I don't do serious dinner parties, but I love cooking and I like to entertain, so the requests have been coming in more often from family members…
Them: "when are you cooking for us again?"
Me: "when you can bring more wine."
That's my price. You bring the wine, I'll feed you. So this time I was cooking for my dad, his girlfriend Lois, and my mom (yes we all get along and it's a wonderful thing), no big deal, I thought, until Lois sent me an email with her dietary restrictions: no gluten, no dairy, no processed sugar. My initial response was "uhhhhhhhh…hope you like raw vegetables", but then I decided to get creative. Challenge accepted.
I thought a Mediterranean-inspired meal was the best way to go here; there's lots of vegetables, herbs, olive oil, and not a lot of starches or sugars needed for flavor. Dessert was becoming a problem though…everything I wanted to make had processed sugar or gluten. For those of you who don't know, gluten is derived from wheat, so lots of breads, pasta, and flour are usually off limits. I thought of making gluten free cookies with rice or almond flour, but I've had those out of a box quite a few times and very rarely did I come out of it well. So again I thought, better to stick with natural ingredients and not go crazy. This was my menu:
Israeli Salad – chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley
Falafel – mashed chickpea cakes with garlic, parsley, onion and a wee bit of flour (sorry Lois, I had to)
Hummus – chickpea and tahini (sesame paste) puree with garlic, lemon and olive oil
Shrimp and Rice – Brown rice with shrimp, carrots, onions, peas, and corn
Roasted broccoli with sea salt and sweet potato wedges with paprika
Homemade pita chips with za'atar spice for those of us who can eat them (again sorry, but I need pita chips with hummus)
Grilled peaches and sliced strawberries with balsamic-honey reduction for dessert
I'm so fancy! Not really – this was actually a fairly simple menu to execute. OK so it's not ENTIRELY gluten free, but I'm sure you could substitute the flour in the falafel with rice or almond flour, you really just need something to bind the cakes together before you fry them. And as for the pita chips…just don't eat them. :) I also put out some bite size chocolates with dessert for those of us (me) who need a little processed sugar with their coffee. I'm the host I think that's allowed..?
Stay tuned for recipes…