Month: December 2014

Gluten-free Dairy-free Eggnog

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


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.

Easy Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres

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

CIMG1569 CIMG1595

CIMG1607 CIMG1635

These easy-to-make hors d’oeuvres are perfect for family gatherings.  They don’t require much muss or fuss.  I made them mostly out of stuff I had around the house – but then I keep and obscene amount of food and foods around the house : )

The hors d’oeuvres I made today are:  Melon Stuffed Genoa Salami – a take on melon and proscuitto; Stuffed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes; Eggs and Green Ham; Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates; and Cucumber Slices with Smoked Salmon and Caper Sauce.  Along with today’s recipes, I invite you to browse the “appetizer” category for even more ideas/recipes.

Happy Holidays to you and all of yours.  Enjoy!

Traditional Latkes and Curried Sweet Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

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

CIMG2157  CIMG2163
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?)

Ruffoni – the Best Gift Ever

 Okay, perhaps there are better gifts than Ruffoni pots (especially if you don’t like to cook) … a Rolls Royce, a boat, an apartment (or house), a trip around the world…you get the idea.  But the best gift I ever received was my Ruffoni pot.

 For my 65th birthday (yes, I’m that old!) my friends Lorraine and Pete gave me the Ruffoni braiser.  I was so excited I could barely contain myself.  It’s so beautiful that the photo does not do it justice.  But after a week of using it as a centerpiece on my dining room table I realized that practically speaking it’s really a waste to use such a quality pot as an ornament when it should be in the kitchen being used.
So, I traded in my beloved braiser for the much more practical 3 1/2 quart pot


Let me tell you – this pot cooks like a dream!  It cooks evenly and cleans up with just a simple soak and once over with a soapy sponge.
Though I am madly in love with my pot – it would be unfair to not mention the drawbacks.  The beautiful top is a little awkward to lift, although Ruffoni does offer a more traditional one to replace it with
And – did I mention the price?
The set goes for close to $1,300; the braiser is close to $500; and my 3 1/3 quart pot is around $350.
So when I’m talking gift, I mean BIG gift.  Certainly amazing for a holiday gift, but also, keep it in mind for those special occasions that warrant BIG gifts – like weddings.  Anyone who receives a Ruffoni, in addition to being thrilled, will think of you every time they use it – and thank you over and over.
In addition to the hammered stainless steel Ruffoni makes another less ornate line and lots of copper pots.  You can check them out in person at Williams Sonoma.
BTW I still use my Ruffoni as an ornament, but it sits proudly on one of my burners so I have it on hand whenever I want to cook something.
And, perhaps you might want to put one on your gift list to yourself…after all – you’re worth it!
Happy Holiday Shopping!

A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

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

272  278

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.

002  014

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.


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.


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

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.

CIMG1399  CIMG1410  Decorated using contact paper

CIMG1387  CIMG1397 decorated using fabric and ribbon

CIMG1415  CIMG1427  decorated using wrapping paper

*  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.