Mama’s Meat Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~ 

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So last week I wrote about zucchetti and promised to give you a meat sauce to use with it.  True to my word, here it is…and it’s easy and pretty quick (only cooks for 30 minutes)!  It makes a lot, but the great news is it’s one of those foods that freezes beautifully.  I freeze it in individual portions and then just pull one out of the freezer whenever I want a quick meal.

This is one of those recipes where you can use any ground meat and still end up with a tasty sauce.  You can use beef, buffalo, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, ostrich, or sausage or any other ground meat or combination of meats you can think of.
Enjoy!
Continue reading Mama’s Meat Sauce

I Love My Julienner – Zucchetti (Zoodles or Zucchini Spaghetti)

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There are many ways to julienne vegetables.  If you have divine knife skills, you need nothing more than a sharp knife and a cutting board.  The chef or gourmet cook probably uses a mandoline – a very sharp and scary instrument that sits in my closet, never used.  There are many types of mandolines varying in price from a few hundred for the classic stainless steel ones to $20 for a plastic one.  Of the less expensive mandolines, I prefer the box type mandoline because it collects the shredded item in an attached container (box).  If you are interested in the box model, Amazon is including 2 ebooks and a video in the $19.99 price…and BTW I couldn’t resist and bought one just now when I went to find a link for you!  Okay, so let’s say I LOVE this mandoline, what about the julienner I writing about in this post.  Will I still LOVE it?

I think the answer is yes.  Yes, because it’s small and doesn’t take up much storage space.  Yes, because you don’t have to clean a bunch of parts just to julienne one zucchini.  Yes, because it does an awesome job and for zucchini it makes really long shreds and I won’t know about the box mandoline until I get mine and try it.

So let’s talk about Zucchetti aka Zucchini Spaghetti.  As you can see, it’s long thin strands of zucchini, cooked and used instead of spaghetti.  It surprises me to tell you that I prefer zucchetti to spaghetti.  The lightness and freshness of the flavor makes real spaghetti seem clunky and heavy in comparison.

Be sure to saute the zucchetti just long enough for it to be softened.  Over cooking it tends to make the strands collapse into each other…still edible but less appealing.  You can saute it in olive oil and garlic for a simple dish.  Or you can add any sauce that you usually like on pasta.  I find meat sauce (recipe coming next week) my favorite but pesto or mushrooms are also delish.

Have fun and enjoy this healthy dish.
Continue reading I Love My Julienner – Zucchetti (Zoodles or Zucchini Spaghetti)

Lamb Stuffed Eggplant

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

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I’m publishing this recipe at the request of my friend Paula W.  We had a dinner date this week and I realized  I’d been doing a lot of cooking and had a refrigerator full of recipe tests in need of a taster (beside myself).  I’m happy to report that they were all delicious!

This particular dish was Paula’s favorite and she has already called me for the recipe…so Paula, here it is.

Hope you love it too.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Lamb Stuffed Eggplant

Out-of-This-World Company Salad

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

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What is company salad?  Salad that is a little too bothersome to make for just myself (too many ingredients, too much prep time, or too expensive) but is perfect to impress company.  So  who did I want to impress with this salad?

Let’s take a step back.  Those of you who know me well may want to sit down before reading on…I went out of town this weekend.  Shocking, I know.  It’s only taken me ten years to leave the city and visit my friend Lorraine and her husband Pete at their home on one of the finger lakes in upstate New York.

I got there Friday night and the visit was timed so I could attend the Howard Day Parade, an annual event that Lorraine, as town librarian, participates in.  It was a short but sweet parade, a bunch of tractors, vintage cars, the library group and a float from the Howard Historical Society.

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The next event was a dance recital followed by cake in the library.  It was fun meeting the library staff and other of Lorraine’s friends.  Following the recital was the annual “chicken lunch” served in a local hall (we took ours home to eat).

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Then Pete drove us to a wonderful farm stand they frequent.  The tomatoes were divine, we bought beautiful wax beans, sweet-sweet blueberries and I can’t remember what else.

Being a good guest, I brought them NYC bagels and a brisket (I think a good brisket is really hard to find).  So Saturday night I was the cook.  In addition to the brisket we had fresh local corn, Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar (that I posted 2 weeks ago) and Company Salad.

When I started to prepare the dinner we discovered that the wax beans (I was using the yellow beans instead of the green beans) had either been left at the farm stand or lost somewhere on the way home.  Pete insisted on going back to the farm stand to get more beans for us.

Lucky for me Lorraine has a home filled with lots of healthy goodies.  She had a pile of beets she had roasted before I came, avocados that were ripe, 2 oranges (though I used just one of them), a few lovely bing cherries, and a box of organic salad greens.  Of course she had lots of other things I could also have used but I was really good about editing myself.

The pistachios were the only thing I wanted that wasn’t in the house so we called Pete and asked if he would pick up the nuts while he was getting the beans.

Dinner was delicious but the star of the show was the out-of-this-world salad.  Hope you love it as much when you make it!
Continue reading Out-of-This-World Company Salad

Mussels in Thai Green Curry Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Paleo ~~~

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I really love the fish department at Whole Foods, so whenever I’m there I check it out to see if something is calling to me.  This week it was the mussels – they were the small ones that I prefer (though I know many people live the larger meatier ones).

I usually try to buy only wild caught fish, mussels are the exception.  The difference between farmed and wild caught mussels are….sand – and lots of it.  Although I rinse and scrub my mussels before cooking them, no matter how hard I work there is always at least a few gritty mussels.  Now I like gritty people just fine, but gritty shellfish (or vegetables for that matter) are just not acceptable.  To explain the difference between farmed and wild here’s a piece from Sunset magazine  http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/flavors-of-the-west/seafood-farmed-or-wild :

Mollusks

Clams, oysters, scallops, mussels are the ideal farmed seafood. In the wild, they may be harvested using hydraulic dredges, which rip up the ocean floor.

Farming, on the other hand, involves either raising the mollusks on beaches and hand-raking to harvest, which has very little impact on the beach itself; or growing them on strings hanging from floating platforms or in metal-mesh sacks laid on floating racks, neither of which does any environmental damage whatsoever.

Moreover, these little bivalves eat plankton, so do nothing to deplete other fish populations. And best of all, they’re filter feeders, leaving the water cleaner than it was before.

Now about the sauce…I use store-bought Thai green curry sauce (I bought it at Whole Foods but I know they also carry it at Trader Joe’s and most gourmet stores have it in their Asian section or of course you can find it online).  I don’t feel guilty about buying it prepared as there is a large list of “unusual” ingredients that goes into it like galangal, lemon grass, coriander roots, and shrimp paste.  Surprisingly the prepared pastes are generally paleo.  Check the label before you buy it.

This is one really delicious way to prepare mussels.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Mussels in Thai Green Curry Sauce

Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar

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

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Another recipe straight from my expedition to the farmer’s market .  The green beans just looked too perfect to pass up and the grape tomatoes were sweet as candy.  These are great served warm or cold and are another of those recipes perfect to bring to a picnic or pot luck.

I’m feeling kind of stuck here for a longer narrative to share with you about this recipe or these ingredients, but this is just a straight forward recipe I created because I had great ingredients on hand.

It may not be an especially beautiful dish but it’s taste makes up for its looks.  You’ll love it – really!

Enjoy!
Continue reading Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar

Paleo Sukiyaki

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~

Paleo Beef Sukiyaki

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Despite the fact that I grew up in a family that loved good food, the number of different cuisines we tried was pretty much limited to Hungarian, Italian, Chinese, French, and Deli.  It wasn’t until after college that I first had Japanese food and then it took me another 30 years before I tried sushi.  In those before-sushi-years my go to dish was always beef sukiyaki.  I loved the flavors as well as the show they put on when they cooked it at your table.

Fast forward many years – I’m a vegetarian and writing my book “1,000 Vegetarian Recipes” and as you can imagine, I’m trying to find diverse recipes for each chapter.  Memories of beef sukiyaki float to my mind and before you know it I developed a great tofu sukiyaki.  I will say that of the 1,000 recipes in that book, the tofu sukiyaki was  probably one of the top ten I made over and over…you can tell by looking at the soy sauce stains on the page. In fact one it was one of the things that I really missed when I became paleo.

Never to be one to pass up a challenge, this week I set my mind to paleo sukiyaki.  I went back to the original beef sukiyaki that started my love for it and then set about converting the sauce to paleo approved ingredients.  Surprisingly it was really easy to achieve a super delicious version.

Coconut aminos, that I usually find to be a somewhat less than perfect substitute for soy sauce, turns out to be a natural for sukiyaki.  Because the sauce for sukiyaki is quite sweet, the sweetness of the aminos allowed me to eliminate the need for sugar in the recipe.  I added just a little fish sauce to intensify the saltiness and that was it!

When I made tofu sukiyaki I would use bean threads as my noodle of choice, but for this I found that sweet potato noodles work just as well (shirataki noodles would work well too).  I get my noodles in Chinatown, but you can get them here:  https://www.amazon.com/Dragonfly-Sweet-Potato-Vermicelli-ounce/dp/B005S9U0A8

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I use dried mushrooms I also bought in Chinatown.  To be honest I have no idea what kind they are.  They were in an open bin along with lots of other types of mushrooms and I just pointed to number 1046 and hoped it was good.  I think dried shiitaki mushrooms would be a good substitute.  For the fresh mushrooms I used a mixture of white and brown beech mushrooms as well as enoki.  Just regular white mushrooms, sliced would also work here.

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For me this recipe is a real success and I’ll be making it often.  Hope you like it too.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Sukiyaki

Summer Fruit Galette

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

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I’m kind of funny about entertaining.  When I have company over I consider that to be the ideal time to try out new recipes…most sane people go with the tried and true for company but not me!  I figure if worse comes worst, I can always order something – actually anything – in.  In New York City there is not a single thing I can think of that can’t be delivered to your door.  It’s one of the reasons I love it here.

On the other hand, when I am bringing something to someone else’s home  I want to be double sure  it will turn out alright.   This past Friday I volunteered to bring  a simple dessert.  True, I could have just bought something – but that’s not me.  So I decided to go with the galette I posted two years ago.  It was a real hit when I served it.  However, this being prime summer fruit season, I decided to make a different filling (the other one was filled with apple0.  So here is the recipe for the blueberry and peach galette I made this week.  It was highly praised and was completely devoured.

I apologize  for not being foresighted enough to realize I would publish this as a blog recipe until after I saw how beautifully it turned out.  So some of the step by step photos are of the apple galette and others of a previous test with more peaches and just the finished products are actually of the recipe here.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Summer Fruit Galette

Red Cabbage and Sweet Potato Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~        CIMG2617-001

Cook outs, picnics, barbecues, pot lucks.  Summer is the ideal time of year for entertaining and parties.   I have a dim memory of having a salad something like this at my friend Paula’s house for Thanksgiving.  She said she was tired of all the standard sweet potato recipes and made this salad instead.  I thought the combination of ingredients was amazingly delicious – which is why I remember it all these years later – but I am sad to report it ‘s not a good vehicle for the roasted marshmallows that usually come along with sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving.

How did I get side tracked from summer entertaining?  I brought this salad with me to a pot luck and it was a BIG hit.  In fact, although I say it serves 6 to 8 – it was completely polished off by six women of a certain age.  The good news is this recipe is easily doubled if you are cooking for a crowd.

Happy summer outing – enjoy!
Continue reading Red Cabbage and Sweet Potato Salad

Really Divine Green Gazpacho

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With summer completely here there’s nothing nicer than a chilled soup to start a meal or have as a snack.

I was sitting in my allergists waiting room with nothing in particular to do.  Usually her magazine rack is filled with sports stuff and gossip magazines – none of which interest me.  This week, however, she had a copy of the Food Network Magazine.   I was thrilled to see it as I’ve had a “special offer” from them sitting on my “to do” pile for weeks.  I wasn’t sure I wanted or needed another food magazine especially since most of the recipes in these publications are not suitable for a paleo diet.

One of the articles featured  3 different gazpacho recipes.  I was interested in that article because most of the authentic recipes include plenty of bread.  I was delighted to find that these did not.  In fact they were very nice and slightly unusual.  Two of the recipes included grapes – something that I would never have thought using, but upon reflection seemed an interesting idea.  The recipe for green gazpacho also included avocado.

It’s not that often I am inspired to run home and try something I’ve seen in a magazine, but since Fairway is just a few steps away from my allergist’s office, I stopped in and picked up the necessary ingredients and Voila!

I think this is a pretty delicious form of gazpacho.  The grapes give it a subtle sweetness and the avocado a really creamy texture.   The toasted almonds (I know they don’t look toasted in the photo, but trust me – they are)

BTW I subscribed to the magazine today   : )

Enjoy! Continue reading Really Divine Green Gazpacho