Food blogging has opened my eyes to the challenges and successes of cooking gluten-free. But when our very own Gluten-Free Goddess Karina learned that she faces a whole host of food allergies -- oh my, what a list -- it took me aback.
It's one thing to choose to give up meat and dairy. It's another thing entirely to be forced to give up foods from which you've drawn both sustenance and comfort, in order to regain your well-being, your very life.
Yes, it must be done. But. Really. Now. How do you live without the brightness of lemon?
For whatever reason, it's Karina's allergy to lemons that has got me thinking the hardest. I keep a half dozen lemons on the counter at the ready at all times. Now, thanks to Karina, each time I pick one up, I caress the waxy skin, I breathe in the lemon scent, I take a moment to be thankful for the lowly lemon, to appreciate what it does to food, to wonder at its goodness.
But surely, truly, there can be life without lemons? Easy for me to say, of course, but there can, surely, if only because there must.
Inspired by the gracious Gluten-Free by the Bay, food bloggers everywhere are Cooking for Karina, collecting recipes for foods to inspire Karina, someone with so many food allergies.
I scoured the Kitchen Parade archives, honestly expecting to find only one or two or maybe at best three recipes for someone with Karina's food allergies. I did think my Fruity Gazapcho might make you smile, Karina, and know personally that the avocado, which you can't eat, is entirely dispensable.
Instead -- perhaps because Kitchen Parade recipes tend to be spare, simple and made from 'whole' foods our grandmothers would recognize? I don't know, it's a puzzle to me -- I found a whole collection of recipes missing the verboten ingredients or with known, easy substitutions. Much to my surprise, many of the recipes are also full of color, a dimension that will appeal to Karina's artist's soul.
And so here, as much to inspire my own life as to offer inspiration and sustenance and rainbows of color to Karina, is what shall forevermore be called:
Life Beyond Lemons with Buckets of Lemonade
Vegetarian Main Courses
Ratatouille - Karina my friend, the movie will make you smile throughout and laugh out loud often, then yes, you can eat ratatouille safely, too, just skip the Parmesan
Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries - skip the nuts, you won't miss them
(scroll to the end if you think you may return to meat and fish)
Vegetables Are Your Friends!
Red, Yellow Pepper Relish - full of color and flavor and vegetable goodness
Caraway Cabbage - this could be a main dish, too
Trio of Vegetables - roasted cauliflower, honey carrots & lemon asparagus
Pair of Shredded Vegetables - beet roesti, the Swiss classic done in beets vs potatoes and shredded zucchini with thyme
Mashed Potatoes & Carrots - oh you're going to love these, color and taste!
Lavender Potatoes - skip the steak, just pile on the potatoes, oh-so-good!
Pair of Refrigerator Pickles - peppers, cucumber, all in the frig!
Grilled Pepper Salad - more color! those pine nuts are dispensable, too if needed
Laura's Carrot Soup - this will be delicious with coconut milk as a substitute for cow's milk
Scandinavian Pea Soup - thick and hearty, winter fare on the High Desert
Low-Fat Vegetable Soup - I practically live on this during the winter
Karelian Borscht - another hearty soup, beautiful color for the artist in you
Lentil Soup Vincent - yes, one more hearty soup, this one with lentils
Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup - skip the sausage with no trouble
Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup - you'll love the color here, too!
Summer's Tomato Soup - coconut and tomato? it speaks to me!
Creamy Wild Rice Soup - I'll send you Minnesota wild rice, the very best!
Quick Cauliflower Soup & Quick Broccoli Soup - two mainstays, just broth and vegetables and eat!
Confetti Potato Salad - again, color, color, color
My Favorite Salad Dressing - oh the salads you'll make! and with this dressing, no two will taste the same
Alice Waters' Coleslaw - light and fresh and lovely tasting!
Bloody Mary Salad - you'll use xanthum instead of gelatin, yes? but after that it's packed with good veggies and great crunch
Quinoa & Black Bean Salad - hearty enough for a supper salad, too
Panzanella - just skip the bread or use a favorite gluten-free bread, panzanella is all about the tomatoes anyway!
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad - and Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup too, yes, this is your lucky year, Karina, you'll soon be well again
Olivada - the lovely olive 'pesto', though you'll likely skip the pine nuts, yes? it would be delicious on pasta too
Peacherry Blues - perfect for high summer!
Winter Fruit Salad - skip the pineapple, use lime zest if you can or add cinnamon or even a dash of fresh pepper! for a little oomph
Rhubarb Sorbet - again, this will please your color-hungry eyes!
Fruity Gazpacho - yes, here it is again, it's worth repeating!
Apple Cider Indian Pudding - this could be amazing with coconut milk!
Cranberry Pudding - made with a gluten-free flour and coconut milk in the sauce (yes, it's an eggless cake!), plus do you see that cranberry applesauce? it'll have you singing!
Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble - made with gluten-free flour
Main Courses with Meat Protein
(should by chance you decide to eat meat or fish again ...)
Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad - getting hungry here!
Asian (No Chicken) Salad - a supper salad I make with chicken but shrimp or pork would be delicious, slices of beef, too, full of veggies (the dressing includes soy sauce so you'll want to use your soy-free substitute
Kitchen Stir-Fry - needs a tofu substitute, also soy sauce, but this is an eminently variable recipe, based on taste, season, preferences and yes, food allergies too
Beef & Mushroom Stew - filling, flavorful, a long-time favorite recipe
Roasted Salmon & Asparagus - use a lovely-scented vinegar as a lemon substitute
Berry Baby Backs - baked or grilled in a gingery raspberry sauce
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce - a quick supper!
Salmon Chowder - with coconut milk, how good would that be?
Pepper Steak & Mushrooms - winter food, another quick supper too
Two-Way Lentil Skillet - skip the tofu, but if you return to shrimp, this is a real winner!
And so, dear Karina, thank you for sharing the difficulties and frustrations and someday soon, the successes, of your struggle with food allergies. And for you I wish this ... that food once again becomes a joy, a creative outlet that feeds your soul as well as your body. With your spirit and determination, there will, yes, for you, be life beyond lemons.