Monday, August 3, 2009

Potato Curry

My absolute favorite meal is Dum Aloo, a spicy stewed potato dish, from a tiny, family owned Indian restaurant beside the Food Lion on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, North Carolina. My take on this traditional Indian dish is vegan, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and wheat free. The secret to the deep flavor is cooking the onions until you almost burn them before adding the other ingredients. They will be tiny black flecks in the finished product. Also, good quality tomatoes are needed for a deep tomato flavor. If you value your clothes, be sure to take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit after frying the potatoes. If you don’t, the sauce will bubble up at you. Turmeric stains. Serve this curry with basmati rice if available. Also, if no dairy allergies are present, you can add a little cream at the table. A traditional desert to serve with Indian food is fruit. Favorites include bananas and mangos.

4 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, diced
½ teaspoon Asian style chili sauce
½ teaspoon garlic, diced
½ inch ginger, diced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 good quality vine ripe tomatoes
½ cup water
6-8 small to medium potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar

Heat two tablespoons of oil on medium to medium high heat in a heavy pan and fry the onions until brown. Add the chili sauce, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon and stir-fry for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Allow ingredients to cool slightly. Add contents of pan and ½ cup of water to the blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, clean pan and heat two tablespoons of oil on medium high heat. Fry potatoes with ½ teaspoon of salt, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add sauce from blender, ½ teaspoon salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Serves 4.

Friday, July 17, 2009


On my way home, I went by the grocery store and picked up a few ingredients quickly. The sky was dark and lightening was flashing before I went in. I grabbed an onion, green pepper, cheese, 3 cans of organic crushed tomatoes, a can of mushrooms, and a can of olives. And a bottle of sparking wine. When I left the store, it was almost dark outside.
When I got home, I combined a packet of yeast in a cup of warm tap water and combined 3 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon salt. Rain began to fall in sheets outside. The yeast didn't look alive in the water, so I stirred in some honey. Bubbles started to float up to the surface, so I thought it was okay. Then I mixed the water and flour/salt mixture together with a spoon. I let it set for about 10 minutes while I looked for my dough hook for the stand mixer. I fitted the bowl and dough hook on the stand mixer as the wind beat the rain against my windows. As soon as a ball formed, the power went out.
I found two candles in the back of my kitchen, lit them with my grill lighter, and set them on plates in the kitchen and in the dining room.
I finished kneading the dough on the countertop and broke it into two pieces, and then I pour olive oil into two bowls. I put a dough ball in the first bowl, flipped the ball over, and oiled it on all sides. I repeated the process with the second ball of dough. Outside small pieces of hail pummeled my front windows.
I cut the fleshy lobes off of the bell pepper. I cut it into thin strips and then diced them, separating some for topping the pizza. I cut the skin from an onion, cut it in half, and diced it. The rain had slacked off outside.
I was grating a carrot into the bowl with the pepper and onion when my husband came home. The rain was slacking and I was considering cooking my sauce outside on the gas grill's burner when the power came on.
I made my sauce by sauteing the onion, pepper, and carrot a tablespoon of olive oil. I added 3 cans of crushed tomatoes and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Now the pizza stone is preheating in the oven and the sky is clear.

Pizza Party

1 cup warm water
3 -4 cups bread flour
1 package active dry yeast
Olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Corn mill
Tomato sauce (see recipe below)
Desired toppings

Equipment: pizza stone and a wooden cutting board(a stand mixer makes this easy, but it isn’t necessary)

Mix water and yeast. Mix flour and salt (start with 3 cups flour). Add yeast water. Kneed or mix with hook if using a stand mixer. If using a stand mixer, stop and push down sides periodically. Add more flour if needed to make a ball. Once a ball forms, divide ball in half. Place each dough ball in an oiled bowl. Flip the balls over, and cover bowl with a damp towel. Let rise one hour.

Heat stone in oven to 450 degrees (Make sure that your oven is clean and there is no unbaked oil on the stone).

Flour a wood cutting board and the dough ball. Using your hands, gently stretch dough into a flat disk. Sprinkle board with corn mill. Gently stretch dough to a pizza shape, being careful not to tear holes. Arrange pizza on board and lightly cover with olive oil. Remove stone from oven and place on heat proof surface. Carefully slide pizza to stone (the corn mill will let is slide). Top with sauce and desired toppings. Bake 15 minutes or until done.

Tomato Sauce

Olive oil
1 small onion diced
½ green pepper diced
½ rip celery diced
1 carrot grated
½ teaspoon pickled garlic or pinch of garlic powder
2 cans organic crushed tomatoes
½ teaspoon red pepper flake
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, bell pepper and celery in two tablespoons of olive oil until tender. Add grated carrot and garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add cans of crushed tomatoes and red pepper flake, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Note: The pizza can be made on the cold stone and then put into the preheated oven. The pizza isn’t as good, but it leaves less room for disaster.

Note: After cooking the allergy safe pizza, cheese could be added to a second pizza. However, use caution. The separate cutter and server were hard for some of my diners to keep separate and the situation isn’t safe for children who have allergies.

Dessert Apple Pizza

1/2 recipe hand tossed pizza crust (enough for one pizza)
½ cup apple butter
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
For icing (optional) 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon oil, 2 tablespoons water

Shape pizza as in previous recipe. Spread apple butter on crust like a sauce. Arrange apple slices on pizza. Sprinkle with brown sugar and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on preheated pizza stone in a 475 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Note: Try any combination of fruit and jam.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tonight's Dinner: Olive and Fresh Tomato Pasta with Cinnamon and Sugar Banana "Pudding" Dessert

Olive and Fresh Tomato Pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 green bell pepper, diced
12 olives, cut in pieces
2 tomatoes
¼ cup tomato sauce
8 ounces pasta

Directions:Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté onion, bell pepper, and chicken breast in olive oil until chicken is no longer pink and the onion and pepper are tender and lightly brown. When pasta is done, add drained pasta and remaining ingredients to the chicken and vegetable mixture. Cook until warm through.

Serves 4.

Cinnamon and Sugar Banana “Pudding”

4 bananas
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

With bananas still in peeling, use a knife to make a long slice down one side of each banana without cutting all the way through. Use a spoon to widen each cut. Mix the cinnamon and sugar. Fill each cut with one teaspoon of cinnamon and sugar mixture. Put bananas on a broil safe sheet. Broil on high for 5 to 15 minutes, until peeling is dark brown and bananas are warm through. Serve in peel with spoons for scooping warm banana “pudding” out of the skins.

Serves 4

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strawberry Pork Lettuce Wraps

The hold up with posting a lot of my recipes is getting pictures of them. I take pictures, but they are often out of focus. My brother-in-law, William Jones, has agreed to help me in this area, so I'm sorry, but a picture of this one will have to come later.

Strawberry Pork Lettuce Wraps
I love my slow cooker, but it often gets relegated to storage in the summer because my family, friends, and I tend not to crave the hardy warm foods that it produces during the hottest months. This dish, along with my North Carolina Barbeque recipes, gets my slow cooker out of storage to make a wonderful summer meal. The strawberries melt into the pork, making it tastey and moist.

2 cups strawberries, caps removed
1 to 2 pounds lean pork roast
1 head lettuce, washed and cored with leaves separated
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)

In a slow cooker, combine strawberries, pork, salt and pepper, and red pepper flake if using. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Use a fork to shred the tender cooked pork. Serve with lettuce. Allow diners to scoop a small amount of filling in a lettuce leaf, roll, and eat. Serve with fresh fruit and crunchy vegetables like shredded cabbage and carrots.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beer Battered Onion Rings

These crispy onion rings are great! Be sure to use panko or homemade bread crumbs. The regular kind in the can will give the rings an unpleasant sandy texture. This recipe is free of dairy, egg, and nuts.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 cup dark beer
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting cooked onion rings
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon or 1 tablespoon vinegar
1 valdelia onion
2 cups homemade dry bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Slice onion in 1/2 inch thick slices and separate into rings. Add the juice of one lemon or vinegar and onion rings in a bowl. Fill with water to cover onion rings. In a separtate bowl, mix together flour, corn meal, bear, salt, baking powder, and black pepper. Heat oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Pour bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Begin when oil is hot so that a drip of batter immediately bubbles and floats to the surface. Dip an onion slice in the wet batter, press the battered ring in the bread crumb mix, and flip over and coat the other side with crumbs. Fry rings 2 or 3 at a time in oil. When one side browns, flip over and brown other side. When both sides are light brown, remove to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with salt while still hot. Repeat for remaining rings.
Note: To make your own dried bread crumbs, grate a safe bread on a cheese grater. Leave crumbs out to dry or toast in the oven.
Photo by William Jones

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grilled Naked Buffalo Bites

This is a quick and easy meal of tasty grilled chicken chunks soaked in spicy buffalo sauce served with crunchy fresh veggies. It is free of dairy, nuts, egg, soy, and wheat. This meal took less than 20 minutes to make, start to finish.

3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
4 skewers
1 cup Louisiana style hot sauce
¼ cup safe vegetable oil
3 cups fresh veggies or fruits of choice, chopped

Directions:Preheat indoor or outdoor grill on high. Skewer chucks of chicken. Grill for about 7 minutes on one side. Then turn and grill for another 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, whisk together hot sauce and oil. Heat on medium low until warm. When chicken is done, remove from grill and remove chicken pieces from skewers. Toss chicken in hot sauce. Serve with extra sauce and crunchy fresh fruits and vegetables

Monday, June 22, 2009

All American Meatloaf Night

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Mustard Asparagus, and Apple Pie
When my friend, Christina, moved back to the area, this was one of the first meals that we had together. Most meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and apple pies contain dairy and egg products. These recipes are dairy, egg, and soy free.


2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup safe bread or omit (bread recipe will be submitted soon)
Ketchup (ketchup recipe will be submitted soon)
1 finely diced green bell pepper
1 finely diced small onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, black pepper, salt in a large bowl. Grade the bread on a fine grater, such as one used for hard cheeses, until you have about ½ cup fresh bread crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons ketchup and olive oil and mix with hands. Shape into a donut. Create a raised ridge around the edges and top with additional ketchup. Bake for about an hour.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Mashed Potatoes
½ pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain most of water, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid. Mash potatoes with cooking liquid, salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons olive oil.


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock (chicken stock recipe will be submitted soon)

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and whisk in flour. Continue whisking until flour is slightly brown. Add chicken stock and stir until thickened. Add more stock for thinner gravy.

Mustard Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
Olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard
1 cup chicken stock

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Remove woody ends of the asparagus and then chop asparagus into one inch pieces. Add asparagus to skillet. Stir until almost tender. Add mustard and chicken stock and scrap the bottom of pan. Serve.

Apple Pie

For Crust: Makes 2 Crusts about 9” - 10”
2-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon of salt
¾ cup corn or olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
4 ½ to 5 tablespoons of ice water

For Filling:
3 granny smith apples, thinly sliced (about four cups)
2 Macintosh apples, thinly sliced (about two cups)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together salt, sugar, and flour. Gradually stir in the oil with a fork. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until you can form a ball. Separate the dough into two balls. Roll out each into a 10 inch circle between pieces of wax or parchment paper. Peal the paper off one side of and push one crust gently into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan and remove other side of paper. Fill with filling. Peel off one side of paper from the other crust and lay on top of filling. Trim edges and crimp with a fork. Cut vents in the top. Wrap foil around the edge of the pie to keep from burning the edge. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Variation: Stuffed Peppers

2 cups meatloaf mixture (see previous recipe)
2 cups prepared rice
4 sweet bell peppers
1 cup carrot or tomato juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat loaf mixture with rice. Cut the tops off the peppers and scrape out seeds and white parts. If needed, cut a little off the bottoms of the peppers so that they will stand upright. Spoon 1 cup meat mixture into each pepper. Replace tops. Stand each pepper in a baking dish. Add juice to baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until done.

Variation: Stuffed Cabbage

1 pound meat loaf mixture (see previous recipe)
1 head of cabbage
1 can of diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut 10 to 12 leaves off head of cabbage. Discard outer leaves. Briefly dip leaves into boiling water to soften. Wrap one leaf around ¼ to ½ cup meat mixture and place in one layer of a baking dish. Repeat until meat is all used. Coarsely shred remaining cabbage and place on and around cabbage wraps. Pour diced tomatoes over dish. Bake at for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Foodie's Allergy Cookbook: A Guide to Loving Food for People with Food Allergies

Wikipedia defines foodies as "amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news." About five years ago after a stressful day teaching at my local community college, I called grandma and got her recipe for potato soup. I sat on the couch with a large bowl between my knees and grasped my favorite paring knife and cool potato. I cut into its moist flesh and watched as a curl of peeling revealed the milky flesh below. The potato didn't protest. I did not have to motivate the potato. Instead, it--and the rest of its sisters in the five-pound bag--gave up its spotted brown peel in what seemed like a matter of seconds. I quartered the russets and put them--with a diced onion-- in a large pot of salted water on the stove, turned the burner to medium high, made myself a cup of tea, and felt better about life. I was hooked.

Five years later, I learned to make soups, cakes, doughnuts, pasta sauce, pizza, ice cream, and almost everything I can think to eat from scratch. I find joy and relaxation from preparing food. I enjoy the full sensory experience--the smells, texture, temperature, color, shape, and taste of food. Sure most things don't turn out the first time I try them...but even then, it's fun. And eventually, I get the reward of a fabulous food experience.

My love of preparing my own food, however, has not been entirely from seeking pleasure and relaxation. It has also been to avoid pain. I was sick for three years, in pain without knowing why and too embarrassed to tell few people about my problem. With the help of my doctor, I discovered that I have an intolerance to sodium nitrate, a common preservative and flavoring. I have also learned that I have an allergy to some herbs. Painful experience has caused me to give up some of the restaurant food I loved dearly, so I am learning to make it at home.

To add to my own experience, my best childhood friend, Christina, was born allergic to dairy, egg, nuts, seafood, chocolate, coffee, and soy, among other things. Eventually, the soy allergy faded to an intolerance, but the others stayed. Her whole life, she often ate a different meal than her family and friends and had to abstain from the cake at her own birthday parties.

Naturally, I want to share the things that I love with the people I love. This blog is inspired by meals that my friends and I share. The point is to enjoy time together with good people and good food. I hope that you have fun with these recipes and enjoy my stories--success and failures.

Note: In the recipes, have fun and be safe. Substitute ingredients that your not sure of or leave them out. Read ingredients carefully for any prepared foods. Follow your health care providers' advice and ask them for guidance or clarification on any diet to eat safely (a legal disclaimer will come soon).