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Picky, allergic, downer friends for St. Patrick's Day. Help.

*insert long sigh of exasperation here*

A group of friends will be coming to my house for St. Patrick's day dinner. Most of them are willing and adventurous eaters, except for one couple. She is allergic to black pepper and olives (which means no olive oil), he is allergic to garlic and onions. I sympathize with this, really, and I don't hold it against them. Both of them are also pretty picky, which I sympathize with much less given that they are adults.

These are lovely people, who I adore, but cooking a meal they'll be attending means either a) driving myself crazy figuring out what to cook that doesn't involve olive oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, or anything they just don't like, or b) telling them the ingredients of every dish and letting them sort out what to eat and what to avoid, which means they'll miss out on some of the good stuff. I feel like if I go with A, I'm punishing the rest of the group, but if I go with B, they're getting a pretty raw deal.

Advice? Recipes? Sympathy? Help of any kind is much appreciated.


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  1. Maybe some cabbage braised in butter instead of olive oil.....are red pepper flakes OK? I'm just thinking about how Molly Stevens's recipe from "All About Braising" could be adapted- I bet it would still be good even without the onion, black pepper and olive oil. :)

    Mashed potato cakes- set aside part of the mixture with just salt, maybe some thyme, perhaps sauteed bell peppers? For the rest, add the scallions, pepper, etc. Anything that is coated in panko and sauteed in butter till crisp will probably go over OK with unadventurous eaters.

    You could also bake some salmon very plainly with salt and perhaps some dill....or make simple panko-coated chicken strips (the darling of kids menus) or cutlets. Make a Guinness mustard sauce for the adventurous: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
    (May want to cut with mayonnaise, yogurt, etc. instead of serving straight-up mustard


    A nice tossed salad can have a vinaigrette that uses vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

    Irish soda bread should be just fine.....

    What is it that you'd really want to make if you didn't have any restrictions? In some cases, a swap out or melted butter for olive oil could work out fine. But it might be harder to adjust other types of recipes, like meat braises that rely on alliums in the base.

    Good luck!

    6 Replies
    1. re: 4Snisl

      Thanks for your suggestions. I do know that they like fish -- salmon might be a good idea. And I'm definitely planning on making soda bread or Irish brown bread.

      Cabbage, though! I was going to make corned beef and cabbage until I discovered that they both detest it and have always thought of it as something parents force-feed their kids. It never occurred to them that someone might actually *like* it! ;) LOL.

      My second thought was Irish stew, but again, can it be made without onions without tasting totally insipid?

      1. re: LauraGrace

        I'm not sure about a stew without onion or garlic! Leeks are probably off the list as well?

        The braised cabbage dish is absolutely delicious- very entertainment-friendly, since it reheats well, and is prettied-up with the addition of carrots. If I had to have someone change their mind about cabbage, this is the dish I'd use for convincing. :) Since it's totally separate, instead of integrated into a main dish, I wouldn't feel bad about offering it and knowing that they would probably opt out of serving themselves some. More for everyone else, right? :)

        1. re: LauraGrace

          I don't like cucumbers and, when served a salad with them, I just don't eat those parts. Same with cabbage.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Yes you can make Irish stew with out onions. Lamb,potato and parsnips all you need you could use carrots in place of parsnips

            1. re: LauraGrace

              Since they're turning up their noses at corned beef and cabbage, I think you have invited them to the wrong holiday dinner. Try, say, Easter and give them a souffle or frittata and hope they don't develop an aversion to eggs in the interim.

              For me, a proper St Paddy's day meal consists of corned beef and cabbage with onions, potatoes, and probably carrots, all cooked in my large slow cooker. I would have some peasant-style bread with this. I could cook the potatoes separately if someone wished to avoid them.

            2. re: 4Snisl

              Frankly I don't think olive oil has to be in the food you're cooking all the time. I cut it with butter, or sometimes use vegetable oil. I much prefer it for dipping bread and salads, and to finish dishes. I am making two corned beef, red potatoes,cabbage and carrots.
              One is for my sons to take to their house, and they really could care less about the onions so. I can leave those out. I don't need fresh garlic in the corned beef either, its really about the pickling spices. Granulated garlic will work just find sometimes, can they tolerate that? My suggestion is that there is nothing to compare the cabbage to that's cooked in the broth of the corned beef and the pickling spices. I roast mine so I do do it a little differently using a marinade of mustard, brown sugar and garlic powder. I baste it every hour, and it really makes a difference. The corned beef are not that expensive, you could them their own, a small flat cut one and you'd cover it all. Allergies, and St. Patty's Day.

            3. What do you usually cook for get togethers? I just imagined a lot of dinner menus without olives, olive oil, garlic, and black pepper. And even without onions. I was thinking selected Asian, selected Mexican, selected Japanese ...

              ... so what do you usually cook?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Or, what do they cook for you all??

                1. re: Sarah

                  We often eat sushi or Japanese when we go out, and I know they're both big fans of that because it doesn't require any of the things they dislike or don't eat. Not very Irish, though, sushi. ;)

                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  As to St. Patrick's Day itself, that should not be too much of a problem - maybe boiled bacon and cabbage or salmon and potatoes, soda bread, lots of appropriate beer and whiskey.

                3. Well first I give sympathy. First off don't give up on corned beef and cabbage, it's so simple to prepare and your guests who like that type of food will LOVE it.

                  since there is so much difference in what your guests can eat maybe adding a shepherd's pie to go along with the corned beef and cabbage could be good. Or an irish stew, if you make it the night before the omission of onions and garlic might not be so noticeable in flavor. If yo make the stew with beef adding guiness and letting it sit overnight makes it have a really nice depth with malty flavor. Add some irish soda bread and potato rolls and you are good to go

                  What about dessert, like an irish cream bread pudding or and irish cream cheesecake? that would top it off well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yesidid

                    But corned beef is often brined with black pepper and/or garlic, so that would be out as far as allergies go.

                    I think that goodhealthgourmet has some good advice. If they are good friends, it might be best to ask for a suggestion for a simple dish that they would enjoy and be comfortable eating. That way, everyone would be happy. And for potatoes, etc., maybe you could use canola and butter instead of olive oil, and they can partake of that, their requested casserole, and soda bread if they wish.

                    I agree that making everything to their liking isn't fair to you or the group as a whole, but it sounds like you love them and want to accommodate them within reason. What a friend/group mate! Keep us posted.

                  2. I sympathize. It appears that potluck is not the norm in these dinners. In cases like this, I think of making an extra couple of main dishes. In fact, I would call the allergic picky folks up with my own initial ideas about extra foods and see whether they liked them or had further ideas. I would NOT turn away from making the things that I felt were most compelling for the main crowd and theme.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      Sorry to hear that, LG. That's very annoying, and you are such a nice friend for being so accommodating. Being picky seems so sad and horrible. There is so much good food in the world.

                      It would be helpful to know what they like and dislike. I can think of some ideas that avoid garlic and onions (bacon, mushrooms and thyme are nice together, with maybe a splash of sherry) but I would hate for you to go to all this trouble and have them not eat it. Also, do you need make-ahead foods, or are you going to be cooking right before your friends come over?

                    2. Mr. Clam is allergic to black pepper too. It's not as much of a PITA as one might think. (Especially compared to his beef allergy.) The red pepper flakes as mentioned above are an okay substitute. Others are tabasco sauce, cayenne and various paprikas.

                      Now garlic and onions? Wow, that's a bummer. You have my sympathy!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: clamscasino

                        IKR? Garlic AND onions. I think I would die. Fully 3/4 of my dinners involve both of those.

                      2. As someone with Celiac I say go with B. I don't expect everyone to eat around me, but appreciate knowing what I can and can't eat. As long as they have some things to nosh on it is fine. I would take into account their allergies and maybe major dislikes, but they are adults and if they don't like it they can eat before hand. Let them know the menu ahead of time, and if they are wary of it they will eat ahead of time and enjoy the company nibbling on a bit politely.

                        I am not that familiar with Irish food, but bread and dessert would work. Cheese, salad, veggie sides, fish, potatoes can all be had without those ingredients. <y boss is allergic to onions and garlic and so caterers will often make one allergen gree meal for the two of us - good caterers do well, but more time the gluten free/onion - garlic free option is overcooked salmon with nothing on it and rice... point is, we are used to having mediocre accomadtions, so anything nicely prepared makes me happy.

                        1. Can they eat shallots, or are they allergic to the whole allium family? If the former, you might make beouf bourguignon or carbonnade, subbing shallots for the onions. Either would still taste wonderful. Use vegetable oil, butter, bacon grease or a combination instead of olive oil for the browning and sweating steps. Maybe a little cayenne or hot paprika to flavor the sauce. Can she tolerate white pepper? In a nod to St. Patty's, you could sub Guinness for the Belgian beer in the carbonnade.

                          As for what they don't *like*, I would worry less about that. Allergies are one thing; preferences are another. So often people try something they "don't like" prepared by someone else, and surprise...they like it. Food preferences form so early, and people hold onto them so dearly, that they forget to allow for the fact that tastes change as we age.

                          This is coming from a girl who used to extract each and every single cooked or raw onion from everything her parents cooked. :)

                          Serve with potatoes and supplement with salad and homemade rolls. I can't see how they'd dream of complaining.

                          Carbonnade recipe (with thanks to bushwickgirl for the inspiration) here: http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                            Oh good lord, carbonnade. I've been wanting to try that for AAAGES. Mmm... thanks for the link.

                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                              The referenced carbonnade recipe calls for only ONE lb. of meat!!! I find it's not worth it to make a pot of stew with under three or four lbs. Stew leftovers are very good.

                              I am suspicious of any recipe lacking in common sense.

                              1. re: Sharuf

                                You're welcome to double my recipe. It makes a delicious Carbonnade. The person who shared the original recipe with me mentioned she often doubles it.

                                Anyway, when you're only cooking for two people, 1 lb. is plenty. We had leftovers for another meal. Then again, we don't subsist on meat alone. For us, that's just common sense.

                                1. re: Sharuf

                                  "I am suspicious of any recipe lacking in common sense."

                                  I LOVE this!

                                  And I would pick B -- if they have all of those allergies/preferences, they should be used to it by now and know to ask, too. Which is not to say that you should put garlic and onions in every dish, for example, but I wouldn't make the whole meal without them. As with the vegetarians in my family, we adjust some recipes to suit everyone (for ex., cooking the potatoes sep. from the roast chicken). But some dishes don't work well like that, and they/we make other foods to compensate (or they don't eat that part. dish.)

                              2. If you made corned beef and cabbage for everyone else, some nice poached or baked salmon for the picky eaters, mashed potatoes (without pepper) for all, and a green salad either with dressing made with non-olive oil, or with a choice of dressings on the side, and Irish soda bread, that would be a very nice meal, properly St Patrick-like, and would suit everyone. You are a very nice friend!

                                1. I used to have a friend like this (the picky part, not the allergy part). I think she lived on frozen cheese pizza, mac n' cheese, grilled cheese, and chicken fingers. At some point I just gave up and always made her a very simple spaghetti dish with homemade tomato-butter sauce (no garlic or onions or pepper) with lots of Parmesan. I let her know she was more than welcome to have as much of the other items on the table as she wanted, but that I wouldn't be offended if she just ate her pasta. It made having her over for dinner a far more enjoyable experience for both of us.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                    I would avoid making salmon for them because others might want it too. I would buy a rotissery chicken from the store and offer them that. You can refrigerate it and heat it in the microwave. If you think they will starve with just that you could microwave a potato or too. That's plenty.

                                    I would not base the menu around their likes and dislikes.

                                    The other option is to tell them what's on the menu and invite them to bring something they would prefer.

                                    1. re: Rhee

                                      store-bought rotisserie chicken is pretty much always prepared with black pepper...and occasionally olive oil.

                                    2. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                      Nice considerate and easy approach: give you pestle another inch.

                                    3. Here's a link to a nice medley of veggies that I've served with corned beef. It 's colorful, no black pepper or olive oil, etc.


                                      1. I would make whatever you want and then add a couple of plain side dishes that others could have, too, like buttered noodles, rolls. I would not make two dishes of the same thing, leaving out what they might not like, nor would I specially make anything just for the two of them. With allergies to black pepper, olive oil, garlic and onions, I wouldn't buy anything premade, unless you're sure it doesn't have any of that. I don't think going with option B means they're getting a raw deal--allergies they have to deal with but pickiness is their choice. People who are picky are happy with plain food and do not feel deprived if they don't have what everyone else is having.

                                        1. I don't expect menus to be planned around my allergies; if there are pecans or walnuts in a dish I just load up on other dishes.

                                          Pickiness is another (annoying) issue. My opinion is that picky eaters are probably used to leaving an event hungry and going home to eat cereal. I try to offer some basic food items (I'm offering ham and dinner rolls as my picky-eater fare for Easter) for them, but I'm not going out of my way to accomodate their quirks.

                                          1. OK, I also congratulate you for accommodating these people. Now, two suggestions from my kitchen: one, I do not cook with olive oil, ever. I read somewhere that it releases toxins at a certain temp so I only use it uncooked now. My choice oil is grapeseed, which works at all kinds of temperatures and tastes neutral. Two, I always have white pepper in my spice rack. It's got a great flavor and you can get it in a grinder at most grocers. I think it would be a better sub for black pepper than red.

                                            Good luck.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: MMaineroe

                                              I've never heard of anyone wih an allergic reaction to pepper. I mean how does one avoid that when dining out, surely its in there somewhere.
                                              Anyway back to your suggestions. I use white pepper often enough to know its better in some cases than black. Is it really ok for someone with an allergy to use that instead?

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                black pepper allergies are rare, but very real, and can be just as serious as other more common allergies. people who are allergic to black pepper should really avoid white & green pepper as well, because they're all the fruit of the same plant, just in different stages of ripeness...though technically white pepper is just the seed within, while black & green include the outer hull.

                                                if i were cooking for someone with a black pepper allergy i wouldn't use white or green either unless they *assured* me that it was safe to do so.

                                            2. Wow! I leave my laptop at home just one day...

                                              Thank you SO much, hounds, from the bottom of my wee heart! These are all great suggestions and I feel much better about the whole thing. Whew!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                You have lots of great suggestions already, I have just a couple

                                                (1) Since they are only part of your group, you shouldnt feel compelled to build your whole meal around them. or have every dish eatable by them. In a mixed group this becomes madness.
                                                (2) Having adequate acceptable choices for this couple is the key.I would normally make sure there were a couple different main course choice and serve buffet. If you just cook one major dish, say a pasta dish or eggplant parmigiana, which they as well as others can share, and some vegetables not seasoned with any of their no-nos, along with some bread, say, t here should be no room for complaint on their part. I attend and cook for small church functions where some are vegetarians say, or some cant eat nuts. Its always possible to make sure that there is one non-meat dish or something for people who have problems with nuts and seeds.

                                                (3) If you decide to go the route of cooking one meal for all, You can usually omit pepper and offer it as a table condiment, but Id caution on relying on cooking with white pepper - chances are that someone who cant eat black pepper would also have an issue with white, which is the same fruit with the outer shell removed.

                                                (4) In the end you cant do much about picky eaters. They just dont like very much and there isnt a high likelinood you will please them no matter wnat you do. make a reasonable effort and let it go.

                                                Good luck.

                                              2. I was also brought up not to expect menus to be planned around my allergies or pet peeves. As a guest I should be happy to be included and will appreciate the company which is always more important than the food, even the best food.
                                                Therefore as the considerable hostess that you obviously are, just make whatever you want and your gracious guests will be happy to be invited and enjoy the evening and eat whatever they are not picky about.

                                                1. It's actually a good thing that they detest corned beef and cabbage. That way, they won't feel they are missing out on the good stuff. And yet, you can get away with making it bc it's st. patrick's day. If it is not a sit down dinner with courses, I would suggest some irish smoked salmon, which would stay with the irish theme and, except for the corned beef and cabbage itself, make sure the rest of the sides meet their requirements. So long as there is something nice for them to eat, and if they are lovely people, they will appreciate the effort that you have made to provide for them. If you go with cooked salmon, yes, you will have to make enough, so that anyone wants some can have it.

                                                  1. HAHA I'm sorry, nothing useful to add, but every time I scroll past this post title I laugh out loud to myself. You are a good friend. I would also go with B. Being parent of a child with fatal allergies, and allergies of my own, I NEVER expect to be accommodated, and find it almost embarrassing if I am because I hate to put them out.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: toutefrite

                                                        Yup most of us learn to bring stash with us or prepare to be hungry when we get home and never forget allergy med just in case. We have to be on gaurd all the time use to such stuff.

                                                      2. i think there are a few ways to go, but it is my general opinion that you needn't make the meal entirely friendly, as others have suggested, but supply them with ingredients, so they may make decisions as they please.

                                                        easily you could roast chicken - on a bed of fennel, celery and carrots, tossed with vegetable or canola oil, stuffed with lemon and thyme (no garlic :( ), brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper

                                                        make your own sausages and mashed taters, and if desired make the majority as you prefer with any forboden ingredients, but make a few safe ones for the allergenic folk

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                          no pepper on the chicken - apparently she's allergic to that too :(

                                                          might be difficult to find sausage without pepper or garlic in it, and it wouldn't be "bangers & mash" without onions...but roast beef with mashed potatoes could work. this is a tough one!

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            ugh... yes pepper, sigh...

                                                            i say maybe make your own bangers.... if you feel like it.. and use shallots instead of onions...

                                                        2. Thanks again, everybody. I think I've decided on salmon, roasted, with fennel and shallots (which are ok, AFAIK -- it's not all alliums, just onions and garlic). Others are bringing the sides and we should have several, so hopefully, problem solved.

                                                          Would you believe that they're also non-drinkers? LOL. Good thing I love 'em so much or they'd be uninvited from EVERYTHING. ;) I'll just have to drink their pints of Guinness FOR them.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                            1. re: LauraGrace


                                                              I would like to suggest maybe corned beef hash as a side.It would at least represent the holiday that you had intended to celebrate.Corned beef won't be the star of the meal and it won't offend the picky eaters who equate it with dog food :-)

                                                              When invited to celebrate Thanksgiving there is usually a turkey involved.When invited to a St.Patricks day celebration corned beef is usually involved.

                                                              Have a nice time and please let us know how it went.

                                                              Take Care,Robin

                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                ummmm can I have the salmon instead of the corned beef? LOL!
                                                                Get ready!

                                                              2. The Hornby Island Cookbook has a very good recipe for St Patrick's day..................
                                                                6 potatoes and a six pack of Guinness .......put the potatoes in the fidge and drink the six-pack

                                                                1. Cook whatever YOU want to cook, and offer to serve each of them a broiled half chicken with potatoes if they can't or won't eat what you want to serve.

                                                                  Corned beef and cabbage does not require olive oil, and I actually have a slight allergy to black pepper myself and have no issues eating that. You can also make braised lamb shanks, but use a vegetable oil. Is he really allergic to garlic? How about shallots? Maybe you can use those? You can even make a lamb stew. Just please don't tell me that they are allergic to beer.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: RGC1982

                                                                    Half a chicken each??? People in the US sit down and eat half a chicken each???

                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                      Depends on the size of the chicken, but they are sold this way at rotisserie chicken joints. I always think it's way too much food.

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        For international clarity about what Americans eat (I am one): I think that many will in fact consume half of a broiler which here is usually in the mid-3lbs (about 1.5kg) size. I think I've been that person more than once, but usually, my family of 2 adults and one ten year old will have a breast left over from a whole chicken.

                                                                        When people get a half chicken in a restaurant, I think it's usually a good bit smaller. Does anyone know restaurant norms?

                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                          I'm also an American, born and raised in California. When I left decades ago, a Quarter Pounder was noteworthy because it was so big. We ate a lot of chicken, but never half each. Of course, when I left there was much less morbid obesity in the US.

                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            I was just at a restaurant where the smallest burger was 1/4 pounds. We were talking about how the quarter pounder used to be the big burger. At the same time, when I worked at McD's about 30 years ago (can it be that long ago??), the small fries and small drinks were available to all--now they're only part of the Happy Meal. The small fries people order these days are the size of large fries of the past. And, who needs 64 oz. of soda???

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              I don't really consider 4 oz. of ground beef (pre-cooked) a too large serving.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                nothing wroing with a 4 oz burger - and by the way there were big macs back then too - its good food - the more relevant question is what its being eaten with - a pile of fries, a shake, a fried apple pie you have a recipe for dietary overload. The whole concept of fast food value meals, let along supersizing, is miserable. BTW we are really offtopic here.

                                                                                Hope the OP has a great St Paddy's observance!

                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                re: chowser:

                                                                                It's a 64 oz cup with 75% ice, remember.

                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            Not this people, Sam. If we cook eight pieces of chicken for guests, we cut the breasts in half making it 10 pieces. A cornish hen serves two. I think a half a chicken as a serving is insane.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              I don't quite understand what you're saying, c oliver, about cooking eight pieces of chicken for guests and then cutting the breasts in half to make 10. If you're cooking chicken pieces, why not just cook the right number of pieces to begin with?

                                                                              Or, are you saying a single roasted chicken should serve 8 to 10?

                                                                              If so, I more or less agree with you, though, I think 8 to 10 is a tad unrealistic. I think about 6 to 8 portions out of an average roasted chicken is more in the range. The MAX portion size for an adult is a quarter chicken, but, really, I think the right portion size is somewhere between 1/4-1/8 chicken, depending on the guests, the bird, etc.

                                                                              I can't ever imagine a half chicken as a single portion. We go to a fried chicken place that serves a half chicken dinner and we always go with the expectation of leftovers or of splitting the hlaf chicken (between two of us), still with leftovers. Truth be told, we seldom split the half chicken dinner at our fried chicken place (even though it's more than enough food) because we usually want the same cuts (dark meat!), and we don't agree on or like to split the sides. So, we usually each get our own "half chicken" dinners, then plan on leftovers...

                                                                              If I were planning for guests, though, I think I'd plan on allowing 1/4 chicken per person, knowing there would probably be leftovers. (I love leftovers, so, not a problem.)


                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                I just meant that if I have a whole or a cut-up chicken, that's eight pieces (two breast halves, thighs, legs and wings). We'll cook those breast pieces as they are and then cut in half before serving. Two reasons: usually one is too big a serving IMO and also sometimes more than two people want white meat. But, no, I don't think that would serve 8 or 10 people. Certainly one wing isn't a serving (although I'm always happy if I can snag both of them!). I was just making the point that a whole chicken, in my house, is WAY more than two servings.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                I cut my roast chickens into 20 pieces Asian style - quickly and as cleanly as possible - and plate on the serving dish so that the pieces are re-assembled as if still a whole chicken . Everyone can usually get enough of the part of the bird that they want.

                                                                          3. My hats off to you for thinking about your friends' food allergies/dislikes/tastes. We have some family dietary restrictions (medically imposed) in our family too and it's rare that any of our friends or neighbors take them into account when planning menus for us. Hopefully your friends will appreciate it. They should! Happily, we're extremely adventuresome eaters so more often than not, it's our restrictions that get lifted rather than us not eating something someone else has prepared. We just pay the price later....

                                                                            Sorry if there's any repeat here. I admit I didn't fully get through the first 50+ replies. St. Patrick's day without potatoes of some sort seems, well, un-American... :)

                                                                            Since you didn't say that dairy is off the menu, I'd go for scalloped potatoes, twice baked or mashed potatoes and let people pepper them individually. We've started making scalloped potatoes with sweet potatoes recently and use a combination of asiago, cheddar, parmesan and aged gouda as a cheese mix. We use salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (just a bit) and a tiny bit of nutmeg to season each layer. Then a can of evaporated milk (or more, depending on size of dish). Really great! You could easily leave out the black and red pepper and let your guests season individually at the table. We also use onion and garlic in the dish--this would be a bit tougher to do individually, but it would still be good, just a bit blander.

                                                                            Fish, chicken, steak...same drill. Easy to prepare in any number of ways without pepper or olive oil and people can always pepper individually at the table. You could easily replace the olive oil in most any dish w/ canola or grapeseed oils, both of which are relatively healthy and pretty neutral taste-wise (particularly relative to olive oil, which is strongly flavored (but wonderful)).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: wholefoodie

                                                                              thanks for the idea of the scalloped sweet potatoes. It made me remember that my mother always used canned milk, as we called it, for her devine scalloped potatoes.

                                                                            2. for your consideration the menu i served for a st. patrick's day dinner on saturday so we could get everyone together:

                                                                              smithwicks beer.

                                                                              seared scallops and sriracha devilled eggs topped with salmon roe on spring greens.

                                                                              onion soup.

                                                                              baked salmon, colcannon, grilled asparagus, halved campari tomatoes.

                                                                              soda bread.

                                                                              dessert -- cookies, coffee and baileys.

                                                                              i'll happily accommodate allergies, medically necessary diets, and vegetarian diets. if the chosen diets change often i'll disregard for purposes of planning...my friend who has been vegetarian for 30 years gets my complete cooperation. if i feel it's about manipulation or attention gathering i'd invite and let them find their own balance. one or two diva episodes would finish the invites.

                                                                              1. I am allergic to oloves to and even grocery store is treacherous place. Recipes sandwhich wraps. Grilled burgers wkth toppings set to side for ones enjoyment nothing on burger during or before grilling. That's all I got. This week for me is safe pizza rolls and easier said then found and blueberries and cream cheese on bread sometimes fake sushi style other times sandwich style.and Ice cream bars. Olives and olive oil are ever where. Seriously some soap even has olive oil or olive extract in it its so odd.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: majormanfemale

                                                                                  Sorry. Couldn't understand a word. "Safe pizza rolls"???????????
                                                                                  Out of here.

                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                    Don't worry about it I go on tagent some times. Marinara and speghtii sauces often have olive oil so reading ingredients is key.