Archive | October, 2011

Food Allergy Blogs

29 Oct

Just found this website with a listing of Food Allergy Blogs. Exciting for me to see more blogs related to a huge topic like mine. I’m going to be checking out these blogs myself, one never knows what recipes and tips can be found. Whoohoo, very excited to check them out. ¬†I even entered my blog up there – just in case someone else is interested in what I have to say ūüôā Go ahead and vote for me if you visit.

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Scallion Pancakes

26 Oct

Wow, I can’t¬†believe¬†Wikipedia¬†has an article for cong you bing. I love these green onion pancakes. While in China, my husband and I had our favorite street vendor that we’d buy about 2 kuai worth. It is a flat pancake like roti that is thin and layered with green onions folded within the layers. In the US, many Chinese restaurants serve cong you bing as a weekender snack along with other specialties like sweet warm soy bean milk with Chinese doughnuts. A couple of restaurants in our neighborhood sell them. Alas, they are made from wheat flour so I haven’t had been able to savor those fine snacks. Well guess what? I found a recipe for making these¬†green onion pancakes¬†online from “Diet, Dessert, and Dogs” and finally got around to trying it this weekend.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (360 ml) Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour

2 Tbsp (30 ml) glutenous rice flour

3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan gum

1/2 cup to 10 Tbsp (120-150 ml) warm water

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper, optional

3 green onions, white and light green parts

Combine the all-purpose gluten-free flour, rice flour and xanthan gum into a bowl and whisk to combine well.  Add the warm water slowly and mix with your hands till it forms a soft dough. Form the dough into a ball and cover with a damp cloth; let rest for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the surface area to roll out dough by covering with a light layer of all-purpose flour. Roll out the dough to a disk of around 12-14 inches, dust with flour as needed to keep from sticking.  Brush lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and green onions.

Roll up the dough tightly to form a long roll. The dough will be a little dry so be careful the roll doesn’t fall apart. Cut the roll in half and pinch the ends closed.¬† Stand each roll up and push down on the dough to create two pancakes. By doing this you are creating the layers. Flatten out the pancakes using a rolling pin or your hand to make it to desired thickness (flatter is better).

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Place the pancake into the pan cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is a crisp brown. Gently flip the pancake and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes. Do the same for the other pancake.

Cut each pancake into 4 pieces and serve immediately. Use chili sauce and or wheat-free soy sauce for dipping sauce.

By the way, the picture above is of the first pancake which was on the thicker side. For the second one, I decided to flatten out more and it was super yummy this way. Also, I thought this picture was great since in the background you see Mantou peeking to see what was on the table.

Different Noodle, Same Recipe

25 Oct

I haven’t fallen off the blogging bandwagon, just life kind of gets me preoccupied. So I’ll just share a picture of a great noodle dish I made a few weeks back. When I think about it, the recipe is pretty much the same. The difference it the type of noodles. In this one I used rice noodles (Guilin-type rice noodles).

I’ve used bean thread noodles too – except for these you need a lot of extra broth/water because those noodles take in a lot of liquid. Sometimes I’ll add a few different ingredients. This noodle dish I added mushrooms, but in others I’ve added baby corn, and other types of veggies – sometimes it’s broccoli, maybe baby choy sum, or whatever veggie I bought from the market. ¬†But always in my noodle recipes I include some yellow onion (usually 1/2), a carrot, two stalks of celery, wheat-free tamari, white pepper and salt.

Prepare the noodles according to the package. Rinse the noodles in cold water and let drain. While the noodles are boiling or draining you can cook up the other ingredients. Over med-high heat add some vegetable oil in a wok. Let the wok heat up a little and then add the sliced onions. If you want to add any protein you can do so now. I then add the carrots and celery and¬†saute¬†for about 2-3 minutes. I then add mushrooms (if you’re using other veggies you can add them in too). Let the veggies cook and when tender add the noodles. Add some tamari (around 1 tablespoon), salt and white pepper then mix the veggies with the noodles. If the noodles are soaking up the liquid and the noodles seem dry you may want to add some water or broth but by doing so you may need more seasoning so adjust Tamari, salt, and pepper to your taste.

Here’s a picture of Mantou eating up these noodles.

Fishy face

19 Oct

Tonight I was home alone with Mantou while his dad, Red Duck, was off on a business trip. I wanted to make something easy, usually Mantou gets antsy and requires full attention while I prepare dinner. He rather me play than to make his dinner.  So I went downtown and picked up a couple of Tilapia fillets (about 1 lb) and some spinach at the local market. While on the way home I was deciding between pan-frying them or putting them in the oven. By the time I arrived home, I decided on baking them. This way I let the oven do all the work while I could focus on my little mantou. Thank goodness he decided to let me at least get the fish in the oven.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and then prepped the fillets. I slathered them with olive oil, squeezed some lemon, sprinkled some salt, dusted them with oregano, and ground up some pepper on top. I put them in the oven and baked for 10-15 minutes checking once to see if they were done. They were pretty flaky at 15 minutes. As those cooled I sauteed some spinach with garlic and salt.

Mantou has had fish before but I was very surprised at how much he enjoyed the tilapia. I thought the oregano would be much for him but he didn’t mind. After finishing his first bowl, he asked for more. Whoo hoo! Fish is great for the brain, right… I think I’ll teach him algebra tomorrow. haha, just kidding.

BTW, you may have noticed that Red Duck had posted an entry last week. I had asked him to start blogging too since he’s very much involved in eating allergy-free as well. I hope you don’t mind.

Instant Mix, Instant Success

17 Oct

My family celebrated a couple of birthday’s this weekend. We were invited to Mantou’s cousin’s 2nd birthday. It was our first birthday event with many toddlers. Mantou seemed to enjoy himself and play with all the toys that the birthday boy shared. There was a bbq lunch so we ate some lettuce wrapped burgers and a few hot links. We stayed long enough to sing to the birthday boy but didn’t stick around for the Toy Story themed cake, though it did look amazing. At this point in time, Mantou really doesn’t know the concept of birthdays or birthday cakes so he didn’t know the difference.

We left the birthday party early so that Mantou could take his nap. We wanted him refreshed so that he could celebrate Papa’s birthday dinner. During his nap, I went shopping to find a instant cake mix that was gluten-free. I would substitute the butter, milk, or eggs that the mix called for. I had no luck finding a gluten-free mix at Safeway so I had to go to another store. I could have sworn Safeway sold gluten-free mixes but I just did not see any. So I went to Lucky’s and found Ms. Better Crocker’s chocolate cake gluten-free mix. It wasn’t on sale like the other Better Crocker mixes on the shelf so I had to shell out $4.99 a box. I was going to make my own frosting but after reading all the frosting ingredients found one from Pillsbury that did not have wheat or dairy.

I made two boxes worth but thinking about it, should have just stuck with one box. We didn’t need 24+ cupcakes, we were only 11 people! I substituted Earth Balance spread for the butter and applesauce for the eggs. Since I had to substitute for 6 eggs, that called for a lot of applesauce which increased the volume of the batter. Next time I’m going to use EngerG Replacer. I put the cupcakes in the oven and put the timer on for the appropriate time written on the box. Because I was making two batches in the oven, the cupcakes did not bake completely so I added another 7 minutes.

I let the cupcakes cool completely and then “tested” one out. The cupcakes were heavy, the inside of the cupcake was a bit “mushy”, but in general it tasted pretty good. I covered the cupcakes with chocolate frosting, added a little raspberry on top, and sprinkled some colorful sugar confetti on top of them. It looked pretty darn yummy.¬†I would definitely make cake from Betty Crocker again. It was a hit with everyone. Mantou even enjoyed it!

Mom and Pop, throw us a bone

14 Oct

Being new to food allergies, I can only guess what it was like a decade or two ago for folks with allergies to navigate restaurants. I would assume that it was awfully challenging. I also assume that things are better these days. We get surprised every once in a while by a restaurant, like BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, when they post allergens on their menus. I think some of the big chains are seeing the value of this, but we don’t really eat at the chains. So what are we supposed to do? Why is it so hard for Mom and Pop? Certainly some of the high-end Mom and Pop’s change their menu frequently and thus it’s probably difficult for them to post all the ingredients on the menu, but most Mom and Pop’s serve the same thing day in and day out. So what’s so hard about list common allergens on the menu? Or training servers on which dishes have ingredients on the top 8 allergens list? It doesn’t seem like much of a burden to me. There are so many people these days with allergens. Wouldn’t it make sense as a restauranteur to be a bit prepared?

Toquiche

13 Oct

Tofu quiche! Isn’t that a cool concept – no egg, no dairy, and completely vegan. But those who know me will attest that I am no vegan, I am very much a carnivore. My mom didn’t even think my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and my relationship would last because he was a vegetarian. Apparently he liked me enough to change his ways and started consuming meat. I did not request this, maybe I influenced it a little bit since I enjoy sharing meals, but he made this change on his own.

Well for this particular recipe, I did not add any animal product but may think about adding bacon or ham next time.

The recipe is called “Mini Crustless Tofu Quiche” from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. (Her picture of the final product is actually more appetizing. I never have good light). I had to go out to buy some of the ingredients like nutritional yeast but I thought the end product was very good. The quiches were light and airy so be prepared to double or triple the batch.

The blended combination of tofu, soymilk, cornstarch, and tahini created a¬†consistency of eggs while the tumeric gives it that yellow tinge.¬†The nutritional yeast gives the quiche its “cheesey” taste. Adding the bellpeppers, onions, garlic, and rosemary made the whole thing look more like a quiche. I wonder if this can be modified to a Quiche Lorraine? Too bad the nutritional yeast doesn’t come in different “cheesy” flavors.

Asian Cooking

12 Oct

Even though I have the¬†Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook checked-out¬†from the library, I had yet to make anything from it. It’s not that I didn’t find any good recipes, it’s just that I have been so LAZY. To tell you the truth, I liked the recipes in the book so much that I actually bought it too. I really do want to make the dumplings that the author, Laura B. Russell, has shared in her cookbook, but I never seem to have enough time to get it started.

I did eventually get to make the Teriyaki Sauce based on her recipe using wheat-free tamari, honey, ginger, garlic, and mirin. I baked some skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the oven and then coated them with the sauce. I thought the sauce was a little thin though. I was expecting the mix to thicken but it never did so not sure what I did wrong. I’ll have to try it again since it was pretty easy to do. Plus the amount was just right, however if there was any left over,¬†it can be kept in the¬†refrigerator¬†for 2 weeks.

I don’t want to share the recipe since I think everyone should really go check out the cookbook. Laura does a really good job at listing out what specific brands and ingredients that she uses. I know this will help because I know how it is to go through all the aisles in a grocery store (non-Asian and Asian) reading the ingredients over and over again just to make sure that there aren’t specific allergens. One thing I wish that the cookbook has was more pictures of the recipes. Since I do know most of the dishes, I guess going on my own memory could work, but a gentle reminder would definitely make it easier for me to know what I am cooking… of course just looking it up on the internet would probably work too.

Dark Chocolate Decadence

9 Oct

Dark chocolate overload. This sorbet recipe is super chocolatey and sweet. You need a nice glass of cold milk (soy) to go along with it! The recipe is a good size if you don’t want to make a large batch, about a pint worth. ¬†The recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini was adapted from ice cream maker, David Lebowitz’s, The Perfect Scoop.

The next time I make it, I think I would add more water, less sugar since it was a pretty rich mixture. Even my husband who is a dark chocolate lover thought it was pretty rich. For cocoa, I used Ghiradelli cocoa powder; for the chocolate bar, I used the TJ’s organic dark chocolate bar.

FAAN Walk

8 Oct

This morning Mantou and I trekked out to San Jose, CA for the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy. I had just heard about it earlier this week and wasn’t sure if I could make the event. Fortunately, things worked out and I was able to check it out. There was actually a 5K run earlier that morning held in honor of a young individual who died from an allergic reaction. It was sad to hear that this individual died while on a vacation celebrating his graduation from high school and that his death was due to consuming a chocolate mousse dessert that had trace amount of peanuts. How tragic for the parents to watch their son die in a matter of minutes!

I registered for the walk that morning and donated a little cash to the cause. I was given two ribbons, one green to represent those walking for the cause, and a blue ribbon for Mantou to represent that he had food allergies. We also picked up some¬†celebratory t-shirts (which Mantou was swimming in). They held a raffle with cool prizes and tickets to sporting events like the San Jose Sharks and the San Francisco Giants. There was a dj and other local entertainment. For the kids, there were a couple of jumpy houses, a rock climbing wall, and an interesting looking blown-up ball that a kid can “roll around” in like a hamster.¬†There was a tent set up from Dev which allowed us to register our Epi-Pens and enter into their raffle for an iPad, which I didn’t win. Other vendors included Galaxy Veggie (alternative cream cheese), Sunbutter (alternative of peanut butter spread), quite a few cookie companies -Lucy’s, Enjoy Life, and Home Free. I picked up many free samples and coupons. There were also a couple of local¬†non-profit and for-profit organizations.

The walk itself was supposed to be about 2.5 miles but I don’t think it really was that long. It was easy and mostly flat with only one small hill. I brought along my B.O.B stroller so it was a comfortable stroll. The weather was great for all of us walkers. There were teams of walkers – and I think I should get one going for Mantou next year.

I was a little too eager to get going on the event that I left my car headlights on and when I was ready to leave the event, I was unable to start my car. It took the kindness of strangers and fellow FAAN participants to get my car rolling again. Overall the experience was good, I only wish that there would have been more attendees. But considering I only found out about it via a friend whose friend’s company was one of the sponsors, it probably wasn’t advertised widely enough. I’ve now added the FAAN Bay Area chapter as a friend on Facebook so that I can stay aware of local activities and can now spread the word.