Monday, May 26, 2014

Egg-free, Milk-free, Nut-free Crepes

By Kelley Lindberg

I got brave this morning and decided to try making egg-free, milk-free, and nut-free crepes for breakfast. So I found several egg-free recipes online that were all identical (that’s always a good sign that the recipe will work), made my substitutions to eliminate dairy products, threw out the first couple of crepes which were too oily and became sacrificial train-wrecks, and finally—Voila! I hit on the right formula.

I used all-purpose flour, so if gluten is your enemy, you can try using your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour instead. I also used a small non-stick skillet, so I did NOT need to add oil to the skillet (when I did, trust me, it was ugly). So if you use a non-stick skillet, do not add oil to the skillet. If your skillet is NOT non-stick, you’ll have to use a little oil.

Also, the original recipe I used said to refrigerate the batter for 2 hours. Yeah, right, like I ever plan ahead enough to do that. So I didn’t. They worked just fine.

Here is my recipe. Bon app├ętit!

Allergy-Friendly Crepes

1/2 c. rice or soy milk
2/3 c. water
1/4 c. safe margarine, melted
2 T. safe vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vegetable oil

Strawberry filling:
1 – 2 c. sliced strawberries
1 – 2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. white sugar

Additional white sugar or powdered sugar to taste
Safe chocolate or other syrup (optional)

1. Heat oven to 150 degrees, then turn off. You will store the crepes in the oven on a heat-proof plate until you’ve made enough to serve everyone.
2. In a small bowl, toss sliced strawberries with lemon juice and 1 tsp. white sugar. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together rice/soy milk, water, melted margarine, and vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt.
5. Whisk flour mixture into liquid mixture until smooth. (You don’t need to use a mixer. A hand whisk is easy. It only takes a minute.)
6. Warm a small skillet over medium heat. If skillet is NOT non-stick, coat bottom of skillet with a small amount of oil.
7. Pour about 3 T of crepe batter into the skillet, and swirl it around until it spreads out thinly. You’ll have to experiment with the amount, depending on the size of skillet you use.
8. Cook until the edges are crispy and golden (about 1 minute and 15 seconds). Slide spatula around the edge to gently loosen. Then lift the edge slightly to look at it – the bottom should be turning golden. Then flip the crepe to cook the other side until lightly browned (about 1 minute more). If you try to flip them too soon, you’ll have a rubbery mess. Wait until the bottom is definitely golden/toasted-looking.
9. Slide onto the heat-proof plate and keep in warm oven while you make more.
10. Repeat with remaining batter, adding each cooked crepe to the warm plate in the oven.
11. When ready to serve, place crepe on an individual plate, spoon a few slices of strawberry onto the crepe, roll up, then sprinkle with powdered or white sugar. You can also drizzle chocolate syrup over the rolled crepe (optional).

This recipe made 10 6-inch crepes, but I had to throw away 2, so I only got 8 out of this recipe. Alter quantities to suit your family! (The original recipe I started with said it made 16 6-inch crepes. It lied.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Food Allergies in the Food Handler’s Permit Course!

By Kelley Lindberg

In a few weeks, my son will be finishing ninth grade. For his class, it’s not just the end of the school year, but it’s also the end of junior high, and the end of being the “big guys/gals on campus.”

To end the year in style, the school has filled the next few weeks with activities, including an evening program during the last week, at which there will be food.

My son’s best bud since babyhood also has food allergies, and the two of them have been in the same school together since kindergarten. They’ve shared the food allergy table for ten years, they’ve watched out for each other, and they’ve weathered the same food-allergy issues in their classes. The friend’s mom, Kim, is also one of my best friends, and together Kim and I have chaperoned every field trip and party, bought treats for every dance, found safe substitutes for every food-based art project you can think of, and supported each other through thick and thin.

Now we have one more food-oriented school event to get through together.

So Kim and I find ourselves taking the state food handler’s permit test this week. It’s not the first time, either. Back when the boys were in third grade, there was a big school event where we had to cook paella and gazpacho for 300 people. So that year we dutifully volunteered to help make the food so that we could ensure it was safe for our food-allergic boys, which meant we had to get our food handler’s permits. But the permits only last for 3 years, so now we need to get a permit once more.

So I took the course and test online last night, and I was surprised to find that the course for a Utah food handler’s permit has a big change from the last time we took the test 6 years ago. Now there is an entire section of the course devoted to explaining the seriousness of food allergies!

I was thrilled to see that they spent so much time explaining the symptoms, describing how to avoid cross-contamination, explaining that contact with allergens can be fatal, and even warning servers and cooks that customers who have food allergy reactions in their restaurant may not even be aware they have allergies until that first reaction.

While including food allergy information in the food handler’s permit course doesn’t make every cook and server an expert on food allergies (face it, even those of us living with food allergies feel like we learn new things about them every day), it at least ensures that they’ve been exposed to the idea. That’s a significant jump from six years ago, when I don’t recall anything about food allergies in that course at all!

So I’m sending a big shout-out to the state of Utah for recognizing that food handlers are an important first line of defense for those of us in the community with food allergies. Thank you!

(And in case you’re waiting in suspense, wondering how it all turned out… Yes, I did pass the test. I’ll even show you the certificate sometime if you want to see it!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Guest Writing for FARE This Week

By Kelley Lindberg

The editors at FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) graciously asked me and my son to write about his recent class trip to Spain for FARE’s Spring newsletter. The article hit the digital world this week, so I invite you to hop over to FARE’s website to read about our trip. I wrote about the planning we did before the trip, and my son wrote about his experiences during the trip. We had fun working together, and we hope our story helps others contemplating travel with food allergies this summer.
Our story is on page 9. Here is the link to the Spring newsletter: FARE Food Allergy News, Spring 2014