Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still have leftovers from Thanksgiving – try this recipe with your leftover Turkey

Instead of using chicken, shred turkey and add with broth and rice milk. This creamy pot pie goes great with the crispy crust, make your own or get a ready made one that works with your allergies.

Chicken (Turkey) Pot Pie

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
1 cup carrots, small dice
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup onion, small dice
1/3 cup GF all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup rice milk

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Heat pan, add olive oil and heat another minute.
Sweat celery, then carrot.
Add chicken and peas. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in GF flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Use spare dough pieces to decorate the top of your pie. I made leaves to match the season.

Pie Crust

1½ cups allergen free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
6 tablespoons cold water

Sift all the dry ingredients together.
Place in food processor and add butter, pulse until the mixture resembles clumps about the size of small peas.
Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, distributing the water evenly throughout the whole of the mixture by pulsing after each tablespoon.
When the mixture sticks together, but is not doughy, place in a large ziplock bag and form into a ball.
Flatten ball to a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut bag on 3 sides and sprinkle allergen free flour on dough, recover.
Roll under plastic bag until the dough is of sufficient size to fit into a 9 inch pie pan.
Line the pie pan with dough, a glass pan works best, use spare pieces to fill in missing/cracked areas.
Bake at 425°F for 10 - 15 minutes.
Fill with a chicken filling.
Makes one 9” pie crust.
This can be frozen and used like a commercial pie crust if desired.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Special Request and Pumpkin Pie Bites

Two days until Thanksgiving, and we got a special allergenista request for Green Bean Casserole, which was the 3rd most popular question asked to the Food Network about Thanksgiving! It’s going to take some time, but the results are well worth it if you are a fan of this dish. I have never had Green Bean Casserole, but I got lots of tasters sans allergies to let me know if I got it right.

Green Bean Casserole

This dish will take several steps including, making the cream of mushroom soup, making the fried onions and finally assembling and finishing the final dish, let’s get started.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
Kosher salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup white wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons allergen free flour
4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want vegetarian)

Take sauce pan and heat over medium heat.
Add oil and and heat another minute.
Add onions to pan and cook slowly until soft and translucent.
Next, you are going to add mushrooms, you may have to add in batches, if you put too many in at once you will steam the mushrooms instead of sautéing them.
As you finish one batch of mushrooms, remove and add another until complete, season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Once all mushrooms are cooked, add all back to the pan and add white wine to deglaze pan, cook until dry.
Add olive oil and allergen free flour, whisk for 2 minutes.
Slowly begin to add chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Place soup in blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Onion Strings
1 onion, cut in ½ and then into thin ½ moon strips
2 cups rice milk
1 cup allergen free flour
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
Kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 quart oil

Take onions and put in a bowl with rice milk and allow to soak for 1 hour.
Mix together allergen free flour, thyme, salt and pepper.
Take a large stock pot and fill with oil.
Bring oil to 365°F.
Take onions out of rice milk and coat with flour mixture.
Add to oil in small batches, large batches will lower the temperature of the oil too much and make the onion strings soggy.
Remove strings from oil once they are golden brown, place on paper towel to drain, add additional salt/pepper if necessary.
Set aside.

Finally, the end dish

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in ½
2 tablespoons oil
1 red onion, diced
2½ cups cream of mushroom soup
Kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
French fried onions

Take a large sauce pan and fill with water 2/3rds, bring to boil.
Add green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender.
Immediately, immerse beans in ice water to stop cooking process, remove and set aside.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Take a large saute pan and heat over medium heat.
Add oil and heat another minute and then add red onion.
Cook onion until soft and translucent.
Add green beans to pan and cook for two minutes.
Add cream of mushroom soup and thoroughly incorporate, heating thru.
Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Top with French fried onions and bake in oven for 10 minutes.

Now for dessert!

I had the most difficult time with a pie crust free of the Big Bad 8 and gluten, the crust is very delicate and falls apart easily. So I decided to rethink this recipe and came up with pumpkin pie bites – they are fun to make and the kids can help. Consider them pumpkin pie amuse bouche!

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Pie Crust
1½ cups allergen free flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
6 tablespoons cold water

Sift all the dry ingredients together and place in a food processor.
Add buttery spread in tablespoon amounts to food processor, pulse twice.
Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, distributing the water evenly throughout by pulsing after each tablespoon.
When the mixture sticks together, but is not doughy, roll out onto a table or pie mat dusted with flour. Roll until the dough is about 1/8” thick.
Use a cookie cutter to cut round bite sized shapes, makes about 20 discs.
Bake at 425°F for 10 - 15 minutes.
Set disks aside to cool.

Pumpkin Filling
1 can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water.
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Mix pumpkin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and milk together in a saucepan.
Heat mixture thru.
In a separate bowl, mix together corn starch and water until smooth.
Add cornstarch slurry to pumpkin mixture and bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Take pie crust bites and assemble on a plate.
Use a pastry bag to put pumpkin on discs or use a spoon if necessary.
Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It’s Turkey Time!

The main attraction – the turkey! This year I brined the turkey; this makes the bird juicy and extra flavorful, definitely worth the extra effort. There are only a few days until Thanksgiving, so I will keep the recipes coming, next up: green bean casserole, a request from a fellow allergenista. I never had this dish pre-allergens, so you will really have to let me know if I get it right!


1-12 to 14 pound turkey
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons thyme, minced
Kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste

8 quarts water
3/4 cup Kosher salt
1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
1/2 bunch fresh sage
6 bay leaves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 head garlic, cut in ½ thru center of cloves

Mix together ingredients in brine and add turkey to mixture.
Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove turkey from brine and dry thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix together olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Kosher salt and black pepper.
Rub mixture all over bird and under skin.
Use butcher’s twine to tie the legs closely to the rest of the bird.
Place turkey in roasting pan on roasting rack breast side down and cook for one hour uncovered.
Flip bird after one hour, season with Kosher salt and black pepper and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 185°F in the thigh of the bird or 165°F in the breast.
You will want to baste the bird with the juices in the bottom of the pan every hour or so. If skin is getting too dark, cover bird loosely with aluminum foil.
Let turkey rest 10 minutes before cutting to retain juices.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Thanksgiving Sides and Pumpkin Bread with a Fruit Glaze

Six days and counting until the big day! No compromising for us allergenistas this Thanksgiving, keep checking in, I plan to post holiday recipes every couple of days up until the big day! All FREE of the Big Bad 8 Allergens and gluten.

Butternut Squash Fries
These fries are great to nibble on while the turkey is roasting. The chili powder adds just the right amount of kick, kids and adults love these alike!

1 medium butternut squash, cut in ½” strips
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°F.
On a baking sheet, combine squash with olive oil, cumin and chili powder; season with salt and pepper.
Toss to coat, and spread squash in a single layer. Roast until fork-tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables
If mashed potatoes and gravy aren’t your thing, this alternate is a wonderful option and uses the best fall vegetables.

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.

Now for some dessert!

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups allergen free flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup water
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice

For the glaze:
¼ cup apple or your favorite juice, or coconut rum
2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix liquid ingredients and spices, pumpkin, canola oil, applesauce and water.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Grease 2 loaf pans.
Pour dough in pan and cook for 50-60 minutes.
Test with a toothpick to make sure center is cooked.

In a separate bowl, mix apple juice and powdered sugar thoroughly, pour over slices as you serve.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are you full yet? More Thanksgiving dishes for the big day…

Traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, no Thanksgiving table would be complete with out them. I updated the mashed potato recipe from last year since finding the wonderful, Earth Balance natural buttery spread soy free. It makes the potatoes more creamy and fluffy, something I am particularly thankful for!

Next up, desserts… all free of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten.

Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
¼ cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread soy free
¼ cup Rice Milk
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Add potatoes to a cool pot of water.
Bring water to boil and add a tablespoon of Kosher salt to water.
Cook potatoes until knife tender.
Strain potatoes and put thru rice mill if you have one, otherwise use a masher.
Add Earth Balance spread and Rice Milk, blend into potatoes, making sure not to over mix as potatoes will become gluey.
Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

Traditional Gravy

1 small carrot, diced small
1 small celery stalk, diced small
1 small onion, diced small
3 tablespoons canola oil or drippings from turkey pan
1/4 cup all purpose allergen free flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh thyme, diced
4 whole black peppercorns
Kosher salt to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil or pan drippings in a medium saute pan over a medium high flame.
Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.
Add carrot and celery and saute until nicely browned.
Stir in flour and remaining oil/drippings and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.
Using a whisk to continue stirring, slowly add broth.
Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and add seasonings.
Simmer gravy for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain vegetables and seasonings out of gravy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Side Dishes – Garlic Asparagus and Sausage, Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

Next up are two of my favorite sides for Thanksgiving, but don’t worry allergenistas, coming up later this week, we will be focusing on more traditional staples for the holiday including:

  • creamy mashed potatoes and gravy;
  • juicy flavorful turkey and;
  • tasty desserts that will surprise your family

Of course, all are free of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten! Who needs them, anyway?

Let me know if you have a special family recipe you would like to see modified, my kitchen is filled with Thanksgiving ingredients and I am up for the challenge!

Sausage, Cranberry & Apple Stuffing

1/4 cup dried parsley
½ tablespoons rubbed sage
½ tablespoon rosemary, minced
½ tablespoon dried celery seed
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound mild bulk breakfast sausage
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 cup sweetened cranberries
6 cups GF bread cubes (croutons)
2 to 3 cups chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Mix together parsley, sage, rosemary, celery seed, Kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder and sage, set aside.
Saute the sausage in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely, about 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl.
Add olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and seasoning mix to the pan and saute until the celery is soft.
Mix in the cranberries and saute another minute.
Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the GF croutons and parsley.
Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist, but not mushy and season with salt and pepper.
Place in a casserole dish. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)
Bake in a 9x13-inch rectangular casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Use turkey drippings to top if available.

To make croutons: Defrost bread (if necessary) in oven, cut off crusts and cut into small squares. Be careful not to brown bread.

Garlic Asparagus
I saw asparagus on sale at Stanley's (North and Elston in Chicago) and I really love this dish, I know it's not in season, but if you can find good asparagus, it will be a hit!

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Blanch and Shock Asparagus (immerse asparagus in boiling water until tender, remove and immediately place in ice water to stop cooking).
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss asparagus with oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
Roast on a large baking sheet until tender and browned in spots, 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipes - Some Old Family Favorites & Dishes to Start New Traditions

Need some new ideas for this holiday season or need an allergen free adaptation to a family favorite? Keep posted allergenistas, the next few posts will be dedicated to helping you have the best Thanksgiving holiday yet!

Can’t wait for the next post?
Saturday, November 14th come see me make butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, all free of the Big Bad 8 Allergens and Gluten at Whole Foods Market – Hinsdale, IL. (click here for more details).

Until then enjoy these great sides.

Fingerling Potatoes and Caramelized Leeks

1 pound fingerling potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green only)
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, minced

Add potatoes to a boiling pot of water and cook until soft, set aside.
Take a sauté pan and place leeks in pan, fill with water about 1/2” deep.
Cook on medium until water has evaporated.
Leeks will be cooked by the time the water is gone, but keep adding water (about 1/8th a cup) and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until leeks are creamy and caramelized, you may need to add water several times.
Once leeks are caramelized, set aside.
Over medium heat, place a sauté pan and heat for one minute.
Add olive oil and heat another minute.
Add potatoes, salt and pepper and cook until heated thru.
Mix in caramelized leeks and cook another minute.
Sprinkle with minced parsley.

I found some lovely heirloom cherry tomatoes on sale for this picture, regular cherry tomatoes work just as well.

Peapod and Cherry Tomato Salad

2 peppers, roasted, skinned and cut into strips
1 cup peapods, trimmed
½ pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ red onion, cut in thin strips
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, creamed
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Bring sauce pan 2/3rds full with water to boil.
Add peapods and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove from pan and immediately immerse in ice water.
Lightly dry peapods with paper towel and place in bowl.
Add cherry tomatoes, onion and peppers, set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together champagne vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, Kosher salt and black pepper.
Add dressing to salad and toss lightly. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

FAI's Campaign for a Cure

Recently, I attended the Food Allergy Initiative’s 2nd annual Chicago benefit with Betsy Thompson of Gluten Free Betsy. The event raised more than $1 million that will help support research for a food allergy cure.

The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) is a non-profit organization that is now the largest source of funding for food allergy research in the United States.

FAI's patronage is facilitating a number of groundbreaking, research projects. Northwestern University's Paul Bryce, for instance, is spearheading an experimental therapy study that will help determine the success of a vaccine in preventing food allergies as well as minimizing symptoms for those who have already been diagnosed.

At New York's Mount Sinai's School of Medicine, Drs. Xiu-Min Li and Hugh Sampson are developing a therapy that's been designed to prevent life-threatening reactions to half the "Big 8" food allergens: peanut, treenut, shellfish and fish.

These are just a handful of the extraordinary research projects that the FAI has sponsored since it was founded in 1998. To learn more details about the organization's research and partnerships that are helping forge a path to an allergen-free future, please click here .

One of the more heartwarming moments of the night was a sequence of videos that helped illuminate how parents are coping with their children's severe reactions to food allergens. FAI has uploaded several inspiring videos on its YouTube channel. I have included the video from the event, I encourage you to show it to people so they can understand what food allergies mean on an everyday basis.

Through the Safe & Sound dinners I am glad to support FAI's efforts with a silent auction item and a monetary donation.

I can't say enough good things about the extraordinary work FAI is doing on behalf of the estimated 12 million Americans with food allergies--and their friends and family members who are also affected by the condition.

FAI's headquarters are in New York and it has recently established outlets in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. Please consider volunteering or making a donation. But most importantly, spread the word!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BOKA: A Commitment to Allergen-Free Excellence

Chicago's allergenistas were treated to a remarkable feast last night at the season finale of the Safe & Sound Dinner series. BOKA's red-hot chef--Giuseppe Tentori--was on top of his game, offering an ambitious, allergen-free creation that left the group's members dazzled and inspired.

How does he do it? Over the summer, I had the good fortune to work with Chef Tentori at the Museum of Science and Industry and later spent an evening in his kitchen--listening, watching and learning.

Chef Tentori's protocol to reduce the risk of cross-contamination goes above and beyond those of other restaurant kitchens I've observed. Indeed, his staff's attention to detail is what makes BOKA so exceptional.

When an allergen-free meal is ordered, a booming announcement is made to the kitchen to prepare for a customized dish. Almost immediately, one chef assumes full responsibility for that particular plate and oversees its evolution from start to finish.

Unlike other chefs dedicated to the highest standards in allergen-free cuisine, Chef Tentori wasn't personally impacted by food allergies. Instead, his philosophy is to ensure that each and every customer is afforded the opportunity to experience the pleasure of fine dining.

“When you go out to eat, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed that you have a special diet request," Chef Tentori told me. "It's our job to make you happy.”

The food. The menu was free of the "big eight" allergens, gluten, and 23 additional allergens:
· Crispy White Polenta with grilled eggplant petals, ceci, pickled celery and dehydrated picholine olives
· Fennel-dusted chicken thigh served with a quinoa cream and watermelon radish fennel salad with tomatillo sauce
· Angus tenderloin with braised short ribs, napa cabbage and bacon roll with smoked white runner beans.

Then for dessert, Swirlz cupcakes--drizzled with Pam Rose's signature frosting.

Can it get any better?

This was our last Safe & Sound dinner series in 2009. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and prepare for 2010. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear from you. Together, we can make the city Safe & Sound one bite at a time!

Next up: Holiday dining, recipes to wow your friends and family!