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.