Category Archives: nut-free

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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Breakfast Nachos!

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I had a hectic schedule this week, where food was often a necessary afterthought. It was a pleasure to finally have a little time to think up a delicious breakfast. This is nachos with old cheddar, baked in the oven until crispy, doused generously with tomatillo salsa and dotted with sour cream.

Some people have a bowl of cereal topped with fruit to start the day. How is this that different? Corn, dairy and fruit… It’s practically the same thing.

While that may be debatable, what is definitely true is that this was a tasty treat and a very welcome meal.

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Spicy Nachos

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I just made this outrageously delicious version of nachos.

I picked up a jar of Huy Fong chili garlic sauce this morning and was mulling over how to use it. Then, a craving for nachos struck. The answer seemed obvious.

I used one can of refried beans, and mixed in a couple of spoons of the chili garlic sauce and one bunch of chopped green onions. I used the cheese I had, which was extra old cheddar.

The chili sauce gave the beans a nice kick and the green onions added a nice freshness. The extra old cheddar went really well with the spiciness, too. And, luckily, I had some sour cream on hand to help tone down the spice a bit. (Full disclosure: I always have sour cream on hand.)

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It was a great combo. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, and I will definitely be making these again.

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Chicken Slaw with Blue Cheese Dressing

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This salad looks a little bland (I will have to work on that), but it it is big on flavour. To make it, I use a store-bought coleslaw mix, a store-bought blue cheese salad dressing and leftover, cooked chicken. It is fast to make and really delicious.

 

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Spicy Crab Coleslaw

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This spicy crab coleslaw was one of my favourite brown bag lunches in the past little while. It is fast to throw together and outrageously delicious.

I just used a pre-cut coleslaw mix, which includes carrots and red cabbage. I mixed up a spicy mayo, but you could make your own or use a store-bought variety. My current version includes Miracle Whip, Tabasco-style hot sauce, a bit of seasoned sushi vinegar and a bit of white sugar. I made my mayo in a couple of minutes, tore up some thawed fake crab, and mixed it all together with the cabbage. By the time I was eating it for lunch several hours later, the flavours had had a chance to meld and the crab and spiciness had completely infused everything.

This would make a great company salad or potluck item. Or, if you don’t mind envious stares from co-workers, a perfect lunch for the office.

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