Monthly Archives: June 2012

Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts


Leslie H

It seems every summer I find a new salad recipe and  continue to make it throughout the season for every event we are invited to share something. Well, I think this is the 2012 recipe for the summer. It is easy and can be adapted to most any taste buds (especially you cilantro haters out there). This was taken from Bon Appetit. The colors are beautiful and the salad is quite tasty and delicious. My husband said this salad belongs in a bistro showcase!


2 oranges

1/4 cup or more of fresh lime juice

2 T. vegetable oil

1 T. fish sauce ( I didn’t use it)

2 cups black rice (sometimes called forbidden rice)

2 just ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″ dice

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts ( I used cashews, toasted on the stove)

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced ( I only used 1)



1. Remove peel and white pith from oranges. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl.  Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices. Strain juices through a sieve into a smaller bowl and reserve segments.

2. Add lime juice, oil and fish sauce if using to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend. Set aside.

3. Bring rice and 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season with salt and cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes. Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing, and season with a bit more salt, taste and let cool.

4. Place mangoes and rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine. Season with a bit more salt if needed and perhaps a touch more of lime juice.


Pesto Pasta Salad


Being from Spokane, I’m still not used to the fact that June is not summer in Seattle.  Yesterday, it was 80 degrees in Spokane (and it’s been hovering around there all week) and in Seattle it was 62 degrees and I actually thought it might never stop raining.

Even with the nasty weather, a pesto pasta salad can be just the thing to kick you into a summery mindset.

(I’m stepping on my soap box for a brief moment):  Pesto is SO easy to make at home and is SO much more delicious than store bought.  You could easily buy pesto to make this salad, but I am highly encouraging you to make it yourself.  There is literally nothing better than when you’ve finished the last pulse on the Cuisinart and you (safely) dip a spoon/finger/spatula in and taste that perfect blend of salty and herby and nutty – and you realize you made that fantastic combination of flavors yourself.

The first time Matt and I made this salad was when my mom mailed us a frozen tupperware full of pesto and we needed something (besides spoons) to eat it with.  Now, hands down, my mom makes the best pesto.  I don’t have her recipe (hint, hint?) so I made Gluten-Free Girl’s Pesto recipe (you can click here for her original post) which is awesome.  Beyond (well, and including) the pesto, this is another one of those easy to tailor to your taste recipes.  We put sundried tomatoes, pinenuts, garbanzo beans and peas in our pasta salad, but the possibilities are endless.

Pesto Pasta Salad


For the Pesto:

3 medium cloves of garlic, threaded on a skewer (I did GFG’s method this time, but in the past I’ve nixed the skewer and roasted the garlic for 40 minutes at 350)

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (we’ve found the optimal amount is about 1.5 big containers of basil leaves)

2 Tbl fresh parsley (I omitted, because I’m not such a fan…you can also sub spinach for some extra nutrients and no added flavor)

7 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil

Salt (lots…to taste)

1/4 cup parmesean (optional…add more salt if omitting)

For the salad:

1 package of GF pasta (I prefer the tinkyada brand – you absolutely cannot tell it’s gluten free)

1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1/3 cup pinenuts, toasted

3/4 cups peas (about 1/3 of the bag of frozen peas we had)

1 can garbanzos

For the pesto (copied straight from GFG, because she says it best):

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Lower the skewered garlic into the water. Boil for 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold water. Remove from the skewer. Peel and mince. (If you’re making pasta right after, save the water for it.)
2. Toast the nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant. (Should be about five minutes.)
3. Place the basil and parsley in a heavy-duty, quart-size bag. Take out your meat tenderizer and pound those poor little herbs until they are bruised. (Ouch. That sounds bad.)
4. Place all the ingredients except the cheese in your food processor. Pulse. Pulse. Pulse. When the goop is smooth, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, mix in the cheese, and add salt to taste. (I use sea salt, of course.)
5. Eat. And moan with pleasure.

Eat the pesto right away. If you want to keep it for a few days, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If you want to keep it for longer, then pour the pesto into ice trays. Freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag. When you’re cooking, you can just pop in a cube of frozen pesto and watch the summer appear again.

Make the pasta, drain, put in a big bowl.  Add chopped sundried tomatoes and toasted pinenuts.  Add peas (defrost and drain first).  Add garbanzos that have been sauteed in olive oil, salt, and garlic powder (Matt doesn’t like garbanzos in the salad, so we put them on the side and I add it to my own servings).  Top it all off with the pesto as soon as possible (my reason being, if you don’t, you will eat all of it with a spoon before it makes it to your salad.  I’m 100% serious.  It’s that good).

When you cover the pasta salad, smoosh the plastic wrap against the surface of the pasta (instead of just over the top of the bowl) because it has a tendency to turn brown and this helps prevent that.


Garlic Potato Salad

Leslie H

While I know my kids have never been big potato salad fans, I found this one in my new cookbook Herbavoracious by Michael Natkin, changed it a smidge, and think it will be a delicious side dish for Father’s Day today. It is not your basic potato, hard boiled egg, mayo salad; it has really been updated with wonderful tangy flavors. Give it a try! It is gluten and dairy free and certainly can be made vegan by substituting the small amount of mayo for Vegannaise.


  • 5 pounds small, waxy potatoes
  • 8 stems green garlic – I couldn’t find these but used spring red onions (look like large red scallions)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • fresh chives and the purple buds (right now they are in abundance in my yard!)
  1. Wash the potatoes and put them in a large pot full of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until they are fully tender but not falling apart (time greatly depends on size and variety). Drain, rinse, cool, and cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the fuzzy end of the red onion including the outermost leaves, just like you would with a scallion. Slice thinly. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and saute the green garlic/red onion for about 5 minutes, until it is tender.
  3. Scrape the green garlic/red onion and olive oil into a small bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, minced garlic, vinegar, mayonnaise, black pepper, salt, rosemary, cayenne and black pepper. Stir well. Dip a piece of potato in and taste. Does it have enough salt? Is the garlic flavor present enough? Could it use a bit more cayenne? When you are satisfied, toss the dressing with the potatoes. This is easiest to do with your hands.
  4. Just before serving, thinly slice the chives and buds and  mix it into the potatoes.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


These chocolate crinkle cookies are awesome – you would never know they are gluten and dairy free; they taste like a real cookie!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(I tried to capture the chocolate deliciousness with this photo, but I don’t think it does it justice).

Kaitlin originally found this recipe through pinterest and didn’t do much (if any) adapting.  We made them for family dinner the night our grandpa passed away.  Our grandpa loved desserts (if there were options, he was known for always asking for “a little of each”) and we hoped these cookies would be a sweet reminder of him.  They were beyond delicious and our family loved them.  Fast forward 4 months, and I needed to bring treats for three different events happening over 2 days.  I wanted to make something gluten-free, so I could enjoy as well, but didn’t want to use expensive gf flours to feed a crowd of people – these cookies immediately came to mind!  (I also made the brown butter toffee blondies out of Martha Stewart’s Cookie Book, which were sinfully delicious, but I don’t want to incur the wrath of Martha by posting her recipe without permission, so you’ll just have to buy the book yourself…).  Needless to say, both treats were BIG hits.  The two platefuls I brought to the elementary school were gone long before lunch!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(Makes about 18)

1.5 cups Chocolate Chips (she recommends bittersweet…I used the Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips which are my new favorite chocolate chip)

3 large egg whites at room temperature

2.5 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbl cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put a silpat or other nonstick surface on a baking sheet.

Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips (putting the other 1/2 cup aside) in the microwave.  Check them every 20-30 seconds so you don’t burn them!

Using an electric mixer (or an electric whisk like we did) beat the egg whites into soft peaks in a large bowl.  Slowly beat in 1 cup of powdered sugar.  It should look like Marshmallow fluff!

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, 1 cup of powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt together.  Slowly add this to meringue.

When the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the melted chocolate and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the batter, which will become stiff.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl or high rimmed plate.  Make balls of dough about 1 Tbl and roll them in the powdered sugar before placing on the baking sheet (about 2 inches apart from each other).  Be warned – this is a messy dough, it get’s allll over your hands, so remove any rings/bracelets.  (I experimented with wetting my hands or leaving them dry before rolling…it didn’t make much of a difference.  I could do 6 balls before needing to wash my hands and start over.) (Don’t be deterred by this.  It’s not bad and it goes quickly!)

The original recipe recommends baking for 10 minutes, I ended up doing about 13.  Cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before moving to a baking rack to cool.  They are super fudgy when they are hot (aka…incredibly rich), but get more solid as they cool.

Double batch of Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This is a photo of my final delicious plate of cookies. (I made a double batch…that’s why there is so many).

Roasted Tomato and Basil Quinoa Salad


Even though we are experiencing June-uary in Seattle right now, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite quinoa salads this week, which is perfect for a summer picnic.  The inspiration came from a pasta salad recipe my mom ripped out of a magazine (we think Bon Appetit), but on the whole, it is an original recipe.  It made about 5 days of lunches.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Quinoa

(my artistic, up close and personal picture…)



1.5 cups Quinoa

3 cups water



2 cans butterbeans

garlic powder


olive oil


1 pack cherry tomatoes



olive oil


1/4 cup pinenuts

about 1/4 cup basil (like 5 stalks…)

2 green onions



zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1.5 lemons

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

garlic powder


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking pan with a silpat (or foil…or something to make it non-stick).  Cut the cherry tomatoes “hot dog style” (the long way) into halves.  Line them up on the baking pan with the skin side down, insides facing up.  Drizzle with olive oil and then lightly sprinkle with sugar and salt (I think it’s about 1 tsp of each…but enough to cover all the tomatoes).  Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, but check them frequently so that they don’t burn and get to the perfect level of toasty.

Make the quinoa.  (I think I’ve explained this elsewhere…make according the recipe on the box, just like you would make rice.  Make sure to rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer first to get rid of extra hulls).

Heat a little oil in a sautee pan and when it’s hot, add 2 cans of butterbeans (rinse them out first!).  Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to your taste.  I like to cook the beans until they start to get a little bit crispy, flipping them every so often. (I have a weird thing about raw beans…but you definitely don’t have to cook them).  I ADORE butterbeans…I think I could sit and eat a whole can cooked like this in one sitting.  They absorb flavor really well and don’t have a funky taste like some beans have…

Toast your pinenuts until fragrant and slightly brown on low heat in a small sauce pan.

Chiffonade the basil (aka…chop it up into small pieces).

Cut the green onions into little pieces.  (I’ll be honest…I added these for the color.  They were a tasty addition, but totally optional.)

Combine the cooked quinona, butterbeans, roasted tomatoes (delicately!), pinenuts, basil, and green onions in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of about 1.5 lemons, olive oil (about the same amount as the lemon juice), a few healthy pinches of salt, a couple grinds of pepper, and a dash or two of garlic powder. Whisk the ingredients together.  Add balsamic vinegar until it tastes just right. (Note…as mentioned before, I love my acidic flavors, so can be pretty lemony/balsamicy depending on your palate).

Pour over the quinoa mixture and enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Quinoa Salad

I always find this become more delicious after sitting overnight and the butterbeans have soaked up some of the dressing flavor and the basil has rubbed off on the other ingredients.  This would also be tasty with some Parmesan cheese, but it is totally unnecessary for those trying to be dairy free!


Zucchini and Mushroom Frites with Vegan Ranch Dipping Sauce

Hi everyone! Kaitlin and Leslie H. here!

I came home for a few days after graduation to spend some time relaxing! Mom and I made a lot of delicious food, but definitely thought these were worth sharing. Obviously not the healthiest thing we could have made (BUT, we could have used the deep fryer, and we didn’t, so we considered that a small victory!)

Zucchini and Mushroom Frites with Vegan Ranch Dipping Sauce

SO. To make this delicious treat: (And please understand in advance that there were no real quantities used, so I’ll do my best to give amounts of ingredients)

For the Vegetables:

-4 Zucchini

-15 Mushrooms (maybe, that’s just a guess. I really have no idea).

-1/2 cup Rice flour (or normal flour if you can eat it)

-3 eggs

-1 Box (~10 oz.) Gluten free bread crumbs (Again, normal ones if you can have them)

-Tbsp. of some mixture of Oregano, Basil, & Parsley

-Salt and Pepper to taste (Definitely make sure to salt the mixture enough!)

-Lots of canola oil for frying


-Slice the veggies so that they are about 1/4 inch thick. Coat them in rice flour and set in the 1st spot of the assembly line. Scramble up 2 raw eggs (to start, add the 3rd if you need it). Put them in the 2nd spot in the assembly line. In a third bowl, mix together the GF breadcrumbs, green seasoning, salt and pepper. And lastly, on the stove, heat up a good layer of Canola oil for frying–about enough to come halfway up the vegetables, I’m sure it would be delicious to totally immerse them, but probably not necessary! (Should be on medium/high heat).

-Go through the assembly line, coating the vegetables in the raw egg, dipping them in the bread crumb mixture, and then placing them in the medium-heat oil. Cook the vegetables on each side for about 2 minutes until they are crispy, but also making sure to cook them long enough so that the vegetables cook, too.

-Set up a cookie drying rack over a baking sheet (or some other type of contraption) to let the veggies sit after frying and drain some of the oil out.

For the Vegan Ranch:

This was delicious, by the way. Recipe from We made a half recipe but for the quantity of veggies that we made, I would definitely recommend doing a whole recipe.

-1 cup vegan mayonnaise (we just used regular) (NOTE SPECIFICALLY TO MELISSA: Don’t freak out. You don’t even know that it’s mayo once it’s all mixed… although I realize you don’t even like ranch anyway…)

-1/4 unsweetened soy milk (we used almond milk)

-1 tsp. garlic powder

-1 tsp. onion powder

-1/4 tsp. salt

-1/4 tsp. pepper

-2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley

-1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

-1/2 tsp. fresh chopped dill (We didn’t put this in, mainly because I don’t like dill)

-Whisk all ingredients together. That is all. Delicious!