Escape Food Allergies: Recipes for Allergy Sufferers

By Fabiana Santana

gluten-free-pizzaIt’s not easy being sneezy, especially when you’re allergic to food. Single women listen up: A nation wide survey found that more than half of all US citizens tested positive to one ore more allergens and more than 3 million people in the US have reported being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both. One in every 25 Americans have a food related allergy and of the 6.6 million Americans allergic to seafood, most are women. How many of those allergens are in your household? Researchers still don’t have an answer as to why these allergies are on the rise in women so it’s important to keep track of any significant changes in your diet that might bring on symptoms like dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and skin discolorations. You might be developing a food allergy!

Modern science and advancements in allergy testing has made it easier for us to realize the vast array of food allergies that people can suffer from including protein allergies, wheat allergies, dairy allergies, and even tropical fruit allergies. There are even allergies associated with food coloring, sugars and herbs like basil and parsley. In some cases, you might know what you’re allergic to. For example, did you know that the mango belongs to the same family as pistachios and cashews, so it can induce the same allergenic reaction as nuts do in some people?

Allergy sufferers have to avoid these trigger foods, and sometimes those very foods are the basis of what most people consider a standard diet. Eating out, traveling, and cooking at home can become more difficult, making maintaining a balanced diet a tough task. Awareness and prevention are the keys to keeping yourself healthy.

Books like Allergy Cooking With Ease and The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook make wheat, dairy, grain and gluten free cooking easy, and includes recipes for corn, yeast and soy free dishes also. Restaurants like NYC’s Opus (1574 Second Avenue 212-772-2220) are dedicated to creating safe dining environments for people with allergies. Enzo & Giuseppe Lentini are brothers who own the Upper East Side Italian eatery Opus where a large portion of the menu includes gluten free Italian dishes. Enzo felt there were not enough real Italian restaurants to cater to those who suffer from Celiac’s Disease so he decided to fill the void.

“All of our food is cooked to order and we keep all the food, equipment and utensils separated so there can be no cross contamination.” His restaurant also participates in Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program and he even orders gluten free, corn based dry pastas and other food products so his regulars can cook gluten free Italian at home.

For a list of food substitutions to make allergy sensitive cooking at home easier, visit Cookingallergyfree.com for some helpful ideas.

Gluten Free Pizza, recipe courtesy of Sure Talent Books

Making gluten free pizza dough is very simple – all you really have to do is substitute the wheat flour for something else like rice flour, potato flour, or corn flour. Many bread recipes can be altered using these flours, also. Xantham gum is also seen as an ingredient in gluten free dough recipes. It is a binding agent that is used to replace the stretchy quality that is created when gluten is activated. Giuseppe Lentini suggests first cooking the pizza dough on the bottom rack for portion of cooking so that the crust can develop a nice crispy texture. Then, finish the pizza on the middle or top rack.

1¼ Cups Cornstarch

¾ Cup Millet Flour

2 Cups White Rice Flour

¼ Cup Teff Flour

1½ Tablespoons Xanthan Gum

1½ Teaspoons Salt

¼ Teaspoon Dried Oregano

¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 Package Active Dry Yeast

1-Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1-Tablespoon Honey

1/3-Cup Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

1 Egg White

1¾ Cups Warm Water (110-115°)

This dough recipe makes enough for dough for two 12 inch round pizzas.

Place Cornstarch, flours, Xanthan gum, salt, oregano, garlic powder and yeast in mixing bowl; mix. Add, vinegar, sugar, honey, oil, eggs, egg white and lastly the warm water; mix. Increase mixing speed to high, and beat for 4 minutes.

Coat your pizza pans with cooking spray. Dough will be a bit difficult to work with (sticky). Work the dough out as best as possible with a spatula. I then spray surface of pizza dough with cooking spray (very light coating). Finish spreading the pizza dough out with hands – if still to sticky, try using a small piece of parchment paper or wax paper sprayed with cooking spray to help spread the dough. Form the dough around the edge of the pizza thicker than the inner region in order to create a nice edge/crust.

Allow to sit in a warm, dry location (free of drafts) covered loosely with plastic wrap for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° and pre-bake crusts for 20 minutes.

Remove pizza crusts from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400°.

Add pizza sauce, cheese and any other desired toppings to the pizza crusts and then place back in oven for an additional 20 minutes (note: if using sausage or other raw meat, it should be precooked before adding to pizza).

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting.

No Starch/No Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe courtesy of Cooking Allergy Free

Yield: 24 cookies

These cookies have no main starches in them (wheat, rice, soybean, potato, corn) also, there is no butter needed. They taste really great! This is wheat/starch free and dairy free!

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 bag organic chocolate chips or carob chips

3/4-cup canola oil

3/4-cup Coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

4 organic eggs, beaten

3/4-cup brown sugar

3/4-cup Millet Flour

1 cup granulated sugar

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Slowly add eggs until they are worked into the dough. Then slowly work the canola oil into the dough as well. (You may use a bit less oil, just look for the texture of regular cookie dough. Fold in chocolate/carob chips to the dough.

Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Drop about a teaspoon of dough onto the pan about 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for about 11-14 minutes until golden.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Allergen-free Frosting for One

1 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 teaspoon rice milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all ingredents to a stand mixer and whisk until fluffy. For softer frosting, add a tablespoon of water at a time until desired fluffiness is reached.

Try adding a ½ cup of melted carob chips instead of vanilla extract for a chocolate icing.

Allergy Free Vegan Banana Bread, recipe courtesy of The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

Makes about 8 servings

1 cup oat flour

1 cup barley flour

1 cup amaranth flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup honey

3 ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2 cups)

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (nutmeg is not a nut)

3/4 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine oat flour, barley flour, amaranth flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer set on medium, combine canola oil, and honey. Add bananas, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Once thoroughly mixed, add flax seed meal, then raisins.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until just combined.

5. Grease a loaf pan, sprinkle with a little flour, tapping out the extra. Transfer batter to loaf pan.

6. Bake in center of oven 45 minutes, rotating once halfway through until golden brown on top.

7. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack. Let rest at least half an hour before slicing.

 

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