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.