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


Karina