DIY Curry Powder

DIY Curry Powder

DIY Curry Powder

Besides the fact that I have a spice obsession (as outlined in my post, WW Kitchen Stories: Rosemary or Denise’s Spice Issues) and it seems dumb to pay for blends when you already have all the stuff to make the blend, I’m getting to the point after the cumin scare that I’m going to try to make as much stuff from whole spices as I can, so that there’s less chance for adulteration with undisclosed allergens, anti-caking agents, or cross contamination. There’s only a few ground spices in here, but my plan is to eventually only buy whole spices and grind all my own stuff.

I tried to keep it reasonable for non-fire breathers, but you control how much curry powder you add to stuff. Start small and then taste, you can always add more, but you can’t really subtract easily. Also, if you want to make it a bit hotter, add 3 or 4 more dried chiles to the mix.  Be aware that you will need a blender or a coffee/spice grinder to make this.

DIY Curry Powder

Makes about 1 cup.

  • 6-8 dried chiles (I used Sanaam, but Arbol or Japones would work fine)
  • 5 Tablespoons of coriander seed
  • 4 Tablespoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of black mustard seed
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tablespoon of ground Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Destem the chiles if necessary. Place the chiles, coriander seed, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black mustard seed, green cardamom pods, cloves, black peppercorns, and cinnamon stick in a skillet over medium heat.

Seeds, spices, and chiles in skillet before toasting

Seeds, spices, and chiles in skillet before toasting

Move the skillet around constantly to shift the seeds, spices and chiles until you smell the cumin seed toasting, some of the seeds popping and the spices darken.

Seeds, spices, and chiles in bowl after toasting

Seeds, spices, and chiles in bowl after toasting

Remove the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet, and allow them to cool completely.

Once cool, place the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet and the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg into a blender, and blend until you have a fine powder. Before opening the blender, let the powder settle for a few minutes so that you don’t gas yourself.

If you are using a coffee/spice grinder, place the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg into a bowl. Grind the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet in coffee/spice grinder in batches, adding the batches to the bowl until you have ground all of the spices, seeds, and chiles. Using a wire whisk, mix well so that the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg are fully incorporated into the newly ground spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet.

Store in an air-tight container and use where you would use curry powder. Stay tuned for some recipes using it in the coming weeks.

Enjoy!

 

2015-08-21 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Graffitti on the World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

Graffitti on the “World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet,” Burlington, VT (Note: probably not actually the world’s tallest)

This “awsome face” is here for you, man. It’s here. On a Friday.

This week, I’m kind of obsessed with veggie burgers. I (Mary Kate) love veggie burgers, so long as you don’t expect them to be like meat burgers. Veggie burgers, for their own sake, and in their own right, are kind of awesome. I enjoyed V8Mile’s review of veggie burgers, but none of these brands are things I’ve seen here in New Hampshire. I’ll definitely look again if it’s cool enough next time I make it to Whole Foods. But The Kitchn posted a recipe today that I think could be easily enough adapted for allergy-friendliness: Sweet Potato Veggie burger. This one has seeds (pumpkin or sunflower) and an egg, but I might try messing with it to see what I can manage. Do you have a favorite veggie burger recipe or brand? If so, share it in the comments.

Many of you know that I (Denise) do a fair bit of fermenting so I can have things like homemade Sriracha, other hot sauces, sauerkraut, dill pickles and so on. I also do it because there are no safe probiotics for me, and there’s some vitamins that are made more bio-available by fermentation, since there really aren’t any safe options for multi-vitamin supplements for me.  If you’re in the Northeast, and you’re into fermenting, check out the Boston Ferments’ third annual Fermentation Festival which will be held on Sunday, October 4th from 10am-4pm at the Boston Public Market

And since it’s summer, and there’s lots of salads out there, here’s a Creamy Avocado Lime Salad Dressing that sounds pretty awesome. Bet it’d be great as a dipping sauce for fried stuff too. 

Hope you all have a great week!

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

Being allergic to foods that are staples of the Standard American Diet can mean that road trips are, well, a little sad. But not going on a road trip would be more sad. So thinking about road trips like setting out for the western frontier (or, in this case, Vermont, which is to the west) means that with a plan and a cooler (and a hotel chosen partly for the microwaves and mini-fridges in each room), means “yay! Road trip!” I admit that I really miss finding awesome, off-beat restaurants in new cities. Now, if I plan to eat out, I check ahead and carefully read menus. That’s hard to do when you don’t know where you’ll be for lunch. So, again, the cooler and the meal plan.

Hummus is a great road trip food. I’m a little bored of chickpea hummus, the standard, and I had time (and a plan) to make my own. I was going to make a black bean hummus I’d forgotten about — but in planning the grand meal plan, I forgot to see if I had black beans in the house. Oops.

I did have cannellini beans. And I have not yet killed my fresh herbs on the deck — I have chocolate mint, thyme, and oregano, and my neighbor is growing basil. Oregano and basil made me think of pizza, so I went that direction. Instead of tahini, I’ve used cashews, as I thought their more neutral flavor would be good with this combination. I think tahini would likely be okay (and make it nut-free), so if you make it that way, let us know in the comments how it turned out.

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

  • 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces (yes, you can use whole. The pieces are usually cheaper, though.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (more, up to 1 teaspoon, if you want a prominent garlic flavor. Roasted garlic would also be excellent here, but I’m currently out.)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (Save the liquid!)
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves, rinsed
  • about 1 Tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves, rinsed
  • pinch of fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the cashews and puree. They will not quite turn into nut butter (you’d need a little oil), but let them go until they are almost there.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and pulse it in.

Add the beans and puree the mix.

Add the basil, oregano, fennel seed, and olive oil and run until everything is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl or storage container and drizzle olive oil over the top — just a bit will help keep the hummus from drying out. Unlike in the photos, swirl it around so that it coats the top — I just wanted better photos, so I didn’t do that until I was done.

Serve with crackers, chips, or veggies of your choice.

2015-08-14 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Scrap Robot Mac Steel

Scrap Robot Mac Steel

Ah, Vermont, so full of weird! Last weekend, I (Mary Kate) went to Vermont to experience all the weirdness it had to offer. While on the road, I had a great plate of salmon with an apple-fennel slaw. I think the original plate had an additional side, and the gluten-free option just removed it, but I felt comfortable at the restaurant, and the slaw was amazing. I found this recipe for a celery, apple, fennel slaw that sounds a bit similar — I’m sure the one I had didn’t have celery, but everything is better with celery. I will be trying something like this soon.

I also made the questionable decision to eat from a buffet where I think I may have encountered a tiniest bit of gluten. I wasn’t very sick, but I was messing up words the whole next day. Sometimes, I am not sure what’s just an “off” day, and what is a possible allergy/intolerance/maybe celiac reaction, but I’ve learned so much about allergy-related reactions from sites like Gluten Dude and other allergy sites where people share their own lived experiences with food allergies.  How do you learn about living with food allergies? Do you want to tell some researchers where you get your information? Mount Sinai’s Jaffe Food Allergy Institute is doing a survey about where food allergy patients get their information. Want to participate?

I’m (Denise) still struggling with breakfast ideas that aren’t my current standard rotation of oatmeal with brown sugar and water and nuked, or fresh fruit. This still has oatmeal, but it’s kinda different, Apple Pie Breakfast Pizza. There’s still a few things I’d have to sub out, and I’d skip the dairy free yogurt part as there’s no corn safe dairy free commercial yogurt, but it’d be relatively simple for me otherwise. 

Because I don’t have many options for easy desserts, I admit that sometimes I might eat half an 8 ounce jar of my home canned jam. But maybe this recipe for Vegan Mexican Sweet Chocolate Sweet Potato Pudding might push me to make a larger effort. I’ll have to sub out the coconut ingredients, but it sounds like it could be really good. 

Have a great weekend everyone. We are working on some upgrades to the blog, so be alert for something new, coming soon.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

So with the corn allergy all of the vegan mayonnaise products are a big no-no for me, as canola is notoriously cross-contaminated with corn, and I started to react to my favorite product. I haven’t had a safe mayonnaise in over a year. When I saw the aquafaba experiments with mayo, it rang a bell as a lot of the vegan products have pea protein, so I thought I’d give it a go. Only problem was, in order to get some aquafaba, I had to find time to pressure can some garbanzo beans at home, as I don’t really have a safe commercial garbanzo bean product I can buy. A few weeks ago I canned some garbanzo beans, but I just managed to find time to do the experiment recently. I used this recipe to start, but I modified it a bit because I was looking for a flavor that was more like Miracle Whip, as that was my mayo/salad dressing product of choice when I could still eat eggs, milk, and corn (I have more allergies, but those are the problem children for commercial mayo products). When I think of all the things I can make again, I seriously want to cry. Many thanks to Peanut Butter & Vegan for the post on using aquafaba for mayo to get me started. As suggested by the original post, I used an immersion (stick) blender, but if you try it in a regular blender, let me know how that goes.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing 

Makes about 1 cup.

  • about 1/4 cup of aquafaba (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of lime or lemon juice (I used lime because I had limes in the house, but no lemons)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s as it is generally safest for people with corn allergies)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • dash of paprika
  • 3/4 cup of safe for you, neutral tasting oil (I used grapeseed oil)

In a small bowl or measuring cup that isn’t much bigger in circumference than your immersion blender, add the aquafaba, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar and paprika. Mix with the immersion blender for a few seconds so that the ingredients are all combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil, while the immersion blender is running, moving the immersion blender around when the mixture becomes thick to make sure all the oil gets incorporated. Once the mixture is nice and thick, place the salad dressing in a container and place it in the fridge, where it will continue to thicken.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Yay!! You have salad dressing! Go forth and make yummy dishes that require mayo/salad dressing like substances!

2015-08-07 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Scenic View from the Kancamangus Highway in the White Mountains

Scenic View from the Kancamangus Highway in the White Mountains

Hey, hi, how are you? Has it been a really weird week for anyone else? Are you thrilled it’s Friday? I am thrilled it’s Friday. I like Friday. Because it’s Friday, it is time to bring you links of things that you can see around the internets — our goal is to help YOU waste time online today. Shall we get started?

I (Mary Kate) was inspired by this post from oh she glows about packing food for a weekend away. It didn’t sound too bad! I am making some plans like this for a trip, so I think I’ll do a post on this later.

I am not sure where I found the link to this tomato, chickpea, and coconut soup, but I really enjoyed it. It also let me use herbs I grew myself (thyme). All the way to August and still not dead.

So I (Denise) tried dehydrating raw zucchini into chips because there’s a lot of zucchini here. Um, let’s just say I won’t be doing that again. Eeww. So I went looking for more recipes, and when I get the 12 pounds of pork belly I just bought cured into bacon, I’ll be making this bacon wrapped zucchini dish.  And to further convert zucchini to comfort food, maybe I’ll try these Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips.

Also, later if I get any butternut squash in the garden, I want to try this Butternut Squash Gnocchi, which is gluten-free and vegan and doesn’t look that hard. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Vegan, soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream (using aquafaba)

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

Okay, full disclosure: This isn’t really ice cream. There’s no cream. There’s no eggs. That’s what makes it vegan. And it’s a little lighter and less creamy and heavy than ice cream. So I should really call it “strawberry frozen dessert.” But frankly, that’s awkward, and if you’re playing in the cooking realms of “vegan” and “allergy-friendly,” you’re used to substitutes, so you know what I mean.

YOU DON’T NEED AN ICE CREAM MAKER! I have one. It’s great. But this is a quicker and easier and doesn’t require as much planning ahead. This is much easier with a stand mixer, but if you’re patient (or have someone who will spell you with the hand mixer), you can do this without one. I would not try it without any mixer at all, though. Electricity is your friend, here.

The key “secret” ingredient in this dish is aquafaba or “bean juice.” It’s the stuff you drain out of the can of beans before using them, and I’ve raved about it before on the blog. If you cannot eat canned beans, or would just prefer to make your own, try this recipe posted by noted cookbook author Bryanna Clark Grogan on the Vegan Meringues FB page. You need half a cup here, but I’m sure you can find 100 other uses for it (I have). Aquafaba acts as an egg replacer, specifically egg whites, and can be whipped into an incredible meringue, which is what you start with here. You’ll make the whipped base and the flavor base, and then fold them together and freeze. That’s it!

In order to get the fat content up and add a little tang and creaminess, I have used vegan cream cheese. I know this can be a problematic ingredient for those with multiple food allergies — I use Daiya brand, as I have no issues with it. I was perfectly happy with Tofutti when I could still eat soy, and I assume that would work here, too. The Daiya contains coconut oil, so it’s not entirely nut-free. I believe Tofutti is. Choose what works for you. If you make a homemade version of cream cheese that works for you, share it with us in the comments.

Stiff whipped aquafaba foam, foam and strawberry blend, ice cream in the making

Stiff whipped aquafaba foam, foam and strawberry blend, ice cream in the making

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of beans. Any beans! I used cannellini beans here)
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar, divided in half
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons vegan cream cheese (check the ingredients!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Into a very clean bowl (any traces of fat will interfere with the whipping, I understand, just like with egg whites), add the aquafaba. Beat until you achieve stiff peaks. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient.

Slowly add 2 Tablespoons of sugar, while you continue beating, and then the cream of tartar.

If you’re using a stand mixer and have only one bowl, empty the foam into another bowl and reuse the mixer bowl. If you’re using a hand mixer, just get another bowl. Beat the cream cheese, strawberries, and vanilla until smooth.

Fold the strawberry mixture into the aquafaba foam using a large spoon or spatula. Don’t stir. Fold. You will lose some of the air you’ve just whipped into the foam, but that’s okay. You just don’t want to lose all of it. When the mixture is fully incorporated, pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours, maybe more depending on the size and shape of your container(s). This will never be as dense as “normal” ice cream, but it will take on a nice texture, distinct from the original unfrozen mousse.

2015-07-31 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Arethusa Falls, White Mountains NH

Arethusa Falls, White Mountains NH

Welcome to Friday. Another week survived, right? And I (Mary Kate) did survive the hike to this waterfall. Barely. I should get out and hike or walk more.

This week, I’m armchair-traveling to Warsaw, Poland with V8Mile. I’m an excellent armchair traveler. All reviewed meals are vegan and gluten-free, too, so that’s a great bonus.

Thinking about traveling and easy food to travel with, I’ve needed an on-the-go meal three times this week, and this kind of grain-veggie-bean dish, with a tasty dressing, is my go-to. I like the extra touches in oh she glow’s quinoa and black beans. It keeps well in a lunch bag, and doesn’t need to be heated to eat.

I (Denise) will likely soon be over-run by zucchini from the garden, so this recipe for Garlic Marinated Zucchini from The Kitchn will probably prove useful very soon.

Also, I finally decided to order a medical alert bracelet, actually two, one for work, and a more casual and durable one for the weekend. In the same vein of trying to be prepared, I found this article on preparing for natural disasters  with food allergies. It’s geared toward kiddos but as adults we can extrapolate. 

Enjoy the weekend!

Chili Flavored Russet and Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

I’ve been meaning to fry stuff for sometime, because I miss fried food and the last time Mary Kate and I had a fry-a-palooza was this past Thanksgiving. And I wanted potato chips. I tried a recipe where you baked them, but it took two hours of prep, and seriously, I can fry them faster than that, with less aggravation. This is one of those recipes where having good tools helps. I used a mandoline to slice the russet potato and sweet potato, and I used a Thermopop thermometer to keep track of the temperature of the oil.  Also, I used a cast iron wok to fry in, because I like it and it uses less oil, but you can use a regular skillet or stock pot if you use enough oil.

Chili Flavored Russet and Sweet Potato Chips:

Serves 1 (let’s be realistic about this…I ate them all in 10 minutes).

  • 1 Russet Potato, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 Sweet Potato, sliced extremely thin
  • a pinch of DIY Chili Powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • safe oil for frying enough to fill the pot about 3 to 4 inches deep

For the frying:

  • A pot deep enough to accommodate about 3 inches of oil and the frying thermometer, a thick stainless steel stock pot or an enameled dutch oven would be best, although I used a cast iron wok and just fried less chips at a time. You also want a pot that’s tall enough that the edge is 4 or more inches above the oil level. It’s safer and there’s less splatter all around. We do not recommend using anything with Teflon or nonstick coatings. Of course, if you have an actual deep fryer appliance, use that.
  • frying thermometer (but you can’t use this one with a wok, in case you planned use a wok instead, I used this one and just stuck it in the oil periodically to check.)
  • tongs and/or slotted frying spoon/spider  (we used a silicone one rather than the traditional wire and bamboo, but I can’t find a picture of ours)
  • plate or cookie sheet, lined with paper towels

Set up your frying pot, add your safe oil, and set up your thermometer. Start heating your oil over medium heat, as it will take some time to reach the right temperature.  You are aiming for about 380ºF.

I used a mandoline, shown below, to slice my potatoes, but you can slice them with a knife if your knife skills are that good.

Mandoline

Mandoline

The slices of your Russet potato will be wet and starchy. Place them in a bowl and water and agitate them a bit to rinse the starch off.

Rinsing off the starch from the Russet potato slices

Rinsing off the starch from the Russet potato slices

Place the rinsed slices in between the folds of a clean kitchen towel to dry them off.

Rinsed slices on clean kitchen towel

Rinsed slices on clean kitchen towel

Fold towel over slices to dry both sides

Fold towel over slices to dry both sides

The sweet potato slices should be dry enough after slicing as there is less water content than a Russet potato.

Sweet Potato Slices

Sweet Potato Slices

When the oil temperature is 380°F, carefully add some of the potato slices to the pot. You don’t want to overcrowd them.

Russet Potato frying

Russet Potato frying

Sweet Potato frying

Sweet Potato frying

Fry the potatoes, turning them occasionally with tongs until they are golden brown. They should be fried a bit darker in color than normal potato chips so that they are crispy. The mandoline does not quite cut the potatoes as thinly as a commercial potato chip, and in order to get some crisp, you need to cook them a little longer. The potatoes will start to wave and distort when they are close. if the potato chip seems pretty flat still, keep frying a bit.  When the potato slices are fried, place them on the plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

Russet Potato Chips

Russet Potato Chips

Once the chips have cooled a little, place them in a bowl and sprinkle the salt and chili powder on them to taste and toss them a bit to coat them and distribute the seasoning.

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Enjoy!

2015-07-24 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Awesome Railroad Trestle in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Awesome Railroad Trestle in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

 

I know we usually do recipe links and food allergy news, but this is sort of related, as you do need plates to eat things, if you’re polite. I love the Blue Willow china pattern, but these Calamityware versions of it with flying monkeys, robots (ROBOTS MARY KATE!!), volcanoes, pirates, UFO invasions, and sea monsters are so cool. If anyone wants to buy me presents, seriously, these are awesome. (I have seen these, but they are wicked spendy. I love the UFO one best. -MK)

I found this recipe for an aquafaba vegan butter. I can’t use it as is because of the coconut, but I might trying having another go at my margarine recipe using the aquafaba as an emulsifier. If you can have coconut, check out the recipe.

So, more in the aquafaba vein (I know we posted about this months ago, but aquafaba is Latin for “bean water” and is the stuff you drain out of a can of beans. It’s an amazing egg replacer and I can’t believe it took me so long to start playing with it. It makes excellent egg-free meringues, and if you want more, go join the Vegan Meringues group on FB. It IS a vegan group, so be respectful if you are not vegan, but a more enthusiastic group of bakers and experiments is hard to fidn online). Anyway, these almond-lemon cookies sound simple and amazing and perfect to make tonight. Well, maybe not exactly perfect, as I really want to try them with orange to pair with a chocolate mousse, also an aquafaba experiment.

I’ve been cleaning, and I’ve discovered a cache of grains I bought without a clear idea of what to do with them. One thing I might try is this cold sorghum salad with fruit and nuts (does contain walnuts). I might alter things a bit to use what I have, but kale and apples would be great in the fall. I was thinking maybe berries and spinach right now in the summer.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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