Pear Almond Torte

pear almond torte

I  received pears in my CSA box yesterday which was a bit of a surprise, as I tend to focus on them more in the fall.  But I’m always game to put produce to new uses, and I love the combination of pears and almonds.  This recipe was adapted from a friend who was in my chef program.  Its flour-less and therefore gluten free.  The result was light and decadent (if that makes sense) – and just in time for Valentine’s Day…

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Pumpkin Maple Soufflan


I’m getting crafty with my recipe titles again.  Experimenting in the kitchen can do that to a person, especially when it comes to dessert.  Over New Year’s we picked up the last of a pumpkin crop in Bolinas and I promptly added them to my collection on the front porch.  Even if that decor is SO autumn…these pumpkins are still offering sweet, fleshy flavor when roasted.  So I combined a few recipes to make a combo souffle and flan, introducing pumpkin ‘soufflan.’

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Baked Apples

baked apples

In the thick of the ‘healthy post-holiday season,’ we are inundated with diet and weight loss suggestions.  While I’m all for getting on a healthy track, I  am not a fan of the yo-yo diets or starvation protocols floating around. In essence, they are unsustainable and they put our bodies through undue stress and confusion.  Instead, I opt for continuity by eating whole foods in their most natural state every day.  Easy enough, right?  Let’s explore…

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Molasses Pepper Cookies

molasses cookies

I wanted to get this in before you are completely sick of baking.  I hope I’m not too late ‘cuz these cookies are SO worth it.  I adapted the recipe from Tori Ritchie, a local cookbook author and TV chef, who writes a wonderful blog called “Tuesday’s Recipe.”  After further review, Tori gives the original credit to the San Francisco Chronicle, which is often what happens when something is THAT good.  It gets passed on umpteen times.

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Raw Goji Berry Truffles


It’s that time of year when we get to make and eat everything we want, right?  Well, almost.  And if you follow this site, you can pretty much enjoy the most tantalizing goodies without breaking the weight bank, so to speak.  It’s day three of another “Gluten Free Progressive Dinner Party” and this month we are focusing on desserts.  Wahoo!  Today’s theme is chocolate, and I am sharing a simple recipe which can be served as dessert or under the tree.  It comes from that delicious experience at Esalen by Leslie Cerier.

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Pumpkin Pecan "Cheese"cake

pumpkin cheesecake

Here we are at the final destination of our “Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner Party,” and as most of you know, it’s my favorite course: dessert!  I am a freak for pumpkin – in the form of pie, cookies, muffins or cheesecake.  I try to extend the ’season’ as long as I can just to savor its creamy goodness.  But being the wholesome baker that I am, I am always finding new ways to adjust the sweetness (and the type,) as well as the crust.  In keeping with our gluten free focus, I have mastered (!) a decadent pecan crust which pairs beautifully with the filling.  Which, by the way, does not contain any cheese, but uses yogurt adding a refreshing tang with every bite…

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Goat Cheese with Cumin and Mint

goat cheese pom

I am part of something new and exciting this week.  Seven fellow food writers are joining together for a “Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner Party”  and you are invited to attend!  Each of us will be offering recipes every day this week comprising an entire holiday meal. You will have several options for each category, depending on taste and food combinations.  Yesterday we started with beverages at Whole Life Nutrition and Gluten Free Organics.  Today I will be presenting an appetizer, along with two more from Book of Yum and Gluten Free Organics.

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Fresh Pumpkin Pudding

I figured we all have pumpkin on hand this week…so I thought I’d share some tips on how to bake the flesh inside, and put it to several yummy uses.  Most of the baking recipes call for Sugar Pie pumpkins, but you can also cook with acorn or butternut squash if you prefer.  This pumpkin pudding is so easy and a great make-ahead when entertaining, or great for breakfast, too!

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Vanilla Bean Applesauce


So when last we were together, I mentioned power outages and applesauce.  Thankfully, gas and electric are restored, and my applesauce is resting in its new glass enclosures.

Let me start by saying I am not the most patient person on the planet (I hear the LOL’s), so when it comes to things like traditional canning, I usually run for cover.  But recently my friend Ali at Whole Life Nutrition offered tips on how even the most challenged of us (like moi, with mismatched jars and lids) can bottle up some sweet goodness easefully and not far from the tree.  Plus, she has lovely pictures and precious little hands to help her.

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Dairy Free Corn Chowda

I have many posts to share  – and quickly – as the summer produce transitions into fall.  As mentioned in previous notes, here in Napa we are finding the last of heirloom tomatoes, corn and pears…along with new crops of pumpkins, apples and figs.  At the St Helena Farmers’ Market, I bought some of the sweetest corn I have had all ‘summer’ from Long Meadow Ranch.  As the weather provides a bit of chill in the air, I thought it was time for soup.  And so this version of corn chowder was born…

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