Quick & Easy Garlic Shrimp Pizza

Quick + Easy Garlic Shrimp Pizza

One of the first foods folks miss on a gluten free diet is pizza. And one of the hardest doughs to recreate without gluten is pizza dough. There is no true substitute for the elasticity that gluten imparts to a wheat based dough. You can use a blend of alternative flours to make a thick, batter-like dough, but the truth is it will never be stretchy and tossable, like a classic hand tossed pizza shell. Sticky, yeah. Yeasty? You can capture the yeast-bread flavor. But a malleable dough you can knead? And stretch on a pizza stone? 


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Strawberries Citronge

With strawberries still so sexy and luscious I couldn't help myself. I had to buy a quart and slice them up for a cool dessert to offer our dashingly handsome new neighbor and friend Joey. After all, what beats fresh, ripe fruit in season, especially after a late and lazy August afternoon spent under the portal, sipping [um, several of] Joey's fabulously limey pucker-your-lips margaritas, and tasting a variety of sliced heirloom tomatoes (picked fresh that very day in a Taos garden) topped with thin dabs of marinated mozzarella (so creamy and basil-y and garlicky)?

I mean, what do you give a guest who brings such treasures? And what do you serve after all the heat and sparkle of smart and insightful conversation, and all the peachy glow of new friendship and discovery. The flutter of synchronicity. And I forgot to mention, the dinner itself [which I'll blog about soon, and share the recipes]. Nothing.

Nothing beats luscious summer strawberries. Especially when you macerate the ruby gems in a local favorite- Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur- and spoon them gently on melty scoops of dark chocolate sorbet served in Mexican stemmed Margarita glasses and share them under the stars.

As Bogart famously said, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Strawberries Citronge Recipe

Gently hand wash and drain a quart of ripe fresh strawberries. Slice them into a bowl (removing the green tops). 
Toss lightly in a sprinkling of organic cane sugar [or raw agave, if you're not into the whole sugar thing]. 
Drizzle with Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur.
Toss lovingly. Cover and chill for a couple of hours.

Serve spooned over slightly softened dark chocolate sorbet. Sigh audibly.

Serves four.

Maui Wowee Cookie Bars with Coconut & Chocolate Chips

Gluten free coconut chocolate chip cookie bars
Gluten-free cookie bars with coconut and chocolate.

Ah. Savor this Maui Wowee goodness- a delicious coconut chocolate chip cookie bar recipe. But first, a little back story. I remember the first gluten-free cookie I ever ate. I was a week into this new gluten-free lifestyle, knowing- by my body's dramatic response to giving up gluten- I was on the right track. I was feeling hopeful, deprived, relieved, angry and curious all at once.

So, Dear Reader, I took my first bite.

The store-bought cookie tasted like dog biscuit dust. Like a thawed frozen pizza box whizzed in a Cuisinart. Like a stale corner crumble from last year's abandoned Christmas cookie tin from your aunt that can't cook and pontificates about politics over instant coffee, Sara Lee pound cake and her gently crushed pack of Virginia Slims.

My husband and sons felt sorry for me (though they masked it with humor, tossing cookies out the back door into the night like so many flying hockey pucks). The worst of it? They felt powerless to help.

That's when I knew.

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Mediterranean Chicken with Vinegar Roasted Peppers

Easy baked chicken and peppers makes a tasty weeknight supper.

The local markets and farm stands are stacked with peppers of every color, size and shape, ripe and gorgeous and full of vitamin C. From round, crisp and sweet to curvy-sexy and fiery, peppers are abundant now, so flavorful and fabulous. Note: New Mexico green and red chiles are a blog unto themselves; find How To Make a Roasted Green Chile sauce here.

Today I wanted to share an easy family favorite I tossed together after a tech-focused day learning the ins and outs of my spanking new iMac computer [which I confess right now, I love with all my tender geeky heart].

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Desert Skies

The journey here was a twisting road, leading us always north, always expectant, more than once lost, or disappointed, looking for tiny clues swept clean by the hot desert winds that teased and preceeded us and left the landscape rolling and tidal and smelling of sunlit juniper and sage. We've been told [by those who know such things] that the high desert here will draw you in with a force like a magnet, and instigate your dreams - not the angel-sugared bedtime dreams of lullabies, but the tough stuff. The unconscious Self. The Shadow. And if you falter, if you brace yourself with old defenses and cling to the familiarity of ego, she spits you out. And sends you packing. It's not for everyone.

I took the sign of four ravens, perched high in a tall juniper near the casita in the rain, as a good omen. I've always been a friend to crows and crooked beaks. A rainbow over the mesa at dusk didn't hurt my feelings, either. There have been hummingbirds visiting daily. And this morning, as Steve wrote in silence by the window at daybreak, the golden hued coyote that trotted past hunting for rabbits made us both smile in gratitude. This is a dream come true all right. But as a wise soul once said, be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. In other words, be ready for it when it comes. Be awake. Be open. Shed the old. Embrace the different.

The desert is living, sacred ground with a heartstopping spirit of place. You sense life force in every direction. Presence. Vigilance. And dreaming. The desert conjures her own dreams, you soon realise; and you are only a grain in the palm of her sweeping change.

As we settle in and cook and read and walk and converse, the desert infuses us. The skies exhilarate us. The vivid moon and stars inspire us.

Next, I will post recipes, and photographs of my new kitchen, my painting studio, our kivas [we have two!]. Until then, I thought I'd share some slices of our view.

Thank you all for your messages these past weeks - I read every one - and it made me full and fat with gratitude.

Blogging by next week...

A quick update from a wireless cafe in Santa Fe: after several delays [closing issues], we're finally moved in! We love our new casita; and I'll be connected [via satellite] after August 14th.

I've missed you all!