“Not to sound too much like Christopher Guest in ‘Waiting for Guffman,’ but on Thanksgiving you’re putting on a show!” – Ted Allen

I’ve been away for a while, working on two other sites which took my spare time away from my own. But just because I’ve been away from the keyboard doesn’t mean I’ve been out of the kitchen. This past weekend, Thanksgiving, I created a dish, somewhat by fluke, that has become a side dish staple.

We cooked our turkey two days in advance and were having people over for dinner on Friday night (you guessed it, our T-Day was Sunday), but since I have so many food issues I couldn’t eat what was being served. So I started to make a mini turkey dinner for myself, which meant I needed some veggies. Rather than dirty several pots, I put the potatoes in the bottom and tossed a veggie steamer on top for the carrots. Originally my plan was to do up a batch of Make Ahead Potatoes, but the carrots gave me a better idea.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 small to medium sized potatoes (peel to preference)
  • 3-4 good sized carrots peeled
  • curry (to preference)
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Tofutti Sour Cream
  • margarine

I made this twice over the weekend, once with steamed carrots, the second time was done with carrots that were sliced into dollars and cooked in a pot all their own. Both worked quite well, the steamed, of course, mashed better and the dollars kept their form. How you cook the carrots depends on whether you want to have a completely smooth consistency or a more chunked, rustic, feel. I do prefer the latter and, as such, leave the skin on the potato and mash rather than use a hand mixer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll give the recipe with dollared carrots and then, if you’d rather, all you need to do is steam the carrots and use a hand mixer to marry it all together before tossing it in the oven.

Peel the carrots, halve or quarter the potato according to size and slice the carrots into dollars. toss both in separate pots to cook. Once the veggies are done, put in a large bowl, add in some margarine to make the mashing easier and have at it. After you get a good mash on the potatoes and carrots, add a couple spoonfuls of the sour cream, your preferred amount of curry and a handful of the Daiya Cheese. When the mix is mashed to your desired consistency, transfer to an 8×8 pan, flatten it out, layer on some more Daiya, and put in the oven @ 350 for 25-30 minutes.

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While it does LOOK like the Make Ahead Potatoes, it tastes completely different and an excellent addition to your dinner table.

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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

First off, I want to thank everyone who came to visit me last night at my booth during Afterglow. I had many great conversations with the lot of you and it was great to be able to share what I know about living dairy free, and very encouraging to have so many people excited to try my recipes.

Those who attended last night’s event got a bit of a preview that you folks have not yet been privy to, a few days ago I made Panko Crusted Stuffed Meatballs and posted a picture on both Facebook and Twitter. That resulted in several people asking for the recipe and I decided to include it in those featured at my booth.

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Since some of you were geographically unable to attend, and others either couldn’t make it out or the rain killed their copy of the recipe, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the pamphlet I handed out with all three recipes included. Simply click the link and you’ll have access to them in all their glory. Tony’s Recipes – Afterglow

I look forward to hearing feedback from those who give these recipes a go and, as always, if you’d like to send me an e-mail with pictures of your creation and a write up on what you did, I would love to post them on here. My goal for this blog is to replicate the atmosphere found when sitting with a group of friends in the kitchen, swapping recipes.

Happy Cooking!

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, I was watching Chuck’s Day Off on the Food Network and he was making this really yummy looking spinach dip. Going on about the different cheeses that go into it, and the beer base and I slowly started to check out mentally. A beer based spinach dip sounded great, but when you’re lactose intolerant and they talk about how great the flavors of the different cheeses are, and the boost that they give to the recipe, you just sort of lose interest. But for whatever reason I decided I was going to make it work with my ingredients, I was going to make it dairy free, and it was going to be excellent…I was right!

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Los Ingredientes

  • Round loaf of bread (I find Sourdough works best)
  • 1 bottle of beer (We swear by Stella) (here’s a list of Gluten Free Beer to use instead. Note that I have not tried these, but have friends who drink Redbridge)
  • 1 pkg Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds (amazing dairy free cheese, best I’ve found)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 4-6 mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • roughly 4 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt & Herbs

Before I get into this, I have to expand on the Sea Salt & Herbs as it can be found in almost every recipe I make. It’s a mixture of, you guessed it, sea salt & herbs that can be purchased at the Bridgewater Farm Market from Rumtopf Farm for $5 a bag. If you live in my general area I strongly suggest picking up a bag and trying it for yourself. I barely make a meal without it.

First thing’s first, put your cheese in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to make sure its all coated so they don’t clump together and put it to the side.

Next, take a bread knife and cut the top inch or so off the top of the loaf of bread and, taking a paring knife, cut out the inside of the loaf, leaving about an inch the whole way around. Scoop out the bread from inside the loaf as you would a pumpkin when making a Jack-O-Lantern and chop them up into little cubes doing the same with the top you cut off earlier. Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, along with salt & pepper over top and mix to make sure they are all coated. Make room for the newly formed bread bowl and put them all in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. Afterwards, take your cubes and put them on a plate, or tray, or in a basket if you’d prefer but keep the bread bowl on the pan, you’ll need it again .

While all this is going on you can fry up the yellow pepper, mushroom, and onion in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and whichever spices you prefer. Keep it at a low heat, you won’t need them until after the spinach goes in with the beer & cheese.

In a pot, bring the beer to a very warm temperature without bringing it to a boil and add in the cheese. This will take longer with the dairy free cheese than normal cheese just because it’s a different consistency. Add in the Sea Salt & Herbs, or your go to seasoning, and with a wooden spoon keep mixing it slowly until it becomes completely melted, then comes the audience participation. Get the person who’s been standing there holding up the counter while you’ve been working to slowly add the spinach to the pot while you keep stirring.

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for since I mentioned it, I know you have! The veggies you fried up earlier can now be added into the pot too! Once it’s all had a chance to get properly acquainted, take the contents and pour it into your bread bowl. Then it’s back into the oven for another 15 minutes, still at 350, and you can dig in and enjoy.

Remember, if you run out of the cubes, you can always start ripping the bowl apart!

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Be sure to check out the other recipes on the blog too, as all of them are dairy free! =)

PS – If you want to make this more of a meal, you can always fry up some ground chicken or turkey, or stick with the veggie theme and double up on the mushrooms. peppers, and onion. Zucchini is also a nice addition =)

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” – Roger Ebert

*NOTE* – Both of these recipes have had additions/tweaks made to them and the additional info can be found Here!

normally I’ll go full tilt for one meal a day, and Saturday, that meal was Lasagna cupcakes and Make Ahead Potatoes. Neither are all that labor intensive and both taste awesome! I think I’ve stepped up my game a bit because I have friends staying with me from Vancouver and they’ve seen all the pictures I post with what I’ve cooked and now they get to try it, so I don’t want to miss any chances to impress.

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They are a cinch to make, and just so everyone felt involved we made an assembly line.

The Goods

  • 2-3 mini muffin tins (can also use regular muffin tins)
  • 24-30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 pkg ground meat (we used chicken)
  • sauce of your choosing (we used Hunt’s mushroom & basil)
  • cheese (we used Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella)
  • seasoning for meat, completely up to you

(To make these vegetarian, simply ditch the ground chicken and supplement veg of your choice. I have made them with zucchini, mushroom, peppers, and onion with excellent results.)

I’ll tell you right off the top, these babies are going in at 375, so turn your oven on when you think you should to be ready to cook. Put some olive oil in a pan and bring it to temperature. Add your ground meat and once it starts to break apart and get a little bit of colour add your onion and seasoning/spices. Cook on a low-medium heat for maximum flavor.

While it’s cooking get one of your houseguests/family/friends AKA prep cooks to put a wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. This is where you have a decision to make, you can either use a glass, cut circles out, and place them in the tins OR you can say screw that, and put in the entire wrapper, which is MUCH more fun!

By the time you’ve decided between circles or squares, your meat has probably finished cooking and now all you have to do is layer in the sauce, meat, and cheese.

Once again, we implemented the assembly line, meat, sauce, cheese, repeat. I will say, we didn’t heat the sauce, it went right from can to tin. It will cook during the 18-20 minutes spent in the oven, but it is your call.

The last decision you have to make for this dish comes between the first and second layer of meat,sauce,cheese, (when using the mini muffin tins) and that is whether you want to fold the corners back in and cover them with the mixture (Thanks to Josh Lyons for the suggestion, its a great one!) or leave them exposed to the elements (see what I did there?).

So these go in, as I said, @ 375 for 18-20 minutes, and come out looking like they do above.

Next on the docket is a little gem called Make Ahead Potatoes, reason being you can make it ahead of time and simply toss it in the oven before your meal. When I got IBS, I also managed to become lactose intolerant, which meant I couldn’t eat this one anymore, which SUCKED. But recently, I’ve found dairy free cream cheese, and sour cream and I was off to the races!

The original recipe is HUGE and feeds roughly all the players in the NFL, so I knocked it down a few pegs.

The Innards

  • 8×8 pan
  • 4-5 good sized potatoes, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • cheese for the top

This will be cooked @ 350 so, once again, preheat accordingly. Fry the onion and yellow pepper in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Boil the the potatoes, drain, and put in a large bowl. Put a little bit of margarine in with them and give them a rough mash, then switch to a hand held mixer, this will make the potatoes extra smooth. Mix in the other ingredients as they appear. Once the veggies have been added, transfer to your 8×8 pan. The potato WILL  go above the edge, that’s fine and half the fun. Just smooth out the top and generously apply a layer of cheese and that sucker is ready to go into the oven @ 350 for 40 minutes.

Let it be said that you can add any extras you would like to this dish, I think the next time we do it I’ll add chicken bacon for good measure.

These are the dairy free alternatives I used for this recipe:

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Making use of all of these still make it taste great and the three other people who were eating it said that they wouldn’t know that it was made with dairy free anything. This was the end result.

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If you want a bit more of a crust, you can leave it in a bit longer, or after the 40 minutes, switch it to broil. But be advised that if you choose the broil method, keep a VERY close eye on it as it can go from crust to crisp without notice.

That brings everyone up to date on the culinary goings on up until yesterday morning, but rather than bog one post down with a boatload of recipes and such. I’d hate for you to get too excited and try and lick/eat your screen.

To close this out, here is my step-kitten, Molly

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