Tag Archives: dairy-free

Sesame-Free Hummus

sesame-free hummus

Sesame-free hummus

My father is violently allergic to sesame seeds. When I was a kid, my brother and I — well, I like to think it was mostly me — would sit at the kitchen table, scanning the bottoms of bagels for hitchhiking sesame seeds. We knew from ugly experience that eating even one sesame seed could send my father into scary gagging spasms.

Back then, it was a highly unusual allergy – whoever heard of being allergic to tiny sesame seeds?! Recently, however, I started hearing of more kids being diagnosed with sesame allergy. One doctor even called it the new “hot” allergy.

I wrote a story about the increase in sesame allergy for the June/July issue of Living Without, a national allergy magazine. If you’re not familiar with Living Without, it’s a great resource for people with food allergies and sensitivities, especially for those on a gluten-free diet. The story included my recipe for sesame-free hummus, which is also naturally gluten-free.  

Not that Dad would eat hummus anyway, even if I swore up and down that it was sesame-free. But my husband and kids eat hummus, so I made it for them and served it with gluten-free pitas from Rose’s Wheat-Free Bakery. (FYI, Rose’s pitas are flat; they do not open like pocket pitas.) We were grilling out that day, so we brushed the gluten-free pitas with olive oil and heated them briefly on the grill — perfection!
Click for the recipe

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Filed under appetizers, Recipes

Homemade Strawberry Jam

strawberry jam

Homemade strawberry jam

I haven’t posted in a while, because it’s been kind of crazy and stressful here. Within the past month, we’ve put our condo on the market (hasn’t sold yet), put an offer on a single family house in the city, and decided to switch our kids from their excellent but pricy private religious school to a highly regarded public school. Whew, that’s a lot of changes!

My kids have learned so much this year, it’s amazing. In second grade, my older daughter learned about pioneers. As part of the unit, they wrote a newspaper called “Pioneer Times.” She was so proud to be working on a newspaper just like her Mom did, and she was thrilled to test the recipe for strawberry jam.

The class recipe for “Yummy Jam” comes right in time for peak strawberry season, and, of course, it’s naturally gluten-free. Strawberries are plentiful now (Costco even has huge containers of organic strawberries), so you won’t be breaking the bank to use four cups of berries for this recipe.

“Do you want to hear about a deeeeeeeeeelicious strawberry jam? Here’s how we do it,” the Room 204 pioneers write.

Click for the recipe

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Filed under Condiments, Recipes

Colorful Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad

Colorful Quinoa Salad

Now, I love overcooked Jewish food as much as any good Jew. I look forward to Passover seders full of Eastern European food that my family has made for generations: brisket, turkey, gefilte fish, kugel, tzimmes. But I have to admit that after a few days of all that heavy stuff, I’m ready for some lighter fare for the rest of Passover, an eight-day holiday.

Quinoa has been a more recent addition to our Passover repertoire. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an ancient South American grain that’s high in protein and nutrition. Grown in the Andes mountains in South America, quinoa bears no relation to chametz grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt), making quinoa kosher for Passover and gluten-free.

Ancient Harvest says that its quinoa is grown in the high Andean Altiplano regions of Bolivia at 12,000+ foot elevations where the arid conditions will not support traditional gluten-bearing grain production. So there’s no possibility of cross-contamination in the fields.

The ancient Incas revered quinoa as sacred. It’s not only high in protein, calcium and iron, but it’s a complete protein, since it contains all eight essential amino acids.

I make the following gluten-free Colorful Quinoa Salad during the year, but it can also be a refreshing addition to a Passover table. Chock full of healthy quinoa and antioxidant-rich veggies, fruit and nuts, it’s particularly good to pull out for a brunch buffet, since you can make it in advance and serve it at room temperature. The recipe is adapted from “Let’s Dish,” a cookbook from my kids’ school.

Click for Colorful Quinoa Salad recipe

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Filed under Recipes, salads

Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

gluten-free meringues

Chocoloate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

There’s something wintry about meringue cookies. They look like pure white mini snowballs that seem so right for the season. It’s actually better to make meringues in winter. The air is dry, which helps keep meringues crisp.

With winter hopefully ending soon (bright sun is streaming through my window and the temps in Chicago have been above freezing), it’s time to sneak in a batch of meringues before it’s too late.

Meringues are a great dessert to make for guests, as they are naturally gluten-free. My kids’ friends wolf down these sugary treats, taking extras home with them. Meringues also make great Passover treats, since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover.

Though I do like the look of snowy white meringues, I recently needed a chocolate fix (no surprise there). So in addition to adding chocolate chips to the meringues, I also added cocoa powder to half the batch to make double chocolate meringue cookies.

To shape the meringues, I drop spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet, because that’s the easiest thing to do. If you want to be fancy (my kids’ favorite word), omit the chocolate chips and pipe the meringues into prettier shapes using a pastry bag.

You’ll want to dry out the meringues, so keep the heat low and slow. I bake them at 250 for one hour; some recipes say to leave meringues in a turned-off oven overnight. If the temperature gets much higher than 250, your meringues will turn tan, which might be a good look for you but not for your meringues.

Click for Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues recipe

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Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

hamantaschen1

Shaping the hamantaschen

hamantaschen2

Baked hamantaschen

Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday in which we celebrate how Queen Esther helped outsmart and thwart the evil Haman, who had plotted to destroy all the Jews in ancient Shushan (in Prussia). We celebrate by reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) and drowning out Haman’s name with noisemakers. We also dress in costumes, play games at Purim carnivals and eat hamantaschen, which are triangular fruit-filled cookies shaped like Haman’s tri-cornered hat.

In past years, I’ve struggled with making gluten-free hamantaschen. One year I had so many failed batches that I laid down and cried. This year, I once again set out to make gluten-free hamantaschen for Purim, so my daughter could have treats to bring to her class parties and family celebrations.

I originally wanted the recipe to include ancient gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, because they have significantly more protein and fiber than standard gluten-free flours. But no go. The taste was too strong and color too dark. That was two batches down, plus one batch that ended up on the kitchen floor when the parchment paper slid off the cookie sheet. D’oh.

I’m glad I kept trying. The dairy-free version below has a delicate taste without a gluten-free grittiness. The brown rice flour and sorghum subtly add extra protein and fiber, and the fruit filling provides the perfect sweetness.

If you’re unfamiliar with hamantaschen, they are somewhat similar to the Central European kolache (or is it kolachki?), in that they are cookies with fruit centers. Traditional hamantaschen fillings are prune, poppyseed and apricot, but you can fill them with anything, including any kind of fruit preserves, chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella.

For a short video on how to shape the hamantaschen, see my Noshin’ on Hamantaschen post.

On Purim, we eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy!

Click for the recipe

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Filed under desserts, Jewish holidays