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Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Tart (GF, Grain-Free, + Vegan)

4 Oct


I’m back.

Sorry about the weeks-long hiatus. Life got crazy like whoa very, very quickly — pretty much as soon as my grad classes started up, and I took a new job, and so on. Enter: Katie’s Life Without Any Free Time Whatsoever. Thank you so much for being understanding and supportive while I adjusted! If I have missed an email or anything, please let me know; I’m worried that some things got lost in the chaos. : / Also. I’m going to aim for posting at least once a week from now on. Let’s hope I can manage that. I missed blogging! I missed chatting with you guys, cooking crazy things, and telling you about it. It’s true that having to take a break from the internet in general was also seriously refreshing. But I am delighted to be back. And with a very worthy recipe to celebrate!

Now let me explain — this recipe looks complicated. It looks like it will take hours to make. It looks like it has a lot of ingredients. But really, this took me about 45 minutes total, prep and cook time, and it’s actually fairly simple. Plus, doesn’t it just look and sound so classy?

Ok, I admit it; I’m a grad student who huddles around free food at lectures. And puts samples in my pockets. That have holes in them. My already questionable hygiene has taken a further hit due to studying. An apple with gobs of peanut butter suffices as a meal on (frequent) occasion. Nearly all my clothes are thrifted.

I know nothing of classiness.

I came across a photo of a Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin on Pinterest way back when, and while I wasn’t so keen on the recipe itself (especially since it had gluten in it, ha), I fell in love with the visual. I actually bought cherry tomatoes at the store every single week while I was away from the blog, vowing that I would find time to make the tomato tart of my dreams… And here we are, three or four weeks and pints of tomatoes later, with — at last! — my own gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan version of a savory tart. I knew I’d get around to it! Good thing those overripe, wrinkly, geriatric tomatoes are easily disguised by the oven’s magic. : )

Sweet and Savory Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Tart

This tart has a buttery crust that mimics a glutenous one beautifully. It is topped with sweet caramelized onions and garlic — I use red onions for a richer flavor. The touch of balsamic vinegar carries the sweetness of the onions and candy-sweet, juicy tomatoes, while also bringing the perfect amount of complexity and depth to this (surprisingly) simple, high-protein dish. It’s savory, sweet, and one of the most delicious things I have ever made.

Inspired by this Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin.


1/2 C garbanzo bean (chickpea or besan) flour
1/2 C blanched almond flour (how to make your own)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 C water
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion (or half of a medium)
1.5 Tb extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb balsamic vinegar (plus more for drizzling)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (you might not use all of it)


1) Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
2) Add water and mix thoroughly with a fork.
3) Add olive oil and mix thoroughly.
4) Preheat oven to 350*. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, using wet hands, press dough into an even circle.
6) Using a fork, pierce the dough to create vents all over. Place in oven and begin working on topping. (You will remove the crust once it turns a light tan on the very edges.)

Tart Topping

1) As crust bakes, slice onion into thin rounds.
2) Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions.
3) Sprinkle onions generously with salt to make them sweat. Stir occasionally.
4) Chop garlic, and once onions are translucent and beginning to brown, add garlic.
5) Stir occasionally to keep garlic from burning, but since you want the onions to caramelize, you can just leave them alone for the most part. Once they turn a beautiful dark brown, turn off the burner, and add the balsamic vinegar.
6) Scrape the skillet as the vinegar reduces down and infuses the onions and garlic.
7) Your crust should be ready by now, if it wasn’t beforehand. Remove it when it is a light tan on the edges. Keep the oven on.
8 ) Spread the onion/garlic/balsamic mixture onto the crust.
9) Quickly slice the tomatoes in half and arrange on top of the onion mixture.
10) Return tart to oven. Once the edges of the tart are lightly browned (see pictures) and the tomatoes are cooked (starting to break and release their juice, or wrinkly, or swollen), remove. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Serves two as a meal, or six to eight as an appetizer.
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We literally devoured the entire thing in five minutes. There are simply no words. None.

And since I’ve probably overwhelmed you with the apparent length of the recipe, I’ll close it down here. (Also, it is waaay past my bedtime, and I am suddenly very committed to getting a solid set of hours in each night. Amazingly, sleep makes the waking hours more productive. Who knew, right?)

Yay — I’m blogging again! Give me a day or so to catch up on comments — it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to respond as quickly as in the past, but it is still so important to me to keep up our conversation. Comments and emails will always be a priority, so don’t think I care less just because I’m posting less! New recipes are coming, friends. I have so many tasty ideas percolating that I really had to restrain myself from experimenting in the kitchen all night on Sunday, when I made this dish. This is a very good thing.

OK — what did I miss this month? How have you been?!

Any requests?


Savory Summer Squash Pancakes (aka Garden Overload Latkes)

1 Aug

If you have a garden, or know anyone who does, then you probably know what I mean when I talk about “zucchini monsters” and “squash bats.” Bats as in the baseball variety, not the animal. As in… “My summer squash is out of control and taking over my garden and growing to the size of baseball bats before I can even get to it!” Yep. That’s what’s happening ’round here. We are frantically harvesting summer squash and passing it off to just about anyone who will take it. We have a tiny plot, but we still had seven chock-full grocery bags last week. We keep showing up at all our friends’ doors with bags and bundles of the yellow gourds. Every day. Sometimes twice a day, if we’re feeling frisky. Our friends hate us. They are probably preparing to hold a No More Summer Squash protest at our little community garden plot tomorrow.

Good thing it’s completely — and I do mean completely — covered with squash plant tentacles, ready to intimidate and/or devour anyone who gets too close to all those little yellow babies it can’t stop popping out.

Anyway, as a result of this total domination of our garden, we’ve had to stretch our creative muscles. Hence, this deliciously gluten-free, vegan, high protein, and healthy spin on potato latkes. I considered spicing ‘em up more, but frankly they taste like an explosive collision of Awesome and Garden Vegetables. So. They didn’t need it. The pancakes (for lack of a better term) are crisp on the outside, and succulent on the inside. Yes, I just used “succulent” to reference vegetables. These are quite versatile, and would be perfect for a meal anytime of day! Especially if, you know…you have 100 lbs of summer squash to eat through in one week.

Keep a look out for more posts on cooking seasonally, and especially what to do with all those oppressively high-yielding crops.

2 C grated summer squash (I used yellow, but you could try zucchini —  if zucchini, I’d add an extra Tb or two of chickpea flour and squeeze out all the excess moisture you can!)
1/4 C grated carrots
1/4 C chopped/chiffonaded fresh spinach
1/4 C diced red onion
1/2 C chickpea (garbanzo) flour (you may need a dash more)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t oregano
pepper to taste
dash of cayenne (if desired)
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1) After squash is grated, wring out excess water (you can press it through a cauldron, or pat it with paper towels, etc.) — don’t omit this, or they might turn out too soggy.
2) Mix all vegetables and spices in a medium sized bowl.
3) Mix in chickpea flour. Allow chickpea flour to absorb the vegetables’ moisture for about 5 minutes.
4) Heat ~1-2 Tb oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat.
5) Drop squash mix by rounded (table)spoon into skillet, flattening and shaping with spoon.
6) After roughly 1-2 minutes, use a spatula to carefully flip each pancake.
7) Once both sides are browned, remove, add more oil if needed, and repeat until all the batter is gone.

The BFF Manfriend and our good buddy Dan came home from their lunch not too long after I made these. And so ended the existence of the squash pancakes. Also, so began the story of my husband asking me to make these for dinner every night this week.

Somehow, I think we’ll be able to swing that.

(The recipe, not the squash bat… [<-- that one was for you, Dad.])

Featured in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Do you have a garden? A CSA?

An overly “generous” neighbor who can’t stop bringing you yellow squash? (I knocked and knocked — where were you?! P.S. I have more squash!)

What abundance of seasonal produce is taking over your kitchen?

Booyah BBQ Socca Pizza

22 May

So… About yesterday. Um. My bad. Things were much crazier than I expected, and it is now 1:30am on Sunday as I get ready to finally put my post up. Yeesh. Long day much? Good thing you’re a forgiving bunch ; )

When I prepared to make the BBQ sauce the other day, I was ruminating over what exactly I would use as a vehicle for carrying this deliciousness into my mouth. Sorry, but BBQ sauce is less of a “complement” to food than a food all on its own in my mind… What can I say? I guess that’s another reason my BFF Manfriend calls me The Sauce Queen. I just love condiments. It’s a weakness.

Anyway, obviously I made some portobello burgers and topped them with this smoky, sweet, tangy nectar of the heavens, but I knew this sauce had potential. It could be so much more than a ketchup-replacement. It just needed the chance to shine. So, what do you think my first stop on the Various Sauce Uses trolley was? My other weakness, of course…


BBQ Socca Pizza.

One ticket to Yum Town, please.

If you want to see some of my other socca friends (aka meals), check out this post, and definitely this post. To learn what socca is and see yet another recipe for it, click here.


1/2 C chickpea flour
1/4 C water (feel free to add more if you want a thinner crust, opposite for thicker. Mine was the consistency of pancake batter.)
Generous salt (salt is the main flavoring, so don’t skimp!)
1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil for pan
Bring-The-Party-In-Your-B.B.(B.)Q.-sauce sauce
organic or vegan cheese
chopped onion (I prefer red, but only had white for this go)
chopped green pepper

1) Mix water, chickpea flour, and salt together.
2) Heat 1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil on medium in a large, flat skillet/pan. (I used my beloved small cast iron.)
3) Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly with a fork if needed to achieve consistent height throughout.
4) Let the bottom crisp, and when it is sturdy flip.
5) Let the other side crisp as well, and when the texture is right for you, it’s done! (I like mine crisped nearly to a char in some places, as you might see in the photos… It reminds me of woodfired crusts!)
6) Add sauce and toppings, and place under broiler briefly for melting if needed (watch carefully!)

This is yet another wildly easy, throw-it-together-in-10-minutes-and-devour-in-two kind of meal. It puts traditional BBQ pizzas to shame; and to be frank, I think it might have something to do with the sauce. Why lie?

The best part? This is high-protein (from the garbanzo flour), high-fiber (= super satiating), grain-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and depending on what type of cheese you use, vegan. Unlike other BBQ pizzas, you can name and understand every ingredient in here! I know, right? Best idea ever. (Worst idea ever: take pictures of it in the rain. Photos will not be up to standards. Lo siento.) Just throw some salad on the side and bask in the wonder of your efficient and delectable meal-making. Preferably while watching a Harry Potter marathon with your family, half-heartedly working. (The half-heartedly part wasn’t intentional, but you know how these things go.)

And on that note… Go get your B.B.(B.)Q.-in’ on! Trust me. You will want to have this sauce on hand at all times. It can make anything magical…anything. (I am willing to put my money on the fact that it would even be scrumptious with ice cream. Fact.)

P.S. Props to the commenter who predicted I would slather this on pizza. Total win.

Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Best part of your week/weekend?

Healthy Quick Crust

3 May

When my lovely parentals were visiting, I threw this crust together on a whim and crossed my fingers that it would turn out. My mom sat at the table, writing down the measurements I called out: “2 tablespoons of water….er…no, no, just kidding. Make that 1/4 cup.”  Confession: I nearly always cook intuitively — whatever feels right, I follow. It has been a challenge for me to actually measure and share my recipes, because I tend to just grab a handful of this, a few shakes of that, and so on. However, I love having so many dishes recorded now, thanks to the blog. I think it has actually made me a better cook, rather than stifling my creative energy, which I worried about. As for the crust — thanks Mamala for your neat handwriting, and continued patience with my incoherent method. <3

If you think I’m high-maintenance by being a soy-free, corn-free, white-potato-free, (mostly) dairy-free, gluten-free vegetarian…well. My dad is at least equally difficult to cook for. Not only does he have to be careful because of his diabetes, but he also is a supertaster. Which sounds Super Awesome at first, until you realize that his face puckers like a prune when he even smells a yogurt being opened. From two floors below him. If he takes a bite of anything remotely — and I mean r e m o t e l y – bitter or acidic, he looks like he is in pain. The intensity of his sense of smell and taste is crazy, and very unfortunate; it would be a shame to miss out on so many foods! I tend to eat a lot of bitter (to him) things like kale, so I needed to be thoughtful about how I might concoct something that was vegetarian and gluten-free for our sakes, but low glycemic, non-acerbic, and hearty with lots of protein for Dad’s.

Meet my little friend:

This was absolutely delicious, and a dead-ringer for the traditional glutenous crust! BFF Manfriend could not stop saying, “How does it hold together so well?!” <– He appreciates the challenges of GF baking by now ; ) The crust is very versatile; the quiche recipe below is just one of many possibilities!

Healthy Quick Crust (Vegan)

1/2 C garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 C blanched almond flour (make your own and save)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C water
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Add water and mix thoroughly, then add olive oil and mix again. Set aside.
3) Generously grease the bottom of a square 8×8 pyrex (you can try it in another dish, but no guarantees) with olive oil, and scoop dough in.
4) With wet hands, press the dough flat and evenly into the dish. Poke a few holes using a fork.
5) Bake at 350* until bottom and top begin to brown a bit.

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Vegetable Quiche with High Protein Quick Crust

1 head broccoli, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, seeds removed (to omit excess moisture), chopped (Note: You can sub whole grape tomatoes.)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
6 ethically sourced, cage-free eggs
2-4 TB of ethically sourced, organic cheese, shredded (optional)

1) Pour olive oil into a large pan on the stove. Turn to medium heat.
2) Add chopped onion, garlic, and broccoli. Stir.
3) After a minute or two, put a splash of water into the pan, and cover with a lid to let steam.
4) Once bright green (but still crisp — about 1-2 minutes), remove from heat. Drain of any excess water.
5) Whisk eggs and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
6) Add cheese and vegetables.
7) Pour on top of crust, and bake at 350* until cooked through (fork comes out clean in middle). It took mine about 40 minutes.

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To make a vegan version, you can easily omit the eggs and cheese, and simply add more vegetables (and possibly some vegan cheese). Just pour some sauce on top to keep things moist. It obviously won’t be perfectly “quiche-y,” but you can make it into a vegetable pie that is absolutely delicious nonetheless! : )

It took me about 10-15 minutes to prepare this meal (mostly chopping), and it was almost effortless. I made it again today just to be sure it wasn’t some miraculous fluke…

We ate the entire thing between the two of us.


Are you high-maintenance due to food allergies, other health issues, or ethical lifestyle?

If not, how do you cook for guests who are? Do you enjoy the challenge?

Perfect Pesto — Vegan and Easy

9 Apr

I left you hanging in suspense at the end of this post, didn’t I? Well, I believe it’s with good reason. I know this is perhaps not the most unique of my recipes, but it is simple, made with whole foods, and tastes better than any prepared pesto that has ever graced my tongue. (Does anyone else feel awkward about the word “tongue”? Just me?) Also, it goes from ingredients –> pesto in about 3 minutes. Soo…

I find that having a special condiment on hand that can center a dish helps me to put meals together quickly and effortlessly. That said, if you’re looking to up the gourmet ante on your meal tonight, or quickly throw this together during the weekend so you can have a ready sauce convenient throughout the week, this is your recipe.

Here are some of the numerous ways to use pesto:

- Tossed into pasta
- Spread on toast
- Coating roasted vegetables
- Mixed into salads
- As a marinade
- As a dip (for pita chips, crackers, crudites, or pizza bread)
- Drizzled into soup
- As a sandwich condiment
- Mixed with hummus (but not this kind, heh heh)
- Tossed into any type of grain (millet, rice, etc.)
- Added to lentils
- With white beans
- In broth
- On pizza

Obviously, pesto welcomes experimentation! While most pesto contains expensive pine nuts (last time I looked they were $19/lb, no joke), and parmesan, I have always preferred to make it cheap and vegan ; ) I think you could also make this raw; I believe olive oil is not considered an orthodox raw food, so perhaps just substitute a small amount of avocado or raw oil (coconut?).

1/2 C walnuts
3 cloves garlic
small bunch fresh basil
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1) Coarsely chop garlic.
2) Add walnuts and garlic to food processor or blender. Process until crumbly.
3) Add basil and process until fairly smooth.
4) Add olive oil, process briefly (just until combined — too much will make the oil bitter), then salt and pepper to taste.

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I made this pesto to be one of three sauce topping for our socca pizzas when we watched the NCAA game this week with our friends. I can’t describe the wonder of this combination. The oil from the pesto gave a delicious crisp texture to the crust, and every bite was a balance of the juicy basil and hearty socca.

The other highlighted sauce was this tapenade – it was actually amazing on the crusts!

Action shots of both types of pizza being prepared, caught thanks to the BFF Manfriend:

What are you up to this weekend? Do you prepare food for the week ahead of time?

Herbed Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour CRACKers

30 Mar

We like to joke in our family that the women on my mom’s side have a problem — we love salt, we love vinegar, and we loooove CRUNCH. If crunch were an entity in itself, rather than a quality, I would have married myself off to Crunch decades ago. God forbid any Star Trek crazy alternate realities in which Crunch is an entity. And single.

This is getting awkward, isn’t it? Ok. Well, all that silence on your end and blabbing on about Crunch on my end aside, I should tell you… *deep breath*: I am a crack[er] addict. When I left gluten behind, and soon after grains altogether (yes, I know! I’ll share more about that in an upcoming post; it’s a long story), the most challenging part of my new eating style was that I could only crunch on so many roasted almonds before I felt like I was turning into one.

(“Violet, you’re turning violet, Violet!” <– Only replace “Violet” with “Almond,” and forget the whole spoiled-rich-brat thing…)

Needless to say, I am so, so, so grateful to be able to expand my Crunchy repertoire again!

You all know I’m on a chickpea flour kick lately; I make something with it literally every day. I decided that since I’m happily married, I should meddle, and try to match-make my favorite single friends. Isn’t that what married people do? (Joke.) Crunch, meet Chick Flour. Chick Flour, Crunch.

It was lust love at first bite.

3 Tb ground flax seed
1/2 C + 2 Tb water
1 C chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb rosemary
1 t basil

1) Preheat oven at 350*. Make flax egg by mixing water and flax. Set aside to thicken for a few minutes.
2) Mix dry ingredients.
3) Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. (If you need to add another TB or two water, go ahead.)
4) Wet hands with water, and remove dough from bowl.
5) Place dough on a parchment paper-laden baking sheet, and begin to flatten with hands (you may need to keep re-wetting them with water). The thinner, the crisper (but also potentially more delicate).
6) Once you’ve shaped the dough, you can sprinkle a little extra salt on the top (or way too much, like I did), or just pop ‘em in the oven as-is.
7) Watch closely; when edges and top are browned, remove them. It will vary depending on your oven (mine took about 15-20 minutes). The longer they are in there, and the longer they cool, the crisper they will be.

You can immediately break them apart by hand (I did) for a more rustic cut, or score them before they go into the oven. Either way, let them cool 1/2 an hour before chowing, so they can crisp up.

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Did I mention how these really do have the texture of a quality cracker? That they can stand up to the test of hearty dips (I think this would be insanely delicious with tapenade)? That they are healthy to boot — high in protein, iron, fiber, and the antioxidant manganese? Oh, and that they’re vegan? You’re welcome. <3

What healthy crunchables do you enjoy? Have you “married” any wonder foods together lately?

Socca Pizza Crust

24 Mar

I know that I am not even close to the first person to figure this out (I know at least The Twins, Ashley, and HEAB have made socca pizzas of a sort, or you can do a google search for a plethora of examples). But, it was such a hit in our home that I wanted to share “my” method too, just in case you haven’t heard about the glory of the best gluten-free pizza crust of all time. :  ) And it really is. It’s grain-free. It’s vegan. It’s protein-packed. It’s satiating. It’s simple. The kicker? It’s as few as 3 ingredients. 3. Chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (besan), water, and salt. I added spices because I wanted that delicious pizzeria flava. And our kitchen smelled amazing, as a result.

Does this bring back memories for anyone else? Anyone?


I have a permanent association with TMNT and pizza, due to some really clever and intense advertising in my childhood. Thanks, 80s and 90s marketing. I remain at your mercy, apparently…

1/2 C chickpea flour
1/4 C water (feel free to add more if you want a thinner crust, opposite for thicker. Mine was the consistency of pancake batter.)
Generous salt (salt is the main flavoring, so don’t skimp!)
Oregano (optional — I used ~ 1 1/2 t)
Basil (optional — I used ~ 1 t)
Rosemary (optional — I used ~ 1/2 t)
1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil for pan

1) Mix water, chickpea flour, and spices together.
2) Heat 1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil on medium in a large, flat skillet/pan. (I used my beloved small cast iron.)
3) Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly with a fork if needed to achieve consistent height throughout.
4) Let the bottom crisp, and when it is sturdy flip.
5) Let the other side crisp as well, and when the texture is right for you, it’s done!

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The fun part comes next. Toppings! I’ll post my homemade pizza sauce soon, but use whatever you like. My favorite (if I’m in a pinch and can’t use my own) is Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce. It is literally the best tasting (purchased) pizza sauce that has ever graced my tongue. And I eat tomato sauce for breakfast (that’s actually kind of true…). I highly recommend it!

Just smooth on the amount you like, sprinkle (organic or vegan) cheese on top, and throw on any veggies. Here I added red onions (a necessity for any good pizza slice), black olives, tomato, and zucchini slices. Stick it under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese, and prepare for a tasty mouth explosion of joy. My BFF Man-Partner (I like to make you, and him, feel as awkward as possible) tried a piece and begged me to make him one. He couldn’t stop raving about it all day and night. Try it and see if it has the same effect on you : )

What are your toppings?

My go-to trifecta is green peppers, red onions, black olives. But I would take any other veggies I was offered ;  )