Pear Almond Cake in a Pan

It’s cooled down significantly now that it’s mid-September and rain is on the horizon here in the Pacific Northwest. I am in a full fall moment, cooking braises and warm dishes to distract me from the fact perfect summer weather has come to an end. So when I knew I was having some adventurous eaters over for dinner, I decided to try something new. It was a long week and I didn’t get home until 4:30 on a Friday. I had less than 3 hours to prep a full meal and dessert! Of course, I left dessert until the last second (hour). I knew I had almond meal, eggs, and some ripe pears on hand. This gluten free cake was the result and it was a home-run! I hope you enjoy it. Perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea the next day, too.


Pear Almond Cake In a Pan

Makes 6 servings

2 pears, ripe, peeled, cored, and sliced ⅛” thin

2 Tb unsalted butter

1 pinch of kosher salt

3 Tb granulated or superfine sugar, plus ¼ cup

1 ½ Tb cornstarch or 2 Tb arrowroot powder

¾ cup almond meal or almond flour

2 eggs, white and yolks separated

Turn your oven on to 350F. While the oven is heating up, take out a small saucepan and small 9” cake pan or simply use one non-stick 9” omelet pan for the entire recipe. If you’re using the cake pan, you might want to cut out a 9” round of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Melt the butter in the nonstick pan. Add your 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon or non-stick spatula stir the mixture over medium heat until it’s a caramel color. This will take 5-7 minutes. Once it the right color, it can burn quickly so be careful. Once you have the color of caramel, remove the pan from the heat right away. Add 1 tsp of almond extract or vanilla extract (optional). Add your sliced pear in a decorative manner. It’s okay if they overlap!

Take out two mixing bowls and a handheld mixer with the whisk attachments. Beat the egg whites until they form “stiff peaks”. See image below. Basically, when you hold the whisk up the egg white shouldn’t droop over. If it does, that’s a “soft peak.”

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

In the other bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy. You can do both of these with a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk, it’ll just take some manual effort. Add the ¼ cup of sugar and almond flour to the fluffy egg yolks and combine with your non-stick spatula. This will be a dense, thick cake mix. Add half the egg whites to the batter and fold with your spatula until it is combined. Add the remaining egg whites but be careful not to overmix as you’ll lose all the “air” you just added to the egg whites. Don’t worry if there are small clumps or streaks of white egg white in the batter. Top the caramel pear mixture with the cake mix and smooth out. Place your pan into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is just set. While still warm, flip your pear cake carefully onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, a dessert wine, or on it’s own.


Chicken Satay with Quick Peanut Sauce

In the last few years I have been so fortunate to have visited Indonesia twice. The country is filled with incredible spices (ie:nutmeg, cinnamon, cacao) and other agriculture such as coffee and rice. While on my honeymoon, my husband Ben and I did a farm trek in the central mountains. We learned so much about how generations of farmers use grafting to yield easier harvesting practices and how they carve out families' plots on shared farmland. It is truly inspiring! 


The food there is fantastic. I will never forget the coconut chocolate ice cream made from from the nut and bean on the eco-farm we stayed at. Many fresh spices and herbs are used to provide each vegetable, dessert, and protein with layers of flavor. Think heat from chilies and garlic, color from turmeric and chocolate, and sweetness from fruit like starfish and coconut. So much grows there it is truly awesome!


I was inspired by Indonesian flavors to come up with a simple marinade and dipping sauce to turn chicken into a Southeast Asian experience. Try out a new adventure with this recipe!



Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Serves 2


2 Organic chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1 inch piece ginger or galangal

4 cloves garlic

1 inch piece turmeric (or 1 TSP dried)

1 jalapeno

1 lemongrass stalk

Vermicelli noodles

3 persian or japanese cucumbers or 1 English cucumber

Fresh cilantro and/or fresh mint

2 TB vegetable oil, plus extra for the vermincelli noodles

1 TB soy sauce

1 TB fish sauce

4 Cup water

½ Cup Unsalted peanuts

Kosher salt


Rough chop the garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and jalapeno. For the lemongrass, remove the tough outer layer and use only the bottom ⅓ of the stalk. If you have a mortar and pestle, put half those ingredients inside and pound into a smooth paste. If not, you can chop by hand or add the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Add to a pyrex or ziplock bag. Cube the chicken if you plan to layer onto skewers or slice the chicken breast lengthwise in half and add to the marinade. Refrigerate 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Toast the peanuts in a saute pan or in a 400F until fragrant and they release their oils. You can also buy already roasted peanuts to alleviate this step! Place the peanuts, water, soy sauce, fish sauce, and remaining fresh spices into the same blender or food processor if you used one. Blend for several minutes until creamy and smooth. Taste at this point and check to salt, add pinch by pinch until it suits your taste. At this point, increase the heat level by adding more chopped chili or chili oil. Set the peanut sauce aside in a dish with saran wrap until ready to serve.

Light a charcoal or wood burning grill, once scorching hot, grill the chicken on each side 5 minutes until it’s a bit charred. It should smell very fragrant. Heat a kettle and follow the instructions for the noodles exactly. Toss in a tablespoon or two of canola or sesame oil. On the same platter, add your peanut sauce.

Slice or cut your cucumbers into large bite-sized chunks and add to the platter. Top with freshly picked cilantro and mint. For the last piece, add your skewers or slices of chicken breasts on top of the noodles. Serve hot. This dish is killer with some ice cold beers!

Camping Trip Muffins

OK so this weekend my girlfriends are visiting from San Francisco and New York. With all houseguests these days there are bound to be food allergies. So what's a good hostess to do when you're trying to please everyone? Cornbread! This gluten free recipe is delicious whether or not you consume wheat products. We bought tiny blueberries last Sunday at the farmer's market that were looking rather sad by Thursday. Throwing them in the cornbread batter was the perfect solution to stretch their life and be enjoyed by a big group of happy campers!


My friends are in town for a special reason, we're going hiking near Mount Rainier, National Park and one of the tallest peaks in the country. Sadly, we have less than ideal air quality right now with smoke pouring in from British Columbia's fires. We're hoping for the best because we all love to be outdoors and prepare some pretty rad campfire meals, too!


On the menu for the weekend? Vegetable tacos grilled over the fire pit, smoked trout sandwiches, biscuits with butter and honey, and bratwursts with fire roasted peppers, onions, and homemade dill pickles. Yes, it's a schlep to procure all the food, then pack the food, then transport the food. But it really is worth it when you're all sitting around a campfire enjoying a meal together.


Checkout this gluten free muffin recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below.



Gluten Free Blueberry Corn Muffins

(Makes about 18 muffins)


2 Cups 'Cup 4 Cup' flour

1 Cup gluten free finely ground cornmeal

1 Tsp baking soda

1 ½ Tsp baking powder

½ Cup sugar

¾ Cup goat or cow milk

8 Oz yogurt (Greek-style, Sheep, or Cow)

1 Tsp Kosher salt

8 Oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick)

2 fresh eggs

2 Cups blueberries, washed and dried


Crank the oven to 375. Grab two medium mixing bowls. In one bowl, add all the dry ingredients. In the other, mix the wet ingredients. Wisk each bowl well, then using a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth. Careful not to overmix!

Finally, add those blueberries so they are evenly distributed. Now, taste the batter. It should be freaking delicious! If it isn’t, think about if you need to add something. Not sweet enough for your liking? Sprinkle in more sugar to taste or add honey. Is it too thick? Drizzle in more melted butter or add milk one teaspoon at a time until the consistency is a thick pancake batter.

Once you want to lick the spatula clean, grab you muffin tin and butter and flour it. If you prefer, use muffin or cupcake liners. Fill each section just to the top with batter. The muffins bake in the middle rack in the over, turning halfway, for 18-20 minutes. A knife or cake tester should just barely come out clean. These will keep cooking once they come out of the oven, and to remain moist it’s best to undercook them rather than overcook them.

Keep covered in a tupperware or breadbox for a few days. Go ahead and blow those gluten free friends’ minds and mouths!