gluten free

honeyed fig & onion dessert socca

Socca, wha??? Oblivious to this simple pleasure until recently, it is now here to stay in my eating life. Socca is a sort of flatbread made from chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is a dream, whether you have a gluten intolerance or not. I have found it in bulk at natural groceries, and in Bob’s Red Mill brand packaging at bigger stores. It’s one of the less-costly wheat flour alternatives and packs a protein punch.

Socca is nutty in flavor, crunchy in parts, springy in others, and an altogether savory pancake. Good olive oil is key to the flavor, which is certainly at the ready in Nice where you can buy socca on the street (add that to my South of France daydream). Though traditionally eaten hot out of a cast iron skillet and sprinkled with crushed black pepper, I eat it all kinds of ways. The other night, topped with with figs, onions, and honey, it was dessert.

How did this dish come together? My friend Mary introduced me to the cookbook Bean by Bean, which I have been wearing out since I checked it out of the library, and my friend Drew got me thinking about roasted fresh figs after posting a FB photo of a mean looking peach prosciutto pizza made by his talented girlfriend. Which reminds me, this socca could also be an incredible main course: just add arugula, prosciutto, and cheese (taleggio, chèvre, or gorgonzola) to the onions and figs.

Caramelized Cinnamon Onion Spread

Slice one onion and place the raw onion rings in a pan on medium heat with a few tablespoons olive oil.
Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
After a few minutes of cooking and stirring, turn the heat down to low and cover the pan.
Let the onions caramelize for about 20 minutes (they will become translucent and some will turn brown and crispy).
Puree the onions in a food processor or blender to make a spread (you may need to add a bit of olive oil).

Socca Adapted from Crescent Dragonwagon’s recipe in Bean by Bean
1 cup chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour, besan, gram, cici, chana flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups water
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees (be sure the oven is up to temp. before putting the socca in to bake).

Sift together the flour & salt and whisk in 1 2/3 cups water and 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth. The batter is thin and a bit bubbly.

Place a cast iron skillet on medium heat. When it’s hot, pour 1/4 cup olive oil on the bottom. The oil should ripple with heat but not smoke.

Give the batter one last whisk and pour into the skillet of hot olive oil (it will pop and sizzle!). Using a pot holder, place the skillet in the oven.

Bake until the edges pull away from the pan and the bread is golden and the top is firm, 25 minutes. Spread onions over the socca and place sliced figs on the top. Bake for about 5 more minutes in the oven.

To remove the socca, run a knife around the edge between bread and pan, and it will slide right out. Slice or break apart and serve with drizzled honey.

fruit gluten free

pushing summer

The June bearing strawberries are ripe as ever, and it’s still May! Juicy strawberries and 95-degree temperatures means fruity push-up pop time in my backyard. Along with the fresh strawberries, I had a few apricots and frozen blackberries to puree in the blender. I experimented with different ratios of honey and rice milk to blend up with the fruit and even added a few layers of honeyed rice milk in between fruit layers.

Though I had to wait two hours (for hardening) between filling the flavor fields, I thought it was worth it, because the combined taste was exciting. Visually, the finished pops were like a lickable frozen homage to Mark Rothko (just don’t gaze too long, or they will melt). Perfect for this summery weather and also useful as smoothie starters to keep in the freezer. Cheers to unofficial summer!

gluten free vegetable

cumin crush sweet potato strips

I have a thing for cumin right now. I cannot get enough of it with beans, rice, soup, and sweet potatoes. My recipe for baked cumin sweet potato strips is simple, spicy, tangy, sweet, and healthful all at once.  Enjoy them hot or at room temperature as a rustic snack in a mug or as a side dish on your plate.


3 medium sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together olive oil, vinegar, and cumin with a pastry brush.
Lightly brush parchment paper with cumin mixture.

Wash, dry, and slice sweet potatoes to desired thickness.
Place sweet potato slices on parchment paper.
Brush tops with remaining cumin mixture and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt.

Bake 25-40 minutes depending on thickness of strips and your crunchiness preference.

gluten free quick bread

blackstrap molasses bran muffins, honestly

BM, BM? I did not plan for such initials when I wrote the recipe title, but it’s fitting. Filled with fiber and the honest everyday stuff that doesn’t get much fanfare on blogs (the bowels!). Creating this recipe coincides with a topic of “reality” on blogs that resulted in the recent initiative: Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.

Based on this blog, you may think that my life is all shiny nail polish and sugary cupcakes. The fact is that I struggle with a lot of the everyday stuff that many of you do. Heartbreak, disappointment, complacency, uncertainty, insomnia, and migraine headaches, to name a few. In fact, I started this blog at a particularly uncozy time in my life. The point was to focus on the GOOD TIMES. Of course, life is not always cozy, but I wanted to put my good memories together in one spot so as not to dwell on those things that are beyond my control. I wanted to share with people who might care. “Maybe it would help make their life cozy,” I thought.

It warms my heart up that there are people out there that appreciate what I put on this site, because sharing can only add to the joy in life. This blog is personal in the sense that these are honest pictures I take and thoughts I have. The pictures are minimally (if at all) edited, and my copy isn’t edited either (if you studied English, you have gathered that by now).

We all have to go to the bathroom. We all have a heart and a soul and a mind. Timing can seem like our best friend or our worst enemy. Life is not always going to be cozy, but let’s do our best. Let’s celebrate and share the good times, and eat some bran muffins every once in a while for the sake of regularity.

Blackstrap Molasses Bran Muffins

Preheat 375-degree oven.

Prepare muffin tins. Makes ~12. Keep for several days.


1 cup skim milk (non-dairy friends, use water, soy, or rice milk)
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg, beaten (vegan friends, use egg replacer)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce


2 cups bran flakes cereal (gluten-free friends, use your cereal)
Let soak.

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift:

1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free friends, use rice flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey (depending on your sweet tooth)

At this point I would like to recommend adding 1/2 cup of dried cherries or dark chocolate chunks to the mix for indulgence. Add-ins are not necessary, as these muffins are particularly moist and flavorful in their own right. This day my muffins were without, but you could certainly add your favorite dried fruits.

Combine everything, fill muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes, until toothpick tester comes out clean.

P.S. I learned about putting peanut butter on bran muffins from Anne Truitt. She is one of my heroes, and in her memoirs she records an evening meal of split pea soup and a toasted bran muffin with peanut butter. (Nut allergies – sunflower butter is just as tasty!)

chocolate gluten free snack

magnesium-rich cocoa peanut granola

I have been making a concerted effort lately of packing magnesium-rich foods into my daily eating habits. Halibut and cooked spinach makes a tasty meal, but I cannot eat that every day. Also, munching on a variety of seeds can get boring pretty quickly. Then I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way: cocoa beans are a natural source of magnesium too!

Inspired by the Domestic Goddess herself, I modified this tasty crunchy snack. Goal: make in-taking more magnesium most enjoyable. Like Nigella says, the most difficult part of making granola is actually assembling the pantry ingredients (her granola recipes also appear in one of my favorite cookbooks, Feast). Almost every ingredient in my modified recipe is high in magnesium, and bonus points when added to yogurt, whole or soy milk. P.S. Also easily Vegan-friendly

1/4 cup natural cocoa
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/3 cup clover honey
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses*
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups cocktail peanuts (nut allergies – replace with more seeds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.

Mix everything together very well in a large mixing bowl (sometimes clean hands are the best and easiest tools for thorough mixing here). Half the mixture and spread in two baking tins (I had cookie sheets and lined them with parchment) and bake for 40 minutes, turning over half-way through baking. Allow to cool, break apart, and store in an airtight container.

*if you care for less of a molasses tang, use light molasses or substitute brown rice syrup/rice malt syrup like Nigella uses. I used blackstrap due to magnesium content and also because I happen to enjoy the molasses tang.

candy chocolate family gluten free sandwich

chocolate caramel pretzel sandwich stand-off

Rolos will always be an autumn candy to me. Like the shiny wrapped chocolate caramel mound, the season is covered in new golden colors and filled with sweet treasures. I first enjoyed one of these little Rolo pretzel sandwich treats courtesy of my friend Sara when I lived in Middlebury. What a simple and perfect combination of salty/sweet/chewy/crunchy. We took it to another level yesterday and had a contest to find the best variation, and besides, kitchen experiments and fine motor skills practice go better with chocolate candies in my opinion! The variables included flat pretzels, mini pretzels, Rolos, Riesens and Caramel Creams. The Caramel Creams barely melted, so they ended up being an open-faced variety. After testing, deliberation, a glass of milk and voting, first place went to the Rolo with the flat pretzel (we also thought it looked like a Koala pumpkin face)!

To make your own, just place the candy on top of a pretzel. Pop it in a 250-degree oven for 5 minutes, then lightly press another pretzel on top to complete the sandwich. They are messy if eaten right away but firm up in an hour or so. If you use Glutino pretzels and Rolos, these treats can also be gluten free.

gluten free noodle vegetable

you are one nutty noodle

I have always appreciated the heartiness and speedy cooktime of the soba noodle and have been enjoying them in a new way (to me) since discovering this recipe.  I most like this dish chilled, with extra avocado and jalapeño.  The dressing is a simple reduction, easy to save and also works with ginger paste.  Now that the days are longer, it sure has been nice to come home and eat dinner in the daylight.