I'm the gluten-free and vegan blogger and photographer behind Sassy Kitchen & Sassy Gourmet. Attempting to change the soy-filled, bland ways of mainstream vegan food and add a bit of sass. Inspired by design, glamour, vegetables and mason jars.
There are some people who will cook and bake outside of their “diet philosophies” for family and friends. I’m definitely not one of those people. That may sound stubborn, but really it’s not about being difficult. I just figure if I could make the “same” thing AND be able to eat it, too, why not? It’s easy to go buy any full-fat “normal” dessert. It is not always easy to make a gluten-free vegan birthday cake.
My tradition among close friends and family, is to bake a special treat for them. I usually ask what their top 3 favorite desserts are, then I’ll create a unique recipe for them based off their response. Unfortunately for me, that answer is usually chocolate. No, not “chocolate cake” or “brownies,” just “anything chocolate.” Now, I like chocolate, don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate a good brownie or truffle, but it’s definitely not my first choice. I was always the odd one out among my sisters requesting “vanilla” instead of “chocolate.” I remember refusing birthday cake as a young kid because it was chocolate! My indifference is heightened among the many many chocolate lovers I know.
This tart was so delicious, I actually started laughing upon the first bite.
I had almost 4 friend’s birthdays in a weeks span of time. I knew I had to find something everyone would love. This time, I decided to not just go for my Cocoa Carob Brownie Bites, or homemade truffles, but something I could even like. This tart was so delicious, I actually started laughing upon the first bite. It’s rich chocolate and I like it!
I am warning you now, this is quite a decadent dessert. It is rich, creamy and nutty thanks to an amazing buttery almond meal crust. This will surely make someone feel special on any day, chocolate lover or not.
This is one of my favorite times of year in New York. For me, everything right now has to be creamy, warm and filled with ginger. That doesn’t mean I don’t still drink green smoothies and kale salads, but when it comes to dessert, it has to be fruit-filled and warm.
I became obsessed with all the mini pears I saw around the greenmarkets. Anyone who reads this knows I have an affinity for anything miniature or especially tiny in size. This may be because I relate to them, being barely 5’1 myself. The little guys have to be recognized sometimes, so I thought I’d treat these little pears just as if they were big ones, and poach them. It resulted in a creamy, sweet and Autumn dessert with just enough of a napoleon complex to be big & bold in flavor.
Much to my surprise, some of my family members have recently become vegan. This holiday season, lots of traditions had to be adapted for the new dietary habits that aren’t just mine anymore. I took on the challenge of re-creating our Christmas morning treat of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. I always figure, if i’m going to adapt a recipe for whatever reason, I might as well make it gluten-free, too. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I baked something with normal flour–it has been years.
I did a little research to see what recipes already existed for such a thing like vegan and gluten-free cinnamon rolls, when I found a blog called Cooking with Dia. She makes amazing comfort food, and cooks mostly (if not all) gluten-free and vegan. I took a look at her recipe, and the wonderful photos, and I barely adapted a thing. The recipe was amazing as is, and my family loved it, too.
I don’t know when it happened, but ever since Autumn began I have had an obsession with chili. I started ordering it from Curly’s Lunch, and became shamelessly addicted to the very cheap and hearty meal. Feeling intimidated to re-create one of my favorite cold weather meals, I knew I had to throw in some special flavors. The white corn kernels, as time consuming as they are, and the nutmeg make this stew really special. In the winter months, like most, I crave warm, filling one-pot meals that I can make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how long this batch will last!
My CSA keeps getting better and better. A few weeks ago, we have received watermelon, several types of fresh herbs and bountiful amounts of different greens. No offense, but I was getting so sick of summer squash and cucumbers. I finally got over my summer squash boredom, but there is only so much I can take!
As I mentioned, we finally started getting some sassy greens in the mix. This week I got arugula, spicy greens mix and mesclun greens. They are currently taking over my refrigerator. I love nothing more than feeling like I’m drowning in a fridge full of produce, let me tell you. I am the worst food shopper ever, and by that I mean I never ever get necessities. I am always browsing my local store, and farmer’s markets just to find anything fun and inspiring to cook with. Therefore, I always have too much food on hand. It is literally a race to finish it all.
Today we are going to make, Brown Rice Cakes with Calimyrna Figs, Arugula And A Thyme-Infused Balsamic Reduction. Now doesn’t that sound good?
I mentioned before that I have a hard time eating figs. It isn’t that I dislike them, I just find I’m always eating them plain. I also always tend to eat them with sweet things (like tarts) , and this time I decided to do something a little more savory.
Since summer is actually over, and I’m starting to eat things like mushroom stuffed pumpkin, it’s about time I posted my lemonade recipe. This post is long overdue, as my schedule seems to be more and more insane as the hours pass (but no excuses!). Regardless, this recipe was a special one I concocted for my trip to the gluten-free potluck in honor of Shauna and Danny’s new book, The Gluten-free Girl & The Chef.
I think this was my first official blog outing, which made me incredibly anxious, but I knew I would be safe in an environment based around Shauna. Hers was the first blog I ever read, after becoming gluten-intolerant (or…finding out). I read her book and cried, laughed, and sat in amazement at her writing and ability to share herself. I so admire that, being an incredibly private and possibly paranoid person myself. I’ve followed her ever since, and was excited by the idea to not only meet her, but make something to bring. I knew it had to stand out from the potluck crowd, and as my concord grape obsession was led by the summer season, I made a lemonade. I previously made a blueberry lemonade, which I still love, but this is a more unique combination of flavors that luckily went over very well with all the attendees.
I read her book and cried, laughed, and sat in amazement at her writing and ability to share herself.
(The Gluten-free Girl & The Chef Book Promo – Not A Vegan or Raw Recipe Book)
I’ve had an extensive relationship with tea since I can remember. Not just the substance of tea, but more specifically the actual event of a tea. Thanks to my chic and antique-obsessed mother, we had a collection of old handmade teacups, vintage silver and dainty tea platters. Almost every special occasion was some extensive tea party with scones, quiche, sandwiches, etc. I have the best memories of these teas, and how far back in my life I had enjoyed them.
Even for my birthday 2 years ago, I had a tea party with my sister and mother while Nina Simone blasted in the background and gluten-free scones were aplenty. The tradition has not yet died in my family. So, when I first found Alexis of Teaspoons and Petals I was enriched with her delicious tea combinations, knowledge and quaintness. She is like the saint of twitter, posting things like, “Crisp fall air is streaming in through the windows. warming up with a cup of delicate, sweet sencha.” She makes me dream of rustic cabins, tea cups and fabulous tea blends. She is a talented writer (and consultant), so it’s nothing to her to create a complete tea-centric atmosphere just from a mere 140 characters (or less). Not to mention her unbelievably adorable Haiku Teacups combined with lyrics of Jazz Era vocalists. I’m a huge huge huge fan of singers like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Mamie Smith, Ida Cox, Dinah, etc. I almost died when I saw these adorable cups with lyrics from my favorite women. Her site includes her unique simple syrup blends, like Lavender Blossom. I can’t say enough about her, but needless to say, I have a huge crush.
I was so honored when she contacted me for an interview. Talking about tea with a tea goddess?! OF course. The interview and recipe were featured on her site last week, with the sweetest write-up. I did not deserve anything she said about me. I was so happy to collaborate with her, and I know we will continue to do so in the future.
It’s true, I’m sassy. I definitely have never been one to keep my opinions to myself. But, something happened when I found my passion in food. I found that cooking soothes me like nothing else ever has. When I get in the kitchen, my mind quiets and I create. That is a very difficult thing to do for an anxious person like me, but food has literally changed my soul.
I didn’t always have the greatest relationship with food. I spent years with chronic stomach pain, where everything I ate made me ill. Not until I found my many food intolerances, was I re-invigorated by what I COULD eat, and how it could make me feel amazing. I fell in love with food all over again, and developed an entire different mindset. With any chronic illness, you become incredibly grateful for how nurturing and delicious food can be. Food seriously healed me, emotionally and physically.