Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer and Food Allergy: My Best Tips (and Some Nut-Free Recipes) for a Safe Memorial Day

Looking forward to the holiday weekend? I know I am--it's the official kick-off to summer! But while parties are fun, they can also add food allergy stress. Here are some suggestions on how to have a happy, healthy and allergy-safe Memorial Day celebration. This link includes my BBQ sauce recipe, too!

Road trips are on the agenda for many of us this weekend--possibly with relatives' homes as the destination. Here's a link that talks about safe road trips and how to prepare the extended family for a happy, allergy-friendly trip.
If you have an ice cream maker (or even if you don't) here are two simple and summery frozen treats to share with your family and friends: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Lemon Ice. Cuisinart makes a basic but very nice electric ice cream machine that you can find usually under $50 at places like Target or other stores that sell kitchen gear.

Nut-Free, Egg-Free Vanilla Ice Cream

Break out the ice cream machine for this great basic vanilla ice cream recipe! Also known as "Philadelphia" ice cream, this traditional recipe does not contain eggs. Because of this, this ice cream tends to stay a little bit "soft serve" but it is delicious.

1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (McCormick brand is what I usually use--Nielsen Massey is also great.)
4 cups heavy cream or heavy creamy mixed with half-and-half for a lighter flavor
3/4 cup white sugar, preferably superfine
Pinch salt

If using a vanilla bean, split in half and scrape out the seeds. (Keep the pod to make vanilla sugar, basically a vanilla bean placed inside a closed container of sugar for about a week. Wonderful in everything from cakes and cookies to coffee drinks.)

Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately or freeze about 2 hours for a firmer consistency. For optimum flavor, allow to soften slightly in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Lemon Italian Ice (Granita)
1 cup sugar (use superfine if possible)
2 cups water
4 large lemons

1. In 2-quart saucepan combine sugar and water; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Set saucepan in bowl of ice water to cool.

2. Meanwhile, from lemons grate 2 teaspoons peel and squeeze 3/4 cup juice.

2. Stir lemon peel and juice into sugar syrup; pour into 9-inch square metal baking pan. Cover, freeze for 2 hours and then scrape to break up the ice crystals. Freeze again at least 3 hours or overnight. To serve, let soften slightly and use a metal spoon to scoop up the ice shards. Transfer scoops of "ice" to dessert dishes and enjoy!

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