Easiest-Ever Vegetable Enchiladas

Mexican food is a gluten-free person’s dream, thanks to corn tortillas and sauces that rarely ever include flour. It’s one of my go-tos both for going out to dinner and cooking at home — my roommate and I have fajita night at least once or twice a month. Last weekend, we went out for Mexican, and the enchiladas I ordered had TOO MUCH CHEESE. I know, that’s not a sentence humans should utter, and certainly not a human like me, who would list cheese as her main food group. But since those unsatisfactory enchiladas, I’ve been craving good ones ever since.
Literally never seen an enchilada recipe this easy before!  (And if you use corn tortillas they're gluten-free!)I made enchiladas for the first time a few months ago, and the sauce was more work than making a Bolognese — so many ingredients, so many steps, and in the end it didn’t taste that enchilada-y. So for these, I did my favorite recipe move: glance at a few for inspiration, then make up your own.

The result was this insanely easy sauce, which takes just five minutes to put together, and involves mostly ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Sautéing some veggies and assembling it all is the only real work you have to do. Lazy dinners, and especially lazy dinners with cheese, are the best dinners (so good of dinners that I didn’t have time to compose a lovely photo for you before digging in, sorry!).

Easy, Gluten-Free Vegetable Enchiladas
olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
2 large bell peppers, sliced into strips
6 oz. baby spinach
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce (make sure it doesn’t have added corn syrup)
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided*
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon dried onion (optional)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a “Mexican blend” but feel free to use cheddar/monterey jack/your choice)
*If you don’t like things super spicy, just use cayenne. If you like things moderately to a bit more than moderately spicy, use all the spices. If you like things super spicy, add another 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

For the veggies: Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet (medium heat). Add onions and peppers and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. When ready, add in baby spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Turn off heat.

For the sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour in can of tomato sauce, water, and milk. Stir until combined. Add all the remaining spices and hot sauce and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375F. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for one minute. In a glass baking dish (I used a weird 8×12-ish one I have), spread enchilada sauce across the bottom. Working one at a time and leaving remaining tortillas covered, take a tortilla, fill with 1/8 filling, roll up carefully, and place seam-side down in the dish (tortillas should be fairly full but not break when you roll them). Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top with enough sauce to comfortably cover the tortillas, then sprinkle cheese over evenly. Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, let sit 5 minutes, and try not to eat four in one sitting like I did.

Ham & Chive Savory Breakfast Muffins

I work incredibly hard during the week. So when it comes to my weekends, even though I have a lot of catching up on life to do, I spend much of my time not being productive. One of my favorite non-productive activities is doodling around on Pinterest, because marking recipes I want to try feeels productive in the part of my brain that is great at rationalizing questionable life choices.
Savory breakfast muffins with ham & chives! (You'd NEVER know they're gluten free!)I tend to mark lots of recipes and only come back to a handful of them much later, but when I came across these muffins and realized I already had all but one of the ingredients in my kitchen already, I made them the very day I pinned them. I ate one or two for breakfast every day that week and never once got sick of them. I would have gone on longer, but a friend of mine at work who gave up sugar (and who used to subsist on minimum one muffin a day), begged me to keep bringing her some too.

They’re not quite muffins, exactly — more like portable, crustless, mini quiches. But they are a delight, and they’re really the perfect breakfast for someone on the go. Bonus: the recipe only uses one bowl, which is always a victory in my book.
These savory breakfast muffins are like mini quiches! Perfect when you're on the go, freeze well, AND they're gluten-free!I made a few big modifications to the original recipe. The original called for cottage cheese, and no amount of promises that the texture would melt away could get me to buy cottage cheese. (You know a texture aversion is strong if I’m not buying something with “cheese” in the name.) I also used ham instead of prosciutto, as that’s what I had. I thought they were great with just regular ham, but I’m sure they’re quite good with prosciutto too if you have it. And, of course, I substituted the small amount of all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. Since they’re mostly almond flour, you could replace the GF all-purpose flour with tapioca starch or your other favorite grain-free flour to make these completely grain-free.

Savory Breakfast Muffins With Ham & Chives (adapted from The Kitchn)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used the whole milk kind)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 ounces proscuitto or 3 ounces ham (since it’s less strong, use a bit more), diced small
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray them all with cooking spray (DO NOT forget to spray them or you will be sorry).

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, parm, eggs, and water until smooth. Add the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and seasonings, and whisk until basically smooth again. Stir in ham and chives.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes (muffins will be golden brown on top). Let them cool in the tin, then store them in the fridge in a resealable plastic bag.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce [with BUTTER]

Winter is a great time for extensive cooking projects (lasagna, for example, or veggie burgers). But it’s also a great time to be lazy and just throw some stuff in the oven while you watch Pitch Perfect for the seventh time.
Oven-roasted tomato sauce recipe is SO easy and great for tricking people into thinking you cooked for hoursI make sauce on the stove all the time, but I’d never tried roasting tomatoes for sauce in the oven before. I’d also never gotten a recipe to look exactly like the picture in the magazine before.

This sauce is so easy that even all of you who claim you can’t cook can make it—all you have to do is dump your ingredients in a baking dish and put it in the oven. That’s it. Not kidding. This is the ultimate lazy person’s dish, and also the ultimate dish for tricking people into thinking you did way more work.
Oven-roasted tomato sauce recipe from Bon Appetit
The recipe as printed in Bon Appetit calls for quite a bit of garlic. I really love garlic, but I still thought it was too much, so my recipe below includes less than they call for. If you’re really opposed to anchovies, you can definitely omit them and not miss too much, but they do add a nice savory-ness (real word) to the sauce.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce with Butter (adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (without added salt)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese
pasta of your choosing

Preheat oven to 425. Crush tomatoes with your hands as you add them to a glass* 8×8 baking dish. Add garlic, anchovies, butter, red pepper, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.

Bake tomato mixture for 45 minutes, stirring things up about halfway through; anchovies and garlic should be very soft. Using a fork or snazzier mashing tool, mash up garlic and anchovies and stir to evenly distribute. Add some parmesan and stir. Combine sauce with cooked pasta, stirring until well mixed. Divide between bowls and top with lots more cheese, because cheese.

P.S. This recipe is way more fun to make if you keep pronouncing butter as BUTTEEEEEEH.

*Stonewear is okay, just do not use a metal pan — metal can sometimes react with the acid in the tomatoes and that is not a flavor you want.

How to Copycat the Pies n Thighs Chicken Biscuit [Gluten Free Optional!]

If you know me, you know that sandwiches are my favorite food (some people find this controversial, but it’s valid, the end). Every year I look for a new favorite sandwich of the year, and a few years ago I discovered the chicken biscuit from Pies n Thighs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s a juicy piece of boneless fried chicken on a biscuit that’s been slathered with honey butter and doused in hot sauce. It is, in a word, glorious. I’ve been missing it since going gluten free, so I decided to try to recreate it without the gluten. And…
Spicy fried chicken biscuit with honey butter and hot sauce (inspired by Brooklyn restaurant Pies n Thighs)It was surprisingly easy, and tasted exactly like the real version! Even if you’ve never had the real thing, this is a great impressive meal to make, and you’ll be sorry when you’ve finished your last bite. (And if you want the glutens, just use regular breadcrumbs!)

Pies n Thighs Chicken Biscuit Recipe [Copycat version]
Ingredients for the Marinade
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (mine had 4)
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

Ingredients for Breading
3/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
3/4 cup almond meal (if you’re making these with gluten, you can use all breadcrumbs, but I’d recommend using almond meal anyway as it adds a great flavor)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp amounts of any other dried herbs you like (I added some basil and oregano)
olive oil

Ingredients for Serving
gluten-free biscuits, rolls, or English muffins, halved and toasted (I recommend the Trader Joe’s French rolls)
4 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp honey
hot sauce of your choice (like Frank’s Red Hot or Cholula)

For the marinade: pour buttermilk into a large (non-metal) bowl. Add in hot sauce, mustard, salt, cayenne, paprika, and pepper and whisk together until well mixed. Set aside. Take your chicken thighs out of the package, trim any fat, and pound them out a bit thinner between pieces of plastic wrap. Submerge chicken in buttermilk mixture, making sure it’s completely covered, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 24, stirring things around once or twice.

When you’re ready to cook: in a large plate, mix together breadcrumbs, almond meal, salt, cayenne, thyme, pepper, garlic powder, and any other herbs with a fork until well distributed. Take each piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, let the excess drip off, and then dredge in crumb mixture until both sides are coated.

Heat enough olive oil to more than comfortably coat the bottom of your pan over medium heat. When it’s hot enough (toss in some breadcrumbs and they’ll sizzle), cook chicken–probably in batches of two so as not to overcrowd your pan–until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. (When flipping chicken, use a thin metal spatula to ensure that coating comes with the chicken.) While chicken cooks, mix together honey and butter in a small bowl until combined.

When ready to serve, divide honey butter between rolls. Top bottom half with chicken, douse with hot sauce to taste (more is better), and top with other half. Grab a lot of napkins, and dig in.

Gluten-free Veggie Burgers [That Actually Taste Like Vegetables]

One of the most frustrating things about being gluten free is checking ingredients lists when food shopping, as so many things you wouldn’t even think could contain wheat seem to. I have a lot of good supermarkets near me, but not a single one’s veggie burger selection includes one that doesn’t contain wheat. Since homemade everything is better anyway, I decided to try making them from scratch.
Veggie burgers that actually taste like vegetables! (AND they're gluten free too!)The problem is that the breadcrumbs in commercial veggie burgers are what helps them hold together, something I only realized when I started cooking my first batch. I threw almond flour in to my second batch which definitely helped (and is great to use if you’re grain-free or slow carb), but I’d recommend using gluten-free breadcrumbs instead to really bind them together well; they’re a bit delicate otherwise…but still taste lightyears better than those gluten-y store bought veggie burgers. The great thing about making veggie burgers from scratch is that you can really customize them to your liking/based on what you have on hand. Don’t like peas? Use corn. Not a fan of spinach? Skip it. Have some leftover zucchini in the fridge? Throw it in. The world is your gluten-free oyster.
These veggie burgers actually taste like veggies (and they're gluten free too!)
Gluten-free Veggie Burger Recipe
1 medium sweet potato, cooked however you like (I roasted mine in a 350 degree oven for one hour, but if you need to save time just stab it with a fork and use the microwave), then peeled
1 cup cooked rice (I used jasmine. If you cook 1 cup of uncooked rice, you’ll have enough for the burgers and to have on the side)
8 ounces button, white, or cremini mushrooms, diced small
1 large carrot (or about 7 to 9 baby ones), diced small
2 small shallots, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen chopped spinach (not thawed)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup almond meal or gluten-free breadcrumbs
olive oil

In a large bowl, mash together sweet potato and rice. Set aside.

Heat enough olive oil to comfortably coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add mushrooms, carrot, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add in frozen peas and spinach and continue to cook, stirring to break up spinach chunks, until vegetables are cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Add vegetable mixture to the bowl with the sweet potato and rice. (Wipe out skillet but don’t wash it yet.) Add cayenne, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper, and mix until well combined. Taste mixture and add more seasonings if necessary. Let cool about 30 minutes (you can speed this up in the fridge), then mix in egg and meal or breadcrumbs until everything is combined nicely.

Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in your skillet (use a paper towel to spread it around). Take large golf ball-ish sized portions of the veggie mixture and flatten into patties, then add to skillet. Cook until lightly browned (about 4 minutes), then flip carefully with a thin metal spatula and cook on other side. Serve on toasted gluten-free buns with cheese, because cheese is the best.

(This recipe makes 8 to 10 burgers and freezes quite nicely. Freeze burgers between pieces of parchment paper in a freezer bag and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.)

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins [Adventures in Xanthan Gum]

Fall is upon us, which means it’s time for boots, new leather jackets, and being able to turn on the oven again without turning your apartment into a kiln.
You'd never, ever know these blueberry muffins are gluten free!I normally dive into baking season with enthusiasm, but I’ve been nervous this time around, since gluten-free baking is a new adventure for me. I did a lot of reading about it, and much of what I read kind of terrified me–lots of people warning off of baking with cups instead of weight (math?!), making your own flour blends (how big are your kitchens?!), and the perils of xanthan gum, the binder used in place of gluten. Baking and its ratios really are chemistry, but messing up xanthan gum ratios is not the same as using a little too much vanilla, and I couldn’t find a definitive agreement on how much to use. I also didn’t really love the ingredients lists in many of the recipes I found; some called for very specific flours, others required more eggs than I had on hand. To further complicate matters, many of the recipes I found were also dairy-free and other-stuff-free, and all I wanted to eliminate was gluten.
Gluten free blueberry muffin recipe – tastes just like the real thing!Naturally, I solved the problem by winging it and adapting an existing favorite (gluten) muffin recipe, because I have some sort of terrible compulsion to almost never follow recipe directions exactly, even when attempting something new. I ended up basing my xanthan gum usage off the package’s recommendation, but using a bit less than they suggested; I’d rather have my muffins be too crumbly than too tough. To my supreme surprise, these muffins actually came out as close to real muffins as they possibly could. The gluten-eaters in my life all loved them too, so these would be great to serve a crowd (but also great if you want to eat a dozen muffins by yourself–no judgments here).

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins [adapted from The Modern Baker]
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur)
1/2 cup almond flour (not almond meal, which is coarser. I used Bob’s Red Mill, which my friend Lauren so kindly sent me)
2 tsp baking powder
1 slightly overfull tsp xanthan gum (mine is also Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will also work, but make sure it’s the real thing)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
8 ounces fresh blueberries, picked over for stems and mushy ones
a bit of cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk (or stir with a fork) together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until lightened and getting fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla and scrape down the sides again. Add in half of flour mixture and mix on low speed until well mixed. Stop mixer and pour in the milk, then mix on low speed again until combined (you may want to start with your mixer on “stir” to avoid getting your counter covered in milk splashes). Add remaining flour mixture and mix again until combined. Add in blueberries and mix on stir until berries are just distributed.

Divide batter between the liners (they will be quite full) and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of each. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and tops are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes (basically until you can touch them without burning your fingers off), then move to wire rack to cool completely. If you’re making them later in the day, eat one for dessert (as my friend Sally says, muffins are just cake).

Three Months Gluten Free!

Let’s celebrate with this series of selfies I tried to take with one of my dogs the last time I was home, all of which failed (yet totally won) because his ear was sticking out so far.
Cute dachshund on Cake Is The Only Thing That MattersSo here’s the three-month update: there is no update. I haven’t really seen any changes or improvements yet, but I’ve been told that it could take up to a year for my body to “heal” from all the gluten I’ve ever subjected it to, so I wasn’t really expecting anything. I will say that I am definitely eating better than I did before going gluten free, since I now tend to eat more salads and vegetables in general. The fact that it’s harder to find baked goods hasn’t stopped me, but it has slowed me down. Hopefully I can keep that up as the weather turns colder, produce gets thinner, and I have more time inside for baking.

Fingers crossed for better news at the six month update!

Spicy Gluten-Free Crab Cakes [Perfect for Lazy Late Summer Days]

We’re not going to talk about how August is almost over, because that will make me start crying.

What we are going to talk about is how perfect the (late, sob) summer weather has (finally) been lately. Is there anything better than a weekend full of cloudless skies, temperatures in the low 80s, barely any humidity, and a slight breeze? No, no there is not, especially when you don’t have to travel and can just spend the whole perfect weekend outside.
SummerThough you could make it a bit better with these crab cakes, because seriously, they are bomb.

I am a huge crab cake fan, but I’d never made them before, preferring to get them at restaurants, or to let my dad make large batches while I come over to steal some of them. But the perfect summer weather got me in a crab cakey mood, and I decided to give it a whirl. I figured that since I’ve watched my dad make them so many times, I’d just glance at a few recipes’ ingredients lists and just wing it.

However, none of this prepared me for the fact that crab meat is not like chicken cutlets or ground meat–it doesn’t come ready to go. Apparently, you have to pick through the crab meat for any stray pieces of shell, which will definitely be there. If I had bothered to fully read any of the recipes I glanced at for seasoning ideas, I would have known this. So, if you’re planning to make these, please promise me you’ll check for shells. Otherwise, some bites of your crab cakes will have a slightly crunchy bite, which isn’t unpleasant, exactly, but I’d really recommend them without that.
Easy and delicious spicy crab cakes (that can be made gluten-free!)One thing I did learn from my glances at recipes is that pretty much all of them, even the “light” ones, require you to use mayonnaise as an ingredient. I’m not really a fan of mayo, so I don’t keep it in the house, and I didn’t feel like walking to Panera to steal some mayo packets. What I DO keep in the house is a bottle of chipotle ranch dressing, which is one of my favorite condiments for sandwiches and salads. I knew the texture would be similar to mayo, and the flavor better, so I decided to try that out. I was NOT disappointed. I don’t often brag outright about my cooking successes, but this was probably one of my best cooking ideas in a long time. I use Cindy’s Kitchen (I get it at Whole Foods and Fairway), but if you can’t find it, you can use stupid mayo instead–just increase the amount of hot sauce and seasonings you’re using. Don’t be daunted by the length of the ingredient list; you have most of this in your kitchen already, and the actual prep and cooking takes less than 15 minutes.

Spicy Gluten-free Crab Cakes Recipe (makes 6)
8 ounces fresh lump crab meat, picked over for shell pieces, seriously
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp hot sauce (your choice)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chipotle ranch dressing (or regular ranch or mayo, plus more hot sauce)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup gluten-free Panko (or other breadcrumbs of your choice)
olive oil

Dump out crab meat into a large bowl and check it for shell pieces, I’m not kidding. Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil. Using your hands (gross, but the most effective), mix everything together as lightly as you can, until everything is well distributed. Cover bowl lightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours (go get a pedicure).

Take the bowl out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you’re ready to get cooking (maybe get working on your side dishes, unless you’re planning to just eat crab cakes for dinner, which sounds awesome). Divide crab mixture into six portions. Roll each portion lightly into a ball, then press out into a patty (mine were about 1/2 to 3/4 an inch thick). Pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When oil is hot (test it by putting in a small piece of crab and seeing if it sizzles), add crab cakes and cook, flipping once, until browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, squeeze some lemon juice over them, and dig in.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cookie Dough Cream Cheese Swirl [My First From-scratch Gluten Free Baking Experiment!]

I have been extremely busy lately with very important activities – marathoning both seasons of Scandal at an unhealthy pace – but took a brief break this week to do my very first from-scratch gluten free baking in honor of my friend Andrea’s birthday, as friendship is one of the few things that trumps obsessive TV watching.

Andrea isn’t gluten free, but since I now own only GF baking ingredients, that’s what everyone is getting. I knew I wanted to start with brownies for my first homemade gluten free baked good, as their low flour content meant that I could use my existing recipe without any complicated modifications. And thankfully, these came out exactly the same they did when I made them with regular flour. I really don’t think you’d know they were gluten free if I hadn’t just told you.
How to make dark chocolate brownies with a cream cheese and cookie dough swirl

But this is a birthday, so fun modifications needed to be made. I had originally been thinking of doing a cream cheese swirl, but then Pillsbury sent me some of their new gluten free doughs (check out how their pizza dough came out in my post on Babble!) and made me think a cookie dough swirl was in order instead. Then brilliance struck, and I figured, why not do both? And the baked good angels sang, because this was one of my best ideas ever. In fact, I was mostly sad that I had not made more of the swirl, because I had to put it all in the brownies instead of eating it with a spoon.

I made these entirely with gluten-free all-purpose flour, but I’ve printed the recipe below with some of it replaced by almond flour, as it will give the brownies an even richer flavor without overpowering the swirl. (I didn’t make them with it because Andrea is allergic to some nuts and didn’t want to chance killing her with a present.) And on that note, I only used half extra dark cocoa here so that the swirl would still stand out, but feel free to use all dark, or all regular, cocoa.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish watching Scandal.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Cookie Dough Swirl (adapted from Fat Witch Brownies)
Ingredients for Brownies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup extra-dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup regular unsweetened cocoa powder (or just use a full 1/2 cup of one of these)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff, kids)
1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)

Ingredients for Swirl
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons cookie dough, softened (the pre-packaged kind works just fine here)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with butter. Cut a piece of parchment the width of your dish, but long enough to go up the other sides. Place in dish; butter parchment.

Make the swirl: in a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cookie dough, extract, and sugar until well combined (I used a fork to mash up things). Set aside.

Make the brownies: In a glass bowl, heat butter in 30-second intervals in the microwave until melted. Let cool for a few minutes, then add sugar and cocoa powders and whisk until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, whisking between each edition. By the 4th egg your batter should be very shiny and should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl a bit when you’re stirring. Whisk in vanilla, then whisk in flours and salt until no trace of the flour remains. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading to even out. Drop swirl in dollops around the pan (don’t forget the corners), then take a knife and swirl it around the pan until swirl is nicely distributed, but not melted out of sight. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some crumbs attached. Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then use parchment to lift brownies out and transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares and try not to eat four of them in one go.

How to Cook for a Heat Wave, Gluten Free or Not

I love to cook. I even love to cook in the summer, mostly because vegetables actually have flavor (and you can buy them local/organic/all that jazz for a reasonable price). Even after a hard day, I still like doing it, because it zens me out.

But not so much in the summer. And way less much when it’s a heat wave, like the one the northeast had last week, when it was essentially 100 degrees for one week straight.

My dog was not pleased.
hot dachshundHowever, there are some easy ways to power through. The first is to actually not cook at all (and no, I don’t mean use Seamless – though if you use this link to try it, you’ll get $7).
burrata for summer dinnerBehold, the easiest dinner ever. Just buy a pint of cherry tomatoes (I got mine at the Union Square greenmarket) and a container of burrata (you should be able to find this at most nicer supermarkets – I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s and Fairway). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs, make some toast if you need carbs, and you’re all set.

Option two is grilling meat, because AMERICA. And also because it’s fast and easy. I really like making my own turkey burgers; they’re light, they take less than 15 minutes to both make and cook, they go well with so many toppings and sides, and the extra ones freeze quite well. If you own a grill, you also won’t heat up your home at all making them. If you live in a tiny apartment like me, you’ll get a little toasty, but you won’t have to keep your grill pan heated for too long.
Easiest ever turkey burger recipeEasy Turkey Burgers with Sauteed Summer Squash
1 package ground turkey breast (most are a bit over a pound)
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp increments of whichever dried herbs you like (I use basil, oregano, and then a pinch of thyme)
2 large summer squashes (I used one yellow and one zucchini), diced
1 large glove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
olive oil
(gluten free) hamburger buns

Take ground turkey out of the fridge and let it hang out at room temperature while you dice your squash. Heat enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Let cook 2 minutes, then add garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squashes begin to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

While squash is cooking, mix ground turkey with remaining salt, pepper, cayenne, and dried herbs in a large bowl with your hands. Try to mix as little as possible, but make sure seasonings are well dispersed. Pull off slightly-larger-than-golf-ball sized pieces, roll into balls, then flatten into patties about 1/2 an inch thick. Make an indentation in the center of each with your thumb and set aside (this keeps them from shrinking/getting fat). You should have 5 patties. (If you’re not making all of them, wrap each extra patty in a piece of parchment paper, then place all wrapped patties in a freezer bag, and, well, freeze them.)

Wipe out skillet so there’s just a thin coating of oil left. Heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes to get it hot again, then add turkey patties. Cook until browned on the bottom and the edges of the top that you can see are turning white, then flip and cook until cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes total. If you want a cheeseburger, add cheese during the last minute of cooking. Put on toasted (gluten free) buns, top with any toppings you like, and serve with veggies on the side.