Tag Archives: Passover

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

Paleo * Gluten-free  ~~

cimg4409

Ironically, my dog Bella is on a Paleo diet.

adoption 003

No, it’s not because I’m some paleo fanatic, but because she has itch issues and the vet has taken her off the most common allergens:  beef, chicken, and grains.  I buy her grain-free kibble but then to make it more appealing, I make ground lamb stew to stir into it.   About once a month I traipse to the the meat market that has reasonably priced ground lamb and buy about 5 pounds, then portion it out for single meals.  This month I bought way too much lamb.  As it happens, I had made the Paleo Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes the day before – so Shepherd’s Pie was a no-brainer for the extra ground lamb.

Paleo-izing the Shepherd’s Pie was an interesting challenge.  The potato topping I had already dealt with in last week’s post.  The filling traditionally uses flour (wheat, of course) to create a thick gravy.  My thinking was, instead of substituting an alternate flour for the wheat, why not just let the potatoes be the gravy as well as the topping – after all, I love to smoosh the potatoes into the meat part when I eat Shepherd’s Pie anyway.

The result is a tasty, but less thick meat stew.  I liked it very much as I sometimes find traditional recipes to be a little pasty.

About the vegetables…I confess I use frozen vegetables.  They’re easy and, frankly, I like them.  If you are more ambitious than I, feel free to start with fresh vegetables and cook them before adding them to the meat or just throw in any leftover vegetables you have from previous meals.  It doesn’t really matter what vegetables you use, or even how much you throw in – Shepherd’s Pie is very forgiving.

Though I used ground lamb for the reason stated above, I also love ground lamb; but I know there are many non-lamb eaters in the world you if you are one of them, ground beef or even ground bison would be perfectly fine substitutes.

This is a great  winter meal with protein, starch, and vegetables all in one dish – add a salad for crunch and you are good to go.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

Paleo Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with or without Garlic

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

cimg4179

Let’s start with the question “are potatoes paleo?”   If you google that, you will find many different answers ( a good article is found here http://paleoleap.com/are-white-potatoes-paleo/).  When I started paleo, the answer was pretty much “no” BUT sweet potatoes are okay.   This didn’t suit my sense of logic because if we are discussing the diet of Mr. and Mrs. Ugh, if they ate potatoes at all, they probably did not distinguish between the two…and they certainly didn’t eliminate the white potato merely because it was too high on the glycemic index.  As time passed, many in the paleo community seemed to soften on the white potato issue.  I use potatoes as a starchy vegetable and try to avoid the clearly non-paleo versions like potato chips and French fries (I confess I’m not totally successful at this) and I don’t indulge in potatoes daily.  But when I do, I love this fairly healthy (it does have lots of oil in it) version of mashed potatoes

When I first gave up dairy, I would never have dreamed  I would prefer mashed potatoes made with olive oil over those made with lots of butter and cream.  But that is indeed the case.  These mashed potatoes are smooth and rich with added layers of flavor from the broth in which the potatoes are cooked as well as the freshness from the chopped herbs.

The amount of olive oil you want to use in the potatoes will depend on how “tasty” your extra virgin olive oil is (and for this you must use extra virgin).   You will need less of a very fruity/flavorful olive oil than of a bland one.  Start with 2 tablespoons of oil, then add more until you have the flavor profile that you like best.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with or without Garlic

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

 cimg4256  

I’m going to my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  In self defense I offered to bring the pumpkin bread so that it would be Paleo.  I have to confess/brag that I don’t think anyone there will even know that it is anything other than a regular pumpkin bread.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Lightly Curried Asparagus Soup

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

img_4146

So, as happens all too frequently, I just couldn’t resist a bargain bunch of asparagus –    even though I had no particular use for them. I brought them home, put them in the refrigerator (I didn’t put them into a green bag that would have extended the life until I really wanted to use them) and 3 days later they are looking sad.  Soup, of course is the great burial ground of dying vegetables – so I took all the sad things I had in the fridge – 1 pathetic leek, 1 mangy stalk of lemon grass, and the drooping asparagus.  Sounds appetizing, yes??  Unbelievably this is now one of my new favorite soups! In my first recipe test I had red pepper flakes but it made it  pretty spicy  so I eliminated them from the recipe – you may want to include some if you like your soup spicy.  If you can eat dairy – this soup would be yummy garnished with yogurt.

Enjoy!

Continue reading Lightly Curried Asparagus Soup

Paleo Sweet Noodle Pudding (Noodle Kugel)

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

CIMG3637

This recipe is a paleo update of a post I made about for Passover 2 years ago.   But you don’t have to limit it to Pesach, it’s just as delicious for Rosh Hashanna or break fast.

The amazing thing is that Gefen noodles are made with ingredients allowable on the paleo diet:  POTATO FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, TAPIOCA STARCH, SALT, CELLULOSE GUM, BETA CAROTENE

Okay, I’m not sure about the cellulose gum but otherwise they fit into my definition of paleo.  You can buy them in most kosher stores or online at Amazon or buy it by the case (you can share the noodles with friends) for much less per package here:

CIMG3502

Buy Gefen Gluten Free Wide Noodles – 9 Oz. Each (Case of 12)

In the olden days I used to make a spectacular noodle pudding with sour cream and cottage cheese and pineapple (although the pineapple had to be omitted a long long time ago when I became violently allergic to it).  So, I was a little worried about how a non-dairy, gluten free kugel would come out.  The answer is GOOD – really good.

I suspect my family will miss my matzoh kugel this year, but honestly the gluten free matzoh – even though it tastes quite good – just disintegrates and turns to mush when I tried to make the kugel.  So I hope they will forgive me or even better learn to love this noodle pudding instead.  Oh yes, it freezes (which is why I could make it today and plan to serve it at seder) well; just reheat before serving.

Enjoy and Shanna Tova!
Continue reading Paleo Sweet Noodle Pudding (Noodle Kugel)

Sweet and Sour Unstuffed Cabbage

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

cimg2525

My grandmother made the world’s best stuffed cabbage.  I have the recipe and have made it occasionally but it’s such a pain to make the cabbage rolls that it’s enough to discourage all but the most determined cook – and frankly I’m rarely that determined.  Here is where my sister comes in.  She is a natural out-of-the-box thinker and she created unstuffed cabbage.  You make the meatballs and just cook them in the same sauce as the stuffed cabbage, but add lots of shredded cabbage.  YUM and easy!

The challenge of converting this recipe to paleo was the meatballs because grandma always put rice in with the meat and since I don’t eat rice, I needed something the give the meatballs more interest and keep them from becoming too dry.  After many tries I finally came up with this recipe that I just love.

First I added pork to the beef to add moisture (grandma definitely did not use pork as she was kosher).  Then I added the cauliflower and potato flakes to capture the moisture and make the meat fluffier.  Onion and garlic – well I don’t have to tell you what onion and garlic do.  A little tomato sauce also adds to both texture and flavor.

I am so happy with the results I have to restrain myself from going back not just for seconds, but also for third and fourth servings.

Now that I have totally convinced you that Unstuffed Cabbage is the way to go, for anyone who still likes their cabbage stuffed, just use this filling and roll it up in parboiled cabbage leaves and cook according to the recipe

cimg0094  cimg0122

BTW I freeze these in individual servings and when I need a quick dinner just pop one in the microwave.

Hope you love this as much as I do.
Continue reading Sweet and Sour Unstuffed Cabbage

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

IMG_8594 IMG_8614

 

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 ~~

CIMG3169-001

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 ~~        

CIMG3123

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.

CIMG3058 CIMG3065 CIMG3076 CIMG3082

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).

CIMG3088CIMG3083

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

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