Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Special Diets

Special Diets

Sometimes our loved ones or good friends can't eat just anything that's on their plates.

I, for one, have had direct experience with adapting my cooking for my love, Jim, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 4 years ago. It is a severe gluten intolerance. And sadly, gluten is present in wheat, oats, barley, and hops. Translation - no pasta, no bread, no cookies and cakes as I know them. Lucky for you, I have adapted many of my recipes so Jim can eat them.

Here's a little secret - some recipes and foods are gluten-free by nature such as risotto. Check out my lobster risotto, asparagus risotto and roasted heirloom tomato risotto. Risotto is made from aborio rice and ALL rice is gluten-free. Do you love breaded cutlets? Try using cornflakes as your "bread" and you won't go missing breaded chicken cutlets ever again!!

I am also working with a nutritionist, Nancy Mills to develop diabetic-friendly heirloom recipes. Diabetes is a growing national epidemic. My first-hand experience with this disease was through my grandmother. So it's a disease I really want to help people deal with!

First order of business with a diabetes diet - avoid most WHITE foods - white rice, white bread, white potatoes and of course, sugar. Think color and texture. As for desserts - we'll explore using honey, maple syrup and maybe, stevia.

  • Heart Healthy Muffins

    Inspired by Rebecca Narum's blueberry bran muffins, I thought that Valentine's breakfast could start on a heart healthy note!  I changed canola oil to walnut oil and used whole wheat flour. These...
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Heart Cake

    My friend Erin Gernon shared her family recipe for a chocolate birthday sheet cake.  She told me that this cake was a staple at every birthday party.  So, I thought I would take the basic premise of...
  • Italian Wedding Soup According to Carole

    Maybe I wanted to make Italian wedding soup because I had just met with my friend Andre Pupek who is getting married to an Italian in June….or maybe because the flu is rampant and it’s true comfort...
  • Quinoa and Black Bean Burger

    I am on a mission to create foods that I enjoy and can eat.  Recently, I have had some stomach issues. Yeah, I know, pretty much stinks.  But I am one that makes lemonade out of lemons so I thought,...
  • Frijoles con Chorizo

    Frijoles con chorizo are a typical sidedish to tamales in the Christmas Eve Mexican celebration Nochebuena. 
  • Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free Cornbread Stuffing

    I am dreaming of all my yummy Thanksgiving recipes and traditions – stuffing, manicotti, stuffed mushrooms etc.. Never did I think I would have to pause and reconsider what's on the menu. Well, now I...
  • Corn and Kale Salad

    The garden is producing food faster than we can eat it!!  Two of the most abundant crops other than tomatoes are kale and corn.  One day I was having some people over for dinner and I didn’t have any...
  • Zucchini Boats

    I used to wonder why my Nana would stuff the large zucchini that came out of the garden.  And of course, it's because, other than baking with them, they've grown too large to enjoy any other way....
  • Llapingochos (Potato cakes filled with cheese)

    Andres Saeteros came to the Heirloom Meals Solstice Party with two Heirloom recipes which he shared his grandmother has made for his family's enjoyment!  The Llapingochos is a famous dish in Ecuador....
  • Coarse Simple Salsa

    As Chris Blair reflects on his favorite family recipes from his childhood he realizes the list is so short that the foods he has come to appreciate he acquired as an adult.  He says he has gained...
  • Hummus at home

    When Chris Blair reflects his his favorite family recipes from childhood he realizes the list is so short that the foods he has come to truly appreciate he acquired as an adult.  He's gained...
  • 7-Layer Salad

    Rebecca has been helping her mother make this 7-layer salad for big family gatherings and parties since she was a child.  Growing up in the mid-west, family reunions were frequent along with any...
  • Lisa Newmann’s Purple Summer Salad

    Lisa owned a Bistro in Boston for a fare amount of years and when she was starting out she was searching for different recipes to put on her menu.  Her mom handed over this Purple Summer Salad recipe...
  • Grace Young’s Vegetable Lo Mein

    Grace Young was recently featured on our radio show, and she said we could share her recipe from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing. Here is some...
  • Roasted Asparagus Four Ways

    I think we all have roasted our asparagus at one time or another.  So it's nice to have all these similar yet different recipes.  I thank you all for sending them in!  I left them just as they were...
  • Rice Fritters

    I always cook extra rice so I can "repurpose" another delicious meal out of it and any number of substitutions can be made in herbs and seasonings with this recipe!
  • Linguine with Marinated Sea Scallops and Spinach

    Continuing on with Meatless May and with my sister-in-law and stepson over for dinner I wanted to make something that everyone would enjoy.  With leftover spinach and cilantro on hand and scallops I...
  • Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

    This is the perfect dish to clean out your vegetable drawer while utilizing some of the first vegetables and herbs available in the spring and it doesn't hurt that it also works perfectly for...
  • Cannellini Bean Burgers

    Inspired by an article by Mark Bittman from the New York times and Eating Well's Meatless May I adapted Bittman's recipe to suit my own preferences, switching out onions for scallions and curry...
  • Watercress Soup

    When I think of watercress, English tea sandwiches come to mind. And they are quite tasty.  But what if it’s freezing cold outside, you’ve consciously turned your heat off for the season and you need...
  • Steamed Baby Artichokes

    These are an absolute treat!  I grew up only knowing the large variety. Those were a prominent feature of our Easter dinner and other spring meals.  They were steamed and stuffed with breadcrumbs,...
  • Asparagus Polonaise

    In the worn steel pan with black handle, my Mom would boil the water for the asparagus. Curiously, there were always 2 lone eggs in the pan while the water was coming up to a boil, that were then...
  • Agnes Djaha’s Yebret (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

    Agnes Djaha generously shares this omnipresent dish on the Syrian table. As Agnes recounts the many meals, feasts and holidays, she said there were 2 dishes that were always served - grape leaves and...
  • Turnip and Potato Gratin

    This is a wonderfully simple dish and an excellent accompaniment to a roasted chicken, a braise, meatloaf and even an Easter ham. My memories are of my grandmother slicing the potatoes and turnips...
  • Baccala Salad

    My memories of my grandfather’s guttural pronunciation of BACCALA still resonates in my head and makes me giggle.  As a kid, who would think of eating something that sounded awful and started out as...
  • Pignoli Cookies

    These cookies represent the essence of the holidays to me.  My Nana would bake them around Christmas and again around Easter.  In fact, my favorite cookies to buy when I am in Little Italy in NYC, or...
  • Ellie Markovitch’s “Paeo de Queijo” - Cheese Bread

    Known as the national treasure of Brazil, this cheese bread recipe is amazingly simply.  Ellie adapted it from her mother’s recipe because we don’t have the same ingredients here in the US that are...
  • Spicy Salsa

    We love salsa.  My stepson can eat a jar in a seating! So this year when I expanded my garden I knew I wanted to grow all the ingredients to make salsa - tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, onions,...
  • Eggplant “French Fries”

    I am a lover of eggplant.  Quite possibly my most favorite vegetable!!  So when I saw a recipe in the most recent Bon Appetit for fried eggplant, I had to try it.  I didn't have most of the...
  • Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Pasta

    I had so much Swiss chard from my garden, and I needed new ways to eat it, so I resorted to an old favorite: pasta! This recipe is simple, delicious, and I use gluten-free pasta so that Jim, who has...
  • Alchie Cake

    "The plum pudding originally came from England as a Christmas cake," my guest Shoshanna Levy's grandmother wrote. "In Jamaica, it became known as alcohol cake to us children! We look forward to the...
  • Garlic Scape Potato Salad

    Once again, I grew up in the land of no recipes. My nana and Mom were/are the great concocters. They knew instinctively how much of this and how much of that was needed...potato salad was no...
  • Jen’s Simple Pizza

    My sister is the queen of concoctions. She has a company called the Lavash Chef, where she uses lavash to make everything from pizza to napoleons. Here's one of Jen's famous pizza...
  • Turkey Meatballs

    When asked to come up with a healthy, diabetes-friendly meatball, I decided to use ground turkey and modify our family meatball recipe in such a way that it would taste delicious and be healthy.
  • Leftover Brown Rice Stir-Fry

    My grandmother always made the most unbelievable concoctions with leftover rice, and she also loved Chinese food. This recipe is derived from one of her creations, and I hope you enjoy it as much as...
  • Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Root Vegetables

    This is a winning combination for a special fall dinner. Nana and Mom always used garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, but I've taken it a step further and used mustard and balsamic vinegar for my own...
  • Chicken Breast Cacciatore

    This is a new take on a traditional Italian dish. Nana had diabetes, and so this version is made just with chicken breasts. Because white meat has lower fat, it means that this concoction is...
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I developed this dish when Jim became diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I was so used to having cookies in the cookie jar, and so was he, that I had to come up with a substitute. Enjoy this diabetes...
  • Apple Cheesecake Torte

    I adapted this dessert from my mother's recipe for Apple Cheesecake Torte so that it can be shared by all. It is diabetes-friendly, delicious, and decidedly worth trying. Enjoy!
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes

    I was challenged to come up with a healthy recipe that included pumpkin AND was a dessert. My mom and I spent a weekend experimenting with all sorts of ingredients, and this is our creation! 
  • Eggplant Parm

    Eggplant Parm....is my FAVORITE food! I'll share 2 ways of preparing it - the way my Mom (and Nana) do (did) it and a gluten-free version.
  • Custard and Roasted Rhubarb

    In my world right now, I have an abundance of eggs and rhubarb. So, why not serve up a simple comfort food dessert as an perfect ending to an early summer barbecue. The tartness of the rhubarb is...
  • Sole with Mustard Caper Sauce

    We are all diet and health conscious these days so I wanted to make a fish dish that is healthy but tastes RICH!!  And this mustard sauce does the trick. Serve with roasted asparagus and brown rice...
  • Grapefruit Souffle

    Mom and I walked down food memory lane the other day and we recalled a vacation to Barbados when I was a little girl. One of the many memories we have of that trip was the grapefruit souffle that we...
  • Cauliflower, Bacon and Onion Pasta

    This is one of those dishes you can whip up in 20 minutes if you have all the ingredients on hand. This was one of my Mom and Nana’s dinner in a flash miracles. It’s so easy and so delicious. After...
  • Early Spring Asparagus Risotto

    Risotto is one of the simplest and versatile of dishes. And while I provide this recipe as a guide, keep in mind you can make risotto without the white wine, with just onions if you don’t have...
  • Chicken with Chick Peas and Tomatoes

    Berkshire Grown's mission is to support our local farmers and promote locally grown food, which results in strengthening our local economy and preserving open spaces. It's a winning mission and one...
  • Corn and Black Bean Salsa

    My grandmother's wisdom was evident on Thursday night (the 17th) when I hosted a canning workshop for Berkshire Grown's "Preserving the Bounty" month when 10 people diligently chopped, diced or...
  • Broccoli Rabe or Bitter Greens - The Italian Way

    Ever since I was a little kid, there was one aroma that suggested healthy. That aroma was the combination of olive oil, chopped garlic and broccoli rabe or bitter greens. And believe you me, it...
  • Judith Lerner’s Chicken Soup

    Winter is a season of great quiet. It entices me both to lie low and to make things. I have 16 1/2 windows and two skylights in my kitchen/dining/living/workroom through which I watch snow fall and...
  • Carol Way’s Asian-style Chicken Soup

    This soup was adapted from my grandmother’s recipe. My meme’ was French Canadian, born in Quebec City and made chicken soup year round. She was a purist, and believed that onion, celery and carrots...
  • Francine Soropoulos Kyriakos’s Avgolemono Soup

    Kalosorisate means welcome in Greek. There is nothing like Greek hospitality and the warm and sincere welcome one receives when you are a guest in a Greek home. The Greeks have a love for leisurely...
  • Stuffed Cabbage

    I have tried to connect with my Czech/Slavic roots by making this dish.  In fact, I have never had stuffed cabbage but this is what I imagined it would be like. Jim thought it needed something - I...
  • French Onion Soup

    Inspired by Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris, I am now addicted to onion soup and its simplicity.  Her tip was to caramelize the onions in the oven and it works magically and effortlessly while...
  • Curried Lentil Soup

    While I loved Nana’s lentils, I discovered the world of exotic flavors when I went to college and beyond and grew to adore curry. I became addicted to a curried lentil soup at the Sultan’s Kitchen in...
  • Toffee Cream Surprise Dessert

    Another one from my Mom's varied and deep recipe file!!  I am sure this came from somewhere but she's made it for parties and it's in our archives now. It's a GREAT do-ahead recipe with HIGH...
  • Easy Guacamole

    Avocados and guacamole have become a favorite appetizer in my house.  But how can you make a quick guac without fresh tomatoes?  One day, I just decided to mix some left over salsa with some soft...
  • Savory Sauteed Shrimp a la Jen

    I can't compliment my sister enough for some of her concoctions. We were getting a little tired of shrimp cocktail.  It's delicious and all but not very creative.  So Jen decided to make up an...
  • Jen’s Pork Stew

    This is really my sister, Jen's concoction with some of my tweaks. Jen is a true foodie and a GREAT cook. Check out her website. And if you are in Newport, RI - she's worth a call!!
  • Chicken Piccata

    Mom and Nana were miracle workers in the kitchen. They could have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. And, now so can I. If you have a pantry like mine, there's always a meal to be made in minutes....
  • Lobster Risotto

    I concocted this recipe for Christmas Eve as one of my "seven" fish servings. Truth be told, I only had two - this and fried calamari. However this dish should not be limited to Christmas Eve. I...
  • Nana’s No-Fail Baked Fish

    Nana was the master of making simple, no-fail meals. I suppose years and years of cooking for family and friends makes it easier. I have served this, shared this recipe many times and it always gets...
  • Chicken Breast Cacciatore

    Growing up Italian, chicken cacciatore was another one of those basic recipes that was a mainstay for my Nana and Mom. It's a stove-top chicken stew made with all the chicken parts. It was never my...
  • Heirloom Flourless Chocolate Cake

    I love homemade gifts from the heart. My sweetheart, Jim, has Celiacs Disease, which is an autoimmune disease triggered by eating wheat or foods with gluten.  So in keeping with all the buzz about...