Sunday, December 17, 2017

Quince Sweet

     This simple but festive dessert has very few ingredients, and none of them are common allergens.

Quince sweet served with a bit of its syrup on the plate
and whipped coconut cream on top

     4-6 medium quinces
     1 lemon wedge
     sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1 cinnamon stick
     4-6 cloves

     Cut each quince in half vertically (i.e. starting from the stem) and peel it. Cut the seedy center out, but do not throw it away. Rub the quince with the lemon wedge; this will keep it from browning while you peel the rest of the quinces. Arrange the quince halves flat side up 1 layer deep in a pan. Add the seeds (they well help give the quince a nice pinkish color as it cooks), the cinnamon stick and the cloves.  Spoon 2 Tb. of sugar onto each quince half. Add just enough water to keep the quinces covered. Bring to a boil and simmer until the quinces are soft. How long this takes depends on the variety, size and ripeness of the quinces, but is sure to be at least 30 minutes.

     Remove the quinces to a serving dish. Strain the syrup left in the pan, put it on high heat, and reduce it to equal the amount of sugar you added (1/4 c. per quince). Pour the syrup over the quinces. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with any of the following that you are not allergic to:

     whipped cream
     whipped coconut cream (See Coconut and Whipped Cream 
in the 
     chopped nuts
     pomegranate seeds
     mint leaves

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Buckwheat Pilav (kasha)

Buckwheat groats cooked with chicken broth

     Needing to avoid wheat and/or yeast is a good reason to check out some other grains. Buckwheat, despite the name, is not related to wheat at all. It cooks to a texture similar to that of rice and is surprisingly tasty.

      2 c. water (Use broth if you like. See Broth in the Glossary)
     1 Tb. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 c. untoasted buckwheat groats
     salt (see Salt in the Glossary)

     Heat the water to boiling; set aside. Heat the oil to medium in a small saucepan. Add the buckwheat to the oil and, stirring constantly, cook until the buckwheat looks almost dry and smells toasty. Pour the water into the pan with the buckwheat. It will splutter and boil furiously; this is normal. Turn the heat to a simmer, and add salt to taste (the amount of salt needed may vary with your choice of liquid). Cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the buckwheat is tender. The grains should be separate and fluffy. Remove from heat and allow to set for a few minutes. Serve warm with butter (for those that can eat butter).

Spicy Green Tomato Relish

     Your tomato garden has been prolific and produced a bumper crop--but the weather's turned cold and you've had to pick all the green tomatoes before they could freeze. Now what? 

     Tomatoes can ripen sitting on a window sill or wrapped in newspaper, but cooked green tomatoes are a tart, tasty vegetable in their own right. This relish has an intense flavor but contains no common allergens, yeast or, once the pepper is peeled, corn.

     1 red bell pepper (or hotter peppers if you want some heat) (See Produce 
          in the Glossary)
     4-6 cloves garlic
     2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2/3 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice 
(See Juice in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. water
     1 Tb. chopped fresh dill leaves 
(See Produce in the Glossary)
     1-1/2 lb. green tomatoes, cut into 1/4" slices (or in half in the case of 
          cherry tomatoes)
     1 medium onion, quartered vertically (i.e. cut through the stem end) 
          and sliced thin

     First char the pepper thoroughly on all sides, either on a grill or a few inches under a broiler. Cover and set aside to cool.

     Crush the garlic in a garlic press. Put the crushed garlic on a small plate, add the salt to it and mash it thoroughly with the back of a spoon until it makes a smooth, creamy paste with no visible chunks (or use a mortar and pestle). Combine the crushed garlic with the lemon juice, oil, water and dill in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

     Peel, seed and chop the pepper. Set aside.

     Steam the green tomatoes until they they are tenderized but still crisp (this only takes a few minutes). Stir into the lemon juice mixture. Steam the onion just until it is turning tender (this too takes only a few minutes). Add the pepper to the steamer and give it a minute or so to heat up (it is already cooked). Stir the onion and pepper into the green tomatoes. Stir a few more times over the next half hour.  Drain.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hypoallergenic Beef Filling for Tacos and Burritos

     There are a variety of ways for a beef filling to be contaminated with too much corn, depending how sensitive you are to it. If you are sensitive to corn-fed beef, use grass-fed. If you react to the corn-, soy- or whey-based coatings on the packages that broth comes in, make your own broth. (See Broth in the Glossary.) If you react to the small amounts of corn added as anti-caking agents to salt and spices, see Salt and Spices in the Glossary.

     Commercially prepared spice mixes, like other processed foods, are likely to contain corn products. The mixture of spices I recommend here is based on a recipe by Alton Brown.

     2 Tb. chili powder (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 Tb. ground cumin 
(See Spices in the Glossary)
     2 tsp. tapioca starch
     2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika 
(See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. ground coriander 
(See Spices in the Glossary)
     1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 
(See Spices in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. oil (safflower oil, olive oil, bacon drippings, lard: See Oil in the 
     1 medium onion, chopped
     2-3 cloves garlic, minced
     1 pound ground beef 
     2/3 c. beef broth (See Broth in the Glossary)
     In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, tapioca starch, salt, smoked paprika, coriander and cayenne. Set aside.

     Heat the oil and use it to fry the onion on medium until it is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute, until it too is soft and translucent. Set aside.  
     Knead 1/3 c. cold water into the ground beef. This will help the beef to break apart better as you cook it.

     Cook the ground beef on medium heat, stirring frequently and breaking it up in the pan, until it is nicely browned. Add the spice mixture, the onion mixture and the beef broth. Bring to a boil and simmer, while stirring, until the filling is heated through and somewhat thickened.

Refried Non-Beans: Favas

     Refried beans are easy to make, and if you are allergic to beans, favas are an easy substitution. I highly recommend dry favas that have already been presoaked and peeled. 

     Favas are a vetch, not a true bean. Allergies to beans do not necessarily mean an allergy to favas. My grandson, who used to get sick from the amount of soy lecithin in a chocolate bar or the bit of soybean oil in a handful of candy corn, was unable to eat any kind of peas, lentils or beans. Favas, though, he could gobble with impunity. 

    Note that there is a rare genetic enzyme deficiency (not a true allergy) that gives some people, especially of Middle Eastern or African descent, gastrointestinal distress when they eat favas. 

     2 cups dry presoaked favas
     3 Tb. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 onion, chopped
     3 cloves garlic, minced
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     (optional) chili powder (See Spices in the Glossary)

     Boil the favas, with enough water to keep them covered, until they are soft. Drain into a bowl (i.e. retain the cooking liquid).

    Meanwhile, fry the onion in the oil on medium heat until it just starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until the garlic is translucent. Add the onions to the favas and mash, adding cooking liquid in small amounts as needed, until you obtain the desired consistency. Add salt to taste and stir in a sprinkle of chili powder if you like.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Stuffed Mushrooms

Use Yukon Gold potatoes to add a bit of color.

     A cheese/bread crumb mixture is not the only way to stuff a mushroom. In this recipe potatoes provide a succulent, creamy texture, while herbs, garlic and maybe some bacon give these morsels a savory kick. 

     4-5 medium potatoes
     1/4 c. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. gently packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (stripped off their 
          stems) See Produce in the Glossary
     2 Tb. gently packed fresh basil leaves (stripped off their stems) 
          See Produce in the Glossary
     1/2 Tb. gently packed fresh thyme leaves (stripped off their stems) 
          See Produce in the Glossary
     1/2 Tb. gently packed fresh rosemary leaves (stripped off their stems) 
          See Produce in the Glossary
     3 garlic cloves
     1 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1/2 tsp. black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 to 1-1/2 lb. small or medium mushrooms 
     (optional) 2-3 slices bacon (See Bacon in the Glossary)

     Put the potatoes in a pot, add water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer until done. 

     Meanwhile, remove the stems from the mushrooms. Finely chop the parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. Mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil gently; add the herbs and garlic and saute briefly, just until the herbs are wilted and the garlic is translucent.

     Preheat oven to 400 F. 

     Peel and mash enough potatoes to produce 2 cups of mashed potatoes; do not add liquid. Stir in the herbs, salt and pepper. Stuff the potato mixture into the mushroom caps. Cut the bacon into small pieces and put one on top of each mushroom. 

     Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bacon is fully cooked. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes: the potato mixture is very hot when it comes out of the oven.

Ready for the oven

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Small Zucchini Bread Rounds with None of the Usual Allergens

     Getting baked goods to rise and then cook before they have time to collapse is challenging if you can't use gluten, eggs or any bean, pea or corn derivatives (pea flour, garbanzo flour, soy flour, xanthan gum, etc.). This recipe relies on the following principles to produce zucchini bread with a good texture rather than a strange, flat loaf:
  • Chilling the ingredients beforehand helps keep the dough stiffer as it starts to cook.
  • A thin layer of dough or batter will cook faster than a thick one. Keep your dough a half-inch deep or less.
  • A higher temperature will cook your dough faster, and works fine for a thin layer of dough.
  • Metal conducts heat better than glass. Use a metal pan.
  • Increasing the contact area between the dough and the conductive metal will help the dough cook faster. Use a metal muffin pan rather than a metal cake pan or loaf pan.

     1/2 c. grated zucchini
     3 Tb. liquid 
     2 Tb. flaxseed meal
     1/2 c. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1/4 cup palm oil shortening
     1/2 tsp. vanilla extract  
     3/4 c. sorghum flour
     1/4 c. buckwheat flour
     1 tsp. baking soda
     2 tsp. cream of tartar
     1/2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

     Squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini. 
     In a small saucepan, stir the flaxseed meal into 3 Tb. liquid (any variety of milk or "milk" you are not allergic to [See Milk in the Glossary], lemon juice, the juice you squeezed out of the zucchini and/or water). Heat just until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Mix the flaxseed meal mixture with the sugar, shortening and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini and refrigerate. 

     Stir together the sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.   Refrigerate this mixture too. Wait for 1/2 hour.

     Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

     Grease ten 2" muffin cups. Mix the zucchini mixture and the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough among the ten greased muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Chicken-Fried Zucchini Without Wheat or Eggs

     Mmmm: tender, cooked zucchini inside a crunchy crust. For general observations on breading and frying without wheat or eggs, see my recipe for fried chicken.

     tapioca flour
     flaxseed meal 
     unsweetened cereal to which you are not allergic (See Bread Crumbs in 
          the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     dill weed leaves (dried) 
See Spices in the Glossary
     oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     (optional) sprigs of mint 
(See Produce in the Glossary)

     Trim the sides of the zucchini (so that every slice will have a peeled surface on both sides) and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices. 

     Set up your breading assembly line:

     The flaxseed mixture is simply 1-1/2 Tb. flaxseed meal stirred into 1/2 cup of water and allowed to sit for 15 minutes. 

     To make the cereal mixture grind 2 cups of cereal in a food-processor until you obtain the texture of bread crumbs. Stir in 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and a sprinkle of dill weed.

     Dredge each slice of zucchini in tapioca flour, dip it in the flaxseed mixture, and roll it in the cereal mixture until it is thoroughly coated.  Heat some oil you are not allergic to up to medium high in a skillet, place the zucchini slices in the skillet and cook until nicely browned on the bottom.  Flip and cook the other side. 

    Garnish with a lemon wedge and maybe a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

     Note: Substitute green tomatoes for the zucchini to make fried green tomatoes.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Best lamb stew ever: hünkarbeğendi minus the allergens

     In this classic Turkish dish, savory lamb stew is complemented by smooth, smoky eggplant puree. This is not a quick and easy recipe; this is slow, elaborate food that is, however, worth the effort. The name hünkarbeğendi means "the sultan liked it." 

     In this version, we avoid citric acid (corn, soy) by cooking down peeled tomatoes rather than relying on tomato paste. This slow process is also, of course, perfect for tenderizing the meat.  

     In the original recipe, pureed eggplant is mixed with cheese sauce (béchamel with kaşar cheese). Béchamel is extremely unusual in Turkish cooking; this sultan must have had a French chef. I replace it with mashed potatoes, which provide the right kind of smooth, creamy texture without dairy or wheat. This also makes the dish a bit lighter and is a great use for leftover mashed potatoes. 

     I admit that this version is a bit more tedious than most because of the adjustments to make it nonallergenic.  If you are not allergic to corn, wheat and dairy, you might prefer to look up a "regular" recipe for hünkarbeğendi.

     2 lb. vine-ripened tomatoes  (See Produce in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     good sprinkle of black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. paprika (See Spices in the Glossary)
     2 lb. lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
     frying oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 onion, chopped
     5 cloves garlic, peeled
     1 bay leaf
     3 one-pound eggplants
     3/4 c. mashed potatoes
     fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon 
(See Juice in the Glossary )
     6 T. olive or other oil 
(See Oil in the Glossary )
     1/4 c. washed, dried parsley leaves 
(See Produce in the Glossary)

peel all the tomatoes: dip each tomato into boiling water for about 15 seconds and then into cold water to stop it from cooking.This will allow the skins to slide off easily. Remove the seeds and roughly chop up the tomatoes and bring them to a boil in a large saucepan. Add a good sprinkling of salt, the black pepper, the paprika and 1/2 cup of water.. Cover and simmer for half an hour. Puree the tomato sauce with a food-processor or blender.

     On medium heat, saute the lamb in a couple tablespoons of frying oil until nicely browned on all sides. Dredge the meat out of the pan and add it to the tomato sauce.Thinly slice or mince two of the garlic cloves. Add a smidge more oil to the pan if needed, and, stirring frequently, gently saute the onion, with a good sprinkle of salt, on low heat until it is translucent and soft. Add the sliced or minced garlic and cook for another minute or so: do not scorch the garlic. Add the onion to the meat sauce.

    Add the bay leaf to the sauce and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally; 
add small amounts of water at later stages if necessary to keep the sauce from sticking and burning. Cook until the tomatoes are mostly cooked down and the meat is tender. This is likely to take a couple of hours or so. Adjust salt to taste and remove the bay leaf.   

    Use an outdoor barbecue or a broiler to grill the eggplants, on all sides, until their peels are quite charred and their insides are very soft. If you use a broiler, the eggplants should be cooked about 6 inches below the element. Cover with a lid and allow to cool for a few minutes; peel. Food-process the peeled eggplants with the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, the olive oil and the lemon juice. Adjust salt to taste. Heat the mashed potatoes if they are cold, and mix them well with the eggplant.

     To serve, spread a layer of the eggplant puree on each plate. Ladle meat sauce on top of it, and garnish with parsley leaves.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chocolate Egg Cream and Chocolate Soda: no eggs, no dairy, no corn

     Here are two classic fountain drinks that are easily made with no major allergens. These recipes should be fine for most people who are not allergic to chocolate or coconut. Coconut milk is an excellent substitute for cream. Coconut milk based ice cream is available in many grocery stores, or you can make some yourself. In spite of the name, "chocolate egg cream" doesn't contain egg in the first place.

Chocolate Egg Cream

     1/4 c. chocolate syrup, chilled
     1/4 c. canned coconut milk, chilled (See Coconut and Milk in the 
     1/2 c. soda water, chilled

Stir the chocolate syrup and coconut milk together at the bottom of a tall glass. (As you can see in the picture, you will need room for the egg cream to foam up.)  Tilt the glass and gently pour the soda water down the side of the glass. Stir gently and serve with a straw.

Chocolate Soda


      3 T. chocolate syrup, chilled
     whipped coconut cream (See Whipped Cream in the Glossary)
     coconut milk based ice cream
     soda water, chilled

     In the bottom of a 16-oz. glass, stir together the chocolate syrup and a couple tablespoons of the whipped coconut cream. Add two scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream and fill the glass with soda water. Garnish with whipped coconut cream if you like.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Raspberry Sorbet

     Raspberry sorbet is a frozen dessert with a very short ingredient list and no major allergens.  If you are all right with raspberries, you should be able to eat this sorbet with impunity.

     about 5 cups of fresh raspberries
     1 cup water
     1½ cups sugar
(See Sugar in the Glossary)
     (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(optional) 1-2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice (See Juice in 
          the Glossary)

     Place the container for the sorbet in your freezer. (A warm container could melt some of the sorbet when you first scoop it into the container.)    

     Juice the raspberries and remove the seeds. You should get about 2-1/4 c. of raspberry juice. One method is to put the raspberries through a juicer. If the "pulp" is still very wet you can wrap it in cheesecloth and wring out the remaining juice. 

     Another approach is to first liquefy the berries by either heating them briefly with the water in a small saucepan or pureeing them with the water in a food-processor. You can then strain the berries using either a food mill with a fine enough mesh or a strainer with a fine enough mesh.  

     Combine the raspberry juice and water with the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. Scoop into the prechilled container and store in your freezer.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Corn-Free Chocolate Syrup

     Commercially made chocolate syrup generally consists largely of corn syrup.  Fortunately, it is easy to make corn-free chocolate syrup at home using plain cocoa (not a drink mix) and cane or any other sugar you are not allergic to. Note that store-bought vanilla extract generally contains corn alcohol. You can make your own extract, but if you just leave the vanilla out your chocolate syrup will still be fine.

Corn-free chocolate syrup on caramel ice cream
     1-1/2 c. sugar (See Sugar 
          in the Glossary)    
     3/4 c. cocoa (See Cocoa 
          in the Glossary)        
     dash of salt  (See Salt 
          in the Glossary)   
     1 c. boiling hot water     

     optional but highly 
          recommended: 2 tsp. 
          corn-free vanilla 

     Stir the sugar, cocoa and salt together in a small pot.  Add about a third of the hot water, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the rest of the hot water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for another three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the vanilla. Refrigerate.

Add this syrup to milk or "milk" to make
chocolate milk.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Egg-Free, Wheat-Free, Bean-Free Falafel


     Most falafel is made with garbanzo beans. There are, however, authentic Middle Eastern recipes that rely on fava beans, and that is what we are going to use here. Favas are a vetch, not a true bean. Allergies to beans do not necessarily mean an allergy to favas. My grandson, who used to get sick from the amount of soy lecithin in a chocolate bar or the bit of soybean oil in a handful of candy corn and was unable to eat any kind of peas, lentils or beans, could gobble favas with impunity. 

     Note that there is a rare genetic enzyme deficiency (not a true allergy) that gives some people, especially of Middle Eastern or African descent, gastrointestinal distress when they eat favas.

     crispy unsweetened cereal (See Bread Crumbs in the Glossary
     salt   (See Salt in the Glossary
     2 c. soaked split favas (To soak the favas, cover them, in a large pot, with 
          enough water that they will remain immersed after they expand. Bring to 
          a boil; cover tightly and remove from heat. Wait one hour and 
          drain. Note that soaked favas can be kept in the freezer. You may find it 
          efficient to soak a large potful, portion it out into 2-cup units, and freeze.)
     1 Tb. fresh squeezed lemon juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. chopped onion
     3 cloves of garlic, sliced
     1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves (See Produce in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. fresh mint leaves (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1 Tb. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary
     2 Tb. buckwheat flour
     1/4 tsp. baking soda
     1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (See Spices in the Glossary 
     2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground (To toast, put the seeds in a 
          small pan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until they 
          become fragrant and start to brown. Immediately pour into a 
          coffee/spice grinder: they may be scorched if left sitting in the 
          heated pan. Grind.)
     3 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground (same as for cumin seeds)
     flaxseed meal
     oil for frying (See Oil in the Glossary
     First, make "bread crumbs" from the cereal. Pour some onto a plate, stir in a sprinkling of salt, and set aside.

        Stir 1-1/2 Tb. flaxseed meal into 1/2 cup of water and set aside.

     Put the favas, lemon juice, chopped onion, garlic, parsley, mint, and olive oil in a food-processor and run it until they are thoroughly ground up.

     Stir together the buckwheat flour, baking soda, cayenne pepper, 3/4 tsp. of salt and 2 Tb. of flaxseed meal. Mix this into the fava mixture. 

    Form 1/3-inch-thick patties from the fava mixture. Dip each patty into the flaxseed mixture so that it is thoroughly coated, and roll it in the "bread crumb" mixture so that it is coated with crumbs. Cover the inside of a skillet with a thin layer of oil and heat to a medium temperature. Put the patties in the oil and fry until golden brown on one side, flip, and brown the other side.  Serve with lettuce, tomato, and regular or sunflower seed tarator.

You can fry falafel patties without the flaxseed meal/"bread crumb"
coating.  They're still tasty and contain less fat, but they have no crunch.