Chicken-Rice Soup for a Cold (or Anytime)

Sierra came down with a rather wicked cold last week: fever, cough, sniffles, all of it. There’s not much sadder than a sick baby toddler? 16-month-old – you can cuddle her, wipe her nose, give her all the water she cares to drink, and tell her she’ll feel better soon but does she truly understand? This week she finally seems on the mend but we’ve been laying low and eating lots of soup (and cake for the grown-ups because why not?).

I made one of my classic many-vegetabled soups (garlic, onion, carrots, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, turnip) and pureed the pot into velvety smoothness on Saturday afternoon while she had a long nap. The sun streamed in as I enjoyed my solitary lunch and hit the clementines (or tangelos?) placed just so on the counter. There was a blessed respite from the ongoing construction project next door and I took a moment to be thankful for the quiet. The little things, yes? Two months in with no end in reasonable sight I’ve started appreciating Sundays ever more, as it’s the one day a week they don’t work. Morocco, you never fail to challenge.

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Rainy (+ Flourless Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread)

It’s raining as I type this, pattering down on the roof and slipping through the leaky skylight on the stairs leading to the second floor. The California wind chime on the porch is merrily beating against itself. Two nights ago there was a fierce windstorm that had the whole house creaking and groaning; I always forget how it does that, and how the desultorily-attached outside shutters blow back and forth with great crashing booms. If during rainstorms my San Francisco apartment felt like being inside a ship at sea – still cozy, though, especially with a wool blanket tucked around my knees – my house in Casablanca during thunder-and lightening storms feels a bit like being inside a tent in the mountains. I was thinking about long ago backpacking trips the other night when the wind tore at our outside bedroom door and then managed to push it open for a minute, how sometimes it seemed as though that flimsy contraption of aluminum and nylon would slide right off the slick granite and tumble down to the valley in the darkness below. We’d huddle in our bags and listen sleep deeply if fitfully and then in the morning the sun would shine brightly again and the breeze would be a gentle thing. Oh the mountains are calling and I must go — yes. Always.

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For Happy Holidays (+ Naturally Flourless Waffles)


[In the redwoods, Armstrong Woods.]

2014 has been one of those that has passed by in a blur of long-haul flights, a flurry of naturally gluten-free flours, many moments of extreme joy learning how to be a parent, much homesickness, and attempting to adapt to a new culture (just in time to pack up and move yet again but that’s another story to be delved into later) — in short, another year in the life. We’re currently in northern California soaking up sun and rain both, loads of good family time, all the delicious espressos we can stand, and feeling nostalgic as always for our previous life here in the golden state.

Christmas is so soon and for once my small gifts have been wrapped well in advance, the packages mailed, the cards addressed and stamped. There are still some flourless cookies to bake – a project hopefully for this afternoon to be indulged in with Emily and strong cups of tea – but my persimmon cake rests happily on the counter and I’ve been trying to cut small slices to make it last as long as possible. DW made oat flour-wild blueberry pancakes the other morning and I’ve been thinking about waffles, specifically gluten-free waffles. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to make them before Christmas but I wanted to share the recipe here in case you’re still thinking about what to make for your holiday breakfast or brunch spread. Wishing you the happiest and most peaceful of holidays and a gentle slide into the new year ~ xo

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Holidaying (+ Flourless Persimmon Cake)

A holiday-spiced, naturally gluten-free persimmon cake that’s perfect for December days.


[Fisherman, Dar Bouazza, December 2014.]

A week of rain, a week of sun, and we leave Morocco very early Saturday morning for a month in California. We’ll trade palm trees for redwoods, the Atlantic Ocean for the Pacific, and running on trails rather than bricks, enough so that we get properly muddified and return to our roots. I’m hoping for lots of hikes, lots of quiet miles in the wet and dripping woods, and hopefully lots of afternoons spent under the bright sun at the coast. The winter beach in fair weather is perhaps my favorite beach.

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Wintry (+ Flourless Apple Cake)

A lovely, not-too-sweet, naturally flourless/gluten-free caramelized apple cake that’s perfect for the season.

It’s been raining here lately, which I admit I love though when it negatively affects part of the country I’d much rather have sun and dry weather. We have actually turned on some of our heaters, which haven’t been used since last winter. For someone who only used her San Francisco heat in the final months of living in her apartment – not because it wasn’t chilly, because it was, but because I didn’t mind adding an extra sweater and am slightly weird I guess – it’s a new and rather welcome thing. A lot of the houses in Casablanca (and probably the rest of Morocco) are built out of concrete and lined with beautiful tile floors that work wonderfully in the summer to keep heat at bay. But it can get quite, quite brisk indoors during the cooler months and I am grateful for the opportunity to warm up when possible. Of course another way to cozy up a house or an apartment is to turn on the oven and bake something and lord knows I rarely need an excuse to do that. It is starting to feel decidedly wintry here, and thus wintry baking things must start happening as well. In the midst of last week’s flurry of Thanksgiving baking I decided to also make a gluten-free apple cake for, I don’t know, morning snacking? Just because? For experimental purposes? Probably all of those.

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Almost Time (+ A Few More Thanksgiving Recipes)

Thanksgiving menu planning, plus a few recipes for naturally flourless and vegetarian recipes for your holiday meal.

Confession: my head has not truly been in the Thanksgiving game this year. Part of it’s the weather – sun for days, temps in the 70s -, part of it’s the whole living not in America, and part of it’s just my hard-won philosophy of taking days as they come and one at a time. So I don’t think too terribly far ahead, and as any cook worth her/his salt knows this is pretty near impossible to do when it comes to the biggest U.S.-cooking holiday of the year. Still, it’s time. Today it’s gloomy and rainy – hurrah! – and we went to the coolest little market/marche yesterday morning to stock up on beautiful produce and turkey (photos to come on Wednesday). We’ve invited a few friends coming to sup with us on Thursday and a couple more for drinks during the afternoon. I think I’m finally getting into it a little bit.

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