Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Holidays - How to stay Safe & Sound with food allergies

The holiday season is here! Make sure you and your family stay safe with these helpful tips!

1. Set up an allergen free table - With so much excitement, it’s easy to mix up dishes and eat something that will make you sick, By making a special place for allergen free foods, you eliminate this risk. Ask guests dying to try your famous salad to get their allergen-free food first to avoid contamination.

2. When bringing your own food, make sure your utensils are clearly marked. It’s super easy to mix up the serving spoons and contaminate your whole dish.

3. Serve portions of the dish you prepared on individual plates for guests to take to avoid cross contamination with a serving spoon.

4. Eating at a family member’s home? - offer to help and educate them on how to avoid cross contamination in their kitchen. If they are resistant, you know you will need to bring alternatives.

Have fun with it, Have a competition with your family which dish is better, allergen free of not? Show them you are not missing a thing while explaining the importance of keeping it safe. I have made many dishes where no one even thought they were eating allergen free!Have fun - by taking these precautions you can have a Safe & Sound holiday!

Try these recipes for your 2010 Thanksgiving dinner!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chelsea Had a Gluten Free Wedding Cake, but Gina Had a GF Reception!

I had the great pleasure of catering a party for a wedding for two of my favorite allergenistas, Gina Klauba and her new husband Jeff Gawel. The entire wedding was gluten free and according to Gina, her guests never missed a thing.

See some items from the menu and make these recipes for your next party!

Bruschetta – We used Udi’s Bread for the base, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic powder, Udi’s was perfect!

1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced
3 ounces onions, diced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
4 slices rice bread, toasted
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat broiler to 350°F.
Brush bread with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with granulated garlic and bake for 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients.
Quarter bread slices and spread tomato mixture over bread slices.

Barbeque Pulled Pork topped with caramelized Onion Grenadine Jam

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 pounds pork shoulder
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cumin
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 cups chicken stock
Water as needed

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add canola oil and heat another minute.
Salt and pepper pork shoulder and put in pan to brown on all sides.
Add all other ingredients up to and including chicken stock to crock pot or large stock pot.
Add pork shoulder to liquid mixture and add water until pork shoulder is nearly covered.
Cook on medium low heat for 4 hours or until meat easily falls apart; use two forks holding them point side down and pull meat apart.

Remove pork from juices and cover with barbeque sauce.

Top on Udi’s bread and garnish with caramelized onion grenadine jam.

Onion and Grenadine Jam

1 ounce of butter or canola oil
1½ pounds onion, sliced thin
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup Merlot
1 ounce grenadine

Heat butter or canola oil over medium heat.
Add onions and sweat until soft and translucent.
Add sugar, kosher salt and pepper and cook until completely dissolved.
Add vinegar, merlot and grenadine.
Simmer until onions are glazed with liquid mixture.
Serve at room temperature.

Potato Dauphinois – CONTAINS DAIRY

1 clove garlic, crushed lightly
1 teaspoon butter
2 russet potatoes, sliced very thin
½ cup cream
pinch nutmeg
2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a pie tin, rub crushed garlic and butter all around coating thoroughly.
Layer potatoes in bottom of pan in spiral formation until bottom is covered.
Sprinkle kosher salt, black pepper and gruyere cheese over layer of potatoes and repeat 3 times.
Bring cream to a boil in a sauce pan and pour over potato mixture.
Cook in oven until you can easily slide knife thru potatoes, if mixture browns on top before potatoes are cooked through, place foil over potatoes to finish.

I’d also like to mention the huge Cupcake tower provided by the folks at SWIRLZ Cupcakes was a hit with everyone at the party.

Next up: See how we used the crusts from the Udi’s bread we used for the bruschetta, a delicious way to use every part of the loaf!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Come See Me Cook and Meet Some Great Allergenistas!

November is a busy month and with the holidays around the corner, it’s time to think of your allergen free menus. How do you accommodate everyone at your dinner table without compromising taste? It’s really easy, come see me at one of these events and I can help get you started…

Saturday, November 6th ~ Class noon – 1 p.m. ~ FREE!
Whole Foods Market – Hinsdale
Not only will you learn to make and try some tasty holiday dishes, you will also get to sample gluten free/allergen free products throughout the store from noon until 4 p.m.! Come early to join Dr. Anthony Surrusco from the Foundation of Wellness Professionals as he shares scientific facts about gluten and the possible effects it can have on the body. Enjoy gluten free products after the program and a question and answer with the Doctor. Click here for full holiday schedule at Whole Foods Market – Hinsdale.

Monday, November 8th ~ 7-8 p.m.
MOCHA Meeting
If you haven’t been to a MOCHA meeting, this is a great one to check out. This lovely group of allergenista moms is a wonderful resource for anyone whose family suffers with food allergies. Denise Bunning heads up this group with Anne Thompson and they are both a wealth of knowledge on food allergies from issues with schools, tasty products for us to try and the most current research being done on the food allergy front. I will be sharing tips on making your holiday Safe, Sound and delicious for all. The meeting is held at Highland Park Hospital.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No Trick, these Treats are Smart – October Hot Pick

I got a box of samples to try from the folks at Smart Treat and I am so glad they found me. They have some amazing bread products you must try!

Smart Treat is manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility. Most of Smart Treat’s products are also dairy free with many also being free of peanuts and tree nuts, although their plant is not dedicated to be nut free. Their recipes are developed by Bonnie in her home kitchen before they are brought to Smart Treat’s master baker, Brian. There are no assembly lines; all products are created in small batches for the freshest quality.

I got a loaf of the seeded bread, the onion caraway bread and the cranberry walnut bread. This bread has an amazing taste and texture; I toasted this bread and ate it with a little Smart Balance with no other “doctoring” necessary. We especially enjoyed the onion caraway bread, truly outstanding!

Another thing I like about Smart Treat is that their loaves are reasonably priced and if you buy $40 worth of product, shipping is also free. I can’t wait to try their dinner rolls and brownies! When you order, tell them I sent you… Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

These Boots are Made for Walking…

Hey allergenistas! It has been a crazy month, I apologize for the lack of posts, but I have so much to share: new restaurants, new products and some great recipes, so keep posted!

First up, this Sunday is the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s Walk for Food Allergies. It’s so fun to see the teams supporting their loved ones with food allergies. Some teams to look out for are the Non-Dairies, Angie’s Peanut Busters and Fans of Finn. This year FAAN is hoping to raise $140,000 to continue their work toward curing food allergies.

This year’s walk has the pleasure of Cybele Pascal (author of The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook) and Kelly Rudnicki, (author of The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book), available at the 2010 Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago to sign your books, not to mention the tables of vendors with safe food for your family to try. It’s really a fun event where you can make a difference in your family and millions of others that suffer with food allergies. You might even see Trace Adkins there!

I recently wrote an article for the FAAN newsletter to help newly diagnosed allergenistas navigate their way through the maze of substitutions and rethinking on their new lifestyle, to read it click here. I really try to think of my food allergies as a blessing of revitalized health and an opportunity to try new foods that I wouldn’t have pre-allergens. It has been an exciting and challenging road and I am happy to share all that I learned with you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

“Shopping” Allergen Free with Me!

We still have a few spaces available for the FREE shopping trip at my home that is combined with the Gluten Free Faces Pot Luck on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. I have lots of great treats for you to take home and try, from companies like:

Risotto Chips
Bob’s Red Mill
Cherrybrook Kitchen
Pamela’s Products
Whole Foods Market
Smart Treat

Please RSVP to and I will send you the details on where to go (I live in the city, but parking is available).

If you want to stay for the GF Faces Potluck dinner, I am making dishes FREE of the Big Bad 8 and Gluten, so there will be something for everyone…

Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Check out Jules’ Baker’s Dozen E-Book for Free

Jules gets tons of requests for recipes that people have either heard about or have sampled at a show or one of her cooking classes. Her e-book Jules Baker’s Dozen shares 13 of her most cherished recipes. Make your favorite baked goods GF (Jules also includes a guide for allergenistas with additional restrictions).

Jules’ was kind enough to share her book with us in honor of the Safe & Sound Dinner, so be sure to download it so you can start baking your favorite GF baked goods again. Just put coupon/promo code LCAF810 when checking out and the e-book is free! Thanks Jules!
Please share with us your experiences with the recipes.
Offer only good until September 23rd.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Naan Recipe from Chef Patrick Justice - ZED 451

One of the highlights of the Safe & Sound dinner was the amazing allergen free Naan Chef Patrick made for our group. He used Jules Gluten-Free Flour and it was so good, soft and flavorful with a touch of grilled taste.

Naan is best known in India and Afganistan with a long history dating back to 1300 AD. History indicates that Naan has been served at the imperial court in Delhi for many centuries. This yeast raised flat bread is similar to pita bread. Chef Patrick was kind enough to share the recipe with us, enjoy!

Gluten Free Naan Bread

This recipe makes about 30 pieces of flatbread. They can easily be made, portioned, and kept in the freezer. Just let them thaw for a few hours before rolling into circles.

5¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
4¼ cups warm water (140° F)
2 Tbsp sugar
5 pounds Jules Gluten-Free Flour
¾ cup sugar
1½ tablespoons granulated garlic
2¾ tablespoons salt
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Combine yeast, warm water, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a 2 quart pitcher.
Set mixture aside while preparing remaining ingredients. (approximately 10 minutes) or until yeast is foamy.
Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, garlic, salt) in stand mixer fitted with dough hook, and mix until well blended.
Add yeast/water mixture & olive oil to mixer and mix until dough comes together and pulls away from sides of the bowl. (About 8 minutes on MEDIUM speed).
Place dough in an oiled mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour.
Divide dough into 4 oz. balls.
Roll dough into circles on parchment paper.

At this point there are a lot of things you can do with the flatbread. The two best ways to cook it are by grilling over a VERY hot fire for about 2-3 minutes per side, or placing it in a HOT skillet for 2-3 minutes per side.

Either way, brush both sides with olive oil before cooking. Sprinkle with a little salt as they come off the grill. They are also great brushed with your favorite infused olive oil.

Friday, August 27, 2010

SWIRLZ Takes the Cake (Cupcake that is!) and A Goody Bag Shopping Trip!

At the Safe & Sound Dinner, 25 allergenistas gathered to enjoy a dinner from Zed 451’s Harvest Tables and Tableside Chefs. Everyone left full…
Well extra full if you count the amazing cupcakes Pam and Jeremy brought from SWIRLZ Cupcakes . The cupcake was a moist vanilla cake, filled with a fresh mango compote, layered with guava slices and topped with a delicate mango vegan buttercream. Jeremy calls it Tropicalia! I have a new favorite flavor. The guests without allergens couldn’t even tell the difference between the gluten filled cupcakes they normally enjoy. I am amazed at the flavors that pastry chef Jeremy puts together (they have done over 450 flavors to date!)

If you haven’t tried SWIRLZ, you can find them at Whole Foods Market and if you are in the Chicagoland area, stop by their store on 705 W. Belden. Until Tuesday, if you sign up to be a fan of SWIRLZ on their Facebook page, you will get an exclusive discount.

how to:
1) Click the Facebook link here
2) Click the "like" tab on our page.
3) Post "happy" on our wall (Most Important Part!).
4) We will message you with your promotion code. (Message will come from Jamie Finnan-Swirlz Ast. Mngr.)
5) Then simply mention your code when you place your order whether it is in store, phone or fax!

Discount may be redeemed for 1 week: Aug. 24th-31st, 2010.
Orders can be placed for future dates, as long as the order is placed between 8/24 & 8/31.
Any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at the store!
phone: 773.404.2253

And if dinner and dessert wasn’t enough, there were so many treats to take home in your recyclable Whole Foods Grocery Bag….

Pamela’s shared their most amazing cookies:
- Ginger Mini Snaps (gluten and dairy free)
- Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies (gluten and dairy free)
- And a variety of Chocolate Chunk Pecan Shortbread, Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free only)

I have lots of great product left to share with my favorite allergenistas that couldn’t make it to the event. I will be having an open house pot luck at my home on September 11th for the GF Faces Chicago group. I plan to open my goodie closet for people to “shop” for products to try. Please RSVP to, I have limited space and can only open my home to about 20 people.

Some products include:
- San-J Sauces and marinades
- Pamela’s cookies
- NoOodles
- Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust
- Cherrybrook Farms Cookies
- Risotto Chips
- Recipes from some of my favorite bloggers
and more!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Treats Just Keep Coming and a Pie You Must Try!

The Safe & Sound at ZED 451 is right around the corner and tickets are still available (click here to register).

Check out the great swag we have been getting for the gift bags, I might need a bigger bag…

Ener-G has just come out with a new line of biscotti. They have chocolate chip, raisin and cranberry, what a lovely gluten/dairy free way to start your day with a hot cup of coffee. Ener-G recommends heating them in the oven to get the best texture!

Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Gluten Free Dreams Vanilla Graham Mini Cookies are a perfect afternoon snack and I think they would be a lovely base to a pie if you grind them in a food processor, just the right amount of sweet.

A new allergenista favorite, risotto chips are taking Chicago by storm! I love these with hummus and even use them for some crunch in your next taco salad.

Last Sunday, I was sampling product for Mixes from the Heartland at the Caputo’s in Elmwood Park. Although, I couldn't taste this product (it has dairy), the reviews from the crowds were so positive, I just had to share them with you. Mixes from the Heartland Impossible Coconut Pie, how everyone was describing it to me, it is like a custard pie, the mix separates itself giving you a crust with a custard filling topped with toasted coconut sprinkles, people were just raving about it. I had a hard time keeping enough product to sell, it was going that fast. This product requires egg and dairy, I can’t wait to try a dairy free option with coconut milk (I will keep you posted).

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Goodies for the Safe & Sound Dinner and a Spicy Stir Fry

Just over a week away from the Safe & Sound Dinner at ZED 451 and my house is filled with cases of product to share with my favorite allergenistas. Make your reservations now while space is still available for this incredible dinner.

- Over 30 dishes, each more flavorful and robust than the next
- SWIRLZ Cupcakes
- A killer gift bag packed with allergen free swag
- Dine with some of Chicagoland’s hippest allergenistas

Bob’s Red Mill sent their pizza crust mix. I just love this crust, I like to put lots of toppings on my pizza to make up for the lack of cheese, this crust holds together and delivers a wonderful taste to boot. If you want to give it a try, try my recipe for the perfect pizza sauce.

I tried San-J’s Gluten Free Szechuan Sauce with some vegetables I had in the fridge and strips of pork, it was a great meal! I can’t wait to try the rest of their sauces!

The great thing about stir fry is that you can substitute any fresh vegetables you have in the house, it is really a versatile dish. I did add an egg to this dish, but you can skip it if you have egg allergies. Pork Stir Fry

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 zucchini, cut into strips
1 lb of pork, cut into strips
8 button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons San-J Gluten Free Szechuan Hot and Spicy Marinade and Stir-Fry
2 scallions, cut on a bias

Preheat large saute pan on high heat.
Add olive oil and heat another minute.
Add carrot to pan, cook one minute, push to side.
Add each ingredient above in order as listed thru pork, cook for one minute each and push to side.
Add San-J Gluten Free Szechuan and mix all ingredients together.
Top with scallion and serve over rice.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Goodies Are Starting to Arrive…

Don’t miss the Safe & Sound Dinner at ZED 451 on August 24th, check out some of the swag I have been receiving for the gift bags and we are just getting started! All of the products below are ones I have talked about before and use in my kitchen, I am so excited to share them with you.

Choice Batter - I just love it for chicken tenders, onion rings and tempura. The best part is that it absorbs up to 50% less cooking oil!
NoOodle – A wonderful pasta alternative with no calories, none of the Big Bad allergens and pre-cooked making lunch at work a snap! These noodles absorb the taste of what you top them with, so they can be eaten any number of ways.
Sandwich Petals – a perfect wrap to take to work or your favorite deli and is FREE of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten.
Hope to see you at ZED 451, see what people are saying about this hot downtown restaurant!

To register, click here.

"Best All You Can Eat Experience - Upscale"
Chicago Reader

"All-you-can-eat, with style."
Phil Vettel, Food Editor Chicago Tribune

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lisa Visits Lincolnshire Gourmet

I have been dying to get up to Highland Park to visit with Terri Rogers, the chef at Lincolnshire Gourmet and developer of the NoOodle. I first had the NoOodle at ZED 451 in one of the salads on their harvest tables. This product is just amazing, it’s made of water, yam flour and lime and tastes like a cellophane noodle. It goes great with traditional pasta sauces and stir frys. It gets even better, there are no calories, no net carbs or preservatives.

Alivia and I drove North on I-94 to the charming and bustling Highland Park. Lincolnshire Gourmet is located on Central Avenue and from the moment you walk up to the door, you feel welcome and comfortable. The first thing you see as you enter the outdoor dining area are these huge fire pits with seating all around, I can imagine the interesting conversations and connections that were made over a cocktail or two.

We arrived right at lunch time and the restaurant was quite busy. We sat outside under the tented area that was bright and cheery with a pleasant breeze filtering through the dining room. The menu is so fun, Both Liv and I had the build your own NoOodle meal. You choose the toppings including sauces, veggies and garnishes. I had the NoOodle with Marina sauce, roasted tomatoes, yellow squash, red peppers, onions and chicken. The vegetables were so fresh and the sauce had just the right amount of kick, a lovely light meal. The NoOodle’s lighter texture doesn’t weigh you down like a traditional wheat based pasta would.
Liv had ginger soy, carrots, spinach, yellow squash, mushrooms, pine nuts and cilantro, we both were happy diners and new fans of both the NoOodle and Lincolnshire Gourmet! By the way, ALL the desserts at Lincolnshire Gourmet are gluten free!

Terri was kind enough to share the NoOodle with the allergenistas at the Safe & Sound dinner, a sample pack of this precooked product is perfect for taking to the office, or on trips where finding a safe meal is challenge.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This Soup Hits the Spot this Summer!

I just started teaching at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago and am so happy with my new job, it’s a great way to continue to refine my cooking skills and provide food allergy resources at the school and to my favorite allergenistas. The recipe below is one that I enjoyed as a student and as a chef. The ingredients have been modified to make it allergen free…

Enjoy this satisfying soup made with the season’s freshest carrots. It’s easy to make and the sweetness from the carrots make this vegetable based soup a favorite for kids and adults alike…

Pureed Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 carrots, small dice
½ small onion, small dice
½ russet potato, small dice
32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Whisper of cayenne pepper

Preheat sauce pan on medium
Add olive oil and heat another minute.
Add carrot and onion, cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add potato and stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Add Kosher salt, cayenne and black pepper while mixture is simmering.
Puree in blender until smooth, add additional Kosher salt and pepper as needed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ZED 451 Announces Menu for Safe & Sound Dinner

I have enjoyed planning the Safe & Sound Dinners and in an attempt to keep my favorite allergenistas happy and full, we are adjusting the format for this next dinner on Tuesday, August 24th. ZED 451 is a Brazilian Steakhouse with American Flair and with that style of restaurant, you get an amazing salad bar. Although, all of my recipes are FREE of the Big Bad 8 Allergens and Gluten, I understand that not everyone is allergic to all of them. I totally remember what it was like to enjoy cheeses and butter and feel you should get the full experience at ZED 451 if you can, some of their signature dishes just wouldn’t be the same without adding certain allergens.

With that in mind, ZED 451 has developed the most amazing menu, some items will contain various allergens, all items will be segregated to maintain the most Safe & Sound experience for all with no cross contamination.

17 different salads
- Baby “Bibb” Wedge Salad with Cabernet Vinaigrette
- Chick Pea Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Fuji Apple Salad
- Glass Noodle Salad
- Grilled Asparagus Salad
- Jicama Salad
- Octopus Salad
- Poached Red Wine Pears with Orange Balsamic Dressing
- Quinoa Salad
- Red Bliss Potato Salad with Sherry and Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
- Sautéed Wild Mushrooms without dressing
- Tender Spinach Salad
- Watermelon Salad
- Broccoli Salad‐ (contains egg)
- Country Club Chicken Salad (contains egg)
- Sliced Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil with Maple Balsamic Dressing – (contains dairy)

12 Different Proteins
With multiple non-red meat eaters coming to the dinner, there have been requests for more protein options, so we will be including a few fish dishes.
- Herb Marinated Bottom Sirloin
- Lightly Seasoned Leg of Lamb
- Moroccan Marinated Chicken Breast‐ homemade marinade
- Seasoned Ribeye
- Seasoned Rump Roast
- Venison Denver Leg
- Linguisa Sausage
- Amaretto Duck Breast (contains tree nuts)
- Asian Pork Belly‐ ‐ with homemade allergen‐free BBQ sauce (contains soy)
- Citrus Atlantic Salmon‐ (contains fish)
- Rubbed Tuna Filet‐ with ginger soy on the side - (contains egg, fish & soy)
- Blackened Catfish‐ (contains fish)

2 Sides (as if you can eat anymore!)
- Fingerling Potatoes with white truffle creme fraiche on the side. (crème fraiche contains dairy)
- Roast Corn and Brandy Bacon.

All of this, not to mention Swirlz Cupcakes for desert!

Tuesday, August 24th
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
$50 per person
Hope to see you there!
Click here to register

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: Desserts Free of Nuts, Eggs and Dairy

Some of the products I have been featuring lately contain egg or nuts. So when I got a copy of The Divvies Bakery Cookbook, that is free of Nuts, Eggs and Dairy, I knew I just had to share this great book with you allergenistas that can't eat those foods…

Lori Sandler’s son, Benjamin is severely allergic to dairy and nuts. Based on her son’s dietary restrictions, she established the Divvies Bakery in 2005, changing her son’s rep from being the kid with allergies, to the one that brings amazing treats to share with the class…

From the 70 recipes for delectable sweets, I made the Fruity Frozen Pie. Since I cannot eat gluten, I had to substitute the graham cracker crust with a crust I made using Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle Cookies. (This recipe was easily modified to be FREE of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten, there are other recipes that are naturally gluten free as well.) I really liked this recipe, it was easy to put together and a lovely treat during the sweltering heat Chicago has faced this July. The non-dairy ice cream used was Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island and the Sorbet is So Delicious Mango Sorbet.
You can buy The Divvies Bakery Cookbook by clicking here

Fruity Frozen Pie

Modified to be FREE of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten from the Divvies Bakery Cookbook

1 pint vanilla dairy-free ice cream
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 pint fruit-flavored sorbet, your choice
1 store bought graham cracker crumb pie crust (I ground up Enjoy Life’s Snickerdoodle Cookies)
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
Thaw ice cream, raspberries and sorbet at room temperature for 20 minutes until softened.
Place Snickerdoodle Cookies in blender and mix until you have even sized crumbs, press evenly into bottom of pan.
Take frozen raspberries and mix with sugar, set aside.
Top with layer of dairy free ice cream and freeze for 20 minutes.
Top with frozen raspberries and apply sorbet on top in even layer.
Place fresh raspberries on top of sorbet (open side down) around the perimeter of the pie top.
Freeze pie for 2 hours.
Slice and serve immediately, Divvies recommends using a warm knife.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Betty Crocker – Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

I don’t eat dairy, so I had to bow out on this tasting, but I found two great judges, that can eat gluten. If they like it, you know it has to be good. So Alivia and Mark were the tasters and as the cake baked in the oven, I kept hearing, “when is it going to be done?”

Just because I couldn’t enjoy the cake didn’t mean I wanted to skip on dessert, so I decided to make a strawberry topping I could enjoy sans cake. As I went to the grocery store to get some fresh strawberries I had to issue a warning not to touch the cake until I got back. A good sign!

Well, the results were positive; the cake was fluffy in texture and rose in the pan just like a gluten filled cake would. I cut the cake thru the center, added the strawberry mixture in the middle of the cake and also drizzled some on top. They really loved this cake, in fact when I got back from teaching today, I found only a small piece left, so I guess this cake would also be good for nibbling, I opened the bag to see how it retained its moisture and it still felt fresh and soft. Alivia described this cake as just sweet enough and that she never would have known it was gluten free. Thanks Betty, now please make a dairy free, egg free version so we can all enjoy, I can’t wait!

Make this strawberry topping at home, it’s great on your favorite cakes or just plain.

Strawberry topping

1-16 ounce container of fresh strawberries, cleaned with tops trimmed
¼ cup of sugar
juice and zest of ¼ lemon
juice and zest of ¼ orange

Mix strawberries and sugar together, let sit for 20 minutes.
Squeeze in lemon and orange juice and add zest, mix thoroughly.
Take ¼ of strawberry mixture and place in blender until liquid.
Add back to strawberries, mix and serve on your favorite cake.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Special Request for Fish Eaters

All of my recipes are FREE of the Big Bad 8 Allergens and Gluten, but I keep getting requests for fish dishes. So for my allergenistas that can eat fish, this one is for you. It’s healthy, delicious and easy to make. Enjoy!

Tilapia en Papillote

This recipe is for one serving, this technique also works well with sea bass and salmon.

Large sheet of parchment paper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tilapia fillet
Kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 shallot, small dice
¼ red pepper, cut into ¼” strips
¼ zucchini, cut into ¼” strips
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, minced
3 lemon slices
2 tablespoons white wine

Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
Take a large piece of parchment paper and fold in ½.
Cut the shape of a heart from the paper and lay flat.

On right half of paper brush olive oil in center.

Season fillet on both sides with Kosher salt, set aside.
Take zucchini and red pepper and criss-cross over where you brushed olive oil.
Sprinkle shallots around zucchini and red pepper.

Place fish on top of zucchini and red pepper stack.

Sprinkle thyme and parsley over fish and top with lemon slices.

Splash white wine over lemon slices and fish.
Fold left side of paper over to meet other side of heart shape.
Starting at the point of the heart, fold the paper over to make a lip, continue folding all the way around until the tilapia is fully enclosed.

Place fish packet in roasting pan and heat in oven until paper puffs up and gets browned around edges.

In restaurants, they normally serve this dish in the parchment paper so the guest can open tableside.

This fish pairs well with rice or quinoa.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh, Sandwich, How Could I Ever Stay Mad At You?

One thing I really missed about not being able to eat bread was the almighty sandwich. Picking up a sandwich piled high with your favorite toppings (especially in the summer when farmer’s markets are overflowing with the season’s best fruits and vegetables) is one of my favorite lunches.

I had some red peppers, avocado, onions and a package of Katz Gluten Free Challah Rolls, these amazing rolls are so soft and lovely. The wheels started spinning… about 10 years ago, I owned a Minuteman Press franchise; you know a little mom and pop printing shop. One of my customers was a sandwich shop called Pacifico-to-Go, they had the most amazing sandwich with similar ingredients. I couldn’t remember the sauce they used on the sandwich, I am guessing an aioli of some kind, so I decided to play a little and make an allergen free alternative, hope you enjoy the results….

One of the things I try to share with my allergenistas is the desire to explore and experiment with food. It is so much fun to discover new flavor combinations and techniques. I’ll bet sprouts or a slaw would be lovely on this sandwich to add a little crunch, maybe turkey lunch meat instead of chicken or maple syrup instead of agave, I’d love to hear your modifications for making this your favorite lunchtime meal…

Chicken Sandwich ala Pacifico

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
2 chicken breasts, cut in ½ and pounded to same thickness
Kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup agave nectar
1 cup chicken stock
1 red pepper, roasted, skinned and deseeded
½ avocado cut into strips

Preheat medium saute pan on medium for one minute.
Add olive oil and heat another minute.
While pan is heating, season chicken breast with Kosher salt and ground black pepper on both sides.
Add onion to pan and cook until onions are translucent in color.
Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on first side. You want the chicken to be cooked 2/3rds thru on the bottom side before flipping, this helps retain the moisture.
Flip chicken and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
Add white wine vinegar and reduce for 1 minute.
Add agave nectar and chicken stock, reduce until the sauce holds it shape when you run your finger thru it on a spoon. This is called nappe.
Place chicken breast on bun, top with roasted red pepper and avocado and drizzle sauce over sandwich.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lisa Tries Udi’s Cinnamon Rolls

I love what the folks at Udi’s have been making for us allergenistas. At the Bread Round-Up at the Free From Market I picked Udi’s as my favorite bread in this blind taste test. I also am a huge fan of the bagels from Udi’s. Well, I picked up a 4 pack of Udi’s cinnamon rolls at The Whole Foods Market on Kingsbury in Chicago (this store has a huge display of most of Udi’s gluten free products) and am really glad I did.

The consistency of these cinnamon rolls is great considering there is no wheat or dairy in this product. They flake as much as I can imagine possible without layering butter into the dough, like you would on an allergen filled option. It even comes with a package of frosting to top your breakfast treat. I am constantly amazed at the strides being made in allergen free baked goods. The one thing I would change about this lovely product is to increase the amount of cinnamon/sugar mixture used.

Overall, a great breakfast pastry for brunch when family is in … or a nice treat when you have a sweet tooth.

Udi’s Cinnamon Rolls contain: Water, Tapioca Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Canola Oil, Egg Whites, Brown Sugar, Yeast, Xanthan Gum, Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Salt, Cultured Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid (Ascorbic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cornstarch), Enzymes. Filling contains: Sugar, Palm Oil Shortening, Tapioca Starch, Water, Ground Cinnamon, Canola Oil, Sunflower Lecithin (Sunflower Lecithin, Rice Flour, Tricalcium Phosphate,) Salt. Icing contains: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Ground Cinnamon, Agar, Citric Acid, Distilled Monoglycerides, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Locust Bean Gum

Contains: Eggs

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilling for the Fourth of July

My sister Alivia is a vegetarian and since she has been staying with me, I have been skipping meat instead of making two completely different meals. Lately I have had a craving for some beef. So, I invited my carnivorous brother over for some tasty flank steak topped with a Chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri sauce reigns from Argentina or Uruguay and is a wonderful complement to the richness of the steak. It’s always fun to have Jeff over, he loves food as much as I do, and when he eats three plates full; I just know it’s a winner. For fussy kids that won’t eat the sauce, cut the meat in thin strips for tasty tacos.


Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Flank steak has become increasingly popular over the last 5 years or so. It’s such a great cut with lots of flavor and when cooked properly, it is so juicy and tender. This cut of meat needs to be cooked medium rare to medium, the longer you cook it, the more tough it becomes. Don’t worry, it’s easy…

Chimichurri Dressing
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded (leave some seeds in if you like it hot)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
to taste Kosher salt

Mix all solid ingredients with vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil while continuing to blend. Add salt to taste. If dressing is too thick, add a small ice cube to thin the sauce. Set aside.

Flank Steak
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Garlic powder

Lightly sprinkle steak with Kosher salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder, rub into meat.
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Take a paper towel coated in oil and brush along grate of grill and heat another minute to season the grill so your meat won’t stick.
Place steak on grill and cook on first side a total of 4 minutes, after the first 2 minutes, rotate the steak on the first side 45 degrees to make cross-hatched grill marks.
Flip the steak and cook on second side another 4 minutes.
Let steak rest 7 minutes before cutting. This keeps the steak juicy and moist, cutting any sooner will release the liquid in your steak onto the cutting board, leaving you with a tough cut of meat.
Make sure to cut the steak against the grain in thin strips on a bias. Cutting this way will also help in keeping the meat tender, if you cut with the grain, the meat will be chewy and tougher.

Top with Chimichurri Dressing and enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taste of Chicago is Here Again, What is Safe This Year for Allergenistas?

The Taste of Chicago can be very difficult to navigate with food allergies. So to make it a little easier for my favorite allergenistas, I have compiled a list of vendors that includes their menu and whether their food contains any of the Big Bad 8 allergens and gluten. I have included the menus for all vendors, even if I wasn’t able to make contact with the restaurant found on page 7. Please make sure when you go to the Taste, your investigation doesn’t stop with this list, ask questions about the ingredients when you get to the booth, ask to see the packaging on any sauces that may be in question and take a definitely watch how your food is being prepared to make sure that proper protocol is being used to avoid cross-contamination.

Bear in mind that the Taste is an incredibly busy event and the staff is hired especially for the Taste, so training in regards to food allergies is sometimes lacking. There are also cross contamination issues that are present in this open air event. Please use additional care when choosing where to eat and use your best judgment. If you have any reservations, it is probably best to pass on that item or vendor. This list is to be used as a starting point; the rest is up to you! Enjoy!

Click here to get the Taste of Chicago Allergenista guide.