This year, 2020, we finally have an abundance of figs from one of Gary's fig trees. He has been growing 2 fig trees for 4 years here in North Carolina. The one we transplanted from our NY home is not as big as the one we purchased here in NC so the figs I used in this recipe are from the NC fig tree. The first couple of years the figs were so sparse that we were lucky to get a few to pop in our mouths for the whole season. In contrast, today we picked so many figs that now we can be creative with different ways to prepare and enjoy them. This fig sauce is so simple to make, does not require any tedious canning, and is delicious with Feta cheese or goat cheese on a cracker, meat & cheese board, or topping chicken or pork. It's naturally sweet without the addition of any sugar, and it's naturally gluten-free. We love it and so do the hubbies! 😋 😋
2 cups ripe figs, stems removed and cut-in-half
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (ready-made is fine)
6 Tablespoons quality Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients together. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer at least 20-30 minutes until figs are soft enough to mash & liquid is 3/4 evaporated. (It may take longer)
Using a potato masher, mash the mixture. It should look like a loose jam but not watery.
Remove from the heat. Spoon onto your favorite protein or use as an appetizer with goat cheese & crackers.
Note: This recipe can be served at room temperature as an appetizer or hot over your protein. It can be made ahead of time & stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Will keep for several days refrigerated.
Whenever we go out together for dinner we always order fried calamari if it's on the menu. Unfortunately for Jack, restaurants never make it gluten-free. This leaves him feeling left out and having to settle for soup or salad. We decided to test a gluten-free batch that he would enjoy at home. Turns out they were so good you can't tell the difference. So if any of your loved ones need to eat gluten-free, give this recipe a try. Who needs restaurants when you can serve up a tender batch in no time at all!
1 lb calamari – fresh or frozen & thawed.
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
dipping sauce of your choice (Red Chili Pepper Spread, marinara sauce, chipotle mayo, etc.)
Rinse under cold water and dry the calamari well using paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Slice into 1/2-inch rings.
In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free flour and seasonings. Combine well.
Toss rings into the flour mixture to coat well.
Fry small batches at a time in hot vegetable oil for 1½ – 2 minutes; don’t exceed 2 minutes or they will be overcooked & rubbery. They should be a pale golden color.
When cooked, remove quickly to paper towels to drain excess oil then repeat for the next batch.
Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce or eat them just as they are.
Sliced calamari rings & tentacles
Toss in seasoned gluten-free flour
Rings after flour coating
Frying the tentacles first
Frying the rings
Served warm with Red Chili Pepper Spread or your favorite dipping sauce
These quick and easy Roast Beef Roll-Ups make an incredibly satisfying lunch or appetizer! The combined flavors of bell peppers, onions, and Picante provolone cheese are amazing. We've served these for lunch many times for out of town guests because they can be prepared ahead of time then baked 10 -15 minutes before serving. Everyone just loves them. Give them a try, we know you'll love them too! ❤️❤️
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
12 slices Boars Head roast beef (from the deli counter, slices should be thick enough to not shred when rolling up)
2 -3 cups Boars Head Picante provolone cheese (shredded). We buy a block of it from the deli counter and shred it ourselves for a really fresh taste. Use 2 cups if you don’t want a lot of cheese or 3 cups if you’re a cheese lover like us.
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the peppers & onions until peppers are soft & onions are translucent. (about 10-15 minutes)
Season with salt & pepper. Remove from heat.
Lay a slice of roast beef on parchment paper. Have the short end of the roast beef facing you.
Sprinkle with approximately 2 Tablespoons of the shredded provolone cheese on top of the roast beef slice.
Place approximately 2 Tablespoons of the sauteed peppers & onions on top of the provolone cheese.
Start rolling up at the short end and place seam side down on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet or casserole dish. It’s ok if they touch each other.
Sprinkle more shredded provolone on top then place in 300ºF oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve warm.
Notes: We use Boars Head because it’s gluten-free. You can use whatever deli brand you like.
Depending on your crowd size you can double or triple this recipe. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave for no more than 30 seconds or in a 350ºF oven for about 4 minutes.
Featured photo and recipe adapted from Maria Emmerich, Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking.
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 . 😋
1 English cucumber, peeled, grated & liquid squeezed out
1 pinch salt
1/3 large clove garlic, finely grated
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoon EVOO
2 cups Greek yogurt, full fat
pepper to taste
1/4 bunch dill finely chopped (optional)
Using a cheese grater on the large blade side, grate the cucumber. Put in a bowl and add a pinch of kosher salt and 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar. Toss together and set aside to release the liquid.
In the meantime, combine the yogurt, 1/3 of garlic clove (grated), 2 Tablespoons of remaining white wine vinegar and 2 Tablespoons of EVOO. Mix until creamy and well combined.
Place the shredded cucumber into a clean dish towel and squeeze with your hands to release all the liquid through the towel. Add the strained cumbers to yogurt and discard the liquid.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Mix in the optional chopped fresh dill. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes: Our original recipe was from the class I took in Greece however we found a better recipe and prefer it to the original posting. 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.
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! 😋😋
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)
Place ground meat in a medium size mixing bowl, break up with a fork and set aside.
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).
Place bread crumbs on top of ground meat.
Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to combine well.
Make a well in the center of the meat mixture and place all the eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and the parsley.
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.
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.
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).
When meatballs are browned and crisp remove to a paper towel lined bowl or tray. Repeat until all meatballs are cooked.
30 minutes before your tomato sauce is ready, place cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and continue cooking the sauce.
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’sGluten-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.
Mixing breadcrumbs with ground beef, onions, and garlic
Stuffed Mushrooms Alla Grandma Florence, Gluten-Free
One of the dishes we missed most at the holidays was Grandma Florence's stuffed mushrooms. Wow were they delizioso! 😋 We are excited we nailed it as they taste just like Grandma's did. We're happy to share it with you and hope you enjoy them as much as our family does. These can be served as appetizers, a side dish to a roast, chicken, veal or pasta or a main dish if using large Portobello mushrooms.
We have been trying an ocean full of different crab cake recipes only to find they had too much breading or too much seasoning which took away from the rich crab taste & texture we were looking for. We also wanted to make sure it was gluten-free without anyone being able to detect the difference. We think we hit a home run with our crab cake recipe which checked all the boxes for us. Serve as a main dish over mixed salad greens topped with our homemade tartar sauce, coleslaw even your favorite pasta with a scampi sauce.🦀
Put crab meat in a small bowl, keeping the lumps together, do not break apart and set aside.
Put the Glutino crackers in a plastic bag and crush until very fine crumbs.
In a large bowl mix together all remaining ingredients including the cracker crumbs. (do not add crab meat at this time)
Take the crab meat and gently fold into the mixture without breaking up the lumps. Do not stir or mix, just fold until it looks uniform.
Line a baking pan with either waxed or parchment paper. Using a 1/2 cup dry measuring cup, loosely fill the cup & turn out to shape into patties then place on the waxed or parchment paper lined baking pan. Place in refrigerator for 60 minutes to set.
In a large skillet on medium heat, add the 2 Tablespoons of butter and 2 Tablespoons of EVOO.
Once the skillet is hot enough, place each pattie in the skillet making sure not to overcrowd. You should be able to get 8 patties in a 12-inch skillet.
Cook until a nice deep golden brown then carefully flip to cook the other side until deep golden brown.
If browning too quickly, lower heat to medium-low.
Remove and place on paper towels to absorb any excess butter/oil.
Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!
Notes: To serve as an appetizer, make the crab cakes smaller and serve on a platter with some homemade tartar sauce.