2015-04-24 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Grill on Fire

This grill is what I’m dreaming of just now, so it’s hosting Friday finds. From an early spring barbeque in the grand year of 2006.

So it’s Friday again, and while we might have had spring earlier this week, it’s gotten a bit chilly again. So let’s dream of summer and fire, okay? I (MK) know it was cold this day, too, as I’m wearing flannel in the other photos, but it was still grilling time.

What did we dig up this week? I don’t know what Denise found, but I do know she’s hanging dry wall at the moment, so if it’s just my finds going live, you’ll have to forgive her. It’s possible she can’t move her arms.

Have you heard of “aquafaba“? Yeah, me neither until the other day. Apparently, the cooking water/juice from canned beans (commercial and home-canned) can be used to make meringues, marshmallow fluff substitutes, and other confectionery wonders. It’s vegan, and if you can your own, likely allergen-safe. I need to give this a try.

My other great find this week was mangoes. I’ve had mango juice before, and liked it, but it must be mango season given that they are on sale everywhere in town. Mangoes are AMAZING and I’ll share what I’ve been doing with them on Monday. Just a tip: if you have not cut mangoes before, watch the damn video. Otherwise, it’s just really, really messy.

I’m (Denise) managing to check in. I did not end up hanging drywall this evening, instead I went to Home Depot again and gave them more money to buy a Dremel Ultra-Saw. So I’ll be hanging drywall this weekend. Remember that whole why I didn’t want to be a home owner thing?  Right.  Anyway, I saw an interesting blurb on the FARE blog about a potential new blood test that would predict allergy severity.

Also, Vox had a review of a new book called “Got Milked?” which takes a look at whether what we’ve been led to believe about milk having health benefits is true or not. Maybe it’ll help you answer all those people who say “Milk allergy? But what will you do about calcium? You’ll get osteoporosis?”  Or is that only me? 

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Are you going to try aquafaba? If you do, tell us about it!

Hoisin Sauce – Gluten-free with Soy-free option

Hoisin Sauce - Gluten-free with Soy-free option

Hoisin Sauce – Gluten-free with Soy-free option

Hoisin sauce was just another well-loved condiment no longer within my grasp until I found a recipe and modified it to be safe for me. If you have a soy allergy (I don’t) try this with Mary Kate’s Soy-Free, gluten-free “Tamari Sauce” and let us know how it worked out for you.

Hoisin Sauce – Gluten-free with Soy-free option

Makes 3 cups.

  • 1/2 of a 15 ounce can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained (I use my home canned, but use what’s safe for you.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of either Sesame Oil, Chili Oil or other safe for you oil (I can’t use Sesame, so I made a homemade Chili oil with my safe oil.)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of minced Garlic
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s is generally safest for those with corn allergies)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce (I do well with San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce, the alcohol is from cane sugar not corn, but if you can’t use soy, try Mary Kate’s recipe for a Soy-Free, gluten-free “Tamari Sauce” )
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  • 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

In a food processor, purée the black beans into a fine paste. If it is too thick and doesn’t process well, add a little bit of water (1 teaspoon at a time) until you can continue to pulse the black beans. They should be puréed into mush.

In a non-reactive pan (I used an enameled cast iron pan), heat the oil until it is hot, but not yet smoking. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes (don’t let it turn brown).

Once the garlic is cooked, add all ingredients to your pan and stir together really well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should coat and stick to the back of a wooden spoon when it is ready.

Remove from heat immediately and let it cool before placing it a container in the refrigerator. I put mine in a squeeze bottle so I can use it easily whenever I want.

Enjoy with all your favorite Asian and Asian-inspired dishes!

 

2015-04-17 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday

Denise's killer new sink - the large pot is a 20 quart stock pot!!

Denise’s killer new sink – the large pot is a 20 quart stock pot!!

I (Mary Kate) will be learning this technique for cooking potatoes, Himalayan style. I’m always looking for new potato recipes.

Here’s my food reading for the weekend, and I’m betting Denise might join in, too: a 15-part blog series on the history of CONDIMENTS. Who doesn’t love condiments? In case you’d rather make a spring-friendly condiment, try gremolata. It’s good on everything.

For those of you with corn allergies, the Corn Allergy Girl has a new post up on Corn Free Canning. I’m still doing okay with the Ball Lids, even though they have corn in them, but I’m forewarned in case my sensitivity increases that I’ll have to try the Tattler lids. Check it out.

Although I’d have to switch out the oil, the cornstarch, and make sure I used safe-for-me soy sauce, I’m pretty sure I could make this recipe for Mongolian Beef work. I’m betting I could use tapioca starch and it’d do the same thing. It looks yummy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Chickity Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Chickity Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Chickity Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

I really miss ordering Chinese food take-out. One of my favorite dishes was sesame chicken, the fried chicken pieces with the sticky sauce and steamed broccoli. I was aiming for that, but without the frying (because it’s too messy for a weeknight) and with a relatively simple sauce. And admittedly, as I was mixing up the few sauces I tried while working on this, I did find that Barenaked Ladies song in my head more than once. Don’t hold its nonsense against my chicken — this is not quite takeout, but it’s a good quick stir-fry that will fill that need.

What I eventually ended up with is somewhere between sesame chicken, orange chicken, and more of a stir-fry sauce, which is pretty good. Cooking takes about 20 minutes or so, and if you work prep in while cooking (I chopped the chicken while the broccoli cooked, and I made the sauce while the chicken cooked, but don’t forget to stir!), this can be done in about 30 minutes. With this timing, this is a near-perfect weeknight meal (you could even do all the prep — chopping and making the sauce) in advance and throw everything in the fridge, ready to go when you get home.

If you don’t like chicken, I am guessing that this sauce would work well on pork, maybe even on tofu. If you try it, please let us know how it turned out!

I added sesame seeds at the end as a garnish, therefore this post is tagged with a sesame warning. But these are absolutely optional. They just look pretty. Omit them if you are allergic, do not like them, or aren’t trying to take better food photos.

IF YOU ARE MAKING RICE WITH THIS DISH, start it first! I forgot, so I just decided to “go low-carb” for the night. You could also serve it over a Pad Thai-style rice noodle, but that won’t absorb the rest of the sauce like rice will. I generally use a brown jasmine rice for Chinese food.

Chickity Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Chickity Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Chickity Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

  • 2 broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 lb. chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons glutinous rice flour OR starch of your choice (This was tested only with the glutinous rice flour. Do not use plain rice flour, brown or white.)
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup faux tamari, tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos — whatever you can safely use
  • 4 Tablespoons honey *Buy local if you can, and be aware that honey can be problematic for those with corn sensitivities. It is likely that agave or maple syrup would work here, but I did not test it.
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine for cooking) or 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar, unseasoned, and 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce of your choice (optional, but does not make this spicy)
  • Sesame seeds, optional — just used for garnish

In a wok or skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add your broccoli to the hot oil, and stir regularly to coat. When the oil is evenly distributed over the broccoli, add your tablespoon of water and cover the skillet or wok. Open every 2 minutes or so and stir. Aim for just slightly under the tenderness you like for broccoli, as you’ll cook it again for a few minutes at the end. When the broccoli is done, remove it from the wok.

Toss your chicken cubes with the glutinous rice flour or starch.

Heat another tablespoon of oil. Add the coated chicken and all the loose flour at the bottom of the bowl or on the plate to the wok, and spread the chicken out to a single layer. If you have too much chicken to do this, cook it in two batches. Keep tossing the chicken — if you’re a proper wok user, and you have your heat on high, do this constantly. If you’re a distracted wimp like me, and only turn your burner up to medium-high, give it 30-45 seconds between stirs. You will feel the chicken start to sort of solidify, indicating that it’s cooked, and lightly browning the outsides adds flavor.

Mix the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. This all fits easily in a 1 cup measuring cup, so I just measure it all into there.

When the chicken is 95-100% done (depending on your risk tolerance, add the sauce. Wait until it start to simmer, and then stir each time it starts to simmer again. When the sauce starts to thicken up (you will see it, I promise), add the broccoli back in and stir well to coat everything. Let this cook for another minute or two, and then serve, either over rice, noodles, or straight up out of a takeout box. Garnish with the sesame seeds if you are using them.

You can totally pretend  that this was delivered, but that doesn’t make the dishes magically disappear. Sorry about that.

2015-04-10 Fabulous Friday Finds

Chinese roses host the Friday Food Allergy Finds

Chinese roses host the Friday Food Allergy Finds

If you eat oats, try this apple pie overnight oats recipe. We’ve posted overnight oatmeal before, but there are infinite flavor variations, and this one sounds great. I mostly use chia for baking, but I’d give it a go in cereal, too.

I (Mary Kate) haven’t eaten at a Red Robin in years, but I did eat there once after my food allergies reared their heads and found them incredibly accommodating — including having a knowledgeable staff. But this write up on their new, interactive menu and their safe food handling practices makes me want to drive down and check them out (I think the closest one is in Nashua).

In food allergy news, apparently an 8 year old boy developed severe food allergies after a blood transfusionAlthough it was a rare occurrence because the child was not producing his own platelets, and the problem subsided after a few months, it does give one pause.  In addition, I found an article in which the current scientific theories behind why allergic reactions occur are discussed. Maybe if they can figure out why they happen, they can be treated. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

WW: Living with Food Allergies – Making Unexpected and/or Unwanted Lifestyle Changes

The new digs

The new digs on the day of purchase

So, food allergies can change your life plan a bit. When I (Denise) was young, my witnessing and participation in family dysfunction and associated drama made me decide that I pretty much never wanted to own real estate. I viewed it as a trap, because if you rented, you could bug out at any time, and there were no strings other than some financial penalties for getting out of a lease early. In addition, it was limited responsibility, as it was the landlord’s problem to fix the sink, or whatever else came up, and plow and mow lawns and all that stuff I had very little interest in doing. Also, as a younger adult who owed $100,000 (which later ended up being $130,000 due to hardship forbearance interest capitalization) on my student loans, it’s not like anyone was going to loan me any money to buy a house. The only thing I missed about living in a single family house was being able to have a garden, but it wasn’t a priority at the time. Gardening was something I had done as a kid and a teenager for fun, but when I was still a practicing attorney, it’s not like I had time to spend in the garden when I was working 60 to 80 hour weeks.

When I was diagnosed with food allergies, I wasn’t thinking that my living space needed to change. Most of the first round of foods I lost after testing positive and failing food allergy challenges just necessitated a change in cooking style. When the second round hit, yeah, I needed to make my own lotions, toothpaste, laundry detergent, shampoo, and so on, but it still wasn’t that bad. And then corn reared its golden, pointy head, and said, “Oh yeah? Watch this.” Because I love my condiments and because a corn allergy means no more processed food basically, and because I didn’t have tons of time to make stuff up from scratch each time I needed it, and there was limited freezer space in the apartment (not to mention the 4-5 day power losses we were experiencing every other winter), I elected to learn to water bath and pressure can. Picture over 500 jars of canned food in a two bedroom apartment. Also, picture processing 60 pounds of tomatoes into whole canned tomatoes that you paid a crap ton of money for at your local CSA farmer’s in a small two bedroom apartment kitchen with no windows. And then corn said “Oh, and hey? That Kiss My Face Soap you’re using that’s safe for your coconut allergy? I’ve managed to get myself in that too, although I’m not on the label.” So I started making my own soap, using lye and potassium hydroxide to make my own soap, bar and liquid respectively, to use for soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent. We did it in Mary Kate’s parking lot, and I made a couple of batches on my second floor balcony, with a board under the crock pot so as not to spill caustic lye solution on the downstairs neighbors. Hilarious right?

I had known in the back of my mind since just after the corn diagnosis (about a year and a half before we started looking) that we needed to buy a house. But I just didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be a grown up and deal with all that responsibility, because I had enough stupid food allergy food prep and making-my-own-everything crap to do. So I ignored it for a really long time. But before Stitches East 2014 in October (huge yarn and knitting convention for the non-knitterly), just after picking up a microwave I was borrowing so that I could nuke all the safe food I had canned, wrapping the glass jars in towels in a suitcase because corn totally rules out restaurant eating, I saw a for sale sign and started thinking about it. Maybe because I was sick as a dog with a head cold, the strength of my denial as to the reality of the situation became weak. And then when I got back to the apartment, I went on some real estate sites, and two hours later called my Mom and asked if she thought I was crazy to even think about it. And when she said that she had been thinking that it was probably something I need to do, when she is also fairly anti-real estate, it was really annoying. Because I’d hoped she’d talk me out of it, and if she wasn’t, it was probably fairly obvious that that’s what I needed to do.

So after getting referred to a mortgage company by a friend (if anyone in NH needs a mortgage guy, seriously, Frank is the man), and finding out that there were first time home buyer programs that I could take advantage of and I’d have to put very little money down, it appeared I could buy a house. Which was again, somewhat annoying, because I’d kind of secretly hoped that I couldn’t get financing. But the fact of the matter was, I just couldn’t continue doing what I was doing in my apartment space, spending what I was spending on safe vegetables, and hoping that the neighbors didn’t call the cops on me thinking I was making meth while I made soap on the balcony.

So we signed a purchase and sale in November, negotiating a closing date at the end of January (my lease wasn’t up until the end of March and we were trying to mitigate the financial hit). The big draw on the house was that it has three acres, a good bit of it is cleared, and there are already apple, pear and cherry trees and grape vines, and there was already a fenced in garden area (the photos are from the real estate listing, it’s not close enough to spring yet):

Garden photos

Garden photos

Garden photos

Garden photos

We had to paint the whole interior except the walls on one bathroom. These are the before pictures:

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These are in progress and finished painting pictures. Seriously, I never want to pick up a paint brush again. And if I ever tell anyone that I’m going to paint the entire interior of a house, including ceilings again, slap me. Even with vast amounts of help we got from our friends, for whom we will be forever grateful, it was a crazy undertaking.

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We moved in at the end of February. We unpacked for three weeks, and I got hives from the boxes again (thanks corn!). Here are the unpacked photos, except for the bedroom because I apparently forgot that, and I don’t feel like picking it up and making the bed now so that I can take a picture to put in the slide show:

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We’ve had to fix the insulation and ventilation in the roof, which we knew about, and we’ve fixed the furnace twice, which we didn’t know about, and we’re about to replace a water heater, which we didn’t know about either, and a tub and surround because the valve that goes between the shower and faucet decided to let go after we moved in (it’s stuck on the shower setting, so that’s good). And since the plumber’s going to be here, and the double sink in the kitchen is awful for canning, we’re replacing the sink and faucet in the kitchen as well. So, regular new homeowner stuff, except that’s kind of why I never really wanted to buy a house in the first place.

But we’re settled, we have room to move and work now, I’m able to store my canning equipment and food in the garage, and we’ve been able to start our garden some of our seedlings, and we’ve been gifted a few by a friend (Thanks Mary R!):

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Okay, so maybe the Homer Simpson Chia Head isn’t for the garden, but now I have a place that gets enough light that I can have house plants that don’t die. Not that I’m sure that a Homer Simpson Chia Head counts as a house plant.

Eventually, once the snow clears and I’m able to get the garden started in earnest, and I start working on projects again, as I’m low on my homemade liquid soap, and most of my canned food, I’m sure I’ll be much happier about the change. I’m think I’m still in the shell-shocked and exhausted phase, but I think this was the right move for us. I just wish that our street name was different – we now live on Corn Hill Road. Given that my corn allergy was the impetuous for buying this house, I really think I need to get a sign for the house to hang over the door. I want to call it “The House of Irony.”

 

Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

Salad Dressing Recipe

Red Wine Vinaigrette Using the Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

So, salad dressing. It’s one of those things that I can’t buy any more, my corn allergy pretty much blew any hope of being able to find a commercial product to buy out of the water. I don’t really use recipes any more, I tend to throw things in a blender and have at it, but you might want a slightly more careful approach at the beginning, but I’m pretty sure you’ll end up throwing stuff in a blender too after I explain this.

Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

The parts to a dressing recipe are the base, the acid, the emulsifier (sometimes), and your spices/flavors. Now, the conventional wisdom is that the ratio is 3 parts base to 1 part acid, and then add your emulsifier and flavors to taste. However, I think you should mix the ratio so that you like it. I tend to almost flip the proportions of base and acid, but feel free to fiddle those proportions as you wish. Also, this is not a table to be read from left to right across a row, as it’s not in any particular order. Also, I tend not to just pick one emulsifier or spice/flavors or I might even skip the emulsifier altogether when I do a dressing, and I may even put a combo of two of the acids.

Base Acid Emulsifier Spices/Flavor
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Red Wine Vinegar ground dry mustard soy sauce (if you don’t have a soy allergy, and if you have a wheat or corn allergy you can try San-J Organic Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce or use Mary Kate’s Soy-free, gluten-free “Tamari Sauce”)
Grapeseed Oil Fruit Infused Vinegar prepared mustard minced garlic or garlic powder
sesame oil (if you don’t have a sesame allergy) Rice Wine Vinegar honey (if you have a safe one) fresh micro-grated ginger or ginger powder
Safe for you vegan yogurt Balsamic Vinegar maple syrup Sriracha or other hot sauces
safe for you vegan mayo Apple Cider Vinegar a quarter of a preserved lemon fresh herbs – any of dill, parsley, cilantro, mint, scallions
silken tofu (if no soy allergy and if you can find one without corn in it) Lemon Juice jam or fruit preserve minced onion or shallots
an avocado Lime Juice tahini (if you don’t have a sesame allergy) dried herbs – any of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil,
chopped tomatoes Orange Juice tomato paste dried chili powders – chipotle, ancho, jalapeno
raw cashews soaked and blended into cream (if you don’t have a nut allergy) Pickle Juice – left over from my homemade fermented dill pickles or my home canned pickles ground black pepper or peppercorns
sugar to sweeten
salt

For example, if I wanted to make a red wine vinaigrette, I’d use extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice, some of my home made Dijon mustard, some garlic, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, ground black pepper, salt and a bit of sugar, and blend it.  If I wanted to make a Mexican spiced tomato vinaigrette, I’d use some chopped tomatoes and some extra virgin olive oil, some lime juice, maybe a bit of honey if I had a safe one, and some garlic, hot sauce, cilantro, oregano, basil, chipotle, black pepper, and salt, and blend it.  I could also do an avocado ranch (I don’t have any safe yogurt, mayo or tofu to use as a base instead, although I could use cashews blended into a cream) using an avocado, some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and some garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt, basil and red bell pepper flakes. Note that this combo didn’t use an emulsifier because the avocado has enough body on its own. You could also do an Asian themed dressing with some grapeseed oil, rice wine vinegar, minced scallions, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and Sriracha. See what kind of craziness you could come up with?

Now, I know what you’re saying – “Denise, Denise, how will we know if we got the proportions right? You’re not giving us enough information.” Yep. Because some of this stuff is trial and error. And the answer is you should taste it, and see how it is. If you like it, you got it right. If it needs something, fiddle with it. But, to give you a guideline, if the combination of your base and acid equals about 3 cups or so (because the ratio of the base and acid is up to you), I’d add a tablespoon or two of the emulsifier, and I’d add the spices/flavors to taste. Start with about a teaspoon of your combined spices/flavors and see if you like it, or if you need to add more.

But for those of you who want a conventional recipe, I’ll make an easy Red Wine Vinaigrette for you. But since you’re making it, if you don’t like something, leave it out. Also, I added a bit of paprika and crushed red pepper, because I’m Denise. God forbid that I don’t have some form of chili in a recipe, but I’ve marked them optional for you. Also, note that my proportions of base and acid are the way that I like dressing, so if you like a dressing with less acid (I like my dressing screaming) use 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil and 1 cup of red wine vinegar. (Yes, that’s still not 3 to 1, but if you need to it be 3 base to 1 acid, do the math).

Red Wine Vinaigrette, based on the Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

  • 2 cups of red wine vinegar (I make my own, but make sure that you have a safe source)
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I do well with California Olive Ranch)
  • 1 Tablespoon of prepared mustard (I use my homemade Dijon, make sure you get one that’s safe for you)
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used a 1/4 teaspoon each)
  • optional: 1/8 teaspoon of paprika
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

Put it all in the blender.

Salad Dressing Recipe

Red Wine Vinaigrette Using the Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

Blend it. I start on low for a minute and then move it up to high, blending for at least a minute or two to make sure the oil incorporates with your emulsifier and base.

Salad Dressing Recipe

Red Wine Vinaigrette Using the Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

I then use a funnel and put it in an old wine bottle or vinegar bottle I’ve saved. You should store it in the refrigerator.  Because California Olive Ranch is really good olive oil, it will solidify a bit in the refrigerator, so shake well, and let it sit on your salad a bit to warm up before eating.

This makes a good bit of salad dressing. Usually, I put it in two bottles and take half to work to leave in the refrigerator there (your salad doesn’t get all wilted and gross if you don’t dress it before you leave for work) and leave some at home. I could make it as needed, but with food allergies, we all have enough stuff to do and making an amount in volume saves time.

Salad Dressing Recipe

Red Wine Vinaigrette Using the Salad Dressing Recipe Theory

What are your favorite flavors and combinations? If you try out our “theory” let us know about combinations you come up with that you particularly enjoy. We’d love to see what inspired ideas you come up with!

2015-04-03 Fabulous Friday Finds

April is Archaeology Month, so here are some Roman Ruins from Spain hosting the Friday Finds

April is Archaeology Month, so here are some Roman Ruins from Spain hosting the Friday Finds

Welcome to April, everyone. This means it’s spring, right? No matter what?

Apparently with Easter this weekend, and stores full of sugar, I’m thinking primarily of baked goods. Like these strawberry pop tarts. I admit that neither Denise nor I have quite figured out gluten-free pie crust, but maybe this would be a good starting point.

And if you want something thematic but maybe with vitamins, how about Carrot Cake Pancakes? As usual, Cara of Fork and Beans has a bunch of adorable holiday-themed recipes, but this one I might actually make because it sounds excellent and not too complicated.

Here’s a nice side dish you could use for the holidays, the Kitchn’s Ginger Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato. I’d have to make very few changes, and I think the ginger would make a nice change from standard holiday fare.  And since you’ll need some ginger peeled, here’s a great tip for peeling it. I’ve been using this method since I’ve heard about it, and it’s the best method I’ve tried. 

Have a great week everyone!

Kitchen Sink Soup, vegan, gluten-free, allergy-friendly

Allergy-friendly Kitchen Sink Soup vegan gluten-free

Kitchen Sink Soup

One of the ways that food allergies have taken over my brain is that I’m always planning ahead — you have to. A lack of planning can mean not eating, which in my case leads to extreme crankiness or just a complete lack of functioning. I’m also completely incapable of deciding what to eat if I’m too hungry. So I usually know what’s for dinner — tonight and tomorrow night, maybe for the whole week, but certainly for any important dates or busy nights coming up.

On the other hand, life with food allergies also makes you pretty flexible — again, by necessity. So when I had plans to make Winter is Coming Chicken and Kale, I had chicken, polenta, and kale on hand. Or, rather, I thought I did. Turns out, hey, winter is ending and the chicken I’d defrosted (properly — in the fridge, though for two days instead of one) was not good.I don’t really know if it was bad when I bought and froze it or what, but that left me with kale and polenta, which is a really sad meal.

So I ended up making this soup. I’m just going to call it “kitchen sink soup” because that’s pretty much what went into it — everything but the kitchen sink. It turned out so well, though, that I thought I’d go ahead and share it. I wish that it were too late to post soup recipes, but it really isn’t. We’ve moved into cool and rainy, so soup is still all over my menu. If you live somewhere where it’s not soup weather? Yeah, don’t tell me about it, please. I love soup because it’s a one-pot, one-bowl meal that can be entirely balanced.

The key to this soup, I think, is the *right* amount of really good hot sauce for you. Even if you “don’t like spicy things,” you need the hot sauce — you will just add less. GOOD hot sauce will give you tons of flavor and it doesn’t need to have a kick. I’ve written the version for the light end — taste and add more as you see fit.

Vegan Gluten-free Soup

Soup pre- and post- kale awesomeness

Kitchen Sink Soup

  • 2 teaspoons oil of your choice
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz mushrooms, de-stemmed and broken (I prefer crimini)
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 15 oz of canned or cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon good hot sauce (or as much as you want)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped small
  • about 4 cups of kale, de-stemmed and shredded

Heat soup pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until onion starts to brown.

Add the broken mushrooms. Breaking mushrooms rather than chopping them gives you bigger mushroom chunks and reduces the shrinkage. Cook until the mushrooms have sweated and darkened.

Add the carrots, celery, garbanzo, hot sauce, and vegetable broth. Stir well, and stir in the potato. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 – 30 minutes — when the carrots and potatoes are cooked, you’re good.

Add the kale, stir, and let cook another 2-3 minutes until the kale is brighter green. Do NOT overcook the kale! Taste and adjust the hot sauce and salt if you need to.

Enjoy the warm veggies and dream of summer.

2015-03-27 Fabulous Friday Finds

An otter at the Sonoran Desert Museum hosts the blog this week

An otter at the Sonoran Desert Museum hosts the blog this week

Ever since I made a S’mores Pie (I am still working on the recipe for the blog) and got to use my neglected kitchen torch, I’ve been searching for more ways to use my kitchen torch. It’s still sitting on the counter, waiting. It was part of a creme brulee set, but I’ve never made creme brulee (didn’t really like it, even when it was an option for me), so it never really got used. This list and this other list have some ideas on what else I can torch in the kitchen. I think my favorite is the idea of brulee-ing a sugar coat on top of my oatmeal. I might eat a lot of oatmeal for a while…

Thinking ahead to the glut (and, for me, boredom) of zucchini season, and trying to remember that the slow cooker is awesome in the summer, too, this quinoa and summer squash stew sounds great — and I don’t think it’d be at all harmed by leaving out the bit of cheese. This dream of summer brought to you by the 40ºF temperatures on Tuesday afternoon and getting to take my coat off outside.

I’m (Denise) still on an Asian food kick and craving fried food, and this recipe for Crisp Hoi An Pancakes fits the bill. There’s also very few substitutions I’d have to make.  

And this one is for Mary Kate. Although it uses sweet potatoes, I don’t know why regular potatoes wouldn’t work either.  Check out this recipe for Homemade Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Tater Tots. And again, there’s little I would have to modify, woo hoo!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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