Friday, March 21, 2008

What CAN we eat?

Anyone that knows me, knows these two things: we have food allergies and that I am part of an online Mothering community in Portland. What do these two things have to do with each other? Well, as the birth of this child approaches, many moms have expressed their desire to cook us a meal in the weeks after the baby is born. I find this sweet, generous, and so tribal-like that it makes me SO happy that I moved here, although I know my community in Bend would have done (and has done!) the same. Being online, though, puts me in a much larger group of continual "contact" with little effort.

As a mother to a food allergic family though, it puts me in a hard position that really only other food allergic families can truly understand. I have learned how to cook for my family's special needs over years of practice (and many mistakes) and frequently cook two separate meals at the same time (one for Blake and I, and a tweaked version for the girls) and use ingredients that are only safe because they are very particular brand (like bacon, for example--there are only 2 brands that I know of that are safe, but I use it everyday) or make many things at home (like broth and mayo.) So eating out, or eating food made by others, is a major anxiety for me--either there are too many questions to even ask (literally needing to read every single label myself to look for the very hidden things like "stabilizers" and mono-and-di-glycerides) or the information isn't even available and the risk isn't worth it (pain, itching, nightmares...) But as part of a community, it important for me to be able to trust that someone CAN cook for my family if need-be, and there are definitely people who have put in the effort to understand and accommodate our diet--like Allison (who's husband had his own dietary issues so she absolutely knows what lurks in foods) and has provided many a safe meal for us. And Breana, who is always ready with labels for me to read and makes a damn great chocolate cake that is completely soy-free. Of course, my mom, who has been out to countless lunches with me and the girls, and has seen me every time whip out safe food from my purse, ALWAYS checks with me before giving to kids anything new. These things I appreciate more than I can express.

So by request, I have complied a list of recipes that I use regularly, and other dinner ideas that are Perlingieri-safe. I should have done this a long time ago just to have in my recipe binder. The following is 8 specific recipes and then a list of general ideas for anyone who is ever interested in making us a meal.

Dinners:

1)Coq au vin

Ingredients:
2 cups red wine
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (8-ounce) chicken breast halves, skinned
2 (4-ounce) chicken thighs, skinned
2 (4-ounce) chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2 cup white or brown rice flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
3 bacon slices, chopped (Applegate Farms “Sunday” bacon or Coleman hormome/antibiotic -free from Costco are the two safe nightshade-free bacons)
1/2 cup pitted dried plums, quartered
2 bay leaves
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Remove the chicken from marinade, reserving marinade, and pat chicken dry. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in flour; set aside.

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.

Remove onion and carrot from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving marinade. Add onion and carrot to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in marinade, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add chicken, bacon, dried plums, and bay leaves; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaves. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
***
2)Asian-style pork meatballs

(I have no measurments for this--i am a guess-timating...you can use your kitchen intuition!)

In a mixing bowl combine:
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
add about 1-2 Tbp maple syrup, 2-3 Tsp sea salt, and 1/4 cup rice flour

Mix with hands and form into 1-inch meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and cook at 325 for about a half hour until they are done.

Serve with long grain brown or white rice (with water or homemade broth) and stir-fry veggies (for example: garlic, onion, ginger with carrots, zuc, bok choy in sesame, sunflower, or safflower oil...)
***
3) Beef and broccoli stir fry

2-3 heads of broccoli
oil for sauteing (safflower, sunflower, canola)
1 1/2lbs beef cut-up for stir-fry (NS will do this for you if they don’t have some on-hand already but it needs to be unseasoned)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup yellow or white onion, chopped
2 cups beef of chicken broth (this must be homemade or with a “safe label”)
2 Tbs tapioca flour
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs sea salt

Wash broccoli and saute or steam with salt and pepper until tender-crisp--set aside.

Add oil to pan, saute some minced garlic, onion for a few minutes, then add the beef. Add some liquid (water or broth) if you like.

In a small saucepan, mix together broth, tapioca flour, syrup, and salt, and warm. When meat is almost done, add this mixture and bring to a simmer. Add veggies into the pan as well. TASTE! To get the "take-out" flavor--there should be a good balance of sweet to salty--so if you really taste the maple, add more salt and vice versa.

Serve with long grain brown or white rice.

Variations:
-adding carrots and/or mushrooms to the broc or the rice
-doing a sliced up pork tenderloin instead of beef
***
4)Turkish Lentil-and-Vegetable Soup
(this one could be frozen)

Ingredients:
4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh parsley sprigs
4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds lamb shank
8 cups water
3 cups chopped onion
2 cups dried lentils (small french green work best)
2 cups thinly sliced celery
2 cups thinly sliced carrot
1 cup chopped leek
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
8 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Place first 4 ingredients on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely.

Trim fat from lamb shank. Place cheesecloth bag, lamb, and next 11 ingredients (lamb through pepper) in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Discard cheesecloth bag. Remove lamb shank from soup. Remove lamb from bone, and discard bone. Cut meat into bite-size pieces, and stir meat into soup. Spoon into shallow bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon mint and 1 teaspoon vinegar.
***
5)Roast chicken (broth-free method)

5lb roasting chicken
olive oil
1 lemon, cut in half
1 head of garlic, with the top cut off
any fresh herbs on hand (parsley, rosemary, thyme...)
sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500. Rub the chicken with a lemon half and exposed garlic cloves, then stuff those inside the chicken (the whole lemon and the galic head) as well as the fresh herbs. Drizzle the outside of chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes (it will make lots of noise at this temperature--that is normal, don’t panic!) then turn oven down to 350 (dont open the door to do this, it might be smoky) and roast for another hour or 1 1/2 hour, turning 180 degrees halfway. Its done when the juices run clear. Pull out and let sit for 15 minutes.

Serve with any two side dishes.
***
6)Sauteed chicken tacos with black beans and cilantro pesto

Beans:
2 cups of dried black beans
lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt

Soak beans overnight in warm filtered water and the juice from one lemon. Drain and rinse and put in a pot--add water to cover and bring to a boil. Skim foam off of the top then add garlic. Simmer, covered, for anywhere between 4-6 hours (depending on the size of the bean.) When they are done, drain, and add salt to taste.

Chicken:
1 1/2lbs chicken boneless breasts or thighs or combo of both, cut up into bite sized pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lime

Heat oil in a large skillet, and add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and oregano (optional garlic powder too) and the juice from one lime. Done when cooked through.

Pesto:
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2-4 cloves are garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 pine nuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Place cilantro in food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add garlic, salt and pine nuts and blend well. Slowly add oil (if you have that attachment to add liquids drop-by-drop, use that) with motor running until a good paste is formed.

Serve with warmed tortillas (check label for soy ingredients), ripe avocado, sour cream, grated cheese.....
***
7)Pesto with chicken, olives, artichoke hearts and two different pastas

Pesto:
as above but with basil instead of cilantro

Saute some pounded chicken breasts with olive oil and sea salt and pepper until done. Slice into strips. Add some olives (santa barbara brand is what I use--check other brands for hidden ingredients) and artichcoke hearts (same deal, check label) and toss with cooked penne or any pasta.

(NOTE: I usually cook a pot of normal wheat pasta and also a separate pot of gluten-free rice pasta, then divide up the meat and sauce, making a smaller kid batch with rice pasta and a bigger wheat batch for us adults.)
***

8) Sweet and Sour chicken (Nourishing Traditions style)

(this recipe is for 8 so it could be split between 2 families--or for one family, cut recipe in half)

8 boneless chicken breast with skin ON (butcher will do this for you)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup pple cider vinegar
2 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tbs fresh garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbs oive oil
2 cups chicken stock

Pound chicken breasts lightly to make even. Combine oj, lemon juice, vinegar, ginger, and garlic in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for several minutes. Allow to cool, then add the olive oil. Marinate the chicken in this for several hour or overnight. Remove from marinade, and broil breasts in oven for 7 minutes each side. Keep warm while making the sauce.

Place marinade in saucepan with the chicken stock and boil vigorously until reduced by half. for a thicker sauce you can take 2 tsp of tapioca flour and whisk in a small bowl with some water--when it's dissolved add to the sauce and simmer and stir until thickened. To serve, slice breasts across the grain and serve over rice, with spoonfuls of sauce. Great with steamed cabbage and sauted mushrooms, or veggie stir-fry.
***

Create-a-meal!
(meat-veggie-rice/potato dinners)

(ex: porkchops, applesauce, and greenbeans with mushrooms...chicken breasts, chard, and brown rice...)

Main dish:

*Any cut of pork, lamb, beef, or fish suitable for sauteing, grilling, broiling...prepared simply with salt, pepper, and olive oil, or any other ingredients/herbs found in the other recipes.


Side dishes:

*Green beans with mushrooms
(Cook 1 lb of green beand in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water. Heat up 1 Tbs oil in skillet, add 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot rings, saute for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups crimini mushrooms, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper; saute 4 minutes. Add green beans back in, more sea salt to taste, and stir unitl heated about 1 minute.)
*Mashed sweet pots (I add a little maple syrup and salt at the end)
*Baked potatoes (some regular bakers and 2 sweets)
*Salad w/ vinaigrette
(Salad ideas: mixed greens, grated carrots or zucchini, cucumbers, radish, avocado, sunflower seeds, apples....)
(We can’t eat bottled dressing but homemade vinaigrette is so easy! In a small mixing bowl, combine minced garlic or shallots (about 2 tsp) with 2 Tbs good vinegar--red wine, balsamic, sherry, champagne....let sit for a few minutes. Slowly drizzle in 4 Tbs olive oil while whisking. When emulsified, taste add more oil or vinegar to taste, and sea salt and pepper. Serve on the side or salad will get soggy.)
*Steamed, roasted or sauteed veggies (carrots, zuccinni, broc, squash, chard, beets, mushrooms...),
*Apple sauce
*Basic rice
(brown or white long grain is our favorite, but basmati or any rice works well made
with water or homemade broth)
*Risotto with peas

Broth recipe:
You can use a whole raw chicken cut up (after a few hours pick off the meat for a dish like enchiladas) or you can use the carcass of a roasted chicken (but that chicken cannot have any spices, butter, etc.) Drop the meat in a large pot with 1-2 chopped onions, 2-3 chopped carrots, and 2 stalks chopped celery. Fill with filtered water leaving a few inches at the top, and add 1-2 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar if you have it. If adding vinegar, let sit for 1/2 hour, if not just bring to a boil, turn down heat and cover--simmering gently for 6-12 hours. Optional add a bunch of chopped parsley the last 10 minutes (imparts valuable minerals.) Let cool then, strain into containers. Sit in fridge for fat to rise to the top then skim off (great for cooking with!!)

Do a similar method for beef broth--roast a few pounds of meaty beef short ribs in the oven until brown, about 325 for a half hour. While this is roasting, put a few pounds of knuckle and marrow bones (usually available in the meat dept--ask the butcher) into a large pot and cover with water. Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and let sit. When ribs are done add them along with some chopped onions, carrots, and celery--add water to cover, leaving a little space to the top. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam that forms at the top, and simmer covered for a good 12 hours. Strain, put into containers and skim the congealed fat off the tops after its cooled in the fridge. You can feed the remaining meat and bones to your dog!



Things we can’t have:

Soy (includes lecithin--found in some choc and coconut milk, vitamin e--found in some oils, cooking spray, braggs, “natural flavors”--found in most things with labels, “veggie oil”, mono- and di-glycerides, “stabilizers”, condiments, margerine...it goes on and on!)

Mayan cannot eat any:
*nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes--sweet pots and yams are NOT nightshades, bell and chile peppers, “spices”, paprika, cayenne, curry blends, eggplant)
*corn (also hidden in everything--including possibly iodized table salt--use sea salt instead)
*eggs
*gluten
*dairy (butter, cheese, yogurt, milk)


Other notes:

*Cheese/dairy, corn and nighshades can all be served on the side though! Crumbled cheese, brie, crusty bread from New Seasons, buttery mashed potatoes....

*Also you can make up your own recipes from ingredients from the provided recipes:-)

*Sea salt, herbs like thyme, parsley, rosemary, etc, garlic, onion, ginger are all the basic safe foods I use to flavor our food.



Phew! Maybe over the years I can expand on these and create a whole book....thanks to everyone who has made the offer to provide us with a meal, the gesture itself is very much appreciated.

5 comments:

elliesmadre said...

Leah,I'm going to send you an email so you can approve some meals. :)

elliesmadre said...

In my online recipe searching, I found this out about salt. Just thought you might want to add that to your spices section.

"People following a corn-free diet should avoid iodized salt since it contains dextrose, which should be avoided by those allergic to corn."

Mama Nomad said...

you know, i don't even consider that people use iodized salt anymore...i have been using sea salt for years now--lol! i will change everything to sea salt b/c that is what i MEANT to say. thanks, d!

Comptons said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I really want to provide a meal or two (or more!) for you guys, and this will help so much. Not to mention the recipes sound so yummy, I might have to just double them for us! ;-)

I totally understand how daunting this can be - I grew up in an allergy household (dad can't have any grains), so it is second nature to me for certain things.

I notice you use tapioca flour for thickening. Is arrowroot a No-no?

Lisa said...

So glad you did this! I have been thinking I need to do the same thing. Even though we are just no gluten and dairy here, you know I get it!