Sunday, July 15, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Frittata with Chicken Patties

I woke up bored and hungry, so decided to make a nice Sunday breakfast:

Frittata: Chopped up some broccoli florets and sauteed it with olive oil in a small pan. Added 2 eggs (previously scrambled in a bowl), and shredded Beemster cheese. Let the mixture cook through on medium heat, then flipped it to cook the other side.

Chicken sausage patties: Mixed some ground chicken with minced onion, garlic, oregano, dash of basil, and 1/2 an egg. Seasoned with truffle salt, and formed into patties before cooking it in olive oil on a pan. I was worried it wouldn't cook through, so added some water to the pan and covered it to steam cook it through. This also helped keep the patties moist (since I didn't use any bread crumbs in the patties, they were at risk of becoming hockey pucks!)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beemster cheese

Another delicious lactose-free cheese!

I've found this at big box supermarkets such as Giant and Safeway, and it's sweet and creamy as advertised (although it's a pretty hard cheese). I wish it came in larger wedges, but it's jam-packed with such a rich, nutty flavor you actually don't need that much for a satisfying serving. It's slightly less expensive than Emmi brand Emmentaler, at about $16.99/lb.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mussels and ham carbonara

I whipped up a quick lunch today for my parents using leftover mussels and ham in the fridge:

I used this corn pasta I found at the asian supermarket, and it was deliciously like thin spaghetti (they had no idea it was gluten free):

Carbonara in 30 minutes:

  1. Boil a large pot of water with a tsp of salt and oil. (Normally, I would NEVER add oil to my pasta water, but for gluten free pasta, you really need to, otherwise it sticks)
  2. While the water is boiling, prep everything else:
    1. slice the ham into thin 1" strips
    2. coarsely chop about 1 clove of garlic per serving
    3. scramble a raw egg in a bowl (1 egg per serving)
    4. optional: shave/shred/grind some reggiano parmeggiano
    5. optional: chop scallions, wash/chop parsley/spinach
  3. Remove pasta from the pot when it is al dente - reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Do NOT rinse the pasta!
  4. In a large pan, saute the garlic and ham. Before the garlic browns, add the mussels with some of the sauce it was cooked in.
  5. Add the pasta with the pasta water to moisten.
  6. Toss to incorporate and warm together, then remove from heat.
  7. Arrange the pasta into a thick, even pile, and carefully pour the raw egg over, avoiding the surface of the pan (otherwise, you'll get scrambled egg!)
  8. Fold the egg in, allowing the heat from the pasta to cook the egg 
  9. Transfer to a plate to serve, and finish with freshly ground pepper and parmeggiano

Monday, July 2, 2012

Yo, Yo Chobani!

I spent so many years paying extravagant prices for lactose-free yogurt, only to find out that any yogurt with live cultures is lactose-free. Greek yogurt is the best, because it's thick, creamy, and tends to have more strains of bacteria, ensuring no remnants of lactose.

I love Chobani! It often goes on sale for $1 each, so naturally I stock up. They added some new flavors I'm pretty excited to try:

Breyer's Ice-Cream

Lactose free ice-cream?!

Whaaaaaaat? Yes, it's true! Breyer's. Real ice-cream. Real flavor. Minus the lactose. And the best thing - it's carried in most big box supermarkets in metropolitan suburbs, so you don't have to make a trip to a specialty store to get it!

It truly tastes like regular vanilla ice-cream. Texture-wise, it's a little softer than regular ice-cream, and seems to be more prone to melting. But that's really it. I promise - lactose fiends can't even tell the difference!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dairy vs. Lactose

As I continue to dance around lactose in my diet, I realize I should probably take a step back and clarify what I mean by being lactose intolerant, yet am able to eat dairy.

Dairy = anything made from animal milk. Examples: egg, milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream
Lactose = a sugar found in milk products.
Lactase = an enzyme in the human body that breaks down the lactose in milk products. When a person lacks this enzyme (such as myself), then the lactose does not get broken down, and the person will have unpleasant side effects as a result, called lactose intolerance.

Certain dairy products can be made lactose free. How?
  • Live cultures, a.k.a probiotics. These are healthy bacteria that, when ingested at the same time as lactose, will eat up the lactose. In the body, these live cultures digest the lactose, thereby eliminating those nasty side effects when lactose remains undigested. This method is what consistently allows me to eat dairy products without having a reaction to lactose! Basically, anything with live cultures renders the food lactose-free. Apply this to frozen yogurt (ex. Red Mango), cream cheese, and sour cream. Please see my post on probiotics for more specific brands.
  • Age. No, not your age, silly! Supposedly, as a cheese ages, the lactose dies off, leaving only traces. I've been told by many cheesemongers that the longer a cheese is aged, the more likely it would be safe for me to eat. However, keep in mind that this really depends on your own sensitivity. I continue to have a reaction to aged cheeses, so this unfortunately doesn't really work for me.
  • Lactase supplement. Since a person who is lactose intolerant lacks lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose), there are certain products that include lactase as an ingredient (Lactaid). You can also buy it in pill form and take with the first bite of food (found in any drugstore next to the peptol bismol). I pretty much avoid artificial forms of lactase, because it makes the food taste weirdly sweet, and I feel like the pills disrupt the natural balance of my digestive system. BUT - in occasional instances when I just need to splurge, I have been known to pop a pill and just indulge!
So there it is, I can have dairy, but not the lactose. All lactose is found in dairy, but not all dairy necessarily has lactose. Part of the joy of writing this blog is finding all the ways to enjoy the dairy without the lactose!

Please let me know if you need any clarification, or have anything to add by clicking on the comment link below!

The Original Pancake House

The Original Pancake House
Falls Church, VA

My sister excitedly told me about the gluten free pancakes here - I've yet to try, but further inspection of the menu shows 6 flavors: Plain, Blueberry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Strawberry

The picture my sister sent looks like an impressively large (and fluffy!) portion:

 (she's not lactose or gluten intolerant, but tried these gf pancakes out of curiosity)

Here's a link to the menu if you're curious too!