Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad

Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad

Fresh, light and perfectly summery! A great side salad for grilled main dishes this summer, this orzo salad has it all. It has the delicious texture of orzo, the creaminess of Gruyere cheese and the freshness of mint and lemon balm. I had fun coming up with this recipe and I hope that you enjoy it very soon with out cookout in your backyard. 

It all started when my lovely neighbor brought a package of this amazing gluten free orzo made from corn which has such a pretty yellow color to it. I knew I had to create an amazing salad with that ingredient and came up with this one. Enjoy it today! 

I'll be serving it this week for my customers. 

Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad: 

About 6 small servings

1 1/2 cups gluten free orzo (dry) 

2+ tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon (juice and zest of) 

1 cup+ spinach, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm, finely chopped

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes

1/3 cup sliced black olives

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the orzo in the boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the orzo, let cool for 2-3 minutes and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

2. You may serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. You can make it 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator. 



Triple Berry Cobbler with Scone Topping

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Triple Berry Cobbler

Summer berry season is my very favorite season of all here in Oregon! I am a crazy berry picker. If you left me to my own devices I would spend day and night picking berries. I get in a "zone" and just keep picking! It all started when I was a toddler, in a backpack on my Dad's back when we were camping up at Olallie Lake one year. I kept tugging on his hair so that I could get down and pick "bays!" "bays" as I called the berries! I would be so obsessed with berry picking from then on. As I got older each year as we would take our yearly camping trip there I would make sure to pick lots of berries and save a certain amount for huckleberry pancakes- the ultimate treat of the summer. 

 I now have a lot of berries in my freezer from my berry picking escapades this summer waiting to turn into delicious concoctions like this berry cobber that I made for the 4th of July celebration! Yay! 

This cobber can be decorated in any way, for any holiday and is so delicious! I love how the honey in the filling brings out the best flavor in the berries and the soft scone topping with the slight crunch from the polenta finishes off the dessert just right. 


Triple Berry Cobbler with Scone Topping


6 cups frozen berries (I used 2 cups raspberries, 2 cups strawberries and 2 cups blackberries)

1/2 cup honey

3 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all of the the above ingredients in a large bowl. Then, transfer to a 10" ceramic pie pan. 


Scone Topping:

1/2 cup polenta (cornmeal) 

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I like Namaste brand often sold at Costco) 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup full fat coconut milk

+ extra sugar for sprinkling on top.

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. 

2. Add in the coconut oil at room temperature in small chunks. Mix together with your fingers to work in the lumps of coconut oil. Some lumps will remain. 

3. Stir in the the coconut milk to form a dough. 

4. Sprinkle a rolling surface with tapioca flour or gluten free flour mix. Roll the dough into a ball. Roll it out into a circle with a rolling pin. 

5. Carefully place the circle on top of the berry mixture in the pie pan. You may use cookie cutters to cut holes in the dough in a decorative pattern. Brush the top of the cobbler with some water and sprinkle some organic sugar on top. 

6. Bake the cobber at 350F for about 35-40 minutes or until the berry mixture is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. 

Let cool a bit and enjoy! 

Strawberry Hibiscus Iced Tea

strawberry hibiscus iced tea

This amazingly delicious and refreshing iced tea recipe came about when I decided last week to do all of my shopping at the local Mexican grocery store. When I was in high school I lived in Mexico for a year and I loved all of the food there. In Mexico their main meal is mid-day, around 2pm or 3pm. Each meal is usually served with an "agua fresca" a refreshing flavored water made with local fruit. One of my favorites is the hibiscus water or agua de jamaica. It is so pretty and refreshing! It is made from hibiscus flower petals that are dried. 

In the Mexican market I was able to find these dried hisbiscus flower petals in a bulk bin and got a whole bag full of them. It only takes 4 tablespoons of flower petals to make a whole pitcher of iced tea, so these will last quite a while. It was a wonderful adventure buying the week's groceries at this market. I made some amazing discoveries. 

I encourage you to go on a local adventure! Go grocery shopping at a different market and discover some amazing ingredients to play with. I wish you well on your adventures! 

This week here in Oregon it has been very, very hot! In fact, yesterday it hit over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, I will certainly be enjoying several glasses of this iced tea today to keep cool. Enjoy! 

Hibiscus Strawberry Iced Tea: 

4 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers

2 cups boiling water


1 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted (keep the juice) 

4 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste

4 cups water

+ pitcher/glasses

1. Place the dried hibiscus flowers in a glass liquid measuring cup. Add the 2 cups boiling water. Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. 

2. Place a fine mesh metal strainer/sieve over a medium bowl. Pour the hibiscus mixture into the sieve to strain out the flower petals. 

3. Cool the tea mixture down. 

4. When the tea mixture is cool, place it in a glass pitcher. 

5. Add the strawberries, their juice and the maple syrup to taste. 

6. Let sit in the refrigerator until the flavors meld- overnight is best. You will taste more of the strawberry flavor the more you let the iced tea marinate. 

7. Enjoy in glasses poured over ice! 

For more delicious brunch recipes make sure to check out  & purchase my new brunch cookbook: 

Recipes for a Cheery Life: Gluten Free Brunch


Homemade Zucchini Tomato Basil Pizza on the Grill!

homemade zucchini tomato basil pizza on the grill

Delicious, fresh grilled zucchini tomato and basil pizza! 

Summer is still here and there are still so many goodies from the garden to enjoy including the fast growing zucchini, tomatoes and fresh basil. Grilling the pizza means that you don't have to get your kitchen hot by turning on the oven and the pizza bakes quickly on the grill while you enjoy a few moments outside. 

In my family, Friday night always meant pizza night and it was never takeout or delivery, it was always homemade, from scratch. There were toppings that we all loved and certain ones, like pepperoncini that my Dad especially loved to add a spicy kick to pizza! 

This particular pizza came about a few days ago when I was trying to use up lots of ingredients we had from both my parent's garden and ours. I wanted to make a simple, healthy dinner that also felt special, and this fit the bill! 

This pizza is adapted from a magazine article I clipped a while back and I have adapted it to make 2 medium size (about 12") pizzas. You may make one zucchini tomato pizza with the topping recipe below and top your other pizza with other ingredients as you wish. 

This recipe requires planning ahead as the dough needs to rise for about 18 hours. 

Usually what I do is start the dough before I go to sleep, then get it ready to use about 30 minutes before dinner time. 

Below I share the dough recipe, sauce and topping recipe as well: 

    Freshly risen pizza dough ready to roll! 


Freshly risen pizza dough ready to roll! 


Pizza Dough: 

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1. In a medium bowl (the night before baking your pizza), place the flour, salt and yeast. Use a wire whisk to combine the ingredients. 

2. Use a wooden spoon to stir while slowly adding the water. Stir until well mixed. 

3. With your hands, mix dough gently to combine it into a rough ball. 

4. Move the dough to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise at room temperature. Let it rise until dinner time. (It needs a total of about 18 hours of rise time) 

5. After the rising time is passed, divide the dough roughly in half. 

6. Roll out each half into a medium sized dough circle, about 12 inches in diameter. 

Proceed by brushing on sauce, adding the toppings and cheese with the recipes below: 


Pizza Sauce: 

One 8oz can of tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

Place the tomato sauce, garlic and basil into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture is at a slow simmer, turn down the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

    Freshly broiled veggies! 


Freshly broiled veggies! 


Zucchini, Tomato and Basil Topping: 

About 1 cup zucchini, sliced into circles, then into quarters

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

Olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

5-6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat your oven to broil. On a rimmed baking sheet, place the zucchini and tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. 

Broil the veggies for 4-5 minutes, until slightly charred on top, remove from oven. 

Continue to top your pizza as follows, and follow the instructions below to grill your pizza. 


Topping the Pizza: 

1. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on a rimmed metal baking sheet. Place a pizza dough round on the baking sheet. 

2. Spoon on a generous portion of the pizza sauce to taste on your pizza round. Use a pastry brush to make sure you cover the whole surface, leaving about a half inch all of the way around without sauce. 

3. Sprinkle your broiled veggies on top. 

4. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. 

5. Sprinkle the top of the pizza with the torn fresh basil leaves. 


Prepping Your Grill & Grilling

I currently use a gas grill for most of my grilling.

1. You want to heat both burners on your gas grill to medium high.

2. Place a large, square pizza stone on the grill grates to heat up. 

3. Heat your grill for about 15 minutes. 

4. Place the pan with your pizza on it on top of the pizza stone on the grill. 

5. The pizza takes 7-10 minutes to cook on the grill. Be sure to check it after 5 minutes. Check underneath to make sure the pizza is cooked on the bottom. 

6. When the pizza is done it will bubble up, become golden brown, the cheese will be melted and the underside will be properly cooked. 

Enjoy your grilled pizza this summer! 

My best to you always!