Happy Hanukkah!

It’s the second night of the festival of lights, and I wanted to share my latke recipe. It’s good for one meal plus leftovers for three people (at least, when one of the people is yours truly). It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free. (You can make it corn-free if you substitute tapioca powder for the cornstarch.)

Peel and shred three large or four medium potatoes. You can do the shredding with a food processor, but I like to use one of those fancy Swiss peelers. Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl of cold water, then drain them in a cheesecloth-lined colander. Heat sunflower oil in a deep frying pan according to the pan’s instructions. Mix together in a large bowl the shredded potatoes, three eggs, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 good shakes of black pepper, and 2 heaping tablespoons of dried minced onions. (A purist will use 1/2 cup of shredded onions instead of the dried minced onions, but I never plan ahead enough to buy the onions. I don’t know why.)

Form the mixture into patties and fry a few at a time in the basket of the deep fryer, about three minutes per side, but use your judgment. They should turn golden, but not get too brown. Set each batch on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and enjoy! I believe the traditional topping is applesauce, but some people like maple syrup instead.

Springtime Salad

For the last few weeks, we’ve been enjoying arugula and romaine from Butter Valley Harvest, a local hydroponic grower. These lettuces make a lovely salad. Here’s my recipe for the salad we enjoyed at dinner tonight:

Rinse 5 ounces each of romaine and arugula in a large colander. Set the colander on a paper towel-lined plate to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad. In a very large salad bowl, combine 1 clove of garlic, minced; 3 tablespoons of orange juice; 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar; 2 tablespoons of sesame oil; and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Whisk these ingredients together until well blended.

Just a few minutes before you are ready to eat, place the lettuce in the salad bowl on top of the dressing. Cut two grapefruits in half, remove the fruit with a very sharp knife, and place the fruit in the salad bowl on top of the lettuce. Toss the whole salad together with a large spoon and a large fork, and you are ready to go!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Every bit as good as the cake you grew up eating, but gluten-free for your gluten-free friends. This recipe is not dairy-free, but can be made dairy-free with a simple, one-to-one substitution of sesame oil for butter.

With an electric mixer, cream 1 cup of softened butter with 2 cups of sugar. Beat in 4 eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2 cups of buckwheat flour, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cloves, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. You may add 1/4 teaspoon of salt; I generally use salted butter, so I don’t add salt separately.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine with the mixer, then pour in 2 cups of shredded carrots and mix at a very low speed until combined. Pour into two greased (I like to use butter, but you can use olive oil spray if you eat dairy-free) 8×8-inch Pyrex dishes and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Verify done-ness with a toothpick and cool in the Pyrex on wire racks for 15 minutes; then carefully remove the cakes onto the wire racks to cool down to room temperature.

Frost with a simple cream cheese icing: 2 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese mixed with 3 cups of sugar. Frost between the two layers as well as on the top and sides of the whole cake. Enjoy!


Spring Is Pasta Salad Season!

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a pasta salad that can be enjoyed by virtually all your guests, including many of those with food allergies. (Note: Carefully read the packages of these ingredients before using them, as their composition may have changed from the last time I bought them. Your guests are the best source of information about the specifics of their food allergies.)

Prepare 1/2 a box of Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta according to the directions on the package. Combine cooked pasta with 1 cup of Annie’s Naturals Tuscany Italian salad dressing, 1/2 cup Mediterranean Organic sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, 1/2 cup of Mediterranean Organic roasted red peppers, and 1/2 cup of Mediterranean Organic pitted Kalamata olives. You might prefer to cut the roasted red peppers in half before adding them. Toss with large spoon and fork to combine. Refrigerate until well chilled, then toss again and enjoy!