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Thursday, September 30, 2010

But What Will I cook?

I have lots of allergies. I've always suffered, but it is something I've always dealt with. This year, allergies dealt me a huge blow.
I finally had enough, and I called my allergist looking for answers. Unfortunately, his answers were not the answers I was hoping for. After a long and arduous process of shots, eating foods followed by more shots, a food diary, and a RAST test- I finally found out that I have Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Finally, an answer. When I was in high school, I had a perpetually itchy mouth. There were stomach problems. I would collapse into a ball of misery. It subsided for a while in college, but flared back up again. I had my stomach scoped, numerous blood tests, and saw lots of physicians. They knew there was something wrong, but there were no answers. I wasn't a celiac and I wasn't allergic to the typical (soy, nuts or milk).

Finally, a doctor has been able to figure it out. This diagnoses makes so much sense for me. It explains almost two decades of suffering, and I am so glad that I have a chance to feel better. Unfortunately, this means that I will be cutting a LOT of foods out of my diet. It's an exhaustive list, and I'm still figuring out what I can eat to avoid getting sick. When you have OAS, some foods should be avoided altogether based on the severity of the reactions. Some fruits and vegetables can be "denatured" through cooking. I'll be able to eat those foods only when cooked (like apples, for example. )

Sadly, here is a list of foods that must be auf'd. I'm Heidi Klum bidding inadequate designers goodbye. Except I'm saying goodbye to fruit. And some vegetables. And some bad seeds. Goodbye melons and bananas. Goodbye pickles and herbal tea. I must bid you all adieu:

Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew & watermelon)
herbal tea (echinacae, chamomile or hibiscus)
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds

Friday, September 24, 2010

Will offerings of fall soup excuse my absence?

So, I've been gone. Mostly, it is because my brother, Ian the animal tamer, came to visit me for a little more than a week. Secondly, I'm going for a whole blog redesign. I suck at this, so it is going very, very slow. I've also experienced a number of pretty severe recipe fails. I don't fail all that often, but I have to tell you some of these fails were epic. I've had some triumphs, too. I've had success with some great recipes- apple butter, squash quesadillas, maple burgers, summer peach cake. I've also had some original creations this month, including pistachio pesto gnocchi, brown butter sage & squash lasagne, nutty apple crumble, homemade ketchup, and lemongrass scented butternut squash soup.

This soup is fresh, almost fruity. I wasn't in the mood for a heavy, cream laden squash soup. So, I improvised using ingredients I procured at the Yellow Springs Farmer's market. It has a light almost effervescent texture. I used a Cortland apple to lighten the soup. I would suggest using a firm, white fleshed varietal like the Cortland, Roxbury Royal or McIntosh. A bonus for those sensitive eaters, this recipe is vegan & gluten free.

Lemongrass Scented Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch chunks
3-4 stalks of fresh lemon grass
1 Cortland apple, chopped
32 ounces of vegetable stock
1/2 inch piece of ginger, cleaned and peeled
regular coconut milk, to taste
Place the squash, apple, lemongrass, ginger and stock in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
Let the mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes. It should still be warm, but not hot. Pick out the lemongrass stalks. Puree using an immersion blender. Reheat to desired temperature when ready to serve.
Spoon soup into bowls. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. You can use a toothpick or knife to make a design with the coconut milk. (Obviously I fail with the artistic presentation, but you get the idea).

You forgive me now, right?

As always, many of my recipes can be found on Food52.