I had a heck of a time getting a picture of this seductive soup.  The bowl was getting dragged away from me!  It seems the culprit felt he had waited quite long enough and wanted it NOW!  I can’t say that I blamed him.  I had been fairly evil, overwhelming the house with the scent of first, roasted corn, then corn stock, then the bacon and onions, yeah… I think we all understand.

This isn’t a fast project, but it is easy and definitely worthy of your time!  Pick up some fresh corn.  Corn deteriorates very rapidly.  You want to start cooking it as close as possible to when it was picked.  Farmers Markets are much better then the grocery store.  If you are near a field of corn, maybe you can buy some from the farmer.  I got lucky and found some bi-color ears.  Those are super sweet!

You will want to begin by roasting the ears, in their husks.  Put them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven.  When they start to brown and steam a bit, turn them over.  The timing is pretty variable, dependent on how fresh your corn is.  You are probably looking at 20-30 minutes, but it’s not an exact science.

When the corn has cooled enough to handle after roasting, you will need to shuck it.  Once you have them all cleaned up, use a sharp knife to cut all the kernels from the cobs.  Cut just to the base of the kernels, not the pith underneath.  If it’s hard to cut, you are too deep.  Put the corn in a bowl and set aside.

Place the denuded cobs into a sizable pot to make stock.  Add one yellow onion, peeled and quartered, two celery stocks and one peeled carrot cut in 3-4 pieces.  For aromatics, I would choose a small cinnamon stick and one good bay leaf.  Fill the pot to about double the water to vegetables.  Put it on to cook.  Since this stock has no fat, you can cook it pretty briskly, unlike meat stocks that you need to simmer so the fat doesn’t emulsify into the liquid.  Or, this part of the recipe can be started in the morning and simmered slowly for hours.  You could even do it a day ahead.  Just cover your cooked corn kernels and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to make the soup you will need two or three cups of small diced mire poix (carrot, onion, celery), a couple minced fresh hot peppers and good bacon.  I like apple smoked bacon, in particular, especially for a recipe like this one.  Cut the bacon into quarter inch pieces or smaller.  Cook with the mire poix in a soup pot with a bit of olive oil.  When it’s nearly done, add two minced cloves of fresh garlic.  Do not over cook the garlic, or it will be bitter.

Strain your corn stock and add to the cooked vegetables.  Toss in a tablespoon of salt and some fresh black pepper.  If you would like potatoes in the soup, now is the time to add them.  I found some German Butter Potatoes at the Lake City Farmers Market.  If you can’t get to a Market, red potatoes or Yukon Golds would work, too.  The German’s needed to be peeled, due to rough, pitted exteriors.  If your potatoes have clean, unblemished thin skins, it’s up to you on that.  A lot of time, I don’t peel them.  I like the texture and color contrast in the finished soup.  One to two cups of small diced potatoes will do.  If you don’t have enough liquid, add either chicken stock or water to cover the vegetables.  Now is a good time to peruse the spice cabinet for flavors that inspire.  Coriander is a great choice.  I also added a dash of African Cayenne.  This is something they carry at World Spice on Western, below Pike Market.  They are my favorite source for really fresh spices.  (I’m planning a trip there soon.  Watch for the post.)  The African is hotter then regular cayenne.  It also has a lot of complex flavor, making it a regular go-to in my spice array.  Dried oregano completed my choices for now.

When the potatoes are done, add the cooked corn and cream to cover.  Bring it back up to temperature.  Add chopped flat leaf parsley and cilantro.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.  Use a touch of cider vinegar to really make those fresh flavors sing.  I like Braggs Organic Cider Vinegar.

You just made some amazing healthy, gluten free soup!  Watch out for the stampede headed your way!  Enjoy!


Like you, I check out those easy looking packages on the store shelf in the gluten free section…  I know that every cupboard doesn’t have the array of various ingredients I keep on hand, so I decided to give one a try.

I’ve always had pretty good luck with Red Mill products, so I picked up their Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.  Reading the ingredients, it appeared to have chocolate chips already in it, but, well… I wasn’t seeing them thru the cellophane and, let’s face it, it is pretty hard to have too many chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies, so I picked up a bag of those, too.  I also sought out my favorite secret ingredient for the ultimate in cookie texture; cream cheese.  Let’s go make some cookies!!



Chef Celinda’s Version of Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:

1/2 cup butter

3 ounces cream cheese

Add one egg, as written on the package, whip it in until all emulsified.

Now, add the package of dry ingredients.

Stir, just until mixed.  Add 1 cup of the additional chocolate chips.  Mix.

You should anticipate your dough looking a bit dry, as noted on the package instructions.  No worries.  It will hold together when you form the balls.

You will want to cook them at 350 degrees in a regular oven or 325 degrees in a convection.

The package said to grease your cookie sheet.  I was very skeptical of this and did a single cookie test first.  No, do not grease the sheets.  Some parchment paper on them would be excellent though.  Way easier clean up.

Using your clean hands, form walnut sized balls of dough.  Place them a couple inches apart on the tray.  Flatten a bit with your palm. The mix is not overly sweet.  If you like, these would be delightful rolled in sugar before placing them on the tray and cooking.

Follow the package instruction and bake until golden.  Remove hot cookies  immediately to a cooling wrap.  Be careful, they are a bit delicate.  Many ovens don’t have accurate thermostats, so keep an eye on your first batch, to see how long they take in your oven.  If you have hot and cold spots in your unit, be sure and carefully turn the tray half way thru.

If you are allergic to dairy, you can use another fat, instead of butter.  The cream cheese can be omitted, also, but the cookies will be more brittle.

These would be excellent with nuts, too!  I’m sure you will have numerous willing guinea pigs standing by to test whatever combo you decide to try!


You know when you bite into something new and the world slows down; the edges to things in your vision get a bit hazy; you need to consciously remember to breathe… Yeah, it was like that.  I’m not sure how long I can go without another opportunity to make a complete swine of myself with these glorious rings.

image. squash

Gluten Free Fried Delicata with Spiced Honey Glaze

Got your attention now, do I?  But, before we get into recipes, are you familiar with Delicata Squash?  You can find them at most grocery stores currently.  I haven’t found any at the Farmers Markets get, but I’m hoping to.  I have personally grown them in Washington state myself, so know it’s doable with our seasons.  delicata

One of the primary reasons to get excited about these little guys, besides that they taste wonderful, is that they are the only Winter Squash you do not have to peel.  Yes, the thin peels are entirely edible!  Score!  I don’t know about you, but peeling is NOT on my list of exciting and fun projects! Ha!

To make this dish, you will need to prep your squash.  One will probably be enough for two servings.  Well, at least the first time you eat them.  Wash the squash and cut off the ends.  You do remember the part about sharp knives we discussed in the last recipe?  This is especially important when cutting something like this.  They can be a bit ‘resistant’.  When you are working with something that is hard to cut, you push harder.  A dull knife will require more effort and being dull, will tend to go the path of less resistance; your finger…  Need I say more?  Once the ends are gone, now cut it in half, the short way.  Using a pairing knife/peeler/spoon/whatever works, you are going to remove the seeds and membrane from the inside.  Yeah, it’s a bit challenging, but worth it. Remember you didn’t have to peel it, too!  When complete, you will have two hollow tubes.  Now you are going to cut these into quarter inch thick rings.  You can go thinner, but it’s pretty difficult to get them consistent.  Thicker won’t have the texture, in the finished product, you are looking for.  Set these aside.

You are going to need a method to fry them.  I have a great little home deep fryer from Presto that I really like.  Way less mess then doing it on the stove.  Should you decide to purchase a fryer, the thing to look for is how much power it has.  You want the one with the most, that you can find.  An underpowered unit will not be able to keep up and your food will end up tasting greasy.  Ick!  If you are using a pan, you need something nice and stout with a heavy bottom.  It needs to be large enough, so that the rings can submerge and the oil doesn’t come over the sides.  Cast iron is always a good choice.

What kind of oil should you use?  I have had the opportunity to cook with a lot of different oils and fats in my 35 year career.  I prefer to use things without additives or excessive processing.  In honesty, my very favorite to work with is lard.  The medical studies are now starting to agree with me, finally, that these are not bad for us in moderation.  The stuff we can’t pronounce, in our food, will always be a problem, though.  If the thought of lard frightens you, try rice bran oil.  A bit spendy, but fries really well and food doesn’t soak it up, like most other oils.  This dream of a dish really cries out for lard, though.  Just sayin’…

A quick reminder regarding deep frying and gluten.  Since the oil is reusable a number of times, you absolutely must understand, that it can never have regular flour used in it, if you are planning to feed someone that can not tolerate gluten.  The gluten will stay suspended in the oil and attach itself to other things you are cooking afterwards.  Gluten that has been super heated in this way, is an immediate threat to those that are sensitive to it.  Reactions are immediate and frequently severe.
That said, keep this in mind when ordering in a restaurant.  Unless you are in a restaurant that ONLY serves gluten free dishes, the individual that is sensitive must never order deep fried food of any sort.

While the oil is heating, you can make up the honey.  You could also have it made ahead.  It will hold easily.  The more you can have prepped ahead of time, the easier it is to get the meal done without a bunch of stress.  This is the secret of why restaurant kitchens can work so effectively at getting out all those meals at the same time.

Spiced Honey Glaze

3 tablespoons clover honey, or your favorite

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 tsp minced fresh hot pepper

dash of cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon coriander

salt to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix everything together, except the cilantro, with a whip or immersion blender.  Set aside.

Grab those squash rings.  You are going to need to do a light dredge with some gluten free flour.  It’s super easy with a clean, dry plastic produce bag.  Throw the squash in the bag with about a half cup of the flour.  Twist the top to stop leaks and shake it about to coat the rings.  When you have them all coated, bop the, still closed, bag on the counter.  Excess flour will go to the bottom.

When your oil is up to temp, start frying the rings in small batches.  They are ready to take out of the oil when they are lightly brown and floating.  Place them on a paper towel lined plate.  Since these are super moist, they can get soggy pretty quick, so to compensate I like to do a double fry.  When you have completed the first round of cooking and it’s nearly time to complete the rest of the meal, drop them back into the fryer.  Mine is large enough to hold the whole batch.  Do what works with your equipment.  If the oil shows any sign of cooling rapidly, get the product out immediately and do in smaller batches when it’s hot again.

Once all the rings are ready, place in a large bowl.  Drizzle the honey over them and add the cilantro.  Toss everything together and plate.  Prepare yourself.  The lucky individuals, you are sharing these with, are going to be heaping massive quantities of adulation and praise upon you!

Wasn’t that fun?


Not everything we create in our kitchens must be made FAST.  The slowing down of the season is a lovely time to contemplate a bowl full of Beef Soup.

This is a recipe, yet it’s not.  Honestly, the recipes I give you will always have room for your own imagination in small ways or expansive culinary coup!IMG_BeefSoup

To get the ultimate in flavor and the texture you are craving, you need to cook the beef twice.

Purchase a bone in  (Yes, and I do mean that.  Bone=flavor)  chuck pot roast, preferably choice or better.

For the Braise

Salt and pepper the roast generously, then dredge meat in gluten free flour and sear it in a small amount of oil.  I prefer to use cast iron.  It will cook more evenly.  At the point that you turn the meat over to brown the other side, add some wedges of yellow onion, peeled carrot and celery.  Beware of grease spatters as you cook!

Once you have finished cooking the meat on all sides, turn off the burner.  Using the cast iron pan you seared the meat in, or place the meat and vegetables in another oven proof baking dish, add red wine… note on cooking with wine:  never cook with something you wouldn’t drink.  The dish will taste like the wine and you won’t like it.  Use the best you can afford; typically a variety that would go with the dish when it’s done.  Avoid reds with large amounts of pigment, like Syrah.  It will add more color to the finished dish then you want. (continuing recipe…) add red wine to fill the pan half way up the meat.  You can use stock for part or all of the liquid.  Now add some peeled cloves of garlic, bay leaf and any other fresh green herbs that sound good to you.  If you have it, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the meat.  Now, cover with enough foil to seal around the edges and put the pan lid firmly in place.  Put your pan of loveliness into a preheated 325degree oven.  This will need to cook for several hours.  The timing depends on how large your roast is.  Unless it is quite small, I’d estimate two and a half to three hours, but sometimes one can be surprised.  The roast that made the soup in the picture required an extra hour.  When a pairing knife slips into the roast easily, it’s time to take it out of the oven.

You are now going to cool the roast, uncovered, in the refrigerator and pretend you don’t know it’s there…

Now, for the Soup!

Tomorrow!  You will cut equal parts yellow onion, celery and carrot into small dice.  This is called mire poix.  Please use a sharp knife!  Dull knives cause far more finger cuts then sharp ones!  One can never have too much mire poix, but I’d probably aim for roughly the same volume as the roast.  Cook this mixture with olive oil in a nice heavy bottom soup pot until wilted and beginning to just barely brown.  Thin bottom pans tend to lead to scorching.  When the mire poix is about 70% done, add several cloves of minced fresh garlic.  Keep stirring.  Garlic turns bitter very easily and you won’t be able to get rid of that flavor.

When your vegetables are done add the liquid from the roast and an equal amount of stock.  note:  if you are purchasing stock PLEASE read the ingredients on the box/can.  Many contain allergens.  Now, dice up the cooled beef and add to the pan. Discard the vegetables and the bones from the braise.  They have done their work and are ready to ‘retire’.  If necessary, add more stock.   In fact, add whatever amount you wish.  Made it thick.  Make it thin.  This is YOUR soup!

If you aren’t watching Carbs, add some diced potatoes, if you wish.  Another great gluten free ingredient is steel cut oats!  These must be certified as gluten free.  Oats will require more liquid then potatoes.  Keep a close eye on your creation, that it doesn’t burn while it simmers.  You will want to let it cook very slowly for the next hour or two.

Once the vegetables, etc are nearly done, taste the liquid.  Add salt (don’t be shy!), pepper, spices and fresh herbs.  I like rosemary in beef soup, myself. But, this is now the time for your individuality to shine.  Hit those spice jars!  What sounds good to you?  Have some fun.

You are almost there!  Heck, maybe you’re sitting there eating a bowl of YOUR soup right now, wondering why I’m still talking at you!  BUT, if that pan you’ve slaved over seems to be ‘missing’ something and you just can’t put your finger on it… Add a little vinegar.  Sherry or red wine vinegar would be my first choice.  Add a few drops, stir well and taste…???  See!  Your creation is ALIVE and wonderful; or add a few drops more until it is!

Race you to the spoon drawer!


IMG_AppleThe incoming Fall weather makes me want to bake.  The scent of apples and spice permeating the air is a great producer of smiles.  Here is an easy recipe that makes this possible for lots of people with pesky food allergies!  It contains no soy, wheat, gluten, corn, eggs, dairy, or tree nuts.  Have fun!

Gluten Free Apple Crisp


1/2 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats
4 tablespoons coconut milk*
3 cups sliced apples – This is an excellent excuse to visit a Farmers Market and       pick out something delightful!
Agave syrup to taste. Depends on the tartness of the apple and your palate

1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
1/2 cup Red Mill gluten free flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons coconut oil


Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch round glass baking dish and set aside. Pay attention to what you use to grease the dish. Many sprays contain allergens!

Place the gluten-free oats in a bowl and soak them in the coconut milk for ten minutes.

Toss the apples with agave and lemon juice. Layer them in the prepared glass baking dish.

Combine the gluten-free flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon with the oats. Mix well.

Add the coconut oil in pieces. Rub the oat/flour mixture into the shortening with your fingers or two forks, creating a crumbly mix.

Top the apples with the oat mixture.  Bake on the center rack for 1 hour. Top should be golden and bubbly. Serve warm or cooled.

* Coconut milk comes in both fresh and shelf stable packaging. Read the label carefully. Some are made in facilities with soy, nuts, etc. If those enjoying this treat can not consume those items, you need to keep hunting for the right coconut milk. You may also use rice milk here. Just be very careful!

So many pretty peppers!  How to choose?  A little of this… a little of that… FUN!market peppers

The Ballard Farmers Market was the perfect place to be on such a beautiful Sunday.  Besides the peppers, I also found some enticing little apples to make a gluten free crumble tomorrow and a piece of sheep milk feta (no cow milk!) from Glendale Shepherd.  Chatting with the owner, it seems the only other critters on the farm are rabbits, so many of you that are lactose intolerant can rejoice in their beautiful cheeses!

Should you be a sausage maven, check out Sea Breeze Farm sometime!  They have standard hours on Saturday at the U Dist Market and Sundays at Ballard.  They are delighted to chat about the ingredients in their multitude of impressive looking sausages.  At the moment, all do have dairy in their recipes, but none use gluten, soy or corn syrup.  Excellent news for many would be devotees.  Rose tells me they are quite willing to make custom batches for those with food allergies.  Minimum orders are required.  There were an array of others goodies in their case I may have to check out another time!


Let’s make chili!  Always a gluten free favorite meal at my house.

I have put some of my favorite ‘Jacob’s Cattle’ beans,  to soak while I wander down to the Farmers Market for some of those spectacular local peppers I have been admiring.  I think I might try the Ballard Market today!

Jacobs Cattle are an heirloom bean, originally from Germany, sometimes alternatively labeled as Trout or Dalmatian Bean.  It is a sweet bean with maroon and white markings and has it’s own distinctive flavor. 

In Seattle, you can purchase the beans in the bulk department at Whole Foods and at Central Market

There are so many stories published regarding Chefs refusing to acknowledge food allergies and sensitivities.  They feel many of the customers are merely trying to be controlling or get extra attention; or our favorite, the individual who simply dislikes an ingredient so claims an allergy.   After my 35 years in the restaurant business, I know, in reality these Chefs are frequently correct in their assumptions.  That creates a tremendous problem for those that truly must deal with allergies and sensitivities.

When I peruse a menu, with my background, I can usually suss out the culinary culprits hiding in a dish through my understanding of how it’s made.  This is a very good thing, since I have been clearly lied to many times by both servers and kitchen staff at restaurants.

I almost never tell other restaurants that I am a chef and restaurant owner.  I don’t want special treatment.  That said, I have also encountered the restaurants that ‘show me the door’.  If they care so little and/or have so little understanding of the ingredients they are working with, this is probably for the best.  My allergies are potentially fatal.  Luckily, most people have less threatening conditions.  I can help you understand the way dishes are made and with what ingredients you may need to be aware of.  You will learn things even your restaurant server probably won’t know.

You definitely need to understand that many people in the restaurant industry don’t know what is in the food any more then the average consumer.   How can this be?!?!  Unless you dine at restaurants that serve you pre-made food out a of a box, the list of ingredients can be an ‘unknown’ due to the number of individuals involved up to the final creation.  You also can encounter the ‘language barrier’.  If the server can’t communicate with a non-English speaking cook, the odds go down rapidly.  My safest meals generally occur in small, chef operated establishments.  Less people, more knowledge!

I am intending to provide a concise plan of attack covering both ‘How to Dine Out Safely’ and ‘How to Cook Without Fear, at Home’.  The second will include lots of fun trips to Farmers Markets and exotic culinary destinations.  Food does not ever need to be boring!  I hope you will join me regularly on my jaunts from shopping bag to plate!  Food is fun!!