Sunday, August 26, 2007

Experimenting with Tortillas

I wanted to branch out from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal that I use 90% of the time, and decided to get "The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide" by Nicolette Dumke. I began experimenting with tortilla-making. I was also tired of buying expensive corn-only tortillas at Whole Foods, and they really didn't hold together well even when I could find them. I happened upon some Instant Corn Masa flour (Maseca) at Whole Foods and now I could never go back to buying tortillas.

The corn ones turned out great. I was worried that they didn't look as perfectly round as the store-bought ones, but my husband said they tasted "yummy and homemade".

There are directions on the flour package, but basically you mix flour, salt, and water together to form a "play-dough" consistency, roll into little balls, and flatten with a rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Then, cook over medium heat for about 50 seconds on each side. You kind of have to practice a little to get the right consistency. I found it worked best to pound mine out a little with the rolling pin to get a good circle shape started before I roll, and I cover the balls with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out quickly. I like my cast iron skillet to cook them in.

The only other tortillas I've tried are the rye, and those were a little more tricky (just learning to work with the rye flour), but overall they turned out pretty good.

More updates to come on this one (I've got to look into tortilla makers, try different flours, etc). Apparently you can make tortillas out of kamut, barley, milo-arrowroot, amaranth, white sweet potato flour, rye, teff, buckwheat, yam-water chestnut flour, spelt, quinoa, cassava, oat, rice, chestnut, malanga-arrowroot, and garbanzo.

First Birthday Cake

For my son's first birthday, I had to consider what kind of cake to make for him. I made one of the boxed cake mixes for my daughter's first birthday...and now I regret not baking one from scratch (even if I was going to use milk, eggs, butter, and least it would be fresh and not contain aluminum baking powder).

I decided to make a cake our whole family could enjoy...the Orange Layer Cake from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. I was still concerned about my one-year-old eating honey, but figured that for as little cake as he would eat he would be alright. He's further behind his sister at eating, as he is still breastfed and we haven't pushed too much food at him given the allergies that run in the family. Although honey is still sugar, it has to be better for you than refined sugar.

This was a vegan eggs, butter, milk, wheat, refined sugar. And, I use aluminum-free baking powder in all my baking. I juiced the oranges for the fresh orange juice, and ran the peels through the juicer to get them all ground up for the zest it calls for in the recipe.

The cake itself consists generally of oat/brown rice flour, safflower oil, honey, vanilla, Ener-G-Egg Replacer (a great egg substitute), unsweetened applesauce, orange juice and orange zest. The frosting is a neat little creation using vegetable shortening, honey (and I used 1/2 the honey it called for and 1/2 brown rice syrup so it wouldn't be so sweet), vanilla, rice milk, "Better Than Milk" Vanilla Rice Powder (I found this on - it's like powdered sugar only better), and the zest of an orange. It was pretty hot that day and so the frosting is a little gooey and runny, but I guess that's part of the fun!

Moroccan Vegetable Tangine

This recipe from the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal turned out great in my crock pot. I also used blanched, frozen turnips and substituted a package of cooked winter squash for the 1 1/2 cups of canned tomatoes the recipe calls for. Included in this stewed creation are onions, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric (we leave out the cayenne and cinnamon), carrots, turnips, potatoes, the squash, vegetable broth, honey, zucchini, lemon juice, chickpeas, currants, saffron (I found some at Trader Joe's cheap), and salt.

Vegetable Broth

I've searched for a commercially prepared vegetable broth without celery, and there's only one that my husband doesn't react to (Health Valley Fat-free Vegetable Broth). I decided to just make up batches of my own and freeze them in Ball Canning Jars. I learned my lesson about filling them too full after I broke four jars, and this time I only filled the jars with 3 cups of broth. I used 6 cups of coarsely chopped vegetables (carrots, yellow squash, leeks, green bell pepper), 1 onion, fresh parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, garlic, fresh bay leaves, and 8 cups of water.

I just let it simmer for 2 hours, then I juice the cooked vegetables in my juicer to extract the maximum liquid and combine it with the broth. Then I let it cool, refrigerate overnight, label and freeze.

What I have to get better at is thinking ahead for when I will need it so it has time to defrost. The canning jars unfortunately won't fit in my small microwave.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Vegetables for BREAKFAST???

Would you like some brussels sprouts with that?

After reading "The Schwarzbein Principle...A Regeneration Process to Prevent and Reverse Accelerated Aging" we have started filling up on veggies for breakfast. The USDA recently increased the number of vegetable servings from 3-5 to 5-10. I try to make it a green non-starchy vegetable...and I've really gotten used to it.

The one we had with the peach pancakes was a fresh zucchini, onion, lima bean and chickpea salad from the August 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living (with flaxseed oil substituted for 1 T of the olive oil).

Our favorites are: frozen steamed brussels sprouts, broccoli, or green beans. It's easy to take them out of the freezer, microwave or steam them, and eat them with your porridge, cereal, or toast.

We may not get in all the vegetables recommended in one day, but at least it's one step up from the vegetable sold to millions of Americans everyday..."would you like fries [potatoes] with that?"

Peach Pancakes with Peach Syrup - Dairy/Wheat Free

I actually never used to like pancakes - my mother's pancakes always seemed a little too heavy to me (even though she's a great cook). I could only eat one and I'd feel like I would explode. I think it was the whole-wheat flour combined with milk and butter. Anyway, this version of Cybele Pascal's Peach Pancakes includes a combination of oat and rye flour. The rye flour gives them a slightly crunchy taste. Due to the high humidity today, they didn't rise/bake as well as they normally do, but we still liked them. The recipe also uses honey (to replace sugar), rice milk (to replace dairy), Energy egg replacer, and safflower oil (to replace butter).

I made the peach syrup out of the juice from the canned peaches (I made sure to buy peaches canned in pear juice, NOT the High Fructose Corn Syrup everything comes in nowdays!) I took the juice from the can and combined it with Brown Rice Syrup, an excellent substitute for sugar.

Sloppy Joe's - no wheat, tomatoes, beef

I always stayed away from the Louisiana Sloppy Joe Recipe in Cybele Pascal's Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook because I didn't think it would be possible to make without tomatoes. We are used to substituting ground buffalo/bison for beef (it tastes the same and is actually much better, leaner and more tender).

But what could I substitute for tomatoes? I read on the internet to use a puree of squash, red pepper, with lemon juice. I've tried just the red pepper before but it usually turns out too sweet and watery. I tried this time pureeing in my Cuisinart Food Processor a package of thawed, frozen winter squash, one red pepper and the juice of one lemon. It turned out great and made a nice tomato paste to use in the recipe.

The recipe for the biscuits calls for oat/barley flour, but I used oat/corn masa flour so that they would contain less, maybe no, gluten.

It turned out great, it was a little spicy for our 2 1/2 year old, so if I made it again I would leave out some of the spice for hers.