The Barn Swallow Concert Series!!

13 May



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The Barn Swallow Concert Series!!



I am so sorry I have been absent for many months. I have been incredibly busy, acting as a fully functioning musician. I have gone through some significant life changes, and I live in a new house just north of downtown Ann Arbor, where I will be hosting an amazing, charitable concert series this summer!

In order to accomplish this, I have launched an indiegogo fundraiser to cover the costs required to begin this small business and bring in this amazing talent. Please take a minute to watch the video, donate what you can, and share as much as possible!

And please join us this summer! On that note, I will be merging my food blogging endeavors with my Barn Swallow endeavors, and I will now be blogging at  (and I’ll actually be POSTING!! I’ve been making craaaazy things in the kitchen…I miss telling you about it!)

Please take a look! Forgive me for my absence, and join me over at the new site shortly!

Much love,


The Christmas Baking Begins (gluten-free chocolate peppermint christmas light cupcakes)

10 Dec

I told Brandon I made him a Christmas valentine. I look more asian than in real life, though..

‘Tis the season to bake cookies. And cakes and cupcakes and tarts and breads and anything that warms your kitchen with good smells and joy. I never seem to need an excuse to bake but the holiday season provides one nonetheless. We went to a big family holiday party today (Brandon’s family) so naturally I felt this would be the perfect excuse to make a large amount of cupcakes. Chocolate peppermint cupcakes to be specific. These babies were very distracting while in the oven since the whole house basically smelled like hot cocoa. This is a good thing.

My mom called me yesterday and mentioned that holiday cookie baking and decorating with my aunts and cousins had been cancelled due to lack of interest. The only one with any desire to decorate sugar cookies any more is my youngest cousin Max, who is really only concerned with consuming as much frosting as humanly possible. My mom then continued on to tell me that holiday baking was all up to me. Naturally, I accepted my heavy burden with stoic dignity…not. I laughed maniacally and rubbed my palms together, looking entirely like a cartoon villain with a horrible plan that you know will never work out. THE BAKING IS ALL MINE!

Aside from my mom, who is totally badass in the kitchen, no one else on her side of the family is very committed to cooking. My aunt Heidi occasionally makes amazing German food, but it’s a rare occasion. My grandma, when left to her own devices, would leave the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven for the entire day until no moisture remained. My aunt Karen just moved back to Chicago, so now she just gets to eat at really awesome restaurants all the time. Even I rejected cooking for the better part of my adolescence. I always thought that since my mom was so good at it, why should I learn? Also, no high schooler has any interest in anything their parents are interested in or think they should be interested in. It’s really quite silly.

Anyways, college taught me the cold hard lesson that I was not an amazing cook simply by osmosis. The first time I cooked dinner for a college boyfriend, I set the fire alarm off while cooking tuna steaks. I found some non-college friends who showed me that there were other young people who cared about food, and I slowly started to learn to cook. I had at least acquired good taste from my mom’s cooking, but the techniques were what I needed to work on. My mom got me a brilliant set of knives and taught me how to use them, and now I cringe when I see someone drag a knife blade across the cutting board. I realized that I had good ideas and I knew what flavors naturally worked together, and now my boyfriend claims that he’s going to forget how to cook because he just prefers when I do it. Food has become a much bigger and healthier part of my life. Being gluten-free and mostly vegetarian has helped me to develop a better idea of what should and should not go into my body. And Brandon is the perfect match for me and my kitchen tastes–we excitedly embark on food adventures together.

So, now that I’ve shared a little about my entrance into the world of food, I’ll get on to the good part: cupcakes! I don’t normally get excited about “cute” food, so when I found the image of the christmas lights made out of candy (IT WASN’T PINTEREST I SWEAR), I was a little surprised at how quickly it went in my bookmark folder. I suppose I liked it both because of my fluctuating hormones and the fact that they’d be going to a family christmas party. Anyways, they DID turn out adorable AND delicious. Mission accomplished. What’s even better is that there were several gluten-free party guests, including an adorable toddler, who were all excited that there was a dessert they could enjoy. Even better! Hope you enjoy these as well.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar (or substitute 1/2-3/4 cup agave nectar)

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup chocolate almond milk (or any milk product of your choosing, warmed slightly)

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 large egg

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.

Warm the chocolate milk and coconut oil gently on the stove.

Then, in a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients so that the egg is lightly beaten.

Combine dry and wet ingredients using an electric mixer until smooth.

Fold in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, fill each cupcake liner half way*.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick emerges from clean from the center of the cupcake.

Let cool entirely before frosting.

*For my first batch, I filled them too high (this is a matter of style, of course) and they came out beautiful and puffy and tall. It was awesome, but not practical if you want lots of cupcakes. Still, I made a double batch of batter and somehow ended up with 36 cupcakes. It was kind of exciting.


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 stick of butter at room temperature

splash of milk (of your choosing, not flavored)

1 tsp peppermint extract

Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add in the powdered sugar and a little milk (enough just to make it luscious) and blend until smooth. Add in the peppermint extract and beat until incorporated.


1 bag Mike & Ike candies (if you can get the holiday themed bag, there’s only red and green candies, which is a plus)

1 bag almond M&Ms

1 tube green decorating icing (or homemade–I didn’t have enough frosting to do this but did have a tube ready in case that happened. If you want homemade on top, just add some green food coloring to the frosting. Tape one corner of a ziploc bag so the seam doesn’t bust while you’re creating a masterpiece. Fill the bag part of the way with frosting. Cut a very small tip off of the taped corner of the bag and bam! Homemade disposable pastry bag.)

Cut the green Mike & Ikes in half and attach each half to the bottom of an M&M. When you place them on the cupcakes, make sure the M is facing down. Use the green frosting to draw lines of “wiring.” If you’re feeling ambitious, you can “connect” them across the cupcakes (see below).

I better find an extension cord…

I thought about filling the center of these cupcakes with creamy peppermint chocolate, but I didn’t have enough time to be that ambitious, so I thought the chocolate chips would do. And they did.

This little card was on display at the holiday party

Send photos of your favorite holiday baked goods! I’ll be back soon with more, not all of which will be appealing only to your sweet tooth.


I’m Baaaaack!

5 Dec

Considering the consistency with which I blog, one might think that I should just set my expectations much lower so as to not set myself up for failure (failure being NOT blogging, which is what I have been doing). Basically what happens is that I get lazy/forget about it/just want to eat the damn food instead of coaxing it to model for the camera and then I cook and bake and cook and bake and totally keep all of it to myself and the people eating it and don’t post it on the internet. Now, I acknowledge that the second half of that sentence refers to what normal people do. I, however, am obsessed with food and therefore do not consider myself to have normal interactions with it. I HAVE REALLY AWESOME INTERACTIONS WITH FOOD. So there.

Anyways, I am not one content with failure. I do often talk myself out of blogging with all kinds of good excuses. This worked very well in college because there were due dates, so I eventually did have to do the work, and I did it really well. I just didn’t try that hard because I didn’t have to. However, blogging is different. I’m supposed to do it because I want to. And I like it! I do. I’m not entirely sure why I slack so hard on it sometimes. I think perhaps once I finish cooking something it’s often for an actual meal so I don’t usually feel like I have endless hours to toy with lighting and scene setting like it seems some bloggers do.

I admire many bloggers and consistently peruse their pages. It’s very impressive and sometimes intimidating. If there are already so many awesome food blogs, why should mine be anything to shake a stick at? This is not the correct attitude. The correct attitude is: I like to cook, I like to write, I like to make art, now I share it with you! This is what I’m working on–reminding myself that I have a blog so I can share my passion with people. And then I can stare at my food pictures and drool over them even though I probably just ate whatever it is I also photographed.

If I can have a blog half as hilarious as Hyperbole and a Half, and a blog half as pretty as Roost, then I will feel like I have succeeded. If I promise to post more, will you promise to share my work? Let’s collectively commit to success as the Appleseed Collective likes so often to say.

We begin now. This is a small taste of what I’ve been up to in my absence:

I went to Florida

I made really good key lime pie

Ate lots of fresh seafood

i had some of the best gluten-free pizza yet

I made practice pies before Thanksgiving (that ended up being better than on T-day)

I made cake (and ate it too)

and soup

and cookies

and huevos rancheros

gluten-free stuffing

so many tasty breakfasts

shepherd’s pie for 8 (there were 3 of us)

and this lovely tempeh creation.

See? I wasn’t slacking. I just wasn’t spending my time on the internet doing productive things. If I blogged as consistently as I send food picture messages to my mom then I’d really be on to something. But that’s enough self-motivation and affirmation for now. I shall leave you with the following:

I will blog at LEAST once a week.

I will stop taking pictures with my iPhone when I’m feeling lazy and use the brilliant DSLR I have. DUH.

I will bring new and exciting things to you that you won’t find on other food blogs (THINK ENTERTAINMENT! I am a musician after all)

Ta ta for now and love to all!


Fermented Food=Happy Tummy

25 Oct

Dinner with the John & Charmaine at Farm Block


Hoooooooooly cow. So The Appleseed Collective just returned from a jaunt around Lake Michigan–straight north through the mitten, kissing the shore of Lake Superior (in both Marquette and the beautiful Keweenaw peninsula), then winding through Wisconsin, ending with an 8-hour visit to Chicago and arriving back in Ann Arbor around 5 am. ALL IN ONE DAY! Just kidding. We were gone for about 3 weeks. My apologies for the writing absence, though I hope some of the flickr photos were enjoyed. Our road diet probably differs greatly from what you might think fitting for a touring band. There are definitely groups out there that are pop-tart poppin, Big Mac sloppin, artery cloggin junk food lovers. We are very much not that. Staples of The Appleseed Collective tour pantry include: homemade granola, homemade hummus, sauerkraut, sprouted almonds, yogurt, lentils, veggies, quinoa, and nutritional yeast. Being that we are not yet world famous, we can't exactly request that gluten-free, organic, vegetarian meals be ready and waiting in our hotel rooms, so instead we find a local food co-op and cook our own meals in the homes of our gracious hosts.

We make some pretty epic breakfasts and dinners, trying to repay the generosity shown to us with delicious smells and tastes. One gets very used to eating similar things daily when on the road–the cooler holds sandwich fixings and as much fresh produce as we can stand to carry, and the granola lasted for breakfast til about 4 days from home. We found a few treats, like delicious gluten-free pizza at The Orpheum Theater/Studio Pizza in Hancock, MI, and a whiskey list beyond belief at Fitzgerald's in Eagle River, MI. The gluten-consuming part of the band fell deeply in love with Ray's Polish Fire (hot sauce from the Keweenaw) and Brandon and I found some gluten-free love in the form of chocolat/peanut butter cupcakes at Kavarna in Green Bay, WI. As I read back through this post, I think I can say with confidence that The Appleseed Collective thinks/talks about and eats food about as much or more than we play music on tour.



There are often meals that I miss while tour, and the following is one of them. The Brinery supplied TAC with a good amount of fermented magic for tour, which we proceeded to plow through since we're all totally obsessed with sauerkraut and pickled vegetables covering all other food items consumed. What we didn't have for the entirety of tour, though, was tempeh. Tempeh is one of my favorite foods. It was only introduced to me within the last year or so, and if you have not yet tried it, stop what you're doing and go get some. Okay actually don't do that yet–finish reading this post and THEN go shopping. In Ann Arbor, I am very lucky to have local tempeh handmade by the folks at The Brinery. They are fermentation WIZARDS over there. Seriously. Do you know how good fermented foods are for you? My stomach and tastebuds both cry like babies when I don't eat enough kraut. Anyways, The Brinery is knee-deep in a Kickstarter project right now, trying to raise funds to double production at their small business. This is nothing but good news, because the more money they raise, the more fermented, probiotic goodness will end up in our bellies. EXTRA BONUS, The Brinery is a local business that supports other local businesses–the cabbage and other produce that goes into The Brinery's products is supplied by nearby growers like Tantre and Frog Holler Farms. So, supporting The Brinery is supporting both your local and inner economy.

On that note, I give you the tempeh reuben.


Tis a thing of beauty, is it not?



Note: Next time Brandon makes fermented ketchup and homemade mayo, those things are going in the dressing. However, we didn't have any in the fridge, so I had to go with what was there.

Thousand Island Dressing

1/2 cup ketchup1 cup mayonnaisde

1 cup sweet pickle relish (or chopped Brinery pickles of many varieties! yum)

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

salt & pepper to taste



2 slices gluten-free bread (I used some tasty millet-flax bread)

1/4 lb tempeh (Brinery, duh. Get hungry)

2 slices Swiss cheese

2 slices tomato

healthy heap of sauerkraut (I used The Brinery's Juniper Orbit)

1-2 Tbsp Thousand Island dressing


I begin by cooking my slicing my tempeh into stackable strips and then pan-frying in butter for a few minutes on each side. It's so simple and so tasty, especially when your tempeh is fresh and locally made. Once the tempeh is cooked, remove it from the pan and add more butter. Place the two slices of bread in the pan (at a reduced heat) and place the tempeh on top of one slice. Add the Swiss cheese on top of the tempeh and cover the pan so the cheese melts and the bread browns. Once the desired amount of cheese melting has occured, remove all items from the pan. On the empty bread, spread the Thousand Island dressing. On the loaded side, add on a heap of sauerkraut and the sliced tomato. Assemble your two halves, cut in half if you so desire, and consume ravenously while taking the occasional moment to savor how awesome this gluten-free, vegetarian sandwich is. As they might say over at Audiotree, SHABOOYA!





Always Winning

21 Sep

I keep waking up thinking about Thanksgiving. It’s happened several times in the last few weeks. Imagine being deep in a dream where you’re following your father, an international spy, up a mountain/the Great Wall of China–he’s just about to give up the answer to the HUGE LIFE-ALTERING QUESTION you’ve had the whole time (even though you can’t quite seem to articulate what that question is) when BAM. You shoot awake wondering if your grandma will be okay with you making the pies this year. I have also awoken to sudden anxiety over the gravy and what will be used to thicken it, as well as the rolls and how instead of those sweet Hawaiian guys we will be having my own salt & pepper/parmesan drop biscuits. And then I start fantasizing and I can’t meditate because all I can think about is food. It’s honestly a wonder that I don’t weigh 5 times as much as I do, although I suppose thinking about food constantly is not the same as eating food constantly. Anyways, the point is that food is a big part of my life. I’m a musician by trade, so sometimes I feel like I’m having a love affair with food blogging. If it’s wrong then by golly I don’t want to be right!

My mom has Tivo. It’s pretty cool because there is nothing good on TV during the day and when I’m totally laid out sick all I want to do is eat chicken noodle soup and watch a show about chicken noodle soup. And when I visit my mom’s, there is usually a lot of food around and a lot of food TV recorded. I skipped the soup this time and just opted for cuddling the dog and watching Top Chef Masters. Interacting with the television is such a rarity for me that I forgot I can fast forward through the commercials and I end up passing out in a pile of tissues instead. This is not the point. The point of this story is that Top Chef Masters is not the most annoying or brain-melting thing you could watch on TV, and in fact featured one of my good friends, Takashi Yagihashi, for more than half the season! Takashi is an amazing chef who I have had the privilege of knowing for quite some time (I used to babysit his kids when they were tiny and now they’re all in high school or college…whaaaaaa???? how am I that old??). He has been living in Chicago for a while, though, and currently oversees a few of his own totally awesome restaurants there (Takashi and Slurping Turtle).

Anyways, I only watched this show because I enjoyed feeling biased whenever they would have competitions and would throw dirty tissues at the screen if Takashi didn’t win, which wasn’t actually that often. He was dubbed the Quickfire King after all. I also watched this show because it’s pretty impressive to watch people cook up these gourmet dishes with very few ingredients and very little time. However, it’s still a reality show, which means it’s still totally stupid most of the time. Especially when Takashi got voted off (SPOILER OOPS). It was extra stupid then. But Takashi was a great sport, and I think his participation in the show directed some much deserved attention to his food and talents. Yay! And following in such a fashion, today’s recipe is one of his: pork fried rice. To me, this is comfort food.


Note before you make this that some of the ingredients require pre-cooking:

-the barbecued pork is up to you. Char Siu is one of my FAVORITE foods and my (Chinese) uncle Bien makes it the best, but keeps changing/not divulging his recipe (but I know he uses ketchup now!). So for the time being, check out this recipe. You don’t have to skewer and grill tiny pieces, you can marinade the whole tenderloins and cook them in the oven instead.

-cold cooked rice: cook your rice ahead of time and spread it on a sheet tray to cool. You can put it in the fridge for about a half hour to speed things up.

3 Tbsp Tamari

5 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

3/4 lb Chinese barbecued pork (cooked), half cut into 1/2-inch dice and half sliced 1/3 in thick (or tofu or tempeh if you want it veggie!)

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 large shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut into 1/3-in dice

1 head baby bok choy, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 cups cold cooked Japanese short-grain rice

2 scallions, thinly sliced

pinch of freshly ground pepper & Kosher salt

In a small bowl, stir the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.

Heat a very large skillet. Add the shortening and let melt. Add the diced pork and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute. Add the peas, shiitakes, carrot and bok choy and stir-fry until tender. Add the eggs and scramble just until set.

Stir in the cooked rice, scallions, Tamari mixture and pepper and stir-fry until the rice is hot.

Remove from heat and season with salt. Spoon the fried rice into bowls, top with the sliced pork and serve.


End of Summer (Gluten-Free) Cake (Though Cake Season Never Ends)

4 Sep

I shuddered as I wrote that doomsday-esque title; I know I have no place to announce the ends of seasons, but with the imminent approach of Harvest Gathering I feel like fall is coming, regardless of temperature. It’s getting to that wonderful part of August where the nights are cool and the days still pass the 80 degree mark; football season avoid Ann Arbor at all costs season is beginning; tomatoes are all but falling off the vine en masse. It’s time once again to embrace fresh apple cider, savory baked goods, and socks. Really cozy wool socks. I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Pure Michigan commercial. Maybe it’s the ultra-calming effects of the Blue Lotus tea Brandon just made me. ULTRA CALM. SUPER CALM. MEGA CALM! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a few phrases in all caps. I’m feeling snappy already! Perhaps just snappy enough to tell you about the awesome cake that I’ve already made twice in the last week. In two variations!

I borrowed the recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess for an impromptu going-away-party-cake for Brandon’s sister, Corinna, who just moved to Connecticut to get even more awesome at being awesome. Oh gosh, Karina, Corinna…together for the first time in one sentence! Corinna has a really great band and Karina has a really great blog. Oddly enough, the post that this recipe came from begins with a letter from a “fan” full of backhanded compliments and waaay too much sass. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I can’t tell if it’s parody or not! Anyways, the cake recipe is GREAT. It’s totally a transitional cake–there’s a hint of cinnamon, cornmeal for a little texture, but based around summery strawberries. The first time I baked this with the strawberries, it was great. I opted for a pound of berries instead of the suggested pint, since it didn’t seem like the pint would at all cover the bottom of my cast-iron pan. The second time I tried the cake, it was even more impromptu and I only had peaches on hand, so they became the new base and GUESS WHAT. IT WAS STILL GREAT. SO GREAT. I topped both versions with homemade whipped cream, which was a stellar pairing. Also tasty would be some vanilla bean or cinnamon ice cream…mmm. This is a simple cake. “Rustic” seems like an appropriate adjective as chosen by Karina. I’ll let her do the talking as for the recipe (though I’ll insert my suggestions, too). Keep in mind my suggestion for more fruit! And experiment! What sort of seasonal fruits might you try with this?

iPhone for the win! Coming in handy when my camera is not around.


(for some reason my technology devices have decided that this section MUST be in a larger font size. I supposed it is the important part…)

The key word in this cake is rustic- due to the grainy cornmeal. I used a combo of hefty flours because I personally like a whole grain kind of feel in a cobbler cake like this.

For the strawberries:


1 heaping pint of fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry (I went for a pound of strawberries)

A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons organic sugar


Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal

1/3 cup GF buckwheat flour, GF millet flour, or brown rice flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of nutmeg- just a hint

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup hemp or rice milk, warm (milk or milk substitute of your choice! and it doesn’t actually NEED to be warm, as it turns out–I learned that due to a lazy moment)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or light tasting rice vinegar

3 tablespoons raw organic agave nectar or honey

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Egg replacer for 2 eggs- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with warm water (or eggs!)

Organic raw sugar for the top, if desired (it makes a lovely crunchy top)




Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Warm up a seasoned 10-inch skillet (or use a hefty cake pan or casserole dish). I rubbed mine with a little light olive oil (or butter). Set aside.

Stem the strawberries; cut them in half; toss them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons organic sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine your dry ingredients: cornmeal, buckwheat and white rice flours, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: light olive oil, hemp milk, vinegar, agave, vanilla, egg replacer (or egg). Whisk till combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix by hand until combined- don’t over-beat (it isn’t necessary).

Drain the strawberries and pour them into the warm skillet (reserve several for the top, as I did, if you like).

Spoon the batter onto the strawberries. Place the reserved berries on top, cut side down, pressing in slightly.

Sprinkle the whole top with organic raw sugar crystals.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending upon your altitude and oven (here at 6,700 feet it took 47 minutes). *Mine took between 25 and 35 minutes each, here in flat ol’ Michigan*

Test for doneness by not only touching the top- it should be golden and firm- but by using a cake tester inserted into the center; it should emerge clean.

Place the skillet on a wire cooling rack to cool.

Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Wrap leftover slices in foil; bag and freeze. Thaw to room temperature or warm gently before consuming.

We enjoyed our cake with a little local hard cider!

Here’s the peach version (with blueberries on top) in case you were wondering.




Bippity Boppity Bi Bim Bop

28 Aug

If you are gluten-free or have any common sense whatsoever, you know that quinoa is AWESOME (unless you can’t eat it in which case I’m sure you are still intelligent, just at a slight disadvantage in quinoa-eating competitions and similar matters). I squeem, you squeem, we all squeem for (s)quinoa. It’s a pure protein, it’s got a delicious flavor, it blends well but stays confident as a flour, it looks pretty…it’s an all-around winner. If Brandon and I are actually home for the week we probably eat it at least 2-3 times in the span of a few days. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be addicted to quinoa. The bad news is that I’m addicted to quinoa. Anyways, it fits well with most anything it’s paired with, which in this case is my own version of bi bim bop. Bibimbap. B-bop. Betty boop…buhhh…whatever you want to call it. I feel slightly sacreligious calling this bi bim bop because it is not being delivered to me by my favorite Korean lady at Bell’s Diner in Ann Arbor and it’s not covered in “special Korean hot sauce” which looks exactly like ketchup but tastes like magic.

Anyways, I looked it up, and bibimbop basically suggests a dish mixed with rice. Now, if you experienced any part of my childhood, pretty much everything could hypothetically have been called bibimbop since it all got mixed together in the rice bowl. Reading that back, I feel like I am suggesting more Asian-ness than is really accurate. For goodness sake, my favorite preparation of rice included solely (lots of) butter and soy sauce. I still sometimes eat that when I need comfort food. My family called it “Katie rice” which actually is more like “it’s ok cause you’re only half Asian” rice. I infinitely digress! Bibimbop has been amazing everywhere I’ve eaten it and I have non-deliberately Americanized it for my own purposes (those purposes mostly being “I have these ingredients and I am going to mix them all together eventually but if I display them nicely and put a fried egg on top I can call them bibimbop”). Bibimbop seems like a pretty flexible concept to me. Some people put raw seafood on it, some prefer marinated beef; I like mine with a healthy dose of (Brinery) kimchi and a runny egg. Unfortunately on this day of bibimbop creation we were out of pickled foods (FOR SHAAAAME!) so while my stomach was greatly satisfied it still wept a little for its long lost best friend.

So here’s what I ended up with:

QUI-BIM-BOP (heh, sorry)

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa (in these photos, I was trying out a blend of grains including quinoas and wild rice)

2 large carrots, julienned and cooked to your preference (steamed or pan-fried…buttery carrots are always tasty)

1 cup cooked spinach (I steamed mine and then mixed it with Tamari)

2 small zucchini, cubed and cooked to your preference (pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

1/2 lb tempeh, cubed and cooked however you want (this would be a great use of maple/Tamari marinated tempeh–just cube some fresh tempeh and soak it in a 3:2ish mixture of Tamari to maple syrup with a clove or two of minced garlic for at least 30 min, then pan-fried)

1 cup sugar snap peas, steamed

2 large eggs, cooked to order

seasonings I would suggest you try out to taste, not necessarily all together: salt & pepper, olive oil, Tamari, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), rice wine vinaigrette

As I mentioned, bibimbop is a mixed rice dish. So, simply split the cooked quinoa between two bowls and top with your ingredients. I assembled mine to look nice, then covered it all in Sriracha and made a delicious mess of it. This is a perfect dish to get creative with. Instead of marinated beef or seafood, Brandon and I (naturally) opted for tempeh (yet another thing I may be addicted to…it could be worse!). I had zucchini on hand, so they went in the bowl. Mung bean sprouts or julienned cucumber would be a super fresh, crunchy addition to this meal. Other things you can sub in might be short-grain brown rice for the quinoa or kale for the spinach. The opportunities are (gluten-free and) boundless.



15 Aug


Brandon and I have been playing with this killing band all summer (see above link) in addition to our snazzy Appleseed adventures. Each show includes anywhere from 12 to 17 performers and feels slightly more epic than the last. I think I actually injured my neck from dancing so hard last weekend. Blah blah blah it’s super cool blah blah, anyways there are a couple other gluten-free kiddos in the band which gives us yet another thing to get excited about (BAKED GOOOODZ). I brought some gluten-free banana zucchini (my roommate dubbed it “bacchini” [bikini]) bread a few weekends ago to Sleepy Bear Music Festival, took some homemade gluten-free oreos to our gig in Traverse City last weekend, and I would love to take some goodies to Hoxeyville this weekend, but our sink is in disrepair which does not really inspire me to figure out alternative cleaning methods.

Anyways, I digress. I’ll get on with the treats. I wanted to figure out something tasty to make with quinoa flour and pancakes were definitely a good choice. I will share these with my fellow gluten-abandoners when I next get the chance.

Any gluten-free baker knows the trials and tribulations of finding the right flour blend for each endeavor. I’ve experimented with a lot, and I think I’m most often pleased with my own flour blends instead of pre-mixed anything. They’re great in a pinch, but there’s something lovely about the creativity involved in gluten-free baking and the richness of the flavors you can combine. Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl and The Chef has a great post about ratios and making your own flour blends (I ended up blending whatever I had in the kitchen, which at the time was a mix of these flours: brown rice, oat, quinoa, sorghum, tapioca, and brown rice). Check it out here (scroll down a while) and then make her pancakes. I did.

And for your convenience I’ve copied her recipe below:


7 ounces whole-grain flour mix
1 ounce ground flaxseed
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
8 ounces buttermilk (I used flax milk “curdled” with lemon juice)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
2 ounces melted butter

(I also added bananas and blueberries!)

bacon grease or butter for the skillet

Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour and flaxseed meal to incorporate them together and aerate. Add the baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. Whisk them all together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Combining the wet ingredients. Whisk together the buttermilk, almond extract, and eggs. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula until the batter is combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the pancake batter is entirely combined.

Making the pancakes. Preheat the oven to 250°. Put an oven-safe plate in there.

Set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Grease the pan liberally (and by liberally, I mean a lot) of bacon grease or butter. Pour the pancake batter into the buttered pan, about ¼ cup at a time. When bubbles have started to form and pop on the top of pancake, flip it. Cook for about 1 minute more, then put the crisp pancake in the oven to keep it warm.



9 Aug

Oh my. We have just returned from over a week in northern Michigan, frolicking in both the upper and lower peninsulas. We had a lovely time playing at Sleepy Bear Music Festival in Lake Ann, enjoyed a little beach time at Lake Michigan, then made our way (barely) to Marquette, up and up all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula for Farm Block Fest. It was a time full of ups and downs, camping and bug bites, amazing music and slightly less amazing food, totally badass storms and lots of time in the car. But we’re home now, gearing up for the BIG CD RELEASE SHOW TOMORROW AT THE ARK. Brandon and I have been eating deliciousness for the last few days, trying to shove as many vegetables into our bodies as we can to make up for the lack thereof experienced on the road (it’s hard to keep veggies fresh in your cooler for that long).

As we walked into the grocery store, wondering what to make for dinner, it suddenly smacked us right in the face:

collard green wraps.

I can’t say enough about these thangs. Really, though, the only words we seem to be able to get out while eating them are “dude…so good…” and then we both just make “mind blown” faces. We’re nerds, it’s true. In fact, the first words out of my mouth during dinner tonight were simply “I love food” (sorry for not initially acknowledging the lovely candlelit table, B).

So here’s what’s up.


(Serves 2)

2 large collard green leafs

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber, sliced thin

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 heaping Tbsp baba ghanouj or hummus

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 brick of tempeh, cut into strips and cooked

handful of pickled carrots

handful of bean sprouts

2 Tbsp crumbled feta

To prepare the collard greens, slice them in half along the stem, removing the stem and leaving yourself with two wrap bases. Spread avocado and baba ghanouj in the center of each wrap, and pile on the toppings! I listed what I used/had around, but whatever you’re interested in would surely be delicious. Vegan burritos? Falafel and tabbouleh? Collard greens are a great (and gluten-free) replacement for tortillas or pitas in a sandwich-type situation. We used tempeh and pickled carrots from The Brinery right here in Ann Arbor, our favorite fermentation location. Both mixed well with the slight bitterness of the collard greens and all the fresh vegetables offer a very satisfying (and healthy) crunch.

What will we wrap up next?

……….that joke, surely. That’s a wrap on that joke, folks. Oh gosh, I can’t stop. Someone make it stop…oh look food pictures!


(It’s Never) Too Hot to Eat

23 Jul

I’ve tried to avoid saying this here, I really have, but it’s hot. I know it’s summer, but it’s still true. It’s HOT. I have spent a mildly inappropriate amount of time sitting in the cross breeze between the two fans in my room and/or going “shopping” just to enjoy free air conditioning. Brandon seems well suited for the heat while I instead simply schvitz while sitting. I could post another recipe for ice cream or anything chilled, but instead I’m going to share a tasty, refreshing summer salad! Because you can only subsist off of frozen dairy products for so long.

I’ve always loved fresh corn on the cob. I think sweet corn is a bit of a midwestern specialty, along with blueberries and cherries–at least in Michigan’s case. The sweet grilled corn in this salad combined with the crunchy spice of the fresh radishes and the cool creamy avocado is a combination that’ll knock your socks off (why would you be wearing socks? It’s 100 degrees outside!)…help you forget for five seconds that you could probably fry an egg on the sidewalk. Now that I think of it, this salad would stand up well to a fried egg sitting on top. Then again, I’m not really very opposed to fried eggs being on anything.


2 heads butter lettuce, washed and chopped

2 heirloom tomatoes, quartered

2 ears sweet corn, rubbed lightly in olive oil and grilled

6 small fresh radishes, sliced thin



1 large avocado

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp fresh dill, chopped fine

pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Blend dressing ingredients in blender until smooth. If it seems too thick, you can add a little olive oil (1-2 Tbsp) to thin it out.

When the grilled corn has cooled, remove from the cob either with a corn zipper (weird and awesome that there’s a tool for that) or with a knife. Combine salad ingredients, dress lightly, and serve! EASY.

I categorized this as “sides” because when I ate it, it was indeed a side dish. But, like I mentioned earlier, you could easily add a poached egg or some crumbled tempeh and call it a meal. Ta dah! Channeling Mad Men housewives again (thank goodness I have no interest in pork wearing slices of pineapple and maraschino cherries…very little interest…ok I’m now interested in revamping that).


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