Archive for the ‘This and That’ Category

This delicious Italian dish is equally authentic without breadcrumbs and eggs. Serve it as a side, or even as an entree.  With all the goodness of vegetables and cheese its a filling meal by itself, perhaps with hash browns or gluten free corn bread on the side.  I make it less cheesy than restaurants do, but that’s your choice. Great for a fun family meal.


2 pounds or 2 medium-large eggplants cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

1 1/2 cups rice crackers pulsed in food processor

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

4 tablespoons corn starch mixed into 1/2 cup water to make a thin paste.

2 tablespoons olive oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

For Sauce:

28 ounce can (3 1/2 cups) of crushed tomatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil.

1/2 cup packed finely chopped fresh basil leaves.

1 teaspoon fresh, minced garlic.

1 teaspoon paprika. 

1/2 teaspoon oregano.

Salt and pepper to taste.

1 cup shredded Parmesan and 1 cup shredded mozzarella for layering.

Method: Preheat oven to 400 F ./ approx. 200 C.  Line baking tray with lightly oiled aluminum foil

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of eggplant slices. 

Mix pulsed rice crackers with the Parmesan cheese on a large surface.

Dip each eggplant slice in the corn starch mixture. 

Dredge each slice in cheese and rice cracker mixture and place on baking tray. 

Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, or till eggplant slices are soft and golden brown. 

Meanwhile, prepare sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in saucepan and add the minced, fresh garlic.  When garlic sizzles, add crushed tomato.Give a few stirs, and allow tomato to simmer and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add paprika, oregano and fresh basil leaves.  Turn off heat.

To assemble, spread 1/3 of the sauce into a large casserole dish.  Place half the eggplant rounds in a single layer covering the sauce at the bottom of the pan.

With a ladle spoon small portions of sauce over each eggplant round. Then spoon shredded mozzarella on top of sauce, on each round. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded Parmesan. 

Place remaining eggplant rounds over the cheeses.  Repeat process by spooning sauce and cheeses on top of each round. Pour remaining sauce on top. and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.  Bake uncovered at 350 F / 180 C for 35 minutes. 

Let casserole sit for a few minutes, before cutting into it to serve.

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Excellent as an after school snack or after a long day, this  basically Indian recipe, is mild, very gently spiced and can be enjoyed by people of all tastes. Great in nutrition and taste, this healthy snack is so easy to make.




hearty quinoa snack


1 cup quinoa grain

1/3 cup roasted and lightly salted sunflower kernels (seeds from which the husk or outer covering has been removed)

1medium potato, boiled and cubed.

2 level tablespoons liquid ghee (clarified butter) plus one extra teaspoon, to add to quinoa while cooking.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

1/4 teaspoon finely cut green chili or to taste. (Use a mild variety or seranno peppers if you like it pungent)

1 teaspoon lime juice.

1 teaspoon sugar.

Salt to taste.

1/4 cup finely cut fresh cilantro leaves and 2 Tablespoons shredded fresh coconut for garnish. (optional)


In a medium saucepan, heat two cups water.  Add  one teaspoon ghee and one teaspoon lime juice to water.

Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, or to taste.

Carefully add quinoa to hot water.

After some water has been absorbed, cover and cook quinoa on low heat.

Once the quinoa is soft cooked, remove from heat and fluff it with a fork so that it does not become lumpy.

In a wok or pan, heat the liquid ghee and add green chilly and cumin seeds.

Add cubed potato bits and saute to coat potato with ghee.

Add roasted sunflower kernels and quinoa.

Mix gently and thoroughly on low heat.

Add more salt if required and also 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you prefer more sugar, add a little more.

Cover wok/pan for 3 minutes or so, then turn off heat

Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with fresh, finely cut cilantro leaves and shredded fresh coconut.

Really yummy and satisfying.


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This is a fantastic breakfast/ brunch dish…good comfort food and very satisfying. Its amazing how you can achieve great taste without wheat or eggs.  If dairy is a no-no, use a combination of soy milk and soft, mashed tofu.  If gluten free bread is not available where you live, use thinly sliced potatoes.  I use SCHAR gluten free baguettes, as they do not contain wheat or eggs and are totally allergen free.  There are other options in the market, but a lot of gluten free products do contain egg and nut ingredients. I  have used cilantro and a tad bit of jalapeno, with sauted onion, but you can alter seasonings……try chives, green onions, basil, thyme, parsley, all equally delicious, in combinations of your choice.


hearty ham and cheese bake


Serves 2


6 slices of SCHAR gluten free bread (baguette), cut diagonally into longish shapes— or any other gluten free bread

4-6 slices cooked deli ham (Use cooked shredded chicken, cooked sliced turkey breast as ham alternatives) Chop ham slices into small bits

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

2/3 cup grated cheddar

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 Tablespoons finely cut fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno, or to taste

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 F

In a small saucepan heat olive oil, add garlic if using it, saute for 10-15 seconds.

Add chopped onion, saute till soft and transparent, then remove from heat and set aside.

Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

In a bowl, whisk milk and cream

Add sauted onion, 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro and jalapeno.  Reserve 1 tablespoon cilantro for garnish.

Add salt and pepper

Pour half of the liquid mixture over the bread slices

Top with ham bits and half the grated cheese

Repeat layering of bread, milk-cream mixture and grated cheddar cheese

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden.  Edges should be slightly browned

Garnish with chopped cilantro.



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Yes, you can actually make donuts with my gluten free flour (See Basics or scroll to the first entry on this blog)  You cannot imagine how easy it is to make kids happy that they can carry donuts to school for snack time as very special treats.  Donuts are fried which does not make them very healthy, but they are great as occasion food.  Moreover, my gluten free flour is very nutritious—much better to have than processed white flour.  So get ready to make this easy treat!

Makes about 16- 18 2” donuts





2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix  (click here for recipe)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

3 teaspoons Egg Replacer*

2 Tablespoons melted butter / oil

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder

Pinch of salt

Granulated sugar for dusting

* If you do not have Egg Replacer, use buttermilk instead of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda,  Add soda while combining dry ingredients.

You will also need a 2” round cookie cutter or a clean lid, and a smaller lid about 3/4” in diameter,  a sheet of parchment or plastic foil to line your cutting board. The number of donuts you will have depends on the size of your cookie cutter/lid.

Oil for frying


In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg powders and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk / buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Gradually fold in dry ingredients.

Using a food processor, or your hands, knead this mixture to form a soft dough, which can be manipulated with your hands.

Divide the dough into lemon size balls

Gently roll each ball and flatten with your palm on a parchment or plastic foil lined cutting board. This will prevent the donut rounds from sticking to the surface.

  Flatten or roll out sufficiently to press the cookie cutter on it to get a good round shape. Remove excess dough.  Then press the small lid onto the center of the ball and gently remove the small round which you cut off from the center.

Keep all the small rounds together to form into additional larger balls. Use extra small balls to fry as donut ‘ holes’. Or fry all small balls to make donut holes.

Heat oil in a medium size wok.  Oil should be sufficient for donuts to submerge.

Test oil for doneness by adding a small ball of dough.  It should sizzle slightly and slowly rise to the surface.

Remove the ball put in for testing the readiness of the oil.  Then carefully lift a cut and shaped donut and gently place it in the oil.  You may be able to place 3-4 donuts at a time depending on the size of your wok.  Do not crowd the wok.  There should be enough room for each donut to fluff and rise to the surface

After donuts rise to the surface and start to brown a little on the underside, gently flip them over with a fork.

The oil should not be over heated and must remain on medium heat for the donuts to cook through

When donuts are a rich golden brown color on both sides, remove each donut carefully with metal tongs or with a slotted spoon, and place on a paper towel lined plate.

After the oil has drained, roll each donut in granulated sugar and enjoy!

Donuts can be cooled and frozen.  I wrap each donut in wax paper and place the quantity to be frozen in an airtight container.  When ready to eat, thaw in the microwave before serving.

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Store bought BBQ Sauces often have some one ingredient or the other which someone with allergies may react to.  The safest way is to create your own sauces and marinades which are guaranteed to be free of any cross contamination and will not contain any questionable ingredient.  You can modify the recipes below if you need to omit or replace any ingredient. 

Herbs and spices are the best taste enhancers and also preserve meats well.

More information on herbs and spices will soon be put up in the Basics / Good to Know categories.

Make these great tasting sauces / marinades, and get creative with spices.  Family and friends will all enjoy these flavors!


BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus


All recipes are for 2 pounds of meat / poultry

Note:  Apply these pastes to meat / poultry, when using them as marinades.  Refrigerate meat / poultry with marinade for at least 2 hours, before pan or oven roasting.

To use as BBQ sauces, omit the sweet ingredient, such as brown sugar, maple syrup, and rub a small portion of spice mixture on the meat/ poultry.  Then add the sweetener, and use the remaining sauce to baste the meat / poultry occasionally as you go along.  Adding the sweet ingredient too early in the BBQ process may brown or caramelize the meat too early and may give a burnt taste before the meat / poultry cooks through and through

!)  Ingredients

3 Tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin seed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper (red chilly powder)

1/3 teaspoon (or to taste) coarsely ground black pepper

1 heaped Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes0

Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl.

Apply this paste to meat / poultry, if using it as marinade and leave the meat / poultry in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before pan or oven roasting.


2) Ingredients

This simple sauce has a great just-out-of–an Asian Wok flavor.

Use it as a marinade first, then if you wish, create a dipping sauce or pour it on the meat/ poultry, as per recipe below.

2 Tablespoons Gluten free soy sauce

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (red chilly powder), or to taste

Salt to taste.

To create a dipping or pouring sauce–

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon Gluten free soy sauce

1 Tablespoon grated orange zest

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 heaped Tablespoon finely chopped green onions, both white and green parts

1 .heaped teaspoon cornstarch, mixed in 2 tablespoons of water

Mix all ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture in a small saucepan, and heat. When mixture is close to boiling add the cornstarch-water mixture, and stir till sauce thickens.  For a thicker sauce add another teaspoon of cornstarch.


3) Ingredients

A quick and easy BBQ sauce—great for basting!  Or use it as a marinade and apply to meat / poultry at least 2 hours before pan or oven roasting.

2 Tablespoons Gluten free soy sauce

2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (red chilly powder) or to taste.


4) Ingredients

This marinade brings the taste of India to the table.  It is simple yet exotic, has all easy-to-find ingredients and adds a special touch to the meat / poultry entrée.

To 1/3 cup thick yogurt add–

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 level teaspoons fresh minced garlic

2 level teaspoons fresh minced ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1heaped teaspoon dried mint flakes

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/3 teaspoon powdered cloves

1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom seeds

1/4 teaspoon crushed strands of saffron—

Add a tablespoon of hot water onto the crushed saffron. Keep aside for about 10 minutes or so, for the color to deepen and the flavor to come through.  Then add to the remaining mixture.

While the saffron adds a truly exotic flavor, you could add a1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder just in case you have run out of saffron.

Your entrée will taste even better than a restaurant preparation!

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Ghee is a super food!  Good fats are integral to our health—almost 30% of total calories in our diet must come from fat. Ghee contains vital, essential fatty acids, the Omega 3s.  In a zero- size aspiring culture, fat has become synonymous with”bad for us”.  Ghee, when it is a by product of organic milk (milk from grass fed cows, raised without hormones or antibiotics), is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.

Traditionally made ghee lubricates joints and tissues, cleanses intestines and arteries.  It improves hormonal function and digestion.  It boosts the immunity and the Omega 3 fatty acids in it have a calming influence on an over active immune system.  Ghee also contributes to creating a better ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol, and helps control triglycerides.

Ghee which is made traditionally (recipe follows), with organic butter, is often included in the diet of dairy allergic people.  As always, introduce with caution. For an absolutely ‘yum’ taste, use a small dollop of ghee to enhance flavors when making dairy free dishes which have to be cooked in water/rice milk/soy milk.  Try it with rice and tapioca puddings, Indian sweets such as carrot and other halvas, and even use it as a much healthier alternative to margarine in baked goods.  It is healthier than butter and tastes great in Western / American style cooking.

Ghee,like other fats helps to lower the glycemic index of sugar  In other words, it helps to metabolize sugar slowly and prevents a ‘sugar high’ in the system.  (An oatmeal cookie actually has a lower glycemic index than a bowlful of breakfast oatmeal)  Add a level teaspoon of ghee to oatmeal when cooking it with water, sprinkle a little cinnamon powder and serve—just delicious!

Ghee made the traditional way, at home, is most beneficial to health.  Grandma added yogurt culture to milk fat, churned it into butter, then boiled the butter to make ghee.  She also added a big helping of loving care along the way.  The only shortcut to home made butter is store available organic, unsalted white butter.  There is a big difference between homemade ghee, and the so called ‘pure ghee’ available on store shelves.  Most of the time, commercially made ghee consists of hydrogenated vegetable oil and heated milk fat without the use of active cultures.

Making ghee is actually quite easy.  Here is a simple recipe–



Home made ghee served in traditional silver tableware


Melt 2 cups home made or store bought unsalted, white organic butter in a saucepan.  Once melted, allow butter to simmer gently.  After 5 minutes or so, foam will rise to the surface.  Do not remove or stir the foam.  Let butter cook till foam thickens and settles at the base of the pan.  There will be a continuous crackling sound as the butter boils. Once the foam caramelizes and turns into a brown sediment, butter has turned into ghee.

You will find that the liquid is a golden color and is now boiling silently, with  just a trace of air bubbles on the surface.  Remove from heat.  When a little cool, pour the liquid, using a strainer, into a clean, dry container.  The strainer ensures that no trace of sediment enters the final product.

Although ghee lovers like to add sugar or jaggery to the caramelized sediment and eat it like a rich snack, it is not meant for the dairy allergic.

Once you taste home made ghee, you will never be able to settle for any thing else! 

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What better than to have your own ready mix handy to make those waffles or pancakes on special days.  A ready home made mix is not only more fresh than store bought mixes, it even tastes better.

The whole family will love these waffles!



  • 4 cups “Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix”
    Click Here to see the recipe
  • 1 cup oat flour (grind quick cooking oats in dry grinder)
  • 4 teaspoons Egg Replacer powder. (When Egg Replacer is not available, use 3 level teaspoons baking powder)
  • 4 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda.


  1. Sift all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix well and store in airtight containers.
  3. Storing in the refrigerator keeps all flours fresher and long lasting.  Keep in freezer for more lasting freshness.

Make Waffles with this Grandma’s Waffle and Pancake Mix

  1. 2 cups “Grandma’s Waffle and Pancake Mix”
  2. 2 cups milk / soy milk / rice milk / any fruit juice of your choice
  3. 3 Tablespoons canola / vegetable oil
  4. Place mix in large bowl, add oil.
  5. Add I cup liquid and mix with a heavy spoon.
  6. Gradually stir in remaining liquid, making sure there are no lumps.  Use a mixer at low speed if required.
  7. Consistency is very slightly thinner than that of cake batter.
  8. Follow waffle grill directions to cook waffles.

You can make 3 batches (4 waffle quarters per batch) in a standard size waffle grill—7-8” round.

Extra waffles can be frozen.  Place wax / parchment paper between each waffle, and place in an air tight container to freeze.

Frozen waffles can be thawed and heated in a toaster or toaster oven before serving.

Note: It is important to have a dedicated toaster for toasting all allergy free food. When using a toaster oven, make sure it is completely clean of all crumbs.  Use a washed and cleaned tray, or better still, have separate equipment for allergy free food.

Pancakes can be made with the same batter.

  1. Lightly coat the pancake griddle with oil / cooking spray.  Wipe off excess with a paper towel.  Light and dark rings at the base of the pancake appear because of too much oil on the griddle or skillet.
  2. Heat griddle / skillet on medium heat  To test for readiness, sprinkle a few drops of cold water on the hot surface.  If the water bounces and dances across the pan, it is ready to use.  If it sizzles and evaporates the pan is too hot.
  3. For each pancake, use 1/4 cup batter onto prepared griddle.  Watch for bubbles to break on surface then turn the pancake over  Cook for a minute or less, or until bottom is golden.  Both sides should be a deep golden color.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter.  (Makes about ten 4” pancakes)


  • Add buttermilk instead of milk to batter.
  • Add mashed bananas/ apple sauce and 1 1/2 cups or enough liquid for the desired consistency.
  • Add blueberries, raspberries, cut strawberries, or any cut fruit of your choice.

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