Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fried Cauliflower

     Thorough browning gives cauliflower an intense, lively flavor—with no need to resort to adding butter, cream or other common allergens. To get it to cook through, you need to cut it into small enough pieces.

1 cauliflower cut into small florets and fried

     3 Tb. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
     3-4 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
     small handful of chopped dill or parsley leaves (See Produce in the 

     Cut the cauliflower up into very small florets.  Heat the olive oil with 1/2 tsp. salt to medium heat in a very wide skillet. Add the cauliflower and stir it around so that all the pieces are coated with the oil.  Cook for several minutes, stirring very frequently, until the cauliflower pieces turn golden brown and become somewhat tender.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Adjust salt and stir in the parsley or dill.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spicy Marinade Without the Usual Allergens

     This very simple marinade is intense, tasty, and just a bit hot. 

Marinated, pan-seared sirloin.  Also try this marinade
on lamb or game meat 

     2 heads of garlic
     1/2 onion
     3 Tb. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     2 tsp. cayenne pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

Ready for the juicer.

     Crack open the heads of garlic and remove the hard stem bits (your juicer won't like them). There is no need to peel the individual garlic cloves. Put the garlic cloves through a juicer, followed by the half onion.  Stir in the remaining ingredients. The raw marinade will have an odd, slimy consistency. Don't worry about this effect: it will go away as soon as the meat starts to cook.  Marinate overnight.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Creamy Carrot Soup

     Carrot soup usually contains some amount of whipping cream and/or sour cream. These are delicious additions, and I highly recommend them as condiments (i.e. available on the table for folks with no allergy to dairy, not in the soup). Freshly squeezed lemon juice is an excellent alternative condiment, and chopped parsley leaves are a great garnish because they add just the right herbal note to the soup.
     Carrots are a starchy vegetable: this soup is thick and creamy without the addition of flour or any other starch.


     3 Tb. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 onion, chopped
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2 cloves garlic, sliced
     1 Tb. peeled, grated fresh ginger
     4 c. chicken stock (See Broth in the Glossary)
     1 lb. carrots, trimmed (These will cook faster if halved or quartered 

     Gently saute the onion in the oil with a good sprinkle of salt; do not brown. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until the garlic is softened up but not browned. Add the ginger, chicken stock and carrots; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until the carrots are thoroughly soft. Puree thoroughly, in batches, in a blender. Adjust salt. Garnish with parsley if you like.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Corn-Free, Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce


Glass jars are perfect for storing caramel sauce.

     The distinctive flavor of caramel comes from cooking sugar at a high temperature. Unfortunately, both cane sugar and beet sugar consist of sucrose, which has a nasty tendency to recrystallize while you're cooking it  If any bit of the sugar turns back into crystals, the rest quickly follows suit, leaving you with a mess that can't be salvaged. The addition of even a small amount of syrup made up of certain other sugars can prevent this.  Corn syrup is basically glucose and works like a charm, which is why practically everything "caramel" has corn syrup in it. Rice syrup has a couple of other sugars (no sucrose) and works fine too. Rice syrup has a pleasant flavor of its own, one I think actually adds a deep, rich note to the taste of caramel. Note that some rice syrup is not gluten-free, as the processing involves enzymes which may have been derived from barley. Watch for gluten-free syrup if this is an issue.

     1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (See Coconut and Milk in the Glossary)
     1/4 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     (optional) 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 cinnamon stick
     1 c. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. rice syrup*
     3 Tb. water
     6 Tb. palm oil shortening

     Put the coconut milk and salt in a small saucepan. This is your chance to add other flavors without including corn alcohol from extracts. Put in a cinnamon stick, or slice a vanilla bean lengthwise and toss it in. Experiment with other flavorings if you like (chipotle, cloves, whatever). Heat to boiling and turn down to a simmer.  

This is the color you want your syrup
 to reach.  Time to take it off the heat.
   In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar, rice syrup and water on medium high heat, stirring just until the sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture will then foam, bubble and, after a few minutes, start to turn darker.  When it turns the right shade of golden brown, take it off the heat. Pluck any vanilla bean or cinnamon stick out of the coconut milk mixture, and immediately whisk the coconut milk into the syrup.  Stir in the palm oil until it is really, thoroughly blended in (otherwise you will have lumps in your caramel sauce).  Refrigerate.

See the oily shine on top?
This caramel sauce needs
more whisking while it is
still hot.

*Note that some rice syrup is not gluten-free, as the processing involves enzymes which may have been derived from barley. Watch for gluten-free syrup if this is an issue.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Soy-Free Veggie Fried Rice

     Fried rice is one food you pretty much have to make for yourself if you can't have soy sauce. This version has plenty of seasoning but no soy, corn, sesame, or eggs. Obviously, you can have soy sauce (See Soy Sauce in the Glossaryand toasted sesame seeds on the side as condiments for the non-allergic. You can also cut a two-egg plain omelette into chunks and stir it into some or all the rice at the end if you like.

    To vary the recipe, replace some of the veggies with chunks of meat or mushroom (stir-fried separately, set aside, and added near the end of the cooking time). 

Fried rice with carrot, celery, broccoli stems and green tomatoes
(the veggies I had sitting in the fridge: this recipe is versatile)

     2 Tb. oil, any variety to which you are not allergic and which tolerates high 
          heat. (See Oil in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     3 c. hard veggies either all cut into chunks or all sliced thin, so that they 
          all get done at the same time (carrots, celery, cauliflower, onion, or 
          whatever you like and aren’t allergic to)
     3 c. cooked rice (See Rice in the Glossary)
     1 batch stir-fry sauce but leave out the tapioca starch.

     Heat the oil to medium high heat in a large skillet. (It is hot enough when a chunk of food sizzles and sputters when it is added to the pan.)  Add the veggies, sprinkle them with salt, and fry, stirring constantly, until they are softened but still crunchy.  Do not brown them. Add the rice and continue to cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is thoroughly hot.  Add the stir-fry sauce and continue to cook, stirring, for a few seconds, until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Vinegar-Free, Citrus-Free Cranberry Salad Dressing

     Cranberries have all the tartness and fruitiness needed to wake up a salad.  This easy salad dressing is also a brilliant, deep pink. Cranberries not being very sweet, they tend not to have much yeast growing on them. If you're concerned about the small amount that might be present, see Produce in the Glossary.

     1 c. fresh (or thawed frozen) cranberries
     1 c. olive oil  (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. tarragon leaves
     1/2 tsp. black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)

     Discard any berries that have started to go off.  Also take out any berries that have green spots (the blender may have trouble grinding them up). 
     Combine all ingredients in a good blender; blend thoroughly.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sushi Rolls

     Most sushi contains a variety of allergens: fish, yeast and possibly corn (in the vinegar), sesame, etc.  You can, however, make excellent sushi without any of these ingredients. Using a bit of lime juice in place of the usual vinegar does no harm to the flavor.

     1 c. rice (See Rice  in the GlossarySushi rice, being sticky, does an 
          excellent job of holding a sushi roll together, but  other  rice can be 
     1 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     3 Tb. white vinegar (See Vinegar in the Glossaryor 2 Tb. freshly 
          squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     (totally optional) 1/4 c. sesame seeds1 Tb. sesame seeds per sushi roll 
          containing  sesame seeds 
     4 sheets of nori (some nori has sesame seed oil on it: read the label)
     2 or 3 filling ingredients (your choice of raw fishask your grocer which fish are ok for sushi, slivered green onions, slivered raw carrot, cucumber strips  [See Produce in the Glossary], corn-free, yeast-free marinated daikon, slightly cooked spinach or whatever else you feel like using and aren't allergic to)

     Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Stir in the salt, sugar and vinegar or lime juice. Put the sesame seeds in a small pan over high heat and toast them, stirring constantly. As soon as the seeds are lightly browned, pour them out into a bowl so that the hot saucepan does not continue to cook them. Arrange your ingredients and a bamboo sushi rolling thing in front of you and you are ready to assemble the sushi rolls.  

Getting ready to make sushi with slivered green
onion, daikon pickle and carrot

     Use a wooden paddle (or the back of a big spoon) to spread ¼ of the rice onto the less shiny side of a sheet of nori, leaving one end of the nori uncovered.  

     Sprinkle 1/4 of the sesame seeds on top of the rice. If you need some of the rolls to be sesame-free, make those first, before there are stray seeds lying about your work area.

    Arrange the filling ingredients in a line on top of the rice.  Roll up using a bamboo rolling thing such that the uncovered end of the nori is on the top and can stick to the layer of nori below it, sealing the roll.

Ready to roll

     Slice with a sharp knife and serve with wasabi and/or
Sushi Dipping Sauce.

Soy-Free, Corn-Free, Sesame-Free, Fermentation-Free Stir-Fry Sauce and Sushi Dipping Sauce

     The purpose of stir-fry sauce is to add deep savory flavors, lively seasoning and texture to stir-fries.  This can be accomplished without soy, sesame, corn or fermentation products (soy sauce, coconut aminos, or vinegar). The sauce produced by the recipe given here, though not quite conventional, is tasty and has just the right level of tartness. By all means bring soy sauce and sesame oil out as condiments for those who aren't allergic to them. 

Stir-Fry Sauce

     4 c. chicken or beef stock (See Broth in the Glossary)
     3 Tb. freshly squeezed lime juice  (See Juice in the Glossary)
     good sprinkle of black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 knob of ginger, peeled and chopped fine
     3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
     salt to taste--the amount will vary according to how much salt was in the 
          stock (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1/2 Tb. or so tapioca starch, depending on how much you want the sauce 
          to thicken

     Reduce the stock to ½ cup; i.e., boil it until only ½ cup is left.  Stir in the remaining ingredients. Add to a stir-fry that is otherwise ready, then cook for a few seconds, until the sauce thickens.

Sushi Dipping Sauce

     For a condiment that perfectly complements sushi and egg rolls, follow the recipe above but leave out the tapioca starch and stir in 2 Tb. of gluten-free rice syrup. Note that some rice syrup is not gluten-free, as the processing involves enzymes which may have been derived from barley. Watch for gluten-free syrup if this is an issue. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Korean Brown Rice Tea

     Besides being a classic hot beverage with a mellow, toasty flavor, Korean brown rice tea can be enjoyed by most allergy sufferers, as it contains a single ingredient:

     short-grained brown rice (See Rice  in the Glossary

      If you're allergic to corn, use a brand of rice that doesn't have corn added. ("Enriched" rice generally has added corn.)     Pour a bowl of the rice into a saucepan or skillet over high heat (not the highest setting, but close to it).  Keep the bowl next to the stove. Stir the rice constantly until it is toasted. It should be nicely browned but not scorched, and some of the grains of rice should be popping open. Indeed, it should smell a bit like popcorn cooking (but not burnt popcorn). As soon as the rice is toasted, pour it back into the bowl so that the hot skillet does not continue to cook it.


Toasted rice

     To prepare, stir toasted rice into boiling water (one tablespoon or so of rice per cup of water) and keep the water hot for 15 or 20 minutes so the rice can steep.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mint Gelatin

Mint gelatin

     Mint jelly and mint gelatin are both great condiments for lamb.  
     Gelatin made with fresh mint leaves is refreshing, herbal and intense as well as sweet. It also contains no chemicals that might have been made from corn and has no chemical aftertaste.  I do usually add a couple drops of green food coloring, which may contain a very small amount of corn, because I don't like the color otherwise. I suppose I could color it red with a few drops of raspberry juice or something instead.

     2 cups cold water
     boiling water
     2 pkg. plain gelatin
     1 cup sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1 firmly packed cup of fresh mint leaves (See Produce in the 
     (optional) few drops of green food coloring

     Sprinkle the gelatin onto the cold water in a large bowl.  Set aside. Chop the mint fairly fine and simmer it with the sugar in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes.  

     Strain, and add enough boiling water (if necessary) so that you have 2 cups of the mint infusion.  Add this to the gelatin mixture and stir well, making sure the gelatin has thoroughly dissolved. Refrigerate.

                    The natural color of mint gelatin.                                  Mint gelatin with 2 drops of green food coloring added.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Eggplant Salad

     Eggplant salad is a classic Mediterranean dish that contains no major allergens (or corn, yeast, or sesame): this is one recipe I haven't had to tamper with. Any wax containing corn, soy, or dairy products on the outside of the eggplants or peppers is peeled off.

     2 medium eggplants 
     2 Anaheim peppers (You can easily substitute other peppers, but Anaheims 
          have plenty of pepper flavor without much heat and are especially easy 
          to peel.) (See Produce in the Glossary)
     juice from 1/2 lemon (See Juice in the Glossary)
     3 Tb. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     2-3 green onions, sliced
     4 cloves of garlic, pressed
     small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped roughly (
See Produce in 
          the Glossary)
     salt to taste (See Salt in the Glossary)

For this recipe you need around 2 cups of cooked eggplant,
or about this much raw eggplant. The index card on the right is 4" x 6
     You can cook the eggplants and peppers on a grill or about 6 inches under a broiler, turning as needed to cook them thoroughly on all sides. The eggplants should be well charred on the outside (this gives a distinctive smoky flavor) and very soft on the inside. The peppers should be softened up, and their peels should be brown and bubbling up. The eggplants will need more time than the peppers. Cover the eggplants and peppers with a lid and let them sit for a few minutes. Besides letting the vegetables cool off a bit, this allows steam from inside them to loosen the peels.
This is what the peppers and eggplants should look like
when you take them off the grill or out from under the broiler.

     Peel and chop the eggplants. Peel and chop the peppers. Stir in all remaining ingredients.  (Do not delay adding the lemon juice, or the eggplant will turn a yucky brown.)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Raspberry Lemonade

     Most commercial lemonade is made with corn syrup. Like other bottled fruit juices, it can also contain yeast and/or mold.  Fortunately, lemonade is very easy to make at home. If you happen to have some raspberries and aren't allergic to them, you can easily add a distinct raspberry flavor to your lemonade and turn it a pretty pink.

     2 c. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     8 c. water
     1/4-1/3 c. raspberry juice*

     Stir all the ingredients together. Chill.

*The easiest way to make raspberry juice is to put raspberries through a juicer.  Alternatively, you can break down some raspberries by heating them briefly on the stove, let them cool, pour them into a bowl through a strainer lined with cloth, and wring the rest of the raspberry juice through the cloth. This method wastes less raspberry juice than the juicer.

Corn-Free Vanilla Extract

This vanilla extract has steeped for several months.
You can see that the vanilla beans have turned
 the vodka quite dark.
     Vanilla extract, like extracts generally, is about a third alcohol. This is because alcohol is an excellent solvent for leeching tasty molecules out of plants. Because of the subsidy on corn in this country, the alcohol in an extract is likely to have been made from corn. Fortunately, it is very simple to make your own corn-free vanilla extract using vodka.  

     Not all vodka is made from potatotes.  A lot of it is “grain alcohol,” and there’s no way to be sure what grain they’re using. Look for potato vodka. 

     Even if you’re allergic to alcohol, you can flavor desserts with vanilla. Keeping a vanilla bean in your sugar canister works surprisingly well, but you will probably need to keep two sugar canisters: you probably don’t always want vanilla sugar in your green tea or your BBQ sauce. Alternatively, you can simply slit a vanilla bean open and scoop a small bit of the soft interior into pudding base or cake batter in place of vanilla extract. Stir it in thoroughly.

     8 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and cut into 1/2" chunks
     750-mL bottle of potato vodka

     Drop the cut vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka.  Let the mixture steep for at least a couple of months, giving it a shake once in a while.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tomato-Rice Soup

      This soup is an example of a recipe that could be salvaged and made nonallergenic with only minor substitutions.  The original recipe called for 2 Tb. of butter to be melted in 2 Tb. of olive oil.  To make it dairy-free I simply replace the butter with extra olive oil. This doesn't hurt the flavor of the soup a bit.  To make it corn-free, I use fresh, peeled tomatoes. Canned tomatoes and tomato products usually contain citric acid made from corn and/or soy. Grocery-store tomatoes are generally coated with wax, which may contain corn, soy, or dairy products. Peeled, fresh tomatoes are the best thing to make tomato soup out of in any case. Just dunk the tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds, then get them into a large bowlful of cold water.  The skins will pull off easily. If you need to avoid produce treated with ethylene gas (made from corn), the tomatoes need to be "vine-ripened."

     1/4 c. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     2 large celery stalks, sliced
     2 large carrots, sliced
     1 medium onion, chopped
     7-8 c. peeled, chopped, vine-ripened tomatoes (See Produce in the 
     1-1/2 tsp. basil (See Spices in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     4 c. water
     1/2 c. rice (See Rice  in the Glossary

     Gently saute the celery, carrots and onion in the olive oil with a good sprinkle of salt until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and water and bring to a boil.  Add the rice and simmer until the rice is done. Salt to taste.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hypoallergenic Broccoli Salad

     Most broccoli salad relies heavily on mayonnaise, which generally contains multiple allergens (corn, soy, eggs). I think the dressing I describe here is tastier, as well as containing fewer allergens. The maple syrup complements the bacon, and the mustard adds depth to the broccoli, to which it is related.

     It is important to pay attention to the sources of your ingredients. Bacon, for example, can contain corn syrup and/or soy additives, but doesn't always; Applegate Sunday Bacon, for example, consists entirely of pork, water, salt, cane sugar and celery powder and so is a good choice at my house.  Use real maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup; besides being corn-free, it tastes a whole lot better. Don't skip the step about peeling the tomatoes: one goal of peeling them is to get rid of their wax coating, which may contain corn, soy, or dairy ingredients. If you need to avoid white vinegar (corn, yeast), mix up your own mustard (click on the link provided: mustard is surprisingly easy to prepare yourself).

     4-6 slices bacon (See Bacon in the Glossary)
     4 c. broccoli cut into small florets
     2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (See Produce in the Glossary)
     3 green onions, trimmed and sliced
     (optional) 1-2 Tb. chopped dill leaves 
(See Produce in the Glossary)
     dressing (recipe follows)

     Fry the bacon and cut it into chunks; set aside. Prepare a large bowlful of very cold water. Fill a medium pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add the broccoli to the boiling water, bring it back to a boil, and cook for one minute. Dredge the broccoli out of the boiling water and immediately get it into the bowl of cold water. Leave it there until thoroughly chilled; drain it thoroughly and set it aside.  Get a fresh bowlful of cold water ready. Dunk the tomatoes into the boiling water. Scoop them out after about 15 seconds and get them into the bowl of cold water.  Leave them there for a couple of minutes. Take out, peel, seed, cut into chunks and set aside.

     Just before serving, combine the bacon, broccoli, tomatoes, green onions, dill and dressing. Adjust salt to taste.

The dressing:
     3 Tb. freshly squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     3 Tb. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. prepared mustard
     2 Tb. maple syrup
     1/2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)