Showing posts from April, 2018

Gluten-Free Unexpected Finds

Since moving back to the Harrisburg, PA area and my new role requiring many more work lunches, I’ve been challenged with not only finding accommodating restaurants but also ones where I feel safe.

Living with as many food allergies as I do, it can be a real challenge- especially with regards to cross-contamination- to feel safe allowing someone else to prepare a meal for you.

I had told myself that the Harrisburg area would be an even greater challenge for me than Philadelphia, PA but so far- I’ve met some talented individuals.

A special shout-out to the VERY talented Chef Penny at Cafe Fresco for not only taking care of me but for taking the time to be creative and informative! It always puts my mind at ease when I know exactly what is in the food and how it is prepared. You have prepared a number of dishes for me thus far that have been 100% safe- and you have no idea how grateful I am! It was a pleasure having the opportunity to meet with you today!

And thank you Cafe Fresco for …

Curry Zucchini Pasta (Vegan & Gluten-free)

I have been in love with fresh curry leaves recently and had purchased an entire case of zucchini so I needed to get a bit more creative than my typical zucchini recipes.

I still had some of my vegan meatballs leftovers and knew I wanted a pasta so zoodles where a must. I knew I didn’t want a nightshade (pepper or tomato) sauce but wanted something creamy.

I decided to wing it and just start making food and see where it would take me.

I dry roasted fresh ginger, turmeric, black pepper, a chunk of cinnamon stick, and curry leaves. I added in diced zucchini and let it simmer, adding water as needed. to soften the zucchini.

Once the zucchini was soft, I took half of the mixture and puréed it in my Vitamix. I poured the sauce over zoodles, added in the remaining sautéed zucchini, topped it with fresh baby arugula and vegan meatballs.

For some reason, the dish turned out a bit sweeter than I was anticipating, but nonetheless, I still enjoyed it.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Meatballs

Having moved closer to the family this past winter, I have been immersed in traditional Italian comfort food all around me.

When I lived on my own, it was a rare thing to see me prepare any traditional Italian food. Instead, I found myself exploring as many new cultural cuisines as possible. 

I think some of my favorites turned out to be vegan rice paper rolls, Indian pumpkin, Miso Soups, and African Peanut Sauces.

I find that when I attend a family or friend's events, I try to essentially mimic my foods to their offerings. Meaning, if they are serving pasta, I too am whipping up some sort of Nicole-Friendly pasta dish.

Therefore, it was only a matter of time before I would be experimenting with some traditional Italian dishes.

This weekend blessed us with a gorgeous spring day and then BAM back to winter-like temperatures, freezing rain, and gusty winds. Making it the perfect day to bake until my heart is content.

I choose to make "meatballs". I mean, you can't real…

Sri Lankan Easter Dinner (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Mango Dahl (Indian Twist):
- Garlic
- Ginger
- Lentils (1 cup)
- Cinnamon Stick
- Turmeric
- 4 1/2 + cups of water
- Cumin
- Green Chillies
- Mustard Seeds
- Fresh Curry Leaves
- Raw Mango

While it seems the traditional Sri Lankan dahl would include red lentils, I happen to have a mix of red, black, and green lentils on hand - so I winged it.

I added the lentils to my pot and covered with water and increased the water to have about 2 inches above the lentils. I did add more water later on in the process, as I like my dahl extra creamy. 

While the lentils were cooking, I dry sauteed my seasonings and then added in the mango to cook for about 10 minutes before adding to the prepared lentils.

How it turned out:
It was not the creamy yellow dahl (This would be why they use red lentils?) I recall having in Sri Lanka but I really enjoyed the heat from the chilies and the fresh curry leaves! 

Beet Curry (Dry / Coconut Free):
- Turmeric
- Fresh Curry Leaves
- Beets
- Onion
- Ginger