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)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Recipe: One Pound, Wine Braised Beef Stew

Beef stew over rice. Yum!

I'm obsessed with making short ribs, I even made them for Thanksgiving this year but I felt like branching out a bit, beef-wise. 

So I thought: beef stew. 

My mom used to make beef stew when I was a child. Not very often but enough that I remember loving it. When I asked her for her recipe, she kind of shrugged and said, “Hmm, I don’t know. Probably from the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne? Maybe?"  "Was there flour?" 
"Potatoes? Peas?" 
"Maybe, probably." 
She remembered making it and loving it as well, but what book, what recipe, what technique? All I got was a sweet shrug-a-dee-doo.

So, I did what I normally do before cooking a new recipe: I looked at a ton of recipes online, narrowed it down to sites that I know and trust, like Simply Recipes or Cooking NYTimes, looked at a few select cookbooks like A New Way To Dinner, looked at relevant techniques like these from Bon Appetite, and this post from the very thorough and well-meaning Serious Eats (which I found exhausting with too many unnecessary steps, counter to cooking well and a bit too this for me or this but entertaining).  After I did all of that over a day or so, I started cooking, this time without a recipe. But below is what I ended up making. The sauce was delicious, the meat tender but my veg did NOT cook through! Maddening. So I’ll have to correct that on the next iteration but overall an easy recipe.


Some recipe notes: 
--I made one pound because I’m #singleaf right now and I didn't want to eat beef stew for a week. 
--One pound of beef (16 ounces) made about 13 ounces of cooked meat, which for me is three servings, but you serve it as you like.
--The recipe does not need flour (wheat or otherwise), you won’t miss it.
--I didn't use chicken broth because it’s too salty for me but you could.
--I only used a half can of tomatoes because it was only one pound of meat and you do not want the meat totally submerged - that’s a boil, not a braise.
--I used shallots as that what I had on hand, onions are just as good. 
--I used Farmer’s Market fingerling potatoes, and they totally didn't cook through– phooey. Next time, I might just cook veg separately and add them at the end fully cooked.
--I used one cup of wine leftover from another recipe, which even after a few weeks corked was perfectly good. 


One Pound Wine Braised Beef Stew
Makes around 13 ounces of beef stew
Adapted from Once Upon A Chef & Cooking NYTimes

1 pound beef stew meat, pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt 
2 shallots, peeled and diced 
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T red wine vinegar
1 dried bay leaf
½ 15-ounce can of diced organic tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
Water as needed
Coarse Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and make room on the middle rack. Heat two tablespoons of oil into a dutch oven/ceramic pot on medium high heat. Brown the meat in batches as to not overcrowd, and brown thoroughly on all sides. (If the pot it needs more oil, add it and do make sure the fond doesn’t burn.) 

While the meat is browning, slice your shallots, mince the garlic, open the can of tomatoes and decork the wine. 

When the meat is all browned and resting on a platter, sauté the shallots in the pot until translucent and fragrant, then add garlic and sauté for one minute until fragrant. Then add the vinegar, wine and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. 

Boil the wine mixture until slightly reduced. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes and the meat. Bring to a boil and then pop into the oven with the lid on the pot. 

While the meat is cooking, prep the carrots and potatoes. 

Check the meat after two hours and add the veg and cook the veg through another 30 minutes (at least that’s how it’s supposed to work!). 

Serve with a side salad, and over the grain or pasta of your choice and enjoy!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Recipe: Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream: Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free [Sponsored]

*NB: This is a cow dairy-based recipe.*

Caramel is the stuff of dreams. (Look at how Stella Parks does it in Serious Eats). And it keeps for a while, not that is will last a while. Two-ingredient no churn vanilla ice cream; need I say more? Put those together and you have my latest creation:

Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream that’s tree nut-free, peanut-free, egg-free and gluten-free. 

Share this dessert with friends, family, dinner guests, your physical therapist or your doorman (See my Instagram stories for more about that!) and you will be everyone’s dessert heroine!


Reasons why I love this recipe:

I love recipes that use plain, basic ingredients that are just what they are – water, salt, white sugar, cream, milk. 

I love recipes that use ingredients you probably already have on hand (again, water, salt, sugar, milk, cream – you probably have that around) or can find at any local store; these I purchased at my local Fairway.

I love recipes that are mostly hands-off. To make both of these components took about 25 minutes, total. Plus over night freezing. But that’s totally hands-off!

Heavy cream  let’s talk. Most commercial heavy creams have gums and stabilizers, even the organic ones. And that’s fine, I’ve used these brands to make whipped cream my entire life without issue. Typically, gums/stabilizers aren’t nut or fish based (my severe allergens). But given a choice, I’d prefer a cream that’s just cream, especially if I can pick it up at my local store. And luckily, most regular grocery stores do carry many heavy cream options. My point here is read the labels of everything, even if it seems counterintuitive, read the labels every time, because even heavy cream can have more than one ingredient.

Salt – let’s also talk. All salt is salt, chemically, but grain size is all kinds of different and will definitely affect the outcome of baking/candy making recipes. The Serious Eats recipe upon which mine is based uses Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for the recipe. If you don’t want to buy a new salt, just start with a pinch of table salt or another Kosher salt and see how it tastes. You can always add more salt but you cannot take salt away if you overdo.

Kids (lower and middle school ages) can help to whip cream and add condensed milk and stir – get those little helping hands in there.

Older children (teenagers) can help with the caramel – lots of good chemistry lessons to discuss and also how to handle hot things in the kitchen and don't get distracted!

Label reading is for everyone. Once you have your kids in the kitchen cooking, that's a great time to remind them to always read labels, even for the basics. 

And for children of all ages, there is a sense of mastery and pride when they have a hand in making something that then the whole family eats and enjoys. 

I say: if your kids show even the slightest bit of interest, get them in the kitchen to help cook.


Special equipment - if you want to get fancy
(You probably have these all but if you don't, just use what you have)
Kitchen scale (if you don't have you can totally use measuring cups/spoons)
Pyrex measuring cup (2 cups large at least)
Loaf pan or Tupperware shaped loaf style


Recipe: Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream: Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free 

Make the ice cream to get it chilling in the freezer. 

Lightly adapted from Nigella Lawson and The Kitchn

1 pint (two cups) of heavy whipping cream (use safe for you brand)
1 fourteen-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (use safe for you brand)
1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Whip the cream into soft peaks. Fold in the condensed milk. Mix thoroughly until completely combined and no streaks. Add flavorings if using. Cover with plastic wrap and pop the whole mixing bowl into the freezer while you make the caramel. 

While the no-churn ice cream is chilling, make your caramel. 

Here’s my lightly adapted recipe for Salted Caramel made according to Stella Parks's exact directions because they are just so correct and easy. 

Lightly adapted from Stella Parks, Serious Eats

115g water 

240g Domino white sugar 
2g Diamond Crystal kosher salt
225g heavy cream 

Use Stella Parks' exact directions. I poured my hot caramel into a Pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring later, just saying.


Let the caramel cool first on the counter then pop in the fridge for some extra cooling time. Go have dinner, or workout or hang with loved ones. 

After about two hours, grab the bowl of chilled ice cream mixture from the freezer and be ready to work quickly. Into a Tupperware that’s loaf sized with a top, layer in first ice cream, then a ¼ cup drizzle of caramel. Continue until you hit just a ½ inch from the top. No need to swirl, it will do that for you. Magic! 

Self-swirling magical dessert!
Put the top on the Tupperware, pop back into the freezer and go live your life. Around 6-8 hours later, it’s dessert time. 


NB: If you describe this dessert as “allergen-free” people will be shocked, but it is truly top 7 allergen free, so easy and so delish.

Thank you Fairway Market for sponsoring* this delicious allergen-friendly recipe!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Recipe: Homemade 3-Ingredient Caramel, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

As part of the continuing #cook90 Epicurious challenge, and expanding my food world and go-to recipes, I’m continuing to create a new recipe a week and it's MARCH!

So…vanilla and caramel and butterscotch, these flavors speak to my deepest foodie dreams.  Recently, I delved into caramel sauce making. Luckily the ingredients are not expensive because it took fully four tries before I created the perfect batch.

I found what looked like an excellent recipe from Serious Eats.  Here are the author’s reasons why this method is easiest and works. And here’s Stella’s recipe on Serious Eats

I made no changes but still the first time it didn't work for me; the sugar never caramelized. I wrote to the author on Twitter and we had a lively exchange where she guided me step by step on pan size, pan diameter and heat needs. The second time it worked beautifully but I wasn't in love with the salted aspect; it grew on me but still it wasn't the caramel of my dreams. 

The third time, I let it go 5 seconds past “amber” and it was too dark. Edible, in fact I know some people would love it on that edge of burned but alas, not for me.

The forth time, I turned up the heat, after 10 minutes the colored showed, I swirled, took it off the heat a hair past amber and swirled in my heavy cream.  It cooled into the perfect most delectable scrumptious caramel sauce. Oh joy!

Some recipe notes: 

My pan is heavy-bottom 3 quart with a 7.5 inch diameter, which means that the second stage took a full 10 minutes and needed a little hotter than medium heat to get the sugar to caramelize. Pan size matters here.

When you buy heavy cream, read the ingredients. Yes, there can be more ingredients in heavy cream other than cream. There’s shouldn't be but there be. So look for a safe for you brand. I’ve used Whole Foods 365 and Natural-By-Nature with great results. Read the labels. 

I made caramel using the below four ingredients with Serious Eats directions.

Also one more pro tip, it turns too dark/burns really quickly, as in will go from gorgeous perfect amber to oh no – dark brown - so really keep and eye on it. Go under versus over when it comes to amber as it will darken as it cools.


Recipe: Three-ingredient Salted Caramel: Nut-Free, Gluten-Free
Barely adapted from Serious Eats
(I went with grams here to really get the weight correct)

115g  water (1/2 cup)
240g Domino white sugar (1 1/4 cups)
2g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
225g Natural by Nature heavy cream (1 cup) 

Follow Serious Eats directions, lightly adapted below. 

In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, combine water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir with a fork until syrup comes to a boil, about 4 minutes, then boil without stirring until syrup is honey-colored, roughly 10 minutes, shaking and swirling as needed to ensure even caramelization. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, a minute more. Immediately add cream and reduce heat to medium-low.

Stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula to knock back the foam, simmer about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant container, and cool to room temperature. Caramel will be runny while warm, but thicken as it cools, turning just a little chewy when cold. Refrigerate up to 1 month in an airtight container.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spice Cake, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-free

As part of the continuing #cook90 Epicurious challenge, and expanding my food world and go-to recipes, I’m continuing to create a new recipe a week and it's MARCH!

So last week, when I bought a 5-pound bag of sweet potatoes at Costco (I shop for a lot of my produce there as I go through so much fruit and veg during the week), I baked up two over the weekend for lunches and dinners, so easy and yum. The next day, when I looked into my fridge, at the cold baked potato and a box of Namaste Spice Mix with one portion of mix left – inspiration struck: Sweet Potato Spice Cake!

Using cold mashed baked sweet potato creates a moist, subtly flavored spice cake (i.e. the sweet potato is not noticeable, like it doesn't taste like a veggie cake, it tastes just YUM!). It’s a cake that would be very happy with a mug of tea for afternoon or tea or after dinner or for breakfast or just whenevs. 

If you want to frost it, an orange glaze would be lovely here: 1 cup confectioners sugar mixed with orange zest and fresh orange juice until desired consistency. Add juice teaspoon by teaspoon. 

And really all I did was add a cup of mashed sweet potato to the recipe on Namaste’s box, just like the carrot cake suggestion. But here it is spelled out.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spice Cake, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free
One 8” square pan cake

Approximately 2.5 cups of dry Namaste Food Spice Cake Mix (or 13-ounces of dry mix)
2 large organic eggs
1/3 c water
1/3 cup Lucini olive oil
1 cup mashed sweet potato (cooled, no skin, no dairy/spices – just the flesh of the potato)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your pan with parchment paper. Whisk together the water, oil and eggs until incorporated. Add the mashed sweet potato until all is combined. Add the dry mix and mix until combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread out until even.  Bake in oven between 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!