Gluten-Free Asparagus Patties

 

Gluten-Free Asparagus Patties

  • Difficulty: Easy

Whenever we saw our Mom and Grandma Florence mixing a batch of asparagus patties it sparked our excitement for the upcoming holiday meal. The aroma of cooked asparagus, seasoned bread crumbs, garlic, and grated cheese filled the air and made our mouths water. As kids, we really didn't like a lot of vegetables but asparagus patties were always one vegetable we looked forward too. We would always sneak some from the covered aluminum tray where they piled them up until cooking was complete. To this day we are brought back to our childhood when we make them with loving memories. We adapted Mom's recipe to be Gluten-Free for Jack and found it to be just as good as the original. You don't have to wait for a holiday to make this wonderful side dish. It's a great side that goes well with most poultry, beef, and pork.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ bundles fresh asparagus
  • 5  eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons Gluten-Free Italian seasoned bread crumbs (add additional bread crumbs if the mixture is too loose)
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
  •  5 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • Canola or Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs then add the grated cheese, parsley, pepper & garlic.
  2. Mix together until everything is combined.
  3. Add cut asparagus to the mixture then add the bread crumbs and mix well. The mixture should be on the thick side but not dry. If too loose add additional bread crumbs 1 tsp at a time. (Not too dry) If too dry, add another egg.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet until hot then lower flame to medium-low. Using a regular tablespoon drop mixture into skillet to form patties.
  5. Let cook until brown. Turn over and cook another minute or two.
  6. Remove each pattie with open spatula and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Make layers of patties using paper towels in-between to absorb the excess oil.
  7. When all patties are cooked, pat excess oil off and place on a serving platter.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes: Try adding some crumbled bacon or diced pancetta to the mixture for a punch of savory.

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Pistachio Pesto Sauce

 


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

We love pistachios! They are so versatile whether eating them from the shell, making an amazing gelato, encrusting fish filets or turning them into a wonderful pesto sauce for pasta! On my recent trip to Greece, I made sure to bring home an ample supply of Greek pistachios, determined to use them in cooking. So yesterday Barbara and I, while shopping for dinner, picked up 4 lbs of sea scallops, the large ones you most often find in restaurants, not the tiny bay ones. As you may remember from our recent pesto post we have an abundance of basil from our gardens so making more pesto was the best way to use it. This time instead of using traditional pignoli (pine nuts) we would use those wonderful pistachios from Greece (California pistachios are fine too). I also wanted to make the pesto using the old, traditional mortar and pestle to test if there really is a difference. Well, after 30 minutes of crushing pistachios into a paste by hand and pummeling only 1/4 of the basil our hands decided it was time to take out the food processor! I must admit, the pesto came out extremely creamy which I believe was the result of the mortar and pestle for half the process, but as far as taste goes the food processor did a fine job. Our pan-seared scallops topped with pistachio pesto were out of this world delicious! 😋😋

Ingredients

  • 4 cups loosely packed basil leaves that have been soaked in cold water then dried using a salad spinner to drain all the water without damage to the leaves.
  • 1 cup salted pistachios, shelled
  • 4 cloves garlic (frozen cubes work well as they are uniform in size)
  • 6-8 tablespoon EVOO (preferably Ligurian EVOO)
  • 4 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese (do not add cheese if you plan to freeze the pesto for later use. Once defrosted the cheese can be mixed in)

Directions

  1. In a food processor add pistachios and garlic. Pulse into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the basil in small amounts then pulse after each addition until all the basil has been added and the mixture is creamy & smooth. Slowly (slow is key here) add the EVOO until emulsified.
  3. Add lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. If you are making to freeze,  🛑 ✋ stop here and put into freezable containers & place in the freezer.
  5.  Add cheese and pulse to incorporate.
  6. If too dry add additional EVOO slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Notes:  If you plan to freeze for future use, do not add the cheese. Cheese should be added after being thawed.  Great over pasta, fish, chicken, potatoes, sandwiches, etc…

 

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Pesto Sauce

 


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

This summer we have an abundance of basil from our hay bale gardens and have been making pesto for a variety of meals, including breakfast! Not only is pesto delicious on pasta but it's just as delicious on fish, vegetables, chicken or just about anything! Last year our friend, Jane Hall, grew tomatoes and basil in hay bales...we grew ours in traditional dirt. The difference was amazing...the hay bale crop far exceeded the traditional dirt crop and made us believers. Gary bought the bales at the local hardware store then quickly got to preparing them with fertilizer and water. After two weeks of daily watering, we planted our basil and tomatoes along with some other herbs and couldn't be happier with the results. If you never tried this method before, it's definitely worth the minimal effort.😋😋

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Pignoli Nuts (Italian pine nuts)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2  cups fresh sweet Italian basil leaves, packed tightly (approximately 2 very large bunches)
  • 8 Tablespoons EVOO, preferably Ligurian as it makes a big difference in taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Pecorino Romano, freshly grated

Directions

  1. In a food processor add pignoli nuts, salt, and garlic cloves. Pulse into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the basil in small amounts then pulse after each addition until all the basil has been added and the mixture is creamy & smooth. Slowly (slow is key here) add the EVOO until emulsified.
  3. If you are making to freeze,  🛑 ✋ stop here and put into freezable containers & place in the freezer.
  4. Add cheese and pulse to incorporate.
  5. If too dry add additional EVOO slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

 

Notes: If you plan to freeze for future use, do not add the cheese. Cheese should be added after being thawed. Great over pasta, fish, chicken, potatoes, sandwiches, etc…

 

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Avgolemono with Chicken (Authentic Greek Chicken in Egg-Lemon Sauce)

 


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

Avgolemono is a staple in Greek cooking used for sauces and soups. The only ingredients are eggs, lemon juice, and broth. I asked Marina, my wonderful tour guide in Athens, what her favorite Greek dish was and she was kind enough to share it with me. She enjoys this dish with either chicken or pork and since we had chicken tenders on hand we made the dish with chicken. The blended flavors worked so well together...mild, but extremely flavorful. Our husbands and nephew along with myself and Barbara really enjoyed this dish, which we served over Jasmine rice. This will definitely be a repeat meal for family and friends!😋😋

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 2 lbs chicken tenders or pork (cut into 1″ pieces)
  • 3 leeks, diced
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • celery leaves or parsley cut into pieces (we used Italian parsley)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 extra large egg, room temperature
  • salt & pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet heat the EVOO over medium-high heat.
    2. Season the meat chunks with salt & freshly ground pepper.
    3. Saute until nicely browned on both sides, do not overcook.
    4. Remove the meat to a platter and keep warm.
    5. Add the leeks, carrots, and onions to hot skillet & saute until nicely tender, about 5-7 minutes.
    6. Add the wine and let it evaporate. Once evaporated, add the stock and simmer 3-5 minutes.
    7. Add the parsley or celery leaves, stir, then add the meat. Remove from heat.
    8. In a medium bowl, using a whisk, beat the egg until frothy. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice.
    9. Ladle 1 cup of the skillet liquid little by little into the egg mixture, constantly whisking to temper the egg & prevent curdling.
    10. Add the egg-lemon mixture to the skillet, stirring gently. Serve immediately over rice or pasta.

     

     

    Marina Tsikou- food experience designer +30 6946 907062 marina@greekality.com www.greekality.com

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    Authentic Greek Tzatziki

     


    • Difficulty: Easy

    While in Athens I took a 4 hour cooking class at “The Greek Kitchen” and learned to make this delicious tzatziki, the best I ever tasted, along with several other traditional Greek specialties and a trip to the market (butcher, fish, and produce markets ). It's so simple to make and is a great appetizer dip for dolmades, raw vegetables, or as a sauce over chicken or vegetables. I’m working on updating the blog with the other specialties so please standby . 😋

    Ingredients

    • 1 large cucumber, peeled
    • 1 carrot, shredded (Optional)
    • 2 cups strained Greek Yogurt, (I used Fage 5% milkfat)
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    • Dill, finely chopped to taste
    • 1/4 cup EVOO
    • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
    • salt & pepper to taste

      Directions

      1. Slice peeled cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt and leave to drain.
      2. Using a cheese grater, grate the cucumber then squeeze with your hands to remove as much liquid as possible and place in a mixing bowl.
      3. Stir in yogurt, finely chopped dill and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
      4. Mix all together well. For best results refrigerate overnight. (2-3 hours is a good amount of time to really let the yogurt take on all the flavors).
      5. Garnish with a sprig of dill & kalamata olive and serve with pita bread as an appetizer or as a delicious topping to souvlaki.

      Notes: In the class we omitted the carrot and I omitted it as well for this posting because I prefer Tzatziki without carrot. Feel free to add it as original recipe states.

      “The Greek Kitchen”

      Athens, Athinas 36, Athina 105  51, Greece

      +306978464701

       

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      Refreshing Cucumber, Tomatoes & Dill Salad 🥒🍅 😋

       

      Refreshing Cucumber, Tomatoes & Dill Salad

      • Servings: 4-6
      • Difficulty: Easy

      Every year Gary & I along with Teresa & Jack, celebrate 4th of July on the USS Battleship NC. We sit on the deck with our friends and neighbors and have great conversations, shared laughs and view the most spectacular fireworks display. Everyone brings their own chairs, snacks, food, and drinks. My friend and neighbor, Rob Sherman, brought the most delicious cucumber, tomato & dill salad to share. It was delicious! He said he found the recipe on the internet some time ago & has been making it ever since. We are happy to share Rob's recipe with you. It's light and refreshing for these hot, humid summer nights & naturally gluten-free. Rob, we thank you for sharing your recipe with us so we can pass it along!

      Ingredients

      • 4 medium cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thick rounds, skin on. (We used a mandolin slicer for uniform slices)
      • 2-3 whole tomatoes, quartered or 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half (more or less if you  prefer)
      • 2-3 Tablespoons red onion, sliced thin then chopped
      • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
      • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
      • 2 tsp granulated sugar
      • 1 ¼ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
      • freshly ground pepper to taste
      • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

       

        Directions

        1. In a large bowl combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk together.
        2. Add the sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and dill then toss to combine.
        3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to come together.
        4. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if needed before serving.

        Notes: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days.

        I recently made this salad with grilled flank steak, chimichurri, and a jasmine rice medley. Pairs well with our Slow Cooker Spare Ribs and corn on the cob.

        This recipe is naturally Gluten-Free.

         

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        Keto Omelet with Bacon 🥓

         

        Keto Omelet with Bacon

        • Servings: 1
        • Difficulty: Easy

        Last year I gave the Keto diet a try and was pleasantly surprised when my doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing as my labs came back great and I lost 25 pounds! So what did I do? I went to Italy! When we returned from our trip it was very hard to go back on Keto 100%. Well, Teresa is off to Greece so I'm back on Keto. For those of you eating Keto, this is a quick and easy breakfast that satiates you until dinner time and it's a tasty way to start your day. You don't have to follow a Keto diet to enjoy this hearty breakfast!🥓 😋

        Ingredients

        • 2 large eggs, beat well with a fork
        • A 1/4-inch thick slice of onion, diced
        • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
        • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (I use LouAna® Coconut Oil, it has no coconut aroma or taste to distract from your other ingredients.)
        • salt & pepper to taste
        • 3 slices of bacon (preferably with no antibiotics, sugar-free, & nitrate free)
        •  1-2 Tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese (may be substituted with your favorite cheese)
        • 1 tsp fresh parsley for garnish

         

          Directions

          1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
          2. Line a small baking sheet with foil and place the 3 slices of bacon on top.
          3. Cook 4 minutes then turn and cook another 2-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels (You will have perfectly rendered bacon fat that can be stored in a glass container in the refrigerator for future sautéing).
          4. In a small skillet on medium heat place 1/2 tsp coconut oil.
          5. Add the bell peppers and onions, salt & pepper. Saute until translucent.
          6. Lower heat & add the eggs and stir quickly to mix in the peppers & onions.
          7.  Gently cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is set and can be flipped over.
          8. Flip eggs and sprinkle Swiss cheese on top.
          9. Cook another 1-2 minutes until eggs are fully cooked but not overcooked.
          10. Slide omelet onto a dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
          11. Add the cooked bacon and enjoy!

          Notes: This recipe is naturally Gluten-Free.

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          Penne Alla Vodka – Gluten Free

           

          Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite. As you may know, whenever possible we always make a gluten-free version of our recipes for Teresa’s husband Jack.  We don’t want him to ever feel left out. This recipe was very easy to convert since you just replace regular penne pasta with Gluten-Free penne pasta.  Thanks to great improvements in gluten-free products, having Celiac’s disease no longer means you have to miss out on delicious pasta meals.

          This recipe is delicious and not your typical restaurant flavor. If you’re not a fan of a little heat, omit the cayenne but it’s really not a strong kick. 

          Ingredients

          Servings: 8-10

          • Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)
          • 2 lbs. Barilla Gluten-Free Penne pasta with the lines (sauce sticks to it better)
          • 6 Tablespoons of salted butter
          • 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
          • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a bigger kick)
          • 6-8 shakes red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter)
          • 1/2 lb. very thin sliced Prosciutto, shred into pieces with your fingers
          • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
          • dash of black pepper
          • 4 ounces vodka
          • 1 qt heavy cream (light cream can also be used)
          • 4 cups of already prepared Basic Tomato Sauce, (or your favorite red sauce)
          • 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
          • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese,  shredded or diced

          Instructions

          • Saute garlic and prosciutto in melted butter in a deep skillet.
          • Add salt, cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes.
          • Add vodka to deglaze and stir well.
          • Add cream, red sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese. 
          • Simmer & stir until it comes to a boil, don’t overcook.
          • Add mozzarella just after it comes to a boil to avoid mozzarella from balling up.
          • Pour 2 ladles of vodka sauce over cooked penne to coat.
          • Use remaining sauce to top individual servings and pour the additional sauce in a gravy boat for the table.
          • Garnish with fresh basil leaves. 


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          The Best Gluten-Free Meatballs – Twiins Style

           

           

          The Best Gluten-Free Meatballs - Twiins Style

          • Servings: Yields 14-16 meatballs
          • Difficulty: Easy

          One of our best Sunday morning memories is of our mother frying meatballs for our Sunday dinner. There is something to be said for the wonderful aroma of meatballs frying along with the anticipation of the meal to follow, as it was usually shared with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It wasn't just a meal...it was an event! Sundays were always special in our home because we would get to spend time with our cousins who we had so much fun with. As soon as Mom started placing the cooked meatballs in the bowl we would sneak into the kitchen to grab them out of the bowl while they were still hot; a tradition that our children and husbands still carry on today! Most of our followers know my husband Jack has celiac disease and I've had to adapt all our recipes to gluten-free when cooking for him. Converting some recipes can be quite challenging; however, I used some really good GF Italian style bread crumbs to substitute for the Italian bread and Jack loves them! Without a doubt the best Italian style Gluten-Free meatballs ever! 😋😋

          Ingredients

          • 1 lb ground beef 80-85% lean/20-15% fat
          • 1/2 cup whole milk
          •  4 ounces Aleia’s Italian Bread Crumbs* (please see note below)
          • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
          • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
          • 3 Extra-Large eggs
          • 1 ½ large handfuls grated Pecorino Romano cheese
          • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
          • salt and pepper to taste
          • EVOO (for frying)                                                                                                                                           

          Directions

          1. Place ground meat in a medium size mixing bowl, break up with a fork and set aside.
          2. In a small bowl, soak bread crumbs in  1/2 cup milk until completely absorbed (about 2-3 minutes).  This should yield about 1 cup of bread crumbs. (If too loose add a little more bread crumbs. If too dry, add a little more milk).
          3. Place bread crumbs on top of ground meat.
          4. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to combine well.
          5. Make a well in the center of the meat mixture and place all the eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and the parsley.
          6. With a large fork scramble the eggs, cheese, and parsley in the well, then start to combine into the entire meat mixture. You can do this best with your hands that are scrupulously clean or with gloves…your preference.
          7. Once well combined (don’t over mix) scoop out about 1/2 handful of meat mixture and roll into a ball and place on parchment or waxed paper. Continue making meatballs until all meat has been formed.
          8. In a large skillet pour enough EVOO to half the size of your meatball. Let the oil get hot, then working in batches, brown all sides (Don’t overload, allow each meatball some breathing room).
          9. When meatballs are browned and crisp remove to a paper towel lined bowl or tray. Repeat until all meatballs are cooked.
          10. 30 minutes before your tomato sauce is ready, place cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and continue cooking the sauce.
          11. Serve with your favorite pasta and enjoy!

          Notes:  These meatballs are delicious as a stand-alone meal with or without tomato sauce. Make them smaller and they become a delicious appetizer

           As a substitute for the breadcrumbs above, I have also used with great success UDI’s Gluten-free white bread soaked in milk or Against the Grain gluten-free baguettes soaked in milk. Against the Grain is my preference; however, this brand is not available in the Wilmington, NC area.

           

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          Split Pea Soup With Ham 😋 😋

           

          Split Pea Soup With Ham

          • Servings: 6
          • Difficulty: Easy

          Now that Easter is over, what do you do with all the leftover ham? There's no better time than now to make my hearty, delicious, and comforting split pea soup using all the leftover ham including the bone. Jack looks forward to this soup so much that while it's cooking on the stove he's always asking 'is it done yet'....just like Barbara's dog, Lexi, barking while she waits to be fed! I think you get the picture!!! 🤣

          Ingredients

          • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
          • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
          • 1 cup celery, diced
          • 1 cup carrot, diced
          • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
          • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
          •  3 garlic cloves, minced
          • 1 lb dried split peas, rinsed
          • 1 meaty ham bone (leftover from holiday dinner)
          • 2 small bay leaves
          • 2 tsp thyme, divided
          • 7 cups Swanson Bone Broth Chicken or Swanson Low-Sodium Chicken Broth, both are gluten-free
          • 1 cup water
          • 1½ cups diced or shredded ham

           

            Directions

            1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter.
            2. Add the onion, celery, & carrots.
            3. Cook the vegetables on a low flame until vegetables are soft and just starting to show golden color, about 8 minutes.
            4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
            5. Add the split peas and stir to combine.
            6. Add the ham bone, bay leaves, and 1 tsp of thyme.
            7. Stir in chicken bone broth and water.
            8. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for approximately 90 minutes.
            9. Stir often until peas are cooked down and soup has your desired consistency. (Add more water or broth if it thickens too much).
            10. Add the diced or shredded ham 10-15 minutes before the soup is done.
            11. When done, remove the ham bone and bay leaves. If any fatty chunks fell off the bone during cooking remove them as well.
            12. Add remaining tsp of thyme and stir.
            13. Ladle hot soup into your favorite bowl and enjoy!

            Notes: This recipe does not contain any flour, and is naturally gluten-free if you use our recommended Swanson brands. It’s been my experience that other brands may contain wheat so please make sure you read the labels carefully.

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