A few nights ago my husband was quite brave and dug right in to the vegan Alfredo sauce I made to go with our gluten free brown rice pasta and blackened chicken. If you've ever thought about making a white sauce with no cheese, no butter and no milk, then you and I have shared a moment of "I just spent 30 minutes slaving over this and no one is going to eat it" panic.
Over the last five months I have experimented, avoided and substituted to no end. Although I can point you in the direction of a fabulous dairy free, soy free, gluten free chocolate bar, I can hardly remember the taste of real milk. Since I've fielded lots of questions lately on allergy free cooking and getting started I thought I would put together my top ten list of must haves for allergy free cooking and hope it helps someone else down the path to better health.
- Coconut milk-I was pretty pumped when Jillian Michaels jumped on the coconut milk bandwagon since this is one that really needs to become more mainstream. It tastes fabulous, makes one heck of latte and works in everything from baking to mashed potatoes. I buy the vanilla for baking and unsweetened for everything else. It has no coconut taste or smell whatsoever and they make everything from milk to yogurt to ice cream and coffee creamer from it. My favorite brand is So Delicious and you can usually find at least 2-5 items of it in my fridge.
- Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta- We tried a lot of pasta when my husband first went gluten free and if you cooked them just right they didn't turn to mush on your fork. Then along came Tinkyada with their fabulous brown rice pasta in all shapes and it's now back in our weekly rotation.
- Cashews-ground up superfine and cooked into a coconut milk sauce these lend (believe it or not) a cheesy texture and taste. I also through some nutritional yeast in there to increase the "cheesy" texture. The Alfredo sauce I mentioned earlier in this post was made up of olive oil, ground cashews, nutritional yeast and coconut milk, thickened with a tiny bit of arrowroot powder (could use corn if you aren't' corn free like we are).
- Rice flour (white and brown)- buy it in the Asian section or from an Asian supermarket to get the fine flour that works wonders in baked goods. I make my own flour mix up of 1/3 brown rice flour, white rice flour and sorghum flour, and substitute that cup for cup in any regular recipe calling for all purpose flour.
- Sorghum flour-see above. It's a staple in my house and I find it quite cheap at the Indian market. If you don't have something like that in your area try amazon.com.
- Starbucks Via-I love coffee and since Starbucks only offers soy or dairy milk I suffered for weeks before grabbing a pack of the VIA and trying it out. IT'S AMAZING! I use an inch of water, micro it, add my via, top it off with vanilla coconut milk, stir and micro that and there's my latte!
- Gluten free rolled oats- I'm a dessert fiend and most of my favorites went out the window with the milk soy protein intolerance diagnosis. My new favorite (healthier) replacement is a small corningware dish filled with frozen strawberries and mangoes (no sugar added, just plain frozen fruit), sprinkle with cinnamon. Then in a separate bowl melt a little Earth Balance dairy/soy free butter spread and mix in a few tablespoons of gluten free quick cooking oats and brown sugar. Top the fruit and bake for 30 minutes until cobbler like.
- Frozen fruit-I buy the big bags from Sam's Club and use it for everything from the recipe above to smoothies. Lot's of smoothies.
- Oatmeal (Quaker makes packets of instant with whole grain rolled oats) I use instant for a quick breakfast or make up a batch of oatmeal pudding (recipe to come soon) and eat on it all week.
- Google-There is so much information out on the web from people who walked this path before me. I am grateful for Google and all the help, recipes and suggestions it has brought my way!