Summer in Santa Monica- and a recipe round-up

Farmers' market beauty in Santa Monica.

The first notes from our 
Santa Monica summer sublet:

After living in the brittle high dessert of Northern New Mexico for three years, I am drunk on oxygen. I walk Ocean Avenue cradled in moisture, intoxicated, breathing deep. And although we sleep seventeen blocks from the Pacific, I smell the ocean in the sheets. I wake with the sensation, the awareness of the sea. It infuses the day with an unnameable pleasure I can almost taste. If I could live on air I would eat the on-shore breeze with a spoon.

Steve has found his own source of bliss at Caffe Luxxe on Montana Avenue. Rich, caramel Italian espresso with the perfect artful brush of creamy foam. If further persuasion is needed to lure him into staying here, I only need to whisper, “Una bella tazza” and he'll be putty in my hands.

Things are looking up.

Our first swim into the Santa Monica Farmer's Market scene was almost overwhelming, a culinary and sensory culture shock, after the chronic and splendid isolation of our New Mexico casita. Navigating the waves of shoppers, strawberry topped rolling carts, baby stuffed double strollers and roaming hoards of white clad culinary students shouting, "Marco!" "Polo!" was at first intimidating- but soon morphed into invigorating.

We found fistfuls of organic herbs for one dollar a bunch, tomatoes so voluptuous they needed only a dab of extra virgin olive and a pinch of sea salt to become a perfect lunch, and ruby hued carrots that taste like no carrot I've ever eaten- clean and bordering on spicy rather than sweet.

Because I'm still setting up my kitchen (rounding up a few new baking pans, a small wok, and cooking utensils we were unable to jam into the overstuffed Honda Fit) I haven't developed any new recipes this week. So please bear with me. Inspiration is in the air- Santa Monica is thick with it. I'll be sharing lots of summer recipes and photographs from around town. In the meantime, I thought I'd post a quick round-up of gluten-free recipes to inspire your July Fourth celebration.

And don't forget to throw some fresh herbs into the mix- one of the joys of summer.

Fresh picked herbs -- summer is here.

More Gluten-Free Recipes for Summer Picnic Fun

Horseradish Spiked Red Potato Salad from Karina
Potato Salad with Apples and Bacon from Elise at Simply Recipes
Warm Chicken and Potato Salad from The Gluten-Free Homemaker
No-Mayo Cole Slaw from Karina
Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Feta Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta from Simply Recipes
Mango Mint Gazpacho from The Perfect Pantry (use g-free bread)
Favorite Basil Pesto from Karina
Grilled Chipotle-Lime Chicken from Gluten-Free Bay
Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Mint from Kalyn's Kitchen (check Spike seasoning for GF status)
Grilled Jicama Bean Salad from Book of Yum
Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Karina
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free BBQ Sauce from Elana's Pantry
Easy Summer Blueberry Crisp from Karina
Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits from FatFree Vegan Kitchen



Jennifer said...

I am so happy for you, Karina. You sound as though you are where you are meant to be!

I made your millet buckwheat wraps and used them for hot dogs - yum!!

~M said...

YAY! I adore hearing you so happy :)

Kalyn said...

I can imagine being there at the Santa Monica Farmers market with you, drinking in the sunshine and seeing all the fresh produce. So glad you are having such a great time!

City Girl said...

I have become a reader in recent months as a result of health problems that are rooted in food allergies, so have been reading through your archives. SO glad you are enjoying yourself near the ocean :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Sounds like you are settling in and enjoying your summer home. I'm so glad, and can't wait to see what you cook up in your kitchen.

SusanV said...

Love your descriptions--it sounds like you are thriving! Thanks for the link, and enjoy your Independence (from NM?) Day!

veggievixen said...

wow, makes me wish i lived on the west coast! but we're getting some awesome stuff around here too...the farmer's markets are overflowing with goodies, and so's my garden! also, PEACHES are almost in season and i'm so excited. it's the one thing i look forward to alllll year.

Linda said...

Santa Monica sounds great. I'm envious of the farmer's market. Thanks so much for including me in your recipe roundup.

Anke said...

Glad for you you are having a blast in CA. Enjoy summer :-)

Diane-The Whole Gang said...

It sounds so wonderful there. Thank you for sharing that. I love the California Coast and I can so imagine your descriptions. I hope you will continue to share them along with recipes. Keep breathing!

Cape Cod Kitty said...

Greetings from fogged in and chilly Chatham.
So wonderful to hear you so happy and know you are savoring all the delights of Santa Monica as well as drinking in the welcome hydration!
Can't wait to hear more of your discoveries there and your creations. Sounds like the farmers market will be the source of many delicious inspirations.


mama2potter said...

I am so glad to be returning home to my own safe kitchen today and your delicious inspirational recipes. I was in Savannah, GA this past week on a trip and made it almost all the way through eating breakfast safely with my various muffins and fruites in the hotel room. Snackin gon nuts and dried fruits for lunches and then dinners out at restaurants. One place added black pepper after reading my allergy list--I cut off the top of the steak and survived without much discomfort. The worst was to come though--someone didn't heed my list again and I suffered all night and into the next day. I lost 3 pounds in ways I would never recommend and I was still trying to gain weight from a previous reaction. It makes me want to never venture out to a new restaurant again. I love to travel though and I know I will venture out again. How do you make chefs and waiters take you seriously. Sometimes I find its the sous chefs or a waitstaff that got lost in the chain of commmunication. I usually catch the mistakes, but the ones I miss are stomach killers.

Annie Pazoo said...

The Santa Monica farmer's market is my all-time favorite. When visiting from the east coast we try to schedule our arrival/departure to catch it before heading to the desert. I'm green with envy and hope you have a fantabulous time living there :-)

JoAnn said...

Welcome to Southern CA, Karina! So glad you made it here at long last! :)

makingloveinthekitchen said...

I lived in Santa Monica for three months while receiving daily acupuncture to cure my Crohn's Disease. That town is so special to me. Enjoy!

SallyT said...

I just found a link to an article talking about an increase in the existence of celiac's disease and thought it might be of interest to this group:

Miss A said...

HI. I love your beautiful yummy blog! I have been meaning to write and let you know I added you to my new food blog sidebar recently & enjoy going to your blog as a daily read. Just wanted to stop by and introduce myself! Have a great day.

Katie Falbo said...

Karina - check out the salad mix stand and the bison stand. Also, if you have time, come on up to Santa Barbara for our Saturday market - it will blow you away - much bigger than SM AND the best tomatoes you will ever have - let me know if you make it up this way and I would be happy to give you a tour! O yeah, and I know where all the GF treasures are in town!!

Check out my blog - it showcases all that is Santa Barbara - real, organic, local, food.

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