condiments + appetizers

caesar dressing II

One of my favorite restaurants in San Diego is the long-time family owned Brigantine. And one of my favorite dishes is their chicken caesar salad in part because of the vinegary dressing. On the off-chance I could find a recipe, I … more

goat cheese christmas log

I was trying to come up with something festive for a client’s holiday party when I spied scallions and fresh cranberries in the fridge. Here’s the result – a luscious goat cheese log with scallions and orange spiced dried cranberries. … more

oven applesauce

My son and I have a habit of watching the cooking channel together. He salivates and tells me what he likes to eat and I take notes. A few nights ago, we watched The Barefoot Contessa, otherwise known as Ina … more

chinese five spice blend

I love discovering spice blends and making up my own. My 20-year old Braun spice/coffee grinder finally gave out and I just bought a new one, a little Krups that is wholly dedicated to spices. You can buy Chinese Five … more

nightshade free yellow mustard

Based on the well-guarded French’s Classic Yellow Mustard, below is a version adapted for us lovers of mustard, only gluten-free and nightshade-free. In a world where we’re busier than ever, mustard is the last thing any of us really want … more


When my husband’s family came from Germany this summer, one of the foods they ate in abundance was Mexican, smothered in everyone’s favorite condiment – guacamole. Whether you like it smooth or chunky, hot or mild, guacamole is that quintessentially … more

zucchini cakes

I happen to love zucchini, a fondness my family does not share. I’ve been torturing them for years, offering new recipes in the hope they will grow to love this delicately flavored vegetable. Mission accomplished (except for the 10 year … more

nightshade-free black bean guacamole

Having to give up one of my favorite cuisines, Mexican food, has been ridiculously difficult. I love moles and salsa, chili relleno and grilled peppers, but they don’t love me. Turns out, they don’t love my daughter either. So, I … more

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is a very simple dressing to put together, with a nice acidic balance. I use a mini processor, in which case, I need to thin the dressing with a teaspoon or two of water. If you simply shake it … more

gluten-free vegan almond spread

Good for the brain and good for the heart, almonds are also a great way to regulate cholesterol. When I want something fluffy and creamy to dip my veggies or rice crackers in, this is a great option, and a … more

gluten-free thousand island dressing

I remember eating this as a kid over an iceburg lettuce salad. I never cared that the lettuce had absolutely no flavor – the point was the dressing. This is great over a standard salad, or better yet, as the … more

one-minute soy-free, gluten-free mayonnaise

I will never buy store bought mayonnaise again! My long-time favorite has been Best Foods – great because it has wonderful flavor and is gluten-free – not so great because it is made with soy and preservatives. I gave this … more

caesar dressing

Can I interest you in some hairy fish? This misunderstood member of the herring family packs a huge punch. And when served improperly, an anchovy can leave an indelibly unfavorable mark upon your pallet. But consider this – when served … more

cilantro vinaigrette

Cilantro. An herb people are rarely ambivalent about. I happen to love it. Being a Californian, I suppose I have a natural predilection for it. This is an adaptation of the sauce for Fish Tacos. Prep time: 5 minutes Total … more

gluten free, dairy free ranch dressing

Not just a dressing but a condiment for making all sorts of vegetables palatable for young kids. God forbid they ever actually put it on a salad! Serve this up with cucumbers, carrots and celery for a refreshing snack, or … more


A cool compliment to a Mediterranean meal…make it an hour ahead of time so that the flavors can meld together. Great with Garlic Rosemary Chicken. Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hours, 10 minutes Yield: 3 cups or about … more

onion rings

This is a splurge. Things like french fries and onion rings are kind of a pain to prepare, which keeps us from doing it too often. We have these once in a blue moon. One large onion is the right … more

hard-boiled egg spiders

“If you follow a special diet, be sure to include calcium rich foods.  Calcium is an important nutrient, especially when you or your child is on a dairy-free (casein-free) diet. Calcium is important for strong bones, as well as supporting … more

dill vinaigrette

Bursting with the freshness of lemon and the lightness of dill, but grounded with the tartness of dijon mustard makes this a family favorite. I love it over greens with a piece of fish atop. This is also great on … more

margherita pizza

I don’t think you should have to give up pizza just because you can longer eat gluten or dairy. With Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Tortillas, I make these in my largest cast iron pan. If you can’t do dairy, try … more

rolled tacos

When I want to use up leftover Pot Roast, this is a great, savory snack or dinner. I don’t like to serve fried food very often, but when the family craves it, I figure if they’re going to eat it, … more

herbed hummus

In my quest to develop a short-cut recipe for falafel, I instead came up with a lovely recipe for Herbed Hummus. There’s a few ingredients here, but the result is delicious and complex, and trust me, you’ll love having these … more

greek vinaigrette

This is a really nice combination of flavors that, for me, epitomize Greek food – garlic, lemon, fresh oregano… I love this on a typical Greek salad, piled high with lots of vegetables, which is the perfect foundation for leftover … more

hot wings & drummettes

Okay, once in a while, I think these are okay, especially for the Super Bowl or Monday night football. At least if you make them homemade, you know what your family is eating and it’s free of trans fat. I … more

a cocktail party for the new year

Whether or not you’ve packed the holiday decorations away, on New Year’s Eve, hopefully you’ll be able to partake of one last celebration. There’s something renewing about January 31st. It’s an opportunity to be thankful for the year you’ve had. … more

fish cakes

Prep time: 15 minutes Total time: 25 minutes Yield: 12-16 fish cakes This is a great dish for any leftover flaky white fish such as halibut or cod. I always make extra fish for Fish Sticks or Fish Tacos so … more

creamy avocado dressing

When you have to give up dairy, you feel as though you no longer get to experience that luxurious texture we all love. Avocado is the perfect ingredient to give you creaminess without the cream. Total time: 5 minutes Yield: … more

sweet potato latkes

Safe for people with nightshade allergies, these Sweet Potato Latkes are a snap to prepare. If you’re cooking for an army and have a food processor, you can grate them in seconds with your grater attachment. They are wonderful as … more


We just celebrated Christmukkah last week. Just like it sounds, this mish-mash of Christmas and Chanukah is a time to decorate our tree with friends, play the dreidel game and cook latkes. My kids love to collect chocolate gelt from … more

tartar sauce

My grandmother was an amazing cook, but never wrote her recipes down. Actually, I never did either until I started this blog, so I shouldn’t complain. So when I found her tartar sauce recipe in our family cook book, it … more

bbq chicken pizza

A word about “pizza”. You know those things that your mom made you eat as a child that were just short of a scarring experience? In our house it was Montana Stew which was comprised of ground beef, kidney beans, … more

cranberry relish

This is a staple at any Thanksgiving table, but I make it year ’round. It’s the perfect topping for a slice of brie atop a rice cracker. Many people like additional fruit (raisins, apples, currants) or nuts (walnuts, pecans) in … more

hard boiled eggs

Active time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 1/2 hours Yield: 14 appetizers Special tools: egg cooker optional This is standard, old-fashioned fare, but they’re filling and a party favorite. There are two ways to hard boil eggs. The traditional way … more

garlic dill aioli

This is a tasty dip for steamed asparagus spears and for strips of Garlic Rosemary Chicken as an appetizer. It’s quick and can be made with purchased mayo or you can splurge and whip up your own. Prep time: 5 … more

chips and hummus

My kids like hummus in their lunches with carrots and chips, so I always double this whenever I make it. It’s wonderful in place of mayonnaise in sandwiches or wraps and you can serve it with fresh, raw vegetables. But … more

mushroom tapenade

I like to double this, because it goes quickly. I eat it with a spoon, but would serve it to guests on endive spears or with rice crackers. Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Yield: About 2/3 cup … more

cilantro pesto

This is great on scrambled eggs, and for marinating chicken, turkey and fish. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1/2 cup Special equipment: mini food processor 1 large bunch cilantro 1/4 c. olive oil 1/8 c. fresh … more

homemade jam

On a recent trip to Oregon, we hit sweet blackberry season at it’s peak. We picked til our fingers were purple and prickly and didn’t even make a dent in the bushes outside my sister’s beach house. I found Pomona’s … more

sweet and savory dressing

This is my favorite and most requested dressing. It goes perfectly with the Chinese Chicken Salad, but I use it for every salad you can imagine. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1/2 cup 1/4 c. vegetable … more

essential roasted salsa

This is adapted from Rick Bayless‘ Mexican Kitchen, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, which should be a staple in your kitchen if you have any fondness at all for Mexican food. Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes … more

homemade mayonnaise

Before you scratch your head and wonder who would want to make mayonnaise on their own, just try it, especially if you’re allergic to soy. It’s so easy, really, and totally addicting. A warning about raw eggs. My research shows … more