Category Archives: Breakfast

Gluten-free Dairy-free Eggnog

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo *

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Happy New Year everyone!  My favorite part of New Years is the eggnog – imagine how unhappy I was when I had to give up dairy.   In general I’m not much of a drinker so to me the best possible way to imbibe alcohol is hidden in a milk shake! DOUBLE YUM!!!  The only problem with that is – it’s so delicious I can drink many many glasses before I realize I’m totally smashed…not to mention how many calories that includes.

The amazing thing about this recipe is – it’s as delicious as “the real thing”.  To be honest, that may not be true if I were to do a side by side taste test – but short of that I don’t think anyone would suspect they were being served a dairy-free version of eggnog.

Cheers and wishing you all a happy, healthy, and delicious 2015!

P.S.  You may notice that I’ve put this recipe in the “breakfast” category – because it is my very favorite breakfast item on January 1.
Continue reading Gluten-free Dairy-free Eggnog

Traditional Latkes and Curried Sweet Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve * Paleo *

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Happy Hannukah.  Every year my study group has a little Channuka pot luck and – as is usually the case – I am making the latkes (potato pancakes).  I’m especially happy to do it this year as most recipes use flour or matzo meal (also a flour) and I want to make these gluten-free and Paleo.

Hanukkah is one of the happy holidays.  It’s celebrated for 8 days because it commemorates the miracle of a one day’s supply of oil for the menorah (a candelabra that was to burn throughout the night every night) in the Jerusalem Temple lasting the 8 days – long enough to produce a new supply.  It’s a time of year where gifts are given (at least one each night), games are played, songs are sung, and eating greasy fried food is highly encouraged – especially latkes and doughnuts (it is, after all a holiday celebrating oil).

It’s also known as The Festival of Lights (much easier to spell than Channukkah) and occurs on the darkest night of the year.  The best part for me is lighting the Chanukka candles in the menorah and saying the blessing.  It’s a ritual that brings me immediately back to my parents home and fills me with happy/sad memories.

May you make many happy memories tonight and for the next 8 nights…and Happy Hanukah (have you counted how many ways I’ve spelled it?)
Continue reading Traditional Latkes and Curried Sweet Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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A trio of WHAT???  That would have been my response to this post just a few months ago.

Let’s start with the answer to WHAT????  Dukkah is a nut and spice mix that is found in markets all over Egypt.  Traditionally it’s served with bread (not our strong point at this blog) and olive oil.  I discovered it at Trader Joe’s.  Just after you enter the store they have a tasting station where unsuspecting customers are seduced into buying products that were not on their shopping lists.

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Most of the time I have to pass up the tasting station because there is cheese or other dairy products in the samples, but on this fateful day they had dukkah (and I was still eating bread at the time).  I dipped the bread in the olive oil and then in the dukkah and tasted it. Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Theirs was very anise-y and I’m on the fence about licorice flavored things – but, I buy it anyway.

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I get home and have an intense need to try it again and BOOM – love at second bite!  Suddenly I’m sprinkling it on everything from scrambled eggs, to tuna or potato salad, to smoked salmon, to hummos, to garnishing soups, seasoning chicken, fish, meats and/or kebabs, dipping bananas and Tofutti Cuties (soy ice cream sandwiches) into it.  Everything tastes better with dukkah on (or in) it.

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Now not being someone who leaves well enough alone, I had to learn more about it.  I checked out wikipedia (the spelling and pronunciation of dukkah are a whole other post’s worth of stories), and article in The New York Times, and chocolateandzucchini.com.

Then I got to work in the kitchen and came up with some excellent (if I must say so myself) recipes.  The variations are totally not traditional and none of them have anise.

Of course there are many ways to present this as a gift here are just a few ideas.

* Buy a really nice spice jar or just a regular ball jar and make a cover for it (not a hard job even if you are not too crafty).  This is a good not-too-expensive gift to give when you have lots of people on your list who you can give the same gift to.  For me, it’s my soup kitchen team.

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*  Put a jar (or 3) of Dukkah or jars of Dukkah ingredients and give them – along with the recipe AND an immersion blender with mini processor attachment

* Make a Dukkah Basket with dukkah you’ve prepared and a bottle of really nice olive oil or balsamic vinegar and fresh bread if you are giving the gift the same day as you pack it.
Continue reading A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

I Love My Immersion Blender – do you have one yet?

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If you know me well, you know that when I LOVE something, just one is never enough.  So here are my two immersion blenders; the white one (Braun) is very ancient (in small electronics years) and the stainless steel (Cuisinart) one is less old, but not too new.  But why fall in love with an immersion blender in the first place?  The biggest reasons in my book are:  it saves time, it’s small so doesn’t need much storage space, it performs the function of more than one appliance – and it’s not too expensive (although if you want to go top of the line I’ve seen them for as much as $300).

But let me take a step back.  If you don’t own one the first question is:  what does it do?  The wand (motor + blade) purees.  It does the same job as a blender or food processor.  You can buy an immersion blender that does only that – however, you can also buy one that comes with attachments (like mine).  The mini-processor – in addition to pureeing it chops.  I was so happy to have it when I was cooking for Thanksgiving and needed tons of minced garlic.  I just peeled the cloves from two heads of garlic; put them in the mini-processor and in seconds they were minced for me.  It’s also great for chopping nuts and vegetables if you don’t need more than a cup or two.  The whisk does just that – but it’s much more effective than a fork if you are scrambling eggs and its easier to grab and clean than an electric mixer when you want to beat cream or egg whites until stiff.

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Let’s go back to my reasons for falling in love.  It Saves Time.  It’s so much quicker to puree a pot full of sauce or soup by plunging in your immersion blender, than to transfer the soup to your food processor or blender and then have to puree it in batches.  What about the cleanup?  All you have to do is wash the blade.  No extra dirty dishes like a blender container or the bowl, lid, and blade of the processor.

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It’s Small.  I store it in a convenient drawer with my pots so it’s easy to grab and doesn’t take any counter space.  You gotta love an appliance that doesn’t take up counter space.

It Performs the Function of More Than One Appliance. Okay, not exactly true.  It certainly does puree, but if you want to chop big batches of things you’ll still want a food processor especially if it shreds and slices; and the whisk is only for small jobs like beating eggs, making pancake batter, whipping cream.  You will still need a mixer for making cookies or other big jobs.

It’s Not Too Expensive.  I’ve seen the wand for as little as $13.00 though most are around $30.00.  The wand plus attachments can be had for as little as $30.00 though the majority are $45 to $99.

As the holidays approach you may want to think about giving an immersion blender to someone on your gift list who loves to cook.

And here’s a really cool thing I just figured out to do with my wand:  Fruit Shake in a Glass
Continue reading I Love My Immersion Blender – do you have one yet?

Supermoist Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken

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I really love kitchen gadgets.  The problem is I need a bigger kitchen to store all the gadgets I’d like to have. On the other hand there are also plenty of gadgets that I think are just a waste of money (not to mention valuable storage space).  Vertical roasters fall somewhere between great gadget and waste of money.  They are available in the whole gamut of prices – I’ve seen them for as little as $3.99 and as much as $229.00.  I honestly don’t know if they work differently enough to warrent the price differential.

Why roast vertically?   Two reasons:  The skin is crisp all around the chicken, not just on top; and the chicken cooks more evenly.  That’s because the metal tube on the inside conducts heat cooking the  chicken from both inside and out instead of just from outside in.  So here’s my solution to the should I buy a vertical roaster…the bundt pan.  It’s something I have on hand and can do the same thing as the vertical roaster – in fact it’s even better because you can cook the vegetables and make sauce in the bundt pan – which is a feature only of the very high end vertical roasters.  There is a down side to using a bundt pan and that’s that you can really only make a smallish (about 3 to 3 1/2 pound) chicken on it.  Larger chickens just won’t balance on the short tube in the bundt pan.  On the other hand, I already own (and store) bundt pans and further, I rarely cook chickens larger than 3 1/2 pounds.  So this kitchen trick works for me.

Hope it works for you too.
Continue reading Supermoist Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken

Maple Roasted Pear Halves

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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Happy New Year.  Sorry I was too busy with the holidays to post last week but I hope today’s post will make you so hungry you will find it in your heart to forgive me.

Last week’s fruit from the CSA was pears.  I ate a few and gave away more but still was left with four, by now overly ripe, pears.  So here is my dessert of the week.  They’re easy to prepare and quite yummy and would also be great served with vanilla ice cream (if you can have it) or coconut sorbet.
Continue reading Maple Roasted Pear Halves

Shakshuka (shakshouka)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo

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It would be lovely if I could tell you that I fell in love with Shashuka while I was in Israel or when I first tasted it in my favorite middle eastern restaurant, however, truth be told, I saw the recipe in the cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and was compelled to try it.  Turns out it’s quite yummy and a great way to use ripe summer tomatoes.  The first time I made Shashuka was last summer.  I followed the recipe to a “T”, except I confess it goes against my very being to use 1/2 cup oil in a recipe that serves 4 – so I reduced it to 1/4 cup – everything else I did exactly…until it came to adding the 1 cup of water.  The recipe said to add water until the mixture is saucy – but my mixture was so saucy before I added even a drop of water that I just shrugged my shoulders and figured it was just another poorly written recipe – how disappointing.  The end result, however was quite delicious.  Scroll forward 6 months.  It’s January,  I’m making Shashuka for company and this time my tomatoes are just not giving off any juices.  Suddenly I need that 1 cup of water to make the recipe work – so Mr. Ottolenghi, I apologize for doubting you.

Two weeks ago when I made Ratatouille, Irwin had brought me beautiful tomatoes from his garden.  This week Sheila brought me tomatoes from her garden

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which is why I was moved to make Shakshuka in the first place.  There will be many more tomato recipes to come very soon.
Continue reading Shakshuka (shakshouka)

Tomato Paste and Bananas

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OMG that sounds like an awful combination!!  What on earth can you do with tomato paste and banana?  Good question.  If you have a recipe that uses them together, please be sure to forward it to me.  But since this is Friday, and Friday is our day for This and That – the topic is:  What do you do with over-ripe bananas and open cans of tomato paste beside discard them?  The answer to both is:  freeze them.

Freeze the tomato paste in 1 tablespoon portions and then you have them on hand for any recipe that calls for less than the full can.   You can toss them into soup or sauce that needs a little flavor or color boost or any recipe that calls for tomato paste.

Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  Measure the tomato paste in a tablespoon and place the contents of the tablespoon onto the plastic wrap.  Do the same with 2 more tablespoonsful.  Fold the wrap over the tomato paste and place one tablespoon of tomato paste in the gaps between the three you have folded in the plastic wrap.  Continue until you have used all of your leftover tomato paste.

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Frozen Banana Coins are like nature’s ice cream.  Whenever you’re feeling a yen for something sweet just pop one in your mouth.  They’re also great for smoothies.

Prepare them the same way as the tomato paste.

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Here’s a recipe for a breakfast smoothie using frozen banana coins
Continue reading Tomato Paste and Bananas

Going Gluten Free

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This “article” was put together as a promo piece for my blog which is why it is short and not overly informative.

Living gluten-free is no longer the sacrifice it once was. Gluten-free products are available in almost every store and eating out is easier as many restaurants are catering to these needs. The bigger problem is that many gluten-free foods just don’t taste as good as “the real thing.”

The reason for this discrepancy is the products used to approximate items containing gluten substitute starches (tapioca, potato or rice) for flour. This makes the end product taste starchy (not too surprising). One way to avoid this problem is to find recipes that use gluten-free whole grain flour (like oat flour or teff) instead of starch.  Another strategy is to select foods that are naturally gluten-free (like the salad dressing below).

Look to the internet for a wide variety of delicious, better than “the real thing” recipes. Oat Pancakes, Best Ever Crackers, Fabulous Cornbread, Chocolate Torte, Hungarian Dessert Crepes and Apple Galette are just a few of the possibilities if you are willing to make them yourself.

Here’s an easy recipe to start you off:

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Tahini Dressing and Dip

 3 sprigs parsley

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup water (or more for dressing)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, put through garlic press

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

1.  Remove the thick stems from the parsley sprigs

2.  Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor container.Cover and process until smooth.

3.  Pour into serving container or over salad.  Store extra in refrigerator.

Makes: 1 cup

 

 

Gluten-free Dairy-free Palacsinta – Hungarian Dessert Crepes (not Paleo)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Parve

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My friend Natalie had a birthday this week and when we were on the phone I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and her reply was “crepes or croissants.”  Croissants are way too complicated but I’d be glad to make a crepe recipe for her – and for YOU.  So Happy Birthday Natalie – I hope you love these.

Now about Palacsinta (we pronounce then palachinkin), as you may have figured out from previous posts, my background is Hungarian.  On weekends when my grandmother would come to visit, Sunday mornings she would make Palacsinta.  She would stand at the stove using 3 small skillets at a time turning out palachinkin as fast as a machine – but never could she keep up with our almost super human ability to pack them away.  After a while she would give up and add a little flour to the remaining batter, than add cut up apples or bananas and make what she called fritters but in reality was more of a German apple (or banana) pancake.  I don’t think Grandma actually ever got to eat any of it – unless she snuck (is that a word?) one or two while she was at the stove – cause she surely never sat down at the table.  She was a great lady (and fabulous cook), my Grandma.

As you can see from the photos there are 2 ways of making crepes – logs or chevrons.  The logs are the Hungarian presentation, the chevrons which  are French (though they do logs as well) are easier to handle.

You can use this recipe to make savory crepes as well – just omit the sweetener.
Continue reading Gluten-free Dairy-free Palacsinta – Hungarian Dessert Crepes (not Paleo)