Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

A little slice of cinnamon swirl iced spice cake heaven


This weekend I got it into my head that I wanted something cinnamon swirled. I realized I had a few boxes of Namaste Foods spice cake mix in my cupboard and that would be an easy, allergen-free base. (I buy Namaste Foods spice cake mixes by the half dozen come fall, for occasions such as these.) I did a quick survey of cinnamon swirled recipes on Google and came up with this recipe below, adapted from Gluten-Free On a Shoestring.

I served some to my musical improv teammates and they went ga-ga over it: “It’s so moist. So delicious. How did you do this?” And none of them are food allergy free. It's that good. 

This recipe is easy (slightly genius) and it’s quickly become a new classic in my home. I hope it will in yours, too!


***

A vein of cinnamon-sugar. Oh my!


Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free
Recipe adapted from Gluten-Free On a Shoestring


For the cake batter:
One box of Namaste Foods spice cake mix 
Make according to the directions

For the cinnamon-sugar mixture:
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I use sugar in the raw)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup Domino confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon Lactaid milk (you can use any kind of milk, or OJ or even water), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful as needed

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line loaf with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Make the Namaste Foods spice cake mix using eggs, water and oil as per the box directions. 

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar, mix well and set aside. 

Pour a generous half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Pour the remaining batter on top followed by the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

Using a knife at an angle perpendicular to the bottom of the loaf pan, carefully swirl the batter in all directions - I made several zig-zags. The top of the batter will look uneven; it’ll sort itself out whilst baking, don't you fret.

Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 350°F or until an inserted knife comes out clean. I turn my loaf pan at the half way baking mark to ensure an even bake.

Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, using the parchment paper, remove the loaf gently from the loaf pan and place on the wire rack, undisturbed, to cool completely.

While the cake loaf is cooling, assemble the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the quarter teaspoonful, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon in a thick, pourable glaze. 

Drizzled iced spiced cake

At about 30 minutes, the loaf will still be warm and it’s time drizzle the glaze over the loaf in a back and forth motion creating the beautiful striations you see above.

Slice in generous, thick slices and share!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Interview: Kyle Dine & Friends Food Allergy Education for Schools

I can’t say enough good things about my friend, colleague and fellow food allergy advocate Kyle Dine. You know Kyle. But did you know that he has this incredible new project called Kyle Dine & Friends Food Allergy Education for Schools? I had a chance to ask him some questions about his new project and his inspiration. Read on and then order his DVD for yourself and your school!

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Allergic Girl: What is this new project  - "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools DVD about?

Kyle Dine: It's an allergy awareness video that is aimed at children filled with songs, puppets and games. It's a two-disc DVD set aimed at kids ages 4-7 & 8-11 respectively, with age-appropriate content. The video is a mix of entertainment and education that gets important messages across while increasing support, understanding and empathy. 

AG: Who is "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools geared towards/who is your ideal audience?

KD: The ideal audience is any elementary school classroom. I've received wonderful reviews from teachers who have shown the video to their class. Students (both allergic and non-allergic) were engaged, clapping along and participating in the follow-up quiz at the end. 

AG: What do you hope "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools will accomplish?

KD: A general understanding about food allergies, and support for the children who have them. I hear so often that peer support can be the biggest influence in a child's perspective of their own food allergies and risk-management. This is the video that I would have LOVED to exist when I was a kid. I was too shy to tell my entire class about the ins and outs about allergies. A video featuring a guy with a guitar, hilarious puppets and fun games would have helped a ton.

AG: How did this project come about?

KD: Schools eager to have more allergy awareness for their students. I performed live food allergy awareness assemblies at 100 schools during the last school year. It's encouraging to see that type of interest in education, but an insane amount of travel for one roaming musician/educator! Schools are looking for a "just press play" solution to a growing issue within schools. This video can reach more students than I could ever while criss-crossing the continent.

AG: How is this project different that what you've done before?

KD: This project has been a complete community effort and I am so proud of the number of people and organizations who were a part of it. The video was funded by the allergy community through Kickstarter. The educational themes were fine-tuned by an online working group of 125 allergy advocates. The final script was reviewed by FARE, Food Allergy Canada, Anaphylaxis & Allergy Australia and the Anaphylaxis Campaign (U.K.). Additional funding and distribution support came through various allergy-aware sponsors as well as KFA and FAACT. This project brought one very large community together because they all believe in the importance of educating children about food allergies. I'm proud to give back by offering 20% of the DVD sales back to food allergy non-profits. 

AG: Is there anything else included with the video?

KD: One of the neatest features is that the audio is fully dubbed in Spanish, French and German. This will help raise awareness with ESL schools and in foreign markets too. There is also a quiz within the bonus features to reinforce key messages. I'm also happy to partner with Food Allergy Canada in creating a teacher resource guide which is available on the video's website.



AG: What is your songwriting process?

KD: I first think what is the message that children with food allergies need to hear to help them stay safe and positive. Songs like "Never Keep a Reaction a Secret", "Able to Read a Label" and "Stop! Please Don't Feed Me" are examples. Music, lyrics and melody seem to just flow from there. I often joke that while many musicians write from the heart, I write from the immune system!

AG: Where do you find your inspiration?

KD: Kids with food allergies. I remember how tough it was growing up dealing with exclusion, teasing and feeling like a burden because of something I couldn't control. Knowing that life gets easier when non-allergic children simply receive allergy education is all the motivation I need to give them the facts in a fun and engaging way.



AG: Where can I purchase this for my school?

KD: You can purchase at www.foodallergyvideo.com and donate to a non-profit, or Amazon.com

***

As always, thank you Kyle for your hard work, dedication and overall excellent allergy dude-ness!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Food Allergy Counseling: Free Webinar, Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays 2015

Here is the webinar's permalink and you can watch at any time: Kids With Food Allergies about Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays.

***

Join me for this FREE webinar by Kids With Food Allergies about Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays.

And you may submit your questions in advance on the registration form

From Kids With Foods Allergies website.

***

RSVP:  Reserve your seat by registering

WHEN: Tuesday, November 3, 2015


TIME: 1 PM – 2 PM Eastern time


WHERE: Your computer, iOS or Android device

The holiday season is coming! You may have anxiety about food-centered celebrations, school events and coping with extended family who may not understand. Whether you are new to food allergies or a veteran, we could all use some strategies about how to handle the holiday season with grace and confidence.

Join Kids With Food Allergies and Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, for our webinar, Food Allergy Confidence at the Holidays, on Tuesday, November 3 at 1 pm Eastern.

Ms. Miller, a food allergy counselor, author, and founder of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., will cover:

Understanding your food allergy diagnosis
Communicating your needs to those around you
Forming supportive relationships to help you cope
Mourning the loss of the holidays of your childhood
Reframing what the holidays mean now
Connecting with the joy of the season

We will record this webinar. If you cannot attend the live event, we will email you a link to the recording a few days after the event.


You may submit your questions in advance on the registration form.


By registering, you agree to receive email communications from Kids With Food Allergies.
We thank Mylan for providing an unrestricted sponsorship of this webinar.

About Our Speaker

A licensed social worker, Sloane Miller was born with food allergies and developed asthma and environmental allergies as a child. In 2006, she started the food allergy blog Please Don't Pass the Nuts. She is the author of Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies. She is founder and president of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., a consultancy devoted to food allergy awareness. She consults with private clients, the healthcare, food and hospitality industries, government and not-for-profit advocacy organizations. Ms. Miller earned her Master of Social Work at the New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and her Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature at Bennington College.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recipe: Caramelized Upside-down Apple Spice Cake, Tree Nut Free, Gluten-free



When I was researching what I’ve made in past years and what I blogged about I realized that the 2014 Rosh menu was delicious and well received,  and that I already had the recipes. So essentially, we made the same dinner.

Apples and honey
Challah
Chicken with honey and cumin
Sautéed green beans with fried shallots

What I updated was the Caramelized apple upside-down spice cake. Here is the new edition.

 ***

 
Final cake and all of its caramely goodness

 ***

Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Apple Spice Cake
(Adapted from 
Betty Crocker

1/2 cup butter (I use organic)

2/3 cup brown sugar (I use sugar in the raw)

1 lb 
firm apples apples, cored & peeled and sliced into half moons. (One pound of apples is approximately 2-3 apples.) 

1 bag 
Namaste Foods Spice Cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box. (I use extra virgin olive oil and organic eggs.)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Line your 13x9 pan with parchment paper (easier cleanup and easier cake removal as this cake is moist!).

Caramelize your apples. In a non-reactive saucepan, heat butter and sugar. Add sliced apples and cook on low until butter sugar mixture is a darker brown, thickened and caramel-y and apples are cooked down, softened and also caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.

While the apples are simmering, mix the cake mix as directed for 13x9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Set aside.

Once the apples are cooked. Add apples to bottom of pan and pour the cake mix on the top. The apples and caramel will come up the sides, don’t worry everything will bake and mix just fine.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack. Place heatproof serving plate upside down on pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. Serve cake warm. Or cold. Or at room temperature. It'll be gone fast at whatever temp your serve it.


***

Butter, sugar and raw apples



Apples 15-20 minutes later, cooked until soft and caramel is a beautiful brown color

Caramelized apples in baking dish with parchment paper, ready for the cake mix

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Giveaway: Eleni's New York​ Nut-Free Cookie Giveaway

CONTEST CLOSED



Eleni's is giving away two [2] boxes of Eleni’s Cookies Silly Pumpkin Gift Set through my Allergic Girl Facebook page. 

NB: All of their cookies are nut-free. Call them directly for more information about your food allergy needs.

Head on over to my Allergic Girl Facebook page, write a comment there about what you love about Fall and that will enter you in the contest.

Contest rules: contest open for 24 hours from time posted, winners picked using random.org and limited to residents of the continental US states.

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*Make sure I can contact you through Facebook. If I can't contact the first winner, I will go to the next randomly drawn name.*

Thursday, October 08, 2015

JACI Study: Risk of Anaphylaxis following Vaccination in Children and Adults

Pssst: the answer is low to rare: 33 cases of documented anaphylaxis in 25 million vaccines given

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology sent me a copy of the new study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Here’s the pertinent information: 

“A recent study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assessed the relationship between vaccines and anaphylaxis and found the phenomenon rare in all age groups… 

As such, Michael M. McNeil, MD, MPH, and colleagues searched the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) databases to see who received one or more vaccines between January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2011….

Researchers examined records from a total of 17,606,500 visits for a total 25,173,965 vaccine doses administered. There were no deaths and only one patient was hospitalized. They found 33 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis after administration, a rate of only 1.31 cases per million vaccine doses."

They tracked all vaccines used, including two influenza vaccines. And still, only 33 cases of documented anaphylaxis in 25 million vaccines given.

***

Please discuss your personal concerns and/or needs with your board certified medical health provider.






Thursday, October 01, 2015

Food Allergy Counseling: Pushing Past Fear And Singing Your Heart Out

(Redshirts. Left to Right: Julia Lunetta, me, Susan O'Doherty)

Back in fall of 2012, I took my first musical improv comedy class at the PIT Theater. I was terrified and I was terrible. I wanted to vomit before I went out on stage. Or go home. But I didn’t. I pushed myself out on stage, sang, danced, made choices and was glad when it was over. 

I also thought to myself: there is something really, super fun here if only I can push past the fear.

***

One thing I stress in my book, Allergic Girl, on this blog, with my food allergy counseling clients and most importantly, what I practice in my life is: living fully with food allergies. 

It starts with understanding your food allergy diagnosis, creating and safe and loving support system and then going out into the world.

But what stops any of us from going out into the world and living fully - the millions of us with food allergies and the millions more without - is fear. Fear of the unknown; fear of failure and it’s twin, fear of success; fear of judgment and a general sense of fear of flopping, fumbling, falling or flailing.

For those of us with severe life threatening allergies, we can have an added layer of fear and anxiety related to managing our lives where our allergens (egg, milk, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soy are the top eight allergens in the US that cause ninety percent of reactions) are at every event, at every social gathering, on every mode of transportation. Essentially once that is managed (and that is no small feat but it is manageable) we are faced with the same fears as everyone else.

So why push yourself? Why not simply avoid the thing that scares you, frightens you, intimidates you and challenges you? Because on the other side of fear is pride, accomplishment, success and joy. Failure is there too, but it’s not for lack of trying or giving into fear.

***

After a year’s worth of classes over a two-year period, I auditioned and was placed on a house team, in the fall of 2014. This meant I was performing, on stage, with seven others, three times a month. Any fear I still had, which was oddles, was molded into a pathway towards play, silliness, creativity and engaged comedy with my teammates.

On that team was a wonderful improviser and clinical psychotherapist, Susan. We discovered we both had a love of Star Trek and a new indie team was born in the spring of 2015 called Redshirts. We've performed all around New York City for the last six months and this coming Monday, October 5, 2015 at 9pm, we are performing during New York Super Week, as part of New York Comic Con. Time Out New York chose us as a Critic's Pick. You can get tickets here.

I am totally excited. And thrilled. And a little nauseated and terrified. (I’m a therapist not a performer, Jim!) But I’m going on that stage, with my Redshirts teammates Susan and Julia, and I’m going to push past that fear and sing my heart out!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Food Allergy Counseling: 3 Reasons Why Using Meditation To Help Manage Food Allergy Anxiety Makes Sense

The roof at The Metropolitan Museum August 7, 2015


There are ton of reasons why you don’t meditate and most of them I’ve heard myself say, too.


  • I don’t get what meditation is exactly.
  • I’ve heard of meditation but it sounds difficult.
  • It sounds religious but I’m not religious.
  • It sounds spiritual but I’m not spiritual.
  • I heard you need something called a “mantra”. I don’t have a mantra.
  • I don’t do yoga and meditation is a yoga thing, right? 
  • I’m not a Buddhist and this is a Buddhist thing, right?
  • It’s not for me.
  • I don't have time.
  • I’m too busy.
  • I tried it before and it didn’t work.

But I’m here as a food allergy counselor and expert asking you to try meditation again, in any form you like. But do try it. 

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Meditation is proven to help ease anxiety. See this Forbes Magazine story.
  2. Anyone - you, your child, your mother, your coworker - can do it anywhere, anytime.
  3. It's free.

The first reason is the most important but the second two make meditation accessible to everyone. All of the time.

I’ve been meditating for over twenty years. Sometimes I’ve meditated with a formal practice like during 14 years of a weekly yoga practice. Sometimes I’ve meditated with a less formal practice like while sipping a cup of tea, sitting on a dock, overlooking the water, during a sunrise – heavenly.  And here’s why I keep turning back to meditation in some form: having created a place of calm for myself means when I get anxious I have a place of calm place to return to.

Did you hear that? Anyone who manages anxiety needs a safe haven, a nest, a bubble of safety, to call up any time they feel anxious. A physical safe place to be able to go to is great: your couch or your bed but very often when we feel anxious, it’s situational and we aren't near our physical spaces of comfort. So, having a calm corner in our mind really, really helps. Meditation can help you create that calm corner of space in your mind; as you always have you mind on you, creating a calm-mind-room right now makes perfect sense, right? 

There are many, many models of meditation. And any form will work. Find one that works for you and a time scale that works for you: one minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes. 

Start small, with a reachable goal. 
Try three breaths first.
Or three minutes. 
Start once a week, add days as you can.
There is no fail here, only win-win. 
And remember, meditation is a practice. At first, your mind will race, you'll be thinking of everything but the present moment. That's all okay and to be expected. Just let it go and sit down again.

Some resources:

Here are two links to read more about meditation from PsychToday and a super simple starting meditation from Oprah.com.

There’s guided meditation where someone talks you through steps of relaxation or something religious or spiritual and you can find through Google plenty of free ones

like ocean waves, birds in naturegarden sounds and easy meditation music like Bansuri flute when I’m sitting, and again YouTube is a free treasure trove of goodies. The Tibetian bowls are delightful.

One more plug, I discovered R Carlos Nakai in college, while at Oxford University, and have loved him every since especially for meditation.

So now, go, sit, take some time for yourself, begin a practice of creating calm, of quiet, of presence. Make it a family activity (e.g. your children with food allergy will love doing this with you!).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Recipe: Quick Strawberry Jam, Food Allergy Free


“Too acidic. Too many. About to turn.”

That’s what I saw when I looked at the huge clamshell of organic Driscoll strawberries that I purchased at Costco recently. What to do with them? Easy. Make a quick jam.

Also called a refrigerator jam, these are made with few ingredients, no pectin and no sterilization of jars. This jam is meant to be eaten within a few days of making and trust me, it won’t last longer because you will be gobbling it down and spreading it on everything.

For the OAS amongst us (a nice explanation of Oral AllergySyndrome here on Allergic Living Magazine) cooking ripe fruit in the summer can allow you to eat it without local allergy symptoms. I’m that way with stone fruits: peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, all become more edible, less mouthy-hurty, when cooked.

Here are some recipes for quick strawberry jam. The Kitchn, Martha Stewart and Real Simple Magazine.However, I make these quick james often, without a recipe. And you kinda can’t go wrong. But here’s a loose recipe of how I put it all together.

Quick Strawberry Jam
16 ounces (or 1 light pint) Strawberries, rinsed, topped and halved
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup of turbinado sugar (start with less sugar, you can always add more)



In a heavy non-reactive pot, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You may mash some of the fruit with the back of a spoon if you like but I like whole chunks and they cook down quite nicely without mashing. After about 10 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning e.g. you might like more sugar than I do. Place into a jar or non-reactive container to cool. Try to avoid spooning 12,000 tastes but do ladle over some buttered bread, yogurt or ice cream just to make sure it’s delicious. (Oh yes, it will be.)

Here’s a lovely article from Epicurious giving you 26 ideas of where to use a jam like this.

I made strawberry yogurt with mine. See above and try not to drool. But go, go cook up some ripe fruit right now.



Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Food Allergy Counseling: Confronting Versus Avoiding Your Food Allergy Fears

Recently, I went to a business lunch with two women who work in the food allergy sphere and I was feeling nervous. Not about meeting with them; they were lovely and we had an excellent bonding conversation and lunch. No, I felt nervous about eating. Even though I picked the restaurant, called ahead, the restaurant has my food allergy needs on file and they double-checked with me when I arrived. 

Still. I felt anxious. 

Sometimes, I can do all of my dining out steps and everything can be fine and still I feel nervous.   Sometimes, I can do all of my best anxiety management strategies to calm myself down and still I feel nervous. 

So what to do then? 

The natural tendency would be to avoid the situation that is causing discomfort i.e. cancel the lunch. But that wouldn’t make me feel less anxious, it would simply keep me home, alone and anxious. I’ve done that many times; many years of my life were spent avoiding the scary thing.

But here and now, I did the opposite: I confronted the anxiety head on and shared it, out loud.

When K. arrived at our lunch, sat down and settled in, I said:

Me: “Just a heads up, I’m feeling a little anxious about dining out today. I spoke with the staff and they’re all ready for me and I’ll order but I may not eat if I don’t feel comfortable and just eat afterwards.” 

K1: “OK. I understand. Do what you need to do. Is everything okay?”

Me: “Totally. Sometimes I just feel extra nervous about dining out with food allergies and today is one of those days.” 

That was the extent of the conversation. And then we all moved on to other topics and a lovely lunch. (And yes, I dined and it was safe and yum.)

How did I go from being someone who avoids to someone who confronts

There’s no easy answer, and it will be different for everyone, but for me it came down to making a very conscious decision to try another strategy. And then trying it. 

It’s not enough just to think about doing something different: you must *do* something different e.g. have a plan and enact a series of actions to back up those thoughts especially if you want a different outcome.

I wanted to meet these women for lunch and I was nervous about eating. So I did everything I needed to do to ensure my safety as much as possible and I created an emotional out-clause while still going to the lunch. That emotional out-clause (telling my lunchmates how I was feeling) created a valve: it decreased some of the anxious feelings and allowed me to sit at the table.


***


What has allowed you to sit at the table with your anxiety about food allergy risk?

Monday, July 06, 2015

Recipe: 4 Ingredient Pulled Pork

I have never made pulled pork before. In fact, I rarely make pork or even eat it. Except for bacon occasionally (at landmarc at Time Warner Center or purchased to be cooked from Marlow & Daughters in Brooklyn), I’m hardly a pork aficionado but I saw this recipe on my Allergic Girl Facebook feed a few weeks back and thought: this looks dead easy and delicious.

Brown sugar, salt, pepper and pork but plus time – what could be simpler? For this July 4th, my family did a small picnic and I asked my mom to make this – I made dessert. She made the pork butt (really a rolled up shoulder) in the oven and that worked out perfectly.  She added only 2 T of kosher salt and we both thought a touch more sugar wouldn’t have hurt but the result as is was stupendous. 

As we tore into the cooling shoulder to hand shred, tastes kept falling into our mouths. I’d make this again in a second for a crowd or for a pork loving partner.

Here's the cooling "butt" just before we started shredding. Oh my!


Best part, it’s top 8 allergen free and with five pounds of meat you can make all kinds of dishes family for days.

After we hand shredded and had many, many tastes


Here’s the original recipe from Epicurious, below with my mom’s variations:

Brown Sugar BBQ Pork Butt Recipe 
by Epicurious.com, adapted by my mom

YIELD: Serves 4–6
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 hours (plus overnight seasoning)

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup sugar in the raw (option use ½ cup sugar)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 /1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-5-pound) bone-in pork butt

PREPARATION
Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place pork in foil tray and rub all over with sugar mixture, then cover tray with foil and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and roast pork in large roasting pan, basting with any juices from pan every 30 minutes until pork is very tender, 4–5 hours. Let stand at least 15 minutes before shredding.

Do Ahead

Pork can be kept covered in the refrigerator after grilling for up to 5 days. When ready to serve, Preheat oven to 250°F. Place pork in a roasting pan with a few tablespoons of water. Cover with foil and rewarm pork until hot, 20–25 minutes.

Close-up of shredded porky perfection

Friday, June 19, 2015

Recipe: Burger Salad

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know my taste in food: clean, easy, delicious, using whole foods and seasonably available ingredients, few processed things and just plain yum. This is less of a recipe and more of a riff on a dish I had several years back and burger restaurant off of University Place now closed, called The Stand. They made a burger salad: three little slider burgers on top of a big bowl of salad dressed with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and parmesan. Immediately I knew this was my new jam! Food allergy free for me and so easy, why did I think of it? I created my own version and added it into my monthly meal rotation. A favorite with friends and family too, it’s ridic easy and top eight allergen free (if you don’t use the parmesan cheese)!




In the picture above, I made a turkey version, using ground turkey dark meat (way more flavor packed), got a great Maillard on it (that’s the crusty meaty part) and served with fresh bi-color corn. 

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Recipe: Burger Salad for One

Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce -  washed and chopped
1/4 pound of freshly ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef - use your fave)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Serve with fresh steamed veggies (like corn, broccoli, spinach - anything you like but definitely round out the meal with some extra beautiful veggies)

Assemble your salad first in a nice big bowl that you will also use for serving: use fresh lettuce, seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil. 

Next cook up your burger. Make sure to season your burger with salt and pepper, don’t skip this step and cook on high heat with plenty of oil. 

I use the diner-style technique for these burgers outline by the New York Times here and here.

Serve the burger over the salad while the burger is sizzling hot. I drizzle some of the cooking fat over the salad. Trust me, it’s divine. 

Serve, enjoy, repeat.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Storylines, Guggenheim Museum

Storylines at the Guggenheim Museum

Imagine you’re strolling slowly through a field, a lawn, even Central Park. You see two butterflies, dancing with each other, swooping, playful, graceful. You watch as they flirt around a nearby tree, through some low shrubs, around some blossoms. As you slowly stroll, they discovered you and flit their way in your direction. Your strolling slows as they come closer and closer and then you’re surrounded by two dancing butterflies.

For several moments, they dance around you like you’re the flower, a welcome third in their dyad. You become part of their story and they become a part of yours. Your breath and their breath synchronize and then something even more magical happens: three become one. Just for a moment. And then just as spontaneously they move on, encircling another flower, or tree or person, dancing, flying swooping, elegant and free.

That’s the experience I had the other day at the Storylines exhibit now open at the Guggenheim Museum as two dancers, who are part of an art installation within the Storylines exhibit by Gerard & Kelly called Timelining encircled me and included me in their dance. It was thrilling. 

The two couples (one in the left of frame and one in the center of the frame) are all Gerard & Kelly dancers


Here's some basic information about the Storylines from the Guggenheim website:

Bringing together over one hundred works from the Guggenheim’s contemporary collection, Storylines examines the diverse ways in which artists today engage narrative through installation, painting, photography, sculpture, video, and performance. For these artists, storytelling does not necessarily require plots, characters, or settings. Rather, narrative potential lies in everyday objects and materials, and their embedded cultural associations. In projects created through extensive research, acts of appropriation, or performance, the artists in Storylines  uncover layers of meaning, turning to individual experience as a means of conveying shared stories, whether real or fictional.
  
We all have stories. Ones that we tell to ourselves, that we tell to others, ones that we tell about ourselves to others. This exhibit seeks to explore how several artists tell stories in multiple mediums. It’s a thinky museum show; not a romp through rooms upon rooms of pretty pictures from old masters. To be fair, there are pieces that can be simply looked at but mainly this is an interactive show and I’m still interacting with it, at least conceptually, ten days after seeing the press preview.

I don’t have a snappy review of it or even a critique, but I’ve definitely been moved by several of the pieces there and it’s a show whose core concepts around narrative are close to my heart as a writer, artist, improviser and psychotherapist.

Here’s the core of what the exhibit is about should you wish to see it on a visit to New York City this summer and fall. 


The ceiling of the Guggenheim, by Frank Lloyd Wright
A beautiful reading room nook off one of the exhibit floors