Iphone App – GF Card

June 15, 2010

I stumbled upon this particular app and find its efficacy lies in  its very simple, straightforward interface. A brief statement which describes Celiac Disease is translated into over forty languages, including Arabic.

Celiac Disease Card – Arabic

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Food Allergies in Beantown

June 4, 2010

I love Boston. Overall I’ve found Boston’s restaurants to be incredibly responsive to my food allergy needs, not least of which is Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger. The restaurant is incredibly specific about ingredients and substitutions for dishes, and Ming Tsai even moves beyond his restaurant to advocate for safe practices throughout Mass.

Check out this engaging article on the subject.

Not only does the law require restaurant workers to get educated about food allergies, but it also posts a note in the menus asking patrons to inform their server of any allergies.

“My goal is to serve anyone with food allergies safely in any restaurant in the state,’’ said Tsai, winner of a prestigious James Beard Award and star of an eponymous PBS show. “I don’t buy that a restaurant’s too busy that they can’t figure out whether it’s safe to serve people. If you do not know what’s in your food at all times, you should get out of the restaurant industry.”

Can I just say that I have a ginormous crush on Ming Tsai?

Not a post about Michael C. Hall

June 2, 2010
As much as I wanted this NY Times article,  titled Cooking With Dexter: The Nut Case to be about Michael C. Hall’s hit show Dexter, I was also a bit wary – the premise of Hall’s show is as follows,
Dexter Morgan, Miami Metro Police Department blood spatter analyst, has a double life. When he’s not helping the Homicide division solve murders, he spends his time hunting and killing bad guys who slip through the justice system.

The idea of murder by nuts, not so appealing. Suffice to say that I breathed a slight sigh of relief when I scanned the article and found its reflections on parenting both heartwarming and bold. How difficult to admit one’s limitations as a parent, and though some great lessons learned for the rest of us. Namely: Never let your guard down for a second.
The author’s denouement, “no nuts only peanut flour?” certainly struck a chord, and reminded me of similar encounters:

There are no nuts in this except for sesame

There are no nuts in this except for soy nuts

Personally I’d rather have more knowledge about ingredients than less. How about the rest of you readers? Any success stories/cautionary tales of note around servers & ingredients?
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Labels labels Labels

June 1, 2010

I’m an avid reader, and one of my favorite genres is ingredient labels. I’ve gotten pretty adept at doing a quick scan and assess. If there’s ever any question in my mind I generally avoid the product, but this particular one, a Sunday breakfast offering from my roommate stopped me fast in my tracks.

Our vendors follow good manufacturing practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens. Made on equipment shared with eggs and peanuts. Facility processes tree nuts and fish.

If I trust their safe practices then this product, in spite of being processed on shared equipment, might be safe. On the other hand I’m very curious as to what their processes are; what equipment is actually shared and how is it cleaned?

This particular product is from Trader Joe’s and my experience with them has been somewhat inconsistent in the packaged goods department. Safe practices, and yet…shared equipment. Thoughts/comments? How would you all respond to this label?

Substitutions: Cautionary Tales from Vegan Baking

May 30, 2010

I’m massively perfectionist about my cooking, and baking in particular. I’ll religiously scrape the bowl clean to save every bit of batter. And once those baked goods go in the oven I turn into a helicopter parent. Checking and double checking my timer, resisting the urge to open the door. Inserting and reinserting toothpicks to test for doneness.

It’s not all anxious hand wringing though. I’ve been known to dash across the living room and into the kitchen once I catch that “almost burnt” smell of doneness, the almost imperceptible moment when the air is laden with a rich aroma, mere seconds before it gets too done.

All that more or less comes to a head in vegan cooking where the stakes are especially high. Experimentation carries many risks; the ingredients are pricey, precision is paramount, and steps can be overly simple or thoroughly complex. Resulting in awesome – or catastrophic baked goods. Read the rest of this entry »

Vegan cupcakes really did take over the world

May 5, 2010

Between April 24 and May 2, 2010 vegan cupcakes really did take over the world at the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale.  Thrilling. I love it when people mobilize around a cause.

This particular event was sponsored by Compassion for Animals (CfA), a Washington, DC-area grassroots group that “works to reduce human-caused harm to animals, primarily through educating people on animal-friendly lifestyles and cultivating empathy and respect for the nonhumans with whom we share the earth.”

Did anyone participate in the event? Any interesting venues, meaningful charities fundraised, or delicious treats consumed? Highlights please! And why wasn’t there any visibility in the Middle East? Dubai has a massive organic grocery store!

For lack of time, I was unable to connect with a venue in NY,  though I did embrace the community love fest that baking so oft engenders and offered my colleagues at work some vegan oatmeal raisin cookies.  CfA’s goal, to raise awareness about the treatment of animals, is incredibly noble. However I consider the primary focus-slash-imperative of baking to be community building vis-a-vis sharing. If only so that I might avoid downing a dozen cookies in a sitting.

And yes, I did shamelessly steal back the cookies I offered my boss. Thankfully for both of us  she sent me a cease and desist email last weekend.

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Dispatches from Dubai

February 12, 2010

Magnolia Bakery in Dubai: unheimlich?

Last Friday marked my first foray into Dubai. I was having a bit of trouble reconciling my memory of the Emirate- a frequent family holiday spot- with the fantasy-laden rhetoric I’d been exposed to in the States. Toss in the “reality” (1 kilometer towers, dancing fountains, a shining new Metra) and it made for a not wholly unpleasant and uncanny sensation. A colleague invited me out to eat in the Emirate and I was a bit hesitant to accept the invitation. The last time I’d been to the Middle East I felt that my food allergy needs were met with bemusement or ridicule.

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Granola Bites

November 11, 2009

Granola Bites

I’m a compulsive snacker, and this November is packed with travel so I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with healthy snacks that’ll stick to my ribs on the road. As luck would have it, a challenge is underway over at Best Allergy Sites to come up with an affordable, delicious granola bar that is firm, chewy and totally nut free.Suffice it to say that I didn’t need any more prodding than that.

Throughout the duration of my recent Houston visit I racked my brain, munching on mini muffins, and tried to come up with a combination of ingredients that held themselves together, while retaining that chewy texture I love about granola bars. I had attempted  batches of granola bars in the past that utilized peanut butter as a base, but they simply fell apart once they hit room temperature. They  were tough and crunchy, nothing like those vacuum packed bars you get in the store.

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Cranberry-Orange Spelt Scones

November 1, 2009
Scones cranorange

Home-made BabyCakes Scones!

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’re familiar with my devotion to BabyCakes in the LES, so it was not without a certain amount of glee that I tore open the packaging of my review copy of the BabyCakes cookbook.  As a fairly adept baker in my own right, I have a lot of respect for Erin’s process- AKA years of trial, error and drawing on solid feedback from friends.

The cookbook (like all good baking) comes with a sense of danger: Read the rest of this entry »

Hot Teff Cereal

October 30, 2009

Teff cereal

One of the few things that tempted me out of bed and onto the cold, cold floors of dry desert mornings in Kuwait was the promise of hot grits. My mother made her offerings on those mornings, “salt and slices of cheese” or “honey.” I remember periodically challenging the dichotomy of salty and sweet by requesting that she combine the two. The texture needed some work, but my preadolescent palate recognized that salty-sweet combination as nothing short of revelatory.

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