Many families turn to meatless dishes during Holy Week. While giving up eggs and dairy products is optional during this period, some families choose to avoid these foods in observance of an ancient Lenten tradition. Here are recipes for meatless dishes that are also dairyless and eggless.

Double-baked Potato Skins

4 medium sized baking potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Pierce all the potatoes and bake in 400° F oven for one hour. Cool until they're easy to handle. Cut each potato in half, lengthwise and scoop out most of the potato flesh, leaving the skins about 1/4-inch thick.

Brush olive oil onto the skins and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400° F until the skins are crisp and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve with guacamole.

Guacamole

4 large avocados, peeled and diced

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 large tomato, finely diced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

chopped jalapenos to taste,

optional

Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately.

Fried Lemon Garlic Fish

2 lb haddock fillets, cut into 4-by-3-inch strips

Cooking oil

Batter:

1 cup flour, sifted

1 tsp each salt, lemon pepper, garlic

3/4 cup ice-cold water

1/4 tsp baking powder

Seasoning mix:

1 tsp each salt, sugar,

lemon pepper,

garlic granules

Mix the batter ingredients together in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Heat oil to 375° F in a deep frying pan. Dip 2 to 3 pieces of fish into batter, draining off excess, and add to the hot oil. Fry for 5 to 6 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Drain fried fish on paper towels and keep in a warm oven while you fry the rest.

After all the fish have been fried, serve on a big plate. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix for extra flavor.

Maltese Almond Cake

1 1/8 cups slivered blanched almonds

3 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Grated rind from 2 lemons and 2 oranges

2 tsp orange extract

1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350° F. Use a dry frying pan to toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring until they brown slightly. Take a third of these almonds and grind as finely as possible in a food processor.

Mix the ground almonds with flour, sugar, cinnamon and rinds. Stir in extract. Mix in the rest of the almonds. Slowly add water to make a stiff and sticky dough. You may not need to use all the water.

Form dough into rectangles 7 inches long, 2 inches wide and about 1 inch thick. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into 1 inch slices and serve.

adapted from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz available at www.Ignatius.com

Rose Capricio writes from Los Angeles