Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The New Milks -- Cookbook Review

So many cookbooks, so little time.

I love cookbooks, and I love that the cookbooks coming out lately are so unique and compelling. Here is a selection of cookbooks that I have been sent review copies of, sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to have the time to do a proper review. I will get to them all.

But today I am writing about The New Milks; 100-Plus recipes for Making and Cooking with Soy, Nut, Seed, Grain, and Coconut Milks.

To be sure, this book has recipes that use nuts and soy. Coconut, as we all know, is not really a nut. And yes, author Dina Cheney actually makes her own coconut milk from whole coconuts (in contract to my cheating version). The author does seem to have a preference for soy, almond, and cashew milks, but there is absolutely no reason why you can't substitute your own favorite non-dairy milk in most of the recipes. I know that I will be choosing hemp milk and coconut milk in most cases.

Many of the recipes are gluten-free (and some can be easily adapted). Some recipes use eggs (including some egg dishes).

All disclaimers aside, there are some delightful recipes in this books that I will be trying. Shepherd's Pie with Beef, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash sounds yummy and reminds me of a dish I had recently in Dublin. Dina's version uses almond milk, I will substitute hemp.

The book covers recipes for breakfast, entrees, sweets, dressings, and smoothies. One of my favorite parts of the book is the introduction where it covers how to make all types of milks and has a chart of flavor profiles and uses. Even I (having been making my own milks and cooking and baking dairy-free for years) learned a few things. Did you know you could make milk from tigernuts? Right about now I am wishing I still had some samples of tigernuts (not a nut) from Fablogcon!

For me this book is largely inspiration as it does use ingredients that are off-limits, but it is a lovely book and chock-full of great ideas!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Aquafaba French Toast

Aquafaba is hot! Not literally, you will nearly always use it room temperature, but the liquid from a can of beans (yup, that's aquafaba) can be used for so many things it's a wonder we haven't heard more about if before now.

My latest invention is Aquafaba French Toast. I've been yearning for an egg-free French Toast. I have tried it with flaxseed gel, but it's messy and sticks to the pan. Aquafaba, on the other hand, works beautifully!

Aquafaba French Toast

Start with any safe bread. This can be homemade (top-8 allergen-free bread recipes are available in The Allergy-Free Pantry and Learning to Bake Allergen-Free) or off-the-shelf. French Toast tends to work best with slightly stale or stiff bread.

Use the liquid from one can one chickpeas. Instead of pouring it down the sink, drain the beans and preserve the liquid. Aquafaba can be refrigerated or frozen and used later. Whisk the liquid (as you would whisk eggs if you were making traditional French Toast) until it is frothy:

 Soak the bread until the liquid is absorbed:

Cook in a pre-heated skillet with a safe oil, until browned on both sides and serve with real maple syrup. Powdered sugar is optional:

Try it, I think you'll love it!

For more aquafaba recipes, see Aquafaba Mayo and Aquafaba Meringues.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gluten-Free in Dublin

Travel can be hard if you're not sure where or what you will be able to eat.

I recently returned from a trip to Dublin with my husband. Prior to departure I did my research. Would I be able to eat? I need to avoid gluten and soy (making this an easier trip than if the whole family were traveling - then we add dairy, eggs, and peanuts to the list of foods to avoid).

I am happy to report that Dublin is not only a very food-allergy-friendly city, but the food is fabulous!! I'm not sure what I was expecting. I had visions of over-cooked, over-priced, mushy foods, and lots of potatoes. Okay, there were lots of potatoes, but also lots of fish, and well-cooked vegetables.

My very first food stop was a fish and chips place called Beshoff's. I have a thing for gluten-free fried fish and shellfish,  probably because it is so hard to find. Susan Heim Kelly suggested Beshoff's and she was spot on! First I had the haddock, but later in the week I went back for Cod.

Yes, they use a separate fryer for the gluten-free fish and chips!

My favorite place to eat was Rustic Stone. Another friend turned me onto this place with the promise of chocolate soup (yes, please!). Many of the dishes (meats and fish) at Rustic Stone are served on a simmering stone. They arrive rare and it's up to you how long to leave them cooking on your hot stone. Very cool! After an olive appetizer, I had the tuna steak. What a treat!

Oh, and that chocolate soup was divine!

The chocolate soup was a scoop of cool chocolate mousse, with a slightly warmed puddle of chocolate sauce poured around it, and a dollop of whipped cream. I plan to work on a dairy-free, egg-free version so that everyone can enjoy it.

My husband and I liked Rustic Stone so much that we dined there a second time. This time I had the fish-in-a-bag (yummy) and (of course) more chocolate soup!

I was on my own for lunch. I discovered a sandwich chain called O'Brien's that carried BFree bread and was able to make me gluten-free sandwiches. I didn't even have to ask them to change their gloves, they did it routinely.

Another great lunch find was at the Brambles Cafe in the National Museum of Archaeology. They had lots of gluten-free options (and lots of vegan options). I chose the Shepherd's Pie.

Brambles even had gluten-free snack options.

Burgers are big in Dublin. I was excited to find Bobo's on Dame Street (near Trinity College) had gluten-free burgers including my applewood bacon burger.

Another dinner favorite, The Farm, was right around the corner from the hotel we were staying at. All of the food at The Farm is locally sourced. My husband and I shared a veggie and hummus appetizer and then I had the salmon.

Oh my gosh, that was good!

Overall, Dublin is a very food-aware place. I found that most restaurant staff could tell you exactly where the food came from. How great is that? Menus are well-labeled with notations for gluten-free (either as "gf" or sometimes "c" (for celiac) or "ca" (for celiac adaptable), vegan, and top food allergens (although the list in Dublin is different than the US top 8).

Many restaurants had specific notations for dishes that contained nuts. Those with dairy and egg allergies would find it relatively easy to eat due to the preponderance of vegan choices.

More important than the menu and the labels was the knowledge of restaurant staff. I didn't encounter a single restaurant worker who didn't "get it." They understand about separate fryers and are able to articulate how the food is prepared (and they can do this without running back to ask the chef). I was impressed... and very well-fed.