Monday, November 25, 2019

Boeuf au Jus de Grenade (beef stewed in pomegranate juice)

     Boeuf bourguignon, a classic French beef stew, is rich, aromatic and wonderful. The conventional recipe includes a good dose of wine, which of course contains traces of yeast. The alcohol boils off, but the yeast remains and is still an allergen. 

     This recipe relies on pomegranate juice for the rich, slightly tart, fruity flavors that would usually be provided by wine. It turns out that pomegranate juice, like wine, transforms simple broth into an intense, delicious sauce. 
Note that juice freshly squeezed from a pomegranate is likely to contain less yeast than bottled juice. (See Juice in the Glossary) Fresh and bottled juice both contain a lot less yeast than wine.

Chuck roast stewed in pomegranate juice.
Hmm, I didn't actually chop the parsley leaves.

     1 lb. pearl onions
     1 lb. mushrooms
     6-8 oz. bacon (See Bacon in the Glossary)
     oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     3 lb. stewing beef, cut into large chunks
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     black pepper (
See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 carrot, sliced
     1 onion, sliced
     1-1/2 c. pomegranate juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     2-3 cloves of garlic, mashed 
     a few sprigs of thyme or a good sprinkle of dry thyme 
(See Produce 
          or Spices in the Glossary)
     1 bay leaf
     chicken or beef broth (See Broth in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. rice flour
     (optional) handful of parsley leaves, washed and chopped 
          Produce in the Glossary)

Saute the mushrooms, doubling the recipe given in the link but skipping the green onions, and braise the onions. Stash these veggies together in the fridge. Fry the bacon in a large skillet; do not discard the grease. Cut the bacon into chunks not more than an inch long or half an inch wide; stash in fridge. Sprinkle salt and black pepper onto the chunks of beef. Heat the bacon grease to medium, add oil if needed, and brown the beef. Put the beef into a pot large enough to hold the stew. Brown the carrot and onion in the hot bacon grease and add them to the pot with the beef. Discard the grease. Add the bacon, pomegranate juice, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the stew. Pour in enough broth to just cover the beef. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beef is thoroughly tender (2-3 hours).

When the beef is tender, r
emove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.Use a sieve to strain the stew, collecting the broth in another pot. Skim the fat off the surface. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the broth rapidly to 2 cups. Stir the rice flour into a half cup of water. Gradually add to the broth in the pot, whisking it thoroughly and bringing it back up to a boil after each addition, until the sauce thickens up a bit--you may not need all the rice flour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the stew back in the pot, and add the broth, braised onions and sauteed mushrooms. Heat for a couple of minutes, just until everything is hot again. Garnish with the parsley just before serving.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Corn-Free, Yeast-Free Catsup


   Commercially bottled catsup generally contains corn in multiple forms. Often it contains quite a lot of corn syrup; it also generally contains white vinegar (made from corn) and citric acid (usually derived from corn or soy). Vinegar, of course, is a fermentation product and thus may contain traces of yeast, and, like other commercial tomato products, catsup can contain traces of mold or yeast (See Tomato Products, Canned in the Glossary)

     For some corn-allergic people, searching out the brands that list sugar in their list of ingredients instead of corn syrup may be sufficient. If you make your own catsup you can use sugar instead of corn syrup and replace the vinegar with citrus juices. I don't like my catsup to taste lemony so I use a mixture of grapefruit juice and lime juice. Any juice with a good acidic kick should work fine.

     3 lb. vine-ripened Roma tomatoes (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1/2 tsp. paprika (See Spices in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. fresh squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1 Tb. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)

          Peel the tomatoes (see Produce in the Glossary). You can seed them at this stage too if you like. Cut each tomato into a few pieces. Put them in a saucepan with a small splash of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for half an hour. At this point the tomato pieces should be coming apart and the seeds should be softened up so that a blender can break them up. Process the tomatoes, in batches, in a blender. If there are still too many visible seeds to suit you, you can strain them out using a food mill or a sieve with a fine enough mesh. (Remember that the seeds will become more apparent as you reduce the tomatoes.) Put the processed tomatoes back in the saucepan and add the paprika, lime juice, grapefruit juice, salt and 2 Tb. of sugar. Stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered until the mixture is reduced to about 2 cups and reaches a.catsup consistency. Add sugar and salt to taste, remembering that the catsup will taste slightly sweeter once it is cold. Refrigerate.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Caramel-Apple Ice Cream

     Like bananas, apples contain a lot of both pectin and starch; like frozen bananas, frozen apples can be whirled in a food-processor to create an easy, hypoallergenic ice cream base.

     This caramel-apple ice cream, which is reminiscent of an old-fashioned caramel apple, is particularly good.

     1 lb. of peeled, cored, sliced apples (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1 c. corn-free, dairy-free caramel sauce 

     Put the apple slices in a container in the freezer. Wait until they are thoroughly frozen. 

     Put the apples in a food-processor. (If you need to, adjust the amount of apples as needed so that your food-processor can handle them easily.) Put the container back in the freezer. Run the food-processor until the apples are finely ground. Add the caramel sauce and process until the mixture is very smooth. Scoop the soft ice cream into the chilled container and either serve immediately or put into the freezer immediately.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Mostly Authentic Swedish Meatballs Without the Usual Allergens

     The Swedish husband of a colleague of my husband's happened to mention that his elderly mother makes excellent meatballs for her husband, who has celiac disease. Of course I demanded the recipe, which I give here with only one modification. If you are not avoiding eggs, you can omit the flaxseed meal and water and add one egg. 

     1 Tb. flaxseed meal
     3 Tb. water
     oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1 onion, chopped very fine
     3 cloves garlic, crushed
     1/2 c. smashed potato (~1 medium to large potato, cooked thoroughly, 
          peeled and smashed with a potato masher or a fork)
     1 lb. hamburger
     1 lb. ground pork
     1/2 Tb. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1/2 tsp. black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)

     In a small saucepan, stir the flaxseed meal into the water and bring to a boil. Set aside. 

     Heat 3 Tb. of the oil to medium low and use it to saute the onion until it is thoroughly wilted and translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until it too is soft and translucent. 

     Mix together the flaxseed meal mixture, the onion mixture, the smashed potato and all other ingredients.

     Shape this mixture into meatballs not more than one inch in diameter. Heat some oil in a skillet and fry  the meatballs on medium low heat, occasionally rolling the balls around the pan so that they brown on all sides. The meatballs are done when they are cooked through. Traditionally these meatballs might be served with a cream sauce; they're also good with gravy.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Dairy-Free Fruit-Salad Dressing

Fruit-salad dressing
     Fruit salad is a dessert, so use the rich coconut milk that comes in a can, not the coconut-based milk substitute that comes in a carton. This will provide all the rich creaminess you want in your fruit salad. 

     Sugar draws juice out of fruit, watering down any dressing. The solutions to this are to 1) use only fruit that is fairly sweet to start with and skip the sugar and/or 2) only stir the dressing into the prepared fruit just before serving it.

     This mixture is particularly good on tropical fruit (pineapple, bananas, etc.) It works well with a garnish of toasted shredded coconut.

Banana and pineapple

     1 cup canned coconut 
          milk (See Coconut and 
          Milk in the Glossary)
     ½ tsp. cinnamon (See 
          Spices in the Glossary)
     ¼ c. sugar (See Sugar in 
          the Glossary)

     Mix all ingredients together..
Fruit salad

Friday, November 1, 2019

Allergen-Free Buckwheat Pancakes and Teff Pancakes

     The first time I made pancakes for my grandson was memorable. I knew he was allergic to wheat, dairy, and eggs, so I started by mixing up the standard flour described in many gluten-free cookbooks. This is a mixture of rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch. 

    Rice flour gives a gritty, sandy character to baked goods, so one reason for blending it with fine, powdery starches is to obtain a finer texture overall.  This is a bit like discovering, at the beach, that sand has gotten into your sandwich and deciding that you can fix that by adding a couple more slices of tomato: whatever you add, the sand is still there. 

     Anyway, I added "egg replacer," which is a chemical that is usually derived from corn, to which I am allergic (oh well), threw in rice milk, oil, etc. and got cooking.  Those pancakes did not rise, they did not hold together, and they did not have any flavor.  One of my daughters said something about "the texture of wet sand."  My husband was so shocked he still won't eat anything that is clearly labeled as "gluten-free." Even our greedy-gut dog refused to eat the darned stuff.  

     The following is the pancake recipe I came up with after much tinkering. Buckwheat, besides being a classic pancake flavor, is a surprisingly good binder, giving these pancakes a conventional pancake texture. 

     These pancakes contain no gluten or eggs, and, depending on your choices of milk and oil, can easily be dairy-, soy- and/or corn-free as well.

     1 c. teff flour 
     1/2 c. buckwheat flour
     3/4 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 Tb. cream of tartar
     1/2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1-1/2 c. milk (or "milk") (See Milk in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)

     Preheat a skillet on medium low on a stovetop (or preheat a griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Stir the flours, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl.  Stir in whichever milk and oil you’re not allergic to. Allow the batter to sit for a couple of minutes so that some bubbles can develop. Scoop by half-cupfuls into the preheated skillet (or onto the preheated griddle). Flip when nicely browned on one side; remove from heat when cooked through. 

Teff Pancakes

      Teff has a particularly mild flavor and makes excellent pancakes. 

     1-1/2 c. teff flour 
     1/4 c. flaxseed meal
     3/4 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 Tb. cream of tartar
     1/2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1-1/2 c. milk (or "milk") (See Milk in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)

    Preheat a skillet on medium low on a stovetop (or preheat a griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Grind the flaxseed meal in a coffee/spice grinder. Stir the teff flour, ground flaxseed meal, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl.  Stir in whichever milk and oil you’re not allergic to. Allow the batter to sit for a couple of minutes so that some bubbles can develop. Scoop by half-cupfuls into the preheated skillet (or onto the preheated griddle). Flip when nicely browned on one side; remove from heat when cooked through.