Thursday, February 24, 2011


         Shopping for my dairy substitutes when I am also allergic to soy continues to be an adventure.  While, I feel that there are a number of good replacements for gluten( my other major allergy), dairy has a ways to go.  But my advice is the same as the advice in my gluten shopping blog, start at the health for stores first, to receive knowledgeable assistance and to try a variety of brands.  After, you have determined your favorite brands you could also try the  supermarkets, discount stores, food co-ops, etc. to try and purchase at a lower price.  Keep visiting the health food store, as they may be the first ones to find new brands that you can check out.  Let’s take a look at some of our dairy categories that need addressing.
        MILK – Soy, Rice, Almond and Coconut are some of the different types available.  I cannot eat soy so I use rice milk in my cereal, to scramble my eggs, to make mashed potatoes, to bake with and to make quiche.  Is rice or almond milk going to whip up into a fluffy froth for your latte.  No, it’s not.  I now drink black decaf coffee, but fortunately, that was never a huge thing for me.  I have yet to use almond milk and hear that it is very good and would like to use it for baking.  Coconut milk is wonderful if you would like to create a creamy curry dish and is good for digestion.  Coconut milk has a thickness and viscousity that the other three don’t and can be used to create a creamy consistency in your cooking and can work nicely with soups.  Will you feel like chugging any of this down with a piece of chocolate cake; probably not right away, but it is worth trying.
        CHEESE –Let’s get this out on the table now.  There is no substitute for Brie.  There is not.  That is something that I have to face every day.  There is no replacing blue cheese.  Another hard to face fact.  So how do I handle this major void in my life.  Well, perhaps not medically sound, I do what I call save up.  I am good, I mean good, I eat a gluten, dairy and soy free diet 99% if the time, so when I am at a party or at my wine dinner event and a ripe brie comes my way or a stinky blue is beckoning I have a bite or two.  But – you cannot do it the next day: accumulation is what can bring on an attack.  This is what my holistic doctor has told me. 
                In the past, I have had a little cheat three days in a row and seem fine at first and then the asthma or gastro intestinal attack comes on.  A cheat should be isolated.  Of course, check with your doctor first.  Basically, I’m here to help you find subs not advise cheating.
                Back to cheese. Rice cheese has been my savior.  In and of itself, not too thrilling, but if you melt it, it can prove tasty.  I make many panini sandwiches with it as well as quesadillas, enchiladas and omelette’s.  I also add it to my gluten free pizza, and tear it up to add to any baked pasta.  I have yet to try it but there is a product called Rawmesan that contains no gluten, dairy or soy and has a parmesan flavor.  Four Seasons in Saratoga has it and I am looking forward to trying it.
            YOGURT – This has been a tough one.  There are many soy yogurts and goat & sheep yogurts for those who are so lucky but no rice milk yogurts.  Then last spring I found a coconut milk yogurt at my health food store and it was on sale.  It comes in vanilla, raspberry and blueberry.  I am in heaven and able to mix my cereal and fruit in it for breakfast.  The name of the yogurt is SO Delicious.  Remember, some of you may be able to eat yogurt made from goat or sheep cheese. Check with your doctors.
         ICE CREAM – In college I was called Dairy Child, due to my frequent visit to the dairy bar and conspicuous consumption of ice cream.  Even before my dairy allergy diagnosis, I had outgrown that phase of my life but believe me I miss it.  So – what’s a dairy child to do?  There are of course soy ice cream subs but that doesn’t work with my soy allergy.  I rely on sorbet and rice dream ice cream for my fix.  Whole Fruit makes a nice sorbet and of course sorbet is consumed by the “rest of the world” and is not just a substitute. As luck would have it, the rest of my family loves ice cream and I must endure a number of visits a year to our local ice cream shops that do not offer sorbet.   As the ambassador of those with food allergies, I pose the question each time to my local shops, if they are considering sorbet.  Am I perfectly disciplined around the dairy consumers I hang out with. Well, admittedly during the summer, if I have been very good, I may have two soft twists between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  If I cheat, I make sure it is worth it.
           WHAT I HAVEN’T FOUND YET - WHIP CREAM, SOUR CREAM, CREAM CHEESE – Although this is really not a large category unto itself, it is an important self-indulgent category.  I bring it up because last week I was at Peter Luger’s steak house in Brooklyn, NY and they served a large bowl of whip cream with the various desserts my table companions were having.  Well – I took one cheat tablespoon and it was amazing.  The best whip cream ever – thick, rich, buttery, slightly airy  and  perhaps the original whip cream.  So – because of this experience, I am on a mission to find a substitute for whip cream.  Cool whip contains dairy and sometimes gluten.  At this time, my well stocked health food store does not have a non soy sour cream or cream cheese.  Still looking.

I purchase my rice cheese, Rice Dream and coconut milk yogurt at Four Seasons Health Food Store on Phila St.  I am able to purchase my rice cheese by the case and sometimes they have sales on the coconut yogurt.
Price Chopper has rice milk, as well as lots of sorbet.
I am not familiar with Hannaford’s rice milk products, but will check it out.

Dancing Ewe Farm in North Granville has some great sheep cheese that agreed with me.

CREAMY POTATO SOUP WITHOUT DAIRY OR SOY Here is a recipe inspired by one I saw in Real Simple and I made some alterations
6 medium sized Yukon potatoes peeled & cubed     2 medium size leeks sliced  
1 large fennel bulb sliced                                      6 cups chicken stock
2 Tbls. of olive oil                                                2/3 cup of white wine 
2 cloves of garlic                                                                                                                                                                             
Heat the leeks(save 1/3 cup on the side) and fennel in the oil until they begin to soften (6 minutes),stirring in salt and pepper to taste as they cook.  Add white wine and cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Add potatoes, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender( 12 minutes) Meanwhile in a small pan sauté remaining leeks and garlic in a little olive oil until soft and carmellized.  Save for garnish.  I also like to use crumbled bacon for garnish or fresh parsley. Take half of the now tender potato soup and puree half of it in your food processor or blender.  Pour back into the remaining soup, stir, serve and garnish with topping of your choice.  Now you can enjoy a creamy soup and my family relished it as well.

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