Thursday, July 30, 2015

Farm Fresh Recipes from Keppers Pottery & Produce

Picnics, potlucks, barbecues, county fairs...

Summer is full of opportunities for someone with nightshade and other allergies to go hungry in a crowd!  I almost always bring a small cooler with snacks to these evens and am thrilled if I find one thing that I can safely enjoy. I didn't bring anything with me to Keppers Annual Field & Garden Tour. It was only a 2 hour event and not far from home so I figured I would just skip the food and eat when I got home. Imagine my surprise when Judith laid out a beautiful spread of dishes fresh from their gardens and Ken said to me, "You should be able to eat any of these things with the exception, obviously, of the tomato salad.


It is such a simple pleasure, to be able to go to an event or gathering and share a meal, and one I used to take for granted.  As a host, using simple recipes with minimal ingredients make it easy to modify dishes for your guests while having ingredients lists available and saving packaging from store bought items ensure your guests with allergies or food sensitivities can see for themselves what is safe and what is not.

Thank you to Judith for the wonderful meal and for sharing her recipes on her blog at www.kepperspottery.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Radish Greens Dressing



I stood at the kitchen table with the days tasks laid out before me; a pile of grape leaves to can for wintertime stuffed grape leaves, a huge bowl of strawberries freshly picked and still warm from the sun to nibble while I cook, a huge head of lettuce with leaves that just needed to be cleaned and put in the fridge for this weeks lunches - chicken wraps and salads, lovely red beets to be roasted and served with our pork chops at dinner tonight along with the beet greens sautéed with onions and bacon, a huge head of cabbage and some nice, mild breakfast radishes.  I had a plan for everything except the cabbage and radishes. I considered trying my hand at fermenting the cabbage but I didn't have the crock or supplies and really wanted to get everything prepped today so I decided on a simple cole slaw. That would be nice with the radishes sliced into it, but what about those radish greens?  Should I add them to the salad? to the slaw? or just feed them to the pigs?  I did a quick Google search and found a few recipes for radish green pesto. I thought I'd give that a try, with a few modifications of course.  Well...

Eliminating the nuts was one thing, since I'm allergic to nuts, but discovering I didn't have any parmesan cheese was pushing it. Then I accidentally added a little too much liquid and the whole plan changed. Luckily I love to improvise. And I'm pretty good at it.  What I ended up with was a fantastic dressing for my cabbage that was so much more flavorful than regular slaw. Tonight I served it tossed with some of the lettuce and topped with leftover roasted chicken and radish slices.  I'm thinking that it will end up in some sort of asian noodle dish with the remainder of the leftover chicken and some fresh snow peas tomorrow and possibly stir fried with the leftover pork chop and served over rice later in the week. Let me know if you have other ideas for it.

Ingredients:

Greens from 1 bunch of radishes - washed & stems removed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 large cloves of garlic (or about 3 tbsp chopped)
salt to taste
water

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until it is liquified - add water  if needed until it is the desired consistency. It's that easy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lunch Hack: Mediterannean Pita

Life has gotten so incredibly busy I often find myself resorting to fast food or coffee shop scones to get through the day. Gaining 10 lbs in the last year and feeling tired all the time tells me I need to get organized again and start packing healthier meals. This morning I had 5 minutes to spare so I looked in the fridge to see if there was something I could throw together to bring along.  This is what I came up with. It worked well for a day that I don't have access to a fridge and didn't have my chillable lunch box with me. I don't know that I would leave it in the car all day on a hot day but it certainly survived a few hours in the office and kept me out of the drive-though.

  • 1 individual sized pack (or about 2 tbs) Sabra Hummus
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 package leftover broccoli slaw mix (I almost always have this in the fridge or some type of homemade slaw - just the veggies, no dressing. Almost any variation of julienne veggies will work. I know, it's packaged food but this is one of the compromises I make in the winter when I'm not pulling fresh veggies out of my own garden anyway)
  • Pita bread (regular bread, crackers, tortilla chips, whatever...)
I did a quick blend of the hummus and lemon juice, poured it into a container with the slaw mix and viola! By the time I had lunch it had been well tossed and was ready to eat. My only regret is not grabbing a few of the lovely (nightshade free marinated) Greek olives from the fridge to add a little fat to the meal. As it was it was pretty satisfying but the olives would have been the kicker... or some feta... or a little chicken... maybe avocado...

You get the picture, it's not about a recipe here. It's about learning how to work with and make the most out of what you've got while still enjoying nutritious, yummy and SAFE meals.

*Note: sesame seeds can be cross-reactive to nightshade allergy. This means that even though they are not a nightshade, those with nightshade allergy may have trouble with them. I find that I'm OK as long as I don't have too much/too often. If you can't handle sesame seeds it's pretty easy to make your own hummus. Blend up can of garbanzos with1 tbsp lemon juice, pinch of salt, a little olive oil and as much water as needed to make it creamy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ugly Apple Cookies

They say baking is a precise art, but nothing in my kitchen is precise. I bake the way I cook, glance at a recipe to get an idea and then start putting things together until they are the way I want them. Most of the time it works. Sometimes I fail but sometimes I come up with something good enough to document so I can put it in my 3 ring recipe binder and forget about forever. 

I had a little extra time this evening, which is a rare thing. The boy child was enjoying what was possibly the last nice day of fall and my man was working late in the shop downstairs. I thought it would be nice to have some of his favorite Oatmeal Raisin cookies ready when he was done but I soon realized I didn't have any raisins... or butter... or eggs... and only 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Hmmm...

What I did have was 2 mushy bananas, a freezer full of apples from our woods and some dried cranberries. I combined my favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Paula Deen with the ingredients I had on hand, a glass of wine in the other hand, and a "devil may care" attitude and ended up with a pretty darn good (and healthy) cookie. Because there is no butter and very little sugar they didn't spread like cookies usually do. They almost have the texture of a muffin. Maybe next time I'll try them in a muffin pan and see what happens.

Ingredients:
2 over-ripe bananas
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup rice milk (or any substitute)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flax
1 cup diced apples
3 cups flour or GF all purpose baking flour 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups old fashioned oats 
2 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice or any combination of cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice
1 cup dried cranberries
*walnuts would be a nice addition but my kiddo is allergic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Peel and mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Add apple sauce, vanilla, rice milk, brown sugar and flax. Stir well. Add apples & combine.

In a separate bowl combine all other ingredients.

Stir together wet & dry ingredients. Add a little more flour or oats if it's too wet.

Drop spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen. Yummy.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nightshade Free Salami

If you have food allergies you know how exciting it is to discover a new "safe" food, especially if it's a food that was previously considered off-limits. When you are diagnosed with a nightshade allergy there are some things that you just accept you will never taste again.  You will never have a plain old pepperoni pizza or bowl of spaghetti. Chili Verde is only a memory. Sausage & salami are no-no's.

We have this fantastic little market down the road from my house called Specialty Meats & Gourmet. I stopped by the other day because I had a coupon for free bacon. If you know me at all you know that bacon is my favorite food and Specialty Meats & Gourmet not only has fantastic bacon, but they also stock Big Fork brand bacon sausage. If you love smoky bacon you've got to try it. It's like a bratwurst but made of bacon and, most importantly, no nightshades! The first time I tried it I honestly cried. That may have had something to do with the fact that I had been starving in New Orleans for 3 days and it was the first food I found that wouldn't kill me, but it was also delicious.

I digress.

I made my way to the counter with my 2 lbs of all natural nitrate free bacon and 1 lb of duck bacon when a ray of light shone down from above on a basket of bliss right there on the counter in front of me. My eyes locked on to the magic words " No Spices Added!" on the package and I picked up the Bolzano Artisan Meats Pig Red All Natural Salami in disbelief. "Really?" I asked Steve, the owner. "Salami with no spices added? Do you have any idea how happy I am right now? There are ALWAYS spices I'm allergic to in salami."

"I think that's why they made it. Too many people with allergies to spices, garlic, onion and nitrates. And it's really good...reeeeeaaaaalllllyyy good."

After a long, detailed discussion about the product I added 2 to my purchases and skipped home like a 6 year old with a lollipop. Weeks passed as it sat wrapped on my counter top. There is something unnerving about eating something that you have always believed would send you quickly to the ER, even when you've been assured it is safe. It can almost feel like playing roulette but tonight I came home late from work. There are no leftovers in the fridge and it is really too late to cook anything. I have cheese, crackers and wine. It's time.

If I were a food writer I could wax eloquently about the flavors and texture of the salami, but I'm not a food writer. At the moment I'm just hungry and this salami is good. No, it is freaking good, oh my, thank you God for this rich, flavorful, wonderful, won't send me into anaphylaxis good salami. My world has just gotten a little bit bigger. Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients
1 turkey carcass
6 celery stalks, roughly chopped
6 medium carrots, roughly chopped
herbs, chopped-sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary
1 medium roughly chopped yellow onions
3 tbsp garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby arugula
16 oz wild rice blend
Notes / Directions
Put carcass, celery, carrot & onion in stock pot & cover with water

Bring to a boil & simmer 4 hours

Remove carcass, fat, bones, etc. pick meat from bones & return to pot.

Add rice, herbs & seasonings.

Simmer 2 hours, add arugula.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bhutanese Red Rice Salad

Ingredients
1 cup bhutanese red rice
1 can baby corn, cut in 1/2 inch segments
1 can straw mushrooms, cut in half
2 heads baby bok choi, washed & chopped
1/4 cup Asian sesame oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon: ground ginger
1 tsp galangal, optional
1/4 cup soy sauce
Notes / Directions
Prepare rice according to package directions

Add mushrooms, corn & bok choi

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl

Pour over rice & toss

Serve hot or cold.