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Cabbage Diet Soup My Way

Whole 30, Soups & Salads, Mains, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan
I don’t think a little cooking technique and olive oil is going to “undiet” this infamous Cabbage Diet Soup. Mine tastes good, like a slimmed down minestrone. This is just how I made it. You can add any green, non-starchy veggies to this and it will still be low calorie.

Meat Chips

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
I make meat chips from cured meats like salami, prosciutto, pancetta, etc., to nibble on or dip in fondue or queso. You can crumble tem on otherwise healthy dishes like salads and granola… just kidding.  Perfect for gluten-free and paleo diets as well as for meat freaks.

Fall Fowl Balls: Turkey Meatballs with Apples & Nuts

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
For your gluten-free holiday entertaining try Fall Fowl Balls. They’re little turkey meatballs studded with apples, cheddar cheese and rolled in nuts for a light and tasty autumn appetizer! Turkey meat tends to be dry. I add sautéed veggies, grated cheddar and diced dried apples to the turkey meat to give it a nice texture and fall herbs to give a cozy bite.

Caramelized Onions

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
The rich and sweet flavor of caramelized onions comes from cooking them slow in olive oil, salt, pepper and their own juices until they’re a rich, golden brown. You can flavor them by using various liquids to deglaze the cooking pan and-or sweeteners to change the taste and sugar levels. When I’m making Whole 30 compliant, caramelized onions I only use olive oil and water or stock to deglaze the onion pan and no sugar of any kind.

Carnitas

Mains, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
Carnitas are citrus and spice infused braised pork that’s often browned in the oven before using.They’re kind of like Mexican pulled pork.

Caramelized Onion Hummus with Fried Sage & Sumac

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Parties & Potlucks
Remember when you simply threw the canned chickpeas in the food processor to make hummus. Those were the good, easy days. Now you must slip the skins off each chickpea or die of hummus shame because it’s not smooth enough. This is my work around and you can totally grab a can of chickpeas and slip off the skins, one at a time…

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Mushrooms

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
St. Patrick’s Day inspired Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Mushrooms: mushroom caps stuffed with a hearty shepherd’s pie filling, topped with mashed potatoes and Irish cheddar cheese. St. Paddy’s Day is not really one of my celebrated holidays. I’m not one to run out and make a bunch of green-colored food or drink green beer (shuddering), but this dish is a great gluten free dish or appetizer any day..

Ginger Bred Chutney

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
Fresh ginger is one of my favorite flavors and dry ginger is one of my least. So I never make gingerbread. This past holiday season I had a windfall of fruits leftover from a chocolate fountain holiday party. So I whipped up a new chutney with all the flavors of gingerbread except the dreaded dry ginger. I substituted fresh ginger and it was FABULOUS!

Creamed Rutabagas

Sides, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan
Originally a cross between a cabbage and turnip, the humble rutabaga is silky and elegant pureed with cream in this simple, yet addictive recipe. I often wonder why I only make them for Thanksgiving? They definitely taste like a special occasion.

Gluten Free Sausage, Cheddar & Chive Balls

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Breakfast & Brunch, Parties & Potlucks
I live around the corner from Paisano’s Meat Market on Smith Street in Brooklyn. They sell Italian sausage meat which is a fatty, spiced ground pork mixture studded with fennel seeds. You could pretty much mix anything into it and it would be AMAZING. When I was researching my International Men With Balls Brunch I came across this popular dish that’s often made with Bisquick. Mine have a much higher ratio of I made gluten free sausage and cheddar balls.

Elderflower Syrup

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning, Drinks
Making your own elderflower syrup is a BREEZE! Mix it with seltzer and lime for a delish beverage. You could throw some vodka or tequila in that too! If you don’t have an elderberry tree, find the flowers by foraging or friend with one.

Bacon Fried Rice

Mains, Sides, Gluten-Free, Breakfast & Brunch
Bacon Fried Rice is my favorite breakfast dish, but I could also eat it for lunch, dinner, afternoon snack, or even dessert. Clearly, it may seem that I have a problem. I say, “There’s no problem unless there’s no more bacon or rice in the world.”

Smoked Duck Breast, Mango & Avocado Salad

Soups & Salads, Mains, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
While this Smoked Duck Breast, Mango & Avocado Salad sounds pretty fancy, it’s only because smoked duck breast makes even the most pedestrian dish sound uppity. Say: Smoked Duck Breast, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich—see? It adds instant class. In addition to raising the social strata of any dish, smoked duck breast is a quick fix for any dish. Yes, I’m calling Smoked Duck Breast Oatmeal—trend-spotting!

Collard Greens

Sides, Gluten-Free
You can use any hearty greens to make this dish, but my Grandma always used collards, turnip and mustard greens in whatever combination she could find them. You need a lot of greens to make collards since they cook down to nothing. As a former slave food, collards used to be very cheap to buy and make. When I took over making them, Grandma would ask how much they cost. When I told her she would be horrified and tell me stories of how they were a nickel a pound in her day. She was also a stickler for not using the stems. “Stemmy” greens were a sign of being cheap or low-class. When greens were cheap, maybe you could afford to throw out the stems, but these days they’re not. I find if you don’t use the stems you have to buy a lot more greens. I strip off the leaves and chiffonade the stems. I cook them for a long time so they’re nice and tender.

Cooked The Sh*t Wings

Appetizers & Snacks, Mains, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
There are no proportions for the ingredients in this recipe, only the technique. I figure on six to ten wings per person. I always make extra since we can usually eat a ton of these and even if we can’t finish them, we are very happy to eat them the next day. Make a sticky sauce and consider giving them a wee sprinkle of a little something crunchy when they come out of the oven like garlic chips, sesame seeds, bacon bits, and so forth (more ideas below).

Grandma’s Rice

Sides, Gluten-Free
No one ever asks if I’m making Grandma’s Rice, a buttery, cheesy rice pilaf studded with green olives, for Thanksgiving because it’s the law. I always make a lot so there’s leftovers. It was my Grandma’s tradition that she not only stuffed her guests, but they got food to take home for the next day. I won’t twist your arm to take food home like she did, but I make enough if you’d like to. Giving away our leftovers made my brother wince, but tradition is tradition. Now he always brings his own stack of take-out containers.

Garlic Fried Rice

Sides, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan
Garlic fried rice has something for everyone, vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, carnivores… except the garlic allergic and the VAMPIRES!!! Oh and the paleos, but that’s their choice and they should really cheat with this dish. It’s healthy and so damned delicious… I can understand why the Filipinos kept it a secret.

Cobb Salad My Way

Soups & Salads, Mains, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
You can follow a recipe and eat very well, or do your own thing and eat EXACTLY what you want, which I think is even better. I’m a rule-breaker and I encourage you to do the same. You can put anything in this Franken-salad. Just make sure the colors contrast as you build it and expect GASPS from your guests.

Sweet Pickled Jalapeños

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
I love the contrast of sweet and spicy. Jalapeños are highly inconsistent chilies. Sometimes they are mild and other times they pack some heat. I made sticky rice stuffed jalapeños for a potluck that were delicious, but like a game of “mouth Russian roulette.” Some were quite hot and some were fine so I had to warn people before they ate them. I find that pickling them evens out the heat levels.

Madras Chicken Curry

Mains, Gluten-Free, Parties & Potlucks
My Mama didn’t know how to cook when she left the nest. She had to learn fast. This Madras chicken curry recipe was one of her most requested-by-us dishes. It’s so simple a newlywed could master it!

Sweet Spiced Pickled Cherries

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
Can you hear me singing, “Life is like a bowl of cherries”? There’s nothing I love more than a perfectly ripe cherry when it’s sweet and firm so it bursts in my mouth when I bite into it. I could eat them every day of my life. But, alas, local cherry season is over before you know it. One way to save a bit of it for the darks days of winter is to pickle them.

How to Make a Shrimp Tree

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free
This is the most fun, interactive, edible holiday appetizer centerpiece I’ve ever made. Not only will it engage the whole family, but your guest’s faces with light up and twinkle like Christmas tree lights when they see it.

Roasted Radishes with Anchovies & Rosemary

Appetizers & Snacks, Sides, Gluten-Free
Radishes can be hot and I’m not talking “trendy”. Common pinky-red European radishes are often spicy, almost peppery when raw. Anchovies and garlic are not shy of flavor either. Roasting them together tames them into a dish where they seem to give up their feisty notes and make nice together in the sand box of your mouth. Did I really just write that? Forgive me. They just remind me of bratty, little, only-children who are impossible until they meet each other in the playground and have to be nice… at least to one another.

Red, White & Blue Watermelon Salad

Soups & Salads, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Parties & Potlucks
I whipped up this red white and blue salad featuring watermelon, jicama, and blueberries for a friends Fourth of July party. If you use a different cookie-cutter for the watermelon and jicama you can pretty much change the theme to create a patriotic salad for any summer occasion. I can see baby shapes for a baby shower salad, cars and trucks for a boy’s birthday, flower shapes for a garden party, etc. It could be fun to cut out initials.

Vanilla Pavlova

Gluten-Free, Desserts & Chocolate
If I can get fresh passionfruit, this is my favorite dessert of all time. If not, it has to take second place to a perfect peach pie served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Salted Caramels

Gluten-Free, Desserts & Chocolate
I suggest you use the finest ingredients you can to make these because it adds to the “deliciousity”. That said, no one will refuse them if you use supermarket butter and cream.

Salmon Skin San Choi Bow

Appetizers & Snacks, Mains, Gluten-Free
Every time I order sushi, I swear I’m getting something different and then I order a salmon skin roll. Perhaps that’s because salmon skin rarely shows up anywhere else in my life and I have to get my fix. Props to the Japanese for inspiring this cross cultural dish.

Nori Chips

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free
I went to Purple Yam, a Filipino restaurant in Brooklyn, owned by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, for a fundraiser to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Romy served “tacos” where the taco shells were made from nori, the seaweed you usually find around sushi. He was kind enough to describe how he made them, and now you can make them.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Gluten-Free, Desserts & Chocolate, Breakfast & Brunch, Condiments & Canning
After being in the chocolate fountain business for ten years, I’ve gotten sick of strawberries. I can only eat perfectly ripe, sweet organic ones, preferably just picked. But there’s an exception and that’s when there’s rhubarb to pair with them. I will eat this combo anytime. That said, it tastes best with perfectly ripe, sweet organic strawberries, preferably just picked. I made this strawberry rhubarb compote to go with cheese blintzes on Mother’s Day for my mom.

Persian-ish Lentil Soup

Soups & Salads, Gluten-Free
When I originally made this I topped it with Greek yogurt, Bryant Terry’s Mustard Green Harissa and fried onions (from Ikea) and fresh chopped cilantro. Now that I wrote the recipe I realize the topping possibilities are kind of endless!

Garlicky Slow-ish Roasted Tomatoes

Sides, Gluten-Free
After I made these, I realized that I didn’t actually slow-roast them. I semi-slow-roasted them. The trick with them is to attempt not to eat them all once. Try to make enough so you have some to save.

Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Soups & Salads, Gluten-Free
Anything! That’s what I’d recommend putting this dressing on. I thought about drinking it. It can go on any savory salad, as dip for fish fingers or on some thinly sliced rare beef. It would be wonderful drizzled over summer tomatoes. Just make it.

How To Make A Banana Split Bar

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Desserts & Chocolate, Parties & Potlucks
Here’s the cool thing about throwing events. You don’t always have to cook to bring delight to a party or potluck or even a holiday meal. Gathering the right ingredients and making your food interactive will make it FUN. Set up a banana split bar so your guests can make their own. Who doesn’t LOVE a banana split? If you’ve got a fussy friend or two, don’t invite them. Just kidding, there’s plenty of options for them too. They can just have ice cream or just bananas or eat their weight in maraschino cherries. Everybody’s happy! You don’t need all of the items under ingredients… unless you enjoy a bit of overkill like me. Use your favorites or try one of the less processed, artisan-made alternatives I’ve listed below. For a potluck, ask each guest to bring something from the list!

The Deviled Egg Egg

Appetizers & Snacks, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Parties & Potlucks
Once every couple of months a bunch of food lovers gather for Brooklyn Swappers where they trade homemade goods. You never know what these wonderfully creative cooks will be swapping: pickles, jams, sauces, chutneys, relishes, infused alcohols, teas, cakes, cookies, flavored salts, chocolates, candies, kombucha—it could be ANYTHING! For Sunday’s brunch swap, I made Salted Cinnamon Browned Butter Caramels. There’s also a potluck, for which I believe I invented a new dish: The Deviled Egg Egg