Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Egg Allergies

My oldest nephew has become severely allergic to egg recently. He's six and his throat starts to swell up (though not completely closed) when he eats anything with egg in it. This includes one of his favorite foods - birthday cake!  Here is a list of all the ingredients that have egg hidden in them:

Contain Egg:

Cholesterol free egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters®)
Dried egg solids, dried egg
EggEgg, egg white, egg yolk
Egg wash
Fat substitutes
Meringue, meringue powder
Powdered eggs
Silici albuminate
Whole egg

May Contain Egg:

Artificial flavoring
Natural flavoring

- See more at:

Some are obvious like Mayonnaise, meringue, and anything with "egg" in the name.  Those that don't know Latin might not recognize all the "Ovo" ones - Latin for egg.  Still, there are a few I wouldn't suspect like Albumin -> Latin for white coloring.

Luckily, due to my own food allergies - particularly the dairy one- I did some research on vegan cooking.  For eggs, it's common to use bananas in sweet dishes - however they change the flavor profile greatly.  Nothing tastes like banana except...banana.   It's a hard flavor to hide.  Apples work really well and I've used those with great success.  I'm told there are some other more artificial egg substitutes but the more artificial in my family and the greater the chance someone is allergic to it.

So how do you use fruit rather than an egg?  It's really easy, honestly.  For each egg a recipe calls for, use one very mushed up, smashed up banana.  This really is yummy in a chocolate cake or a yellow cake with chocolate icing...if you like bananas.  :-)  You just peel the banana and mash it.  There really isn't any more to it than that.

For apples, it's a bit more time consuming - but apples won't change the flavor profile as much.  For each egg, you normally need two medium apples.  Peel and core them.  Boil the slices until they are soft - typically about 10 minutes.  Drain the slices and either put them in the blender or mash them by hand.  Use this as the egg substitute.   You can use apple sauce straight from the jar but there are a couple of problems with that - they tend to have other ingredients rather than just apples and it tends to add too much water to the recipe.  It will work if you lower your own liquid ingredients to accommodate the apple sauce but I like using apples I peeled and cored myself.  I know exactly what is in the apple sauce then.  (And, most of the time, I even know where the apples came from since I pick my own!)

Now to go cook up some yummy vegan yellow cake with dark chocolate fudge icing for myself and my oldest nephew!  :-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly: #6 Seasonal Fruit/Veggies

6. Seasonal Fruits/Vegetables
Concoct a dish based on the fruits and/or vegetables that would have been in season and available to the particular time you wish to interpret. It needn’t be the place you are in at this moment, but it should coincide with the season!

Lemons!!! Lemons are sort of an almost year around crop in southern Italy but they tend to be "best" from the end of July until October. Knowing that I wanted to do lemons for this HFF, I looked up recipes with lemons in Italy.

Lemon Sauce for Chickens or Capons. Get one or more chickens, capons or cockerels that have been cooked a little in water; take them out of the water and mount them on a spit; then get peeled, well ground almonds and temper them with the bouillon of the chickens; then get lemon juice and mix it all together with good spices; and put it into a saucepan to cook a little; then pour it over the roast with a little fat; serve it very hot.

Okay so, lemons, almond milk made with chicken broth again, "good spices" and chicken.  This sounds...strangely normal.  Basically, it sounds like grilled chicken with a creamy lemon sauce.  However, what are the good spices?  Luckily, there is another recipe for the lemon sauce in the same book.

This is an excerpt from The Neapolitan recipe collection(Italy, 15th c - T. Scully, trans.)The original source can be found at University of Michigan Digital General Collection
Lemon Sauce. Get almonds, blanch them, grind them up, make milk of them and boil this with cinnamon, ginger and saffron; the milk - I mean, the almonds - is strained with lemon juice or pomegranate juice and a very little verjuice and lean broth; and if you want it quite strong, put in more lemons or other citrus juice

Based on this recipe, the good spices are cinnamon, ginger, and saffron. Great! I have those!

My recipe:

3 chicken breasts
11/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tablespoon ginger
a pinch of safforn
4 very large lemons

I started with making the almond milk.  This time, I cheated a bit.  I used the almond flour they sell at the store rather than grinding my own almonds.  I put some of the almond flour in the nut bag I just bought and had this suspended over a tall container.  I mixed chicken broth with the almond flour until the chicken broth was gone.

 I basically would make a valley of the almond flour and put the chicken broth in, mix them together, and the almond milk would seep through the bag.  Below is the resulting almond milk.
 I ended up making enough that I can make some more chet soup later as well.  :-)

Next, I juiced the lemons in a separate bowl to add the lemon juice to the almond milk.  I put 1 cup of the almond milk in the sauce pot along with the spices.  I didn't heat it up yet, however.   I did start to boil the chicken breast and turn the oven on to 450F.
 Once the chicken breast was white, I put them in the oven and started to heat up the sauce.  I added the lemon juice and then stirred up everything.  I also basted the chicken breast in a bit of olive oil for a slight hint of flavor.

I left the sauce on a medium heat and stirred it until the chicken was almost done.  I turned the chicken at the 10 minute mark.   The sauce is a creamy lemon sauce and I poured it on the chicken when it was done.

It tasted a LOT like the "lemonade" chicken my Mom used to make for us.  I loved it.   It was completely delicious.  The lemons really taste sweet with the almond milk although I didn't use a hint of sugar.  The sauce gets very creamy as it cools - it's rather watery when it's hot- and the cinnamon and ginger remind me more of a jerk chicken recipe.  I almost think this would be a good "getting used to medieval food" recipe as it does taste similar to many modern dishes.

EDIT:  Forgot the total cost!   I only used a bit of the almond flour but it was the most expensive at $11 for the bag.  The chicken was $6.71 and the chicken broth was $2.75.  The lemons were 75 cents each.

War of 1812 Outfit

For the Battle of Bladensburg, I made a new dress out of an old green sari I got for $4.90 at the local thrift store. The sari had woven borders and a woven pallu while the petticoat part of the sari was all green organza. It was stunning as a sari. I hoped to make it just as lovely for a War of 1812 dress.

I cut off the pallu (the heavily decorated edge that goes over the shoulder on most saris) but left one small border of it because it worked well as a decorated edge opening for the wrap gown I ended up making. The upper border of the sari, I cut off and used as trim around the bottom of the sleeves. I lined the dress in some of the pink silk from the curtains I cut up in the Under $10 HSF.

This was after I had worn it for a few hours so it's rather wrinkly.
Sorry for the blurry back photo!  It's not really that wrinkly, it's more that it's silk organza and that doesn't photograph well.
You can see the bottom border here.
Close up of the bodice.

On most of the fashion plates from the early 1810's, ladies are wearing partlets during the day.  I took my old renaissance partlet pattern I designed a few years back and used that with some minor edits.  I was going for something similar to this partlet.

The biggest difference between a 16th C partlet and a 19th c partlet is the collar. I made the collar twice as long and then pleated it to the neck opening. The collar edge is rolled under. Very simple but it worked well.

Really, the biggest issue I had wearing this was that it would not stop raining! So I ended up coming home early. I hope the British troops go home soon and take their weather with them!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Warm Knitted "Gauntlets"

While at Pennsic, I finished my fingerless mittens from this pattern. While not period, they are WARM and I loved them.
I did them out of a lovely burgundy wool I got in Ireland a couple of years ago.  The one on the right is slightly shorter than the one on the left - only by one row.  The pattern calls for 14 rows to be knitted above the thumb gusset - which is way too much for me.  The left gaunlet has 11 and the right has 10.   Finished, they come to just above the elbow.

The pattern also calls for two rows of 8 knit between the increases for the thumb gusset (rather than going from 6,8,10 there is a second 8 in there).  I ignored that and went with only one row of 8. 

These mittens were a dream to have on at night when I went to bed.  It gets cold at Pennsic and I slept with these on.   The pattern is BIG but not unreasonably so.  I'd say if you want a close fitting mitt, go down two needles sizes.  If you want one that is a bit loose, go down one.  I could easily fit my entire hand through the finger opening without any issues. 

I am washing these to see if they will shrink a bit.  I'll try the pattern again some day with a smaller needle - they are simple but fun.  I'm not good with the complicated patterns and this was very easy for me to understand and knit up fairly quickly.