Another Food Allergy Person

rain's picture

The funny thing about facing food allergies with gusto: people come out of the woodwork to talk with me about my solutions and to share theirs. There are so many of us, truly, that I'm surprised awareness is still as limited as it is.

Last night I wrote an email to a friend of a friend who recently learned about gluten/dairy/egg/sugar sensitivities.  Since my last useful post was so long ago, I thought I'd share some excerpts from that email here.  Hopefully I'll keep up with this blog more frequently, as we have been eating like royalty!


Useful Cookbook
There's a great cookbook called "The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook."  A lot of the recipes in it are great.  It's also helpful because it gives you tips on things you might want to have around: nutritional yeast, plum vinegar, things that you wouldn't think of on your own.

Eating Out
Eating out is really tough, both because the food always seems sub-par compared to the fresh food we make at home.  (Not to mention the limitations in selecting good food because gluten/wheat is in everything.  Mexican frequently has safe options, so when I have to eat out I try to recommend Mexican.  I just have to be sure to ask them to hold the cheese, sour cream, spanish rice (flour is frequently used to make the color stick in restaurants) and to make sure that the tortilla is corn.  And any time we eat out we have to make sure they aren't using butter.


Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup
We tried this one this past weekend, and it is delicious.  No substitution required!

Buckwheat Pancakes
We also had these this last weekend.  It doesn't even taste like you are trying to "make do" or substitute!

It's a Venezuelan/Columbian corn-based "biscuit" type food that is truly delicious, and can make for fantastic sandwiches, a good "bread" to go with soups, and staple to keep around.  Arepas don't keep well at all, so it is best to make what you can eat when you want them.  The first few times we made them by hand in a frying pan.  A bit of a pain in the butt. Jon (my boyfriend who is not gluten sensitive but has chosen to follow my diet because we eat so well) then bought us an Arepa maker, and it's gold.  The ingredients: treated corn flour (extra thin), salt, water.  Perfectly safe.  The trick for you will be getting the flour.  While it is common in central America, it's a little tougher to find in the US.  The best flour you can find will be made by a company called P.A.N.  You can order the flour online if there are no markets that carry it near you.

Jon wrote up the recipe:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pre-cooked cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium mixing bowl add water, salt and pre-cooked cornmeal. Mix thoroughly by hand or with a wooden spoon. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes. Form the dough into cakes about the size of your palm, approximately 3 inches round and 1 inch thick. This will make 6 to 8 arepas. Fry the arepas in a pan with oil over medium-high heat, 5 minutes per side. Transfer the arepas to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately. The outside should be crispy and lightly browned. The inside will be doughy. Use as you would bread. Cut open and add your favorite fillings including meat, beans, cheese, etc.  It's important to use pre-cooked cornmeal for these to work right. It goes by the name masarepa or masa precocida. P.A.N. is the most popular brand name. You might find it by asking for Harina Pan. There are other brands such as Goya. Check your local latin market. You can make a less fatty version by using an arepa maker. Oster and Imusa make these kitchen appliances.