Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 15: Broccoli

I brought my broccoli to work with the best of intentions. The little florets are not overly nummy, but I liked the idea that I could get some crunchiness from a snack. But like a recalcitrant child, I could not motivate myself to eat the poor veggie and it went bad.

Round 1 - Broccoli 1, celiacsings 0

And then inspiration struck! What if I melted cheddar cheese on the broccoli, like a loaded baked potato without the potato part? So the next time I brought the broccoli AND shredded cheese to work. Lunchtime approached and I realized that the broccoli on potatoes is usually steamed or cooked in some way. Could I risk just sticking it all in the microwave without cooking the broccoli? Indecision battled with hunger and the certainty of the rest of my food won out.

Round 2 - Broccoli 2, celiacsings 0

But today is the day. The broccoli is still crisp; the cheese is still sans mold. Half our staff is off-site so if the disaster smells terribly, I have fewer apologies to make.

I looked up how to steam broccoli in the microwave. It's as straight-forward as one could probably get:
  1. Wash broccoli.
  2. Chop off stalks so you get cute little tree-like pieces.
  3. Place florets and 1-2 Tbsp. of water in microwave safe dish, ideally with lid. I have no lid here at work so I'm going to use our microwave safe plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave for 3-10 minutes depending on microwave.
  5. Broccoli is done when still slightly crisp, very aromatic, and bright green.

Alright, reading audience. Wish my office luck, that this doesn't have dire olfactory consequences!!


And SUCCESS! (for the most part...) The broccoli with light cheese is actually quite good. I should probably get some plastic wrap that is more microwavable, though. Thankfully, because I only had one small stalk I only needed to microwave the plastic wrap for a little less than 2 minutes. The wrap had only started to melt to the bowl. Sigh.

Round 3: Broccoli 2, celiacsings 1, plastic wrap -1

Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Snack (serves 1)

  • 2 stalks of broccoli
  • 1-2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt to taste
  1. Wash broccoli and chop florets of stalks.
  2. Place broccoli & water in microwave safe dish. Sprinkle with salt as desired. Cover with lid or microwavable plastic wrap.
  3. Microwave on high for 2-4 minutes, depending on microwave strength and amount of florets. Broccoli is done when still slightly crisp, very aromatic, and bright green.
  4. Uncover. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  5. Microwave on 80% for 25 seconds or high for 15 seconds. Again it may be more or less depending on your microwave and how melted you want the cheese.

And there you go. It took a few rounds, but eventually there was veggie success!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Food tasks tomorrow

Tomorrow I am going to try to cook the lamb/Fage recipe, biscuits with no xanthum gum since my friend asked if they would work, and maybe even a green apple & chicken recipe. Fitting this in around rehearsal, a long dog walk, cleaning, sleeping, catching up on my 30 days (of which I am woefully behind), and my Grandmother's birthday may be tight...but what can I say? I'm a dreamer!

Fast (?!?!) Food

It's very hard to find quick, allergy-friendly meals on the go. I've slowly learned which fast food restaurants have work-around options. I've been very busy recently and have, sadly, had to revisit some of these options. They may not be "kosher" for everyone of my allergies, but they avoid my major triggers.

McDonald: Apple dippers
Thank goodness for some place finally having developed a "fast food" fruit. I don't use the sauce, but it's nice to get something sweet while on the go. Warning: DON'T get the fruit & walnut salad! The walnuts and, I think, the sauce are not gluten-free.

Subway: Grilled chicken
Funny thing about Subway - I actually had employee leave his station to go ask his manager to approve giving me a sandwich with no bread. Sigh. You can order a salad with the grilled chicken on top (I like using spinach leaves instead of iceberg lettuce), but it costs significantly more for less chicken than a 12" sub.

But what about the common language barrier? I have resorted to this more than once: I asked for a 12" sub on whatever bread I feel like, catch them before they put the chicken down, and have them microwave just the meat. Then while it's heating up, I have them put on LOTS of lettuce and LOTS of cucumbers. Once the meat is ready it goes safely against the greens. Then I only eat the interior items that have not been gluten-ified.

This really only works if you need a hefty dose of gluten to set you off. If you have problems breathing near flour, do not try this approach!

Baja Fresh: Original Baja Taco Chicken with no salsa, onions, or cilantro
...which means it's just the corn tortilla and the chicken. I actually strongly suspect there's a hint of garlic on the chicken since it's so yummy and flavorful on its own, but it's not enough to cause a reaction if I have one or two.

The big thing that varies from store to store is the amount of cross-contamination on the grill. I've learned which stores are better than others (around the DC area) within the chain and try to frequent those most. If I have to eat at a Baja Fresh that I haven't patronized before, I try to do it when I'll be home in a few hours (when my reactions tend to hit), just in case.