Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: July 2011

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dill Potato Salad


This is a traditional Armenian recipe from my mother-in-law, Sarah (in Armenian, it's called Patatess ov Peyaz).  It contains no mayonnaise or oil, which might lead you to believe it's bland, but in fact it has a very strong flavor from the raw onions and fresh dill.  I actually like it better than traditional potato salad, because it's not so heavy and greasy.  As an added bonus, it's much lower in calories than traditional potato salad as well!  The salad makes a great complement to grilled meats (it's typically served at Armenian picnics with burgers made of lamb, beef, tomato paste, onions and parsley), but it works just as well as a foil for creamy vegan soups like the Split Pea Soup in my previous entry.  This recipe serves 4 -6 people, depending on how hungry they are!

Dill Potato Salad

4 medium potatoes
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh dill
juice of one lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Peel and boil the potatoes.  Cut into small pieces (eighths is fine) and add the chopped onion and lemon juice.  Use scissors to snip parsley and dill directly into the bowl of salad.  Chill at least one hour, then serve.  Tastes even better the second day after preparing!

Shared with Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday (click here) and the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.

Homemade Pesto



Pesto is one of those specialty items that seems as though it could never be adapted for a non-allergenic lifestyle, as the Parmesan in it seems like its lifeblood.  Surprise!  You can leave the Parmesan out altogether and it still tastes great!  The finished mixture will be relatively thick, but you can thin it with any liquid -- I use the water in which I cooked my rice pasta or potato gnocchi.  The trick is to buy or pick a TON of basil, as it doesn't go far once it's chopped up.

Homemade Pesto

3 cups basil leaves (fresh, not dried)
1 cup pine nuts
3 - 5 cloves minced garlic (or 1-2 Tbsp from a jar)
1 tsp coarse salt

Process all together in a large food processor.  Keeps several days in the fridge, or can be frozen in cubes.

Shared with Totally Tasty Tuesday at Mandy's Recipe Box and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Split Pea Soup



This was my favorite recipe for pea soup even before I tweaked it to make it vegan.  It originally came from my trusty Emeril cookbook, "Every Day's a Party."  With substitutions for the milk and chicken broth, it works for everyone in the house and still tastes spectacular.  That Emeril knows how to make them!

This is another super-easy preparation that allows you to dump everything into the pot then leave it and go do something else.  The only thing you'll have to actually manipulate is a little bit of chopped onion...and the pot will easily serve the family for dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day.  Very filling!

Split Pea Soup

8 cups vegetable broth (typically two packages)
1 large onion, chopped
2 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 Tbsp minced garlic from a jar)
1 bag dried split peas
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 cup rice milk (or similar)
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Cover the bottom of a large stock pot with about 1/4 inch vegetable broth.  Soften the minced onion for about 3 - 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the garlic, peas, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (all to taste -- I use about 1/2 tsp. each) and cook, stirring for one minute, just to moisten the peas.  Dump the rest of the broth into the pot, add the bay leaf, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.  Add the milk and use a hand-held immersion blender to process the mixture until smooth.  If you don't have a "boat motor," as Emeril calls it, puree the soup in a blender a little at a time.  Add the hot sauce to taste and serve.  (Note: Leave out rice milk for GAPS)

Shared with Share The Love at Very Merry Vintage Style and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's For Dinner Mom? and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


Time for tea?  This is a delicious, moist loaf that thrills guests of all ages.  My sons clamor for it for breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Originally a recipe from a neighbor back in the 1980's, this was the first bread I ever tried modifying to make it allergy-free.  When it became clear that the boys' diet was going to change radically, I wanted to start off their new eating pattern with a huge success, so they didn't feel as though they had been transported to some food-free dungeon.  I printed out a list of "Free" meals and taped it to our kitchen cabinet, and told them they could choose anything they liked from it.  As soon as they spotted their favorite treat, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, they hooted and hollered like someone had just told them Christmas was coming early.

This recipe makes two loaves, and takes a good hour to bake, but it's extremely easy to mix up, as there is no need to cream butter and sugar, beat eggs, or sift anything.  The texture is like a thick cake, and while the basic bread resembles a spice cake, it's the chocolate chips that really make the loaf come alive.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

4 cups quinoa flour (or a combination of quinoa, sorghum and white rice flour to equal 4 cups)
2 cups unrefined sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 can prepared pumpkin
1 1/2  to 1 3/4 cups rice milk (or similar)
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix together dry ingredients (flour through cloves).  Cut in pumpkin just to get it started, then add milk and mix with a spoon until well blended.  Depending on the combination of flour you use, you may need to add more rice milk .... some flours tend to suck up all the liquid, leaving the batter too stiff.  Stir in chocolate chips last.

Bake in two loaf pans at 350 degrees for 60 - 70 minutes.  At 60 minutes, the top of the loaves will be lightly brown and the centers will be moist.  If you prefer a drier bread, let bake a little longer.  The tops will become much darker brown.  Keep your finished bread wrapped in foil in the fridge -- it helps firm up the softer loaves.

Shared with The Purposed Heart, and What I Made Wednesday at Sweet Peas and Bumblebees and Pumpkin Addicts Anonymous at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy and Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos and Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Fall Craft Challenge at One Artsy Mama and Sharing Sunday at Everyday Sisters and Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom and Gluten Free Wednesday at The Gluten Free Homemaker and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Twelve Days of Christmas Goodies at Mom's Crazy Cooking.

This recipe has been shared on Stay at Home Babe's "Good and Tasty Tuesday" blog.  Click here to see more delicious recipes shared by readers.  It has also been shared on Kelly the Kitchen Kop's "Real Food Wednesday."  Click here to see more recipes. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's a mom to do?

This summer, after years of suspecting our family was suffering from rampant food allergies, I finally bit the bullet and got everyone tested.  I knew my three boys had trouble with dairy, but I was shocked to see how many other food items were on their list of sensitivities.  Wheat, eggs, corn, apples, carrots (huh?), lemon, white beans, cashews, molds (aged foods), grapes.... the list seemed endless.  As I started to leaf through my recipe books and files for something appropriate to eat, it dawned on me that I was standing at the edge of a brand new chapter in my life.

On bad days, I think of it as the Year of No Food, but on better days I see it as a chance to start fresh -- in more ways than one.  We all rely on a short list of favorite meals, but our list seemed to shrink over the years as I gave in to the children's moaning about dinners they didn't like.  While I love home-cooked comfort food, I have also been guilty lately of turning to convenience food to save me on those days when every boy in the house needed to be driven to a different sporting field at the same time, and I didn't start planning dinner early enough to get something on the table in time.  It really was time to re-think my approach to cooking.

To make my new challenge just a little more fun (ha!), my husband decided to go vegan at the same time the boys' allergies were diagnosed.  Not just meatless, but chicken broth-less, butter-less, and oil free.  Yes, oil.  He read that one can reverse heart disease on an extremely low fat diet.  (sigh.....)

Surprisingly, I have been able to dig up some recipes that not only meet our rigid dietary criteria, but are also natural and taste good.  By natural, I mean that these recipes do not include those dubious substitutes  like soy "cheez" and tofurkey.  Vintage style and homemaking are passions of mine, and I just could not make room for rubbery fake meats in that worldview.  And did I mention we have some soy allergies too?

So I set out to compile a new cookbook for myself of "normal" food that is allergen-free.  Some of the recipes I've found come from World War II rationing booklets, some from Lenten recipe books, and others from my large collection of antique cookbooks.  Each is marked with the allergens it does not include.  The best part of my search has been the thrill of realizing that I can still cook cute vintage things for tea parties, mother's day brunches, and big family holiday dinners.  A wheat-free, egg-free and dairy-free tea bread?  Yes, please.  A completely vegetarian Easter buffet?  I'll take it.  After all, tofurkey just doesn't look right on vintage Fiesta Ware.

Happy cooking, and I'd love to hear about your adventures in allergy-free cooking!

Shared with Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Any Linky Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo.