Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Spinach Filling

This spinach is just right: cooked down and dry enough not to sog anything up,
but still green and lively

     Spinach is delicious with feta cheese, and if you can eat cheese (See Cheese in the Glossary), you might want to add a handful of crumbled feta after cooking this filling. Fortunately, spinach is also delicious with just parsley and onion. 

     Use this filling in hypoallergenic small savory pastries or eat it as is.

     1/4 c. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1 large onion, chopped
     2 lb. of fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and chopped 
          roughly (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1 bunch of Italian parsley leaves, washed and dried (See Produce in the 
     sprinkle of black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)

     In a large pot, heat the oil to medium low; add a good sprinkle of salt and the onion. Saute the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and translucent. Turn the heat up to medium high and start adding the spinach and parsley a third or so at a time, stirring constantly. The spinach will cook down quickly, allowing you to add the rest in manageable batches. Add the pepper and continue cooking on medium heat until all the spinach has cooked down and the mixture is fairly dry: there should not be loose moisture at the bottom of the pot. Salt to taste.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Carrot Hummus and Carrot Dip

Carrot Hummus

     Conventional hummus contains two major allergens, garbanzo beans and sesame tahini. Carrot hummus has only one, the (sesame) tahini, and is a colorful, tasty dip. Sunflower butter is an excellent, tasty substitute for tahini; if you use it you may need to add a little extra water to get the hummus to blend properly as sunflower butter is a bit thicker than tahini. As always, read the ingredient label. Some sunflower seed butter has added guar gum or other ingredients; some is sweetened, which may be disagreeable in a savory dip.

     For the record, yes, I do know that "hummus" is Arabic for "garbanzos,"  not "dip containing tahini." I don't care, since I also know that words often change their meaning as they migrate into other languages.

     6 oz. roasted carrots 
     1/2 c. water
     2 cloves of garlic
     juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1/2 c. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     1/2 c. tahini
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

     Put the carrots, water, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a good blender and blend until thoroughly smooth and creamy. Add a small amount of extra water if necessary to get the mixture to blend properly. Add the tahini and blend until thoroughly mixed. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Carrot Dip

     If you need to avoid both sesame and sunflower seeds, you can still make a smooth, delicious dip out of roasted carrots. 

     6 oz. roasted carrots 
     1/2 c. water
     1 clove of garlic
     juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1/2 c. olive oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

     Put the carrots, water, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a good blender and blend until thoroughly smooth and creamy. Add a small amount of extra water if necessary to get the mixture to blend properly.  Add salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Roasted Carrots

     Roasted carrots deliver surprisingly much flavor for only having 3 ingredients. Brown and caramelized on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside, they put boiled carrots to shame and they do it with no dairy, gluten or other allergens.

     olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel some carrots and split them lengthwise into long sticks. Put them on a cooky sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and toss. The carrots should be thoroughly coated with oil to prevent them from drying out. Bake for 20 minutes or so and start checking on them once in a while. They are done when they are soft all the way through and somewhat browned on the outside. Turn the oven up or down by 25 degrees if necessary and cook until done.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Rhubarb Ice Cream With No Common Allergens

      Rhubarb quickly cooks down to a soft, slightly gooey texture, one that thickens as it cools. This allows us to use it to make a surprisingly smooth, luscious ice cream without cream, added starches, or other common allergens. 


     4 c. of rhubarb  stalks--trimmed, washed and sliced reasonably thin (to 
          prevent long rhubarb strings in the ice cream) Throw away the 
          leaves; they're poisonous!
     2-1/2 c. water
     3 c. sugar (See Sugar in the Glossary)
     1/4 tsp. salt  (See Salt in the Glossary)
     (optional but really good) 1 stick of cinnamon

     Put all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer until the rhubarb is thoroughly soft and melting into the water. (This should only take a few minutes.) Remove the cinnamon stick and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Put the container for the ice cream into the freezer (so it won't melt any of the ice cream when you scoop it into the container). Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. Immediately transfer the ice cream to its prechilled container and either serve it immediately or get it directly into the freezer to harden.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Corn-Free, Yeast-Free Marinated Onions

   Most of the relishes and other condiments at the grocery store contain a lot of white vinegar. This can be a problem if you are allergic to the corn that most white vinegar is made from. It's also a problem if you are seriously allergic to yeast, as traces of yeast are likely to remain in vinegar. These marinated onions, besides being vinegar-free, have a citrusy tang and a tamed onion flavor that make them an excellent all-purpose relish.

     1/4 c. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1/4 c. fresh squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1 large mild red onion 
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

     Stir the grapefruit juice, lime juice and 1 tsp. of salt together in a bowl. Slice the onion into very thin strips (see the illustration below).  Move the onion to the bowl; stir. Allow to steep at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hypoallergenic Caramelized Cabbage

     Caramelizing gives cabbage a surprisingly intense, savory flavor without added allergens such as butter or sour cream. Caramelizing does take some time, so do this when you are going to be busy in the kitchen anyway.

This is about the amount of browning I like. Taste your cabbage
as it cooks and find out what level of caramelizing you like
 the best.

     1/4 c. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary
     1 head of cabbage
     salt (See Salt in the Glossary)

This is half a cabbage being caramelized. You don't want to scale the recipe down more than this. For one thing, cabbage cooks down surprisingly much. For another, the cabbage is likely to scorch if the pan isn't full enough.

     Cut the cabbage into uniform strips. maybe 2 inches by 1/2 inch. Heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed stainless pot, add the cabbage and a good sprinkle of salt, and set the burner to medium high. Stir frequently. The goal is to brown, but not burn, the cabbage.  Stirred constantly, it may not brown; left alone for too long, it will scorch. As time passes, you will need to stir more frequently and to turn the heat down.  You may need to add a little water occasionally to prevent scorching and to stir up browned bits stuck to the pan. Thoroughly cooking down and browning the cabbage should take 30 minutes or so. Add salt to taste. Mix with pasta for a classic side dish if you like.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hypoallergenic Small Savory Pastries

Filled with hypoallergenic leek filling. One recipes fills 3-4 pastries.

     Oh, those flaky, savory little pastries stuffed with spinach (spanakopita), feta/parsley or other good things! The fillo dough with which they are usually made is, of course, wheat; in addition it is likely to contain soy or corn additives, and the individual sheets are dusted with cornstarch to keep them from sticking to each other. You can, however, get quite good results using spring roll wrappers made of rice.

The ingredients of this product are:
"rice flour, tapioca flour, water, salt."
Also, there are no waxed sheets (corn? 
soy? dairy?) or sprinkles of cornstarch
between the sheets of pastry.

     rice spring roll wrappers
     any filling you like (beef, leeks, summer squash, mushroom, spinach
          feta/parsley...) that isn't too damp: you don't want to sog up the wrappers.
     oil for frying  (See Oil in the Glossary)

     Carefully take one wrapper from the package. They are very thin and crack easily. Wet every part of the wrapper under the faucet. Lay down on a flat surface and wait a few seconds. After a few seconds it will be soft, pliable and sticky. Place a bit of filling near the bottom edge and turn the bottom edge up over it, as shown in (A). Fold the left and right sides of the wrapper over the filling, as shown in (B). Roll the pastry up, making sure to leave as little air inside the pastry as possible (C). Otherwise the air will expand while you're cooking it, forming annoying big bubbles. The wrappers become very sticky when wet, so you don't need an egg wash or flaxseed meal to hold the pastries together.
     Once the pastries are rolled up, put 1/4 inch or so of oil in a skillet and heat to medium. Put the pastries in the oil and cook until the bottom of each one is golden brown and crisp. Turn each one over and cook the other side. Remove from oil and allow to cool for a couple of minutes; otherwise they're too hot to eat. Serve warm.

       (A)                                                                    (B)                                                      (C)

Sizzling nicely

Hypoallergenic Leek Filling

Ready to stuff into something

     Leeks have a rich, mellow flavor that deserves to show up in more dishes than just potato-leek soup. This filling is delicious in omelettes, inside baked potatoes, on rice crackers, and in fried pastries. It also contains no common allergens.

     2 Tb. olive or other oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     2 c. washed, chopped leeks
     1/2 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     (totally optional) handful of washed, chopped parsley 
          leaves (See Produce in the Glossary)
     1 clove garlic, crushed 
     1/2 tsp. dried dill weed or a few sprigs of fresh dill weed, 
          chopped (See Spices or Produce in the Glossary)
     sprinkle of black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)

Chopped leeks

     Heat the oil to medium in a skillet, and add the chopped leeks and salt. Sauté gently, stirring frequently, until the leeks are translucent and wilted. Do not brown. Add the parsley and garlic and cook another minute or so, until the garlic is translucent. Stir in the  dill weed and black pepper. Add 1/4 c. water, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, until the leek is quite tender and the water has evaporated (you may need to uncover the skillet near the end). 

Almost done sauteing

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Corn-Free, Yeast-Free Marinated Daikon

     Pickles, being fermented, are likely to contain traces of yeast. What's more, they are generally packed in vinegar, which is also a fermentation product likely to  contain traces of yeast. White vinegar, of course, is made from corn.  This quick vinegar-free recipe produces a daikon "pickle" that has a good crunch and actually tastes a lot like conventional pickled daikon. The turmeric, besides complementing the taste of the daikon, turns it a conventional, pretty yellow. (Commercial pickled daikon is dyed yellow.) This marinated daikon is also ready to be put in the middle of a sushi roll.

     1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1-1/4 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     1/4 tsp. turmeric (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 lb. of daikon, peeled and sliced into long thin strips (1/8" or so 

     Stir the lime juice, salt and turmeric together in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the daikon. Give it another stir every few minutes for half an hour or so. Refrigerate.

Corn-Free, Yeast-Free, Marinated Turnip

     1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     1-1/4 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     (optional) 1/4 tsp. turmeric (See Spices in the Glossary)
     1 lb. of daikon, peeled and sliced thin (1/8" or so across)

   Stir the lime juice, salt and turmeric together in a mixing bowl.  Bring a pot of water to a boil. Briefly boil the turnip. It needs to become tender, but it should still have some crunch. Drain, and stir the turnip into the marinating mixture. Give it a stir every few minutes for half an hour or so. Refrigerate.

Teff Gravy

Teff gravy made with chicken stock

     Any starch will thicken a liquid, but different ones give different textures. I have tried a lot of different starches, and in my opinion teff flour is the best gluten-free choice for making gravy. Besides having a very mild, pleasant flavor of its own, teff produces a gravy that has very much the texture of a conventional wheat gravy. An added bonus is that teff is just the color to make gravy look even darker and richer. Sorghum flour is a good choice too: simply substitute 1/2 c. sorghum flour for the teff flour in this recipe.

     ¼ c. oil (or fat from pan drippings, if available) See Oil in the Glossary
     ½ c. teff flour
     3 c. beef or chicken stockor watery part of pan drippings, if available 
          (See Broth, beef or chicken in the Glossary)
     salt  (See Salt in the Glossary)
     black pepper (See Spices in the Glossary)

     Heat the oil in a pan; then add the teff flour and fry it, stirring constantly, until it smells toasty and loses its raw-flour character. Whisk in the stock and bring it up to boiling, stirring constantly.  Add salt and pepper to taste. If needed, gradually stir in  more liquid to adjust the thickness to your taste, bringing the gravy back up to a boil after each addition.  Remember that gravy thickens a bit as it cools on the table. 

     If you are planning to use the gravy in a meat pie, remember that gluten-free pie crusts can get soggy more easily than wheat pie crusts do and keep the gravy on the thick side.

     Gravy can turn surprisingly thick and gelatinous in the fridge. This is normal. To serve it again, just reheat, whisk and add a bit more liquid if necessary. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Egg-Free, Soy-Free "Mayo"

      There is egg-free mayonnaise on the market, but it is generally full of soy and other allergens.  If you're allergic to eggs and soy, you may have difficulty finding any mayo you can use.  My usual response to this is to say rude things about mayonnaise. I usually dress salads with just lemon juice and olive oil, but I did come across a Depression era method for making "mayo" that was based on (cheap) potatoes rather than (pricier) eggs. Potatoes are capable of absorbing oil and emulsifying it, so this does produce a thick, creamy, slightly tart sauce that can be used in a sandwich (assuming you can find bread you're not allergic to) or as the base for a salad dressing. Stir in a small amount of extra liquid if you would like it a bit thinner. 

     1 medium potato
     2 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice (See Juice in the Glossary)
     2 Tb. water
     1/4 c. oil (See Oil in the Glossary)
     salt to taste (probably 1/4-1/2 tsp.) See Salt in the Glossary
     (optional) dab of mustard

    Boil the potato until it is thoroughly soft. Smash it with a fork, and measure out half a cup of smashed potato. Put into a food-processor with all the other ingredients and process until smooth.

Salad dressing made by mixing "mayo" 50:50
with yogurt and adding herbs.

Cabbage salad with the salad dressing shown above.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Corn-Free Marshmallow Fluff

     Commercially made marshmallow fluff, or marsh-mallow creme, consists largely of corn syrup. It is, however, entirely possible to make perfectly smooth, creamy marsh-
mallow fluff without corn.

     The recipe below is corn-free. It does contain egg, so it doesn't meet my usual specs. However,  it's difficult to make decent sweets without  wheat, dairy, corn or soy, which makes this recipe noteworthy for some of us. 

     What's more, an unwary cook trying to make corn-free marshmallow fluff by just leaving out the corn syrup is likely to produce a recrystallized, grainy mess. Here's how we're going to prevent that. First, we're going to use cane sugar. Cane sugar and beet sugar are both nearly pure sucrose. It's possible, though, that the slight difference in impurities is important for such a delicate procedure as candy making: many candy makers report getting better results with cane sugar. Since we're already pushing the envelope by leaving out the corn syrup, it may be wise to at least optimize our choice of sugar. 

    Second, the combination of adding a little lemon juice and cooking the mixture slowly on low heat allows some of the sucrose to break down into glucose and fructose, which makes it less likely that the syrup will recrystallize while you're cooking it.

     3 c. cane sugar 
(See Sugar in the Glossary)
     5/6 (i.e. 1/2+1/3) c. water 
     3/4 tsp. lemon juice 
(See Juice in the Glossary)
     1/4 tsp. salt (See Salt in the Glossary)
     2 egg whites
     (optional) 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

     Stir the first 4 ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Continue boiling, but do not stirWipe down the ring of sugar crystals just above the syrup with a wet pastry brush. 

     Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks. 

     Remove the syrup from the heat when it reaches 255 degrees Fahrenheit; use a candy thermometer.* 

     Gradually pour the syrup into the egg whites, while continuing to beat on high. Beat for a few minutes, until thoroughly mixed.

     Store (in glass jars if you have some) and refrigerate. The fluff will stiffen somewhat in the fridge; allowing it to warm at room temperature will soften it back up.

     Enjoy Life Choco Boom makes a variety of soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free  chocolate bars. Now if I could just come up with some wheat-free and otherwise nonallergenic graham crackers, we could make smores...

     *This is the correct temperature around sea level. You need to adjust for altitude by subtracting 2 degrees for every 1000 feet above that.