Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Food-Allergy Halo Needs Some Tarnish Cleaner

I want credit!

It was a pretty typical weekend for us. My son came home hungry Friday (when does he not?), so I made egg rolls at the same time I was finishing the ladyfingers. Saturday: made the fake tiramisu layers and assembled it. After all that, we get to the party  and someone brought an unsafe cake.

I don't think I'm that bad a party guest. So what if I spent most of the party hovered over the tiramisu, trying to prevent people from double dipping or dropping cake parts into the bowl? After all that work, I wanted to take the leftovers home, dammit! And so what if I made one or two snide comments about people who bring cake without warning? It's not like those people were close relatives!

On Sunday, I went for a walk with a friend. I spent the first 20 minutes talking about the agonies of trying to get things organized for my son's week at a college summer program. Calls about food, emails about food, emails about campus healthcare, options for carrying meds... After I'd been going on for a while, the light went on in her eyes and she said "oh yeah, your son has FOOD allergies!" She clearly had no idea what I was talking about all that time.

Is it even possible to "get credit" in a world that is so OBLIVIOUS to what we go through? Got me wondering philosophical thoughts:
If a mommy falls down in the food allergy forest and no one is around to hear her scream, does she make any sound?
What's the point of polishing one's halo if no one can even see it?

Oh well. *I* know I'm a saint. I'm sure you are too. I'll pat your virtual back if you'll pat mine.

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World's Simplest Egg Rolls

One safe precooked sausage - we like Amy's, but even breakfast sausage works great
1/4 of a small cabbage
Any other veggies you want/have - carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion all work great
A nice big chunk of ginger root. (I buy it, peel it, dice it and keep it in a Mason jar in my freezer.)
A dash of Worchestershire sauce, sriracha chili paste, or any other hot sauce you like
Fresh cilantro, if you want/have

Whirl all this together in the Cuisinart or blender. 

To assemble, you'll need safe wonton wrappers (I use Nasoya), a binding agent (I use beaten egg, but you can use plain water if you have egg allergy), a place to assemble, a brush and your mixture. I also like to use a Tbsp. measure to create the little mounds inside each egg roll. I make smaller ones as they cook faster, but you can get the longer shells and make traditional egg rolls too.

You'll also need a deep fryer or a pan. I use a stainless steel small pot. WARNING: deep frying in a pot will wreck it. Once you've chosen a pot for this, it's your forever frying pot. Don't use Teflon®-lined pots — they don't withstand the heat.

Assemble by brushing sealer on the top and right edge of the wrapper. Put your filling in the middle and fold so the edge of the top layer falls just short of the bottom layer. You can then fold the bottom over the two sides to keep the filling more secure.

Gently place each in the heated pan. (You don't need to fill with oil - just cover the bottom so there's enough to cook one side.) I give them about 20-30 seconds a side, and then drain on paper towels. They're great with mustard mixed with honey, or a little apricot jam mixed with vinegar.


World's Not-So Simple Fake Tiramisu 

Make the ladyfingers. You do NOT need to pipe these from a pastry bag unless you care that much about what they look like. I just use a spoon and spread them on parchment paper.

Make the syrup: 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp instant coffee, 1 tsp (or more) rum (optional)

Make the pudding layer:
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsps cocoa powder

2 3/4 cups Rice Dream or other safe sub
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash salt

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until thickened. When thick enough, remove from heat and stir in 2 ounces rich chocolate (I use Sharffen Berger bittersweet) and a tsp. vanilla

Make the cream layer:
1 carton Rich's Rich Whip

Whip until thick, like whip cream. Stir in 1/4 cup of the coffee mixture.

Layer the ladyfingers and pour remaining coffee mixture over them. Layer the pudding, then the cream, then top with additional ladyfingers and grated chocolate if you like. (I also use cocoa nibs - crunchy!) Cool thoroughly before your party.

Stand over bowl and guard it from contamination during party. (Optional, I suppose.)