Recipes

Summer Time, Waffle Cones and Sunny Days

Waffle cone components needed to make recipe in a peanut-free kitchen. I have anaphylaxis Summer does not equal rain in most cities, but here in Vancouver that is how the recent weather has been treating us. But keep your chin up! Everyone is still wearing shorts, visiting their local farmers market and filling their kitchens with summertime produce.  I am sorry for the lack of sunshine my little tomato and basil plants!

Since the weather is not a scorcher outside, I am still able to turn on the oven guilt free. This means that J can enjoy warm strawberry rhubarb cobbler, roasted asparagus and brown rice pilaf all from the joy of the oven. (If it was a scorcher though, all of these could be done on the barbeque!!)

But any weather should involve ice cream. Anyone with a peanut allergy should be able to enjoy ice cream .

Like many, my allergies give me the misfortune to not be able to experience ice cream from a restaurant or local cafe. With flavours like peanut butter or pistachio, never mind the shops that have over a hundred flavours like seaweed and tuna, it is not safe for anyone with a nut allergy to eat safely in a cafe. So my choices are either to make it myself or recently I have been enjoying Avalon Ice cream that I am purchasing from my local green grocer. It is made in a peanut free facility.  If you are eating ice cream or waffle cones that are store bought, please make sure you find a brand that is made in a facility that is made without the contamination of ingredients you are allergic to. Always check the ingredient list! You can also call the 1-800 number of the company and ask them any questions if you have any hesitations.

The weather is perfect outside (right now…) to enjoy ice cream in these waffle cone bowls. They will be filled later with vanilla ice cream and apple rhubarb compote.

Homemade waffle cones for summer made in a peanut-free kitchen Waffle Cones

1 cup flour

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

¼ cup water

1 tbsp melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat with a wire whisk.

Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons into waffle iron until golden brown. Remove and immediately press into any shape you desire.

For a crispier cone, add an additional one or two tablespoons of water into the batter.

Avalon Dairy- http://www.avalondairy.com/products.html

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Experiences

Check Your Labels!

Foods in Canada have to declare all ingredients that are present in foods. Recently a bill in Canada has been passed that all “hidden” allergens, gluten or sulphates need to be declared in the food product. This will be in complete effect by August 4, 2012, but already many companies are adjusting their labels.

Food Allergy Labelling Regulations:  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2011/2011_23-eng.php

Checking the ingredient list is very important when purchasing food or products if you are concerned with allergens being present. If you (or people you are serving/buying food for) have allergies, this is a very important place to confirm that it is safe.

 Note: people who are allergic to certain ingredients may not feel comfortable consuming items that say “May contain traces of…”, or “Made in a facility that processes…”

1.)    Check all labels for the ingredient list.

2.)    Keep all packaging if you are serving guests with anaphylaxis or allergies to be able to show them if they want to read the information themselves.

3.)    Do not assume a product is safe just because it is something you or your guest is not allergic to. There could be trace amounts or hidden ingredients written on the label. (i.e.- pesto contains tree nuts, Caesar salad has anchovies, sauces may contain soy)

4.)    Ingredients can change in your favourite store bought foods! Do not take this for granted and always check.

5.)     Submit questions to the company who made it if you have any questions or concerns.

6.)    If it is not you with the allergy but a guest, never hesitate to ask questions about allergies or ingredients. This shows your concern, and it is not at all annoying even if it is the twentieth time.

7.)    If you are hesitant about the ingredients, DO NOT CONSUME!

In my many years of travel, I have read numerous labels.  It is crazy how many items I took for granted to be safe that I did not consider safe to my standards. For example, when I was backpacking in New Zealand I did not always have access to a full kitchen so I tried to purchase some processed items like sauces or dry ingredients when cooking on the go. Always making my own pasta sauce at home, I never experienced purchasing it until New Zealand. I was shocked that when in the pasta aisle that out of twenty options, only ONE did not contain items I was not allergic to or was not processed in a fish, shellfish or peanut free facility. It drove travel companions nuts to find something that was suitable for me to eat with them. “What the heck do you eat!!?!?!”

But, I’ve never gone hungry.

Recipes

Berries + Blender = Long Weekend

Local Vancouver strawberries made into daiquiri made my someone with anaphylaxis

Happy Canada Day Weekend!

How should you celebrate the long weekend? By enjoying local strawberries and a blended alcoholic beverage of course!

This quick post will inspire you to grab your blender, score some fresh strawberries from the market and use the ice in your freezer.

 

 

Strawberry Daiquiri –Serves Two

Tip: To hull a strawberry, use a sharp knife and pierce the top underneath the leaves. Circle around the centre of the strawberry making a complete round using the sharp tip of the knife. This should remove both the white centre and the leaves.

Two shots white rum

Juice of one lime

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

Handful of strawberries (approx. eight medium strawberries)

Scoop of ice

Place all ingredients into a blender. Process until smooth and thick, pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Handful of strawberries for strawberry daiquaris

Cooking

Freezing for the Season

Strawberries in Vancouver garden Currently in Vancouver we have STRAWBERRIES in season. Three weeks late due to a wet spring, local berry buyers are eager to scoop these berries up! I have fond memories of my family going out to pick berries each year at the farms. My brother and I were known to eat more than we put in our bucket, leaving the farm with full bellies and stained faces.

Strawberries are delicate and juicy making these delicious gems very perishable.  Processing should happen the day of picking and purchasing.  Some ways to process strawberries would be in jars (make a pulp to use when pureed strawberries are needed), make jam and storeyour freezer.

My favourite way to save the season is to freeze. This way I have access to beautiful fresh tasting berries after the summer season is over. By doing this work myself I also can ensure that my berries are processed in a safe and allergy-free environment. The opportunities are endless when they are frozen whole, but they can be frozen sliced or in a sugar syrup.  Make sure the berries are firm, unblemished and bright red.

Strawberries from the Garden How to freeze strawberries (or any berry when in season):

  • Remove stem and hull (or slice off tops) strawberries.
  • Rinse gently under cool water to remove excess dirt. Do not soak.
  • Place on paper lined cookie sheets in a single layer and place in freezer.
  • After the berries are frozen completely, you can either store in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container.

One way I love to use frozen berries in our house is to make breakfast smoothies.  We go through quite a bit of berries this way so to make the berries last until the following spring, I label each bag with the month on it. When the berries in the bag are finished, that is it for the month for the strawberries until the next month.  It works our great and everybody wins because I love to hoard and J likes to eat.

Multi photo of strawberries from Vancouver garden Resources:

http://www.bcstrawberries.com/

http://www.eatlocal.org  -Your local FARMERS MARKET

Favourite strawberry farms in the Vancouver area:

http://www.wafarms.ca/ Richmond

http://krauseberryfarms.com/ Langley

Birak Berry Farm –Richmond

Experiences

5 Tips to Have a Safe Environment for a Guest with Anaphylaxis

Dealing with anaphylaxis can be scary for a host because it is such a severe health condition. Of course there is more than these five tips, but these are really important things to consider. Being clean, organized and aware are key components to being a wonderful host.

5 Things to Do in Your Home When Having a Guest with Anaphylaxis or Allergies Over

  1. Wash all surfaces where there is food preparation and consumption. Use soap and water to thoroughly wipe and sanitize so that all surfaces are clean and uncluttered.  Being uncluttered shows that you have diligently considered their allergies because you are aware of all items on your counter.
  2. Wipe down all handles (like fridge and oven doors) and faucets.
  3. Change all tea towels and dish cloths. If you do not feel comfortable using yours, paper towels are a good go-to cleaning towel.
  4. Think about dedicating a cupboard or fridge shelf to contain the items that your guest is allergic to. Tell your guest that you have taken the time to decontaminate the other cupboards and you are aware where you keep and store these items. This information can also give your guest the areas to avoid in your kitchen.
  5. Be aware of items that could have come into contact with allergens so that there is no cross contamination. These are items like jam, margarine containers, mayo jars or ingredients from bulk food bins.  Squeeze bottles, spice jars that shake, and brand new containers can make your guest feel more comfortable.

There are a few other things to consider:

Offering to tell your guest the last time you cooked something they were allergic to in your kitchen is very thoughtful. My friends and family try not to cook or bake something that I am allergic to if they know I am coming over for a few days before. They always like to tell me what they have done to make me more at ease.

Be aware a person dealing with anaphylaxis may not feel comfortable eating at your house. They also might offer to bring their own food.

Honesty is the best policy and make sure there is good communication between you and your guest!

Canning, Recipes

Chive Blossom Vinegar

FearlessFoods

Canning and preserving can be a satisfying and safe way for me to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of the summer. I am able to create food that is made in a controlled environment that is fish and peanut free. Each year I try new recipes and I am always looking for new ways to build a complex flavour profile.  One way to do that is to use flavoured vinegar when pickling!

This post was inspired by the website Food in Jars (http://www.foodinjars.com  ), I was thrilled to see a way to use the chive blossoms that were flourishing in my own backyard. You can do this with any amount of blossoms.

FearlessFoods

You will need:

  • Jar or bottle
  • Chive Blossoms
  • Any type of mild vinegar (I used basic white vinegar because I keep quite a bit it at home because of all the pickling and cleaning I use it for)

The following are the steps I used to flavour the vinegar:

 

Sterilize the bottle. I used a 1 Litre milk bottle that I dropped in boiling water for a few minutes.

Cut the tender purple blossoms off of the chive plants and thoroughly wash blossoms with cold running water. I let mine soak in cool water for 10 minutes, then drained off the water (because the sediment had fallen to the bottom), covered with new water and gently swished the blossoms in the water for a few minutes.

Dry blossoms thoroughly

Place in jar to fill ½ to ¾ full. Cover and fill the jar with white vinegar.

Store in cool dark place for a few weeks,( I put mine in the fridge), strain and use accordingly!

I will keep you posted on how I used my chive blossom vinegar! Thanks for the inspiration Food in Jars!

Cooking, Recipes

Simple and Fresh Salads for the Sumer

Four Salads

From top left to bottom right: Roasted Beets with Lemon and Fresh Herbs, Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Olive Oil, Coleslaw with Rice Wine Vinaigrette, Mango Salad with Orange Zest and Mint

Summer is coming and I am getting excited about all the local produce. Direct from farms to the Vancouver farmers market to my garden, these are all wonderful tools I am grateful to have access to. Waiting for the weather to be a bit hotter and drier, I am being patient and waiting carefully for seasonal fruits and vegetables I love.

When it comes to salads, I have to be a bit fussy with the ingredients because of my allergies and intolerances. Not only do I have to avoid putting seafood on top of greens or a sprinkle of toasted pecans, I have to avoid using many raw fruits and vegetables because of my oral allergies. Oral allergy syndrome is an immune system response to proteins found in one or more foods from the same pollen family. As an adult I developed oral allergy syndrome. It is always great to have more information about symptoms and how to prevent further discomfort when eating certain food groups.  For my case in particular, I have to avoid raw apple and pears, stone fruit such as peaches, pears, apricots and raw veggies like celery and carrots. I can eat them cooked, but I avoid and do not consume these particular types of produce.

This week I took a drive down to South East Marine Drive to visit the farms to see what was locally available. I walked away with a mix of local items such as green onions, baby bok choy and new potatoes.  But before I got started cooking up those inspiring and exciting ingredients, I had to tidy up my fridge! It was time for a fridge cleanup!

I was able to compose four light and fresh salads for dinner with my “fridge-clean up” routine. Keeping it simple, I was in and out of the kitchen in twenty minutes after making all four salads.

Coleslaw with Rice Wine Vinaigrette

¼ head of green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated and blanched in boiling water for one minute

2 green onions, thinly sliced

½ tsp celery seeds

Rice Wine Vinaigrette

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage, grated carrot, green onion and celery seeds in a bowl. In small bowl mix the olive oil, rice vinegar and pinch of sugar. Combine with sliced vegetables and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I found this article to be well researched with a great explanation oral allergies and food intolerances. Read more at: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Allergy+season+What+when+apples+bite/4602829/story.html#ixzz1PqrW45hI