Flashback Tuesday: I’m enjoying the holidays with my family as I hope you are. This post appeared last year. The appetizers from my friend’s party were a hit. Enjoy! And Happy Holidays to you and your family.
It took another Amy–my friend Amy Brown–to teach me it’s okay to serve your nonallergic guests allergy-friendly foods.
Maybe it comes from having a husband who has yet to embrace gluten-free, dairy-free foods (to be fair, he doesn’t have to) that makes me think everyone else will feel the same way he does: Not going to try it if I don’t have to.
So I often go to the trouble of serving “regular” food at our social gatherings. A few years ago when we moved into our new home, I hosted a potluck open house where everyone brought an appetizer. As you might guess, there was very little for me to eat.
Then last year I hosted a holiday cookie exchange. I figured this was a fun way for my kids and my husband to get treats without me having to touch a stick of butter or sift flour. Ironically, it was over Christmas break last year that my younger son realized gluten was making him sick and my oldest son gave up everything dairy.
So when this holiday season came around, I decided to skip hosting a party. With our sons home, I just didn’t want to have foods around that they couldn’t enjoy. And frankly, I didn’t want to do all the work of preparing both allergy-free and regular foods.
Then I went to Amy Brown’s party. Take a look at this table of yummy appetizers:
The food was incredible! Amy and her husband, Brandon, follow a “Whole30” diet, eliminating grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes. This made many of the appetizers free of gluten, soy, and dairy! They did include some macaroni and cheese the kids devoured and deviled eggs that my husband devoured.
My favorite appetizer was incredibly simple: A BLT on a toothpick!
Then there were these adorable olive penguins.
And the zucchini wrapped around sausage with pesto and olive oil were fabulous.
Amy also made several types of dips, including one with eggplant and red peppers that she found at She Cooks . . . He Cleans (recipe follows). I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but I’ll be making this dip soon. I eat a lot of veggies and hummus, so–cover your ears, Amy–I wasn’t that excited to try the black bean hummus. But I did, and it was delish!
And who wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when presented this way?
Amy also served the gluten-free crackers on a separate plate and labeled them!
None of the guests seemed to notice the appetizers were “different” or “allergy-free” or “gluten-free.” The food was just good . . . actually, better than good. And oh so cute.
(Note this recipe includes sesame seeds)
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded
- 4 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (to start with…)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- juice of one lemon
- lots more good extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the eggplant up into 1-inch square pieces. (Before cutting, I like to take off some of the skin in stripes around the eggplant. Up to you.) Cut the red bell peppers into 1 inch strips. Toss the eggplant, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and several grindings of pepper.
Spread the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 35-45 minutes, tossing once during cooking, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Place the vegetables in a food processor; add the tahini, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, and another glug (or two) of olive oil. Process in pulses until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Try to avoid over-processing or it will become paste-like in texture.)
Drizzle with more olive oil on top, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Appetizers for an Allergic Foodie originally appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie. Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Dip originally appeared at She Cooks . . . He Cleans. Thank you to Amy Brown for sharing these treats and photos.