Ratatouille by Julia Child

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

For someone who loves to cook, I don’t often follow recipes exactly.  I mean I use them all the time, but I tend to have a rather loose manner with them, altering them to my tastes or using my own experiences with a dish.  Except of course with baking.  Baking is a science and experimenting with it can have disastrous results. But in cooking I feel a bit more confident, and use recipes more to educate myself on a technique, or flavor ideas. There are exceptions to this rule of course, and one of them is trying to cook a specific dish from “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child.  You don’t mess with Julia’s way of doing things…. 

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SuperGreen Eggplant Parmesan

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Being 1/2 Italian 1/2 Irish can be conflicting for me when it comes to cuisine, but I was raised in the Italian house which means it’s Italian food that dominates in my culinary skills. As a Gluten Free cook some Italian food does present problems I am working on getting around.  I have yet to tackle my homemade pasta gluten free yet, but some dishes are far easier to convert then you think.  Take for example Eggplant Parmesan, even fried you can use gluten free breadcrumbs and you are good to go.

Sometimes I like the eggplant fried, but other times, like when I get some beautiful sweet “Sicilian” Eggplants from the farmers market such as these beauties below, I like to keep it clean…. 

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Zucchini Chips

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Zucchini.

As a kid I HATED it.  I don’t know if I ever even tried it, but you couldn’t get me to go near that or any other kind of squash, which was weird because I was generally not a picky eater.  Now one of my favorite foods.

Some days Littledude LOVES it.  Others, well lets say that one of these days I need to take a photo of what the floor looks like post-dinner when he is in a “no food mood”.

This is a quick and easy little recipe that my family really loves when I make, and when I say simple, I mean simple. I have a very specific way I do it, but you can get creative with spices and flavorings…. 

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Overnight Tomatoes

Organic Tomatoes

Organic Tomatoes

I have been making Overnight Tomatoes for years now.  So long I don’t need to look at a recipe. Of course the recipe is so simple I memorized it after the first time, and you will as well.

It’s important to note that I did NOT make this recipe up.  I have made little changes at times, but the original recipe (named Moonblush tomatoes) is from the cookbook “Nigella Express” by Nigella Lawson. I dig Nigella.  Maybe it’s that even though she is beautiful, she seems so normal.  Maybe it’s the accent….whatever it is I asked for and I received that cookbook many years ago as a christmas gift and I am SO happy I got it back after the “great cookbook disappearance fiasco of 2012-2013″ .  There are a handful of recipes in the book I make time and again, along with many I have not tried.

Yet…. 

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Pizza Stoned

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“Those pizzas I ate were for medicinal purposes.” 
― Amy Neftzger

Well in my case I’m eating pizza all the time for research purposes.

Yeah, that’s the reason.

I am still on my quest to be able to make really amazing Gluten Free Pizza and I keep trucking along.  Toppings are not the problem.  I have my sauce dialed in. I do everything from simple Margherita to a plethora of fresh amazing toppings.  … 

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Zucchini Polenta Lasagna

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Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
― Julia Child

Or pan. Or baking dish. Or mixing bowl…..

Sage advice from Mrs. Child, and something I occasionally forget to do. Now, due to Littledude’s vehement refusal of greens I have resorted to trickery and deceit these days.  Although a lot of dairy is not good for anyone, cheese is the proverbial “Golden Ticket” of ingredients to get him to eat anything green these days so cheesey goodness hiding the veggies is the way I have been going…. 

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Getting Figgy With Your Mushrooms

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Figs, glorious figs!

I love when figs are in season.  Well I love seasonal anything, but figs are one of my favorites.  Black Mission Figs to be precise. I’ve loved figs ever since I was a kid.  I am sure Fig Newtons had something to do with it.

So this is another quick and easy Gluten Free and Vegetarian dish that is wonderful for fall.  Even when you live somewhere where it’s currently in the 90’s, humid and fall doesn’t really exist…Ahem, Florida.  So I turn up the air condition and pretend. So I invented this recipe while i was staying with my godfather in Northern England a few years ago. Ok “invented” is I am sure technically untrue
as I am pretty sure I am not the first person to create this 3 ingredient dish, but I had never heard of it so I invented it in my little world…. 

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Red Chard and Beans

Last Night’s Dinner

Pistachio Crusted Flounder, Red Burmese Rice and Sautéed Red Chard with Cannelini Beans.

Nom Nom

First admission.  I didn’t make the fish.  I COOKED the fish, and perfectly well I might add <pat self on back> but the fish was pre-crusted and NOT Gluten Free.  I got it from The Fresh Market when I did a huge “protein shop” at the butcher last week.  I pick a bunch of things, order 4 of each as it’s normally Nonna, Mama Sis, myself then the munchkins split one, and have the butcher wrap it all to freeze. Wrapped, labeled and perfectly portioned – it SO speaks to the inner OCD freak in me.  I’m a 20 plus minute customer but my butcher John is the BOMB and I walk out so happy.  Completely broke but happy and with enough quality meat and fish for a few weeks…. 

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Cheese To The Mac

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Confession time. I know that dairy is not good for you. I know humans weren’t “meant to eat” dairy products. I know dairy can cause inflammation, congestion, allergies etc. But here’s the thing.

I. Don’t Care.

Ok I DO care, but I can NOT stop myself from eating cheese. I am Italian and I am allergic to Red Wine, Gluten, and I don’t eat lamb or veal (baby animal issues). All things that drove my late grandmother absolutely NUTS. So if I lose the cheese then I am basically not an Italian! Except I do have the talking with my hands, highly excitable, vicious temper thing going on for me…. 

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Polenta Pizza Please

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I’m going to start this off with a hit, because, well starting off with a fail wouldn’t entice you to come back I am sure. I am also starting out with a VERY simple, rather quick and easy one.

Mini Polenta Pizza’s 

Not everybody loves polenta the creamy corn-based dish from Italy.  My late grandmother (who taught me so much about Italian cooking and even authored a cookbook) called it “peasant food”, a status that polenta has had for centuries, generally made by the poorer class as the ingredients were much cheaper than the expensive wheat and flours it took to make pasta.  You can check out the History of Polenta and learn more about its origins. In this family we happen to love it…. 

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