Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hypoallergenic Apple Pie


     Besides the multiple allergens in most pie crust (wheat, shortening made of corn and soy), commercial fruit fillings for pie are generally thickened with cornstarch and/or wheat flour. If corn and wheat are both a problem at your house, it may be time to learn to make pie. 

     Apples vary quite a lot in terms of their sweetness, tartness, juiciness and tendency to soften up when cooked. Adjusting your recipe to the apples at hand can be tricky; I think it's easier to always use the same variety and tweak your recipe until you get it just the way you like it. I use Yellow Delicious apples because they soften up nicely but don't release a huge amount of juice. I don't like the filling to be really wet: for one thing, it can sog up the bottom crust.  
     1/2 c. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     2-3 T. tapioca starch
     1/4 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1/2 tsp. cinnamon (See Spices in the Glossary)
     ripe Yellow Delicious apples (enough to produce 5-6 cups of apple slices 
          (See Produce in the Glossary)
     (optional) sprinkle of freshly squeezed lemon juice (See Juice in the 

     Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

     In a medium bowl, stir the sugar, tapioca starch, salt and cinnamon together; set aside.  Wash, quarter, and peel some apples.  (The point to peeling is to remove any corn-, soy- or dairy-containing wax on the surface or any trace of mold or yeast growing on the outside of the apple. If you aren't allergic to any of these things, you can skip this part.) 

Ready for a top crust or some crumble

     Remove every bit of the core from each quarter, and slice it into ~1/3-inch slices. When you have 5-6 cups of apple slices, toss them with the sugar mixture. 

     Distribute the apples evenly in a pie plate (with or without a bottom crust). Sprinkle with a little lemon juice if you want.

Remember that you can totally skip
the part about making pie crust. Put
some crumble on top of apple pie
filling and start baking.

     Top with either a top crust or one recipe of crumble and  bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-55 minutes, until the crust and/or crumble are lightly browned.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy asparagus soup garnished with bacon and mild red pepper

     The thick "creaminess" of this soup comes from the rice (or potato). One advantage of not using a dairy product (besides not setting off a dairy allergy) is that you can add a whole new flavor dimension with a squirt of lemon juice— without having to worry that your soup will curdle.

     2 Tb. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 chopped onion
     1 pound washed, trimmed* asparagus (~2 bundles)
     6 c. chicken broth (See Broth in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1/2 c. rice 
(See Rice in the Glossary) or one potato, cut up

     Saute the onion in the oil on medium heat with a good sprinkle of salt just until the onion is translucent; do not brown. Add the asparagus, the chicken broth and a sprinkle of black pepper. Bring to a boil, add the rice (or potato), and simmer until the rice is thoroughly cooked (20-30 min). Puree in a blender.  Put through a strainer if necessary. Adjust salt to taste.

     Garnish with chopped crispy bacon (see Bacon on this page), chopped dill leaves, crushed red pepper flakes or lemon wedges if you like.

*You want to trim off all the hard, woody part at the base of the asparagus spear: otherwise, your soup is likely to end up with lumps in it.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic and Herbs

     Have you ever suffered from jealousy in an Italian restaurant while your friends happily dunked fresh, warm bread into garlicky olive oil and snarfed it down—as you realized your food wouldn't arrive until they got done? @#$%^ allergies to wheat and yeast!  This classic Italian dish is the best revenge I know of: make it for yourself and don't share it with anyone who doesn't have food allergies. This dish has no hidden allergens: if you're not allergic to rice, garlic or olives, it should be fine. Note that you can change the character of the dish substantially by varying what herbs you include and their proportions.

Olive oil with garlic and herbs on Tinky√°da white rice spaghetti

     1 lb. spaghetti, fettuccini or other pasta (See Pasta in the Glossary)
     1/2 c. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     6 garlic cloves, minced
     1/2 c. gently packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (stripped off their 
          stems and washed) (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. gently packed fresh basil leaves (stripped off their stems and 
     1 Tb. gently packed fresh thyme leaves (stripped off their stems and 
     1 Tb. gently packed fresh rosemary leaves (stripped off their stems and 
     1 tsp. black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     (optional) 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (See Spices in the Glossary)

     Bring a large potful of well salted water to a boil and cook the pasta just until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, chop the herbs fairly small. Gently heat the olive oil in a small pot and add the chopped herbs and garlic. Saute gently just until the herbs are wilted and the garlic is soft and translucent. Stir in the pepper flakes and black pepper.
     Toss the pasta with the olive oil mixture.