Tomato pie

last week I was listening to this program on NPR on my way to a kayaking adventure with mom at Lake Natomas (FUN!).  What’s funny to me is that it wasn’t the easy homemade ice cream that made my mouth water, but the tomato pie recipe….really.  I swear.

Being as it’s finally freakin’ tomato season here (only about a month late), and tomatoes are just about my favorite pseudo-veggie (botanically a fruit), I decided to go for it.

Fast forward to Sunday’s family dinner and vioala: Rebecca’s impromptu tomato pie.  Even my sister and her boyfriend liked it, and that says A LOT!

For the  crust I had to make due with what mom had, but you can simply use whatever crust you’d prefer.Copy a Post

1 cup cornmeal baking mix
1.5 cups oat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp yeast
1/4 cup very warm water (not hot, but very warm)
1.5 tsp sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup additional water

In a small bowl, bloom the yeast by mixing it with the warm water and the sugar.  After a few minutes add the vinegar and oil and mix.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, mix the cornmeal mix and the oat flour and the salt in a large bowl.   Make a well in the flour mix.  Add the yeast mixture and fold in, adding the extra water as needed to for a dough.  Knead for 5 minutes.  Cover the dough with a  thin coat of oil and let it rise in an oiled bowl (covered with plastic wrap or a towel) for 2 hrs.  Go have some fun and come back later to make the pie.

This dough did not raise much at all, which was fine.  Take it out of the bowl and press into a large pie dish (10″ or so – you have plenty of dough).  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile make the filling:


1/2 cup marscopone cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmersean
1 tbsp herbs de Provance
2 tsp sea salt
4 large Roma tomatoes, finely sliced
1/3 cup Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (small ones otherwise cut into 1/3″ pieces)

Mix the marscopone, Parmesan, salt and herbs together.  Spread evenly across the bottom of the pie crust.  Add a layer of tomatoes.  Sprinkle this layer with about 1/3 the basil leaves.  Add another layer.  Add about 1/2 the Jarlsberg cheese and 1/3 of the basil.  Add a third and final layer of tomatoes and the remaining basil and cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (10 min without covering and cover for 10 min), until tomatoes are slightly drying on the sides (they shrink inward a bit), the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

This is divine, I promise you!

sexy meatloaf

What?  Is that an oxymoron?  Nope, I don’t think so.  This recipe isn’t something you’d see in Grandma Betty’s cookbook and it doesn’t involve ketchup and whatever was left over from the weekly meal.  It’s a …hmm…more sophisticated meat loaf.  Plus, the fact that it’s cooked in the muffin tins to give each person their own little hand-held serving just makes it even more fun!  The Gorgonzola cheese is really what makes it, as it pops the flavor.  The quinoa is a nice way to add some texture and keep it Gluten-Free too.

This worked nicely to have as lunch treats for the week.  Matt and I each added 1-2 to our typical lunch salad and it took the thought out of how I was going to get protein into my lunch meal.


Quinoa Meatloaf

Serves 5 as a meal or 10 as a snack


This is the most recent addition to the cookbook and it’s fantastic.  I make it as a muffin topped with Gorgonzola cheese.  This somehow makes it feel more special and interesting than just meatloaf.  Like most meatloaf recipes, this one is pretty forgiving so play with it!


1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
2/3 cup chicken broth
20 oz low fat ground turkey
1 cup finely chopped greens, such as collards or kale
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp each; cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
4 oz gorgonzola cheese


Cook the quinoa with the broth by bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 20 minute.  Let it cool and set aside.  Once cool, mix with everything but the gorgonzola cheese.  Ideally, let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours to absorb the flavor.  Meanwhile grease about 10 muffin tins.  Evenly distribute the mix among the tins.  Top each with ½ oz of crumbled gorgonzola.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, depending on your oven.  Muffins should be slightly browned and cheese will be semi-melted, as this cheese doesn’t melt like cheddar.


Summer in a bowl


As I prepare for the big family camping trip to Burney Falls, I wanted to make a new salad – something the family hasn’t seen before and that satisfies the requirement of being summer-esque, full of veggies, and doesn’t taste too healthy.  I piggy-backed off the concept of a quinoa salad I prepared last week for a bbq that was a HUGE hit and use barley and corn instead of quinoa and cucumber.  In short: it ROCKS!  Super easy, vegan, and prepped in no time at all!

“Summer in a bowl” Barley Salad

2 cups dried pearled barley (or quick barley from Quaker)
4 cups water or veggie broth
2 tsp each: salt, cumin, powdered onion, pepper, paprika, dried parsley
Cook barley with above spices and liquid as directed or in a rice cooker.  Set aside and cool.

1 can organic corn OR kernels from 2-3 fresh cobbs, removed
½ large bunch kale, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp EVOO
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp each:  salt, paprika

Mix corn, parsley and kale together in a Tupperware.  Add oil, lemon juice and spices.  Close the lid and shake vigorously.  Add to a large bowl, mixing in the cooked barley.  Serve cold.

scrumptous Sunday morning pancakes

I think if I ever open a restaurant (Off-White Cafe anyone?), it would be a breakfast and lunch place.  I enjoy making breakfast – maybe because morning is my favorite time of day.  Also, for some reason the carbs I eat at breakfast don’t tend to cascade into over-snacking or carb cravings later that day.  Hmm.  So when our friend M. rolled into town and took us rock climbing yesterday, I felt that repaying him with cornmeal pancakes topped with yogurt, honey and banana was only fair.  Sorry no pics ;(

PS: these are HEARTY!!  2 max per person is needed.  Its about 2 hrs late and I still feel full.  Good thing we are watching the Women’s World Cup before we head out for a bike ride!

Wheat-Free Cornmeal Pancakes (served 3 easily)

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 cups milk of your choice (in honor of our guest, who doesn’t do Almond Milk, I used Moo Juice)
  •  Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal, medium grain
  • 1/4 cup of water – depending on consistency you like.

Beat egg white until stiff peaks form; set aside. Slightly beat the egg yolk in mixing bowl; blend in milk and butter. Mix together the flour, soda, salt, sugar, and cornmeal; blend into the liquid mixture until smooth. Fold in beaten egg white. Let batter stand for 10 minutes. Turn griddle or pan up to Med-high heat.  Once warm, turn down to Medium (down a notch or so). Add a touch of butter to the pan for cooking.  Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of batter evenly onto skillet/griddle.  Cook until the are consistent bubbles formed on the uncooked side.  Flip and cook about 1 more minute.  Both sides should be golden brown.   These cook a little slower than pancakes.  Serve with butter, plain yogurt, banana and a drizzle of honey.  We also had a few crushed Pistachios to stick on top.  Yum.

Serve with butter and warmed syrup. Also delicious with fried ham or bacon on the side.
Cornmeal pancake recipe serves 6 to 8.

I would rather be making a video but…… (recipe, I promise)

my dang camera is out of juice and charging as we speak.  I’m almost out of time and energy so I’m just going to post the recipe instead.  My inspiration to film came from somebody who reminded me today how much I LOVE making videos, so I’m extra bummed that it didn’t work out, but oh well.
The true inspiration is really in the recipe.  Recently a friend of mine made a tasty sweet potato and broccoli salad.  While we chatted and sipped wine I sort of watched her put it together so I did my best to recreate the delectable dish.  Best enjoyed with chicken or fish and good company.  I love when sweet potatoes can replace grains on my plate.  Not just because they are full of vitamin A and fiber, but because they are so preeetttyyyy…

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Salad

1 large sweet potato, cut into pieces 1/4″ thick and about 1″ in diameter
1 large bunch of broccoli, cut off all the crowns and then cut them into fork-size pieces
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp EVOO
sea salt, to taste
a mix of spices: I use 1 TBSP of Organic all purpose veggie spices from Costco, but you can pick what you like

Steam the sweet potato in a large pot.  It will take about 20 minutes on a medium stovetop setting and you need to stir about every 4 minutes to evenly cook.  Set aside in a large bowl.  Meanwhile mix the EVOO, lemon, salt and spices to use as a marinade.  While the sweet potato cools, steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes.  Cool for 2-3 minutes.  Add to the bowl.  Pour the EVOO mix into the bowl and evenly coat all the veggies.  Let it set for about an hour and then serve!

Vive la crepe

This post could also be entitled “I’d rather be eating Popsicles than standing over a hot stove”.  It’s 90+ degrees here in the good ol’ central valley of California and I get a wild hare to make gluten-free crepes. Go figure.  I did compromise and promise myself to cook the filling tomorrow as the sweat on my brow was telling me enough is enough.

Despite my heat-laden woes, I ended up with some pretty good savory crepes.  These aren’t going to for breakfast, but rather for dinner tomorrow, stuffed with sauteed greens, shallots and maybe sweet potato-we’ll see how much face time I want to have with the hot stove when tomorrow’s weather hits.

In the meantime I highly recommend this recipe.  When cooking these crepes you want to start by turning the burner on med-high to heat up the pan, and then turn down to medium for cooking.  Don’t coat the pan with oil between every crepe, maybe every 3 or so.  Also, flip them when the edges are turning up and there are little bubbles forming on top, but if you want too long you get sort of a crunchy crepe.  If you don’t want enough time you get a broken crepe (I had a lot of these tonight because I was impatient!).  Personally I like them a little crispy (golden brown and they crack when rolled) but they don’t fold up well.  It’s up to you.

1 cup gluten-free flour (I used a rice flour)
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
3 tbsp extra virgin oilve oil (I used a Spanish oil with a robust flavor – yum!)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vegetable seasoning (it’s an organic blend from Costco, but you can mix up any you like)
pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend for about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and blend again.  Let the batter set for as long as overnight but at least 30 minutes.  I set mine in the fridge overnight.

You’ll have enough batter for about 10 8-9″ crepes.  I make mine a little thicker (maybe about 1/8th inch?) than most, so if you spread the batter thin you’ll get more crepes.  Fill them with whatever you like – sauteed veggies, a yogurt sauce, beans…sky is the limit!

PS: If you want to make these with me, come to the pancake cooking class at the Davis Food Coop on Wed, July 13th.  Hand’s on experience with crepes, pancakes and fun ways to top ’em!


okay, okay, the Napoleon recipe is here too!

looks fancy but it's pretty easy!

Here at Off White Living we anticipate your needs before you do.  See, we knew that if you read the previous post you’d be asking for the Napoleon recipe, so here it is!

16 sheets of whole wheat (or regular) phyllo dough – PS: Whole wheat is hard to find, we have it at the Davis Coop!
8 oz whipping cream
8 oz ricotta cheese (or marscopone)
1 tsp lemon rind, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
1.5 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup blueberries, chopped or whole
1/2 cup of  a fine texture unrefined sugar (use a dry sugar)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Lay out 8 layers of phyllo dough on the counter or cutting board.  Place them on a cookie sheet 2 at a time and  baste them with butter and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.    Layer the next 2 on top of it in the same way until you have 8.  Cut them into 10 squares and gently separate.  Bake for about 7 minutes at 350, but DON’T BURN!!

Repeat this process with the second set of 8 layers, so that in the end you have a set of ‘tops’ and a set of ‘bottoms’, each 8 layers thick.  Set aside to cool.

Whip the whipping cream until stiff with the lemon juice, 1/2 of the remaining sugar and the lemon rind.  Fold in the ricotta and remaining sugar.  Mix on low until blended. Cool for 1 hour minimum.

In the meantime chop the berries but keep strawberries and blueberries separate.

To assemble:  Lay out the 10 bottoms.  Add 1 tbsp whip cream mix and spread.  Sprinkle with a spoon of berries.  Add a bit more whip cream mix and add a ‘top’.  Add 1 tbsp of whip cream mix to the top and sprinkle with a mix of strawberries and blueberries.  Serve immediately.

Option: make a balsamic reduction to sprinkle on top.  Do this by boiling 1/2 cup blueberry balsamic vinegar for about 3 minutes.  Reduce to a simmer and add 1/8 cup of sugar.  Slowly simmer for about 20 minutes until syrupy.  Chill for 1 hour before drizzling.

a new fast food “phyllo”-sophy

a quick lunch made from left-overs

You will quickly find that the theme of this post is “waste not, want not”.  It was a busy Saturday in the Tryon household.  I was busy making whole wheat berry-lemon napoleons (that turned out great, by the way – see below!), when I had about 7 layers of phyllo dough left over.  I just HATE letting good (and expensive) ingredients go to waste.  So I put on my thinking cap, and go to it.

The resulting creating was a delicious, crispy yet light chicken and veggie burrito.    I  spread out my 7 layers of phyllo (still stacked).  Next I took the left-over chicken from the previous night’s dinner and cut it into 1″ pieces and lay it length-wise along the midline of the phyllo.  Then, thanks to the creativity of the huz, I added chopped green onions, mushrooms, and the left-over parsley from the week’s cooking class.  Finally, a bit of pepper jack cheese and it was time to roll it up.  I rolled so that it was like a long burrito and then lightly (and I do mean lightly) basted it with melted butter.    To finish it off I dusted Matt’s end with some more pepper jack and placed it mid-over to bake for 6 minutes at 350.  The secret to the success of this burrito was the 4 minutes of broiling to complete the masterpiece.

So, in less than 15 minutes I had a hot lunch, with some fiber, green veggies, healthy chicken protein and a splash of flavor with the cheese.  Phyllo dough is very light relative to bread, thus overall grains and carbohydrate calories in 7 layers (split in 2, as I did share with the hubby!), is very little, yet the whole meal felt filling and satisfying.  Not to mention the internal satisfaction I get from being resourceful.

I purchased a phyllo dough 2-pack for about $4.00 and this provided me enough phyllo for two sets of the Napoleons  for social events (pic below, I PROMISE) and the burrito….and a bit for tasting, of course!

customize: half with cheese, half without!


And the picture you’ve really been waiting for….

(relatively) low sugar, lower fat berry-lemon napoleons

Everything and nothing at all, Part 2: A recipe

Of course the delicious food of my Big Sur weekend was an element of how it all flowed so seamlessly.    It wouldn’t be right to keep all those great recipes to myself, so here’s one for you, created by my mother in law.  It’s delicious and went really well with the chicken salad I concocted.  It also tastes especially grand when eaten during a picnic at Julia Pfeiffer beach beach on a sunny day 😉


  • 1 10-oz. package plain couscous
  • 3 fresh mandarins, peeled and separated into segments
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, including some green top (about ½ cup total), divided
  • Curry Vinaigrette (recipe below)


Prepare couscous according to package directions, remove to large bowl. Stir mandarin segments, cranberries, nuts and half green onion into couscous; add half of vinaigrette and toss well. Arrange on large serving platter; Drizzle evenly with remaining vinaigrette and garnish with remaining green onion. Serve immediately.

Curry Vinaigrette: In small bowl whisk together ¼ cup mandarin juice OR white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil.



no bake cookies (AKA the 100 calorie cookies)

our little treats cooling in the freezer

My research center has an impeccable dietician.  His  job is to do whatever it takes to ensure that research participants comply with our diet regulations for whatever study they are in.  Research diets are …well…RIGID.  Every morsel of food is accounted for, as is every calorie and nutrient.

So, because of this rigidity the dietician got an inspiration to make a simple, no-bake 100 calorie cookie that he could tack onto a research diet in order to add a treat (factoring the calories in, of course), or if a diet template needs to be bumped up by 100 calories.  One taste of these cookies and I was SOLD.  They are delicious and very decadent, and taste a lot richer than I would have expected.  So naturally I  came home to replicate them.  I’ve already gone through a batch – I brought them to my teach assistant group meeting and they were a huge hit!

I will say this.  I am not impeccable in my measuring techniques.  These are not intended for research purposes, and I know they are smaller in size than those created at the research center, yet they are delicious nonetheless.    Thus, I can’t make a 100 calorie promise.  They take all of 10 minutes to prepare and the texture is fantastic, especially right out of the freezer.  They do tweak the off-white rules a little b/c I used a low sugar hot chocolate mix, but you could simply use cocoa powder and unrefined sugar.

1.5 cubes of real butter
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or 1/2 cup at least if you are using plain cocoa powder only)
2 packets of hot cocoa mix (not more than 15g sugar/packet)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
about 2 cups of quick oats (they absorb moisture better than whole)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter on med heat, all the way.  Add the sugar and stir continuously until the  two are mixed in.  Add the hot cocoa mix and cocoa powder.  Mix thoroughly – all still on low to med heat.  Add the peanut butter and ensure it is evenly mixed in.  Slowly add the oats, stirring continuously, and stop when you feel the mix is saturated (it will get crumbly if you add too much ).  Don’t add the oats too quickly.

Spoon onto a cookie sheet and freeze.  This recipe makes about 34 small cookies.  If anybody wants to do the calorie math, be my guest!

Update: Okay, I did the math, using Spark People.  The total recipe has 2841 Kcal.  This means there are 83 calories per cookie.  Nice!