Sunflower Seed Pate

This is a dip that I came across a recipe for back in the day when I was catering as part of a duo called 'Grace Hearth.' We quickly fell in love with this one and we served it at more weddings and baby showers and birthdays than I can remember! As happens with recipes, I drifted away from this one for a couple years, but I recently brought it back into my repertoire and hallelujah for that! It's such a winner. And it's easy, too! Give it a try, you won't regret it :)


1.5 cups raw sunflower seeds (soaked 8-12 hours)

1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

2 scallions, chopped (most of green and all of white parts)

1/4 cup raw tahini

2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 

2 slices red onion, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped 

2 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)


Soak sunflower seeds in cold water for 8-12 hours; drain and rinse. In a food processor, process the sunflower seeds, lemon juice, scallions, tahini, vinegar or tamari, onion, parsley, garlic, and cayenne until the mixture is a smooth paste. When thoroughly blended, taste and adjust the seasoning. The paté will develop a stronger garlic taste in a few hours.


Blackberry Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake

Years ago, at the beginning of my adventures in the Bay Area food scene, when I had just graduated from a six month Baking and Pastry program at the famed Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco when it was still a cooking school, I got a job working as a pastry assistant at the Frog Hollow Farm Cafe in the Ferry Building. I still remember waking before dawn to ride my fixed gear bike to the 19th Street BART station in Oakland where I'd hop on and ride to the Embarcadero stop. The air was chilly, the streets were quiet and as I unlocked the creaky gate to the store, the sun was just starting to rise behind the Bay Bridge. I'd set out sheet pans and whisk eggs and butter cake pans as light started to dance in through the giant east-facing windows. About an hour after my arrival, the barista would get there and, if I was lucky, offer to make me a double soy latte while we set out the scones and pastries and cookies and cakes that were coming from my ovens. This recipe was inspired by a standby I baked a lot in those days, the Chez Panisse Fruit Upside Down Cake. My adaptation uses blackberries and a gluten-free grain blend as well as a few extra tasty bits. Warning: though this is a large cake, it can be, and has been on many occasions, eaten by a single person in very few sittings. Milk or vanilla ice cream must be served alongside.



2 cups fresh blackberries (I'd just picked mine fresh from Gauchito Hill Farm!)

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup raw cane sugar


4 oz. butter

1 cup raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg yolks (reserve whites)

3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend (or whole-wheat pastry flour)

1/2 cup almond meal

6 Tablespoons cornmeal (I use Full Belly Farm's Bloody Butcher Cornmeal)

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar



  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and get yourself a nice 9" x 3" cake pan.
  2. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat, then whisk in 1/2 cup brown sugar. Continue whisking until the sugar is emulsified, then add in the blackberries, cooking and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture bubbles, about two minutes. Stir 1/2 cup raw cane sugar into berries and crush the berries slightly with a the back of your spoon. Continue cooking until berries are hot and slightly broken-down, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and pour directly into the 9-inch cake pan. Put pan into the fridge or freezer to firm up a bit while you proceed.
  3. In a stand mixer, whip the butter and cane sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the vanilla, then lower the mixer speed to medium and slowly add in the egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 
  5. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  6. Lower the mixer speed to medium-low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, making sure each addition gets thoroughly mixed in (add 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk, then 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk, then finally add the last 1/3 of the flour). Move this batter to a large bowl and clean out your mixer bowl.
  7. To your clean mixer bowl, add the three egg whites and cream of tarter. Whip on high using the whisk attachment until they hold some shape (medium peaks).
  8. Fold this egg white mixture into your batter in thirds. Make sure to treat it delicately -- no rough stirring -- the goal is to retain as much air as possible in the whites so your cake will be light!
  9. Spread/pour the batter evenly over the blackberry mixture and bake 25-35 minutes.
  10. The cake is done when it's a nice golden color on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (except of course for blackberry juice!) Let the cake cool sufficiently before turning out -- I waited two hours! But I reckon 30 minutes would do. I ran a butter knife around the inside of the cake pan, then placed a large plate over the top of the pan and flipped the pan. I had to do a little tapping with my knife on the bottom of the pan to encourage the blackberry caramel to release, but it eventually did and I lifted the pan slowly to reveal the beauty.
  11. I topped my cake with fresh-picked strawberries that had been macerated in a little sugar since it was July 4th and all, but this cake is delicious as is.
  12. If you don't plan to eat it in one sitting, it'll keep covered at room temperature for another day or in the fridge for several more :)




Best-Ever Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (two sticks)

1 cup cane sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups rolled oats

1 ½ cups raisins



Preheat oven to 350° and line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, soda, powder and salt and set aside.

Combine the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in a mixer on low, then increase speed to  high and beat until fluffy and the color lightens.

Turn the mixer back to low and blend in the dry ingredients just until no flour is visible (do not overmix as this will make for one tough cookie). Stir in the oatmeal and raisins.

Drop large walnut-sized pieces of dough two inches apart onto the baking sheets and bake 11-13 minutes until golden but still moist in the center. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for two minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool fully (they will harden as they cool).

Get yourself a cold glass of milk and go to town on the best oatmeal raisin cookies eva!

Breakfast Bundt Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit, I adjusted this cake to be a little less sweet, gluten free and to highlight the deliciousness of Bosc pears, which I love. Any good baking pear could also be used, or substitute in your favorite heirloom apple…this is especially delicious served alongside a cup of coffee on a chilly morning :)

Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 3 large Bosc pears (or four medium heirloom apples), peeled, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 5 tablespoons plus 2 cups raw cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free AP Baking Flour
  • 3 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Mix pear (or apple) pieces, 5 tablespoons sugar and ground cinnamon in medium bowl. Combine 2 cups sugar, eggs, vegetable oil (or butter), orange juice, orange peel and vanilla extract in large bowl; whisk to blend. Stir flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into egg mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups batter into prepared Bundt pan. Top with half of pear (or apple) mixture. Cover with 1 1/2 cups batter. Top with remaining apples, then batter.
  2. Bake cake until top is brown and tester inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto rack. Cool at least 45 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Keeps well, covered, at room temperature or wrapped in the freezer.

buckwheat cardamom thumbprints

These are my go-to cookie, because i definitely go to cookies. every night. Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, these are easy on my body and blissful for my belly!

1 cup almond meal
1 cup oat flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
Pinch sea salt
1/4 to ½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup coconut oil melted
1/2 cup maple syrup

1 t vanilla

jam for the middle

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine dries. In another bowl combine wets. Add wet to dry. Mix lightly.

Roll into walnut-sized balls. Place on an parchmented cookie sheet. Press an indentation in the center with thumb and fill indentation with jam.

Bake 15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.