Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Last Menu: Monday, December 3

Hello CraftyLand!

The holiday season is upon us! Shops are decorated for Christmas. Hanukkah begins soon. And the weather is finally turning just a bit wintry.

As you know, this will be the last menu for delivery for a while. Of course, I am available to come and cook in your home or for special events of almost any size. I can accommodate a wide range of dietary needs and tailor cooking specifically for your needs.

There will be plenty of opportunities to see me around town, too! I'll still be cooking at Cuisine en Locale, for large and small events, pop-ups, and ONCEs. And don't forget to check out the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market - lots of local small businesses (including Alex's Ugly Sauce for the next couple weeks) are set up there every day until 7 pm to help you finish your holiday shopping!

Without further ado, here it is! A delightful new menu with a touch of holiday flair. This menu will be ready for delivery on Monday, December 3.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you all very soon!

Much love,
Chef Mary



Pumpkin Apple Soup! Not spicy, but richly flavored with sage and nutmeg, this soup will warm your soul on any winter night! $9


Vegetable Lasagna: Gluten free brown rice pasta layered with plenty of seasonal veggies and cashew "ricotta." What kinds of veggies? That's up to the farmer's market, but I expect to see butternut squash, tasty greens, and more. $13

Carrot Masala Dip: Vivid flavors warm you from your tastebuds to your toes. With sesame tahini, fresh ginger, and warming spices. Served with fresh veggies to dip. $12

Red Bean and Seasonal Veggie Chili: Nourishing, warm, and just a bit spicy. Served with brown rice. $11


Banana Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Muffins! Everyone's favorite! I can do them without chocolate on request. $10 half dozen, $18 dozen

By popular request, my famous Chocolate Hazelnut Spread! Served with chocolate chip scones so yummy you'd never know they were gluten free and vegan. (I can do a chocolate-free, cinnamon-vanilla version with cream scones on request.) Yum! $12


Please inform me or remind me if you have any allergies or sensitivities. I do not use wheat, gluten, meat, fish, egg, dairy, soy, or peanut in any Rather Crafty dishes. I do use tree nuts and seeds in some dishes, and while I am careful to minimize the risk of cross-contact, some risk exists. I use fresh fruits and veggies, local and/or organic when possible. Below is a guide to help you choose based on allergies, but it is not a comprehensive ingredients list.

SOUP: Small amount of cooked garlic and onion in broth and soup itself. No nuts.
LASAGNA: Will probably contain some cooked garlic. Will definitely contain cashews.
DIP: Contains some garlic. Contains sesame. No tree nuts. Richly flavored with Indian spices, but not super hot.
CHILI: Some cooked onion and garlic. No nuts. Contains beans. A little spicy.
MUFFINS: No nuts. May be done without chocolate on request.
CHOCOLATE SPREAD: Contains nuts. Scones contain cashews.

RAW: Choose carrot dip and the chocolate spread without scones.
GRAIN FREE: Choose soup, carrot dip, chili minus the rice, and chocolate spread without the scones.
ACD: Savory dishes are good choices for most. Muffins and chocolate spread are somewhat sweet; use your best judgement.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Chef Mary

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gratitude and Vitamin D

I'm feeling inspired to post an actual, you know, blog post here on the blog. For almost two years, I have only really posted weekly menus. Now that I'm taking Rather Crafty in a new direction, I think I will start using the blog as an actual blog every now and then.

I was inspired by Lillian's Test Kitchen. Lillian is not a professional chef, she's just a person with food sensitivities. She very bravely makes recipes for the first time on camera, then tells the whole internet about them. How brave is that!

On top of the recipe testing, she has been doing a series lately about what she calls GratiTUDE - simply the attitude of being grateful. Today was day 42 and she posted about avocados. As you know, the avocado is my favorite fruit! I'm incredibly grateful for avos too! They are creamy, satisfying, go great in sweet or savory dishes and salads, and are amazing on their own with just a sprinkling of sea salt.

Another thing I am grateful for is vitamin D. Some of you know I have been experiencing some challenges lately. One of the things tests have uncovered is a low level of vitamin D. I suspect that in addition to not making much of it (Boston is not the best place to get direct sunlight, especially this time of year) I was probably also not correctly absorbing or utilizing what I was making.

I've made some significant diet and lifestyle changes recently. I've been working on uncovering hidden sensitivities and nourishing my body back to its best health. One thing that I recently started doing is supplementing with a high dose of vitamin D. I've also introduced a wider variety of fats, in an effort to better absorb fat soluble vitamins and other micronutrients. The difference is noticeable already!

I recommend that everyone get their vitamin D levels checked, especially those of us with sensitivities and weird, hard-to-explain symptoms. If you are low, even if you're not that low, you might consider supplementation. Making this hormone yourself in the sunshine is the best way to get it, but it's November and the sun's rays are no longer direct enough for that plan to work. There's a lot of controversy about indoor tanning; enough to warrant an entire post of its own. Eating foods naturally rich in D is helpful, but there aren't many and it is very difficult to get enough that way. If you want to try to get enough from diet, wild caught salmon and cod liver oil are among the best natural sources. Supplementation through enriched foods can be a pretty good backup plan for some folks, but that means you have to actually eat those enriched, factory-produced foods.

I've never been one for taking a whole lot of pills, but I do suddenly find myself taking some now and I feel better for it.

(I am not a doctor. This is not to be construed as medical advice and so forth. It is my opinion. It is supported by the science.)

So I'm grateful for the flexibility to adapt. And I'm grateful that my health is improving!

I'm also extremely grateful for all of you who have made Rather Crafty great. It's been a fun ride so far, and while it's changing, it's far from over! I look forward to writing and cooking for you lots more in the future.

Much love,
Chef Mary

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Menu for Monday, November 26 and an Announcement

Happy Thanksgiving week!

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to cook for you and your families these last two years. I am very lucky to have gotten to know you!

I have a difficult announcement to make. I will be delivering Monday, November 26 and Monday, December 3, and then I will be putting Rather Crafty's weekly deliveries on indefinite hiatus. This hasn't been an easy decision, but it is what I must do.

I will continue to be available for events and special orders. I will definitely be available to come and cook in your home. I can spend an afternoon cooking for you or with you in your kitchen. When I'm done, there will be plenty of yummy food tailored specifically to your family's needs and preferences. I can put some in the fridge for that week, and some in the freezer for later. I can also teach you some of my recipes! It's fun to gather your friends in the kitchen and learn a new recipe or method. Always wondered how I make the muffins so tender and delicious? Why my soups are so nourishing? Here's a great chance to learn! I can even teach your kids and their friends age-appropriate techniques and recipes. I have years of experience baking with and for kids.

So I hope to remain part of your culinary lives! In the meantime, I'll be working on a cookbook, among other projects. You'll still see me at the farmers' markets. (Our friends the Stillmans will be in JP Saturdays through December, then at the Winter Farmers Market at the Somerville Armory on Saturdays through May. Our friends at Alex's Ugly Sauce will be at the Downtown Crossing Holiday Markets a lot in the next month and a half. Check them out!)

So with a bold look forward, and some sadness too, here is the second to last weekly menu. I will deliver this menu on Monday, November 26.

Thank you so much, and I look forward to cooking for you soon!

Much love,

Chef Mary



Roasted Beet Soup! Liven up your chilly evening with this lovely fuschia soup! Great hot or cold. $9


Southwestern black bean dip, with crunchy veggies on the side. Yum! $10

Roasted root veggie medley, with millet and green veggies du jour. Topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. $11

Butternut squash stuffed potatoes! One of my all-time favorites, with green veggies to round it out. Served with a dollop of cultured cashew creme on the side. $12


Cranberry ginger muffins! $10 half dozen, $18 dozen

Maple walnut granola balls $9


Please inform me (or remind me) if you have any sensitivities or allergies. Everything is free of dairy, egg, meat, and other animal products. I do not use wheat or other gluten grains. I do not use soy or peanut. I do use fresh fruits and veggies (local and/or organic when possible), tree nuts, seeds, beans, and non-gluten grains.

SOUP: Contains cashews. I can do a small batch without on request. Contains just a little onion and garlic.
BEAN DIP: A little onion and garlic. Slightly spicy, but won't knock your socks off. Safe for most.
ROOTS: I think this one is safe for everyone!
POTATOES: If you're sensitive to cashews, skip the creme. Should be safe for everyone that way. Filling contains nutritional yeast, which is not related to candida. Also contains a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar and just a little garlic.
MUFFINS: Safe for all; ACD use your judgement.
GRANOLA BALLS: Contain almonds and walnuts. ACD use your judgement.

Corn-free: There is no corn in anything this week.
Grain-free: Choose soup, bean dip, and potatoes.
Garlic and onion: a little in the soup and bean dip. Tiny bit of garlic in potatoes.
Nut-free: Choose bean dip, roots, potatoes minus cashew creme, soup minus the cashews, and the muffins.
ACD: Savories are all great choices. Sweets in moderation are reasonably good choices for later stages.

Thanks for reading!

Your very favorite personal chef, Mary

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Crafty Thanksgiving Menu for Tuesday, 11/20

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's right, next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day!

Some of you will spend it with family, some with friends, and some will choose a quieter evening. I'm told that some folks even watch parades or football games on TV. Holidays bring their own challenges though - sometimes a holiday buffet offers few choices for the sensitive. Some of you are vegetarian or vegan. Some need help finding something that's gluten-free or soy-free. And of course some of you just want a hand with delicious veggie dishes that you could serve as sides or mains!

Well, here in CraftyLand, I've got some great dishes to help you out! All could serve as mains, sides, or food for days other than the holiday itself. Bring a few to a potluck, and save a few for yourself. Some dishes are particularly Thanksgiving-y, and others are versatile enough to enjoy any day of the year.

This week I will be delivering on Tuesday, November 20. Why Tuesday? Well, many of you will be travelling Tuesday or Wednesday, so I want to get your food to you as early as possible. But I also want to make sure it's fresh and awesome for your big meal on Thursday. Tuesday just makes sense this week.

If you have a different location or schedule on Tuesday (for example, you're leaving for the airport at 3 so want to make sure your food is in your hands earlier) let me know and we'll work something out.

Thanks, and I look forward to helping you have a fantastic and relaxed Thanksgiving!

Much love,
Chef Mary



Broccoli potato soup! A lovely green, this mostly-pureed soup is richly flavored, nutritious, and surprisingly creamy, even without dairy or nuts. $9


Pumpkin salad! Fresh greens topped with roasted sunshine squash and maple-cayenne walnuts. With a balsamic dressing on the side. My favorite! $12

Boston baked beans are the official state bean of Massachusetts! The ever-popular, slow-simmered beans, served with veg du jour and a sweet potato corn muffin. $11

Carnival squash stuffed with mushrooms, wild rice, and local sage. A sophisticated main or side for your festive table. Served with some of my delicious mushroom gravy on the side.  $13

Just groovy mushroom gravy. How often do you get to enjoy a vegan, gluten free gravy that is even better than the traditional kind? 100% homemade, including the veggie-mushroom broth. $9/ pint


Sweet potato corn muffins! Will they keep well until Thursday? Yes! These muffins stay fresh and the flavors develop for days. So get extra for the Thanksgiving table, and for breakfast the next morning! $10 half dozen, $18 dozen.

Pear and apple crisp, with a crunchy topping of gluten free oats and warming spices. With cinnamon vanilla cashew creme on the side. $9


Please inform me (or remind me) if you have any allergies or sensitivities. Everything is free of dairy, egg, meat, soy, peanut, wheat, and gluten ingredients. Below is a helpful guide to choosing with sensitivities, but is not a comprehensive ingredients list.

Soup does not contain nuts. It contains a little garlic. Broth also contains some garlic and onion.
Pumpkin salad contains walnuts. I can put them on the side if you like, or substitute pumpkin seeds. Dressing contains balsamic vinegar. No alliums.
Baked beans contain a small amount of fully cooked onion and garlic.
Stuffed squash contains some cooked onion, but not a whole lot. Gravy contains cashews, but it's on the side. Both contain mushrooms.
Muffins contain cornmeal. No nuts.
Crisp contains almonds. Cashew creme contains cashews.

ACD: There's some brown sugar in the baked beans. There's balsamic vinegar and just a splash of maple in the salad dressing. Nuts on salad contain maple. Salad with pumpkin seeds instead of nuts is a great ACD choice, if you tolerate balsamico. Soup is an excellent choice. If you tolerate cooked mushrooms, then the squash is a great choice too. Baked goods are naturally a little sweeter; crisp moreso than muffins.

Grain-free: Choose soup, pumpkin salad, and baked beans without the muffin.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And we're back! A Crafty new menu for Monday, 11/12

Welcome back to autumn. I've missed you!
It's been an exciting season for all of us, with lots of events, challenging weather, suspenseful elections, and plenty more going on. I hope you are all weathering the latest storm comfortably!
I'm writing to you from my family's home in Connecticut, where it is snowing hard. The internet was down all day, but it's finally back up. Huzzah!
I will be back in Boston in time to cook this delicious menu for you. Please place orders through Saturday night. I will deliver to your home or workplace on Monday afternoon, November 12. If you are a teacher or otherwise not planning to be where you usually are on Veterans' Day, let me know and we'll make alternate arrangements.
Thanks so much, and I look forward to cooking for you soon!
Much love,
Chef Mary

Curried Carrot Almond Soup. Bring some warm sunshine into this snowy, slushy weekend! $9
Autumn Bento featuring black rice onigiri, local veggie kinpira, and delicious farmers market treats! $12

Sweet Potatoes with caramelized onions and homemade dried local apples. (Contains a very small amount of honey.) Served with quinoa and veg du jour, and topped with cashews. $12
Raw sprouted sunflower seed hummus with crunchy veggies to dip.  Yum! $10
Pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips! One of Earnest's favorites. (Chocolate may be omitted on request.) $10 half dozen, $18 dozen

Mint Chocolate Frogs! Harry Potter fans will especially appreciate these peppermint-filled chocolate critters. $10

Please inform me (or remind me) before ordering if you have any allergies or sensitivities. All menu items are free of soy, peanut, wheat, gluten, meat, egg, and dairy ingredients.
The following is not a comprehensive ingredients list. It's simply a summary that I hope will help the most sensitive among us order.
SOUP: Contains almonds, and some cooked garlic and onion. Will be flavorful, but not super spicy.
BENTO: Contains sesame, nuts, beans, and garlic.
SWEET POTATOES: Contains cashews, which can be omitted or switched to pumpkin seeds on request. Contains cooked onions.
HUMMUS: Contains sesame and sunflower seeds. No beans or tree nuts. Contains raw garlic.
MUFFINS: Chocolate may be omitted on request.
FROGS: Contain chocolate and coconut.
Raw: Choose hummus.
Grain-free: Choose soup, hummus, and frogs.
Low sugar: All the savories are good choices. Muffins are not too sweet. Frogs are dark chocolate; use personal judgment.
ACD: As above, all the savories are good choices, depending on tolerance to vinegar. Bento fillings may contain a little rice vinegar, ACV, and coconut aminos (made from naturally fermented coconut sap, this sauce tastes similar to soy sauce, but is 100% GF and soy free too! Sugar free; generally considered safe for ACD.) Hummus contains nutritional yeast (not related to candida) and a tiny bit of raw apple cider vinegar. The dried apples on the sweet potatoes add only a little sweetness, but I can leave them off if you don't tolerate dried fruit. There is only a trace of honey, to keep them from oxidizing while dehydrating.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

Much love,
Chef Mary