Monday, February 20, 2012

Allergy-Safe Mardi Gras Recipes

by Kelley Lindberg

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, a great time to indulge in some delicious food, even if you’re not in New Orleans. (It also happens to be National Margarita Day—happy day!) So in honor of such a food-oriented day, I thought I’d search out some allergy-friendly recipes that fit the New Orleans theme. (Last week I posted a recipe for a safe Three Kings’ Cake. So today I thought I’d post some idea for the rest of the dinner!)

Jambalaya – this dish is a mix of whatever meat you have on hand (traditionally chicken, Andouille sausage, ham, and shrimp), rice, and some veggies (usually tomatoes, celery, onion, and bell pepper). It’s a wonderfully forgiving recipe, and it lends itself to endless variations. Allergic to shrimp? Leave it out. Don’t have any ham or bacon? Don’t worry, just toss in some chicken instead. Can’t stand celery? Leave it out. Love okra? Add it! Here is a recipe for Bubba’s Jambalaya.

Shrimp or Crawfish Etouffee – Etouffee can be made with shrimp, crawfish, catfish, or other seafood, and it’s usually served over rice. If you’re not allergic to seafood, it’s a yummy, fairly simple dish. There are a million versions; everyone’s grandmother made it differently. So hunt around until you find one that works for your allergies. Here is Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for ShrimpEtouffee. Here is a simpler one that uses flour to thicken the sauce: Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee. And here is one that uses cornstarch instead of flour: Shrimp Etoufee III

Muffuletta – Muffelettas are sandwiches made by hollowing out a loaf of French bread and filling it with your choice of cold cuts, cheese, and an olive salad. If you can’t have cheese, leave it out or substitute a safe soy cheese or Daiya cheese, if you’d like. Here is a delicious-looking recipe: Hearty Muffuletta.

Gumbo – Like jambalaya, gumbo is very forgiving, and you can use whatever meat your family likes, from chicken to sausage (usually Andouille) to shrimp. It’s more soupy than jambalaya, and it’s usually served over rice. Here is an authentic-looking recipe: Good New Orleans Creole Gumbo. It calls for beef bouillon cubes – if you can’t find safe cubes, substitute 3 cans of safe beef broth for half of the water called for in the recipe. This recipe also calls for crabmeat and shrimp – if you have seafood allergies, try cooked, cut-up chicken instead.

Gumbo Joes – I stumbled across this Cajun-flavored variation of Sloppy Joes, for something a little different! Gumbo Joes.

Hush puppies – These little cornbread balls are yummy, but usually call for eggs and milk. Here is a vegan recipe that may work for you (you can probably substitute rice milk for the soy milk if necessary). And if you don’t like your hushpuppies spicy, leave out the jalapenos. Vegan Hush Puppies.

Have fun celebrating Mardi Gras, or just celebrating good food in general!

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