Category Archives: nut-free

Strawberry Cream Cake

Look at the colours in this cake! Red and white, perfect for Canada Day.

This cake is Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry Brita Cake. It is a lemon-flavoured cake, made with only egg yolks, and topped with a meringue made from the egg whites. The lasagne-pan sized cake is cut lengthwise, and slathered in whipped cream and cut-up fresh strawberries.

My sister and niece made it for me recently, using a gluten-free flour blend. It was lovely and light. The strawberry flavour came through beautifully and the lemon in the cake was fantastic. I highly recommend it. Five out of five. Would eat again!

Of course, I was forced to take the leftovers home (tant pis pour moi…) and so I managed to have it for breakfast for a few days after. Living the dream.

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Spicy Taco Salad

I made tacos last weekend, using a boxed kit. It was all very tasty, but those taco shells are so tiny. So confining. I kept breaking them with my overly ambitious and optimistic attempts to fill them. I eventually gave up and just made piles of the filling.

Today, I used up the leftovers in this delicious salad. I had about a cup each of spiced refried beans and cumin spiced beef. I heated them in the microwave, and then dressed the plate, first with beans and then with the meat. I topped all of that with cheese (a mozzarella-cheddar blend). I microwaved that gently to melt the cheese. Then, I placed freshly chopped romaine lettuce around the edge of the plate. I topped the cheese with a generous helping of pickled jalapeno slices and dollops of sour cream. I slathered everything with green tomatillo salsa and then sprinkled chopped green onions over it all. Finally, I sprinkled two broken up taco shells across the top.

This was so delicious. There was lots of crunch from the lettuce and the taco bits. And the temperature contrast between the hot beans, beef and cheese and the cold lettuce and sour cream was great, too.

I think next time, I won’t bother buying taco shells. I’ll just use nacho chips. I used the packaged spice mix, but I can replicate that quite easily too. I also think chopped cilantro would be a fantastic addition on top.

I highly recommend this approach to tacos if you too are finding yourself hemmed in by very tiny hard shells.

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Fried Plantains

I was on vacation in the Caribbean recently and had a ton of delicious food while I was there. One of my fondest memories is of dinner at a rib shack that included your choice of any three sides with an order of ribs. I chose coleslaw, beans and rice, and plantains. Ever since, I have been thinking about eating plantains again.

I bought a couple of green plantains about two weeks ago and have been patiently waiting until the skins turned black enough for me to fry them.

I made these today, as a side for spicy shrimp and rice. I used this recipe as a guide. I fried them in a stovetop wok in a mix of butter and oil. As they turned brown, I removed them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. I generously salted them, and then I got to try them.

They were fantastic hot. I am taking some for lunch tomorrow, and will eat those ones cold. They were so tasty and so easy to make. I will definitely be making these again soon.

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Fondue on Demand

I have a weakness for the cheese sections of food stores. I find myself gravitating towards them, whether I need cheese or not. I’m currently not allowing myself to buy any more cheese until I work through some of what I have in my fridge.

With that goal in mind, I made a batch of this fondue recipe. Of course, I didn’t use beer because most beer contains gluten. I had some leftover prosecco in the freezer, so I used that instead. I have also made it using dry apple cider, which gives it a fantastic flavour.

When I make this recipe, I like to double the quantity of caraway seeds and leave them whole. I am also more generous with the onions and garlic but tend to skip the sherry completely. For this batch, I used Etorki and Gruyère, plus some mozzarella for meltability. A blend of old Cheddar and Emmental is also fantastic.

I like to pour my finished fondue into a pan and then let it solidify in the fridge. Then, I freeze it in small ziploc bags so that I can easily thaw some out whenever I want to. I took some for lunch one day last week, along with some bread cubes I’d made by cutting up a store bought gluten-free bread roll. At the office, all I had to do was to remelt the fondue in the microwave and voilà, I had an instant gourmet meal.

Reheated fondue can be used anywhere a cheese sauce is called for. I had some over reheated roasted potatoes and it was fantastic. I am thinking of having some more with roasted potatoes and dill pickles, and later using it as a topping for eggs on English muffins instead of Hollandaise sauce. Another option, of course, is simply eating it straight from a bowl with a spoon.

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Radish and Cheese Spread (with Fries)

When I was a kid, I loved a sandwich spread my mom used to make: grated radishes and cheddar cheese, with a bit of mayo to hold it together. I ate it as a sandwich filling, on toast and on crackers.

Now that I avoid bread products, I had been trying to come up with new ways to eat it. I think it would be lovely on a bed of lightly dressed greens. And it might be quite good blended with grated cabbage.

But, as I am always working on my quest to find new french fry toppings, it occurred to me that this spread might be fantastic on fries. The scientist in me demanded that I try it, and I can report that it was in fact fantastic. The radish and cheese mixture was nicely chilled, and it made a great contrast with the hot fries. I did four layers: fries, radish spread, fries, radish spread. It was really good and I highly recommend it.

How to make the spread: Grate equal parts of red radishes and old cheddar. Moisten as much as you like with mayonnaise or miracle whip. Add salt and pepper to taste. And that’s it. Enjoy it with the substrate of your choice.

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Fried Onions, Pickled Eggplant and Banana Peppers with Cheese on French Fries

Some time ago, I bought a large jar of pickled eggplant. I like eggplant and was curious what the pickled version would be like. I had no idea how to use it, though, so I googled it. Of course, most of the answers involved bread products (sandwiches, crusty bread). And while I do use bought bread products occasionally, I try not to eat them too frequently.

I am also attempting to systematically use up items in my pantry. So that meant coming up with a non-bread way to use my eggplant. I like the idea of using it in a red Thai curry, and I like the idea of using it with pasta. I plan to try those later.

Yesterday, I decided to use it in a topping for french fries. I sliced up three small onions and fried them until they were just starting to turn golden. I added in about 1/4 cup each of pickled eggplant and pickled banana peppers. I put some fries in the oven to bake and let the onions, eggplant and peppers continue to cook together on medium low, and grated some old cheddar.

When the fries were done, I laid out a base layer on a plate. I added a layer of grated cheese, and then all of the onion topping. I added another layer of cheese and then placed the plate back in the hot oven for about five minutes to let the cheese melt.

The combination of flavours in the topping is fantastic. Cooking the vegetables together on the stove let the heat from the pickles infuse throughout the mixture. It was sweet, tangy and spicy. The acidity cut through the richness of the cheese nicely.

I think the combination would work well as a non-fry topping as well, either hot or cold. I am going to experiment with that next. It would be great to come up with an interesting vegan side dish. After all, I have a 750 mL jar of pickled eggplant to get through…

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Potato-Parsnip Rosti

Sometimes I get obsessed with a recipe and cannot stop thinking about it until I have bought the ingredients. I saw this lovely rosti recipe earlier this week and instantly my brain was filled with thoughts of toasted parsnips and potatoes. The recipe suggests serving it with sour cream laced with caramelized onions, both of which are staples in my diet, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

I made the rosti (with grated potatoes and parsnips and finely sliced onions) in my cast iron pan. When it was fresh, I topped a slab of it with two sunny-side-up eggs, and it was glorious.

Today, I am enjoying leftovers. I sliced the cold rosti, heated it in the microwave and ate it smeared with the caramelized onion sour cream. Bliss. A comforting dish to help you fight the dark days of late December.

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Kofta Kebabs

Another delicious meal! I made kofta kebabs earlier this week and they tasted amazing. Here they are paired with Greek potatoes (cooked slowly in a bath of broth, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano) and store-bought dips—tzatziki and baba ganoush. What a feast!

The kebabs were easy to make. I used half ground beef and half ground lamb, plus salt and pepper. I added some finely chopped parsley and finely chopped onion. The onion was supposed to be grated, but I wasn’t in my own kitchen and had no grater, so I just chopped it as finely as I could. I think grated onion would give a better texture, but the flavour was still fantastic. I kept the flavourings simple this time–many kebab recipes also include cumin, coriander and other spices in addition to the black pepper. And instead of bread crumbs, I added a bunch of potato starch to help bind the meat mixture together.

We cooked them on skewers on a barbecue and had enough leftovers for a few more meals. They were pretty fast to put together, and I imagine they would still be pretty delicious cooked in the oven.

There are still a few left in the fridge. Maybe that’s what I’ll have for breakfast today…

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Lemon Curd

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This is what I just had for breakfast. Pound cake with a generous helping of lemon curd, along with a cup of tea. Delicious.

The lemon curd is easy to make. It’s a microwave recipe that is simple and fast. All you need is butter, lemons, sugar and eggs.

You can eat the lemon curd on toast, cake, pancakes, cookies, ice cream, with cooked fruit or, of course, by the spoonful.

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Potatoes and Cheese

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Lunches are a challenge if you are avoiding gluten. Packing a lunch that’s nutritious, got protein, and is affordable, filling, tasty AND fast to pull together is no small feat.

Here’s one of my go-to lunches—roasted sweet potatoes with melted cheese. It’s a good way to use leftovers, but also simple to make from scratch.

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