Lox and bagels has been one of my favorite breakfast meals since I was very, very small. For as long as I can remember, my parents had a tradition we followed every New Year's Day. They've never been big on partying for New Year's Eve, so every year we would get up relatively early, go buy fresh bagels and lox, pick up cream cheese, and then eat it while we watched the Rose Parade.
When I was in high school, my mom and I made one of our bi-annual trips to visit my Grandma Plum Blossom (my mother's mother) and my mother's sister Lavender and her husband near Denver, Colorado. My mother's other sister was also visiting with her husband Cilantro and their children. Aunt Lavender called us at our hotel and asked if we could pick up capers on the way to her house one morning, since it was rare for the whole family to be together and we were going to splurge and have lox and bagels.
My mother and I rushed to the nearest grocery store, grabbed a jar of what looked like capers and then drove into the Rockies to my Aunt's house. Since we were all hungry, we all began to serve ourselves and dove in. I noticed that the capers seemed to have some heat to them, but no one really said anything and we all gulped them down fairly quickly. My Uncle Cilantro, however, had slept in, and he came in afterward to eat, and I decided to sit and talk with him while he ate. After a few bites he said, "Wow, these capers are like little flavor bombs that just explode in your mouth." He commented on it a few more times and I realized it hadn't just been me and my usual heat-free taste buds. I finally got up and looked at the jar and realized that we had bought a jar of peppercorns. We all had a good laugh at that and Aunt Lavender teased that she could never ask us to buy anything again.
This past New Year's Day, my boyfriend Serrano and I got up early and drove to Whole Foods so that we could eat lox and bagels and watch the Rose Parade. Much to my dismay, it was easy to find dairy free cream cheese and gluten free bagels, but not gluten and dairy free bagels. I ate them anyway, but I felt guilty eating the bagels, which is never a good feeling. This is one thing I think people without food allergies don't always understand: yes, something with gluten and dairy may taste better, but it doesn't make you feel better. Whether it causes you physical pain or not, you can't enjoy your food when you feel guilty for eating it.
This is why I was very excited when I saw Udi's Bagels at Whole Foods today. If you're unfamiliar with Udi's, they make excellent gluten and casein free products (my Aunt Lavender was the first to tell me about them) like bread, pizza crusts, granola, muffins, and bagels. I didn't change the recipe much, since I don't like to mess with greatness. It just feels so much better to eat something and know that it won't harm your body or cause you pain.
Gluten and Casein Free Lox and Bagels
1 Udi's Gluten and Casein Free Bagel
Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese Alternative (or Tofutti Cream Cheese)
Red Onion, chopped
4 slices Tomato
If desired, toast the bagel to your liking. When done, spread desired amount of cream cheese onto both bagel halves. Place desired amount of capers and chopped red onion onto the cream cheese (I put about ten capers and a few pieces of red onion). Cut the tomato slices in half and arrange over the capers and red onion. Finally, arrange the smoked salmon over the tomato. You can put the two halves together and eat like a sandwich if you like, or eat each half separately. Serve with your favorite breakfast drink or cocktail and enjoy!