Quinoa Tabouli (aka Tabouleh) - Gluten free!

It's been too hot to bake. I'm ready for autumn clouds and rain. But I'm in the kitchen anyway - cooking up something that doesn't require me to turn on the oven :-)

Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah') - another of nature's super foods! It's a gluten-free grain that is high in protein and fiber, full of nutrients, and easy to digest. Where has it been all my life??? I only found out about Quinoa a few years ago. Not much flavor by itself, it can be used in so many ways by adding seasonings and veggies and meat to it. Sometimes I add Chicken, onions, and mushrooms to it with a sprinkle of feta, and it's my main course. But not today.

Today I made my favorite way to eat Quinoa. I made tabouli, replacing the Bulghur with Quinoa. Tabouli is very easy to make - and it's another of those 'to taste' dishes that you can really get creative with. It's also a great way to practice your chopping skills since most of the ingredients are finely chopped. (Think Julia Child in Julie and Julia - the onion scene. Hysterical!!).

I like a lot of tradtional Tabouli flavors - parsley, mint, green onions, lemon, among other things.

But here's the thing about Quinoa - if you buy it in bulk, or if you buy it in a bag or box, and it doesn't say it's been pre-rinsed - you MUST rinse it or soak it. Really well. Quinoa has an outer coating that is bitter, and if you don't get rid of it, your Quinoa will taste bitter. That's just the way it is.

If I have time, I will soak it in a strainer sitting in a bowl of water for about 5 or 10 minutes, replacing the water at least once. But I've also been known to just rinse it in a strainer under running water for a few minutes - and that usually works just fine. Keep in mind that Quinoa is tiny, so your strainer should have find mesh - or you'll see the Quinoa go down the drain :-). Here it is soaking.

You can cook Quinoa in Chicken broth, Vegetable broth, Water, or any combination. It cooks much like Rice (1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of liquid), but much quicker. When I'm cooking it for a cold salad type of dish - I usually put it in a bowl right after it's cooked, fluff it up a bit with a fork, and let it come to room temperature before adding my other ingredients.

Chop chop! A little olive oil and lemon juice, and there you have it. Into the refrigerator to chill.

Big softball game and potluck coming up this Sunday. This may have to be on the menu!

Quinoa Tabouli (Serves 6-8)


  • 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed very well
  • 2 cups Broth or Water
  • 1 cup (approx) Fresh Mint, chopped fine
  • 1 cup (approx) Fresh Parsley, chopped fine
  • 3-4 Green Onions (approx), chopped
  • 1 cup Cucumber (or Celery), chopped
  • 1 Tomato, chopped and drained
  • Juice of 1 Lemon (approx)
  • 3-4 Tbs (approx) Olive Oil (see Option below)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Option: Instead of the Olive Oil, you can add a Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Bring liquid to a boil and immediately add the rinsed Quinoa. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Move cooked Quinoa to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Once the Quinoa is cooled to near room temperature, add the chopped ingredients and toss.
  3. Add Olive Oil,lemon juice, and salt, to taste. Toss well.

This is good eaten at room temperature, or chilled - which also gives the flavors time to blend nicely.

Time for lunch (Quinoa :-)

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Nearly Guilt-Free, Kinda' Healthy Chocolate Cake

Honestly - this is the closest thing to a really healthy chocolate cake I've ever had. I've made it many times, and it's one of those things that if you leave it on the kitchen counter, every time you walk by it you'll sneak a little piece.

Leave your guilt at the door, because the main ingredient is this:

Do you recognize them? They are Garbanzo beans, in all of their almost-a-chocolate-cake glory. Everytime I tell people about this flourless, gluten-free chocolate cake that is made from Garbanzo beans, they say, "Oh - you mean garbanzo bean flour?" Noooooo..... I mean Garbanzo beans. As in high protein, high fiber. Straight up. Don't ask me why it works. It just does.

This is adapted from a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com a few years ago. I've made it in a round cake pan, a springform pan, and a square (pretending they are brownies). It has a soft texture, and is great served with a little frozen yogurt. It's not dry, but can be a little crumbly, so I find it's easiest when eaten with a fork.

You start with about 19 oz of Organic Garbanzo Beans. That's 2 - 15 oz. cans, once you drain all the liquid. Sidebar: did you know that Organic Garbanzo beans are cheaper from Whole Foods than from Safeway (for you out-of-towners Safeway is a West Coast grocery chain).

Rinse and drain them well, and grind them up in a Food Processor (no mixer needed) REALLY well (i.e. don't be leaving any chunks of Garbanzo Bean in there!).

Add the sugar and baking powder, and blend. Then add the melted chocolate and vanilla.

Bake, cool.....

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost, cut, eat.....

Oh - and this is one of the easiest cakes I've ever made.

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

  • 1 1/2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 - 15 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans (I use Organic)
  • 4 Eggs (I use Range-free or Organic)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9" round or square cake pan or springform pan, or use parchment paper.
  1. Rinse and drain the Garbanzo Beans. Grind completely in a food processor with the eggs until smooth. (No Chunks!)
  2. Add the sugar and baking powder to the beans and blend.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot (not boiling) water or, melt in the microwave in 30-second increments. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the mixture and blend until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake approximately 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow it to cool completely before removing from the pan or cutting. Yup... chocolate cake with garbanzo beans..... all the protein and fiber with none of the bean taste. I'm telling you... it's a miracle!

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Gluten-free Pizza

This was my second try at a gluten-free Pizza crust. The first (just yesterday) was forgettable. Still... I was on a mission.

I love Pizza. I'm a Pizza-snob. Because I believe that you really can't get what I consider 'great' Pizza outside of New York. Really thin crust, with just the right amount of grease in the ever so slightly sweet sauce, and thin strings of mozzarella cheese stretching out with each bite. Yeah... you get the picture.

I've learned to live with California Pizza - and have found a few places here in Northern California that make acceptable Pizza. But I figured, since I'm not getting my 'great' pizza anyway, I might as well find a recipe for Gluten-free Pizza, since I'm trying to avoid wheat.

So my first attempt was bad. I realized when I was trying to eat it that someday I need to do another blog called "Bonnie's Baking-Blooper Blog." It's got a nice ring, don't you think?

My old (cheap and warped) Pizza pan was long gone, so I recently bought a new one. Oh - I have a Pizza Peel and Stone and all that - which I've mostly used for bread baking. But this new one from Calphalon is very cool - it's got holes on the bottom to help crisp up the crust. I love it!

Since I didn't have any great expectations for this second try to be any good, I didn't bother taking pictures along the way. But go figure - it was good. I'm really happy with the result.

It's easy enough to throw together - but you have to be careful about getting the dough to the right consistency to be able to work it into a big circle. Not too dry and not too wet. As I mentioned, I like my Pizza thin so I had to really work that circle, from the center out, with my fingers. I was able to fix any little tears that happened just by squeezing it back together. I think now that I've made it once, next time I'll be able to make the edge a little neater looking.

I adapted this recipe from a book by Carol Fenster called "Special Diet Solutions."

Gluten-free Pizza Crust


  • 1 Tbs. Yeast
  • 2/3 cup Brown Rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbs. powdered milk or extra Tapioca flour (I actually used dry buttermilk because I had some)
  • 2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning (I just added some Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Thyme, and Rosemary to taste)
  • 2/3 cup warm water, approximately (temperature around 100 degrees, not too hot or it will kill the yeast)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or honey or agave (I used sugar)
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil (I think I'll add 1 Tbs next time)
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

  1. Add all ingredients to electric mixer bowl and blend on low speed.
  2. When blended, mix on high speed for about 3 minutes. If mixture seems too dry (the machine is starting to bounce around), add a bit more water. The dough should be soft.
  3. Put the dough on a (rice) floured surface, and form into a ball. Then flatten it out slightly into a circle with your hands.
  4. Place the dough on your Pizza pan, and begin working it out into a larger circle, pressing from the middle out. Work it to the size and thick/thinness you prefer. If it cracks in spots, just press it back together.
  5. When you have it at the right size, thicken up the edges a little to keep your toppings on, and so it looks like a Pizza (LOL).
  6. Set it in a warm place and let it rest for about 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. After resting (the Pizza, not you) pre-bake the dough for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and add your toppings.
  9. Bake again, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until until the cheese is melted (you did use cheese, didn't you?) and the crust edge is nicely browned.

I used Organic Pasta Sauce from Whole Foods which is tasty and well priced, Mozzarella cheese, and some thinly sliced ham I also got at Whole Foods. Next time I will definitely use Goat cheese and mushrooms. I think next time will be soon!

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Gluten-free Scones

So, I have this recipe for gluten-free scones that is my go-to recipe when scones are needed. Most of my gluten-free friends seem to like them. Scones in general tend to be on the dry side, and these were that. Some people just like a nice dry, crumbly scone.

However **this** scone recipe is my NEW go-to scone recipe. It's way less dry, not crumbly, with nice texture and crumb. And it fairly low in sugar - always a Plus!

I came across it online, and made some ingredient changes that made sense to me. I'm very happy with them, and will experiment with different flavorings in the future (that's one of the beautiful things about scones).

I added dried fruit and orange zest to these, and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips because I had a bunch I needed to use. Next time, I will add dark chocolate chips. Dried cranberries or raisins are always great in scones as well. And maybe some of the blueberries I froze! Ok...ok... I need to calm down.

Before we get to the pics, I should apologize for the quality of my photos. I am not a photographer, and while I can usually get a pretty focused picture, and can manage to use the Macro just fine, I never quite can get the lighting right (at least, that's what they always tell me at Foodgawker. I know I can learn how to do it, but to tell you the truth, I don't care to learn how. LOL. I'll just muddle along with my little Canon camera set to Automatic, and keep apologizing for poor quality photos (with apologies to my brothers, the family Paparazzi).

Here's my dry ingredients blended with the butter, zest, fruit and chocolate, to which I just added the eggs and yogurt. No need for an electric mixer for this recipe - just mix with a spatula or wooden spoon.

I forgot to take a picture of the next step, which is working the dough into a ball, and then pressing it into a circle that is about 1" in height. What you see here is the 8 sections (it can easily cut into 10-12 sections, for a slightly small scone).

I like to brush my scones with an egg wash, and sprinkle them with a tiny bit of sugar before baking, but that is totally optional.

And if you're still not sure this is your cup of tea.....

Yeah - looks good enough to eat, doesn't it? You can add a little butter, or honey, but I like them just the way they are. And happily, they freeze great. Just be sure to get as much air out of the freezer bag as possible. I find a straw very helpful for sucking out the air. That's right..... a straw. LOL.

These will be perfect for after my Jazzercise Class Walk at the reservoir on Labor Day.

Gluten-free Scones


  • 3/4 cup Brown Rice flour (plus extra as needed)
  • 1/2 cup White Rice flour
  • 3 1/2 Tbs Tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 Tbs. Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat Plain Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup Dried Fruit, Blueberries, etc. (optional)
  • Handful of Chocolate Chips (optional)
  • Zest of 1 Orange or Lemon (optional)
  • 1 Egg, beaten with 1 tsp water for egg wash (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  1. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Cut up the butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Work butter and flours together with your hands until the flour is well combined. The result will be like moist flour. (Tip: I often freeze the butter and then quickly grate it into the dry ingredients. I find it easier to work into the flour with my hands that way.)
  3. Add your dried fruit, zest, or other flavorful ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and yogurt and blend together well with a whisk.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and blend together into a soft dough. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too soft or sticky.
  6. Turn the dough onto a (rice) floured surface, and knead a few times to shape into a ball. If the dough is too soft to form a ball, add more flour as needed.
  7. Press the ball into a circle that is about 1" high.
  8. Cut into sections (a pizza cutter works well), and brush with egg wash, if desired.
  9. Bake approximately 15-17 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Very satisfying!

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Gluten-free Black and White Cookies (!!!!!)

So you may be asking yourself, what's the big deal (!!!!!) about Gluten-free Black and White Cookies. And I can only answer, you clearly are not from New York (or nearby), nor have spent much time there. Because if you were, or did, you wouldn't have to ask.

Black and White cookies are a New York delicacy. A tradition. A trademark. And for some reason, you don't find them anywhere else (except maybe New Jersey, or Connecticut, or one of those other nearby states). In California, you might find them occasionally in a deli or bagel place (NOT Noahs! I said BAGELS). But even when you do, they are usually not fresh - and one thing for sure - you want to eat a Fresh Black and White Cookie. The traditional Black and White cookie is almost like a tea cake - soft and a little spongy. The top has half white icing and half chocolate icing. Or, if you're into creative Black and White cookies, you can go visit The Black and White Cookie Company in NY.

Most of my friends here in California have never even heard of a Black and White Cookie (except maybe on an episode of Seinfeld, or Sex and the City. LOL).

I do have one friend in particular here who like me, is originally from NY. She, like me, has the same landing pattern when going home to visit. Head out for Pizza first, then a Black and White Cookie. (She actually goes for a Knish, too.) She totally gets it. She was the first person I called when I baked these - because she understands the love for Black and White Cookies, AND because she is Wheat-intolerant. Needless to say, she was very, very happy. I gave her a few and told her she can share them, and she looked at me and said, "I have to share them???" LOL. "No, I just thought if you didn't want them all, feel free to share them." "You don't HAVE to."

This recipe take a little time, so I suspect most of you won't bother making them unless you are serious about Black and White Cookies.

It starts with a typical gluten-free looking batter - something in between a cookie batter and a cake batter.

Traditional Black and White cookies are BIG. Easily a 5" or 6" circle, or even bigger. I chose to make these a little smaller - maybe 4" - since I was just experimenting. I used my largest cookie scoop.

I baked them, and they came out like hockey pucks. Ha! They didn't spread much. No picture needed. So I made some adjustments to the remaining batter, scooped them out, and gently flattened them to about 1/4" to 1/2", maintaining a circle.

Much better. They may not look so good to you in this picture, but here's a very important thing if you are baking these. The top of the cookie becomes the bottom! A Black and White Cookie is dome-shaped, and the flat part (bottom, when baking) becomes the top of the cookie.

Once the cookies cool, you prepare your icings - which can make or break a Black and White Cookie. Wherever you go to buy your B&W, rarely will you find the icing the same at any two places. Everyone has their favorite. To tell you the truth, I'm still working out the icing kinks. I know I have to include *some* icing recipe with this cookie, and I started out with good intentions when I was making it, but it ended up being a 'by the seat of my pants' recipe. The phone rang, and I was yapping on the phone (it was an important call) while trying to make the icing, and dumping in a little more of this and that, and I don't know what quantities I ended up including.

The thing is - they tasted really good. So I guess you can say it's a "to taste" type of icing recipe. They came out a little messy - I can fix that next time. But they are really, really good.

Will definitely make more perfect looking next time.

Oh - and since people always ask me what I do with all this stuff I bake, I cut these in half and brought them to class with me for my students. My bad :-)

Gluten-free Black and White Cookies

Makes about 26 4" cookies.


  • 2 1/4 cups Gluten-free mix (your favorite or my favorite)
  • 1 1/4 cups Brown Rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Potato Starch (not flour)
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Starch/flour
  • 3 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (approximately)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I might try 350 degrees next time). You might want to consider baking just 1 or 2 first, to ensure that the consistency of the batter is right. If they turn out too heavy, you can add a bit more milk to the batter.
  1. Sift flours, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until blended well.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Stir in the vanilla, lemon, and milk.
  5. It will be thick, but if batter is too thick, add a bit more milk. It should be a little thicker than a cake batter.
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture until well blended.
  7. Scoop large scoops of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets leaving about 1" inbetween. Gently flatten into a circle about 1/4" to 1/2" high. They won't spread much, but they will puff up.
  8. Bake about 15 minutes, until lightly brown. May have to adjust baking time depending on the size cookie you make.
  9. Remove from oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Here's a basic icing recipe that I use. You can make adjustments to get a flavor you like and the right consistency for spreading. This recipe uses corn syrup. I HATE using corn syrup in anything. I use a minimal amount here to help the icing set and give it some shine, but in the future I will experiment with adding a little oil instead.

White Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Hot water

  1. Whisk the ingredients together vigorously to blend and remove all lumps, adding small amounts of hot water at at time until the icing reaches a good consistency to spread, without being runny.

Chocolate Icing

  1. Same as above except add 1/3 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa

When cookies are completely cool, ice one side of each cookie with the white icing. Then ice the other side with the chocolate icing. There you go! A Gluten-free Black and White Cookie (!!!!!)

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