several responses about using beet greens. Aside from the random commenter who admitted tossing the greens away (yikes) and only using the beet root, I also received 1 phone call, 3 emails and a scattering of real-time comments from friends who had no idea people actually ate the greens. I won’t mention any names, but one of you is a complete beet virgin, root and all.

I love all greens, but beet greens are a favorite because the texture is so delightful. For a post I did on the comparison of collard greens to rubber gloves, check here (recipe included). Don’t get me wrong, I love collard greens, kale and the other hearty greens, but beet greens are my favorite because they’re more delicate and the magenta and green colors add an artistic flair to your table.

I don’t do any advertising on this blog and for the most part, I don’t advocate anything other than healthy living, good food and friendship. Today I’m going to stray from that a bit and mention a cookbook I have, along with a beet green recipe from the book.

Every room in my house is full of books. Buying books is my downfall. I’m addicted, seriously addicted. Many of my books are cookbooks that I have never used. But this is a book I not only cook from, I read it in bed. It’s called Outstanding in the Field by Jim Denevan, whom I’ll admit, I have a mild crush on. But the book is worth drooling over, whether you ever cook from it or not.

If you don’t know who Jim Denevan is, take the time to watch this video. This is a table to farm cookbook, rather than the other way around. Jim is a surfer, artist, chef and visionary who brings his dinner guests to the food — right in the midst of the garden or field. You can’t get any fresher or more local than that.

From Outstanding in the Field
beet greens with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch beet greens (10 – 12 ounces)
4 tablespoons EVOO
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Wash beet greens. Remove stems and chop into a small dice. Coarsley chop the leaves and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped beet stems and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems are nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Push the beet stems to one side of the pan and add the garlic to the other side. Cook until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Stir the garlic into the stems. Add the chopped beet leaves and season with salt. Stir in a splash of water and cook until the leaves are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil with a pinch of salt. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the dressing on top, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Pick your plate and be inspired!

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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my book
(co-written with Pete Bronski)

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