Monday, June 11, 2007

Simple or complicated? Both!



This weekend, the weather turned more appropriately summerlike, and the fruits and veggies at the Santa Monica farmers market looked more beautiful and tempting in the clear sunshine. What to do? What to do? Everywhere I turned there were lovely things for the FAQ to eat...bing and rainier cherries, spring asparagus, sweet corn, too many choices among all the pretty colors.

I ended up choosing some very sweet Camarosa variety organic strawberries, stringless green beans, creamy yellow potatoes, and Lily's cage-free eggs then meandered home with my treasures. I had to have the strawberries immediately, so did a simple Italian-style dessert. Strawberries sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar and some ground pepper (yes, really) are a unique and refreshing combination! The vinegar brings out the sweetness and the pepper keeps it interesting. No added sugar, whipped cream or gluten-filled shortcake necessary. (Of course you could whip up some gluten-free waffles if you feel so inclined.)

For the complicated dish, get this -- I made a Russian salad (Ensaladilla Rusa) from a Spanish cookbook, from a Russian author brought to you by Chinese girl! (It really DOES take a village, doesn't it?) From the fabulous The New Spanish Table, by Anya von Bremzen, this is AUTHENTIC Spanish food (unlike the pretty poser posted previously). The cookbook is charming, informative, and fun to look at too! This salad was not difficult, but took a lot of assembly...it's the Spanish answer to the French Salad Nicoise, but can also be served as a tapas with bread, if you're not allergic to wheat. It had a lovely mellow, but unique flavor because of the Spanish olives and anchovies in the dressing, but I got a chance to show off the fresh potatoes, green beans and my homemade mayo with Lily's eggs. If anyone is interested I'll post the recipe -- it's not difficult, just a lot of little steps. This would be a great light lunch for lazy summer days (I felt REALLY lazy after making this). But happy!

4 comments:

Allergic Girl said...

im sooo excited for summer produce too!
and my mom just told me about strawberries with pasta! yes pasta.

the ingredients are cooked pasta, [for me rice pasta], balsamic, strawberries, olive oil, tomato sauce and serve. i think i would do it sans tomato sauce, and serve it room temp, and use aged balsamic!

im gonna try it this w/e!

Michiko said...

Hi there! I just read all of your posts from this year-great stuff!

I was diagnosed with the following allergies 18 months ago:
dairy, wheat, gluten, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, brown rice and lentils.

This is what I already knew I was allergic to:
Bananas(first food my mom fed me, sent me into anaphylactic shock), all types of food preservatives(sulphites, etc), alcohol, and anise seed.

I also have multiple environmetal allergies.

Since I have quit eating the food I am allergic to, I have lost 55 pounds.

I live in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (pop 21,000) and the allergy-sensitive food selection is paltry. It is a daily battle to stay allergen free, and today was a particularly challenging day for me. I hate the fact that when I am done work for the day and starving, I can't just grab something from Subway to curb my hunger; I have to drive all they way home and COOK something. I went online and found your blog, and it's like reading about my own life. I am so greatful that you are spreading the word about multiple food allergies.

A question:
Do you ever have those moments where you are so tired of having to always think about what you're eating, that you want to scream?

That's what today has been like for me.

Food Allergy Queen said...

Michiko,

I'm sure we've ALL had moments where we so frustrated at how annoying and difficult it is to manage food allergies that we want to scream. I'm so sorry you had a bad day, but so glad that my blog could help!

Part of what makes it this so hard is that you always have to plan ahead. And even then that doesn't always work. Some of my strategies: keep non-allergic food everywhere...my desk, my car, my briefcase. Also try to get familiar with the ingredients at fast food restaurants...at sandwich places I sometimes order the item with the most meat and veggies, throw away the bread and eat it like a salad. And when you can, cook stuff ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. My email is likesafari@aol.com, I send you some links to online stores that can ship to your town. Good luck!

Kristin J said...

I just wanted to say--the strawberry/pasta combo? Absolute Yum. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it from the FAQ & friends. I did Allergic Girl's rice pasta thing, and the paprika gave the dish a wonderful kick. I don't know what I'm more excited about: a new way to enjoy strawberries, or the fact that I tried something new! It was high time I ate a meal that didn't consist primarily of a toddler's leftovers...
Michiko- my heart goes out to you! I am not (terribly) allergic, but my son has multiple severe food and environmental allergies (dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, pear, garlic, grasses & dust mites, to name the biggies), so I can kind of relate. He was diagnosed as a toddler but now he's almost four, so he has a lot of strange questions, like, "Mama, what's a sandwich?" and "Can pizza talk?" I can't just slap some sliced chicken and plain rice on his plate and call it a meal anymore--he's starting to notice that other people eat prettier things (nor can we hang with the drive-thru crowd--Bake & Take is the name of the game for us). I have begun devouring (literally and figuratively) any recipe geared toward the multiple-allergy crowd (what would we do without our FAQ?!)
Keep on keepin' on, Michiko, you are SO not alone!