Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mmmmm…meatballs

I never had a craving for pasta until I found out I couldn’t have it anymore.  At the time, the gluten-free pastas on the market were inedible, and my only experiences with sauces came from a can or jar, so I was content to write off ever having it again.

Italians, not accepting life without at least an occasional plate of pasta, had already discovered gluten-free replacements for semolina that could still deliver the perfect strand of al dente spaghetti.  I’m not even sure why I even bothered to walk down that aisle at the market, but it was like discovering a whole new world.  I bought up several boxes – out of fear that I would never again find gluten free pasta – without a clue of what I would do with it.

Enter an  Italian neighbor eager to teach me.  Despite watching her make meatballs at least a dozen times, I never thought to write down the recipe, because they included bread crumbs.  When a friend said he was craving spaghetti and meatballs, I was determined to recreate a gluten and egg free version. I like to use a few slices of crushed gluten free crisp bread, but you can try panko or cracker crumbs.  Play around with the spices in the meatballs to suit your tastes.  The tomato sauce isn’t strongly seasoned, so that it balances the flavorful meatballs.

Buon appetito!

Spaghetti & Meatballs

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Salty, sweet, spicy heaven

I am a big fan of the salty sweet combination, and I love ginger.  The first time I brought these into the office, a colleague single-handedly ate at least a dozen of the mini cookies before lunch.  Hopefully you find them just as addictive.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Thinking of sunny Spain

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken

After a long day at work, I opened the cabinet looking for inspiration only to stare blankly at a bag of polenta – boring, bland polenta.  Then, I caught sight of a forgotten container of smoked Spanish paprika, and my mind began to wander back to Spain and the plates of tapas shared alongside glasses of sherry.  This dish borrows those flavors.

Since this comes together in less than half an hour, it is the perfect supper escape after a marathon day at work.  The flavors are so intoxicating and have such depth that I wouldn’t be afraid to entertain friends with it, pairing it with a light salad and maybe even sangria.

Ajo y Pimentón de la Vera Roasted Chicken with Shrimp and Peppers

It all began with cantucci…

Nothing compliments an espresso quite like a biscotti — and not just any biscotti, it should be a cantucci.  The crunchy sweetness melts away and the hint of lemon and anise bring out the flavor in the coffee like nothing else I know.  The addition of toasted nuts, dried fruit, or dark chocolate only amplify the pleasure of this simple combo, making you want both to last just a little longer.

Of all the foods I’ve made my friends, this was the most requested.  A few were almost shattered when I told them I couldn’t make it any more.  My early attempts at replacing the traditional wheat flour and eggs were a disaster, but I finally cracked the code.  Bring on the espresso!

Toasted Almond Cantucci with Dark Chocolate and Cranberry

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