Food that I’ve missed in Japan


Pasta! Since I’m vegan and gluten-free, I couldn’t go to a regular Italian or a noodle shop while I was in Japan. Believe or not, it was very challenging to find a gluten-free noodle in any form in a grocery store. It was even harder in a restaurant. So, the first thing that I made after I came back home in NYC was pesto spaghetti with sautéed broccoli rabe. I used gluten-free Barilla spaghetti. I think Barilla makes the best dried gluten-free pasta. It’s too bad, they don’t make organic versions.


Green Falafel


Ahhh, green falafel. These puppies are a bit more healthier than usual falafel, and pretty tasty. I couldn’t find a healthier (=less oily) way to fry them up yet, but I cooked them in a pan with oil half way up to the puppies and turned them around until they became golden. For now, this is the best way to cook falafel. I tried spraying oil onto them and baked in the oven, just baked in the oven without any oil, and they came out tasty alright, but not crispy outside texture that I wanted. They are green because collard greens were added. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

1 cup dry chickpeas or 2.5 cups soaked (soaked in plenty of water over night)
4-5 collard green leaves (stems removed, torn into bite size)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 Table spoons tahini
3 Table spoons lemon juice
1 tea spoon salt
1 tea spoon grind cumin
1/2 tea spoon grind black pepper
dash of cayenne
3-4 Table spoons GF flour (oat flour or rice flour will do)

Servings: 18 golf ball size falafel

To make falafel:

  1. Drain chickpeas. Grind them in Vitamix or food processor until smooth. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside.
  2. Put torn collard green leaves in the food processor. Process until they became finely minced.
  3. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and GF flour. Process until everything is incorporated.
  4. Place the falafel mixture in a stainless steel bowl or pan, and put it in freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. By using a 2-tablespoon, measure the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until the mixture is gone.
  6. Heat vegetable oil of your choice in a sauce pan about 1/2″ depth.
  7. Fry up the puppies until they become golden all around. You have to turn them a few times since they are not entirely submerged in oil.
  8. Line up a big plate with paper towels. Rest the puppies on them.




00 (Double Zero)

A friend from the 4th Street Food Coop kept begging me to go to this restaurant right at the corner of E 4th Street, 00 (double zero). 00 does vegan and has option of gluten free pizza dough which is still hard to find. My friend is a foodie and a very good cook. So, I trusted him and finally I went taking 4 friends with me. The result is a mix bag. As you can see above, dishes look fantastic and staff were friendly and helpful. We ordered 3 gluten-free pizza, zucchini lasagna, tiramisu, and cheese cake accompanied by a bottle of white wine. Sadly we all agreed that the wine was most memorable among them all. I liked eggplant pizza best. Zucchini lasagna was nice and refreshing. Tiramisu was good, but it should not called tiramisu, cacao layered cake might be more appropriate. I know all vegan tiramisu get tough scrutiny due to the expectation of richness, sweetness and smoothness coming from the tiramisu cream made with real mascarpone.  Cacao layered cake might not be an exciting title, but if I knew that was what I ordered, I wouldn’t be disappointed. Cheesecake was not cream cheesy enough either. It should have been called almond coconut cream cake or something. The price tag was rather high, too. $40+/person and we all left the restaurant thinking about what else to eat for the night when we get home. It is a cute nice place, but my purse cannot allow me to go back there anytime soon. I was looking for a place where I can go every week.

My First GF Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake!


Alright. The decoration is not up to per. But this was my first gluten free chocolate ganache cake and was made on and for my combined birthday party. I run out of space for “y” and had to squeeze that in. My name? Other birthday girls’ names? You are asking for too much. I had a lot of fun making this, but it took a couple of hours to decorate since the chocolate frosting was just made and had to be cooled before use it. Otherwise, it would not work. I baked the cake the day before and let it cool in a refrigerator over night which helps frosting to stick to the cake better. Thank you so much, my colleague for teaching me how to decorate this cake, although it was kinda her job. All the guests who ate this cake didn’t taste anything but a moist tasty chocolate cake. Another birthday girl ate the last piece for breakfast next morning.

Ingredients for 2 x 10″ round pan chocolate cakes (I used both to create layering)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 Tbsp salt

1 box silken tofu
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups soy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cup oil (canola or sunflower)
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2  cups maple syrup

  1. Blend silken tofu with water in a blender until it becomes smooth. Put it in a big bowl.
  2. Add the rest of wet ingredients to the bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Set it on a side.
  3. In another big bowl, measure all the dry ingredients in. Mix it well.
  4. Add wet in dry in a few batches. Mix well each time.
  5. Cut a parchment paper to fit the baking pan. Oil the 2 pans. Place the parchment paper in the bottom.
  6. Pour the half batter in the prepared baking pan. Pour the rest into the another pan.
  7. Bake at 350 ºF for 35 minutes or until done. Do a bamboo stick test. Stick a bamboo stick in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
  8. Cool it over night before frosting.

Ingredients for chocolate ganache:
2 1/2 boxes silken tofu
1 1/2 Tbsp soy liquid lectin
2 cups dark chocolate chips

  1. Blend silken tofu in a blender until it becomes smooth. Add soy lectin. Let it run again.
  2. Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave. 2 minutes in microwave. Stir.
  3. Add melted chocolate in the tofu mixture and blend until it becomes uniformed in color as well as in texture.
  4. Keep it in a refrigerator until ready to use. I put it in a freezer for 30 minutes. I was in  hurry.
  5. Slice off a top of the cakes to flatten it, if they were not flat.
  6. Place one cake on a board or a flat plate cut side up. Put two big scoops of ganache cream on. Smooth it out.
  7. Place the other cake on top cut side down. Press it down with palm.
  8. Smother ganache cream on the side, filling the gap.
  9. Make a thin coat of cream on the top. Let the cake rest in a freezer or a refrigerator for a bit until it sets. Keep the rest of the cream cool, too.
  10. Pile up the rest of the cream on top.

Hey, what do I know about decorating a cake? This was absolutely my first trial. Next one will be better looking.

GF Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

I’m posting this recipe before I forget. I thought this recipe was already on my blog long time ago, but it was not. These oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies can be hearty snack or desert. Or a on-the-go breakfast. Enjoy.

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour mix or ground oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup earth balance or nut butter
1 cup vegan milk
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 small banana
1/2 cup raisin
1 oz dark chocolate chip (or chop dark chocolate bar, about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

  1. Soak ground flax seeds and chia seeds in nut milk. Set it on a side.
  2. Heat oven at 350 ºF.
  3. In a big bowl, cream earth balance with a spatula. Mash a banana. Add mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla, and soaked flax seeds + chia seeds. Mix well.
  4. Add flour or ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. Add raisin, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
  6. With a big spoon, scoop up dough and roll it into a golf ball size. Place the ball on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Flatten it with a palm of your hand. Repeat until all the dough is gone.
  7. Bake them at 350 ºF for 20 minutes until they become golden brown.
  8. Let them cool off for 10 minutes before remove from the baking sheet.



Pear Blackberry Cake


Who would cut a cake like this? I ask. Someone in my kitchen did… This was what I woke up to this morning. Pears are in season now. Believe or not, pears have more nutritious value than apples and prices are comparable. Use them. Ripe timing of pears seem to be shorter than apples, but for this cake, the ripeness of pears don’t matter since they will be cooked in the oven. This batter seems rather dry before it bakes, but juice of fruits come out as they are baked and loosen up the batter. The result is a very moist cake, more like a pudding.

Ingredients (for 9×9 baking pan):
3 pears
1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup raw almonds (grind them to meal)
1 1/2 cup gluten free flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup orange juice or any vegan milk
1/4 cup sunflower oil or earth balance
4 oz apple sauce

To Serve (optional):
1 Tbs blackberry jam per serving
1 Tbs lemon juice per serving
1 Tbsp water per serving
vegan ice cream or coconut whip cream

  1. In a small bowl, put 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds in. Add 1/4 cup orange juice or any vegan milk. Stir. Let it soak.
  2. Core pears. Dice them. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp brown sugar.
  3. Oil the baking pan. Dust with flour.
  4. In a big bowl, mix oil, soaked flaxseeds, almond extract, and applesauce.
  5. Add the rest of ingredients in the  big bowl. Mix.
  6. Fold pears in the batter.
  7. Pour the batter in the baking pan. Flatten the surface with a wet hand. It’s chunky, I know.
  8. Scatter blackberries on top.
  9. Bake at 350 ºF for 40-50 minutes or until done. The top looks golden and if you press it, it’s springy.
  10. Let it cool at least 10 minutes before you cut.
  11. If you want to dress it up, in a small sauce pan, heat up 1 Tbsp blackberry jam, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp water until it melts. Add a scoop of ice cream or whip cream on a side, if you like. Pour the sauce all over the cake.

*I like this cake to be warm.

Vegan GF Cherry Tart

GF Dark Cherry Tart

GF Dark Cherry Tart

OK. I admit. This photo is not appealing because I took it as an after thought, but it tasted pretty good. I promise. I wrote Cherry Pie in the last quatro birthday bash post. It is more like a tart since gluten free pastry is too crumbly to form a flaky pie crust. I couldn’t manage to do the lace work on the top. The birthday girl loved it nonetheless. I was supposed to go to Union Square Farmer’s Market on the day of the party, but I thought I would not have a time to go, so I decided to make it. This was my first trial. This tart freezes well. You can eat it right out of the freezer, and it still tasted good.

Ingredients for a 9″ pie plate:
2 cup gluten free flour mix
3/4 cup ground nuts (one or more of raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, brazilian nuts)
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup earth balance
1/2–3/4 cup cold water
5 1/2 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or corn starch
juice and zest of 1 lemon

  1. Make dough: Put gluten free flour mix in a big bowl. Mix in 2 Tbsp sugar and xanthan gum. Scoop up earth balance, put it in the flour mix, crumble the earth balance first with a knife, then with your fingers. Splash cold water onto the flour mix just enough to be able to form a ball. Wrap it with a plastic wrap. Let it sit in a refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium pan, put cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, arrowroot powder, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to coat cherries. Put it on a medium heat. Stir occasionally. When arrowroot started to thicken the liquid a little bit, turn off the heat.
  3. Roll out the dough between 2 plastic wraps to fit the pie plate. Use fingers to fit the dough to the wall. It’s a crumbly dough. I know it’s difficult to roll out without breaking.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 ºF.
  5. Pour cherries onto the crust. Bake 20 minutes at 375 ºF.
  6. Let it cool completely before cutting.