Month: March 2014

Wilted Cucumber Salad

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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This is one of the few Hungarian recipes my mother made that did not start off with paprika, it’s one of the standard recipes to be served on holidays (this month being Passover).  Mom (and probably all my ancestors) used to include one step that, I confess, I am too lazy to bother with.  After salting the cucumbers and onions, she would take small handfuls and squeeze them over the sink until no more liquid would drip out.  The result was cucumbers that were more wilted than ones in this recipe, however, I don’t think this recipe suffers even a little bit due to the shortcut.  This is a refreshing salad, great with any main dish or sandwich (if you eat them).  You can double this recipe easily,  and because it stays “good” in the refrigerator for two weeks or more weeks, you can always have it on hand (though  it will become less green and more wilted). (more…)

chicken soup

Paleo * Gluten free

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Here is the chicken soup recipe I promised you for last Friday – when I got way-laid by Hamantashen and then by Colcannon

Chicken soup is deeply ingrained in my food memory.  Every holiday or special dinner was introduced by a steaming bowl of chicken soup.  Of course chicken soup always magically appeared whenever I was sick.  There is no doubt that it warms my heart to walk into my home and be greeted by the perfume of a pot of chicken soup cooking on the stove.

Quick was not a term I would ever apply to my mom’s chicken soup. When she (and probably all generations before her) cooked chicken soup she would start with a yearling (old hen also called fowl in the supermarket) and boil it for 2 to 3 hours or more until the chicken was finally tender.  The secret to this great tasting quick chicken soup (less than 1 hour) is that I start with cooked chicken and I cut up the vegetables and herbs (mom always put them in the pot whole) to decrease the cooking time and increase the vegetable-y flavor. 

Noodle Soup?  Yeah, I love noodles in my soup.  Gluten-free noodles  (made with potato and tapioca – that makes them paleo) are generally available at Passover in the Kosher section of stores.  (more…)

Dairy-free Colcannon

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I know it’s not a Tuesday, but I couldn’t resist a recipe appropriate to a holiday (like last week’s Hamantashen).  There was a custom to stir charms (not the candy) into colcannon and they would foretell an event to come – a ring might mean you will get married; a coin would mean you will be getting money, etc.  Not being much of a romantic, I think this just sounds like a choking hazard so I don’t recommend it as a St. Patrick’s day tradition – especially if you are having plenty of beer with your meal.  An authentic recipe for colcannon will generally include generous amounts of butter and milk, but this one is delicious without either. So here’s a yummy Irish recipe that is great to serve with corned beef.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Enjoy! (more…)

Gluten-Free and Dairy-free Mini Hamentashen (not paleo)

 Gluten free * Vegetarian *  Parve

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I know this does not look like the chicken soup recipe I promised you on Tuesday.  I totally forgot that tomorrow is Purim and Purim without Hamentashen is like Easter without the Easter Bunny, bagels without lox, franks without beans, New Year’s Eve without the Times Square Ball Drop.  If you are not familiar with Purim (or Hamentashen), it is a holiday when the story of Queen Esther (who risked her life to go to Persian king Ahasuerus and inform him that his prime minister Hamen (who wears a 3 cornered hat) is planning on hanging all the Jews in the land..) is retold.  And as you can sum up so many Jewish holidays: They tried to kill us; They failed; Let’s EAT – Hamentashen is what we eat. So I hope you haven’t taken that leftover chicken out of the freezer yet.  Leave it there and you will see chicken soup next week – and aren’t you glad I finally made a dessert? (more…)

Good Old Fashioned Roasted Chicken

 Paleo * Gluten free

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Roasted chicken made many appearances in my mother’s home.  Not exactly a holiday meal – that was usually roast beef – but generally for a slightly special event.  She would always “salt” the chicken before cooking which was her nod to kosher chicken (only a nod, because the chickens themselves were never kosher –  they hadn’t been ritually slaughtered the way they needed to be).  I think the salting came from my grandmother who actually did keep a kosher home and would salt the kosher chicken  because, although most kosher chickens you buy today are already salted, back then they were not.  It turns out that all this salting today translates into brined chicken which is a very up-to-date way to treat a bird. The very short semi-brine (really brined chicken sits in a salted waterbath for several hours), will give you a really moist and succulent roast.

The next question is why do I need a recipe for roast chicken on a dairy-free site?  It seems, if you ask many experts including: Julia Child, Craig Claiborne (New York Times Cookbook), Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagassi, Ina Garten, Thomas Kellerman, Paula Deen (bless her heart, Paula Deen uses 1/2 cup of butter in her chicken – everyone else uses about 2 tablespoons), etc. that butter is an important element in creating excellent roasted chicken.  So here is my butter-free version.
Notice that I don’t bother basting; I just let the heat and rub do their job…and don’t throw the carcass away.  Place the carcass and any leftover chicken in the freezer for next Friday’s post. (more…)