Gluten & Dairy-Free Living. Info, recipes & experiences!

Posts tagged ‘holiday’

Melamakarona – Greek Christmas Cookies


My favourite cookies … I began making these cookies with my Yaya (Greek grandmother) and Mom when I was a little girl.  Although they are traditionally dairy-free, they are not gluten-free.  This year I am taking a leap of faith and making them with a gluten-free, cake & pastry flour … will post results – good or bad!  These cookies can be made up to two weeks in advance, stored in the refrigerator, in a tin, with wax/parchment paper between the layers.  This recipe makes lots of cookies – up to 6 dozen – and they disappear quickly, which is why I make two batches.  One batch two weeks before the 24th and one the week before!  If possible make these with a friend/family member … They do take a while to prepare and company always helps the time go by … 🙂

Melamacarona:
6 Cups Cake & Pastry Flour
1 Cup Crushed Walnuts (crushed to a flour consistency)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Grated Orange Rind
4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon (or more)
3/4 Tsp. Ground Clove (NO more)
Pinch of Salt … 1/8 Tsp. (or less)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

1 1/2 to 2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Warm (Room Temperature) Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Brandy
3/4 Cup Sugar (Berry Sugar)

Mix “liquid” ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly begin adding dry ingredients until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Form cookies by rolling a small amount in your hand and shaping into a short, plump, sausage looking lump. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all the cookies are rolled, delicately pinch the ends and squeeze gently toward the middle of the cookie. Now you will have a somewhat diamond shaped cookie. With the fork tines gently flatten the tops of all the cookies – only the top, not the whole cookie. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350° oven.

Set out wax paper (or parchment paper) sheets on the table. Crush 1 to 2 cups of walnuts and sprinkle over the sheets of paper.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Syrup:

1 Cup of Fragrant Honey
1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (my Canadian addition)
2 Tablespoons Brandy
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 Whole Navel Orange, small one – sliced
1 Whole Lemon – sliced
4 Sticks of Cinnamon
10 Whole Cloves
4 Whole Nutmeg

Bring the liquids (including syrups), to a boil and immediately remove from heat.  Add in the orange/lemon slices and whole spices.  Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 1/2 an hour and no more than 1 hour.  Must be quite warm for cookie dipping!  When cookies are ready to be dipped, with a slotted spoon remove the fruits & whole spices.

Walnuts:

Crush 1 1/2 cups of Fresh Walnuts in a food processor.  Sprinkle liberally over several sheets of wax paper.  I spread the wax paper, overlapping each piece, over a 4 x 4 foot (1.1 x 1.1 metre), square section of my kitchen table.

Once cookies are removed from the oven and have cooled for 2 – 3 minutes, dip them in the syrup ,

Simmering syrup - remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

Simmering syrup – remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

roll them over, remove and place on walnut covered sheets of wax paper. Sprinkle more crushed walnuts over all. When cooled arrange on a serving dish with more crushed walnuts under and atop the cookies (use the walnuts left on the wax paper).  Save remaining walnuts and syrup (in separate containers) to use on other desserts – Apple Crisp, Honey Cake, Walnut Cake or as a topping for Sweet Potato Pie!

Melamacarona!

Melamacarona!

That’s it … Enjoy!

ps. after all this work, when clean up is done … have a brandy with tea and a cookie. You deserve it! 🙂

Advertisements

Why Turkey?


Ever wonder what we would be dining on at our Christmas dinner if the Pilgrims had “found” a deer … moose … duck … fish … instead of a turkey … Yep, you get where I’m going with this …

Festive holiday dinners are for family, friends … sharing time, food and stories together.  A time of cheer, fun, love and laughter.  Stressing out over the cost, presentation and “perfection” of a holiday meal drains the spirit!  Whether you serve up a roast beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, lasagna, mousaka, ribs, fish, tofu, … a meal made with joy is one remembered by all.

After many years of large turkey dinners, that took at least 3 days to prepare (leaving me exhausted and a little cranky) … I changed tradition … egads!  The first Christmas we enjoyed a roasted chicken (roasted in the grocery store and spiced up and re-cooked by me), sweet potatoes, peas & carrots, green salad, a tomato salad and a store bought pie – it was relaxing, tasty and FUN!  Instead of waking up at 6 a.m. and stuffing a huge bird, we slept in – as much as possible when young children are a part of your life – opened gifts together, visited friends in the afternoon, revelled in the company of friends at dinner – and … clean up was soooo easy!  The following years were a mix of going to the mountains with friends/family,  dinner shared at a friends home or dinner at our table with guests bringing a dish to share – the dinner options are endless.  Make it simple, relaxing and fun!

This years’ menu for 10 will be a roast leg of lamb with potatoes – sweet and russet, broccoli & cauliflower salad, peas (must have!), pickled beets, tomato & avocado salad … maybe carrots, maybe a green salad – depends on what the day brings, another dish or two supplied by guests … add music, a few candles and voilà a celebration.  I am looking forward to enjoying the time with family and friends!  Beats stressing out over dinner and table settings … 🙂

Enjoy!  The perfection of a meal is in the love added by those who make it and the enjoyment of the loved ones sharing it.

Photos will be posted on Christmas Day!

Leg of Lamb

Lamb
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh garlic
Mustard
Oregano or Thyme
Black pepper
Cumin

Poke lamb and stuff with garlic cloves – as many as you like!
Pour lemon juice, wine and oil over – in this order – making sure that all areas are covered
Spread mustard – Dijon or regular – all over – except bottom
Sprinkle on herbs & spices
Start roasting, time depends on size and your oven!

Potatoes

Potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Garlic
Paprika

Cut up potatoes into bite size pieces.  Mix in the remaining ingredients (be liberal!)
Add to lamb roast.
Depending on size of pieces, cooking time is usually one hour.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli & Cauliflower – fresh
Lemon juice
Black pepper
(Is there a theme here?)

Place cleaned cauliflower head (take off leaves and cut out center – from the bottom) in a pot with approx. 4 cm. (2 inches) of water.
Arrange Broccoli “trees” around cauliflower
Steam, covered, medium to low heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
Drain and cut up in pot by running a sharp knife through the veggies in a checked pattern.
Drizzle oil, juice over all and sprinkle pepper.

 

Keep posted … More holiday recipes coming … with photos!

%d bloggers like this: