Saturday, January 31, 2009

Menu for March 7th Q&A Dinner and a Recipe for Roasted Mixed Vegetables

The menu for our Q&A Dinner at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute is Italian cuisine; the recipes were developed by myself and the Chefs at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute. I am developing a cookbook with some dinner recipes and tips for cooking, dining and shopping with food allergies to give to all attendees at the event in a deluxe goodie bag. To learn more or get tickets for this event, click here.


Mini Burgers


Greens with avocado and mandarin oranges with herb vinaigrette

Chicken Vesuvio, a classic dish prepared with
roasted potatoes and peas.

Surprise desserts prepared by the Chefs at CHIC

Now onto a recipe! I love these roasted vegetables, they are flavorful and diverse in color and variety. The work is in the cutting, it is best to make sure the pieces are similar in size so they will cook evenly. Cut the onion and pepper a little larger, as they will cook quicker that the squash and potatoes. Enjoy!

Roasted Mixed Vegetables
Serves 12

1 small butternut squash, cubed
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 red onion, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C).
In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes.
Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.
In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, Kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dr. Martha Howard and Patricia Lavcan join the March 7th Q&A Dinner Panel – Tickets going quick.

As part of our March 7th Allergen-Free Q&A Dinner at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, we're delighted to welcome Dr. Martha Howard and Patricia Lavcan, who will be sharing their insight and knowledge of living with food allergies.

Martha Howard, MD
Medical Director
Wellness Associates of Chicago

A graduate of Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine, Dr. Howard's practice, Wellness Associates of Chicago, specializes in the treatment of chronic illnesses that can be associated with underlying allergies. Founded in 1990, Wellness Associates of Chicago was one of the city's first centers of Integrative Medicine, combining traditional Family Practice with both eastern and western styles of medicine.

Patricia Lavcan, MS, RD, LDN
Nutritionist, Assistant Professor
Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago

As a long-time Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, Pat brings a unique level of knowledge and experience to the dining table. In addition to her 8-years with the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Pat has also been affiliated with Loyola University, the Illinois Institute of Art, and the American Dietetic Association.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Premier Q&A Dinner at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago March 7th! - Finally a safe & sound night out for allergy sufferers!

We just finalized the date and times for our first Q&A Dinner, come and bring your questions about your food allergies, we are going to have nutritionists, allergist and chefs available for this unique panel. The dinner will be prepared free of the 8 major allergens plus gluten for people with manageable food allergies and includes a gift bag, valued at over $50. Space is limited so make your reservations now.
The Q&A Dinner series will be a monthly event, so keep checking back for new dates or if you sign-up for the Q&A membership, you will get first notice of all new events. To attend any Q&A Dinners you must be a member, it is a fast and easy process and there is NO COST to join. Click on image below to register.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lisa Cooks Minestrone Soup – It’s Cold!

It is 19° F in Chicago and very windy, a great day to bundle up and enjoy a nice hearty soup. How about some Minestrone? It is such a healthy soup and can be easily made vegetarian by replacing the beef stock with vegetable stock. You can use whatever pasta works with your families allergies; I used a potato pasta in this batch. Enjoy!

Serves 10

1 cup kidney beans
2 cups beef broth
6 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup potatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked rice, potato or corn pasta
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup cooked tomatoes

Soak kidney beans overnight and strain.
Place beans, beef broth and water in large kettle; cook 4 hours.
In a separate pan, sauté onion, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes in extra-virgin olive oil on medium-high heat until tender.
Add vegetables to beans; cover kettle and cook slowly for 30 minutes, stirring often.
Cook pasta according to packaging instruction.
Add macaroni, Kosher salt, ground black pepper and tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes.
Add more beef broth if you like your soup thinner.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lisa Shops for Gluten Free Products – What Other Ingredients Mean Gluten...and Tasty Meatballs

When I first was diagnosed with food allergies, I knew I couldn’t eat gluten, but what did that really mean? Well, it means a lot more than just gluten when it came to reading food labels, that’s for sure.

Below, I gathered a list of other ingredients or products that could possibly contain wheat or gluten. If you see these, you are going to have to dig a little more, call or email the manufacturer, you may have to be persistent, they aren’t always in a hurry to reply. In future posts, I will tackle other allergens and hidden ingredients to look for. If you have some to add to this list, send me a comment and I will add them, we all learn together. This list comes from several sources, I got some from my doctor, Dr. H. Martha Howard ( and also some from the

Abyssian Hard
Barley Flour
Barley Malt
Beer Bleached All Purpose Flour
Bouillon Cubes or Powder
Brown Flour
Caramel Color
Cereal Binding
Cereal Extract
Cracker Meal
Delactosed Whey
Demineralized Whey
Durum Flour
Edible Starch
Food Starch
Gelatinized Starch
Graham Flour
Granary Flour
Ground Spices
Hydrolyzed Oat Starch
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Malt Syrup
Malt Vinegar
Modified Starch
Oat Flour
Pastry Flour
Pearl Barley
Rice Malt
Rice Syrup
Rye Flour
Semolina Flour
Soba Noodles
Sprouted Flour
Teriyaki Sauce
Vegetable Gum
Whey Hydrolysate
Whole Meal Flour

On to something to eat, enjoy!

Jumbo Meatballs
Serves 4-6

Add these meatballs to your next rice pasta dish or just eat them alone, great for kids to snack on.

1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
¼ cup rice milk
equivalent 1 egg
¼ cup rice breadcrumbs
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup bacon drippings
¼ cup beef broth
¼ cup rice flour (if you want gravy)

Mix all ingredients except bacon drippings and beef broth.
Shape into 1½-inch balls.
Refrigerate at least one hour.
Pre-heat sauté pan over medium-high heat and add bacon drippings.
Brown meatballs in pan and add beef broth, add cover.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes or until meat is cooked.
If you want gravy, remove meatballs and slowly add rice flour to mixture.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lisa Shops for Allergen-Free All Purpose Flour

I got a question from the Boyle family with a severe nut allergy since 7/08 regarding where to find all purpose flour when avoiding nuts, dairy, flour or wheat and eggs. I sent out requests from several flour manufacturing companies and am waiting to hear back from most of them, but thought I would share with you what I found out from Bob’s Red Mill.

I am just going to copy the email sent to me from Bob’s Red Mill Customer Service.

“We are mindful of the concerns of the allergen-sensitive community and we utilize ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ to diminish any risk of allergen cross-contact. We segregate our ingredients and thoroughly clean our equipment between production runs with high powered air pressure. Also, the first 30 lbs of product run on any line is purged and not packaged.

It is Bob's Red Mill's policy and practice to apply elective allergen advisory statements to all Bob's Red Mill product labels.

Gluten Free products bear the following statement:
‘Manufactured in a facility that also uses tree nuts and soy.’

Any labels seen without an allergy advisory statement were produced prior to our recent implementation of this practice. Our labels will be replaced with the newer version as soon as existing stock runs out.

We do not have peanuts or shellfish at our facility.”

Ok, so that is one, but I still want to find one completely free of tree nuts, I will keep you posted as I get information back from the manufacturers.
Until then, you can also do some digging; I listed some allergen-free flour manufacturers and what I know about them based on packaging. I also included manufacturers that make rice flours and other types, so you can mix your own blend of all-purpose flour.

BEWARE: Manufacturers are changing their packaging and manufacturing practices all the time, it is important you read the label every time before buying.
  • Arrowhead Mills – gluten free, wheat free, organic, this company also manufacturers nut butters, I am waiting to hear back from them on what other allergies are of concern. Arrowhead Mills manufacturers Blue Corn Meal, White Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Oat Flour and Yellow Corn Meal
  • Domata Living Flour – This all purpose mix contains Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Tapioca Dextrin, Xanthan Gum and they maintain to be dairy, sugar and wheat/gluten free, in fact they were “Awarded the Celiac Sprue Association Seal of Recognition for meeting the strictest criteria in Product, Processing, and Packaging”.
  • Authentic Foods (Bette Hagman's 4 Flour Blend) contains Brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum, the site states that this product is gluten, soy and dairy free. They are closed for the holidays until next week.

This will give you a good start, I will keep looking and get back to you as I hear back, I know how important it is to find the right product for your family. Feel free to send me an questions you have, I will start digging, we can all learn together.

On to the food!
This recipe I learned in school and modified it to be safe allergen free. It came out wonderfully and now is one of our families favorites, enjoy!

Chicken Marsala
Serves 4

Extra virgin olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut in ½
1 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ onion, diced
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth

Take chicken breasts and put in large plastic bag.
Pound breasts until they're all at equal thicknesses.
Pre-heat sauté pan to medium and add extra virgin olive oil.
Dip chicken in mixture of flour and salt and coat on both sides, shake excess flour mix off chicken.
Sauté chicken breasts, about 4 minutes on each side, remove from pan.
Add a little more extra virgin olive oil and onions and mushrooms, cook until slightly browned.
Add wine and chicken stock and scrape crumbles from bottom of pan.
Reduce liquid down and add back in chicken breasts to reheat.